Friday, December 31, 2004

2004 TOP TEN

In alphabetical order

This is a true story of a group of mature English women who decide to pose nude to raise money for cancer research. A charming and delightful movie that often provokes frequent smiles and sometimes outright laughter.

This is a strong condemnation of the current President of the United States. Much of the movie we’ve already heard or read about, but somehow Moore puts things in perspective that make these things better understood.

While falling in and out of consciousness, we see through flashback the life of a fire fighter over a ten-year period. There’s a nice balance with realistic scenes of fires in Baltimore and the quieter moments in the life of the men who battle these out breaks.

At the age of 40, Nathaniel, the illegitimate son of the famous architect Louis Kahn, sets out to find out about his father, someone he hardly knew since visits by him were infrequent. By doing some archival research and interviewing his father’s contemporaries, the man begins to take substance.

For a change, the movie actually is a romantic-comedy: funny at times, there is also an element of romance. Some of the dance scenes are beautiful to watch (presuming you are into ballroom dancing) and the acting throughout is excellent. One of the few movies I’ve attended that prompted the audience to applaud while the credits were rolling.

As a sequel, the movie lacks some of the originality of the first one but has enough new characters to make it interesting. It’s a fun movie despite the message underlying some of the gags (that it’s not just appearances that are important) with Donkey once more coming up with the best lines.

Primarily a documentary about the fast food industry in the United States, the film focuses on McDonald’s. To prove a point (that eating too much fast food isn’t good for you) the writer/producer/star goes to the extreme by eating three meals a day there.

The title comes from an ancient Chinese saying meant to convey the difficulty of perceiving the engagement of war in a clear rational manner. This documentary does exactly the opposite. With Robert McNamarra talking frankly about some of the major events that have happened over the past fifty years or so, we are provided insights to what really went on as seen by a key player with 20/20 hindsight.

Adapted from the Farley Mowat short story "Walk Well My Brother" this is a tale of two people of different backgrounds working together against the harsh Canadian north. Since the movie begins with a barely discernible figure walking through a blinding snowstorm, the conclusion comes as no surprise. What is surprising is the reality of the movie: the depiction of the scenic beauty of the vast tundra near the Arctic Circle, the way the friendship grows between Charlie and Kanalack, the sharing of cultural differences that exist between them. Set in the early ‘50’s this is one terrific movie.

Back in 1985 two very experienced mountaineers, Joe and Simon, set out to climb one of the Peruvian Andes peaks by way of the northeast face, something that hadn’t been done before. The summit of Siula Grande is over 21,000’ high and they set up their one camp at an altitude higher than Mont Blanc (highest mountain peak in all of Europe at 16,000’). They were aware that there was a possibility that something could go wrong. And it did.

The movie has an unusual combination of film elements. Some very learned, highly regarded people express their views on a variety of subjects. Animation and cartoons are used to better explain these. Interspersed are some simplistic dramatic sequences showing the effect some of these ideas have on one person, in this case Amanda. All this and a rather busy visual style with ripple effects, whiteouts etc.

Using the parallel technique, we get to meet both protagonists: Massoud Behrani who can only get menial work in the U.S. but continues to live beyond his means despite a dwindling bank account and Kathy the former owner of the house who’s having a bit of bad luck in her life. They don’t meet up until well into the movie. Both give terrific performances.

As Al Michaels the sports announcer says, “you don’t have to know the difference between the blue line and a clothes line to understand the importance of this hockey game”. That’s true since the movie is more about motivation, hard work, dedication and the effort required to make a winning team than it is about an Olympic event.

This is a biography of a man who’s been described as a genius, filmmaker, playboy, entrepreneur, irresponsible aviator, and neurotic. However, the movie suffers from several major faults:
1. it’s far too long: at 2 hours and 46 minutes there are ample opportunities to do some serious editing without adversely affecting the story line
2. the director, it seems to me, is too anxious to get to the “good stuff” (a movie about making a movie) and skips right over the crucially important early years of Howard Hughes’ life
3. the tedious Senate hearings, although revealing, put a halt to the rapid fire pace of the story

As would be expected, the film covers a lot of the same material we’ve seen or heard about before:
 how the September 11 attack gave a "clueless" Bush his raison d’être, the "crusade" against terrorism
 the false pretext under which the second war on Iraq was waged
 the big lie linking Saddam Hussein to 9/11
 the overt connection Bush’s government has with Saudi Arabia
 that Bush is a puppet to corporate interests, to religious zealots
 that George Bush Sr., first as Vice President and then as President from 1988 to 1992, armed and financed Hussein
 the Bush family's long term ties to the Bin Laden clan and Saudi Arabia

Thursday, December 30, 2004



Howard Hughes was born in 1905. His father, Howard Hughes Sr., made his fortune by designing a special drill bit that enabled speculators to reach the large pockets of oil lying beneath hard rock. The Hughes Tool Company held the patent for the new drill bit and leased them to oil drillers.
When Hughes Jr. was just 16-years old, his doting mother passed away. Less than two years later, he lost his father as well and received 75% of his father's million-dollar estate; the other 25% went to relatives.
Hughes soon disagreed with his relatives over the running of the company. But being only 18-years old, he could not do anything about it because he was not considered legally an adult. Frustrated but determined, Hughes went to court and got a judge to grant him legal adulthood status even though he was not yet 21. He then bought out his relatives' shares of the company. Consequently, even though still a teenager, Hughes became full owner of The Hughes Tool Company.
In 1925, he decided to move to Hollywood and spend some time with his uncle, Rupert, who was a screenwriter. Hughes quickly became enchanted with movie making. With money available to him from his company, he jumped right in and filmed Swell Hogan. Upon viewing it after final editing, he concluded that it was so bad he didn't want his name associated with it. It has probably never been seen by anyone other than Hughes and his film editor. Learning from his mistakes, Hughes continued making movies. His second one, Two Arabian Knights, won an Oscar. With one success under his belt, Hughes wanted to make an epic movie about aviation in the First World War and set to work on Hell's Angels. It became his obsession and Hughes continued making films, producing over 26 of them in his lifetime. He died in 1976, aboard an airplane, while travelling from Acapulco, Mexico to Houston, Texas.

Leonardo DiCaprio: Howard Hughes, best known as an eccentric billionaire
John C. Reilly: Noah Dietrich, his business advisor
Alec Baldwin: Juan Trippe, Chairman of rival Pan-Am Airlines
Cate Blanchett: Katharine Hepburn, movie star and one of Hughes’ girlfriends
Stanley DeSantis: Loius B. Mayer, head of MGM studios
Jude Law: Errol Flynn, movie star
Kelli Garner: Faith Domergue, 15-year old teen discovery and Hughes’ mistress
Kate Beckinsale: Ava Gardner, another lover
Alan Alda: U.S. Senator Owen Brewster

This is a biography of a man who’s been described as a genius, filmmaker, playboy, entrepreneur, irresponsible aviator, and neurotic.

However, the movie suffers from several major faults:
1. it’s far too long: at 2 hours and 46 minutes there are ample opportunities to do some serious editing without adversely affecting the story line
2. the director, it seems to me, is too anxious to get to the “good stuff” (a movie about making a movie) and skips right over the crucially important early years of Howard Hughes’ life
3. the tedious Senate hearings, although revealing, put a halt to the rapid fire pace of the story

for thematic elements, sexual content, nudity, language and a crash sequence.

Hughes set an aircraft speed record of 352 mph in his specially built Hughes H-1 racer. In 1938 he was the recipient of The Harmon Trophy, awarded by The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, for the most outstanding international achievement in the preceding year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


Detective story
In French with English subtitles
Original title: Un long dimanche de fiançailles

Since war began, armies have had to deal with the practice among soldiers of self-mutilation called malingering. Upon being wounded, the soldiers would be taken away from the front lines to a Casualty Clearing Station and given proper medical care for their “injuries”. The penalty for those found guilty of this “act of cowardice in the face of the enemy” was death. The sentence was usually carried out by a firing squad, but in the case of the French army during the First World War, those found guilty were forced to go out into No-Man's Land. This was virtually an assured death sentence.

In the first major engagement of WWI, the German army failed in their objective to force France into an early surrender. Rather than give up the territory they had won, the Germans dug in to protect themselves from the guns of the Allies. The French army mounted a counter attack but was unable to regain the lost territory. So they followed the German example and developed an elaborate system of trench lines as well. A No-Man’s Land in-between the trench lines became a wasteland of craters and blackened tree stumps. It was normally around 250 yards wide and anyone sent into No-Man’s Land had little hope of survival.

Audrey Tautou: Mathilde, orphaned young woman living in a tiny Brittany village
Gaspard Ulliel: Manech, her fiancé who gets drafted to serve in the war
Dominique Pinon: her kindly uncle Sylvain
Chantal Neuwirth: her aunt Benedicte
Ticky Holgado: Germain Pire, private detective
Jodie Foster: Polish wife of a serviceman

This is a good old-fashioned detective story set amidst the backdrop of war. Mathilde wants to find out if her fiancé is still alive following the cessation of hostilities. With flashbacks of their youth and his service in the army, it is also an historical overview of that period. Perhaps a half-hour too long, it is nevertheless an entertaining movie if you can stomach the graphic scenes of war.

for sexuality (more than a few naked sex scenes) and violence (related to the war)

One of the trenches is nicknamed Bingo Crepuscule: the literal translation, “Bingo dusk”, makes no sense to me.


In French with English subtitles
Original title: Ma vie en cinemascope

Pascale Bussières: Alys Robi, nee Alice Robitaille, born 1923
Serge Postigo: Oliver Guimond, vaudeville stage performer and Alys’ first lover
Denis Bernard: Lucio Agostini, well known orchestra leader

The movie spans the career of the first female French-Canadian to achieve international stardom. Even at the age of seven when she first performed in public, she had her eyes on the future. She chose her stage name “because it will be easier for Hollywood producers to pronounce when I make it big time”. She became famous for her Latin American repertoire with hits such as 'Tico-Tico', 'Amor, Amor', 'Besame mucho' and 'Jalousie’. It’s a very entertaining film with great singing throughout.

Up until 1979, Quebec license plates had to be replaced each year. The plate was valid for and could only be used during the year it was issued. During the movie year 1948 Alys gets into a black Ford having an illegal out-of-date 1944 license plate.

The original title of the movie comes from the song based on her life sung by Diane Dufresne called "Alys in cinemascope"



Johnny Depp: James Mathew Barrie, successful playwright
Dustin Hoffman: Charles Frohman, producer
Radha Mitchell: Barrie’s wife Mary
Kate Winslet: widow Sylvia Llewellyn Davies
Freddie Highmore: Peter, the oldest of Sylvia’s four sons
Julie Christie: Mrs. Emma du Maurier, Sylvia’s mother

This is a pleasant story about one man who has an active imagination and how it has made a significant contribution to literature. By cleverly interweaving the words of J.M. Barrie with actual scenes from the finished play we get to see how ideas come to fruition. The acting throughout is excellent, especially from some of the boys.

for mild thematic elements and brief language.

According to the promotional material, the movie is "based on true events" which probably means they have taken some liberty with the facts.

Thursday, December 23, 2004


Police thriller

Jada Pinkett Smith: Annie Farrell, a Federal Prosecutor
Jamie Foxx: Max Durocher, a Los Angeles cab driver
Tom Cruise: Vincent, self-professed real estate broker
Mark Ruffalo: Fanning, an undercover LAPD detective

This is an entertaining fast paced “cops and robbers” type movie. With enough time spent to develop the characters of the principals, we get to better understand what drives people to do what they do. Although somewhat predictable, there are enough twists to keep you guessing.

for violence and language: this is hardly warranted as there are many films rated PG with much worse

1. Vincent and Max are seen washing the smashed windshield but that’s all they do to repair the damage to the taxi cab; somehow duct tape to hold it together got on the roof sign of the taxi by itself. After that, the tape changes position, sometimes looking like an Y and other times like a backward L.
2. The location of the windshield damage to the cab Vincent is riding in is not always in the same place.
3. Detective Fanning comments that the person they are looking for either jumped or fell from the fourth floor; there are only three floors in that building.
4. When Vincent and Max are talking to the owner of the jazz bar there are four glasses on the table. Despite the fact no one even approaches them when they leave there are five.
5. While Annie is in the 16th floor library talking on the phone with Max, Vincent is in her office and checks to see what phone line she is using. The label reads: “15th floor records”.
6. When Vincent runs down the stairs, we see he exits out through the door marked floor number 3. Once past the door it is apparent he’s in the lobby instead.
7. After Vincent gets shot, the left shoulder of his suit jacket is covered with blood; shortly thereafter the stains have mostly disappeared and only a few wisps remain.
8. A nine-bullet magazine is the biggest available for a Colt 45; Vincent at one point fires off at least a dozen before having to reload.

I think the film title should be changed to Collateral Damage.
From the Oxford dictionary, collateral damage is “during war the unintentional deaths and injuries of people who are not soldiers, and damage that is caused to their homes, hospitals, schools.” These are the things that happen during the movie.
By contrast collateral is “valuable property owned by someone who wants to borrow money which they agree will become the property of the company or person who lends the money if the debt is not paid back”. This concept does not even come up for discussion and not germane to the movie at all.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004



Natalie Portman: Alice, a former stripper
Jude Law: Dan, an obituary writer for a London newspaper
Julia Roberts: Anna, a professional photographer
Clive Owen: Larry, a dermatologist

This one is a real shocker so be prepared.

It starts off pleasantly enough, but 30 minutes into the film two of the principals engage in explicit cybersex. Then it gets worse, much worse. Along with the dialog becoming even more vulgar, we get to see some really cruel people. They behave badly and hurt their partners, either by their actions or from the questions hurled at them.

The acting throughout is top notch which makes you forget you’re watching a movie: instead you feel like you’re overhearing your neighbours argue and yell at each other about their latest dalliances. It is emotionally draining and not a pretty sight.

for frequent use of strong sexual profanity and crude sexual slang terms, as well as explicit sexual talk, female nudity, sexual contact, drug content and one scene of violence.

1. Larry is a lefty but signs some documents with his right hand.
2. When Alice is lying on the bed, between shots her camisole shifts from being partway up her stomach and creased in the middle to being properly pulled down all nice and neat.

When it is released on DVD, I expect it will be an X rated film available in the “Adults Only” section where they keep pornographic films.

Monday, December 20, 2004



Jamie Foxx: Ray Charles Robinson
Sharon Warren: his mother Aretha
Kerry Washington: his wife Della Bea
Aunjanue Ellis: Mary Ann Fisher, a blues singer
Regina King: Margie Hendricks, member of Ray's backup group The Raelettes

An excellent portrayal of one of the key artists who was instrumental in changing music as we know it today. Jamie Foxx’s performance is so good you think you’re watching the real thing. The film doesn’t gloss over the fact Ray Charles was something less than a perfect husband…we get to see him as he really was. For fans of Ray Charles the sound track alone will be reason enough to see the film.

for depiction of drug addiction, sexuality and some thematic elements.

While talking to Ray in their home, Bea’s necklace is off to one side. When the scene shifts to a close-up, it’s now nicely centered.

While recording Georgia, Ray Charles is listening using only the right earphone. Between cuts, the other earphone moves by itself to being part way on or completely off his left ear.

It’s a long movie (2½ hours) so stock up before going into the theatre.

Sunday, December 19, 2004


Drama based on true facts
In Czech, Russian and German with English subtitles

In 1918 the Austro-Hungarian Empire was split up creating a new country with Prague as its capital. The name of the country came from its two major ethnic groups: the seven million Czechs and two million Slovaks. In March 1939, the famous Munich Pact was signed. This appeasement policy of the Western powers granted Germany the right to enter Czechoslovakia. The country remained under Nazi occupation until liberated by Soviet troops in 1944.

Anna Geislerova: Eliska, a Prague city nurse active in the anti-German resistance movement
Gyorgy Cserhalmi: Joza, resident of Želary and a patient in the hospital where she works

More than a war story, the movie is about two people having to make major changes in their life in order to go on living. Their friendship develops at a nice slow pace, allowing us to get to know them and the people they are in contact with. A little long at 2½ hours, it would benefit from tighter editing.

for some pretty tame violence and very brief partial nudity done in good taste. In my view, totally unwarranted.

Before turning out the light, Eliska -now known as Hana- carefully places a pair of sharp scissors beneath her pillow. When she awakens in the morning, the scissors are on the night table beside her.
When Hana gets married in the town of Žealry she wears a wedding band on the fourth finger of her left hand. However, in some scenes it is on the middle finger and when picking berries in the forest, it is on her right hand.


Original title: Zivot je cudo
In Serbia, German and Hungarian with English subtitles.

This has to be one of the most boring, dumbest, uninteresting movies I’ve seen in a long time. Supposedly a comedy about a little village in Serbia, it is anything but. The jokes are not funny, unless you think two drunks taking turns shooting a beer bottle off the head of their giggling friend is a real knee-slapper. Or the fact each time the locals take the train a donkey is standing straddling the tracks. I can hardly contain myself with laughter just thinking about it. Then every once in a while they all break into a song which seems so out of place.

But that’s not all: the film is laced with propaganda promoting the idea that it was Bosnia that started the war and not Serbia. I thought the war there had ended. Anyway, that was the end for me and I walked out part way through the film.

for some sexuality and violence.

When she begins performing on stage, the opera singer has a run in her stockings. But by the time she has finished the song, it is no longer there.

The dubbing of the opera singer is amateurish. The lip-sync is totally out of whack.


Original title: El Maquinista
Psychological horror thriller

Christian Bale: machine-shop operator Trevor Reznik
John Sharian: Ivan, fellow employee
Michael Ironside: Miller another co-worker
Jennifer Jason Leigh: Stevie, a sexy hooker
Aitana Sánchez-Gijón: Marie, a waitress at the airport café

This movie is not for everyone. A rather bland low budget film with a moody, sombre setting of washed out colours (to match all the washed out people?). There is a minimum of gruesome, scary bits but enough to retain its classification as a horror movie. With various clues scattered throughout the movie, the ending should not come as a great surprise to fans of this type of movie. It caught me completely off guard of course since "I never go to these type of movies".

for violence, disturbing images, sexuality and strong language.

1. When Trevor is talking to Marie out at the airport café, the digital clocks behind her show the local time and in New York City. But the clock in NYC never reflects the exact time zone difference of 3 hours: it is always a few minutes out, sometimes too early but most often too late.
2. Wanting to wash his hands thoroughly, Trevor uses the liquid lye sitting on the shelf. No body would do this because lye can be fatal if swallowed.
3. When Ivan gets hurt he falls face down; when Trevor approaches him, Ivan has somehow flipped over on to his back and his feet can be seen sticking straight up.

The lead actor lost 63 pounds for this role by eating only an apple and one can of tuna a day. Sure beats some of the well-known diet plans for getting results it seems.

Sunday, December 12, 2004


Crime thriller

Brad Pitt: ever-snacking smart-talking Rusty Ryan
Catherine Zeta-Jones: Rusty’s girlfriend Isabel Lahiri, a policewoman
Andy Garcia: Terry Benedict, the victim of the gang’s $160 million heist three years ago
George Clooney: Danny Ocean, charming con-artist and thief
Julia Roberts: Danny's wife Tess
Matt Damon: Linus Caldwell, a bumbling wannabe crook
Elliott Gould: Reuben Tishkoff, an old-school Las Vegas entrepreneur
Carl Reiner: Saul Bloom, a retired con man
Vincent Cassel: François Toulour, aka “Night Fox”, the world’s most elusive jewel thief

The problems with sequels are twofold: they tend to suffer from déja vu (characters, plot etc) and by their very nature, lack originality. Consequently more often than not, the original is better. Such is the case with this one.

In addition, the story is muddled and convoluted. Adding to the confusion are the rapid-fire explanations of their planned heists. One good thing though: the happy-go-lucky tone of the original is much in evidence.

for language.

According to Danny, the theft of four paintings included one called The Blue Dancer by Degas. Dancers were often the subjects of his paintings, but none was given that title.

Walking towards her father, Isabel is carrying a handbag in her left hand. She then wraps her arms around him but clearly there is nothing in her hands. Her handbag has disappeared.

The title of the movie reflects the addition of Tess to Oceans' original gang of eleven thieves.

One bonus is getting a travelogue of Europe: we get to see Amsterdam, Paris, Rome and Lake Como (one of his residences when Clooney is not making movies).

Thursday, December 9, 2004


Drama,true story

In 1948 the all white National Party won the South Africa elections. They immediately began implementing stricter racial segregation policies, called "Apartheid". In some ways Apartheid (an Afrikaans word that means separation) was an extension of the segregationist laws implemented by previous white minority governments. It was to last for 42 years until dismantled in 1990.
The most Draconian measures were to strip black South Africans of having any vote and not allowing them to run for public office. Consequently, they had absolutely no say in their government. The so-called Pass Laws were the most direct way in which the blacks were suppressed. If your passbook was out of order you could be arrested, detained, or imprisoned. The Pass Laws also restricted black Africans to living in the townships (shantytowns often just outside main industrial areas) unless they had paid all their taxes and could prove that they had a job in the city.
During a reorganisation of the Education Department in 1976, the government decided that secondary education would be conducted only in Afrikaans, rather than in English or any of the native African languages. This was bitterly resented by both teachers and students.

The Soweto Township is one of the largest in South Africa, located just outside of Johannesburg, the richest and most important city in the country. A protest march was organised on June 16, 1976 and over 20,000 students participated. The regular day-to-day tension between blacks and the police force of the apartheid regime was coupled now with the anger directed at the recent changes to the education act. Conflict began almost immediately as police shot off rounds of tear-gas and then fired their guns into the crowds. The police showed no mercy as they attacked students of all ages, whether armed or unarmed. These were the most brutal and violent riots that had ever taken place against the South African apartheid administration. Realising the scale of these riots, the government reacted in the way any government would: with the full use of organised violence. The police actions during and following the riots would be part of what instigated a worldwide boycott of South African produce and resulted in the increased militancy of the black population of South Africa. The Soweto riots signalled the beginning of the end for the racist, colonial state of South Africa.

Thomas Jane: André Stander, Captain in the South African Police Service
Deborah Unger: his wife Bekkie
Marius Weyers: André’s father General Stander
David O’Hara: Allan Hey, one of André’s accomplices
Dexter Fletcher: Lee McCall, the third member of the Stander Gang

This is the true story of one man’s reaction to the troubles in his country. The acting throughout is excellent and the story moves along at a good clip. There are some funny moments along with the fast paced action scenes.

for violence, language, some sexuality and nudity (which really seems out of place)

During a question and answer period at the Sundance Festival, the director was asked, “Was all this exactly like it happened?” Her reply says it all: "the outrageous stuff was true, but we had to add normal plot fillers to help the story dramatically."

Wednesday, December 8, 2004



Born in 356 BC in Pella, Macedonia Alexander conquered almost all of Egypt, overthrew the Persian Empire, then moved farther and farther east, expanding the limits of the world, while remaking the world in his image. He continued all the way to India until turning back. In Babylon, while busy with plans to improve the irrigation of the Euphrates river, he was taken ill after a prolonged banquet and drinking bout. Ten days later, he died in his 33rd year; he had reigned for 12 years and eight months. His body, diverted to Egypt by Ptolemy, was eventually placed in a golden coffin in Alexandria (it has never been found). Both in Egypt and elsewhere he received divine honours. Even during his lifetime the subject of fabulous stories, he later became the hero of a full-scale legend bearing only the sketchiest resemblance to his historical career.

Colin Farrell: Alexander the Great
Anthony Hopkins: Ptolemy who narrates Alexander's life while teaching students about his former commander
Val Killer: Alexander’s brutal father, the one-eyed King Philip II
Angolan Jolly: Alexander’s bossy mother, Queen Olympias
Jared Alto: Hephaistion boyhood friend, fellow soldier and favourite of Alexander
Rosario Dawson: Roxane, one of Alexander’s wives

Even the most dedicated amateur historian will find this movie insufferable. It is too long (almost 3 hours), with interminable lengthy speeches on very esoteric subjects. Not only that, the movie is poorly constructed with a very important event in Alexander’s life (the death of his father) which is referred to any number of times, but not shown until eight years after it took place. Showing this flashback and hour or so too late makes no sense. But these are only minor complaints.

The major problem with the film is that there is simply too much narrative and not enough action. Queen Olympias had it right when she cautioned her son, “Beware of men who talk too much.”

You’ve been warned.

for violence, some sexuality and nudity

Queen Olympias has a beauty mark over her right eye. In one of the many scenes where she is lecturing Alexander, it has moved over to her left eye.

There are so many times when scratches and scars come and go that it is impossible to catalogue them all.

Oliver Stone’s reputation was made on fine films like “Platoon” and “JFK”. It’s quite something to discover he is capable of making such a dull movie.

Wednesday, December 1, 2004



In 1948, the first volume from the 10-year sex research data was published as Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and quickly became a best seller known simply as "The Kinsey Report”. Five years later, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female became the second "Kinsey Report." After Dr. Kinsey's death in 1956 at the age of 62, the Kinsey Institute researchers went on to publish three more volumes from the data obtained from more than 18,000 people.

Liam Neeson: Professor Alfred C. Kinsey
John Lithgow: Kinsey’s teacher-preacher father
Laura Linney: Prof. Kinsey’s wife Clara McMillen aka Mac
Peter Sarsgaard: Clyde Martin, one of Dr. Kinsey’s assistants

This is one movie that does not mince words. They tell it like it is in a very frank almost clinical–like manner. Not only is it enlightening and revealing, it is also humorous at times.

for pervasive sexual content including some frontal nudity, frequent use of the f-word, as well as explicit graphic images and descriptions.

When Clara serves Clyde breakfast one morning a box of Kellogg’s Toasted Corn Flakes can be seen on the cupboard shelf. The brand name had been changed to Kellogg’s Corn Flakes in 1915, some 25 years earlier.

While Dr. Kinsey and the President of the university are talking with Dr. Greg about getting a grant from the Rockefeller centre, in the mirror behind them on the right hand side you can see one of the production crew ducking out of sight.

While the final credits roll some of the Institute’s original black and white movies of animals engaged in the sex act are amusing, unless of course, you are a porcupine.



Marlee Matlin: Amanda, a photographer
Robert Bailey Jr.: Reggie, a young basketball player
Barry Newman: Amanda’s boss
Elaine Hendrix: Jennifer, Amanda’s house guest

The movie has an unusual combination of film elements. Some very learned, highly regarded people express their views on a variety of subjects. Animation and/or cartoons are used to better explain these concepts. Interspersed are some simplistic dramatic sequences showing the effect some of these ideas have on one person, in this case, Amanda. All this and a rather busy visual style with ripple effects, whiteouts etc.

In a word, this is one very different documentary that is content-rich and touches upon a wide variety of subjects: quantum physics, group consciousness, spirituality, and the power of thinking. This is one for the open-minded, mature, thinking-man and thinking-woman.

for some language and mild thematic elements.

By substituting “Bleep” for the f-word, the title trivialises the principal message of the movie: what do we really know? The producers did not have to resort to that artificial device to get people to come see the film; it stands on its own merits, without the use of crudity.

Monday, November 29, 2004



Annette Bening: Julia Lambert, a well known London stage actress of the 1930’s
Jeremy Irons: Michael Gosselyn, her husband and theatre producer
Shaun Evans: Tom Fennel, an ardent fan of Julia
Juliet Stevenson: Julia’s dresser Evie
Michael Gambon: Jimmie Jangston, her deceased mentor
Lucy Punch: Avice Crichton, an aspiring actress

Although the movie gets off to a bit of a slow start (too much theatre) it’s worthwhile hanging in to see how things develop in the second half. The acting by Bening surpasses all the others.

for sexual situations and language

While in her dressing room talking about one particularly good performance back in the 30’s, her husband offers Julia a beer with a twist-top. These only appeared on the market in the 80’s.