110 posts categorized "FIVE STARS"

December 08, 2023

MAY DECEMBER — CANNES 2023

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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.

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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

December 05, 2023

GASLIGHT — CLASSIC FILM PICK

Welcome!

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.ColeSmithey.comThis 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!

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George Cukor's masterful adaptation of Patrick Hamilton's 1938 stage play is a cinematic feast of noir suspense. Gleefully dark, seamlessly directed, and packed with surprising plot twists, "Gaslight" is truly a masterpiece of Cinema.

Glory!

Ingrid Bergman won a much deserved Best Actress Oscar in 1944 for her nuanced portrayal of famed opera singer Paula Alquist.

Stunning!

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Retired Paula returns to London (circa 1880) to live with her new husband Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer) in the house where her late aunt lived before she was murdered ten years earlier. 

Gregory is a skilled technician in the practice of gaslighting. Convincing Paula that she is losing control of her mental faculties is just a smokescreen to cover up Gregory's criminal activities. 

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Joseph Cotton's Scotland Yard detective Brian Cameron becomes suspicious of Gregory, whose refusal to let his wife go out in public raises a red flag.

Ingrid Bergman's flawless performance is endlessly watchable.

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The late, great Angela Lansbury steals every scene she's in as Nancy, the flirtatious maid that Gregory hires to keep an eye on Paula while he's busy with his skullduggery.

This is much more than a solid period drama from one of Hollywood's most revered directors.

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If you haven't yet seen "Gaslight," you are in for a rare treat. You'll certainly be keenly aware of other's attempts at leading you down a path of self-doubt after watching this amazing film.

Repeated viewings are in order.

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If you discover that someone is attempting to gaslight you, you'll know what to do; exit the relationship on the spot.

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"Gaslight" remains remarkably topical for its relevance in the modern world. This Cinema classic is essential viewing if only for its clear definition of the now-popular term.

Not Rated. 114 mins.

5 StarsCozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

September 30, 2023

HOUR OF THE WOLF — SHOCKTOBER!

SHOCKTOBER!ColeSmithey.comWelcome!

ColeSmithey.comGroupthink 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

 

ColeSmithey.comIngmar Bergman's haunting 1968 psychological thriller is, at heart, a bold reflection on the lasting effects of childhood abuse.

Filmed on the island of Fårö, Bergman announces the minimalist movie with a flourish of self-referential artistic expression to set up the bizarre narrative that follows.

Sounds of its stage set being built, under the conversation of a film crew, give way to, "Camera."

"Action."

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Liv Ullmann speaks directly to the camera as Alma. She speaks of revelations she has discovered from reading her husband's diary.

Alma has given birth to a child on this lonely, desolate island. Her beloved artist husband Johan (Max von Sydow) has vanished.

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Suicide perhaps. A victim of murder? We may never know.

The couple have come to the island for Johan to paint. Their love is strong, but ghosts from Johan's past haunt him. Johan's place in the world as an artist reveal subtexts of Ingmar Bergman's own self identity.

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Johan is unable to find peaceful sleep in the couple's cold water cottage.

Dreams and nightmares blur with harsh reality.

Suspicion and regret hang in the air.

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A dinner invitation by a coven of insulting aristocrats inhabiting a 14th century castle, leads to an explosion of social anxiety for Johan. Are the blue-bloods real, or merely composite figures from Johan's troubled imagination?

A quote from "Rosemary's Baby" springs to mind.

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"Witches, all of them witches."

The subconscious and conscious minds of our lonely couple reveal cracks that all married couples experience.

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Only we, the audience, can decide where the truth lies — that will take time.

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Impeccably conceived and executed, "Hour of the Wolf" is an eloquent thing of cinematic perfection. Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann provide stunning performances.

What is this nightmare called love?

Not Rated. 87 mins.

5 Stars ColeSmithey.com

Cozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

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