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*movii parvae et interrupti
By: Esther Powell
Posted on: Fri, January 29 2010 - 11:11 am

*movii parvae et interrupti

Jan. 25, '10  Cache:  We sat there during the static beginning, and I said, "This promises to be a very boring film."  Well, no, but it isn't a very satisfying one, either.  Aren't mysteries meant to be solved?  Oh, well, the meaning of the title of this French film is "hidden."  Let's put it this way:  it is aptly named.  For those of you (us?) who like to finish the creative work of the maker, it's perfect!

Jan. 25, '10  Dr. Doolitle:  Eddie Murphy is such a nut, and so much fun!  I only read a Dr. Doolittle book or two when I was very young, and the movie does not include the only episode I remember well.  I loved that one, though.  I hope it appears in the sequel!  Meanwhile, the character has been totally modernized, though, (or should I say Murphy-ized?) so don't go expecting fidelity to what seems now like ancient text.

Jan. 26, '10  Atonement:  Beautiful and frustrating to watch.  Absorbing and infuriating.  Really emotionally engaging. 

Jan. 27, '10  Angels and Demons:  I meant to read this before I watched it but I broke down and watched it unread.  We thoroughly enjoyed it, and unless my exercise program works very well, if I wait a few years before I read the book it won't be ruined for me.  On the other hand, how could a person possibly forget - oops, don't want to ruin it for you!

Jan. 28, '10  Enduring Love:  Title makes this sound as if it will be schmaltzy but it really is not.  It reminds me more of something out of the sixties in its rather stark emotional nudity (ha, ha, I'm really beginning to sound like a critic, huh?  Ha!)  Definitely a good one, and one or two elements of the film will resonate much more with the American viewer than they would have when the film was made.  Surprise!

Jan. 29, '10  Reservation Road:  Good Lord, have we been psychologically tortured lately!  Well, this is another good one for all you mental masochists out there.  Well done!

Jan. 30, '10  The Soloist:  Very vivid, dramatic, and again, tortuous.  Taken from a true story with a book I probably should have read first.  But then, better two hours of suffering than the ten or so it would probably take me to read the book.  And the lifetime or so the subject endures, so who am I to complain.

But how about a good comedy?  Are they all written for children and teens these days, or does our library just have a very serious-minded staff?

P.S.  I forgot to say, Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx play their roles without a false note!

Jan. 31, '10

Wow, just noticed I've had a dyslexic thing going on with the date all week.  Weird.  Today's home-viewed DVD flicks:

Watermelon Woman:  Very casual, interesting humorous con.  Well, okay, but do you like being conned?

Laramie Project:  Fleshing out with actors interviews with citizens of Laramie, Wyoming, in the aftermath of the Matthew Shepard murder.  I learned more about the whole sorry mess.

Feb. 1, '10  Dr. Doolittle 2:  I made it through no. 1 okay, but halfway through this one I thought, oh, I'm just too grown-up for this.  Kept on laughing, though.  Obnoxious but cute guinea pig traded in for obnoxious chameleon.

Feb. 2, '10  The Event:  People with some conspicuously despicable behavior (I'm talking rudeness and nastiness, not sexually-related) become more human in this film.  Still, a very difficult film to watch, partly because Olympia Dukakis is so good.

Feb. 3, '10  The Wrestler: Amazing how far (down) professional wrestling has fallen since its already ridiculous level two decades ago.  Evidently it is even more sadistic and employs even more exotic props (funny how someone can just grab something "at hand" in a ring and come up with a staple gun!)  The characters are believable, though.  Even though I could summon up very little sympathy for the lead character.  Good movie I never want to see again.

Feb. 4, '10  {Proof}:  I enjoyed this one a lot.  The part about living with an elderly (well, in this film 62 was elderly!) parent resonated with me.  This highly unusual film has a lot of interesting elements and a little bit of mystery.  (There is plenty wrong with her though, at best! (Just a little hook!))

Double-header tonight.  Two great movies!  What luck!

The Ref:  Not noir, but dark red-and-green comedy that tickled us pink.  The gun appears and goes off, but....

Feb. 5, '10  Irresistable:  Very successfully creepy.

Feb.6, '10  Syriana:  First saw this on the big screen and was a little lost, but felt I got the gist of it - certainly got the emotional impact of it.  Saw it on DVD and stopped it, replayed lines, discussed it, and still, well, felt I got the gist of it.  Maybe it's time to read the non-fiction work these events were roughly drawn from, See No Evil.

Feb. 7, '10  Lymelife:  Domestic dysfunction and coming-of-age suburban drama, seventies-style.  Well-acted with some good comic relief.

Feb. 8, '10  My Best Friend's Wife:  Cute idea, and funny in spots, but the major source of discontent turns out to be such a noodle that if I were his wife I would get out while the gettin' is good.  He's just such a nasty piece of gloomy discontent I couldn't really enjoy the movie.  Too bad.

Feb. 9, '10  Levity:  Inappropriate title to start with.  Good, but not good enough.

Feb. 10, '10  Key Largo:  Whew.  Even a kindergartner these days would know better to talk that way in front of - but no, I don't want to ruin it for you!  These claustrophobic No Exit style dramas are not really my cup of tea, but hey, it's a classic.

Feb. 11, '10  The White Countess:  Quite a hit of exotic Shanghai and "political tension."  More than the main character bargains for, I bet.  Quite a story and an entertaining and involving film.

Feb. 18, '10  The Rabbit-Proof Fence:  Australian true story about Aborigine kids getting away from state-run boarding schools.  The final scene gave me the chills.

The Reader: Study of an unfathomable character - well, a couple of them.  Fascinating sad story.

Feb. 19, '10  Finding Home:  Came off like a Lifetime movie at first, but got involving before the end.  Maybe I'm just a sucker for - oops, wouldn't want to ruin it for you!

Feb. 20, '10  Fat Girl:  Not at all what you are probably going to expect.  Well, I'll speak for myself.  Not at all what I expected, much fresher and more interesting although some of the scenes do go on way too long.  Well, is it from a true story?  The adolescent is bored, and in life - well, most scenes seem to go on way too long.  But not all, as you will see.

Feb. 21, '10  Just Another Love Story:  A highly ironic title in more ways than one.  Starting with a highly unlikely difficult-to-accept situation it seduces you into believing and quite masterfully twists your reality around until - what happened?  Did the makers get lazy?  Did they run out of money?  Watch it and decide for yourself - it's worth a viewing despite the flaws.  Danish with subtitles.

Feb. 23, '10  The Girl in the Cafe:  Witty and very funny, until... well that was okay in the end, too.  Of course there had to be conflict, the romance couldn't just go on its merry way with no complications, but... well.  Enjoyable on the whole, but if you only have time for half, watch the first half.

Feb. 24, '10  Flashbacks of a Fool:  We saw this before I started writing these little minicomments, so we just experienced it for the second time.  If you can get by the nauseating music and photo action-montage in the very beginning, Flashbacks becomes a very different film.  The shots of the seacoast beg for the big screen.

Feb. 25, '10  Facing Windows:  Lovely, engrossing, warm, sympathetic.  Italian.

Feb. 26, '10  Gross Pointe Blank:  Far-fetched and so silly of course it is funny - nothing noir about it - too fluffy.

Feb. 27, '10  Spartan:  Adventure, intrigue and gunfire.  We had so much trouble with stalling and skipping on this DVD we weren't sure what was up half the time, but still enjoyable.

Feb. 28, '10  Lost Horizons:  Read the book when I was in high school, and my favorite scene wasn't in the movie.  Was it changed so much?  Maybe.  Interesting reconstruction, and if the stills and the weird choral music don't make you crazy you might enjoy it.

March 1, '10  Girl With a Pearl Earring:  Story behind a painting.  Beautifully depicted.

March 2, '10  Identity:  Wild, bizarre thriller that kept me deep breathing to disperse the tension.  Oh, and we took a meal break, too. Bizarre and sicko fun for us vicarious masochists.

March 3, '10  The Snake Pit:  Old black-and-white exposure to the insane asylum experience in the late forties centered around an impressive performance by Olivia de Havilland.

March 4, 10  People Will Talk:  It starts out so sterile it seems off-putting, then so unlikely that it defies belief.  After that, well you are accepting, except I don't feel any chemistry between the two leads.  Many fun touches make this film endearing, though.  A little.  Now and then.

March 5, '10  Sixteen Blocks:  This is a film that has so many near-misses that if you hear something go bang in the night you will dive for coverThe black rapper (Mos Def?  Def Mos?) who had one of the main roles had more lines than maybe I have ever heard from one character in a movie and he delivered them fast and well.  (Rapping must have been good practice.)  But what I can't understand is, why wasn't he so scared he got quiet?  Some good turns and twists in route and plot.

March 6, '10  Inheritance:  Low-key but dark Danish film about the power of mommy and money and the mommy of power.  A horror film, really.  Shudder.

March 7, '10  Find Me Guilty:  A trial in more ways than one, I will try never to try to watch this film again, even on a brand new DVD.  But this one was in such bad shape I feel like I just witnessed a cockfight.  If it had been in good shape I might feel the same way.

March 8, '10  In the City Without Limits:  The son's investigation of his aged father's ramblings (both verbal and physical results) in the discovery of quite a story.  Not without conflict, but it is limited to verbal and emotional conflict.  A refreshing Spanish film. 

March 9, '10  Casino Royale:  James Bond that is hard for me to follow.  I still don't understand why he has to play poker for such high stakes.  Doesn't seem sane to me - but then I never did understand James Bond flicks very much.  Always seem far-fetched, but with all the special effects, incredible stunts, and glamor, why shouldn't the plot be outlandish too?

March 10, '10  If These Walls Could Talk:  They would say, "I want to be a convent!"

March 11, '10  Mission Impossible:  Not as tightly constructed as my partner would have liked, but I thought it was great fun, even though I realized I saw it when it came out and had inklings of THE TRUTH.  Actually, my partner liked it too.  The music made us gleeful - took us right back!

March 12, '10  We Don't Live Here Any More:  Really fascinating portrait of the friendship between two couples.  One of the few movies I would like to see again right away because I'm not sure what I thought I saw.  Open ended.  (Or not?  Did I not get something I thought I got?)

March 13, '10  Million Dollar Baby:  This film is one in a million.  Absolutely convincing and believe it or not, a heart tugger.  If I had known what it was about, I probably wouldn't have been interested.  That would have been a big movie mistake.

March 14, '10  The Fastest Indian in the World:  Between boxing movies and getting halfway around the world to motorcycle speed trials, I live an exciting life.  This movie, in spite of its benign nature, might keep you on the edge of your chairs!

March 15, '10  Hocus Pocus:  Silly fun okay for the whole family.  Salem still living down its reputation of old.

March 16, '10  Harrison's Flowers:  Oh, gee, a close-up look at the kind of horrors occurring in Yugoslavian ethnic tumult.  Not what you expect from a film with this title.  The romance doesn't make up for the horror, and I fail to believe in the rightness of the heroine's quest but not a movie you will fall asleep watching!

March 17, '10  Two for the Money:  Know football inside and out and you can become big stuff until you no longer no inside and out is the moral of this one, I guess.  You can become a new person but do you really want to?  Actually an interesting film with some good actors and some really good lines.

March 18, '10  Spirited Away:  Anime film that I watched, as my daughter recommended, while eating Chinese dumplings.  Lots of fun, and anyone can watch this one.  No parental anxiety needed.

March 19, '10  Notorious:  Thought I was getting Hitchcock's, but it was a newer Notorious about the first East Coast rapper to make it BIG (heh.)  Interesting to find out some U.S. cultural history that I was too out of touch to hear much about before - East Coast/West Coast Rap Wars.

March 20, '10  The Chorus:  The title is, surprisingly, literal.  This is a great film.  I'm beginning to get culturally envious of the Europeans, whose films are so much more just human than ours.  Beautiful music.

March 21, '10  The Big Bounce:  This movie will satisfy anyone but the moralists.  So, how many people will be satisfied by this movie?  Sounds like a tongue twister, but really it's a plot-twister!  Fun, with magnificent ocean shots.

Platinum Blonde:  A Frank Capra oldie that's also a chuckle here and there.  If I had to choose between the two - but why choose?  We had a comic double-header!

March 22, '10 The Return:  One of the bleakest, eeriest films I have ever seen.  Russian.

March 23, '10 Revolver:  Watched this one for about 20 minutes, then revolved right out of it.  It just seemed too silly.  Maybe it got brilliant later.

Hotel Rwanda:  Historical nightmare of genocide and absolutely convincing in its horror.  Makes you want to keep better track of world news and be more responsible.  Great film.

March 24, '10 Changeling:  The film, more difficult to watch than I expected (in spite of some previews, I expected more of a detective story, not so much a litany of - oops, don't want to ruin it for you!  Especially since it is part of a true story.)  Noticeably focused on the main role played by Angelina Jolie.

March 25, '10 Original Sin:  Turns out I had already seen this and forgotten about it.  Must have been on TV - lots of gorgeous nudity I don't remember!  It's very lush.  Why was not this movie more memorable otherwise?  Too improbable?  Too disaffecting? 

March 26, '10  Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day:  Delightful dialog and action deliciously performed.  The intimacy of a stage play on the big screen.  What a gem!

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