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LEAST & MOST FAVORITE of the week...


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I don't know if "enjoyable" is the word I would apply to a film such as this, but so be it.

Would compelling be more accurate? I figured that if you watched it from beginning to end, there must have been a hook somewhere to keep you watching.  I didn't mean enjoyable in the "feel good" sense. 

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...Especially if he watched it at 4 in the morning.

What's up with that, DGF? I mean, I know you're an early riser, but that's crazy. This is not a criticism (how can anyone criticize anyone else for what kind of hours they keep?), just a note of surprise.

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I am trying to catch up on my DVR before I move into my new house and subsequently fill my new DVR up with films.  Anyway, I watched quite a few movies recently:

 

The Man With the Golden Arm.  I really liked this film.  I'm finding myself enjoying more and more of Otto Preminger's work.  I like that he just made the films he wanted to make, despite the Production Code.  Both this film, and a previous work, The Moon is Blue, were both initially denied seals of approval from the Production Code.  The Moon is Blue I believe was released without the seal, and The Man With the Golden Arm eventually got a seal after the Production Code approved of films dealing with the subject matter of drug addiction.  Anyway... I thought this film was great. Sinatra was excellent as was Eleanor Parker.  While I like Kim Novak, often times, I find her to be a little stiff at first and then she ends up growing on me throughout the film.  In The Man With the Golden Arm, she doesn't have the stiff delivery like she does in the opening scenes of Picnic.  I thought Kim Novak was great as well.  I loved Elmer Bernstein's score that he created for this film.  Excellent movie.  Preminger hasn't let me down yet.

 

The Blue Gardenia.  I really liked this Fritz Lang noir.  Anne Baxter was excellent as was Ann Sothern.  I wasn't familiar with Richard Conte prior to this film, but he was good as well.  I thought the idea of a woman committing a crime while drunk and then not being able to remember it was very interesting.  Great twist at the end.  I really enjoyed this film and wouldn't mind having my own copy.  However, the only copy that seems to be available right now is a somewhat cheesy looking version.  I wish that it would either get a proper DVD release, or that at least Warner Archives or Universal Vault would have access to this film to be able to produce it. 

 

Escape Me Never.  I got this film (along with Bogart's Conflict) for Valentine's Day from my husband.  The only reason I wanted it, of course, was for Errol Flynn.  It doesn't seem like this film airs very often on TCM and I wanted to see it.  I had read some mixed reviews about it on imdb.  I liked this movie.  It was an unusual movie, but not in a bad way.  I liked the pairings of Flynn and Ida Lupino and Flynn and Eleanor Parker.  Gig Young was there too (as the original partner of Parker), but he was whatever.  I enjoyed the scenes involving Flynn much more.  Flynn was quite the player in this movie (switching back and forth between Lupino and Parker) but he was as excellent as usual.  I know that Flynn and Lupino were close friends in real life, and I think this friendship shined through in all their scenes together.  Flynn looked a little older and more filled out (if that's the right word, he definitely wasn't fat by any means, perhaps just not as lithe as he is in The Adventures of Robin Hood) but was still definitely as hunky as always.  Gig Young needed to lose the mustache.  It just didn't look right to me. Anyway, I liked this film and am glad to have it as part of my collection.

 

The Sweet Smell of Success.  I recorded this movie along with Trapeze.  I really liked this movie as well.  Burt Lancaster did a great job as the antagonist in this film.  I thought Tony Curtis was excellent as well.  I've seen more of Curtis' work recently and in the past, had dismissed him as a lightweight actor.  I've begun to see that I was wrong about him and have enjoyed seeing more of his work outside of Some Like it Hot

 

The More the Merrier.  I already wrote about my thoughts on this film in a thread related to the movie, but I thought I'd include it here.  I recorded it during the Jean Arthur marathon last month and I'm happy to say that this Arthur film didn't disappoint.  I never knew who Jean Arthur was prior to being active on this board and I'm very happy to have made this discovery.  Arthur was a great actress and I loved this movie.  She and Joel McCrea were a great pairing.  Charles Coburn was hilarious.  I love how Arthur can combine sex appeal and quirkiness so well.  The scene between Arthur and McCrea on the stairs is definitely one of the sexiest on screen.  I loved the scene where Arthur gives Coburn the low down on his new morning routine and he feebly tries to stick to it.  It's so regimented and leaves no room for error or lateness.  It's impossible and hilarious. 

 

Mildred Pierce.  I'm not typically a fan of Joan Crawford, but I loved this movie.  It was a great melodrama noir.  I thought Crawford was fantastic and Ann Blythe was excellent as well.  When Crawford smacked Blythe, she definitely had it coming.  She played the bratty character well.  I also thought Jack Carson was excellent.  I don't think I've seen him in a more serious role.  He always seems to play the comedic sidekick, or the slightly dopey sidekick to the more attractive and charming lead actor.  He was great in this film.  I loved it.  I definitely want to add this film to my collection.  It combines two of my favortie types of movies: melodrama and noir.

 

The Great Lie.  This was a great movie with my fave Bette Davis and Mary Astor.  Every Mary Astor performance I've seen, I've enjoyed.  I had never heard of her prior to being active on these boards and I thought she was great.  It's great when Davis gets paired with other strong personalities.  This was a great melodrama and ridiculous and I loved it.

 

Top Hat.  I've been trying to give Astaire/Rogers films a chance.  Sometimes Ginger Rogers gets on my nerves.  I don't know why.  However, since I'm a great lover of musicals, I thought I need to give Astaire/Rogers (perhaps the ultimate musicall performers) films a chance.  I loved Top Hat.  It was great movie.  I also liked seeing Rogers' infamous feather dress is action.  I had also recorded Roberta, but for whatever reason, my DVR started recording it in the middle and I didn't want to watch a movie I hadn't seen, by starting to watch it in the middle.  I'll have to wait until it repeats again.

 

Robin and the 7 Hoods.  A Rat Pack retelling of the Robin Hood tale.  I thought this was a great movie.  It was very enjoyable.  I thought it was better than 4 For Texas.  It was fun seeing Bing Crosby singing with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.  Sammy Davis Jr was great too.  I'm glad that the annoying Peter Lawford was nowhere to be seen in this film. 

 

The Spongebob Squarepants Movie: Sponge Out of Water.  Okay.  Definitely a more low-brow film in comparison with the others that I've seen, but I really liked it.  I saw it with my husband as part of a movie and dinner date.  Lol.  The first 'Spongebob' movie that came out in 2004 was our first date.  Lol.  Anyway... we both like cartoons, so we tend to go out and see a lot of the cartoon movies (though we will draw the line at stuff that is obviously intended for little little kids).  This movie did a great job of maintaining the humor from the cartoon and including all it's crazy movie and TV references.  For example, in this movie, the Krabby Patty secret recipe disappears (it's so secret that the Krusty Krab employees who cook the Krabby Patties are forbidden from memorizing the recipe) and the town is thrown into turmoil because they can't get their fix. Cue a "Mad Max" apocalyptic scenario where the small town of Bikini Bottom is burned to the ground.  Anyway, despite how cartoons sometimes seem to be disparaged on this board, I liked it.  It was a nice date evening with my husband: pizza and cartoons.  A great Saturday night.

 

Still to watch:

 

Dr. Strangelove...

The Asphalt Jungle

Blackboard Jungle

The Spirit of St. Louis

Lust for Life

The Four Musketeers (1975)

Mystery Street

Crossfire

Mrs. Miniver

Four Daughters

Pat and Mike

Random Harvest

Sweet Charity

Three Days of Condor

All the President's Men

The Candidate

The Unsinkable Molly Brown

The Great Gatsby (1974)

Out of Africa

To Kill a Mockingbird

Foreign Correspondant

Ministry of Fear

Too Much Too Soon

 

I don't know how I'm going to get through all of these.  I'm supposed to close on my house on 3/12 Lol.

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speedracer-I love your posts-they speak to me. I've never heard of The Great Lie   but will have to see it based on your opinion. I'd watch these first in this order:


 


Four Daughters


Pat and Mike


Sweet Charity


The Asphalt Jungle


Mrs. Miniver


 


Too Much Too Soon (You'll only have to watch this halfway through. Only the scenes with Errol work. Note- Hollywood glamor mag girl is reading in opening scene has young Errol on cover)


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speedracer-I love your posts-they speak to me. I've never heard of The Great Lie   but will have to see it based on your opinion. I'd watch these first in this order:

 

Four Daughters

Pat and Mike

Sweet Charity

The Asphalt Jungle

Mrs. Miniver

 

Too Much Too Soon (You'll only have to watch this halfway through. Only the scenes with Errol work. Note- Hollywood glamor mag girl is reading in opening scene has young Errol on cover)

 

Thanks.  I watched Pat and Mike.  I'm a fan of Katharine Hepburn, not as much a fan of Spencer Tracy, but I like their films together.  Hepburn and Tracy are such a great and unique pair, I've found all their films enjoyable.  While I liked this film, which allowed Hepburn to show off her athletic abilities, I don't know if it's my favorite of the Hepburn/Tracy films.  I'd like to acquire this film, just so that I can continue to work on completing my Hepburn/Tracy collection, I think Desk Set is still my favorite of their films.

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If I were counting all the films I've already seen a gazillion times, I'd have to go for (what else?) The Killers as my favorite of the week, with Harold Lloyd's Speedy as the silver medalist because of that surreal scene showing Babe Ruth's taxi ride to Yankee Stadium.  But since I'm only thinking of personal "premieres", the one that grabbed me the most was one that just played this evening:  Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

 

It wasn't as if the plot was particularly original, but I loved Ellen Burstyn.  For some stupid reason, she's just one of those actresses whose movies have fallen between the cracks (for me, anyway), and looking at her filmography I can only think of The Last Picture Show and The Exorcist as ones I've seen before tonight.  I also don't recall too many of her films ever showing up on TCM?  Am I right about this, or haven't I been paying attention?

 

As for the worst:  There were dozens of candidates for that honor, as is usually the case in any given week, but I knew what they were and simply avoided them.  No point in getting worked up about it.

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Andy said: But since I'm only thinking of personal "premieres", the one that grabbed me the most was one that just played this evening:  Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

 

I revisited that movie last time it aired on TCM and was struck by how great the editing was. How many movies do you even NOTICE editing? Excellent.

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Andy said: But since I'm only thinking of personal "premieres", the one that grabbed me the most was one that just played this evening:  Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

 

I revisited that movie last time it aired on TCM and was struck by how great the editing was. How many movies do you even NOTICE editing? Excellent.

 

If one notices the editing it means the editing wasn't done well.   OK,  I'm cracking wise,  but the point is similar to what we say about refs in basketball.   i.e. the refs did a great job because they were hardly noticed.

 

I know Shane is known for great editing.  I assume this was because how the movie,  especially the ending, quickly went from scene to scene.   But some may feel that means the movie wasn't seamless and that isn't great editing.

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If one notices the editing it means the editing wasn't done well.

 

Ugh I knew someone would say that.

 

For example- at the beginning of the film, there are very quick establishing shots of "time & place", like an old drive-in, a trailer, etc. It's done with just the exact right amount of screen time to convey the feeling. It could have been heavy handed, but it was done JUST RIGHT. That's what I noticed.

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If one notices the editing it means the editing wasn't done well.

 

Ugh I knew someone would say that.

 

For example- at the beginning of the film, there are very quick establishing shots of "time & place", like an old drive-in, a trailer, etc. It's done with just the exact right amount of screen time to convey the feeling. It could have been heavy handed, but it was done JUST RIGHT. That's what I noticed.

 

Hey, I said I was pulling your leg.    :D    Great example, that helps me understand the type of editing you noticed.   If the film was shot by Welles the original 'director's cut' would made those scenes 5 minutes longer!   (I only mention Welles because in another thread we are discussing if his much longer versions that were edited out by the studio before release really would have made his films better or not).

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I saw five movies over the last two weeks.  The Theory of Everything is clearly the least impressive of a not particularly good collection of best picture nominees this year.  Everything about it is off.  Redmayne and Jones do not make a particularly good couple even when Stephen Hawking is in good health.  It is not clear what attracts them to each other.  The movie doesn't really show Hawking's genius, it just has other characters tell the audience about it several times in the movie.  It's not really a love story, since the movie is about the dissolution of their marriage, and Hawking's children vanish for the last half hour of the movie or so, apparently because the producers didn't want to pay for extra child actors.  And since Redmayne is immobile and inarticulate for most of the movie, I fail to see what is so special about his performance.  (And the last line is sentimental codswallop.)  Whiplash is certainly a much more enjoyable movie, although even I, who know nothing about jazz, was somewhat impatient over whether J.K. Simmons was supposed to be Anton Walbrook in The Red Shoes or R. Lee Emery in Full Metal Jacket.  People who do know more me than jazz find much more false notes about it.  As one rare critic notes, it's essentially a sports movie, or an army movie.  Of the latter, I also saw The Great Santini.  I remember at the time it came out, that it was the little movie that could, and I suspect it was more appreciated than usual because 1980 was a time when many big budget hollywood pictures were falling flat on their face.  Its success also suggests a widespread faith in authority figures even if, like Duvall's character, they have done little to deserve it.  (Reagan was elected a month or two after its re-release.)  I'm not impressed by it:  as Dave Kehr says it's "Overcalculated, thoroughly false humanist mush—one of those 'real movies about real people' without a single authentic moment."  One false note in particular, the **** who ends the life of the movie's token black character is named Red.  And there's the contrived ending which allows Duvall to die a heroic death in somewhat unwarlike circumstances.  I suppose the best movie I saw recently was Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxograther, a documentary about an early forerunner, if not exactly, of motion pictures.  I also saw a Lubitsch silent, I don't want to be a man, which at 45 minutes is barely a feature.  It deals with the old plot of a woman complaining of her lot, but then realizing that it's better than being a man.  But Lubitsch, of course, does several interesting things, including tranvestism!

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I saw five movies last week.  The Cider House Rules was, as Dave Kehr put it, "impeccably crafted and utterly impersonal."  It's more of an idea of what an oscar winning movie is like, rather than actually a great movie.  It has ideas, a fine cast, but no soul to inspire the actors to give great performances.  Arrowsmith similarly has some interesting ideas, but everything about it, the Lewis source novel, the performances by Ronald Colman and Helen Hayes, the direction by John Ford, really have to try harder.  Fortunately the other three movies are more successful.  The Window is a good noir thriller, well worth watching.  Two Days, One Night is even better, and arguably even more tense.  For anyone who has every worried about getting or keeping a job, this story of a woman who has to beg fourteen co-workers so that she can keep her position is probably the most thrilling movie of last year.  The charming and intelligent A Summer's Tale is also definitely worth watching, and especially by Hollywood executives who seem to have forgotten how to make romantic movies. 

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In my continuing futile (I say futile, because I'm moving within a matter of days, and I keep recording things and replacing the stuff I just watched and deleted) attempt to watch everything on my DVR, here's what I saw last week:

 

Cinderella Man- Great movie.  I'm normally not a huge fan of Russell Crowe and Renee Zelwegger, but I do love sports movies.  I also like boxing (not doing, but watching) and movies that take place during earlier parts of the 20th century, so this film had everything.  I thought Crowe and Zelwegger were excellent and the choreography in the boxing scenes was excellent. 

 

Come Blow Your Horn- I recorded this during the Neil Simon Friday Night Spotlight.  I like Frank Sinatra, so I figured that I'd like this film.  It was okay.  I thought that Buddy was annoying.  Frank Sinatra was too old for his role in this movie.  He's right for the role of a playboy, but was too old to be the wise older brother to Buddy.  He looked more like he was Buddy's father.  Sinatra looked old enough to be as old as Lee J Cobb who was playing his dad.  I don't know what it is with Lee J Cobb and playing old men, but he didn't do much for me in this film either.  His loudmouth father was annoying.  Jill St. John's dumb 20-something character was also annoying.  The best parts were Dean Martin's cameo as a drunk and Sinatra's song.  I've seen better from Sinatra and Simon.

 

Four Daughters- I liked this film.  Everytime I see Priscilla Lane, I'm always reminded how much I like her and then I completely forget about her until I happen to see her in a film again.  Claude Rains was excellent as usual.  I also liked John Garfield.  The actor who played Felix was pretty cute too.  I don't know if I've been disappointed by a Curtiz film yet.  I wasn't a fan of the singing, but I think it was more due to the style of music rather than the voice.  I'm a sucker for good music, romance, drama movies.  I liked this film much better than its remake, Young at Heart, with Frank Sinatra and Doris Day (even though I like the two actors). 

 

Nothing Sacred- I watched this film on the Netflix Instant Queue.  I am trying to see more of Carole Lombard which is why I watched this film.  I was surprised to see that this film was in Technicolor.  I wouldn't expect just a regular 1937 comedy to have included Technicolor in its budget, but it looks like Selznick went all out with this one.  I didn't like the color in this film.  It wasn't as rich and vibrant as the Technicolor I'm used to.  The colors were all muted.  It reminded me of a black and white film that had been colorized.  Anyway.  I thought the beginning with Fredric March being crowded out of his tiny workspace was funny.  The storyline overall was good.  Lombard's character was a little outrageous.  I didn't dislike the film, but didn't like it as much as My Man Godfrey.  I may try to give this film another go at another time.

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Last week I was away, so watched a few movies in the hotel.  I liked Map to the Stars with Julianne Moore and John Cusack, as movies about fading stars and show business set in Los Angeles always appeal to me.  I like weird and there lots of it.

 

The next night I made the mistake of watching Home Sweet Hell with Katherine Heigl and Patrick Wilson.  I think this was my first time seeing either of them in a movie, which was advertised as a "dark comedy."  It may have been dark, but sadly light on the comedy.  Bad writing, no chemistry, but not bad enough to be good.  It's the first time I ever exited a ($16!) hotel movie.

 

My favorite was Sunday night's Orpheus.  Death has never been so chic, in her fashionable get-ups and pearls knotted in a noose. I love the scenes shot in the negative, and the snazzy motorcycle riders.  This is a movie I try never to miss.

 

The same night there was a charming travelogue on the French Riviera that reminded me a bit of Monsieur Hulot's Holiday, or at least that lovely era of French seaside holidays.  I wonder how many of the quaint hotels and attractions still exist.  It really made me want to pack my bags, if only I could visit the 1958 Riviera.

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After reading the review in this thread about THE GREAT LIE, I got the Bette Davis Collection from my library. I watched THE GREAT LIE first, as I love both Bette & Mary Astor. They were both great and I enjoyed seeing them together-Astor is one of the few women strong enough to hold her own-and she did, as an unlikeable charactor. 

The premise of the story, however, was the most preposterous ever! When Bette confronts Astor about "making up the story" of being pregnant, I thought she DID say yes, it was a fabrication.

THEN, we see Astor pregnant. Huh? What did I miss? Anyway, the whole idea of raising someone else's child and the husband (George Brent & his flat derrier) coming home? Right.

 

Then I looked at THE OLD MAID, a Bette Davis movie with another fave Miriam Hopkins. Another well acted (well Miriam overacted) weird silly story. Looking at the other titles, that's what groups these Bette Davis films-all soapers where Bette is the good hearted, unselfish one.

I like Bette better when she's a b i t c h.

 

I also got THE GREEN PASTURES from talk on this board. I was expecting something like a cross between STORMY WEATHER & HERE COMES MR JORDAN. Instead, it was an awfully insipid series of Bible stories. Hated the music, really hated the stereotype performances. I took the DVD out halfway through.

 

Watched ARSENE LUPIN from last month's recording, which I loved. Both Barrymore brothers salt & sugar their ham. Fun detective type story.

 

SWEET CHARITY also recorded,  was a first viewing. Guess I mixed it up in my head with IRMA LADOUCE. Dark story played backdrop to musical dance numbers. Love the attempt to revitalize the musical in film in the 60's while creating an entirely new genre. Wrote about my opinions in another thread.

 

And in an attempt to see what's appealing about Steve McQueen, I watched THE REIVERS recorded from last month. I hated it. I barely made it three quarters of the way through. McQueen was icky and I just didn't get into the relationships. When I mentioned this to the person who recorded it for me, he said he loved it. OK- I'll give it another try later. Said friend loves SWEET CHARITY, so we have some tastes in common.

So far the only movie I like Steve McQueen in is LOVE WITH A PROPER STRANGER.

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I saw three movies this week.  The Edward Dmytryk Obsession starts off interestingly, but it sort of bogs down once the police enter the scene and pursue Robert Newton to his inevitable fate.  It occurs to me a conclusion was also the problem I had with Crossfire and The Caine Mutiny.  The version of Mikey and Nicky was hardly the best, and it's apparently shorter than some versions.  But it's still an intelligent and thoughtful movie about two friends in a somewhat corrupt New York milieu when everything starts to fall apart.  Obviously different, except in terms of quality, The doll is another charming Lubitsch movie, this time with a more charming female lead, while the male lead is a bit of a twit.

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I saw five movies this week.  Lubitsch in Berlin is a perfectly adequate documentary about Lubitsch's early career.  The actual Lubitsch movie I saw, Anna [not Anne) Boleyn is a rare drama, with Boleyn considerably more blameless than the actual queen.  There are some interesting touches, and Emil Jannings certainly presents the king's lethal charisma.  The Song of the Sea was nominated for an oscar as best animated movie this year.  As such this film based on celtic mythology has some interesting stylistic touches.  On the other hand the movie could be better (it has an uninspired older brother resentful of little sister plot).  Darling Lili may be one of Blake Edwards' favorite movies, but it's too long and cumbersome.  Apparently it was the studio's idea that it should be a ridiculously long roadshow musical:  this is the rare example of a director's cut that is shorter than the released movie (by at least half an hour).  The obvious point of comparison with Star! is Funny Girl.  And it's easy to see why Star! suffers by the comparison.  There isn't a really great song in the movie, or one that really reflects Gertrude Lawrence's emotional state.  And since her romantic interest changes every half an hour in a three hour movie, there is a lack of emotional focus, so Andrews' performance suffers in comparison with Streisand.

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And in an attempt to see what's appealing about Steve McQueen, I watched THE REIVERS recorded from last month. I hated it. I barely made it three quarters of the way through. McQueen was icky and I just didn't get into the relationships. When I mentioned this to the person who recorded it for me, he said he loved it. OK- I'll give it another try later. Said friend loves SWEET CHARITY, so we have some tastes in common.

 

So far the only movie I like Steve McQueen in is LOVE WITH A PROPER STRANGER.

 

Try The Cincinnati Kid, which also features terrific late career performances by Edward G. Robinson and Joan Blondell.  It's a bit like a poker version of The Hustler, with McQueen being the counterpart of the Paul Newman / Fast Eddie / young man on the rise, with Robinson as the movie's version of  Jackie Gleason / Minnesota Fats / the young man's Great White Whale.  IMO this is McQueen's best movie, if for no other reason that he seemed to have been born to play the part.

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I saw four movies this week.  They were all interesting, even if none attracted my full attention.  Torment and Miss Julie were both interesting movies, even if the hysterical undertone didn't quite cohere.  Norte, the end of History is a Filipino film which is sort of an adaptation of Crime and Punishment.  The movie, at four hours long, is an example of "slow cinema."  There are long static shots where the camera doesn't move.  Unlike in Ozu, there are few if any closeups.  Essentially the Raskolnikov character is considerably more annoying than in the original novel, and does a lot more damage.  Since I haven't been in the best of health that may have influenced my lack of enthusiasm about it.  A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a stylish vampire movie, which takes place in Southern California but where everyone speaks Farsi and looks Persian.  It's shot in an interesting, but not fully realized black and white style.  It needs more depth (and we never learn why there's a ravine full of corpses in the town.)

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I saw five movies last week.  The Penalty was an interesting picture, even it if encourages Hollywood's view that acting is a matter of physical transformation and exhaustion, as opposed to what good acting actually is.  I watched Lost Horizon, the musical version, because I've been hearing for decades what an awful movie it is.  And after an unobjectionable first half hour as the cast members are fleeing in an airplane, you do wonder how bad a movie with Peter Finch, Liv Ullmann, John Gielguld and Charles Boyer can actually be.  Well, it is pretty dreadful:  the songs and choreography are especially vapid.  (And I didn't even realize that Sally Kellerman had a role in the movie.)  Although I liked the previous two movies, The Hobbit:  the Battle of the Five Armies was a bit disappointing.  Part of the problem was that Smaug was such an interesting villain and he's killed in the first ten minutes.  Orcs, by contrast, are never that interesting:  no matter how many of them there are, they can always be overwhelmed in time for the end.  One way Boogie Woogie is an experimental film by James Benning, mostly consisting of static shots that last less than a minute with a sudden surge of movement.  Force Majeure was one of last year's more appreciated films.  But I didn't particularly care for it. This is the sort of movie whose humor is so dry that one feels the movie should be reserved for tubercular patients.

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"Interstellar" is not only the least favorite of the week but the whole year!  That thing was boring, full of errors, had a wormhole's sudden appearance that's TOO convenient, a robot that has the most stupidest design yet to date and a NASA facility surround by a tall chain link fence which was stated is impossible to come across by chance....GIVE ME A BREAK!

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I saw four movies last week.  It Follows certainly does a lot with a little:  simply having someone follow someone can be a disconcerting image.  And there is one shot of one inordinately tall man following one of the protagonist's friends right after she enters the room that certainly packs a punch.  On the other hand the conceit doesn't really mean much aside from  a vague sense of unease over sex.  A better movie would add more.  (Also, even most people can't see the follower, you think it would have occurred to them earlier you can see an invisible object if you throw a blanket over it.)  Gabriel over the White House takes some time to get started, though it is clearly quite delirious by the end.  It's the movie that shows you don't have to be German to be a Nazi, just desperate and stupid.  (Also, it shows that in 1933 the United States were inordinately concerned over war debts.  I'm not a big fan of the "British New Wave" and The Knack...and how to get it was clearly a weak Palme D'Or (Strictly speaking its equivalent) in a weak Cannes film festival.   Nevertheless, it's not a bad comedy by any means.  But clearly the movie of the week is Frederick Wiseman's great documentary about the British National Gallery.

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Thanks for the LOST HORIZON review skimpole....I have it and been dreading to watch it.

 

I finally caught up with the Disney contributions: The Story Of Animation and The Reluctant Dragon. I first have to say I much enjoyed Leonard Maltin & Ben Mankiewicz conversation, relaxed and informative. I hated "Story" because it wasted so much time showing us Fantasia in b&w. I found The Reluctant Dragon much more interesting in every way, although I thought at times they veered from reality, like the color segment. Although it took liberties from reality, I much enjoyed seeing the sound effects and multi-plane demos since I never understood that as a kid. And the cartoon itself was a riot! It just reinforces my feelings that when Disney was alive the company was GOLD. Once Walt passed, the entire company slid to nothing more than a big cash grab "entertainment" industry. FAIL.

 

I had a rough week at work and enjoyed a few recordings from Guy Kibbee day. I chose three movies: CENTRAL PARK, BIG CITY BLUES & THREE MEN ON A HORSE. They were perfect hour long trifles that were enjoyable and fun. Joan Blondell was at her most adorable and these kind of movies are superb little time capsules of the depression era.

 

Finally caught up on my Neil Simon tribute ONLY WHEN I LAUGH first, showing another adorable star Marsha Mason in a dark role for a change. I absolutely feel Marsha Mason is underappreciated. She is SO GOOD you just don't realize she's just reading lines! Tragic story without the usual happy ending, but somehow Simon keeps it enjoyable & entertaining. Same with HEARTBREAK KID, which I also really really liked. What a treasure Neil Simon is to American arts.

 

My film group started up this week and WEEKEND IN HAVANA was screened. The audience laughed out loud when Alice Faye started singing how romantic it was as they caught a ride in a hay wagon. It was cute & colorful but somehow Alice Faye looks weird to me. 

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I've been really busy the past few weeks between moving, painting, working, etc. but I have managed to fit in some time to watch some movies.

 

PIN UP GIRL- This was a typical wartime musical, not too serious, just fun escapist entertainment.  Betty Grable was as great as always.  I love her persona in her films.  Martha Raye was good as well.  It seems that much of this film was built solely around Grable's pin up status during WWII and her famous pin up photo which appears routinely throughout the film.

 

THE SHOCKING MISS PILGRIM- I really liked this film.  I didn't know who Dick Haymes was, only that he was one of Rita Hayworth's husbands (one who hit her) and he married Errol Flynn's second ex-wife.  He was okay, nothing amazing though.  I liked the women's suffrage angle and Betty Grable standing up for her right to work where she wants.  The film did take the typical love story angle and the ending was pleasant.  The movie poster for this film is horrible though.  I would have never believed that that was supposed to be an image of Betty Grable.

 

220px-TheShockingMissPilgrim.jpg

 

HARD TO GET- This film starred Olivia de Havilland and Dick Powell.  This movie was one of the typical fluff 1930s films, it definitely was not going to bring Oscars to anyone involved.  I liked the two leads and Charles Winninger who played her father.  It seems these 1930s films that involve heiresses always have an eccentric father or grandfather.  Also typical in these films is that the rich girl usually gets in trouble with the more blue collared male lead for not having any money to pay for services rendered.  This film was no exception.  I thought de Havilland's character's reaction to having to work at Powell's motel to pay off her debt was a little outrageous, but it was needed for the plot of the film.  I liked Penny Singleton's maid character, she was funny.  Everytime I see and hear Singleton in a film, I can't help but think that I'm watching a film with Jane Jetson.  Powell was also a very good singer.  Although crooning "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby" to de Havilland was a little corny. 

 

FARMER TAKES A WIFE- Another Betty Grable musical.  Many of these Grable musicals seem like they're basically the same movie with different songs, but Grable is charming as usual.  The male lead, Dale Robertson, is kind of bland in this film.  The real surprise was seeing Thelma Ritter.  I had no idea she even appeared in a musical.  She was rather wasted in this movie--not many hilarious one-liners. 

 

THE ATTACK OF THE PUPPET PEOPLE- This film was entertaining although the title was misleading.  It was of course cheesy, but I thought that the special effects were rather good for a 1958 movie.  One of the girl "puppet people" sings a song, and I thought she was very good.  The premise of the movie was good: a man, afraid of being alone, kidnaps and imprisons people and shrinks them to doll size using a machine in his doll factory.  He takes the "dolls" out when he wants to be entertained.  Some of the puppet people seem committed to this life, but the two latest puppet people aren't.  They take matters into their own hands to escape and grow back to normal size.  While overall, the film was entertaining, I was disappointed that the puppet people do not attack anyone. 

 

THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE- This film was hilarious.  The telepathy between the girlfriend's head and the creature in the closet, the maniacal driving in the beginning that led to the girlfriend being decapitated, the scientist's botched hand transplant, this film had everything.  I think I may have liked this film better than "The Attack of the Puppet People."

 

FLAMINGO ROAD- I'm not normally a Joan Crawford fan, but I liked the grittiness of this film.  I really liked this movie.  Michael Curtiz, despite what I've read about him as a person, there's no denying that he knew how to make great movies. 

 

SAN FRANCISCO- While I like Clark Gable and I liked the earthquake footage, I discovered I am not a fan of Jeannette MacDonald.  Ugh.  That singing.  While I'm not saying it was bad, I am not just not a fan of her style of singing and there was way too much of it.  It drove me crazy and made me dislike the film very much.  I was wishing that Clark Gable would belt her in the mouth or that she'd get hit by falling debris during the earthquake.  No such luck though.  I disliked MacDonald so much, that she might even be a deterrent to seeing another film with her in it, unless I could be assured that she doesn't sing. 

 

Per usual I've got a bunch of films to watch on the DVR:

 

Spencer Tracy Legacy Documentary

Fonda on Fonda Documentary

Stage Fright

Scaramouche

Escape From Fort Bravo

Invisible Stripes

BF's Daughter

Breakfast for Two

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

I Could Go on Singing

A Child is Waiting

Footlight Parade

Test Pilot

The Forbidden Street

People Will Talk

Passage to Marseille

Yankee Doodle Dandy

Klute

Witness for the Prosecution

City for Conquest

Lust for Life

Baby Doll

The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone

Thelma & Louise

Sweet Rosie O'Grady

A Yank in the RAF

Humoresque

Bird on a Wire

 

So much to watch... and I only keep adding, never subtracting.  Lol.

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