Saturday, September 30, 2017

Madame Hyde

It’s painful to hear a director explain what he thinks he did or was attempting to do in a scene or an entire film and know that his vision just wasn’t realized; the point just didn’t come across in the way he thought it would or did.

Such is the case in Writer/Director Serge Bozon’s Madame Hyde. 

This is a modern day version of the Jekyll & Hyde legend concerning a milquetoast French high school science teacher (Isabelle Huppert), who is zapped by one of her experiments during a lightning storm and become electrified and powerful at night.

As usual, Huppert is excellent at playing her part, but, unfortunately, Bozon does not give her the scenes he thinks he has to show us the transformations of character and story.  And, though it is often easy to guess what happens, it would have been nice to actually see it.  It is the missing shots that make this film a minor event.

I give Madam Hyde a 2.6 out of 5.

American Made

Tom Cruise rebounds from his terrible performance in The Mummy with one of his best performances ever in Director Doug Liman’s slick American Made.
Based on a true story, this is the consummate example of what happens when one “lies down with dogs.”  Pilot Barry Seal (Cruise) is recruited by the CIA to take reconnaissance photos of Latin American countries.  Then, based on his success, Barry is recruited by Drug Cartel leaders (Elejandro Edda, Fredy Yate Escobar, Mauricio Mejia) to transport drugs to the U.S.

For a while, Barry and his wife (Sarah Wright) live so well that there are bags and suitcases of money filling their home, buried in their yard and housed in several banks in their Arkansas town.  But, inevitably, things turn south.

Writer Gary Spinelli has beautifully crafted this story and Editor Andrew Mondshein has, masterfully, brought together Cinematographer C├ęsar Charlone’s images along with actual newscasts from the era. 

I give American Made a 4.5 out of 5.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Battle of the Sexes

With wonderful performances by Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Sarah Silverman, Elizabeth Shue, Alan Cumming and a host of other talented actors, Co-Directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris have brought to life the 1973 Battle of the Sexes that occurred between tennis stars Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.
Thanks to Writer Simon Beaufoy’s brilliant script, even those of us who witnessed the actual event are able to see the dynamics and drama surrounding Ms. King’s struggle for equal pay for women athletes on the tennis court.

Composer Nicholas Britell’s excellent score, faithfully, brings back the feel of the era, along with Production Designer Judy Becker’s sets and Mary Zophre’s costumes.

This is a worthwhile film for everyone.  I give Battle of the Sexes a 4.4 out of 5.