Tuesday, November 30, 2010


During the past couple of weeks we've watched a rather strange collection of movies: one at the cinema, the rest on TV, cheapo used DVD or tapes. A list of 'em follows, in no particular order, and with brief comment. I've added a wee astrological hint as to the movies' favours - an idea that came to me as I was typing - hope it makes some sort of sense to any lightly astro-literate passers-by.

SKYLINE~ Directors: The Brothers Strause. We saw this at the cinema. A sci-fi alien invasion movie doing the rounds at present. I knew from reading reviews not to expect much, but I can't resist sci-fi, however bad. No redeeming characteristics unless you count good cgi work upon which most of the movie's budget was clearly spent. Not much was spent on script writing, that's for sure. Dialogue of one-liners (not of the fun variety) - a twelve-year old could have done a better job. The movie's ending, whilst logical, simply piles depression upon depression.
ASTRO-RATING ~ Uranus transit of Pluto/Saturn/Mars.

A CLOCKWORK ORANGE ~ (1971) Director: Stanley Kubrick, based on Anthony Burgess's novella. An old "classic" - some would say. A sick piece of film-making by a guy who ought to know better say I, sickened after the first 10 minutes (or less) I almost refused to see the rest, but my husband assured me "it gets better, he gets his come-uppance".
For me it didn't get much better. I hated it all, yet watched it, then out of curiosity did some research next day. I came up with page after page of analysis of the film's hidden "messages" and references, which served only to disgust me more. Malcolm McDowell's brilliant performance was the one redeeming feature of the film, for me; he must be permanently scarred from his efforts - bless 'im.
ASTRO-RATING ~ Scorpio rising with Mars conjunct Pluto on the ascendant.

BARRY LYNDON (1975)~ Another directed by Stanley Kubrick. This one, based on a Thackeray novel, engaged my attention enough to force me to buy part 2. We'd picked up what we thought was the complete film on VHS tape in a junk shop, then found it was only part 1.
The whole is a mannered and darkly humorous tale of a ne'er do-well not unlike a more elegant version of the lead in Clockwork Orange. Set in 18th century Ireland and England. No happy ending here, plenty of come-uppance on all fronts. Rather strange casting of Ryan O'Neal as Barry Lyndon, I thought. It's a stylised period soap opera of sorts. Worth seeing for the settings and costumes, and Thackeray's story-telling. Some of the scenes could easily be mistaken 18th century art pieces.
ASTRO-RATING ~ Saturn conjunct Neptune. Justice prevails in spite of illusions.

IT'S COMPLICATED (2009) Directed by Nancy Meyers. ~ A romantic comedy, shown on HBO recently. Alec Baldwin, Meryl Streep and Steve Martin play out a tale of middle-aged divorcees falling for each other all over again. Entertaining, no effort required, no violence and some good performances by seasoned stars, along with a relative newcomer who caught our eye with some good charismatic comedic timing: John Krasinski who played the eldest daughter's fiancé. Good, and right, ending too!
ASTRO-RATING ~ Venus and Mercury both retrograde while transiting and re-transiting Jupiter in Libra. The past sometimes repeats itself, love-wise.

I'LL BE THERE ~ (2003) A British movie written, directed and starring Craig Ferguson, best-known in the US for his Late Late Show. Co-star is young singer Charlotte Church. Another romantic comedy. A newly discovered biological father theme, blended with rocker on the skids theme, and a charismatic grandpa beautifully played by Joss Ackland.
ASTRO-RATING ~ Venus conjunct Moon & Saturn in Cancer. Mothers and fathers sometimes need a push in the right direction.

TEA WITH MUSSOLINI ~ (1999) Semi-autobiographical movie directed by Franco Zeffirelli, telling the story of young Italian boy's upbringing by a circle of English and American women, before and during World War II, set mainly in Florence and San Gimignano - gorgeous scenery, a cast of great actresses: Joan Plowright, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Cher, Lily Tomlin, and a newcomer Baird Wallace as the boy, "Luca". Quality film-making! Good stuff!
ASTRO-RATING ~ Moon in Cancer at mid-heaven. All about the women.

ORWELL ROLLS IN HIS GRAVE (2003) - The only documentary of the group. Made by Rober Kane Pappas, includes appearances by Michael Moore, Senator (then Rep.) Bernie Sanders, Tony Benn (my political hero from the UK), Greg Pallast and others. The film explores the question "Has America entered an Orwellian world of doublespeak where outright lies can pass for the truth? Are Americans being sold a bill of goods by a handful of transnational media corporations and political elites whose interest have little in common with the interests of the American people? The film explores what the media doesn't like to talk about - itself. (Quote from the DVD cover).

Great documentary - should be more widely known than it seems to be. On a scale of 10 - it's a 12.
ASTRO-RATING ~ Mercury in Gemini on the ascendant and conjunct Neptune, planet of illusion. Communication, communication, communication.


Saw a movie Sunday evening on TV - can't recall the channel but it was a Hallmark film. Hallmarks are likely to be over-the-top sugary even for my taste, but as I flicked through the on-screen programme schedule I spotted Sam Elliott's name attached to this one: November Christmas. I'd watch Sam Elliott in anything, absolutely anything at all. So we watched November Christmas. I'll not expand on the storyline in case others will see the movie at some point this season - it's bound to be repeated and repeated until 2011 and beyond.

Hint: Kleenex needed. Sam Elliott puts the heart into the advertised "heartwarming". This one really was my antidote to the poisonous Clockwork Orange.
ASTRO-RATING ~ All the sweetness and hope of the zodiac - name your own.


Wisewebwoman said...

We'd have a catfight over Sam there T. Gorgeous doesn't do him justice. I've collected a lot of drek just to watch him do the eye thing and the drawl.
That Orwell one sounds very interesting, I missed it.
As to the rest, I've seen a few of them, nothing memorable apart from Mussolini, saw that a few times and adored it.

R J Adams said...

Goodness! You need your own private cinema. I've virtually given up watching movies (much to the disgust of the distaff side who loves them). The old ones no longer have the kick they used to, and modern films - well, say no more!

I agree entirely about 'Clockwork Orange' - sick! The only one on your list that looks intriguing is "Tea with Mussolini" - a great cast, and with Italian scenery, who cares about the plot?

Like WWW, I missed, "Orwell Rolls In His Grave". I must try and find it. The answer, of course, is, "Yes".

Twilight said...

WWW ~ Me too - the drek, I mean. There's one such waiting in the pile we dredged up in junk shops recently. :-) He can make the drekkiest movie into a work of art. :-D

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~~ We watch little that's on offer on the TV these days, not even the news, so instead pick up old tapes and dvds to entertain ourselves.....Or go to the flicks occasionally on the senior ticket!
May as well take advantage of age while we can!

I'm catching up on around 30 years of never, ever, going to the movies - I missed a lot of 'em first time around. :-)

Yes, the Orwell film is excellent - you'd enjoy I'm certain.