Fears And Aspirations In “Atlantic City”

Atlantic City (1981), directed by Louis Malle and written by John Guare, shows us an old mobster of sorts who finds the beloved casinos of Atlantic City, N.J. too wholesome.  Curiously, he himself, a big believer in Protecting The Women with whom he associates, is basically a coward (and not the killer he says he is).  One of these women is a food-service worker, Sally, who dreams of becoming a croupier and thus desires—and here she resembles Lou, the mobster—a higher status for herself than she has ever had.  It is Lou’s desire to prove he is tough enough to withstand the punks.  In THIS exists something that is not too wholesome, but what small ambitions people consistently have!

Although Burt Lancaster is slightly miscast as a criminal and shows little depth, he is passable.  Better are Susan Sarandon (Sally) and Kate Reid, both solid and pleb-realistic.  Guare’s screenplay is unusual without being genuinely strange; it is clear-cut and faintly menacing.  The film as a whole has “a lovely fizziness,” Pauline Kael said.

Can I Get Motivated To See Part II? “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part I”

I hated the first Hunger Games movie and never saw the second one.  As for the third film, Mockingjay, Part I (2014) . . . I got tired of the idol worship heaped by the people of District 13 on Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and was glad the boring Julianne Moore character, the District 13 leader, wasn’t on screen more than she was.  When  the gun-less rebels charge the armed soldiers of the heinous Capitol in order to leave several trunks full of explosives that will blow up a dam, why didn’t they fashion some explosives that would blow up the soldiers?  It would have saved some rebels’ lives if they had.  And would the vicious President Snow (Donald Sutherland)  really use a brainwashed Peeta as a weapon solely meant to bring down Katniss?

Also, Natalie Dormer should have been allowed to use her native British accent instead of an American one.

Yep, there are a lotta things I don’t like about this movie, but it is fairly gripping.  And it’s effectively dark.  In large measure the world depicted is no different from a world of ISIS brutality and North Korean vileness.  All the same, it’s very possible I won’t be seeing Mockingjay, Part II.

The Hunger Games (film)

The Hunger Games (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


A Word About Chabrol’s “L’Enfer”

1) L’Enfer (1994) is a sizzler, a vivid artistic thriller from Claude Chabrol derived from a script written years ago by French filmmaker Henri-Georges Clouzot.  How nimble the directing and editing are!  Note the sequence in which Francois Cluzot shadows Emmanuelle Beart on a trip to town one day—among the crowds, the shops,etc.—to see whether she meets a lover.  Note the sweet and attractive husband-and-wife reconciliation scenes.

2) Leave it to Chabrol, so fond of women, to present us with a female character both beautiful and an ideal wife.  Beart plays her with perfect spunk and pathos.

(In French with English subtitles)


Cover of "L'Enfer"

Cover of L’Enfer

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