Posts Tagged ‘Sonia Braga’

John Turturro

“THE JESUS ROLLS” My rating: C+

85 minutes | MPAA rating: R

The lavender-loving, sexually ambiguous bowling fanatic Jesus Quintana appears for only five minutes in the Coen Brothers’ “The Big Lebowski.”

But “the Jesus” — portrayed by John Turturro with machismo-spewing relish — apparently has enough of an enduring fan base that 22 years later we get “The Jesus Rolls,” a sort-of toss-off sequel written and directed by Turturro.

Basically this is one big criminal road trip.  Jesus (Turturro, naturally), recently released from prison, is met by his old buddy Petey (Bobby Cannavale) and together they go on a car-stealing spree, accompanied by a soundtrack of furious flamenco guitar.

Along the way they explore the joys of three-way sex, first with a ditzy hairdresser named Marie (Audrey Tautou…yes, “Amelie”) and later with an older woman portrayed by Susan Sarandon (more of that later). There is a fair amount of nudity…much of it involving the two leading men’s derrières.

The tone here is one of comic goofiness fueled by Jesus and Petey’s bone-headed banter.  Nothing even vaguely resembling a plot emerges; what we get is a series of vignettes, at least one of which is quietly heartbreaking.


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Sonia Braga

Sonia Braga

“AQUARIUS” My rating: B

140 minutes |MPAA rating: R

On one level, “Aquarius” is about growing old…or older, anyway.

Kleber Mendonca Filho’s film stars Sonia Braga, the Latin American sex symbol of the late ’70s and early ’80s, as a 65-year-old widow living in a Brazilian coastal city.

With its late-in-life-but-still-vibrant leading lady, “Aquarius” seems poised to fall into familiar territory, that of an older woman proving to herself and others that she’s still got some fire down below (see Blythe Danner in “I’ll See You in My Dreams” or Pauline Garcia in the Chilean “Gloria”).

And the film works just fine on that level. It unhurriedly follows Braga’s character, Clara, through the ins and outs of her daily life  — drinks with the girls, time spent with children and grandkids, friendships with the other residents of her beachfront neighborhood…even a hot encounter with a male gigolo recommended by a gal pal.

But there’s a whole lot more going on.

On a second level the picture is what might be called a real estate thriller. Clara is the last remaining resident of a low-rise apartment condo — the Aquarius — whose units have been bought up by a big construction firm. The plan is to raze the old edifice and go with a sleek new skyscraper…except that Clara refuses to sell her condo. (more…)

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Liam Helmsworth

Liam Helmsworth

THE DUEL” My rating: C- (Opening June 24 at the Town Center)

118 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Should the revisionist Western “The Duel”  be read as an anti-Trump screed?

Unintentionally, maybe — the film surely was in the works long before the Donald announced his intention of becoming our next president.

But the themes it pursues — a willful strongman, race hatred (especially against Mexicans), an insular world view — sure make it seem like a contemporary political commentary.

As it turns out, how “The Duel” reflects current political currents is its strongest feature.

As a horse opera Kieran Darcy-Smith’s drama is pretentious, overwritten, painfully unsubtle and thoroughly ridiculous.

Texas Ranger David Kingston (Liam Hemsworth) is given an undercover assignment. An alarming number of dead bodies — most of them Mexicans — have been washing downstream from a mysterious and insular border town.

The burg is presided over by The Preacher (Woody Harrelson), a charismatic snake handler and faith healer who totally controls the lives of his congregants.

Buff, bald and over the top, Harrelson might actually be auditioning for the role of  Judge Holden in an upcoming film version of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian.


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