Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Vénus beauté (institut) (1999)
Love this film
But if you want to learn how to give someone a massage, don't
copy Natalie! Most unprofessional. In fact all the girls seem to do
is apply (and try to sell) products (it's a good running gag).
This film is rather like Victoria Wood's British series
Dinnnerladies, with an ensemble cast of wonderful actresses
including cameos from some grande dames of the theatre/cinema. Can we believe Angele's tales of her past,
though? What really happened to her parents? Did she really
shoot Jacques? Is he really disfigured (he doesn't look too bad)?
Quo Vadis (1951)
If the Romans had had trains, they'd have run on time
That Roman triumph looks familiar - of course, it's a Nuremberg rally! And the architecture, isn't that Milan railway station? And Nero is a whinging carpet-biter with a limp-wristed salute. When I first saw this movie aged about 11 I fell in love with Peter Ustinov. By the way, the studio suggested he was too young for the role. That's when he cabled back that if they waited any longer he'd be too old.
Brighton Rock (1947)
I don't care what you've done, Pinky
"Stick yer minces on that!" Is this language "stilted" and "quaint"?
Get real (as you young people say)! Slang is of its time.
Minces are eyes (rhyming slang from mince pies). "Milky" for cowardly sounds like a Greene coinage. (Perhaps "windy" didn't get past the censor.) "Lakes" means crazy, rhyming slang again, from Lakes of Killarney=barmy.
(Raymond Chandler admitted to making up much of his gangster slang.)
Night and the City (1950)
It's really as good...
...as people have said. One to tape and watch several times. Yes, it is
Dickensian, and not just because it stars the wonderful Francis Sullivan. He
lurks like a spider in a glassed-in office, perfect for peering out at his girls as they persuade the punters to buy expensive 'champagne'. Every shot is a noir
"tableau", like a scene from a painted Victorian morality series. You know, the woman sins, she's cast out, she gazes up at the moon as she crouches in a
doorway - back to Dickens again. The river was always in the background of
those pictures, too. xxxx
Nightmare Alley (1947)
First saw it on TV when I was about 16 and believed in
spiritualism, tarot readings etc. It's dissection of every con under
the sun, including (hurrah!) Freudian psychoanalysis, passed over
my head. The only hint that any of it might have validity are Zeena's
uncannily accurate tarot readings - but even then the skeptical
door is left open. Everyone is good, especially Joan Blondell and
the guy who plays her washed up husband in early scenes. Some
critics say Power's slide into alcoholism is rather abrupt, but
maybe scenes were cut. Other films/books in this dynasty are of course Freaks, a film with
Claude Rains as a mind reader (The Mind Reader?), David
Mamet's The Shawl, Robertson Davies' World of Wonders,
Confessions of a Sword Swallower (which Davies swallowed
about whole) and Gracie Fields' Sing As You Go - ha, surprised
you there but it contains a wonderful Irish fortune teller who
confesses "Bless you, dear, that's what I tell everybody."
The Running Man (1963)
What do you mean, twee?
I couldn't see anything twee about this film.
The script by John Mortimer is excellent (now watch Bunny Lake is
Missing). Lee Remick and Alan Bates are great, Lawrence Harvey
a bit annoying (was he really a sex god?). Sometimes I thought it
would be better as a radio serial as the travelogue background -
typical of the 50s and early 60s - is a distraction. But if you stick
with it, the background and the male characters' drab holiday
clothes add something. Yes, there are gypsies dancing in the
streets, but their music is repetitive and annnoying and they break
off to watch ballroom dancing on the telly. And the dancers are not
curvy senoritas but bent old ladies. Cute urchins are mainly
interested in getting a tip. And the police are as plodding and
shabby as any ordinary coppers.
Twee? In what way?
Dear Murderer (1947)
In my top ten
Low budget noir with deep shadows. Greta Gynt is great as the nasal-voiced adulteress. Her tacky furnishings (lampshades like skirts and satin sheets) betray her inner rottenness - spot those coiled serpents on the shoulders of her nightdress! Eric Portman is as brilliant and compelling - and sympathetic - as ever. If you like this, see him in A Canterbuy Tale. xxxxx
A Canterbury Tale (1944)
In my top ten (spoilers)
Thomas Colpepper is a complex character who foreshadows P&P's later Peeping Tom. He's a middle aged (about 45) man who lives with his mother. He obviously can't deal with his feelings towards women or young men. He imagines that he is a missionary, enabling his 'flock' to concentrate on more important things by removing the distracting presence of young women. He does this by assaulting young girls in the dark.
All four characters find some kind of redemption - what is his? I think he falls for Alison and, once his strange behaviour is found out by the trio, he may start to grow up. He would have ended his life a bitterly disappointed man, though, seeing his beloved Kent mutilated not by foreign invaders but by developers.
By the way, the fictional village is Chillingbourne - Kent is a county. And I never found John Sweet annoying - what's wrong with his accent?
House of Games (1987)
Yes of course it's a critique of Freudian psychotherapy! Margaret
has learned her 'null' body language and tone of voice during her
(long, expensive) training. Unfortunately the creed she learned
from her charismatic teacher who is motherly to her in the wrong
way (where's Sigi when she needed him?) failed to include a
moral code of any kind. She doesn't end up a 'powerful,
self-realised' woman, she ends up an amoral thief and killer! But
why didn't she take Mike's share of her money from his bag or
jacket? She actually says to her guru early on that she fears her
'treatment' of people isn't doing them any good. Yes, yes, Margaret,
you've achieved insight! Sadly she falls under the old bag's spell
again. I like the tight head shots, the stillness, the careful recital of
whole sentences (all very 40s film noir, when you didn't twitch
Methodically in case you moved out of shot, and you didn't overlap
dialogue in case you had to rerecord it). Both Margaret and Mike
have learned an unspontaneous way of interacting with people as
a means to an end. Great movie. xxx
Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943)
Weird and wonderful
Spoiler alert!!! Starts oddly, with the people we are imagine are going to be the main characters merely sketched in or unseen: two brothers, one prematurely elderly, the other a smoothie, have a younger sister who wants to marry an American airman. Before we get to know the brothers or even meet the airman, weird things start to happen, including murder. The airman is arrested and hence absent for most of the film. The central characters are as usual the wonderful Holmes and Watson.
Weird trappings include a raven that croaks not 'Nevermore' but 'I'm a devil' - a lift from Charles Dickens, who owned and fictionalized such a bird.
The shell-shocked soldiers billeted at Musgrave Manor help in the mystery's solution and are an excellent bunch. Despite nervous stammers, strained smiles and
compulsive knitting, their intelligence is clearly intact. xxxxx