Friday, August 10, 2018

"Mission Impossible - Fallout" and The Week in Reviews

[I review "Mission Impossible - Fallout" as well as DVDs "Chappaquiddick" and "The Square."  I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with "The Mirror."  The Book of the Week is "A Body of Work: Dancing to the Edge and Back" by David Hallberg.]

Mission Impossible - Fallout

Yet another spy thriller where bad guys are trying to get their hands on some plutonium so they can make nuclear bombs and blow up the world - but with lots and lots of twists!

As a Baby Boomer, watching "Mission Impossible" on TV was a weekly event.  We all knew the lines from the tape recorder right before the iconic TV theme music would play.

"Your mission, Jim, should you choose to accept it, ... As always, should you or any of your Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This tape/disc will self-destruct in five/ten seconds."

Now "Mission Impossible" has become a movie event, and this is the 6th in the movie in the series and the franchise shows no signs of slowing down.  Top at the box office for its first two weekends, this is the movie everyone wants to see.

I have been a big fan of Tom Cruise ever since he marched onto the scene as a bad guy in "Taps," but over the years he has become a polarizing figure.  I am not sure why.  Is it the Scientology thing?  Is it because he jumped around on Oprah's couch?  Is it because we are disappointed that he is short?  Is it because he is basically a private person?  What?  I don't really get it but whatever it is, it doesn't stop people from wanting to see him in the "Mission Impossible" movies because this is one of the biggest films of the summer.

The film is a sequel to 2015's "Rogue Nation" and takes place in Belfast, Berlin, Paris, London and Kashmir, where Ethan meets up once again with his old foe Solomon Lane (Sean Harris).  This time Lane has partnered with another lunatic, John Lark, and a group called The Apostles, to get their hands on some plutonium to launch a nuclear attack on the world and create a new world order.  So with the help of his usual pals, Luther (Ving Rhames) and Benji (Simon Pegg), Ethan's assignment (should he choose to accept it - and you know he will!) is to stop them.

Yes, this is a plot we have seen lately in practically every spy movie, but this time there are so many twists and turns it's not easy to keep up.  Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?  Henry Cavill's CIA Operative August Walker?  The White Widow (Vanessa Kirby)?  Former MI6 agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson)? CIA Director Erika Sloane (Angela Bassett)? Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin), the Secretary of the Impossible Mission Force and Ex-CIA Director? Good or bad? Who can Ethan trust? The film keeps you guessing.

Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, the dialogue is corny, the acting is over the top and the plot is one that's been done time and time again - the bad guys are trying to get plutonium to make nuclear bombs - but we don't go to the "Mission Impossible" movies to see Daniel Day Lewis doing Hamlet.  We go for the thrills and to see just what crazy stunt Tom will do next and this movie delivers. Tom may be 56 but he is still doing his own stunts and sure doesn't show any signs of slowing down.  From hanging from a helicopter to jumping from one building to another to hanging from a sheer cliff by his fingernails to sky-diving through a lightning storm, Tom's stunts are heart-pounding nail biters.  And of course Tom runs.  No one runs like Tom! 

But Tom is not infallible. I have seen him on talk shows talking about breaking his foot during filming.  See if you can tell.  Already knowing, I still couldn't help but cringe when it happened.  But there are so many cringe-worthy stunts (in a good way), Tom risks breaking something in any one of them. But that's why we continue to go see this franchise - to see what risks Tom will take next! Oh, and the story, too, I guess.

Rosy the Reviewer says...this is the Summer Blockbuster not to miss!

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


Chappaquiddick (2017)

What really happened the night Ted Kennedy drove his car over the bridge on Chappaquiddick Island killing young campaign worker, Mary Jo Kopechne?

We may never know the full story, but we do know that Kennedy left the scene and the accident wasn't reported until several hours later.  In 1969 this was a huge scandal for the Kennedy family and left many questions unanswered.  What was this married man doing partying with a bunch of young, attractive women in a remote cabin on Chappaquiddick Island?  What was he doing driving around late at night with Mary Jo?  How was he able to get out of the sunken car but not save Mary Jo?  Why did he leave the scene?  

What we do know for sure, though, is that Ted Kennedy showed very poor judgment that night and it tainted his political career for ever after.

But why?

This film begins with the curse of the Kennedys - the death of oldest son Joseph, who had originally been the leading light of the family and old Joe's choice for President, and the assassinations of Jack and Bobby, leaving Teddy to carry the political mantle. The film goes on to imply that Teddy was a bit of a disappointment to his father and didn't really want a political life.  He also had an inferiority complex when it came to Joseph, Jack and Bobby. Joseph was the favored son; Jack was the charming one; and Bobby was the brilliant one.  How did Teddy fit in? Teddy comes across here as the clueless one, an immature dolt, who when he got into trouble, his Dad would hire people to get him out.

His father had said to him:

"You can live a serious life or a non-serious life.  I would still love you but if you live a non-serious life I just won't have much time for you." get the picture.  

On the night of the accident, Teddy (Jason Clarke) and his campaign guys were partying in a cabin on Chappaquiddick Island with "The Boiler Room Girls," young women who had worked on Bobby's campaign.  He and Mary Jo (Kate Mara) get in the car and go off into the night, seemingly to head to the ferry but somehow ended up far from there, eventually driving off a bridge into the water.

After the accident, why did he run?  

He was probably drunk and even if he wasn't cheating, it sure didn't look good for a politically connected married man to be out in the middle of the night with an attractive young woman.  And instead of reporting the accident, Teddy goes back to the party and gets his cousin Joe Gargan (Ed Helms), his fixer, and another political friend, Paul Markham (Jim Gaffigan), who go to the site of the accident and try to save Mary Jo but to no avail.  Teddy then goes back to his hotel room in Martha's Vineyard and gets cleaned up.  He calls his Dad to tell him what has happened and old Joe (an almost unrecognizable Bruce Dern), who had already had a stroke by this time and couldn't really speak, uttered one work: "Alibi." That tells you right there how old Joe operated.  Teddy never did report the accident and went about his business until a fisherman and his son saw the car in the water.

Thus began the cover-up.

And once the wheels started turning to save Ted from scandal, Ted became a pawn in a political game.  But much like today, where there are constant distractions and deflections to take our minds off more serious political issues, Teddy also lucked out.  The moon landing was happening at the same time as the accident and people were focused on that.

Written by Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan and directed by John Curran, the movie is pure speculation but, ah, the foibles of powerful men who can't keep it in their pants, something that obfuscates the good they can do. The movie doesn't necessarily imply there was something going on with Teddy and Mary Jo, but we know that in his later personal life he was no Mike Pence.  And speaking of the conservative side of politics, this was a huge scandal for the Kennedy family and for Teddy, who was the last chance for their political future.  The very Right Wing, as in the John Birch Society side and conspiracy theorists had a field on that for years - sort of on the same level as Hillary running a child porn ring out of a pizza parlor.

The film shows how preserving one's legacy can take precedent over accountability, how money and power can manipulate the truth and how political cover-ups are nothing new.

Jason Clarke is believable and quite wonderful as Teddy.  I first noticed him when I reviewed "Mudbound," another acting achievement for him. The rest of the cast are also admirable, especially Ed Helms.  I wish he would do more dramatic roles. He always plays such unsympathetic characters in comedies. Sadly, though, there was not a lot for Kate Mara as Mary Jo to do which in turn didn't really shed any light on the real Mary Jo, who to this day remains a rather mysterious figure. 

Rosy the Reviewer says...a poignant portrait of a man who wasn't ready for the expectation heaped upon him but who was able to overcome scandal and insecurity to become one of our great Senators.

The Square (2017)

The curator of a prestigious contemporary art museum in Stockholm faces personal and professional obstacles as he attempts to set up a controversial art installation called "The Square."

Claes Bang plays Christian, the harried curator of a modern art museum in Stockholm, Sweden.  The film begins with Anne (Elisabeth Moss) interviewing Christian, an interesting way to get all of the exposition out of the way.   As the interview progresses, Christian talks about a new art installation - "The Square" - a lighted square space in the courtyard entrance to the museum that is meant to create a sense of altruism. If you stand in "The Square," you can can ask for whatever help you need and hopefully someone will respond.

Anne questions something on the museum's website and calls Christian out on his "museum speak," starting a discussion of "What is art?"  Is something art just because it's in a museum?  That really made me laugh because, on a personal level, I couldn't help but be transported back to the Tate Modern in London where I engaged in a similar discussion.  And Alex, you know who you are.

Christian is charismatic but also pretentious and egotistical. On his way to work, Christian gets involved in a domestic dispute.  He and another man help a woman who is calling for help and congratulate themselves on stepping in when no one else did.  Unfortunately, when Christian arrives at work he discovers he has been pick pocketed and the scene was just a big ruse.  It was all a set-up for thievery and not only is his wallet missing but also his phone and cuff links!  No good deed...

So Christian becomes obsessed with getting his phone back, and he and his tech friend use GPS to locate his phone and discover that it is in a building in a less affluent part of town so friend suggests that Christian write a threatening letter and deliver it to every apartment in the high rise which Christian does surreptitiously in a rather amusing scene.

Meanwhile, two young guys have been hired to do PR for "The Square" and they come up with a controversial concept.  Christian has a lot on his mind as he tries to find his phone and distractedly signs off on the concept, not realizing what a storm it will set off. It doesn't end well.

Speaking of the phone, now Christian has received a threatening letter from someone in the building where he delivered his letters and it turns out to be a young immigrant boy who is angry because his parents read the letter and thought he had stolen the phone.  He demands that Christian apologize and tell his parents that it wasn't he and he won't let up on Christian. He turns up everywhere, including his home, demanding that Christian apologize and tell his parents that he didn't steal the phone.  This doesn't end well either.

The film culminates in a gala dinner to promote the opening of "The Square," where in a performance art piece a man (Terry Notary) pretends to be an ape and, as he becomes more and more aggressive, the performance gets out of hand, and he actually attacks a woman.  The diners become progressively uneasy and shocked but do they do anything?  No. An ironic counterpoint to the purpose of the "The Square."  Again, doesn't end well.

Christian is not a bad guy.  He is really trying to do the right thing but life is getting in the way and he is just too pretentious and privileged to get how the little people live.  There is a telling scene as Christian sits at a bus stop with several bags of purchases from expensive stores, and a beggar, who is obviously an immigrant, asks for money. Christian tells him sorry, he doesn't have any cash.

Written and directed by Ruben Ostland, this was one of the foreign language films nominated for an Oscar last year, and it skewers artists, art and this whole idea of talking about altruism while at the same time there are homeless people and others out there who we really try to ignore as much as possible. Can art change that?  When does art and life coalesce?  Does art really make us better? Do we excuse what is considered art even if it is dangerous?  Do we kill what is considered socially unacceptable? And what has to happen before we decide to help others?

The irony of the film is the intent of "The Square" - to foster altruism - when the film itself shows how altruistic we are NOT.  We make these far reaching statements and mean well but real life gets in the way of our good intentions. There is also a larger canvas: the schism between the homeless and immigrants and the homogeneous European countries who are not used to people who are not like them.  

As for the "what is art" question which forms the more humorous side of the film, there is another exhibit that is just heaps of gravel in cone shapes and every time the cleaners go in there, they knock some of it over and staff members have to try to recreate the piles, which really made me laugh because of a similar personal experience, one that reflects the poke this film is giving modern art. 

My family and I were visiting an art museum on the University of Washington campus and there was this one installation with boxes overturned and styrofoam packing peanuts on the floor.  I am not even sure I knew that it was one of the art pieces, but I saw a packing peanut that was really far away from the rest and right where I was walking, so I just gave it a kick to put it back with the others and so someone else wouldn't step on it.  Just as I did that, an art gallery staff member yelled at me to stop messing with the art installation.  I had no idea that that one packing peanut had been specially placed just there and my giving it a kick ruined everything.  So though I am an art lover, I have my issues, too, with some of the very far out stuff like those piles of gravel in the film and those styrofoam packing peanuts.

Elizabeth Moss seems to show up everywhere these days and certainly doesn't have any problem taking off her clothes which she also seems to do a lot of these days.  Really like her as an actress and am totally addicted to "The Handmaid's Tale," but here she plays a really annoying character.  I guess that means she is a really good actress!

But this is Bangs' film.  He is a handsome, charismatic actor who reminded me of a younger Pierce Brosnan. He totally captures the essence of the male ego under siege and the lack of awareness of the privileged.

Certainly there are acts of kindness in this world and certainly art works promoting it are not bad things, but did I get from this film that art is an effective way to get people to take time out of their busy lives to help others or that they even notice people who need help?  No.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a compelling film that asks some important questions.

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

131 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

The Mirror (1974)

A man remembers his past.  Anyway, I think that's what this is about.

Andrei Tarkovsky was a Russian filmmaker but he was also a writer and a theatre and opera director.  His works are considered some of the greatest films of all time. Bergman considered him "the greatest."  Tarkovsky's films are characterized by long takes, metaphysical themes and beautiful images and this film is no exception.

However, when a review of a film says that the film is so complex that it might require multiple viewings, that says to me that the film is incomprehensible and that is pretty much the case here.  And that was disappointing, because I really liked Tarkovsky's "Stalker," another complex film but at least I knew what was going on in that one.

This film appears to be a series of autobiographical vignettes as a man thinks back on his life.  The film alternates between color and black and white as well as past and present but doesn't seem to have any rhyme or reason when it jumps back and forth.  Is it the past when the film is in black and white?  Not necessarily.

Margarita Terekhova plays both the mother in the past as well as a present day wife.  There are few men in the film though a male voice provides a narration from time to time.  

Other than that, I had mostly questions:

  • What was the opening scene with the stuttering boy about?
  • Who is the narrator supposed to be?
  • Is there some reason why the film is sometimes in color and sometimes in black and white?
  • Who the hell are these people and why am I supposed to care about them?
  • And what was that bullfighter all about?
  • And why did the film end with the camera panning over decaying trees and detritus?
  • Was it called "The Mirror" because the lead actress was looking in the mirror all of the time?

Who knows?

When I was young, I used to like incomprehensible movies because talking about them made me feel deep.  Now I am older and wiser and don't want to have to work so hard to understand a film. I feel like this is one of those movies where only the filmmaker knew the point or the meaning of certain scenes and pictures.

Why it's a Must See: "[This film] is a beguiling and remarkable film -- full of the pregnant mysteriousness of places, people and gestures...[It] is constructed as a collage, in which recreated vignettes that blur past an present are freely mingled with archival footage and disconnected quotations from classical music.  The ambience is dreamlike, secretive, elliptical...Tarkovsky, like Robert Bresson, is a master of the precisely chosen image and sound."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

When a movie is described as mysterious, secretive, where past and present are blurred, and it is likened to Robert Bresson (who we already know I have problems with), then forget it. I probably won't like it. And watching this film, I discovered something about myself.  I LIKE MOVIES WITH PLOTS!

Rosy the Reviewer says...the film is beautiful to look at but I don't like films where I have so many questions.  If you see it and figure out what it all means, let me know.

***The Book of the Week***

A Body of Work: Dancing to the Edge and Back by David Hallberg (2017)

A memoir by the first American to be a principal dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet.

Hallberg is currently a principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre and he was the first American to star as a principal with the Bolshoi Ballet and this is a rich tale of the hard work and determination it takes to be a successful dancer.

I have always been fascinated by ballet dancers and their stories.  Ballet dancing requires a dancer to do things that the body is not really meant to do and, the discipline and rigor needed is immense, with dancers constantly fearing career-ending injuries.  The sacrifices that must be made to stay in shape are also immense and often lead to chemical dependency, eating disorders and psychological issues, an example of which was famously told by Gelsey Kirkland in her 1986 best-selling memoir "Dancing on My Grave."

But this memoir is not one of those.  

Beginning with his childhood, Hallberg acknowledges he was effeminate so it didn't help that he was also a dancer.  He was a target for bullies but that didn't stop him.  He knew he wanted to dance and he put in the work to consistently move himself forward.  No drug dependency or eating disorders for him, though he did suffer from ambition and perfectionism.  Hallberg also acknowledges that he was gay but spends little time on that in his book.

This book is less about Hallberg's personal life and more about the dancing and the work and the pain of coming back from a possible career ending injury.  Ballet fans will enjoy the details of the ballet life with the daily classes, the rehearsals, the personal interactions with other dancers, the successful performances and the passion that it takes to be a professional ballet dancer.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you are a big ballet fan, you will enjoy this book.

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday 


"The Spy Who Dumped Me"


The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

 and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before 

I Die Project." 

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Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.

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

Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll down below the synopsis and the listings for the director, writer and main stars to where it says "Reviews" and click on "Critics" - If I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list.

Friday, August 3, 2018

"Three Identical Strangers" and The Week in Reviews

[I review the documentary "Three Identical Strangers" as well as DVDs "Blockers" and "Double Lover."  The Book of the Week is actress Olivia Hussey's memoir "The Girl on the Balcony."  I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with "Once Upon a Time in China."]

Three Identical Strangers

A documentary about triplets separated at birth who found each other at 19 and uncovered a conspiracy.

Hyped as "a documentary for people who don't like documentaries," this film tells the stranger than fiction true story of Bobby Shafran, David Kellman and Eddy Galland, triplet brothers who were born in 1961 to a single Jewish mother and separated at birth.  They were placed in different homes by the Louise Wise Adoption Agency, an agency that primarily placed Jewish children, never knowing that they had identical siblings.  

Bobby, now 56, tells the story of how he discovered he had a twin.

When Bobby went to college as a freshman, he kept getting called Eddy by people who seemed to know him, yet he had never been to this college before and knew no one.  Eventually one of his classmates told him that there was this other guy, Eddy, who looked exactly like him.  The two excitedly called Eddy and when Bobby and Eddy compared notes - that they were born on the same day and adopted from the same adoption agency - they realized they were twin brothers.  Later, when a newspaper article appeared about that chance meeting, David saw it, and he, too, realized he had identical brothers.  

When the three reunited at 19 there was a media blitz.  They appeared on all of the talk shows where they shared that they all liked the same color, smoked the same brand of cigarettes, and even had the same taste in women despite the fact that they were raised apart.  The three moved in together and eventually opened a restaurant. It was a happy time.

But there was a dark side to all of this.

Turns out the three were part of a secret and unethical "nature vs. nurture" twin study begun by psychiatrist Peter B. Neubauer and sponsored by the 
Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services.   At least five sets of genetically identical siblings were separated and placed in differing economic circumstances and their progress was tracked over many years.  Bobby was placed with a physician and his wife, Eddy with a teacher and his wife and David with a blue collar family.  Each also had an adopted sister who had been placed with those families on purpose by the same agency.  Neither the parents nor the boys knew about the experiment nor about each other. 

When this all came to light, the boys said they felt like lab rats and that this smacked of something out of Nazi Germany.  They also realized why they all suffered from depression. They may have liked the same colors, clothes, cigarettes and girls, which tended to support the nature side of the nature vs. nurture debate, but they were also very different and each had their particular demons to deal with. Their being separated from each other at birth and raised in economically different households by parents with very different parenting beliefs, took its toll and showed that nurture may play the biggest role. 

But, despite the emotional and psychological cost of the study on the "children," ironically and mysteriously, the results of the study were never published and all of the research materials languish at Yale University not to be opened until 2066 without authorization from the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services. So the nature vs. nurture debate goes on.

The film directed by Tim Wardle consists of a combination of talking heads - the boys and those who knew them - as well as home movies and film footage, and it's a sad tale with a tragic ending (and don't Google it)!  

This has been a great year for documentaries.

"RBG" and "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" were standouts but so is this one.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a dramatic and riveting stranger than fiction story that sparks the nature vs. nurture debate. Expect a tight race for Best Documentary Feature at the Oscars next year.

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


Blockers (2018)

When parents discover their teenage daughters plan to lose their virginity on Prom Night, they set out to block them -- and you can guess where that title comes from, right?

I have been so disappointed in comedies this year that I did not start to watch this film with a positive attitude, especially after seeing the previews.  I think it was the butt chugging scene that turned me off, but I am happy to report that this film is quite funny, and better yet, quite sweet.

The film begins by showing three little girls on their very first day at school saying goodbye to their nervous parents.  Little Julie, Sam and Kayla bond and so do their parents - Mitchell (John Cena), Lisa (Leslie Mann) and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) - who are standing together tearfully waving goodbye to their little girls.

"If our daughters are friends, I think that means we are friends."

There is a montage showing the girls growing up and maintaining their friendship. Fast forward to high school, and Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan), Sam (Gideon Adlon) and Julie (Kathryn Newton) are still besties.

As for their parents:

  • Mitchell is Kayla's Dad.  Kayla is a jock and he's the overprotective Dad.  He is also very emotional.  When he exhibits an emotional reaction, Kayla says, "It's like when he watched 'Frozen." You get the picture.

  • Lisa is a single Mom and thinks she is the cool mom and that her daughter is her best friend and tells her everything.

  • Hunter is divorced and hasn't really been there for his daughter but wanting to make it up to her, and Mitchell and Lisa don't particularly approve of Hunter because of his party lifestyle.

All three parents have grown apart over the years but when they find out that the girls plan to lose their virginity on Prom Night, they bond once again with a common purpose - to not let that happen!

There are two kinds of comedies.  Smart ones with subtle, dry, intellectual humor like Woody Allen films and then there are ones where everyone talks loud just in case we might miss the joke and lots of physical humor and over-the-top acting.  This one eventually falls into the latter, and I don't usually like those kinds of comedies, but I have to give it a pass, because the screenplay had some very sensitive and sweet moments and the actors won me over.  The girls are believable - Viswanathan is a standout - and John Cena, Barinholtz and Mann are really funny and remind all of us parents how hard it is to accept that are kids are growing up.

Cena has gone from wrestler to actor and made a name for himself in comedy.  I have been a huge fan of Barinholtz ever since his "Madtv" days and Mann, married to Judd Apatoe, is a staple in comedies as the quirky sweet character with the squeaky, childlike voice that belies the crazy situations she gets herself into.

As I said, the screenplay by Brian and Jim Kehoe is actually quite sensitive to the difficulty parents have letting their children go though it's done in a humorous way, and they are not judgmental about teen girls wanting to have sex.  It is handled very well and not in the usually cliched way where the boy is either overpowering the girl or the only one enjoying a sexual encounter. And when one of the girls admits to being gay, it is treated as no big deal.

Directed by Kay Cannon (it's also part of the Seth Rogan/Evan Goldberg comedy franchise), it's a one note joke but underlying the joke is a sensitive commentary on parents trying to deal with the fact that their children are growing up and away. Older kids (it's R-rated) and parents will be able to relate to this, though I think teenagers would probably be mortified to see this with their parents.

I have to say, though I feared the butt chugging scene, it was actually hilarious.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a bittersweet and funny look at parents trying to stave off their childrens' independence, and better yet, a comedy that actually funny.

Double Lover (2017)
(Orig. Title: "L'Amant Double)

This review is going to be short and sweet because I don't think you would really like this film anyway.  Let's just say it's very "French."

Ah, the French.  They have a way with sex in movies.  You know you are in for it when the movie begins with the heroine naked on a table in a doctor's office with her legs in the stirrups and you can see practically everything and I mean up close and personal.  Yes, it's one of THOSE movies. I'm still wondering how this film ended up on my Netflix list.

Chloe (Marine Vacth) is having stomach problems and the doctor implies that after all of the tests that have been done, perhaps, it's all in her head?  She doesn't appear to live a very happy life.  She is 25, lives alone, doesn't have a job and feels incapable of love.  Not a good combo.  But she seeks out a psychiatrist, Paul Meyer (Jeremie Renier), who seems to be helping her because her stomach pains go away.  And then he really helps her.  They fall in love.  She moves in with him but feels he is hiding something from her.  She snoops around and finds his passport with a different last name on it - Delord.  He explains that he uses his mother's name for work because it is easier.

But when riding the bus home one day she thinks she sees him outside a building and he denies ever being there, she goes to the building and finds another psychiatrist, Louis Delord (also played by Renier), who looks exactly like her guy and has the same last name as Paul's passport.  Turns out it is Paul's soon-to-be-revealed evil twin.  Chloe makes an appointment under an assumed name - Eva - and begins treatment with Louis. Louis likes to use rough sex as a cure for what ails ya and Chloe/Eva seems to like that better than Paul's ho-hum love making so Chloe/Eva embarks on a kind of double life.

Needless to say her stomach pains come back.

Paul and Louis are mirror twins and ironically she went to them for psychiatric help and the two end up driving her crazy. Well, actually she was crazy all along. Or was she?

Vacth is a lovely actress but her character was so unpleasant and the movie so strange that it's difficult for me to give her any props.  As for Renier, let's just say I liked Paul and despised Louis. Jacqueline Bisset makes an appearance which was actually the best thing about the film.  Those French actresses sure know how to age well.

"Freely" adapted by Francois Ozon from a Joyce Carol Oates book called "Lives of the Twins" and directed by Ozon, the film reminded me of that Jeremy Irons film "Dead Ringers" directed by David Cronenberg. That one was very weird and so is this one. But this is also another one of those movies where you are not sure if what you are seeing is really happening or it's all in Chloe's mind.  Are there really twin brothers?  Is she really pregnant?  Is she nuts?  Actually I didn't need to know because by the end of this thing I didn't care.  

And I didn't need to know what a "cannibal twin" was, either.  I may never get that image out of my mind.

Rosy the Reviewer says...despite the fact that this film won the Palm D'Or at Cannes in 2017, which I find unbelievable, no need to see this one.  Trust me.

(In French with English subtitles)

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

132 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

Once Upon a Time in China (1991)

It's 19th century China and legendary healer and martial artist Wong Fei-Hung (Jet Li) is not happy about the influx of Westerners into China.  

Maybe it has something to do with their enslaving Chinese men and taking them to California to work in the gold mines. Or maybe it's the Catholic missionaries, Western clothing, guns and the intrigues between the British and the Americans.  To make matters worse, the local government is also corrupt.  But Wong really gets upset when his favorite Aunt, with the unfortunate name of Aunt 13, is kidnapped and forced into prostitution. 

So Wong and his motley militia have a lot to sort out to save China. Time for some martial arts ass-kicking! 

Wong has been the subject of several of director Tsui Hark's films dating back to the 1960's. Here he uses that character to begin his "Once Upon a Time in China" series, and this time Wong faces off against, Americans, British exploiters and corrupt Chinese businessmen.

This is a martial arts extravaganza starring Jet Li, who was a Wushu master at a young age and which led to his becoming an actor and a staple in martial arts films.  But it also has an almost incomprehensible plot, silly slapstick humor and unpleasant stereotypes such as Buck Tooth, a stuttering bumbler.  However, I could appreciate the choreography required for the fight scenes which were quite spectacular and which looked almost like break-dancing.  Even the slapstick appeared to have a rhyme and reason to it.  It's all very stylized but way, way over the top and goes on too long.

Why it's a Must See: "This is popular Hong Kong cinema at its most breathless, aided by the suberb athleticism of Li, who makes his entry into world stardom as the poised and stoical hero...[There is] a gravity-defying duel fought with ladders, and a standoff between an unarmed Wong and an opponent with a gun. Underneath the twisting plot and relentless action, however, is a palpable melancholy -- a lament for a China about to change forever under Western influences."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

Rosy the Reviewer says...I can appreciate the martial arts sequences but the plot was convoluted and over-the-top and the film just doesn't stand up well today.
(In Chinese with English subtitles)

***The Book of the Week***

The Girl on the Balcony: Olivia Hussey Finds Life After Romeo and Juliet by Olivia Hussey (2018)

If you are a Baby Boomer, you probably remember what a sensation Franco Zeffirelli's movie version of "Romeo and Juliet" was back in 1968.  Here is a memoir that provides a behind-the-scenes look at the film and its stars and what happened afterward.

Olivia Hussey is not a household name today but in the late 60’s, she was Hollywood's "It Girl," when at 16 she was plucked from obscurity to play Juliet opposite Leonard Whiting in Franco Zeffirelli’s ground-breaking film version of “Romeo and Juliet” which became a pop culture phenomenon.  It was the first time Juliet was played by someone who was Juliet's actual age and the brief nude scene in the film caused a bit of a scandal.  In this memoir, Hussy, now 67, reflects on that iconic role and how it affected her life.

Born in Argentina but raised in London, Hussey lived a rather hardscrabble life with her mother until she was discovered by director Franco Zeffirelli at a casting call to play Juliet in his 1968 film.  Her fame was literally overnight and she was proclaimed the most beautiful woman in the world.  But Hussey didn't feel beautiful.  She felt fat and ugly and suffered from bulimia.

Her youth helped her hit the pinnacle of success but it played against her in real life as her immaturity and lack of experience led her to fall prey to the pressures of Hollywood and to make bad decisions regarding love, her career and money. She had a relationship with actor Christopher Jones (he died in 2014), who she says abused her, and that after their relationship ended, he broke into her house and raped her.  She became pregnant from that encounter and had an abortion.  She later married Dean Martin’s son, Dino, who died tragically in a plane accident while serving with the National Guard. Two more marriages followed for Hussey; she battled cancer; and lost all of her money to unscrupulous managers. Her life seemed to be a Shakespearean play!

In her memoir, Hussey brings us up to date with her life and what happened to some of the others she met along the way, but despite the ups and downs, Hussy is happy to report that in her later years she has a fulfilling family life (her son is the co-author of this book), and she was able to find peace with the help of a guru. 

Rosy the Reviewer says...a cautionary tale with some Shakespearean elements but thankfully Olivia's life did not end in tragedy like Juliet's.

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday 


"Mission Impossible: Fallout"


The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

 and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before 

I Die Project." 

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

Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll down below the synopsis and the listings for the director, writer and main stars to where it says "Reviews" and click on "Critics" - If I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list.