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The Grifters (Frears, 1990): C.

Like a wad of yarn that appears severely knotted but is really just a clumpy bit of string that can be unwound with just a tug of the ends, The Grifters cloaks itself in a camouflage of deceit and intrigue with little substance underneath in support. Jon Cusack's "short con" man butts heads against some formfitting skirts in the shape of Angelica Huston, his racketeering mother, and Annette Bening's "long con" lady. We're led to believe each one is impossible to trust through scenes involving their chosen professions so that when it comes time for each character to have faith in each other, we're expected to shout, "No way, girlfriend!"

The problem is this is just not a bowl of nuts that we're likely to munch blindly. Cusack's mistrust of his mother appears more driven by feelings of abandonment in a simplistically drawn set of exchanges between the two, and Cusack's mistrust of his girlfriend seems born and bred in left field.

Stephen Frears apparently wants us to believe that the tragedy of the story is the rudimentary duality of existing in a world of corruption where every badge of trust and honesty is inextricably tainted with a drop of blood. However the real tragedy of the movie is the casting of actors who can't seem to fit the soft-boiled dialogue in their perfectly shaped mouths. Bening's naturally elegant elocution is about 90% hidden under a baby toy squeak, but it betrays her every so often. And the complexity needed to pull off the central story of a man caught between two loves is about 90% hidden under a baby toy Cusack.

For a film that strives so hard to show how difficult it is to develop authentic human relationships in real life, it instead manages to show how difficult it is to develop authentic human relationships in a movie.
Pretty good movie very sad though in some parts. Don't watch it if your feeling depressed its not a good idea.

I was asked to review it so here you all go.

John Cusack plays Roy the young Grifter. A grifter is a con man for thoughs of you who don't know what that is. Okay well Roy is pulling small time jobs he gets hurt and his Mom shows up ::played by Angelina Huston:: She works for the mob and places bets at horse tracks. Oh and Roy also has a girl friend who's a Grifter played by ::Bennet something:: he has no idea she's a grifter tell later on in the movie. Okay back to the movie. All right his Mom shows up just to say hi and she see's he's not at all feeling well and takes him to the Hospitle. Roy's Mother then meets Roys girl friend they hate each other at first sight. Roy's Mother gets into trouble with her boss and then the story starts to get exciting. Sorry if my review sucks.
6 days of work down, 2 to go

Then 2 days of hanging out with my bro and Gobles

I'm getting a haircut tomorrow after lunch with Kyle, its bout time. Its becoming unmanagable and making me look way more Alaskan than I want to look.

No one has guessed the movie quotes in my profile yet. The two people that might be able to answer those have not been on AIM lately.

Audrey accidentally hit me in the head really hard with the sharp corner of my cash drawer at work tonight. It must have scabbed over because I scratched my head just now and it came off and now there's blood in my hair.

My car is vibrating. I dont know why.

I saw The Grifters the other day. Its from 1990, from the man who directed High Fidelity and the man who starred in High Fidelity. But it wasnt that good. It was rather pointless in a not-so-good way as opposed to being pointless in a Big-Lebowski-way.

Sometimes I cant get over how brilliant The Big Lebowski is, even with the Coen Brothers being the ones who gave us The Ladykillers, The Man Who Wasnt There and O Brother Where Art Thou....all mediocre offerings. But then again they also blessed us with Miller's Crossing, Intolerable Cruelty and Fargo.

I had lunch with Alvin and Elissa Bregman and actually enjoyed it.

Here are some highlights:
Elissa: "Shelly wanted to be a psychiatrist and I told her shes too mean. You have to be nice, and who understands that more than me? I'm a therapist, you know....an art and music therapist."


Elissa: "When Shelly or Susan comes home to visit, we put them up in the Carriage House because there is no room for them in the house. Including my guinea pigs, I have 25 animals."


Elissa: "The soup of the day is split pea! I'm going to get that."
ME: "My mom used to make that stuff, it was so nasty. It was thick and scary. You could stick a fork in it and it would stand up."
Elissa: "Ohhhh thats the way to make split pea. I would have loved that if I had come over for dinner."
ME:


ME: "Yeah, Grandma doesnt have much to do. She just rambles around the house all day by herself."
Elissa: "Oh! I could give her one of my cats!"


Ok, thats enough trauma for one entry.
Comments pending.
The story is shaky and unininteresting. It tries to be a black comedy but I didn't smile once.


Her name is Mika Nakashima.

Mika Nakashima was born on February 19th of the year 1983 in Kagoshima prefecture, Japan. Ever since she was a child, Mika loved to sing, and all she wanted to be when she grew up was a singer. Instead of going to college, Mika started competing in the music industry and modelling business at the age of 17 when she sent a demo tape to Sony records.

Mika was lucky enough to be chosen to sing the theme song of a new drama called
ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER- I love Pedro Almodovar, and I have such trouble putting the films I see of his in order of how much I like them, because I love all. He's such a unique storyteller, and has just an amazing vision for his films. One of the best directors working today, and I feel like I can say that even though I've only seen three of his films. Those three films all garner a 10/10 from me, though.


THE DOOR IN THE FLOOR- I really wanted to see this film when it was released in theatres last year, but never got around to it. It's a shame, because it's such a beautiful film that it deserves to be seen on the big screen. THE DOOR IN THE FLOOR is about the falling about of a marriage because of the death of two children, which is something I've never experiences before. I've never really experienced death even, but for some reason I was able to identify with the characters in this film so much. All the acting in the film is great, and Kim Basinger has never looked more beautiful.


THE GRIFTERS- An awesome film about conning. I think films about conning in general are usually pretty good. THE GRIFTERS follows three people, with three different types of cons, played by John Cusack, Annette Bening, and Angelica Huston. All three were pretty good, but Bening and Cusack really shine in this one.


EUROPA, EUROPA- A WWII drama about a guy who has to hide his penis all the time. Literally. Hah. So yeah, he's a Jew pretending to be German, and works in the Nazi army to save his life. And it's all based on real life, which makes the film so much better. If I didn't know this actually happened, there is now way I'd believe it. So I think this film really needs to be checked out just to see what one man goes through just to stay alive. Well, not only that, it's an awesome film to boot! I don't think you'll ever see Hitler and Stalin dancing together in any other film. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
.....

THE GRIFTERS
(STEPHEN FREARS, 1990)
R
1 HOUR 54 MINUTES
Four movies from the 90's, including two Ang Lee films.

Sense and Sensibility, directed by Ang Lee, is a film adapation of Jane Austen's 1811 novel. Emma Thompson stars as Elinor Dashwood, a smart and reserved young woman who tries to keep her mother and sisters afloat after the death of her father. Emma's father had died and left the estate to a son from a previous marriage. Elinor falls for her stepbrother-in-law Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant) but Edward is already engaged to a woman named Lucy (Imogen Stubbs). Meanwhile Elinor's feisty and hopelessly romantic younger sister Marianne (Kate Winslet) falls in love with a handomse local named Willoughby (Greg Wise) who has a repuation for being a womanizer. Another man, the kind and noble Colonel Bradon (Alan Rickman) also shows interest in Marianne, but she rejects his advances. The film also features Gemma Jones, Tom Wilkinson, Imelda Staunton and James Fleet.

Sense and Sensibility is my favorite Jane Austen adaption. It's a smart romantic drama that features excellent performances from it's cast. Emma Thompson is superb as the reasonable Elinor. Kate Winslet offres great contrast as the emotionally romantic Marianne. Hugh Grant and Greg Wise are also very good, but the standout male performance comes from Alan Rickman. His performance is less flashy, but is full of substance. Ang Lee's direction is excellent as well. The pacing is better than most period films, and it doesn't come acroos as pretentious as many similar films do. The cinematography is also excellent. Although Sense and Sensibility won't likely win converts for thos who dislike Austen films, it's certainly more accesible than most. And as a romantic drama it's quite good.

The Ice Storm, also directed by Ang Lee, explores two dysfunctional upper middle class families, the Hoods and the Carvers. Set in the early 70's, both appear like typical suburban families, however underneath the surface things are much darker. Ben Hood (Kevin Kline) is having an affair with Janey Carver (Sigourney Weaver). 16 year old Paul Hood (Tobey Maguire) is away at prep school doing drugs and trying to win the affections of a girl named Libbets (Katie Holmes). 14 year old Wendy Hood (Christina Ricci) is fascinated by the Watergate scandal and also interesting in exploring her emerging sexuality with the Carver boys Mikey (Elijah Wood) and Sandy (Adam Hann-Byrd). Meanwhile Elena Hood (Joan Allen) suspects her husband is cheating. The film climaxes with an adult "swingers like" party on the night of a massive ice storm.

This highly regarded film takes a scathing look at suburban morals in the decadent seventies. Unfortunately I didn't warm up to this film like most did. Although the story is fairly well written I had difficulty finding a character I could really latch onto. The affair between Ben Hood and Janey Carver wasn't particularly revealing, nor was Joan Allen's character giving much of an opportunity to react, other than the "key party" which wasn't nearly as interesting as it could have been. As for the kids? The best written character was Wendy Hood. Christina Ricci was very good in this film. Unfortunately the genuinely good moments in this film were too scattered. For the most part The Ice Storm left me cold which was too bad because this film had the potential to be great. American Beauty or Ordinary People are much better films about upper-middle class dysfunctional familes.

The Grifters, directed by Stephen Frears, is a Post-Noir crime drama about three "Grifters" or con artists. John Cusack stars as Roy Dillon, a young man who runs small time cons. His estranged mother Lilly (Anjelica Huston) runs a big time racetrack scam and is associated with the mob. Roy's girlfriend Myra (Annette Bening) has also been in the con game for a long time, once a part of a phony investment scam. Lilly is wary of Myra's intentions, but Roy is still angry at Lilly for not being a fit mother. Eventually Myra tries to scam them both. The film also features Pat Hingle and J.T. Walsh.

The Grifters takes a fascinating look at con artists. The characters are full of deceit and must come to terms with their own morality. How far will they go, and who are the willing to con? The three leads are all very good, especially Anjelica Huston. It's a strong film.

King of the Hill, directed by Steven Soderbergh, chronicles a short period of an imaginative 12 year old boy's life during the Depression. Aaron Kurlander (Jesse Bradford) is a bright kid living in a St. Louis hotel with his family during the Great Depression. His mother (Lisa Eichorn) is sick, his father (Jeroen Krabbe) can't find work to support his family, and Aaron's yopunger brother is sent away to sat with relatives. He is to ashamed to tell his classmates or teacher, so he creates a facade about his family. Soon his mother is sent to a sanitarium and his father takes a traveling salesman position leaving young Aaron to fend for himself. At the same time the hotel is threatening to lock him out. The film also features Adrien Brody, Karen Allen and Elizabeth McGovern.

It's a decent story, but not one that stuck with me for very long. Interesting seeing Adrien Brody in an early role.