Gordon & Barbara in Paris

Gordon & Barbara in Paris
Here's Looking at YOU

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Danish Girl

The Danish Girl—Directed by Tom Hooper/Story by David Ebershoff/Music Composed by Alexandre Desplat/starring Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander/2 hrs/rated R

Bifocal Reviews written by Ageless1der Barbara Rich & The Other Guy

(BR): My initial reaction to this film was that it was too long. After getting past the barbaric and primitive way that transgender people were viewed in this time period, it reminded me of Benedict Cumberbatch and his plight as depicted, as a homosexual in The Imitation Game. However, after a day or so I realized the real story was one of unconditional love. Both Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander’s characters portrayed two very important sides of this tale. Their performances left me genuinely moved, as they evolved from a happily married heterosexual couple into a relationship that transcended sexuality. I was so impressed with their performances that I was shocked to see the credits of some of the others actors who were, apparently, in this film. They all complemented the lead performances, which were, naturally the meat of the story. The seasonings blended well, making for a memorable main course. I still think they could have cut, at least ten minutes from this film. I loved the setting and the panorama of the scenery. I give this film a solid four binoculars.

(OG): This film was too long and left me feeling unsatisfied…even though I came into the theater with nothing but high hopes and positive expectations. Vikander is a very skilled actress. I don’t believe she’s being given enough credit for the wachability (hey, I made up a new word!)…the watchability of The Danish Girl. Without her, I don’t think I could have tolerated this movie for the full two hours. To me, Eddie Redmayne seemed like he was acting the whole time. If he didn’t believe his own performance 100%, then how am I supposed to believe it? True, The Danish Girl shed light on a persistent, human character-flaw…that of prejudice and ignorance being allowed to perpetuate the repression of a segment of our sexual society that happens to not meet primitive and barbaric standards…but in a movie, intentions count for little. I don’t want to pay good money for a “nice try.” I did enjoy the scenery though, so I’ll go with two and one half binoculars out of five.

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Sunday, December 27, 2015

YOUTH--the movie

Youth—Directed and screenplay by Paolo Sorrentino/starring Michael Caine, Rachel Weisz, Harvey Keitel, Jane Fonda, Paul Dano/1hr58min/rated R

Bifocal Reviews written by Ageless1der Barbara Rich & The Other Guy

(BR): There are just not enough Oscars and other awards this year, when performances like Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel are not even mentioned. They also have to contend with each other in the same movie. Then, there is the Jane Fonda performance. She was nominated for a Golden Globe, yet her part was essentially minimal, not that it wasn’t good, but certainly not better than either of the lead actors. In this film Harvey Keitel and Michael Caine are at their finest, knowing well they didn’t jump out of planes, or off of buildings, or blow up anything, or use heavy make-up or special effects of any kind. I hope this doesn’t make the competition more difficult for them, when in fact it’s the “acting” that should be the primary consideration for any of these awards. There are awards for special effects. The European flavor was very evident in this film, both in the way the director/writer took special care to frame every scene, and put memorable words in the mouths of his characters. I came away from this movie totally immersed in its content, reliving several scenes on the car ride home, even though, I felt it a bit slow at the outset. I give this film four binoculars out of five.

(OG): Honestly, I was almost lulled to sleep in the first 15 minutes of this film. It sneaks up on you. The presentation is so unusual for the U.S. market, very Italian in my opinion, that without the usual explosions, murders, or wild chases I was tricked into thinking that nothing was happening. By the time I realized that this was indeed my kind of movie (great scenery, detail to staging and incredible dialogue) I had missed some of what I used to love going to the movies to see. The director/writer steers his actors (I’m using the generic term here) exactly where he wants them to go. Every syllable is written and delivered with purpose. There is not an ounce of fat. I can still relive many of the scenes in my head, and already want to see this film again, so that I don’t miss anything in the opening scenes. It is a very beautiful film, reminiscent (in my mind) Francis Ford Coppola’s very underappreciated masterpiece, TEATRO, with of dash of Fellini. There was only one scene that seemed forced to me, and that was when a character explained the title, YOUTH. For that, I’ll deduct a monocle and give this film four-and-a-half binoculars.

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