173 posts categorized "FIVE STARS"

July 02, 2024

IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE — CANNES 2000

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Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does. Punk heart still beating.

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Where Secrets Are Kept

Wong Kar Wai Tells All

By Cole Smithey

ColeSmithey.com"That era has passed. Nothing that belonged to it exists anymore."

Wong Kar Wai's masterpiece of romantic longing, emotional expression, unrequited love, and unresolved jealousy, is a cinematic poem that stretches across time and Asian social barriers.

The film's indisputable beauty radiates with a burning glow that emanates from its charismatic lead actors, Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung. 

Set in Hong Kong, circa 1962, shared experience of wounded romantic repression plays out between neighbors whose spouses are sharing an affair.

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The Korean War rages distant to our would-be lovers. Love is always an escape from loneliness.

A mutual decision to play out an imagined version of their spouse's affair, gives way to a simmering erotic tension barely masked by gesture, habit, and style.

Formality, dignity, and respect are unwritten rules of the couple's sexless romantic game of curiosity.

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Every atmosphere is furtive.

Secrets are kept.

Erotically tinged gemstone colors explode in carefully crafted set designs and wardrobe elements that bleed off smoke from the burning chemistry between Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung.

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Hollywood should be jealous, very jealous.

By this standard, Hollywood knows nothing of nuance.

The early '60s political and economic atmosphere of Hong Kong informs the way that Wong Kar Wai's iconic couple interact.

Public appearances are kept up.

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Erotic sparks can ignite from a spoonful of mustard shared at a restaurant table.

Lust is secondary, but just barely.

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The intimate negotiation that transpires between our star-crossed lovers takes place in an aura of negative space where things such as wallpaper designs and dress patterns set boundaries of sexual restraint.

There is a BDSM undertow to the couple's interactions. Theirs is a private code told in silences, and muted responses that no lie detector could catch.

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Although the film's ending feels rushed, it speaks to the audience as a cauterizing effort at mirroring the disjointed fragmentation of quickly passing time and far lost promise.

Memories are lasting, especially when the romantic stakes are so deep.

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The film's impeccable soundtrack places the characters in an era of Big Band music whose standards fueled a utopic atmosphere of charm, class, and romantic connection.

You'll be humming Nat King Cole's version of "

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"In The Mood For Love" was an instant classic when it premiered at Cannes in 2000. It remains Wong Kar Wai's finest cinematic achievement.

In the words of Lou Reed, "you're over the hill, right now."

Relax, the romantic pressure is over.

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Memories are all that's left in a lover's memory box.

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Tear up the letters; they don't prove anything.

Keep your secrets.

Rated PG. 98 mins.

5 Stars

Cozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

June 23, 2024

BRATS

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.

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!

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ColeSmithey.comAndrew McCarthy crafts an exquisitely satisfying base-touching expedition with his Generation Jones comrades, whose careers suffered as a result of a New York Magazine article, written by David Blum. The article was published on June 10, 1985.

Generation Jones got fucked, once again.

Jealousy plays a hand in the situation. Roughly seven years senior to the actors he wrote disparagingly about in his article, David Blum clearly had a personal agenda to take down a peg the six actors whose success he resented.

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For the record, Ally Sheedy, Anthony Michael Hall, Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, and Andrew McCarthy are the actors considered to populate Blum's fictional club of actors assembled by auteur filmmaker John Hughes and Joel Schumacher.

For his part, John Hughes was deeply invested in telling truthful coming-of-age stories for the time. For Schumacher, it was a lark.

Related movies to watch are: Joel Schumacher's "St. Elmo's Fire," John Hughes's "Pretty In Pink," "16 Candles," and "The Breakfast Club."

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If you haven't yet seen "The Breakfast Club," you're in for a rare treat.

It ain't pretty when Andrew McCarthy interviews David Blum in Blum's NYC apartment. Unwilling to take one iota of blame for his mean-spirited attack on a group of young actors trying to succeed in the business, David Blum comes across as something less appealing than, well, pond scum.

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Nevermind that Blum's editor at New York Magazine also shares blame for not doing his or her job on the "Brat Pack" hit piece. Just because something sounds like a clever play on words, does not make it suitable.

Editorial oversight, people.

David Blum's insincerity eviscerated the sincerity of young actors who deserved to be treated much better.  

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I'm personally familiar with New York Magazine's proclivity for hatchet jobs.

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NY Mag's "Vulture" site (how apropos) writer Hunter Harris took her best shot at me over my review of "Lady Bird." Sadly, Ms. Harris did not have the sand to address my revisited review of "Lady Bird," where I did a deep dive on Greta Gerwig's attempt to normalize unethical behavior.

Evidently, such truth was beyond he scope of Ms. Harris's "investigation."

The media is not your friend — never was, never will be.

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That the OG Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop), were a bunch of wealthy show biz veterans, as opposed to a generation of young actors trying to make it, got lost in the social consciousness of the day.

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One of this film's rich theme lines comes from Time Magazine's film critic Richard Schickel, speaking on stage for The Phil Donahue television show with Ally Sheedy, Rob Lowe, and Judd Nelson seated beside him.

"Can I apologize for my profession for that? I really thought that was a scurrilous article."

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Andrew McCarthy is eight months older than me.

I had the good fortune of having this group of actors as generational touchstones to keep track of shifts in American society.

I'll never forget walking out of the cinema at the end of "The Breakfast Club" during its opening run. Here was a modern-day "400 Blows," except now we had an oddball mix of young individuals dealing directly with self-identity in the Regan era.

Dig the new breed.

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So it is that I come to "Brats" with more than an ounce of "Blank Generation" ideology at hand, "I can take it or leave it each time."

Richard Hell wrote that line.

Richard Hell (of NYC's Voidoids punk band) could easily have played opposite Emilio Estevez in "Repo Man," Alex Cox's ode to L.A.'s '80s era youth culture.

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There are many life lessons to be learned from this very polished documentary about a generation of actors who didn't have the proper tools at the time to deal with a cloaked attack from the media. If only the right publicist had stepped in to make lemonade from lemons.

Gen J lives!

Not Rated. 92 mins.

5 Stars

Cozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

December 08, 2023

MAY DECEMBER — CANNES 2023

Welcome!

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

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.comTodd Haynes has crafted the best movie of 2023.

Working from a flawless script by wife/husband screenwriting team of Samy Burch and Alex Machanik, Haynes deftly allows narrative resonance to expand in the mind of the viewer.

"May December" firmly establishes Todd Haynes as one of America's finest filmmakers. If there was ever any doubt that Todd Haynes is the heir apparent to the likes of Martin Scorsese, here is the proof.

Mind-blowing.

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Using the story of convicted pedophile Mary Kay Letourneau as their inspiration, the screenwriters create a complex nesting doll story that addresses American society at its core. The experience is unforgettable, and profound.

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Natalie Portman portrays Elizabeth Berry, a B-list (Method) actress tasked with visiting ex-convict Gracie Atherton-Yoo (Julianne Moore) at her home in Savannah, Georgia to prepare for her portrayal of Gracie in an upcoming movie.

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Since her release from prison, Gracie has married Joe (Charles Melton), the boy she seduced when she was 36, and he was 13 years-old at the pet store where they both worked. A high school graduation party for the couple's twin girls coincides with Elizabeth's unethical mission of sense memory discovery. Gracie and Elizabeth are both emotional vampires, playing for keeps.

Each leaves behind a traumatic trail of misery in their wake.

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What follows is a nuanced study in coldhearted narcissism, where victims continue to be victimized, and opportunists get their hands sticky by association.

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Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore equally deliver tour de force performances that match relative newcomer Charles Melton's empathetic portrayal of Joe, this movie's troubled protagonist.

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If ever there was, or is, a filmic antidote to the corporate gaslighting garbage that a movie such as "Barbie" represents, "May December" is it.

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Prepare to be transformed.

Rated R. 117 mins.

5 Stars

Cozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

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