*****+ The Pianist - deservedly received Oscars for Best Director, Roman Polanski, Best Actor, Adrien Brody, and Best Adapted Screenplay, Ronald Harwood. This extraordinary film reminds us once again of the despicable extermination of the Jews, this time in Poland, by the occupying German troops under the rule of Adolph Hitler. (The effect of total deafness achieved by the sound crew in one of the scenes in which a shell explodes is the most incredible audio effect I have ever experienced. That scene alone should have won an Oscar for best sound).
But while we were all feeling so smug at seeing Germany’s collective faces rubbed, once again, in this historical outrage, I could not help finding parallels in this country. I do not recall seeing a movie in which the systematic genocide of the Native American peoples was ever portrayed so vividly as the barbaric inhumane treatment of the Jews by the so-called civilized Germans. (The American victories over the Indians were always referred to in the history books as great, and just victories. But when the Indians triumphed in battle American history calls it a massacre!) And yet, 90% of the Native American population was wiped out by either American-introduced disease, or unprovoked murder. And our treatment of blacks, Chinese, Latin Americans has not been anything to brag about.
Sadly, what it all boils down to is man does not seem very well-equipped to deal with his fellow human beings. Tolerance of other people’s beliefs and race does not appear to be within our ability to achieve. Bad news for the human race, but good news for the movie makers.
A Jew in Placitas
***** Frida --- for art lovers and friends (rated R). The colors were mesmerizing, cast of top actors. You'll want to see it again.
*** ABOUT SCHMIDT Saw "About Schmidt" over the weekend. Good movie - not great, but enjoyable. I give it three and a half biscochitos.
***** ABOUT SCHMIDT Mr. Libman and I must have seen two different versions of this movie! The movie we saw had an outstanding group of actors (Jack Nicholson, Kathy Bates, et. al), a powerful script, dynamic acting, evocative set design, and all the things that make a movie rise to the top of the pack. My only question is: was this an advertisement for Winnebago?
***** The Hours Great movie. Outstanding acting - particularly from Ed Harris, Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, and Nicole Kidman. Stephen Daldry's direction was incredible mainly because he took Michael Cunningham's novel (adapted by David Hare) and put together a very complicated film involving three different but somehow related plots. The thread for the stories of course was the Virginia Woolf 1923 novel "Mrs Dalloway".
Kudos for the genius who decided to utilize Phillip Glass' music for the background. His minimilistic themes were beautifully woven into the stories. Phil Glass - ya either love 'im or hate 'im. I love his music but am probably in the minority.
As to the acting, what can I say? The only question is to whom to give the awards - maybe they should all share them as an ensemble group. (The antithesis of these actors if I may digress is when Pia Zadorra played the part of Anne Frank in an off-Broadway production of "The Diary of Anne Frank". She was so bad that when the Nazis pounded on the front door all the audience yelled "she's in the attic".) Not so with these actors. All were outstanding. Best movie I've seen this year - and I've seen some good ones.
Thelma L. Mingus
***** Chicago I really enjoyed the movie "Chicago". This is my first attempt to write to a website so I hope you'll be kind and correct any mistakes. The movie "Chicago" is a period piece showing Chicago in the early 1920's. The three main stars were Richard Gere (who allegedly does his own dancing although I am not so sure), Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones. They were marvelous. It was so nice to see a musical which is well-made. The music was awesome (but why is everything so loud these days? I was unable to hear clearly for days), and the director Rob Marshall did a superb job of cutting up and back during the musical scenes. The music which was written by Kander and Ebb was a big hit when it played on Broadway. I saw the musical on Broadway and I liked the movie as much as the play.