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Movies, Movies, Movies! #38 — June 23, 2020


Welcome to another installment of Movies, Movies, Movies! Last week was curbside service at the library. Without notice, when I called to set up a time to pick up the holds today, I was told the library is open to patrons now. I also upped the discs at netflix/dvd.com to 2 out at a time, so there should be at least 5 movies a week for now.

Richard Jewell (2019)
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm, Olivia Wilde, Paul Walter Hauser, Ian Gomez, Dylan Kussman, Mike Pniewski, Nina Arianda, Niko Nicotera, Billy Slaughter, Alex Collins, Desmond Phillips, David de Vries, Garon Grigsby
Director: Clint Eastwood
Genres: docudrama
Synopsis: The fictionalized account of the 1996 Atlanta bombing at Centennial Park during the 1996 Summer Olympic games, where Richard, the security guard at a concert in the park, noticed a suspicious backpack under a bench. His actions saved lives, but he was a hero for only a few days before the FBI made him a “person of interest.”
Impressions: I really really hope what they show in this movie did not happen, as it does not show the FBI in a very good light. The movie was hokey to me, the acting was terrible except for Sam Rockwell, or maybe it was just the screenplay and direction.  I have to ask myself why would anyone agree to be in this movie unless they wanted to have a chance to work with Clint Eastwood while he’s still alive.
Grade: 5
Awards: 1 Academy Award Nomination, 12 other nominations and 6 other wins

Crown Vic (2019)
Starring: Thomas Jane, Luke Kleintank, Gregg Bello, David Krumholtz, Bridget Moynahan, Scottie Thompson, Josh Hopkins, Devon Werkheiser, Bernard D. Jones
Director: Joel Souza
Genres: law enforcement drama
Synopsis: One patrolman is a 25-year veteran and one is having his first night as a patrolman. The Crown Vic in the title is the type of patrol car they ride around in. Most of the movie is a dialogue between the two, broken up by various calls they get from dispatch and other assorted happenings. It takes an unflinching look at the job.
Impressions: There are no familiar faces (to me) in the movie which makes it more believable. The two cops (Thomas Jane as the veteran and Luke Kleintank as the rookie) did an excellent job in their roles. There are some scenes that are difficult to take (drug abuse, child exploitation, police brutality.) I like the contrast between the jaded veteran and the naive rookie.
Grade: 7.5-8
Etc.: Filmed partly (not sure what %) in Buffalo, NY; Alec Baldwin is one of the producers
Awards: none listed

Vivre Sa Vie (My Life to Live) (1962)
Starring: Anna Karina, Sady Rebbot, André S. Labarthe, Guylaine Schlumberger, Gérard Hoffman, Monique Messine, Paul Pavel, Dimitri Dineff, Peter Kassovitz, Eric Schlumberger, Brice Parain
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Genres: art house
Synopsis: direct lift from netflix/dvd.com:

From master director Jean-Luc Godard comes an exquisitely photographed meditation on one woman’s life and her struggle for survival. After separating from her husband, Nana (Anna Karina) floats aimlessly throughout Paris before turning to prostitution. In 12 self-contained episodes, Nana’s story unfurls as she comes under the protection of pimp Raoul, falls for a student, attempts to leave Raoul and finally suffers the consequences of her choices.

Impressions: Anna, the star has the camera on her throughout and she is very beautiful. You could turn the sound and titles off and enjoy her like a work of art in a museum. I watched the movie late at night, which was a mistake, because it is soothing in a way that kept putting me to sleep. I tried multiple times to rewind and watch it all but eventually gave up. I probably watched 60 of the 83 minutes. The vignette/snapshot approach is interesting but it was difficult to feel much empathy for Anna because of it. It felt like a clinical approach more than anything.
Grade: 6.5-7
Etc.: French movie with English subtitles; black and white; 83 minutes long; each vignette about 7 minutes long; the whole movie is available on youtube!
Awards: 3 other wins and 1 other nomination

Il Bidone (The Swindle) (1955)
Starring: Broderick Crawford, Giulietta Masina, Xenia Valderi, Richard Basehart, Franco Fabrizi
Director: Federico Fellini
Genres: drama, classic
Synopsis: Crawford has been a swindler for a long time and has his routine down pat. It doesn’t matter who the other players are, their system is tried and true as long as everyone plays their parts. Their road trips to remote countryside farms to steal the life savings of hardworking people keeps them going but they never seem to get ahead. Crawford begins to question his way of life when he randomly runs into his adult daughter on the street.
Impressions: The acting is first rate here, with Crawford, Basehart, and Fabrizi the main cohort that travels together. Fellini does a great job of telling just enough to pull the viewer in but not overwhelm them.
Grade: 8
Etc.: Italian movie with English subtitles; the full movie is available to watch on youtube with captions
Awards: 2 other nominations

This is the best trailer I could find:


The Bird People in China (1998)
Starring: Masahiro Motoki, Renji Ishibashi, Mako, Li Li Wang, Michiko Kase, Yuichi Minato, Tomohiko, Okuda, Manzo Shinra
Director: Takashi Miike
Genres: drama, art house, vision quest
Synopsis: Two Japanese men travel to China. One is sent by his company to strike up a deal with a village to mine their mountains for a rare jade. The other is a Yakuza, sent to keep an eye on the other so the crime lords get cut into the deal. They travel to a remote area that looks like the places you see in Asian artworks, the mythical/mystical Jade Mountains. Each man came with a purpose, but these purposes change in the way of things.
Impressions: Magnificent panoramas fill the screen, the likes of which most of us have never seen. This is part realism, part fantasy, part philosophy, some romance, and all a joy to experience vicariously through watching The Bird People in China. Highly recommended for artsy, philosophical people who love nature.
Grade: 8.5
Etc.: Japanese-made movie set in China with English subtitles
Awards: 4 other wins and 1 other nomination

Best trailer I could find:

18 thoughts on “Movies, Movies, Movies! #38 — June 23, 2020

    1. I think Richard Jewell could have been so much better than it was. It was a caricature of the truth. Yes several have subtitles but that’s the way it fell this week. As much reading as you do, why the aversion to subtitles, especially with your “new eyes?” Maybe it will be easier now to read them?

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I haven’t seen any of these movies- I wanted to see the Richard Jewell movie when it was out but didn’t get around to it. Clint may be too tough to die!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. we are putting return books in a ‘bin’ and not touching them for 3 days- then checking them in and putting them back on the shelves… glad your library is back up! our delivery people get back going next week- they said it will be slow for a while- but at least I will be able to order books and eventually receive some… we’ve been slow at the library- and are still running curb service.. i am working curb service today and tomorrow [ which is easy! don’t tell anyone!!}

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Funny you said that- as I was leaving the library at 7- one of my co-workers -said on some library source she gets it said- that they haven’t tested anything positive that has been set aside for 3 days.. be it books or other materials..

            Liked by 1 person

  2. You didn’t grade Bird People of China, or at least, it doesn’t appear, Ms. Jade.
    I’ve seen all except that one, but I’m tremendously intrigued! Japanese visual arts tend to be unfalteringly beautiful and I adore the Japanese language. It seems right up my alley.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joao-Maria, thank you for letting me know about the grade. I’ll give it an 8.5 and edit the post. About the movie: it’s set in a remote area of China, so the visual art will be how the cinematographer moves the camera. The language is in Japanese, and they have a Japanese translator, Mako of all people, who is Japanese but is living in China in this movie. Not sure if you ever saw the movie, “The Sand Pebbles,” starring Steve McQueen and featuring a very young Candace Bergen, but Mako has a small but important role in the movie. Well worth a watch if you haven’t seen it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly, Ms. Jade, I meant visual art regarding the cinematography and principal photography of the film! Japanese films are normally excellent in how they are captured, I find.
        I did see The Sand Pebbles when I was younger. My mom liked old american films; maybe I remember it enough to recall Mako from watching Bird People of China!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thats a shame about the Richard Jewell movie. I had high hopes for that one…he got treated terribly.
    Jumping to conclusions without proof.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “Men fly in the sky”–that does look magical. I copied the petroglyph–it will show up somewhere.
    Have you ever heard of Marion Stokes? You know I never watch anything on the computer but I watched the entire PBS documentary about her, after looking at the trailer. I think you might enjoy it. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just looked it up. 70,000 VHS tapes??? I also see they are going to digitize them and make them accessible on the internet. Interesting. The line between genius is thin — if it exists at all….


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