Friday, January 9, 2015

"The Imitation Game" and The Week in Reviews

[I review the new movie "The Imitation Game," the DVDs "Good
 People" and "Snowpiercer," and the new HBO documentary "Regarding Susan Sontag," as well as the book "Mermaids in Paradise."  I also get you caught up on how I am doing with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project: "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Akira."] 


Mostly true story of mathematician Alan Turing who worked with the British government during WWII to break the Nazi's Enigma Code.

Alan, played wonderfully by BenedictCumberbatch, who has one of the greatest actor names ever (don't you think?), is a tortured genius.  He is socially inept, was bullied in school, is a homosexual (a criminal offense in Britain at the time), but he is brilliant.  When he begins working on the top secret mission to crack the Enigma Code, he so infuriates his commanding office (Charles Dance), that he is ignored and almost fired until he writes a letter to Winston Churchill himself and is given full reign over the project, much to his superiors' and colleagues' dismay. 

The Enigma Code is impossible for the human mind to comprehend because as soon as the code might be cracked one day, the Nazis change it another.  Each day poses a new code to crack.  So Turing comes up with the idea of a machine that can do the work for them.  His work is maddening, however, to everyone around him as he single-handedly builds "Christopher," his machine (named after his sad boyhood crush), in effect, one of the first computers as we know them today.

The story begins after the War, in 1951, with a mysterious break-in at Turing's house where nothing is taken. The investigating officer (Rory Kinnear) is intrigued by Turing and feels something is amiss and sets out to find out just who he is.  Flashbacks tell Turing's story, jumping all around from his childhood to WWII to the present creating a sort of choppy narrative. Much dramatic license was used to tell Turing's story and more could have been said about the meaning of "the imitation game," but as a film, it is sad and riveting.  Turing was as much an enigma as a man as the code he was trying to break.

Cumberbatch does as amazing piece of work here as he plays a person who takes everything everyone says literally, says what he thinks without caring for how it will be received, and basically doesn't give a damn about anything except cracking the code. Let's just say he is socially inept. That's putting it kindly. He is tortured by his homosexuality and loneliness. It's an exceptional performance that will no doubt we rewarded with an Academy Award nomination.  Keira Knightly plays Joan Clarke, one of the code breakers and Turing's intellectual equal, a single woman trying to make something of herself in a 1940's man's world.  She is good, but I don't see this performance as Academy Award material.  Other recognizable British actors abound.

Rosy the Reviewer says...The British really know how to make movies!  One of the best of the year!


You Might Have Missed
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)

Snowpiercer (2013)

It's the future where an experiment to solve global warming has frozen the world and now the lucky few survivors (if you can call them lucky) are aboard a train that travels continuously, hoping the world will eventually thaw.

In 2014, global warming was a threat, so a chemical was sent into the sky to cool down the planet.  Oops.  It didn't work and everything froze.  Now it's 2031 and the only survivors are on a train, divided into those in the front (First Class), middle (Economy or your Middle Class) and those in the back, the "Freeloaders."  Sort of like our present economy.

 Like "The Hunger Games," the people in power are vibrantly dressed, crazy with power and with over-the-top personalities. The claustrophobic setting of an endlessly running train creates a dark tension.

Chris Evans ("CaptainAmerica") stars as Curtis, the leader of the Freeloaders, those in the back of the train, the poorest of the poor.  They are planning an uprising. They plot to take over the "sacred engine" that rules all, piloted by the mysterious "Wilfred."  They free a prisoner, Namgoong Minsoo (Kang-ho Song) who designed the security system for the train and his daughter, Yona (Ah-sung Ko), who is clairvoyant.  Both are addicted to drugs so Curtis offers them drugs to help get them up front where they can take over the engine run by the enigmatic "Wilfred."  Who is he?  Will he turn out be just a man behind a curtain, like "The Wizard of Oz?"

Ed Harris, Tilda Swinton (in garish make-up, looking terrible as usual and playing yet another weird character), John Hurt, Jamie Bell and Octavia Spencer also star. The film is directed by South Korean director Bong Joon-ho in his English language debut. 

It's an interesting premise and that is what drives the viewer until the last half hour when the film falls into melodrama and we get beaten up by the message: that for things to run properly, we must all know our place.

Curtis says, "You know what I hate about myself?  I know what people taste like and babies taste best."  Ew.  Where are we?  "SoylentGreen?" 

And if the 17-year-old girl and the little boy are the only survivors of the world...double ew.
That and some other lumps and thumps as this train goes round and round the world crop up and are nagging, such as where did all of their supplies come from if they had been on the train for 17 years?
Rosy the Reviewer says...but I'm a cheap date.  I actually liked this film, and you will too, if you like stylish, intelligent, though grim, scifi.

Good People (2014)

A young American couple, a couple of "good people," with money troubles living in London find a bag of cash in their dead tenants' apartment and decide to keep it.  But there are some bad guys out there who don't want them to have it.
The movie opens with the bad guys engaged in a robbery with one bad guy, Ben, killing another bad guy and running off with the money.  Next we are introduced to Tom (James Franco) and Anna (Kate Hudson), an American couple living in London who are looking for a fresh start.  They have money problems - and, hey, who wouldn't?  London is EXPENSIVE!  And right away, I go, wait a minute.  How does an American couple with money problems end up in London, the most expensive city in the world?  How did Anne get a work permit so she could work as a teacher? I couldn't stop thinking about that.
So when their tenant (turns out it's our bad guy, Ben, who we "met" at the beginning of the film) dies of an overdose in the apartment Tom and Anna are subletting, Tom and Anna are gobsmacked (I am really into the London thing) to find a bag containing 220,000 pounds stashed up in the ceiling, especially since Anna also wants to get fertility treatments.  It's not hard to rationalize keeping a windfall like that, even if Tom and Anna are "good people."
Enter John Halden (Tom Wilkinson), a police detective who suspects something's up, and those bad guys I mentioned earlier?  They also come knocking and terrorize the hell out of Tom and Anne, until they are forced to fight back. Here is the thing about English bad guys, by the way.  They are B-A-D.  Not your cultured English gents, these.  They are BADASS and scary as hell.  You watch enough British films starring "hard men," you will know what I mean.
Cliches abound: the father whose daughter died of a drug overdose intent on revenge on those who sold her the drugs; infighting among the bad guys; double-crossing; the terrorized becoming the terrorizers. The film reminded me of "Straw Dogs" where Dustin Hoffman and Susan George were terrorized in their home by thugs, except this one isn't as good.
I like James Franco here, though, in a straight role where he isn't mugging with that huge smile of his. Likewise, Kate Hudson is an appealing actress. But it's not much of a role.  I wonder when she will get her own "Private Benjamin" and really break out as an actress like her mother did.  Ironically, the screenplay was written by Kelly Masterson, the same person who wrote the screenplay for "Snowpiercer (see review above)" and one of my favorite films, "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead," but this one doesn't have the intensity or the depth of either of those.
Rosy the Reviewer says...a disappointing thriller.

Susan Sontag was an American writer, a cultural critic, a political activist, filmmaker and feminist and this documentary reveals the woman behind the career.
She graduated from high school at 15, went to college and married at 17.  The marriage didn't last but it produced a son, whom she abandoned for a time to continue her studies at Harvard and Oxford.  She was a driven personality who divided her time between Paris and New York.  She was a feminist, a lesbian, a "woman of the fifties" trying to live a literary academic life.
Her most famous books include "On Photography," where she worried that through photography people would remember only the photograph, not the people or events, and "Illness as Metaphor," where she debunked the notion that people are somehow responsible for their own illnesses.  She put forth the idea that there is such a thing as unmerited catastrophe and you don't need to feel guilty about it. She was an intellectual, but one of the first writers to write about and defend pop culture (thank you, Susan).
Despite all of her acclaim and awards, she was always worried about what her younger self would think, that she hadn't accomplished enough, that she would be transient, a thing of the past.  In that, she reminded me of Sylvia Plath, but the difference between the two was Sontag's will to live.
Sontag fought three different bouts of cancer, each one a death sentence that she would not accept.  She said, "While I was busy zapping the world with my mind, my body fell down" and "Death is the opposite of everything."  She beat the first two, but succumbed to the third.
Patricia Clarkson reads from Sontag's books, and Sontag comes off as very self-centered and didactic, but perhaps that is what one needs to be to live such a life, dedicated to art and thought.
"My idea of a writer:  someone interested in everything."
Directed with sensitive skill and perception by Nancy Kates, this is an engrossing portrait of an important 20th century writer.
Rosy the Reviewer says...If you like documentaries about interesting people, you will like this film...and you need to know who she is.

***My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project***


288 To Go! 

Have you seen these?


The epic story of T.E. Lawrence and his contribution to the Arab Revolt against the Turkish Empire during W.W. I.
I don't have to say it. I can't believe it either, that I didn't see this film when it came out in 1962 nor since, considering it won Best Picture, David Lean won Best Director, Peter O'Toole won Best Actor and Omar Shariff won Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards along with a slew of other awards and that I consider myself a moodie (I made that up.  It's like a foodie except about movies.)
Well, folks, I was 14 and not drawn to a film that had no women in it, no cute clothes, took place in the desert, was about war and was four hours long.  I was kind of a shallow teen-ager, I guess.
But I can appreciate this film now, especially in light of our current relations with the Middle East and what it took to make a film like this in the early 1960's - no CGI, people!  Epic is indeed the word. Admirer Steven Spielberg estimates that if this film were made today it would cost $285 million.

Lawrence was a bit of a nutter, but his contributions to the Arab Revolt made him a media king which went to his head a bit until he was cut down to size in battle and discovered "that bloodlust has replaced honor and arrogance has replaced courage."
Seeing it now is interesting considering the IMDB description of Lawrence - "a flamboyant and controversial military figure," "flamboyant" being an early euphemism for "gay?"  There was speculation about Lawrence's sexuality and it appears in the film that O'Toole is playing him that way, though in 1962, heaven forbid, we would come right out and say such a thing.  But like I said, there were no women to be seen.
Why it's a Must See:  "One of the greatest epics of all time, Lawrence of Arabia epitomizes all that motion pictures can be.  Ambitious in every sense of the word, David Lean's Oscar-grabbing masterpiece...makes most movies pale in comparison and has served as an inspiration for countless filmmakers, most notably technical masters like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg...and fellow enthusiast Martin Scorsese."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die."
Rosy the Reviewer says...they don't make 'em like this anymore.  And whether or not you like the subject matter, this is one of those films you have to be able to say you have seen.

Akira (1988)

Hyped as the most expensive anime movie ever made, this film tells the story of a post-apocalyptic Tokyo in 2019 and Keneda, a punk biker and his friend Tetsuo, who has psychic powers.  The government finds out about Tetsuo. Worried that he will be more powerful than Akira, a now imprisoned psychic who caused Tokyo's destruction, they plot to kill him. 
I have never been an anime fan, but was moved by "The Grave of the Fireflies."  For me, this one doesn't even come close to that one.  This one seems to be aimed at teenaged boys.

Why it's a Must See: "Katsuhiro Otomo's animated the pinnacle of Japanese apocalyptic science fiction...Otomo's genius lies in linking the apocalypse with the rage of disaffected teenagers...imagine if a teenager had telekinetic powers that increase exponentially with his emotions, and imagine that this teenager were the most angry, resentful little bastard you've ever met.  Think about that and then think about the most epic scenes of devastation you could possibly imagine and you have this film...this is adolescence causing destruction on an epic scale, drawing on memories of the atom bombs dropped on Japan...and our continuing collective fears of annihilation."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"
Rosy the Reviewer says...I didn't get it, but then I'm not a disaffected teenaged boy either.
***Book of the Week***


Mermaids in Paradise by Lydia Millett (2014)
Deb and Chip are on their honeymoon in the Caribbean and while out scuba diving discover mermaids!
Deb is an opinionated smart-alek and Chip likes everyone.  When they meet up with scientist Nancy, they discover mermaids. But they aren't the only ones.  The resort knows the mermaids are there too and plan on starting a theme park to capitalize on them.  And then there is a murder!
It's time for another novel!  I am expanding my horizons this year to include more fiction but if this one is any indication of what lies ahead for me, I am not looking forward to it.
Not a fan of smart ass narrators and this is a flimsy story.  I am shocked that Millet has been up for a Pulitzer.  Well not for this one anyway.
Rosy the Reviewer says...didn't like it.  Back to some nonfiction for awhile.
Thanks for Reading!
That's it for this week!
See you Tuesday for
"Librarian Fashion"
(And, no, that's not an oxymoron)


If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, 
email it to your friends and
LIKE me on Facebook at

Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.


Note:  Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). 



Here is a quick link to get to all of them.  Choose the film you are interested in and then scroll down the list of reviewers to find "Rosy the Reviewer."

Or you can go directly to IMDB.  


Find the page for the movie, click on "Explore More" on the right side panel and then scroll down to "External Reviews."  Look for "Rosy the Reviewer" on the list. Or if you are using a mobile device, look for "Critics Reviews." Click on that and you will find me alphabetically under "Rosy the Reviewer."

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My Early Oscar Predictions 2015

It's movie awards season and for us movie lovers, it's our "March Madness," our Draft Day.

So my fingers are getting itchy and, I thought I would make my Oscar predictions even before the Academy Award nominations are announced.

I know I am sticking my neck out but, I actually have a good track record. 

I predicted that "Argo" and "The Hurt Locker" would win for Best Picture even before they were nominated and I was right.  And that was from a list of ten nominations, the relatively new rule - up to 10 movies can be nominated for Best Picture (it used to be only five).  I don't agree with that, but nobody asked me.

Now you might think I have a leg up on this, because the Golden Globe nominations have already been announced.  However, though there is some synchronicity between the two, the Golden Globes divides films and actors into Dramas and Comedies (the Academy does not), so there will be several acting nominees at the Golden Globes who will not get Academy Award nominations.

What are the Golden Globes? In 1943 a group of writers banded together to form the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and created the Golden Globe Award to promote themselves.  In the past, that award was an excuse to get celebrities together and have a party and did not have the gravitas of the Academy Awards.  It's still a big party (which can lead to some very funny, drunken acceptance speeches), but now it has gained prestige and acts as a sort of harbinger to what we might expect from the Academy Awards.  

But they don't know everything!

So without further ado, here are what I think the nominations will be for Best Actor and Actress, Best Picture and who I want to win and who I think will win. 

You might wonder why I am not commenting on Best Supporting Actor and Actress.  As Bill Murray used to say when he made his Oscar predictions on Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update," "Who Cares?" 

Note:  I am really sticking my neck out here as I haven't even seen all of the films yet!  But for those I have, I have linked the films below to my original reviews.

Best Actor

Michael Keaton, "Birdman"
Benedict Cumberbatch, "The Imitation Game"
Eddie Redmayne, "The Theory of Everything"
Bill Murray, "St. Vincent"
Jake Gyllenhaal, "Nightcrawler"

I predict Eddie Redmayne will win Best Actor because the Academy loves seeing actors play roles where they must overcome a disability - Remember Daniel Day-Lewis in "My Left Foot?"  It's like that.  Day-Lewis won an Academy Award for his role as Christy Brown who was born with cerebral palsy and learned to write and paint with his only usable limb - his left foot.  Well, Eddie plays Stephen Hawking who lives with ALS, but what makes his performance so striking is his going from the young vibrant Hawking through all of the stages of his disease to his complete debilitation, all the while showing Hawking's determination to live and his sense of humor. 

An extraordinary performance.

I think he will win and I want him to win.

Best Actress

Reese Witherspoon, "Wild"
Julianne Moore, "Still Alice"
Felicity Jones, "The Theory of Everything"
Rosamund Pike, "Gone Girl"
Jennifer Anniston, "Cake"

I predict that Julianne Moore will win for "Still Alice," because the Academy loves stories about people fighting a disease.  Julianne Moore fighting Alzheimer's Disease?  What a combo.  And she hasn't won an Oscar yet.

But I would really like to see Reese Witherspoon win for "Wild."  She is a one-woman show bringing Cheryl Strayed's powerful book to life.  And she plays against type.  "America's Sweetheart" does nude scenes!

Best Picture


The Theory of Everything

The Imitation Game





Gone Girl


I am really going to stick my neck out here, but I think "Boyhood" will not only be nominated, it will win Best Picture. 

The filming took place over 12 years using the same cast.  We literally watch a boy grow up.  Filmmaking doesn't get any more powerful than that.  Director Richard Linklater should win Best Director for that feat alone.

But I would love to see "Into the Woods" win, because it is a brilliant film and musicals don't get enough props!

Well, we shall see.

What do you think?

Academy Award nominations will be announced January 15 and the ceremony takes place February 22.  

See you there! 

And if you want to throw a killer Academy Award Party, see last year's blog post.

Thanks for reading.

See you Friday 
for my review of the new movie
"The Imitation Game,"
The Week in Reviews,
as well as my progress on
"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project."

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at

Friday, January 2, 2015

"Into the Woods" and The Week in Reviews

[I review the new movie "Into the Woods" and the DVDs "Into the Storm" and "Advanced Style," as well as the book "Watch Me" by Anjelica Huston.  Plus I bring you up to date on my "1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project: Fassbinder's "Ali: Fear Eats the Soul" and Godard's "Alphaville"  and share my latest "A-Ha Moment."]


The musical version of the Tony award winning musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine.
The Baker and his wife (James Corden and Emily Blunt), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Rapunzel and Jack, of beanstalk fame, all come together in a sort of musical  "fractured fairy tale" with brilliant music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
All of the characters have a wish - Cinderella to attend the festival, Jack wishes his cow would give milk and the baker and his wife are wishing for a child.  Enter The Witch (Meryl Streep), who lives next door to the baker and his wife.  She reveals why they have not been successful having a child.  Their house is cursed because the previous occupant was a bad neighbor, eating all of her greens from her garden. To break the curse the baker and his wife must bring her a red cloak, a white cow, a golden slipper and hair as yellow as corn so she can make a potion to release the curse.  And so we are off and running.

Be careful what you wish for.
The first act is high spirited and fun as the baker and his wife try to fulfil The Witch's requests and the rest of the fairy tale characters live out their stories.  The second act gets dark as The Woods - Life - starts interfering with the fairy tale.
Meryl Streep will certainly get a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her turn as The Witch.  Her rendition of "Last Midnight" brought tears to my eyes.  Anna Kendrick was lovely as Cinderella and Emily Blunt and James Corden were wonderful (Corden will be taking Craig Ferguson's place on "The Late Late Show). It was great to see Tracey Ullman again as Jack's mother. Chris Pine as Prince Charming would have done better to play it straight.  He camped it up too much, but his song "Agony" along with Rapunzel's Prince was a hoot as was his line:  "I wasn't brought up to be sincere.  I was brought up to be charming." Johnny Depp also hammed it up as The Wolf, playing him as a creepy perv, but small criticisms for a great movie.

Often when Broadway musicals are adapted for the screen, they are not successful.  Think "A Chorus Line."  But then there are those where the film adaptation enhances it because film has the ability to use special effects to expand the visual aspects.  That is what happened here.  Film brings the play even more to life.  Director Rob Marshall made the musical "Chicago" a huge hit.  He has done it again with "Into the Woods."  Expect an Oscar nomination for him too.

As I sat in the theatre, I wondered how many of my fellow viewers did not know this was a musical.  The trailers for this film didn't show one moment of music, thus reinforcing my belief that producers think we don't like musicals and are scared of them.  Well, some people don't, but many of us do, especially if the musical is well made.  And this one is a beauty.  From the acting to the set design to the book and music, this adaptation to the screen is first rate.  And even if you think you don't like musicals, Sondheim is more than "just a musical."  His lyrics are literary and witty and his rhyming structure a thing to wonder at.
Rosy the Reviewer says...One of the Best of the Year and sure to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.  Don't miss it.

You Might Have Missed
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)
A dramatic representation of storm chasers presented documentary style.

Two teen-aged brothers are the focus here with one filming a time capsule about himself.  Their father is the vice principal of the school and the oldest son feels nothing he ever does is good enough for his dad.  Enter a big old storm and that will certainly give them something to bond over.

In addition to the teens, we have some daredevil rednecks who are trying out various stunts so they can become famous on YouTube.  Think "Jackass."  And the storm chasers who are riding around in an armored tank with stabilizers that can withstand winds of up to 170mph.  What do you bet this particular storm will have winds higher than that?

Everyone here is filming something:  the teen, his time capsule; the "Jackass" guys, footage for YouTube; and the storm chasers are filming a documentary.

So we have the teenagers, the storm chasers and the "Jackass" guys - and wouldn't you know it's graduation day at Silverton High School and the graduation is outside. Talk about a "Perfect Storm."  The problem is, there is nothing perfect about this film.  Not even close.

For one thing, when some characters try to outrun the tornado, which I always thought we were told NOT to do, why didn't they go AWAY from the direction the storm was heading?  Oh, right, then we wouldn't have any tension.

However, I will say the storm sequences were quite good and I can imagine seeing this in 3D would be exciting.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you can overlook the acting and the dialogue (or lack of), you might enjoy the tornado footage.  That's the real star here.

Advanced Style (2014)

This is Ari Cohen's blog "Advanced Style" brought to life.

Ari Cohen has been documenting stylish women of a certain age (they have to be over 50) that he spots on the streets of New York City for the last six years  on his blog "Advanced Style" and in a book of the same name.

Here with the help of director Lina Piloplyte, we get to know seven lovely ladies between the ages of 62 and 95 who dress with panache and style. No cat ladies these, stuck in dingy apartments just waiting for the grim reaper. These women are out on the streets of New York in creative clothes eschewing the hindrances of old age and expressing themselves. These women use the streets of New York City as their own private runway and prove there is no time limit on style.

We see these ladies at home and follow them around New York City as they embrace life with humor and wit.

Ilona Royce Smithkin, 93, is a singer who is still performing.  Her trademark is her red eyelashes that she makes out of her own hair.  However, the oldest is 95-year-old Zelda Kaplan.  She opines: "Good style improves the environment for everyone."  She lives life to the fullest but you get the feeling that she knows it won't last much longer. 

We get fashion advice (making bracelets out of toilet paper rolls) as well as their views on life.  These ladies are not afraid to speak their minds.

Joyce Capati, 80,  says, "I never wanted to look young.  I wanted to look great!"

This is a light little film, heavy with inspiration.

Rosy the Reviewer says...We all want to age with grace and style, right?  I know that I do and if you want some inspiration, watch this film.

***My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project***
290 to go!


Emmi is a cleaning lady in her 60's and Ali is a Moroccan guest worker in Munich twenty years her junior.  They fall in love despite their age and the racism that surrounds them.

They meet as a joke when Emmi finds herself in a bar seeking shelter from the rain.  A German girl goads Ali into asking "the old lady" to dance, which he does, but then her kindness toward him softens his heart and they embark upon an unlikely love affair, despite the hostility and mockery they encounter.  This was homage to Douglas Sirk, one of Fassbinder's cinematic heroes and his film, "All That Heaven Allows" and later we see the same story in "Far from Heaven."  He captures the lush cinematography and melodrama that Sirk was known for.  Fassbinder's camera lingers over his stars, especially Brigitte Mira, who plays Emmi, and captures the beauty that emanates out of an otherwise plain older woman.  

Directed by German auteur Rainer Werner Fassbinder, this story of an unlikely love affair is riveting in its simplicity and takes on the racism toward Arab people long before 9/11.  But the film is also about loneliness and how cold the world can be.

Fassbinder was influenced by the French New Wave and is credited with being the father of the New German Cinema.  He was incredibly prolific.  Starting at age 21, he made over 40 films and TV dramas in only 15 years.  He died at 37 of a drug overdose.
Why it's a Must See:  "Technically flawless, deceptively simple, and avoiding excesses, it is about problems that are timely and timeless in implications."
--Variety 1974

Rosy the Reviewer says...a touching, beautifully filmed experience that will stay with you.  (subtitles)

Alphaville (1965)

"Alphaville" is a futuristic blend of science fiction, film noir, and satire directed by Jean-Luc Godard.

Eddie Constantine, with his craggy, punch drunk face, stars as Lemmy Caution, a hard-boiled detective who is sent into a city controlled by a giant computer named Alpha 60. His mission is to make contact with Professor von Braun, a famous scientist who has fallen mysteriously silent, and is believed to be suppressed by the computer.
Constantine was also famous for being a singer discovered by Edith Piaf and who subsequently became her lover.
Director Jean-Luc Godard is arguably the most influential director of the French New Wave and is probably best known for his film "Breathless." 
He and his contemporaries criticized mainstream French Cinema that eschewed innovation in favor of craft and favored the works of the past rather than tackling current social issues.  Younger filmmakers began to make their own films that also challenged the conventions of traditional Hollywood.  He expressed his political views in his films as well as his knowledge of film history through allusions in his films and existentialism is a theme running throughout.

Here he is bringing up the theme of worshiping technology and it taking over our lives.  And it's only 1965!
Why it's a Must See: "Shooting in cleverly selected Paris locations, [Godard] discovers the seeds of totalitarian future in contemporary hotel lobbies, neon signage, office buildings, and bureaucratic waiting rooms...a rare futurist vision that simply does not date."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"
Rosy the Reviewer's like Dr. Who dropped into a Dick Tracy cartoon (but racier - it's a French film, after all).  I could have died without seeing this one, despite its black and white cinematic beauty.  If you want to see Godard, start with "Breathless."  It's more accessible and the young Jean-Paul Belmondo is to die for! (b & w with subtitles)
***Book of the Week***

Watch Me: A Memoir by Anjelica Huston (2014)
Huston continues her life's story since her first book, "A Story Lately Told,( which I reviewed in my December 16 post)."  This one includes her liaisons with Jack Nicholson and Ryan O'Neal (among others) and the advent of her acting career.

She starts where she left off, leaving an abusive relationship and spending time on her career.

At twenty-nine years old and trying to find herself in Hollywood, director Tony Richardson said to her:
 “‘Poor little you. So much talent and so little to show for it. You’re never going to do anything with your life.’ Tony had a singsong voice, like one of his own parrots, but there was no mistaking the edge. ‘Perhaps you’re right,’ I answered. Inside I was thinking, Watch me.”

So Anjelica made the decision to really work on becoming an actress.

This one is not as elegant as her first one.  I have never seen so much name-dropping.  Yes, we know she came from "movie royalty" and had access to all kinds of celebrities from a young age, but it gets old after awhile.  It reads like she is using her diary as a guide and just transposing it into book form.  It feels flat compared to her first book.
Rosy the Reviewer says...However, if you are a celebrity watcher, there is lots of juicy stuff here.

***My A-HA Moment of the Week***

2015 is going to be a good year!

Thanks for Reading!

That's it for this week.
See you Tuesday for
"My Early Oscar Predictions"


If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, 
email it to your friends and
LIKE me on Facebook at

Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.


Note:  Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). 

Here is a quick link to get to many of them.  Choose the film you are interested in and then scroll down the list of reviewers to find "Rosy the Reviewer."

Or you can go directly to IMDB.  

Find the page for the movie, click on "Explore More" on the right side panel and then scroll down to "External Reviews."  Look for "Rosy the Reviewer" on the list. Or if you are using a mobile device, look for "Critics Reviews." Click on that and you will find me alphabetically under "Rosy the Reviewer."