Escape from Elba
Exiles of the New York Times
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Author Topic: Movies  (Read 33046 times)
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TrojanHorse
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« Reply #1080 on: July 13, 2007, 01:15:46 PM »

Ok...so last night, I was having a conversation when the phrase "Out of Africa" came out of my mouth in conversation...and it made me think that we have not ripped this one up and down and sideways yet.

I don't believe I've seen the movie since it came out on the big screen and I'm sure it has probably lost a step with the passage of time, but I recall liking it very much.  The cinematography was especially stunning.  And I like period pieces that try to be historically accurate.

This movie came out probably during the height of Meryl Streep's popularity.  In fact I think she had already won so many awards that there was already a bit of a backlash against her by this time.  This role I thought was particularly well sutied for her.

I've seen Klaus Brandauer mis-cast in a number of movies, but he also, seemed perfect here.

I'm not a huge fan of Robert Redford in this type of role, but I don't recall it standing out as poor.

For Sydney Pollack...it must have been very different than filming Tootsie!

Over all, from 20 years ago memory -- an "A"

I need to rent it and see if it is now as good as I recall...
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jbottle
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« Reply #1081 on: July 13, 2007, 02:30:35 PM »

You will need methamphetamines to stay awake:  Out of Africa will make you feel like you've taken a potent date-rape drug.  It will make you so tired that you will scroll back in your mind to try and figure out who slipped you a Mickey. 

Am I averse to David Bowie creations?  I like some of his music, and appreciate the art bravado or whatever he was trying to do--but I don't think "The Hunger" was a David Bowie creation, but more of a (Ridley?  Tony?) I think Tony Scott creation...

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madupont
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« Reply #1082 on: July 13, 2007, 02:39:55 PM »

So! He made the character. Isn't that hischtick?
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madupont
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« Reply #1083 on: July 13, 2007, 03:05:07 PM »

trojanhorse  re:#1095

If you do, be sure and watch for the moment where Meryl, in retelling her memories,as Karen, goes back inside herself and manages to do what I have never seen any other actor be capable of doing, she looks at the memory and it is visible in her eyes looking at entirely an interior perspective emotionally in the mind.

I had to spend quite a bit of time in the Spring months going over comparisons to the Julie Harris performance, a one woman monologue,as Isak Dineson,in The Devil's Child. There was some material that I couldn't quite place as to whether I'd seen and heard it in -- Out of Africa.

That's when I located a website from the Kenya POV that had the answers to just about everything to do with the writer. I quickly learned that they are no longer responding to it when I posted information on where Karen's father had died in his cabin among the Chippewa near Fond du Lac,Wisconsin.    There was apparently a great hope to discount the belief that  Dineson had actually contracted syphillis from Baron von Blixen;thus the emphasis on his Kenyan mistress in the film to carry out the context of their story-line for the film where you see Meryl Streep collapse in the midst of the coffee field.

They actually held a conference at the university to discuss the matter among the somewhat Scandinavian medical scholars of Wisconsin, to decide one way or the other on who had the communicable disease as it would make a difference whether she had inherited the disease rather than through sexual contact.    We don't hear about it with Denys Finch Hatton.   Dineson herself made perfectly clear what kind of physical difficulties she was having as a result of the kinds of medication that she had to take, when she made her visit to the United States to be honored for her work.

By the way, the photographs of both the exterior and the interior of Karen's house in Kenya's Ngong Hills makes perfectly clear that life was a great deal more Spartan than the lavish colorful interiors Pollack okayed to furnish the sets.
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TrojanHorse
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« Reply #1084 on: July 13, 2007, 05:06:30 PM »

so not entirely historically accurate...
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madupont
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« Reply #1085 on: July 13, 2007, 08:49:54 PM »

The person who developed a rather consuming interest in Dinesen(sorry, like it or not gave the wrong vowel ending to her name,) was a doctor and collected materials on every facet of Karen von Blixen's literature. If I say that this was a woman, would you be surprised that she found fault with everything that Sydney Pollack did in adjusting his story line to go where he wanted? She didn't like that Robert Redford had an attitude more like Robert Redford than Denys Finch Hatton; almost as if in her mind's eye, she had developed a crush on DFH to go along with identifying with Karen/Isak, and therefore Karen's friend could do no wrong! She even objected to the presents that Pollack has Redford/Hatton hand to Meryl in the movie, one of which is a pen, implying that Pollack is saying Hatton was encouraging Karen to write, although she had been writing before she came to Africa.

So it gets very women's lib, in that aspect. I started reading the stories very early on, as a young girl, so I did not interpret anything in them as being anything other than stories.  She had been a very popular writer who, because she was ill, spent part of WW2 back in Occupied  Europe, possibly as a dependent on her family rather than in Africa where, in any case, the Germans were also active in Sudan; this no doubt motivated her to become  very prolific in her writing, so as to contribute means of support. There was some notation that she had  to pay 20,000 francs of a debt Bror still owed in Paris on gifts for ladies although he himself remained in Africa up to the late Forties; but, I believe he was German.

Oh, there is no doubt about it that the things indicated about her in Pollack's film were true, I'd have to see that scene again where she kills the lion because that happened when she was taking supplies to Bror who was at a military base camp during the First World War. She went alone with seven Kikuyu and a team of oxen drawing a wagon loaded with supplies when the lion attacked one of the oxen. So, true, the thought did go through my head, for such devotion that she obviously adored and was very much in love with Bror, he did not feel reciprocally because he expected relations with wives to be as he knew them from European aristocracy.   On his way back from base camp in the North which was Masai territory, the military was holed up because of the tropical rains and at the time the Masai were riven with syphilis brought into East Africa by Europeans.

(this of course is why I like White Mischief, another true story set in a later period of WW2, and particularly John Hurt as Colville who lives among the Masai, a hobby which makes him an outcast to European society although he is extremely wealthy. He is an eccentric, an oddball, and he feels that he is excluded; but that's probably why he  has the Masai for company.)

Of course, when Karen arrives back at the Ngong Hills after that 1914 adventure killing the lion and staying with Bror in his army tent, she realizes that something is physically wrong with her by February 1915 and by May, she writes her mother that she is coming to Europe for medical treatment.

So between the documentation on the writer, and the Pollack film, it is six of one and half a dozen of the other. It's the same way about judging performances, because it is hard to estimate after Streep has done so many excellently played roles (Likewise, Redford) how can I say this is her best performance although I felt that way at the time?
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jbottle
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« Reply #1086 on: July 13, 2007, 09:00:11 PM »

It's a snoozefest, but some mosquito netting, a liter of Grey Goose and a date-rape drug.  Welcome to the jungle.
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madupont
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« Reply #1087 on: July 13, 2007, 10:48:30 PM »

I once was forced to leave a theater when I couldn't take being subjected to the sound level everyone was enduring as normality.  After that I immediately began using ear-plugs of the kind printers have to use on the job and I keep them in my purses and pockets, so that I find them as the season's change, and I put them in before the sound system turns on and leave them there until the excitement inducing sound level drops back to more average decibels. It is usually all the prevues that are hyped at outdoor concert decibels of another era; and then it subsides.

But now they've got me in another area. The popcorn that comes with excess pre-salting in the fake butter.

I spend more time than ever not going to the movies but I had always made a distinction between movies writ large and the scaled down made for the small screen anyway. At least two movies that I recently mentioned here would probably have been better not seen at home. One thing that I would not have missed in a movie-house was The Queen, especially for the segment at Balmoral in the Scots' Highlands. One drawback to that all the same, in my locale they don't get Morgan's humor and I am not sure of whether that is because it is British or just political. Republicans do not see politics as humorous.
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jbottle
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« Reply #1088 on: July 14, 2007, 02:05:32 AM »

Pat Buchanan does.
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madupont
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« Reply #1089 on: July 14, 2007, 08:30:43 PM »

Yes, his family name is big in my territory. I try to ignore that.
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jbottle
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« Reply #1090 on: July 14, 2007, 11:25:31 PM »

His sister seems like a bitch, but at least you could have a drink with Pat even if he hated your political position.  I think he's one of the nation's straight shooters and great personalities.  After he ran for President half-heatedly and seeminly too amused the way people run for high-school president, and especially after he donned the coon-skin cap and carried a musket for the one photo-op, I was like, he knows it's over, and it was.  Big Respek.
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bosox18d
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« Reply #1091 on: July 16, 2007, 03:47:15 AM »

Streeps accent in Out of Africa is so bad I wanted to shoot my TV.Watching her act is like getting a tooth pulled.I am trying to find the name of an 80's? flick about wartime UK where the mother took her children to the countryside to live w/the grandparents.They start out in London and the older daughter is sneaking out to see some guy and it shows the younger kids at some bombed out bldg. in the neighborhood.It was one of those quirky flicks that showed the everyday mundane stuff and the results of the bombing on London.When they are at the grandparents place the young boy and his grandad are playing Cricket and the kid throws him a "googly(sp)" which the grandad is all excited about.Any ideas?
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"If it keeps going like this,the Zamboni driver is going to be the first star"
Dzimas
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« Reply #1092 on: July 16, 2007, 05:31:03 AM »

Sounds like Hope and Glory by John Boorman,

http://www.amazon.com/Hope-Glory-Sebastian-Rice-Edwards/dp/B00005AUJS/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/105-5791205-4542015?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1184578209&sr=8-1

Great film!
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Dzimas
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« Reply #1093 on: July 16, 2007, 10:48:34 AM »

For the life of me, I can't see the appeal in Harry Potter in either book or film form.  Such an obvious pastiche of fantasy films, reduced to a mind-numbing level.  I would think that 77 mil is a bit of a disappointment given its track record at the box office.  I wonder what Michael Moorcock thinks of dear Harry, as he was always so harsh on Lord of the Rings, which is high art compared to HP.
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Dzimas
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« Reply #1094 on: July 16, 2007, 10:53:47 AM »

I think Steve Carell will make a much better Maxwell Smart than he did a Moses.

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