There are movies for this challenge that I promised myself that I was going to watch before it was over and today’s film is one of those said films. One of the greatest composers of the 18TH century was the virtuoso Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and for today’s film I decided to watch the 1984 film Amadeus. Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham) likes to believe that he is a great composer and writer of classical music, but he had to work hard for it. Unlike his counterpart Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce) who was born with a natural talent and ability that it drives Salieri mad with jealousy. The film is Salieri’s take on what drove him to the point that he would actually murder the young prodigy. The film also stars Elizabeth Berridge (The Funhouse) as Constanze Mozart, Roy Dotrice (Hellboy II: The Golden Army) as Leopold Mozart, Christine Ebersole (The Wolf Of Wall Street) as Katerina Cavalieri, Jeffrey Jones (The Crucible) as Emperor Joseph II, Kenneth McMillan (Dune) as Michael Schlumberg, Charles Kay (Henry V) as Count Orsini-Rosenberg, Cynthia Nixon (Sex And The City) as Lorl, Kenny Baker (Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope) as Parody Commendatore, Simon Callow (James And The Giant Peach) as Emanuel Schikaneder, and the film was directed by Milos Forman (The People Vs Larry Flynt).
I just want to warn all of you with short attention spans that this film is a little over three hours long so if you can handle it then proceed. Amadeus is definitely one of those films that they went all out for because it has an amazing score, amazing set designs, amazing costumes, and most importantly great acting that makes it complete. The soundtrack features so much as far as amazing 18TH century classical music and amazing opera music that should satisfy any fan of that genre. The set designs and costumes were so amazing that it actually makes you feel like you are walking and living in 18TH Century Austria which is what a time period piece is supposed to do in the first place. One thing I do know is that this is actually a fictionalized look at the life of Mozart or at least the idea of Salieri killing Mozart. Mozart died of an illness that is often debated as to what it was exactly. When he was working on his Requiem, it said that he dictated in bed to one of his proteges and not Salieri (although this is not proven either). F. Murray Abraham was absolutely brilliant in his portrayal of a man driven with jealousy and hatred toward God and Mozart. Tom Hulce is brilliant as the virtuoso who if he was a lead singer he would have had LSD (Lead Singers Disease). He knew he was amazing and he wasn’t afraid to show it. I was a little skeptical of Jeffrey Jones playing an Austrian Emperor, but he does a pretty good job at it. You really have to love classical music and Mozart to want to watch this film, but I am a fan of music so I loved it. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.
There was really no science to how I picked the film for today other than the fact that Encore was playing it and it featured Sally Field (Forrest Gump) and Kiefer Sutherland (The Lost Boys). The name of the film that I chose for today is the crime drama Eye For An Eye. For Karen McCann (Field) everything in life is as normal as can be with a loving and devoted husband (Ed Harris) and some great kids. Her life is torn upside down when repeat felon Robert Doob (Sutherland) rapes and murders her daughter Julie (Olivia Burnette) and he gets away with scot-free by a technicality. To cope with the pain and the fact that he is a free man, she will will resort to taking self defense lessons and gun training to get some vengeance, but can she go through with it. The film also stars Alexandra Kyle (A Time To Kill) as Megan McCann, Joe Mantegna (Baby’s Day Out) as Det. Sgt. Denillo, Beverly D’Angelo (National Lampoon’s Vacation) as Dolly Green, Charlayne Woodard (The Crucible) as Angel Kosinsky, Philip Baker Hall (Bruce Almighty) as Sidney Hughes, Keith David (Men At Work) as Martin, Wanda Acuna (Encino Man) as Hispanic Housewife, and the film was directed by John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy).
The MVP of the film, without a shadow of a doubt, was the performance from Kiefer Sutherland who made a career of playing different types of roles. He was so amazing in this film that he had me really believe that he was some twisted whack job that gets off on raping and killing his victims. The only thing that kind of bothered me is that his character seemed real out of place like he belonged more in the south then where ever the heck they were from. Sally Field also does a tremendous job of playing the mother with so much guilt that it plagues her very existence. The film has some very weird moments in it that are just creepy like Kiefer’s character talking to the youngest daughter at her school or when he spies on his victims. I can’t believe that the film is already twenty years old as it came out in January of 1996. The film I believe was advertised as a vigilante film, but it’s really not that. It’s more of a thriller where you left wondering if he’ll catch her, etc. I think that is why the film had such negative reviews back in the day and why it holds an 8% on Rotten Tomatoes. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the film a lot just because of the two performances and such as I described above. I am going to give the film an B- for a final grade.
Earlier in the year, I had seen a movie called The Witch which I thought was going to be a scarier look into the Salem Witch Trials or at least that time period. Coming from Massachusetts, my interest in the subject matter has always been peaked and when I saw that The Crucible was available to watch, I immediately chose it for today’s film. The film follows the actual accounts of the Salem Witch Trials in which Abigail Williams (Winona Ryder) started. Abigail among other girls were caught dancing in the woods with the famous Tituba (Charlayne Woodard). In order to save themselves, they began to start accusing innocent people from the villiage that they had problems with which included the wife of John Proctor (Daniel Day-Lewis). The film features an amazing cast that includes Paul Scofield (A Man For All Seasons) as Judge Thomas Danforth, Joan Allen (The Bourne Supremacy) as Elizabeth Proctor, Bruce Davison (The Lords Of Salem) as Reverend Paris, Rob Campbell (Hedwig and The Angry Inch) as Reverend Hale, Jeffrey Jones (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) as Thomas Putnam, Peter Vaughan (Brazil) as Giles Corey, Karron Graves (The Good Shepard) as Mary Warren, George Gaynes (Police Academy) as Judge Samuel Sewall, Mary Pat Gleason (Basic Instinct) as Martha Corey, and the film was directed by Nicholas Hytner.
Now as far as The Witch was concerned, it wasn’t as scary as people made it out to be even though it was well acted. This film gave you exactly what you thought you were going to get and that was an account of all the horror that occurred in the town of Salem. The subject is still a sore spot in Salem, but it’s a history they no longer deny. You watch this film and you say how stupid could people have been back in those days and you must understand that this was a puritan society where religion was number one alongside greed and envy. I cannot begin to make you understand how amazing the performances in this film were and I was not lying when I said it was an all star cast. Daniel Day-Lewis is one of the most amazing actors to come out in the 90’s and he has provided us with classic after classic even though I need to catch up on a lot of them. All the performances in the film were absolutely fantastic and you should see it for that and the sets and costumes. The sets were amazing as it made you feel like you were in Salem in 1692 and the costumes enforced those beliefs. I also loved how they stuck the original script that Arthur Miller wrote as they stayed true to that. This was an excellent choice for me for today and if you ever want to learn more about Salem, start here and then travel to Salem for yourselves. It is such an amazing place to be and there is so much history. With that being said, I am going to give the film an A+ for a final grade.