At times it feels like a period piece or is it that we're so used to the horror. A world populated by the shallowest, opportunistic bunch of ignoramuses the world has ever know. How can art come out of that? I think that when it does it's just an accident of Casablanca proportions. Robert Altman who knows a thing or two about it tells us the horror story with the most everyday approach. Tim Robbins is perfect as that empty designer clothed excecutive with a tinge of self awareness. I had to take a shower after the film was over and remove myself from that world.
My Cousin Rachel (2017)Du Maurier Was A Lady
12 March 2018
Rachel, of course, comes out of the heart and mind of Daphne Du Maurier, the same author who gave us Rebecca and even if we never met her we discover she was a nasty piece of business, she also gave us Melanie Daniels in The Birds, the spoiled rich girl from San Francisco. Here, Rachel is more of an enigma and as played by Rachel Weisz, a dangerously, too good to be true lady of mystery. Rachel Weisz is absolutely captivating and perhaps that's why I was so aware of Sam Claflin's shortcomings as an an actor. I don't want to be unkind. He has presence and charm but I was painfully aware of the performance, specially when he has Rachel Weisz being totally present in the moment. Roger Michell allows the candles, the jewels and the locations to have their moments, beautifully. Recommend it for a stormy Sunday afternoon.
The Shape of Water (2017)Real love under unreal circumstances.
24 December 2017
To communicate or not to communicate. Sometimes is just out of fear that we don't come close to the ones who can give us exactly what we need. They're different, let's stay away. Sally Hawkins in a magical but beautifully real performance invites us to try, to dare. Guillermo del Toro takes us through the paces with extraordinary delicacy and clarity of vision. Thank you.
Phantom Thread (2017)The Art Of Being
22 December 2017
Daniel Day Lewis adds a new extraordinary character to his gallery of extraordinary characters. All men and each one of them a total original variety of male. From the gay punck rocker of "My Beautiful Launderette' to Abraham Lincoln in "Lincoln" Now Reynolds Woodcock, an artist in the world of fashion a man who lives his work as his only form of expression. The frustration by any form of interruption by anything or anyone out of place guarantees his private isolation and yet he craves the warmth of human intimacy. The complexity of Ryan Woodcock becomes totally accessible in Daniel Day Lewis's eyes, with every move, with every silence. It is a monumental, beautiful creation. His Alma - the Alma that he chooses - is played with Bergmanesque intensity by Vicky Krieps and she's a perfect framer/embracer/provocateur in a remarkable performance. Lesley Manville is chillingly perfect as a sort of Mrs Danvers. A sister/gate keeper with an eye on everything. Was she the one that protected him from his homosexuality or it's just my imagination? I love Phantom Thread. I will see it again soon. P T Anderson gives us another scrumptious gourmet dish. Tank you for that.
Lady Bird (2017)Character Is The Thing
18 December 2017
How refreshing and invigorating to meet new people. Familiar and new all at the same time. Familiar because the extraordinary Saorise Ronan connected me to her soul, as soon as she appeared on the screen. Remarkable. She is, without question, one of the best actresses of her generation. She has exceptional support here, Laurie Metcalf as the mother determined to keep her feelings at bay, Lucas Hedges, providing one of the most moving, truthful moments in the film and allowing Saorise Ronan to give us a masterful class in empathy. Timothee Chalamet proves in a very short space of time that he is here to stay. His Elio in Call Me By your Name will be considered one of the great breakthrough performances in film history. Tracy Letts plays the father with irresistible humanity and then, of course, a heartfelt congratulations to the writer, director Greta Gerwing -
Lolita (1962)Lolita 55 years later
4 December 2017
I sat to watch Lolita for the third time. The first time I was too young to truly understand what I was seeing. Then I read the book a few years later and saw the film again. That time it left a mark. I detested James Mason's Humbert Humbert to such a degree that stopped me from accepting him in other roles other than utter villains. To see it now after two decades is a whole other story - All of a sudden James Mason's Humbert Humbert has become human, very human. Corrupt and haunted by the awareness of his own weakness. What a performance. Shelley Winters is superb, unafraid and bold bringing to life an embarrassing human spectacle. What a performance. Peter Sellers is chilling in all of his Quilty incarnations. Sue Lyon is sublime as the innocent torturer. Stanley Kubrick never made 2 films alike but I'm starting to suspect that as literary adaptations go, this is his finest.
Fires Of The Heart
4 December 2017Warning: Spoilers
Frances McDormand is, without question, one of the very best actresses of hers or any generation. Wow! And like most of the greatest she goes for characters who don't ask for sympathy. The truth is in her eyes, always. So, naturally, I followed her every inch of the way. She is surrounded by a fantastic group of actors. Woody Harrelson is just extraordinary but perhaps the biggest surprise is Sam Rockwell making his one eighty not just believable but very moving. Martin McDonagh's writing is the magic potion that keeps everything together and when I say everything I mean everything. Humor and horror as if it were practically the same thing. The dialogue is brilliant and Frances McDorman deserves the last paragraph. Her face is a wonder. Superb performance. Don't miss it.
Sweet Charity (1969)Shirley MacLaine/ Giulietta Masina
7 November 2017
"Hey big spender" That's all I knew about Sweet Charity. A musical version of Federico Fellini's masterpiece "The Nights Of Cabiria" - I didn't think of Cabiria when I saw Charity on the screen. Shirley MacLaine's recreates and reinvents Giulietta Masina's Cabiria. That is something that very rarely works. But here in Bob Fosse's version, Cabiria has a new life, an American life, a song and dance life but just as sad. Sad but not hopeless. There is the spirit of Cabiria/Charity that will survive. Shirley MacLaine is magnificent. She manages to project that innocence that makes everything not just palatable but delicious.