Discussion in 'The Moving Picture' started by Amy Jeanne, Aug 5, 2007.
Kung Fu Hustle
I watched this movie last night. Good performances, beautiful cinematography, and completely predictable. But I can think of worse ways to spend 90 minutes.
Flat out hilarious movie... A MUST for any Saturday Morning viewer of "Kung Fu Theatre".... You should also see "Shaolin Soccer". Great twin bill.
Last night I had quadruple feature line up. First was "Sully", which was incredible. You know precisely what's going to happen, but it's edge of your seat the entire time. I especially liked that it added a human face to the disaster, and got you into the mind of Sullenberger and everybody on board that flight. Then I watched "The Conjuring 2", which while packing more scares into it, also sacrificed believability and viewer engagement to get there. The first one didn't use religious motif as a crutch, which is where I think this one is faulted for. It also leaves too little explained, and depends on several du ex machina to wrap up the story. Then I watched "Secret Life of Pets", which while charming and witty, was overly predictable. I don't think it's one of the better animated flicks by this studio. Lastly, I watched "Batman: The Killing Joke". As a fan of the original comic, I was not disappointed. However, they try to pack two stories into one: the end of the Bat-Girl, and thus try to feed it into the second act: The Killing Joke. You could tell where the priorities were with the animators, as the first act's animation isn't all that great. It's worse than the animated series from the 90s, I must say. However, the story was extremely enjoyable for me, so I think it gets a pass.
Watched The Free State of Jones with Mathew McConaghie (sp). A decent movie, not historically accurate...lots of creative license but a decent movie nonetheless.
A Ray Milland double feature last night:
"A Life of Her Own"
- An overly soapy girl-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks-comes-to-NYC-to-make-it-big-in-modeling story that miscast a 29 year old Lana Turner as the 18 year old "girl."
---- Lana already showed too many signs of her real-life success in both age and weight to play a putative dewy faced ingenue.
---- If your entire story pivots off a character being fresher / younger / more radiant than the other models, then cast someone age appropriate
- Ray Milland seemed equally lost in this movie never getting into the role of kinda philanderer finding life again with Turner.
"Close to My Heart"
- Another overly soapy offering, this one about a young couple, Milland and Gene Tierney, trying to adopt a baby
- I have no idea of the history of adoption laws and agencies, but if this movie at all represents reality, it was a holy mess in the early '50s
---- The agencies seemed to play a near God-like roll, while the "off-market" options seemed Wild-West lawless
I like Milland, but would not recommend either of these "tear-jerkers" that generated no tears, but a decent amount of boredom. If it wasn't for Milland and Tierney (Turner I could have done without), some excellent B&W cinematography and cool time-travel period sets, clothes, cars, etc., I'd have cut out of each one early.
Hilarious and well done. Great style and cinematography. And a lot of fun. Just a few of the reasons why I have watched it so many times.
As for Shaolin Soccer, I will have to give that one a look. Thank you for the suggestion.
All on TCM? It was a Day of Milland on TCM which I had on as I was tooling/puttering about yesterday.
Exactly - all TCM.
Wanted to see "Irene" but forgot to record that one.
I really enjoy him as an actor, but will admit he doesn't have that many really great movies.
"The Uninvited," "Dial M for Murder" and "The Lost Weekend" are may favorites of his and I do love that he pops up later in life as Oliver Barrett III in silly "Love Story."
I enjoyed him in "The Big Clock" as well as those you mentioned. Although, after thinking about it, I do not really remember much about it. Time for a rewatch.
- 1944 film noir / story okay, if forced / film noir cinematography outstanding - elevated platform scene is noir perfect
- How did Ella Raines not have a bigger career - she carries this movie (with a hearty assist from Thomas Gomez) on her back?
---- Strikingly beautiful in that quiet way that washes over you / not the smash-into looks of the va-va-voom girls
---- Showed decent range and an ability to credibly deliver forced dialogue
---- Having just seen Lana Turner fumble her way through "A Life of Her Own," I repeat, how did Raines not become a big star?
- Male lead Alan Curtis has George Brent's woodenest
- Franchot Tone seemed miscast as the dark, evil murderer
Frenchman's Creek (1944), a Restoration-set costume drama where a lord's wife (Joan Fontaine) dallies with a French pirate (Mexican actor Arturo de Cordova) on the Cornish coast. Not a good film, though it's nice to see young Fontaine in Technicolor, and it's always a pleasure whenever Basil Rathbone plays a villain who's killed (she does it in self-defense). Fontaine's performance is okay, but considering that she did this film the same year as her splendid take on Jane Eyre, I expected better.
Based on a Daphne de Maurier novel that's clearly no Rebecca, it plays like a schlocky romance paperback... though Fontaine ultimately returns to her children and a-hole husband (which is pretty much inevitable under the Production Code). And the "pirates" are just insanely romanticized: sweet, good fellows who sing songs and steal for kicks, and there's a palpable gay subtext to their scenes (likely due to allegedly bisexual director Mitchell Leisen).
Not good, but certainly an interesting curiosity.
Here's what I read in this post: bad movie, Rathbone good as always, Fontaine - at the peak of her beauty - makes any movie, even this clunker, worth watching. Couldn't agree with you more. "Rebecca," "Jane Eyre*" and "Suspicion" are the Fontaine-at-her-best hat trick.
* I enjoy her in "Jane Eyre" under protest as she is way, way to classically beautiful to play Jane Eyre.
This is also true of Mia Wasikowska, Ruth Wilson, and virtually every other actress who's played Jane - even suitably de-glammed, they're too attractive! As I've said here many times, the Fontaine/Welles film is my favorite adaptation by a huge margin. Sure, it's not entirely faithful to the book, but it's got loads of film noir atmosphere, a tremendous Bernard Herrmann score, a splendid supporting cast, and Fontaine is perfect.
Interesting labor-of-love site about Jane Eyre adaptations:
Very, very fair points. It seems impossible for Hollywood not to put a beautiful woman in the lead - it took decades for it to even have to the courage to, at least, put a not traditionally beautiful women in the role.
I only saw it when it came out - hence, twenty years ago - but I remember liking the 1996 version with William Hurt.
And only marginally related, in the DVD version of "Rebecca" that we have, there's and "extra" that shows the screen tests that several big-name starts (Vivien Leigh, Margaret Sullivan and Loretta Young were just some of them) made for the lead role that eventually went to Fontaine. You get a real sense of how different actresses interpret or, just by their style and abilities, alter a character. It might have been a better, the same or worse movie with any of those actresses, but it definitely would have had a different feel.
'Killer Joe' (2011) .......
I love this movie. I know, it's totally cheesy and smacks of a bodice ripper (i.e. romance novel), but it was one of the first classic movies I watched and thus it holds a soft spot for me. In her autobiography, Joan says she knew it was all very silly and I think she felt bad for Arturo de Cordova to have to play such a role. The book was very good, though not as good as Rebecca. I do love a good Daphne du Maurier story!
Operation Pacific with John Wayne and Patricia Neal. I don't know why I neglected to watch this one for so long, but it's a good movie though a little slow-moving in parts. My daughter watched it with me and she actually enjoyed it. I got a kick out of seeing them watch Operation Tokyo onboard the submarine and make fun of it.
I didn't think the chemistry was very good between Wayne and Neal, though. I'm not sure Neal fit her character's role, either. And of course, Ward Bond was in it and I always enjoy him (he was born in Nebraska!).
The three main actors that are in it, I enjoy - Wayne, Neal and Bond - but I agree with you and would even go one further, to me, the chemistry amongst all three is horribly off to the point that the entire movie felt awkward.
Wayne seemed so off his game that he came across as wooden in this one; whereas, Neal - IMHO - the most talented of the three, pushed it forward with more believability, but even she struggled. I wanted to like it, but it just never gelled for me.
It Happened One Night
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