Quick opinions of recent views

Black Swan (2010)

We all know the story.  Virginal girl, pure and sweet, trapped in the body of a swan.  She desires freedom but only true love can break the spell.  Her wish is nearly granted in the form of a prince, but before he can declare his love her lustful twin, the black swan, tricks and seduces him.  Devastated the white swan leaps of a cliff killing herself and, in death, finds freedom.

This film was highly hyped when it came out, but I think it’s overrated.  It’s edited well and shot beautifully.  There is an atmosphere of claustrophobia in the film, reflecting the very circumscribed life of the main character, NYC-based ballerina Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman).  It was nice to see veteran actress Barbara Hershey as Nina’s overly-concerned mother.  Too bad not much was done with Winona Ryder’s role.  The meaning of the ending is up to the viewer to decide! 

House of Games (1987)

What I’m talking about comes down to a more basic philosophial principle: Don’t trust nobody.

In David Mamet’s film noir (done in his usual style), respected Chicago psychiatrist/author Margaret Ford (Lindsay Crouse) tries to help a troubled young patient with an IOU.  She’s is drawn into the world of  con man Mike (Joe Mantegna), a smooth/charismatic character who teaches her about “hustling” (through real-world experiences).  Margaret can’t resist the dark side, nor Mike, though she may be be the biggest “patsy” in the game.  

You say I acted atrociously.  Yes.  I did.  I do it for a living.

I recommend this film for Mantegna’s fine performance, as well as for the plot twists.  However, I preferred The Winslow Boy and The Spanish Prisoner (two great Mamet films).     

Please Believe Me (1950)

This film has some nice moments/dialogue, but is pretty uneven.  It takes too long to set up the premise, but that’s not unusual for older films.  Sensible single gal, Alison Kirbe (Deborah Kerr) of London, receives a telegram from Texas, that she has inherited a livestock ranch from an old friend. It is plastered throughout newspapers that Alison has become a rich heiress, and is sailing to the United Slates alone to claim her inheritance.  Smooth-taking gambler Terence (Robert Walker from Strangers on a Train), laid-back playboy Jeremy (Peter Lawford), and Jeremy’s no-nonsense lawyer, Matthew (Mark Stevens) take an interest in Alison aboard the ship.

Rage in Heaven (1941)

I wanted to see this film since a young Ingrid Bergman is in the lead role.  I recommend this film, as does my dad.  Stella (Ingrid Bergman), a refugee/ personal secretary to wealthy English widow Mrs. Monrell, accepts the marriage proposal of her son, Philip (Robert Montgomery).  This is a bit of a surprise since Philip seemed to encourage a relationship between his college  friend, Ward Andrews (George Sanders from All About Eve) and Stella.  After Stella and Philip get married, he assumes the lead management role in the family’s steel business.  Philip’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic, both at home and in the office.  How will Stella, Ward, and those involved in the steelworks cope?

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