Saturday, January 31, 2015
We were lucky to arrive in Vienna on the very last day of the Alberto Giacometti exhibition at the Leopold Museum. It was double luck, since the museum was a just a few feet from our hotel and - entrance was free for the last day.
Since my early student years I have been an admirer of Alberto Giacometti's art ( I still have the catalogue to the 1987 Nationalgalerie Berlin retrospective), and it was therefore a special treat to see his work presented in a retrospective. This included a variety of his early minor works and that of his father plus good examples from other contemporary artists who may have influenced him.
Giacometti, of course, is famous for his long, lean sculptures: "Reduced, as they are, to their very core, these figures evoke lone trees in winter that have lost their foliage. Within this style, Giacometti would rarely deviate from the three themes that preoccupied him—the walking man; the standing, nude woman; and the bust—or all three, combined in various groupings." (Catalogue Metropolitan Museum of Art).
My only criticism to the exhibition is that I had wished to have seen more of Giacometti's later sculptures and unfortunately, due to its popularity, the venue was overcrowded so that you had to struggle to get a view of the exhibits.
A career criminal who has been deformed since birth is given a new face by a kindly doctor and paroled from prison, and he is now planning his revenge on the man who killed his father-figure and sent him to prison.
Formulaic thriller made with expertise and with some good performances, but the 80s style and fashion is hilariously outdated.
Halliwell (no star): "A thriller of betrayal and double-cross that never fully engages the attention."
Maltin**: "Eccentric, to say the least, and not totally without interest given the cast, but enetually wears out its welcome. Given Rourke's standard appearance, this must be the only skull surgery ever performed without benefit of a shampoo."
The story of a man who was shot, robbed and imprisoned who returns to steal a large gold shipment from the man who wronged him.
A standard, a bit tongue-in-cheekWestern yarn that basically entertains only, because the two leads (John Wayne and Kirk Douglas) seem to be enjoying the romp.
Halliwell**: "Exhilarating but simply-plotted action Western with strong comedy elements and a cast of old reliables."
Maltin***: "Amiable tongue-in cheek Western..."
Account of the last days of life of the legendary Polish pedagogue Janusz Korczak and his heroic dedication to protecting Jewish orphans during the war.
A simply told story, photographed excellently in b/w, manages to move, but the heroism amidst the most harrowing conditions imaginable appears almost unbelievable.
Halliwell (no star): "Despite, or perhaps because of, being based on reality, the film fails to engage satisfactorily with its subject matter."
Maltin***: "Tremedously moving..."
Friday, January 30, 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
Sunday, January 25, 2015
With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.
Undoubtedly, another showcase of Tarantino's expertise, well scripted and executed with many cinematic allusions, at first slow-paced and only slowly gaining momentum, but the climax is drawn out much too long and is (need I say?) far too violent.
Maltin**1/2: "Another "historical" revenge fantasy from Tarantino, filtered through a variety of film tropes in the mold of INGLOURIOUS BASTARDS. This has some outrageously entertaining (not to mention violent) sequences and an overall exuberance, but never quite coheres and is also fatally overlong, diluting its impact and often-challenging ideas. Extremely well made, with an appropriately eclectic soundtrack that leans heavily on Ennio Morricone."
After falling in love in Paris, a couple come to Oklahoma, where problems arise, their church's Spanish-born pastor struggles with his faith, while Neil encounters a woman from his childhood.
A risky and not fully successful attempt to encompass the phenomenon of love, utilizing mesmering aesthetics and beautiful images, a great cast, but unfortunately one unnerving lead performance; Malick's next movie, The Tree of Love, is similar in its approach, but superior in its vision.
Maltin*1/2: "Malick's dirge-like romantic drama...Snail-paced, even for Malick, this misfire will appeal only to rabid fans of the auteurist director, who indulges in his worst habits and leaves a good cast adrift - literally. Affleck wanders around mumbling lines and the beautiful Kurylenko is wasted here."
Perseus, mortal son of Zeus, battles the minions of the underworld to stop them from conquering heaven and earth.
It's silly for sure, but a nicely updated and maybe even superior version compared to the 1981 movie; I'd say ideal for an adolescent audience. And Natalia Vodianova appears as Medusa!
Maltin**1/2: "Some of these scenes are genuinely exciting, but there are dull patches in between."