WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION

year: 1957
rating: **1/2

Another extremely overrated classic, and this one always compared to Otto Preminger's Anatomy Of A Murder, and Billy Wilder's stagey direction of an Agatha Christie stage-play mystery of Witness for the Prosecution couldn't be more different if it centered on purple unicorns traipsing through Iceland: The first is an existential courtroom drama about a man who's entirely guilty of murder, and here it's obvious someone's not telling the truth. Either a horribly aged once-perfect-looking Tyrone Power (with a gorgeous trophy in the wings played by Ruta Lee, pictured below): he's accused of killing a rich old lady befriended for need of a loan on an egg-beating invention, or the title character in Marlene Dietrich, who gives the best performance overall, especially having to do with a twist that really only works in repose...

Meanwhile, the always great acting team of Charles Laughton, as the flawed defense consul of the English Court, and real life wife-beard Elsa Lanchester, are only pretty good here, going back and forth more like another kind of stage play. Comedy, perhaps. Which simply doesn't fit here, and with everything mounting to the last five minutes, like mysteries do, this isn't one for rewatching: another major difference between Anatomy Of A Murder, a true classic that really needs a divorce from this otherwise semi-decent courtroom melodrama.

BARRY LYNDON (STANLEY KUBRICK)

article: Hating Barry Lyndon
year: 1975 rating: ****1/2 

Given how many takes the infamously picky and in some cases reportedly sadistic filmmaker Stanley Kubrick put his actors through — in watching any of his films, you're not only seeing what he's directed but what he's selected...

Any and every scene or moment was by his choice to fit within the, in this particular case, gorgeous landscape of a period piece/costume drama that is actually the antithesis of an Epic feature film: bordering on what feels like, after numerous viewings, a kind of subliminal parody on what would usually be a fulfilling fictional (adapted from classic-era literature) biopic on a person that, to spend hours on their existence, would eventually lead to a significant purpose...

But keep in mind when watching BARRY LYNDON it's a motion picture that takes the epic form and intentionally throws it both out the door and in the viewer's face...

Famously renown as merely an aesthetic masterpiece, filmed with natural lighting and a region dotted with castles only dreamed up beyond even a picture book's rendition...

The real twist is the revelation of a truly despicable man, played wonderfully selfish by Ryan O'Neal, who cunningly antagonized otherwise good people long before he became the chief antagonist against, basically, everyone: despite starting out as a sympathetic hero simply because he's the main/title character being centered on.

GYPSY (NETFLIX SERIES)

Year: 2017
Rates: ****1/2

This original Netflix series has had very negative comments and reviews and is now dead as dishwater, with no second season to continue GYPSY, which was falsely promoted as a kind of thriller, or something...

But it's actually the sexiest and in that, most lustfully suspenseful show that ever dealt with bisexual women... Or what some refer to as "lipstick lesbians." Because that's really all this is about, and everything else is merely background... wallpaper...

While Naomi Watts is a pretty older woman, Sophie Cookson is perhaps THE most beautiful young actress that ever lived... and there have been quite a few... living and dead...

The basic premise is that Watts, a married shrink, goes behind her patients' backs, tooling around with the people in their lives they'd shared about in private AND legal confidentiality. And yet, what everything really boils down to is when Watts and Cookson (the wild ex of melancholy young male patient) will eventually connect i.e. hook up. When they do, it's unfathomably awesome. But is nothing compared to the repressed longing that occurs for the first five episodes to reach that point, so, if you're into this kind of thing... GYPSY, although no longer a series, can now be referred to as an extremely sexy and genuinely sensual 10-hour older-younger lesbian movie. 

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