Monday, March 10, 2008


Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927) is regarded by some as one of the best films ever created. I'll withhold judgement until I see a better copy; the VHS from the library was nearly unwatchable. If it is as truly great as some of the scenes seemed they could be, it is well worth a Criterion DVD. I did find it absorbing, even though it appeared to be through fog on a lake. The Moloch scene was truly incredible - humans being sacrificed in lock-step to the insatiable machine. I want to see this one, restored.

The Battleship Potemkin

or Bronenosets Potyomkin (1925) is a hugely influential silent film, which almost was not produced or distributed because there is no romance, nor movie stars. It is based upon a historical mutiny aboard the Potemkin, which resulted in a massacre in Odessa. It was banned in some countries because it was feared that the film would instigate revolt. According to Roger Ebert, "It was banned at various times in the United States and France, and for a longer time than any other film in British history; even Stalin banned it, at a time when mutiny was against the party line.",

Sunday, March 09, 2008

A Boy and His Dog

Yikes. I still can't like A Boy and His Dog (1975) although it's called a black comedy. The violence against women killed any humor I might have found in it otherwise. Don Johnson did hold his own against a talking dog, who seemed to be the only HUMAN in the entire film. The dog was the woman-hunter, however, and didn't seem to regard women as humans. Their only function in the film was as something to rape. Horrifying.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Start the Revolution Without Me

Blah. I must have been in the wrong mood for Start the Revolution Without Me (1970) because reading the IMDb quotes page brings a smile to my face, that wasn't there watching it. Perhaps Bud Yorkin, the director, is just not Mel Brooksian enough to give it that necessary oomph.

It really was most dreadfully silly, and funny. Donald Sutherland and Gene Wilder playing double roles, as the mis-matched sets of twins who raised as nobles, and peasants. They are so wonderfully young, energetic, funny and silly!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Random Harvest

Finally, a movie Bob and I could both love! Random Harvest (1942) is a perfect Hollywood film, although it is set in England. Ronald Colman, although old for the role of Smithy, is perfectly paired with Greer Garson, who plays the most patient, loving wife EVER. Of course Paula gets her beloved Smithy in the end, thank GOODNESS!!!!!! They just don't make 'em like this, any more! Adapted from a novel by James Hilton. I think the title is awful, but other than that, it's perfect!

Apartment Zero

Continuing my viewing of films set or filmed in Argentina, Apartment Zero (Conviviendo con la muerte)(1989) is set and filmed in Buenos Aires, with a sub-plot of the mercenaries who killed so many in Argentina. Another theme which I loved was movie trivia and film stars. Colin Firth as the emotionally crippled Adrian LeDuc is masterful, while his opposite Hart Bochner as the mysterious Jack Carney is stunning, charming, completely frightening. Every smaller role is so well done -- what a great film this was. I'm amazed that it is not better known. I found both commentary tracks interesting also -- especially the writer/director Martin Donovan.

Practical Magic

Rory brought one of his favorite movies, Practical Magic (1998) for us to watch. Adapted from an Alice Hoffman novel, it has a cast of wonderful women actors: Sandra Bullock as Sally Owens, Nicole Kidman as her sister, party-girl Gillian Owens, Stockard Channing as Aunt Frances 'Fran' Owens and Dianne Wiest as Aunt Bridget 'Jet' Owens. Goran Visnjic (E.R.) has a juicy part as the sexy but evil Jimmy Angelov, while Aidan Quinn gets to be the good guy Officer Gary Hallet. Quite good fun, especially when the phone tree is turned into a circle for a good old fashioned exorcism.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Bicycle Thief

Ladri di biciclette (1948) AKA Bicycle Thieves, is a wonderful and depressing look at post-War Italy. A family so poor that the sheets must be hocked to get the bicycle back -- which was pawned to buy food. And then on the first day of the job that bicycle was required to do, the bicycle is stolen. The rest of the film is the futile and exhausting efforts of father and son to find and reclaim the bicycle. Neo-Realism is powerful, but oh, so sad. Vittorio De Sica deserved the special Oscar awarded him the year after he refused to allow censors to cut his masterpiece.

Cinema Paradiso

Nuovo cinema Paradiso (1988) might be the finest film I've ever seen. And wonderfully, the director's cut is almost a different film, and also very fine. Another film about the movies and love of movies, Cinema Paradiso follows the life of an impoverished Sicilian boy as he grows up and becomes a successful film-maker. His own father gone, he befriends Alfredo, the projectionist at Cinema Paradiso. So wonderfully satisfying in every way, this is one film I'll want to watch over and over again. I don't know how autobiographical this film is, but Giusseppe Tornatore is a genius.

Can't Stop the Music

It's the Village People, so hold your hats! Over the top, strangely "de-gayed", but fun. It got the very first RAZZIE (worst movie of the year), but some people still class it as their favorite! So if you like a movie so bad it's good, with more cheese than a Big Mac, pop some corn and enjoy the movie!

Just a Question of Love

Juste une question d'amour (2000) was OK. I know that parents DO agonize over their sons' coming out -- but in France do they? I thought that sort of blind stupidity was American. ::sigh:: I guess not. The boys are cute, the accepting mother is nice, and the rest of them -- I should have more sympathy, but it was very difficult to excuse their behavior. Yay for French TV though -- this was a made-for-TV movie! You have to love a film about coming out that isn't full of cliches, and has a happy ending!