Well, yes and no. Opening weekend is sure to bring in moviegoers in droves enthralled by the sight of Geena Davis with a blonde dye-job, but more discriminating viewers will probably be put-off by the plot holes, inconsistencies, and downright silliness of the film. I mean, how many times can you outrun an explosion in one film, anyway?
Continue reading: The Long Kiss Goodnight Review
Coming off of "Shakespeare In Love," which in many ways reinvented, spoofed or at least paid winking homage to 400 years of romantic clichés, one might think director John Madden would be able to circumvent the kind of highly telegraphed heartstring-pulling that goes on in "Captain Corelli's Mandolin."
But the opening credits have barely faded before this wartime three-hanky flick plunges in with the Harlequin novel melodrama. Mandras (Christian Bale), a brave, passionate, handsome young Greek island lad promises to marry the village beauty named Pelagia (Penelope Cruz) as he goes off to fight the encroaching armies of Mussolini and Hitler. "I don't know how to tell you what's in here," he cries on one knee, pounding a fist against his breast. "But I think...I know...(choke!)...I love you! (Dramatic pause.) Now I leave for war! Come dance with me!"
If you were able to read the preceding direct quote without gagging, boy, oh boy is this your kind of movie -- a soap opera of epic proportions involving Pelagia haplessly falling for an occupying Italian soldier while her lover is off fighting for her and for her country's freedom.
Continue reading: Captain Corelli's Mandolin Review
Director Philip Kaufman establishes the nebulously erotic atmosphere of "Quills," a fictional film about the Marquis de Sade, with an opening scene in which a pretty aristocrat, shown on screen in some kind of ecstasy, is described by Sade (in a voice-over) as a woman with a sexual appetite for torture.
His voice slithers as he relates how she one day "found herself in the arms of a man whose skill in pain exceeded even her own" as the camera focuses on two giant, dirty hands coarsely roaming her neck and shoulders while she shivers in fear. The camera pulls back to reveal that the woman is standing before the gallows, about to become the eighth or ninth severed head to roll into a basket below as a crowd of rowdy peasants cheers on. (This is 18th Century France, after all.)
The Marquis' narration drips (like blood from the blade of the gallows) with a kind of odious sensuality and pricks at the viewer's darker side with a twisted sense of humor that carries throughout this engrossing, seductive, and at times unsavory film.
Continue reading: Quills Review
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