ForAllEvents - Lee Hartgrave reviews

December 29, 2009

LEE HARTGRAVE REEL FILM TWITTER

LEE HARTGRAVE REEL FILM TWITTER

RAYMOND CHANDLER IS BACK IN STYLE IN 'THE MISSING PERSON' 

At least in the new movie “The Missing Person”. Filmed in deep Noir Shadow sometimes works in this film – but on the other hand, it was so dark that all I could see at the beginning were eyes shining in the dark. Creepy, yes – but that theme prevails throughout the movie.

There are many things that I liked about it however. I liked the Noir feel of the movie – loved the train ride and the tacky Motels that the Detective stayed at along the way. In some ways it has a feel of “No Country for Old Men”.

The quality of the film varies along the way. Sometimes it is pretty good, but most of the time is has a grimy, gritty look that gives it an old time patina look. Maybe that is what the director has in mind.

There is some tough talking Dialogue in the film (which harkens back to 40’s type lingo.) Especially intriguing is the conversation between a cab driver and the detective.

There were times that I almost gave up on this movie. However I stuck to it – and began to like it better. The film has a surprise ending that I would not have guessed. The story keeps you interested and the acting is superb. Now, if only there was just a little more illumination.

Film Noir was Dark and shadowy, but we were always able to see their faces. In this movie, you really have to strain to see anything.

Brilliant performances by Michael Shannon, Amy Ryan, Margaret Colin, Linda Emond, Yul Vazquez and John Ventimglia. Masterful Direction is by Noah Buschel

RATING: THREE BOXES OF POPCORN!!! –trademarked-

YOUNG VICTORIA IS A GORGEOUS FILM

I love Castles and Palaces. I never get enough of them. Watching Monarchs stiffly sitting in their palaces is endlessly entertaining.

And no one was more prim, proper and stiff than Queen Victoria. But, of course when she was just Princess she showed that she really did have some feelings. Was this a prison? Well, yes – when you are an heir to the throne, you can’t even walk down the stairs by yourself. Someone had to hold your hand as you walked down and up. But isn’t it worth all that bother to become a queen or a king? For that kind of adulation – I would gladly hold hands with anyone, as long as they didn’t push me down the stairs.

This is a beautiful movie that is kind of a docudrama. The interiors are sumptuous beyond belief. The palace intrigue is quite interesting. There is always the danger of being poisoned – that is why Victoria has a taster, before she could touch the food.

Victoria and her mother did not get along well. The mother wanted Victoria to give up the right to be Queen. She and her Palace Boyfriend tried to get the future Queen to sign away her rights and name her mother Regent until Victoria became of age. The sassy “V” would have none of it. It was then that we found out what a force the new Queen would be. No one was going to out smart her. However, she did have to give in on a few things, like giving her new husband Prince Albert more say in how the Palace is run. Actually, Albert was very smart and was very good for the Queen. Until he came into her life, everyone hated the new Queen. He more or less made her more human. And they did go on to have nine children. My, My – did they ever get out of bed?

The entire cast was really quite Royal and fascinating. They  made the entire thing seem quite real. Emily Blunt (the Devil Wears Prada) and Rupert Friend (Prince Albert) are perfectly suited as the Royal pair. They had the pomp and circumstance down to the bottom of their royal robes. You’ve never seen so much bowing and scraping in your life.

RATING: FOUR BOXES OF POPCORN!!!! (highest rating) – trademarked-

BROKEN EMBRACES – HOT BLOODED

PEDRO AMMODOVAR AS USUAL HAS DIRECTED A MOVIE THAT BURSTS WITH PASSION AND FIRE.

There are so many twists and turns to this movie that it almost makes you dizzy. There is a blind screenwriter. His secretary and her son help him write his screenplays. There is a beautiful woman, Penelope Cruz who will complicate his life. 

All of them seem to have many secrets that are just about to pop out at any time. One lives under a double identity and a past that soon comes out in the open.

But the thing about Almodovar’s movie is the realism that you feel. You care about these people. They become part of your life. It’s not like you’re looking and thinking “Oh, they are just actors.” Not in this case. You become involved with them and the story.

And the melodrama explodes on the screen. I guarantee that you will not be bored. Hey, I should know. I bore easily. My like it or not meter is when I start to nod off at the beginning of the film. I did not nod off in Broken Embraces.

This is a smooth, intriguing film that reminds at times of Fellini. Broken Embraces has some film-noir elements to it. And that is a good thing.

RATING: FOUR BOXES OF POPCORN!!!! (highest rating) –trademarked-

(((Lee Hartgrave has reviewed films for PBS KQED, California Voice, City Magazine and Los Angeles Nightlife Magazine)))

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