I woke up this morning realizing that my decision to view Maria Full of Grace right before I went to bed was probably not a bad idea. I needed a good nightmare. I hadn't had a bad dream in a long time. It was curious. I was beginning to wonder, where have all of the nightmares gone..? Then I watched Maria Full of Grace. And I had a dream that I swallowed some erasers. Whole erasers. It was under duress that I had done this. Actually, the nightmare was more about the regret I experienced after swallowing the erasers. There was a whole logical plot leading up to all of this (which I won't get into right now, as it might give away too much about the movie). It was one of those dreams where, when you wake up, the realization that none of it actually happened comes slowly to the surface of your mind. And you're just so GLAD.
Review of Maria Full of Grace:
Maria Full of Grace. It's a good film. I'll rent it again. Or, I'll watch it again before I take it back. Either way. Go see Maria Full of Grace.
Like I said, I don't like to give too much away about the film in my reviews. I will say this, though, I enjoy writing reviews. And not just about movies. For example, I recently switched brands of cigarettes. This was in order to (further degrade myself) sort of shake things up. Because switching is so unpleasant.
Review of Parliament Lights:
Parliament Lights taste bad. And vaguely like men's cologne. Not right away. It takes a minute. And then there's the taste that can NOT be removed. Not by Listerine. Not by vodka. And this taste is not the taste of just any cologne, but the one I imagine is issued to inmates as they are being released from jail. Just slap it on. It kills bugs, and is effective as a warning to the local women. Maybe it's some sort of industrial soap that I am tasting when I light up a Parliament. Like Lava. Or Ajax. Now, I like the way Ajax smells. And it turns blue, which is a lot of fun and boarders on being elegant. It's a nice touch, this turning blue. Ajax has it all over Comet. It really does. Just NOT as a personal product. Or a cigarette taste. Bottom line, the associations that I've drawn from smoking Parliament Lights are not good. The packaging is stellar. Or it was stellar. I've noticed that they've tweaked with it a bit. Which effectively killed it's retro/Euro associations for me. Before it was like, ..Wow! I bet JAMES BOND smokes Parliaments Lights..! It had such cache. But not so much, anymore. And if they ever change the packaging for Lucky Strikes there will be an uproar. From me. Just me. But, still, imagine the hoarding (kind of like when Campbell's Soup threatened to update their design, then suddenly changed their minds, and, well, I've got plenty of tomato soup. That's all I'm saying). So. Parliament Lights. Good for quitting. I used to smoke Marlboro Lights. Their packaging is pure genius. Peaceful. Clean. White. Benign (pun absolutely intended). Like you're going to Heaven. Which I'm sure is no mistake.
What is that Japanese cigarette called? Ghost? Spirit? ..Skeleton?
In the interest of reviews (and being green) I wil recycle this one last time:
Don't miss this one: From the very opening scene the audience is captivated. First by the score, which is brightly percussive throughout the entire piece. We are then immediately introduced to the story's lead character. Here's a thirtyish woman with her hair down, having a good day. She conveys that she's secure in the world and within herself. She smiles to herself and, without any irony, seems to really enjoy doing her laundry. But, as viewers, we begin to sense something's not quite right. We start to catch on to what's really behind this woman's smile, as it never drops from its utterly brilliant degree of joy (no easy feat for the actress, I'm sure..). At first her smile portrays a reassuring purity of motive.. some rare quality of truth and simplicity of her nature. But her smile becomes unnerving to the viewer, as we start to register that this is not a real smile. It is a truly chilling device that sets the tone for the rest of the story. As quickly as we start to suspect this character's secret frustration, it is validated. And the action starts to spin and escalate, drawing the audience further and further into the most private reaches of this character's heart and troubled labyrinth of a mind. In this moment, we sense her frailty and self hatred as she drops ( ..for those of you who haven't yet seen this piece, please read no further.. ) a just laundered sock on to the basement floor. Here is where all the incredible suspense and tension of the opening sequence really pays off. The director is remarkable for his trust in his audience. He understands that the viewer not only associates laundry with basements (and for that matter with dirty floors), but quite notably that they, as human beings, have undoubtedly had the experience of dropping a just washed sock back onto a dirty floor. And this is all executed with a subtlety and elegance that speaks to, rather than down to, the audience. As a viewer you are spellbound. You are not only taken hostage, but willingly surrender for this tightly wound, unrelenting holding up of a mirror to ourselves. What this piece lacks in dialogue, it makes up for with it's keen and and almost embarrassingly honest portrayal of the human condition. We cringe as we recognize ourselves in this woman. It begs us to ask, Who hasn't dropped a just laundered sock back on to the dirty floor? This leads us to the turning point, where an incredible gang of villains suddenly comes on to the scene. They are what can only be described as types of dirt. One portraying something linty, another something sticky, and the other two something unidentified (and all the more horrible for their very vagueness). They dance and posture en masse with a kind of in-your-face quality rarely addressed in American films today. The portrayal of this dirt betrays an almost outright refusal to ever be confused with any other generic, run-of-the-mill bad asses, thanks on the part of the director and these four bright new-comers. They are some of the most original characters I've ever seen drawn onto the screen. They are neither scary, cold, or tough. They indeed wear the same smile as our hero does. For this perhaps they are doubly menacing. They seem to celebrate their badness with true abandon, which only underscores our worst fears. They are mocking us. And they are very dirty. I must also mention that it is at this juncture of the story that the action very nearly becomes a musical number. It is super stylized in it's choreography, and as a reviewer, I can only guess that this sequence was informed by such classics as The West Side Story, or Sweet Charity (Bob Fosse, move over..). The ending is sublime in its delivery of a mixed message. Our hero, seemingly unfettered by all of this (seemingly, that is, to those unseen, off screen characters, and well understood by the viewer to be oblivious to our hero's personal moment of truth) lifts the ruined sock from the floor and puts it back into the washing machine. It's a moment of surrender for her and for us. She doesn't give up. She continues.. as must we all. But don't blink. Just as our hero does this, another revelation into human nature is brought rudely out of the dark, as we see that only the lint is still on the sock. The other three have abandoned him. Or is it sacrificed him. And it's an agonizing scene as the lint continues to dance unaware of what is about to become of his fate. Sacrificed by his pack for his lack of street smarts in the gritty hard-knocks world of dirt. It's survival of the fittest. And apparently here, a piece of lint is not the fittest, or even the smartest of the bunch. The audience gasps as they watch her place the sock with the lint still on it back into the washing machine.. the same machine that washes away the dirt. All of the dirt.
*frankenmonsterblog's reviews of All detergent commercials are neither meant to promote nor discourage the use of All detergent.