The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
The Walking Dead
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All Critics (3)
| Fresh (3)
| Rotten (0)
A great character piece lying just atop a great snapshot of a particular place in a particular moment.
A swirl of Tinseltown anecdotes peopled by spirited sketches of dyspeptic bosses and smirking gossip-peddlers, safe but piquant
Cukor's well acted melodrama (especially by Constance Bennett) precedes by five years the first version of A Star Is Born; it's basically the same story.
There are some really nice moments in this film, which mixes a 'behind the scenes' look at the film industry, romantic comedy, and drama. Lowell Sherman, in the role of an alcoholic director, turns in a great performance, and scenes with him towards the end are excellent, though I won't spoil them. Constance Bennett, on the other hand, is hit and miss: she sizzles in a nightclub scene where she croons in French, channeling Marlene Dietrich, but in other scenes she's overly shrill. I'm not a huge fan of movies depicting the inner workings of filmmaking and the difficulties those in the industry face, including early version of the paparazzi here, and the concept of the 'waitress who is discovered' in Hollywood is pretty cliché. Unfortunately, the script is rather shallow, and it's surprising to me that story was nominated for an Academy Award. There are some funny scenes, such as when an interviewer asks if their marriage was for the "thoughtful, reasoning" kind of love, or the "blind, passion, ummph" kind, and when the director pulls the maid into the pool when she too tries to get a few moments with him to audition. There are also some cringe-inducing scenes, such as when Bennett's suitor (Neil Hamilton, who you may recognize as the commissioner from the 'Batman' TV series, 30+ years later) literally force-feeds her on a date, after having carried her to the table (wow, way to get the girl :( Net, it's a mixed bag, not horrible, but not amazing either.
The template for A Star is Born is a good film on its own. While certain scenes reflect the later films the tenure of this is different and the core relationship between the main characters is not a romantic one but one of friendship. Interesting use of imagery to make statements and set moods is dated but done it a way that makes sense within the context of the picture. Solid but the definitive version is still the Judy Garland 1954 starrer.
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