Cinema Snapshots

by Bobby Matherne

Movies we watched this past Month:

Hits (watch as soon as you can):

“Sense and Sensibility”
— with Hugh Grant as Edward, Kate Winslet as Marianne, and Emma Thompson as Elinor in this Jane Austen novel adaptation. In a rare appearance as a good guy, Alan Rickman [Snape of Harry Potter series] plays the good Colonel who rescues Marianne from one of a series of daily drenchings on the hillside. Who’s going to marry whom? is the perennial question in a Jane Austen novel and none has more complicated obstacles placed in the way of marital happiness than this story. All in all, this movie has two things going for it that “Chicago” didn’t: “Sense” and “Sensibility”.

“A Walk to Remember”
— Peter Coyote is the minister of Beaufort and father of a teenage daughter who is mousy, has only one sweater, and wants to see a miracle. Take a walk with this movie — it will be a walk to remember.

“It Had to Be You”
— Here was a delightful low-budget movie. How low budget? Well, with a title like that and a heroine who loved Frank Sinatra, they still apparently couldn’t afford to have Frank singing the Gus Kahn song of the title! Two young engagees, one male and one female, engaged to others, check into a hotel and each other out. They bump into each other at the registration counter, in the elevator, in Bergdorf-Goodman selecting wedding gifts, and soon they’re spending the weekend together walking through Central Park while their other halfs are in London and Paris on other business. Guess what? They fall in love. They separate. They get back together. Love wins out in the end. Great chick flick. Ladies: don’t pop this video in to view before basketball playoffs are over.

“Easter Parade”
-- Hadn’t watched this movie all the way through before as an adult [someone over 27] and I was completely charmed and delighted by the two stars Judy Garland and Fred Astaire. The early scene where Fred captures the Easter Bunny is a drumming fantasy not to be missed! What a shame it was a one-time trick and they never made another movie together. Judy Garland as Hannah Brown tries to emulate Ann Miller-as-Nadine’s dancing style and can’t pull it off. When Nadine, referring to Astaire’s crude attempts to convert Hannah into Nadine, says about Hannah’s trying to dance Nadine’s way, “All my friends are laughing,” Astaire has a brilliant idea: work comedy into the act and use Hannah as Hannah or Garland as Garland. Suddenly the screen blossoms with unimaginable delights of singing and dancing. If Garland had made as many movies with Astaire as she did with Mickey Rooney, she might have become known, as Ginger Rogers did, as Fred Astaire’s dancing partner. May be best she didn’t do but one movie with Fred — this one and it’s the best, even if you youngsters have no idea what the rotogravure is or why it’s important to the eponymous song: “And you’ll find that you’re in the Rotogravure.” I’ll give you a hint — ever hear of “Parade” Magazine in the Sunday papers?

“Ferris Beuller’s Day Off”
This is a classic comedy in which Ferris asks the question at one point, “What will we be doing in seventeen years?” Well, he’s starring as Leo Bloom in the “Producers” on Broadway some 17 years later. If you haven’t seen this movie, pull it off the shelves of Blockbuster or request a DVD from Netflix and prepare yourself for a treat: an irreverent time machine trip back to your high school days. A day off from school in a Ferrari for Ferris whose sister got a car and he only got a computer. Try to watch this movie without laughing, go ahead, try.

“Good Advice”
with Charlie Sheen — HBO reception was intermittent plus we missed the first part of movie — but there were some very funny bits, especially with Iris, the Editor’s assistant. Premise is this: a former stockbroker takes over an advice column that his girl friend hated doing after she skipped town for Rio. He becomes a hit while flirting with his Editor, a lovely assistant DA from “Law & Order.” Naturally the old girl friend comes back and re-enters his apartment just as he has finally managed to bed the Editor. The Ex wants her old job back. Wanna bet she blows it? We need to get a DVD of it and give it a look from the beginning. May be the only good starring role for Charlie that I can recall. Good advice: watch it.

Misses (avoid at all costs):
“Beijing Bicycle”
– The slipcover said the movie was about a bicycle and two young men who learned about sharing. If what they did could be called sharing, it was the type of sharing that two boxers do when they “share” a boxing ring. One was a hardworking kid who earned his fancy mountain bike by being a courier on the streets of Beijing and the other stole money from his own father and then stole the bike from the courier. Okay as a travelogue to the back streets of Beijing which are about as scenic as a broken down neighborhood in the Bronx.

Your call on these next movies; your taste may differ, but I liked them:

“The New Waterford Girl” — was she: Moonie who wanted to be a nuclear physicist? or Lou who could knock out any guy who was unfaithful with one punch? How far is it from New Waterford, Cape Breton where Moonie grew up, to New York City where Lou grew up? Would Moonie have to pretend to be pregnant to get to Manhattan to use her scholarship, and if so who would believe she was pregnant anyway? Two wonderful actresses play the “New Waterford Girl” and their presence makes up for the bad sound and almost indecipherable voices speaking in their northeastern Canadian dialect.

“Domestic Disturbance”
— another movie which demonstrates that John Travolta plays a better bad guy than good guy. In this one he is the good guy, the estranged father whose son objects to the stepfather his mother is going to marry. What’s not to like about the step-father? Successful businessman, citizen of the year of Southport, loving father, acquitted of attempted murder — oops, he forgot to mention his seamy past and former cellmates in the pen who are looking for the funds he absconded with to parts unknown — what happens if one of them discovers his engagement announcement and shows up at the wedding? Watch the movie — it’s all guest for the mill.

“Pauline and Paulette”
a delightful foreign film about four sisters, one of whom, Pauline, loves to be with her sister Paulette, but because Pauline is retarded, Paulette is appalled whenever she shows up, usually at Paulette’s fancy women’s dress shop in town. Pauline is a little like Dustin Hoffman’s character in “Rain Man” without the idiot savant memory ability. Her favorite thing to do is walking up to Paulette while she’s waiting on customers, looking down to her untied shoe laces, and saying “Shoes not done.” When Martha who’s taken care of Pauline dies, “Martha sleeping on floor,” Pauline reported to Paulette, the will requires either Paulette or her city slicker sister in Brussels to take care of Pauline. That’s when the fun begins as Pauline becomes a hot potato. Gentle insights into human nature in a fine film.

“Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down”
— an interesting Spanish language flick with Antonio Banderas in one of his first roles as a crazy 23-year-old who became infatuated with a porno star so much that he didn’t have time to be crazy and was released. He then stalked her, moved into her apartment, and made love to her —- in the Jane Austen sense -- tying her up in the apartment while he went out to score drugs for her. Will she ever feel anything but abhorrence for this brash kidnapper who says he wants to marry her and have two, three, or four children with her?

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