Monday, November 23, 2015

Strange Woman (1946)

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“The lips of a strange woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil... But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword!”

            In life you may have heard to never trust beautiful people. I guess in a way it could be true because the world, especially here in the U.S of A, worships the beautiful and wants everything about them. I guess you should not trust beautiful people because they could seduce others into doing things for them and manipulate others. The 1946 film Strange Woman deals with a woman from the late 1800s who was one such type of beautiful person that no one should ever have trusted.
            Ever since Jenny Heger (Hedy Lemarr) was young she could always get her way. As a girl she told her drunken father that she would become rich and wear nice clothes. When she is older Jenny likes to flirt with all the men who come in to work in the town lumber mill. Her father is still an awful drunk and beats her one night. He collapses and Jenny runs to her neighbor Isaiah Poster’s house for safety. Isaiah and two other men discuss what they are going to do with Jenny. They cannot just release her onto the town her reputation is not good enough for everyone’s charity. They decide that Jenny will marry Isaiah even though he has a young son Jenny’s age.
            Isaiah’s son Ephraim comes home from school. He does not trust himself with Jenny and for good reason since she is gorgeous. Of course Jenny is not happy being married to an old man and immediately begins to work her seductiveness on Ephraim. Isaiah comes close to dying when he comes down with a bad fever. When it is announced that Isaiah will be ok Jenny just nervously laughs. Isaiah becomes angry with his wife and son. He knows Jenny is not happy being married to him.
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            Because I paid such awesome attention to this film somehow Ephraim makes the small canoe he and his father some of the lumber workers tip over and Isaiah drowns. And I am not sure if Jenny was in it on it or not but she becomes an uber bitch and blames him when he comes home after the “accident”.
            It is not long until Jenny has her claws into John Evered (George Sanders), Isaiah’s foreman. They do love each other and are happy together until Jenny hears a sermon at church about beautiful women and them being evil. Jenny takes that sermon to heart and it goes to head. She kind of goes a little nuts and confesses to John that she and Ephraim had worked to kill Isaiah.
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            Eventually Jenny goes a little nuts and dies after driving her carriage a little too fast and hitting a rock and the carriage goes over a cliff side.
            I was not too crazy about Strange Woman. Hedy Lemarr and George Sanders were great but the story and their characters were not good. I was bored with the story almost right from the beginning which never bodes well with how I perceive the rest of the film (plus, I have ADHD and if something does not grab a hold of my attention quickly it spells disaster). I think Strange Woman as a Film Noir is interesting because it is set in the 1800s and not the present time of the 1940s. Jenny Heger was definitely a femme fatale with the way she used her seduction and how she used men to her advantage. I am not too familiar with Hedy Lemarr’s filmography so I am not sure if she was ever in any other Noirs, if she was not I would have really liked to have seen her as a traditional 1940s femme fatale. I must confess I have wanted to watch Strange Woman because of the poster. It was drawn in the surrealist style and I thought it would be a screw-with-your-mind type film and I was sorely let down.

            I will only say to watch Strange Woman if you really like Film Noirs or if you like Hedy Lemarr otherwise skip it. 
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Friday, November 20, 2015

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt.2 (2015)

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“Katniss Everdeen. A small town girl from District 12 who survived the Games and turned a nation of slaves into an army!”

            The epic Hunger Games movie series comes to a dramatic, action packed end with Mockingjay Part II.
            Mockingjay Part I left off with Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) being brought back to District 13 after he had been captured and brainwashed by the Capitol. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) had gone into to speak to Peeta and because he was so brainwashed in the Capitol to hate Katniss he attacks her and nearly chokes her to death.
            Mockingjay Part II begins with Katniss still recovering from being choked by Peeta. She is still determined to fight with the people against President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and bring down the Capitol. President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) of District 13 has her own ideas of how to use Katniss. She does not want the Mockingjay to go into battle she wants to use Katniss as a promotional and moral boosting tool.
            Katniss cannot just sit back and watch people fight and die for something she feels she started. She hears from Johanna Mason (Jenna Malone) that there is medical transport bringing supplies to the front. Katniss gets on the plane and is brought to the base. Right away she known and everyone gathers around her. Now President Coin and game maker Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) have no choice but to let Katniss in some action. They have Katniss, her friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Finnick Odair, and Cressida (Natalie Dormer) and her film crew, along with a few other soldiers are to go to the front lines miles behind the actual fighting.
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            Of course this small troupe is soon under fire and desperately fighting for their lives as they move closer and closer to President Snow and his stately home.
            In the end comes peace to Panem and finally to Katniss and Peeta’s lives,
            The cast of Mockingjay Part II and just the whole series in general is amazing. The role of Katniss Everdeen could not have been cast any better with Jennifer Lawrence. It is fantastic to see a young actress not afraid to go dark places and really stretch her acting. You can tell Lawrence gives her all in role, you can see she is not afraid of doing anything with her acting and that is what made her so perfect as Katniss. Plus the girl has an insane emotional depth to her acting. This may sound odd but I nearly flipped a shit when Michelle Forbes showed up as Lieutenant Jackson. I think Forbes is also an insanely talented actress. The range of characters she has played on TV is awesome she can really play anything and kick its ass. Natalie Dormer is fantastic as Cressida. She was a bad ass bitch and I loved every scene she was in. And I gotta throw out that Gwendolyn Christie has a small part just because she and Dormer are in Game of Thrones. I wish she had been in it some more. I also very much enjoyed seeing Mahershala Ali as Boggs. He used to be on this show called The 400 and I really liked his character and I have seen him in other shows and movies and I really like his acting. So happy to see him in a big movie like this. Elizabeth Banks was stunning as Effie Trinket she was way too perfect as the eccentric character. If I go into the other actors you will be reading for two more pages and I do not want to do that to you, dear reader. Just know everyone else did a wonderful job in their roles.
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            Mockingjay Part II was a perfect ending for The Hunger Games series. Really I have zero complaints about this Mockingjay or any of the movies in the series. The story is so good because it is about love and the sacrifices people make for love. Katniss was motivated to help people because she was compassionate and she loved and cared for everyone in her life. It is refreshing to read and see a story like this in literature and in movies. Go see Mockingjay Part II as soon as you can. It is definitely worth seeing in theaters.