walrus-5

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Reviews

Giselle
(1980)

The Weirdest Movie Ever
OK, this may not be the weirdest movie ever, but it was probably the one that most shocked me. It's an erotic drama from Brazil, that starts with a long text about how the fall of every major civilization was preceded by moral decadence, and family disruption.

However, this is only an attempt to hide that this movie is just a porn like a hundred others, behind a social critic explanation. The film is not critical after all, and it would just please a couple of sex freaks.

It has everything: incest, male homosexualism, female homosexualism, child abuse, animal sex, drugs , bondage, sadism, rape, etc. Every minute of the film gives the viewer something nastier than the minute before, and it never ends.

If you're a sex freak, try to find it, you'll enjoy it. If you're not, get something else, anything else. I assure you it'll be better.

Airplane!
(1980)

I just can't stop laughing!
If you managed so far to miss "Airplane!", two things. Number one, you're a very sad person. Number two, this is the father of Naked Gun, Hot Shots and all the other spoofs films ever made. Obviously, neither one reaches "daddy", that matches exactly in the disaster-films scenario that crowded the late 70's. Leslie Nielsen probably has the part of a lifetime (I guess he is even better than on "Police Squad"), as a doctor aboard the plane. There's also Lloyd Bridges, as a freaky air traffic controller, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as one of the airplane crew members, and Robert Hays as a psycho war veteran who is drafted in the middle of the flight to replace the orginal pilot.

Jim Abrahams and David Zucker made, in this film, a masterpiece. "Airplane!" inspires comedy films until today, almost 20 years after its release. Some great sequences: the wife of the pilot sleeping with a horse, Robert Hays spoofing John Travolta in "Saturday Night Fever", Leslie Nielsen and several others passengers, including a nun, a Hare Krishna and a boxing fighter, trying to calm down a hysterical passenger by hitting her, Lloyd Bridges sniffing glue and "getting high", Julie Hagerty trying to fill the automatic pilot with air by blowing it, and Robert Hayes sweating during the landing.

If you never had a good hour and a half of non-stop laughing, and is curious about the feelings of it, "Airplane!" is my hint.

Adam's Rib
(1949)

One of the most charmed films ever.
This film is a magnificent story that mixes court-room drama with marriage comedy, in a very intelligent and sophisticated way, showing not just the man-woman troubles on a relationship, but also the incoherency of some trial situations. As this wasn't enough, "Adam's Rib" has, perhaps, the greatest movie-couple of all time, Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, masterly directed by George Cukor (and you thought that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan were the perfect couple, junior).

Saying that this film is just a romantic comedy is to under-rate him, but labeling it as just a court-room motion picture is way too judicious, having in mind the good humour that its issues are leaded.

If you have time to spend and nothing to do, go straight to your video store and rent it. If you don't have the time, redo your schedule and find some time to see it. It's worth it.

The Big Sleep
(1946)

Chandler, Hawks and Bogart. Could it get any better?
No, it couldn't. "The Big Sleep" is based on a novel by the greatest writer of the century, the lead role was given to the greatest and coolest actor of all-time and the director was one of the creators of noir films (remember "Scarface", 1932), together with John Huston and his "The Maltese Falcon". It really can't get any better.

This film is ciriticised because its plot is confusing, you never know what's really happening and the ending is not really an ending. Well, I guess this is the greatest about "The Big Sleep". You don't need to know who's the criminal to find it attractive, because the development is so magnetic that you can't keep your eyes off the screen. And after all, it's a film about the "big sleep", or, in other words, the death itself, and the movie gets along with this mission.

The dialogs are one of the highlights of it. But then again, they were written by Raymond Chandler, and anyone who has ever read one of his few books know that the dialogues will be intense, sarcastic and memorable.

Just a hint for the starters: if you catch the computer colored version, don't watch it, leave it for another time. They made it worse than on "Casablanca"

The Lost Weekend
(1945)

Billy Wilder's Masterpiece.
You can say whatever you want, but I think this is the greatest Billy Wilder film. I loved "Double Indemnity", "Some Like It Hot", "Sunset Boulevard", "The Big Carnival" and "The Apartment", but "The Lost Weekend" is way too far from these others. Billy Wilder is definitely one of my 5 favorite directors of all-time Hollywood, and this is mainly because of this film.

It's hard even to know where to start. The actors couldn't be better, specially Ray Milland, one of my favorite actors of all time, as the greatest drunk on the motion picture history. The screenplay is attractive, ambiguous, shocking, mature and intelligent, wrote by Wilder and Charles Brackett, based on the Charles Jackson novel. The cinematography? Well, it's a noir film, so that is just flattering enough. The editing gives the exact amount of speed needed at the scenes, intercalating slow ones with dynamic ones. A great sequence: Milland's hallucinations in the hospital. Do I still need to talk about the direction? Is there anything that wasn't said yet about Billy Wilder? No, he's one of the masters in the business, and what he touches become gold.

This is also one of the most revolutionary films of Hollywood history, bringing up a theme that wasn't treated seriously so far. It has earned several Oscars, including Best Picture, Actor for Milland, Director for Wilder and Screenplay. In my opinion, it deserved too much more.

J'ai pas sommeil
(1994)

Did anyone of you understand it?
This is a very strange film, indeed. In the plot there's something about a Latvian immigrant in Paris, a couple of homosexuals, an old lady's murderer, some African immigrants (I think they're from the Maurice Islands), a woman who is a hotel manager and protects the young Latvian, a transvestite who has his own show on a nightclub, and some other crimes and weird stuff.

But it's not a bad movie after all. Despite the confusing plot, the film has some very nice sequences, some shocking scenes and one of the most beautiful actresses I've ever seen, Ms. Katherina Golubeva, whom I'd never heard about before this film. If you have a lot of time to spend, and you're in the mood for an unusual motion picture with a gorgeous young actress, "J'Ai pas Sommeil" is a good pick.

Viagem de Natal
(1999)

A short-story full of good intentions
This is a very nice silent short film, about a patient young man. The highlights are the powerful directing and the innovative cinematography, though damaged by the weak performances of the cast and the deliberate interference of the studio on the final editing, against the director's initial intents. Its soundtrack has great moments, with the music perfectly matching the scenario, but misses at some points, where synchrony is lost. Anyway, this is an above average Brazilian short-film, which authorship is credited to Vicente Canabarro, famous for his roles in Gustavo Schneider's films.

Dodsworth
(1936)

They don't make such adult films anymore.
If you're tired of the actual Hollywood teenager productions, you have a chance to see some maturity watching "Dodsworth". The relationship of the Dodsworths are amazingly realistic, and the wonderful performances by Walter Huston and Ruth Chatterton only improve the reality of the situation. He is amazing as a retired middle-aged industrialist and she is faultless as his futile, snob and frustrated wife. This film also got me some extra points because of Mary Astor, at the highest point of her beauty. It's masterly directed by William Wyler, and the cinematography is wonderful. One of the greatest films from the first decade of the sounded films.

Reservoir Dogs
(1992)

Tarantino is Supercool!
Can you make a 90's film with the atmosphere of the 70's, a script from the 60's and actors from the 80's, 40's and 90's? Tarantino could. Reservoir Dogs is one of the most-surprising films that I ever saw. All the movie's turnarounds (is there anyone?) are unexpected and brilliant. The performances are unforgettable, with under-rated actors. The soundtrack is amazing, with the "K-Billy Supersounds of the 70's" and some Tarantino's personal picks. I can't see a mistake in this movie, and it's just a matter of time for it to become a classic. If you have a weak stomach fast-forward the ear-cutting scene, even though its camera movements are brilliant. Perhaps the greatest movie since Blade Runner.

Psycho
(1960)

We all go a little mad sometimes.
Can anyone not be frightened by this masterpiece? It's being almost 40 years since the release of this Hitchcock classic, and it's still scary. And it's not just scary, it's also revolutionary and intelligent, like no one else can do. Alfred Hitchcock gives us a perfect technical motion picture, in the camera movements, cinematography, editing (how can you not get thrilled in the shower scene) and special effects, with a surprising and inspired screenplay, that keeps the viewer hypnotized the whole length of the film, a music score that matches the film perfectly, a display of the human experience, with greed, betrayal, sexuality, repression, morality, insanity, instinct, desire, violence, motherhood and passion, and outstanding performances by Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh, without mentioning the rest of the cast, which is great too. This is just a few comments on one of my top 5 films of all time, but now I gotta go. Need to take a shower.

Touch of Evil
(1958)

The B-films would never be the same.
Orson Welles made this film over 15 years after "Citizen Kane", but even though it doesn't reach the level of "Kane", he never lost his genius touch. With a basic story and regular budget he made the most famous B-film ever. His majesty in the camera control and the editing jump out of the screen. His director geniality is seen through the outstanding performances by great actors like himself, Janet Leigh and Marlene Dietricht, and actors not that great, like Charlton Heston. Several lines of this motion picture are amongst the greatest of all times, specially the Dietrich ones. The credits scene, that runs uncut for about 3 minutes, is one of the greatest moments in the film history, along with the pianola tune at Tanya's place. Some might say that "Touch of Evil" is banal and boring, but these are the people that don't like real motion pictures, and we all know that, so we don't care about them.

Citizen Kane
(1941)

The Greatest Artistic Achievement of the Century
If you never heard of "Citizen Kane", you know nothing about motion picture history. If you didn't like "Citizen Kane", you know nothing about art. This is one of the very few moments in the history of art that a man reached the status of an unreachable genius. The camera movements, the screenplay, the soundtrack, the editing, the characters and the cinematography can never be described by words, only by the heavenly experience of watching the film. The young Orson Welles presents, on every aspect of his masterpiece, maturity and intelligence, combined with unforgettable performances of the whole cast and crew, specially Joseph Cotten. Even though "Citizen Kane" has harmed his further career, because of the low rentals, the RKO greed and William Randolph Hearst personal "vendetta", the next generations learn how to worship Orson Welles, and remark him as one of the genius of mankind. This is a film by a maverick, in a genious way that only a maverick can be, viewing the human soul not just good, neither just bad, like Hollywood and its current filmakers tend to view and show it today.

Greed
(1924)

Outstanding! Astonishing!
There are no words on any modern language to express what this film represents. It's one of the fewest moments in the history of the movies where you'll find the human being so raw and savage. This is not just a film about greed and avarice, but also about marriage, friendship, betrayal, insanity, instincts, power and several other aspects of the human nature. I heard of it for the first time on an essay about Orson Welles' "The Magnificent Ambersons", where the author compared both of them because of the studios' editings of them against the directors' cuts. I started to get interested on "Greed" after the release of the AFI's 100 films of the century, and the upset criticisms about the non-inclusion of Stroheim's classic on the list. I just had to see it. Before I even saw the film, I read Frank Norris' "McTeague" and a lot of essays about "Greed", but the film experience overwhelmed every expectation I had, and proved that even this truncated version is a masterpiece for all generations to contemplate.

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