91 posts categorized "Black and White"

December 29, 2023

MAESTRO

Welcome!

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Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does. This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel. Punk heart still beating.

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ColeSmithey.comIt's rare for an actor/director/screenwriter to become so enthrall with his or her creation that they get their hand stuck in the cookie jar of their own movie.

Such is the sad case for Bradley Cooper, whose deep impersonation of Leonard Bernstein obliterates everything around it, including Carey Mulligan's exquisite portrayal of Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein.

ColeSmithey.com

Bradley Cooper's insistence on giving his historic character the stuffed-up voice of man with a constant cold, wears out the viewer early on.

ColeSmithey.com

A lack of narrative focus exposes Bernstein's outrageous narcissism. The result leaves the viewer to wonder why we should give two cents about Leonard Bernstein as anything other than an abuser of everyone he came into contact with.

ColeSmithey.com

What a monster of a human being.

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Perhaps there's room for a gay #MeToo movement.

ColeSmithey.com

Here is a film that needed a serious rewrite, much tighter editing, and direction by a filmmaker other than Bradley Cooper.

At least "Maestro" is an easy movie to forget.

Rated R. 129 mins.

1 Star

Cozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

November 05, 2023

NIGHT GAMES — SHOCKTOBER!

ColeSmithey.comColeSmithey.comWelcome!

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does. This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

ColeSmithey.com

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ColeSmithey.comMai Zetterling began her film career acting in Ingmar Bergman's "Torment" (1944), before switching from acting to directing after moving from Sweden to London to pursue her craft.

With "Night Games" (1966), which she co-wrote with her then husband, British novelist David Hughes, Mai Zetterling matches Bergman's filmic sophistication on every level of filmic storytelling.

ColeSmithey.com

This is filmmaking at its finest.

ColeSmithey.com

This thoroughly original work of social satire delves into the heart of childhood traumas, while taking sharp aim at '60s era European sensibilities around free-love and the narcissistic values of the bourgeoisie. 

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Jan (Keve Hjelm) brings his fiancée Mariana (Lena Brundin) to his childhood home, a wealthy mansion estate full of horrific memories and rich furnishings. Jan indoctrinates Mariana into his debauched upbringing. Flashback sequences detail the atrocious actions of Jan's mentally unstable mother Irene (Ingrid Thulin).

ColeSmithey.com

Freud's oedipal complex takes center stage in Jan's ambitious attempt at reconciling sins of the mother by annihilating all that her sexual abuse and wealth had created.

ColeSmithey.com

Jörgen Lindström, the young actor from Ingmar Bergman's "The Silence," and "Persona," is the film's empathetic center as Jan's boyhood version.

ColeSmithey.com

"Night Games" retains its ability to shock viewers after over 50 years due to Mai Zetterling's intuitive ability to dig equally into the male and female psyche, while keeping a pure artistic metaphoric vision. This is the gift of liberation that Mai Zetterling gives her audience.

ColeSmithey.com

At last Jan and Mariana are set free to grow their relationship in fresh soil.

Amen.

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Side note: If I'm not mistaken, "Night Games" is John Waters's favorite film!

Not Rated. 105 mins.

5 Stars THE BLOOD OF DRACULA THE BLOOD OF DRACULA ColeSmithey.com THE BLOOD OF DRACULA THE BLOOD OF DRACULA

Cozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

October 29, 2023

THE HONEYMOON KILLERS — SHOCKTOBER!

ColeSmithey.comColeSmithey.comWelcome!

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does. This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

ColeSmithey.com

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ColeSmithey.com

“Ray kissed them, Martha killed them. They turned a Lonely Hearts Club into a slaughterhouse.”

The salacious tagline for “The Honeymoon Killers” was a tabloid-styled ad almost as incendiary as the 1983 New York Post headline “Headless Body In Topless Bar.”

The film’s original title (“Dear Martha”) was far too pedestrian for writer/director Leonard Kastle’s roasting of Americana values, tortured attitudes regarding sexual expression, and nostalgia-riddled romanticism of the masses.

Honeymoon Killers

Check out the scene where Ray’s new bride belts out “America the Beautiful” from a bubble bath while Ray and Martha empty her purse in the next room. The filmmakers are merciless with a roiling subtext of satirical statements and deadpan counterpoint.  

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Never mind that Kastle and producer Warren Steibel fired Martin Scorsese as the film’s original director after 10 days because Scorsese seemed to spin wheels. Nonetheless, a couple of sequences that Scorsese directed remain in the film.

Cool.

ColeSmithey.com

The movie is based on the real-life exploits of a pair of money-hungry serial killer lovers. Kastle’s eerie crime drama follows Alabama-born nurse Martha (played with brooding hostility by Shirley Stoler) and her Elvis-haired Latin gigolo boyfriend Ray (Tony Lo Bianco).

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Opposites attract.

Martha is a zaftig woman with lust, greed, and jealousy in her heart. Ray is a handsome, suave Rudolph Valentino-inspired con man. Between his Latin accent and always-polite demeanor, Ray makes every woman he meets feel like the only woman in the world. The partners-in-crime pose as siblings while Ray conducts marriage proposals with unsuspecting widows who the couple eventually kill in order to steal the women’s life savings and life insurance. Naturally, things get complicated, messy, and nasty.

Honeymoon-killers

Made in 1969, "The Honeymoon Killers" presaged elements of David Lynch's filmic approach, and clearly informed John McNaughton's similarly-themed stomach-churner film "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer." Romantic dysfunction never looked so banal, brutal, and ugly as it does here. Kastle’s dry documentary style is as inspired by Cassavetes (“Faces”) as it is by Frederick Wiseman's films (see “Titicut Follies”). The real Martha Beck and Ray Fernandez were executed by electrocution on March 8, 1951. 

ColeSmithey.com

This is a raw crime drama exploitation movie that compares favorably to Richard Brook’s adaptation of Truman Capote’s “Cold Blood” (1967). Kastle employs a similar docu-styled editorial approach to the narrative and to its noir filmic compositions. The filmmaker allows social subtext of ‘40s era America to bubble up. When she's fired from her nursing position, it gives Martha opportunity to take the moral high-ground to authority; she indignantly announces her recent marriage like a diva in full bloom.  

ColeSmithey.com

The picture’s naturalistic black-and-white noir compositions are augmented by a stark soundtrack punctuated with Gustav Mahler’s anthemic classical music.

ColeSmithey.com

“The Honeymoon Killers” was the only film Leonard Kastle made, and he poured all of his talents into a picture that comes across as a labor of love. François Truffaut famously called “The Honeymoon Killers” his favorite American film.”

Rated R. 108 mins.

5 Stars COLE MONSTERCozy Cole

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