Posts Tagged ‘fox’

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Little Known Little Murders

February 23, 2009

little-murders-posterAnother film Claude and I watched this weekend is one he’s had on DVR for a while now, and I’m so glad because it’s currently unavailable commercially – only from collectors.  A movie version of Jules Feiffer’s Little Murders, directed by Alan Arkin and starring Elliot Gould in his salad days – when he was married to Barbra Streisand and put out such great films as this one and Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice, one of my all-time favorites that I actually got to intro to Claude. (That doesn’t happen very often).

From the description, I thought this was one of those interesting, but sort of bleak NY drama, like that Dustin Hoffman.Mia Farrow flick, 1969’s John and Mary.  Not so.  Little Murders, from start to finish, is very, very funny, very dark, and very unexpected.  And it holds up remarkably well.  The humor is so relevant that Little Murders was finally released on DVD during the past presidential administration only to immediately go off the market.

Elliot Gould plays a successful, but completely apathetic to life photographer.  Marcia Rodd, who has a career in television spanning nearly four decades, so she will be a familiar face, is Gould’s “rescuer” from being beaten up to immediate love interest and bride with changing Gould in mind.  The best scene in the movie, and one of the finest performances I’ve ever seen by the great Donald Sutherland, comes when Gould and Rodd’s characters finally marry.  Sutherland gives a lengthy and hilarious wedding ceremony that shows his true acting chops – it looks to me as if the scene was taken in one take – pan shots, but no cuts that I can remember, giving Sutherland a good 10 minutes to give a hilarious (yet in his own deadpan way) speech.  I was laughing so hard my sides hurt.  I laughed every bit as  hard as I do at The Soup, my favorite TV show.  Kisses, Joel!!

It’s too bad that something happened to getting Little Murders available on DVD.  Elliot Gould, Marcia Rodd, Vincent Gardenia in what should have been an Oscar-nominated performance, and Doris Roberts of “Everybody Loves Raymond” playing an older hippie wanna-be, Gould’s mother.

This is truly a movie that if you have the great fortune to catch (we caught it on Fox Movie Channel), you should DVR or see it.  I’m so glad Claude DVR’d it because until it’s available again a decent price on DVD, we’re not erasing it.  4 stars plus.  If you like your comedy as dark as we do, this is a perfect film, worth buying, in fact.

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The Phantom of Liberty

February 19, 2009

Chickens, Monks, Ostriches, Oh My!  A Review of The Phantom of Libertyby Luis Bunuel

My husband, the consummate film snob and a writer, is writing something on Luis Bunuel, the famous (?) director who, according to my husband (let’s call him “Claude”) has a film career spanning six decades.

How did this man ever get a movie made?  And what could Claude possibly write that would make any sense (to normal people who speak normal English)?  I know if I were writing it, I’d probably say, “Well, this director made a movie with little stories about a number of people, some connected, some are not, and there’s chickens in a dream, monks playing poker and betting their sacred medals, and an ostrich at the end.”  Just about sums up “The Phantom of Liberty.”

Oh, there’s the gratuitous T&A, except the A belongs to a him instead of a her.  And that’s one of the scenes with the monks! I’m sure Claude’s mother would NOT approve.  If you know Claude and you know his mother, you know what I mean.  And you know who you are.  Nothing in this movie makes  bit of sense.  A man goes to a doctor.  The doctor tells him he is fine, nothing to worry about, and then tells him that he must operate tomorrow for he has advanced liver cancer.  A little girl is reported to be lost from her school, so her parents rush to the school and she’s right there.  But apparently no one takes notice and they even take the child to the police station so she can be identified so the police can go find her.  Wha-wha-what???   Another scene involves a sniper who shoots and kills numerous people, is tried in court, sentenced to death, and then set free only to be begged for his autograph.
The police commissioner goes to a bar for a regular game of dominos and sees a woman who looks like his dead sister.  He reminisces with the woman about the last time he was with his sister, where she is playing the piano in the nude.  He receives a phone call at the bar from the dead sister telling him to come to her crypt that night.   He’s arrested and brought in to find another police commissioner in charge, and then after he’s been jailed for a bit, he and the other police commissioner share a drink.  Then they run outside to the zoo, some shots are fired and you see an ostrich up close.  Wow.  I had chills.  Where was the Academy when this came out?  Of course, Claude is laughing and saying “Did you see that? Oh wow, what a great movie, it references so much!”  I’m thinking, what the hell does it reference?  Chickens?  (that was in one of the character’s dreams.)  Ostriches?  Napoleon?  Port? Incest with your aunt? Fruit and milk? Foxes being hunted by tanks?   I’m so sick of symmetry.

“The Phantom of Liberty” should have been called “The Phantom of Anything That Makes Any Sense” because there’s not a ghost of a chance that you’ll get any of it.  I didn’t.  But I loved it. It was very funny.  And the shot of the ostrich was pretty amazing.  4 stars.