Wednesday, May 20

...and they said it wouldn't last.

The Film Fatales celebrate three tempestuous years of backslapping, bitching and blogging -- mostly the latter.

Nicole: Just over three years ago, elizabeth (with a small e, like e.e. cummings, but female and with sass) suggested we try some kind of joint writing venture. Once I stopped ignoring her and paid attention, I thought 'Hey, that's not such a bad idea.' It soon became a question of not "If?" or "When?", but "What?" What in the world could two classy, big-mouthed broads like us share with the cyber-verse? Should it be politics? We ruled that one out right away. Both diehard liberals who tend to agree on every issue, we decided we just didn't need the headache of monitoring the comments section for potential threats to our safety. No, it needed to be something light, entertaining -- and  fun. So, we decided on movies. It was time the world had a female Siskel and Ebert. Obviously, I'm Ebert.

elizabeth: Yes, another brilliant idea on my part. I swear my next idea won’t pay either. But it has been a hoot. Dark, smelly rooms with no one in them except some lonely people and that would be the Film Fatales. I am glad we nixed the political slant. I can’t seem to voice my own opinions on my own Facebook page without people coming out of the woodwork to demand I change my mind. At least with the movies, I can say what I want and the hell with the rest of the unwashed nibbling at my feet. They remind me of your friends from The Hobbit.

Nicole: Ahh, the classic cassidy dig at my love for all things Tolkien. Never gets old. And in case that didn't read well the first time, I assure you that was sarcasm at its most biting. When I think back, I'm glad Cassidy (I call her such because she prefers elizabeth and I'm nothing if not accommodating) suggested we pen this blog together. And, I hope you can appreciate how difficult it is for me to admit Cassidy had a good idea. I've always been a huge movie buff, briefly studied film in college and penned a few dusty spec scripts -- so it was a natural fit. At least the money I wasted at the multiplex didn't seem so much of a waste anymore, but an investment...of sorts.

elizabeth: Shhh…the movie is starting.

Nicole: Don't "Shh" me like we both had to shush that rude woman in the aisle next to us during The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  Memories...misty water-colored memories... What are some of my favorite Film Fatales moments? Hmm. That's tough. The two I recall with the greatest of ease are drastically different. Cassidy isn't fond of potty humor. She likes a smart joke. Somehow, I convinced her to see The Campaign, starring Will Ferrell and Zac Galifinakis as two sparring candidates who trade in dirty politics, on the guise of it being a topical movie we can comment on during election season. I did warn her she would likely hate it, and to expect a lot of crass jokes. What I didn't expect was the epic level of belly laughs Cassidy would belt out throughout the film, all while saying -- out loud, mind you -- "This is so stupid!" Ahh, that was an enjoyable exercise in schadenfreude, Cassidy. To hear you laugh at something you seriously detest -- a poop joke. LOL. Good times. The second memory comes courtesy of the cruel torture that was The Fault in Our Stars. I'm a crier. I will cry at the drop of a hat. So, it wasn't a wise decision for us to see this movie, as I could hardly make it through the trailer. But, we went. And, I cried so much I pretty much was dangerously dehydrated by the time the credits started to roll. It's become a habit of Cassidy's, in such numerous cases, to utter under her breath, "Big baby" if she hears so much as a sniffle out of me. It never fails to make me laugh, even if she is a heartless bitch.

elizabeth: Yes, I do remember being horrified by The Campaign. I had thought so much more of myself then to laugh at the idiotic plot, the complete lack of intelligent dialogue and seeing Will Ferrell making faces and threats. I will admit that I skipped breakfast that morning and I felt a bit lightheaded and then you put something in my popcorn. It is all coming back to me. My sainted father would not approve of me laughing as much as I did, but my father always said that Porkys was his favorite movie. So maybe I am more like my father than I thought. Nay.

And yes, you are the Mother of the Fandago Waterworks. Just for the record, I have sniffled at a few movies. Guess which ones?

Nicole: Listen, it is not for me to judge that you only cry during comedies. It's probably something to do with incorrect firing of synapses...and I would just seem insensitive if I pointed out your rare, yet strange, disorder. Who knows what the next three years of our blog will bring? (A gal can dream that, as a result of her glowing reviews, Peter Jackson will contact her to be the script supervisor for his follow-up to The Hobbit, The Silmarillion where she's also needed to occasionally fill in as a Rivendell elf...)  [Cue Cassidy rolling her eyes.] What I can say about the future of the Film Fatales is that we will gladly be bringing you more of the same sassy, opinionated, no-holds-barred film reviews. Thanks for your loyal support and hey, feel free to comment, share, tweet -- whatever. In return, Cassidy will do your taxes.

elizabeth: Aim higher. Why do you want to spend time with people who live in middle earth? Damnit, I want room service and I want Colin Firth to promise to never make a movie like “The Kingsmen” ever again. I want the word “sequels” to make Hollywood shake in their boots. I want good writing. I want, no, I demand excellent screenplays that don’t insult my intelligence. I want The Theory of Everything to move in with The Grand Budapest Hotel and have babies. And in closing, I would really rather not see people in the golden years making out like teenagers. I don’t need to hear dentures hit the floor during a dramatic scene. Okay, you can do it. I am all for love, Just not in front of me. 

Nicole: Colin Firth's lawyers called. They're renewing the restraining order.  

elizabeth: I am assuming the restraining order applies to you? 

Nicole: No. It applies to the person looking back at you when you stare into the mirror. See what happens when you assume? 

elizabeth: you win, Felix.

The Film Fatales give this post...


The Film Fatales develop a whole new level of art appreciation. 

Woman in Gold. 2015. PG-13. Starring Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds and Daniel Bruhl. Directed by Simon Curtis.  

Maria Altmann, an octogenarian Jewish refugee, takes on the Austrian government to recover artwork she believes rightfully belongs to her family. [IMDb]

Nicole: History shows what a horrific blight on humanity the holocaust was, and still remains. Genocide, unfortunately, still prevails in many parts of this ever-turning globe, doomed -- it would seem -- to repeat the mistakes of the past without learning from them. Maria Altmann's story is just one of the many that exist to prove how many injustices the Nazis committed during WWII. Injustices that, although a little too late, develop into modern restitution. Maria Altmann's well-to-do Viennese family included her a painting of her Aunt Adele Bloch Bauer -- the subject of Gustav Klimt's inarguably most famous portrait "Woman in Gold." That portrait, like all of Altmann's familial possessions, was looted by the Nazi's during their occupation of Vienna. It came to Vienna's Belvedere Gallery through a legal technicality -- and remained in their possession until Maria Altmann pursued its rescue.

eiizabeth: I do love movies about individuals who take it upon themselves to right an injustice. They inspire me to want to do the same if and when a similar saturation comes up in my life. So many unsung heroes who rallied against the Nazis whether it was the brave families who hid Jewish families or Maria Altmann who decided that a family portrait stolen by the zombies who followed Hitler needed to be back with her family. When you think about what the Nazis did to millions of people, do you really think they had an eye for beauty? I think not.  

Instead of  being glued to their iphones or tablets and wondering what the Kardashians will do next, young people should be asked to  sit down to try to envision the horrors that came knocking on the doors of some many families in Europe during WWII. Woman in Gold does just that. You can’t leave the theatre without the realization that we still hate without reason in this world. 

Nicole: I wonder if there's anything Helen Mirren can't do, honestly? I entirely believed her portrayal of Maria Altmann -- from the perfect Austrian accent, to the stoic body language, to the no-brass-tax attitude. At times, I forgot it was Mirren on screen and I could swear she was one of my Germanic relatives. She certainly did her homework to nail this role. Ryan Reynolds, as Altmann's relative and lawyer Randol Schoenburg, also does a fine job. I wonder if people get how well-rounded Reynolds is as an actor. Since his resumption of action star status, Reynolds has been taking popular roles in lieu of meatier parts. He's not a one trick pony -- so it was a nice change of pace to see him in this film. 

elizabeth: I concur. Mirren’s steely determination and Reynolds’ evolution from  money seeking lawyer  to seeking justice for one older woman who longed to have back what was rightly her family’s, is inspiring. If Monument Men did not get you stirred up about man’s humanity against man, then I suggest Woman in Gold just might make you angry. Angry enough to care about not repeating our mistakes.

Nicole: This is an important movie that reveals in great detail the other forms of atrocity the holocaust wreaked on is victims. Year after year, pillaged works of art resurface. Each one has their own story. Unfortunately, not every story has the fortunate resolution of Woman in Gold. But, with each masterpiece that is returned to its rightful owners, the world gains back a little of its stolen humanity.   

The Film Fatales give WOMAN IN GOLD