Sunstroke: A Russian Film 2014

Yesterday, I sat down to watch nearly three hours of this historic fiction that took place between the 1900’s and 1920. From the onset, there is a clear indication of something bad that is going to happen though we have no idea what it will be until they walk onto the barge. Even then, we don’t really know what is going to happen but we can suspect. You are not watching this movie thinking there will be a happy ending as it is somewhat akin to those who watched the Titanic movie. In 1920, it was the end of the Tsar. The entire family had been assassinated; including little children. The communists were most certainly not very humane in their actions. In the aftermath of annihilating the family, they set about to destroy the lives of their soldiers as well. They did not want one single person left behind from the old regime.

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The Perfect Host; not a Perfect Movie

The Perfect Host stars David Hyde Pierce as Warwick Wilson, in an outstanding performance as a first-class creep. He has gone a long way from Niles on Frasier, our first cerebral goofball to see on television. As a psychotherapist, I always reveled in that show and the intellectually snobbery between he and his brother. In this role as Warwick, he has stepped into a new dimension (perhaps he has done this in another role, but this is my first time to see him in this type of character portrayal) and mesmerized me the entire time. The dissociative identity disorder idea was flabby in the storyline but made sense, nonetheless. He could have been schizophrenic as well, but I think the writer wanted to portray DID instead.

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Gone Girl – A Plot with a Twist or Non-stereotypical Roles

Last night I watched Gone Girl, which I found quite scary! I didn’t really like the ending but then I realized, if he had killed her that would have been predictable. If she had killed him, this would have been expected. It also would have turned the movie into a horror film and I would not have watched it. The ending was rather odd though and made no sense. Usually, this is what I love about foreign films, non-predictable and full of questions.

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L’Apparition – France 2018

I am a huge fan of the Song of Bernadette with Jennifer Jones (1943). In fact, that movie changed my life spiritually. More recently, I read the non-fiction by Franz Werfel and this moved me even more – his story was included; another miracle from the Lady of Lourdes.  I am also a psychotherapist for a living and if a movie is made correctly, I can figure it out from the get go. If you have ever watched the Poirot series by Agatha Christie, recall the scene where he is watching a play with his side kick, Inspector Hastings. Poirot is telling Hastings what will happen but it doesn’t and he is confused why it was written that way. That is me in a nutshell. This was written correctly (spoiler alert!) but the ending was way over the top and unnecessary. It was almost like an American film where they have to make everyone feel good. The ending closed up character plot lines but this could have been done in a dialogue – perhaps with his wife. She needed her husband back!

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Monsieur and Madame Adelman

Monsieur and Madame Adelman, a movie (Kanopy/Roku), starts off with the ending. It is predictable that Madame is going to tell someone at the funeral her life story. This is the last time you can be pretty sure of what is going to happen, well, until the

ending that explains the ending. At this point, the characters personalities have been built and so one can trust the obvious. As she begins to tell her story, which begins in the 1970’s, it seems as if this will be a typical love story. You can imagine this, though from the onset, Madame comes across as a cynical woman. She is begging you to pay attention. What comes across to the viewer are exceptional performances from Doria Tillier and Nicolas Bedos (he also wrote the score for the film, directed it and they both wrote the screenplay). Or did she, while he supervised? This is an inside joke from the film.

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A Guide to Watching Foreign Films

Of course it doesn’t hurt to grow up in a European-American family. Where the world that revolves around you speaks another language, has different values, talks about the old country and you begin to look at America as a second home. Watching foreign films for me has always felt as if I were welcomed; as one of theirs who got away. That I was getting a sneak peek into a home that existed but that I had never lived in; yet it felt like it belonged to me. There was a sense of familiarity about it.  Déjà vu.

Foreign film observation began at home, not with my family but with Kukla, Fran and Ollie. This was a children’s program that featured the puppets Kukla and Ollie and their friend Fran who would host a film from around the world each week. There is a website to learn more about this but unfortunately very difficult to get the actual films. Hello Netflix?!? This would certainly be a great program for you to buy.  Since Kukla, Fran and Ollie was an American program, all the characters were dubbed with British English from what I recall. I didn’t realize it was dubbing as a child, I just though everyone spoke English with a cute accent. There may have been a couple of programs with subtitles but I can’t recall.  I do remember circus bears on the loose, a Cinderella story with a bird that would say “Koo-koo-ri-koo, Who is the one for you?” and other wonderful adventures that kids would get themselves into.

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