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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oscar Night !!

Get ready, be sure to clean that screen, get your comfy pillows, wear your best Tiara and pour a glass of Champagne!!

Best of Luck to all the nominees! 

This blog will return after a short break to complain about the losses, winners and dresses. 

Hollywood Air Kisses..mmmaaa,mmmmmaaa.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Romance Black History Month !

Watching Gina Torres this morning in "I think I love my Wife" with her gorgeous smile and ever so captivating laugh it seemed like a natural connection to honor some fabulous super couples. As the romance month ends it is a perfect way to celebrate film with love .....

Laurence Fishburne & Gina Torres- Tall, gorgeous, infectious smiles, there is something so charming and sophisticated about them ...

"Angel" (Season 4) - As the cruel but innocent deity Jasmine, Torres is convincing as the benevolent love runs amok .

"The Matrix" (1999) - Don't think about the sequels, just watch this with a clean slate - Fishburne is intense and carries off the dialogue with meaning and depth. Plus he looks amazing in these costumes, I'm just sayin'. 

Angela Bassett & Courtney B. Vance (DETROIT BABY!!)- it must be the smiles. 

"What's Love got to do with it?" (1993) - I can't think of anyone else that could have done Tina better....It was a little bit eerie. Great film, great music, terrific performances.

"The Preacher's Wife" (1996) - Adorable remake. While its difficult to create a fresh and charming approach to anything starring Cary Grant, yet, Denzel does well in the role and Courtney B. Vance is perfectly suited as the stumbling and introverted husband. 

Will & Jada  - Beautiful interesting couple. 

"Set it Off" (1996) - Take any male driven action buddy film and put in 4 women you would usually end up with revisions to accommodate a Hollywood ideal of femininity - this film doesn't do that - from the action to the dialogue it stays a buddy action piece.

"The Legend of Bagger Vance" (2000) - Interesting departure for Smith - He as a personality is in the background and truly acts for this one.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Color of Oscar

Wikipedia has a page dedicated to Black Academy Award nominations and wins (BAA winners_and_nominees)- its interesting to note the list for supporting actor and actress contain the largest number of nominations. For best actor, best actress and director the handful of nominations is frighteningly sad....Only best original song and sounding mixing have nominations and wins for films that would not be considered black pictures. 

What all this means, its interpretation, is a personal process- read into it or take from it what you will. It is perhaps best for now to simply honor those that make a path and hope for better more intuitive results in the near future. Human stories are all stories and maybe one way of reaching outside your comfort zone is through film......

"Ray" (2004) - the incomparable Ray Charles depicted by Jamie Foxx (AA Winner) - solid story, well told - no shockers here, just a good bio pic. 

"Monster's Ball" (2001) - Halle Berry (AA Winner) transcends the role by carrying the strength, fear and sadness of this character into a few transparent moments of pure raw emotion. 

"Glory" (1989) - Amazing character portrayals by Denzel Washington(AA Winner best supporting actor) and Mathew Broderick - wins best sound mixing Russell Williams

"Dances with Wolves" (1990) - Won 7 Academy Awards - Winner for best sound mixing Russell Williams is the first black person to win multiple Oscars in any category.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

OMG! I love that guy.....

Here is where the WOW and the OMG! meet up, because starting out to talk about the amazing Forest Whitaker leads a path right to Jim Jarmusch and that just makes me HAPPY.  Forest has a new TV show that also stars Janeane Garofalo, who is so amazing - However, the show is just like every other CSI, L&O, Criminal Minds, The Mentalist and ....I could go on and on.....You would think with talent like this- they would divert the formula just enough to accommodate a WoW factor...but..sadly...No. So, lets get on track here with Forest in roles that make you cringe, cry, cheer and CLAP even if you are alone at home.....

"Ghost Dog:The Way of the Samurai" (1999) - Not Jarmusch's best film - but that is a really high bar to reach. Ghost Dog is perfect for Forest- the character is intense yet yielding. He walks in the world wounded yet thoughtful and like the honorable Samurai, aligned with his actions and the potential consequences.

"BIRD" (1988) - Oh, Clint Eastwood, how you do make good films! Another WOW factor gone right....Whitaker takes this role on like a well tailored suit of clothing. 

"A Little Trip to Heaven" (2005) - This is one of those films that visually you can't get out of your head. It's eerie, intense and lacking a little something ...but its also riveting to watch and shows how easily the camera falls in love with Whitaker. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Who is that, She is in EVERYTHING?!

The face and voice are familiar, there is a snippy snap to the attitude that makes you sit up and pay attention. She can do super evil bee-yotches or your very best friend or the lost-mixed up ex-girlfriend. After numerous television guest spots Tasha Smith came forth strongly in several film roles to just pop off the screen. 

"Daddy's Little Girls" (2007) - One of the better Tyler Perry films - an extremely well written piece on the struggle of a single father, played beautifully by Idris Elba. Tasha Smith stands out even playing a very stereotypical role - she transcends the dialogue and one denominational level of this character.


Nia long's first real noticeable achievement was on the soap opera "Guiding Light" as Katherine Speakes - she captivated the audience and it was obvious she would move on from daytime quickly. 
"Soul Food" (1997) - One of the best ensemble casts doesn't make it easy for a young actress to show her talent- Nia Long stands up among this group to hold her own. This is one of those films that could go terribly wrong just from having this many great people in it..but it works, flowing well from family drama to comedy romp. 

The best way to develop the talent is to work and Jurnee Smollett has done that through both television and film. Starting as a very young girl, Jurnee has carried both starring and character roles. One of her best was as Tori in an almost unnoticed film. 

"Roll Bounce" (2005)- Cute coming of age story- especially poignant for those that grew up in the age of disco roller rinks. Do they still do that? A fun and predictable film with some interesting moments. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Get further into the Celebration of Black History Month by watching......

a journey of biographical films....Always remembering of course that the moving picture industry is out to create the most of any dramatic human story. If you want a closer look at details, always check out several sources. Never rely on one place to get the 'truth' - that ever wavering and elusive inner film called memory is different for everyone. There are several good biographies and websites for each person portrayed here. In addition, venture a little to the side and consider the lives of those that surrounded these icons......

"Lady Sings the Blues" (1972) - more a showcase for the beautiful Diana Ross than a bio of Billie Holiday- but still a terrific film. 

"Malcolm X' (1992) - This film gives such a good atmospheric sense of the time. The pacing, editing and framework allow an expansive as well as inner intensity to its characters. Highly recommend.

"ALI"  (2001) - Not having read any biographies of Muhammad Ali - it would be difficult to gauge the accuracy, but the sweeping emotionality and entertainment value is significant in this work. What a transformation in Will Smith.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Snow Day!! Guilty Pleasures!!

Well - the Midwest is covered in snow and ice - We are frozen into our little hovels and so so grateful to have power! To celebrate, its time to pop in those movies you might not admit to any one you've watched more than once......

"Foxy Brown" (1974) - Oh my - Just too crude and rude - Very over the top exploitation and that doesn't just cover what Pam Grier is wearing (or not) - In defense tho- the woman is a terrific action star and actress.  

"Jackie Brown" (1997) - Ditto - a super Q T Film. Ms. Grier is fabulous. Robert Forster is equally terrific. 

"Shaft" (1971) - While the remake was decent - there is no shaft like the real thing baby...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Designs for Oscar

As we approach Oscar day, only one more week to go.....I'm looking back at a few previous nominations in my favorite category of costume design...and can't help but catch on to one of my favorite designers, Ruth E. Carter - The affect of costume should be to wrap the character as more of themselves and not appear to be wearing anything (you know what I mean, stop that)- Ruth E. Carter designs for a theme and encases characters as a cohesive unit- What stands out in these films is character depth, human emotion and a sense of where and when - Something I attribute to the careful and thoughtful approach of the costuming. 

 "Malcom X" (1992) - One of Spike Lee's best pictures - a growth piece for him as a director and a great look at American life of the period. 

"Amistad" (1997) - An emotional and moving picture with focused and intense performances. Informative and interesting without being overly preachy.

"Baby Boy" (2001) - John Singleton captures that fine line of mama's boy and loving family."

Friday, February 18, 2011

Paul Robeson

Paul Robeson is American History. As a football player, an artist (actor, singer), law school graduate and political activist Robeson achieved greatness in his lifetime. He is an example of the American dream and yet had to fight against the evils of prejudice every step of the way. Even when his outspoken activities for civil rights brought him trouble Robeson continued to push for equality. His father, born a slave, served in the Union Army (wikipedia).While known more for his appearances in just a few films, Robeson had an incredible career, as an actor, lawyer and activist- Please take some time to visit other sites, including The Paul Robeson Foundation found here:

"Show Boat" (1936) - A terrific showcase for his singing talents and a fair movie.  

"Native Land" (1942)- Terrific. 

"The Emperor Jones" (1933) - Available in full movie on IMBD. An impressive film based on Eugene O'Neill's play- slick accessible scenes, stunning performances.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Regina King

From childhood cutie on the show 227 to sophisticated lady on the big screen, Regina King shows up in some of the best roles for women. Back on television with the show Southland, lets hope she's not staying away from film work! While its true that some of her best roles are in not so great films- a few of them are worth watching and Ms. King carries herself beautifully.

"Enemy of the State" (1998)-  A clever thriller, King provides a firm female character not afraid to face the unexpected challenges of standing up next to Will Smith- this is the type of role she should focus on and grow with - extra bonus, small roles filled by interesting actors, Seth Green, Jamie Kennedy, Jason Lee, Lisa Bonet, Barry Pepper, Bodhi Elfman....Even with all this Ms. King doesn't get lost, but keeps a steady foot hold. 

"Miss Congeniality 2" (2005) - Its hard to say if this film should have left on the shelf or just given over to Ms. King.....perhaps not even she could have saved  this script? However, she does stand out and hold her own. 

"Daddy Day Care" (2003) - Cute nonsense film, don't watch it for Eddie Murphy but for all the other good people in it. Doesn't hold up over time. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thomas Lister, Jr.

If there ever was an imposing movie President, its Tom Lister in "The Fifth Element". The deep voice and solid stature gave the character a needed commanding presence that otherwise would have been lost among the quirky, inter-galactic characterizations of  Chris Tucker and Gary Oldman in their outlandish comic portrayals. Early roles include the fun "Friday" trilogy  series starring Ice-Cube who was, frankly, dwarfed out by Lister's performance. A fourth installment is due out this year.

In the frenzy of the popular franchise and the loss of a young actor, "The Dark Knight" appears to contain one hero, but it should loudly noted that Lister's character is the true hero of the picture. He performs an act that no one else would take up and does the right thing, even at potential loss of his own life and with no notable recognition.  Now you must go watch it again and pay special attention to Lister's few scenes in which he again steals the movie out from under the star.

So here is a tribute to a terrific character actor, who's even momentary time on screen carries off an incredible amount of 'it': 

"Don Juan DeMarco" (1994) - Only seconds on screen but memorable. And a cute movie with Brando and Dunaway. 

"Things to do in Denver when your Dead" (1995)- Terrific cast! An interesting, yet choppy film - fun to see how many faces you can recognize. 

"Hairshow" (2004) - A bit lacking in plot - Mo'Nique is so much herself heading a fantastic cast, Gina Torres and Taraji P. Henson are terrific. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Urban Manhood

Some films resonate because they are written with a refreshing take on things in your life, things you aren't sure other people understand. John Singleton writes character and dialogue that remembers clearly the situations and people that echo in the back of your mind. The struggle to grow up, decide who you are and survive in an urban landscape is well placed and emotional in Singleton's characters. As a producer and director he has taken a turn towards the fast, fun and flip style but glimmers of his dialogue turn up even in these exploding action flicks.

"Boyz n the Hood" (1991)- A film that showed up as real life- making audiences see urban life as more than sound bytes on the evening news. Introduced and asked people to stand up to ask, "Who wrote this?" Great film - a little choppy in the directing and editing, but over all extremely well done. 

"Poetic Justice" (1993)- A sweet, well intended attempt at a love story - fall a little bit short in character development - but over all a very good film. Tupac comes out strong as an actor, believable in his passions, Janet Jackson proves again she can carry off a character up against testosterone filled story-lines and dialogue.

"2 Fast 2 Furious" (2003) - As long as you go into this viewing with the expectation of speed, noise and campy fun relationship nonsense you will not be disappointed. A terrific fun action filled car flick.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I want to be loved by you ooh ooh oohhhh

And no body else but you.........boooop boopy doo...

There is no one else like Marilyn Monroe. Plenty of starlets, tons of beautiful blonds, many upon many pretty actresses but no one like Marilyn. In our first glimmers, "The Asphalt Jungle" and "All About Eve" its the camera that loves her, a movement, whisper, a few frames and its clearly there...that something. 

Captivating, romantic, wistful, a strength and a vulnerability ....

"Don't Bother to Knock" (1952) - Eerie & unusual - this is the film that set a personality for the actress that seems to carry over - the lost and a little bit crazy girl. It shows the potential in this young woman as an actress. 

"Niagara" (1953) - One year later, the uber blond bombshell appears in full force. A cute but nothing movie. Fun to watch. Joseph Cotton seems a little over dramatic, but a good film overall.
"Let's Make Love" (1960)- There is something secretive, playful and joyful on screen here, along with segments of tension - the script is so-so, the songs are fairly decent...but there is an under current....

"Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (1953) - Another case of the book being so (WAY) much better than the film- but Marilyn is showcased here in such a fun, rompy way - The musical scenes and the flirty moments are extremely well done. Howard Hawks does a terrific job of reigning in his two 'Stars'. One of Marilyn's best films. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentino Valentine & Million Dollar Legs

Just as the novelty of motion pictures was reaching peak status, the industry had all American sweethearts, dashing heroes, vamps and comedy genius, and along came a mystery like no other -the "Latin Lover". Rudolph Valentino a volatile mix of French and Italian with huge penetrating brown eyes, smooth shapely lips and serious intensity that rippled through his body as tango steps filled the screen. The first true screen heart throb took over the dreams and imagination of audiences. While certain handsome actors had livened up the fantasies of every day people, no one before had been that iconic sex symbol that moved large masses to a frenzied state. His short life, 1895 to 1926, filled American audiences with love, lust, delight then utter devastation at his loss.
"The Sheik" (1921) - Feminism and cultural differences. Interesting and fun to watch.

 There are a few actresses that could be placed as equivalent sex symbols along with Rudy Valentino. Evelyn Nesbit and Clara Bow certainly have their place as his equals in this realm. However, lets jump here to someone that built a mass hysteria, again, like no other before her, Ms. Betty Grable. As one of the very first and most notable 'pin up' girls, Grable donned the wallet, trunk and locker of service men during world war 2. Born in 1916, Grable held the title of Box office Queen for several years, becoming a symbol not only of sex, but of home- an American dream. She passed away too young at 56, but had already faded out of the fantasy of Hollywood. 

"Moon over Miami" (1941) -Sweet, simple, fun. 

There are many movie stars, but only some that reach an emotional disturbance for a large segment of the population. These are still rare status symbols that for whatever reason create adulation like no other. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

When the Dude is just too Ugly ....or

an alternative title: When Love Does NOT conquer all......
There are some things even love can't change and being a total beastie is one of them....."Oh the sweet mystery of life at last I've found you..."

"King Kong" (1933) - Size does matter. Poor Kong falls for a girl, not only out of his species but let's face it - how would they ever sit down to dinner together? One could never blame the ill fated hunk for falling for Fay Wray, yet, there are times when you have to admit to your self it will never work out. 

"The Bride of Frankenstein" (1935) - Dear Sweet Frankie...never had a shot. One look at the Dr...(those guys always get the girls) and our lovely bride had no interest in the tall, awkward dead flesh guy with bad shoes. 

"The Mummy" (1932) - This one almost had a shot..I mean you gotta give credit to a dude that will wait a thousand years AND die for you. There can also be a case made for the fact this couple consists of humans...if it wasn't for that musty basement smell and that whole dead thing......who knows? 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Boys, Toys, Explosions and Love

In almost every action picture there is a underlying plot regarding the search for, avoidance of, heartbreak caused by romance. With each James Bond picture we are convinced he has finally found that one true love, until the next picture when we find out she has been killed by rogue the end of Die Hard our beloved super action man has reconciled with his long patient wife or we find out they didn't make it and he is circumstantially fated to fall for ......Lets see if we can find a few action adventure pictures (one of the best genres in motion picture fair) that provide a sense of true romance, long lasting love and a depth of that asking too much?

"True Lies" (1994) - A film in which Tom Arnold doesn't suck! A pretty decent plot, lots of action, a nice well rounded romance story line, fairly full and decent character development....yep, this one is okay. 

"Rob Roy" (1994) - You just have to love hating Tim Roth in this- Liam Neesom and Jessica Lange at their very best .....great dialogue, wonderful adventure scenes, and a love story equally strong, tragic and satisfying. 

"Tristan and Isolde" (2006) - Action, Intrigue, romance, fierce loyalties, & period costuming contribute to fitting this one nicely in the category. However it is not as well acted as Rob Roy nor quite as good action sequences as True Lies, this film almost tries to be too many things at one time. Filmed in shadows and mood lighting- and yet, its romantic,intense and the adventure is exciting.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

OH, yes, that link between food and sex....its biology ...We can't help it....they ensure our survival....textures, scents, visual stimuli, its all must be noted again, is there anything better than John Travolta dancing and smelling like bread or chocolate chip cookies (Michael,1996)??? 

Here are a few romance films to seduce you with epicurean delights......

"Eat Drink Man Woman" (1994) - A fun poke at traditional roles, with such food...., don't watch this hungry. Enjoyable while a little bit stilted - so worth watching. 

"Big Night" (1996) - The bonus- lots of music by Louis Prima. Awkward uncertain romances dominate this food filled lusciously costumed film that you wish wouldn't end. Its the party you don't want to come home from.....

"9 1/2 Weeks" (1986) - If you look up "Bad boys your mother doesn't want you to date and your therapist gasps at the idea" you will see a picture of Mickey Rourke from this film....oh boy....not really a romance film....and yet...its one that has to be watched...When the food enters into the picture, oh, enough said....Not a fun movie, not a romantic movie, it. Great soundtrack. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Lips Have it

Best Film Kisses 

"Idlewild" (2006) - A fun movie overlapping several styles, musically and film wise- with one of the best kissing scenes on  screen.

"Bound" (1996) - Sexy, fun and a little bit

"The Big Sleep" (1946) - Given some of the best lines in film history, Lauren Bacall has no trouble asking for what she wants..."I liked that...I'd Like more" - Great movie. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

All We Need is Love

Yesterday, I typed the words, "the boy gets the girl" in reference to happy movie endings......I realized how easy and normal it feels for those phrases, thoughts, ideas to flow from my brain. I felt a strong pull from cultural conditioning and therefore must offer this blog in dedication to anyone who doesn't fall into the traditional accepted male/female roles yet seeks mad, wonderful, happy, lustful, YES!, LOVE in their lives..........

"Saving Face" (2004) Writer / Director Alice Wu offers a gorgeous look at traditional roles - Joan Chen is both delicate and strong as steel moving across the screen. A surprisingly fun film dealing with heavy life surprises. 

"The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love" (1995) - Very ordinary story, film, outcome. Two teenagers, finding first love. Terrific film- not outstanding, but thats kind of what makes it good. 

"My Beautiful Launderette" (1985) - This is a film that balances between watchable and so close to the bone its uncomfortable to feels like peeking into the intimate moments of someones life. You can forget its a film as it flickers in front of your eyes. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Its the Way you Move me

Dancing, a ritual of human life from war to lust. Whangaries use it to prepare for battle and numerous societies use it for expressing desire or preparing the body for fertility. Some use it to escape, while others use it to be seen. In many films, dance is utilized by a younger generation to create a distance, a statement of itself, from the previous generation. Dance is used as rebellion and self-discovery. Here we look at films in which dance is not only a presentation, but a way of moving the story and therefore connecting the actors. 

You won't be disappointed, dance is also used to get the girl.

"Top Hat" (1935) - A discussion on dance would be nothing with out a notice to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Clever dialogue, glorious costumes, well chosen sets show the 1930's as a mecca of movies. 

"Strictly Ballroom" (1992) - A fun comedy romp is an Australian specialty - but who knew they would do dance so beautifully- Baz Luhrmann has shown himself to be a master of the dance film but this one is exceptional. Its humor, film style and editing make it an interesting and silly watchable piece. 

"Shall We Dance" ( 1996) - While all three versions of this film are decent- its the Japanese film I highly recommend here- a subtle play on cultural values capture something sweet and intense as the dancers gain a new level of self-esteem and insight. 

"Stomp the Yard" (2007) - Moving, overlapping story-lines don't distract you from the true star of this film - the dance. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Sunday Kind of Love

An important part of carrying on a successful romance is knowing what you want - I give credit to the Millionaire Match Maker Maven (Bravo,Tuesdays 9pm), Patti Stanger, for her rules when allowing entrance to the club. Are the potentials serial dating or looking for love? It's vital to know what you want.....Etta James sang it clearly (Lyrics by Louis Prima et al) .......
I want a Sunday kind of love
A love to last past Saturday night
And I’d like to know it’s more than love at first sight
And I want a Sunday kind of love
Oh yea yea
"The Notebook" ( 2004) - A lovely twist on the tragic love drama- with wonderful casting of James Garner and Gena Rowlands - a simple and sappy story - very well done - covering a life time of romance. 

"Love Actually"(2003) - Something works really well about this ensemble comedy- the characters are fleshed out, the moments captured are not wasted space fillers - nicely done.

"Robin & Marian" (1976) - Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn carry off a romance that proves some gray hair doesn't end your love life.

"The Philadelphia Story" (1940) - Two immature people get married, get divorced, don't grow up much and fall back in love. While I usually abhor this romcom formula - it works so well in the hands of Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn - Partly because the female character is equally as immature and emotional has the male character. All of the characters of this story (based on the play by Philip Barry) are a little off kilter and the premise works through its faults by having such great dialogue.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Oh Richard You're So Fine....

Richard Gere is one of those actors its difficult to explain. He is descriptively not great looking, yet put all together he is the stuff romance is made for.....Smoldering, laughing eyes, quick smile with a hint of oh no..yes, yes. He is also not the greatest actor, he doesn't do much with his eyes or expression - His doesn't act with his emotions  which seem to always be on the verge, or stunted, or mocking - But his body moves, displays and creates scenes for the frame.

"Looking for Mr. Goodbar" (1977) - Like a turn of the century novel of women finding independence, especially that of a sexual nature - this film turns freedom and risque behavior into a life lesson - remember ladies what happens to girls who play....overall a fairly decent film, Diane Keaton is excellent. 

"American Gigolo" (1980) - Funny story- I saw this for the first time on a first date. I don't recommend that......But then I took all my girl friends to see it. Then I spent a month searching for the Smokey Robinson song that plays during the best scene of the film- a few moments that showcase Gere's way of being on screen. The shoulders shimmy, the smile entrances......

"Officer and A Gentleman" (1982) - Cute, chick flick, someone's idea of a romantic ending ...but a terrific performance by Gere and Winger. Definitely showcases that WOW factor Gere carries with such ease. 

You may wonder at the exclusion of "Breathless", "Sommersby" and "Shall We Dance" - while decent examples of Gere's work - I save them for a rant on why Americans should promote foreign films not remake them.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Smoldering, irresistible.....Its temptation to wreck you.....

Can we safely call these Romance films? I suppose,we've all had that person we can't resist ....hopefully yours didn't turn out as crazy as these relationships...but there are times when you simply have to let yourself stupid. 

"Body Heat" (1981) - If you haven't, you should. Like finishing off that whole pint of Ben and Jerry's by yourself....its naughty, but so so good. And a special nod to my favorite Soap Opera star Ms. Kim Zimmer for her grand appearance. 

"Brokeback Mountain" (2005) - There is certainly a case to be made that these relationships are destructive because of the situations- having to deny who they really are caused untold trauma. However, I don't find this a great love story. Drunken rough angry sex twice a year doesn't exactly exude love to me. That said, It is a great film, gorgeous vista's, terrific dark drama, amazing acting allows deeper character study - I just wish we had been able to see something in the love, rather than an addiction. A stunning film. 

"Dangerious Liason's" (1988) - Not overly thrilled with period pieces in general - yet, John Malkovich carries the costuming as if he were naked, Michelle Pfiefer has never looked more confused or delicate and Glenn Close...she is delightfully wicked (how does she do that?). Oh the sweet torture of it all. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Award for Best Couple goes to......

This is a tough category- mainly because couples are so weird.  Even screen couples have issues. There is no way to pick them on a consistent thread - we'll just have to go with a criteria of interesting, loving, great clothes and a sense of humor and settle for a mostly happy Hollywood ending. 

"The Thin Man" (1934) - One of the best screen couples- Charming, sophisticated, in-love. While there are smidges of Nora being a silly woman and moments of Nick's superior attitude, it is part of the characterization- overall they behave like a partnership and wear the most fabulous clothes. 

"Now Voyager" (1942) - Oh its just delicious, Claude Rains, Bette Davis and Paul Hendreid - just watching them is enough. The story is a bit contrived and over the top, but the final line of the film is so perfect, filmed with qualities that make a scene captivating and unforgettable. (You'll just have to watch it and see) 

"The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" (1947) - Usually I object to films that don't allow the couple to be together. What is it with Rex Harrison and his almost love affairs? There are so many good elements to this film, their conversations, clothes, the setting, its a really terrific story. 

"My Fair Lady" ( 1964) - Ah, what did I say about Rex Harrison and his almost love affairs? It would have been so much more satisfying to have Professor Higgins sweep Eliza up and carry her off.....but that would have been a different movie. While not exactly 'romantic' this couple is perfect for each other. 

If I were voting- it would be Nick and Nora Charles- a fun and interesting relationship. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Well, it took you long enough! Unrequited LOVE

What sweet torture to love a person, see clearly who they are, accept them totally...Only they can't see past the end of their own nose....(Yeah, it really makes you wonder WHAT the person sees in them???) - Here are a couple terrific stories are told from this view point, I found them irresistible. 

"Mr. Skeffington" (1944)- I know you might think its unfair to bring up a Bette Davis / Claude Rains film, No one does Romance and tortuous love affairs as well as she does.....But this one is based on a book that transfers so well to film - the story is understated and comes off quite charming in Bette's hands.  

"Lars and The Real Girl" (2007) - This premise could have easily taken an icky turn - but its filmed so gently, the characters are so real, it becomes at once sad and hopeful. The simple humor allows the situation to become heartfelt rather than eeewww...... 

"Wuthering Heights" (1939) - I'm not sure anyone carries the rapturous longing for love as well as Laurence Oliver in this film. Again, the story holds up so well from book to film- In most cases I always recommend reading the book first- but with this it can go either way. You still hold the same tormented feeling through out. If possible, watch this version before any remakes- it holds up incredibly well. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sweep Me off My Feet Romance

In the realm of what is romantic the variety is as mysterious and eclectic as the human race....Thankfully, we find elements of commonality that connect us... .....Personally, I don't understand the basic format of the 'chick flick' that says an amazing, understanding, gorgeous woman puts up with insensitivity, criminal conduct, stupidity and disgusting habits only to be pushed so far off the edge she has no choice but to break up with him and THEN after much suffering he accidentally does the right thing so it must be true LOVE. Sorry to pick on her, but Jennifer Aniston does read the scripts before signing to a movie doesn't she? Is this really the image of being a woman we want portrayed ? No matter how succesful, smart and beautiful - if he has a grin like Gerard Butler (insert any studly muffin you like) we can get past the crappola? I say no, those are the transition guys- the guy that you really want to love, but is really just a passage on the way to grown up romance, reality and an inner sexy. 

So as the first official Romance guide of the Valentine season - here is one for the good guys - the type that make my heart flutter and my palms sweaty........

"Garden State" (2004) - Zach Braff is the ultimate nerdy guy- awkward and sweet - in this quirky romance picture he meets his equal, a girl uncomfortable in the world determined to enjoy whatever oddities life contains. 

"Me and You and Everyone We Know" ( 2005) - I am (not so) secretly in love with Miranda July - from her writing to her short films to this wonderful film. There is a moment in this movie that stays with me, clutches at my heart and made me want to do anything to find it. John Hawkes is just incredibly sexy in this film. I should also say upfront, there are several uncomfortable moments in this film- its awkward, startlingly bold and really honest. 

"Desk Set" (1957) - Granted what we know about them in real life may off set a certain sensibility, but on screen the dynamics between Kathryn Hepburn and Spencer Tracy is undeniable. Hepburn's characters never give in to that notion that women are 'other' creatures- they are always played as upright, sensible and human. Just as Tracy's characters are always men, sometimes awkward, unknowing and stubborn- but down right good guys. While the premise does have them start off on opposite sides, its situational not a life style.