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"Undisciplined. Unpunctual. Untidy."
abridged dialog from THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA
Evil Scientist:(speaking about Animala):
Is she not special this one?
Alien: She is truly special, this earth woman or should I say Animal...It's hard to decide!
Speed Racer (2008)
This is a Keeper. I am a Speed fan from childhood 1980s reruns and I LOVED it
I was doubtful that i could like a live action version of my favorite cartoon. I had a Speed Racer lunchbox, Racer X mug, and Racer X's picture in my wallet since I was 16 years old.
Don't let the naysayers dissuade you from bringing kids to see an amazing film achievement. It has a wholesome storyline, and when cars crash the drivers are encapsulated in a a special fireproof spongy thing or a parachute--no death.
The story incorporates many of the major points of the original cartoon and manages to build a pretty decent story about the Racer family against corporate corrupt America. I even liked what they did about Racer X and Rex Racer--they tricked me and I don;t want to spoil how they handled it, but I was surprised pleasantly. To be honest there were no loose ends and another nice thing was that Trixie and Moms had a bit of chutzpah and weren't such weak women--a bit improvement on the cartoon.
There was just as much cheesy-ness as the cartoon so that was pretty funny and I felt the movie was cast perfectly--right down to using many of the staff from V for Vendetta. The villains were way over the top--making them fabulous and very funny caricatures.
The W brothers did a GREAT job and the little boys and girls were on the edge of their seats the entire time.
And if you are a big kid, and a gearhead, you will Love this movie. It is a car or motorcyclist's dream.
Far better than any of the prequels for Star Wars and less ponderous than Narnia--this is a great kid's film.
African American Lives (2006)
Absolutely brilliant...you really never know where your relatives are from until you are tested!
This was a great series--great scientifically and great "sociology".
A number of prominent African Americans undergo historical research, genealogy research, recollections and DNA testing to understand the origins of each's own family. With slavery disrupting all social bonds and separation of the young from their parents, many peoples experiencing slavery and servitude in their past genuinely don't know "where I am from".
The DNA testing is very extensive--not the usual $99 special that testing companies offer. In this PBS special they do maternal and paternal line tracing, and also population features--and EXPLAINED everything. This was really very cool without the silly horror music and making science seem tricky just to give it "mystery", so everything was very straightforward.
Highly recommended--best science documentary since the COSMOS seriously.
Bleak House (2005)
"What deity is it that would inflict such an illness on an innocent girl?"
I love British TV having spent many years enjoying it on European satellite, and this must be one of the best, if not the best miniseries I have ever seen. I would say only the 1995 Beeb Pride and Prejudice comes close to keeping the top spot.
It is a hard toss up for which is my favorite Dickens book, and perhaps this miniseries proves that Bleak House is the champion of the Most Adaptable book, in that many of the characters are very relatable to today's average person. This book could have been written today with the battle worldwide among: those who Have, those who Have Not, and those who want to make sure the Have Nots never attain any ability to change their status.
I don;t want to spoil the story but I will give a brief synopsis:
Dickens starts with the Chancery Court-- Court costs and lawyers' fees have exhausted all the inheritance money in the case called Jarndyce and Jarndyce. The case has gone on for many years and is "so complicated that no man alive knows what it means." Many people lose their money & thus lives who are involved in this case. Soon Lady Dedlock and the sinister lawyer of her husband (Sir Leicester)Mr. Tulkinghorn are introduced (brilliantly played by Charles Dance. One. scary. dude.) We are also introduced to the world of the Idle rich. Lady Dedlock is a possible beneficiary of the Jarndyce and Jarndyce suit. Lady Dedlock, seems very vacant and a bit self-important but very guarded. It is thus shocking when she faints when she sees the handwriting of a legal document. Of course Tulkington observes it and prepares henceforth to discover how Lady Dedlock should recognize the script of a legal documents scribe. Other main characters: Esther Summerson, alone and friendless is raised by a cranky Miss Barbary who blames Esther for Esther's Mother's death. After Miss Barbary's death Esther is in boarding school then later is expect to repay her schooling costs by being the Help in Bleak House, Mr. Jarndyce's (a fairly nice Mr Jarndyce and he did pay for her schooling) household. Mr Jarndyce also adopts two wards, Ada Clare and non-related Richard, both who have an interest in the J & J case if it is ever resolved.
In typical Dickens style no one person can commit any action in the past or present which doesn;t have resounding effects on many people's futures, and also in typical fashion, there is a mystery which if revealed will cause social chaos and personal upheaval.
Smallpox and other illnesses are rife in society, especially among the friendless overcrowded poor in the cities. While on missions of mercy and helping the poor, Esther contracts smallpox, and the aftermath of how she is treated brings home the hypocrisy of the society they live in. But her illness spurs a person keeping a secret to reveal things that may cause exposure--and many are circling around the strange mystery of the origins of the law writer, Lady dedlock, Esther.
There are some love-to-hate-em villains in this like Smallweed (funny and repulsive), Krook (he is) and Mr Tulkinghorne who is not funny and very much a villain.
When I first got the series I thought I would watch one or two a night, but I basically canceled my life and viewed it within a 24 hr period--basically like a book you can't put down, I didn't stop.
It is worth it, and it is worth noting that the votes for the miniseries herein garnered fewer than 10 votes below the rating of 8 which is pretty phenomenal.
It is a phenomenal series--at first the direction appears a bit unorthodox for a Victorian novel, but it soon settles in as natural.
Hats off to everyone--Gillian Anderson did herself proud, something I never expected.
The quote in the summary line above summarizes Dickens' view that God and his mismanaging adult humans of Means have much to answer for in how they inflict suffering on the young, weak and poor.
This is an excellent & authentic story...what's with the unfair low rating? Go see it before it leaves theaters
I cannot understand the thrashing that critics gave this film...did we see the same movie?
This movie is a personal story of the dark underside of an island paradise that is known to most of the world as a tax shelter for the rich who fly in and out, and some who fly in and stay to ruin the lives of people who really can;t afford to (or want to) leave their beautiful homeland. Not all island dwellers are saints, I don't mean to imply same, but you can see that even the homegrown Pimpsters are made in Our image (Americans, British culture) in how they carry out their criminal activity. Like many Caribbean places, there are fair and darker people, not the kind of segregation one would see in a major US city, and everyone regardless of income level, is pretty dependent on tourists for economic survival. I will try to describe it with mild spoilers and not much specifics which would really spoil things.
So we have several stories interleaved. We really start "off" the island in a sense--with the activities of money-launderers or crooks--it's unclear, but they are white suits anyway. We find out more about them at first than we do where they are headed and where they do their business, Cayman islands. They are so cool, all richesse, simply because they are not yet "caught" by the balls for their activities.
Also stories of several folk on the island. A boy (Shy) whose father was beaten up & died, and his withdrawn existence, and his love for a girl (Andrea) who is the daughter of the man who he works for. SHy's love and life get messed up from family disapproval. The lovers kept apart create some personal transformations of several people that are highly negative and fateful and have a shocking conclusion.
And I wasn;t sure how I felt about the criminals in the beginning who seem like they were getting away with ruination of other people...they may not have, and I won;t say more.
There are some great friendships, great love, and great bewilderment in a place that, because of its other-worldly beauty, some people seem to live more recklessly than they can in reality.
Good movie, see it, and the last third makes sense wonderfully, for all of the stories of intertwined people so be patient.
Kitano's wonderful movie DOLLS was woefully misunderstood when it came out. I have a feeling that it will take awhile for this film to get seen, which is an awful shame, but Frank E. Flowers like Kitano, should not let ignorance get in the way of an original story. So it is Sept 23rd, and you must get out to see it before it disappears and you won't be sorry. Frank e Flowers has a good future and I hope he doesn't get sucked into the Hollywood mill.
Strangers with Candy (2005)
Amy Sedaris is brilliant, movie pretty good but not for the sensitive!
The movie is a prequel but also re-imagining of some of the scenarios of the TV series. Anyone who wants exactly the TV series or a "normal" comedy will be disappointed.
Amy Sedaris is the funniest broad since Gilda Radner. She can do amazing things with her face and eyes and voice. The opening sequence in the prison is iconic--what a montage.
The rest of the film is very funny with some repetitive gags slightly wearing, but it really is an extended TV show re-constructed for a little variety. Mr Noblet is now a science teacher and some of the cast are different, but it did not deter from enjoying the movie for me.
The humor is anti-PC, the reworked soul song about Jerri is hilarious, the drug and sex references non-stop, the suburban roasting is nonstop.
The crowd I was with was very happy & I think this was a intellectual dumb comedy with some very funny sight gags.
Middle of the Night (1959)
age is just a number & this isn't Lolita
Fredric March (JERRY) gives a most complete older man performance rarely seen in a movie you see what a man thinks about himself, inside and out, and that's a very underused accomplishment since men aren't supposed to show their "feelings" in this society. He is a successful businessman and widower, somewhere in his 50s. Kim Novak (BETTY) is a beautiful but insecure/troubled personal-life young woman working in his company, fairly low on the totem pole. Despite mental blocks thrown in front of them by society (read that stupid interfering relatives mostly) there is some connection that is palpable between the two, and they feel the need to speak to each other and be in each others' presence.
While Betty at the beginning is "needy" and she is in a bit of trouble-on-the-run kind of which I can relate to (any woman can who has been in any sort of 'bad' relationship). Her family is not very supportive of her. Jerry is on the run too or on the slide, I should say. He feels his age in every mental and physical way, which makes him feel useless in both his professional and family life. It doesn't help that he treated kind of like an imbecile by his family. So really, when Betty and Jerry meet, they are stripped down to their basic selves because they are both in need of escape and more importantly someone who understands them. So for me, it is not hard to see why they got togethereach filled the other's need for understanding and acceptance. Additionallyeach liked the other and was attracted.
So where's the conflict? It's just about everyone else. In the film, no one likes the age difference, and there are some hints about "class" social standing as well. FUnny how some viewers also bring their views on age differences in relationships in that some saw the Jerry- Betty relationship as "odd" or "obscene" or "inappropriate". And certainly this was not anything like Lolita! Come on. Lolita was a prepubescent teen so no comparison.
I think this movie more than any shows the damage well meaning friends and relatives can do when they are not putting the loved one's happiness FIRST, but are thinking about "what will people think" first. Who cares what people think--this is what ultimately helped the couple.
At any rate the many supporting roles don;t all blend into one, there are so many well crafted characters--probably since the movie was a pretty close version of Paddy Chayefsky's play, and he pays attention to character detail. The stand outs are Martin Balsam, Lee Grant, Joan Copeland.
It's been a few years since I've seen it. When I couldn;t find the video easily, I bought the book(play) for less than a dollar and re-lived it that way. The movie was almost better than the book.
I think Frederic march really should have been showered with acting awards for this dramatic introspective role.
A New Leaf (1971)
That's what Love is, isn't it? A NEW LEAF
There are very few movies that can accurately depict love, and even fewer comedies still, that can show that depth of feeling without irony or silliness. This has long been a movie very close to my heart.
I think this is Walter Matthau's best movie for showing his range, and Elaine May has always been an underrated actress and writer...and director. It was her movie.
Walter Matthau is a self-centered, ruthless, snobbish, wealthy bachelor whose only talent appears to be spending money on such outdated frivolities as reflected by his "manservent" and conscience, Harold (at least I think that's his name!).
One day, his accountant attempts to explain to him how really and truly broke he is. This is a hilarious scene, with Henry flatly refusing to believe broke means ZERO money. None. Undeterred, Henry has no visions of joining the real world. he simply must get money to continue his Royal lifestyle. This is 1971 but Henry lives in the middle ages, and it is clear he is not getting-down with the more natural lifestyle, and social progress. After much soul searching (and help from his manservant) Henry decides he must do things the old-fashioned way and Marry the money. It a last ditch effort to bail himself temporarily he borrows money from a detested scornful uncle who commits extortion over breakfast, all the while nearly choking to death on the food he gorges upon while Henry writhes in a chair and begs.
And so a series of Very funny scenes pass with countless wealthy spinsters, divorcees and widows, all of whom cause Henry to be repulsed (they are hilariously awful...and desperate!). One day he encounters Henrietta Lowell at another socialites tea party. After finding out Henrietta is loaded and has no family, rescues her multiple faux pas with the hostess. And so the whirlwind courtship begins. Henrietta is hopeless in the critical eyes of Henry graham--she is badly myopic, clumsy, has no concept of time or money, does nothing to improve her appearance...she's a botanist. And worse still--she has no taste in fine alcohol. Henry waxes on about fine wine, then she asks Henry if he's ever tasted "Mogen-David extra-heavy malaga wine with soda water and lime juice?"--an absolute laugh out loud moment. whoever heard of Ripple being so important to the wealthy socialites. Elaine May delivers every line so perfectly dead-pan, it is hard not to imagine her as Henrietta in real life.
Henry proposes, while kneeling on broken glass, and so their marriage begins. Henry takes over, gets rid of the corrupt "servants" (a young Doris Roberts is hilarious as the corrupt head housekeeper fleecing Henrietta blind). Henry plots to kill Henrietta so he can have all the money for himself.
But something funny happens along the way to the perfect murder. Henry really falls into place as the new King of the mansion. He is a good organizer, gets things repaired, and the staff that are allowed to stay actually start working. He also starts to care about Henrietta even though loudly protesting the otherwise out of her earshot (he doesn't manage to kill her on Honeymoon and only half-heartedly tried). Henrietta is clearly head over heels in love with Henry and thinks of nothing but him, she even asks him to teach so they can work together and one day she completely surprises him--she names a new leaf after him--a fern. He is so shocked, so touched. He will be famous, forever, immortalized as the species Grahami. He wears the leaf around his neck.
They go on a camping trip, where he finally had long planned to do her in.
I can't tell the final scenes, but they are gripping, death defying, and full of romance. Henrietta even manages to look pretty as she is pulled out of a river.
In a backhand way she tells him she knows that he didn't "plan" for things to happen the way they did, but she gently begs him to stick with her.
Matthau's transformation must be one of the most humorous "I changed for the love of a good woman" stories on record.
Please issue on DVD. Buy the VHS. This movie is beautiful. And it has some of the funniest dialog EVER written.
just loved this show when I was young
when i was a kid, i would get on my jammies, brush my teeth, then get a blanket to wrap around myself so no one in the family would see when I got creeped out.
I LOVED this show. And I loved that Vincent Price was on it.
Why don;t we have more artistic literary thinking shows like this?
It was fabulous!
ANd Gorey's artwork, as always, was wonderful (just wished the "screaming lady" would've put a little steam on the scream in the cartoon...I didn't believe she was in peril!).
If you can see any episodes and you enjoy mystery and good literature, it is worth seeing, definitely.
Runin: Banished (2004)
There are worse things than exile...uh...no there isn't! Beware gamblers & arsonists
Well I was concerned that this movie would be a bloodbath or a sexploitation film, but it wasn;t. what I saw was an epic that despite some slight melodrama, was very well done and yes, in the face of sadness was very beautiful.
The island we come upon in the opening scene is rugged and clearly in the middle of nowhere. The first scene is a bit terrifying as individuals are loaded into basket-like round cages and rolled of a cliff to crash upon the rocks and sea below.
Exiles are sent to this island then left to fend for themselves entirely over the years which shows an odd sort of faudal/bartering society set up in the wilderness. Wilderness it is with some primitive food propagation and fishing but the least famine or contagion wipes out many.
The main focus is Toyogiku, an exile (for arson) courtesan who looks in her 30s-early 40s, and is very beautiful and charming. She gets by (food and shelter) by trading her sexual skills which are thematically present in the movie at times but never gratuitous. She also gets by, by being a tattletale. This makes her feel bad but she is trying to obtain a pardon. Like most others she is desperate to get off the island, which for most seems worse than death, yet they continue to live. Despite the apparent chaos--it isn;t.
She meets Kisaboru who is different and does not want to use her for any trade. They become secret husband and wife and plot to escape. This island is live Devil's Island, and much reference is made of same.
There are corrupt officials and other small intrusions into this trapped society, but most of the stories of the main characters and the wonderful supporting characters are very touching and tragic. It isn;t a weepfest. there are some sobering pictures of good friendships, and some sobering realities of the destruction inflicted by the weather and the pounding sea.
The balance of the village societies are upset by newcomers in a good way (Kisaboru) and in a bad way (Kachu). rather than a tragedy, it is a good survival of the fittest story, and most positively, tenacious dreamers.
I thought it was a great movie even though there is one point near the beginning when an older man dies and in the ending sequence where I felt things went on at length.
The supporting characters really make the movie. And the island and sea itself is a formidable opponent to all these minor criminals punished by being forced to live in an outdoor chess match.
Imagine getting 30 years exile for gambling.
Also***If people don't go see foreign films when they blow into town, then we won't get them in future. There were only eight people in this showing that I went to, a disgrace really.
Yin shi nan nu (1994)
romances lovely...and the food magnificent
Eat drink man woman is one of the nicest romance movies I have ever seen. The three sisters, all so different and all so unique trying to deal with their hen-like culinary Papa was no less than a delight.
I think this is my favorite movie by Ang Lee for several reasonsone being the "different" direction for each sister and the father. Each was alike a separately constructed moviethe best being the father's own story, and the goofy but endearing "religious" sister, the eldest who I think is called Jia-Jen. Jia-Jen's story is almost directed like a documentary of a mysterious country in the midst of dictatorship! Just perfect for her personality and the way she is living. She is remote and repressed and clings to Christianity, even shunning her sisters at times. At school she is an ice maidenwhich is not lost on her students, and the boy's coach who is respectfully sweet to her despite her coldness towards him. One day at school..she gets an anonymous love note and more follow. While there is some hope there for the withdrawn Jia-Jen, she also can't really handle the fact that she has no control over it. One day she finds out the truth and is left crying in her classroom. The coach tries to comfort her and she explodes maybe for the first time in a good way and the coach doesn't have much choice in the matter.
The nicest and most poignant story was Chef Chu himselfbut I won't describe that as it was the best surprise of the movie.
Whistle Down the Wind (1961)
Alan Bates as the Second Coming!
"Whistle Down the Wind" is the story of young English children left on their own, their mother dead, their father a busy and distant farmer. Kathy (Hayley Mills) is the eldest of three. Adults in this movie have no time for joy, children, or mysticism. Life is utilitarian. The farmhand throws kittens in the river to drownKathy and co. save and hide the kittens in the barn. This sets up the important premise of the movie and maybe in what was a coming revolution in the 1960sthe unspoken battle between the idealistic youth and the unhearing/uncaring establishment.
In this picture, the "establishment" are the adults. Resentment, no vision and platitudes are their way of greeting every eventand life seems to be unimportant in the wake of commerce. Maybe in the face of this cold void, the kids, especially Kathy are looking for some outletsome warmth, some type of Messiah in their lonely world where they have love to give but no adult wants it.
Enter the fugitive, "antiestablishment" Alan Bates. Dangerous looking, magnetic, counterculturalhe becomes one of the living that Kathy wants to protect when she mistaken believes that he identifies himself as "Jesus Christ". The kids try to care for and hide the Second Coming as they believe Bates to be, from the adults who they perceive to have no hearts left. With deliberate ambiguity, the story explores issues of faith and doubt and really made me ask the question--Is the innocence of children to be cherished or dismissed as out of place with modern cynical society? This movie straddles a thin line of fantasy and gritty poetic realism that was prevalent in Black and white UK 60s cinema.
I just loved it as a kid. The scene where "Jesus" is suffering, lying under the hay on the floor as he is stepped on in his concealment will always stay with me. Then when he is led away the way he raises his arms is as if it is a Crucifixion.
My crap VHS copy fell apart so I hope it will be out on DVD in the US this side of 2010.
The World of Suzie Wong (1960)
a boy cloud and a girl cloud collide...cause each other trouble in a good way
I saw this movie again after not seeing it in about 10 years. Because I heard the DVD had come out I bought it and watched it again. The other comments made me want to write a comment for a couple reasons: Suzie Wong is not a culturally condescending movie, indeed for its time it must have been scandalous--showing real poverty, colonialism, racism and the sad world of people trapped in desperation. It is nothing like Pretty Woman and such a comparison belittles the accomplishment of this movie--two characters who are both on the verge of Not being able to fulfill themselves--but when together they can become their best selves. It is a good drama and a realistic love story with some tragedy but still happy and fitting consequences.
A man in a trench coat ("Robert" played by William Holden) boards a ferry for Hong Kong, an excited tourist. He takes out a sketchpad and draws others on a ferry, notably a young Chinese woman ("Suzie Wong" played by Nancy Kwan), also in a trench coat. What immediately follows is a verbal spat that could have taken place between a couple, happily married for ten years. Always comfortable, yet unnerved from the beginning is the meeting of Suzie and Robert. She presents herself as a haughty "virgin" rich girl called Mei Ling, and he's a visiting artist, in Hong Kong for the first time.
Later, Robert, who wants to get immersed in his surroundings gets lodging in a hotel in the Wan Chai district, a poor part of town where "Chinese" live. He later sees the girl from the ferry at the Hotel Bar, dressed very differently--in a seductive flaming red dress, hanging around the sailors as the other Wan Chai girls do. Her manner is different--cold and calculating, not a "virgin" at all. Robert realizes that he is in a bar of escorts, and the clientèle are largely the military men docked in Hong Kong.
Suzie is fascinating to Robert, but he still sees her differently than his first meeting, though she is no less beautiful. He rebuffs her offer to be his "regular girlfriend". Suzie is annoyed at being rebuffed, and angrily shoots back "A month is a long time in Hong Kong, you'll get lonely...i wait". But rather than professional pride being injured maybe we see the first instance of Suzie seeing Robert as someone other than a customer, as she doesn't dismiss him--she reacts like a jealous woman and strides away to grab another man and kisses him.
Robert isn't a tourist for "action" he wants to paint. He is an architect who was unhappy with his life and sets up a bank account for year to stay and see if he can make it as a painter. While he wants to immerse himself in culture, his immersion stops at his heart, and maybe even his body. Therein lies my issue with many of the other commenters. Robert doesn't "help" Suzie, she helps him. Robert is no different than Suzie in many ways. His soul was being killed by a job that didn't make him happy, and maybe by a woman that didn't make him happy. He is no savior to a woman trapped in prostitution--he's trapped too. And in essence his trap is harder to get out of, because he thinks he is "all there" simply because he is a respectable man, and honourable towards women. His trap is in his head. In the evening he stares at the building he's painted and it doesn't seem to thrill him much. He calls the downstairs desk and has the 'concierge' send up Suzie. SHe runs upstairs like an excited girl on her first date. She is angry when Robert tells her he doesn't want her for her body, but for her "bones" and he paints her. But she stays to save face.
Then starts the pattern that repeats throughout the movie, is that Suzie needs to talk to him and find ways of continuing to talk to him, and order him around as if she is his affectionate wife-mother. And he listens but doesn't completely give in. The first night she models for a painting, she sings him a folk song and insists on telling him the story of a boy cloud and girl cloud, and how they finally get together when the boy cloud proves he has a good heart, an analogy for the entire movie.
Trouble brews when Suzie feels threatened by a banker's daughter. when Robert mixes with the Hong Kong "society" folk he is surprised by their bigotry, but he continues to mix out of financial need to sell his paintings. Suzie feels jealous & desperate, maybe for both love and money, and agrees to be the "permanent girlfriend" of a wealthy usually drunk businessman played with hilarity by Michael Wilding (he is superb).
After many misunderstandings and a tragedy, Suzie and a much changed Robert are able to have future together.
This movie doesn't shy away from showing poverty--if anything it is discussed openly "you never have to do a dirty job like me" and "many hungry people in Hong Kong" and we find out that Suzie is illiterate in both English and Chinese. Also--some very frank racist discussion that is important to establish the supposed "two worlds". The Banker (father of Kay) acts as the Anglo conscience.
The acting is great and natural. The scenes of Hong Kong and the score are gorgeous. I suppose I avoided seeing this movie again for a long time because it hits too close to home in some ways. No special stuff on the DVD but the print is great.
It's a great under-watched and under-appreciated movie. It is also a perfect movie for those who haven't quite found their place in the world or in their hearts, looking for a peaceful resting place.
Discover Me (2005)
pretty decent low budget indie
This movie is a look at a number of people with varying levels of introversion/extroversion and their resorting to the internet to fill some need in their lives that doesn't get addressed in their "real" lives. There is some happiness and relief in this, but for some, you can see the potential & real dangers of existing largely in an unreal world--if there is even one dishonest person.
Without spoiling much as this movie has not been seen widely: There are various interwoven stories, some by physical proximity, others by common internet interests.
The three most pressing stories: the masochist's search for a punisher and physical fulfillment; a disappointed-by-men female who hooks up with a eunuch; an agoraphobe who takes a liking to a neighbor guy who passes by her window. ALl starts out innocently and the almost "studenty" fraternity of the internet.
By far the best story is the Eunuch story--and indeed the acting is by far the most natural, and second was the masochist, excellent.
The ending was the only disappointment and I won't directly say it--there was someone who was deserving of a "cut" based on his dishonesty and his meeting with the unbalanced agoraphobe should have been sharper, pun intended. Could use a recut there.
Surreal music by Ella Blame.
Touchez pas au grisbi (1954)
Friendship is the uncut gem
The movie is a story of friendship that lasts.
Max (Jean Gabin)is an ageing gangster, and indeed from early on the weighty and slowing down feeling of age is a daily preoccupation for Max. The opening scene is a view of the day's newspaper announcing that 50 million in gold bullion is still missing. Clearly Max has something to do with it.
Max and his best pal, the similarly ageing Riton have young girlfriends who evidently engage in prostitution and drugs. In the opening scene Max is holding court at a local restaurant which is apparently closed to outsiders. max is clearly the man of influence, the man with the money. the "godfather" in his small fiefdom. Much of the set up of the entire story is allowing the viewer to see the day to day world of gangster middle management. The ordinary things that Max and co. do is really unique including discussing food, body functions and relationships personal and professional.
Something is not all well at the "office". WHile Max and Riton are clearly honorable amongst their own, this is not practiced by all in their sphere as it is clear for some reason armed men associated with the club they frequent are trying to trap them. And as we find out, all know the "loot" is missing and Max is likely to have it, and many will do questionable and murderous things to try to get the info on its whereabouts.
Look for Jeanne Moreau as the heartless and duplicitous Josy--she's fantastic.
A non-pretentious look at the gangster world with some unexpected and somewhat shocking scenes of violence.
Some hilarious translation in the Criterion subtitles like "Those babes are a real health hazard" and "you expect thanks for causing a flap in my hen house".
Becker outdid himself in this film--every person in the movie was significant, all direction perfect.
Last Days (2005)
minimalist, sad and very decent *MAJOR SPOILER*
I first hated this movie, which I saw at a festival. But realised later, what I hated in the movie were the main characters except the lead Blake who is a thinly veiled Kurt Cobain.
If anyone reading has ever had a friend lost in an alcohol/and-or-drug addiction, and that friend was wealthy or well known, one will be able to empathize with the lead in this movie, who is invisible to all his hangers on as a person. So much so, that if he were not interrupted from the conclusion of his actions by door-to-door Mormons and a yellow pages rep, the journey to infinity would have been a good deal shorter. Despite the lead appearing as if he is completely zonked at the beginning, he isn't, and he knows who the scum are as he goes to room to room to first "kill them", then later to avoid them. Killing isn't in his nature which is what is the saddest--maybe he would have been able to develop a will to live if it weren't for the perpetual hangers on weighing him down. In fact a call comes in from a concerned party (supposed to be Ms Love) who is worried he will go back to drug use and the scum who answers it lies and says Blake isn;t there. A detective comes looking for him and the scum lies and says Blake isn;t there and Blake hides. So Blake isn't strong enough to live and his house parasites don;t want him to recover either, which comes down to the end.
SO Last Days begins Blakes final evolution from Cave man out on the range to heroin-fueled decadent 90s man, and a last confession in his diary. In minor criticism, I would have liked to have heard more of that mumbling when he was writing in his diary.
The movie isn;t for those who need a lot of mirroring.
Visually it is lovely film with Mr Gus using same scene different perspective and time shots, and some neat visual devices like the fish-eye view of Blake digging up his last stash and testament to end his life; and the ascent after death.