The Invisible Man
I Am Not Okay with This
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I usually associate David Lean with sweeping epics, so I was pleasantly surprised by this light comedy. Charles Laughton plays Hobson, the blustery owner of a bootmaking shop in 1890s London and father of 3 daughters. The oldest (Brenda de Banzie), not married at the ripe old age of 30 and in danger of becoming an "old maid", pursues and marries (out of spite) the best bootmaker in her father's shop. This of course infuriates her father, who had decided she shouldn't marry and should dedicate her life to caring for him and the bootshop, puts his foot down in efforts to stop her. But fortunately the daughter is as stubborn as he is, and gets her way. Laughton does comedy better than I expected he would, and John Mills as good as well as the unwitting bridegroom. A little side treat was to catch Prunella Scales (of Faulty Towers fame) as a teenager playing Hobson's youngest daughter.
interesting documentary about a nomadic family of camel herders in Mongolia. And it's all about them -- no narration, no talking head "experts". Just a camera following these people around as they share meals, socialize and work. The title refers to a particiular camel who gives birth and then refuses to care for her colt. The colt's health begins to suffer, and the family takes an unusual step - bringing in a violinist to play while one of the women perform a kind of ritual with the camel in order to bring back the camel's maternal instinct. The piece the violinist plays is beautiful, and is just one of several similarly wonderful music interludes. A scene of a young mother singing what seems to be a lullaby to her toddler is magical and moving. A fascinating journey into unfamiliar territory.
This Robert Bresson film is reportedly taken from the transcripts from the Joan of Arc's trial. And it's a well-done film that suffers from one major flaw -- I saw Karl Dreyer's version of Joan's story PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC first. Florence Carrez portrays Joan with stoic determination. She knows she's right and no one will change her mind. Because of this portrayal, the scene where Joan signs the confession riings a bit false. On the other hand, Renee Maria Falconetti's portrayal is of a terrified 19-year-old girl, being held in prison for her beliefs that seem so right and true to her, and totally unable to comprehend how and why she is being portrayed as evil, when everything she does is for God and her country. Her performance is heartbreaking. Carrez' in-your-face attitude is probably more historically accurate -- Joan WAS a warrior after all -- but I like Falconetti better. And I just like Dreyer better as a director than Bresson. Bresson's direction is spare and minimalist, and it leaves me a bit cold. Dreyer's work never fails to move me, especially in the way he gets such real emotion out of his actors. I'll admit to being brought to tears by more than one of his films.
Bresson claims that he made his Joan more of a modern 1960's woman so younger people would identify with her, He gave her a somewhat modern hairstyle and wardrobe. Once again, I prefer Dreyer's Joan, who was even stripped of her hair for the role. One good thing about seeing both films is that I now have a bigger picture of what Joan went through during her trial. Dreyer also used the original transcripts, and the dialogue reflects that, matching word for word in several places. But in many cases they concentrated on different sections of the transcriptions, so seeing Bresson's film filled in the gaps from the Dreyer film.
I"m a big fan of Hayao Miyazaki's work, but this just didn't grab me like my favorite SPIRITED AWAY did. Not to say that it was bad -- not at all. The art was of course terrific, the characters were engaging, but the story was confusing, and Liam Neeson voice is way too familiar to me to believe his character. A good but not great try.
Worthless trash. I put this on as background noise because the cable guide description made it sound decent -- kind of a cross between CANTERBURY TALES and FLESH AND BONE. I saw that Tim Roth was in it, so it seemed OK. How wrong I was. Roth must have done this because he needed some extra money to pay off his Christmas debt. Turns out that it's a soft-core sex comedy, and a badly-done one at that. I should have paid heed to the rest of the cast -- Hayden Christienson and Mischa Barton. I'm glad I only half-watched it. Had I wasted any real time on it, I would be embarrassed and pissed at myself.
Archangel Michael appears at a roadside diner in the desert to save the unborn child of a waitress, on whose survival the Apocalypse rests. It seems that God is sick of the human race's corruption and debauchery, and intends to end it all with a fight to the death between good and evil. For a horror movie about the end of the world, it wasn't very horrific. The only reason I watched it was because Paul Bettany is in it, who I kinda like. But he takes it all far too seriously, which makes things even worse. It's pretty bad when the best part of the movie is in the first few minutes, and is a scene where an elderly woman with a walking frame calls another woman a "f***ing c**t, and then bites a chunk of meat out of the other woman's husband's neck. And the movie went downhill from there.
The more I see of Sam Rockwell, the better I like him. And he is very good here as the sole inhabitant of a moon mining base. Near the end of his 3-year stint, he is involved in an serious accident while driving a mining machine. When he awakens, he discovers a younger version of himself living in his quarters. Who or what this person is is the crux of the story, and gets into what it means to be human, and whether we can be truly sure of our nature.
Whatever you think of D.W. Griffith's opinions on race -- I think they're despicable -- you cannot deny that he was a brilliant and innovative filmmaker. I had been wanting to see this film for ages, and I was not disappointed...well, not much, anyway,
This film --partially as apology for Birth of a Nation I'm sure -- attempts to demonstrate the evils of intolerance through four interwoven stories set throughout history. In reality only two of the stories are really covered in full, while the other two are just sketched over. As the film progresses, the stories get more and more intertwined as their plots begin to meld and mime each other, until their climaxes (climaces?) where the same things appear to be happening in each storyline. Therein lies a bit of a problem, in that the film begins to get confusing. I had heard that was the issue when the film was first released, so I was prepared, but it didn't help much.
While the story wasn't as clear as I would have liked, the technical aspects of the film and the details Griffith put in were unbelievable. Anyone else would have built the massive city of Babylon as a miniature. Griffith built it full-scale, and it is stupendous. To film in this city, he even developed new ways of mounting and moving the camera so as to get shots no one had gotten until that time.
Griffith's racist attitudes are disgusting. His talents as a filmmaker are breathtaking. Do the ends justify the means?
More of a visual book than a movie, this film discusses episodes in the life of St. Francis of Assisi by means of "chapters", each of which is subtitled by a description of what will happen in this section. It's a gentle film in many ways, following the priests as they live their rural lives -- cooking, ministering, gardening, and praying. There is a substory about one of Francis' followers who has more devotion to his calling than common sense, and there is some comedy (not to a mention a couple of scenes a little tough to watch) in his mistakes and misinterpretations of Francis' teachings. Since I'm not very religious, let alone Catholic, I probably didn't get as much out of it as someone more devout would have. But I still feel that Rossellini did a lovely job with this film.
This early Frank Capra film is much different and more serious in tone than the later, lighter films that made his reputation. The story, of a young fiancee' of a missionary in China who is kidnapped by a general with whom she eventually falls in love, must have given the censors ulcers back then. Even discounting the interracial romance between Chinese General Yen (played by very much NOT Chinese Nils Asther, and very well at that) and American Megan Davis (a VERY young Barbara Stanwyck, playing bossy and sassy even here), there are scenes of mass executions, a violent streetfight, a bath scene by Stanwyck that one can tell was made intentionally sexy, and a variety of other questionable scenes. The film looks sumptuous, dark and mysterious, and the Chinese set decor and costumes are beautiful. I had a problem with the film however, in that I just wasn't convinced of the romance between Yen and Megan. In his position as powerful Chinese general, I couldn't see him falling for an American, especially with the gorgeous Toshia Mori around, playing the traitorous Mah-Li. But then again, there are plenty of couples out there that I would have never imagined could have hooked up. I'm really going to have to see this again. I think I may have missed something, especially the final scene between Stanwyck and Asther. May be something more there than I got the first time around.
Of course I want to see this! It has Humphrey Bogart in it. What more do you need to know?
Then again...I was tormented in school as well. I don't know if I'm ready for flashbacks.
I finally have been initiated into the gruesome world of Lucio Fulci. This film was by turns a little scary, VERY disgusting and eventually laughable. The murders were so over the top (crucifixion, acid to the face, tarantulas who eat people!?!) and so obviously fake that the creepiness was finally overridden by snickering. There were lots of other problems, but my ultimate problem with the film is that if you're going to make a movie about gateways to hell, there should be a little more hell in it. But for what it is, I guess it wasn't bad. OH, and an open note to Mr. Fulci...PEOPLE DON'T HAVE BASEMENTS IN NEW ORLEANS! New Orleans is below sea level. They don't even bury their dead underground!
A predictable but pleasant little piece of fluff about a pregnant cellist whose husband is away in the war. Movies like this aren't usually my cup of java and I'm not a fan of any of the major players, but I stumbled onto it and for some strange reason got into it. Could have been the music...the symphony in which Allyson's character plays performed pieces from the likes of Beethoven, Mozart and Handel, and Jose Uturbi, who plays the symphony conductor, performs some beautiful piano pieces. A nice little tiimewaster.
This is one of those films that shows up on so many "best of" lists that you feel like you need to see it. I tried for ages, and now that I've done it, I...have mixed feelings about it.
Probably the main problem is that I'm not a ballet fan, and that's entirely what the film is about. I was a bit lost, because I don't know enough about the form to even know whether what I'm watching is good or crappy. I thought the story was a bit lame too, being a simple (or maybe not so simple...was there actually a love triangle or not?) tragic love story. There was a whole sequence of storyline in the beginning that seemed really unnecessary to that which followed. I was hoping for a more magical fantasy type film similar to the fairy tale for which the film (and the ballet within) is named. Then again, based on the ending, I guess it was in a way.
That's not to say that there isn't much to like about this film. In typical Michael Powell style, the color is brilliant. The dance sequences are well-done from a technical standpoint. And being a former college theatre nerd, I really enjoyed the "behind-the-scenes" stuff, showing how a stage production is put together.
Ultimately, this film is one that I'm glad I saw, but I probably won't watch again.
One of three William Castle films I took in this past weekend. And actually, as cheezy as it is, the most entertaining of the bunch. I thought I had the story figured out, but then the film went and threw me a couple of curve balls, A strange climactic scene that bore a resemblence to PSYCHO made me want to see the film again to fill in some details of how they got there.
A remake -- but just barely -- of the classic James Whale horror comedy, this one doesn't come close in entertainment value. It's not scary, not funny, and it has Tom Poston as the handsome hero (?!?) all the girls want. It's a William Castle production so I wasn't expecting much, but still. This reminded me of a feature-length version of The Addams family TV show (could have been because Charles Addams did the animated intro), and as much as I enjoyed that show, this is not a compliment. I'm glad it was on TCM and that I hadn't paid real money to see it.,
Rather lame and probably somewhat offensive to members of the Latino community for its stereotypical depictions of Mexican "banditos" and lazy peasants. A bandit (Leo Carillo) who is obsessed with 1930s gangster movies emulates his heroes by kidnapping an opera singer (Nino Martini) and an heiress (Ida Lupino). Supposed to be a comedy-musical but you couldn't prove it by me (Martini does have a really good voice), One clever bit of business though...at one point in the film, several "real" gangsters show up. Each one is a lookalike of a famous movie gangster: James Cagney from "Public Enemy", Paul Muni from "Scarface", Edward G. Robinson from "LIttle Caesar" and George Raft from ....well, pretty much everything. Other than that...can't really recommend it.