Precious1 > ReviewsDream big....
Deadfall - 3 years, 6 months agoHaven't seen a crime thriller this good in ages, with such fast moving pace but excellent character development at the same time. The screenplay is exciting and observant of human psychology. The acting is superb, and I guess the directing had a lot going for it too. Like the perfect storm,this just all came together and did a job of stirring me up good. The tension built up from the start with Addison and what we learn about him and his coach. The relationship between the sheriff and his daughter, and the how the men treated her, and her stoic dealing with it...wow, I could not have handled it. The relationship between the siblings was ambiguous but inspiring at the same time. The relationship in the family between the spouses and the son was written with such deft strokes which said so much. The actors were fabulous. Especially at the dinner table at the climax of the story. The mother, Sissy Spacek, had such easy going wisdom about her but exploded with outraged indignation when pushed beyond the limit. Loved the way the brother got the "L" word out of the protagonist in the climactic denouement. And it left you in the end wondering how the story would go on with our antiheroes. One of those screenplays where you just fall in love with the bad guy and it just kills you to know he is fated, and that he has written his own tragedy as well as having been written by it. Look forward to more of Zach Dean's screenplays.
Hemingway & Gellhorn - 3 years, 11 months agoLoved this film because it dealt with the relationship between two strong, ewually matched characters who could have brought out the best in both of them had Hemingway not succumbed to major depression and did the things he did to her. I also love the to hear about Hem's life...while the film is great impressionism, it is inaccurate in some historical detail. Mr. Hemingway never drank and wrote. He eschewed that. Had tried it and saw how it hurt his talent.F. Scott Fitzgerald, a friend, now that's another story. Mr. Hemingway wrote in bed in the morning, the sun had to shine on the bed He wrote longhand with a #2 pencil on onion skin paper. He often had his women type up his rough draft. Mr. Hemingway had stated in his diaries that he could not write unless he was in love. He married his last wife, Mary, for convenience: to have a cook and a maid and a.....But he could not write after Martha dumped him. Mr. Hemingway also wanted to quit drinking desperately. He hated having to get up in the middle of the night to have a glass of white wine to be able to fall back asleep. He had been abstinent for for over six months when he had a party, living where they had moved out in a cabin in the wilds of Idaho, and got drunk And after the guests had left and Mary was upstairs in bed, he shot himself in the head with his shot gun in the wee hours of the morning leaving for Mary to clean up the mess.
Larry Crowne - 4 years, 8 months agoIt's quite possible that had I been watching this alone, I might have passed .. It certainly is not a lol kind of comedy, if it can be called a comedy at all, rather than a feel good of movie. Nor is it a romance in today's sense of the word, but more an affair of the heart. There is no profanity, no theatrical irony, and no skin. There appears to be no struggle for the protagonists, a major criticism of the screenplay. Not that sh*.t does not happen to them, but the male protagonist has such an optimistic attitude, and the female protagonist such adaptability, romping through the vagaries of reality.as they are, that higher ground is manifested out of devastation by being willing to shift paradigms and reinvent themselves.. There is that great real American sense of feeling good, optimism blaring in this movie. But all this personal transformation takes place in a social context. It is the people one chooses to associate with, and the ones one lets go, in life that are the key. So to dramatize this, the primary focus is a man and a woman who meet. Two people who live solitary lives, not that there are not people around them daily, and might improve with some intimate relationship. Compatible, good natured, spirits who through sidebars and unspoken action reveal their essence to one another and thus sow the seeds of change. A man and a woman beaten down by external events and by their own demons, still fighting and struggling to gain what they need to continue forward are healed by the miracle of encountering a soul mate later in life, after the wild oats of early youth have flown like chaff in the wind. They learn valuable lessons about life from one another: who they are at their best, what their priorities are, what they need to do to go forward, and how they can start anew. The film is a great pared down social commentary on how people need to adapt, to not settle and stagnate, to keep adapting in these times, ant that exactly because things are so tough out there economically, we need one another more than ever as a community; as the real friends through whom one invariably garners success for your freedom is inseparable form mine.
Storm - 4 years, 10 months agoKerry Fox is the star here.I looked up a little bit about her.She received praise and a nomination for the Australian Film Institute Awards for her leading role in Country Life, starred in Danny Boyle's breakout British hit Shallow Grave with Ewan McGregor, and was nominated for the Canadian Academy Award (Genie Award) for her supporting role in The Hanging Garden. In 2001 she won the Silver Bear for Best Actress for her role as Claire in Intimacy (directed by Patrice Chereau) at the Berlin Film Festival.This was the film in which she performed unsimilated fellatio, some say.. What they do these days in films...there was only one film where I saw unsimilated cunnilingus where the male seems to have been actually a fast study with a bit of finesse . "Coming Soon"lol it's called. This film raised my pulse and tied my stomach in knots. It just makes me mad at all the mean people who suffer this world. Like all one needs. lol And that I can't do anything much about it but try to be less mean myself.
When Heaven Falls - 5 years agoDark Danish drama is damned right!! The horror of what is going on unravels slowly. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, as Hamlet said. These kind of Danish horror shows creep me out as I can relate to some degree what is going on with the...little girls. The subtitles, which were the worst to read ever, gave out about a third of the way through so I had to wing it on the images and things were not neatly tied up, but enough was suggested that the horror came through.Things build up, there is violence and the nature of human sexuality is violated, bad drugs,and the idea that people in the real world have to live with their memories of what they have done, or has been done to them. It makes me want to even more be able to make some money and help kids, especially girls who had their childhood robbed, their live made emotionally crippled by sick, doomed, unhappy but obsessed and possessed friends of the devil.
Intimacy - 5 years, 1 month agoThis is an Art film, X rated, for adults. Sometimes silence is golden, and the less said the better. Silence not in the passive aggressive giving the other the silent treatment, but noble silence, when words have been used already to clarify and more words would be meaningless, and all that is left is the choice of action. Do you take it? Or walk. Go find your Way, with a song in your heart, and your light shining for the travelers you meet along the way, be they accompanying you, or just passing your way. Words, once out of the mouth, can never be taken back. People will forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. Word will affect the nature of all human relationships in your world for better or worse, for good. The sex in this film is desperate, opposite of intimate, like some base physical drive, lacking soul. It is full of anxiety and lacks beauty or passion. It does not look like much fun. It is also all from a male point of view, and might turn guys on but leaves me flat and rather repulsed. It makes me see her as some kind of needy child masochist. Similarly, he might be getting off, but he remains empty and forlorn in his journey to nowhere.She is getting the pleasure out of the attention and the need we all have to be touched.....I would not be kept turned on by a continual menu of such humping.Few women, nix masochists, would.She is neither coming, or going anywhere.
Pola X - 5 years, 1 month agoIf you know Herman Melville from "Moby Dick" or "Billy Bud" fame, you will not believe the same guy wrote "Pierre of the Ambiguities" of which this is a film interpretation. It is such a weird, and compelling story, of such real passionate flawed people, luckily transcribed in a great screenplay and super director and actors. Some great erotic stuff.This novel cost Melville problems and harsh criticism and a decline in his popularity. It deals with the illusion of freedom, the confusion of lust for love, and the ever present existential angst of ennui, isolation, guilt, self debasement, compulsion and obsessions present in some manner and form in all of us. This guy was from Massachusetts and friends with the transcendentalists Emerson, Thoreau, Alcott, and Hawthorn. If you like intense weird flicks that have you thinking and your adrenaline flowing simultaneously, you might like this one.
The Soviet Story - 5 years, 1 month ago20 million humans were exterminated by Stalin, either systematically starved to death or frozen in the Gulag in the Siberian slave labor camps, or simply dragged out of bed in the middle night and shot in the woods somewhere...or whole villages, families lined up in front of mass graves to be shot one by one in the back of the head so they fall down into the ditch. Other than that, you could be just led out of Parliament as if you were called to a meeting to be shot,or you could be Papa's best friend and if you displeased him,shot and your pic erased from official photos. Or the best and the brightest of Poland, all it's top intellectuals, doctors, priests, university professors, writers, master craftsmen, the cream of the crop of the Polish mind, whom both Stalin and Hitler hated as much as the Jews for some reason, systematically shot in the back of the head like cattle slaughtered in the Katyn woods. He was more photogenic than Hitler, one has to grant.
Une hirondelle a fait le printemps - 5 years, 1 month agoFilmed on location in the French Alps that makes you want to pack and leave on holiday, the film shows the colliding and bonding of two disparate souls. On one hand you have a realistic idealist, a thirty year old woman who is not only beautiful in the face, but is beautiful because of a light in her heart, and on the other hand you have an old misanthropic curmudgeon who has suffered horrors she can only imagine. Her mother and her main squeeze of several years are in the picture of colliding and remixing as well. Then there is the bonding with the goats and the wilderness. When a successful woman of thirty is about to quit a high profile job and give up the comforts of life and culture in the big city, leave a sharp man who seems a good match (but one who was starting to take her for granted so that he was not cottoning her “voice”, her desire to fulfill a childhood dream) decides to up and go back to school so she can move to the country and raise goats and make goat cheese…. it might well upset a mother, Not only does she come out on top of her class but wins an opportunity to buy a goat farm. On the farmstead her life touches that of an old man who thought he had nothing to live for. She feels no conflict in dropping a pointless life going nowhere in the traffic jam, and running to the savage beauty of life in the isolated mountains. The mountains are beautiful but uncompromising, as the protagonist herself marches ahead unflinching. But flashes of temperament in affairs of the heart and spontaneous changes make for new ways of looking at old relationships where the other parties have made attempts to change and be more aware as well. In the end, she is a damsel, not the distressed kind, but one calm and in control of her destiny, who has her goat farm, and friend flying alongside her. Theirs is neither a symbiotic relationship nor a conventional one. The ending is left open ended for the viewer to imagine how the two are setting up their lives. The images we are left with indicate that they are “together”, though not necessarily sleeping together every night, nor in the same house, between the times they are apart and alone. Those are the times when she goes to the Alps and her goats (but to which we see she is not tied as she can find students to take over for her) and he has to stay in Paris to teach. Both are free to be the best they can be in their callings and inner lives, and in being true friends to one another….without which, careers in the city or goat farm, nature, life….all of it, would mean pretty much zilch.
Requiem - 5 years, 1 month agoWhy would an intelligent young woman, experiencing not only seizures but now hearing voices and having hallucinations as well, chose exorcism over medical invention? Besides the fact that people having psychotic episodes usually do not think they need to see any doctors, would it have anything to do with a pathologically critical and overbearing mother? Cause no matter how far you go from such abuse, distance alone will not eradicate the perpetrator from your head. The protagonist’s boyfriend did her little service taking her home, where all her troubles derived from, instead of the hospital. How culpable was he in her demise? I liked this realistic portrayal, in a naturalistic style, a moving portrait of a tortured soul in mental decline , much better than the histrionic, effects-laden “The Exorcism of Emily Rose”. It struck a note with me because only recently I came to the startling realization that some countries in Europe do not take psychotherapy, cognitive behavior therapy, family therapy, for granted as people in America seem to. A heavy duty stigma was attached to anything implying neurosis, God forbid ,psychoses. Consequently, instead going to a shrink for manic –depressive episodes that devastate everyone’s life around a personal suffering from that manifestation of depression……..he is labeled merely someone with a “ difficult personality.” Would the high rate of suicides in some of these countries have anything to do with this?
Barfly - 5 years, 1 month agoI noticed when I was watching films in Hungary that the two people given top credit were the screen writer and the director. Since in the States the screen play writer gets little play, I really perked up at this good thing. Being interested in the craft, I know the screenwriters get overshadowed by the director and actors. Not. No screen play no film. Remember the writers strike in Hollywood a couple of years ago? Everything came to a screeching halt. "Barfly" is bursting with the force of the script...shows how it is the screenplay that is first and foremost in morphing a film into existence.The dialogue is so witty and catchy, there must be a couple of dozen memorable quotes. An autobiographical story of Charles Bukowski's adventures as a schmuck . Loved the way Mickey Rourke, his alter ego, listens to classical music all the time. What a simpatico character Bukowski created!!! 5/5
The Shop on Main Street - 5 years, 2 months agoThe main issue here is inner integrity and the courage to act out the decent thing. There is a lot of tension between the protagonist and the widow, and what is going on in the town, that drew me in. Though the subject is the Nazi occupation, this was filmed during the Soviet occupation with not only stringent censorship, but dire consequences to artists who criticized to the occupation unless in the most couched terms. While many artists languished in prison during this time, some, like the writer and director here,got away with a subtly rendered double entendre, a double meaning. Since you could not criticize the system directly, you criticized the Nazis, whom the Commies hated. But in fact what the Soviets were doing was no different, with their Gulag where souls disappeared to forever...those over sized monuments built in the square, political graffiti all over the walls, soldiers everywhere,the pressure to collaborate, the confiscation of private property and deportations to slave labor camps in the Siberian Gulag...and the continued persecution of minorities and anyone who criticized the system. When the soldiers are singing "Slovenians ruling Slovenians" and the drunkards in the pub echo the same refrain, this was understood to be against Russian occupation. The old timers who lived through this, and even up until 1989, before cells and the net, will tell you how they sat many an evening around the kitchen table with wine, the shutters pulled, and would be broiled in debates of all the meanings the censors had been obtuse enough to miss. The laughter gave some relief to the intolerable situation people had to tolerate.
La petite Lili - 5 years, 2 months agoThe dialogues and actions stir up an ironic and subversive mixture of the eternal and the transitory in every day human life. As in life, in art character is destiny. In the modern world character has more to do with the craft of writing one’s own story than choices set in stone before the cell phone and the net came along. We have tremendous freedom of choice along with physical and social mobility. Though the human heart might be the same down the ages, characters have chances to reinvent themselves in second and third acts not possible in history before. The contrast between the eternal and transitory in life is played out by means of a play within a play. The superficial passes, the substantive remains; characters evolve and accept ambiguities, or get written out of the play for their obtuseness with a gunshot.
Things Behind the Sun - 5 years, 2 months agoHow many girls and women get raped every minute worldwide? The stats are so high, if you google it, that it does not make sense. It does not seem possible. But many women know it is possible, they know because it happened to them and it is going on around us, every day,every minute. While we are in other rooms busy relaxing with our drinks and cigarettes in front of our widescreens. A rapist can sabotage a woman's capacity for love for the rest of her life by always being there in the back of her awareness when she gets sexy, often his ugly face leers at her as if he were right there with her when she is getting turned on ...Cognitive behavior techniques can help get rid of compulsive thoughts for people who have been thus traumatized. If only the protagonist had had recourse to a good cognitive therapist….... What, though, if it is not just one man's face, but many ugly men’s faces, a gang bang, while idle people are sitting by in the next room, sipping on drinks and smoking cigarettes..? That would be one deadly load to eradicate.
Conversations with Other Women - 5 years, 2 months agoThis may contain poilers…. This is a story that explores just about every aspect of the modern human condition with wit and intelligence where the love between a man and a woman is a many a complicated thing. It is about values, choices, losses and regrets. The two characters are only named Woman and Man. There is a sense of universality to the emotions examined which any adult who has loved or loves can relate to. Memories, feelings, regrets are shown to overlap the present, whether you want to forget them, or to rely on what you learned to shape your future, they sharply affect the present. We see two beautifully flawed characters in an unusually provocative but subtle set up that keeps the viewer guessing all the way to the end, which is itself ambiguously open ended. The dialogue and subtle interaction between these two characters is so compelling that it drew me right in from start to finish. It is intense and infused with provocative innuendos so that what happens between them has a significant impact on the viewer. The love making sequence is one of almost poetic beauty. It is totally different from the gratuitous, rough display of meaningless sex in the majority of movies. It sure perked my ears up…I definitely want that kind of humor in my bower. Their conversations are in a mocking tone. They spar, snap off on- liners, engaging one another in an ironic style. I was crazy about their verbal jousting. Their witty banter, sarcastic repartee enhances their emotional connection. I think, had the guy not messed up by chasing easy women while his wife was pregnant, and breaking her heart, this bantering humor would have carried their passion for a lifetime. And with the way the story ends, he might still have a second chance.
Capturing Mary - 5 years, 2 months agoIntense literary drama that keeps you guessing about the real nature and motivation of the characters of Mary and Greville. Who are these people? Can we really tell about their natures, character etc. just by what they say? Especially when so much they say is just insinuative, suggestive, and good at being vague?Where we meet them and around what people and situations? Think how easy is it to mess up online, where we do have some option to edit, some...and we can reread to make sure we go what the other person has typed... and we'll still so get it wrong anyway, ant that's in writing...How hard is it to misread one another in real life when we are speaking in real time? I'd guess, but I'd rather not say. Had to watch it twice, and read the subtitles because in drama like this every sentence is telling and implies more. Could she have totally misread him? Ironic for a racy writer to be so repressed and small minded when it comes to colliding with a soul and realizing it late in life that he was the opposite of what she had thought and had made the mistake of her life and how it ended up running its course!!! Reminds me of Henry James' story "The Beast in the Jungle" from a woman's point of view. Only for saps with real intellectual curiosity...or little, anyway, like me. If you do like to think about how we all can mess things up and just how we do do it...watching someone give the wrong spin, their "cognitive story", to events...it might could help us turn the light on our own,er, foibles in our personal lives, which after all, is what matters to each one of us the most. Then get help with cognitive behavior techniques asap.
The Unsaid - 5 years, 2 months agoOne of the reasons kids get depression is either because of verbal or physical abuse, or the converse, benign neglect. Kids crave structure and boundaries....both studying and working with kids one on one has shown me this. Permissive, unstructured parenting which lets the child decide, as if the child were not all id,capriciousness, whimsy, and manipulation who needs shaping into being the best he can be....can play out into this scenario... When you tell a kid this is his sister's special night, it is a family event, there is no alternative. Staying home alone stewing in teen angst and misery is no alternative. This is just the time for tough love. For the parent to be a parent. Clearly by the anger of this kid, structure, boundaries and discipline were not a shaping process for him from the beginning of his upbringing. The result of violence, lack of impulse control, (a symptom of depression)either to oneself or others, comes as no surprise.
Intimacy - 5 years, 2 months agoThis is an Art film, X rated, for adults. Sometimes silence is golden, and the less said the better. Words, once out of the mouth, can never be taken back. They will affect the nature of all human relationships in your world for better or worse for good. The sex in this film is desperate, opposite of intimate, like some base physical drive, lacking soul. It is not physical love. When people are just "having sex" how is it different form mutual masturbation?...yet underneath the surface, what is really craved is connection with the divine...as one party starts to admit to their subconscious self. It is also all from a male point of view as written in the script, as sex in cinema most often is....though here it seems to be meant ironically.
The Perfect Vagina - 5 years, 2 months ago"Vagina" is a culturally accepted bias in referring to what is the "vulva". The labia, of which a great fuss is made in this documentary, are part of the vulva as well as the clitoris, the female sexual organ, of which little is made. The "vagina" is the birth canal, and lacks nerve endings except at the G spot..which dependents on clitoral stimulation for sensitization. Using the term vagina when vulva is meant demonstrates to what extent the patriarchal bias infiltrates society, a bias both genders buy into. Being the primary focus for the male for pleasure, but not of the female, if the clitoris is not involved, we have the constant use of "vagina" when "vulva" is the flower meant. For the female, the vulva is of primary focus, not the vagina, for the pleasure it affords as all female climaxes begin and end in the clitoris, a rose bud the only purpose of which is for pleasure. The nerves and the nerve receptors which are the same number in the clitoris as in the penis, demonstrate this as scientific fact. So girls worrying about the shape of their petals are missing the point. Is this going to make it any easier for them to communicate with their partners in being satisfied in physical love? Or is it another example of buying into male fantasy that Hollywood and the porn industry propagate, from the point of view of pleasuring the male in hopes of keeping his attention? Will it enable women only to play further along the fake orgasm posturing routine ...which ubiquitous play acting can only carry a woman so long down the line as the years roll by, till less attention will suddenly be more, till the desire for no attention steadily leads to divorce courts. Then, I suppose,it becomes nothing but purely for personal aesthetics, as what the hell good is is it if her bad boy can't make his kitty's engine purr?
Így jöttem - 5 years, 2 months agoI didn’t understand exactly what is going on in terms of history, but this was not about history, but about mankind, time out of mind The friendship between the Hungarian "prisoner" and his Russian "captor" is amazingly rendered. The girls swimming and then running nude from the soldiers is a Jancso stamp of an image This director does some good super realistic expressionism ...he was peers with Bergman and Fellini only that he was coming from a Communist regime which heavily censored it's artists for political correctness (is it any wonder the Russians are so decent in this film,haha seeing as how they were foreign occupiers who had their own poets and writers locked up, relocated to isolated villages, or sent to slave labor camps. I find Jancso exceptional in that he could create under dictatorship and beat them at their own game. A high point in my life came when I got to meet and exchange a few words with the old artist, whom you can run into carting around in his wheel chair in Budapest..
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas - 5 years, 2 months agoThis book was quiet controversial in critical reviews when it was published. It sanitizes the real conditions in the camps and presupposes only Jews were the victims, undermining the millions of Gentiles who were exterminated, three million in the camps, others shot in the head over mass graves. There is no disputing that the Jews were the primary targets of the Third Reich. It was their essential creed that the New Europe could not be born until every Jew on the continent had been exterminated. And the Nazis went about their task with cold, machine-like efficiency. However, Nazi blood-lust was ravenous for more. It craved the arteries of Slavs and Gypsies; pacifists and Communists; Soviet POW's; Catholic priests, monks, nuns, lay brothers and seminarians; Jehovah's Witnesses and Protestant pastors; college professors, artists, and anyone with a physical or mental impairment. Nazi hatred seemed to have unlimited boundaries, and by 1945 five million gentiles had been systematically purged as well. Even if I hadn’t know that there were no kids in the camps, I would still have enjoyed this film being someone who enjoys the pleasure of being manipulated by cute kids to tug and tear at one's heartstrings.
Blue Valentine - 5 years, 2 months agoWhat happens when a person does not seize love as an opportunity to become better and fails to realize the potential he has squandered, actually devolving, till he has lost ? A person who lacks the sensitivity to see that their partner’s reality is not so poetic as they are themselves sustaining the image of a romantic reality. They are out of touch with doing anything to bring the romance back into their spouse’s reality because they have no dreams of soaring. It is difficult for the one who still had dreams of flight to maintain the heat for such a partner after awhile, especially when one sees outbursts of rage, and alcohol abuse. It took till I had time to brew over the film to realize all what the first few minutes of images said about the characters and situation. But even before I had any idea of who these people were, I winced and cringed seeing a father pick up his baby girl with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth...non stop it seemed. Also that he is waking up in an arm chair in the living room looking disheveled like he might had been tipping it rather heavily the night before, and she is sleeping in the bedroom alone not showing any signs of same affliction, says a lot. Then you learn she seems to be the main breadwinner and her schedule is more pressing than his; her life more demanding. And her dream of advancing in the medical world that is still active. I saw this style as expressionistic, not realistic, so that sketches, like that of her father and community college boy friend, the wrestler (great shots of classic wrestling), I saw as tools to radiate the meaning. One of the most realistic scenes of a woman coming to an orgasm in the annals of erotic cinematography. The ending, a montage video music compilation the like of which I have never seen alone is worth fast forwarding to.
Il ladro di bambini - 5 years, 3 months agoThis is a fragile, beautifully modulated film in a road picture format about a man who unwittingly “steals” two children...in fact he does what only a strong, decent man would do. “Steals” is figurative, because at first he feels stuck with the kids and does not want to be laden with them but they have nowhere to go, nobody wants them because the little girl had been forced into child prostitution by her mom, a stigma like a ball and chain,, so he has to take charge. Antonino, the protagonist, some kind of Italian officer but not a cop, takes the two children away from great misery and despair and gives them a few days of joy and hope, and beauty. What we see through the train and car windows is mostly industrial, bleak modern Italy. Camera repeatedly shows grim and squalor that surrounds not only the dispossessed children, but the entire country Italy seems to be falling apart both physically and morally. External eauty materializes towards the end in a climactic scene when the children burst, like their souls bursting out from the oppressive slums, onto a magical expanse of ocean and beach. Internal beauty has already blossomed as the children slowly open up their innocent charms when they see they can trust an adult for the first time, and a special adult at that.Small events and daily routines delicately observe how the characters slowly change, and brings to light the eloquence hidden within the commonplace. This is a stark, understated, compelling film that will make a mark on you. It’s hard core sense of realism calls to mind neorealism of the 50’s Italian firms like “The Bicycle Thief”. The unbelievably real behavior or the children alone, who become the characters, and are not professional actors, makes this is a compelling experience for any viewer.
Young Adam - 5 years, 3 months agoThe main theme working throughout this film is the idea of giving into sin, into temptation to do things that will rip apart bonds and destroy others as well as ourselves. The anti-hero, Joe, could be compared to “Alfie”, but is much darker, grittier, explicit. There is a lot of sex and nudity in this, but the sex is painfully non-erotic, distanced and cold. It is desperate and Joe is using and abusing his penis as a weapon to hurt women whom he conquers easily and abandons the same. There is a horrible rape scene. Joe is a failed writer who does not have the self-disciple, or character, to stick with it. He looks for happiness and acceptance but does not have the boldness to be free and clear and ends up with less than nothing. If freedom is the chance to become better, Joe is a slave. If it means nothing left to loose, like in Buddhism, it does not mean one does not suffer, is not tormented by what one has irrevocably lost, like Joe. Hauling coal on a barge, drabness is a large part of the environment, but there is a lush greenness too that seems like inaccessible beauty…beauty in the canals, the distant green Scottish countryside, the beautiful rocky seashores. Beauty is discarded by Joe, and beauty as one of the three eternal Greek verities (Beauty, Truth, Goodness) so are the other two discarded by him. Much of the narrative is relayed through the character’s behavior and nuances of the study of their facial ticks. Unlike in literature (this is based on the novel by Scottish junky genius Alexander Trocchi ) which, as good literature is, may be enigmatic and ambiguous, but still takes us into the minds of the characters--- here we are left to guess a lot, and many will walk away thinking “what the hell”. Things on the surface are not what they are inside. Images are a vital part of the narrative and the meaning. But if we look closely at the facial expressions, body language, what the characters are doing…like in the last scene with Joe at the waterfront...we see that this is about the first sinnerman, which in some form represents all of us. It begs the question “Am I really that different? “ (Jeez, I hope so!! lol) For all his sexual couplings, Joe has little pleasure, and no joy in his life. By rejecting the only thing that could redeem him, he condemns himself to a meaningless existence of alienation and angst...his own personal hell.
Under Suspicion - 5 years, 3 months agoThis is a thriller that plays out like a classic film noir. Filmed on location in Portmerrion, it has wonderful settings and interiors of 60’s English seaside hotels and modernist architecture with great color and lighting effects. The intrigue will keep you in suspense from beginning to the final twisted end. Here the end is the best part of the film, so surprising it makes you reflect on the hidden elements of everything that went before it. After you’ve digested it, you’ll want to make another bowl of buttered pop corn and watch it all over again just to see the clues you missed. The story has a couple of murders, strained friendships where people are not what they might seem, issues of trust, a love affair or two and an execution scene that is intensely gripping. Probably without the superb acting of Liam Neeson the film would not have the substance and meat that it does. His character is essentially scum, yet we feel for him due to Neeson’s charisma and warm performance. He is so likeable, tall, hulking, looming over every scene he is in with his striking face that seems to have his nose drop out of the middle of his forehead. He is no glamour boy, but handsome in a plain masculine sort of way and very easy to look at. His voice is so appealing with his Irish grace notes that stands out above all the rest. He can project such a smelly, sweaty fear we can all identify with. Laura San Giacomo is tiny next to him. He has to pick her up to kiss her, or bend down way low. His presence makes her look elfin, as if he could just crush her pretty little bones in his big fist. One of the finest in it’s genre.
Angels and Insects - 5 years, 3 months agoThe revelations are subtle and the denouement is extremely effective in this film for adults; a subversive take on the plain Jane governess motive…morphing here like a pupae into butterfly, stimulated by intellect, Eros, and the chance to escape a confining lap of luxury. This very naturalistic, dark story moves in understated, subtle ways which kindle curiosity at every turn. Mark Rylance’s leading character disarmed me on sight with his absolutely captivating quiet, personable charm. Patsy Kensit, the angelic enigma, Eugenia, is fragile but not too vulnerable. Kristin Scott Thomas as the governess is effectively subtle and understated. Someone compared this to Merchant and Ivory meets Tennessee Williams, but there is also the twisted family elements of Eugene O’Neal together with the sinister gothicness of Lillian Hellman. Loved it on first impact when the scantily clad dancers in a South American rain forest are juxtaposed to the ostentatiously clad ballroom dancers of Victorian England. The film continues to explode in vivid burst of color and the garishly bright dresses are apparently historically correct. The metaphor of an ant colony informs the dysfunction adherent in the most intelligent and highly evolved specie’s social unit in the absence of discipline and responsibility, and knowledge. The story suggests that all that separates us from insects is the aspirations and determinations of the human spirit to take us to the true potential of being human. It is what we chose to make of ourselves by what we do with our time and what environment we chose to do it in.
The Secret in Their Eyes - 5 years, 3 months agoThis is a film unlike any I have ever seen. Directed by Argentinean director, Juan Campanella, who is noted in the States for directing such state of the art series as Law and Order. It won the best Oscar for foreign film, among other international awards. It is a very clever film based on a book and is a combination murder mystery, thriller, action, drama, comedy, and love genre in a film noir type setting. The driving force behind the story is a brutal rape and murder which takes place twenty five years ago under a corrupt right-wing regime of Argentina, and has fiercely affected the protagonist, now a retired federal criminal investigator, writing a book about it. But he is also writing a book trying to come to terms with the love for a woman he has harbored a powerful passion that has only grown in time.. Ricardo Darin’s aura in the character of the retired federal criminal court investigator, Benjamin Esposito, illuminates the whole screen. The rape, which is graphically violent, is the only nudity in the film, besides a shot of a man’s penis exposing himself to a female judge interrogating him. Benjamin, a decent man, is changed when he sees the battered, stabbed, beautiful corpse of the young bride. It is a rape-murder he is determined to solve despite all odds that get in his way. At the same time a new court secretary to the federal judge arrives with a fresh law degree from Cornell, Irene Menendez ( Soledad Villamil) and he falls for her at first sight. But this is a country still entrenched in a divisive class system. He is poor and only has a high school education. She is from the social elite, rich aristocratic class with a law degree. Though he is apt in the art of the subtleties of gentlemanly flirtations, he is too self possessed to act on the hints he must have seen she was giving him. The gulf really widens when she becomes a Superior Court judge, his boss whom he report to. The action chase scene in the crowded soccer stadium, beginning with when the camera soars above the arena, is one of the best seven minutes of a straight, one unbroken shot, through a crowded soccer match, thrilling chases I’ve ever seen. The film’s title applies to every major character. The resolution of the film arrives at a surprising Hitchcock like conclusion that will take you off guard.
Naked Tango - 5 years, 4 months agoWhen I first saw tango as a clueless girl, I was intrigued by how the man and woman moved, not being up on the word “erotic” yet, and saw they were moving to a different rhythm. But it was never about the leg dueling people seem to be hung up on, though those funny backward kicks looked entertaining. It was about the flow of the bodies, the way they walked across the floor, the very clear masculine and feminine roles that I already loved in ballet. So in this film, where the tango is in shadows, the camera making us feel like voyeurs, it is that very mysteriousness of the flow of energy between the man and woman that is seductive. As the title suggests, there is a scene in which the charismatic bad boy, Cholo (Vincent D’Onofrio) rips off the hapless heroines clothes and takes her on a small private dance floor before musicians who are blindfolded and executes with her a stunning love making in dance. But don’t expect prurient titillation, the nudity is not nakedness….it is viewed in blue shadows from the back and is pure art. So are the knife fights choreographed like tango steps between the men and very erotic. So is the tango between Cholo and Aba (Mathilda May) where they have sabers at one another’s throats and are dancing in blood in a slaughter house. This is one of the most stunningly gorgeous film noirs I’ve ever seen. There is intense use of rich colors and brooding shades. Moonlight yellows and scarlet reds tease around the deep shadows. The unique aesthetics create a visual ecstasy. Violent, outrageous, and mysterious the raw tension between the protagonists is palpable. Compelling to watch the relationships between Cholo and Aba blossom from intrigue, to possession, to love. There is longing, weakness, grief, and nirvana in death. The music is great throughout; especially liked the dissonant crash of bass underscoring intense moments with ominous foreboding.
The Field - 5 years, 4 months agoThis film calls to mind a story where a steam locomotive is chugging along at night in the dark countryside, spewing torrents of embers into the night sky, when the engineer suddenly sees in his headlights a knight in full regalia charging the engine head on. Abruptly we are in the mind of the knight who sees a fire-breathing dragon threatening his village and bravely rushes it only to be consumed by the beast. This is a film in one part about tradition and “progress.” But it is also about land, the earth that feeds us, and the people who cultivate it. It is about how one’s history, roots, contingencies can curtail one’s freedom. For as long as a man is so obtuse, tyrannical and unbending as Bull McCain is, he is not free, and by his own hubris will fall like Icarus from the sky. Loosely adapted on a play by Irish playwright, John B.Keane (pronounced Cain), the characters are based on people Keane grew up with. He does not paint a very complementary portrait of his characters. This is an unforgiving, bleak look at a headstrong, strong farmer, who symbolizes the generation for whom the famine, persecution of Catholics, and British misrule is still raw. This Moses like character’s life begins to falter when a stranger arrives in the village, symbolizing change: an Ireland moving away from old values and morphing into a European Union Nation. The new generation of Irish is intimated by Bull McCain’s son, Tadgh. He has been so domineered by overbearing father’s attempts to control his life, that he seems emotionally crippled, but does manage to take a stand and leave the village. Ironically, by not knowing how to treat his son with equanimity, and equity, his son underhandedly carries out passive aggressive behaviors that ultimately cause Bull his fall. One has to have some sense of Irish history, though, to be drawn into the conflicts properly. The history of grinding poverty of rural Ireland; the entanglements of ancient wrongs on current family lives, anger, bitter resentments, the relation of the Irish to the Church, (which is a metaphor for man’s relation to organized religion which is only a thin veneer over the pagan heart.). Most of all, the unrelenting poverty, the miserable scratching out an existence from the land, the land becomes the most important thing. We are left with a universal theme of man’s connection to the land and its necessity for human survival.
The Man from Elysian Fields - 5 years, 4 months agoElysian Fields in Greek mythology is the abode of the blessed after death and in modern usage means a place or condition of ideal happiness. This is a good-looking film in which Byron Trilling, played by Andy Garcia, is a lovable but flawed anti-hero. Desperate people do desperate things. Faust bargained with the Devil for greed. Tiller barters for love. This is a broken man whose only mirror to his higher self is his mate. His journey into himself explores desolation, frustration, compromise, anger and deceit. It is at his lowest point that a seducer/defiler crosses his path -- played by the hideously ugly (what smoking will do to you lol) but dandy Mick Jagger. But this is also a story of individuals seeking solace in different ways and how their choices bring unpredictable consequences. The distinction between what we want and what we need was dramatized. I was made to reflect on the idea of “unconditional love,” a recurring theme. Watching films is a kind of dreaming in which pretty much subconsciously we process the existential concerns of life. Especially dreaming in the mode of this nice blend of wit and philosophy. James Coburn raises the level of energy of the film. Every scene he is in is a vitalized moment of life lived. Jagger engendered a level of sympathy I don’t feel for him as a mega rock star. In particular in the scene in the restaurant with Angelica Houston where his suave man of affectless steel becomes unexpectedly human and vulnerable. I found the ending rewarding.
Romance - 5 years, 4 months agoIt’s hard to talk about the meaning of this film without talking about it’s form which is hyper realistic, absurdist in style, where fantasy and reality comingle, mind and body ebb in and out of one another’s domain. One can’t tell what the protagonist is really experiencing, fantasizing. Catherine Breillat’s screen play is froth with philosophical ideas about existential angst, ennui, the meaninglessness of life and a lack of love and emotional contact in people. The images one is left with can also be seen as purely symbolic….the live birth juxtaposed with a bizarre fantasy of women loved by a man at one end, and raped in the other, offing the cad and choosing the less attractive lover who is attentive and experimental, the search for emotional satisfaction, intimacy, confused with sex, Starting with the very title, irony prevails in the film. The protagonist speaks of passion and seems totally flat and passionless. Sex is depicted as joyless an exploitative. The nudity id clinical, and there is quite a bit of humiliation and violence the protagonist experiences, as archetypal of womanhood. There is no real depth or original insights here about human relationships, and in particular about female sexuality.However, it's refreshing to view Eros solely from a woman's perspective, though everywoman she is not. The air of detachment leaves one in the end disengaged with the characters, and hence it is not, for me, a memorable experience. I would like to laud Catherine Breillat , but I find her work more sensationalist in an artsy way, but not really art ….art that in some sense leaves one edified, not merely shocked and feeling like you've been played with.
Love and Other Drugs - 5 years, 4 months agoAt the heart of this movie lies this question, never uttered, but tacitly understood as it is acted out: What is the difference between having sex and making love? He is angry because he is having an erectile dysfunction. He distances himself sulkily from his partner. “I just want to have sex,” he says sullenly. Does a male not having an erection effectively take sex off the table? Is sex defined solely by penis surrounded by vagina? Is it about pleasing oneself, or pleasing the other? To sooth him, she starts massaging his back, poor baby. lol Shouldn’t he be the one giving her a sensual massage instead? Though he can’t take pleasure at this juncture, can’t "have sex" by the common definition, he can still give pleasure, he can still give his beloved paradise. He can still "make love". It works both ways at different times. And that is a whole other level of transport than a mere genital sneeze. And why making love is a whole different game of finesse than having sex.
The Little Foxes - 5 years, 4 months agoLillian Hellman is one of America’s top playwrights. Authors like her win acclaim because they have something to say about ourselves, universally, and they dramatize it well. The film seems to start out as fluff but into the first ten minutes things start to shift suddenly into something complex and big. We have to pay attention to figure out who is who and just what the conflicts are. Hellman writes informed by her own family in the South---which she escaped much like Zan. We see an authentic depiction of the South after the Civil War when the slaves have been liberated but go on working for their once owners. But these white people have shifted from the aristocrats who are now appendages for the new merchant class, the business men and women. The characters could easily loose their period costumes and transport the story to contemporary times. The main idea is contrast between the concern with the greater good and man’s selfish inhumanity to man. There is palpable tension like a livewire between avarice and integrity. There is also the tension of the evolution of the repressed Southern Belle, instructed to smile all the time, married off like chattel as a means of survival. The Davis character chooses to play dirty with the big boys, as gaining more wealth is the only way she sees for emancipation and escape from the strongholds of suppressive Southern womanhood. In their business partner she has met a refined strong man that her husband is lacking, as his heart ailment is a symbol of certain softness in him, not to be confused with gentleness. Davis wants to go set up house in Chicago because this man is there and has invited her to visit several times with the subtle understanding he had intentions for her. She also wants to travel the world. Her daughter Zan on the other hand, is awakening and coming of age and sees emancipation in intellectual pursuit as well as a way to work for the greater good and escapes with a writer. Much is made of the meanness of the Davis character, but I did not see her husband (superbly played by Herbert Marshall) as a spotless saint. He seemed to have revenge motives, which are never laudable, and goads his wife to step over the line, pushing it too far, causing his own fall. None the less, she is playing a repulsive game along with her brothers. This is the rise of the industrial revolution and dirty pool capitalism. Hellmann foretells of the global corporate greed and what it has done to our economy today. It’s a tale foretelling of the manifest s greed, selfishness, and meanness in today’s society.
Failan - 5 years, 4 months agoThis is a story of a man and a woman who never meet in person but whose lives are turned around by their brief encounter. The first half of the film we follow the mob life of a wise-guy Kang-jae (Min-sik Choi – Oldboy, Shiki, etc.) . But this is a second class swindler, slovenly, boozie,a chain smoker,who takes a whipping from the younger gangsters and his boss because he has a heart and hesitates in participating in dastardly deeds. He dreams of quitting this callous existence and going back to his native fishing village but he wants to buy his own fishing boat first and needs a good bit of cash for it. By chance his hooligan buddies set him up with a paper marriage for some badly needed cash. He is stunned by her photograph and his passing glimpses of her because he recognizes real beauty that goes beyond mere pretty and is a gender-neutral word that means soul. He recognizes his own beauty in her though he is in denial. Failan is innocent of the ways of the world, has no family, relatives, no skills to depend on to survive in a strange foreign country. She does have the guile to save herself from being sold into sexual slavery, which ironically her “husband “ does not in terms of saving himself from gangster slavery. To get any employment she must marry for immigration purposes. She gets a passing glimpse of her “husband” who carelessly has one of his lackeys give her a red silk scarf. She takes this gift to heart as a symbol of his kindness and for us seeing the bigger picture, it is really a symbol of a grand love that might have been. She is grateful to get a job as a laundress assistant in a coastal village with a broom closet of a room. At least the old woman who employs her seems genuinely kind and does not question her about why her husband does not come to visit her from the city, but wonders since she is such a vision of delight in action and deed. Failan starts writing letters to her husband thanking him for marrying her, telling him how kind he is, and eventually telling him how much she loves him. As Kang-jae starts reading Failan’s letters a shift takes place in how he sees himself. She is the only evidence he has that he has some positive impact on the world, that he is actually important to another human being, someone who believes in him and the kindness he has repressed in his heart….and an exquisite flower at that. She makes him realize, without trying, the worthless and hopeless life he has been leading. Her image once implanted in his mind cause him to inadvertently rediscover a noble aspect of his nature he has been suppressing all along. But he hesitates and is lost. He is tempted by the greed of the world, when he could have saved her and himself. He could have saved her because with proper medical care her illness is totally curable today if one is not consigned to some pauper’s hospital with inadequate care. He could have saved himself by more boldness and courage standing up to his sleazy, viper of a “boss” and properly crushed the head of the snake. He had options to save them both extrinsically; she did not. Yet of the two, she was freer by virtue of the intrinsic, internal powers she exercised,the domain she had of her internal reality, so that she was able to rise above the given set of her circumstance and find happiness. Their meeting offers them both a chance at redemption but only Failan finds it. She builds an interior world of dreams and hope around her “husband” which illuminates her dreary existence and causes her joy. Her disinterested love for him makes even facing death a mystical experience not to be feared. Kang-jae hesitates the surrender to his inner callings and is thus lost. Death is not the worst thing that can happen to a man.
Failan - 5 years, 4 months agoThis is a story of a man and a woman who never meet but affect one another’s lives profoundly. The first forty five minutes we follow the violent life of a wise-guy Kang-jae (Min-sik Choi – Oldboy, Shiki, etc.) . But this is a second class rouge, slovenly, boozie, who takes punishment from the younger gangsters and his boss because he has a heart and hesitates in participating in dastardly deeds. He dreams of quitting this callous existence and going back to his native fishing village but he wants to buy his own fishing boat first and needs a good bit of cash for it. By chance his hooligan buddies set him up with a paper marriage for some badly needed cash. He is stunned by her photograph and his passing glimpses of her because he recognizes real beauty that goes beyond mere pretty and is a gender-neutral word that means soul. He recognizes his own beauty in her though he is in denial. Failan is innocent of the ways of the world, has no family, relatives, no skills to depend on to survive in a strange foreign country. She does have the guile to save herself from being sold into sexual slavery, which ironically her “husband “ does not in terms of saving himself from gangster slavery. To get any employment she must marry for immigration purposes. She gets a passing glimpse of her “husband” who carelessly has one of his lackeys give her a red silk scarf. She takes this gift to heart as a symbol of his kindness and for us seeing the bigger picture, it is really a symbol of a grand love that might have been. She is grateful to get a job as a laundress assistant in a costal village with a broom closet of a room. At least the old woman who employs her seems genuinely kind and does not question her about why her husband does not come to visit her from the city, but wonders since she is such a vision of delight in action and deed. Failan starts writing letters to her husband thanking him for marrying her, telling him how kind he is, and eventually telling him how much she loves him. As Kang-jae starts reading Failan’s letters a shift takes place in how he sees himself. She is the only evidence he has that he has some positive impact on the world, that he is actually important to another human being, someone who believes in him and his kindness that he does have repressed in his heart….and an exquisite flower at that. She makes him realize, without trying, the worthless and hopeless life he has been leading. His identification with her is the catalyst that cause him to rethink his life and discover an almost noble aspect of his character in the process. But he hesitates, he procrastinates, is tempted by the greed of the world, when he could have saved her and himself. He could have saved her because with proper medical care her illness is totally curable today if one is not consigned to some pauper’s hospital with inadequate care. He could have saved himself by more boldness and courage standing up to his sleazy, viper of a “boss” and properly crushed the head of the snake. He had options to save them both extrinsically; she did not. Yet of the two, she was freer by virtue of the intrinsic powers she lived by. Their meeting offers them both a chance at redemption but only Failan finds it. She builds an interior world of dreams and hope around her “husband” which illuminates her dreary existence and causes her joy. Her disinterested love for him makes even facing death a mystical experience not to be feared. Kang-jae hesitates the surrender to his inner callings and is thus lost. Death is not the worst thing that can happen to a man.
Passion & Power The Technology of Orgasm - 5 years, 4 months agoThe subject of the vibrator is examined in this documentary…guys will be disappointed to learn that it is not a substitute for the penis…it’s about the clitoris, and the theme is the cultural suppression of female orgasm. Seventy five percent of women can’t reach orgasm with just penile stimulation without clitoral foreplay and during-play. The other ten percent can’t reach orgasm during intercourse regardless; The fifteen percent of women who do climax during coitus do so because their clitoris is much closer to their vagina than the norm. “It is startling that both sexes buy into the same cultural model, “ says Dr. Kim Wallen, a professor of behavioral neuroendocrinology at Emory University, “totally ignoring physical anatomy. She buys into the myth that he can bring me to orgasm with his penis alone. He buys into the same fallacy and so doesn’t offer any kind of stimulation. “Too much emphasis is placed on models of female sexuality that are created by Hollywood and the pornography industry. This is a total denial of fact,” says Dr. Wallen. Even the most liberated woman can feel uncomfortable telling her partner it's not working for her She is afraid to say anything because this is emasculating, but more than likely it's because she is buying into the same myth reinforced by Hollywood. If more men were aware that there was more pleasure in store for them if they play the violin of their lover’s body right, they might perk up their attention to that body part. Unfortunately almost any film today that depicts sexual congress ignores the facts and reinforces the fallacy. Any documentary that shines light on the physical anatomy behind female orgasm, and how it is culturally repressed, is good for enhancing the timeless dance between the sexes.
Turning Green - 5 years, 4 months agoIn the United States,” America” it you are a citizen, you are an American, ideally, regardless where you were born or what ethnic background your parents come from. It really is not cool to say *Italian hyphen American.” You are an American, no hyphen necessary. In theory anyway, because where you come from and the ethnicity of your home hearth will have an affect on how you look at the world and how it looks at and treats you. So in many respects you are a Hungarian American, or an Irish American, yet when you go back to the old country, you see you are not that either and they call you the American and consider you the outsider. This can be an enhancing or limiting factor in particular to kids who were born in the States, think of themselves as Americans, and not like their parents, yet society might not always let them through because of their heritage. This is not a theme expounded on in this film, though The main idea here is that as a kid you are shuffled back to the old country where the environment is not conducive to growth…which might well not have been in the States either from the sound of their father. Despite the beauty around you, the opportunities to study Yeats and Joyce...you come to hate this stick in the mud old country and would do anything to be able to escape away from it, back to the States, as you see and feel yourself and American, and not be stuck here for the rest of your life accepting a listless fate like the dolts you see around you. So do to lack of positive authority figures in your life, and you are a young lad, you hook up with criminal wise guys, so you can save some dough to to get back to the States. The big joke is that it ends up being done with girlie magazines, rather than bookies and beating up people. Girlie mags that are illegal in Ireland in this film. So you feel not like native in the land of your forefathers, but you realize once you think you are stuck there, that whatever American is, you want out of here and back where all that space is and maybe a chance at something. And if you persevere, in that American spirit as one solid adult figure draws the youth’s attention to unique American perspective, you will make it, and he does. But not to any pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, it would seem. That would take a little more depth than this film allows to ponder. So our hero turns green not because he has some epiphany of his Irish legacy, but turns the green of money.
Sorstalanság - 5 years, 5 months agoImre Kertesz won the 2003 Nobel Prize for literature and this book was a big catalyst. One of his main points is that after making it back out of the Nazi concentration camp, he returned to Hungary to find he was as much a slave under the Communist terror...which at that time was harsh...as that he had been to the Nazis, that his freedom and fate were not in his heritage, or the external world, but how he reacted and the powers of his mind, his inner world that he had control over in the choices he made what to focus on and direct his life in any given moment, which for him was writing. He was fateless because he did not believe in fate.
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