Thursday, March 8, 2012
the idleness of march
It's been a slow start to the month. I haven't been blogging as much as I'd like to be. I've been distracted by HBO Go whenever I'm not watching a movie or doing something else. Been re-watching GAME OF THRONES in anticipation of the second season. Been also taking advantage of the access to old shows I never got to see like THE WIRE and DEADWOOD. I'm eight episodes into THE WIRE and waiting to finish THRONES before I start DEADWOOD. It's great to have access to all these shows, but it's definitely made me lethargic when it comes to posting. I'll try to fix that.
I've watched two episodes of THE STORY OF FILM (thank you Ben via John). I'd definitely second everything you guys have said about it. It's enjoyable to watch if you love hearing someone talk about film. I can imagine all of us here do, so it's definitely worth watching. I'm looking forward to the rest. It's also probably helpful to anyone who wants to learn more about film theory/technique, as a lot of it so far is about breaking down composition. Thanks again for sharing that Ben and John.
In movie news, I've still been watching as many as I can. I'm seriously due for a huge roundup post or several roundup posts soon. We'll see. Here's a few quick comments for now:
Finally got to see THE TALL T (1957) and am happy to report that I loved it. It's a great western in every way, shape, and form. All of the relationships between the characters are compelling and it is often incredibly moving. Can't think of a single thing about it that I didn't like.
Watched two Hammer horror films in THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957) and HORROR OF DRACULA (1958). Both really fun and gorgeous to look at.
Re-watched PSYCHO because it was on TV the other day. Every time I see it, I'm still astonished at how well the film builds suspense and tension. It's genius work. Even little things like having it downpour as Janet Leigh spots the Bates Motel for the first time just adds an unbelievable amount of atmosphere and doom. It gets under the skin and tears at ya. Love that one.
Henry Hathaway's KISS OF DEATH (1947) is a pretty awesome and emotionally engaging noir. Richard Widmark steals every scene he's in as the cackling villian. He basically plays it over-the-top, but his recklessness catches the eye and livens things up so well. He's got one infamous scene involving a woman in a wheelchair. It lives up to the hype. Victor Mature and Brian Donlevy are really solid in it as well.
NOW, VOYAGER (1942) is very good at parts, but overall kind of exhausting. It didn't help that I watched most of it late at night. I liked it well enough but didn't really love it. I would never fault the commitment of Bette Davis though. Still, I would vastly prefer the tragedy and romance of RANDOM HARVEST from the year.
CABIN IN THE SKY (1943) was Vincente Minnelli's first feature film as a director and according to TCM, "the first all-black musical in nearly fourteen years and only the fourth all-black film by a major studio since the coming of sound." It's definitely not without its stereotypes in depicting black folks, but it is still refreshing to see a film from 1943 without a single white face. Lena Horne's beauty is on full display in the film, but it's Ethel Waters that steals the show. She's got some great numbers and gives a really fine anchoring performance. Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington are in it too!
Also, If anyone missed it there at the end of the last post, I just want to reaffirm that Preminger's ANGEL FACE (1952) is fantastic and that its ending is unrivaled. Great film noir.
John's Bergman posts from long ago are the tops. Someday I should re-watch the trilogy and write my own thoughts up on it. Perhaps even a SEVENTH SEAL and WILD STRAWBERRIES essentials post is due at some point too. None of this will likely happen, but you never know. What I wish of myself and what I'm actually willing to do is a painful discrepancy indeed.
I loved John and Chris' LONELY ARE THE BRAVE thoughts. I'm really glad you guys wrote nice, long, insightful posts for us instead of just sentences of agreement. And to repay your hard work, I just want to say quickly, in a sentence, that I agree with you both. :)
I'd like to still do longer posts for CLAIRE'S KNEE and HEART OF GLASS soon. I just gotta find the ambition. I'll try to do both by the end of the week. I gotta get out of this funk.