Tag: Steve Buscemi

The Big Lebowski

October 28th, 2014 — 9:33pm

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 11.33.05 PMThe Big Lebowski nf – There is nothing like a cross-country plane ride to find an old film that you missed and think you might like. In this case for us it turned out to be The Big Lebowski starring Jeff Bridges and John Goodman. This movie is often affectionately referenced in various settings and we were curious to watch it. Bridges plays “The Dude” who might be described as a good old boy with a heart of gold who is usually content to mind his own business and hang out with his buddies at the bowling alley. He dresses as if he is walking around in his underwear, with a bathrobe thrown over him. He is, of course, very likeable. The biggest event in his life would seem to be the latest bowling tournament. That is until The Dude gets mistaken for some rich guy called The Big Lebowski and gets drawn into an apparent kidnapping and ransom scheme of The Big Lebowski’s wife. The Dude’s good friend Walter (John Goodman) gets involved. He sees himself as a tough guy who knows how to handle difficult situations but usually he makes things worse. But that doesn’t stop him from trying to help the Dude with some new twist that develops. These guys are the charm of the film. The more the Dude tries to work his way out of trouble, the deeper he gets into it. In fact, he gets punched out several times and there is always a very creative depiction of his journey being unconscious. The movie really doesn’t go any place. The Coen Brother who wrote and directed the film put together a supporting cast that includes Julianne Moore, Steve Bucemia, Ben Gazzara, John Turturro and others. In the end we see that life goes on. The Dude carries on his life. Perhaps we all know this guy in a small way or he is someone we think we know or maybe on some level he is us. (1998)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Comedy, Drama

John Rabe

September 8th, 2010 — 2:30am

John Rabe* * * * *
John Rabe
– sp – Most American have either never heard about the Rape of Nanking or certainly know very little about it. Probably almost nobody in this country has heard of John Rabe. This German film tells the true story this man who felt he was a loyal Nazi working for Hitler and his government in Nanking as the Director the German Industrial Siemens factory, when the Japanese decided to invade China in 1937. This ultimately brings the Japanese forces led by a relative of the Emperor to Nanking. Rabe found himself having to take actions and make decisions which would effect the lives of over 200,000 Chinese. This is a personal drama, a war story with thousands of extras, an accurate history lesson founded on diaries and the book, The Good Man of Nanking as well as an extremely well done movie which will keep you on the edge of your seat for more than two hours. There is a seamless blend of brutal scenes with touching human moments interspersed with black and white authentic newsreels which reminds you although this is a fascinating story, it is reflecting all too true events. Usually when we see a World War II movie showing the murder of prisoners and civilians, it is the Germans who are doing the killing. However this time it is the Japanese who are murdering the Chinese. In one unforgettable ironic scene, Rabe is outraged at acts of the Japanese who are, of course, allies of the Germans. Therefore he sends a fruitless telegram to Hitler asking and expecting him to insist that the Japanese stop murdering innocent people. Ulrich Tukur plays Rabe and won the equivalent of the German Academy Award as did the movie. American actor Steve Buscemi superbly plays Dr. Robert Wilson the American doctor who actually founded the hospital in Nanking and worked very closely with Rabe. The screenwriter and Director is Florian Gallenberger who took a couple of years researching and writing the movie. He told us of the conflicts that he had with the Chinese government during the preparatory phase of the movie. You should see this movie in your local theatres if you can. However, if you end up watching it on Netflix, hopefully there will be a director’s narrative or interviews with Florian Gallenberger. Despite his relative young age he was a major player in this very large endeavor. He is extremely articulate in English, his second language and relates a fascinating account of the making of this movie. (2010)

Comment » | 5 Stars, Biography, Drama, Foreign, War

The Messenger

January 16th, 2010 — 2:22am

The Messenger* * * *
The Messenger
– sp – When you have a good script dealing with a storyline of families being informed by two military guys that their loved ones have been killed in action and you bring in top notch actors, you have the formula for a great movie. Co-writer and first time director Oren Moverman who has some background in the Israeli army captured the drama and emotion of death notification of the Iraqi/Afghanistan War. Ben Foster delivers an exquisitely sensitive performance playing Will Montgomery a young battle scarred veteran who is assigned the last 3 months of his military rotation to work stateside with Captain Tony Stone very capably inhabited by Woody Harrelson. The Captain knows the routine for these heart-wrenching visits with family members and has almost insulated himself from his feelings about what he is doing. Pain appears to drip from every pore as we watch them go on their appointed tasks. Samantha Morton is also outstanding in her role as Olivia Pitterson one of the wives who receives the dreaded news. The well-written script allows the story of each character to unfold, as the young sergeant becomes a buddy with the crusty Captain as well as becoming very understanding and close with the young widow. Steve Buscemi is also unforgettable in his role as a dad getting the news about his soldier son. Woody Harrelson was a guest at our screening and revealed that the director did not have the actors rehearse the notifications scenes, which appeared to intensify the spontaneity and rawness of them. This was counterbalanced in our opinion by a few unnecessarily drawn-out scenes where Harrelson and Foster’s characters were establishing their bonding by drinking in a hideaway cabin in the woods with two girls or visiting the sergeant’s old girl friend at her engagement party. Nevertheless we believe this film will stand as one of defining depictions of the war that we are in today. (2009)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, War

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