On 8th February, 1944, Sebastião Salgado was born in Brazil. He went on to gain a scholarship for master's degree in economics, before getting married. When his wife bought a camera, Salgado took his first ever picture, of his wife. This inspired a career shift, with Salgado becoming enamoured by the very idea of photography, and taking it up as a full tie profession. Salgado travelled the globe, taking pictures of everyone and everything, yet there was always one constant in his work: the effects that people had on the world, and the art of photography.
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John Diehl plays a Vietnam vet who spends his days in a van keeping tabs on suspicious personages, particularly those with turbans. He's constantly narrating the action into a tape recorder, and he even has a flunky willing to help him "analyze these chemicals by oh-nine-hundred." This is contrasted with his long-lost niece (Michelle Williams), a mopey girl who's all too happy to spend all day working in a soup kitchen. The digital video looks suitably present and "real," but Wenders' wandering sentiments fail to add anything new to what has become a mountain of conversation on the New Paranoia and What the Hell Are We Supposed To Do Now? It's not exactly lazy filmmaking, but it's hard to give it your complete attention.
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Yikes! This marginal flick puts detective Mel Gibson in charge of investigating the murder of a billionnaire's son in a wacky hotel overrun by mental patients who can't afford the regular nut bin. And well, that's about all there is to tell, except that the title was once The Billion Dollar Hotel. That's a big downgrade.
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The rambling story takes on a semblance of shape when Damiel decides to literally fall from grace and become mortal after falling in love with Marion (Solveig Dommartin), a trapeze artist. Plopped onto the streets of Berlin (shot in color now that he's human), Damiel strides around the city searching for his love, with a look of transfixed delight on his face as he takes in every detail that he was only able to study before, and can now experience; while Cassiel watches with a mournful expression in his black-and-white world.
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On the other hand, the book stands on its own fairly well, namely because it doesn't have an awful lot to do with Ripley himself. As the story goes: We find Ripley (played by a cowboy hat-toting Dennis Hopper) later in life, working a career in art sales/forgery. He makes the acquaintance of a dying picture framer named Zimmermann (Bruno Ganz - dig the 'stache!), and eventually coerces him (through asssociates) into performing a contract murder for a large sum of money, meant to set up his family after his death.
Continue reading: The American Friend Review