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Mad at the Moon

Beautiful Images Fabulous Score
I had it transfer from VHS - very dark copy - to DVD - Wow! Somebody mentioned the word "hypnotic" in a review. Well, yes, hypnotic applies but also moving, strange, gorgeous. Where is Mary Stuart Masterson? My God! She's sublime here. Hart Bochner is mysterious and heartbreaking. And who is Stephen Blake? He's compelling here but looking at his credits on IMDb, he hasn't done much. Great face. The score by Gerald Gouriet is sensational. A lyrical western with dark undertones. The aria at the beginning "La Notte Scotta" an unexpected stroke that takes you somewhere immediately. The ending feels a bit rushed - maybe because I wanted to go on. But I recently found out the film was shot in Simi Valley, California in 18 days for less than a million bucks. I don't know many people who've seen this movie. I sometimes introduce it in after dinner parties, always a success. Thank you.

The Oscars

Host, Structure, Purpose...
It should be a celebration of film. I don't care how long it takes but the movies should be right left and center. Why do you think that the brief appearance of Julie Andrews and Shirley MacLaine gave the proceedings a bit of luster? This was all TV and Broadway. The Rock was a presenter and many TV names. I really miss the Special Oscars. From Chaplin to Elia Kazan. Those were moments. Now is the Governors Awards who have all my interest. Maureen O'Hara, Jean Luc Goddard, Angela Lansbury... Neil Patrick Harris is likable but, too light weight, uncertain, forced. It needs someone with real swagger and charm. I know it's very easy to come out with comments from within the comfort of my own living room but I'm one of those die hard fans of the Oscars and I lament this morphing into a a third rate variety show. Names please. Representative names of the industry, and the industry didn't start yesterday. Let's look deep into our past so we can plan better our future.

Gone Girl

Maybe, maybe not
David Fincher is a phenomenal craftsman. His visual style dominates every inch of the frame but why is it that I left the theater so untouched, so unscathed. I told the story to someone over dinner and I couldn't do it without laughing. This is no comedy, or is it? So, what is it about David Fincher's movies that include some shocking stuff without shocking me. I can observe without participating. Cold, maybe that's it. The passionate story is told without passion but with a feverish attention to the cosmetic veil that covers or masks the real story. I wasn't bored, just impatient and a bit put off. I admired the performances and wondered about the casting of Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry. I suspect is code for something but I can't imagine what. After all said and done, goo see it.

Exodus: Gods and Kings

Christian humble?
Let me say immediately. Visually, technically, this film is a wonder and for that alone it deserves to be seen but then. Oh brother. Christian Bale, one of my favorites among the post-De Niro crop, is cast as Moses, you know? Moses - the man chosen by God for his humbleness. Christian's Moses blazes with self confidence. The Godly horrors known as plagues are a cinematic jaw dropping experience but when it returns to the actual drama. Oh brother. How can it possibly be? When the great Ridley Scott made his Robin Hood (did you see it?)his star Russell Crowe went to a talk show to promote the movie and called the Erroll Flynn version, "crap" - You see? I think that's at the center of the problem.


An American Gem
Sometimes it felt like the work of some brilliant foreign director when in fact two extraordinary American filmmakers, Joel and Ethan Cohen, united by blood and art, are at helm, giving us a powerful glimpse into an America that seems totally new and strangely familiar at the same time. Tender without ever falling into sentimentality. Horrific and enchanting. I feel terrible I hadn't seen this masterpiece until now. I don't have any valid excuses. It just happened. Now, "Fargo" has become one of my favorite American films of all time. Every moment is "a moment" without pretension or subterfuge. Frances McDormand is, quite simply, sublime. Every character, William H Macy, Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare in particular, create characters that will linger in my mind, for better or worse, always. What a treat!

Ghost Town

A Gem
I can't understand how I missed it. Written and directed by David Koepp, the man who wrote "Apartment Zero" and "Death Becomes Her" with Martin Donovan, a personal hero of mine. Not to mention some of the biggest moneymakers of the last two decades. "Ghost Town" strives for something else, it pinpoints the goodness hidden in the heart of someone who, perhaps, never knew was there. A comedy of personal discovery no less. I was moved and delighted. Ricky Gervais goes through it, stumbling over himself with an innocence that is as real as it is mysterious. I connected with him half way through and it took me by surprise. I was loving a character that at the beginning I thought was funny but despicable. That for me means I've learned something. Thank you.

Inside Llewyn Davis

The Gloomy Innocence Of The Coen Bros
It's like a gust of wind that never stops. I was altered, disturbed and amused by the clarity of this poets. From Joel and Ethan to Bruno Delbonnel, Oscar Isaac, to T Bone Burnett and everyone who enters, even for an instant, this sublime, unique, startling P.O.V. Aware but never condescending to the audience. No explanation as to why this story deserved to be told. The answers are private, deeply personal, enlightening and, at times, chillingly transparent. The face of Oscar Isaac, my God! For me one of the most enthralling discoveries of 2013. At times it reminded me of an updated character in an Italian Neo-realistic film, others one of those images from one of Martin Donovan's sessions. I sat through Inside Llewyn Davis twice in a row. I can't wait to repeat the experience soon again.


Two Girls
Friendships and love. Memory and longing. A film that lets you dwell without forcing you to. The story, a true account, told by Lillian Hellman in "Pentimento" was debased by one of Hellman's fans that became her assistant. Imagine. Trying to destroy your mentor. Real or imaginary the story lived in Hellman's heart and mind. Fred Zinnemann created a world for the story to acquire a true human dimension. A triumph. Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave are extraordinary as the inseparable childhood friends, Lilli and Julia. Jason Robards, is utterly wonderful as Dashiell Hammett. The film is also the first for Meryl Streep in a short, very short but memorable character. The script by Alvin Sargent, magnificent. Highly recommended.

Apartment Zero

Colin Firth creates a First
I've never seen a character like Colin Firth's Adrian in any movie, before or since. It reminded me however of some people I know, including me. Colin Firth gives him life without trying to win friends. He is so tightly screwed that there's no room for anything in his life other than old movies, the kind that let you escape to, sometimes, darker pastures. "Touch Of Evil" is playing at his deserted revival theater in Buenos Aires when the film opens. We see Colin's face watching and the voice of Marlene Dietrich "He was some kind of a man". I had seen "Apartment Zero" many years ago and I remembered the impact, I went home and couldn't fall asleep. The faces of Colin Firth and Hart Bochner keeping me awake. I never saw the film again until last night. I remembered entire sequences, music and faces. It was strange to see it again after a lifetime of personal experiences. I laughed out loud, I wept, I was terrified. My only qualm was the length. I got impatient sometimes waiting for those moments that I knew, were about to come. Now I own it and I know I'll come back to it again and again. Highly recommended.

The Westerner

65 years before "Brokeback Mountain"
The thought makes me smile. But the love story between Gary Cooper and the sensational Walter Brennan made me think of it. They sleep together the first night they meet. And when Roy Bean (Brennan) wakes up and Gary Cooper is gone, he goes crazy. He jumps out of bed and runs like the wind trying to find him, stop him from going. The excuse is a curl from Lilly Langtry. But the truth is in Walter Brennan's gaze. William Wyler - another German Hollywood director - gives us a slice of the American West, comparable to the one shown by Taiwanese Hollywood director Ang Lee in the superlative "Brokeback Mountain" The foreign eye looking in. Remarkable. The film is a gem from beginning to end. Don't miss it.

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