Full Frontal

 Culture, Movies, Movies I Own  Comments Off on Full Frontal
Mar 132005
 

Full Frontal (2002)A day in the life of a group of men and women in Hollywood, in the hours leading up to a friend’s birthday party.

Directed by
Steven Soderbergh

Genres
Comedy, Drama, Romance

Cast
David Duchovny, Nicky Katt, Catherine Keener, Brian Krow, Mary McCormack, David Hyde Pierce, Julia Roberts, Blair Underwood, Enrico Colantoni, Erika Alexander, Tracy Vilar, Brandon Keener, Jeff Garlin, David Alan Basche, Nancy Lenehan

By turns revelatory, sloppy, brilliant and pointless, Soderbergh intertwines the daily lives of Hollywood professionals, with the ostensible aim to skewer them. But even though “Full Frontal” is just a reflexive Hollywood satire, those multi-levels grabbed me, and I was fully interested in what was going on the entire time. If you enjoy the weirdness of movies you may very well enjoy this. But I can’t really recommend it, since nearly every review has been scathing, and since it often adds up to little more than surface experimentation. The strangeness — like a character’s neighbor who dresses up like Dracula for no apparent reason — doesn’t have any deep meaning or reason for being. (Unless, of course, it’s supposed to represent some Hollywood executive.) But the acting here is all so uninhibited that I was consistently fascinated. And sometimes — like with Julia Roberts playing a sly, sensual interviewer character in a film-within-a-film (within-a-film) or Catherine Keener (in a knockout performance) inexplicably torturing her employees with goofy questions about their private life and the countries in Africa — Soderbergh’s “no rules” approach gets some really great results.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

Trick

 Culture, Movies, Movies I Own  Comments Off on Trick
Aug 052004
 

Trick (1999)

The misadventures of two young gay men, trying to find a place to be alone, one night in Manhattan.

Directed by
Jim Fall

Genres
Comedy, Romance

Cast
Tori Spelling, Christian Campbell, John Paul Pitoc, Brad Beyer, Lacey Kohl, Abbey Hope, Becky Caldwell, Kate Flannery, Steve Hayes, Will Keenan, Joey Dedio, Ricky Ritzel, Lissette Gutierrez, Lorri Bagley, Kevin Andrew

DVD

This is a brilliantly observed romance, with some great performances (even by Tori Spelling). A big part of it is about the two main characters getting to know (and like) each other, and Gabriel realising that he’s misjudged Mark just because he’s a go-go boy. This is cleverly done, following a line of ‘don’t judge people by their appearances’, and Gabriel’s realisations are projected onto the audience in a very effective manner- just because Mark dances half naked on a bar for money, it doesn’t mean he’s not intelligent or romantically inclined/trustworthy. JP Pitoc is superb as Mark, and has some of the best lines in the film, my favorite being in the late night restaurant where he answers Tori Spelling’s denial of being a Lesbian in a very eloquent way, which surprises everyone (and the audience too).

Well worth going to see, or getting on DVD if you’re keen on the genre. All my straight friends have enjoyed it, so it should appeal to a wide audience.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

Moonstruck

 Culture, Movies, Movies I Own  Comments Off on Moonstruck
Jul 212004
 

Moonstruck (1987)

A widowed Brooklyn book-keeper is torn between her fiancé and his brother.

Directed by
Norman Jewison

Genres
Comedy, Romance, Drama

Cast
Cher, Nicolas Cage, Vincent Gardenia, Olympia Dukakis, Danny Aiello, Julie Bovasso, John Mahoney, Louis Guss, Feodor Chaliapin Jr., Anita Gillette, Leonardo Cimino, Paula Trueman, Nada Despotovich, Joe Grifasi, Gina DeAngeles

DVD

This is probably my favorite movie of all time. Loretta Castorini, a Brooklyn bookkeeper in her late 30s whose husband died several years earlier in a bus accident, decides it’s time to get married again. So she accepts the proposal of a nice, middle-aged fellow named Johnny Cammareri. Loretta is convinced her first marriage was cursed because she and her husband had gotten married at City Hall; this time, she’s determined to do things right, even as she admits to her mother, Rose, that she’s not really in love with Johnny. (To which Rose replies: “Good. When you love them, they drive you crazy, ’cause they know they can.” Rose speaks from rueful experience; she suspects, with good reason, that her husband, Cosmo, is cheating on her.) Loretta is convinced that marrying Johnny is the safe and sure thing to do – until she meets his estranged younger brother Ronny, who tends the ovens in a neighborhood bakery. Loretta discovers that in startling contrast to the pleasant, mild-mannered Johnny, Ronny is moody and passionate; what follows are complications worthy of a comic opera.

‘Moonstruck’ is a love story. There is not one romance, there are at least three, but they all have to do with the same family. Loretta’s family. Loretta (Cher) is about to marry Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello). She doesn’t love him, but he is sweet and good man. When he leaves to visit his dying mother in Italy Loretta meets Johnny’s brother Ronny (Nicolas Cage). He and Johnny haven’t spoken each other in five years and Loretta wants to invite him to the wedding. Of course they fall instantly for each other.

How this story and love stories of Loretta’s parents and uncle and aunt develop is something you simply have to see for yourself. Every seen is a delight to watch, with Cher as the bright star in the middle of everything. She won and really deserved the Oscar that year. Cage is pretty good, and goofy as well, and Olympia Dukakis as Loretta’s mother and Vincent Gardenia as her father are terrific. This movie is funny, charming and therefore highly enjoyable.

Cher and Olympia Ducacus are outstanding in their parts. I don’t like Nicholas Cage, but even he was great in this movie.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

Phenomenon

 Culture, Movies, Movies I Own  Comments Off on Phenomenon
Jun 262004
 

Phenomenon (1996)

An ordinary man sees a bright light descend from the sky, and discovers he now has super-intelligence and telekinesis.

Directed by
Jon Turteltaub

Genres
Drama, Romance, Fantasy

Cast
John Travolta, Kyra Sedgwick, Forest Whitaker, Robert Duvall, Jeffrey DeMunn, Richard Kiley, Brent Spiner, Vyto Ruginis, Bruce A. Young, Michael Milhoan, Sean O’Bryan, David Gallagher, Ashley Buccille, Tony Genaro, Troy Evans

VHS

This is defnitely a favorite movie of mine. John Travlota did a great job playing a man who develops an unbounded intellect after seeing a bright light. I won’t give away much of the story, but I thought it was a great exploration of the possibilities of our brains.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

Titanic

 Culture, Movies, Movies I Own  Comments Off on Titanic
Jun 262004
 

Titanic (1997)

Fictional romantic tale of a rich girl and poor boy who meet on the ill-fated voyage of the ‘unsinkable’ ship.

Directed by
James Cameron

Genres
Drama, History, Romance

Cast
Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher, Gloria Stuart, Bill Paxton, Bernard Hill, David Warner, Victor Garber, Jonathan Hyde, Suzy Amis, Lewis Abernathy, Nicholas Cascone, Dr. Anatoly M. Sagalevitch

VHS

This was the blockbuster of 1996, but rightfully so. It was a very well told tale, and I think well cast and acted. The background of a well known true story gave this depiction a nice hint of plausibility.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

Meet Joe Black

 Culture, Movies, Movies I Own  Comments Off on Meet Joe Black
Jun 252004
 

Meet Joe Black (1998)

A media mogul acts as a guide to Death, who takes the form of a young man to learn about life on Earth and in the process, fall in love with his guide’s daughter.

Directed by
Martin Brest

Genres
Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Drama

Cast
Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Claire Forlani, Jake Weber, Marcia Gay Harden, Jeffrey Tambor, David S. Howard, Lois Kelly-Miller, Jahnni St. John, Richard Clarke, Marylouise Burke, Diane Kagan, June Squibb, Gene Canfield, Suzanne Hevner

VHS

OK, some people just don’t like Brad Pitt, but I happen to think he’s allright. This is a pretty good film, and if viewed with the right frame of mind, can raise some pretty good questions about the meaning and purpose of life. This is one of my favorites.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

Bullets Over Broadway

 Culture, Movies, Movies I Own  Comments Off on Bullets Over Broadway
Jun 242004
 

Bullets Over Broadway (1994)

Set in 1920’s New York City, this movie tells the story of idealistic young playwright David Shayne. Producer Julian Marx finally finds funding for the project from gangster Nick Valenti. The catch is that Nick’s girl friend Olive Neal gets the part of a psychiatrist, and Olive is a bimbo who could never pass for a psychiatrist as well as being a dreadful actress. Agreeing to this first compromise is the first step to Broadway’s complete seduction of David, who neglects longtime girl friend Ellen. Meanwhile David puts up with Warner Purcell, the leading man who is a compulsive eater, Helen Sinclair, the grand dame who wants her part jazzed up, and Cheech, Olive’s interfering hitman / bodyguard. Eventually, the playwright must decide whether art or life is more important.

Directed by
Woody Allen

Genres
Comedy, Romance, Crime

Cast
John Cusack, Dianne Wiest, Jennifer Tilly, Chazz Palminteri, Mary-Louise Parker, Jack Warden, Joe Viterelli, Rob Reiner, Tracey Ullman, Jim Broadbent, Harvey Fierstein, Stacy Nelkin, Malgorzata Zajaczkowska, Charles Cragin, Nina Sonja Peterson

A Woody Allen written and directed film that does not include him in a single frame. It may seem strange, but it’s true. Allen’s “Bullets Over Broadway” deals with a struggling stage writer (John Cusack) who is so desperate to get one of his plays on Broadway in the 1920s that he reluctantly enlists the help of the local mafia crime lord to fund the play. Of course there is a large stipulation. The crime lord’s girl must be in the play (hilariously played by Jennifer Tilly in an Oscar-nominated role). Needless to say she’s terrible and Cusack struggles with her in the play. However, he has booked A-list actress Dianne Wiest (in her second Oscar-winning role) who is an alcoholic who has seen better days in her career. Tilly’s bodyguard (Chazz Palminteri, also in an Oscar-nominated role) sees the play rehearsed firsthand and gives Cusack some directions on the project that Cusack cannot refuse. Palminteri is street smart and knows how people really talk, while Cusack is so educated that his words make no sense to the normal audience. This film is what “The Godfather” would have been like if Allen had directed it. The screenplay is outstanding and Allen’s direction has rarely been better. Cusack is fun and hilarious, but it is the supporting cast that makes the movie work. Other than the aforementioned Oscar-nominated actors, there are great turns by several others. Mary-Louise Parker, Tracy Ullman, Jim Broadbent, Jack Warden, Rob Reiner, Harvey Feinstein, and Joe Viterelli are all superb in well-calculated supporting roles.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

West Side Story

 Culture, Movies, Movies I Own  Comments Off on West Side Story
May 252004
 

Westside StoryMusical about two youngsters from rival NYC gangs who fall in love.

Directed by
Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise

Genres
Musical, Romance, Drama

Cast
Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, George Chakiris, Simon Oakland, Ned Glass, William Bramley, Tucker Smith, Tony Mordente, David Winters, Eliot Feld, Bert Michaels, David Bean, Robert Banas

Note the opening credits. I use the term “credits” loosely, because there aren’t any. There’s just a reddish orangish title card which changes colour ever so slowly while they play the overture. Now THAT takes courage. Obviously Wise was certain that Bernstein’s music provides so much interest on its own that it would have been redundant to do anything but play it. And he was right. Bernstein simply wrote better music than any other Broadway composer of his day – much better music – and whether or not “West Side Story” contains his very best music, it’s his very best musical. It would take a special effort to make a bad movie out of it.

In fact Wise handles things very well. We get the same silent sweep over New York that he later gave us over Austria in “The Sound of Music” – the sweep that says, “I’m going to show you New York” (or Austria, as the case may be). The filming and the colours are stark and intentionally artificial: it does feel as if we are being shown a city. Performances are all fine.

Of course, most of what makes this film great was already present in the musical. But what’s wrong with that? Surely Wise shouldn’t HAVE to spin straw into gold. A wise man – sorry – just accepts it with good grace when he is handed gold to begin with.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...
snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake