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The Day of the Locust (1975)
Rarely seen but brilliant film
I don't need to add any more to the other reviews which embrace this film as it needs to be.
What is interesting to me is why it is rarely seen any more?
I've seen it exactly once when it was first released and never since. But it left an indelible impression and I've yet to find it on DVD. And now I read that Hollywood tried to suppress publication of the West novella.
Is it possible that you never see it on tv because HollyRock doesn't want it seen?
Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
Fifty Shades of Dreck
Well I'm impressed that They made a bunch of money ripping off Secretary, 9 1/2 weeks and Thomas Crown all in one go! How did they get away with it?
I can't think that any of the actors would come away unscathed and have a career after this debacle. And sadly Marcia Gay Harden signed off for just a few minutes of screen time (honestly, she should have read the script beforehand) which means she won't suffer too much permanent damage. The costumes were sad, the sets were boring, the plot line was non existent. What more can you say? It'll be a cult classic in time known as the greatest non porn that got away with some serious plagiarism in history
Cedar Cove: Pilot (2013)
Pretty little town pretty little show Cedar Cove
So Andie McDowell ends up on the small screen where all older actresses of a certain age end up and with cosmetic surgery very similar to Rene Zellweger's. The only thing different about Andie from the other Cedar Cove cast members is she can really act. She's subtle, smart and entirely believable. She's never done any bad work that I can recall. Not the same can be said about the other cast members who are all caricatures as usual; I try not to watch television but sometimes it happens. Most of the actors are Canadian and the show is shot in Vancouver but the set design looks like someone lifted the town right out of the Hamptons and everyone is forced to wear the entire LL Bean catalogue. But that's okay. I won't be back to Cedar Cove.
The Tango Lesson (1997)
If you love light there's lots in this film
I loved this movie for its luminous black and white portraiture of Tango, Buenos Aires and Paris. There's been a few negative comments about Sally's insistence on casting herself in the lead role. A reviewer said that she looked tired; the result of multi-tasking her role as lead and director. I say she has a face that is somewhat care-worn from living a life well which is full of emotional content. It is important to juxtapose the angelic face of Pablo Veron against her much more sage face. A younger more beautiful type would not have worked. She was so smart to think of that; or perhaps it was the fortunate result of looking at the rushes that it came to her. As an art house film it works; the locations are interesting; fragments of spaces and shapes and textures with beautiful lighting. As a study of human relationships it was so painful to watch. I so related to her reluctance to interfere with yet desire to connect with Pablo. Honestly painful. There are also the familiar cast of characters that appear in Sally's other films: Heathcote Williams and Peter Eyre to name 2 that I recognized. I loved Eyre's interaction with Sally; he watched her sadly as she watched Pablo knowing exactly what was going on in her mind. Such an interesting actor with less than 5 minutes on screen time. It is interesting that Maria (one of the Hollywood execs) is an Argentinian born actress pulling off a very good interpretation of an LA beautiful person. Comfortable like a great pair of well worn dance shoes with a patina that just gets better with time. There was just enough there to whet the appetite but like good dancers; they held enough back making you beg for more.
The Guard (2011)
Pulp Fiction Meets Snatch
I had to watch this movie sitting about 3 feet from the screen which gave me a massive head and neck ache. Once I got past the first 10 minutes of pain and dizziness getting used to the sweeping views of Connemara and Galway and the heavy duty accents; I loved this film. I plan to watch it again not so bloody close to the screen.
Is it my perception or do movie makers make Irish folk out to be silent/dour/dry in their interaction with those in authority who also happen to be foreigners/Brits/Americans? I didn't laugh as hard as everyone else sitting around me 'cause I find this form of humour a gentle poke at the Irish heart. A lot of Irish folk gallop horses around me at the racetrack and they seem to have a universal kind of sweet demented dry humour about them that I just love. I didn't want to miss a single beat. The colour and the grandeur of the coast is amazing. I didn't get the roan/grey horse on the beach. Was that meant to be a wild Connemara horse perchance? That was trace clipped? Ahem.
Although the two lead characters were meant to be great foils for each other in the manner of many American cop films; still each was individually not over the top. Brendan Gleeson is a national treasure. I adore him. 9/10
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
Redemption and Givenchy
After 4 decades I finally got around to watching Breakfast at Tiffany's. New York pre World Trade Towers. There is really only one funny scene in this movie and it isn't the silly party scene in the beginning (shades of Blake Edwards' Party to come). It is Audrey Hepburn surmising that she is "knitting a Ranchhouse" while Jose is building a sweater. Probably the one clever line in the movie. With her streaked locks she looks fabulous. Absolutely quintessential 60s fabulous. I do not believe there was any decade as fantastic as the 60s for style. Truman Capote's dark look at 60s social mores is more complex than the light touch Edwards' would suggest. A would-be call-girl in denial and a giggolo saved by his boyish good looks befriend each other and find redemption. Holly's quirky, off-the-wall behaviour was called "female hysteria" in the 60s, in the 70s it was split personality, in the 80s it was manic-depression, and in the 90s it became bipolar disorder. I don't find it charming. Even though I detest the business of sex for hire, I believe it is a private business exchange between 2 willing people. What I don't like is the Hollywood belief in the woman's prerogative to change her mind. Holly did have an implied business arrangement between those silly Johns and everyone thinks it is charming that she takes their money and runs. If women are truly keepers of their own bodies then why didn't she go through with the exchange? Only Buddy Ebsen and George Peppard seem to come off with their integrity intact. The whole mess is redeemed by the other-worldly beauty of the incomparable Audrey Hepburn who can take the most pedestrian script and elevate it to a thing of beauty. "It's useful being top banana in the shock department" she says. Anyone else in this role would have infused a cheap value, come off as shrill but somehow she makes it entirely believable and we forgive her.
Charming Romantic Confection
Everyone makes so much of the "politically incorrect" plot line of Gigi. Since the film takes place in 1900, and the suffragette movement was in its infancy; in the Republican political climate of France; Gigi's class and women like her were cultivated to be different; not courtesans as such but the consorts of political men in high office, the ruling elite and the intelligentsia. Aunt Alicia says as much when she explains that Gigi and others like her; "do not marry at once but marry at last". By keeping her from accepting invitations from her friends at school she maintains her exclusivity and separateness; hardly a courtesan or a prostitute. And Alicia emphasizes over and over again; it's not the size of the gemstone; it's the quality. Do not settle for second rate, she implies. This is not the ideology of the bourgeoisie one would expect. Alicia is cultivating her niece to become a consort to a king or a shah or an emperor. Such women had incredible power politically (and still do) and influenced the Arts, the Literature of the time; they were power brokers. It's this construct that I love. What more can a woman rise to in this time and age other than bearing children and risking the hardship attached to this? Much has been said about the music and costumes and scenery. Her fabulous dress for her "coming out" at Maxim's was a knock out. I adore Gaston Lechaille singing "Gigi" with incredible ardour at the close of the film.
Character Study? There is No Character
A pretty little university drama about beautiful kids with no direction. None of the characters are real; none have any real development. This is a screenplay developed by a 3rd year film student at a lesser college. And it really only showcases the cute Katie Holmes (who still sounds like a munchkin at this stage). You have the brilliant but mercurial disappeared boyfriend, the loopy girlfriend, the serious-minded detective (who tries not to look at her body when she walks past), the just barely contained psychopathic jealous suitor, and yes, the jealous/psychopathic female house-mate. Could anything be more predictable? Bambi?
Superb Must See for Those Whose Lives Have been Touched by Cancer
A witty, sometimes funny, heart wrenching account of a woman's journey through Ovarian Cancer. Certain to make one weep; it is probably the most accurate and poignant visualization of the subject I have ever seen. Anyone wrestling with this dread disease and, for that matter, looking death in the eye, can gain some comfort from this superb Mike Nichols/Emma Thompson film. For that matter; it should be essential viewing for all health professionals; doctors and nurses alike. Emma Thompson is superb. Funny, acerbic, the summation of all human frailty; a woman who is completely in charge of her life until one day... I am surprised that I have never heard of it until tonight when I caught it, quite by accident on Bravo. Bravo. Bravo. Bravo.
American History X (1998)
Superficial and Hollywood
Pierrot-10 in California said it best. At best, this film belongs in a High School Sociology class. Sure Edward Norton gave an interesting and visually arresting performance. (His shaven head and general "look" are rather what I perceive a skinhead to look like) His transformation in prison at the hands of the other in-mates and his congenial laundry-mate was completely unbelievable. An easier over-night transformation could not be envisioned by Hollywoodland. Even the black dude who befriends him in the laundry laid it on too thick. What was the Director thinking? Probably what the rest of 'em in Hollywood thinks (quite rightly): That the North American Movie Watching Public is a Mindless Sap of Pap Drinkers who will Readily Swill Anything.
Heavenly...well-deserved title Close To Eden
I watched this film for the first time several years ago and was riveted by it. Always expecting the worst to happen, I was sure that around every corner an unexpected calamity would befall these beloved characters. But none ever did! I was filled with elation from the first minute to the closing credits. Bubble wrap never looked so intriguing! The Mongolian Steppes never appeared so appealing. I just can't wait for this film to appear in DVD format. Along with the Milagro Beanfield War, I consider this film one of my all time favourites. Enjoy and be elated!
Jacob's Ladder (1990)
Better the second time around
Travis said it well...It certainly resonates watching this film in light of the world's current events. The fact that this film takes place in the Viet Nam era gives it a certain quality of innocence, for me anyway. I loved the film but when it first was released, I read no reviews about it. I wonder what was said about the film then. I am sure it may have lost a majority of the American Public except those who took it strictly on the surface as a horror flick. Danny Aiello gave me such comfort...he is so well cast, he moves me everytime...also gives me cause to LIKE my chiropractor.
Sally Potter's brilliant, visually stunning evocation of a man/woman's travails and travels through time are based loosely on the Virginia Woolf novel. Gender switching time traveller, Orlando, experiences in his own skin what obstacles females face and have faced over centuries. Accompanied by an original and compelling soundtrack that includes artist Jimmy Summerville. A must-see for those who admire non-mainstream visual fare.
Watching this film strongly reminded me of the Flemish Masterworks that depicted Heaven Hell and Earth in the format of painted triptychs. In fact every single frame of this film was painterly in the extreme, straight out of the Renaissance, if you will. I found this film riveting and brutal in the extreme. I had to remind myself to breathe throughout. I was in danger of becoming anoxic simply because I was so focused that I continually stopped breathing. I couldn't and haven't seen this film since the first time I watched it in 1991 simply because of its brutality. But it was exquisite. A modern day Heronymous Bosch (sp?). Not for the faint of heart and the delicate sensibility.
The Sheltering Sky (1990)
Exquisite film. All the other reviewers have said all that I can say. That it didn't do well at the box office afirms my belief that the BEST is often the smallest, easily overlooked detail with the least fanfare. Someone said it well, if you want graphic violence and car chases this film is not for you. And that suits me fine. I wouldn't want to share this film with someone who saw Star Trek five times. I was ecstatic to know that Paul Bowles played a cameo (the Narrator) in this film. I have always been intrigued by this mystical man.
And wasn't Sakamoto the same person who wrote the so-called American early 60's hit "Sukiyaki"?