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Not another disaster movie
If this film had something to make me think about after it, I might have been more enthusiastic. But, in the end, to me this is just another special effects disaster movie. Boring.
Sandra Bullock in a space uniform is the first problem. Snicker. Hello, can anybody hear me? Maybe they did and didn't want to answer her, because I wouldn't hearing that shallow whining voice! And George Clooney is to me even less believable.
Great special effects is all this movie has to offer, if you turn the sound off. What really bothers me is that it was nominated for 10 Academy Awards. I suppose that what this business has become, awards for what appeals to those who would never see Kubrick's 2001 but generates lots of cash.
I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955)
Beautiful, ethereal, but still with home-girl qualities
I have no doubt that this was both Susan Hayward's and Jo Van Fleet's finest performances. The two actresses show a profound understanding of the limits of a mother-daughter relationship, as well as a deep, gut-wrenching well of female emotion that, well, is hardly seen on screen. When Lillian runs into the hospital to find an empty bed where David was, and realizing that he is dead, collapses in tears: not overplayed, not hysterical, but as real a scene only a seasoned, highly professional actress could play.
The story is interesting, if not with a little over-indulgence, but it is, after all, a biography. I would pay any price to see Ms. Hayward play this role, with her tragically expressive eyes, her ethereal yet next-door qualities. She deserved an Oscar for this role.
Come Back, Little Sheba (1952)
Tour de force Shirley Booth
Brilliant casting! The interplay between Ms. Booth and Burt Lancaster is so real, and so poignant, I can't help but be kept spellbound by the two of them. How you want little Sheba to come home, how you imagine her going to sleep holding back the tears, is so touching and humiliating at the same time.
Yes I can see how women might find this film unsettling, to say the least, but in fact Lola has the upper hand throughout, she maintains him and the house through tragedy and frustration, and Doc knows this, he sees it, he understands it. And for the brief time he feels passion for the roommate, the passion is not focused on her, but on himself, and ultimately he gives it to loyal Lola.
A wonderful, touching film, memorable.
Rhoda: Rhoda's Wedding (1974)
Great story and heartfelt humor
For years, throughout the MTM show, Rhoda's marriage was anticipated, but never did I expect to actually see it happen. And it happens in true Valerie Harper fashion: nothing goes right but she still never loses her smile or courage, as in real life.
What makes this episode (1&2) so memorable for me is Rhoda's will and determination to make it work, to see all the old cast together with her, and especially the seeming spontaneity of reaction by all. It is heartfelt, feels sincere and genuine in their all wanting her to marry Joe.
This is for me the ultimate TV episode, with scenes both inside and outside not distracting, the dry humor, "One guy tried to write graffiti on my dress", and the way Cloris Leatchman tries to get sympathy from the crowd, all unforgettable.
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
A great film standing timeless
I could use all the movie clichés to describe this heartwarming and bittersweet film, but only the most vivid ones will do. The direction and the camera in the opening scenes, in the plane and in the taxi are held not too close, but just far away enough to get the scene, as if we are reading a book, or eavesdropping, which is the way it should be, so smart not to take close-ups of such gut-wrenching emotional interplay. I can never forget how Homer arrives home, and how he is greeted, so bravely and so American in spirit. Even thinking about it makes my eyes water.
This is a film about bravery, about how to deal with tragedy smartly and with courage. It has humor, it has love, and as I said all the clichés that go with it. And it is timeless, for no matter what war or period of time, people will react the same, wanting to help but not knowing how, wanting to give but not knowing what to give.
A masterpiece of direction and cinema, it should be seen by young and old as a lesson both in great filmmaking and about life.
An iconic film with an intrinsic beauty
Hoping not to get banned from further reviews by IMDb for advising any reviewer of this film to first have a tall stiff drink.
I have imagined a dozen scenarios where, in typical Hollywood fashion, the studio heads are contemplating what to follow Cover Girl with, knowing that every woman in America now hates Ms. Hayworth, with the men gone overseas and her picture as a Pin-Up girl on every bombardier. Perhaps a call from Orson Welles with a timely B script using a hot young stud to draw in a female heavy public? And it wouldn't make him a bit jealous.
If there are some actresses who were born to be in front of a camera, Ms. Hayworth made the camera to be born in front of her. I can only imagine the sweat pouring down its sides, and Rudolph Maté wiping it down with a cool rag; for the camera clearly adored her, her exquisite beauty, her sexuality, her sarcasm. She was ethereal, riveting; she could blow a kiss and it would float out of the film into the air. Troubled, no doubt drinking heavily, uppers, contribute to her biting undertone; it's as if she's screaming to escape from her own skin. But such a beautiful skin!
I think today we can see better the homo-eroticism, the sadism and masochism, the degrading of women, then could be seen at the time. Much of this smells like Welles to me, since the producer was a champion of women's rights, who could hardly be expected to condone the treatment of this woman.
I say that there has never been, before or since, a more intrinsically beautiful, pornographic (in the Joyce sense) portrait of a woman than Rita Hayworth in this film, except perhaps a Moreau or Bergman. And the off-the shoulder, but down to the ankles gowns only add to that remark. She seems so confident and happy singing Mame, yet a bit sad and bitter doing Amado Mio. I find it hard to believe this was what the film demanded, I believe it was real.
The opening scene where Glenn Ford is walking down a dark alley to be confronted by a thug, and is rescued by a strikingly erudite gentleman pointing a walking stick, when a blade pops out on its end, only sets the tone for the menage-a-trois to follow. I find it highly suggestive and unusual for the time.
All in all it is a film icon, not to be missed.
Alice Adams (1935)
A film I call beloved and endearing
I think it is her best RKO film, as it shows Ms. Hepburn's depth, her precise characterization, her beauty. It is a film that at times makes you frustrated, and at other times to want you to move closer to the screen. Charming, heart-warming, courageous. Her recognition of her father's simplicity, so finely acted, never diminishes her love for him, and his self awareness makes him awkward in expressing his love for his daughter. I don't think that any direction was needed for their interplay, she was genuine as was he. I think it was her own relationship with her father which inspired her to this great acting.
Every scene in this film was treated as a vignette, and perfect in the costume design, and staging, which sets it apart as theater, not appearing low-budget, yet not being high-budget, all the more remarkable.
This is a film to hold as beloved, endearing, heart-felt.
Orfeu Negro (1959)
A film transcendent for its timer
I agree with the reviewer who says it is a successful attempt to recreate an old myth in modern times, but take it a step further and add it is a magnificent attempt, one that has not gotten the attention it deserves.
As a young adult, seeing it made me look at film story-telling in a different perspective; how an ensemble of actors, with a great screenplay, can take a story written in the clouds and bring it down to earth so easily and realistically. I can tell you that I only had the desire to see it once, but it has stayed with me as one of those enlightened moments, and in black and white, as it should be.
I think it is a classic, made at a time when the world was on the verge of transformation, yet not quite there yet, which makes it all the more remarkable.
Fellini - Satyricon (1969)
Mellow in spirit and physical energy
I remember seeing this for the first time in a crowded, darkened theater known for showing avant-garde films. The reaction was positive but bewildering, as it was for me. Surely, in the early '70's, when I saw it, it was startling and hard to place for its genre. X rated? Unrated? Avant-garde? Definitely not a film for middle America, it would appeal to those with sophisticated adult tastes.
The continuity of the film is I think what makes it great. The ease at which Fellini breaks in with innuendo is remarkable. The opening scene is unique for its effect, which at the time didn't have all the high-tech computer generated effects available, a sign of a great director. The beauty of those boys is not so much physical, as it is in their spirit and energy. And this pervades the film, although overt in its physicality, yet the background takes the fore.
A must-see for anyone interested in the adult arts, in staging, in ancient Rome, in story-telling. Memorable.
Caccia alla volpe (1966)
A charming and engrossing comedy
One of my favorite all-time comedies. The cinematic style, the '60's sophistication, the rustic Italian flavor, all create a perfect backdrop for Seller's genius. It's a wonderful, funny and timeless story told with humor and bravado, and self-indulgence here and there which keeps me smiling from beginning to end. It's one of those rare films where, at the end, I can admit I thoroughly enjoyed it, each and every time I see it.
I suppose that those who did not like or "get" La Strada, would not like or "get" this film either, as I place it in that genre. I do see a similar theme, in that the protagonists make the people around them seem like idiots who only care about themselves, not realizing that they are idiots too. Only Peter Sellers could pull this off so perfectly, his style and timing so unique and inspiring. A must-see for anyone who loves theatre comedy.
Madame X (1966)
Powerful soap opera
I admit that the first time I saw this film, I had gone through a box of Kleenex by the end. The second time around, it was a full-length soap opera, but a really good one. And the third time, I thought how silly it was. But all in all, I have to admit that Ms. Turner gave a beautiful and moving performance, and worked well with Ricardo Montalban. In fact, I would have liked to see them work together more.
As one reviewer said, Ms. Turner is supposed to be of the lower class, but that is hard to imagine. Perhaps if Shelly Winters played the role, yes. But Ms. Turner to me, rather then being of lower class, gives the impression of being too beautiful, too playful and too liberal to be part of what appears to be a powerfully conservative and old money family. And realizing this, she descends into that lower class,not because she is, but because her broken self-esteem tells her that is where she aught to be. This self-destruction is more of what makes this film interesting, and to me makes her reuniting with her son almost irrelevant. Overall, when I think of how unimportant this film is, there are certain moments that are hard to forget, and for this reason I give it a 6+.
The Heiress (1949)
Intelligent sophisticated and touching
Surely one of the best films of its time, stunning in its continuity and intelligence. This is not a tear-jerker, as I think it is too sophisticated for that, yet one can't help but feel the pain and disappointment in both her father and her lover. The point is that by keeping it so witty and sharp, it stands above the crowd of films that bring out the slobbering tissues; and that's admirable.
So I can say that I admire the way this film was made, and how the cast kept true to this class; and that I think Ms. DeHaviland proved herself a great actress by this film, and deserved every accolade. Her reaction to her father's cruelty was poignant and reserved, yet full of inner power and emotion. It must have taken a lot of thought on what her reaction should have been, rather than how it could have been.Bravo!
The Little Foxes (1941)
Incomparable in the cinematography, the lighting effects, the close-ups, the work of a true master. It's hard to imagine how long ago this film was made, yet has managed to keep its integrity. Intelligent, sardonic, with a brilliant performance by Bette Davis, I for one consider this one of the greatest films ever made.
I think that Herbert Marshall underplayed his role to give more stage to Ms. Davis, which may not have been his choosing. He didn't seem to be as sick as he was supposed to be, and seemed distant at times, as if acknowledging to be second fiddle. Even so, as a drama, as a story about a dysfunctional wealthy family, no cast today could outshine this one. Could any actress have done better to capture the moment when she refuses to give him his medicine as he lay on the staircase begging, and the close-up of her eyes, dark and cold, yet uncertain. Amazing.
The Ninth Gate (1999)
Another overlooked item 60 80 90
When they are exiting the highway in the Viper, the license plate on the truck is clearly 60 80 90. When Corso hitches a ride on a lumber truck, the license plate is also 60 80 90. Coincidence, or something more? This is one of my most favorite films, especially for the memorable lines such as "40ish, dishy" and "300 years ago I wouldn't have said it!" All in all another Polanski masterpiece without all the high tech gimmicks used today which tarnish the realism. I sometimes think of a sequel, wondering what happened to Corso after his entry to Hell.
Barbara Jefford was cast superbly as the Baroness, I can't think of anyone who could have played her better.