michaelcorleone's Movie Reviews

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ReservoirPup's Avatar
Stuck in the middle with you.
It's just that the whole gay cowboy theme is greatly joked upon and when someone tries to make a serious movie about it you can't help but chuckle a bit you know what i mean?



It's just that the whole gay cowboy theme is greatly joked upon and when someone tries to make a serious movie about it you can't help but chuckle a bit you know what i mean?
No I don't know what you mean Gay people come from all walks of life so why not cowboys If you were making a movie about gay love what sort of people would they be?
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Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.
Buddha



ReservoirPup's Avatar
Stuck in the middle with you.
This is what I mean by joked upon
ever hear this jingle:
"There were 2 cowboys out on an open trail when they discovered they could sleep with another male. They had buttsex, cowboy buttsex. Sodomy, sodomy.". I know I'm not the only one who laughed my ass off when this flick came out.



Welcome to the human race...
Excellent review, man.
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Iroquois- he's the worst, propped up by idiots



Thank you. Have you seen the film?
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I was recently in an independent comedy-drama about post-high school indecision. It's called Generation Why.

See the trailer here:




Welcome to the human race...
Yeah, I have my own review on page 2 of my review thread. Check that out.



Welcome to the human race...
You sure know how to compliment a person.



lol. I just realized I said the exact same thing that you did. Shows how awake I was when I typed that! Sorry.

I like how in your review you point out how much it shifts your perception of "gritty-looking movies".



ULTIMO TANGO A PARIGI [Last Tango in Paris] - 1972, Bernardo Bertolucci

Stars: Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider



One would be hard-pressed to find a movie with reactions as strongly contrasting as the ones to Last Tango in Paris. For every cinematic luminary hailing it as a masterpiece, there is another who reduces it to bad pornography. I am on the exceedingly positive side as far as response to the film goes. This is one of the most vividly emotional cinema experiences I’ve ever had, and I can remember my first viewing of it more clearly than with almost any other film.

The movie follows a hopelessly broken man’s descent into darkness, which is indirectly connected to an anonymous affair with an eccentric young woman. The man, Paul, is not the sort of character we normally see in movies. The combination of his misdirected fits of rage, psychological turbulence and frankly human qualities are unpleasant to behold, and the choice to cast Brando in that role is one of the best in cinema history. Paul’s wife commits suicide, and in an attempt to stifle his pain, he engages in an anonymous sadomasochistic affair with a young woman, Jeanne (Maria Schneider).

With Last Tango, Bertolucci crafts an unnerving picture with profound nuances that expose themselves more clearly with every viewing. One of the most distinct elements of the film that contribute to its bleak, disquieting atmosphere is the photography. Vittorio Storaro, whose pristine camerawork in Il Conformista (1970) astonished people, breaks a lot of rules in this movie and as a result amplifies our sense of unease. The minimal use of artificial lighting, unexpected movement and unbalanced composition all work to the benefit of illustrating misery and lives led astray.



The film is infamous for its sex scenes (“go get the butter”), but I would personally say that its portrayal of sexuality is anything but erotic. Brando’s performance is deeply disturbing, and the despair of his misguided search for intimacy is hard to watch at times. With Paul, Brando shapes a performance that is wholly human and as a result is more powerful than almost any acting one is likely to see otherwise. In one of the movie’s most memorable scenes, Paul unleashes a grieved, enraged tirade at the body of his dead wife. The monologue is inflamed with cruel language and agonized candidness, and it is hard to ignore the fact that the line between acting and reality is blurred.

That’s just one example in the picture where Brando’s acting stands out, but I consider this to be the strongest work of his career. He was the greatest film actor in history, as far as I am concerned, and anyone who aspires for a career in performance is obligated to see what he does in Last Tango in Paris. At one point he admitted that he didn’t understand this film, but it is blatantly obvious that he had an apt understanding of his character.

Maria Schneider’s acting in the movie is often overlooked, partially because she is opposite one of the industry’s most beloved professionals. I think it’s unfair to dismiss her performance, which is actually quite brave and audacious. She was twenty-two years old at the time the film was made, and playing a substantial portion of it nude. Her undoubted reservations are at no point evident, and she builds an engaging character who is exciting to watch even beside the likes of Mr. Brando.

This movie encompasses the intimacy of human interaction so adeptly that it is easy to forget we’re watching a film. The largely improvised dialogue works to underline the sincerity of its characters, and by the time it arrives at the tragic conclusion we are emotionally invested in both of the leads. Often criticized for a great number of things, I think the successes of the picture more than outnumber its shortcomings (if it has any). Bernardo Bertolucci’s artful direction and some truly fine acting are at the core of Last Tango's greatness.


MY RATING: 5/5



Welcome to the human race...
I've caught parts of it on TV, not really enough to make me rush out and watch the rest to be honest.



TETRO. 2009, Francis Ford Coppola.
STARS: Vincent Gallo, Alden Ehrenreich



Tetro is being relentlessly marketed as Francis Ford Coppola’s first original screenplay since the release of The Conversation in 1974. This deserves to be a big movie event for that reason alone, and I think the extent of its originality exceeds anything he’s done throughout his career. I consider The Conversation to be a visionary masterpiece, but the influence that Antonioni’s Blowup has on itis visible. Stylistically speaking, Tetro certainly has its inspirations, but thematically it is Coppola’s piece in every way. This is a man who, throughout the course of his filmography, has been exploring the dynamics of family, particularly of the dysfunctional variety. We saw the theme in his Godfather trilogy, in his adaptations of Rumble Fish and The Outsiders, and even in lighter pictures like Peggy Sue Got Married. Tetro feels like it brings closure to this artistic fixation, although he could continue making films about it and I would be the last person to object.

Two years ago, Coppola made it clear to people that he was venturing into new territory with Youth Without Youth. Youth was a challenging and flawed picture, but it was beautifully made and I forgave its shortcomings. To exhaust an overused term even more, Tetro is a “return to form”. This film is in every way the work of a master, who relishes in the potential of cinema in its many shades. A lot of critics expressed distaste for the operatic nature of the drama, the unconventionality of the structure and the surprising bursts of bawdy humour. However, it is the incorporation of all these unique ideas that makes the movie so exciting and powerful. Tetro is brilliantly overwhelming and purely theatrical. That’s the beauty of it.



The film begins with a young man named Bennie (newcomer Alden Ehrenreich) walking in the streets of Buenos Aires, and arriving at the home of his long-estranged older brother, Angie (Vincent Gallo). When he knocks on the door, Angie’s beautiful girlfriend Miranda (Maria Verdu) greets him with immediate hospitality. Bennie, who works as a waiter on a cruise ship, is stranded in Buenos Aires while the ship’s engine is under repair. Miranda tells Bennie he can stay at their place, but Angie (who now insists on being referred to as Tetro), won’t even leave his bedroom to say hello to his brother.

Some family conflicts in the past have wounded Tetro deeply. He responds to everyone with a different degree of anger, especially the younger brother he hoped never to see again. Bennie is an interesting protagonist, because he knows very little about himself but ends up revealing a lot about the characters surrounding him. He is an angst-ridden youth with a quirky sense of humour, and his tenacity ends up causing dissent with Tetro. The film exposes snapshots of their family history through flashbacks, and gradually the layers of conflict begin to reveal themselves.

The focal segment of the film is so visually sumptuous that I would have to agree with Coppola’s opinion... this is the most beautiful movie he has made. Shot in digital black and white by Youth Without Youth cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr., Tetro is full of fascinating compositions and awe-striking use of lighting. Allegedly, the look of the film is inspired largely by Kazan’s On the Waterfront, and the classic pictorial sensibility translates excellently. The original score by Osvaldo Golijov serves as an ideal companion to the look of the movie; the sensory experience is downright haunting.

All of the technical mastery would go to waste if the performances and the writing weren’t satisfactory. The screenplay is one of the great original works of the decade. I have heard claims that the narrative is uneven, but I never got the sense that Coppola’s control lapsed. This is a steadily paced, constantly engaging movie that manages to say so much within the story of one badly damaged family. The power of the conclusion is so great that it ends up transcending the confines of its themes.



The acting is Oscar-worthy (a term I hate to use, but I feel is justified in this case). Vincent Gallo is notorious for his off-screen antics and extreme personality. In a lot of cases, his characteristics have probably overshadowed his work. That’s neither here nor there, because he is a brilliant actor and this is a great performance. The amount of complex undercurrent and conflict in the character Tetro is enormous. He’s playing a man whose presence has to be felt at all times, and whose somewhat harsh actions need to feel justified. Gallo does him justice in one of the finest pieces of acting this year.

Alden Ehrenreich is a lucky man to have landed his debut performance in a masterpiece directed by Francis Ford Coppola, but he deserved the role and he is a welcome addition to the list of young American stars. He is already being hailed by countless critics as the “new Leonardo DiCaprio”, despite the fact that DiCaprio is still alive and working. Aside from a physical resemblance, the two actors have very little in common. Ehrenreich has a certain natural quality about him that immediately makes us believe. He feels out of sorts and intimidated by his situation, and he also has strong on-screen charisma. On top of his knack for performance, he looks like a movie star. I hope and expect to see him doing big things in the future.

Maria Verdu, who I admired in Y tu Mama Tambien and Pan’s Labyrinth, holds her own opposite the central male performances and brings compelling traits to her character.

Coppola isn’t just exploring new artistic possibilities... he’s revisiting themes and crafting them in a new way. This is an expressive, boldly non-mainstream piece that won’t receive the immediate credit it deserves. I think it deserves to garner lots of awards, show up on top 10 lists of the year 2009 (and the decade), and reinforce to audiences just how great of a storyteller Coppola is. It probably won’t do any of those things, but for me it’s a rare and exciting film that I personally rank among the director’s best.


MY RATING: 5/5



THE OUTSIDERS ... 1983. Francis Ford Coppola.
Stars: C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon



Francis Ford Coppola’s first cut of The Outsiders was released in 1983 to unenthusiastic reviews and respectable box office results. Adapted from S.E. Hinton’s famous novel, it was intended to serve as a sort of Gone with the Wind for teenagers. Coppola directed it at the request of junior high students and their librarian.

Allegedly, the executives at Warner Brothers didn’t like his original vision for the project. They found it too slowly paced, lacking in the kind of action that would rake in the young target audience. As a result, many of the character-building scenes were removed and the film lost a lot of the sensitivity that make the source material strong.

Coppola received countless letters from young viewers over the years since its release, many of whom were disappointed with the film. They felt betrayed, as if some of the most important scenes in their beloved novel were discarded for no reason. The complaints eventually inspired him to release a director’s cut in 2005, called The Outsiders: The Complete Novel.



All of the scenes included in the new version of the film are very good, there for the sake of providing more character background and texture. The new rendition also has an unwelcome change in the form of a soundtrack overhaul. In place of Carmine Coppola’s enticing original score, there are a handful of rock ‘n’ roll hits. Although the alteration works well in the violent episodes, the songs are often inconsistent with the tone of the scenes they’re in. They never come close to the power of the music that they took the place of.

This picture is naturally evocative of an era without the change, so it feels intrusive more than anything. There are certain compositions here that explicitly allude to Gone with the Wind, but it more consistently emulates the widescreen beauty of Nicholas Ray’s Rebel without a Cause. This is a visually alluring piece whose stylistic originality makes it evident that it is indeed the work of a master filmmaker.

However, for all of its positive traits, this film is not as great as it could have been. Its imperfections are even more prevalent when compared to Coppola’s other Hinton adaptation released the same year: Rumble Fish. Rumble Fish is a misunderstood masterpiece that has acquired more respect with the passage of time. The Outsiders, on the other hand, is a muddled artistic effort that pleases but doesn’t fulfill.

Having said that, its shortcomings aren’t completely the fault of the filmmakers. Hinton’s book, although well-written, is very obviously the work of a teenage girl. The characters sometimes act without motivation, and the tough boys at the core of the story are too effeminate.

The cast in this movie is enormous. It is filled to the brim with the hottest young actors of the 1980s; Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Diane Lane, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez, Patrick Swayze and even Tom Waits have roles. Most of the acting is terrific, with a remarkable standout performance from Matt Dillon; the man feels born to play this type of role. However, the two most important players in the movie don’t pull their weight, which is one of its biggest downfalls.



The actors in question are Ralph Macchio and C. Thomas Howell, a leading man so wooden that he makes Keanu Reeves look like Jack Nicholson. The young stars perform well in undemanding scenes, but as soon as it comes to emotional moments they are flat-out cringe-worthy.

The strange thing is that the rest of the picture seems to follow suit. On a superficial level, it’s completely effective. It’s wonderful to look at and exciting to watch, but it feels strangely empty and all the emotional impact of the source material is lost. It’s a minor work from one of America’s greatest directors, but it’s still a work from one of America’s greatest directors. For that reason alone, both the 1983 and 2005 versions are worth a viewing.

MY RATING: 4/5