My Week in Film (8/3 - 8/9)

Space Chimps (2008)
(Directed by Kirk DeMicco)

This is a terrible movie.


Notorious (1946)
(Directed by Alfred Hitchcock)

Now, this you should see. Cary Grant is the shit, duh, but Ingrid Bergman is out of this world. She takes all this fucking abuse and buries all this coiled energy in her and there's these camera moves that seek to liberate her or something or maybe trap her or whatever. It looks great and all, but I'll admit I was paying more attention to the actors than anything although I did get a kick of that pressing closeup of the key. Whatever. I don't need to explain myself to you. Why can't you just say how you feel? Dumb, beautiful people. Duh! This is my 2nd favorite Hitchcock now. I'll expand with specifics later or something if I stop slutting around.


The Big Heat (1953)
(Directed by Fritz Lang)

Glenn Ford sets out to restore moral order in his city without regard for collateral damage.His search for justice or whatever basically gets a whole bunch of people killed (hi, Ebert!) and shit. He doesn't even bat an eye. Then you got Lee Marvin throwing hot coffee around, the whole world trying to fuck you up, the army buddies with guns, the Gloria Grahame's of the world. It's pretty good. Glenn Ford was kinda rocking the shit on this one, all brooding bad ass. He gets all on people's faces, tries to choke them, leaves stomping out in his trenchcoat. So, yeah, pretty good. Never reaches great for me for whatever weird reasons I have. Hey, leave me alone! What a bunch of buffoons.


Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
(Directed by Robert Aldrich)

haha, what the hell? Basically, Mike Hammer goes up and down staircases to beat the shit out of people. This he does quite well. Seriously. The guy is one of the biggest assholes ever! There's no moment of redemption for him at all. He just does bad thing after bad thing after bad thing. His stake in the whole thing is purely that he sees some money in it. He basically goes around town asking for names and things and places until people give in. He ignores everyone who gets in his way and treats the women in his life as basic property. And what does his snooping around get him? Uh, total fucking destruction. Watch the world burn! I love the ending. I didn't even get the vibe that Hammer actually even wanted to save anyone but himself but he figures he might as well cut his losses or something. It's chilling. The movie kinda drags a bit after a while but it's worth it just for the photography and the presence of Ralph Meeker who truly comes alive whenever he has to get crazy and fuck some people up.


Out of the Past (1947)
(Directed by Jacques Tourneur)

Mitchum is amazing in this film. He's got doom written all over him but he shrugs it off and smokes another cig anyway. I enjoyed those quiet moments early on where it's just kinda small-town beautiful. But when figures from the past start showing up, it hardly even registers; he knew it couldn't last. The plot's fairly nice and easy at first: Kirk Douglas hires Mitchum to track down his flame. He winds up at Acapulco and before you know it, they're off and running. Things don't end well. But that's the past and now Douglas has Mitchum try and get back some papers for him. I don't even know how many double crosses there are in this film but it must be written in the character's DNA that to uphold a deal is a very dumb thing to do. The ambiguity present in those final moments really sealed the deal for me. Whatever that means. Can you deliver these surprises when it's all written in stone? Baby, I don't care.


Laura (1944)
(Directed by Otto Preminger)

Pretty good. lol, I don't know why but I kept thinking about There's Something About Mary all throughout because it's largely about how a bunch of dudes grow to fall in love with their own image of Laura. Even the detective assigned to her murder starts getting obsessive about her after a while! The film shows Laura's story leading up to her death in flashback and I gotta say I have to watch every movie Gene Tierney ever made. She's amazing (I'm not really sure what I'm praising, her or her performance, does it matter?). Whatever. The rest of the cast is pretty good, too, particularly Clifton Webb who apparently likes to greet his guests in the nude while in the bath (?). Thing is bizarre. There's some twists and it's mostly just the police officer trying to play people around and see what happens but there's just no logic in it. There's just Laura.


Tetro (2009)
(Directed by Francis Ford Coppola)

A weird melodrama about brothers that's completely artificial and has roots in the theater (with a version of Faust being staged called "Fausta" - Faust a woman!) and the cinema, with The Tales of Hoffman being the most explicit reference (there's clips of it and that shit looks insane!). The cinematography is pretty great. My favorite moments were probably the ones where I think Gallo's presence in the frame is only suggested through his shadow on the wall. The best moment of the film is one of the film's dance sequences where the conductor takes over (?) and waves start flooding the stage as the mad romance ensues. It's a fantastic sequence and probably the best moviefilm moment I've seen all year. There's some clunky stuff here where it's just kinda silly. Like, the entirety of Carmen Maura's role as "Alone," the most prominent South American cultural critic (SHE CAN WRECK YOU!) plus the totally ridiculous bath tub scene where our young hero gets not one, but TWO girls naked in there with him (I know it's not supposed be realistic and all, but at least... you know, jesus) Gallo's awesome, duh, I just love the way he repeats his lines over and over again. It's just good to see him acting again.


Luck (2009)
(Directed by Soham Shah)

The first Bollywood movie I've ever seen. It's about all these people who have massive luck, right? Some dude named Moussa (played by Sanjay Dutt) organizes some kind of huge online gambling thing that takes these people with massive luck and pits them against each other through crazy ass challenges/stunts whatever. It's a really silly film and kind of just annoying (just in the way that it's shot... edited by someone with massive ADD, reiterating points over and over again and repeating shots over and over again... it's just annoying). There's this one shot of Moussa walking in slo-mo towards the camera all cool-like with his robe or something flowing in the wind and then that image gets speeded up and then it goes back to slo-mo and then it gets speeded up again. That same shot gets repeated so much, I was kinda hoping they would keep on doing it. It's as if they only used the technique cuz their movie was already so fucking long, they had to hurry up their actors. And, yeah, this movie is really long (though apparently all these movies are?). There's like 4 or 5 competitors who we're supposed to care about and who all have their own stories to tell but I honestly couldn't give a shit about any of them because their emotions are all telegraphed and their relationships and moments of bonding are only shown in flashbacks. . . to THINGS THAT NEVER HAPPENED IN THE FILM'S NARRATIVE. So, this really moody song starts playing and then we get this montage of the bonding moments that they've gone through and I'm like, huh, when did the characters have time to do this? I thought they barely knew each other at this point in the movie and they're all having fun in the sand? huh, why is she taking her lipstick and drawing on the mirror OH, IS SHE SAD ABOUT SOMETHING?!!! It's just ridiculous. I was actually hoping there was much more singing and dancing but apparently this was supposed to be a fun action/adventure flick so there was only singing and dancing at the beginning and end of the movie. That's a shame. Anyway, it was cool, I guess.


For Me And My Gal (1942)
(Directed by Busby Berkeley)

Check out the link!


The Roaring Twenties (1939)
(Directed by Raoul Walsh)

Oh, man, this was awesome. Starting from the end of WWI and going to the beginning of the great depression, this awesome crime flick has everything! James Cagney's acting took a little bit of time to get used to but after a while those short, curt line readings started to really impress me. There's a kind of no nonsense approach to it that I found to be pretty effective. He gets mixed up in the bootlegging business, hooks up with Bogie, and goes all legit bad ass. It covers all the bases: honest beginnings, buying your own club, having your girl be the singer, escalating violence, the works. But it all works because of the fast-clipped storytelling that pretty much never misses a beat. And then once in a while it'll turn in some wonderful moment of reflection (Cagney slowly walking back inside the club, Cagney turning back to hear the piano). Shit is wonderful. Plus the ending is about the most beautiful thing ever. One man running in the snow and the whole world and the past in those footsteps trying to get to a place where something will make sense. It's totally familiar material but the great cast, wonderfully fluid direction and fast-as-fuck storytelling grant it access into the roujin mansion where we sip only the finest drinks and watch only the best movies.


Jhon's Movie of the Week is... For Me And My Gal

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