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Rating History

Marie Antoinette
10 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

[center][b]Abundance[/b] by Sena Jeter Naslund

Abundance is a fact-based fiction novel about Marie Antionette.


Marie is born the daughter of the Austrian Emporer. When she is 14, she is given in marriage to Louis XVI of France to become the Queen when Louis XV dies. Louis Auguste is a painfully shy and exceedingly dull for the Dauphin (future King.) In the novel, young Marie is portrayed as a poised, witty, and sophisticated match for Louis.


Unfortunately, Louis is unable or uninterested in consumating their marriage. This unfortunate situation persists until Marie is 19 years old. She is publically taunted by commoners who encourage her to "spread her legs and give us an heir!" Humiliated, and sexually frustrated, she turns to the amusements of partying and gambling.


She thinks very highly of herself however, as she simultaneously shuns new diamonds to assist with the debts and lessen the need for taxation of the French poor, she discusses how she will build and elaborately design a little theatre on her property, given her by the King, for her amusements.

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[center][img]http://img2.timeinc.net/ew/dynamic/imgs/061003/9449__abundance_l.jpg[/img]

The novel continues up until the death of the King and Queen by guillotine.


Naslund succeeded in capturing my interest in the initial chapters about how young Marie copes with the sudden and complete change in culture. But then, Marie's excesses become boring. The endless descriptions of the dress she will wear for this portrait or for that occasion act as filler where a more substantial story should be.


For some reason Naslund only vaguely alludes to the torrid love between Marie and Count Fersen, referring to him as her dearest friend. Better novels at least have acknowledged the relationship, and even the possibility that he was the father of at least one of her children.

I will say that this book does a decent job of describing the origins of the French Revolution, at least in the fiction novels I have read. Maybe about as good as Dickens, but it is a side story, not the main story, and the main story became an embarassment of descritions of abundance.


Instead of Abundance, if you are interested in the story of Marie's life, I suggest this book...[/center]
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[center][img]http://www.bbcaudiobooksamerica.com/client/products/ProdimageLg/737725.jpg[/img]


I wanted to finihs this book before I popped the movie [b]Marie Antionette[/b] into the DVD player...


[img]http://img455.imageshack.us/img455/3747/copiedecopiedemarieaduh2.jpg[/img]

Marie is played by Kirsten Dunst. Louis XVI is played by Jason Schwartzman.

The movie tries to achieve the same level of hip as Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliette, by using a newer modern music score, but is falls completely flat, just as a Knight's take did. The modern music just didn't work for me. It just cheapened what could have been a great story.

There is virtually no dialogue for the first 10-15 minutes of the movie, yet so many things are happening to Marie, if I hadn't just read the books above, I would have no insight into what was occurring. The visuals just weren't enough.

One scene that was fun, is when Marie begins to dwell in the excesses to drown her depression at not having her marriage consumated. The punk tune "I Love Candy" plays as Marie and her ladies try on dozens of shoes, gorge on sweets, let dogs jump on expensive fabrics laid out for her review, and it was a great collage, which if the movie had been better balanced, could have shown Marie as a young girl realizing the world is her oyster, but instead, while amusing, it just showed a carelessly indulgent pop tart of the times.

Jamie Dorman enters the picture as Marie and Louis sneak out ot a masked ball. marie looking so very alluring in her black gown and see-through eye cover and bright red lipstick, flirts outrageously with the Count, thinking he doesn't realize who she is. The chemistry is electric.


[img]http://www.marie-antoinette.info/axel_fersen.gif[/img]


At least Sophia Coppola was true to the history and there is a great shot of Dunst seducing the Count with only her fan. This Marie in love suddenly feels the need to simplify her life.



[img]http://matsstrandberg.blogg.se/images/m_1149156722.jpg[/img]

Later, when the kingdon is in peril, Marie stands by her man, at the cost of her life. It was an unreasonable and unbelievable choice by this otherwise selfish woman. She could have fled the country and lived a quiet simple life with her children and the Count.

But alas, that is history. And if anyone doesn't like it, then let them eat cake!!!

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Casino Royale
Casino Royale (2006)
10 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

[center]Casine Royale (2006)[/center]
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[center]Bring on Daniel Craig as the newest James Bond! But give this sexy master better material. That is my review in a nut shell, now for more specifics...



[img]http://www.supanet.com/media/00/10/01/Bondcraig_430.jpg[/img]



Daniel Craig is hands down the most gritty, masculine James Bond ever, or at least since Sean Connery. He is sex on legs!!



[b]Quote:[/b] "If the only thing left of you was your smile and your little finger, you'd still be more of a man than anyone I've ever known." Vesper Lynd


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Nothing could be more true! No gadgets and gizmos for this James Bond, he's all about hand-to-hand combat and big guns. In the pic above, am amazing shot of the mid-air chase scene at the start of the movie. Bond is like a slinky sinewy tiger and he leaps, crashes to the ground, and rolls to stand up and continue the chase. Breathtaking chase!

In fact, I give the movie a minus 1 for no gadgets. Well, not exactly no gadgets. The little automated defibrillator was pretty cool, but there was no instruction by an infamous "Q"-type character, and I missed that. It needed the John Cleese element.


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[center][img]http://www.canmag.com/images/front/bond/casino3.jpg[/img]


Dame Judy Dench... Does anyone just get sick of her? Well, I do. She does her part justice, finally acknowledging 007 as the right man for the job. I didn't sense the carefree chemistry between her and other Bonds though. Another minus 1.
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And lastly, can it be true?? Bond in love?? It goes against all that is Bond! Minus 1!! You just know that in order for the Bondness to continue this chick will have to die. It's a no brainer.

Bond is emasculated during his torture by Le Chiffre, to think of the damage done...it gave me the willies. It is territory that no ever has, or ever should've messed with in a Bond story.

The bottom line is, the idea of a Bond flick that lacks the elements of the essential Bond, the gadgets and "Q", the haughty chemistry between Bond and all women, not just his love interests, and even to allow Bond to fall in love?? It just isn't a Bond flick. Bond alone cannot carry a Bond movie. There has to be more involvement of the usual Bristish Secret Service, and less of Bond as a rougue force, at least it does for me for the story to be entirely believable.

My advise to the screenwriters? Don't stray from the formula! It works!![/center]

The Libertine
The Libertine (2006)
10 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

[center]I knew absolutely nothing about this movie, only that it starred Johnny Depp and John Malkovich. I was all a-twitter when I popped it into the DVD Player, thinking I'd get another fabulous helping of Depp. [/center]



[center]Well, what you hear in the introduction of The Libertine, the soliloquy by Depp about his own character, will be enough of a preview of this movie. If you are the least bit repulsed by the vulagirity of the language, I have to tell you, it gets no better. [/center]
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[center]The Libertine, The Earl of Rochester, is , if I understood it right, the brother of King Charles (II?). Libertine is a phrase used in England and France to denote one who is more or less a free spirit, one who supports sexual freedom, or pretty much the exact opposite of a Puritan. [/center]
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[center]Rochester even resorts to the use of vulgar language to his mother, as his exploits regularly find him ousted to "the country" by his brother, for bits of time. A supposed brilliant writer, he opts instead to write material suited to Sade less the sadism. [/center]
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[center]He is respectfully married, but has a regular whore whom he sees all the time. He boasts of his prowess, but hardly touches his wife after he abducts her, sweeps her off her feet and marries her, or should we say marries her money. [/center]
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[center]He is in love with the theatre, and is completely taken one evening with an actress named Elizabeth Barry. It is no secret to his wife or anyone in the town, but this is so common then, no one bats an eye. [/center]
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[center]It is eluded to that this is his greatest love, but somehow, the development of her character and this story falls flat. There seems to be a large gap in the story from the last time we see them together to when she tells him how she really had always felt about him. [/center]
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[center]How he could have hoped for more with her at that point is a pity. He is ravaged by the effects of his alcoholism, and some kind of disease, syphillus I think, pissing himself, and sores all over his skin, he is completly repulsive to look at. [/center]
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[center]The content of the story is vulgar. There is no selfless love story here, except perhaps the love of his wife, who stays with him when he deteriorates, much to her credit after the way she treated him, but even that was unbelieveable. [/center]
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[center]The story is shallow, as the Earl is himself. He was right, I didn't like him, and he accomplished that. [/center]
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[center]The actine was brilliant by all. I would have never even recognized John Malkovich as the King, only his voice gave him away. Samantha Morton as his lover was well-done, but did not get enough inter-play with Depp for her character to be great. And the wife, well, she was pathetic, so I guess she played her part the best of all. [/center]
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[center]If it were a well-done story of the consequences of a complete lack of restraint, it might be one thing, but the lack of development of the relationships between the Earl and his wife, or the Earl and his lover, and gaps in the story, just make it a self-indulgent portrait of a loser. Therefore, while well-acted, interestingly shot (the director liked the "blur" technique I think), I can't really recommend this movie as good entertainment. [/center]
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Sunset Boulevard
10 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

[center][b]Sunset Boulevard (1950)[/b]

I am not one to get into old black and white movies, but when I saw this one in the $5 bin at WalMart, I figured, WTF!

I can only say, this film is pure genious!



[img]http://www.musical-cat.com/world/sunset/movie_gloria_swanson05.jpg[/img]



A down on his luck screen writer wanna-be lands in the wrong place at the wrong time, or is it the right place? Aging screen star, Norma Desmond, eccentrically played by Gloria Swanson, convinces Joe to help her re-write a screen play she has written to get herself back into pictures again. Even though in her hey day, they were silent films.



[img]http://www.creativescreenwriting.com/csdaily/csdart/images/Sunset%20Boulevard%20-%20kiss%20(250w).jpg[/img]

It isn't long before Joe realizes Norma is a desperately lonely cuckoo. He wants to get out from her clutches, but doesn't want to be the one responsible for her killing herself.


[img]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/3/3a/SunsetBoulevardNancyOlsenandWilliamHolden.jpg/275px-SunsetBoulevardNancyOlsenandWilliamHolden.jpg[/img]

Then there is beautiful Betty. She thinks one of the screen plays he has submitted has worth, and thinks they should work on it together. When Norma discovers his late night rendevous with Betty, she is driven mad with jealousy (it wasn't such a long trip for her really.)



[img]http://www.creativescreenwriting.com/csdaily/csdart/images/Sunset%20Boulevard%20-%20Desmond,%20descending%20(250w).jpg[/img]

The final scene is brilliant. It is a fitting end for a pathetic old silent film star.

If you haven't ever seen this film, give it a shot. The movie is narrated by Joe for about 50% of the film. It's that old hollywood style of narrative that I love. William Holden plays his part to perfection. The score adds that little bit of creepiness wherever needed to let you know that under the surface, something just isn't right. It's absolutely brilliant. They truly don't make films like this anymore. [/center]

Derailed
Derailed (2005)
10 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

[center][b]Derailed [/b]

I didn't enjoy this movie. [/center]
[center][spoiler]It was the rape scene, too difficult to watch[/spoiler]

Charlie is a dull, oridnary, married man with a daughter who is very ill. Her kidney's failed, and they have scrimped and saved to purchase their own dialysis machine, so she can be comfortable in her own home until a third kidney becomes available. (They could have come up with a more plausible medical scenario, but being a a nurse, I will be ultra critical of medical plots!)

Charles and his wife don't have the most stimulating relationship. Enter the ravishing Lucinda. The pretty perky stranger who covers his train fare when he lost his ticket and didn't have cash to cover it. He is drawn to her, and finds her the next day to pay her back.

She is married with a child, and has a long-distance marriage. She is into Charles, but fearful that her husband would take her daughter from her if she was caught having an affair.

But the attraction was too strong and they went for it.

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[center][img]http://www.sfgate.com/c/pictures/2005/11/11/dd_derailed06.jpg[/img]


Things do not go as planned, and Charles ends up being blackmailed by a deviant bastard who tortures him and visits his home on the pretense of being his friend, his subtle way of letting Charles know he would get to him through his family.

He wants to report it to the police, but Lucinda won't agree, and she has good reason.


[img]http://www.hawaii.rr.com/leisure/reviews/kristin_uyemura/images/2005/12/2005-12_derailed001.jpg[/img]

The first watching, I stopped watching and took the DVD out after the evil bastrda entered the picture. Charles was weak, and stupid, and aquiesed too quickly. I couldn't respect him.

At least the weak husband, Richard Gere played in Unfaithful took matters into his own hands. You had to kind of admire that.

Anyway, my daughter popped it in tonight (OMG, she's 18, she can legally watch porn now!) So, there is a decent twist, and it turned out to be pretty interesting. Charles wasn't such a wuss after all. Give it a try, all is not what it seems at first. Not a bad movie after all, but not great either.[/center]