Three Movies – You’ll Like One!

I have three movies in front of me:

1) REDS, a Warren Beaty film starring Warren Beaty and Diane Keaton (and even Jack Nicholson).

2) THE DREAMERS (uncut), a Bernardo Bertolucci film starring Michael Pitt, Eva Green and Louis Garrel.

3) THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN (an animation), a Steven Spielberg film with the voices of Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis and Daniel Craig.

REDS is a 1981 production about the romance and relationship of the historical communist journalist Jack Reed and the feminist Louise Bryant during the period of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia in the early 1900’s.  This is a 3+ hours epic of history and romance and radical culture.  This film is the first that I recall to use the tool of the “witness” – close-up interviews of actual witnesses to events interspersed throughout the film.  Witnesses were used very effectively by Ron Howard in his film IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON – another great movie.

I recall seeing this movie in 1981 in an “artsy” theatre in Dallas with several eccentric friends.  We brought wine and cheese, croissants and apples, and we even bought a pizza from the pizzeria next door to the theatre.  The film started at 7:00 PM on a Saturday, and ended about midnight.  With two intermissions, it made quite an evening.  Those were great days – just out of college – living in an inexpensive apartment the only English-speaking tenant where the entire complex was a community of Russian Jewish immigrants, and I happened to speak Russian very well in those days – and they often asked, “Are you KGB or CIA?”.

Reed was buried inside the Kremlin – I actually found his grave there, but the Russians I spoke to there inside the Kremlin walls had no idea who he was…

THE DREAMERS – wow, an erotic 2004 film filled with the whimsy of youth with plenty of vivid sex and unabashed full frontal nudity, both male and female.  I misread the excerpt of this movie and expected something quirt different, and it was a very “European” film.  The Dreamers chronicled the French socialist revolution of the ’60’s through the eyes of three students who were engrossed by a common interest – an obsession, really, of cinematic technique.  Pitt (brother is Brad) is handsome in his own way, and Green and Garrel are unknowns who spun their roles so naturally, it was hard to believe they were just beginning their movie careers.

This film drew me into each character consistently and continually as their experiences unfolded to shape how they saw their world, and how their view of the world around them changed as their own relationships developed.  Compared to the French, Americans are rather prudish.  More than rather…  You can also buy an “Americanized” edit that omits much of the sex and nudity – if you are rather prudish…

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN was pure fun.  My father used to read Hergé’s Tintin books to me in French when I was a child.  This film brought back some of those memories.  The animation was superbly crafted – the camera angle changed continuously to follow the main characters and the dog; expression and artistic detail was tremendous.  Snowy, Tintin’s dog, is remarkable animation – you will swear he is real…  Snowy is in fact a wireframe prop carried in front of the camera by the prop master.

This was fast-paced action from beginning to end that would entertain anyone of any age.  It was “clever” and surprisingly well crafted.

Three Films – Three “A’s” from me.  But, I bet you will only like one of them!

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