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Fun... with a little sex.
I came to this film because I'd just seen its musical remake, The French Line, a campy colour affair with Jane Russell, 'presented by' Howard Hughes. The French Line isn't unwatchable, although one may want to peep through one's fingers during the cowgirl dance number, but it is outstandingly dated in terms of male-female relations. Jane Russell's richest-girl-in-the-world is warned from the start that she will put men off with her rootin' tootin' tomboyish get-up & behaviour, but it's her money and power that will really convince them she's wearing the pants.
I am mad about Joel McCrea and I like Hopkins a lot. I wanted to see what the original was like. And of course, because it's the 30s there's no such issue. Men and women can be knockabout pals, Joel McCrea is enchanted when Hopkins thrashes him at billiards, they get drunk together, fall asleep smoochily together and the happy ending is wonderfully engineered: you relax your modern PC concerns even though the penultimate scene features McCrea picking her up (protesting wildly) and (off-camera) locking her in his car. It squeaked into cinemas pre-Hays, too, so the last couple of scenes in particular are pretty racy and very funny. The two leads play beautifully together and Fay Wray is always good.
The Enchanted Castle (1979)
Eerie series that stuck in my memory
I was six or seven when I watched this, but still have extraordinarily strong images from it stuck in my mind - girls trapped inside a stone dinosaur, for instance. A haunting, magical children's programme, I would love to see it now.
I wonder, since I have to fill more lines for my review to be accepted, if it was also the source of one of the most disturbing images from my childhood - a town meeting from which all the attendees emerged as faceless men with sacks instead of heads.
I wonder if anyone else remembers this series, and wish the BBC would treat some of its old children's series the way they do their Jane Austen back catalogue, and release them in DVD box sets.
Very entertaining, often funny, and incredibly
well acted. But entirely uncamp. There's
no knowing irony, no Clueless confidence
- when the kids insult each other,
their lines are as rubbish as
normal kids' witticisms. I thought
it was pretty great and reveled in
its lack of sophistication or typical 00s
bored-detachment. These kids are also
amazingly talented, and look refreshingly,
Sweet Sixteen (2002)
Another user has commented that Loach is much better than Leigh. I agree, and it's not just because Loach uses authentic working class actors, rather than squealing middle class actors who think the working classes are merely *loud*. It's because he shows the beautiful and happy moments of their lives, so that they feel good. When we first see the caravan he has bought, it's as magical as Hansel & Gretel's sugar-plum house, and the idea that it's a manky little caravan is for that second unthinkable, we see it through his eyes. The Magic Flute moment is the same, it's utterly gorgeous, a small oasis of calm and beauty in a terribly sad and hopeless world. Leigh's squalid caricatures never enjoy their lives, Loach's heartbreakingly real character studies take us through emotions that celebrate and lament the similarities between all people.
13 Going on 30 (2004)
Fantastic! A darling of a film.
I wasn't expecting anything more than formulaic girl fluff, and maybe it wasn't *much* deeper than that, but 13 Going On 30 is perfectly done girl fluff. It's laugh-out-loud funny, the clothes are stunning, gape-at stunning, the plot is well-paced and consistently satisfying, and there are enough surprises and breaks from the expected - I like the way Jenna has chosen to be a really unpleasant person, but has still succeeded, and that her nastiness is based on her insecurity, so she can change, and her success is based on her nastiness, so why would she want to change, but her success is fragile and tawdry.
What's best about it, though, is the two leads. Garner, who I didn't know, or like the look of, before I saw this movie, is gorgeous. She's fresh and funny and clever and bursting with enthusiasm and realness, exactly like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, before she went thin and bad. Ruffalo is charmingly worse at communicating as an adult than he was as a smart, chatty kid. I absolutely loved them both.
Oh, and every music scene was *perfectly* chosen. I won't spoil the party dance, which was ace, but the Billy Joel that went with the scene where Jenna sees her parents was just bang on. I cried heaps. This is a really fab film.
Sweet-natured little romantic comedy
Quaint, veddy British (with requisite dodgy Scottish accents) romance. Michael Redgrave may be one of the most attractive male film actors of all: his performances are soft and safe, even pudgy of character, but at the same time he's always pursuing the girl, and he's always amusing and amused, charming and bloody nice. He's as exquisite in this as he was in The Lady Vanishes, but this is a much lesser film. It's worth seeing for him, and for the ending, which goes the way you'd want it to go.
Kiss the Boys Goodbye (1941)
This is really good.
No really. I was expecting it to be watchable but tepid. In fact, it's funny and charming and surprising. The scene in which Cindy Lou 'performs' in front of the New York crowd for the first time could be said to have influenced the scene in Pal Joey where Kim Novak agrees to strip for Sinatra. It has a lot of jokes that have been stolen by later movies, and the whole cast is terrific.
The story is about the search for an unknown Scarlett O'Hara-ish authentic southern belle to replace a leading diva in a musical. Cindy Lou arranges for Lloyd Lloyd, the producer, to see her perform before he gets to the real auditions. Everyone else who works for the show loves her, but Lloyd Lloyd has promised the famous diva that the role will still be hers after the farce of the auditioning. She has to win him round too. I also screwed up my VCR timer and didn't get the last 2 minutes. I can hardly wait until it's on again.
Cute and well meaning, if not exactly riveting. It should be given extra marks for trying very very hard not to be schmaltzy, even though it still is. British viewers may be reminded throughout of Frank Spencer - the modulation of Matthew Broderick's 'jewish' accent has distinctly ooh Bettyish notes.
I Love You, I Love You Not (1996)
Good grief, this is a very bad film
It's also slow, dull, and unrewarding. Jude Law plays the boy Danes falls in love with - but we have no idea WHY she falls in love with him. He's the creepiest f*** since Anthony Perkins in Psycho, and is constantly telling her to say things to him. 'SAY IT!', he insists, the way dreamy boys really are not wont to do.
Oh, and the five-head king Dawson Leary shows up as an evil anti-semitic posh boy. I couldn't even find enough energy to be amused by the over-the-top clichéd crap they made him say.
Possibly because it makes me wince to imagine the director will have been at the side yelling: 'SAY IT!!!!'
The Parole Officer (2001)
This is a great film
I reviewed this film when it came out and was a bit harder on it than I'm going to be today, as I just rewatched it last night. It's fantastic. It's funny, sweet, the love story is just right, Steve Coogan's character is romantically convincing while being properly nerdy and awkward. The joke-telling remains consistent even when the story gets more exciting - many jokes laugh out loud funny. . Lena Headey is a sexy, beautiful love interest, and the girl who plays Kirsty, the kid, is adorable, so much so that I spent the first third wishing she was in it more. It's feel-good from beginning to end. I love it. One of my favourite comedies.