Sunday, March 13, 2005

Movie Rentals, Week of 3/7/05

SAME TIME NEXT YEAR (1978): I rented this film in honor of Alan Alda’s Oscar nomination for THE AVIATOR (2004). Same Time Next Year, based on an award-winning play by Bernard Slade, follows George (Alda) and Doris (Ellen Burstyn) as they carry on a clandestine affair—meeting for only one weekend, once a year—for 25 years. With the action beginning in the 1950s, the narrative follows the couple as they negotiate their uncommon love against the backdrop of a rapidly changing world. The movie retains the feel of a play—limited sets, very small cast, etc. Alan Alda is such a great actor, and this film underscored this for me. Thoroughly enjoyable!

THE VERVE: THIS IS MUSIC: THE SINGLES 92-98 (2004): This DVD is a compendium of music videos from one of the great British bands of the 1990s THE VERVE. I rented this because I loved their 1998 hit Bittersweet Symphony and its accompanying music video, with leader Richard Ashcroft striding down a street in all his snarling, beautiful, art school boy glory. I must admit I came to The Verve somewhat late (they’re not even together anymore), so the rest of the singles on the DVD served as a revelation. So much so, that I went out and bought their cd URBAN HYMNS, which has been on continuous play ever since.

LA VIRGEN DE LA LUJURIA (THE VIRGIN OF LUST) (2002): I tried so hard to like this film by Mexican filmmaker Arturo Ripstein. On paper, the film sounded great: “..neorealist drama follows unambitious waiter “Nacho”, who spends his days toiling in a 1940s Vera Cruz café and his nights pleasuring himself while fantasizing about killing Spain’s General Franco. Enter “Lola”, a licentious, opium-addled political extremist and soon the head-over-heels Nacho finds himself in a sadomasochistic tryst with the hooker in this daring allegorical tale.” (thanks, Netflix). The look of the film was very interesting, very reminiscent of old Hollywood sets, but I just couldn’t make myself care for the characters. At 2 hours 20 minutes, the film is overly long and tedious. I stuck it out as long as I could, but at the 2-hour mark, I was climbing the walls. I just couldn’t see it through, with the finish line in sight. I actually shut it off, which is very rare for me.

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