Reviews written by registered user
|14 reviews in total|
There are many joys in this movie, not least seeing three great actors,
Price, Lorre, and Karloff, playing comedy as comedy should be played --
with finesse and wit.
But the most interesting thing for me is that this seems to be the best looking of Corman's Poe films before he went to England to shoot "Masque of the Red Death" and "The Tomb of Ligeia".
The superficial explanation is one that Corman himself offers in his autobiography, where he says that every set from a previous scene was augmented by the budget for the following film: in other words, it was a simple matter of "home improvement".
But there is more than that. Corman seems to have rediscovered his joie de vivre in film-making. The irreverence of this film re- awakened his rebel maverick instincts. He is ending himself up.
"Inside Man" proves that Spike Lee doesn't need controversy to be a
superb filmmaker. He takes a tight, twisty, genre screenplay and gives
it at once a weight and a lightness that shows him to be a consummate
storyteller. He brings an attention to detail, a focus and a knowledge
of film convention tinged with both reverence and a sense of humor that
he puts into service of the story to great effect. The film reeks of
the joy of storytelling.
He has the benefit of an A-List cast -- Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Willem Dafoe, Christopher Plummer -- that not for a moment seem to be slumming in a "heist movie". They exude a love of acting without a trace of self indulgence.
The film does lose pace after the release of the hostages, but that is in some ways inescapable, given the plotting (which I don't go into because playing along with the puzzle is one of the joys of the film).
The negative criticism of this movie seems to me to miss the point of what the movie is: a game that draws the viewer in, not through violence, although there is some, but through the threat of violence.
In earlier films, Lee showed his skill at the display of technique; here he proves equally adept at hiding it.
An incredibly stylish and bizarre film noir. The use of art deco as a symbol of cold sterility makes this a wonderful example of visual design as dramatic statement -- murder and intrigue played out against an antiseptic background, contrasted with the more humanistic settings of the pawnshop, the bar where one can find "anything", etc. In addition, one of the most interesting things about this movie is the undercurrent of homosexuality that infuses it. Watch the scene where Laughton confesses the murder to George Macready. His protective reaction goes beyond a sycophant toadying to his powerful employer. And there's the encoded statement where Rita Johnson, referring to the check she has received from Laughton for "music lessons", tells Ray Milland that neither Hagen, Macready's character, nor Janoth, Laughton's character, likes music, thereby tying the two characters together. A fascinating and ingenious circumvention of the Hays code.
Frederic March! Basil Rathbone! Maxwell Anderson! Bernard Herrman!
Charles Dickens! I certainly hope they got paid well. (With Dickens, I
suppose, it didn't matter.)
A denatured adaptation of one of the quirkiest, wittiest, richest stories ever, the majority of the screen time is taken up with over-orchestrated, lyrically clichéd and underwritten pastiche carols and folk songs (although Herrman's music has some lovely melodic and harmonic passages), and with "heartwarming" live commercials for 1956 Chryslers.
March's Scrooge is saddled with an incredibly fake nose, right up there with Alec Guiness's in "Lawrence of Arabia". Worse, March is forced to show redemption and emotion in endless close-ups that show him reacting to the aforementioned songs. Still, fine actor that he is, he does manage to show some moments of humanity.
Rathbone, as Marley, is robbed of 90% of the terrific dialogue originally in Dickens, but he too is able to infuse his character with some pathos and horror.
A fascinating look at what the majority of live TV drama was like in the 50's. Bad as TV can be now, if anyone pines for the good old days, make them watch this.
I haven't laughed this hard since I first saw "Airplane!" Not only is this hysterically funny, but you learn more about the art of comedy (and human nature) in 90 minutes than you could from years of reading and study. A remarkable cross-section of comics (when's the last time you saw Chuck McCann?) and styles. Highlights and surprises include a mime who' s actually funny, Sara Silverman, the "Aristocrats" card trick, Wendy Liebman and her "clean" version, Larry Storch (!!), the rendition by Eric Cartman, Bob Saget, the Hefner roast, Whoopi Goldberg and the foreskins . . . in fact everything scores in some way. (Even Andy Dick!) AND STAY TILL THE VERY END! Very highly recommended (but not for everybody).
Reading the comments on this film, it occurs to me that most of the
posts reflect disappointment that it wasn't "Brother from Another
Planet" or "Planet of the Apes".
Let's be clear. This is the modern equivalent of a B Picture, and as such it is a very good piece of work. The acting is professional and satisfying, and in many instances (Caan, Patinkin, the actor who plays Caan's partner) more than that. The plot is efficient, the action well done, and the elements of social commentary effectively worked into the fabric of the story -- no sledgehammer statements here. The humor is unforced and slyly subversive.
Of course the TV series was able to explore this material more completely: they had more time and scope!
Watch this film and enjoy and revel in the good stuff. To paraphrase what Goldwyn once famously (and apocryphally) said, "If you want a message, call Western Union"
Ronald Colman and Basil Rathbone, two wonderful actors having the time
of their careers playing wittily written opposites who are also
spiritual soulmates -- Francois Villon, the poetic rebel, born into
poverty with a noble soul, and Louis XI, King of France, born into
privilege but with a rebel's iconoclasm. Add a witty script by that
poetic comedic rebel Preston Sturges, who hits all the crowd-pleasing
buttons without condescension and no-nonsense direction by Frank Lloyd,
and you have a top Hollywood product -- a crowd pleaser with
Rathbone is a particular delight. Pre-Holmes, he revels in playing an unprepossessing cynic to whom everyone must bow because he happens to be the king. Colman is doing what he does best, playing an intelligent, superior man, without losing the common touch. A delight all the way around.
This is one of the great films about politics, in that it's not really about politics, but about human triumphs and follies. It grounds its satire and commentary in its sympathy for the characters, more like The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington than Wag the Dog and All the President's men. It's not a polemic. Rather, the satire is not overdone, the commentary is subtle, and the humanity is overwhelming. Seriously now --don't we need more people like Fred Tuttle in government? I'd certainly vote for him! Because if Fred Tuttle can make it, then there is hope for this country in these dark times.
"House of Wax" is one of the only films in which the 3-D process is
actually an organic part of the visual scheme, rather than a
gimmick grafted on to the narrative. Andre de Toth, who only had
one eye, was a champion of the process and wrote theoretically
about the use of the process to tell a story, and you can see his
theories put in to practice in the way he stages and shoots his
sequences, his use of back, middle and foreground, and his use
of camera pivots and dollies. In fact, the most effective 3-D work,
comes not in tossing things into the camera (although he does
that, minimally), but rather in the chase scene with Price and Kirk
through the fog-shrouded streets of old New York. See this in 3-D
if you can!
This is about the "legend" of western figures, vs. the reality.
(Remember "Unforgiven", and the way the gunfighter has a dime
novelist following him around?"
The two "shouters", Stubby Kaye and Nat "King" Cole, make it very
clear that the legend of Cat Ballou is NOT the truth: she is not, for
example, as the ballad has it, "evil through and through".
This commentary is given a meta-fictional air by the fact the Lee
Marvin (who won the Oscar for the same reason that Bogart won
for "African Queen": he played against type) is cast to play both an
ultra Lee Marvin (Strawn) and an anti-Lee Marvin (Shelleen).
A very clever charming film, and also way ahead of its
|Page 1 of 2:|| |