The Moon and the Stars
This is an entry into the "show must go on" category, but a more
serious one than usual. The circumstances which may close down the
production are far more dire than skittish backers, skeptical parents
or censors. The production is threatened by World War 2 itself. The
story takes place in Rome in the late summer of 1939 and a
multi-national production is rushing to complete a non-musical
production of Tosca before Germany invades Poland and unleashes hell
in Europe. The beginning of the war will affect more than just
shooting schedules and cash sources. The members of the cast and crew
are about to be re-cast as enemies in real life, and many will have to
flee Italy. The film has an Italian producer, but from a Nazi
perspective he's not one of the good Italians because he's triply
cursed with liberal anti-fascism, Jewishness and homosexuality.
Tosca's co-stars are a British man with a wife in a mental
institution and a German woman in a loveless marriage to a Nazi.
Predictably, they fall into a doomed love affair, but the romantic
pairing of 62-year-old Jonathan Pryce with Catherine McCormack never
really seems to work. The couple had absolutely no electricity between
them, to the extent that the film was more than half over before I
figured out that Pryce's character was not supposed to be the gay
confidante but was, in fact, the love interest. When the two bid
farewell, presumably forever, in their hotel, the scene just never
conveyed the overwhelming sadness which two lonely people must have
felt after finally finding love's bloom and then being forced to nip
it in its bud.
The film makes both tacit and explicit references to Michael Curtiz,
the Hungarian director who made Casablanca. Curtiz had not yet made
that masterpiece by 1939, but he was already the most famous Hungarian
in Hollywood history, and was the idol of the fictional Hungarian
director portrayed in this story. In homage, many of the vintage
Curtiz scene transitions, wipes and so forth, are used in both The
Moon and the Stars and in the Tosca within it. It is also probably not
a coincidence that the scheming Nazi in this film bears a very strong
resemblance to the actor who played Major Strasser in Casablanca. The
most direct attempt to evoke Curtiz occurs in the farewell between the
film's lovers as they are separated by the war. It's a scene that
tries to evoke the same kind of feeling as the "hill of beans"
farewell in Casablanca, which is considered one of the ten most
memorable scenes in history.
As far as wartime farewells go, I knew Casablanca, sir, and you are
The drama comes up as short as the romance. The sub-plot, in which
the Jewish producer is swindled out of everything he has by a cagey
Nazi pretending to be his friend, never really produces the dramatic
tension that should inhere in such a story, and a key element of that
sub-plot is spoiled by the fact that something which should be a
last-minute surprise is telegraphed too obviously in an earlier scene.
The dramatic rush to shoot the final three days of the filming
schedule in one long overnighter could have been a great opportunity
to show dozens of people rising to a difficult occasion under immense
pressure and working through fatigue and short tempers, but instead it
comes off as a rather routine period with no real sense of urgency,
followed by an unlikely champagne celebration.
Because of all those missed opportunities, the film misses the mark
overall, even though it has good moments, good intentions and good
ideas. In addition to the Curtiz homages, the overall conceit is that
it is a 1939-style film about making another 1939-style film in 1939,
and in some respects the machinations and betrayals shown in the
film-within-a-film version of Tosca reflect the events unfolding
simultaneously in 1939 Italy. The film can't be faulted for laziness
or lack of ambition. The Moon and the Stars has a good enough concept,
and was made by some smart people, but it just seems to lack the
passion and drama necessary to rise above the pack and be noticed.
- There is male nudity (rear) from Rupert Friend and Niccolo Senni.
- Catherine McCormack shows her breasts in a very charming scene
in which the director is trying to get her to give up a little extra
cleavage for the sake of the box office. She just whips out her
breasts and asks, "Is this enough?"
Catch the deluxe
version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles,
The Return of Martin Guerre
Le Retour de Martin Guerre
is a French historical drama based on a true story. Gerard Depardieu is
married to Nathalie Baye in a small French farming village in the mid 1500s.
At first, he is not much good as a husband but a little whip work from the
priest gets him hard enough to conceive a son. He also isn't much good as a
farmer, and when his father catches him selling two bags of wheat, he
disappears for years. He returns years later a new man. He has grown, and all
of his personality problems are corrected. His wife is clearly thrilled with
him, and forgives him for being in the war all those years. Then he asks his
father-in-law for a share of the money his land earned, and suddenly everyone
is accusing him of being an imposter. The rest of the film is his trying to
convince the judges that he really is Martin Guerre, and not a man from a
nearby village who served with Martin Guerre.
I suppose it had to happen that I
would eventually find a Depardieu film where I enjoyed his performance. The
period detail is excellent, the costuming deserved the Oscar nomination it
the story is so strong it was remade as Sommersby (1993).
IMDb readers say 7.3, and it was nominated for a host of awards, including
It is available new from RLDVDs.com on a region-free PAL.
Nathalie Baye shows her left breast in two different scenes.
Notes and collages
Sinopsis: Laura (Belén Rueda) es una mujer adulta que adquiere un
inmueble el orfanato, en el que cual vivió durante su niñez junto con
otros cinco niños, hasta su adopción. Así, acompañada de su marido y su
hijo adoptivo, regresa con la intención de abrir una residencia para
niños discapacitados. Su hijo adoptivo, Simón, comienza a comportarse de
un modo muy extraño, al encontrarse éste con unos nuevos amigos
imaginarios. Hecho que hará que Laura comience a enterarse de todo lo
que aconteció en la casa tras su marcha. Al desaparecer su hijo, Laura
empieza a investigar y descubre el horrible pasado del orfanato, puesto
que allí vivía un niño, hijo de una encargada del orfanato, que al tener
un "defecto congénito" era apartado de los demás niños. Tomás usaba una
máscara de tela parecida a una calabaza. Laura, al buscar a su hijo,
descubre la historia del niño deforme, cuya muerte fue causada por los
otros niños del orfanato, quienes, jugando, lo llevan a una cueva cerca
de la playa y le quitan la máscara retándolo a salir sin ella. Tomás, al
no atreverse a salir sin su máscara, muere ahogado al subir la marea.
Laura encuentra los cadáveres de los otros 5 niños, que, a su vez,
fueron asesinados en venganza por la cuidadora del orfanato (madre de
Tomás). Laura sigue investigando y, desesperada, retoma el juego que se
llama busca el tesoro, donde Laura tiene un tesoro, en este caso Simón,
quién es escondido por los demás jugadores. En este caso Laura juega con
Tomás, el niño muerto. Al terminar el juego, Laura tiene derecho a un
deseo que se le hará realidad. Tomás le da pistas como una flor etc. Él
le da la chapa de la puerta que va al sotano, donde ella encuentra a
Simón ya sin vida y se da cuenta que Simón, al quedar encerrado en el
sotano (pues Laura inadvertidamente puso unos tubos en la puerta sin
saber que ahí estaba su hijo), cayó por las escaleras y murió. Laura
recuerda que, al haber encontrado su tesoro, tiene derecho a un deseo y
pide que su hijo vuelva a la vida. Definitivamente el sueño de Laura no
se cumple, ya que ella muere debido a una sobredosis de pastillas al
descubrir a su hijo muerto, y tras su muerte se reune con él y sus
antiguos compañeros de orfanato para cuidar de ellos.
Como curiosidad es la película española más taquillera del año 2007,
y la segunda más taquillera de la historia después de "Los otros". El
Orfanato fue vista por más de cuatro millones de espectadores y recaudó
casi 12 millones de euros en sus primeros veinte días en los cines
Ganadora: (Goya Awards)
- Mejor director novel (best new director)
- Mejor guión original (nest original screenplay)
- Mejor dirección artística (best art direction)
- Mejor dirección de producción (best set design)
- Mejor maquillaje y peluquería (best make-up and hair styling)
- Mejor sonido (best sound)
- Mejores efectos especiales (best special effects)
y candidata a: (Other Goya Nominations)
- Mejor película (best picture)
- Mejor actriz: Belén Rueda (best actress)
- Mejor actriz de reparto: Geraldine Chaplin (best supporting actress)
- Mejor actor revelación: Roger Príncep (best new actor)
- Mejor musica original (best original score)
- Mejor montaje (best editing)
- Mejor vestuario (best costumes)
Plot summary quoted from Wikipedia in its
Laura, with her physician husband Carlos, returns to an orphanage where
she had lived as a child with plans of reopening it as a home for sick and
disabled children. They adopted a son named Simón who is HIV-positive,
though he is unaware of either his adoption or his illness.
Upon moving into the cavernous and hauntingly beautiful home, Laura
takes Simón to visit a cave near the beach, and he claims to see an
imaginary friend. After returning home, he draws a picture of him. He is
named Tomás, and he wears a sack mask. Because Simón has always had
imaginary friends, both Laura and Carlos play along with his stories.
Simón later says that he has become acquainted with six imaginary friends.
A mysterious social worker appears one day, talking obliquely of some
new treatment for Simón. After inviting her in for tea, Laura becomes
suspicious and sends her away. That night, after investigating some
rattling noises she hears outside, Laura finds the mysterious social
worker skulking around the grounds. Though Laura screams for Carlos' help,
the woman escapes before anything else occurs. After reporting the
incident, it is discovered that there is no social worker registered with
the name Benigna, which the woman gave.
One day, Simón tells Laura about a game that Tomás has created for him,
a type of scavenger hunt. The game leads them to the locked drawer where
Simón's medical records are hidden. Simón reveals to Laura that he knows
that she is not his real mother and that he is going to die. When she asks
him how he knows that, he responds that his friends told him.
Soon after, Laura hosts a party for the disabled children to welcome
them to their new home. Simón begs to show Laura Tomás' house, but after
an argument, and a slap on the face in the spur of the moment, Laura
leaves Simón alone upstairs. Back in the garden, she notices a boy with a
sack mask, a lot like the picture that Simón drew after their visit to the
cave. When Laura returns to check on him, she cannot find him. She checks
in the bathroom at the end of the hall, only to be confronted by a boy in
a sack mask who she saw earlier at the party. After she tries to remove
the boy's mask, he violently locks her in the bathroom, injuring her, and
disappears. No one else at the party remembered seeing the boy because all
the children were wearing masks. Simón cannot be found; he has simply
disappeared without a trace.
Months later, Laura and her husband go for a drive. It is evident that
both are still haunted by the loss of their son. At a traffic light, they
are surprised by Benigna crossing the street with a pram in front of them.
However, in the tension of the moment, a speeding ambulance completely
mauls Benigna. Laura, in a panic, checks under the ambulance that killed
Benigna, thinking Simón was in the pram. Instead, she finds a doll that
looks like Tomás, with his mask on. Laura then rushes to the scene of the
accident. And barely see's Carlos attempting mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
on Benigna. After a few moments, he says that the woman is dead. Laura
reaches for the woman's whistle necklace, and in her dying breath the
woman snatches Laura's hand away.
After searching the woman's home, the police discover that Benigna
worked at the orphanage long ago. She had a deformed son named Tomás who
drowned in the oceanfront cave near the orphanage. Though his face was
hidden from the other orphans, they led him to a cave and took off his
mask. They wanted to see if he would dare to come out without his mask;
ashamed, he refused and drowned overnight once the tide rose.
The desperate Laura then agrees to have a medium explore the orphanage
for supernatural clues to her son's disappearance. The medium sees five
child ghosts, screaming in pain and dying of poison. The medium reveals
that the reason she can see the dead is that she is close to death
herself. Laura begs the medium to tell her how she can find her son - the
medium replies that she must use her grief as strength to help her find
him, but it all depends on how far she wants to go. Soon after, Laura,
following clues she believes were left by Tomás, finds five sacks full of
ashes and human bones in the very shed that she caught Benigna snooping
in. Laura surmises that the woman had murdered the five children, after
their trick had killed Tomás.
Carlos does not believe in the supernatural; he thinks his wife has
gone crazy and begs her to leave the orphanage, but she refuses. She
insists that she must stay and explore every nook and cranny of the creepy
house until it disgorges its secrets. Laura insists that there are too
many memories in the house and she needs two days alone to say good-bye.
Carlos goes, leaving Laura alone in the house. After recreating her
time in the house as a young girl with the help from some footage of the
orphanage that police had found at Begnina's house, she sees the ghosts of
the dead friends from her childhood, and they lead her to a hidden door in
a closet. Behind the door are stairs leading to a dark basement, and at
the bottom she finds Simón alive. However, when she wills the ghosts to go
away, she notices a body on the floor, having what seemed like Tomás.
After unmasking the boy, it turns out to be Simón, who is dead as well,
having fallen down a broken banister on the stairwell the day he
disappeared. In her frantic search for Simón, she'd unintentionally
prevented his escape from the basement.
She carries his body up to the dormitory and kills herself by
overdosing on her medication.
Laura awakens, in what seems to be the afterlife, and the ghosts of the
five murdered children plus Tomás and Simón, appear before her. Simón asks
her to stay and take care of him and his friends forever, and she happily
Later, Carlos is seen in front of the house where a memorial to Laura,
Simón, and the other children of the orphanage had been built. After going
inside one last time to say farewell, he spies a good-luck necklace he had
given Laura earlier, on the floorboards inside the children's bedroom. He
hears a noise and looks up as the doors slowly open, and slowly smiles.
"The Orphanage was a box office
champ in Spain, the highest in 2007 and the second-highest of all-time,
trailing only The Others. On
its opening weekend, it grossed more than the other nine films in the
top ten, and it went on to hold the #1 spot for six weeks, eventually
grossing about $35 million dollars and selling more than four million
tickets. The population of Spain is only about
13% that of the United States, so this is roughly equivalent to a $300 million
blockbuster in the States. The Orphanage also grossed a respectable $7
million in the States, and was chosen as the Spanish
representative to the Oscars, ahead of "The 13 Roses" and "Sunday's
Feast of Love
This very good 2007 romantic drama examines the relationships of
several friends in Portland over a period of 18 months. It is both sad and
funny, and very well done.
Bradley, who owns a coffee shop, experiences a series of bad marriages,
none his fault. Bradley's wife (Selma Blair) begins a lesbian relationship
while Bradley is blissfully ignorant. Oscar and Chloe (Alexa Davalos) fall
in love while working at the shop. They try to make a life together, but
Oscar's father is a drunk who will do anything, including murder, to break
After the divorce, Bradley meets and falls in love with Diana (Radha
Mitchell), but even while romancing Bradley, and even after they marry,
Diana continues a relationship with a married man, even though he makes it
clear he'll never leave his wife.
Character-study movies can be boring, but this one is so well done it
will keep your interest throughout.
Anna Beatriz Barrios with an exposed nipple
in a photoshoot
Sienna Miller caught topless by the paparazzi twice in one day!
Amy Madigan in Alamo Bay
Lisa Zane in Bad Influence
Serena Williams in a bikini.
Seeing her on the beach and not knowing her, you'd never guess that
she's one of the world's best female athletes.
Scarlett Johansson in A Good Woman
This enhancement shows you what all the fuss is about.
Here are the captures (the third one has no exposure of any kind):
Carole Bouquet appears today in two films. One is well known,
Obscure Object of Desire, a Luis Bunuel film which made Bouquet a
star at 19 in her screen debut. The other is the obscure
Lucie Aubrac, which
came twenty years later.
Diane Keaton in
Looking for Mr Goodbar. (1977). Her other nude scene came 26 years
later in Something's Gotta Give. Although we now think of her as a great
comic actress, thanks to Woody Allen, she did plenty of serious roles
like this in her early career. (The Godfather movies are the most
To my knowledge, this film has never appeared on DVD in any region,
so these 640x480 TV broadcast clips represent the best we have had.
While they are not spectacularly good, they are more or less the same
quality as a slightly below average DVD, and therefore a great
improvement over the previous VHS clips. Some samples are below: