Thursday, December 29, 2011

THE ARTIST 12/29/11

Saw The Artist today and thought it was a beautifully directed, delicate film which was also conceptually fascinating - playing with silent film allusions and the beginning of talkies. There are many historical references, yet it had an interesting contemporary feel which made the film non-conventional. The acting was superb. Jean Dujardin - the male lead who reminded me of a cross between David Niven and Clark Gable, had a smile that epitomized the term dashing and was also very contagious - I waited for that smile and gushed whenever I saw it. Berenice Bejo, the female lead moved her body and limbs in ways that might have been a caricature of a silent film vamp - but was lithe and poignant - so here again the idiosyncratic nature of the movie quelled its sentimental tale. I could feel the chemistry between the performers and their love story was rare in our age of short-term faithfulness and commitment. Supporting actors- a slimmed down John Goodman, James Cameron and UGGIE the wonderful Asta-type terrier contributed to the Chaplin-esque mood of the film.
Shot in black and white there was not a murmur in the movie house. Just wonderful and a film I will definitely see again.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


2009 Swedish version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was MUCH MUCH better than this one. I have seen all 3 of the Swedish series. The 2009 acting was edgier - the pacing much more intense and the woman who played Lisbeth - Noomi Rapace was an actress who I could not take my eyes off and wanted to see in every scene. she was transfixing. The snow and light of Northern Sweden was unforgettable - and the villains were nastier and also memorable.
David Fincher the director of this version kept jump-cutting from Lisbeth's story to his own story so I could predict - like with my soap operas - at what point they would switch over. Very obvious.

I actually almost fell asleep and was secretly chomping on dark chocolate hoping the caffeine would keep me up

Monday, December 26, 2011

WAR HORSE 12/26/11

My sister and her hubby drove me to see WAR HORSE - Spielberg's new film. Well I gave it a rating of B-/C+. Best actor in film was the horse. It is Horsie Come Home through the minefields of war and surviving because of the kindness of strangers. The cinematography as well as the plot was predictable and conventional. An old-fashioned film and the crowds at the 12:00 noon show loved it. Now why don't they love the anti-war message which did not come across too loud and clear to me despite what NY Times A.O. Scott wrote. It is ambitious going through pre-WWI through 1918 armistice but you would not learn much history about why, what and where of this - another unnecessary war.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Saw a film that so far is the BEST FILM I have seen in a long time - Melancholia by Lars von Trier. I rarely see a movie that is as beautifully structured - form and content are equally vital and visually gorgeous. The images sometimes felt like a speeded up Robert Wilson performance. Then add Wagner's music from Tristan and Isolde and it is breathtaking - bringing me to some deep place inside. Lars von Trier uses images from paintings, a surreal glowing light in this metaphorical tale of the planet Melancholia hurtling toward earth and final destruction - conflated with the deep dark empty void of nothingness that is depression. Great performances by Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg, sisters who are very different from one another. I do not want to reveal too much but I actually got physically nauseous watching the movie, perhaps from the hand-held camera work and the existential apprehension that I felt viewing it.

Here is a taste of film Melancholia from the Prologue. Music by Wagner. The effect on me is inexpressible."

Sunday, November 13, 2011

EDGAR 11/13/11

I am a big Clint Eastwood fan but disappointingly J. Edgar is not a very good film. Despite a credible performance by Leonardo Di Caprio - this movie was sentimental, slow and the worst aging make-up job I have ever seen except in a horror movie. You would think that Eastwood who is 80 would realize that when you are in your 60's you do not look like a zombie or burn victim but that is what they did to the actor who played Hoover's long time friend and partner Clyde Tolson. I have to agree with Joe Morgenstern's review in the Wall Street Journal: " Mr. Eastwood's ponderous direction, a clumsy script by Dustin Lance Black and ghastly slatherings of old-age makeup all conspire to put the story at an emotional and historical distance. It's a partially animated waxworks.

The movie was not bad just disappointingly jerky with no emotional tug except in the few scenes showing Hoover's tenderness with Tolson. I realize Eastwood's desire to portray a conflicted son of a powerful mommy who confused her son. Why are Mommies often the psychological screw-up force behind the throne of the powerful? My problem with the film was that I felt Eastwood wanted to span Hoover's 48 years of service to the FBI and regrettably he did so without grace - awkwardly. Also the use of the just barely tinted color (like a toned retouched photo) added to its contrived look. I laughed at "tragic" moments because they were depicted so sentimentally without true sentiment

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Martha Marcy May Marlene - an affecting powerful movie slowly revealing how a cult with a strong leader (the terrifically freaky John Hawkes) manipulates vulnerable women - the film focusing on one Martha who the leader renames Marcy May ( with an excellent performance by Elizabeth Olsen) through insidious psychological blather about family, love and "being all that you can be 'talk. The cult ensnares the lost and fragile into its web and the film shows their daily lives with its rewards of communal life and the bitter price that the members pay. This is contrasted with the "normal" life of the heroine's sister, who Martha flees to when she tries to escape the group...but she is unable to escape their psychological pull on her. Martha has re-learned how to navigate the world and it is at odds with the conventions of that world.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Saw film TAKE SHELTER - with an excellent performance by Michael Shannon and a terrific one by Jessica Chastain - a surprise as I found her to be almost invisible in The Tree of Life. I don't want to say too much about this film because I do not want to spoil it for you, but I watched the slow march of anxiety enveloping Michael Shannon, who only wants to keep his family "safe." Of course irony and genetics interfere.
I hated the ending - found it to be a complete cop-out. Almost ruined the film for me. Another Deus ex-machina ploy. Though some critics thought it was brilliant.
But this film has inspired my next painting so something good came out of it.

Monday, October 24, 2011


The Skin I Live In -Almodovar's latest film is melodramatic, funny, surreal, beautifully filmed, and a movie that is about gender, loss, revenge, madness and voyeurism. Who are we inside the fragile shell that is our skin? Can we alter our external facade and keep the kernel of who we are intact? Big ?s from a movie that might appear horrifically bizarre at first take. Calling Dr. Frankenstein!