The Spanish film SEX AND LUCIA (2001) has a waitress visit her supposedly dead boyfriend’s former island home and thereby stumble into his tangled erotic history. Although I kept watching to the end, I can’t say why as nothing really engaged me. Plus I got hopelessly confused about who was sleeping with whom when. “You shouldn’t have to live with the shit I have inside me.”
THE PEANUTS MOVIE (2015) has Charles Schulz’ characters going through their classic routines while Charlie Brown struggles to find the courage to introduce himself to the Little Red-Headed Girl. This isn’t bad — it uses lots of the strip’s material and jokes—but it does have some missteps, such as actually showing us the Red Baron and a too-conventional upbeat ending (Charlie Brown learns success was inside him all along). A bigger problem is that other than length and animation style, it’s no different from any of the old TV specials, and I’ve seen more than enough of those. “The greatest book of all time is uh, LEO’S TOYSTORE, written by some guy named Warren Peace.”
CHUCK NORRIS VS. COMMUNISM (2015) is an excellent documentary (though relying too much on dramatized scenes for my taste) about how VHS made it possible for Rumanians during the Ceausescu dictatorship to see Western films for the first time (in apartments turned into theaters for the evening), and the various key players who made the bootleg trade possible (including Irina Nastor, who provided the dubbing for well over 3,000 films, giving her “the most well-known voice in Rumania after Ceausescu’s.”). The reactions to the films includes fascination at Western wealth (“So much food in the stores.”), embarrassed shock (“The first film I saw was LAST TANGO IN PARIS—I couldn’t believe such a thing existed.”) or simple joy at doing something officially banned (the main distributor made sure to have spare cassettes for buying off the authorities). Well worth catching; all rights to poster reside with current rights holder. “The dirty words were translated as “go to hell” no matter what crap they were saying.”
CARTOONS FOR VICTORY is a collection of World War II cartoons from both sides, such as “Private Snafu” (an inept bungler whose missteps show GIs how not to screw up), calls to buy bonds, a chameleon teaching pilots how to camouflage themselves, a snowman determined to stay alive until summer (one completely propaganda-free, and very charming) and in the most bizarre from a US perspective, an Axis cartoon showing Minnie Mouse, Popeye and other cartoon characters making bombing raids on peaceful French families. Interesting stuff.