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The Irishman (2019)
Too many anachronisms--cars, songs, all wrong
For such a meticulous filmmaker Scorsese did not pay enough attention to these details. (Like the ridiculous scene where Joe Pesci pulls out spark plugs with his hands --no wrench--and says' they're ok. And the timing chain--utterly and truly ridiculous to think you could tighten a nut and it would continue running.) But I digress. The idea that a brand new Hudson (a car that had its heyday in the 1940s; out of business by 1954) would be running the streets all shiny and new in the late 50's --given that most of the other cars in the film are the "forward look" cars introduced by Chrysler in 1957 is silly.
I truly despise the romance of the Mafia. But Scorsese has the deepest love for them and this is his attempt at monumentalizing them.
Non uccidere (2015)
Extremely well done and well acted
The lead actress is so clearly able to think that you can see her insights and perceptions developing right onscreen.
La douleur (2017)
The Director took off all the edges
Duras' book is justly famous because it confronts some painful truths about her and it is unbelievably magnificent when it comes to showing the extremely painful recovery of a former prisoner of war, all of which are basically left out of this film. Too bad; it could have worked better had the director not "sanitized" it for a wider audience that doesn't want to have its beliefs challenged.
Ended up being sentimental claptrap
As a crime procedural dependent on the detectives' insight and experience it was fine. But the solving of the crimes and the kumbaya feel of the end of the first series was sickeningly far too sweet.
Lay the Favorite (2012)
Wonderful film great casting and directing
This is a wonderful film, full of exuberance and with the kind of fast pace that is seldom seen outside of an Elroy Leonard movie. Rebecca Hall, who was so outstanding in Vicky Cristina Barcelona and in Parade's End is a Brit who is exceptionally versatile. She plays Beth in this film, based on the real Beth's memoir, and she played every minute perfectly. Willis was terrific and so were Zeta Jones and Joshua Jackson. Vince Vaughan plays a bookie who prefigures Donald Trump's conman patter.
This film is not to be missed.
I am surprised so many disliked the film. I suspect that some have an antipathy to gambling per se.
Second Chance (2016)
One of the best shows ever
It's perfectly acted and the plots are never boring for even a minute. Nothing hoked up. I also think the photography is outstanding, and the set design for the tech house is really well done.
I've enjoyed every minute of it, and cannot for a moment believe it is really being canceled.
I especially like the way the intergenerational byplay of too much knowledge on the part of "Sheriff Pritchard" is handled.
I also think the representation of the tech world geniuses is one of the best ever on television.
The only thing I have not liked is the standard dumb rebellious daughter meme now in the show.
The male actors seem to me especially vivid and interesting, especially Sheriff Pritchard, old and young, and the tech genius Otto.
Inside Out (2011)
Inside Out is a COMEDY
I find it amazing to see this listed as a crime drama or a thriller. It is a semi-black comedy throughout. How anyone cannot see that hapless franchise tax board lady as anything but hilarious is beyond me.
Michael Rapaport, who after all started out as a stand-up comedian, is completely amazing as a bumbler who borders on the sinister, and leaves you guessing right up to the end. And Bruce Dern is so far over the top as a crime boss hiding out as a veterinarian (!!) that anyone should be able to see how this is meant to be comic exaggeration, not real evil.
Lesvesque is absolute perfect for the role, and Parker Posey is her usual wonderful self.
Le Mans (1971)
No story here
This is one of the poorest excuses for a movie ever made. It takes a lot of random photos of the crowds, racing cars, and individuals at 1970 Le Mans, intercuts them with the barest minimum of stories and even less dialogue. The only good line is a rip-off. McQueen is telling the widow of a man whose death he caused the reason he continues to drive though it could mean death: "Driving is life. The rest is waiting." This borrows the original of the line by Kurt Wallenda of the Flying Wallendas, a high wire walking family: "To be on the wire is life. The rest is waiting."
I have never seen a longish film with so little story. When one watches a Chris Marker film, one expects little in the way of narrative elucidation, but in the end the whole becomes a very interesting and even moving narration.
And that two finger salute at the end, which has been interpreted as saying, "#2" is, in the European context, the equivalent of our own "one finger salute"or giving the finger.
I loved this as a child; it's still great
I absolutely loved this film as a child. When I watched it again after 60 years it was even better than I remembered. Instead of the phony Polynesians of the earlier adaptation of the original novel Benjamin Blake (Son of Fury with Tyrone Power) the acting is excellent, and the story, reset in France prior to theRevolution makes great social comments on the excesses of the aristocracy and their vile treatment of lower classes, it includes a serious interest in science and anthropology.
This is definitely worth seeing. The photography is great, and the scenes of actual inhabitants of Central America in their rituals and dancing made it ring.
Cornel Wilde was perfectly fine in the role. And the old Scotsman added interest and wisdom.
The Hucksters (1947)
An extraordinary film
This film is very well done. But I have to say that as it has the 1946 date, and came out in 1947, it was done before the big 'purge' that started in 1948. After that year, Hollywood felt it had to knuckle under to the new political agendas of our nation, and could no longer lightly or even comically criticize big business tycoon, Madison Avenue or the new 'religion' that held making money was all.
The performances of all the stars, from Gable to Gardner, but especially Kerr are exceptional; every possible nuance of their responses to each other is made very clear, and yet one cannot know in the course of the film just where it will be going. Keenan Wynn's small role is incredibly well done.
I'd never seen it till it appeared recently on TCM. Bravo to them for screening it.
The Fountainhead (1949)
A wretched film
I was shocked to see this film after hearing of the popularity of Ayn Rand among conservatives and economists for years, I expected something clear, possibly formulaic, but watchable.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered it to be nothing more than an approving showcase for the monstrous egotism of the architect Gary Cooper and the predatory lust of the wealthy Patricia Neal, his patron and employer -- all the result of the architect's genius, which puts him so far above the common man, for whom ethics and morality are just motivated by envy -- that he need not care for such petty things.
The craven characters in this film, who put themselves before everyone and everything else is almost frightening to see, especially as the film celebrates sexual depravity and brutal egotism as if they were virtues.
How could anyone think this a great film is beyond me.
Affair in Trinidad (1952)
It's Hayworth's film, not Ford's
I found it odd that reviewers, and the plot summary, center on Glenn Ford coming to investigate his brother's murder.
The plot does not actually center on this, since Ford comes a bit late into the film. Moreover, he is skeptical that his brother committed suicide, but murder is not established until later in the film.
The spotlight is really on Rita Hayworth, who plays the role very well, being both good at being the cabaret singer-dancer that she is, and a straightforward and caring person hoping to help the British authorities bring justice to the case. It is, as barely noted, actually a spy thriller! And it is very well done, given that one cannot actually discern if the spies are committed Nazis or some kind of eastern Europeans--in other words, as distinct from other cold war era films it doesn't go after the Russians as well it might have.
Detroit 1-8-7 (2010)
Should be RENEWED
This is one of the best of the cop shows out there; almost, but not quite, in the NYPD Blue league for its grittiness and for its hiring good actors both in main roles and as extras. I never thought I could be convinced by Michael Imperioli as a policeman rather than a Mafioso, but he is really very good. The story lines are also complex enough to be occasionally quite intriguing rather than predictable. James McDaniels is as good as he was on NYPD Blue, with the same dignified style and obvious intelligence. The Detroit that also is a 'star' of the show is very well presented: realistically, but without obvious prejudice.
For the life of me I cannot see why ABC gave the very silly show Body of Proof a second season and not this one!
Will someone pick up the series and continue it?
This Land Is Mine (1943)
An outstanding film, very analytical about Nazism
I found this gem of a movie on television. Charles Laughton was outstanding. He conveyed perfectly the thesis of the film: that Nazism and the New World Order depended on corrupting those they occupied, tempting them with rewards for betraying their fellow countrymen more than even the brutal intimidation we are all familiar with.
I was also quite interested to see the collaboration between the big industrialists and the Nazis, who corrupted them by catering to their anti-unionism. The fact that being against unions was a pillar of Nazi ideology has not been well known, but Renoir's film made it crystal clear.
All the performances were well above par; Sanders played the self-seeking weasel who has a change of conscience very well, in a very legible, nuanced way. Maureen O'Hara was also excellent, as always.
But it was Charles Laughton, standing before the collaborators, Nazis and his own mother as he comes to realize how crucial the Rights of Man are to living decently and honorably, who wins the day.
The Glades (2010)
What a great show!
We love this show. The action is light, the dialogue snappy, the love interests are sensitive without any sappiness.
This is one of the best of the multiple detective shows that inhabit our TV universe. First of all it is unique insofar as the hero is not constantly in a jam with his superiors and is not full of the most unpleasant character flaws, which most cop shows emphasize. Nor does he have a not-very-understanding wife and family. Passmore plays it extremely well, quick with his tongue, reserved about his insights, and most of all able to do what most cops on TV cannot: communicate nuanced feelings with his eyes and face.
His co-star is an amazingly well depicted woman with way too much to do but always responsible and never too lazy to do whatever she does and do it very well. She's a great actress and the only other film I've seen her in, The Perfect Getaway, she did the same thing as here: playing someone completely down to earth but with enough interiority and mystery to make her very compelling.
We hope the show goes ON!
Glorious 39 (2009)
I found this movie absolutely gripping
Reviewers simply don't "get" the underlying tension of the film, which probably relies too much on viewers' understanding that many, many aristocrats/Tories were trying to avoid war with Hitler and often sympathized with him. If you don't know that, then you don't grasp the stakes of the film. Few British people would NOT know this, given that their abdicated king Edward and his wife Wallis Simpson openly admired Hitler, and many other high-borns found him quite right to attack democracy in its heart.
Romula Garai, one of the world's finest new actresses, carries the movie with her endless shading of emotions, her eyes opening to the horror that her family really is despite its large, warm embrace of her. And Bill NIghy is absolutely transcendent as her loving father and Tory MP who is supposed to negotiate American aid to Britain and who lets us know he is fiercely anti-war because of the destruction and death it deals. Is he what he seems, though?
I found this one of the few grounded portrayals of the British upper class attitudes pre-war than anything else I've yet seen.
Outstanding: writing and acting
This is a wonderful series, and I am very sad that it is axed. Very well written, with great charm and wit, but also a serious purpose. It shows how, even in one of the most corrupt social / political orders in the world, someone with integrity can manage to weave through it all with his dignity, intellect and conscience intact, without being the least bit priggish, moralistic, or overly obedient to the rules and regulations.
A marvelous balancing act: it was a pleasure to watch. Rufus Sewell plays it just right, never giving away his intentions but somehow letting us know that he is thinking of how to get out of whatever impossible situation he is in. Catarina Murino is both beautiful and witty.
How could anyone halt such a wonderful series???
Perrier's Bounty (2009)
Wonderfully enjoyable, fast paced film
I thought it was an outstanding little film; not a loose end left, lots of karma.
The acting was unbelievably good, with Jim Broadbent, Cillian Murphy, Jodie Whitaker and Brendan Gleeson, joined by a throng of wonderful cutthroats, henchmen and great dog trainers.
I cannot fathom why people wouldn't like the movie, its very intriguing use of language and its well drawn characters. The voice over by the Reaper was also well done, and had a highly literary feel.
It had enough texture to give a feel for the impoverished underlife of Dubliners.
No Orchids for Miss Blandish (1948)
It's the fake accents that ruined it all.
To my mind the movie was a failure because of the acting, but largely because these virtually all British actors (except La Rue) were straining to fake American accents, and that caused their intonation to be 'off.' Everything sounded poorly acted, but sometimes I would imagine the actors speaking their lines in their native British accents and they would be fine.
They could have just made it as a British drama, but then it might have seemed unbelievably violent for that culture... even as "American" the violence never seemed as motivated as it is in noir and gangster films in the USA of the era.
It remains a very peculiar film. The relationship of Ma to Slim was never fully clarified, either.