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Skipped Parts (2000)
refreshingly compassionate perspective on sex
I found this film to be a welcome relief from the self-righteous, hypocritical obsession with sex as evil in our confused society. I'm sure that viewers aligned with the extreme religious right are aghast at the sexual frankness of "Skipped Parts". I only wish they were as upset over the war in Iraq, America's obsession with violence and the rampant intolerance still pervading the home of the free. Instead, sex and four-letter words top the list of moral outrages in the minds of far too many of our number.
"Skipped Parts" is a compassionate view of outside-the-mainstream people at odds with the establishment. Granted, unprotected sex among teenagers is impractical and unwise, but hardly a reason to despise and condemn. Especially by those who have, as do some of the characters in the film, plenty of skeletons in their own closets.
Well-written, well-acted and well-directed, "Skipped Parts" is a moral film in which the highest virtues are kindness, forgiveness, and love.
Afraid of the Dark (1991)
the eyes have it==a beautifully paced, atmospheric film
Some viewers may be a little confused by parts of this psychological adventure, but remember that the point of view in the film is that of a small boy who is himself confused and fearful. The tension between illusion and reality is sometimes tenuous.
The strongest element in this spooky thriller is its slow-paced atmosphere. It is a quiet film exploring the confused perspective of a boy slowly going blind. Visuals are almost everything here. Abundant close-ups of the boy and the things he sees with his large, fading eyes act as visual hieroglyphs while the child moves slowly through a bizarre series of events both imagined and real. The well-chosen title says it all metaphorically.
The Stone Boy (1984)
a quiet, realistic, well acted and written family drama
I had seen this film way back in the 80's and had nearly forgotten it when I noticed it was on tv again and watched it. I remembered having liked this little sleeper when I first saw it, and I liked it even better on second viewing.
All of the actors, especially Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, Wilfred Brimley, Frederic Forrest, and Jason Presson (as the twelve-year-old boy who feels responsible for the accidental shooting death of his older brother), are superb. The film has a very genuine feel to it--an understated, quiet, deeply moving story of a family aching with grief. The dialogue is sparse but telling, and the nonverbal acting is outstanding. Sort of like a simpler, rural version of Ordinary People sans psychiatrist but equally impressive family dynamics.
The Stone Boy is well worth the time and emotional energy involved in watching it.
The Spiral Staircase (2000)
not a good remake of the 1946 classic, lacks style
I agree with DrSatan that this update of the 1946 classic is not well done. Above all, it lacks style and ambience. Beyond that, the plot is seriously weakened by the omission of the doctor's character; the new twist at the end (with its trite motivation sans the Freudian psychological flair of the original); and the hokey camera angles which make the house appear to be listing in a stormy sea. The childish secret passageways and cobweb-covered staircase are out-of-place in a film which otherwise tries too hard to be adult.
Even the pale 1970's remake with gorgeous Jacqueline Bisset is better than this truly missable, misguided project.