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Yearly Roundup – 1927-1928

Posted by martinteller on April 16, 2014

The Cream of the Crop

There are some pretty hugely respected films from these two years, films that repeatedly show up near the top of various canonical lists.  Some eyebrows will probably be raised at the fact that neither Sunrise nor The Passion of Joan of Arc (both in the top 20 of TSPDT’s list) is among my favorites from this period.  To be honest, both are films I really need to see again, it’s been 10 years and my cinematic sensibilities have developed a lot since then.  Or maybe they just aren’t my cup of tea.  My favorite for 1927-28 is another one I’ve seen only once, and that was 6 years ago.  So perhaps my feelings about Napoleon would be different now as well, but at the time I found it gripping and masterful.  Let’s hope the restored version hits Blu-Ray sooner rather than later, I’d love to have a second look at it.

*

Slightly Less Creamy, But Still Tasty

There was a time when Metropolis made my top 100.  When I watched it a second time, I had a few quibbles that dampened my affection for it a bit, but it still resides in my top 250.  There are some great films from the two titans of silent comedy.  The Cameraman is perhaps my favorite Buster Keaton, and although I’m not a fan of Charlie Chaplin, I truly loved The Circus.  We have a pair of fantastic dramas: Victor Sjostrom’s The Wind and Paul Leni’s The Man Who Laughs.  And what a fine time for surreal and experimental shorts, with my favorites being Ghosts Before Breakfast and La Coquille et le Clergyman.

*

Also Love

The Docks of New York
L’Etoile de mer
The Last Command
The Passion of Joan of Arc
Spies
Storm Over Asia
Sunrise

*

Varying Degrees of Like

7th Heaven
Arsenal
Berlin: Symphony of a Great City
The Cat and the Canary
The End of St. Petersburg
The Fall of the House of Usher
The Life and Death of 9413, A Hollywood Extra
Lonesome
Steamboat Bill, Jr.

The Telltale Heart
The Wedding March

*

Varying Degrees of Hate

none

*

In The Middle

L’Argent
College
The Crowd
The Lodger
The Love of Zero
October
Underworld
The Unknown

*

Uncharted Territory

Champagne, The Divine Woman, Downhill, Easy Virtue, The Farmer’s Wife, It, The Jazz Singer, Jujiro, The Kid Brother, The King of Kings, The Ring, Show People, Steamboat Willie, Street Angel, The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg, Underground, Wings

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Une femme douce (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on April 15, 2014

An unnamed woman (Dominique Sanda) leaps from her apartment window to her death.  Her husband, a pawnbroker named Luc (Guy Frangin), reflects on their troubled marriage and tries to understand her suicide.

I’ve said before that I’m embarrassed by most of my old reviews.  Take a gander at this gem from January 2004: “Good movie, very insightful.”  That’s it.  Okay, there’s another sentence about how I like Bresson, but concerning this specific film, that’s all I had to say.  Wow.  But the sad part is, I don’t have a whole lot more to say now.  It is a “good movie”, especially if you like Bresson’s style.  The stone-faced acting by non-professionals (though it would kick off a lengthy career for Sanda, including starring roles in films by De Sica, Demy and Bertolucci), the heightened sound design, the minimal dialogue, the symbolism, the attention to hands and feet, the small but meaningful gestures… it’s got all that good austere Bressonian stuff in it.  He makes the transition to color nicely, with a palette that isn’t drab but doesn’t call too much attention to itself.

And the film is “very insightful”.  The marriage of Luc and the woman is hasty and impulsive (although the time compression is so vague that we’re uncertain how long the courtship lasts), and in trouble from the start.  Luc’s attention to matters of practicality is opposed to her more delicate and warm sensibility, as foreshadowed by a scene in which she sells him a plastic Jesus on a gold crucifix… he separates the figure from the valuable gold and hands it back to her.  Luc tries to love, but to him she is a possession, and he never truly gives himself to her.  But the blame doesn’t lie entirely on his shoulders… she’s prone to passive-aggressive dramatic gestures and bouts of depression.  But it is clear she’s on the path closest to Bresson’s path, a yearning for kindness and temperance.  Her gentleness makes her especially — and tragically – vulnerable to the emptiness of a loveless marriage.  Bresson makes her soul-ache felt through the claustrophobia of Luc’s apartment, her isolation sealed when spite and jealousy compel him to relegate her to a separate bed.

Is Bresson saying that suicide is the appropriate response to such a scenario?  I think not, but like the lead character in one of his previous films, it represents an inescapable inner torment.  Rating: Very Good (84)

IMDb

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James and the Giant Peach

Posted by martinteller on April 14, 2014

Well, this was pretty dreadful in most respects.  Sometimes crafting a scathing review can be a ton of fun, but I really don’t want to waste a lot of time on this one.  So forgive me if this rambles, but I really don’t even know where to start.  The kid playing James, Paul Terry, was truly awful.  I hated him.  James is the least interesting part of the book, too, but here they put so much attention on him that you’re constantly reminded of how annoying (“fwiends”) he is.  And the animation model for him is absolutely hideous, with that humungous head and those beady eyes.  The songs by Randy Newman (ugh) are typically forgettable Disney crap, no fun at all.  I was hoping I’d be spared having to hear Newman himself actually sing, but nope, there he is at the end.  Although I find the much-beloved Tim Burton/Henry Selick production The Nightmare Before Christmas somewhat lacking, it’s miles better than this, where the combination of creepy and whimsical is rather unpleasant most of the time.  I didn’t like being immersed in this universe, whether live action or animated.  The stop-motion animation is very smooth and professional, but often has an unappealing plastic-y look to it.

Paragraph break?  Why not!  Wes Anderson proved you can adapt a Roald Dahl story without being entirely faithful to the book… but here, the changes to the source material are for the worse.  Instead of getting killed by the peach, Aunts Spiker and Sponge are spared to return at the end (oh yeah, spoilers… sorry, don’t care) to give the irritating James an exceedingly phony, easy and formulaic bit of triumph.  Maybe this works for children, I don’t know.  I thought the climax was just terrible.  I will say the addition of the skeleton ship scene did offer a couple of entertaining moments, but I think I’d have rather seen the “Cloud Men” from the book.

I liked Miss Spider, both in the animation and Susan Sarandon’s vocal performance.  There, that’s something positive.  Spider was rad.  I chose this screenshot in honor of her.  Grasshopper (Simon Callow) was pretty neat, too.  And Pete Postlethwaite was okay.  There were maybe three or four good lines (which may have come from the book, it’s been too long for me to recall).  Otherwise, this experience ranged from mediocre to miserable for me.  I don’t know if there’s any way to turn this book into a good movie, I just know this wasn’t it.  Rating: Crap (33)

IMDb

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42nd Street (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on April 14, 2014

Theatrical director Julian Marsh (Warner Baxter) is staking his future on his latest production, “Pretty Lady”.  Financier Abner Dillon (Guy Kibbee) has guaranteed the leading role to the object of his desire, Dorothy Brock (Bebe Daniels).  But Dorothy is still seeing her old vaudeville partner, Pat Denning (George Brent), on the side and if Dillon finds out, the show is dead.  Besides the usual stress and headaches of putting on a show, Marsh also has to contend with an untried novice (Ruby Keeler), not to mention a pair of wisecracking regulars (Ginger Rogers, Una Merkel).  It’ll be a miracle if he gets through this without having another nervous breakdown.

One thing I hate as a reviewer is coming back to a movie I previously gushed about and finding it doesn’t thrill me as much as it used to.  Especially when I still really, really like it… just not quite as much as before.  The review often ends up sounding way too negative as I list off the reasons for my change in opinion.  So this time I will reiterate what I do love about this movie.  And since I know it will be redundant anyway, I’ll just be simple about it and quote my previous comments.  From my first review: “Giddily entertaining musical comedy, with truly funny (and bawdy) jokes, terrific songs, those magical Busby Berkeley dance numbers, charming performances, and a plot that never gets too fussy.  The camerawork is quite impressive, too; despite being entirely about a stage production, Bacon & Berkeley utilize techniques that are purely cinematic.”  That’s all pretty much still true.  I believe this was my first review of a Busby Berkeley film, and at the time I didn’t realize how critical those “purely cinematic” techniques were to his charm.  Probably anyone watching one of his works for the first time will balk a bit at how, within the universe of the film, the production numbers would be meaningless to the theatre audience, if not impossible to stage.  But that was the point… to use movie magic to achieve what a theatrical production could not.

And yep, the plotting is achieved admirably without too much confusion, the jokes are terrific, the performances are charming, the song and dance are dazzling.  It’s a really good time.  So what’s my beef?  Perhaps a case of heightened expectations.  I was showing this movie to my girlfriend — her first Busby Berkeley — and although she was enjoying it (she likes “behind the scenes” movies about music/dancing, so I had a hunch she would) I kept thinking “Just wait until the ending!”  And the climax is wonderful, but it’s not that wonderful.  “Young and Healthy” in particular was a little underwhelming.  The title song ends on a really weird downer note that takes some of the fun out of it, followed by a somewhat less than satisfying coda.  I’ve always held on to 42nd Street as the peak of Berkeley, but now I feel like there are better examples… maybe Dames or The Gang’s All Here or Gold Diggers of 1933.  Or maybe those don’t hold up quite as well either.  We will have to see.  Rating: Very Good (85)

IMDb

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Rendezvous in Paris

Posted by martinteller on April 9, 2014

Three unconnected stories about men and women meeting in Paris.  In “The Seven O’Clock Rendezvous,” Esther’s (Clara Bellar) faith in her boyfriend Horace (Antoine Basler) is shaken when a mutual acquaintance tells her that he’s seen her beau meeting another girl in a café.  While at the market, Esther is hit on by a man (Mathias Megard), who she tells to meet her later at that same café.  Then chance drops Aricie (Judith Chancel) into her lap, who happens to be heading to the same place… to meet Horace.  In “The Benches of Paris,” a professor (Serge Renko) meets up with his would-be lover (Aurore Rauscher), perhaps one of his students, in a series of parks.  It is apparent that they have not yet developed a sexual relationship, but the woman is reluctant to get more intimate until she breaks up with her fiancé… an event she is unwilling to initiate, continuously hoping it will occur naturally.  And in “Mother and Child 1907,” a painter (Michael Kraft) is set up on a date with a Swedish girl (Veronika Johansson).  After a short while, he loses interest in her and drops her off at a Picasso museum, making empty promises for a meeting later.  On his way out, he spots a beautiful woman (Bénédicte Loyen) and is immediately smitten.  He pursues her back into the museum, awkwardly wiggles out of an encounter with the Swedish gal, and follows his new target.  He strikes up a conversation, and discovers that she is Swiss… and newlywed.  But that doesn’t stop his ardent efforts to woo her.

I would call this middling Rohmer, which is still better than a lot of other stuff.  It’s Rohmer doing what Rohmer does best: exploring relationships with insightful, beautifully composed dialogue.  But I feel he works better when he has an entire feature to flesh out his characters, rather than one half-hour segment for each.  My brief survey of other reviews suggests that “Benches” is several critics’ favorite of the three stories, but in my opinion it suffered the most from characterizations that are not as fully realized as we expect from Rohmer.  Rauscher especially comes off like a construct… as an actress she has a compelling presence, but this character is just a little too phony.  Maybe that’s the point, that her persona doesn’t hold up to real situations, but even so I just found her so unlikable that I was getting annoyed.  Renko’s character isn’t much better.  This segment is basically the La collectioneuse of this set… the insightful observations are somewhat overclouded by the unpleasant protagonists.

Two out of three ain’t bad, though.  I quite liked the other two parts of the film.  Kraft’s character is also a fairly unlikable guy, but Loyen provides a perfect foil to him.  Their back-and-forth is some of the best conversation in the film, revealing plenty without saying too much.  And in the first part, Esther is just so earnest and pleasant that you just enjoy watching her, and want to see her navigate the difficult situation she’s in.  What’s unusual about this movie besides the structure (an accordionist and a singer — Christian Bassoul and Florence Levu — provide a light-hearted framing device) is that except for a couple of brief exchanges between Esther and Horace, none of the people interacting with each other are really in relationships with each other.  The professor and the student are tentatively playing around one, but — to his frustration — haven’t actually initiated anything yet.  And so the film is not exactly about relationships after all.  It’s more about transitions into and out of relationships.  Seduction and flirtation, those movements towards a relationship, whether bold or cautious.  On the other end, confrontation or inertia or lack of interest ending a relationship, or halting the potential for one.

It’s also a lovely film, giving us several views of Paris from the graffiti-coated backstreets to the tourist traps.  The actors’ movements are an intricate dance, and likely the result of some very carefully considered blocking.  Actually just writing about the movie has made me like it a little more than when I started this review.  My objections to the middle segment don’t seem as important now (though it remains my least favorite of the three).  Like most Rohmer, I’d like to see this again at some point.  In fact, it now occurs to me that I’ve never seen any of the films more than once.  I should correct that.  Rating: Good (77)

IMDb

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Yearly Roundup – 2001

Posted by martinteller on April 7, 2014

The Cream of the Crop

/

The early 2000′s were a particularly busy time for me, movie-wise.  I was in a relationship where our weekend routine usually involved at least one movie in the theater.  It led to a lot of mediocre movie viewings.  Interestingly, although there are four films from this year in my top 100, none were ones I saw in the theater, but discovered only later on DVD.  Weird that I didn’t go see Mulholland Drive on the big screen, since Lynch was and is one of my favorite directors.  It’s one of his best works, one that richly deserves a Blu-Ray release.  Although I was familiar with Wes Anderson through his earlier films, it was The Royal Tenenbaums that really turned me into a fan.  I believe What Time Is It There? was my introduction to Ming-liang Tsai, a director I now worship.  And Amelie is simply adorable, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl who takes center stage rather than acts as a catalyst for a male protagonist.

*

Slightly Less Creamy, But Still Tasty

Here we have one that I did see in the theater… in fact, even waited in line for the midnight opening.  Although I no longer have the same affection I once did for the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring still holds up as very entertaining viewing.  And so does the surrealist anime short Cat Soup, a wild and unpredictable ride.  And for courtroom drama that will get your blood boiling, the documentary Murder on a Sunday Morning is a riveting piece.

*

Also Love

All About Lily Chou-Chou
The Happiness of the Katakuris
Japanese Devils
Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India
The Others
Take Care of My Cat
Tape
Zoolander

*

Varying Degrees of Like

A.I.: Artificial Intelligence
Black Hawk Down
La ciénaga
Conspiracy
Donnie Darko
Enigma
Fat Girl
Ghost World
Gosford Park
Heist
Hell House
Invincible
The Man Who Wasn’t There
Memento
Monsoon Wedding
Monster’s Ball
Monsters, Inc.
Moulin Rouge!
My Sassy Girl
Nowhere in Africa
Ocean’s Eleven
The Piano Teacher
The Pledge
Pulse
Scratch
Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures
Startup.com
Training Day
The Tunnel
Under the Skin of the City
Waking Life
Wet Hot American Summer

 

*

Varying Degrees of Hate

15 Minutes
American Pie 2
America’s Sweethearts
The Anniversary Party
A Beautiful Mind
The Curse of the Jade Scorpion
Hardball
Harvard Man
I Am Sam
In Praise of Love
The Invisible Circus
K-PAX
Serendipity

*

In The Middle

13 Conversations About One Thing
25 Watts
The Accidental Spy
Bartleby
The Beaver Trilogy
Behind Enemy Lines
CQ
Crazy/Beautiful

The Devil’s Backbone
Enemy at the Gates
The Fast Runner
Focus
Frailty
From Hell
The Grey Zone
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Home Movie
Ichi the Killer
Kandahar
The Last Castle
Legally Blonde
Life as a House
Made
Mademoiselle
Millennium Actress
Millennium Mambo
Monrak Transistor
Session 9
Shrek
Spy Game
Super 8 Stories
Vanilla Sky
Visitor Q
Y Tu Mama Tambien
Winged Migration

*

Uncharted Territory

Ali, Behind the Sun, Big Mama, Blow, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Bully, Chaos, Children Underground, Dogtown and Z-Boys, Domestic Violence, Evolution, Bubble Boy, The Fast and the Furious, Freddy Got Fingered, Ghosts of Mars, Hannibal, Harmful Insect, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Human Nature, Icon of Cool, In the Bedroom, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Jeepers Creepers, Josie and the Pussycats, Jurassic Park III, The Mexican, No Man’s Land, One Man Up, Pearl Harbor, Planet of the Apes, Pootie Tang, The Princess Diaries, Sex and Luica, Sexy Beast, Shaolin Soccer, The Son’s Room, Spy Kids, Storytelling, Swordfish, Trouble Every Day, The Wedding Planner, Wit

Posted in Non-review stuff, Yearly Roundup | 2 Comments »

Gone Are the Days!

Posted by martinteller on April 4, 2014

The black citizens of Cotchipee Country, Georgia live under the thumb of Jim Crow laws and the wealthy plantation owner Ol’ Cap’ Stonewall Jackson Cotchipee (Sorrell Booke).  The Reverend Purlie Victorious Judson (Ossie Davis) returns to Cotchipee with his new fiancée Lutiebelle Gussie Mae Jenkins (Ruby Dee), an axe to grind, and a plan.  For $500, he can buy “Big Bethel”, the community church, and unite his people from the pulpit.  It just so happens that Cotchipee is holding a $500 inheritance that belongs to cousin Bea.  Cousin Bea is dead… but Lutiebelle bears a resemblance to her.  With the help of Aunt Missy (Hilda Haynes) and cousin Gitlow (Godfrey Cambridge) and maybe even Cotchipee’s own liberal-minded son Charlie (Alan Alda), Purlie will try to pass off Lutiebelle as Bea and reclaim the money that rightfully belongs to his family.

Written by Davis based on his own play “Purlie Victorious” (later adapted into a successful Broadway musical).  The theater roots are evident, almost every scene takes place in Purlie’s home or the plantation’s commissary.  But cinematographer Boris Kaufman — perhaps best known for his gorgeous work on all of Jean Vigo’s films — lends the film enough visual flair so it doesn’t feel too stagebound.  In the opening scene, we start at the end in the church, and the walls fly away to take us back to the preceding events… a move reminiscent of Olivier’s work on Henry V.

The dialogue is quite sharp and funny.  Davis gives himself a host of colorful speeches as the verbose preacher, and he recites them beautifully.  He’s riveting.  The film is a farce, and as such, many of the people in it are caricatures.  Regular readers of this blog know how fond I am of the great Ruby Dee (Davis’s wife and partner of many decades).  While I don’t like seeing her reduced to such a burlesque, it’s appropriate for the material.  And even as a naïve bumpkin, she excels, making a Lutiebelle a sweet character.  Cambridge and Haynes are a delight as well… a bit broad at times, but mostly enjoyable.  It’s odd to see “Hawkeye Pierce” and “Boss Hogg” a good decade or more before the roles that made them famous.  Alda’s reedy Georgia accent is distracting and Booke does too much hollerin’ for my tastes, but they hold their own among a strong cast.

The movie can be a bit messy in places, and some of the plot elements are poorly developed.  But the social commentary is sharp, coming in the middle of the civil rights movement.  It doesn’t have the complexities of Do the Right Thing, but it gets off some pointed remarks about racial inequalities without coming off like soapboxing.  A little uneven perhaps, but most of it is quite enjoyable, especially for fans of Davis and Dee.  This movie is available on YouTube.  Rating: Good (75)

IMDb

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a pair of shorts

Posted by martinteller on April 4, 2014

The External World – Done in somewhat crude and blocky computer animation, this 17-minute film is a series of unconnected (or very loosely connected) skits, many reflecting the pop culture of videogames, cartoons and sitcoms.  It’s relentlessly cynical and reflects an attitude that everything in the world sucks and so does everyone in it.  I wasn’t at all surprised to learn that writer/director David O’Reilly was 24 or 25 when he made it.  It’s the work of a young man, it has the feeling of someone who thinks he has the world all figured out.  The film would be depressing if it had some real meaning behind it, but it’s mostly just a parade of misery.  It also reaches too often for shock value, with moments that touch on murder, suicide, scatology, sex (including what amounts to a pedophilia gag) and what the hell, a little Hitler just for funsies.  How many buttons can you push?  I got bored after the first few.  Which is too bad, because although the film is so immature and undercooked, there’s a lot of excitement to it.  It has the surreal energy of David Lynch or the anime short Cat Soup.  I was pretty into it at first, wondering what would happen next.  But while the action is unpredictable, the attitude is not.  You know something horrible is going to happen every few seconds.  Tiresome.  Rating: Crap (43)

 

Skallamann – Jonas (Frank Kjosås) comes home to his parents Helga (Marit Andreassen) and Helge (Randolf Walderhaug) and reveals — to his mother’s horror — that he has made out with a “baldguy” (Ole Giæver).  Jonas exuberantly proclaims his excitement singing and dancing in the streets, while Helga frets about it and Helge tries to chase him down.  In stark contrast to External World, this is a lively, fun, and delightful mini-musical.  It’s an amusing take on the coming out story… his parents aren’t upset that he kissed a man, they’re upset that he’s bald.  Jonas’s irresistible joy in discovering his sexuality is done in a burst of heartfelt — and very silly — song and dance.  Casting an actor with such an androgynous appearance in the lead gives the film’s sexual dynamics an extra level of complexity.  Really funny and sweet, and the tunes are pretty catchy too.  Rating: Very Good (83)

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Shack Out on 101

Posted by martinteller on April 3, 2014

George (Keenan Wynn) runs a small seaside diner.  His two employees live on the premises.  The waitress Kotty (Terry Moore) is young and attractive, studying for the civil service exam and hoping for a better life.  The cook “Slob” (Lee Marvin) is an uncouth brute who paws at Kotty every chance he gets.  The diner has a small handful of repeat visitors.  Perch (Len Lesser) delivers the fish.  Artie (Jess Barker) and Pepe (Donald Murphy) drive a poultry truck.  Eddie (Whit Bissell) is George’s old army buddy, now a travelling salesman so traumatized by D-Day that he has a crippling phobia of violence.  And professor Sam Bastion (Frank Lovejoy) is Kotty’s beau, a nuclear physicist.  Kotty soon discovers that the diner is at the center of a plot to turn over state secrets to the Soviets… but who’s on which side?

As far as “Red Scare” propaganda films go, this one is thankfully relatively light on the patriotic speeches.  There’s a little bit of ideology tossed around at the end, but for the most part Slob (it’s no spoiler to say that he’s one of the bad guys, it’s revealed early on) just seems like an ordinary rotten apple.  The movie has a satisfying amount of lurid thrills and tense action, and some pretty sharp dialogue.  The jazzy Paul Dunlap score lends some atmosphere, and Floyd Crosby’s cinematography is surprisingly good for such a low-budget feature.  The opening scene has a great shot of Moore’s body lying on the beach in the foreground while Marvin approaches from the distance in the background, a threat looming closer and closer.  In a later scene, as Kotty puts on an act to try to wring some information out of Slob, her face is in the shadow of a colander, which creates a latticework “mask” to highlight her deception.

There’s quite a bit of humor to the script, but unfortunately it causes some odd derailments.  One unusually lengthy scene features Wynn and Marvin weightlifting and comparing body parts… a display as out of place as it is homoerotic.  At another point, Wynn and Bissell stomp around the diner in flippers and snorkels, “hunting” a giant fish on the wall with their new harpoon.  It’s so weird that you have to laugh.  These scenes are probably designed not only as comic relief, but also a chance to get to know the characters.  However, they mostly come off as filler, killing time in a movie that doesn’t have a whole lot of plot.

Still, it’s a pretty decent Cold War thriller, with one or two twists and some cheap thrills.  Among the solid cast, Marvin and Moore stand out the most.  Marvin tears into the role, bringing Slob’s creepiness to life with a mischievous sneer.  Moore is the target of a lot of misogynist crap (even from her boyfriend) but she sells Kotty as a woman who knows how to handle herself.  Everyone else is pretty good, too.  It’s not a great movie, certainly not a contender for my favorite noirs, and it’s either hamstrung or assisted by its oddball diversions depending on your point of view.  But it’s a fun way to spend 80 minutes.  Rating: Good (73)

IMDb

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Yearly Roundup – 1997

Posted by martinteller on April 3, 2014

The Cream of the Crop

Although none of my absolute favorites come from 1997, there’s still a lot of really good movies.  Going by my Criticker ratings, Princess Mononoke comes out on top.  It’s been 11 years since I saw it and I was blown away by it.  Why haven’t I revisited it?  Part of me is waiting for a Blu-Ray release, but another part is afraid the magic will be gone.  To be honest, I’m not sure I wouldn’t rather put something from my “slightly less creamy” section here instead, but until I rewatch it, I’ll trust my initial judgment of this movie.  I do look forward to seeing it again, but at this point it’s been so long that I might as well just keep waiting for that Blu-Ray release.

*

Slightly Less Creamy, But Still Tasty

I don’t like to use shorts for the “Cream of the Crop”, but tied with Mononoke is Stan Brakhage’s Commingled Containers, one of my very favorites by him.  Jafar Panahi’s The Mirror is a fascinating slice of meta-filmmaking.  I’m not the biggest Paul Thomas Anderson fan in the world, but I’ll always have a soft spot for Boogie NightsMother and Son has some of the most beautiful — and unusual — cinematography I’ve ever seen.  Another beautiful and mysterious film is Majewski’s The Roe’s Room, a haunting bit of filmic poetry.  Lastly, although many are put off by Michael Haneke’s finger-wagging, I find Funny Games to be a remarkably powerful piece of work.

*

Also Love

A Casa
Children of Heaven
Fireworks
In the Company of Men
In the Presence of a Clown
Jackie Brown
Labyrinth of Dreams
The River
Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion
The Sweet Hereafter

*

Varying Degrees of Like

4 Little Girls
Alien: Resurrection
As Good As It Gets
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
The Castle
Cure
Deconstructing Harry
Fierce Creatures
The Fifth Element
Fun Bar Karaoke
Gattaca
Good Will Hunting
Gummo
The Ice Storm
L.A. Confidential
Life is Beautiful
Live Flesh
The Long Way Home
Lost Highway
The Spanish Prisoner
Starship Troopers
Titanic
Trekkies
Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald

*

Varying Degrees of Hate

8 Heads in a Duffel Bag
Devil’s Advocate
Face/Off
The Shining (miniseries)

*

In The Middle

Chasing Amy
Contact
Cop Land
The Eel
Fast, Cheap & Out of Control
The Game
Grosse Pointe Blank
Happy Together
Inside/Out
Little Dieter Needs to Fly
Men in Black
Mr. Nice Guy
Orgazmo
Ossos
Private Parts
Running Time
Spice World
A Taste of Cherry
Tomorrow Never Dies
Who’s the Caboose?

*

Uncharted Territory

Affliction, Air Force One, An Ambiguous Report About the End of the World, Amistad, The Apostle, Batman & Robin, Con Air, Cube, Donnie Brasco, Eighteen Springs, Eve’s Bayou, Event Horizon, The Full Monty, Hands on a Hard Body, Henry Fool, Hercules, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Insomnia, Keep Cool, The Kingdom II, Kundun, Liar Liar, The Lost Word: Jurassic Park, Ma vie en rose, Made in Hong Kong, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Nil By Mouth, Pajarico, The Postman, Public Housing, The Saint, Scream 2, Seven Years in Tibet, Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Speed 2, Suicide Kings, Train of Shadows, Ulee’s Gold, Waco: The Rules of Engagement, Wag the Dog

Posted in Non-review stuff, Yearly Roundup | 2 Comments »

 
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