"Jakob the Liar" (new
release reviewed, but no nudity)
Robin Williams lives in
the Jewish ghetto of a nazi-occupied Polish town.
He accidentally overhears some war news on a
German radio. When he sees the effect the news
has on his community, he starts a charade of
making up additional hopeful news and claiming he
heard it. The Nazis do not see the value of this,
and deal with him.
Oops. Like the famous
race to the Pole - Robin Williams releases
"life is beautiful" about ten minutes
after the other guy.
In addition, Robin plays
his same old role that he always plays. Why is
this guy throwing away about the single greatest
amount of talent anyone has ever had. His
Achilles heel seems to be that he can't
distinguish a worthwhile project from a trite
Actually, this would
probably have been an acclaimed movie if it had
come out in 1989, but ten years was enough time
for other people to cover the same ground better.
It also has a very strange ending which counters
the entire tone of the movie. I think the film
would be much more powerful without the dreaded
"or maybe it could have ended this way"
cliche. Anyway, it's an OK film. The critics
blasted it, and I guess they are right if the
sole criterion is originality, but it's a solid
movie with a message that should be repeated
again and again. Is it so bad that it isn't
Limey" (new release reviewed, but no nudity)
The previous movie of
Steven Soderbergh, director of the currently
white-hot Erin Brockovich.
Kind of an odd film.
Brilliantly directed with an experimental but too
not confusing narrative technique, wherein
Soderbergh combines real scenes with imagined
scenes, memories, fantasies, and ghosts. You have
to figure out what is what, but it isn't that
difficult once you realize what he is doing. It
works, I think. And the cast is also excellent.
Terrence Stamp has been waiting a lifetime for
this role, a tailor-made project ala Richard
Farnsworth's. Of course, unlike Farnsworth, Stamp
is not a loveable codger. In fact, he's one of
the least lovable in the history of codgerdom,
but he seems to have right on his side. He's a
cockney career criminal in L.A. to investigate
and punish the murderer of a daughter who died
while he was in the slammer.
It has sizzling
technique, superb production values, and
meticulously created ambience, but as Dorothy
Parker would have said, there's no there there.
The plot is less significant and interesting than
an average episode of Mannix. There's just
nothing much there to base a movie on, so the
sizzle is all you get. Still, it is excellent
sizzle. It does have a very interesting and
appropriate ending, which I'd love to talk about,
but I'd spoil the one and only interesting twist
in the flick for you, and if you like movies you
have to see the flick, irrespective of the
non-plot, because it's damned good filmmaking.
By the way, part of the
brilliant technique is the interweaving of actual
footage of Terence Stamp as a young man in 1967's
"Poor Cow", to represent some
appropriate flashbacks in this 1999 movie.
Abyss", from Johnny Web
Damn, is this a
well-filmed movie! Just take a look at the colors
in the collages. You could capture virtually any
frame and they'd be just as good. Of course, you
know that James Cameron knows a thing or two
about moviemaking. He did a couple minor flicks
you may have heard of, like Terminator 2, Aliens,
and a certain obscure movie about a large sinking
ship. You were probably disappointed by the lousy
DVD transfer of Titanic with the tiny little
image in the middle of massive black matting, but
you won't be disappointed this time. They got
this one just right. The transfer is absolutely
beautiful - colors, clarity, everything. There
are actually two DVD's, onw with widescreen
versions of both the theatrical release and
director's cut, and one entire DVD just devoted
to extras. So many extras they need a table of
contents for them all. You could spend an entire
day on this, if you were so inclined. Even the
menu is dazzling - like playing a video game. You
certainly can't go wrong with this as a rental.
Recommended wholeheartedly. Mary Elizabeth
Mastrantonio - again! Her nude scene in "The
Color of Money" just came out on DVD last
week! Not that there's anything wrong with that.
These Walls Could Talk", from Tuna
The sorta-sequel came on
cable last week, so the DVD of the first version
came out this week, to capitalize on the moment.
Here's Tuna's review:
"If These Walls
Could Talk (released today) is three short
features on the subject of abortion. The first
stars Demi Moore in a flat performance as a
widowed nurse in the 50's who has a back alley
abortion. The second stars Sissy Spacek as a
mother of 4 teenagers and returning student in
the 70's who finds herself pregnant. At this
point, she can legally choose, and we see how she
make sher choice. She was very strong in the
The third segment has
Anne Heche as a college student in the 90's,
pregnant by her married professor, who elects to
go to a woman's clinic. She is very believable,
and provides the only nudity in a short bathtub
phone conversation. Cher, who directed this
segment, does her usual great job as the clinic
Like most that deal with
tough emotionally charged subjects, this is not
an easy film to watch. It does portray the
problem of unwanted pregnancy fairly, and makes
lots of important points. According to Richard
Bach in "Illusions," we may watch
movies either to be educated or entertained. I
would say this one is more educational.
Tuna's thumbnails for this movie Anne Heche (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9)
Governess", from Tuna
I've talked about this
before. Ok, it's not a new release, but how can
you resist any movie with Minnie Driver strutting
her stuff, or any caps from Tuna on said subject?
(Although I still don't know why they mention her
in that Mack the Knife song with Suky Tawdry,
Miss Lottie Lenya, and ol' Lucy Brown.) In
addition, I thought it was an excellent movie,
well-crafted, intelligent, and smartly performed,
but be advised that it's excellent in a
Masterpiece Theatre sense, not in a Terminator 2
sense. Personally, I like to see some real human
beings once in a while, especially if they have
IQ's in triple figures!
Tuna's thumbnails for this movie Minnie Driver (1,