Friday, January 30, 2009

Sammy L Jackson 'Afro Samuri' kinda sucks rectum

So I'm one of those people that type like eight different words into the Google search engine, hoping I'll get specifically what I want, like true real ghost hauntings spirit story adult scary, or watch movies free online streaming new. You discover alot of cool things this way, and sometimes you even get what you were looking for. So I did this the other day and came across a data base with new releases of movies, and my eye caught Afro Samurai: Resurrection. I (attempted to) watch the series, but it was so poorly drawn, voiced and plotted that it made my love for anime hide. (Took 3 hours to find it again, it was trembling under the stove and I had to coax it out with a sqeaky toy.)

Why bother going into all the reasons why it's historically incorrect. It's just bad. I don't F-ing care at all, even if freeking Sammy L. J IS voicing someone. Why can't one of the good animes make it big over here?
Like Samurai Champloo.

This is Jin. He's F-ing hot.

Samurai Champloo has all the elements of a good damn adult show. It's funny, it's serious, there's hot men that are experts at fighting, a cute annoying girl that helps the plot move on, excellent animation and whether in original Japanese or English dub, it retains its luster. (Although I recommend the original Jap over Eng, because the girl's voice is so terrible in English and cute in Jap, and also some of the translations in subtitle are better than the dub.)

It's about a girl back in the Edo period trying to find her dad who stinks like sunflowers (sorry, it's actually "smells" like sunflowers), and she recruits by accident these ronin Samurai who act as her bodyguards while also accomplishing their own deeds on the trip, finding love, gorging on food, and even a fun mushroom-induced trip to a land of mining zombies!

There are some gory scenes, but not too many. It's pretty true to life in most matters, men hug, bathe together in saunas (sexay) and occasionally get naked, you see some nipple, people swear, but be a man and let that stuff enrich you rather than frighten your puritanical sensibilities.

It can be found online in quite a few places, I hesitate to write them here because well, copyrights and all that. but trust me, dig even a little and you can find it. I hated it when I saw the first episodes, It was kinda boring and I could take it or leave it, but I stuck with it.
Seriously, I recommend this. It's right up there with Berserk and Bebop.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hilary Duff to Imitate Anorexic Faye Dunaway

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Okay, the blog community is all over this so you probably already know about the buzz.  Hilary Duff has signed to star in a new Bonnie and Clyde remake where they focus more on the real life of the bank robbers rather than the a sensationalized dramatization of their robberies. Uhh…didn’t I see this at the History Channel or A&E or some TV channel?

I betcha they are going to have them die with one single shot.

I hate some of these damn producers in Hollywood.  As if film making wasn't enough of a waste of money, they just go ahead and flush it down the toilet.

This impending remake is so worthless.  It’s not even bad enough to make it into a delicious guilty pleasure.

Least they forget, the original 1967 Bonnie and Clyde also had Gene Hackman and Warren Beatty. I loved that movie as a kid.  I remember getting such a kick when I saw Gene Wilder aka Willy Wonka, in a cameo. And of course, we must never forget the most crucial character, Faye Dunaway’s beret.Recently Updated42 
I mean, as if rappers like Tupac and Jay-Z haven’t butchered this movie enough by using it as a song.

I would much rather see a remake of Mommie Dearest with Jake Gyllenhall in drag—that way you get the queens and the teenage girls to the theatre.

If I was the producer, I wouldn’t hire Hilary Duff. Come on, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Darrow were da original gansta’z. I would get creative and make the leads African-American (as contriversially racist as that may sound, but it gives the black actors a chance in this one sided industry.)  Now that would be a remake I would like to see.  I dare critics to badmouth that movie because 1. they’ll be capped and or shanked and 2. they’ll be called racists.

A reminder of the gory Bonnie and Clyde (1967) ending.

I mean, how would you remake Bonnie and Clyde?


Classic Movie Gem: Alice Adams (1935) Part 1-Romantic Comedy

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“Yes, you must go.  There’s nothing else for you to do.  When anything’s spoiled, people can’t do anything else but run away from it. Goodbye.”

Alice says to Mr.Russell (Fred MacMurray), after an inexplicable instinct tells her that their romance was over and that she’ll never see him again. This emotion was something I can relate to, and that I can see in Alice’s still eyes. Of course, theirs was a doomed romance.  From the moment I realized that he was ashamed of her, taking her on a date out of sight from the rest of the restaurant (to me, it looked like the type of establishment where married men rendezvous with their mistress). Yet in this messed-up romantic tale, Alice chose to be honest with herself. She is the one who chose to end that heartbreaking affair. (The line above can be seen in the clip below.)

Think of this movie as She’s All That , except deeper and not as superfluous.  While that teen movie is derived and melodramatic, Alice Adams is a drama set in Depression-Era New England, revolving around Alice Adams, a young girl with an eagerness to please others in such a tragic manner.  I am familiar with this kind of girl from elementary school, as I am sure we all are.  She pushes herself upon people, despite the continuing ridicule of her strange “imagination” and welfare status.

There is one rich girl, Mildred, who sympathizes, or perhaps even pities Alice. Mildred chooses to invite Alice to her parties—despite the fact that all her friends continually exclude Alice from their parties.

As I watched this movie, I couldn’t help but feel like I knew the people I saw on the screen. Alice’s relationship with her brother, played by Frank Albertson, reminded me of my best friend from high school and his sister: He doesn’t want to drive her around, tells her no, but he eventually feels guilty and agrees to begrudgingly accompany Alice to Mildred’s party as her date.

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At the party, Alice wears a wilting bouquet of flowers that she picked herself from the park. She is snubbed by all the other high society kids and ends up forced to hang out with the geriatric, old people (I’ve so been there, except I hung out with the stoned, un-cool college kids crashing a high school party).

At this party is where she meets Mr.Frank Russell (played by Fred MacMurray, dreamboat personified). Mr.Russell, an out of towner, is nice to Alice. I guess at this point, he seemed innocent enough.  The movie seems to resemble any other Pygmalion chick flick, were the rich guy falls in love for the ugly duckling. Well, the story unravels in front of you and it does not end up as I expected or how I wanted. After each encounter, Mr. Russell comes off looking like that greasy rich player (though I still would not kick him out of bed). It is hard for me to form an opinion about him because he is very nice and genuine enough, but you just know that he has probably done this kind of shit before—whisk off a lone, impressionable girl only to tap some ass. I mean, I know that Alice is bright enough to understand that she is being manipulated, but I cant help but want her to be manipulated. damn those charming rich boys.  Some really are genuine enough, like Mr. Russell, but let’s be realistic. Yes, their attraction to each other is evident; I can sense that they are trying so hard to ignore the reality and try instead to focus on that inexplicable phenomenon that they’ve found their soul mates…but alas, circumstance forces them to bring honesty upon themselves and each other.

Don’t expect to see a trace of Katharine Hepburn in this movie, because there is none, just an overly eager girl. If you want to see a performance by the great Kate, this is the movie to watch.  Wheras in other films like Bringing Up Baby or Woman of the Year, Kate is essentially playing up to her Bryn Mawr- accented persona, in Alice Adams, Kate actually steps off her comfort zone and ACTS, playing a vulnerable little girl, not some spoiled, strong willed woman.

This is a two-part post.  This film just speaks volumes to me. The next part deals with the movie’s acute observation of a poor family in Depression Era society.

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008) or Did this Happen to Me in High School too but was too Wasted to Remember?

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Paced like a teen novel (one of my guilty pleasures) Nick and Norah’s infinite playlist weaves through the city of New York in such an ambience that reminded me of some listless Fellini film. I have no idea what I just said…

I thoroughly enjoyed Nick and Norah, but alas, I would not consider it a feat in filmmaking. (FYI, classic film lovers, this has nothing to do with The Thin Man’s William Powell or Myrna Loy.)

What really made it good for me was it’s fresh young actors.  The movie did not feel like a Hollywood movie, but more like a Canadian movie. The main characters involve an emotional eater and a heartbroken Michael Cera, who belongs in a gay band—he is the only hetero band member and they don’t even have a drummer.

Very cute. Something for your leisure. If this your cup of tea. A really nice distraction.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Keanu Reeves to rape Cowboy Bebop

You know when you wear a suit that doesn't really fit you all that well, and the shoulders are kinda off, so you can't move your arms around too much like with lifting or... movement at all? I mean, you're kinda stiff, but you think "Hey, at least I look pretty good. Yeah."
That's Keanu Reeves. Except he stopped looking good circa the end of the Matrix series.
Good old wooden-acting Keanu is soon to take on the role of one of anime's most beloved characters from the series Cowboy Bebop. It will probably be renamed Cowboy Boobbop, to appease our secular culture.
For those sad creatures who have never experienced the greatness that is the Bebop, back the fuck up.
Bebop is an adult animated scifi (Think Firefly mixed with adventure or something, and if you dont know what Josh Wheaton's Firefly is, I'll get to you later.)
So there are these two guys that run a bounty-hunting gig. One's Jet, an older kinda balding buff native American dude with a metal arm. He's the captain of the Bebop their spaceship. (Earth is pretty much like Seal's face from meteors exploding. Heh. So peeps are pretty much on other planets in space.) Anyway, the younger dude has spiky black hair, doesn't give a shit about anything but in a friendly sort of easy-going way that just fucking oozes cocky coolness that pretty much anyone that has ever gone through highschool can envy from the pits of our black little hearts. His name is Spike.

So along the way of smoking cigarettes and being hungry and shooting up bad-guys (space western kinda, I'm aware, shut up), they also pick up a gambolling hottie Fay Valentine, who in school in 2010, got into an accident in space and was put in cryogenic freezing. defrosted a long ass time later, everyone she once knew is almost dead. She's the worst developed character of the show, but she's the fanservice, there for long legs, jiggly boobs and crotch shots, although less gratuitously than done in alot of series. But I'm a fan of fan service anyway.
They pick up a data dog (not important nevermind) and a young gumby-like girl named Ed who does shit with computers.
All in all, it makes for a pretty fun varied cast, ad the interactions between Fay, Spike and Jet especially are realistic, funny, and sometimes sad.
Like most anime heroes, Spike has a past, and is basically living for the moment when he dies. Yet he's not hell-bent on destruction like alot of characters we see who have given up. Spike's not trying to kill himself, he's actually kind of a generally friendly good-mood fellow, he just considers death factually.
So here's my gripe. In order to pull off being 1) an extremely handsome anime character and 2) a varied character that is young and likeable you would not be Keanu Reeves.

If someone isn't an actor, stop putting them in roles that requires acting. It's that simple.
Tortoise headed, squinty-eyed, slack-lipped, aging, tired, dry, wooden-acting Keanu Reeves. If he says "WHOA" in the remake of this like he has in every single one of his movies, I will kill someone. I am warning you now, because inevitably, he will sneak that in somewhere, like a wet suffocated fart.

You see, the shitty jazz music that actually added alot to the series will probably be one of the first things to go. Then of course will be the side stories about Jett and Fay and Ed, I'm guessing the plot will focus mainly on Spike's doomed and far-away affection for his lost love, and of course, his vengeance. But the elements that put together a well-rounded quirky series cannot be squashed into a film, let alone one Americanized enough (booby boob booberson) to really be a good movie. especially with the lead character being old now (he ain't passable as 20) and unable to carry off the uber- lanky apathetic yet lovable Spike.
And if you think 'Dude, you bitch alot about remakes,' I have this to say to you, sir: You goddamned right.

In the end of the series, in a sad an triumphant scene, Spike points his finger like a gun and says "bang".

Bang indeed Spike. Bang indeed.

About Us

I am a guy who enjoys a wide range of movies. I feel as if there has to be more to Cinema than just the standard movies they show at AMC. I can’t help but feel as if there is a treasure chest of movies just waiting to be seen out there—movies which are unique and not just recycled material.

I also hold a certain fascination with how a movie star’s life greatly parallels their choice of movies and roles. I believe that a movie star’s resume is a form of a movie.

Me and my good friend Sergei, would like to bring each other and everyone, into a state of movie awareness.

Because there is so much more to the film world than just Hollywood movies.

If you would like to contact me, you can do so at

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) Gets Raped in Remake, The Uninvited (2009)

(Korean: Janghwa, Hongryeon- literally "Rose Flower, Red Lotus")

In 2003, possibly one of the greatest movies of all time was unleashed in the form of a Korean film by Ji-woon Kim called A TALE OF TWO SISTERS. It was understated, quiet, lulling you into the very very small bits of horror, that made it all the more frightening because the two very young girls were so very much just like you or me.... just Korean. Haunting and atmospheric, every shot as pretty as a painting and the music sparse so as not to overload the senses, it brought you into a world where a young girl and her sister come home from a mental institution, to the house where their mother died. They do not like their new step mother, as is apparent, and step mom seems a little manic--too much smiles, too enthusiastic, but it is hiding a barely guarded rage towards her little charges.
(this pic: Innocence and fragility)

The psychological meaning of this movie only became clear to me after numerous viewings, but it never ceases to grab me by the butt and teeth (simultaneously) and not let go, even after the movie is over. I think about it for days. Someone under the kitchen sink? Events that occur all at once, as if the three women in the house were one person? And what exactly did happen to their mother? And why are the girls so terrified of that wardrobe in the corner?
Lingering, delicate, scary and sad, it ends with a scene from the past, where the Father first brought home his then colleague (soon to be stepmom). She has witnessed the death of the girl's mother and possible death of "someone else" but stood by, doing nothing to help. She stops the main character (cute girl on the far left there) in the hall and warns her "This may be a day you regret". It won so many awards that it's pointless to list them all here. Go look it up yourself. But if you never see another foreign film in your life, watch a TALE OF TWO SISTERS. I stole it from this jackass I knew in College, and I watched it, and holey shit---he aint never getting that movie back. It's mine forever.
And what the fuck did Hollywood do? Shit on it. That's right. They went to a urinal, dropped trow and exploded a butt-barf of raw sewage all over this beautiful enchanting tale.

(Innocence? Good acting? wont find that in the remake! But boobies! Sex appeal! Arian nation!)What did Hollywood name their feces baby? THE UNINVITED. The two little girls are now sexy booby teenagers, and instead of sitting on the end of a dock, being real people together, they are, in Hollywood land, jumping and giggling in bikinis. Where's Joe Francis to film this for Girls Gone Wild? It is the worst bastardization of something I have ever seen. PERIOD. What's with the cliche English-children ghosts in the Uninvited? Why? They have all the dumb gimmicky cliche's you could imagine, just stuffed into one movie. OO! Loud sudden noise! Convoluted plot line! Collegian-injected 20-year olds passing off as teens... Sex! Why? Why would they do this? I am looking up to the heavens in hurt incredulity, because I don't understand what I--nay, AMERICA-- did to deserve this? Has the United States lost all its creativity, or is it more that Hollywood producers are so scared to take a chance on the new little-guy writers that they just keep doing remakes?
So Hollywood: stop that shit. Right now. If you were a person, I swear to god I would follow you home, corner you in an alley and beat your face into a brick wall.
You're welcome.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Potent Quotable


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I never look back, dahling. It detracts from the now.

Edna Mode, Superhero Couturier and Edith Head-Ann Wintour composite.

Perfume: The Story Of a Murderer (2006) or What If You Found Out You Have No B.O.?

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Okay, this is movie is based on a best selling novel of the same name by Patrick Süskind and directed by Tom Twyker, the dude who directed the cult favorite, Run Lola Run (1998).

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The only star you’ll probably recognize is Dustin Hoffman. Oh! And the guy who plays Snape from the Harry Potter movies.

The movie is beautifully shot, like some olde timey Dutch painting. The visuals are so stunning that they can take your breath away.  And this is done very methodically because I could swear that I could smell the fruits, flowers and fish guts emanate from the screen.  The breathtaking visual is not just for flash, but it is a tool to create the illusion of heightened senses.

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It tells the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a guy born amongst fish guts at a local market in Baroque France. (So yes, guys and gals in powder wigs and opulent costumes and set pieces.)
Jean Baptiste is born with a special talent.  He basically reminds me of a rat or my beagle, his nose constantly sniffing the air.  Growing up at the orphanage, all the other children can tell that he is a freak, though they can’t quite put their finger on what it is.  Soon, Jean Baptiste puts his sniffing talents to good use, when fate delivers him to a perfume shop. Yada-yada-yada, the perfume shop owner connects that dots and Jean Baptiste is made into his apprentice.

This movie could also have been titled “To Make Perfume”.  Unlike To  Kill a Mockingbird, this movie does shed some light into how perfume is made.

You also should probably know, at the start of the movie, Jean Baptiste is being hanged.  The story is told in flashback.  So how does a poor guy who struggled through life with a supernatural sense of smell end up getting hanged for murder?

Well, this is what I believe made this movie, this whole story, so powerful and moving.  This guy, will stop at no cost, to find the perfect scent.  He does find that perfect scent.  But at what cost? Well, in order to make the perfect scent, you have to extract the scent of a virgin. Yes, this guy goes on a killing rampage.  He doesn’t even have sex with these women.  He just kills them for their scent. Nice huh?

But through out the whole movie, the strange thing was, I didn’t want the guy to get caught. He is a despicable man but….maybe it has something to do with that scene where he discovers he has no smell. Yes, the guy has no smell. That was what made him such a freak and what the other kids at the orphanage sensed.  Well, this attribute of his only fuels his desires on the quest for that perfect scent.  He has to compensate for the fact that he doesn’t have an odor.

Which lead me to the observe, that yes, we all do have a unique funk or body odor (some stronger than others—don’t look at me!) I couldn’t help but ask myself, what if I found out that I was not like everyone else and had no B.O.? Would that really make me happy?  I would never have to take a bath! Yet still, I would be PISSED if I found out that I had no B.O.

This movie is truly an experience that shall linger with you for a week(yes, sorta like a bad smell).  Weeks after this movie, I kept trying to smell things.  Isn’t this ultimately what movies should do?  Let you live out your life, rather than have it be the other way around.

I need to go out and smell the world!

Oh, did I forget that at the end of the film there is a huge orgy? I’m kidding.  Or maybe I am not.

Before and After Garbo

I have a very huge spot at the bottom of my heart for Greta Garbo.  No, she may not be the greatest actress but she is definitely a personality to be reckoned with.

Katharine Hepburn with all her Oscars admired Garbo’s work.  Joan Crawford preyed for the moment until Garbo leaves the business so she can pounce on that vacant position. Bette Davis herself admits that she cannot compare to Garbo.

Of all the silent stars to transition into talkies, Garbo’s, with her “Gimme A Vhiskey” line, is the most monumental. It seemed to me that the other actresses were watching her lead.  Here was a woman with a “star quality” and talent, matched with skills, to back it up.

For me, film acting changed significantly after the arrival of this divine woman.  Before Garbo, we had Gloria Swanson and Alla Nazimova flaying their arms theatrically or Lillian Gish and Mary Pickford batting their eyelashes. Sure, Garbo displayed this kind of acting in Flesh and the Devil (1926), but she held a restraint that was rare in acting at the time.  She managed to display a subtext into her performance all the while inviting us the audience into a voyeuristic experience: peering up close upon the face of a woman.  I mean, in real life, would you dare to stare at a person’s face in such a moment of great emotion? In real life, we would probably either be too shy or that person we are staring at would probably turn away in embarrassment.  Not Greta Garbo.  She bares her face to the movie going audience.

It seems to me that after Garbo’s arrival in Hollywood, the way we perceived an actress and a star changed forever.

Let the Right One In (2008)

(Swedish: Låt den rätte komma in),

So I downloaded the Swedish movie Let the Right One In the other day, along with the English script so I could understand what they were saying, as my Swedish grandparents didn't really pass on the DNA of the learnt language.
The title comes from the John Ajvide Lindqvist novel of the same name, stemming from the Morrissey song of similar name, used here because traditionally, vampires cannot come into a room uninvited, and also useful as a caution to let the right one into your life.
Oskar is our little blond 12-year old protagonist, taking us through the frozen backdrop of mid-80's Stockholm. His parents are divorced, he is bullied at school for no reason-- "piggy pig" he is taunted with, though he is skinny. (This one scene, theese little twirps lash over his hvevos and legs with a whip. Not fun.) On a playground outside the apartment where he lives with his mom, (the playground's basically a metal box, it reminded me of this pic) one night he meets Eli, a new neighbor, and apparently, a little 12 year old just like him.
So this Eli--we realize quite early on because we aint stoopid--is a vampire. The man "she" lives with is obviated in the novel as being a pedophile, a former teacher who was fired and his house burnt down. He is shown as collecting blood from some men he catches, a gift for Eli. You see, they have this sort of trade-off (again obviated in the novel, not so much in the movie). Eli treats killing for food as just a fact of life, but it also makes little Eli sad:( So, this old dude "she" lives with kills for "her" and in exchange, he gets to molest her! See--? Every one's happy. Not to treat molesting lightly, but don't worry he gets a bitty punishment of his own, which is kinda sad actually.
So old dude is getting old, and forgetful, and he gets caught killing and does something really painful to disfigure/hide his identity so he and subsequently Eli wont be caught. (The effects on this when you finally see the end result is GLOOOOORIOUS!)

The film shows bleak shots of concrete apartment houses and black streets, snot dripping like tears down little children's faces (I noted this numerous times, my maternal instinct kept wanting to wipe it away from them--and then I punched myself in the family jewels to made it stop) grey rooms, sparse furniture. So when colour is used--bright red blood, deep blue sky, you get all tingly and pleased inside because you're eyes were missing the visual treat. And that's not to say it ISN'T a visual treat. the actual dialogue is pretty sparse too, lending more on atmosphere and your own observation of the affection between the two youngsters to carry it along. (Forget about the side plot with some old ugly villagers. Seriously. That shit was boring. Do. Not. Want.)
Yes there is a vampire in it, but the movie is more about a yonug boy and his friend, and their love then it is about all the glittery Hollywood shit that they toss in craggy fistfulls at vampire movies these days.
Eli and Oskar have feelings for eachother--I guess. I more see that from Oskar's side as he hugs Eli when Eli barfs after he gives "her" candy. One night Eli even crawls into bed with Oskar (no sex, you perves) and he asks her to be his GF--cuuuuteee! Even though "she" tells Oskar "Uhm... I'm not a girl".
The two work out a morse-code, tapping things like GOOD LUCK and KISS to eachother trough the walls, and eventually at the end shot, through a coffin. But this is one movie with an acutally good ending one I haven't seen in years. Bad people you hate get all mutilated up (satisfying) and the two lovers are together.
Now for those confusing moments, where Eli keeps telling Oskar that "she" isn't a girl--"she's" right! Several hundred years before, Eli was Elias, and some dumb-ass noble with too much money and not enough hugs orders little boys brought to his house, and he chops off their junk. All of it. Off. All the junk. Smooth like a plastic doll. Normal castration is just taking off the balls, cuz you need to keep the spout to urinate, you know. So this dude chopped all that happy stuff off and drank the blood from it, somehow making Eli a vampire. (Side note--that really sucks. If there's anything that would make you want to kill yourself, it's having all your spiddly-winks and pudding-toddy chopped away. But this poor vampire can't die, really. Sads. But I guess they don't really need to urinate anymore --right?)
So I understand the director Tomas Alfredson couldn't really go into the past or the pedophillia much, but he could have just had some dialogue about that, just Eli mentioning it to Oskar, that "she" and the old dude 'she' lives with have an arrangement, and also "she" could have mentioned something along the lines of "a long time ago, a very bad man cut me up" in explanation of "her" own genderlessness. So that explains why we see a quick shot of a long scar over Eli's pubic bone when he/she/it's changing clothes.

NOT ANOTHER REMAKE!!!!! But yes, some anus-less idiot in the United States (I disown him living in my country, may he burn to death) Matt Reeves--who made that vomit and corpse-exudate fart-fuck mess called 'Cloverfield'-- will attempt to slice and slaughter, grind and pummel any majic and beauty out of this story and make it more "accessable" to the English. Yes, more accesable. Because we all too stooooopid to undowstand what goin on in dem foriegn films, right? ugh. It will be accessable as a pipe of pureed mash they force-feed geese. Great. another wonderful film so soon after it's debut will now be shown in a heart-grippingly bad remake. I bet they will pull the actors for the chidlren right off a pouty-lipped Sears Ad line up, play it up so they are older and can have sex, splash more gore inot the scenes, more boobies, and more pedohpilla cuz we Americans love that kinds junk right? No we dont want to think. dont make us think. just stick that tube of purreed mash down my throat and spell out the whole plot for me cuz me too dumb.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.

Katharine Hepburn

The Reader (2008) or How Some 16 Year Old Boned A Hot Older Woman and Chose Not To Brag About It

Yeah, you can see the guy’s penis. Grow up will you. If it’s not standing up, it’s considered art and not porn.
And that shouldn’t be your main concern.  Your main concern should be the fact that the boy is reading from a non-existent book.

Okay, what can I say about the reader that hasn’t already been said by a vast number of critics and bloggers.

Well, I can talk about how I almost cried and how I threw an ashtray at the TV screen (yes, I got a DVD screener and don't ask me how I got it).

Stephen Daldry directed this movie, along with The Hours(2002) and Billy Elliot (2000).  Well, you could certainly see elements of those two movies coming together here, a scraggly young ladd and discontented women with lesbian impulse.

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I can only comment in the great story telling and the way Kate Winslet grips you through this entire movie.  Without spoiling anything, she tenaciously holds a shameful secret that she never divulges, even if it means going to prison for life.  It got annoying at one point. Okay fine, you are going to know anyways, its not going to ruin the experience.  She is illiterate and deathly ashamed of it. I didn’t give anything away—it’s in the title! But the screenwriter hints at it so brilliantly—he doesn’t have the characters weep, “Oh my god! It’s true! I am a moron who cant read! Please give my character some emotional investment.”

And about the ashtray.  I wanted to throw it at the kid character who bones the character Winslet’s playing, Hannah Schmitz. This kid, has a chance for redemption and a chance to save Hannah Schmitz’s life.  He continually dodges this chance and grows into an balding, guilt ridden Ralph Fiennes.  This kid chose to ignore helping someone because of his own fears and I kept hating and hating him throughout the movie.

Yet at the end, I was the one who was tricked. This kid evoked all sorts of emotions from me. I really felt as if I shared his experience. It also got me to question, if I were in his shoes, would I have been so noble or would I have procrastinated at the chance of helping out someone?

The characters are really human in this film.

What did I, for one, learn and get from this movie? Well, people can probably get their money’s worth—Kate Winslet is naked nearly through the first hour (or at least it seemed like it).

Oh, soul wise? Hmm…

I learned that I should not take this ability to read and write for granted.  Within this most basic of skill lies the key to a world of books and long distance communication.

What I take with me after watching The Reader: I can only be so lucky to be literate and to live in a community where I, nor my neighbors, are being sent to concentration camps.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Film Persona: Bette Davis Part 2- The Torn Down Bitch

The Torn Down Bitch
This next slew of films is what many critics and fans alike may call Bette Davis’ golden age.  In these films, Bette plays powerful women who are a victim of circumstance. Amidst a period where her contemporaries where fading and labeled box office poison, Bette thrived and became the hot ticket.  No longer did Bette need a leading man or a gangster movie; she made her own kind of genre: a Bette Davis movie.

Jezebel (1938)
Many considered this movie to be Davis’ consolation prize for not getting the Scarlett role in Gone with the Wind.  Yet I believe this to be Bette Davies version of the story, fittingly so. The film co stars Henry Fonda as the object of Bette’s affection.

She plays a spoiled southern bell who makes all the wrong decisions, yet I can understand end empathize with her passion.  With the break of the civil war, Bette’s character soon channels her passion into more practical causes (than petty ones, like shocking people with what dress she wears).

The most memorable scene for me (probably because they show this clip a million times during the TCM commercials) is when Bette’s character shows up to her debutant ball in a brazen red dress, causing shock and scandal in the town.

This movie marks the beginning of Bette’s fruitful partnership with director William Wyler as well as her second Oscar win.

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)
Playing her namesake, Queen Elizabeth I, Bette explores the circumstance of a woman in power (a struggle familiar to the actress and which she articulates in All About Eve). 

Errol Flynn and Olivia De Havilland co star. Bette shaves her head in this movie filmed in Technicolor.

Dark Victory (1939)
If  you are unfamiliar with Dark Victory, then you probably are not a Bette Davis fan or a classic film fan. 

This is probably my favorite Bette Davis performance.  She exercises control over her trademark temper and evokes a great connection with the audience.

She plays a spoiled socialite who discovers she has a terminal illness.

Look for Humphrey Bogart and Ronald Reagan in the film.

The  Letter (1940)
The Letter has all the ingredients which cooks into a great Bette Davis film: director William Wyler and a Somerset Maugham adaptation.

Bette plays the scheming wife of a plantation owner in Malaysia. She is under trial for murder. The film involves blackmail and adultery.

Bette is incredibly sinister in this movie.

With the end of the 1930’s, Bette entered another phase in her film persona as Bette herself uncontrollably aged. And as it usually goes in Hollywood, roles for women as they grow older grow more scarce. This is the phase in which Bette Davis plays discontented women.

Part 3

Film Persona: Bette Davis Part 1- Disgraced Wreck

Disgraced Wreck
As she was starting out, Bette bulged her eyes out in a number of challenging roles.  She played women who were spiraling out of control and were usually, showed in harsh lightning which brought out Bette Davis’ “Ugly Duckling” quality. These characters had incredibly dense and stubborn personalities, seemingly determined to bring ruin upon themselves. Bette really bit into these roles with fervor and tenacity. I guess this could be the start of how she brands her film persona as the great tragedienne. Ms. Davis made a point of showing truth, no matter how ugly it was.

Of Human Bondage (1934)
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She played a drunken whore with bad mascara.  The most  lasting image for me is when she is passed out in that drape dress. Leslie Howard, forever known as Ashley Wilkes, plays the club footed main character.

Bette Davis screams and shouts and “wipes her mouth!” while her hair is frizzed out everywhere.

Dangerous (1935)
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Playing a recovering alcoholic, Bette won her first Oscar in this movie.  Which reaffirms my theory that sometimes, the academy doesn’t give out Oscars for a performance in a movie, but for an actor’s body of work. Bette should have won for Of Human Bondage.

Interesting tidbits from wiki.

It was for this film Perc Westmore styled her hair in the bob cut she would favor for the rest of her life…

In 2002, Steven Spielberg anonymously bought the Oscar Davis had won at auction at Sotheby's. The statuette had been part of the memorabilia displayed by the Planet Hollywood restaurant chain.

Marked Woman (1937)
In this gangster melodrama co-starring Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis plays a call girl working in an underground casino.  She gets into trouble by going against the city’s most powerful gangsters, hence, she is a “marked woman”.

Surrounding this film’s production was Bette Davis parallel fight with studio head, Jack Warner, for more salary and artistic control.

Of course, this fight pays off.  The fate of Bette’s huge head – huge talent—will no longer be in someone else’s control. This ushers in a new phase in Davis’ persona, the torn down bitch.

Part 2 

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