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Simon Boccanegra

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  1. The main character did get a conscience, but he couldn't save the day. Mindy (DiCaprio) had such a supportive family. Even when he was nobody special, they were so proud of him, watching him on television the first time he went on that morning show. That's one reason I liked the last-supper scene so much. Melanie Lynskey's big scene (the one with the thrown pill bottles) reminded me a little of Beatrice Straight's Oscar-winning performance in Network (famous for being the Oscar-winning performance with the shortest screen time: five minutes of a 121-minute film). In fact, Don't Loo
  2. Gardner was so good in the 2018 Halloween film. She had a delightful rapport with the kid she was babysitting, and obviously had a flair for comedy and an interesting voice, besides being beautiful. It's rare for someone to really "pop" in that kind of movie, where you get attached to the character. And she was playing one of the supporting young people (the girl having trouble closing the closet door in the trailer), so...you know. So I was happy to see her in Gemstones, albeit first masked, then covered in bandages. I wish she'd stuck around.
  3. Agreed. Although I'd give the nod to the 2021 film for the overall quality of acting, in that it has a present-day murderers' row of awards contenders while 1947 had a postwar B-list in support of Tyrone Power, Helen Walker's Lilith was a standout in 1947. She's not the italicized femme fatale that Blanchett is. Walker's IMDb bio describes her as "a beautiful and bright actress whose career never reached its full potential, in spite of her evident talent." I can see it. Coleen Gray, who played the "Rooney Mara role" in 1947, was later the love interest in The Killing, generally conside
  4. I gave this another look via Apple TV and felt about the same re: its strengths and weaknesses. It has a striking look. I like some of the visual flourishes, such as Lady Macbeth releasing the burning letter and letting the wind carry it into the (deliberately artificial-looking) night sky, where it blends in with the stars. I made note of the same excellent supporting performances: Kathryn Hunter above all, Alex Hassell, Moses Ingram. But again, neither lead knocked me out, and @Rickster is right on target about Denzel Washington. I can't figure out what he and Joel Coen were going for h
  5. It's hardly the biggest problem with the movie, but III muddies up the timeline. Anthony and Mary are born within the span of the first film, in 1951 (a year after the Michael/Kay reunion) and 1953 respectively. The second film picks up with them as children in 1958. Anthony is having his First Communion. So far so good, as he would be seven. But it seems Puzo and Coppola badly want the kids to be younger than 28 and 26 at the start of the third film (1979). Even for children with a very traditional and imposing Italian family background on one side, they're too enmeshed. Anthony is pla
  6. He does mention a friend at school whom he doesn't want to bring with him to the ranch, with the Phil of it all ("I don't want him to meet a certain person"). I was thinking a boyfriend, although it doesn't have to be. It's a tribute to Cumberbatch as well as the material that Phil seems a tragic villain. He's brilliant and even gifted, but he uses his gifts to hurt people rather than to bring pleasure or to build connections. The banjo/piano scene makes that point without words.
  7. We see him constantly with Larry and, to a lesser extent, Richard, so it might seem they're his only clients, but besides what Ms. Blue Jay mentions, occasionally he's mentioned other people he represents, and sometimes they're well-known real people. Kathy Griffin was one, in the episode in which she appeared. Jeff told Larry he writes Griffin a letter of apology every week. "We did nothing to each other...but just every week, I end up writing her an apology letter." (That aged interestingly, didn't it? Both Griffin and Garlin have had scandals and contrition in recent years.)
  8. This is just something the actors have to make work in "A Boy Like That/I Have A Love." I thought Ariana DeBose and Rachel Zegler did sell it in the new film (with a little help from Tony Kushner). The soundtrack album, which includes the spoken dialogue at the end, reinforces that impression. Anita loved Bernardo, but she understood not only him but the world in which he and Tony existed, and so she knows it easily could have happened the other way around. Once she has softened (the duet with Maria shifting from confrontation to close harmony), she says Tony will never be safe there; "th
  9. So many people have been on Curb for just one episode on their way to being better known. Right from the first season: the lawyer who read Larry's script and gave notes on it and charged him was played by Nia Vardalos, who a couple years later would have her pop-culture moment in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I mention that because I went to see Paul Thomas Anderson's new one, Licorice Pizza, and the actor who plays the young hero's romantic rival (a fellow child/teen actor who's a little older and more suave) looked familiar to me, and I specifically thought I remembered him doing a scene wi
  10. Yes, I agree. About every five years now, we get one of his bittersweet "family films for adults," and I look forward to them now. He's done father/son (Beginners), then mother/son (20th Century Women), and now brother/sister and uncle/nephew in a single stroke. I didn't like this one quite as much as I had 20th Century Women, but I was very fond of it. It was good to see Joaquin Phoenix in his non-eccentric regular-guy mode again (and at his best). Gaby Hoffman was outstanding as the harried sister, and young Woody Norman more than held his own. I also thought the contributions of the
  11. Chalamet has kind of worn thin with me in the years since Call Me By Your Name, as I've seen him do very similar things in other contexts ("Timothée with a drug problem," "Timothée as a Woody Allen protagonist," "Timothée in 19th-century dress," "Timothée in space"), but here I thought McKay wrote him a nice part that he was right for. Yule and his friends reminded Kate at her lowest point that some people had been listening to her, and his spirituality (on the rooftop and at the "last supper") was something not duplicated by the others.
  12. It was nice to see Keith Carradine as the governor. It occurred to me that as a young actor, he made his film debut in a small part in another haunting, atmospheric Western, McCabe & Mrs. Miller. Fifty years later, he closes the loop.
  13. I found this riveting from beginning to end, all four of the central performances outstanding. I suppose I should see the other Jane Campion movies I haven't seen. It's quite a return for her. It's interesting that the point at which Phil starts regarding Peter differently is that scene in which he walks past all the mocking cowboys and he seems to be able to tune them out, although he obviously hears them. He walks back the way he came, unruffled. There's a self-possession Phil finds admirable. Later, he's surprised at the clinical detachment with which Peter breaks the rabbit'
  14. I saw this movie a while back, on initial release, but I think their relationship just wasn't as strong as they thought it was. Or it was very strong at one time, but that time has passed. By their Paris reunion, she's someone else, healthier and happier. The father's kind remarks to Ruben (essentially "I used not to like you, but now I can see you were good for her," past tense) suggest she's been more honest and direct with the father about Ruben than she can bring herself to be with Ruben. She still cares about him, but it's probably been a while since she was thinking about him every day.
  15. I didn't exactly forget it, but I know what you mean. It's engrossing, beautifully designed, well acted, but there's a pulpy hollowness at the center that keeps it from being a great film. It's a very deluxe B-movie. I've seen the 1947 version, and I don't think either is better or worse. 1947 moves at a brisker clip and is a bit warmer (in that the era's production code kept a few characters from going as dark as they go in 2021, and an optimistic ending was imposed). 2021 is more lavish and more faithful to the source.
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