Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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Woody Allen's films split into two types, the comedies and the dramas, and it is very rare for both to meet in the middle. Here, exactly that happens, but in a way that will make you want to assess which of the two styles you prefer. Sadly, though, the concept of Allen making his own version of 'Sliding Doors' comes across more as a cinematic cut-and-shunt: whilst both halves are engaging and entertaining in their own right, it never really comes together as a whole and the point to this all may be anyone's guess. It is good to see Will Ferrell out of his normal comfort zone, even if the end result seems to be a very good impression of the director himself.
A charming little take about a group of linemen and their new recruit. Fonda is great as usual but the experience as a whole isn't one that stays with you very long, ultimately watchable but equally forgettable.
I didn't get 'If...' the first time I saw it, but then I'd never seen anything at all like it before either. In terms of personal importance, this is the film that taught me that cinema can be more than just Arneeee blockbusters and Hollywood stock. The fun with 'If...' is deciding for yourself which parts are reality and fantasy. I guess a film like this just couldn't be made today - events in Columbine and Virginia etc have put paid to that - and for this reason amongst others it seems very much a film of it's time. But don't let that put you off seeing it as it has a message at it's core which is just as relevant today as it was in 1968. Viva la revolution!
Rather uninspiring and absolutely predictable 'modern western', which tried to inject shades of 'Casablanca' into the 'Grapes of Wrath' template and fails miserably. Whilst John Wayne fills his boots with competency, and Sigrid Gurie is good eye-candy, the film wants to meander along, and its quite hard to get involved with the characters because they are so one dimensional. Add a sprinkling of War propaganda into the mix and we know that all the while we are being told what to think... there is no breathing space here for the mind.
Not one of Hitchcock's best, it must be said, but for the master himself to dismiss his 1950 oddity is a little harsh. The films percieved main fault, the 'false flashback', really doesn't deserve the flack it recieves, especially considering how much more advanced in our narrative thinking we have become in the last 57 or so years since 'Stage Fright' was made. The main problem is how underused Jane Wyman is in the film, not in terms of screen time, but in just how muted her performance feels at times. Marlene Dietrich is the star here: her diva qualities don't sound like they'd fit in a Hitch-pic on paper, but she is absolutely blinding, especially during the (obviously contracted) song number. Very enjoyable, if unbalanced in places (as great as the duck-shooting scene is, it feels too out of place amongst the other scenes), and the end of the old Hitchcock era before he made his run of classics.