alicecbr

IMDb member since December 1999
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Reviews

We Need to Talk About Kevin
(2011)

This authoress obviously never had a child
Having had 5 children AND a software engineering career, I know how hard it is to raise children AND have a career and of course, you are always conflicted. This woman is a complete dolt, unforgivingly forgiving her monster son for blinding in one eye, their daughter and staying with the dolt of a husband who blindly favors his son, never blaming him for anything. Wonder how much truth there is with the school shooters. But only the Conn. kid killed his mom first. Wish I knew how similar this story is to the actual school shootings.

Tilda Swinton at least plays the mother as a low self esteem creep, emotionally dependent upon her egotistical husband, pulled screaming AND KICKING INTO MOTHERHOOD.

Black Hawk Down
(2001)

Sam Sheperd paid a big price for his father's WWII service as a bomber pilot
many Americans pay a steep price for their war injuries even if they never served a day in combat. Their 'combat' was as the child of a strict, PTSD injured father, such as Sam Sheperd's was. WE may never know what that estrangement cost Sam but some of his plays indicate the awful coldness he suffered.

We have stuck our noses into so many places we had no business in. I wonder why it is that Steve Bannon of all people, the harbinger of death ALSO doesn't want us in these places. I understand why. Why those guys had to die in Mogadishu is a mystery to me and anybody who watches this.

Has a biography of Shepherd been written to explain the relationship between The Buried Child, a completely dysfunctional family, Sam's father's war experience and Sam's childhood?

Excellent movie if you want to see the Hell and inhumanity of war. i've seen enough for one life, and this 5 time tax evader in the White House will get us into yet another war. Let's pray we don't have to witness nuclear war as this madman seems to think perfectly possible.

THS Investigates: Hot for Student
(2007)

How do you make a movie when you're in jail for murder?
What a terrible movie, but what a sociopath can do is obvious from the many people who were fooled by this murderess

Tell your public, how do you help a murderess get out of jail by exposing her most recent propaganda to the gullible public?

It's so sad that we have so many Americans who don't think to investigate some articulate person's cherry picking of the truth/ Bah humbug She's guilty as sin Quit going along with her and giving her special privileges.

My review is rather empty because there is nothing but garbage to review. Please don't do this again, by being the dupe of murderesses like Pamela Smart who has her parents money and no conscience to help her.

Man of the Year
(2006)

Robin Speaks from the Grave as our Nation plummets in National Leadership and Ethics
See this again, and listen to the one-liners.....all hitting on the garbage we have allowed our government to become. Politicians should be like dirty diapers: changed frequently and for the same reason.

Watch him skewer the politicians who are on the take from oil companies, as is our present Ma governor, but they call it 'campaign funds'. Now see if we can get any support for the solar panels our roofs.

So and so on. This was about the time the electronic voting machines were being queered by complicit voting companies who would come in and 'fix' a machine on the fritz, by inserting a chip that would flip the votes. As a software engineer who analyzed bugs, I would give lectures on how easy it is to queer an election. YOu see it here as well.

Please see this and listen to the lessons told as jokes. And bring back Stephen Colbert and get Jon Stewart to run. or at least to sponsor a candidate. And throw the money out of elections so we can get an honest candidate.

Serving Life
(2011)

Saving One's Life While Losing It
As an agnostic, I was prepared for the platitudes you usually hear from the 'feel good' folks. so I was overwhelmed by the look in the eyes of the plain-talking Hospice volunteers. You only got a hint of the terrible lives they had led when you saw their mug shots. I don't know what it is in our eyes that shows our soul, but these guys had the sweet look of innocents. How that happened and they were transformed is a great mystery to me.....EXCEPT, maybe these guys knowing they were where they were going to be at the end of THEIR life caused this transformation. As they helped others die, you could see the compassion coming into their faces.

And as time passed and they witnessed the deaths of their fellow prisoners, helping them to die with dignity........you saw the changes in their lives. From blaming others, they accepted responsibility for their actions. The guy I was surprisingly most impressed with, hating authority figures as I do, was the warden. Growing up in Alabama, I am used to hypocrisy from ministers and deacons......Philistines. But this tough-eyed guy matter of factly talked about redemption for these men through their acts without any God/Jesus stuff.involved. Compassionate living. Whomsoever would save his life should lose it in service for others: my paraphrase of a Bible verse. Really punches that thought up. I could never do what these men are doing. Talk about a 180 degree change in their lives.

The point was well made, that no matter how much bravado these men had showed in their 'killing careers', here was where real bravery was called for. You see them standing vigils in the last hours of a man's life, as his eyes begin to set in the death stare. I have never done this except with my mother and grandmother, as they died after a long life 'natural deaths'. So the whole movie was an education for me, as Angola has come to mean the worst in prison conditions and in mistreatment of prisoners. Wonder if this warden is still around.

Movie should be shown to all high school seniors, especially in the spawning areas for crime, the slums.

The Story of Luke
(2012)

It takes one to know one
I am awash in a family of people with ADD and ADHD, as the Seth Green character was. Autistic people intrigue me, because we are supposedly somewhere on that spectrum. I was a gifted child and software engineer for 35 years, and still have no filter. So this movie taught me a little about 'being normal', something I've always wondered about. I needed Seth Green to explain to me how to be or ape being neurologically normal: to pretend interest when you aren't, to look into someone's eyes but not too long so as not to appear weird, to use stupid" small talk to buffer the conversation, etc, etc. I never knew any of this stuff. Had I learned to be tactful, to couch my true feelings in the little white lies of which society is made, then maybe I wouldn't have had 3 husbands and 3 divorces. This movie is essential watching for people like me, male or female. Your heart bleeds, as you realize 'normalcy' with its hypocrisies and cruelties will never be his. His pitiful rotten mom will perhaps never be able to be anywhere near his mother . But his aunt sure turned herself around and I really loved that part. So much of what is insightful about this movies revolves around Luke's blatant honesty, his utter guilelessness. I think so much of this screenplay must have been written by someone who knew intimately an autistic person. Will my grandson ever be able to stay married, have a 'normal' adulthood, whatever that is? Will Adderall/methyl phenydrate and these other horrid drugs be what his life will comprise? God, I hope not, but movies like this kinda help us learn to ape whatever it is we need to get along in the workaday world. Wanna make a lot of money? Become a socialization coach for people like Luke and myself. Daddy took Dale Carnegies courses to help him; autistic folks should be able to have similar training. The support he got from this great, non perfect family of his thrilled me What a movie!!!! And who the Hell wants to be normal, anyhow?

Moonrise Kingdom
(2012)

Read up on your Bible before seeing this
Noah and the flood are well played out here, especially where the theme of redemption is involved. Bill Murray plays a real AHole of a lawyer/father, as well as his wife, as they mourn the death of their romance. The daughter is supposedly emotionally disturbed (the mother has a book on the subject, which the daughter steals) but she and the supposedly anti-social boy are the most humane and loving of the whole troupe. You may think you're seeing a revision of "Lord of the Flies" for awhile, but the adults prevent that, generally at the last second. Now way is this movie realistic, but we often get the truth in myth. Just to see so many of these great actors play WAAAAAY against type is worth the price ($11.00 at Loew's on Boston Common....too much for a Senior to have to pay). This should get more awards as the year goes by, if the Academy can find any voters with any intelligence and imagination. Although it might have been more dramatic for someone to get killed, I was glad Anderson didn't have to do that. There was drama enough, as it was. Take the kids, and show them what bullying is, AND what someone trying to make up for bullying looks like. Great.

Georgia Rule
(2007)

Child Abuse Victim speaks up
As a victim of abuse my self, I can well understand the denial of the mother, especially if she was already a boozer. The grandmother, so well played by Jane Fonda, obviously felt the guilt from turning her own child into an alcoholic, who then allowed this abuse to go on under her roof. She became the typical non-defending parent.

The scene with Delmot Maroney (simon) in which he talks to her about the different kinds of love between an older man and a young woman (friend, parent) that differs from the abusive kind, rings quite true. Because, for people like us, it's hard to tell the difference as you emerge from your parental Hell.

You only know how to relate in a sexual manner with any man. It takes a lot of education and experience to learn to appreciate and enjoy the other kinds of love and affection. Until then, it all seems fake. Don't know what the reviewers had to say about this, but I appreciate Jane and Gary for actually tackling such a loaded subject.

The Misfits
(1961)

Arthur Miller Presents Marilyn Monroe's biography
Having read many biographies of Marilyn and her insane mother, I watched this movie and saw Arthur miller writing Marily's life story. She had had so many abortions, she couldn't have children. And her background as a stripper equaled the continual affairs that Marily had, always terrified of abandonment. that is continually portrayed in this movie, as she shows so much empathy for the animals and the hurt men in this haunting movie.

Even though Montgomery Clift had been horribly injured in an automobile accident, you saw parallels of that in his portrayal of a rodeo rider who has had countless concussions and been rendered almost brainless. The scene of him with Marilyn Monroe makes you think of two victims of life, comforting one another.

How Gable could show so much affections for Marilyn when she infuriated him with her continual lateness, shows what a good actor he finally was in this final film of is. The stress probably contributed to his heart attack.

Miller did an excellent job with the script on this movie, portraying the actors' lives by his words.

Zee and Co.
(1972)

No Exit, Swinging 60s style
With an execrable screenplay, this movie with Elisabeth taylor and Michael caine just demonstrate what good actors can do DESPITE the limitations of the script. So, you immediately get the impression of a debauched society, with folks having more money than they deserve. So, while elisabeth appears to be the swinger of the 2, you soon find out that it's a mutual 'open marriage'. However, there's none of the intellectual rationalization we used back then. they both feed off the other's affairs.

When you watch Elisabeth at her wickedest get up close to the bathroom door and whisper all about her affair with a married doctor WITH children, you strangely see Michael draw close to the door and listen appreciatively, getting off on the vicarious thrill. You don't get the significance of Elisabeth mentioning 'CHILDREN' until you find out that he's got no ammunition in his bullets. They have no children.

You will see this same theme echoed in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf", as an older Elisabeth unleashes the same rage and uses her feminine wiles to seduce another man in front of her husband. I also got the feeling, as I revisited this movie in honor of Elisabeth Taylor at her death this week, that much of this was a replay of her relationship with Richard Burton. They relied on the constant fluctuations in passions to make their marriages renew.

I would never give this movie a 10, but it is a great movie to visit for its' historical connotations if you weren't alive during the 'Swinging Sixties'. these folks ain't hippies, but they sure give a good imitation. And of course, Elisabeth looks goRGeouS even in her fury. In today's culture, her seduction of the new mistress would not be considered shameful. If fact, you wonder if they will continue as a menage au troix. Back then, it might have been looked at as repulsive by the public.

Frozen River
(2008)

Not a Hollywood movie
You like Mohawks, white trailer trash but both with a big heart? What writing!!! What understated, realistic acting! the cinematography of some frozen river in Plattsburgh, NY in the polar cold of winter is outstanding. And you really feel it. Course we're in the Blizzard of 2010 right now in Boston so it fits right in.

The casual use of a gun is unsettling but this heroine is not blessed with a Ph.D. in anything. She just loves her sons and has been deserted by her gambling-aholic husband. She is just trying to get by and uses the gun only for 'emphasis' Fascinating to see that larceny is featured throughout this movie, but is more mean and ugly when it is legal. The double-wide trailer salesman who casually takes her $3000, has her sign a paper and doesn't even give her a copy. YOu know she will never see that trailer, as he will have 'no proof' that she has given him this CASH. The mother-in-law of the Mohawk woman who steals her grandbaby from the hospital. "The tribal elders don't get involved in this." She is smuggling to get money for support of the child, which she leaves at night looking in the window at her baby. The lying duplicity of the Yankee Dollar manager who has stringing Ray along for 2 years, promising to bring her on full time.....all legal. No benefits, rotten pay.

The movie benefits from the fact that they had no money, so the weather man is the actual weatherman in Plattsburg, NY. The trailer salesmen were afraid they would 'ruin their image'????? Yet this was the big dream of this woman, not something she was forced into living in.

And who didn't get this Christmas time movie's metaphor of the immigrant baby, who they leave by the side of the ice because the car is too heavy. The immigrant parents are in the trunk so they don't know until they let them out at the motel. The Pakistani manager interprets, "Her baby was in that satchel." These smugglers drive all the way back onto the ice and find the baby 'frozen dead'. The baby-less Mohawk woman doesn't want to hold her to her warm body because 'the baby's dead', but does. By the time they get back to the motel, she reports, "The baby's moving." So they give a live baby back to the illegal immigrant who collapses with relief. Christ child, anyone? A unique movie, you won't forget it. Parts will come back to haunt you, like the chance the white woman has to escape back to her children, knowing the Mohawk will be expelled from the Mohawk nation if she and the immigrants are not turned over to the New York state police. She doesn't take it and decides to go to jail. Contrary to stereotype, the trooper tells her she will serve 4 months ("if you're not on the black list"). See it.

The Man with the Golden Arm
(1955)

Depiction of junkie trying to kick is superb, as is the writing
Even though this movie is obviously on the set of some sound stage, the acting and the writing are superior. The clingy wife who is faking her injury is done superbly by Eleanor Parker, and Kim Novak is really great as the caring ex-girlfriend of Frank Sinatra. I think those stories may be true about the two, as that kind of chemistry can't be faked. And of course, the 'cold turkey' scenes are fantastic.

And true to what has to happen to get someone off of heroin, he feels a great hunger for sugar. (Of course, this reminds you of the dealer's 'addiction' for candy that he had to kick. Could it be that he was also addicted to heroin first?) The sidekick is hilarious as he puts black shoe polish on a dog he is trying to sell. His wisecracks are superb and handled with great timing. The seediness of the environment really makes you wonder why he came back at all. Or why any criminal returns to his home environment. Because that's where he's tempted to return to the horrors of his past.

You can't help but think that he will, with Kim's help, get those drums back and make a career. fantastic movie, and wouldn't it be great to have a contemporary movie, equally well written in which someone kicks cocaine or meth or whatever the drug du jour is. I hear it's alcohol.

Check this movie out for the time in our history when we were grown-ups with grown-up writing and not on the way down as a nation.

Red Ensign
(1934)

Similarities in corruption and recession to today
With none of the technology of today, I got a great glimpse of REAL, not CGI, shipyards in which gigantic ships were built. And all very similar to the ships my father helped design for WWII in Newport News, Va. And this was right after the 2nd depression caused when Congress refused to fund the 2nd infusion of WPA funds for fear of 'going into debt', the madness that we now have today.

To watch the work of the ship builders in Glascow was delightful. to watch the steel being made, as it was in Birmingham, Al when I was a child in the 'Pittsburg of the south' reminded me of when we were a mighty nation of manufacturing, not child-like consumers and paper-pushers.

the amazing thing was that this Michael Powell movie had no illusions: both protagonists and antagonists were 'immoral'. One lied and forged his competitor's signature to get the funding for his ship ('ends justifies the means'?); the other was far more nefarious, burning down the ship and embedding saboteurs in the work force of David Barr's shipbuilding company. A great point: there is a GREAT difference between wholesale corruption and lying as the Tea Partiers are showing us now, and the dilly-dallying of some of the Dem office holders (e.g., Spitzer). Yes, we have 'evil' on both sides, but some evil is far more destructive than other.

In this movie, the media did a wonderful thing, bringing to the attention of Parliament the lesser crime that Barr committed in order to save British shipping. And in such terms, his forgery was couched. Today's corporate media paints both parties in the same light, knowingly re-instating an oligarchy of Big Business under the pretense of presenting a 'fair and balanced' view of the shenanigans going on. What a contrast!!! The class differences were also shown quite obviously in the dress and accent of the actors, but why would a Scottish head of business sound like an English laird? Could it be because when all the Brits go to college, they come out sounding posh?

I loved the movie, made in 1934, because it showed me aspects of my Scottish background I could never see before. The Copelands were shipbuilders in Glascow before emigrating to the South, where my uncle was an engineer in the steel mills in Fairfield, Al and my father designed the ships that fought WWII in Va. It brought my background to light in a way that the history books could not.

And the writing was excellent, despite the hurried up courtship between the woman and David Barr. She obviously saw through the phoniness and lack of quality in the 'chairman of the board', to whom she was engaged. And hearing David Barr take on the board, as well as all the shipbuilders who weren't getting their week's pay immediately made her fall head over heels with him. But we were spared the romantic details, since this was about brave men and what it took to get the shipyards sparking again. Now when is someone going to do that for my poor country, foundering on the rocks of corruption and greed?

Outlaw
(2007)

London Society is corrupt to the core
So is Sean Bean building a wing onto his house? Michael Caine once said that you can always tell when he is needing money ....he'll make a stinker of a movie. Or has he really turned into a Fascist? The tone of his last 2 movies, at least, has been racist and bigoted. Maybe he's just trying to call to our attention how barbaric we have become in the U..S. and the U.K. Listening to the commentary for some explanation of the mysteries in this movie is futile, because love, the director and one of the actors, Danny Dyer, just use the f word every other word, and talk about everything BUT the movie: living in the country, organic food, the smell of asparagus feces, being pregnant, how all the critics hated this movie, etc. the ending is sad, as Dyer says, "Well, this may be our last time together. It's been a good trip." I almost cried, something I didn't do while watching this nauseating gratuitously violent movie. And of course the bad guys live: the police captain and the betraying corporate 'buddy' of Dwyer. Factual, this movie wasn't but if you like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid , you might like this movie as the director stole that ending. These guys live when they should have been dead long ago judging from the point blank shooting at them. Sorta a waste of the talent of Bean and Hoskins. They must need a new room on their house.

Ca$h
(2010)

Cash is the answer to everything
Now that we know that everyone is a crook, having seen the movie, it's interesting that even the wife's mother stole part of the money she was given for safekeeping Of course, it's a fable, as the money drops out of the sky......from a van that Sean Bean is driving from a bank heist. He goes to jail and his twin brother comes along to go out and retrieve the money....which he does, every penny.

Don't see this movie if you have a pessimistic view toward your fellow man. The only legal crook they show is the loan officer, which was hilarious in view of the fact that bankers are now our worst crooks.

Sean Bean is the greatest actor today, as he can be in real stinkers and still shine. what an expert. Almost as good as inhabiting various roles as Laurence Olivier, but just the hunk version.

If you don't expect much of this movie, you'll enjoy it. The sheer racist and bigoted views expressed at the beginning are in a way hilarious, as they are definitely politically incorrect. But being as it was in Chicago, they should have had some anti-Catholic humor, if they're going to put down blacks, Muslims, Indians, loan officers, mothers-in-law, Asian shop keepers, 'innocent' young wives, and 'big strong' husbands.

Pretty interesting study in the effects of fear, and the Stockholm syndrome. The writer here knows his Freud.

Far North
(2007)

See this for the beauty of the fast disappearing Arctic
Of course, if you love Sean Bean like I do, you'd watch him in a travelogue, which (except for the horror in it) is all the script has going for it. The documentary that accompanies the DVD is as good as the movie. I still have many unanswered questions. Sean of course, has to show off his beautiful body, as I would too if I worked at it as hard as he does (e.g., in CASH, Lady Chatterly's Lover). And he's secure enough to first show up with a boil-filled, sore-filled face from exposure. Makes his recovery even more exciting. You at first think the mother's expulsion has to do with some hideous deformity, but she looks OK. It was only after reading the reviews that I understand that she just somehow ticked the shaman off, who knew nothing about self-fulfilling prophecies, obviously. The Russians are put into their old classic role as the bad guys (except for WWII). And of course, they are put to route by both the mother and Sean Bean. I would have loved more character development but the environment overshadows the people. YOu are shown the barbaric conditions they live in, where they are a meal or exposure away from death. We watch seals and reindeer being shot and butchered. So the latter scenes are not such a stretch. To be fair, the mother was given an invitation to go with the couple (spoiler), but she declines. Since we're given so little character exposition, it's difficult to figure out how the daughter could just leave her mother out there in the wilderness, when the scenes before show a lot of filial devotion. And he seems to be bereft of any thought but satiating his lust, nice guy that he is. Maybe with a name like Loki, we're supposed to think,"Well, he's not too bright. Maybe he's just completely unaware of the damage he's doing to this mother-daughter relationship." I'm glad I waited for the DVD, since the documentary showing all the danger and work of making this movie with its own gorgeous background, is superb. Especially, since you and I of this planet-killing species called homo sapiens, will soon not have such Polar beauty to experience other than in movies like these. How soon our species will follow, I won't bother to speculate.

Peeping Tom
(1960)

Was this worth ruining a great director's career?
We think of film critics as independent, but as a 'man', they ridiculed and scorned Powell, even at the press review. In "Million dollar Movie", Powell quotes each review, which must have marked him forever. Yet we knew that his art was great, but because he was known for "The Red Shoes" and other refined movies, the critics unanimously reviled him. Could it be that the way he treats movie execs and directors in the movie itself could have been a partial reason? Those critics knew how true those egomaniacal tirades were.

I am a great believe in reality and there were too many situations in which I was expected to suspend reality. Most of those women knew they were in danger, but acted as though they were mesmerized by this shy focus puller. He wasn't even a cameraman, except in his ambitions.

Moira Shearer did a great job, but you can see the overly dramatic effect of those times in the way she set up , and over-acted. However, to be fair, that could have been just because she WAS a stand-in and would have over-acted in her role. Since this is a doll inside of a doll kind of movie, it was hard to tell when the movie was portraying an actual situation or when the movie was showing people in a movie.

The acting by the young man was superior and I am surprised we never heard from HIM again. Could it be that the insult to his future career was even worse than it was for Powell? And what about the women in Powell's life: Frankie and Pamela Brown? I have read Powell's memoir and nothing is said about the effect those women had on his production of this movie. YOu can tell by the documentary that making movies was Powell's life, yet the women seem to be placed in traditional roles of wife/mother and mistress.

Columba, Powell's son, is used as the psycho as a child. One wonders what happened to both Kevin and Columba, Powell's sons. When the nude scene was filmed, Powell had both the boys present at the shooting so they could see what a naked woman looked like (reminds me of a scene from 'Curb Your Enthusiasm", when the cancer-ridden boy has his "Make a Wish' turned down. So Larry David takes him to the Playboy mansion to see a naked woman. Powell preceded him in this act.

A Home at the End of the World
(2004)

Relationship between the movie and an unpleasant subject for the ignorant masses
So often, the awards go to the feel-good or dramatic movies with the classic themes of boy meets girl, boy wins girl or murderer is caught. When the subject is way different, and there are some twists and turns Mr. Common Man isn't ready for, the movie is often over looked.

I loved the acting in this movie, as well as the writing. The interrelations of these 3 is wonderful to watch, but you are not surprised at the outcome. I really don't know if ANYONE can handle a menage a trois for their entire lives. This movie could not have been made, or it would have had an entirely different effect 30 years ago. Spoiler" We all know what the purple bruise is, and know that the kid will be dead soon, since the time placement is way before they come out with AIDS cocktails to turn a death sentence into a chronic situation.

We know how the movie will end as soon as we see the purple bruise. And the fact that the kid is sticking it out makes us have a lot of faith in him. Even though we know that HE probably will have sex with his buddy and also go down, since they didn't know it was catching then.

The beautiful scenes at the farm, the ceremony of the two young men dumping the ashes of one's father are quite tender. It's a very innocent film and beautiful in the love they have for one another. You can't help but think that yes, the mother WILL return with Rebecca knowing the love that awaits her there.

The message that love can exist among many people, and the idea that non-conniving love is possible makes this a great little movie.

A Letter to Three Wives
(1949)

Really great movie, but I STILL Don't know how it ended
And I thought this was a piece of fluff!!! the writing is smarter than in any movie I've seen all year. How predictive of our present undereducated public. The schoolteacher in the group is an educated man, not like many of the sad things in the classrooms today. And the script beautifully points out why: follow the money. we get what we pay for and our country is failing because of our failing schools, and our gullible masses, the result of an educational system that is 42nd in the world. Spoiler: I saw this as a teenager. And I remembered that one of the husbands HAD run away with Addie, but thought better of it and returned. Yet the line, "She'll know tomorrow morning" and Jeanne crain's kiss on the cheek to Paul Douglas for 'admitting' it, now makes me think that yes, her husband really did run away with this husband-stealer. The times have really changed: We wouldn't be dating our bosses in today's world. On the other hand, corporate wives and husbands still lick the behinds of anyone in the corporation who can give them a hand up the ladder. Our level of corruption is much higher. One mystery: the script has the mom lecturing Linda Darnell on not being a tramp, yet when the boss comes to pick her up, she tries to shoo her daughter out to the car. It's Darnell who insists that she gets picked up properly. Paradox or contradiction?

Really want to know now how it actually ended. Was Paul telling the truth or we he just trying to soften the blow? Great writing. Boy, do I miss it. Kinda sad when I have to turn to foreign movies, old movies or the occasional indie to find any movies of substance that have BOTH excellent writing and acting. Just another symptom.

L'ennemi public n°1
(2008)

Why can't biopics go deeper into the childhood?
Mesrine was both a Reniassance man and a sociopath. H cooks wonderfully, loves fine wine and good cigars, as well as fancy women. But he is absolutely ruthless. When he creeps into the hospital to see his dying father, you wonder "What went wrong?" Was the father too strict? Not strict enough? Mesrine obviously had a death wish as he courts his death with flair and imagination.

He loves the media, and is loved in return. Unlike the complicit media who lied about Pat Tillman's death at the hands of members of his own company and infuriated his family, Mesrine and Paris Match are on the same page. To see how gentle he is with the family he takes hostage, and how he doesn't desert the other crook who has been shot in the leg, shows you that this murderer has many facets to his character.

As I looked up the history of the right-wing writer they leave for dead, I was amused to see a video of him from his hospital bed, and he is very handsome, much more so than the bland actor portraying him. Mesrine, au contraire, is much handsomer than the real Mesrine. But , like many movies about famous people, I am left empty wishing there was more substance to the causal factors in his life.

Nonetheless, I am buying both to see again.

Black Narcissus
(1947)

If environment alone can cause sexual madness, it's easy to see why priests become pedophiles
The madness in this movie, as portrayed by Sister Ruth, is the best acting I have ever seen for this condition. It's too bad the actress could not be successful in Hollywood because she was typecast into playing only neurotic women. It certainly gives us insight into why so many priests, otherwise good men, have fallen so low as to abuse small boys. If a lush environment, so brilliantly built on a set in London, can drive nuns mad, it's easier to understand how the abnormal state of celibacy can do that to young men, arrested at the very age when their sex drives are the strongest.

Deborah Kerr does an excellent job as the equally repressed Mother Superior, who learns that to be in her position, she must serve others. And indeed she does, sitting with the insane nun through the night, even though it's obvious that the woman is about to do something drastic to herself or to others. The effect of the beauty of the castle high in the Himalyans is sufficient to drive one mad, and the others to increasingly higher states of agitation, which is somewhat difficult to understand. It's easier to believe that the privation on these English nuns of being in a primitive land, with only basic medical skills to treat a suspicious native population, would be enough to drive them back to relative normalcy in India.

When the baby dies, the die is cast. The people refuse to attend school, and such was obviously the case with the monks who had tried to gain in foothold high in the mountains at this palace years before. We are never given to understand why Mr. Dean is there, a handsome David Farrar. The commentary indicates that he turned his back on acting several years later and Mr. Powell seems to admire him for it. He may have quit after seeing himself looking ridiculous on those small ponies, in those short shorts.

Nonetheless, he's very sexy and the scene where he turns Jean Simmons over to the nuns is palpable with chemistry. Having several similar scenes with Deborah Kerr, especially when you understand WHY she is a nun, the movie shows remarkable restraint when the director does NOT allow a passionate kiss at the end. Just a handshake, with her hand turned upward, interestingly enough.

This movie has been given rave reviews for how much could be suggested with a combination of painted sets and a few bamboo plantings in the Pinewood Studios. Indeed, those artists should have received the same Academy awards the cinematographer and director did. The lighting indeed gave a more eerie Gothic feel to the old castle at night. The climatic scene in which the mad nun vibrating with fury, slashes on her bright lipstick while Kerr starts reading the Bible, is unforgettable.

The scriptwriter did an excellent job as well, injecting humor as Shakespeare would have him do, to give a little relief from the building tension. Knowing that the little boy translator was an Indian that Powell 'picked up at the London docks' along with the other extras, made his acting even more impressive. With none of the technological tricks that modern movie makers have, Powell created a work of art and a movie for the ages.

Come to think of it, the range of electronic tricks, the CGI fakery, that directors have to call upon today probably prevent them from substituting excellent writing and great set design to create lasting art, instead of movies for non-discriminating kids. At least, they divert them from focusing on what could make a story idea sparkle and impress.

Winter's Bone
(2010)

Portia Faces Life
As a Southerner, I take offense to the indicated imbecility of these people. Too many gaps that probably Yankees won't see, since the very subject matter feeds into the prejudice that we're all products of incest and stupid. But here's the funny stuff: I heard the author interviewed on NPR and he's from there, going into the army at 17 but then returning to record these people's cadences. When the recruiter, with a straight face, told the girl "It will take 4 to 82 weeks for you to get this $40,000", I thought I would erupt in laughter. And with a son in Kosovo, I can tell you, nobody's getting $40,000 to join. As the recruiting contract you sign states, "Nothing that has been promised to you verbally or on any other piece of paper applies......only this contract your are signing now." I'm paraphrasing of course. But too many of our cannon fodder children are believing the lies of the recruiters. Of course, in this case, he was shown as being straight. Maybe some are, as judged by their suicide rate, higher than the rest of the Army.

What else was funnY? OK, there's cocaine and crank easily available to give these poor hillbillies some surcease from the horror and hopelessness of their everyday life. But ALSO, there is plenty of 'legal' prescription drugs that are continually being offered to the girl when she gets beaten up and for the catatonic mom. I'm sure these offerings wouldn't have been given such high viewability if the director wasn't making a point: illegal/legal, what's the diff?

Thank goodness, one cliché wasn't carried through: nobody could play that banjo even though they held it and tried. If that little girl had taken off on Cannonball Express, the movie would have been completely phony, instead of somewhat. I suppose showing the girl on the trampoline was just another way of showing how dumb the parents/caretakers were for letting those kids up there with (toy) horses?

The character actors were pretty good, at least not OVERACTING. The beating wasn't believable, and we didn't actually get to see someone high on meth. With all the cooking going on, this was indeed a surprise.

The best acting was by Teardrop, the girl's uncle. I'll be looking for other movies he's in. And I hope that Ozark writer keeps putting those novels out because I think he's got a great novel in him, if he gets off the stereotypes and puts in some realism. There is just ONE thing that was completely real, unfortunately: for those desperate, ignorant people going into the Armed Forces and being shipped off to die in another country for Big Oil seems a desirable way out of their poverty.

I also very much applaud the setting of the movie in those two Missouri counties, for the sake of jobs. But would love to see on the DVD, interviews with the people who actually live back there in those woods. And, though this might be difficult, an interview with meth cookers would be GRRRRREAT!! maybe after they get out of jail.

Whatever Works
(2009)

Clarification of their lives from BOTH Woody Allen and Larry David
Amazing the news that passing time brings up: This story of a brilliant Nobel Prize (almost) winner reminds us now of another Nobel Prize winner on ecology, Pres. Gore (rightly). Instead of this movie being just about Woody's rationalization for marrying his young step-daughter who must indeed have idolized his brilliant ideas....it is ALSO about the Nobel prize winner's attraction for Larry David's ex-wife. This is his attempt to explain to us HIS take on why those break-ups happened.

The young obviously smitten: they have at least one thing in common. She worships him, and he worships him. What better basis for a marriage.

My favorite part of the entire movie was the continual playing of "If I Could Be With You". So much so that I bought the complete recordings of Bobby Hackett playing his cornet with Jackie Gleason's orchestra to Richard Jones' lush sexy arrangement. I never heard of him, but he's great. The soundtrack for the movie actually cost more than this DVD.

What is it about Larry David's walk. Was he injured at some time? That wasn't him crashing through the windows so it must have been something else like polio that caused that swerving, almost drunken gait. He also does it in Curb Your Enthusiasm", so it's natural.

Hilarious movie. I don't really buy the mother falling into the menage a trois thing with her super religious background, but whatever. It's a comedy. Real life wouldn't even had David let the girl into his apartment, too afraid of pedophile arrests.

Tenderness
(2009)

Too unbelievable and too many gaps
SPOILERS: this movie was very tedious to watch, having a deaux ex machina incident every 10 minutes. Having had a few teen-agers, and living in the year 2010, I know that no serial killer, no matter how young, would be let out of jail (much less juvie) after killing 3 people. Since I haven't read the novel, I had no idea why the kid freaked out and killed his parents, and the director sure didn't tell us. The special feature on the DVD indicated that two Aussies were mainly responsible for this and were friends of Russell Crow, so maybe that's why it thudded so much in depicting American teen-agers. Here are just a few of the co-incidences that were never logically explained: 1. Eric leaves Lorelei (I thought she was the one who charmed sailors onto the rocks) at the motel and then shows up at the carnival. And, sure as fate, there comes Lorelei. How did she get there and how did she know he was going there? He just said he was going to meet Maria. 2. On the lam, the kids stop at a motel. With no hint given the viewer that Russell has been trailing them that closely, he pulls into the same motel, goes in and eats and doesn't even see the car there, nor the car leaving with them in it. 3. The girl rushes out of the restaurant, and suddenly in the same moment, there he is outside the restaurant, when he was sitting at a table inside when she rushed out. There was no back entrance shown.

4. Eric seems not to have any magnetism, nor is he handsome, so it doesn't make sense that the girl in juvie would send him a note, indicating she wanted to date this maniac 5. No idea given of why the detective leaves flowers at the roadside cross, unless that's where his wife was hit which resulted in her being in a coma. Was this thing edited to death? The producer said that they had several writers on the case. So maybe this was just patched together. 6. Maybe this is 'real life', but most folks would not have gone further into the woods, as Russell did, leaving the trailer and 'getaway' car in close juxtaposition. So of course, they got away and had time enough to leave the cross on the rear view mirror. Maybe the director wanted to make the detective appear dumb. It was just too much of a monster fairy tale. On the other hand, maybe having a nonsensical movie makes it more 'mysterious' and 'alluring', just as the serial killer was to the girl. Waste of time.

I felt like I was writing my own movie, since I had to guess so much of the time. And the rest of the time, impossible coincidences were happening. The only rationalization I can give for this is that each time, either the girl or the boy hangs onto the coattails of the other, out of camera. I don't want to do this again and wish I could have been warned. The reviews weren't good, but the reviewers seemed to have other reasons than mine for not liking it.

Have any of you ever heard of an American teen-ager killing his parents and two girls, and getting out of Juvenile Detention in 3 years. He would have been tried as an adult and sentenced to Life Without Parole, since we no longer have insane asylums to keep such monsters in.

Vincere
(2009)

Once Again, the Catholic church screws Up
If the film-writer wanted to emphasize WHY the young Mussolini hated the church, he did a great job. The church's role in backing the power-mad dictator is demonstrated again and again. The movie shows his wife as clear-minded, yet her actions even after the priest has cautioned her on how to 'act' and appear to submit, indicate a crazed woman who can't believe that her actions are hopeless in the light of the corrupt country that Italy has become. there are many parallels to the United States here, as our country becomes increasingly an oligarchy, ruled by corporations with few in Congress not bought by their bribes.

Makes you wonder if speaking out does any good in such a hypocritical, ignorant time in which the T-Partiers, not realizing they embody the rants of Mussolini, speak to the low-esteem, the animalistic urges of the masses. This was a fantastic movie and I was amazed that there were so few in the audience, though not amazed that it appeared at our art movie houses here in Boston (the West Newton's adjunct, the Arlington's Capitol).

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