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Friday, January 26, 2007

GREENLIGHT #109: Pan's Labyrinth (with "Cocoon" and "Juliet of the Spirits")

Ann and Les were simply mesmerized by Pan's Labyrinth (2006.) It's a sad tale of a 12-year-old girl named Ophelia, played by Ivana Baquero, who lives with her distracted mother and her Franco-like husband in 1944 Spain. Ophelia is witness to much of the horror of that time and deals with it by escaping into her own imaginary world. It's both a terrifying and marvelous imagination. The film, Ann and Les believe, is truly a masterpiece of director Guillermo del Toro. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends a tamer but no less charming fantasy film called Cocoon (1985.) It's director Ron Howard's second film and it features some of the greatest character actors of all time including: Hume Cronyn, Wilford Brimley, Don Ameche, Jack Gilford, Jessica Tandy, Gwen Verdon, and Maureen Stapleton. They all play senior citizens who have found the fountain-of-youth but, of course, also discover it comes with a price. A great story. Ann recommends a much more bizarre fantasy film but still on the charming side. It's director Frederico Fellini's light-hearted exploration of a woman's heart as she deals with the suspected adultery of her husband. Interestingly, the lead woman is played by Fellini's real-life wife Giulietta Masina and the film is called Juliet of the Spirits (1965.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:59

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GREENLIGHT #108: Letters from Iwo Jima (with "High Plains Drifter" and "Play Misty for Me")

Ann and Les know there's value in Letters from Iwo Jima (2006) but they just wish they didn't have to see it. It's Clint Eastwood's second film in a year about the WWII battle of Iwo Jima but this time from the point of view of the Japanese. Ken Watanabe plays their leader General Kuribayashi as he stoically presides over the devastation of his troops and Kazunari Ninomiya plays the lone soldier who isn't interested in pride and tradition but would prefer survival. It's good but it's gory. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommend seeing Mr. Eastwood's second film as a director and one in while he also stars called High Plains Drifter (1973.) Simply, he's a man (or is he?) out for revenge in a small-western town. Ann goes back a little further to recommend Eastwood's directorial debut. He plays a late-night radio disc-jockey in a happy relationship with a girlfriend played by a very young and innocent Donna Mills but who gets himself involved in a brief affair with an ardent caller. The caller, however, played by the ferocious Jessica Walter, didn't want it to be so brief and so trouble ensues in Play Misty for Me (1971.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:57

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Friday, January 19, 2007

GREENLIGHT #106: The Painted Veil (with "The Left Hand of God" and "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness")

Ann and Les believe there's a good story in The Painted Veil (2006) but it just didn't entrance them. Edward Norton and Naomi Watts star in this film about a lonely and cruel marriage that ends up happily ever-after. Neither Ann or Les thought the sparks were flying - during the good times or bad. They loved Toby Jones though and they thought the China photography was beautiful. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends another film set in China called The Left Hand of God (1955.) You'll get to see Humphrey Bogart playing a priest and one of the screen's loveliest women, Gene Tierney, portraying a nurse who doesn't quite believe old Father O'Shea. Ann also recommends a film set in China and also features a beautiful face and talented actress in Ingrid Bergman. Also, you'll find the final performance of the great Robert Donat in The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:56

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

GREENLIGHT #107: Notes on a Scandal (with "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane" and "The Great Lie")

Ann and Les lapped up every page of Notes on a Scandal (2006.) "It's delicious!" Ann says. It's a master class put on by Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett as they spar throughout this film. Bill Nighy puts on a great show too. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends another film featuring two divas taking each other on called What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962.) You'll have a ton of fun watching Bette Davis and Joan Crawford making each other crazy. Director Robert Aldrich certainly had his hands full. Ann also recommends a Bette Davis film though this time she's paired up with Mary Astor and they're competing for the affection of George Brent in The Great Lie (1941.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:57

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Monday, January 15, 2007

GREENLIGHT #105: Dreamgirls (with "East of Eden" and "A Star is Born")

Ann and Les were anything but sleepy while watching Dreamgirls (2006.) They adore this movie! It's hard to say whom they liked best but they sure go on and on about the debut performance of Jennifer Hudson and the come-back performance of Eddie Murphy. It's a story about Motown singers but they assure us you don't have to be big fan of motown music to enjoy this film. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends another film with a fabulous debut called East of Eden (1955.) It's the film where we all learned about James Dean and he got a great start doing a film based on a John Steinbeck novel directed by Elia Kazanand co-starring Julie Harris. Ann recommends a film that proved to be a fabulous come-back for Judy Garland. She had some fabulous help, too, from the "great ladies director" George Cukor and co-star James Mason in A Star is Born (1954.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:55

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GREENLIGHT #104: Little Children (with "An Affair to Remember" and "In the Bedroom")

Ann and Les love little children but they hated Little Children (2006) though they give it different lights. Director Todd Field put together this film about the hidden and ugly side of suburban life. People have affairs and they get messy particularly when there is a pedophile in the neighborhood. An unimpressive tale to both Ann and Les. Ann hated everything about the film and thinks it was aptly named as it was about adults acting like little tiny children. But Les was impressed with the acting of Jackie Earle Haley and Kate Winslet so he give it a yellow. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends a beautiful film about a beautiful affair, really, called An Affair to Remember (1957.) It's got Cary Grant and Debra Kerr and it sweeps most people off their feet - even at the twentieth viewing. Ann recommends a much better Todd Field movie. It's got Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson playing a suburban couple dealing with some horrible things but it's not a sordid movie despite being called In the Bedroom (2001.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:57

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

GREENLIGHT #103: Rocky Balboa (with "The Harder They Fall" and "The Main Event")

Ann and Les were impressed with Rocky Balboa (2006) but not evenly. The story of a sixty year-old-man getting back into the ring was inspiring in theory but Les just couldn't accept that Sylvester Stallone, as good as shape as he's in, would really be up to the challenge. Ann was willing to believe it all the way - and she hopes everybody over fifty does too. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends The Harder They Fall (1956.) It's a film about an almost-washed up sports reporter, Humphrey Bogart, who has to decide whether to blow the whistle on the world of boxing. Ann also recommends a boxing film but it's also a love story. Barbra Streisand plays an almost-bankrupt business woman who tries to regain her status by helping an almost-washed up fighter, Ryan O'Neal, get back in the ring and fight to win in The Main Event (1979.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:59

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Monday, January 01, 2007

GREENLIGHT #102: The Good Sheperd (with "Notorious" and "The Day of the Jackal")

Ann and Les just won't keep secret that they loved The Good Sheperd (2006.) They want Robert De Niro behind the camera more often and preferably with Matt Damon in front of it. It's the imagined story of the beginning of the CIA with all the intrigue they wanted. They already consider it a spy classic. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends another classic spy film called Notorious (1946.) It's director Alfred Hitchcock and actors Cary Grant, Ingrid Berman, and Claude Rains at their best. Ann also recommends a classic spy film in which director Fred Zinneman has Edward Fox attempt to mastermind an assasination attempt on Charles DeGaulle in The Day of the Jackal (1979.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:58

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