For Lovers Only

Who knows why I decided to watch For Lovers Only, but I did. It was not a good selection for many reasons. One thing that would have made this movie better was having a sound engineer. I needed to increase the volume to just hear the principals talk, but I had to quickly turn the volume down with the music track. Additionaly, this film was done in black and white. I have no idea why because it did nothing to enhance this movie. For Lovers Only stars the unknown actors (to me) Mark PolishStana KaticJean-Claude Thibaut. So what happens?

Photographer Yves (Polish) and the journalist Sophia (Katic), former lovers, meet, by chance, in Paris after a separation of eight years. Both of them seem to be in crisis with their lives. Yves no longer does fashion photography and we see him photographing dead pigeons. Naturally his employer unhappy with his photos. It is not entirely clear what is Sophia's problem, but, in the first scene, her chauffeur points out that she always looks so unhappy. Until she meets up with Yves, Sophia just sits alone in her luxury suite. What follows is their romp around France from Nice to Mont Saint Michel, with each hopelessly in love with the other. However, this is destined not to last because both are married and have lives to return to in the States.

I do not recommend this slow movie with many technical problems. You can find something better to watch.


Factory Girl

Last night I was looking for a movie to transport me back to the '60s or '70s. I ran across Factory Girl on Amazon Prime and decided that I would enjoy a story that focused on the sad story of Edie Sedgwick and Andy Warhol in New York in the '60s. It stars Sienna MillerGuy Pearce, and Hayden Christensen.

Factory Girl tells of the trials and tribulations of a wealthy party girl, Edie Sedgwick.  We see how hard she parties, the friends she keeps, her influences, and her vices ranging from hard drinking to drug taking. I was surprised that Sienna Miller looks very much like the real Edie Sedgwick. For your information, the factory in Factory Girl refers to Andy Warhol's studio, a warehouse where he lets his creativity run free.

Factory Girl shows Edie Sedgwick's short life. She died before reaching 30 years of age. We see the wrong choices she makes in life, her clueless attitude in coasting along with her drug addiction and her decadent celebrity lifestyle. She reached celebrity status when Andy Warhol featured her in his avant garde movies which had much critical acclaim.

While this is not a great movie, I found it entertaining and would recommend it if you like such sad movies.



Another film that I watched while crossing the Atlantic was the very beautiful French film Renoir. There are so many things that I liked in this movie that chronicles the final years of Auguste Renoir, the fabulous French post-Impressionist. It stars Michel BouquetChrista Theret, and Vincent Rottiers.

Renoir is set on the French Riviera in 1915, where the beautiful Renoir estate offers shelter from the horrors of the Great War. Auguste (Bouquet), already in his 70s, has just become a widower and is worried sick about his two sons at the front. Despite the deformation of his hands by rheumatoid arthritis, he still paints daily and looks after his youngest son, the mischievous Coco (Thomas Doret),

 The catalyst for this story is the arrival of Andree (Theret), an attractive girl with flaming red hair and porcelain skin. Andree becomes Renoir’s new muse and who also catches the eye of Auguste’s second son, Jean (Rottiers), who has been sent home to convalesce after a serious injury. It is Andree who stimulates Jean’s interest in cinema (she would later marry him and star in his first silent movies).

I highly recommend watching Renoir. It is a good movie.


Blue Jasmine

I thought I could not go wrong when I selected Blue Jasmine as I flew high above the North Atlantic on the way back to the States. Blue Jasmine was written and directed by Woody Allen, and it stars  Cate BlanchettAlec Baldwin, and Peter Sarsgaard. Of course, Blue Jasmine has the normal Woody Allen signature, but it is far short of many of his other movies. So what happens in this movie?

Jasmine (Blanchett) is penniless after her lavish lifestyle is wiped out when her investment banker husband, Hal (Baldwin) is convicted of fraud. Moving to San Francisco to stay with estranged sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins), Jasmine arrives shell-shocked, reliant on medications and a steady stream of vodka to help her survive the day, forced to deal with a future of necessary employment to make a life for herself. Dismissive of Ginger’s low-income lifestyle and her nosy, boyfriend Chili (Bobby Cannavale), Jasmine makes a plan to study computers and take a day job as a receptionist, hoping to pull her life back together despite emerging mental iillness. Meeting diplomat Dwight (Peter Sarsgaard), Jasmine spies an opportunity to return to a place of luxury she’s accustomed to, urging Ginger to disturb her matrimonial plans by dating a frisky audio technician (Louie C.K.). However, as her mind races back to the fractured past she’s idealized, Jasmine loses her grip on reality, with Ginger gradually coming to understand her sister’s poisonous ways. 

That's all I will reveal about Blue Jasmine. If you like Woody Allen movies then you probably will want to see it, but I do not recommend this somewhat depressing movie.


Last Love 

Last night I wanted to watch a good movie, and I selected one, Last Love, that has not yet been released in the US; thus, I had to pay a premium price to watch. Well it was well worth the money. I knew I could not go wrong with a Michael Caine movie that takes place in Paris. Besides Caine, it also stars  Gillian Anderson, and Clémence Poésy.

Grief-stricken Matthew Morgan (Caine) mutters a quiet “damn” to himself as he wakes up to yet another morning without his late wife Joan. It’s been three years since she died, but the former philosophy professor struggles to will himself out of his Parisian flat to face the world. Matthew often feigns interest in lunch with those few local friends who speak English. He also considers taking up stamp collecting as a hobby. During different outings, he bumps into sweet, concerned dance instructor Pauline (Poésy) repeatedly on their shared bus route.

The two unlikely friends begin to hit it off and serve as plainly ideal father-daughter surrogates for each other, enjoying rowboats and hot dogs together. But then, reminded by Pauline of all he no longer has, Matthew attempts suicide, which lands him in the hospital and draws his two ungrateful kids, Miles (Justin Kirk) and Karen (Anderson), across the pond to air their grievances and assume the worst of his relationship with this young friend.

Well, that is all I am going to say about the plot. I think that Last Love is a good movie, but not a great one. I recommend it.


Notes On A Scandal

Again I was looking for a good movie to watch on HBO Go and I stumbled across Notes On a Scandal, starring Cate Blanchett, and Judi Dench. I figured how could I go wrong because I think both Cate and Judi are among the elite of actresses. 

Dench plays Barbara Covett, a spinster who's a relic in a rowdy neighborhood school. Barbara is strange, stern, unpopular, and quite the difficult person to work with. Her character narrates the story, as she meticulously documents the boring events of her life in her trusty diary. The school environment gets changed when a new beautiful art teacher Sheba Hart (Blanchett) enters the scene, and becomes popular among both students and staff. Her feminine demeanour brings about a tinge of envy, yet attraction for Barbara.

What follow is a look at emotions of obsession, envy, and lust. As Barbara gets close to Sheba, she learns that Sheba doesn't have that perfect family she envisioned from the presumptions made about a person, and managed to gain an upper hand in their relationship when she learns of a deep, dark secret of an affair with a minor. It's basically a power play among the women, as you see how a hunter snares its prey through cunning schemes and blackmail and threats.

I will not say any more or I will spoil the movie. Notes On a Scandal is an intense, well-acted movie that I recommend.



As they say, you cannot win them all. Well last night I selected a terrible movie in just about every way. I watched the critically-acclaimed film Eros. I will say little about this movie other than I do not recommend it to anyone. 

Eros is a three-part anthology film about love and sexuality: a menage-a-trois between a couple and a young woman on the coast of Tuscany; an advertising executive under enormous pressure at work, who, during visits to his psychiatrist, is pulled to delve into the possible reasons why his stress seems to manifest itself in a recurring erotic dream; and a story of unrequited love about a beautiful, 1960s high-end call girl in an impossible affair with her young tailor. 



Wow, I did not know what I was in for when I decided to watch Stoker. I watched the trailer and was enticed to give it a try. At that time I did not know that this is the first English-language film from South Korean director Chan-Wook Park. Actually I did not know that Park was famous for his psychological thrillers. Well that is exactly what I saw, an intense, difficult to understand psychological thriller. It stars  Mia WasikowskaNicole Kidman, and Matthew Goode.

India (Wasikowska) has just lost her father to a car accident. Since they were relatively close with one another, India isn't taking the loss very well. She is incredibly withdrawn, doesn't speak much, and her behavior is unusual. India's mother Evelyn (Kidman) is only barely keeping it together as she's trying to move on with her life, but her defense mechanism kicks in whenever somebody brings up her husband's name. Charlie (Goode), an uncle India never even knew existed, moves in and makes matters even more uncomfortable than they already are. His questionable motives only pique India's fascination with Charlie and the Stoker family becomes more than a little unsettling because of it.

Stoker relies on creepy and disturbing behavior that continues to snowball until the end. We witness India pop a blister on her toe and the film plays with how keen her sense of hearing is. The long-shot of the camera following India through the house is intriguing, but even more so is the way the film transitions from one scene to the next; a hard-boiled egg slowly turns into India's eye and Evelyn's brushed hair becomes the tall grass in the field India and her father are hunting in.

I still do not think I understand what I saw, but I still highly recommend this movie.



Dangerous Liaisons (Wi-heom-han gyan-gye)

When I saw that Chinese filmmakers produced a new version of Dangerous Liaisons, I was intrigued because I remember the version done so long ago staring  Glenn CloseJohn Malkovich, and Michelle Pfeiffer. I liked it then and I enjoyed this Chinese-language version when I watched it last night. It stars  Cecilia CheungDong-gun Jang, and Ziyi Zhang. 

The setting is a gilded-era 1931 Shanghai, with a westernized upper class dwelling in splendor, while storms of war and revolution gather in the distance. Playboy Yifan Xie is a notorious ladies' man. But he never stops thinking of glamorous Jieyu Mo, who wed into riches and inherited her businessman-husband's corporation when he died. "Miss Mo" has been Xie's on-off lover of longstanding and seemingly his dragon-lady amoral match in every way.

She agrees to surrender to Xie sexually if he succeeds in heartlessly wooing and bedding a chaste widow (Zhang Ziyi). And, to give herself a comparable challenge, Miss Mo takes an assignment to destroy the star-crossed love blossoming between an artist from the Shanghai lower classes and a teenage heiress already promised to wealth in an upcoming arranged marriage. Without saying more, it should be evident where things are heading, and they do not end well.

I strongly recommend this well-done, beautifully-done movie.






Europa Report

Last night I was in the mood for a completely different type of movie that I have not seen in awhile. I selected the outer space movie Europa Report, and I made a good selection because it is a good, thought-provoking, and well-acted movie. It stars Sharlto CopleyMichael Nyqvist, and Christian Camargo. If you are looking for an Alien-like action, adventure then this is not the movie for you. It is more a thought-provoking movie with intrigue. What is the story?

An unmanned space probe has sent a signal back to Earth indicating that there may be alien life forms on Europa, one of Jupiter's moons. All signs indicate that these life forms are microorganisms. It was decided that this was worth investigating; hence, a six-person ship called The Europa One is sent out by a group of private investors to confirm what's actually been discovered. Corrigan (Copley), the ship's lead engineer, doesn't want to leave his family but is wooed away by the prospect of the mission while another engineer named Blok (Nyqvist) is none too keen on the ship's small quarters but deals with it the best he can for the same reason. The other four members are Dr. Katya Petrovna (Karolina Wydra), William Xu (Daniel Wu), Dr. Daniel Luxembourg (Camargor) and Rosa Dasque (Anamaria Marinca) and all of them are just as intrigued by the prospects of a massive scientific discovery as the engineers are.

Not so long after the ship launches, mission control, led by Dr. Unger and Dr. Sokolov (Don Fogler) lose contact with the ship. The footage that makes its way back to Earth is then examined as we learn, with input from Unger and Sokolov, just what happened to the small crew out there in the far reaches of space . . .

I recommend Europe Report for the aforementioned reasons. It is thought provoking.