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grad villanova u, 1969
first great movie i ever saw-the third man (age 6). fav movie ever: depends on what i saw last, lawrence, bridge on the river kwai, citizan kane, treasure of the sierra madre.
Shutter Island (2010)
Thank you Marty for improving the genre...
i just saw marty's handling of the strange occurrences on Shutter Island. i've been down this road before, so i wasn't too surprised or tricked by the plot. the real pleasure in this movie is the deft mix of oddness mixed with confusion layered with suspense, then shock and horror. Marty Scorsesse, horror? yes! wonderfully executed.
any loose ends? eh, it doesn't matter. i'll sort that out the next time i see the movie.
here come the spoilers.
two movies came immediately to mind as i watched the plot unfold, carnival of souls and the cabinet of dr. caligari (the 1962 underrated film with glyniss johns which had nothing to do with the silent classic.) in style, i saw a touch of the shining, and even last year in marienbad. but there's no rip-off here. it's all a scorsesse show from a master.
the viewer will keep thinking about this flik for more than two minutes after the lights come up.
thank you, marty. i enjoyed your film.
A Penny a Peep (1934)
this 1934 short is composed of 3 parts: a man, his wife and his overgrown son visit a penny arcade (1), where he drops a penny in the movieola and he (and we)watch The Perfectly Formed Woman(2),(1910, and another penny to watch The Song of the Wildwood Flutes (3),(1910). the man encounters the disdain of his goody-two-shoes plump wife because of his lascivious ogling.
what's curious about this one-reeler is the quality of the excerpts from the 1910 shorts. mary pickford appears in the dw griffith directed Wildwood Flutes, and she's as attractive here as i've ever seen her. the Formed Woman short was made in Australia and also is a first-run- quality piece. re-using the original 1910 material appears to have been a way to fill out the picture, and it looks like WB must have had access in 1934 to the original film elements. in the case of the Australian film, that would have been extraordinary.
as a movie short this is so-so; as a piece of movie history which preserved in a backhanded way long forgotten (and possibly lost forever) one-reeler material it deserves a look. you'll cringe at the rampant sexism and racism in both 1910 and 1934.
Playhouse 90: Alas, Babylon (1960)
a sleeper to be sure
a long, long, time ago i saw this on TV. well, does anyone remember it? i still do. it's one of the "golden age of TV" dramas that, at the age of 15, made me think outside the box (to use a modern phrase). the TV flick, the Day After, approached the same subject in a more scientific manner. Babylon, however, was more intimate and hopeful about the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust. it contrasted with the movie On the Beach, which was released about the same time, and which had a dismal prediction for humanity.
pat frank and neville shutte had vastly differing outlooks.
i prefer Babylon.
They got it right this time!
Hollywood finally got it right. have you ever seen any of the cartoon films of this children's classic? if you have, then you've seen how Hollywood got it wrong.
But this time the stars and planets aligned, and the production team delivers an exciting adventure to be enjoyed by both children and adults. i think we've become blase' about cgi magic, but Narnia LWW blends cgi into the adventure of 4 children in the frozen outpost of Narnia in a seamless pictorial vista.
the four squabbling siblings meet beavers, and a faun, flee talking wolves, and engage an assortment of mythical ogres in a climatic battle. all of this cgi film-making brings the c s lewis fable/allegory to a strikingly visual ascending array of images as good and evil meet on the battlefield.
while the film runs over 2 hours, it's worth the sit, because you won't notice the time a bit.
by the way, the actor who plays Peter bears a striking resemblance to Prince William. i'm sure it's just a coincidence. it must be a coincidence, i think.
King Kong (1933)
more than a thriller/horror movie
here's a personal story about kk.
i saw kk when i was 8 yrs old on the really big srceen in 1953 and in the 3rd row from the front.
i was so scared i crawled under the seat, and my 11 year old cousin said, like hitch said, "it's only a movie."
well, to have lasted this long, it's certainly more than a movie.
compared to modern graphics the movie pales, but the subtleties, and commentary on life, and Great Depression life, make kk worthy of many relooks.
just a short look here at the situations and allegories in the movie.
young girl, on the streets, looking for job. kk, enslaved in his own land, and brought to a new land and chained again. beauty and the beast.
i know none of the allegories were intentional by the filmmakers, but in hindsight it's worth a thought no matter how unintentional the plot was written
this movie still grabs your attention no matter how long since you saw it the last time, or whether you're seeing it for the first time.
The Court Jester (1955)
in days of yore, say the mid '50s, mgm created a masterpiece of knightly nonsense.
comedy, music, courtly double dealing and dueling are combined into a feast of off the wall word play and timing as the protagonists try to restore the babe with the purple pimpernel to the throne.
if you get this, then you got it, and that's good.
danny kaye's talents are best shown here. even basil rathbone takes a comic turn. glynis johns is charming in a post-modern feminist role. (ok, feminist role for 50s)
a drawback is the interior sets used for outdoor scenes. but you don't have to think about it much, as the plot (?) thickens, and the craziness gets crazier.
court jester is a delight for anyone.
La mariée était en noir (1968)
sharp, clear, and enigmatic
great payoff movie is disconcerting.
jeanne moreau is a widowed anti-heroine who wants revenge for the death of her husband moments after their wedding ceremony.
after a failed attempt at suicide, moreau goes after the killers. she's a diabolical schemist.
as she meets each member of the responsible group, she finds an opening to lure them to their deadly fate.
OK, we know she meets them all. and truffaut let's everyone in on the mystery about halfway through.
there are some plot holes here as moreau goes about her deadly business. even so, the homage to hitchcock allusion is on target as demented retribution yields plot twist on plot twist.
the final twist makes the wait worthwhile.
truffaut's aspect on women chasers is a downer, though. i don't see how it serves plot development.
raoul coutard's cinematography and the editing make the "look" of the film riveting.
Cold Mountain (2003)
Episodic Civil War Story
mengella tells frazier's episodic war tale with finesse.
i've read many, but not all, comments on this graceful but violent movie.
a long time ago, i read a comment about the five essential things to a good/great movie. the five were grace, line, tone, speed and heart.
this movie measures up as:
GRACE: it is surely beautiful to see, and perfectly played as an anti-war film. the violence is contrasted with the desire for peace after seeing the realities of war.
LINE: here's a problem. episodic films work only if each different segment lead to a convincing end. also, the movie tries to tell one episodic tale about inman, and a story in linear fashion about ada. while the cuts aren't too jarring, they change the pace of the movie.
TONE: well, it's the old "war is hell, and i'm disgusted", refrain. however, mengella manages it well on both fronts. the opening scene at petersburg, the incidents of inmans return, and ada's tribulations and rebirth at her farm give us a sense of time and place, necessity and hope, fear and caution.
SPEED: ok. at 2.5 hours we're moved along with intriquing scenes. but some episodes stand out. the natalie portman episode was filled with irony. the backwoman healer episode was interesting, but felt more like a 50's half hour teleplay. (think twilight zone, or 5 star theatre.)
HEART: well, it's all here. desire, difficulties, resolution.
in total, a good to great type of movie, handled well.
so, go see it. it's worth the cash.
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
irony on irony!
david lean took a novel and made it the ultimate irony on irony.
each character comes up to, or goes down to the opposite of what they say in the beginning of the movie.
shears-what matters is to live like a human being, then kill him, kill him.
nickolson-geneva rules apply, sick bay soldiers go to work. (more citations to follow) of course, "what have i done" is the ultimate irony.
jack hawkins-ankle shot, can't set the charges.
horne-training camp, ready. jungle shootout, hesitates, beach waits and waits.
and sesue-"be happy in youurr work" is the most unsatisfied man in the movie.
there's more, but you get the idea.
ultimately, the bridge over the kwai goes down.
it's, well, breathless.