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The Flick Chick

The Flick Chick Reviews some Films
with titles beginning with "T" and "U"

We see films so that we can laugh, so that we can cry (with an excuse and in private), so that we can see into other people's lives, and maybe to feel less silly about our own — after all, I've never taken that big a pratfall, or made that big a fool of myself, have I? At least not yet.

There in the dark, for just a little while at least, we're not alone.

Taxing Woman
Subtitles

          I love to laugh. If you say the same, then scour the video stores for ths Japanese film. (Also for Taxing Woman Returns) What does the title mean? Is she hard to get along with? Not especially; just that the diminuitive star is, well, okay, a Japanese tax collector.
          WHAT!
           Yep, there she goes, off on her motorcycle, racing around Tokyo, keeping her bright eyes tenaciously peeled for nefarious cheats, unprincipled scoundrels, and whatever other wicked evaders she can get her brains on! A little short on plot, but long on jolly good excitement and great fun! (Video)

Tender Mercies

           Yes, of course, it's a real oldie.
            We saw this years-old film the other night. And it was as wonderful as ever. Remember Robert Duval, the Godfather's suave consigliore? He has metamorphosized into Matt Hammer, ex-alcoholic country singer. Hunt this one out and see it. Or see it again. Beautiful performances, really nice rings-true script. And as an added bonus . . . read the final credits and see who wrote the songs and who did the voiceover on the singing. You'll be surprised! (CD)

3:10 to Yuma

           This is one great flick! There's major action in the line of multiple killings, a shoot-em-up finale that uses more bullets than Pulp Fiction, and plenty of mud, dirt, double-crossing sneaky rats, stage-coach robbings, yellow-bellied cowardice, dynamite explosions, and some real, genuine nobility. And it's all shadowed and nuanced with murky motives, and backstories that grow longer as the film progresses.
            Despite the Western-cliche format of the Noble Protagonist being driven off his ranch by the Heartless Dudes from the Big-Money East, the film shudders with solid emotion. Needless to say, this would be true of any film starring Russell Crowe, who is one of the great actors of his generation. Cast as a heartless killer, sugject to quicksilver mood changes, glinting humor, and a smooth line talk, Crowe reveals the character's three- (or four-) dimensional human heart. Why, actually, did the rancher make his final decision? Why, really, did each change of the outlaw's heart take place? I don't really know the answer. Can you figure it out?
            Of course, Christian Bale is no slouch either, pally.
            And one more side-note. There really was a contemporary character named Ben Wade (the Russell Crowe character), but he was no outlaw: Speaker of the House of Representatives just after the Civil War, he was a passionate advocate of equality and a fierce foe of slavery. How 'bout that! (9/07)

Tin-Tin (Pronounced Tan-Tan)

            Cute, but thin. If you followed the Herve comic strips, you'll absolutely love it. If not, you may not be so impressed. (1/12)

Tinker-Tailor-Soldier-Spy (Ver. I vs Ver. II)

           Love good mysteries. Really like the John le Carre books. Half in love with Smiley. (Just leveling the playing-field here.)
           BUT . . . as with the Lavendar Hill Mob an Alec Guinness performance is an utter spoiler for any subsequent version. It's not that the current version is bad, it's just that the previous George Smiley is inimitable.
          As a matter of fact, the Ver.II delineation of the other members of the organization is much superior to other versions, even the written one. (Must admit that I always had trouble keeping the characters straight even when I read the book.) Thus it helped my feeble mind to have one actor much taller, one much blonder, etc.
          HOWEVER, either the director of Ver.II had read something into the original text that I had missed, or else he threw a big curve into the story line toward the end of the film. Effective enough in the film, I guess — but it took a big liberty wth the arc of the story. Le Carre's intent, as I saw it, was that spying — the deliberate undermining of people's faith in their relationship to what is right and wrong . . . trafficking in betrayal — takes its toll on the character, draining out the vital juice that keeps us loving and loyal and sane.
          So, with all due respect, the Chick's advice is to rent or buy the Ver.I in its 3-part series and fall in love with Alec Guinness all over again! (12/11)

Traffic

     Didn't enjoy it; wouldn't have missed it! The hype says "riveting" and "stunning," but to me, the words "gritty" and "grim" seem more appropriate.
     As most of the world already knows, "Traffic" follows three aspects of the drug trade: production, distribution, and consumption, narrated through largely unrelated plot lines. The quick cuts from one to next — from unresolved scene to unresolved scene — were made more intelligible by the sunny brilliance that illuminated the world of Don Cheadle's dogged stake-out man and the fetching (if unprincipled) Catherine Zeta-Jones, the dust-filtered sepia tones of all the Mexican episodes, and the grim blue of Michael Douglas's DC scenes. Douglas, not my idea of anybody's good Dad even at his most winsome, is massively wooden and chill, even for him, and that serves the plot very well. Splendid (Oscar-winner) Benico del Toro was the only character I ever warmed up to, and we never know which side he's on until the last moments of the film. In sum: Absolutely do see it, but don't expect to walk away smiling. (3/01)

Treasure Planet

      What can I say — Disney. Treasure Island set in space: Space ships with no air problems, shaped like Spanish galleons; Motorized peg legs; Robot eyes under the sailors' eye-patches; Cute anthromorphised globs for pets; Marooned Ben Gunn is a dilapidated zany robot. Japanese-anime-adorable faces with extra-big eyes and no noses to speak of, except in profile. And plenty of schmaltz. Other than that, it was not bad, with a nicely thought out and sort of appropriate ending. But mostly for ten and under. Be warned. (12/02)

Troy

        Read the book. Saw the movie. Each was different. Both were good.
        Backstory: Once upon a time there was this gorgeous woman. And there was this fascinating Dude. And they . . . only she was married to King Menelaus. So when they ran off, Menelaus and his bro, Agamemnon, got together this army and hired Brad Pitt to fight for them, and those guys went and . . . only Troy had good defenses, so it took a long time. Also, in the original, the Greek gods got into the act, but in the movie it was all about politics and pillage.
        So far so good. Another sword and sandals epic and an excuse for beefcake and the occasional lightly veiled dancing girl. Right?
        Not quite. Brad Pitt (Achilles) is a major fighting machine. Unstoppable. Only . . . every time he kills off a dozen or so Trojans . . . you can see they are really very dead. Maimed and all. So . . . although Zeus and Aphrodite and the rest are not in the cast (or maybe because of that) it is the audience who get a sort of Olympian view of the story. There are good guys and bad guys on each side. We are not induced to want our side to win. Because we have no side. Or maybe we are on both sides. We don't want to see Brad Pitt and our friends, the Greeks, get trashed. But neither would we like to see our friends, the Trojans, such as the noble Hector and his dad, the still gorgeous Peter O'Toole, get trashed. Yeah, Olympian view. As in War is Ugly. And cruel. And a waste of good men. And a way that crying women get deprived of their nice husbands. And little kids get to have no Dads anymore. So we end up with the thought that . . . hmm, maybe war really is what they say. Hell. (5/04)

Under the Tuscan Sun

        Say, I'm kinda getting into one-word reviews, so here's another, this time of Tuscan Sun. Ready? Okay:
        Shameless.
        Shameless romanticism (yeah, REALLY). Shameless destruction of the original novel. Shamelessly gorgeous photography. Shamelessly gorgeous lovers. Shamelessly sterotypically pure-at-heart-simplicity of the local peasantry. And shameless pandering to every woman's desire to own a glorious old house; to cook good gorgeous food without turning a hair; to look cute in dirty work clothes; to have an always-loyal woman friend who is never jealous of your successes and of whom you never need be jealous; and then to end up as everybody's heroine and get a handsome and romantic fella into the bargain.
        Sure I cried when she cried. Hey, it was dark. Nobody saw the Chick yield. (10/3/03)

UP!

           Yes'm! Yes indeed. UP! That's the way this film will leave you. Anime' has come a long way. The characterization may be broad, but it is effective. The storyline may be zany, but it grips you. The laughs may be foolish, and the pratfalls may be from four stories up, but this little film has as much punch as a "real people" film.
           So don't make the mistake of thinking you don't want to see it because it's a cartoon.
           'Cause it's a zinger!(2010)

The Flick Chick Reviews New Films
More Film Reviews. Click the appropriate letter for films whose titles begin with . . .
A-B #  C-D #  E-F #  G-H #  I-J #  K-L #  M-N #  O-P #  Q-R #  S #  T-U #  V-W  #  X-Y-Z
A few choice foreign films (subtitles)


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