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The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit (1998)
I thought this was pretty bad. The only good thing about it was the mostly Hispanic cast and it was good to see Edward James Olmos get transformed. Mantegna is Italian and it was kind of sad to see him pretending to be Hispanic. But it was sweet to see him control himself from betraying his buddies.
The worst part was the sexist fantasies of these guys: from the one that a bright white suit will bring all the women out of their apartments to follow you to the one where one beautiful woman finally notices you because of your suit.
The whole thing was a pathetic commentary on men who will do something stupid like this: all chip in to share a suit. In reality, it would be so obvious that these guys are sharing a suit that everyone would laugh at them.
I was looking forward to this film but it turned out to be terrible. At first, I actually thought the film must have been mislabeled. I thought 'this can't be the right film." But finally the title came on, and I had to accept that this was the film.
The impression I got was that the writer/director used a lot of drugs and got what seemed like a good idea but the execution was surreal. It felt like a hallucination of a film. They start out back in time in 1937 with a group of famous gay writers and artists who have allegedly been invited to a 7 day conference but then they get told it's really an assignment to figure out how to solve the problems of gay people in the future (via an exploding tape cassette recording). Then they jump forward to 1987 and show the Canadian Mounties going after gays in urinals and then there's a scientific review of the evolution of urinals and all toilet facilities. And one guy who is going to infiltrate the police etc.
At various times there's artistic coloring of the faces, as if someone is drawing on them or imagining drawing colors on the faces. It was just too bizarre for me.
The only good thing I can say about it is the people playing the group of gay artists in 1937 were all good and a good film could have been made of that scene, but it got hijacked by all the other bizarre elements...
Only a Christian fanatic could like this insane film
I thought this was terrible. I cannot believe this is considered a good movie. An insane person must have come up with this plot. The main characters are supposed to be from the 14th century and they have typical Christian delusions of that time period of history. Then they follow the hallucinations of a young boy who leads them to push through a tunnel to the 20th century, which they think is just the other side of their world.
The tunnel first looks like a naturally made crevasse going deep down into the earth, the kind you throw a torch down and you can't see it hit bottom. Then they somehow have a machine that is allegedly pushing through even deeper but there was no way that machine could have gone to the depth that it started from or have gone even deeper. I could not suspend my disbelief from that point on.
Once they get to the 20th century, they are looking for a foundry and coincidentally it's the very first thing they encounter once they cross a road where they are not run over by all the cars. That all seemed very unlikely. Then they start talking to the people working at the foundry and they are able to understand each other easily, despite the fact that the language they would have spoken from the 14th century should have been incomprehensible to the 20th century people and vice versa. With all the accents, I could barely understand anything that anyone said...
In addition, the mission to put a spire on a church to ward off the Black Plague was just too religious for me. And then the ending made no sense at all. It seemed to be implying the whole thing was a Wizard of Oz type dream. So did they all have a mass hallucination? Did they all have the plague all along? I just didn't get it....
I really was shocked at how bad this film was in comparison to its good reputation. Perhaps the people were high on drugs when they wrote and filmed this. And maybe you have to be high as a kite to appreciate it.
I gave a 2 rating instead of a 1 only because of the art direction. There were some scenes that were beautiful. The 14th century villagers were like a Bosch painting and the horse in the rowboat contrasted with the black submarine was surreal....
WOW Shock and awe of mother nature
Enterprising theater owners will make this a midnight movie, especially in states where cannabis is legal. I saw the film completely sober at the SF Film Festival, at a Dolby cinema where the intense visuals and sound made me feel high as a kite. It was like a rollercoaster that I wanted to ride again as soon as it was over. Whew! My mouth was hanging open and and my eyebrows at their highest height for the whole movie. Parts of it were like a horror film, parts of it were psychedelic, parts of it were just spectacularly beautiful.
There's no narrative, no plot, no dialogue. It's just pure experience. Cinema to stimulate your senses and your ability to perceive the grandeur of the earth. At the end I felt the film was a eulogy for the planet, something that should be put in a time capsule so that someday other creatures would be able to see what this planet was and think what a shame that humans ruined that place.
I assume that most people will miss out on this film but it really should be seen by everyone who still has the ability to grasp what is happening with climate change. Kudos to the cinematographer and the director. This film should win awards. I wish I could see it again and again.... If this film doesn't inspire environmental activism I don't know what will. I hope Al Gore sees it and promotes it on his tours...
Knock Down the House (2019)
See AOC running for Congress
This excellent documentary showcases four women running for office in the 2018 election. We are now all familiar with AOC but at the time of shooting the film she was just a bartender from the Bronx. Fascinating to see her developing a political style and joining a movement to change the system. All the women in the film are amazing and make great representatives. We need them and others to make a difference!
The Raging Tide (1951)
Better than I expected
I liked it more than most of the other reviewers. The San Francisco scenes were great, and all the character actors were good. I always like Richard Conte, and Shelley Winters was surprisingly good. The ending wasn't quite believable but it didn't ruin my enjoyment of the film as a whole.
I Am Not a Witch (2017)
This film blew my mind. I don't understand people who thought it was a comedy. To me, this was such a tragic film showing the treatment of girls and women in Africa and the abuses of power. The whole concept of witches was so bizarre but clearly just a way for people to take advantage of these women. They were basically taken prisoners and made slaves of the state!
The fact that tourists were taken to see the witches and pay to see them was just mind-boggling, plus the fact that they were used to decide who was guilty of crimes... I was in shock for most of the film. The little girl was clearly traumatized from the start and became more and more traumatized as she was used for other people's purposes rather than going to school where she belonged.
All the actresses were amazing. I liked how some of the adults tried to take care of the little girl to the best of their ability.
Finding Your Feet (2017)
Comic version of Blue Jasmine
This movie was strongly reminiscent of Woody Allen's film Blue Jasmine. The differences are that the mood is more comic and the betrayed wife is older, but it's basically the same story of a snobbish wealthy woman who leaves her husband and has to go live with her working class politically progressive sister while she figures out how to change her life.
It would be interesting to see both films on a double bill.
Excellent political comedy
I saw this at an SFFILM sneak preview with McKay in person to answer questions. Very funny film with some wild unexpected moments and some moments that put our current governmental crisis into context. Highly recommend this film, especially if you remember the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld gang. In case you've forgotten, this film will bring it all back....
Censored Voices (2015)
Better Late Than Never
Soldiers were tape recorded 1-2 weeks after the 1967 war in Israel ended. These voices were originally censored. We are fortunate that the perspectives of these soldiers were not lost forever. Now they are preserved for the historical record. It was amazing to see some of the soldiers listening to their own voices, all these years later, with tears in their eyes.
War is hell. Anyone who thinks it delivers some kind of heroic glory is fooling themselves. This film contributes to the documentation of reality. It reminded me of the film Winter Soldier, in which Vietnam vets speak about their experiences.
Hacking Democracy (2006)
More Important Than Ever to See This Film
This film came out 12 years ago yet the problem still exists and the situation is probably worse than ever!
I will be telling people to look for it. I found it at my library.
Rembrandt's J'Accuse...! (2008)
Learn about art history
If you're wondering whether or not to become an art historian, watch this film to help you make the decision. You will either be inspired or realize that art history is not for you. Greenaway examines Rembrandt's painting to such an intense degree that it can seem ludicrous or amazingly astute. He identifies 34 so-called Mysteries about the painting and explains his theories about these mysteries.
I personally found many of his theories far-fetched but was fascinated that someone would go the extent that he went in analyzing a single painting.
The Outer Limits: Expanding Human (1964)
Compare to other Outer Limits episode
Similar concept as season one episode titled The Sixth Finger. Someone trying to speed up evolution and discovering the consequences. Interesting to take that same general concept and take a different approach to it. This episode is a more modern approach while the earlier episode feels like the approach in an earlier time in history.
Scary and confusing: Caused nightmares
This film has a sweet and beautiful ending to the story. But for most of the time before that, it was scary and confusing. The skeletons and verbally aggressive family members were overwhelming and caused nightmares. A child would have to be pretty secure to not be frightened by this film. I'm surprised it has gotten so many accolades.
Serious version of But I'm a Cheerleader
Sweet teenage girl gets caught kissing her girlfriend and is sent to a Christian gay conversion camp. The film But I'm a Cheerleader had a comic perspective on this situation but this film Miseducation takes it seriously. Seemed like a realistically awful situation. Fortunately the girl makes some friends at the camp but they all suffer under the pressure to change their orientation. The film shows that this is emotional abuse. The acting of all the teens is excellent.
WOW Sci Fi Punk Extravaganza
Just saw premiere at SF Film Festival. Was not sure what to expect. Am so glad I gave it a chance. If you like John Cameron Mitchell's previous films, you will probably like this one too. It's different and out of this world. Three punk kids who think they are pretty cool in 1977 England get their minds blown by some aliens and those aliens want a cultural exchange too. It's wild and laugh out loud funny. This film cannot be described, it has to be experienced....
This film reminded me of an earlier film called Liquid Sky, also very strange but cool combination of punk and science fiction.
Dolores Huerta co-founded the United Farmworkers with Cesar Chavez. You probably have heard of Chavez but may not know of Huerta. She really did as much work or more than Chavez and did not get enough credit for her contributions. She deserves this documentary about her life. I learned so much more about her than I already knew. Her family's sacrifices are explored as well as her accomplishments and activism that went beyond the Farmworkers Union when they failed to elect her as President after Chavez died.
Much better than I expected
Wow, this documentary was impressive. I knew nothing about Chavela before seeing this film and it was an eye-opener.
I agree with another reviewer who said the film focuses more on her life than on her music. I also agree that I would have liked more on the music, but the film will lead me to search out more of her music. This film is the only thing that would give such an in depth look at her life.
The passionate intensity and exquisite pain of her approach to singing reminded me of Edith Piaf.
Hell in the Pacific (1968)
The best and worst of mankind
This film shows the masculine drive to compete and persevere in proving one's alpha status to the point of absurdity. They are willing to torture each other to boost their own egos. As a woman watching this film, the whole first part was a shining example of the worst of the male gender.
Two women would more likely immediately recognize that since there's no one else there, they would benefit from collaborating and sharing resources. I'd like to see a female version of this film. There is no way that two females would keep up the hostility for as long as these two guys did. I suspect two women would either make friends quickly or if one of them remained hostile for awhile, the other would make a real effort to win her over and convince her to become friends as soon as possible.
On the other hand, the best of mankind was also on display, in that they did eventually figure out how to work together despite the lack of communication.
But again, I couldn't help imagining that two women would have quickly realized that they needed to teach each other to speak a bit of each other's language, and at the very least, said "my name is .........." which these guys apparently never got around to...
This is a classic film which I recommend but could be put in a time capsule to show some of the reasons why the human species becomes extinct, which it probably will, given the inability of men to make peace and keep the peace....
The Lovers (2017)
No real love here
I expected to enjoy this film because of the lead actors and the overall concept.
However, it turned out to be a disappointment. They all seemed so emotionally immature and all seemed to have such superficial relationships. The word "lover" did not really apply to any of them. The son had the most depth of feeling and the poor guy was obviously unloved too and trying to find something more with his girlfriend.
I felt sorry for every single person in this film. They all seemed pathetic. I'm not sure if that's what the writer meant to convey but I certainly did not enjoy this film. I think that none of these people knows what love is or how to give love or be loving. They're all just going through the motions and pretending they feel things they don't seem to feel.
I am so grateful that I have such a different experience of love and know what it is....
The Babushkas of Chernobyl (2015)
Documents the best and worst of humanity
Truth is stranger than fiction. This documentary is a well-edited tight 70 minutes of profound shock and awe. I was left speechless and the impact went straight to my nonverbal subconscious. I dreamed all night about being one of the babushkas. Existential and experiential philosophy.
The Chernobyl disaster was described in vivid detail in the book Voices from Chernobyl, which I also highly recommend. This film shows how some people still living there managed to survive. Mother nature is greater than the force of radiation, the earth continues to grow and living things flourish.
I salute the courage of the people who went there to see it for themselves and gave us the gift of seeing it without having to take the risks of going there...
Stella Maris (1918)
One of the best silent films
If you are not familiar with silent films, and not likely to see many of them, see this. It is one of the best.
I have the following reasons for putting this film on my top ten silent films: 1. Mary Pickford plays two completely different characters, both excellent performances. 2. Coming out in 1918, at the time of WWI, this film has the poignant subject matter of a girl sheltered from awareness of the cruelty of the world, who later discovers the truth about war and poverty and violence.
In less than an hour and a half, we see the joy of love and the pain of human existence. An existential nutshell... Enjoy....
Miss Lulu Bett (1921)
One of the best silent films
Miss Lulu Bett is on my list of top ten silent films. Classic must-see.
This film documents the life of single women doomed to be servants of their families until they are able to escape by marriage. Coming out in 1921, it shows the ways women's lives were constrained within the home. Interesting to see how the privileged wife and the privileged mother treat the single woman like a slave, treating her no better than the man of the house. Their attitude is so condescending and cruel. They show no compassion.
Unfortunately, these attitudes are not completely outdated today nearly 100 years later.
Tsuma yo bara no yô ni (1935)
Title is deceptive
For years I avoided seeing this film because I thought the title implied it was a sexist drama about women forced to be submissive. Finally seeing it now, a more accurate title would be More than One Way to be a Wife. This short film (approximately 75 minutes) conveys more about relationships than most American films do in two hours. And it is still relevant, now 82 years after it was released. How many current films will still be relevant in 82 years? Not many.
I highly recommend this film to anyone interested in marriage and relationships and in the misunderstandings that can occur when people are not honest with each other about who they are and what they need to be happy in life.
I will not reveal more about the plot, just let it unfold and see for yourself....
Marie Curie (2016)
Personal life plus two Nobel prizes: Can a scientist have it all?
I just saw this film at the San Francisco Film Festival. I already knew about Madame Curie's scientific achievements so I was interested in the personal aspects that this film revealed.
The sexist aspects are relevant today. A woman tries to get recognition for her scientific achievements but is thwarted almost every step of the way. Nevertheless, she persisted....
It's a beautiful film, the cinematography is excellent. It's got an artistic feeling that I didn't expect from this period piece.