Sunday, April 01, 2007

Movie Diary March 2007

As before, movies seen for the first time are in green.

  1. Morocco (1930), Josef von Sternberg. See post March 4, 2007.
  2. The Queen (2006), Stephen Frears. Surprisingly not blown away by either the film or Helen Mirren's performance. Michael Sheen makes a very weedy and unauthoritative Tony Blair. Always love seeing James Cromwell, even when he isn't doing very much. Don't understand the small subplot with the stag.
  3. The Bourne Supremacy (2004), Paul Greengrass.
  4. The Bourne Identity (2002), Doug Liman. Watched these out of order over a weekend. First one definitely more fun. High point of second one was just seeing Chris Cooper's picture. High point of first one? Matt Damon in a wife-beater washing Franke Potente's hair. Yes, please.
  5. Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004), Danny Leiner. Saw the last half or so. Surprisingly funny, with some well-done fantasy sequences. I'm taking it as a shoutout to me, since I grew up in Cherry Hill. However, there's no White Castle there.
  6. A Face in the Crowd (1957), Elia Kazan. Chilling, prescient look at the confluence of TV, money, celebrity, and politics. Heart-wrenching performance from Patricia Neal, quietly powerful one from Walter Matthau. Revelatory if you only know Andy Griffith as Sheriff Andy Taylor or Matlock.
  7. The Pirate (1948), Vincente Minnelli. Wow, I'd forgotten how atrocious this was. Takes the prize for hideous costumes too. But Gene Kelly's legs -- mmmm.
  8. An American in Paris (1951), Vincente Minnelli. Basically a boring movie with some good music and Oscar Levant. Kelly picks Leslie Caron over Nina Foch, seriously? But the Toulouse-Lautrec sequence of the ballet where Kelly bends himself into the impossible shape Lautrec gave the dancer Chocolat is still amazing.
  9. Look Back in Anger (1958), Tony Richardson. I know it's prestigious, controversial, and stuffed with famous actors. Sorry; just not feeling it.
  10. The Kennel Murder Case (1933), Michael Curtiz. Couldn't make heads or tails of it and didn't care. Reminded me of Ogden Nash's pithy assessment: "Philo Vance/Needs a kick in the pance."
  11. The Thin Man (1934), W. S. Van Dyke. As delightful as they come.
  12. To Catch a Thief (1955), Alfred Hitchcock. Post to come.
  13. Shamus (1973), Buzz Kulik. Low expectations sometimes pay off -- pretty good hard-boiled detective flick. Liked the final scene with Dyan Cannon.
  14. The Three Musketeers (1948), George Sidney. Fun version of the classic Dumas tale. Gene Kelly fences instead of dances. Nice contribution from Van Heflin as the tragic Athos.
  15. Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941), Tay Garnett. Lovely sentimental tale of the trials and triumphs of a college professor. Odd mix of feminist messages: noone questions that the college offers coed education or that it hires female faculty in the 1870s; the question of divorce is raised without moral qualms; but the heroine stops her grandniece from going off with a married man by saying she could never become a mother, "which is the aim of every good woman."

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