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A Pretty Thorough Documentary
I caught this documentary when it first aired on Turner Classic Movies, and it impressed me with its examination of both Cary Grant the person and Cary Grant the personality.
Most bios I've seen on Cary Grant all focus on the screen persona and laud this cultivated image of the perfect movie star, but 'A Class Apart' brought humanity to Cary Grant. I was also impressed by the documentary's willingness to deal with issues glossed over in most other treatments (his LSD usage, for instance). Great documentary, and if for nothing else, worth watching for Betsy Drake's quote about whether or not Cary Grant was homosexual. God bless TCM.
Like Watching Charlie Kaufman Grow Up
Charlie Kaufman's writing is always clever, but this time he's one-upped himself by making something simultaneously bizarre and emotionally engaging. It seemed like his earlier movies were clever for the sake of cleverness, but 'Eternal Sunshine' manages to dazzle you (or anyway, it dazzled me) with it's originality and it's poignancy. The fact that this movie was able to wrap such profound loss, emotional tenderness, and hope in such a self-consciously stylized package illustrates the incredible talent of the people behind it.
Everything fit. The acting was wonderful, and my girlfriend said as we were leaving that she felt like crying at the end, but wasn't quite sure why. It didn't matter. The actors knew why, and they were able to communicate it. But even the choices in the camera work and editing - from bizarre and near-constant jumpcuts to a perpetually wandering focus - supported the story and intent of the film, where so often techniques like that are used simply for the sake of using them.
The movie's not perfect (I got the impression that Elijah Wood's part was significantly cut down; it seemed to start something interesting but not finish), but 'Eternal Sunshine' is an extremely well-made, resonant movie, that, if nothing else, is an example of how the style of a movie can underscore and even elevate its content.
The Statement (2003)
A note about the (lack of) accents
In looking through the other comments here and listening to responses as I left the theater after watching 'The Statement,' I've noticed a lot of criticism about the use of English actors using English accents in a movie set in France.
I won't venture to discuss the merit of this choice, but I wanted to point out, in case anyone is that interested, that this is an old stage tradition. The same thing came up when 'Enemy at the Gates' came out, where English actors played Russian characters without affecting Russian accents. It's not uncommon to assign, across the board, English actors/accents to the linguistic majority of a production. I don't know if this stems from the historical preeminence of the London stage or because English accents are thought to be less problematic for American audiences or what, but I do know that this is something that happens quite often and originated in live theatre.
The Wizard of Oz (1925)
That 'Dark Side of the Moon' thing is bogus.
While disappointing (to say the least), there are at least two interesting things about this version. One is to see someone who is not Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin (but is in fact Larry Semon, one of their contemporaries) trying to imitate them in what was clearly designed to be a star vehicle for him. It makes the work of the other two men seem that much more remarkable when you watch some of their competition.
The most interesting thing about this production, though, is perhaps the fact that the MGM version was made only 14 short years later. The world moves very fast sometimes.
Corn on the Macabre (1997)
It sucks, but it's also endearing
There's lots and lots of problems with this particular movie, but it's funny, so that redeems a lot of it for me. It's fun and unexpected. Sure, it sucks, but I think that it could easily be a favorite on the cult classics scene.