Friday, June 10, 2011

Death at the Movies - Gone With the Wind

Today I'm feeling under the weather, so I decided to make a post about Death at the Movies (and not Death as a character, as in The Seventh Seal, Meet Joe Black or Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey).  I am talking about characters dying.  The compilation that will result from this little experiment is not a list of best of, or even my favorites.  It is just a list of the ones that have stuck in my memory.

Let's begin at the very beginning (a very good place to start).

Melanie (Olivia de Havilland) in Gone With the Wind

Gone With the Wind is one of my favorite movies.  I love the costumes, the photography, the story, the characters, the actors.  It also succeeds in developing the multiple characters that move in and out of the story.  This is specially true of Melanie, Ashley's wife and Scarlett's "rival".  Melanie's death precipitates Scarlett's understanding of their relationship, as well as her relationship with Ashley and Rhett Butler.  Sometimes we have the best things in front of us, but we do not realize it.

This is the most tragic part of the movie (give or take Bonnie Blue's death).  All of Scarlett's monsters have come to participate in this ball.  And she has to confront them all, including Rhett's departure.

De Havilland suffused Melanie with quiet stoicism, maturity, strength in her illness, loyalty, but not naivete.  Truly remarkable.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Insidious is....

...some good scares at the beginning of the movie that regrettably don't hold in its second part.

Where is Zelda Rubinstein when you need her?
The movie's premise is a haunting, but with the twist that it occurs not to a house but to a boy.  The first few scares are really good, but once Barbara Hershey enters the picture, it goes downhill.  It has nothing to do with Ms. Hershey, but with an evident lack of focus.  On this same note, the make-up and special effects are sub-par, causing the viewer to get out of the movie.  It tries to be a modern day Poltergeist, but that picture is leap and bounds better than Insidious.  

Four out of ten stars.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Yes, we can cancan!

This is part of the series Hit Me With Your Best Shot at The Film Experience.

The first time I saw Moulin Rouge, I did not like it.  But on repeat viewings, boy was I blown away.  Give me pretty, give me excess and I am content.

My favorite shot is actually the entire movie (few movies are so compelling visually as this one).  It is so full of images, colors, beauty, costumes, with excellent visuals and amazing editing that complement the whole movie.

Due to the fact that I have to choose a shot, I think that Satine and her beauty (at the beginning with her naivete as to become an actress and later on with the knowledge of her demise) fully summarize the messages of Moulin Rouge.  Perfect complements for her character and its development throughout the movie.


Freedom, Beauty, Truth and Love... come what may.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean 4- on Familiar Tides

Pirates of the Caribbean is just mindless entertainment.  Some of the stories are rethreads of the previous movies, with similar characters. The movie could have benefited from been shorter in length and more focused in its story lines.  I would have preferred to see more of Barbossa and less of the Orlando Bloom look-alike.  That specific story arc did not function properly in the movie.

Leaving somebody in a deserted island?  Sounds familiar...

But it is welcome that less CGI was used in this movie than in the previous ones.  Moreover, some of it was filmed here in Puerto Rico (I recognized the entrance to the Caverns of the Camuy River, as well as small island in the east of Puerto Rico.  If you are ever in Puerto Rico, go to this park, it is amazing).

This is the entrance to the Caverna Clara in Camuy.

Six stars out of ten.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"Nunca había visto a nadie tan feliz/I've never seen anyone so happy" - Matador and Law of Desire

This is part of the series Hit Me With Your Best Shot at The Film Experience.

The title of this entry is the last line of spoken dialogue in the movie Matador, which summarizes some of its themes.  Curiously, it is almost a contrast to the ending of Law of Desire/La ley del deseo, in which that final death is not so happy.

I did not find Law of Desire/Ley del deseo as rich as Matador in its shots and images, although Law of Desire/Ley del deseo in my opinion is the better movie.  But two shots got my attention.   The first one is after the "showdown"  between Bibi Andersen (playing the mother) and Carmen Maura's character (Tina) during the play.  Tina, Pablo (Eusebio Poncela) and the girl are walking home, and they come upon some people washing the street.  Tina decides to be bathed in the water.

Maybe some gay things are waiting on the other side of this rainbow.
The water almost looks like a blue rainbow.   After the showdown with Bibi Andersen, Tina needed to cleanse herself.  But my favorite shot is one earlier in the movie, in which Pablo goes home with a male model who really wants to be an actor.  There, the model/actor asks if there is any cocaine available.  Pablo gives him some and we see the cocaine falling on the book La voz humana/Human Voice. This is the book that Pablo adapted in a play for Tina.

You can also see Juan (Pablo's lover) juxtaposed in this shot, going to Pablo's house for a last night before going away (and as it turns out, it is literally their last night together).  Tina washes herself in water while Juan is washed in drugs.

Now to Matador.

Since Matador explores some of the more extreme sexual practices, it is only natural that one of the best shots is Maria's first killing (that is shown in the movie).

The shot is after the jump.  Be advised that it contains some nudity and sexual content, and you should be over 18 years old to click away.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Thor: With lower expectations come great surprises

What, this is not Spiderman?
I went to Thor expecting a silly, mostly camp movie (and not in a good way).  But lo and behold, I was greatly surprised.  Thor is a very entertaining popcorn movie that did something unexpected: all the story is the origin story, with the villain intertwined in this story.  In this regard, it did not take the path most threaded by most superhero movies (almost half the movie is an origin story and the other half fighting the bad guy).

Further, a lot of the movie takes place in Asgard, not on Earth.  The visuals are remarkable, specially the rainbow bridge (Idris Elba as the gatekeeper was one of the best parts of the movie).  This, for me, made the difference.  The action and pace of the movies are good although not outstanding.  But you will have a "gay old time" at the movies.

For those of you of a certain age, below the intro to the old cartoon show:

Seven and a half stars out of ten.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

RuPaul's Drag Race Finale: "I Cry Foul" or "Raja's Tearless Win"

As my drag crystal ball predicted, last night Raja won RuPaul's Drag Race Season 3.  Her versatility and catwalk skills dragged her to the top.

Once again, when Raja was announced as the winner, she did not shed a tear, even though she was "crying".  Girl, your motto appears to be "always the make-up first" (or as my best friend says, better dead than bloody, although in Raja's case, she might prefer the blood - has she had her period yet?).

Manila Luzon sported a look and walk very similar to the ones she had already done.

As to Alexis, poor Alexis, she dressed as a show girl for her final look (which was not very flattering).

But, in my humble opinion, Alexis aced the challenge, which was to be part of RuPaul's new music video (are we repeating challenges too early in this show?).  She was the best dancer, did the best in her solos and in the group shots.  But if she was in the final two, she would have won, because she is the best lip synch-er of this season (my favorite of the three seasons is Jujube in her Black Velvet performance).  Hence, she was conveniently eliminated, and Manila and Raja performed for the title and crown.  Also, I find it suspect that Mathu Andersen was the director of the music video (he also is an alumni from America's Next Top Model, as is Raja).

I think that Alexis' weakness was that her drag was pageant all the way.  Hence, she was in a niche, limited in her looks.  She did not realize it.  More versatility and edge would have given her the crown.

My favorite moment on this episode came from Untucked, when they were discussing the other girls. Alexis said that Carmen Carrera was resting on her beauty, and Raja and Manila clearly did not agree.  Their faces were priceless (I do agree with Alexis.  Carmen's problem is that she rests in her body and she lacks charisma, that je ne sais quoi so important for performers.)

 I am looking daggers at you, Alexis.

Leave Carmen alone!

Well, this is it, until next week's reunion episode.  

I will be bold, since my drag crystal ball is anxious: next season, a plus sized girl will win!