Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Last Tango In Paris(Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider)

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Starring: Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider

Ever wonder what goes on in the mind of a middleaged american expat as he goes through a midlife crisis? Then watch Bernardo Bertolucci's Last Tango In Paris and prepare to be blown away with awe and disgust. Not for the faint of heart, this movie delves into some of the darkest places of the post 50's American male psyche. Marlon Brando is simply so amazing in this movie in terms of his viscerality and unabashed emotional frankness.


Paul(Marlon Brando), an aging american expat who lives in France is trying to figure out what to do with his life after his French wife has commited suicide. He is left stuck with the burden of living in their apartment building surrounded by everything that reminds him of his life with her. So monsieur Paul decides to rent out a flat across the street where he can get away. The only problem is that the flat is also rented out by a young french student actress named Jeanne(Maria Schneider) who is looking for a flat to share with her young filmmaker/fiance. Both Paul and Jeanne recognize the desire in eachother for human connection and an escape from life's realities and become lovers. The only condition is that, at Paul's insistance, they never reveal eachother's names.

In their cloistered world, the two are able to explore and reveal themselves to each other in a way that is simply impossible to do in the outside world. They let it all hang out... the good, the bad, and the ugly. The question of this movie is whether or not this relationship will survive in the outside world. What will happen?

Why is this movie Flippin' awesome?:

OK. This movie is not for everyone. It is pretty slow, and rather dark. The overall tone of the story is sad, brooding and somewhat lethargic. Then there is that infamous "butter scene". The story is about people bearing their deepest, darkest souls to each other and these people are not exactly happy well-adjusted people.


This movie has some of the most visceral, relaxed acting ever to be seen on film since the invention of the film camera. There is a monologue that Marlon Brando delivers to his dead wife where he just goes to pieces. It is quite rare to see such raw footage on film. I would have to say that it is the most emotionally raw speech I have ever seen delivered on film.

Maria Schneider is good too playing across Marlon Brando. She captures the spirit of a disillusioned precocious young girl who gets in over her head. Years later, she would say in interviews that she regretted doing the film, especially the "butter scene"(which was a last minute improvisation added to the film). She also said that, to her frustration, her professional acting career would never outlive her performance in that role.

In fact Marlon Brando, too, would look on the filming of that movie with ambivalence saying that it was the most painful experience he had to endure in his acting career and from which he learned to guard against investing too personally in a role. He too felt rather hoodwinked by the director, Bertolucci, saying that he felt raped and manipulated on set.

As awful as it sounds for the actors, this translates into really amazing performances for audiences to watch. Both Brando and Schneider give gritty performances that are more exposed and raw than you have ever seen in your life!

In Summation:

Last Tango in Paris is an ugly film. But it is a sorta ugliness mixed with beauty. The kind that you can see when you watch someone picking their nose unawares. The film is a milestone for cinema in the intimacy that is captured on screen. A must see for fans of film and acting alike!

Other films you might like if you liked this film:

Apocalypse Now, Streetcar Named Desire, The Libertine, 2046

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tom Hanks is an awesome actor..

Here is an amazing scene with Tom Hanks from Philadelphia. The man is a genius. He lets the music do the acting for him! Denzel's cool too...

like what you see? Never seen this one before? Then, go watch the movie!

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Man Who Cried(Christina Ricci, Cate Blanchett, John Turtturo, Johnny Depp)

Director: Sally Potter

Starring: Christina Ricci, Cate Blanchette, John Turturro, Johnny Depp

This movie is about outcasts and drifters. People on the fringes of society who are trying to find the place where they belong. If you like movies with Vagabond Gypsies, Jewish Refugees, Russian Ex-pat dancers and Italian Opera singers who are all trying to deal with the Nazi invasion, you will like this movie.


Susie(Christina Ricci) is a Jewish refugee from Russia who wants to go to America to search for her missing father. She finds herself working as a chorus girl in France just in time for the Nazi invasion of Europe. Her only friends are a dancer named Lola(Cate Blanchette) and a Gypsy horseman named Cesar(Johnny Depp).

Why This Movie is Flipping Awesome:

There are some awesome performances with this movie. All the actors are superb in their roles.

Christina Ricci and Cate Blanchett both give great performances in this movie. Both are equally awesome but in different ways. Ricci is plays a very quiet Russian Jewish girl who is forced to assimilate into English culture but yearns to reunite with her long lost father. She is very beautiful in a mysterious way and her performance is quite subtle. Blanchett is a seductive dancing diva who befriends Ricci while also adopting the role of a sexual madonna to enrapture the Italian tenor Dante Dominio(John Turturro).

Turturro himself is quite the arrogant bastard as usual in most of his films. Ultimately he is a man who seeks station in life through his musical talents. So much so that he would do anything for it. Even at the expense of his moral integrity.
Johnny Depp has the least lines in the movie, but his performance is incredible. He alone is a reason to watch this movie from an actor's standpoint. What he conveys with a mere gesture or look speaks volumes.


This movie is rather subtle, but it is quite good. Acting wise the cast is excellent. The story is good if you like romantic stories about people searching for lost loved ones. Another really strong feature of the movie is the soundtrack. The use of music in the film is masterfully done and heightens the sense of emotion and lyrical beauty in each scene.

Movies you might like if you liked this one:

Edward Scissorhands, The Libertine, Black Snake Moan, The Life Aquatic of Steve Zissou, Chocolat

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?(Sidney Poitier, Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy)

Director: Stanley Kramer
Starring: Sidney Poitier, Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn

Released in 1967, when Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? was being filmed, marriage between African Americans and Caucasians was still illegal in 14 U.S. states. This was probably the first film to discuss the topic of interracial marriages openly and the possibility that they would eventually become accepted as mainstream. There are also lots of moments of good acting in it.


A wealthy, white, liberal couple- Matt(Spencer Tracy) and Christina(Katherine Hepburn) Dreyton- is suddenly faced with the fact that their only daughter is determined to marry a
black doctor whom she has brought home to dinner. On top of it all Joey(Katherine Houghton) and Dr. Wade Prentic
e(Sidney Poitier) are determined to be married within the week. The Dreytons suddenly find that they are forced to live up to the liberal values they claim to espouse. Things get even more contraversial when Dr. Prentice's parents are added to the mix.

Why This Movie is Flippin Awesome:

Not only was this movie was revolutionary for it's time, it also has some good acting performances as well. Sidney Poitier gives a very masterful and dignified performance. He delivers a great speech towards the end of the movie to his father that sums up the frustration of post civil rights blacks regarding the racialist mentality of pre civil rights blacks. Poitier's speech is both filed with anger and love for his father and shows both passion and sensitivity. The clarity and specificity with which Poitier conveys his thoughts and actions are something any actor ought to pay close attention to.

Katherine Hepburn won the oscar for this particular performance and it is clear to see why. She is very sensitive and emotionally primed throughout every scene. There is an interesting story about this actually. She and Spencer Tracy were secret lovers for many many years. Although madly

in love, Tracy would not divorce his wife was because he did not want to break his Catholic vows of marriage. On top of all this, while filming this movie Spencer Tracy was a hardcore alchoholic and dying of cancer. He was to succumb six months after the filming of this movie. There is a speech that Tracy gives towards the end of the film that basically sums up their relationship. And Katherine Hepburn answers his speech with a display of feeling and passion that can only be brought forth on those rare occasions when art is mirrors life.

Another good performance was that of Beah Richards, Sidney Poitier's mom. She is very dignified and soulful in the role of a mother who wants the best for her son and who is actually much more forward thinking than her husband.


This film played a groundbreaking role in bringing mainstream acceptance of interracial dating to american culture. While the drama of this film is a little hokey at times, the ideas discussed are what is important and are what make this film a landmark film. On top of that the acting between Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy is quite touching and adds a very intriguing element of drama to the whole story.

Other movies you might like if you liked this movie:

To Sir With Love, To Kill a Mocking Bird, Bringing up Baby

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Friday, July 4, 2008

The Flyboys(Tom Sizemore, Stephen Baldwin, Reiley McClendon, Jesse James)

director: Rocco DeVilliers
Starring: Jesse James, Reiley McClendon, Stephen Baldwin, Tom Sizemore
Writers: Jason DeVilliers. Rocco Devilliers, Richard Dutcher

Remember back in the day when you were a kid and rode bikes around the neighborhood with your best friend? Remember all the crazy adventures you dreamed up of being kidnapped by mafia goons and sneaking onto planes and being chased by thugs who want to kick your ass? Imagine if all of that stuff happened in real life in a believable yet amazing way. Combine it with good story writing and incredible acting performances and you have the independent feature film The Flyboys.

The plot of this movie starts off pretty simple. Kyle(Reiley McClendon), the new kid at school, befriends a kid named Jason(Jesse James) after defending him from getting beat up by the school bully. The two boys develop an instant friendship and Jason shows Kyle his favorite hangout spot.. The local airfield. The two sneak on a private plane and a series of amazing adventures ensue featuring the mob, explosions, tons of action and adventure. This was a good movie.

Why this movie is flipping awesome:

I saw this independent movie at a special screening this past weekend at The Playhouse West Film Festival in North Hollywood. It was freaking awesome. In fact it was so awesome that I am writing a special review for it. This film is a film for all ages and has child stars, but it isn’t just a kid’s film. I would say this is a coming of age film about friendship, brotherhood and courage that can also be appreciated by kids. A film with a true heart and soul.

Reiley McClendon(right) gives a kick ass performance as the new kid in town who moves around a lot. He really captures the sense of bravery and independence that kind of childhood can cultivate in a kid. He tries to do the right thing even if it means pissing off assholes bigger than him. A scrappy kid, he doesn’t take shit from anyone.

Jesse James(left) is the perfect compliment to McClendon as the kid who gets picked on and wants to be brave but just doesn’t know how. The two boys make a good pair and they both are awesome actors.

Tom Sizemore and Stephen Baldwin play brother mobsters who mirror the main characters’ situations as adults. They bring the adult element to the whole story with sensitivity and soul. Both actors give some damn good performances and by the end of the movie I was moved to tears by the emotions and feelings their relationship evoked.

On top of the movie’s soulfulness is a healthy dose of action and adventure. The action scenes in the movie involve planes and cars and guns, etc… I was pretty impressed. The film makers involved in this project were able to put just enough action to skirt the outer edges of reality without making the movie totally unbelievable. Given the film’s indie budget, I was impressed cause the action scene’s are worthy of any multimillion Hollywood Action/Adventure movie.

Another surprise was the talkback with the Film’s creators. As awesome as this movie was, they were not able to get distribution by any major film studio’s. The impression was that the studio execs were stuck on the idea that this movie was a kids movie and the adult themes were a little too complex to market to kids. That was pretty amazing cause this movie is a good ass movie that could easily become a classic American adventure movie in ten years time.


Because this movie is not yet widely distributed, you are going to have to check it out at special screenings until some lucky studio picks it up. To learn more about the movie go to their official website.

Other movies I would recommend if you liked this one are:
E.T., Forrest Gump, The Goonies, Saving Private Ryan.

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