(gb) wrote: The sloppily shot, crudely edited Head of State fails as satire, for starters, because of its utter disconnect from any kind of reality. The movie opens with a statement that Hillary Clinton, Bob Dole and Al Sharpton are not in the movie. Also not in the movie: laughs. There's only the faintest glimmer of Rock's talent for piercingly funny humor here, a shortcoming for which the comic can only blame himself, given that he also produced and directed the movie. The very confusion that has made him (Rock) so unpredictable and funny onstage makes this on-screen exploration of contemporary racial mythologies curiously tentative and unfocused. The difference between Head of State and a good comedy is like the difference between Chris Rock and a real actor. Satire's funniest when it's true, but Rock exaggerates and mistimes too many jokes. Though the comedy falls short of a debacle -- which is what such egocentric projects tend to be -- it isn't as sharp, fast or funny as Rock's stand-up routines.VERDICT: "Not So Hot" - [Negative Reaction] These films are truly terrible films. They are not the worst things ever made, but they are definitely awful and should not be seen by anyone. (Films that are rated 1.5 or 2 stars)
(nl) wrote: Serving as both a western and the one film ever directed by Marlon Brando, One-Eyed Jacks sounded like a chance to see Marlon Brando taking on more than just acting.Unlike most conventional western films, One-Eyed Jacks fits the context of a more revisionist western film along the lines of the western classic High Noon, another film which featured actress Katy Jurado. I mean that in the sense that it defies many of the archetypes of standard western films, rooted in a story about a conflicted anti-hero who has to learn about the penalties of his actions. It is a seriously character-driven film which makes minimal use of horse chases and shootouts, and that is both its innovation and ones of its problems. It's a problem because western films are traditionally very slow, and One-Eyed Jacks is no exception in that area. But as well as that, the film runs for a total of 141 minutes which makes it a seriously long piece. On the surface, a long and slow western film which is bereft of action sounds like a boring film, and for many periods of time in the film it is. As a whole the film is entertaining, but after the intro of the film and until the second act, there is a prolonged sense of dull melodrama that plagues the film. This is the time spent developing the characters and giving viewers insight into them, and though at times there are some insightful and passionate moments that comes from the extensive periods of dialogue, the repetitiveness of it and the fact that it is not moderated with a genuine sense of story progression to match it proves to slow things down drastically without justification of its story dynamics with a truly compelling feeling. In short, there are many times where One-Eyed Jacks drags on and where its revisionist intentions get in the way of the general entertainment value of things. However, this predominantly happens within the first act of the film as it takes a serious upturn in the second act.One-Eyed Jack's intentions to defy convention occasionally turn it into a melodramatic Marlon Brando romantic drama which has not aged as well as a film like From Here to Eternity has, but it does prove to be a touching film in the end. With all the dedication to characters from the actors and the fact that Marlon Brando focuses on so many little things as director, One-Eyed Jacks does prove successful as a compelling character-driven piece. The characterisation of Rio proves good because as the film puts all the focus around him, we see a progressive sense of development within him as he goes beyond the numb and philandering criminal he has condemned himself to being. The character is an anti-hero, a criminal who the audience is progressively able to truly sympathise with. And by the end of the story after the tale had developed a strong relationship between Rio and Louisa, I felt a true connection to the film which was unexpected after the slow first act and yet most welcome. Marlon Brando's direction is restrained and gentle, allowing the subject matter to flourish on a small scale and giving the characters plenty of room to breathe. It is impressive how well One-Eyed Jacks ends up functioning as a small scale western film because it substitutes shootouts and horse chases for characters, even though it does contain the occasional use of the former. But the spectacle of the film cannot be denied, because even on such a small scale the scenery, production design and costumes all do a powerful job of conveying the timeframe and cultural context of the film well enough. As well as that, the Academy Award nominated cinematography picks up on it all with a beautiful western style about it with traditional techniques, adhering to some western conventions in a very beneficial manner. Marlon Brando successfully ensures that One-Eyed Jacks maintains the value of both its characters and its setting, and as a result the characters are all believable. As a result, the actors just flourish in their roles.Marlon Brando is the perfect man for the leading role of Rio. As one of Hollywood's most celebrated celebrities, Marlon Brando is an actor with the reputable status for portraying handsome yet hard-edged men. And as a result, that makes him the ideal candidate for portraying a cowboy, a criminal and a man of romance all at once. His natural charm in the role draws in viewers, and the sense of haunted past that plagues the character proves viable to his role as a cowboy. But most of all, Marlon Brando plays this into Rio's gritty nature which effectively promotes him as a sympathetic yet edgy character for the story, defying the conventional simplicity of a patriotic cowboy archetype. His role essentially captures everything great he is known for in his earlier days, and his determination to really carry the film on his shoulders both as director and as the central character proves effective since he plays at the intense edge of Rio while also slowly breaking down the more internal aspects of the character and displaying a emotional vulnerability. Marlon Brando makes a great cowboy and a truly compelling character for One-Eyed Jacks, and so the film ends up serving as another strong vehicle for him.Pina Pellicer is also unforgettable in One-Eyed Jacks. The actress is a beautiful woman who spends the movie swooning for Rio, but she is not melodramatic in the slightest. In actual fact, she genuinely seems in love with Marlon Brando, and this boosts the credibility of the narrative extensively. This comes from her ability to play Louisa as a very vulnerable woman dragged into a complicated game of love and crime. The entire time, Pina Pellicer maintains a sense of sympathetic innocence. It comes from both the face of a woman who is still a young girl inside and the interactions that the actress shares with the cast around her. She holds her own against actors as talented as Marlon Brando and delivers a character so gentle and yet emotional that it is hard not for the audiences to feel for her. She is not just another object of Marlon Brando's affections, she is a beautiful woman and a very talented actress who brings out the most in her character even in a production as troubled as One-Eyed Jacks. Pina Pellicer is a wonderful actress in One-Eyed Jacks, and the strength of her chemistry with Marlon Brando alone is enough for me to say that her performance is of Academy Award calibreKaty Jurado is also a genial presence. Considering her memorable appearance in High Noon, it is great to see her working again in another revisionist Western film. The best parts of her performance come predominantly from her interactions with Pina Pellicer. The mother-daughter relationship established between their characters is both touching and even more relevant to real life in the sense that an experienced and Academy Award nominated actress notable for working in a western film like High Noon is passing her wisdom down to the young Pina Pellicer. This adds dramatic effect to One-Eyed Jacks very well, and Katy Jurado's efforts are very memorable.Karl Malden is also very powerful. Working with Marlon Brando once again, Karl Malden makes a powerful effort to bring out the best in the actor by challenging him to use his strongest sense of tension by doing it himself. He plays the hard edged Dad Longworth with an intimidating confidence, and it reflects the betrayal that the character puts over Rio with powerful drama. Karl Malden grips the gritty nature of his character with a fearless tenacity and goes up against Marlon Brando very well, as well as bringing out the best in Katy Jurado during their one on one scenes. He is a seriously powerful addition to the cast.So although One-Eyed Jacks is long, slow and has an inconsistent first act, it is an emotionally powerful and character driven western film featuring powerful performances from Marlon Brando and Pina Pellicer without sacrificing spectacle in the process.
(ca) wrote: De Sica remains true to his neo-realist style in this adaptation of a Moravia novel. It is the story of a woman with a successful small business, who decides to take her daughter to her place of origin after the Allies begin bombing the city of Rome. Along the way they witness and become victims of some of the horrors of war. A hauntingly dramatic tale of a mother and her daughter struggling to survive and even maintain the love they have for each other, with excellent performances, including perhaps the best Sofia Loren one ever.