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Everything posted by cinemaspeak59

  1. Happy Death Day (2017) Inventive and clever take on the slasher movie. This could easily have been another tired Scream knockoff. Instead, it’s funny and witty, and Jessica Rothe makes for a likeable heroine we can root for, even if her character isn’t very likeable. Rothe plays Tree, who keeps reliving the day she was murdered. Every attempt to change her fate backfires. The supernatural catalyst is a small, spooky toy that plays the Happy Birthday jingle. I loved the mask the killer wears. Happy Death Day also pokes fun at sorority life tyranny and campus politics. It’s topped off by a
  2. I liked the ending in They Won’t Believe Me. The production code put the filmmakers in a bind. Having Robert Young’s character, a philanderer and liar, walk away unpunished may have been problematic. The three central women were different temperamentally. They weren’t saints, but within them was a moral compass that malfunctioned a bit because they fell in love. I must point out Jane Greer’s graceful, poignant portrayal. It’s hard to imagine this woman could play one of the most legendary femme fatales in movie history.
  3. I absolutely adore Metropolitan (1990). There are also elements of Eric Rohmer. I love Stillman''s other films: Barcelona , The Last Days of Disco, Damsels in Distress and Love and Friendship.
  4. Zachary Scott, in Danger Signal, is rather handsome when he’s serious. It’s only when he smiles, with those large teeth, that he looks so villainous it borders on comical. There wasn’t much character development to Mona Freeman’s character Anne as the younger sister who returns home sweet and wholesome, only to turn into a Jezebel. Anne is more sexually sophisticated than her naive sister Hilda. Eddie Muller made his feelings about the ending clear: he hated it. Okay, Zachary Scott’s demise wasn’t drawn out. But when he trips, and his body hits the rocky ledge, and then bounces into the sea,
  5. I knew Eddie Muller’s effusive praise of Janis Carter’s performance in Night Editor was not hyperbole. I had seen Carter in Framed (1947), and was impressed by her femme fatale bona fides. Carter acts with her eyes, always in control, and several moves ahead of everyone else. Now, for that much-discussed scene Muller went to great lengths to highlight. Cochrane knew she was sexually aroused by violence. Being a cop, he must have seen her react that way before, liked it, and hated himself for liking it. The scene did not last long, but Carter, with her breathless excitement, sold it as well
  6. The Wind (2018) Well-executed story about a woman haunted by demons. Or is her imagination, fertilized by cabin fever, running the show? The Wind has a classic setting: the nineteenth century, in an isolated prairie town, the events unfolding in the backdrop of the ominous, wide-open West. What’s a horror movie without a preacher? Well, The Wind has one, and it makes for one of the best scenes. I liked the minimalist production, and the use of space. The two women at the center give good performances, and some fun is had at the male chauvinistic view of female hysteria and pregnancy. The m
  7. I think it had do with the script. So smitten was he with Norma’s character that he acted like a nervous, clumsy schoolboy, even though he played a songwriter, implying he’s had experience with women. The smooth determination coupled with compassion was missing. Had a few clunky scenes been taken out, Her Cardboard Lover would have had more of the Cukor touch. This was a remake of the 1932 comedy The Passionate Plumber, with Irene Purcell, Buster Keaton. and Jimmy Durante, which I liked, and was impressed by Irene Purcell’s comedic chops. I haven’t seen Escape (1940). I guess genetics have mu
  8. Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) Alden Ehrenreich as as a young, pre-Luke Skywalker Han Solo captures Harrison Ford’s speech rhythms, and the character’s anti-authority persona. We learn how friendships with Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian (an excellent Donald Glover) were formed, and how Solo came into acquiring his prize possession, the Millennium Falcon. What I’ve always liked is how the character straddles the line between good and evil, while keeping his moral compass intact. Solo is no saint, but his false equivalency has limits. Emilia Clarke as his love interest is a woman of mystery, a
  9. I will miss seeing what the future held for Chadwick Boseman and his movies. In a short time, he left us with beautiful memories.
  10. Her Cardboard Lover (1942) This rom-com, directed by George Cukor, has an interesting plot: Norma Shearer hires a lovestruck Robert Taylor (sporting a Bela Lugosi Dracula haircut with a point down the middle) to protect her from herself. Norma plays a Palm Beach vacationer hopelessly in love with a womanizer, played by, who else, George Sanders. Shearer hates that she can’t control her desires for Sanders. Since Taylor owes her a gambling debt, he can pay it off by being Norma’s secretary. His job doesn’t involve typing. He’s there to keep her away from Sanders, a job he performs too well,
  11. George Washington Slept Here (1942) Next: a nice middle-class home
  12. Susy, played by Sandra Milo, in Juliet of the Spirits (1965)
  13. The Getaway (1972) Steve McQueen plays an ex con released from prison and recruited to take part in a bank robbery, masterminded by a corrupt businessman (Ben Johnson), who was influential in securing McQueen’s freedom. Of course, that’s only part of the reason for McQueen’s release. Ali MacGraw plays his wife, who also assists in the crime. This was directed by Sam Peckinpah, with his trademark extreme violence, and stylized editing. The plot is intricate, with plenty of double-crosses, and the performances are all solid. The movie takes some strange detours that slow it down a little. B
  14. The 1970s was perhaps the golden age for political thrillers, The Parallax View (1974) and Three Days of the Condor (1975), just to name a few. They seem to hold up well today.
  15. Tentacles (1977) Another ersatz Jaws ripoff from the 1970s. This one is about a giant octopus terrorizing a coastal resort. To be fair, there are some good scenes, the best one involving a woman stranded on her boat as the octopus hungrily stalked her from below. Of course, any movie set in the ocean has a built-in scare factor, because the ocean itself is a foreboding place. The new-age/prog rock music was certainly original for a horror movie, but I found it distracting and not enhancing the mood. The special effects are rather pedestrian, and the cast, which includes Henry Fonda, John Hu
  16. I enjoyed this discussion. Yes, the film was a compromise. I also think it was prescient in showing adult ennui, which of course toady is played out in adults trying to act like teenagers, with outlandish social media behavior. The best parts of the movie are the comedic ones; Dyan Cannon and Natalie Wood have some hysterical scenes. At the very least, it showed that there's hope for philistines like Ted and Alice.
  17. It Happened One Night (1934) Next: rags to riches
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