At the Movies
Andy Garcia's The Lost City, an homage to his native Cuba during the revolutionary late-1950s is Dr. Zhivago -- a (very, very) long historical epic in which families and friendships are torn by a revolution -- meets Casablanca -- a non-political/anti-hero figure who also happens to own a night-club (played by Garacia), who falls in love with the wife of a political hero and is forced to take a stand and fight -- meets The Year of living Dangerously -- -- political drama taking place in a third world country engulfed by intrigues, coups, assassinations, etc. -- meets The Godfather II -- a movie about gangsters in Havana in the 1950's with a Meir Lansky character (played here by Dustin Hoffman) -- meets Cabaret -- yes, there is a cabaret and great musical numbers and all that decadence about to be swept away by violence and the rise of evil. Evil like in Fidel Castro and Che Guevara.And it's refreshing to watch a movie that doesn't romansticize these two despicable characters, although I thought that Julian Schnabel's Before Night Falls was a more powerful indictment of the tyranny of the Cuban communist state. I'll give Andy Garcia a Big A for trying and for the great Cuban music and dance (I'll probably get the soundtrack) and I certainly admire his politics as far as Cuba is concerned. But I didn't like the movie with its cardboard characters -- each one is supposed to "represent" something and to give long speeches. It's all very tedious and very superficial. Now.. if you want to see a smart and entertaining movie that takes place against the backdrop of historical change, I recommend Wah-Wahabout coming of age in colonial Swaziland. A real gem! And if you can stomach long scenes in which ugly and smelly (I swear I could smell) men with dirty beards and bad teeth butchering each other, you should see The Proposition:.
This well-crafted, original take on the Western genre set in the sweaty, dusty Outback of Queensland, Australia in the 1880’s, pits British colonial lawmen against white outlaws and renegade Aborigines.(read this review that gets it)John Hurt is marvelous as a bounty-hunter who quotes Darwin. The major theme: We need to break the cycles of violence. The Aborigines in this film are not idealized like in many other Australian movies. They just look as disgusting as everyone else.