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  1. Yeah, *you* try and watch the ending without tearing up. A friend asked me what one word would I use to describe what this movie was about - I didn't have an answer. We watched it together, and she correctly replied, "friendship." Yes, perfect. Friendship - beautiful, untainted, pure friendship. I'm pretty sure that I've only seen two of Tornatore's films in my life: "Cinema Paradiso," (his second) and "Everybody's Fine," (his third) - both fantastic pictures (the latter starring the misty-eyed Marcello Mastroianni). I'm not going to summarize the plot because I think the whole concep
  2. "Sunrise: The Story of Two Humans" was not only the first major film of Karl Struss, but it also featured the first winner of the Academy Award for Best Actress (Janet Gaynor). The 1st Academy Awards had separate categories for Best Picture ("Wings") and Best Unique & Artistic Picture, and this film won the latter. Have a look at our extensive Film Index, and see which movies you've missed out on.
  3. My knowledge of mid-19th-century Manhattan is something approaching zero. I had absolutely no idea about the gang wars of the 1840s (likewise Five Points), nor Blackwell's Island, nor the nefarious activity that occurred during the 1860s (some of it also at Five Points), and in this regard, "Gangs of New York" does a good job at teaching this important, yet little known, part of American History. I can't sit here and claim it's faithful to the truth, when I don't even know what the truth is, but it seems like it's at least trying to be. Yes, Martin Scorsese is going to throw in some drama
  4. "Monster's Ball" reminds me a little too much of "Crash," which must surely be one of the very worst films ever to win the Academy Award for Best Picture (over "Brokeback Mountain?" Really?) Like "Crash," the acting is good pretty much across the board, but the film is painfully contrived.
  5. I saw "Sling Blade" when it was released, and 23-years later, the only thing I remembered about it was that I really liked it. After having seen it a second time, I can now say that I *love* it, and that it's one of the most brilliant one-man packages I've ever experienced as a filmgoer (Thornton was the screenwriter, the director, and the lead). That said, the entire cast was nearly perfect, without a bad, or even average, performance in the film - every single actor soared in this wonderful movie. See "Sling Blade." I won't taint this film for you by summarizing the plot, or commen
  6. Living in Washington , DC, I never thought I would find a venue that would showcase my love for artsy , independent films. E Street Cinema was a gem I thought to be rare. Zoetroplis Art House in Lancaster, Pa has fullfilled my long lost love for indie films. Moonlight is a film that should be the center of discussion at any table. My lack of review of this prolific film is deliberate. Please go see this film. You are welcome, kat
  7. "Das Boot" is perhaps the finest war film I have ever seen. It is certainly in my top three films about war. I recently watched the Director's Cut of this German film, released in 1997 (the original was first shown in German theaters in 1981 and then as a TV miniseries). "Das Boot" is an adaptation of Lothar-Günther Buchheim's 1973 German novel of the same name, and it tells the fictional story of a German U-96 crew during World War II. The director's cut is 3 hours and 29 minutes long, combining action sequences from the 2.5 hour original theatrical release (which garnered six Academy Aw
  8. Star Trek: The Next Generation Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard Jonathan Frakes as Commander William T. Riker Brent Spiner as Lieutenant-Commander Data LeVar Burton as Lieutenant-Commander Geordi La Forge Michael Dorn as Helmsman and Chief Security Officer Worf Gates McFadden as Chief Medical Officer Beverly Crusher Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi Wil Wheaton as Ensign Wesley Crusher Denise Crosby as Security Chief Tasha Yar Diana Muldaur as Chief Medical Officer Katherine Pulaski Colm Meaney as Transporter Chief Miles O'Brien Whoopi Goldberg as Bartender Guinan Sea
  9. "7:19" is a dramatic tale of survival in the 1985 Mexico City earthquake (which happened at 7:19 AM). One little flaw I noticed is that, when an earthquake happens, everyone pretty much notices it at the same time (I was in the 2011 earthquake here while in *Reagan Airport* - small items were falling from the rafters ... that was a tense couple of minutes. Anyway, three people are talking, and they're slightly out-of-sync when the earthquake starts - these pictures are a total of only about three-seconds apart, so it isn't noticeable except in slow-motion, and yes, it's a nit-picky d
  10. Midnight Cowboy is one of "those movies" I assumed that I'd seen before, but upon watching it, I realized there's absolutely no way I had. What an amazing acting duo by Voight and Hoffman (Hoffman got top billing, but I think Voight captured this film). While this may be the first example of a long string of overacted character roles by Hoffman, he still managed to pull it off. Voight, on the other hand, just plain owned this movie - I cannot imagine anyone playing a better Joe Buck. This plot became so complex and dark that I was mesmerized and stunned into silence. I'd had a long
  11. I had heard of Route 66, but never knew what it was (other than a TV series), so I decided to watch Season 1, Episode 1, and was pleased to see Martin Milner co-starring as Tod Stiles (Martin Milner was the policeman driving on Adam-12, which I *loved* as a young teen). The other co-star (for the first three seasons) was George Maharis, as Buz Murdock, who also starred on the short-lived series, "The Most Deadly Game." After Maharis had to drop out because he contracted hepatitis, he was replaced by Glenn Corbett (also as Buz Murdock) who was, believe it or not, Zefram Cochrane: the
  12. I just finished power-watching the ten-episode Season 1 of "The Handmaid's Tale," based on the eponymous 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood (who makes a cameo in the pilot episode). Wow is ths series intense - Elisabeth Moss, Ann Dowd (and about ten other people (including Washington DC's own Samira Wiley, whom I think is going to play a big role in Season 2)) are incredible - there are more good actors working right now than ever. Don't watch the pilot unless you want to become quickly addicted!
  13. Having just finished Kazuo Ishiguro's incredible 1988 novel, "The Remains of the Day," and having just re-watched the 1993 film by James Ivory and Ismail Merchant, "The Remains of the Day," ... AND, having watched the fantastic interview with Ishiguro, discussing his novel (and the film) on TIFF Bell Lightbox here (watch the interview after reading this post) ... ... my question for Mr. Ishiguro is this (and I must stress that this question is implicitly raised in the first five-minutes of the above interview): "Have you succumbed to being a butler, given that you did your
  14. The 1988 British film, "Madame Sousatzka," is one of "those" movies that's a personal favorite, but also one which you tend not to recommend to others, since it's so esoteric and focused - you just don't think that most people will enjoy it. I'd seen John Schlesinger's film revolving around an eccentric piano teacher (Shirley MacLaine in a uniquely quirky performance as Irina Soustazka), and her current young piano prodigy, Manek Sen (played excellently, and (just as importantly) with pretty convincing piano, by 16-year-old Navin Chowdhry). Anyway, I'd seen Madame Sousatzka at least twice
  15. "The Bitter Tea of General Yen" is a pre-code film directed by Frank Capra ("Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"), and starring Barbara ('If someone from my disadvantaged background has risen to success, others should be able to prosper without government intervention or assistance') Stanwyck. I'm watching this film out of a corner of one eye I while I do other things - the stereotypes are howlingly bad. Here's General Yen: <--- Nils Asther, a Swedish actor. On the other hand, last night, I actually watched "Dr. No" (1962) for the first time in decades - in nearly 30 years, not mu
  16. Some people know the 1973 film, "Bang the Drum Slowly" which features Michael Moriarty, and Robert De Niro in his first major role. But 17-years before that, an adaptation of the 1956 book was performed on live television, starring Paul Newman and Albert Salmi. Anyone who thinks Newman was just a pretty pair of blue eyes should watch this, as he's on live television, pretty much from start to finish, in this riveting hour of television.
  17. Hulu has wonderful digital-quality episodes of this wonderful series, but unfortunately, only has 30 of 39 first-season episodes. I'm not sure why, but I'm looking forward to seeing the rest if I can find them - from what I've seen so far, "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" is a superior series to "The Twilight Zone," and I say that as a Twilight Zone fan. All episode links are to the wonderful reference website, "The Hitchcock Zone" - in particular, to their "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" subsection, which contains all directors, writers, and actors. If you're a fan of Alfred Hitchcock, The Hitchcock Z
  18. None other than Dr. William Lessne, a noteworthy film buff, advised me to watch the early Stanley Kubrick film, "Paths of Glory." This film is to Kubrick as "Johnny Got His Gun" is to Dalton Trumbo - following in footsteps of "All Quiet on the Western Front," this is a patently anti-war, WWI film - all three of these are must-sees within this narrow genre, although unlike the other two, "Paths of Glory" focuses more on bureaucratic corruption, rather than the simple horrors of war (this will be made clear within minutes). Kubrick trivia: Only two actors have been in three Kubrick fil
  19. *** SPOILERS FOLLOW *** (I'm assuming you've already watched the film if you're going to read this.) --- Continuing my recent trend of seeing movies I haven't seen in years, or decades, for the second time, I rented "Easy Rider" on Amazon - my general rule of thumb lately has been to rent movies that I've seen, and enjoyed, but don't really remember. I knew that Easy Rider is a beloved road movie starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper; I didn't know their characters' names were Wyatt and Billy, respectively - for Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid. With Amazon, you have the option of
  20. The promo for the series "Feud: Bette and Joan" caught my eye, having recently watched "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?", and reading about the rivalry between its two stars, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. Usually by the time I hear about a series it is several seasons in, requiring binge watching to catch up. Fortunately, this one just premiered last month, so I was able to catch the first episode the night it aired. As expected, the show is campy fun. There are some big names, too. Stanley Tucci, Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon are a few of the stars. Lange is completely transformed in
  21. I began watching Season One of "Orange Is the New Black," because I'm so culturally deficient that I'm clueless when it comes to certain popular things - I'm currently on Episode 3. I like this series very much, and I'm glad I'm watching it. Has anyone seen (and remember) the early episodes of Season One? In particular, "I Wasn't Ready," "Tit Punch," and "Lesbian Request Denied" (episodes 1-3). Not sure how far I'll make it through the series (I just watched SE1 EP1 of "The Andy Griffith Show," for Pete's sake), but it's been a fun ride so far.
  22. When I was young, I saw a film titled, "Man in the Wilderness" (1971), which I still remember. "The Revenant" is based upon the same story (also titled "The Revenant," but written nearly 30-years after "Man in the Wilderness" was filmed). Of the two, the latter is *way* more spectacular, and - from what I remember - just plain better: a lot, lot, lot better. Leonard DiCaprio's performance won him an Academy Award for Best Actor, and from the other performances I've seen in 2015, it is fully deserved. Both DiCaprio and Supporting Actor Tom Hardy give two of the greatest performances I've
  23. I saw "Onibaba" a couple of days after I saw the Oscar-winning "Best Picture" of 2017, "The Shape of Water." While the latter disappointed me, the former was a delightful surprise--a gripping tale of human survival. The film is set in the 14th Century, during a Civil War In Japan. Beautifully shot in black-and-white, it tells the harrowing story of a middle-aged woman and her daughter-in-law who must resort to drastic measures to survive in their war-ravaged world. Basic human needs--food, water and sex--are the things the pair desire, and they do what they must to acquire them. Although
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