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  • Grey Gardens

    Grey Gardens (1975)

    November 12, 2013

    Questionably odd documentary on the isolated cousins of late president John F. Kennedy. These ladies, mother Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale and daughter Edith Ewing Beale, lived in an isolated home along the East Hampton, New York coastline (I actually thought it was along the coast in either North or South Caroline for some reason). There is infested with bugs, rodents, and cats, and do they care? No! Essentially, their nuts! There is no other way to describe these ladies, who seem to be engaged in a real love/hate relationship and treat everyone around very peculiarly. Disturbingly, it's like the relationship between my mother and my grandmother, although they are not that isolated or psychotic. I can sadly relate in a way. Brrrrrr...Mother Ewing died two years after the documentary was released, while daughter Ewing passed away in 2002. Both lived into their eighties despite this less than appealing life style.

  • Sayonara

    Sayonara (1957)

    November 10, 2013

    Marlon Brando plays a soldier named Ace, who has originated from the southern USA that has been reassigned to working in Japan. One of his colleagues Kelly (Red Buttons) falls in love and weds a Japanese woman (Miyoshi Umeki), although this not to the liking of his superiors. Additionally, Ace's woman (Patricia Owens) from America comes and joins him, although he starts losing interest in her and begins to fall in love with another lady, a Japanese actress (Miiko Taka). Honestly speaking, when I saw that director Joshua Logan was the same director of the 1956 film "Picnic," I became concerned that this drama would be unspectacular, and sure enough it was. It has not aged well, it is not that interesting, and therefore, it does not work on today's standards. Brando's consistent southern accent is quite annoying and not effective, like previously in the 1951 hit "A Streetcar Named Desire." James Garner adds nothing to this movie. I was ready to say "Sayonara" after 25 minutes watching this overly long picture. What a big disappointment, considering it took home two supporting acting awards (Buttons and Umeki, the Kelly couple and they are not bad at all).

  • Zhou Yu's Train

    Zhou Yu's Train (2004)

    November 10, 2013

    Feeble Chinese movie about a woman named Zhou Yu (Li Gong) who falls in love with a teacher (Tony Leung Kar-Fai) because of his insignificant poems (at least I thought they were). They become obsessed with one another and chase each other with the use of trains (trains are huge in China as indicated in the 2009 documentary "Last Train Home" which I recommend over this). However, the teacher is in love with another woman. I seriously love trains and watch them all the time here in Canada (also across the border in the United States), but I really don't like inefficiency, and pretty much, that is what this movie is. It's not interesting, dramatic, significant, and actors just don't look like they care. The only compensating value is the scenery and I suppose the constant site of trains which are used inefficiently throughout, but this movie does very little to interest the viewer.

  • Pasqualino Settebellezze (Seven Beauties)

    Pasqualino Settebellezze (Seven Beauties) (1975)

    November 10, 2013

    Wonderful movie in which an army deserter Frafuso (Giancarlo Giannini) gets lost with another army deserter (Piero de Orio) and tells how became to such a state. Frafuso was disgusted with his sister (Elena Fiore) who becomes a stripper and states to her that she had essentially dishonoured his family. However, she upgrades in terms if dishonouring the family when she becomes a prostitute for her man (Mario Conti). Frafuso loathes this ideas and murders her man in the process, leading him to prosecution for murder and imprisonment, under a grossly, unpleasant looking drill sergeant (Shirley Stoller). This eventually puts him into the army and brings him to his state of desertion with the other man. It's a very compelling movie, in the way that it is told (going between present times and past times) and the thorough character study on Frafuso. It is pretty oppressive to women though and at times pretty ugly, but also, at times, surprisingly funny. Actor Fernando Rey does not a have substantial part, because the only I recall seeing him was near the end of the movie as a "nut" and as usual, he is good. Another fine film from Italy!

  • Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

    Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsber... (2009)

    November 10, 2013

    Very interesting story of man named Daniel Ellsberg, who uncovers what many consider too much information about the Vietnam War. While working for the Research and Development Corporation (RAND) in the US government, he discovers an extensively long document citing that the Congress had lied and misled the public about their role in Southeast Asia. When it was discovered that Ellsberg had found and exploited them for their poor conduct in Vietnam, they went a search to capture and prosecute him for his alleged betrayal of the government. I had already figured that the Vietnam War, under Lyndon B. Johnson or Richard Nixon or JFK, had been quite corrupt from the beginning, but this documentary essentially secures any hope for validity of the U.S. actions. Interestingly, he was also associated with Robert McNamara, who was the Secretary of Defense during the conflict and made his own superb documentary six years earlier. It's just sad, but highly well made.

  • The Man Who Would Be King

    The Man Who Would Be King (1975)

    November 10, 2013

    Generally entertaining picture in which two non-commissioned officers named Danial Dravot (Sean Connery) and Peachy Carnehan (Michael Caine) set off to conquer a kingdom in India. They originally meet a newspaper columnist Rudyard Kipling (Christopher Plummer) who was to join their adventures but loses them by the train. It's not really an in depth movie, but more just fun and full of colours (as many people would coin this as "escapist" which is truthfully a term I don't like using because it sounds derogatory). Connery and Caine, who I believe are friends in life, work very well together, and the scenery footage is incredible. I also like how the story is told in flashback, as Kipling is approached by Carnehan to how the journey with Dravot had turned out. It is a little long though, but overall it was a good experience.

  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

    Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

    November 06, 2013

    At the turn of the century (as in early 1900's), Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) meets the Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) and they team up to go on a crime spree. This involves hijacking trains; robbing them of their transported money; and then heading back to this woman (Katherine Ross), to whom both seem interested in and she seems interested in both Butch and the Kid as well. After this, they decide to rob the same train again, using even more lethal explosives. However, the authorities are now on to them and they launch a prolonged chase to capture the two outlaws, either dead or alive, which leads them from the US to Bolivia. It is a compelling enough film in terms of entertainment and story and it was engaging throughout. Unfortunately, when you have seen as many films as I have from the period and genre, you start drawing comparisons and one other film comes to mind..."The Wild Bunch." It's nowhere near great as this movie and its pales in comparison. Released also 1969, "The Wild Bunch" is far superior in terms of story, acting, breaking out, and movie influence. Too bad because "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" is a good movie as well, just not as good as "The Wild Bunch."

  • Boogie Nights

    Boogie Nights (1997)

    November 04, 2013

    Eddie Adams (Mark Walhberg) is recruited at his nightclub job by a big shot pornography director named Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds). Eddie, who boasts apparently a substantially large penis is the sure thing for the adult filmmaking industry (this is the late 1970's by the way when "Close Encounters of Third Kind" and "Saturday Night Live" hit theatres just to contrast mainstream movies with the porn flicks). He begins to work his way into the crowd to the likes of porn stars Maggie (Juliana Moore), the love of Jack; Brandi (Heather Graham), the "rollergirl" who also works at the nightclub with Eddie; Buck Swope (Don Cheadle) who works at retailer in addition to his pornography career; Reed Rothchild, another actor who becomes best friends with Eddie; Little Bill Thompson (William H. Macy), whose wife is always with a better looking man; and Scotty J. (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), who begins to have a thing for Eddie. His crowd does him in, he changes his name to Dirk Diggler, and he experiences great success thanks to his sexual yearning, although he begins to dive into the life of partying and excessive drug use (cocaine seems big here).

    I never base a rating on nudity, and there is a lot of it in this film (also some of Mark Walhberg that doesn't really need to be described). The big purpose of this movie is the analysis of the porn industry and it never takes sides. It just films the characters' actions with no bias. You also feel for these characters and begin to yell at Eddie (Dirk) when he at one point screws up his career (seriously, he should have got an education and applied himself to something more practical, but yet we still feel porn is the right move for him(!)). It is a film that's so substantial and unforgettable that even scenes that seem excessive in terms of intensity, with gun violence and drug use, fit in perfectly. The dialogue becomes pretty loaded with profanities half way through but yet, this is a one-of-a-kind movie. The ending is not what I pictured at all. My caring for these characters is also not what I would have expected. They lead such pitiful, not preferred lifestyles and yet there are so well-developed and Eddie has the drive, both in terms of dedication and sex organ. Acting is quite good, and there some very funny moments, but it mainly a drama of impressive sophistication, despite porn being the subject matter. A great movie no doubt!

  • La Nana (The Maid)

    La Nana (The Maid) (2009)

    November 03, 2013

    Odd comedy-drama in which a maid (Cataline Saavedra), who has been working within her household for more than 20 years and has essentially assisted in raising the children for all that time. As she grows older, her superiors decide to enlist in a helper for her and she seems somewhat accepting of the notion at first. Unfortunately, it does not work that way. She schemes in psychotic fashion (and possibly under the influence of a cleaner she uses for the bathtub) to get rid of these maids. I think that story comes across fine, but I just wasn't all that excited by this movie. It did not stand out for me and I felt a bit disappointed by the ended. I didn't mind it, but I was not impressed by it. I wanted more, and I don't know why. It's the first I have seen from Chile and I really wish it was better.

  • Zombieland

    Zombieland (2009)

    November 03, 2013

    Who knew zombie flicks could be funny. In a world in which a mass zombie epidemic has taken place, college student (probably not anymore since no one can teach him) Columbus (Jessie Eisenberg) is fending for his life from the vicious dysfunctional creatures. He goes by these 32 rules, which includes checking the backseat before using motor vehicles in case a zombie is lurking there and is ready to pounce (or chew). One day, he meets Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), who reluctantly takes him aboard his convey and then, they eventually meet the evil, generally attractive sisters (Emma Stone and Abigail Bressen), who are on journey to the west to the Los Angeles Playland (of course infested with more zombies). It's as silly and gory as movies go, but it actually works. I did have fun with this goofball fest, even if Billy Murray who pretends to be zombie is killed mistakenly by Columbus. Not for all tastes, but it at least pokes fun at everything and is a comedy that actually works.

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