Escape from Elba
Exiles of the New York Times
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Author Topic: Movies  (Read 40851 times)
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madupont
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« Reply #2415 on: November 01, 2007, 10:51:43 AM »

Harrie,
Ps. I should have said --political activism when given the full-play of film or television production has the greatest effect.

As you said, "sometimes the actor's politics can make a regular person see the actor/public figure in a little lesser light, particularly if the actor belongs to a party on the far side of the spectrum from the disappointed person."

Yes, recalling how much Chaplin, I had to look at with my father, I am sometimes overwhelmed at how having been anti-Hitler can suggest to the typical right-wing American mentality that the artist is a communist.

Chaplin must have been broken-hearted.

I do recall my neighbor being concerned with that factor of being identified with some particular cause (which today would translate as "Save the Polar Bears" )because Tim and Susan are exemplars and it seems to a youngster with half a dozen roles under the acting belt that this appears to be the way to go; but, of course, this was pre-W administration, we were still in the Poppy for Presidency era. You can bet that actor's Mom squelched political identification for her meal ticket.

This is the lady to whom I had to suggest,no matter how much you dislike Richard Gere, you should see his film,Yanks; or, as a German friend filled me in on the unlikelihood that she would ever appreciate what her British mother went through, before meeting the GI who became her father, in a place like Manchester.

But I can dig what you said about "far spectrum"(elision) because the present administration's ideology changed my fan-status for Ron Silver who had played,Herman Broder, for Paul Mazursky in:Enemies,a Love Story, opposite Angelica Huston; or, Alan Dershowitz,for Barbet Schroeder, in:  Reversal of Fortune (the Clause von Bulow case); and, I hate to say that.
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barton
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« Reply #2416 on: November 01, 2007, 11:37:48 AM »

Madupont -- thanks for reminding me of The Libertine, a film I want to rent pretty soon (maybe as a Deep "warmup" before I see him as Sweeney Todd...) and which I missed back when it was in theaters.

POSSIBLE YEAR OF THE DOG SPOILERS

Got around to Year of the Dog -- one of those films perched in the gray area between drama and comedy (or being in both camps), with scenes where you realize that while you may be laughing, some will be crying, or vice-versa.

Mike White and Molly Shannon team up to give us a character who goes a little crazy, going deep into PETA and vegan territory, but doesn't go completely over the edge of the cliff, so we can't quite dismiss her and thus have to see how someone could get to that edge. All of the characters are skewered to some degree (I loved the suburban couple, with Laura Dern and the major lice issues tearing apart their community....) but somehow rescued from caricature or ridicule so that we can find them more or less real people. Kudos to such supporting actors as John C. Reilly and his gut-bustingly funny story of his late cat, and Peter Saarsgard for overall flakiness. I have to ask -- how many cried when Saarsgard's little wheelchair dog was killed and he's telling what happened to Shannon? How many teetered on the edge of pathos and then roared with laughter? Several scenes offer this fork in the road, this viewer's choice of mood, without trying to lead one way or the other.

Two paws up.
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TrojanHorse
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« Reply #2417 on: November 01, 2007, 03:50:52 PM »

Harrie,  I made it through Black Dahlia finally.  It's another one of those "car pile up" movies.  I am an avid History CHannel fan and so I usually take the opportunity to see a "movie" that is based on something historical that you can actually look up.

I thought it was ok.  I'll probably try to watch it at least once more.  Although I rarely have this problem, I could not get "Thank You for Smoking" out of my mind through the entire first viewing...

Every once in awhile something pops up on the case on the History Channel and they don;t show all the photos with clarity, but you can tell it was an extrordinarily grotesque murder.  I was hoping to see more of who and why, etc...  it may have been there but I had to watch it over the course of about 3-4 consecutive nights since I have kids and frankly didn't want them walking in on the movie.
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madupont
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« Reply #2418 on: November 01, 2007, 06:20:43 PM »

I should think not.  Harrie, you may be able to locate some of the Ellroy material on line, which is how I first became interested, although I remembered the case and they were very discreet in my adolescence about revealing the truth.

Every so often, there is an Ellroy documentary done on tv. He lost his mother in a similar circumstance but did not actually realize until long after involving himself with research into the Elizabeth Short case that he was absolutely fixated to do so because of his feelings about his mother. I always though Nick Nolte was going to get the role of one of the detectives, from the tv documentary that I first saw, but obviously that did not happen. But, my recommendation is that through the film channels, by doing a google search first, you may locate those documentaries to take a look at.

I then went to the old second-hand paperback stores and found a local copy of John Gregory Dunne's (Joan Didion's deceased husband) a mystery novel of the case, which also became a film from an entirely different angle.(Robert De Niro and Robert Duvall).
Eventually, I had to settle down with Ellroy's book and go crazy waiting like everybody else --
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Dahlia_%28novel%29#See_also

to see the film. Not that pleased with it but you take what you get. I wrote about it earlier in here, as I had a distaste for the way it was wrapped up at the end with a joke or several about the crazies to blame.

The case is actually unsolved.

There is more than a touch of something to consider in Ellroy's other books from the L.A. Quartette, LA Confidential being one of them which as you know has Kim Bassinger hustling an apparent Veronica Lake who was the star of the film: The Blue Dahlia. I thought that film had a superb cast. Not so with The Black Dahlia, although they try awfully hard to be people whose motivations for their behavior stand up.
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jbottle
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« Reply #2419 on: November 01, 2007, 07:13:02 PM »

"The Black Dahlia" is a great movie if you can be patient and love DePalma; if you mind when DePalma is indulgent or can't get the cast he wants (he doesn't care, he's just making pictures) and have trouble with character development, then I understand, but if you love love love movies, I still maintain that you can watch "Mission to Mars" with the sound off...he's admittedly not as good a storyteller as Curtis Hanson was with "L.A. Confidential," which I love, but the comparison is a little bit apples and oranges with me, because DePalma, even when he has a stellar script and cast like "The Untouchables," is largely a guy with a fishbowl around his head regarding performances and plot, unfortunately, and especially when he doesn't have an asshole line producer like he must've in his more commercial films.  It wouldn't be hard, I guess, to let Craig Wasson throw  you out of "Body Double" because he's a nobody and not particularly charismatic, or you could be charitable and say he's just like Jimmy Stewart for Hitchcock in his empathetic magnetism minus star power, I mean, I'll defend even "Raising Cain" to the grave, but I guess there is the challenge even with something with a linear plot and accumulation of forensic detail that is a crime drama like "The Black Dahlia," to me the defense is, I don't want to hear popcorn and you need no reflective lights on the screen because you need to focus in on who becomes the one obsessed.  If you start off, "I don't like Josh Hartnett," a fair knock, then you are unlikely to be drawn into one of the better movies made this year.  If you've ever gone back and watched "Carlito's Way" without thinking that it's a re-tread of "Scarface," then you can say what you like about DePalma, not for me, etc., but if you avoided "Carlito's Way" because some part of "Scarface," including gratuitous violence, which isn't CW, then you've missed a minor masterpiece.

I really liked "Hollywoodland" on a different subject, and even if Affleck's comeback performance is as over-hyped as his relationship with J-Lo, he does a damn fine job and makes the movie with the suble frustration of being underappreciated, which he must've felt he was for years.  The irony:  He couldn't have played George Reeve if he hadn't been and wouldn't have if the gold rush was still on.....like shark, keep moving, good job there, Ben.
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TrojanHorse
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« Reply #2420 on: November 01, 2007, 07:18:17 PM »

I liked Hollywoodland also - perhaps in spite of Afflected's "acting."

But perhaps it was better than I gave him credit for because it really was a lot like George Reeve's acting -- although I'm not sure that counts?
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madupont
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« Reply #2421 on: November 01, 2007, 07:24:29 PM »

Harrie,

Here's the documentary to which I referred as getting my attention that a likely big film was in the works with Nolte.

Do not notice that this film was bought by a particular tv venue, which is how I had seen it more or less by coincidence one evening turning on the set.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0333445/
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madupont
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« Reply #2422 on: November 01, 2007, 07:36:24 PM »

Harrie,

I take that back, in big letters Showtime is identified  as responsible for documentary.

In the course of following this down ran into a back sheet to the first link given you --and I hate to say it but once again it is an overload of all the police-work that went on and which really makes you wonder how anything is every solved. Of course this wasn't. But the real details piled into a mountain of investigative facts do rather clearly show us that nothing about the movie version of The Black Dahlia is factual other than:the dead body.    Even the condition of that has other pertinent factors which do not make it into those flash-by  film shots, which are there just to let you know why the various detectives and the department are so excited; but you see, if the reality of the conditions entered into the port-mortem(a work that I found quite interesting when I transcribed in pathology laboratory)were included, it would have changed the aesthetic that they were going for in the film,The Black Dahlia.
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harrie
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« Reply #2423 on: November 01, 2007, 10:25:11 PM »

Thank you, everyone for the Black Dahlia info!

Trojan, glad to hear it can be done -- getting through The Black Dahlia, that is. I do plan to give it another look, especially with your and jbottle's comments. I paly the real story vs. movie story game on occasion, but depending on the cinematic rendering of the story, it can be extremely frustrating.

madupont, my mother is/was obsessed with interested in The Black Dahlia story, so I've heard and seen various things about it (plus I have a copy of that awful Hollywood Babylon book somewhere around the house).  To be honest, I have little interest in the real story at this point.  Do you think it will ever be solved?  Talk about the ultimate cold case.

jbottle, you're right.  Not handling Josh Hartnett well is a lame excuse to dump a movie, especially a DePalma --which I guess I either didn't realize, or forgot or whatever.  But Hartnett's just so distractingly bad!  No seriously, I do intend to catch TBD again and give it a real chance.   And now you and TrojanHorse have made Hollywoodland sound enticing as well -- gonna have to find a way to clear some time.
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desdemona222b
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« Reply #2424 on: November 02, 2007, 09:38:36 AM »

harrie -

I read a book recently on the Black Dahlia.  It seems she associated with some mafia types around Hollywood (she was also a B girl and probably a prostitute), and the author of this particular book believes she was murdered by a racqueteer because she was pregnant and refused to get an abortion.
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martinbeck3
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« Reply #2425 on: November 02, 2007, 09:59:34 AM »

La Galerie du Passage and David Lynch´s fetishism:

http://www.galeriedupassage.com/site/galerie_personne.asp?id_personne=232#
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madupont
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« Reply #2426 on: November 02, 2007, 10:48:10 AM »

des 222b, in reality she wasn't "associated with some mafia types around Hollywood (she was also a B girl and probably a prostitute)," as I discovered by that "back sheet" I mentioned to harrie. I think it is a link attached to the info on what James Ellory's novel is. Will check for you later in the day.

All of the "legend", about who she was, developed  following the discovery of the body; because they had to establish an identity and they went according to what informants told them while detectives were canvassing (thus, the accumulation of files that make it appear to be nigh on to impossible to resolve the case as you get lost in following down all the leads collected and it would have taken an exceptionally brilliant mind to have kept the balance of information in perspective (and mind) to eventually pinpoint who "dunnit".

Ms. Short, not an habitue of what is called West Hollywood nowadays,  was traced to the Long Beach area in the period just prior to her death; it gave me the willies to recognize I used to buy toiletries at the drugstore she frequented that gave her the name The Black Dahlia because the other film,The Blue Dahlia, had come out coincidentally in the period when she had been noticed shopping there.  If you see what I mean?

She had never called herself,the Black Dahlia, and in fact wore lighter colors with an occasional basic black that could be accessorized to extend her wardrobe, something very common in the fashion sense of the Forties. She wasn't even a brunette.

Her father, who had deserted a family of wife and four children out East, worked in California, and Betty Short was a runaway who decided to go out to California from Massachusetts. She had a job in an army Px in northern Cal. Like most teenagers, she was extremely naive, and tended to harbor romantic beliefs dear to her mental balance, when a man she was dating and to whom she thought she was engaged lost his life in an air-run over the Burma hump into Szechuan China (those were the days of the Chenault Tigers)never came back.

Things became stickier from there on. One of the leads led to another guy on the same base as the PX, suspected of the same kind of murder
where he came from but he had quickly enlisted and been sent west(flight proximity to the Pacific field of operations). He was immediately transferred to active duty, as soon as the investigator tracked Betty Short's earlier movements with the job at the PX. (Thus we get a movie scene where her father is supposedly interviewed and refers to "Anything in uniform was her type".) I was most struck by a coincidence in the names of the guys detectives checked out , as it reminded me strongly of another woman writer of the era who appropriated that particular name for a character in her sadomasochistic stories who just happened to be a military officer; she never published them at the time but waited until she was considerably older and by which time her memoirs were greeted as just that "literary memoirs" of the first order.

I tend to understand how books follow upon popular movies when they can make a buck at the height of the publicity.
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barton
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« Reply #2427 on: November 02, 2007, 10:52:00 AM »

My YotD comments sank like a stone in all the Dahlia discourse.  Did anyone see YotD?  If so, do you now have a cow sponsored in your name?

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oilcanboyd23
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« Reply #2428 on: November 02, 2007, 11:06:32 AM »

My YotD comments sank like a stone in all the Dahlia discourse.  Did anyone see YotD?  If so, do you now have a cow sponsored in your name?

I only saw "YOTD" once in the theater, so I'll give it another look on DVD. 

I remember I liked it, and found Shannon's performance to be a "wow, I didn't know she had that in her" eye-opener type thing.  I mean, I always thought she was pretty funny, but her performance in "YOTD" was the first time I saw her play a role that wasn't zany/wacko/etc, and I thought she did a great job.

Another thing I remember (and commented on here, I think) was being impressed, again, with Mike White's writing.  He actually wrote a nonsense line for Shannon's 6-year old niece to say that actually sounds like nonsense that kids say.  And I know how hard that is, because I've tried to describe it and I can't.  Maybe he just followed a kid around with a tape recorder or something.

As to the PETA angle, I totally agree with their positions on cruelty to animals, etc.  I am a hypocrite, however, because I think steak and BBQ and lobster, etc., are delicious and I'm totally hooked.  But still, I think it's cruel to eat/kill animals, and I do feel bad about it, just not bad enough to stop eating animals.  They're delicious, and I'm hooked.

That said, I still disagree with PETA completely re: their position that a vegan lifestyle is "cruelty free".  We don't know for certain that plants cannot feel pain.  We know they are immobile and don't have nerve endings, but we don't know for certain that they don't feel some form of pain that we cannot understand.    If I had to guess, I would guess that no, plants do not feel pain, whether it's the kind of pain we feel per nerve endings, etc., or any other form of pain, etc., but I have no way of knowing for certain, and neither does PETA. 

If the whole "plants do not feel any form of pain whatsoever when they are ripped up" thing is just a theory, and "cruelty-free" is truly the goal, then why doesn't PETA change its position?  I have not heard a good answer for this (that I can remember, anyway) yet, but I don't use that as a basis for disagreeing with PETA's stance on animals.  I agree with them re: animals, I just have a problem with their stance on plants.
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oilcanboyd23
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« Reply #2429 on: November 02, 2007, 11:10:31 AM »

Oh, and they guy who plays Shannon's boss in "YOTD" is hilarious.  I can't remember his lines, but now that I think about that, I'm looking forward to seeing "YOTD" on DVD all the more.
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