Thursday, 29 December 2016

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Lana Turner

The Trouble with Harry (1955)

The trouble with Harry is that he's dead, and everyone seems to have a different idea of what needs to be done with his body.

Likable, but not too malicious black comedy; quite slow-paced and light-weighted which is remarkable considering it's a Hitchcock movie.

Halliwell**: "Black comedy that never quite, despite bright moments, catches the style of the book; however, it is finely performed and the autumnal backgrounds are splendid."

Maltin***: "Offbeat, often hilarious black comedy...Gwenn is fine as usual, MacLaine appealing in her first film. Beautiful autumn locations, whimsical score (his first for Hitch) by Bernard Herrmann."

Greta Garbo

The Zero Theorem (2013)

A hugely talented but socially isolated computer operator is tasked by Management to prove the Zero Theorem: that the universe ends as nothing, rendering life meaningless.

Intended as a dystopian satire with a message about the meaning of life the result is  haphazard, incohesive and finally disappointing; cast and visual effects are worth the watch, though.

Eraserhead (1977)

New acquisition: 2010 (1984)

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

New acquisition: The Haunting (1963)

Monday, 26 December 2016

Heavenly Creatures (1994)

2010 (1984)

A joint U.S.-Soviet expedition is sent to Jupiter to learn what happened to the Discovery.

A downscaled, superfluous and thoroughly disappointing sequel of a classic of cinema history with a ridiculous Messianic ending; as it is technically well made and offers some good effects it can be appreciated as a standard sci-fi movie.

Halliwell (no star): "Tame, almost flatfooted sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey, with none of the supposed significance and not much else to offer."

Maltin***: "Ambitious sequel...More concrete and therefore less mystical than 2001, with an ending that's much too literal, but still an entertaining journey, with state-of-the-art visual effects..."

Bette Davis

New acquisition: Anna Karenina (1948)

Ballet mécanique (1924)

Santa's Slay (2005)

Santa Claus is actually a demon who lost a bet with an Angel, so he becomes the giver of toys and happiness, but when the bet is off, he returns to his evil ways.

Intended as a malicious Christmas spoof this humorless movie will hardly amuse except maybe for a few adolescents sick of the holiday festivities.

Barbra Streisand

New acquisition: Woodstock (1970)

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Foreign Correspondent (1940)

Resurrezione (2001)

At the end of the XIX century in Russia,  a young prince is called as a jury-man in a trial, recognizes the defendant, a girl he seduced many years before, and decides to save her.

Epic Tolstoy adaptation for TV, delicately directed with much love to period details and with a competent cast, emphasizes the more melodramatic aspects of the novel.

Trans-Europ-Express (1966)

I Love Trouble (1994)

Two competing  newspaper reporters who join forces to unravel the mystery behind a train derailment.

Haphazard attempt of recreating and modernizing the screwball comedy is quite unfunny and unoriginal, despite even stealing some of the old jokes, and Roberts and Nolte simply don't fit as a romantic couple.

Halliwell (no star): "A romantic comedy that misses out on the romance and the wit."

Maltin**1/2: "Likable homage to vintage Hollywood bickering/bantering romantic comedies with a touch of adventure and suspense: there are even old-fashioned "wipes" between shots. Unfortunately, overlength hampers its cuteness, and reveals the degree of contrivance at work."

Ziyi Zhang

New acquisition: Stanley Kubrick

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Claudia Cardinale

The Water Diviner (2014)

An Australian man travels to Turkey after the Battle of Gallipoli to try and locate his three missing sons.

The movie tells an otherwise heart-wrenching story with great cinematography and a competent cast, but somehow doesn't manage to be as touching as it seeks to be.

Jean Harlow

The Godfather: Part III (1990)

In the midst of trying to legitimize his business dealings in 1979 New York and Italy, aging mafia don Michael Corleone seeks to vow for his sins while taking a young protégé under his wing.
It's a good movie with all the ingredients of the previous parts, but adds nothing in scope and depth, and the plot is not as stringently scripted.
I watch the Godfather trilogy at least once a year; nothing to add to my previous comment.
Halliwell**: "Overlong, often confusing to those who cannot remember the earlier films, and hampered by at least one wretched performance, it fails to reach the standard of the first two movies in the series. But for all that it retains one's interest most of the time."
Maltin***: "Only a filmmaker like Coppola (teamed with writer Mario Puzo) could extend his history-making Mafioso saga and make it work so well. Absorbing story...Longish, but masterfully told, with one almost-fatal flaw: the casting of Coppola's daughter Sofia (an amateur) in the pivotal role of Pacino's daughter."
[N.B.: Although have criticized Sofia Coppola, I disagree: she plays adequate to the role. The problem is that the love story with her cousin is in itself misconceived from the start.] 

Friday, 16 December 2016

Dolores del Rio

The Godfather: Part II (1974)

The early life and career of Vito Corleone in 1920s New York is portrayed while his son, Michael, expands and tightens his grip on his crime syndicate stretching from Lake Tahoe, Nevada to pre-revolution 1958 Cuba.

The rare case of a sequel to a masterpiece improving, expanding and deepening the scope of the original; one of the greatest movies ever made.

On renewed viewing: I watch the Godfather trilogy at least once a year; nothing to add to my previous comment.

Halliwell****: "Complex gangster movie, explaining the present in terms of the past and providing a comprehensive view of American society, full of good scenes and performances."

Maltin****: "They say it couldn't be done, but cowriter-director Coppola made a sequel that's just as compelling."

Gypsy (1962)

Predestination (2014)

For his final assignment, a top temporal agent must pursue the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time.

Intriguing sci-fi tale that bends the implications of time travel to an extreme; has great performances and splendid period detail for each time span represented.