Mr. Gitts's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

McCabe & Mrs. Miller
4 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

McCabe & Mrs. Miller is a desperately haunting and poetic film... It's almost impossible to describe what I thought of it, as I fell in love with it and my opinions could exceed the limit of objectivity, but this deserves an attempt.

If you expect a traditional Western you will probably be disappointed - it has left out all the myths that the genre has symbolized for so many decades. In fact, the director himself, Robert Altman, labeled it as an anti-western. With its dark imagery and unusual story, it paved the way for modern pieces of art such as Unforgiven, There Will Be Blood and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

Removing all the varnish applied to the Old West, the film gives an honest account of John McCabe, a man who is essentially a gambler. Luck put him in a relatively comfortable position of power and wealth as he arrives in a remote north-western town at the turn of the 20th century. Leaving a strange but discreet past behind him, he's ready to set up a business of his own, and a brothel for the local miners seems like the right idea. Constance Miller comes to offer him partnership. Seeing great potential in the plan, she is willing to run, and work in, a fine whorehouse. McCabe reluctantly accepts, but their business proves to be flourishing - and it surely wouldn't have been as clean and as respectable without Mrs. Miller's intervention. Then, as they prove to be one of the growing community's leading citizens, things start getting out of hand as the inevitable truths of capitalism unravel.

The film is mostly about the way the two leads interact with each other. McCabe is smitten by Miller's manners, and from their first encounter it's obvious that he has fallen into a dizzy spell. Some might call it love but it really is the desire for something that you can't fully obtain, something too distant. This Constance Miller who calls herself a madam is a whore, doesn't have much of a heart and doesn't try to hide it, yet she's enterprising, shines with the charm of a real lady, and, deep down, she's a sweet person. Their relationship is awkward and not based on love, but there is an indescribable feeling to it.

Julie Christie embodies her role magnificently (Al Pacino called her the most poetic of all actresses, watching this you can understand why). Warren Beatty is very convincing as the cigar-smoking John McCabe, a pathetically flawed man, not a hero, but a man you can identify with, for his weaknesses as well as for his strengths. The photography of wet, muddy landscape and Leonard Cohen's music confirm the melancholy mood. The pace is cautious and succeeds in revealing only as much as necessary, yet isn't slow and keeps the story going, as the details are paid attention to. The directing is perfect for the film - the characters and their conflicts, the dialogue, the humor: all perfect. Everything fits, what else can I say?

This is, in my book, one of the most understated masterpieces in the history of American cinema. It is strange and peculiar, and not for everyone to like and understand. But McCabe & Mrs. Miller is a unique and powerful film - it accomplishes everything it sets out to do.

West Side Story
4 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

West Side Story is one of the most famous musical films of all time for a good reason. It is flawed and somewhat repetitive, but what the heck, it's a musical right? It is an experience memorable for its sweet romance, great choreography, and Leonard Bernstein's timeless music. The Romeo and Juliet story is well transposed to modern times, and overall it feels really enjoyable. Natalie Wood is brilliant in the lead role even though she doesn't pass off so well as a Puerto-Rican...

At the end of this film I felt quite impressed. West Side Story has stood the test of time as a classic and is still easily recommendable.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
4 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The Fellowship of the Ring is visually and emotionally complex, and a near-perfect combination of art and entertainment. It's rare that anything of that genre manages to enchant, move, entertain and shock as brilliantly as The Lord of the Rings.

It might be perceived as boring, dull and repetitive, but J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy will never be forgotten, and time has proven that even with the recent onslaught of fantasy into litterature, The Lord of the Rings remains at the very top. Now, how is that possible? Maybe because the three volumes were released almost 60 years ago to critical acclaim and have now come to be regarded as one of the milestones of british litterature. They are intricately written and woven in such a way as to affectionally show what life and history really meant to the author as he was trying to pass it on to his readers. Tolkien, a renowned philologist, spent a lifetime writing, revising, compiling, editing, and re-revising his work: the dream to create the ultimate legends through his own imaginery world. And The Lord of the Rings, the most accessible and universally popular of his writings, is also his most accomplished.

As a huge Tolkien fan, I have read most of his books and I'm very familiar with its terms, languages and lore. As I belong to one of the later generations, I've been initiated to The Lord of the Rings through the films and the hype surrounding them - so I don't know if I would love the films as much if I hadn't, in a way, grown up with them, and if I had read the books before. But even now as I watch them somewhat more objectively, I can easily say that the whole trilogy is a wonderful adaptation of Tolkien's work. Peter Jackson got it right and put together something remarkable here, as he succeeded in projecting the creator's vision while still giving it his unique artistic touch, making the films his own thanks to spot-on direction.

The story in The Fellowship of the Ring is rather well transposed to the big screen and flows with intelligent pacing, filled with moments of action and thrills as well as moments of sheer wonder - supported by character development! It may sound easy to mix all of those when you have a 3-hour running time, but is it really? They have managed to bring us a condensed reworking of the book while keeping its charm and its magical touch. Only one detail worth mentioning from the screenplay (a mistake that has been pointed out over and over again...): the omission of the Tom Bombadil encounter, which in the book was sweet and fit the mood of the story at its point in time. But oh well, we've heard enough of it, and the fans will eventually forgive whoever is responsible for that dreadful deed...

Anyway, what I love about The Lord of the Rings in general, but especially in regard to The Fellowship of the Ring is that, despite its extensive use of special effects, it takes great advantage of scenery and cinematography to convey the beauty and grandeur of the surrounding world. And visually, from the green pastures of The Shire to the harsh, brasen land of Mordor, it remains true to how Tolkien might have imagined it.

The Fellowship of the Ring isn't considered to be as epic and intense as The Two Towers or The Return of the King, but in my opinion it is, though by a small margin, the overall-best and most consistent of the three. It is an awe-inspiring hommage to Middle-Earth and its creatures. Here we really get to know the characters and their conflicts, and even with some failed casting, the actors are convincing. There are enough battle scenes to keep the film going, too: the Nazgul encounters, the passage through Moria, the Uruk-hai assault on the Anduin shores...all carried by unforgettable music.

The Lord of the Rings is a stunning piece of work, it is dark and brooding but ultimately poetic, beautiful and compelling. Years after its release, it still gains in watchability and popularity, defining it into a modern classic.

Out of Africa
Out of Africa (1985)
4 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Out of Africa is a very beautiful film, filled with stunning cinematography and great music, but it is extremely flawed. Although Sydney Pollack isn't a bad director, here he fails to convey any sense of pacing and the film drags and drags and drags, without a strong enough script to support its length.

Some of the characters are very complex, and the actors who portray them, Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, pull it off perfectly, with the supporting actors also doing a good job. Based on a true story, it tells of Karen Blixen, a Danish baroness who through a loveless marriage comes to own a coffee plantation in colonial Kenya. Near the times of World War I, she meets Denis, a big-game hunter, and they slowly begin a doomed love affair. This film deserves credit for how it shows relationships, and life, in a realistic and touching way, but unfortunately none of it manages to be very interesting...

I usually love long films that take the time to develop its characters and their surroundings, yet I have to say this one made me uncomfortable and bored me, as I couldn't keep up with its slow pace and its poor story. Even awe-inspiring shots of african landscapes don't quite make up for what the film couldn't achieve.

Out of Africa is passable in my opinion, and is still worth it for those who enjoy complicated romances, at least without expecting something too exciting or out of the ordinary.