Kaycee’s Klasic Films – Mona Lisa Smile

Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films

You could say this is a chick flick if you like but I reckon it stands up pretty well in any company? just because it’s a mainly female cast with lots of pretty young things don’t mean it ain’t got a brain just like the girls themselves.

It stars Julia Roberts as Katherine Watson an art lecturer at a posh all girl college in Massachusetts she’s from California which makes her a bit of a rebel they think and this is her first lecturing job and she ain’t the type to conform so she’s out of place at this stuffy erstablishme… whatever.  Plus she’s 30 and not married and this is the 1950s so there all wearing dresses and long skirts and blouses quite a nice look I always think although I don’t go in for skirts much myself who does these days.

It’s a bitchy class she finds herself teaching there all dead keen and know everything on the syllabus which is like a list of what their going to study so she has to get onto things their not expecting to wipe the smug smiles off there faces. The worst of all is the Kirsten Dunst character I won’t bother with the film names cos its too confusing Kirsten is a real spoilt upper class cow and the funny thing is there all at this college but there also trying to get married its like a competition almost and Kirsten is with this real posh dickhead whose going to be rich and he already is because of his family but he’s a pipe smoking serious type old before his time.

Kirsten actually takes time off college to get married have a honeymoon and expects that will just be okay but Katherine’s not impressed. And of course dickhead isn’t as good as he makes out always disappearing to New York “on business” ha ha were not stupid are we girls.

The school nurse gets sacked for giving out contraceptives and that tells you a lot about the place. And theres a male lecturer Dominic West who has affairs with his students you’ll know him if you watched The Affair on Netflix he’s English but gets a lot of work in the States. He is currantly bonking Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character she’s a bit of a tart but he fancies Katherine too but she’s having none of it and then her long-term on-off boyfriend shows up from California and thinks he can breeze in and marry her but she’s a modern girl and sends him packing.

There are other bits of the story with other girls and its too complicated to tell you you don’t need to know anyway but my favourite is Ginnifer Goodwin yes that’s how she spells it and she’s not quite as gorgeous as the rest still pretty good looking but a bit round faced and could get fat later in life and she’s a nice character too.

Maggie thinks she’s Sherlock Homes and that’s Ginnifer in the middle Julia Stiles right

You know what films about uni and college are like when the lecturer turns out to be a real nice guy (or gal) and they all end up liking each other in the end well I suppose this one is like that but its wrong to lump it in with crap films that have the same theme this one is real class and Julia Roberts is good so is Maggie so is Kirsten there all great really and its not soppy at all.

 

 

Kaycee’s Klasic Films – Letter to Brezhnev

Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films

This one from 1985 wasn’t a big hit but it’s good fun and features young Alfred Molina and Peter Firth who both went on to great things as they say became famous and respected that means. It’s set in Liverpool and at that time the whole UK was in a bad way and the north west was no different. So there was enough doom and gloom around and a little romantic comedy was just what we needed I guess that’s why it stayed with me cos it cheered me up a bit yes even happy go lucky me needs a pick me up sometimes if you no what I mean.

The girls in this certainly did they worked in a chicken processing factory stuffing the giblet bags into cavorties and stuff which can’t be much fun at the best of times. So you get two factory girls Teresa and Elaine (Margi Clarke and Alexandra Pigg) who both didn’t go on to greater things I never seen them in anything else but they do the job here.

Teresa is a tall mouthy blonde and Elaine is small and quiet. Anyway a Russian ship comes in (Liverpool is like a port) and our girls meet two sailors Sergei and Peter (that’s Alfred and Peter) in a nightclub and one thing leads to another very quickly and they end up in a hotel room. Teresa just wants sex because I guess she’s had every bloke in the city but Elaine is romantic they only got a few hours before the boys sail again so Teresa and Sergei get stuck in (litrely) but the other two just talk and fall in love which can happen that fast your just not sure until later that its real.

Cheer up girls, it’s only an economic downturn and the guy’s not married anyway

With all the doinking that goes on you’d think Teresa would be the sex symbol but my mate Chris reckons the most exciting part is seeing the hair in Alexandra Pigg’s armpit you no girls you wouldn’t be seen dead like that but theres blokes who like it it takes all salts.

And then the boys are gone and the girls come down to earth with a bump well Elaine does it meant something to her and she and Peter write to each other and she wants to go to Russia and marry him so she writes to President Brezhnev the podgy guy with thick eyebrows you know the one.

The British Foreign Office gets involved because Elaine is so determined and at the time Russia was a country it was hard to get into and when you were there they wouldn’t let you out something like that anyway I think its like North Korea is now real dodgy. And they tell her that Peter’s married but she don’t believe it. Nor does Teresa she says “I’ve had the knickers dragged off me by enough married men that I know one when I see one and Peter ain’t married.”

I mean imagine falling for someone in that situation its complicated enough when it’s the guy round the corner without politics and stuff getting in the way.

There’s a lot of bad language but its all in Liverpool accents so it don’t sound so bad they say fooken  but they say the k like the ch in Loch Ness I didn’t think of that myself like but I heard someone say it and its true.

Its quite funny and theres romantic bits and very sad bits and some very 80s music Hit That Perfect Beat and stuff to remind you when its set. I don’t know if Alfred and Peter think of it fondly as a stepping stone it ain’t exactly Shakespeare I guess though I never seen any of his films so I can’t really say.

 

Kaycee’s Klasic Films – Coogan’s Bluff

Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films

Ive talked about Clint Eastwood here before, a couple of times in fact and its not that I’m obsessed with him or nothing but he has made a lot of movies ain’t he and in different styles. So now I’m looking at my favourite non-cowboy one Coogan’s Bluff. I could of gone for Play Misty For Me cos that’s good too but Coogan’s is the one I always go back to.

Its about a law man in Arizona who takes time off from tracking villains in the desert to go to New York City to bring back this guy Jimmy Ringerman whose on the run. Clint plays Coogan who wears the old cowboy stuff pointy toed boots and  hat maybe a Stetson I don’t know. And people keep calling him Tex because he looks like he’s from Texas.

He gets ripped off by a taxi driver who takes him all round the houses to get where he’s going and Coogan spots that they pass Bloomingdales twice (big department store). And the guy charges him extra for luggage because he’s got this little briefcase with him.

Nice lines here: the guy on hotel reception charges him extra because he hasn’t got luggage and Coogan goes “there’s a taxi driver in this town that’d give you and argument”.

We know, Clint, it’s Arizona. But blimey, don’t you look young.

Coogan has no patience with the slower NY way of justice and just wants to get Ringerman without waiting for the court to authorise it so he pees off the detective he’s dealing with (Lee J. Cobb nice performance). And he meets a probation officer Julie played by Susan Clark who never really made it but must have been only inches away cos she’s good and really pretty. She just couldn’t get past actresses like Katharine Ross I guess still she done a few things.

And Ringerman’s girlfriend is this tiny little thing Linny Raven (Tisha Sterling) and she fancies Coogan and it’s like his duty in those days to doink her just because she’s there and he does and she tells Julie all about it.

This was 1968 and there was cycle delick music around then and the scenes in clubs and parties are full of weird music and stoned people.

There’s a motorbike chase which might a peel to some people blokes I guess but what I like about the film is its quite funny and Clint’s so cool.

I guess its just personal preference I know there’s nothing here that makes the film a mantelpiece but it’s a nice way to spend an hour and a half and that’s the name of the game as they say what game I don’t know the game of life maybe the game of what am I going to do tonight when I ain’t going out.

Kaycee’s Klasic Films – Sideways

Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films

This 2004 film won loads of awards and it wins my award for the best film of 2004 not that I take much interest in the Oscar and all that it’s a load of old tosh ain’t it just fills a gap at a quiet time of year the year after things really happened. Its about the California wine country or about two old friends who go there for a sort of stag week people want more than a stag night or a hen night these days which I suppose is okay if you can afford it. The most I ever managed was two days in Bournemouth when my mate Mel got married and we was only supposed to be there one night only we got plastered and met some guys.

And that’s sort of what happens here. Jack (Thomas Haden Church) is getting married to this girl from a wealthy family and he probly loves her you never really know do you but he wants to have a last fling before the handcuffs go on so he goes off to the wine country with his mate Miles (Paul Giamatti). Jack is this outgoing fun guy who is supposed to be an actor but all he’s getting is jobs doing voiceovers for radio commercials the kind where they spend half the time cramming the technical stuff into it as fast as they can. I suppose if your being sympathetic you could think he feels a bit of a failure and wants to cheer himself up. But the one who really needs cheering up is Miles whose a teacher but still trying to make it as a novelist and he’s depressed cos his ex has just got married again.

They meet a wine lover called Maya (Virginia Madsen) who Miles kind of knows and he doesn’t realize she fancies him but Jack being a bit of a lad knows these things and he spots it straightaway. But Miles is too shy and too down to make the most of it it’s a shame when that happens ain’t it girls because we have to show the stop sign a lot and when we give the green light its frustrating when the guy dosen’t respond.

Come on Milesy. Everyone knows what that look means.

Anyways Jack also meets a wine waitress or something called Stephanie (Sandra Oh who looks Vietnamese or something only she’s got a long face – seriously) who is more like him looking for a good time. But he dosen’t tell her he’s about to get married of course.

They go on a double date and end up back at Maya’s place and your just wishing Miles would realize he’s got it made but he’s too slow to catch a cold and although Jack and Stephanie get it on it ain’t very x-certificate in Miles and Maya’s pants.

Now we get to the part where I don’t know how much to let on without spoiling it but it don’t take much to realize Jack ain’t going to get away with it and sure enough Stephanie finds out and freaks out and belts him in the face with her motorbike helmet. Which leaves the problem of how to explain his smashed up face to his fiancée when he gets home.

Its good fun this one and you can take it a bit serious if you want but its still amusing and its kind of good quality I don’t know how else to describe it. If a young director did it with a young cast and aimed it at younger people it would be smutty and tasteless ooh listen to me I’m all classy in my old age.

Its extremely good put it like that and you feel glad you watched it cos its like having a good bottle of wine instead of some special offer crap from Afganistahn do they make wine there probly not its too dusty.

 

 

Kaycee’s Klasic Films – Local Hero

Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films

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This was written and directed in 1983 by Bill Forsyth, the same guy who did Gregory’s Girl and he is Scottish and likes to set his films in Scotland and use Scottish talent they’re very patriotic the Scots and if you’ve ever been there you will know there is a lot of beautiful unspoilt countryside and coast which is probably because of the climate it’s cold and wet a lot of the time so you can’t turn the coastline into a load of beach resorts.

That is kind of what the film is about there’s this rich American businessman Mr Happer (Burt Lancaster) who is the boss of the Knox Oil Company in Houston and he wants to build a refinery on the coast in northern Scotland because as you probably know there is a lot of oil and gas under the sea up there and oil rigs all over the place. He sends one of his young executives Mac McIntyre (Peter Riegert) to scout the place. Mac doesn’t see why he should have to actually spend time there because he could wrap the whole thing up with two or three telexes which was a sort of quick communication method before email and Whatsapp. I think.

Anyways he has to go and the Scottish guy who meets him over there and shows him around, Danny (Peter Capaldi the current Doctor Who) is  a quiet country lad and Mac is a stressed out city high flyer. They’re looking at a bay in a small village and its peaceful and lovely Danny is in love with this marine biologist played by Jenny Seagrove but she’s too sophisticated for him if you know what I mean.

Mac checks into a very small hotel run by Gordon (Denis Lawson) and his wife Stella (Jennifer Black) sorry about all these brackets and punctuation it gets on your tits don’t it? Gordon is quite similar to Mac in some ways but has lived a very different life and you can gradually see them both thinking that.

It’s the kind of small place where people sometimes have two jobs to make ends meet and Gordon is not just the hotelier but also the local accountant/business adviser.

The company really wants to buy the beach and a lot of the locals are willing to sell because they would become rich beyond their wildest dreams but the stumbling block is Ben Knox same name as the company see so there’s a link there. He’s played by Fulton Mackay who was famous as the prison warder Mr Mackay in Porridge TV comedy.

You can’t help being drawn into the peace and tranquility just like Mac is and he’s also very struck by Stella and Gordon knows but doesn’t mind funnily enough. Gordon even suggests one night when they’re both drunk that they should swap lives and Mac would have the hotel and Stella with it I don’t know if that’s romantic or pervy really but they don’t do it so I don’t suppose it matters.

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Big boss Happer eventually comes over partly because he is an astronomer and wants to see the Northern Lights those natural colours in the sky they get sometimes. What happens in the end well you’ll have to watch it yourself what would you like to happen in the end? It’s just a film that makes you feel good and you escape your life wherever that may be and live in a Scottish village by the beach for a while.

 

 

 

Kaycee’s Klasic Films – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films

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Yeah going back a bit again 1969 some people think of this as a western but I don’t it’s set in those times but it ain’t at all like all those old cowboy films from the 50s its what is now known as a buddy movie.

There are four things I like about this first Paul Newman and Robert Redford both rather tasty don’t you think well I do. Second its funny some of the lines are hilarious its dry wit though kind of supple and I like that. Third the other characters there all good and fourth the music which is unusual I suppose done by Burt Bacharach and sometimes sung by the Swingle Singers who do arabella music with no instruments and no words just singing sounds you may not like that and I can’t say I’ve got much on my iPod but for the film it works great.

Butch and Sundance are outlaws part of the Hole in the Wall Gang it’s Butch’s gang really and they’ve been away for a while so when they get back to Hole in the Wall their hideout this giant guy Harvey thinks he’s taken over. He wants to settle it with a fight cos he’s so tough but Butch walks up to him and says he won’t start till they get the rules sorted out and he goes “Rules? In a knife fight? No rules,” and Butch kicks him right in the cobblers and wins.

Oh, even before that right at the start we find out that Sundance is a famous gunfighter he’s playing cards and someone accuses him of cheating. Butch comes in and tries to reason with the guy but he won’t listen and Butch goes, “I can’t help you Sundance.” The guy just about craps himself and says “I didn’t know you were the Sundance Kid when I said you were cheating. If I draw on you you’ll kill me.” And Sundance goes, “There’s that possibility.” Cool as a cucumber.

You know sometimes when I write these things I don’t want to tell you any good bits because if you haven’t seen it already there’s nothing like the first time but something like this you’ve probably seen before so shall I carry on I guess so.

They rob a train and the owner of the railroad is sick of it and hires a posse of the best lawmen, trackers and that that he can find. Great line from Butch: “If he’d just pay me what he’s spending to make me stop robbing him I’d stop robbing him.”

The screenplay (script) is by William Goldman and if this was all he ever done (which it wasn’t) he could of died happy it’s so good.

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Sundance has a girlfriend Etta (Katharine Ross) and they all decide to move to Bolivia to get away from the posse. There’s this nice bit of brown and white film as an interlude while they go to New York and get the boat to South America and the soundtrack goes all Swingle Singers and they arrive in this one horse town and Sundance is furious and then they find they have to learn Spanish to rob banks to tell the people what to do so Etta teaches them. It all gets very difficult and uncomfortable so she goes back home she’s a teacher and eventually the boys find themselves with half the Bolivian army against them.

Its great so funny nice scenery good music and everything I know it word for word but I still love watching it cos it ain’t one of those macho bang bang things although there is a bit of shooting.

 

 

Kaycee’s Klasic Films – Anjelica Huston

Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films

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Hollywood is full of beautiful women and the real world is full of women who wish they looked like them I think you’ll agree that’s true. It’s different for men because they can have character roles in movies and then become really big when they get older and looks don’t matter so much.

But for the ladies no one wants to look at a non-stunning girl see I’m not talking about revolting like a witch with a spiky nose and rotten teeth I’m talking about you and me the average women in the street. Sure, we get along okay and there are potential partners out there who think we’re beautiful because they love us but generally speaking it’s easier if you look like Marilyn Monroe.

But once in a while you come across a woman who breaks the rules and manages to get cast in good roles in spite of the fact that when she sees herself in a photograph, she must think, “Why is this funny looking woman always in my pictures?”

I’m writing about this because last night I watched a film in which Anjelica Huston was the only adult female. She had a cameo they call them a brief appearance but since almost every film has to have a woman for people to lust after she must of been it.

Anjelica’s mother was a ballerina and her father was John Huston, a director, and her grandfather was Walter Huston an actor. So I guess showbusiness was in her blood. She started off as a model so obviously somebody thought her looks were unusual but not unattractive and so did Jack Nicholson who she was with for a long time.

She is a kind of role model for girls who aren’t what we would call normal-pretty it’s not having that perfectly proportioned face and body its how you carry yourself and a lot of it is to do with appearing to be happy with yourself. If you’re giving off the kind of feeling that says “Don’t look at me cos your eyes will get dirty” you’re putting a nail in your own coffin. You don’t have to be cocky either mind you or you’ll make a fool of yourself just be confident your all woman and your as good as anyone else okay that’s enough of Kaycee the guru what do I know about it.

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Dead sexy: Anjelica Huston as Morticia Addams

So Anjelica has had a decent career with films like The Postman Always Rings twice (with Jack), Prizzi’s Honor and The Grifters and if your wondering the one I mentioned with the cameo was Seraphim Falls with Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson. She was Morticia in The Addams Family (extremely sexy I reckon) and she did a couple of Woody Allens.

Two others who have flown the flag for the woman of character are Judi Dench and Barbra Streisand. Somebody once said of Judi “She’s not beautiful but she can play beautiful” by play they mean act and that’s what I was talking about she dresses well holds her head up and gives it some serious dignity. Being the first female M in James Bond she had to be tough and believable in that way but you also got the feeling that Bond quite fancied her and if they did get together for a night he might learn a thing or two.

As for Barbra she’s such a character that if she wanted you to think she was once an Olympic hurdler and Miss World you’d believe her.

It’s a short list because like I said at the start the film world is full of pretty little things no disrespect to them but there is room for other types too not just Nicole Kidman and Michelle Pfeiffer  there’s hope for us all.

 

Kaycee’s Klasic Films – The Lacemaker

Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films

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This is the kind of film I don’t really expect anyone else to like you might have some like that yourself you don’t know why you like it so much but you just do. You’ve probably never heard of it so I’ll tell you everything from the start.

It’s French and came out in 1977. And it’s in French so you have to look at the subtitles, but that’s okay you can read even I can read and isn’t there some theory that only a small percentage of communication is by words? You get so much out of the Lacemaker from the atmosphere and the pictures it’s about this very shy girl Beatrice in Paris played by Isabelle Huppert she’s a trainee hairdresser does the shampooing and stuff and she’s 20 something but lives with her Mum and she only seems to have one friend Marylene whose older and more worldly than she is more outgoing more of a laugh you could say so she gets more blokes than Beatrice.

At the start of the film Marylene gets dumped by her current guy and gets really upset and it looks like she’s going to jump out the window but Beatrice stops her. Marylene decides to go to the seaside for a break to cheer herself up and she asks Beatrice to go along so she does. Of course as soon as they get there Marylene pulls a guy and she’s off having fun with him and Beatrice is left to her own devices funny expression ain’t it but you know what I mean. She meets a student called Francois whose a nice quiet guy and they begin this romance the French are very good at this sort of thing it seems very unlikely that them two would get together in real life but then you think of Beatrice’s friend Marylene who is also very different from her so maybe she attracts more sophisticated people because she’s so calm and innocent I don’t know.

Anyways when the holiday is over Beatrice moves into Francois’ flat in Paris and meets his parents and his friends but that’s a disaster she’s so shy and nervous and can’t relax with the family although you can tell Francois’ Dad likes her but the friends well it makes me uncomfortable every time. There all intellectual and talking about politics and heavy stuff and Beatrice has nothing to say for herself she’s out of her depth. So that’s when the film stops being romantic and starts being tragic.

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Love’s young dream pity it doesn’t last forever eh?

They split up and Beatrice gets really down and ends up in a mental hospital see you wouldn’t get this kind of thing with a British or American film but the French seem to love it or love writing about it anyway some guy I used to know got me reading novels by Francoise Sagan and her stuff’s like that all doomed romances. It was him who showed me this film the first time at a trendy little cinema in the West End come to think of it him and me were a bit like Beatrice and Francois I suppose except I didn’t go mad well they haven’t locked me up yet!

I don’t suppose it sounds like much fun well fun is exactly what it isn’t but I love watching this on a wet Sunday afternoon or a quiet night in with a few glasses of Prosecco that’s Italian white wine a bit sparkly. If your watching with a friend make sure its someone sensitive or they’ll think your soppy. Oh yes, and the subtitles are diabolical I don’t know who did the translation but it looks like it was the director’ 10 year old daughter but like I said it’s the atmosphere that’s so great.

 

Kaycee’s Klasic Films – Silver Linings Playbook

Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films

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When you watch a lot of movies like I do because I’m a sad old cow with no social life that’s a joke but kind of true actually you have to watch a lot of new stuff and if your using Netflix or something that’s where you find them and you have to rely on what they put on there because it’s not like a library with every film theres ever been. What I’m getting at is you can’t be that choosy because the summaries are written by someone who thinks she’s clever it sounds like a girl to me I don’t know you don’t know what anything is going to be like if you never heard of it before so sometimes you have to take a chance. And sometimes it turns out to be all bang bang bad language young smartarses killing people or thinking there being funny.

And sometimes you find a gem I did that recently with Silver Linings Playbook from 2012 which I had vaguely heard of but not taken much notice and I’m glad I did because it’s like brilliant. Stars Bradley Cooper whose pretty good not sensational but he can act he was wasted in stuff like The Hangover.

So he plays a guy, Pat, who just gets out of a mental hospital because he’s bipolar which used to be known as manic depression I think and he went berserk and hurt somebody. He seems okay now but he’s hyperactive can’t sleep goes back to live with his parents Robert de Niro and Jacki Weaver who I don’t know but she can’t spell Jackie can she I know who am I to talk?

He is hoping to get back together with his wife Nikki but he’s got a restraining order so he can’t contact her and one night he goes to some friends’ house for dinner only he’s wearing an American football shirt and everyone else is dressed quite smart so he feels a bit of a dick. The friend’s wife is an aggressive sod and they have invited a girl too about Pat’s age Tiffany played by Jennifer Lawrence and she is a bit of a psycho too sorry I mean she has a psychiatric disorder and if you ask me its not clever to try to fix them up with each other but that’s what it looks like. She gets upset and leaves before they even eaten and he goes with her she lives in a converted garage behind her parents house and she says he can come in and shag her as long as they keep the lights off. That’s part of her trouble she says she got sacked because she had sex with everybody she worked with 11 people including two women.

Pat says no because he loves his wife but they keep meeting each other out jogging and she says she will take a letter he wrote to Nikki which is illegal cos he’s not supposed to be in touch with her like I said. Anyways Tiffany says she will help him if he will be her partner in a dance competition and he don’t want to but says yes in the end. Jennifer looks great here real sad eyes.

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Cheer up, Tiffany. I think he likes you

So that’s one plot two really I suppose and the third is his Dad’s lost his job and trying to win enough money to start a restaurant by betting on sport with a guy he knows. That’s enough detail ain’t it I’m getting lost telling you about it but sure enough Pat and Tiffany start falling for each other but he still wants his wife back.

It all comes to a head as they say at the dance contest it’s a kind of old fashioned film in that way it looks like there getting together then there not and is he getting his wife back maybe and then maybe not I tell you I was in tears at the end. It’s a great film that could of been made in like the 50s with James Stewart and Jane Russell or somebody or even earlier with people I don’t know who to say.

Lovely film very clever and Oscar nominations all over the place and Jennifer won best actress.

 

 

Kaycee’s Klasic Films – Chinatown

Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films

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Chinatown is whats known as film noir that’s pronounced nwar its French for black and I think its called that because there is always a dark atmosphere not visual but dark mood you know nothing good ever happens. There was a lot of it around before my time stuff like Humphrey Bogart playing private detectives that get beaten up and stuff.

So Chinatown (made in 1974) was a bit after that but done in the same style and they set it in the old days I’m not sure what decade but old fashioned cars and suits with flappy trousers and everybody wore hats you know. Often in these things the story is just an excuse to see the leading actors (watching Jack Nicholson being cool and Faye Dunaway being sexy) and what actually happens don’t really matter. In this case its about California when there was a water shortage and of course people being killed.

They usually start with a beautiful woman hiring the P.I. to investigate something and it turns out to be not as straightforward as it looks. Sure enough Evelyn Mulwray (Faye) turns up and asks Jake Gittes (Jack) to tail her husband. But later another woman also claiming to be Evelyn turns up and says she’s going to sue him. And the husband is found drowned.

It all gets complicated but if your me you just enjoy Jack and Faye and leave the eggheads to follow the plot. There is stuff about he was found in a fresh water reservoir but he had salt water in his lungs things like that. There’s missing glasses too that are important.

Jake gets his nose slashed with a knife up both nostrils and spends most of the film with a big bandage over it which isn’t a good look but he’s still Jack Nicholson so he’s still attractive.

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And there’s lots of peace and quiet in the film which makes a change you don’t want bang crash all the time do you well I don’t it’s all noise these days I suppose that’s why I like old stuff sometimes.

Funny enough I was looking at an old films channel the other day and there was a Bob Hope film where he plays the same  except he’s just pretending to be a private detective cos the real one is in the next office but he’s out of town and Dorothy Lamour gets him involved. That one’s a spoof which means it kind of takes the mickey and Bob was a comedian so he does it real well.

“Was it a legitimate business?”

“Better than legitimate, it was profitable.”

You know how clever those guys were. That was called My Favourite Brunette.

But I’m confusing you now – I’m confused myself but that don’t take much haha. Chinatown has a great atmosphere and some good lines and it has brilliant stars that’s what I like about it. There’s a serious bit when Faye has a girl she calls her sister but it turns out she’s not really I won’t spoil it let’s just say it’s not very nice.

They made a sequel in 1990, still starring Jack and he directed it instead of Roman Polanski who did the original but the same writer Robert Towne he did some great stuff but you don’t usually hear about the screenwriter just the director that’s funny ain’t it no script no film if you ask me but there you go. The sequel wasn’t as good of course they never are are they apart from people say the Godfather series is different but I don’t know you can have too much gangster stuff I reckon.