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An Overwhelmingh Historical Tale
I happened only 70 years ago and so many young people have never even heard about it. How can it be? And, how dangerous. Not to know will always put you at a disadvantage, oh yes, sooner or later. Trumbo feels like a story set in a totalitarian Country and yet...The spread of fear is a powerful weapon used by self-aggrandizing sociopaths. Joe McCarthy's success is still a mystery to me and Trumbo proves, in the most riveting way, how easily we can fall in that trap. Bryan Cranston is simply, sensational portraying a true American in all its contradictions. I never really thought of the actual degradation Trumbo and the other blacklisted writers went through until I saw it in Bryan Cranston's face. David James Elliott portrayal of John Wayne is chilling and disturbing, specially because id true. I've heard from people who knew him, what a nice man Duke was and yet...Helen Mirren as Hedda Hopper was another chilling and unexpected portrait of utter ignorance. I've only recently found out that she was behind the forces that wanted Charles Chaplin out of the Country. Congratulations to director Jay Roach and to a spectacular cast. Let's hope everyone pays attention.
The Vietnam War (2017)
A Brilliant and Shattering Historical Document
Every episode is an extraordinary lesson and the teachers are not trying to convert us but enlighten us. One side, both sides, all sides.To me, personally, the most shocking aspect of it all is its absurdity. As more troops are sent back to Afghanistan by the Trump administration, one wonders. Haven't we learned anything? Watching and listening to American vets, listening to Vietcong veterans saying, "We saw the American crying for their deaths and I though, they are just like us" The fact that something like that can be a revelation is part of the mystery of it all. Don't we know from day one that we're all the same? Humans. To Ken Burns and all of his partners and collaborators, thank you, thank you very much.
It made me miss Rosemary Woodhouse
Darren Aronfsky is a director I follow, even since Pi. He's daring and unpredictable. I loved Requiem For A Dream and Black Swan, the rest of his opus has left me puzzled or downright annoyed. Mother! belongs to the later. All the element's were there - Rosemary's Baby written by Edward Albee - that's what I thought right up to Michelle Pfeiffer's entrance, then something happened - The movie falls through a totally unbelievable, hysterical downward spiral. What? Yes, exactly. Jennifer Lawrence suffers, puffs and moans from the very first frame, well second frame. She's afraid from the word go. She could run away but for some reason she never ventures out of the house. Questions like that become a massive obstacle for us to care and feel connected - Think of Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby or Colin Firth in Apartment Zero - co-habitating with a devil, surrounded by sinister neighbors or unwanted visitors. Those films also had sensational scripts and the narrative even when symbolic was always solidly based on the story at hand - Here it feels like gimmicks - One idea and then round and round the mulberry bush. I don't know how many times she shouts at her husband "Please make them leave" - Jennifer Lawrence goes through it valiantly and vociferously. Javier Bardem as the egomaniacal husband is absurdly unconvincing - and I'm a devoted a fan - Michelle Pfeiffer is the one who brings something new to the proceedings and a truly startling performance. Other than that, I'm sorry to say no to Mother!
Rules Don't Apply (2016)
I love Warren Beatty, I always have. First time I saw him in a movie was in Bonnie and Clyde. For me his name had something magic. Splendor In The Grass, The Roman Spring Of Mrs. Stone, Lilith. The beauty of the man didn't seem to interfere with the character he was playing, remember All Fall Down? I waited for Rules Don't Apply with feverish anticipation, like I haven't waited for a movie since I was a kid. I sat through it for the first time, amused, surprised and delighted. But a few hours later the film started unreeling in my mind. Candice Bergen? Did I see Candice Bergen playing a secretary, handing papers, standing in the background, staring at the TV, on the phone? No, it couldn't be. Candice Bergen for goodness sake, an American icon. The thought muddled my memory of the film. I saw Rules Don't Apply again last night. Yes, it was Candice Bergen. Wow! What one will do for friends. On a second viewing I saw it as an unsentimental valentine to what it was, with a hopeful wonderous future beyond us way beyond us. I'll see it again soon and see what happens. Cheers Mr Beatty.
The Putin Interviews (2017)
Stone/Putin A mystery.
I love Oliver Stone, I always have So, I was looking forward to this interviews with Vladimir Putin. But now, 24 hours after having seen them I'm totally and utterly puzzled. I'm not writing this as an uninformed American. I work with people who come from different Countries, a few Russians too. Mr Stone must know that all sort of public information in Russia is monitored by the Kremlin so, that alone, should throw shivers down Mr Stone's spine. Am I right? So, why then this long pro Putin propaganda, because, that's what it is. Isn't it? To make things even more puzzling Mr Stone went to the Tonight Show and told Stephen Colbert that he didn't believe the Russians interfered with the American elections. What? It's not just the US that was interfered with but the UK, France, Germany. What is this Mr Stone? What do you think you know that we're missing? As I respect you very much. I would like to understand.
Separate Lies (2005)
No fuss please, we're British
Julian Fellowes, the distinguished writer of "Godsford Park", presents us with another civilized tale of self contained emotions. This time however, the ingredients are somehow at odds with each other and the strange taste that left in my palate indicates that, perhaps, it was removed from the oven a little too soon. I longed for Joseph Losey at the helm and Dirk Bogarde, Sarah Miles and Alan Bates as the protagonists. Emily Watson is always marvelous but here, she doesn't have the kind of support she, as an actress or as a character, deserved and/or needed. Tom Wilkinson, as good as he is, doesn't have the layers of a Dirk Bogarde or James Mason. He is exactly what you get and Rupert Everett, who became a star overnight with Julian Mitchell's "Another Country" has taken a strange and puzzling road. His close ups are kind of frightening. His mouth has become the center of attention and not the kind of attention one would expect. It belongs to the villain in a horror movie. I noticed that already in his comedy with Madonna. I know, perhaps, all this sounds irrelevant but it conditioned my response to "Separate Lies" I wanted to be riveted and I wasn't.
A Few Pieces Of An Historical Puzzle
Oliver Stone and Josh Brolin manage the impossible by giving a present reality a sort of farcical look. Frightening to see how easily the farce and the reality merge and marry in the most natural way. George W, eats his way into history. The most mediocre of men drowning in a pool of his own making and in a way, drowning all of us with him. But, somehow, neither Stone nor Brolin describe a monster. On the contrary, here the monstrosity is in our hands. The man was voted (sort of) twice. Richard Dreyfuss IS Dick Cheney. A terrifying truthful performance. Thandie Newton is the one really out there. She plays her "yes woman" like Talia Shire in the Godfather III. Very bizarre, but fun. So, the biggest surprise is that Stone didn't come with a hatchet but with a magnifying glass. Seeing what we already knew but a bit larger made for a riveting evening at the movies.
Meryl from Bari
When the soul of a movie is reflected in an actor's eyes then you have a miracle, you have something that's going to last. Meryl Streep in "The Bridges Of Madison County" is such a miracle to me. I never thought for a moment that she, no matter how wonderful an actress she is, could fool me. Meryl Streep could never be Italian. Well, there I was, thinking and pre-judging like people I detest. I was so wrong. Not just because she fooled me, although there is no fooling involved here. She won me over. I forgot she was Meryl Streep, the actress, and I lived Francesca's story to the fullest because, I suppose, that's the mystery of great acting, I was confronted by her sheer undiluted truth. The truth in her eyes in every one of her gestures. The truth on her brow. Her thinking, transparent. Clint Eastwood does the right thing putting the entire film at her service and placing himself as the foil to liberate that powerful latent side of Francesca. I though it was ironic and I'm not sure if was meant to be that a wonderful woman like Francesca will sacrifice, what could arguably be call the love of her life, for those children. The grown children's mediocrity was kind of shocking to me. Will the revelation of their mother's secret, reveal a latent, greater side to their natures. I hope so. Francesca deserved extraordinary children. Try no to miss this little miracle.