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**movii parvae et interrupti*
By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Sun, August 01 2010 - 7:07 pm

**movii parvae et interrupti*

Aug. 1, '10:  Death Sentence:  Starts out like a bad melodrama, and doesn't really become less melodramatic, but has an interesting twist to it.  I enjoyed it.  Sound track awful on the DVD we watched.

Last of the Red-Hot Lovers:  Funny and nutty, but the last encounter could have been edited drastically and it would have been even better.

Aug. 2, '10:  The Bishop's Wife:  Oh, don't we all wish that we could have times like these!  Er, or, um - maybe we have!

Aug. 3, '10:  The End of the Line:  If you have already seen An Inconvenient Truth, or even if you haven't, this should be the very next video you see.  Number 1 in importance!  Documentary and we got the copy we watched from the library.

Aug. 4, '10:  All About My Mother:  Not a dull moment.

Aug. 6, '10:  Valentines Day:  I heard this had a disappointing box office take, but I enjoyed its twists and turns, not to mention its star-studded presentation.  It almost has me convinced that Valentines Day is a good thing that puts our affairs of the heart to the test.  But not quite.

Aug. 11, '10:  Torch Song Trilogy:  Wow!  Witty and affecting.

Aug. 22, '10:  Popeye:  Screen too small for this film - too hard to see.  Intentional in-character muttering - too hard to hear.  When I can't see or hear, I sleep.

Aug. 23, '10:  An Education:  A good example of bounce-back after adversity.  One of the most devastating lines in the film?  Uttered by Emma Thompson.  One of the dumbest?  "He's never even seen me play."  I don't believe a musician would ever say that!

Aug. 24, '10:  Amistad:  My second viewing of this amazing film, this time with recognition of some of these wonderful actors.  Taken from history, this is an amazing story with some of my favorite words/scenes in my film-viewing experience.

Aug. 25, '10:  The Star Chamber:  This isn't about an observatory, folks.  Those of you who know about an historical Star Chamber can guess roughly what it is about.  We enjoyed it.

Aug. 26, '10:  Mammoth:  My admiration for this film is not mammoth, but it had some good stuff to say, if only it had said it powerfully enough that I could remember what it was!

Sleepy Hollow:  The first time I saw it I thought it was very bizarre and quite bloodlessy violent.  I think I wasted some psychic energy trying to see the Legend in it.  This time around I happened on it on TV, saw that it was directed by Tim Burton, and thought, "Of course!"  Johnny Depp's portrait of his hero was not inadept at all (ha, ha) but very creative and original - so much so that I never forgot the existence of the film.  Only just about all the details!

Aug. 27, '10  Gran Torino:  Very human film with a surprise (and at the same time dreaded) finish.

August 28, '10  Murder, My Sweet:  I don't know.  He does a good job, but something is lacking from Dick Powell in this role.  He is not quite as magnetic and compelling as I would like?  Enjoyed the movie, though somehow it lacks the sweep of Chandler's novels.

Aug. 30, '10  Rob Roy:  Powerful portrayal of evil and response in the Highlands of Scotland.

Aug. 31, '10  Simone:  What a relief to watch a comedy that doesn't get your stomach in knots with concern for the hero - or does it?

Sept. 1, '10  New York, I Love You:  Wonderful montage of visual short stories.

Sept. 2, '10  In Search of Ourselves:  Documentary about the modern study of "hysteria" and other forms of mental illness.  What I want to know is, why were so many World War II and even Vietnamese Vets left to flounder so much if the world learned as much as they seem to have in World War I?  Or maybe just a few really knew from the studies back then.  After all, look at how long it took the British Navy to pack limes and lemons!  An interesting history during which I dozed off not once, though I was already dozey before we put it on!

Sept. 3, '10  Stolen:  A mystery with not great fidelity to the fifties, but with great object-linked segues between that decade and the first decade of the twenty-first century, in which the main body of the film is set.

Sept. 4, '10  The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo:  This film really gave the flavor of the book.  Streamlined some, sure, but essentially faithful.  Read the book, see the movie.  Some in our book club thought it too graphic.  Well, welcome to the world.  It's not all pleasant. 

Sept. 5-6, '10  Desperate Romantics:  BBC miniseries about the PreRapaelite Brotherhood.  Highly entertaining!  I enjoyed the nudity.  Really.

Sept. 7, '10  The Last Station:  Poor Tolstoy.  What a power struggle he endured in his last months!  Interesting, though.  He recounted a puzzle-solving by his wife that amazed him.  He wrote a similar episode in Anna Karenina and I didn't believe it for a minute!  Just goes to show you!

Sept. 8, '10  Trouble the Water:  A documentary built around the home videos of a woman who was willing but unable to evacuate her family for Katrina.  Now, tell me again why they didn't mobilize the bus service of New Orleans to get people who otherwise couldn't get out?  Were the mayor and city council so out of touch that they didn't realize there were people in New Orleans that didn't have the resources to get out?

Well, these aren't really the film's questions.  This film is mostly the story of a family that suffered heavy family losses in Katrina, with an amazing amount of cool and virtually no bitterness. 

Sept. 10, '10  Stone Cold:  Count the ways in which you experience cold in this film.  Another Jesse Stone winner.  The actor's touch of control can be seen in the credits, which actually picture the character played with the name of the actor.  All films should do that!  Well, hell, they do it in theatre programs, don't they?

Sept. 11, '10  Informant:  This movie is a trip - just don't get involved in any business with C - oops, don't want to ruin it for you!

Sept. 13, '10  Chloe:  An intriguing film, with, bar none, the ugliest dress I have ever seen in a movie.  Now who could resist that comeon?  Actually the ending is unsatisfying in more ways than one.  Some beautiful ideas, though.

Sept. 14, '10  Five Minutes of Heaven:  Wonderful film - and, unfortunately, always timely.

Sept. 15, '10  The Long Goodbye:  I read the book twenty years ago.  Now I'll have to read it again, because the Phillip Marlowe in this movie is not Chandler's Marlow.  Enjoyed the character for who he was, though.  Incredibly dramatic surf scene worth seeing the movie for.

Sept. 21, '10  The Goodbye Girl:  The cute nonreason drives me crazy, but the witty dialogue is sterling.  My heart does not go out to someone who holds a guitar - oops!  Don't want to ruin it for you!

Sept. 23, '10  The Runaways:  Did not know when we got this it was about Joan Jett's rock(y) beginnings.  I wanted to see Dakota Fanning in a more grown up role.  Everybody acquitted themselves well, I thought.  (Well, acting-wise, that is - not wise acting!  Ach, these were children!)

Sept. 24, '10  Brother, Where Art Thou?:  We heard great praise for this when it first came out, and are happy to pass it on, laughs intact, to you.

Sept. 26, '10  Being John Malkovitch:  Weird, brilliant, and a lot of fun, especially seeing the world supposedly through Malkovitch's eyes.  Creepier than the Stepford Wives, even.

Sept. 27, '10  Imaginary Heroes:  Oh, the ugliness of the American aristocracy er, oligarchy.  Well-done.  Too well-done for my taste!  One great scene that was emotionally affecting.

Sept. 28, '10  The Prophet:  I couldn't watch it.  When the main character put a razor blade in his mouth so he could - oops, wouldn't want to ruin it for you! - I left the room.

Sept. 29, '10  Wait Until Dark:  Another stage play made into a movie before movie-makers realized they couldn't just film a play.  So convoluted and tortured it becomes lame, and not even a dramatic leap can save it.

Sept.30, '10  The Mirror Has Two Faces:  Enjoyable but ultimately too superficial and unconvincing.

Oct. 1, '10  Gone Baby Gone:  Classic dilemma in a gritty context.

Oct. 2, '10  The Square:  Reminds us of Cassandra's Dream.  A leading into temptation has disastrous consequences and everyone just seems so stupid.

Catch Me If You Can:  Second time for me with this movie, and it stands a second watching.  Besides, it's taken from a true story.  Who can resist a little slice of glamor plus real-life consequences?

Oct. 4, '10  The Boys are Back:  Single father struggle with all kinds of parental innovation.  This dad too hard on himself.

Oct. 5, '10  The Burning Plains:  Character and story threads weave back and forth in time to merge into a stunning story.  Not that you can't figure it out.

Oct. 6, '10  Stone Angel:  Yet another harsh family story, but it is amazing how many of these manage to soften towards the end.  This is the only one of these three that has brought me to tears, and it is probably because of the - ooops!  Don't want to ruin it for you!

But, honestly, we are sick unto death of music drowning out the dialog.  Is this because we are older viewers?  Do younger viewers not listen to words anyway?  Have I said this all before?

Sorry - just hard to know the nuances of what's going on when you can't make out the words.

Oct. ?, '10  a documentary about the Chicago's world fair narrated by Gene Wilder and, sorry, I kept falling asleep.  Wilder did sound quite lively and enthusiastic about the candy exhibits, though!

Oct. 10, '10:  Broadcast News:  So interrupted by stalls I can't really write about it.  I did see it in the theatre years ago and still remembered a line from it decades later.  That's worth something!

Oct. 9, '10  Chrystal:  Kind of like country music, if you can stand that.  It had its moments, though, and certaily wasn't easy or superficial.

Oct. 11, '10  A Single Man:  Well done, but you almost feel guilty laughing when the rare touch of black humor descends.  I'm not talking about the irony - oops, don't want to ruin it for you!

Oct. 12, '10  The First Year:  This documentary about five first-year teachers in Los Angeles is fascinating.  What are they up against?  What support do they have?  How well is our educational system working?  Here is a window.

Oct. 13, '10  Maurice:  I read the novel years ago, and it taught me a lot about love and compassion then.  The movie is good, but tortuous when you realize people are still suffering a lot over this issue one hundred years later.  Lovely film.

Oct. 14, '10  The Object of Beauty:  We appreciated this film, but somehow I feel it missed the aim of its producers.  Unfolded slowly and deliciously, though.

Oct. 15, '10  While You were Sleeping:  Profound silliness, but still endearing.

Oct. 16, '10  Cinderella Man:  Boxing movies are right down there on my list with war films for my least favorite.  But this film is really a winner, and the fact that it is about a real historical figure reconciled me to its subject matter.  Warning: it is long, and it is a nail-biter!

Oct. 17, '10  The Big Sleep:  Love, sleuthing and danger in black and white.  Hard-boiled detection at its best.

Oct. 18, '10  Mosquito Coast:  An inventor fed up with America and his family's experiments in living elsewhere.  Harried enough that although I read the book a long time ago I remembered little except how fraught it was!

Oct. 19, 10  Temple Grandon - about thinking in pictures and oh, wow what a story of personal courage and persistence hers is!

Oct. 20  Coup de Torchon:  Not merely noir - midnight on a cloudless night! 

Oct. 22, '10  An Ideal Husband:  Begins with a quote from Oscar Wilde, and no wonder!  Well, this was great - a real pleasure.

Oct. 23  Whatever Works:  After the initial boredom induced by the self-involved snobbish genius, whose pathetic monologues make you wonder how he could ever have been objective enough to study physics, it worked.  I love the scene where the young'un is telling her father, ooops!  Don't want to ruin it for you!

Oct. 24, '10  The Proposal:  Nasty and brutish, to quote Hobbs.

Oct. 25, '10  Look Back in Anger:  Nasty brutish behavior as displayed by a noodle.

Oct. 26, '10  The Open Road:  Watch out, baby boomers!  Retirement is coming!  Or maybe it isn't?

Oct. 27, '10  The Importance of Being Earnest:  None of that making-a-stage-play-into-a-movie trapped feeling.  Deliciously delightful.  I confess - sometimes I hooted in a very unladylike fashion!

Oct. 28, '10  Calendar Girls:  Too fun.  Well, not too fun - life is not all flowers, cupcakes and Hollywood!  But for us?  Fun!

Oct. 29, '10  2010:  The first two-thirds of this movie is good in a totally unrealistic adventure epic kind of way, with some awesome special effects for the misanthropes among us and the misanthropic sides of us, but it turns into mush (or should I say a mash?) at the end.  What happened?

Oct. 30, '10  Dorian Gray:  Whew!  When I read it I didn't imagine this!  Maybe I should read it again and see if it really should be a horror story.

Oct. 31, '10  Best of Show:  Goofy.  A hoot - or should I say a woof?

Nov. 1, '10

Nov. 2, '10

Nov. 3, '10  Harper:  I don't know - we think black and white serves these old hard-boiled detective stories better.  Still good, though, and star-studded.

Nov. 4, '10  Tapped:  Another horrifying message - this time about plastic products, especially bottled water.  Slept through it anyway.  Rather have night-mares than day-mares, I guess.

The Killers:  Caught on TV, an old Hemingway story.  Seemed puerile at first, but ended up being pretty twisty!

Nov. 5, '10  Winter's Bone:  Not a frill or flounce in this bleak survival story.  Rings true.

Nov. 6, '10  St. Trinian:  Over the top funny, and watch the credits.  May be a surprise for you!

Nov. 7, '10  The Lookout:  Hey, who cares if you are a complete fuck-up - life can still treat you very well!

Nov. 8-9, '10  Jeeves and Wooster: A look at the first season, and great fun it is, too.  Hard to believe Wooster grew up to be House - yet again, both characters are very irreverent!

Nov. 10, '10  Wall Street:  And yet, as far as I can tell, the situation has not gotten any better.  Good movie, though I sometimes have the feeling that these morality tales are just guidelines for how to abuse the system!

Nov. 11, '10  Adam:  Another movie about someone with Asberger's syndrome - this time fictional.  Really a good, realistic look at our society's values and a wonderful hard-headed (although soft-hearted) young woman!

Nov. 12, '10  Man on Fire:  Very jerky, with sudden switches and sudden stops.  Also excellent, but not for those who eschew violence in the movies.

Nov. 13, '10  Frozen River:  A slice of a couple of hard lives - unique.  I'm beginning to really appreciate the new level of naturalism we're seeing in film.

Nov. 13, '10  Of Mice and Men:  Wow.  A dark artful gem.

Nov. 15, '10  The Drowning Pool:  Another Ross McDonald mystery with a very exciting dilemma or two.

Nov. 16, '10  The Ghost Writer:  Very self-serving of Roman Polanski, "Look there are people out there even worse than me, and they..." but oops, wouldn't want to ruin it for you.  Dripping with intrigue, and makes you seriously consider if society would be better off with Polanski making movies like this or sitting in prison.

Nov. 17, '10  Die, Mommie, Die!:  Camp, silly, gay, and not as funny as I would have liked.  But there were laughs.

Nov. 18, '10  Men in Black II:  Nothing but fun with a dash of philosophy.  Entertainment with a capital E!

Nov. 19, '10  Changing Lanes:  A tragedy of evils, I thought, and then - nope, don't want to ruin it for you.  No heroes here.

Nov. 20  Robin Hood:  Backstory - more political than I ever would have expected, but makes a great tale.

Nov. 21,  Precious:  Portrayal not only of the troubled teenager but of the worst model of mothering you can imagine, let alone imagine living through.  Incredible performance by Mo'Nique. 

Nov. 22, '10  The Killer Inside Me:  Wow.  Portrayal with no excess editorial commentary.  This guy (or rather these guys author Thompson, director Winterbottom and actor Casey Affleck) give it to you straight.  Served up absolutely cold.

Nov. 23, '10  Letters to Juliet:  Verona and the Italian countryside constant backdrops to tender romance.  Sigh.

Nov. 28, '10  Shakespeare Wallah:  Tale of transitions in India, seen through the eyes of an English troupe.  Ring of truth - and what do you know!

Nov. 29, '10  I Am Sam:  Can all we learn from the films be translated into our social interactions?  This convinces us we should try.  Star-studded and talented cast.

Nov. 30, '10  City Island:  A little gem of a comedy.  I could see it again right now.  You just want to hug these characters! 

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