trudylyn

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Reviews

Star Trek
(2009)

Ladies and gentlemen, it's a comedy!
Thank 'Galaxy Quest'!

The previous Star Dreck movies and shows were so straight they were funny only in a forced manner or accidentally. I really liked the spatula on the holo-deck circuit in DS9 and Data's cat in Star Dreck: The next regurgitation, but those were few and far between. The new Star Trek movie does not take itself seriously. It avoids self-parody because it has an internal logic that this pile of children are not normal. Not a single one of them. They are the misfits of the Academy. Stuck on a normal ship, they would be bored or court-martialed. With Captain Jerk as their boss, they have room to breath and all of space to goof off in. It is a winner because it is not afraid to lose a few points in the seriousness category. "Star Wars: The beginning of the agony" had all those wonderful toys and a buncha characters who looked like they just got them for Christmas and couldn't read the manual. Each episode in the canon became more and more dire in it's seriousness, with even Yoda finally looking like he really needed a bong hit. The Mattress movies with Keanu whats-his-face had a deadly morose quality to them that made you want to view any landline phones with suspicion and guys with suits and sunglasses with fear, as well as your own computer with paranoia. "Star Trek" treats "future" technology as just one more gag. Even when Spork mark 2 has to fly Spork Prime's fancy gyro-ship, it is with a gleam in his eye and a smile on his face, not to mention a cock of the eyebrow as he utters,"Fascinating!"

"Galaxy Quest" took the mickey out of all that bombast and circumstance, including the fanboy mania. "Fifth Element" made space fun again and a fast-paced, multi-location narrative something to enjoy. "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" set up a series of gags and knocked them down like dominoes, including it's own iconic usefulness. "Star Trek" deals with death, sex, birth, planetary destruction and personality conflicts as just part of life, instead of making an Ibsen play out of them. Shakespeare would love the way dire consequences that would cause normal people to fall back on tradition and training instead inspire this group of geniuses to improvise and hang the consequences.

This "Star Trek" hasn't seen the limits of its stars or its scriptwriters. They are nascent, ripe for further silliness. I hope the next film is called "Star Trek: You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet".

Light's Diamond Jubilee
(1954)

Light's Diamond Jubilee
And the 1954 edition was created by producer David O. Selznick.

I wonder where one can find this on VHS or DVD.

It sounds like the other poster saw it on 16mm or some other ancient format. But that could just be my imagination.

If it were available, it would be a fascinating watch. One rarely sees George Gobel these days and the media at the time thought his monologue on 'Electronic Brains' was entertaining. In George's opening remarks, there was also a bon mot that has since become famous, "If it weren't for electricity, we'd all be watching television by candle light."

The production involved weeks of rehearsal and the General Electric company tied in as much advertising as they could to the effort, including print ads, contests, and in-store product promotions.

Getting all four networks, NBC, CBS, ABC, and Dumont, to engage in a simulcast was a major PR accomplishment involving a lot of money. It would be hard to imagine a commercial concern being able to dominate all available broadcasting at the same time these days, but I suppose it's possible.

Shooter
(2007)

They killed his dog.
I really liked that dog. He could open a fridge and bring you a beer, only if you would give him a drink. He could also eat carrots from your mouth, like a horse. He would lay there without earplugs while you shot off a large caliber weapon into a ravine.

I know it's only a movie, but I really liked that dog. I would like to thank the casting director and the animal handler for selecting that particular animal. I didn't scan the credits to see what his name was, but I will later.

I hope Bob Lee can find it in his heart to love another one.

I also have enormous amount of respect for the Alsatian they used as a police dog. He did his job very well and according to the director's commentary on the DVD, he thoroughly enjoyed being tossed around while being covered in padding.

There were no cats in this movie, but I will give them another chance in the sequel.

I really think all FBI and CIA offices in movies should have cats. It's good for the morale and the heart.

Dead Center
(1993)

mindless piece of boring crap
It kind of sits there, quivering. It lacks editing, acting or purpose. A rather typical piece of straight to cable low rotation trash from the 90s, it is long at 90 minutes. The production gave a lot of union personnel a paycheck. Terrible by even Menahem Golan's lax production standards, most of the actors involved probably paid to keep this off their resumes. The R rating is about the only reason a bored person would watch this thing, as there are dozens of unnecessary sexual situations. Any suggestion of a plot is destroyed by tons of foreshadowing. Any suggestion that this collection of of images has any relation to La Femme Nakita or the American version, whose title I forgets, is like saying that Kurt Russell movies and Lawrence Olivier movies were made on the same planet. Do yourself a favor. If you find it on tape, use it for a blank.

Simply Irresistible
(1999)

An open letter to the cast, writers, crew, director and caterers....
Dear Folks, Thank You for the movie. It is so well-destructed that it holds no pretensions from the very beginning. The soundtrack alone was marvelous. The costumes beautiful. Even the food was pretty. My daughter introduced me to this film. She watches it at least once a month, usually on the same evening as "Happily Ever After". I liked the crab. I liked the department store. The sex comment was a bit much, but it did remind me a little of the Jack Lemmon or Doris Day movies of the sixties. Anyway, thanks for the movie. It did what it was supposed to do, and then stopped.

Write if you find work,

your affectionate correspondent,

Charley Weaver

You Stupid Man
(2002)

Almost as bad as "Kissing Jessica Stein"
Milla stands out in this movie because of her personal sense of style and the way the clothes hang on her. I have learned to hate that crumpled little three-year-old face she makes whenever she pretends to cry. It makes any points she is trying to make as a serious actress drop off quickly. Of course, in a movie with a BALDWIN and Denise, she still shines as a mature actor person. David seemed to be doing Woody Allen by way of Howdy Doody. Not a single word or gesture in the entire movie seemed sincere or even sincerely acted. "How Harry Met Sally" and "Two Weddings and Funeral", even "Sleepless In Seattle" had scripts, locations and ACTORS. The script seemed to be a string of bad and crude gags separated by a LOT OF TALKING. The locations seemed to be within a few blocks of each other. There are only two actors in this dishrag of an indie flick, Milla and the lady who played the chick who was into the stars. I watched most of this through the first time with the sound off, just watching Milla. That subscript gag was old the first time I saw it and it's a silly rip off of a song in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying".

Mona Lisa Smile
(2003)

I couldn't watch all the way through
I watched all the extras on the DVD before I watched the movie. I sensed an odd tone to the comments of the actresses and the producers, including the director. They didn't seem to understand that they were looking at the early fifties through the combined lenses of the eighties and the seventies. They didn't seem to realize how biased they were. The archival footage they showed the actresses as part of their homework was highly selective. No mention of the first round of the fun in Vietnam or the still smouldering Korean action. They didn't deal with the fact that the effects of WWII and the depression were still part of the experiences of the teachers and students. The eighteen, nineteen, twenty-year old girls just didn't pop into existence ten minutes before the film began. Their back story ten years before was WORLD WAR II! Somebody wasn't paying attention. It is not a period piece. It is a time of the month piece. I thought of "Dead Poet's Society for girls" all on my own while trying to struggle not to use the DVD for a target after I began to watch the film. On the other hand, I hated "Dead Poet's Society" for what it promised and failed to deliver. I cannot hate this film because I will never finish watching it. Why? Because it is not a movie. It is a collection of scenes that a writer sat down at the word processor and typed. It is a rehearsal for a movie, a promise of a movie, but there is no movie here.

The Laughing Policeman
(1973)

More of a documentary than an action film
Police procedurals have always been a staple of fiction, film and TV in the US and Europe. There are many stand outs in the genre and this isn't one of them. Having said that, I will say that this movie is full of surprises and interesting directing and cinematography. The technical assistance provided by the San Francisco police department seems to have been tremendous, particularly in the scenes demonstrating evidence collection and the then-unfamiliar SWAT team. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if some of the stunts and extra work were performed by serving officers. The original novel took place in Sweden and only two items in the film reference that origin, one submachine gun and one Volvo. The title refers to an antique novelty record that has a bit part in the novel but doesn't appear anywhere in the movie, unless it was included in the Muzak that Matthau's detective seems addicted to throughout the movie. Predating Kojak by a few months, Matthau's character is chewing gum and sucking on suckers throughout the movie in an attempt to keep from smoking. He almost gives in at one point, but tosses the pack back on the table in the den. This movie is significant in that it features sex throughout. Prostitutes, live nude performers, gay go-go boys, rough trade and cross-dressers and a token lesbian in knee-length clown socks and sandals who works as a nurse and lost her partner to the crime, just as Matthau's partner died. His dead partner also used his girlfriend to enact murderous bondage scenes which he photographed as part of his crime fetish. Matthau's character apparently has a sexless marriage while his daughter is wandering around braless in thin sweaters and his son is hanging around with the sticky raincoat crowd in a nudie "burlesque" theater. One of the victims in the film is found dead in her apartment sans clothing and Dern's character trips and almost does a push up off her body, her face just inches from his. Matthau's character wanders through it all, chewing gum and viewing it all almost impassively, with only a few moments of verbal indignation and frustration. The scenery is magnificent and cars alone are worth the price of admission. The fashions are irritating, as they were at the time and it is simply amazing how few people use seat belts. The plot is thin, and the denouement is silly, but in the end you could do worse for a couple of hours.

Monk in Oslo
(1966)

A wonderful few moments in time
Four grown men on a stark stage playing odd jazz. Apparently video-taped with the best equipment available at the time, the transfer is crystal clear and the audio better than could be expected at this remove in time.

The drummer works wonders with the most minimal drum kit and the stand-up bass player is phenomenal. The saxophonist is so-so, but in context, maybe that was all he was allowed. The three

Monk rules, his crown a fur hat with ear flaps. He stands, looks at his watch or walks off the stage when it isn't his turn to play. As he solos, the mic picks up his mouth murmuring along.

The performance, short as it is, is tremendous.

The show finishes with Monk's signature composition, 'Round Midnight'. I have heard it played by orchestras and bands, often with Monk himself at the piano. This rendition rocks.

Casino Royale
(2006)

One of the best movies I have ever seen in the cinema
I couldn't get this movie out of my head for a week after I saw it. It had it's silly moments, it had it's stupid moments. It had unnecessary plot elements. It had unnecessary characters. Yet, this is the first Bond movie that I have ever seen that wasn't a BOND movie. It was a movie that just happened to have a character named BOND in it. Just like the Dr. Who series, it doesn't matter who's playing the part if the story sucks and the production values are crap.

I would have preferred some of the trappings of the first novel to replace the junk that had accreted on the franchise like barnacles over the decades, but I was perfectly happy to find that with the exception of a couple of gadgets (I mean, not everybody carries a recirculating defib unit in their car) this movie could have taken place practically any time and this BOND could have been wandering through practically any era since the tuxedo was invented.

I think it is kinda cute that instead of being "Commander" Bond of the Royal Navy, at one point in the new movie it is suggested or hinted that he is a veteran of the SAS. I can't think of another fellow who has played Bond who could be visualized pounding down a beach with a rucksack filled with an 100 pounds of sand on his back.

If it were truly a "Fleming" movie, it would have all been in B&W and Bond would have driven a Buick or a Bentley, or Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang... And it would have been a humongous car, with a .45 Colt New Service revolver in the glove box. If it were truly a "Fleming" movie, the bond fellow would look like the Superman in the early comics, spit curl and all, but with a scar on his face. If it were truly a "Fleming" movie, there would be cigars and pipes and cigarettes everywhere. Bond would have his own brand of cigarette, with three gold rings on the end, kept in a gunmetal cigarette case. Bond would have a slight French accent, since he grew up in Switzerland and spent time behind the lines in WWII. If the producers wanted to do a "retro" Bond, I think that would be pretty cool, but it would probably rapidly descend into clichés since Fleming himself had no problem engaging in self-parody, particularly since the first book wasn't even written with the reading public in mind.

If "Fleming" were able to see this version of "Casino Royale", I don't think he'd understand it, but I think he'd like the film.

The Forgotten
(2004)

I think the actors could have come up with a better script themselves.
"The Forgotten" starts limping along with a bad title. I think it should have been the "Unforgotten" or "Unforgettable" or even "Ernest goes to Hell". Julianne Moore is supposed to be an intelligent, erudite, creative woman whose attachment to her progeny is so strong it consumes her. This is probably why she was picked on in the first place. That, and the fact that she lives in a rehabbed brownstone in a ritzy part of town. Yet, she rarely has a strong, intelligent or creative moment in the film. She never picks up a book or goes online. Instead, she goes to the paper morgue. She never connects with more than one parent whose own child went on the plane that went down, yet it was a charter flight and the other parents either lived very nearby or swam in the same social circle, so one wonders why there wasn't a victim's group, a la 9/11. Julianne's character gets dragged around like a rag doll, kinda like Sandra's character in "The Net". She initiates very little except for that one very jarringly uncharacteristic scene in which she lies to a stranger seemingly convincingly enough to elicit information. After that brief moment of flickering usefulness, she falls back into the wings of her own play.

The whole conspiracy angle and the level of complicity and organization needed to make it happen are simply unnecessary in order to achieve the end result. The alien's house is unnecessary. And the NSA's presence when the alien knows exactly where everybody is is unnecessary. And why would the aliens and the government go to the trouble to erase all media coverage of the plane crash yet not have enough sense to erase the name of the company from the hanger door?

This movie is in dire need of a remake right now, from the very beginning. I disagree that it started out strong and then ended lame. It started out limping and it fell to crawling before it fell down and laid an egg.

When the famous auto incident occurs, our little friends and their pursuers run away, with not an airbag in sight. Sorry, the makers lost me there.

The basic premise of the movie had such promise, but the writers and the producers just churned out another workman-like bit of cable fodder.

The stars just kinda wander from set to set in a daze. The dialogue could have been improved by sixth graders. The whole alien concept was a potential source of amusement and awe, but it became an yawning example of the lack of imagination on the part of the writers and the director. The special effects were laughably unnecessary and did nothing but convince us that the directer had played too many video games at some point in his life.

This movie should be remade while the actors are still alive and the boy isn't too much older.

And I have some suggestions for those bozos, the writers, producers and the director: next time give the boy an active part, like having a telepathic link with his mama. Also, don't make the husband such a lame ass. Don't make the government complicit without giving them a strong character to represent them. And leave the stupid detective out of it. There was no need for a Star Trek red shirt in an Outer Limits script.

The Thief of Bagdad
(1924)

My enthusiasm knows no bounds
I first saw this on cable, AMC, I think, and I loved it. I later acquired a tape. This movie rocks and Douglas Fairbanks is the rock star. The sets are magnificent, the effects fascinating, and all the actors pulled out the stops, many of their performances still remarkable by modern standards. Every cent spent on the production shows up on the screen. You don't know anything about movies if you've never seen this one. It contains comedy, adventure, horror, fantasy, and science fiction. The sets are overwhelming in their size and number. The special effects are amazing even at this late date. For those who have children who love Aladdin, this film has many harbingers, although the 1940 version with Sabu is the direct predecessor.

Blade: Trinity
(2004)

When will they let Wesley direct? Surely he's higher up the film chain than a writer?
1. Were the cinematographers paid by the footage of film they shot? 2. Were the editors paid by the footage they left in the film? 3. Did the director, who seems to have been a writer at some point in his life, ever watch a movie before he directed this one?

Wesley spends most of the movie looking like a beaver with thyroid problems. The sidekicks would have been better off in their own movie, perhaps an animated one.

Jessica deserves her own movie, perhaps even with this character.

The franchise was in jeopardy when the final credits rolled on the first movie. The second movie seemed to have been made by people who hadn't seen the first. This thing, "Trinity" (funny triple entendre, guys... NOT!), should be erased from the memory of the human race. I've seen videos collections of old commercials from the fifties that were more entertaining... and suspenseful.

8 Million Ways to Die
(1986)

One of the best movies I have ever seen
The locations alone are magnificent. The acting is sloppy, unpredictable and right in your face. The actors give performances that will sit on their resumes forever. The plot is goofy, draggy and ultimately unnecessary to your enjoyment. Jeff rules as a lost man caught off guard who fights back with his brain.

I love this movie because it stood out among the pile of straight-to-cable trash that ruled the mid-eighties.

Some of the scenes between Garcia and Bridges are absolutely horrifying in their intensity.

It's not a detective movie. It's not really a drama, nor a thriller. It's more of a movie movie.

I don't think Lawrence Block has anything to be ashamed of. I've seen "Burglar", where the location is changed, and the sex and color of his hero are switched. As Larry McMurtry once said, when asked if he liked what Hollywood had done to his books, "If they spell your name right on the check, then their writing serves your writing well."

Long hang tian xia
(1989)

Not his best, but not his worst, Jet does his best with a poor script
The action sequences, particularly those with Jet, are better than many I have seen in American movies. The choreography is marvelous until Jet's character begins to fight the villain, at which point it gets a little Hong-Kongy.

Tsui Hark would do much better, but this is not bad for an early effort.

The best part of this movie are the genuine martial arts elements. The "he wasn't ready yet" bit at the Kung Fu school was just hilarious and reminded me of Bruce Lee's comments about a "classical mess".

Jet's movements even when he is just walking or sitting down, are sheer poetry. It is fun to watch him.

Ultraviolet
(2006)

A Saturday afternoon at the movies
I went to see this at the matinée with my 15 year-old daughter. We knew it couldn't be as bad as Resident Evil 1 & 2. It wasn't.

We knew what to expect. We weren't disappointed.

It had all the earmarks of a stupid movie with a pile of CGI and Milla wandering around with her belly button on display.

The body count was absurd. The plot was murky. The action was useful occasionally. The sets were mondo-samey. The weapons were ho-hum. But the acting was magnificent compared to all that. We all know that Milla makes Katherine Hepburn look like Olivier. She spent most of the movie posing like a model, which she is. But she managed to pull an interesting performance out of her butt, and it made an otherwise lackluster film better.

The soundtrack was mind-numbingly samey, which is a shame, when you consider that Milla is also a musician.

Compared to something like the Matrix, it is a pretty film.

The whole resurrection thing is a bit much, but who cares?

I got what I wanted out of it. An afternoon with reality on the other side of a door. If I want Citizen Kane, I'll watch Fifth Element again.

Thank you and good night.

Paycheck
(2003)

It holds up well in the face of those films that came after and before...
I give this movie a good solid five because although Affleck plays a part that could have been done by anybody, including his buddy, Bourne, I mean Matt Damon, or Paul Ruebens or Rutger Hauer or The Rock, for Crom's sake, the film holds together as a useful effort by all concerned. Uma's part could have been played by Dolly Parton or Ru Paul.

The script is a little too complicated for it's own good, but who cares? The supporting players could have been anybody not busy on the lot that week. This movie stands on it's own two feet as an honest and workmanlike effort by John Woo, his cast and crew. None of them have any reason to be ashamed of this movie.

It has it's stupid moments, sure. It has it's plot holes, of course. It has errors of physics, logic, and sheer plausibility, granted. It's a movie.

I found it entertaining and worthy of watching several times, including with the director and the scriptwriter's commentaries on the DVD. It stands above some other efforts to film Philip K. Dick's work and it holds together better than many other action-thriller flicks. I recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it.

Follow the Boys
(1944)

Orson Welles
This movie is full of surprises, including an Andrews Sister mimicking a strip tease, a full scale dog act including trapeze tricks, Dinah Shore at the beginning of her long career, George Raft doing a Valentino take-off, Arthur Rubinstein performing on the piano a song that Spike Jones later had a hit with, Charlie Spivak and his orchestra proving that Harry James had no corner on mooing horns and muted muzak, and what appears to be Getty Grable dancing in cold weather issue Micky Mouse boots! Louis Jourdan and his band are the stand-outs among the musical performances, with "Is You Is or Is You Ain't". George Raft doing a soft-shoe in the rain to Jourdan's "Sweet Georgia Brown" is a close second. The big surprise is Orson Welles, relatively svelte, performing some David Copperfield-like magic tricks with a magnificent stage presence. Those who have seen the Peter Seller's and David Niven "Casino Royale" will know what I mean. By the way, "Casino Royale" also included George Raft in a brief cameo.

A bit long and interrupted by an unnecessary plot, this flick is worth seeing again and again.

Murder by Numbers
(2002)

Some actor/producers have no feel for the final product
Sandra Bullock is a person, not really a STAR or an ACTOR. If I wished to dignify her, I would say she is a dependable character actress.

She really does play the same part, with the same inflection, every time. Sometimes the movie fits around her, often times it doesn't.

She is willing to work her ass off, though, and willing to take direction. She is also willing to gamble on scripts that sometimes shouldn't have a future.

She also photographs well and has good set designers.

The two young leads do the best they can with what they are given, and their performances shine above the mush that the co-starring adults put forth. The script lets them down in many places, most notably with allowing these two "bright" lads to trap themselves in a dead-end hideaway. The bit with the "brightest" one throwing up wasn't too bad, except that he tossed his cookies RIGHT NEXT TO A FLOWING STREAM. That's right, sports fans, the characters are portrayed as being smarter than the scriptwriters... which means someone was reaching... and falling short.

The character that Sandra is playing shouldn't have been on the police force in the first place and probably, given the several levels of stupidity and silliness that she exhibits, shouldn't have lived as long as she did or survived the encounter with the young murderers.

The levels of adult sexual harassment displayed by Sandra's character and her co-cops are simply unnecessary and add nothing to the movie.

Traxx
(1988)

The perfect middlebrow day off movie
It has moments of supreme absurdity, like the Working Mother's Daycare in the brothel, and moments of just plain sophomoric grossness, like the way Robert Davi's character dies.

Mindless in result, thoughtful in preparation, this is a Zen movie.

I discovered it on cable soon after it came out and have owned a copy of it on VHS for years.

A movie to be watched with your older teens without embarrassment, and your peers without explanation.

Shadoe proves himself to be a master at his character and seems to have had enough sense to realize that he did his best just this once and to leave it at that.

The bit players and supporting cast all seem to be having fun and the production values are way above par for such an effort.

All in all, a movie that does what it is supposed to and then stops.

Gun Shy
(2000)

I picked this movie out for the wrong reasons
I was in the used video store down at the mall. I saw this in the rack and I remembered looking at the box and not watching this movie for years. Something just didn't seem right about it. Now I know what it was. The box blurb is utterly useless. I don't think the title helped either.

A marvelous effort for all concerned. Not a major film, by any means, but a good movie. There are some odd plot holes... but WHO CARES? It's that good.

Thank you, Sandra Bullock, for your producer's eye and ear, and for your ability, in this movie at least, to settle for a relatively minor role and still get mileage out of it. By the way, I love the socks and shirt thing. You really do that well.

For Liam Neeson, a hearty BRAVO. Good work in a role that a lesser actor might have made, well, less of. Your silences were just as eloquent as your speeches.

And to Oliver Platt... really, I must say the same thing. You rose to the occasion and served well in good company.

My final credit is to the set designer for the before and after shots of the kitchen. Marvelous. 1951 all the way!

Unleashed
(2005)

Simply fine
Another one of Besson's fairy tales, a la The Professional, the Fifth Element, and that Paris thing he did with Jet. Jet is an actor and Besson and the director give him plenty of opportunity to do his best. I believe he is capable of more in the future, but I'm willing to let him stretch a little bit at a time. A very good movie, much better than I had expected. The fight scenes are not too superheroic and the stunts are not beyond believable.

A very good effort that will deserve an increased following via DVD. I recommend that it be double-teamed with Ghost Dog for an evening of film watching.

Kissing Jessica Stein
(2001)

It's just a movie, not even a film
I found very little to dislike about this movie. I got the DVD at a used video store because I vaguely remembered some noise about this movie when it first came out. I found the packaging intriguing the first four or five times I came across it and finally got it because it seemed more interesting than most of the other dreck on the shelves.

I don't know if it's the influence of Seinfeld re-runs or a decade of Simpsons or my own experiences with the gay and bi communities, but this movie seemed very sitcom-like. The commentaries on the DVD were very educational for me, as I am a writer, but the fact that it took two years in development, with the writers, the two leads, learning how to put a film together, and then later having to create a finished product through intensive editing, leaves the result seeming very pretty. What their cinematographer was able to salvage from last minute location choices and odd lighting opportunities is very impressive and by contrast the script seems very chintzy in the variable quality of the various "skits" that were tacked onto each other to form the plot. There is a feeling-their-way process that becomes very evident in the last third of the movie. A simple plot twist might have made it more interesting than the slow slide into the end credits that we are presented with.

The commentary by the actress/writers lends a "stand-up" or "improv" feel to the film, when one watches it after listening to their stories about the production. It also makes some of the "gags" seem overwrought and clung to because the writers were in love with them, as opposed to feeling that the bits were integral to the film.

The locations, to this Non-easterner, were generic. The music choices, while dear to the film's makers, made no difference to me. In the end, I found myself applauding the maker's choices in supporting players, their performances often being what kept the DVD in the player, instead of becoming a makeshift Frisbee.

As for the "lesbian" angle of the film, I guess I'm just jaded or closer to the reality of the situation. I found that it was a hook that the writers chose to hang their gags on. Which is appropriate, considering their own description of the original skit from which the script sprang as being "two 'Laura Ashley-types' getting a pedicure at a spa talking about how one might stage manage a girl on girl encounter". This is not a quote but a sloppy memory of the statement on the movie's Fox Searchlight website.

A cute movie that may give the creators the courage to make a film.

Hour of the Gun
(1967)

Good for a visit, but not for a revisit
Jason Robards and James Garner do their best with a script that rarely lets them into character. The sets are often left over from other familiar movies. The costumes are like samples from a cowboy re-enactor's catalog. The weapons are generic. The story is just boring enough to be believable. The soundtrack has it's odd and even interesting moments, but nothing to hum on your way to the fridge. Regardless of it's usefulness or otherwise in 1967 (nice tanker cars, by the way, John), this movie serves best as an antidote to all the Hallmark card hagiographies of Senor Earp. Also interesting in the light of it supposedly being a sequel is the fact that Garner went on two decades later to play Earp again, in "Sunset" with Bruce Willis. I just wish all the Earp and O.K. Corral fetishists didn't have such a fascination with mustaches. After awhile, it starts to look like a Jerry Collona convention.

De-Lovely
(2004)

I watched it over and over the first day I bought it
Within the limitations that this film project faced, the final product proves that the sum is more than the whole of it's parts. Before I was aware of those limitations, before I did the research to compare fact with fiction, I was enchanted with this film. After I did the research and watched the extras on the DVD, I was even more impressed. I didn't expect an historical documentary. I didn't even expect a dramatic tour de force. I did expect to see Kevin Kline do his best and the music itself to overcome any interpretation. I was not disappointed. In re-watching the film, I ignore as much of the story as I can, and enjoy the "music video" aspects of it. I wouldn't have considered it a wasted evening to have seen this performed on a stage at a local high school or Jr. College.

The sexual aspects of the script were a trifle irritating at times and seemed unnecessary to what little plot there was. I also found the scene with his accident very overwrought, as well as the ambiguity of whether he was going to take his own life in the end. The music and the eccentric performances of the songs rise above all that. The recording of Cole singing one of his songs during the credits was very educational. I will have this film as part of the regular rotation in my DVD player for a long time to come.

I think it would be impossible for a single film to deal with Cole Porter's life with any honesty and I for one probably wouldn't want to watch it. What little that I know of his private life strongly suggests that the truth might not be as entertaining as the songs themselves. He was a master songwriter and the reasons why will probably always remain a mystery. I can live with that.

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