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Found 4 results

  1. "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.
  2. This is either the perfect time, or the perfectly wrong time, for you to watch this wonderfully innovative, groundbreaking, "death-by-a-thousand-cuts" movie, lambasting the media's involvement in our political elections - I'd seen it twice, most recently about a year ago, and decided I wanted to watch it again this evening. Robert Redford does a wonderful job in this film, and so does Don Porter, masterfully portraying the hilariously named Crocker Jarmon, the opposing candidate (who sounds just like Walter Cronkite - the kind of voice that can put the public at ease while he's spewing complete B.S. - I think the name "Crocker" is also a quibble on both "Cronkite" and "crock.") - both men make this seem like a hyper-realistic Senatorial race, and Peter Boyle with his media-strategy team don't lag far behind. This film is excellently written, and Jeremy Larner deservedly won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. If you're up for it, "The Candidate" is a good, lighthearted exploratory criticism of our media-driven election system - I didn't enjoy it this evening as much as I previously remembered, but it's a solid film, and worth watching. The film is now 44-years old, and is only slightly dated (dated mostly because it features two *men* running for the Senate in California); its themes carry forward very nicely to this day-and-age, and the scene with Redford unable to contain his laughter is a classic comedic moment. There's also a medium-small cameo (not subtle) by Natalie Wood.
  3. I saw "Taxi Driver" years ago, and the only thing I remembered was finding Jodie Foster's portrayal of a 12-year-old prostitute unsettling. I am one year younger than Jodi Foster, so, at the time, her character stood out in my mind. I recently re-watched the film, and I am glad I did. "Taxi Driver" is a masterpiece. It is a gritty tale about the underbelly of New York City. Robert De Niro's portrayal of Travis Bickle, a lonely and depressed former U.S. Marine who becomes a taxi driver, is phenomenal. Is this troubled young man insane, a hero, or a little of both? De Niro's nuanced performance captures the essence of Bickle, and we are drawn into his world of paranoia, violence and redemption. There are outstanding performances by Jodie Foster, a long-haired and buffed Harvey Keitel, and Peter Boyle. Even Scorsese has a very good cameo as one of Bickle's more interesting passengers.
  4. I watched "Hardcore" again for the first time since I was a freshman in college! I remember liking it a lot then, and I liked it a lot now - it's a very good, unheralded film that is - I *think* - the first major motion picture to tackle the hardcore pornography industry. This goes straight at the grimy underbelly of the 1970s California pornography underworld, and leaves you feeling like you desperately need a shower. While falling short of "outstanding" (the ending is just too much, in too short of a time, to really wrap things up in a thoughtful way), it is nevertheless worth watching and - without looking - I would be surprised if Scott wasn't nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award (then again, he's the only person ever to refuse his award (for "Patton"), so I doubt he endeared himself to the Academy. The real beauty of this film lies in the trust between Scott (a stern, Calvinist) and Hubley (a wayward prostitute) - their lives intertwine, and something of a meaningful relationship develops; the real tragedy in this film lies in what "must" happen to Hubley in the end. (No, I did not just give anything away.) If you've never heard of this film, and are wondering what to watch one night, it's worth a rental. Roger Ebert's review (which does contain spoilers).
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