Thursday, 31 December 2015

Scarlett Johansson

New aquisition: Paths of Glory (1957)

One of the movies not in my Stanley Kubrick box set.

Alain Delon

Ne te retourne pas (2009)

Panic attacks and memory loss signal the plight of a writer whose body is inexplicably being taken over by another woman.

Intense, but a bit overplayed psychodrama with a quite confusing plot. 

Dorothy Flood

New acquisition: Jupiter Ascending (2015)

I simply wanted to finally see it.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

The Paradine Case (1947)

A happily married London barrister falls in love with the accused poisoner he is defending.
Superb courtroom drama with an excellent cast; Hitchcock manages to set the characters' moral ambiguities as the plot's pacemaker.

On renewed view: it's bit pedestrian in pace.

Halliwell**: "A stodgy and old-fashioned script is given gleaming treatment; this and the acting make it seem better thirty years later than it did on release."

Maltin**1/2: "Talk, talk, talk in complicated, stagey courtroomdrama...Below par for Hollywood..."

Stanley Kubrick

The Jungle Book (1967)

Bagheera the Panther and Baloo the Bear have a difficult time trying to convince a boy to leave the jungle for human civilization.
Beloved animated Disney feature may have its flaws, but the jolly flow of the story, the lovingly  portraited animals and the songs make it extremely enjoyable.

Halliwell*: "Cartoon version relying less on action than on songs and voices; patchily successful but no classic."

Maltin***: "Genial Disney animated feature...Hand-picked cast of actors help create some vivid characterizations in this easy-going film."

Andrei Tarkovsky

New acquisition: Sauve qui peut (la vie) (1980)

I have been wanting to rewatch this Godard movie for quite a while now.

Mary Pickford

New acquisition: Pieta (2012)

As addition to my Ki-duk Kim collection.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Donna Loren

Bewitched (2005)

Thinking he can overshadow an unknown actress in the part, an egocentric actor unknowingly gets a witch cast in an upcoming television remake of the classic show "Bewitched."

Lacklustre romantic comedy that is not that amusing and leaves one wondering, why any girl would fall for this guy.

Maltin**: "Postmodern riff on the popular 1960s TV series...Inoffensive comedy allows Kidman to be cute, but has no genuine emotions or sentiments because its premise is so cpmpletely artificial."

Janet Agren

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed.

A sentimental fantasy tale is turned into a beloved masterpiece by Capra's assured directorial expertise and a perfect cast; a Christmas classic ever since.

Halliwell****: "Superbly assembled small-town comedy drama in a fantasy framework; arguably Capra's best and most typical work."

Maltin****: "Sentimental tale...Only Capra and this cast could pull it off so well; this film seems to improve with age."

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Annette Funicello

Fargo (1996)

A car dealer's inept crime falls apart due to his and his henchmen's bungling and the persistent police work of a pregnant policewoman.

A masterpiece of black comedy and arguably the directors' most perfect work summing up their oeuvre so far.

It's one of the few movies I enjoy rewatching again and again.

Halliwell****: "Deft, witty and original thriller which pits a pregnant, rural police chief against two city slickers; the violence, when it comes, is properly shocking, but it's the humanity that you will remember."

Maltin***1/2: "The Coen brothers put a unique spin on a murder case, layering their story with droll Minnesotans and winding up with a totally disarming comedy!"

Friday, 25 December 2015

Brandon De Wilde

The Thing (2011)

At an Antarctica research site, the discovery of an alien craft leads to a confrontation between a graduate student and a scientist.

OK prequel to John Carpenter's The Thing (which was in itself a remake) that tries to surpass it's counterpart with gory special effects: the result making it appear superfluous.

Maltin**: "Conceived as a prequel to the 1982 version, this isn't completely unsuccessful, but the plentiful CGI visual effects can't compare to the grahic horrors of the '82 movie."

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Paulette Goddard

Every Day (2010)

A New York City couple find themselves in romantic and family crises.

More melodrama than comedy, this movie is competently directed and lives through its excellent cast, but packs in a few problems too many and loses on credibility.

Maltin**1/2: "Well-cast film...Director Levine's screenplay offers no revelations, but it's reasonably credible and the performances are solid."

Sammy Davis, Jr.

Moon (2009)

An astronaut has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet's power problems.

Gripping existential sci-fi drama with some references to the classics of the genre.

On second view: well worth an occasional rewatching.

Maltin ***: "A good example of how to make a resourceful movie and maintain viewer interest with minmal production components."

Rhonda Fleming

Hawking (2004) (TV)

The life and work of the theoretical physicist Professor Stephen Hawking who, despite being diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21, has galvanized the scientific world with his ground-breaking work on the nature of the universe.

A TV docu-drama well produced in good taste depicting Hawking's early years; Benedikt Cumberbatch is excellent in the title role.

Spellbound (1945)

New acquisition: Fargo (1996)

A birthday gift from my pal Ralf. Actually, he got me a Blu-ray/internet TV device, with which I can play it.

The Wolf Man (1941)

New acquisition: Asian Horror

A birthday gift from my pal Gottfried.

Thursday, 17 December 2015