Tuesday, August 26, 2014

More Movies!

I have really been trying to watch the movies recorded on the DVR. I am getting very close to getting them finished and then I keep adding more record! Anyway, here is the latest crop:
  • Stalag 17
    • William Holden, Otto Preminger, Peter Graves, Harvey Lembeck, directed by Billy Wilder
    • This was pretty good. The men are prisoners of war in a German camp and one of them is an informant. Everyone believes it's William Holden's character. But is it?
    • There are elements of comedy and drama. There was a lawsuit against the creators of "Hogan's Heroes" which is very similar and you can see why.
  • All Quiet on the Western Front
    • Lew Ayres, directed by Lewis Milestone
    • Another Best Picture Oscar winner for me to add to the list!
    • This movie, based on the book by Erich Marie Remarque, is told from the side of the German soldiers in World War I. It's interesting: you come to know the characters (there are several besides Lew Ayres but nobody you would have heard of) and when they fling themselves into battle you root for them and then you realize, they are the "bad guys". But as they point out in the film, the leaders decide to make wars and the soldiers are just cogs. Once they get over the excitement of going away to war they learn about the hunger, filth and death.
    • And it's almost especially sad because war will come again in just a few short years while the filmmakers and actors don't know that. But we do.
  • Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  • Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
    • I had watched the first film a few months ago and I really wanted to finish up the story. I've seen these films about a half a dozen times by now.
  • Vertigo
    • James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes, directed by Alfred Hitchcock
    • This movie was interesting to watch for the views of 1958 San Francisco (and Pops would have loved all the old cars!) but that's about it. 
    • I understand that this movie has taken over "Citizen Kane" as the the best movie ever. I am assuming it's because of the film-making techniques because the story is not great. Some of it doesn't even make any sense. Barbara Bel Geddes totally disappears in the last 1/4 of the film.
    • But James Stewart is great as always and Kim Novak is beautiful (Barbara B is totally cute too).
  • The Letter
    • Jeanne Eagels, Herbert Marshall
    • This is a 1929 film based on the same Somerset Maugham play as the 1940 Bette Davis version.
    • Jeanne Eagels was the first person ever nominated posthumously for an Oscar for this role. She died shortly after making this movie of a probable heroin overdose. (Sigh. Some things never change.)
    • She was apparently a great dramatic actress on Broadway. It's really difficult to judge her performance in this film because it's only a couple of years into talkies and the acting style is still so broad compared to later. It seems to me that Jeanne Eagels did more "emoting" than acting (very typical of many actresses of the era). It's too bad she died so young because she might have had a chance to gauge her screen performances better (less stage-y). But she is most interesting to watch.
    • What's also interesting about this film is that there was no music score at all. There are a couple of times when characters sing but that's it for music. At the beginning during the credits and early scenes panning the crowded streets there is only silence. I guess Paramount had not yet figured out how to synchronize a movie score to the film. I need to pay attention to other really early talking films to see if this was usually the case.
    • For the record, I really like the Bette Davis version better even though it was changed to appease the production code of the time. Both films have what is pretty much the best line in almost any movie: "With all my heart, I still love the man I killed!" Classic!
  • Enough Said
    • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini
    • Cute little movie. The two leads made a cute couple in a romantic comedy for the middle-age set. Hey! That means me!
  • Bombshell
    • Jean Harlow, Lee Tracy
    • A noisy Jean Harlow movie, somewhat based on the life of both Clara Bow and Jean Harlow's. It basically shows how the people around her take terrible advantage of her financial support and how she almost has no choice but to let them. It was nice to see Jean Harlow but it's not one of my favorites of hers. Lots of scenes with everyone yelling and making noise.
  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
    • Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Celia Imrie, Dev Patel
    • I liked this movie quite a bit. A bunch of retiree-age folk travel to India to the title retirement hotel and discover it's more of a dump than a hotel. But all ends well.
    • I especially loved Judi Dench. She is a most natural actress.
    • There will be a sequel next year.
  • 84 Charing Cross Road
    • Anne Bancroft, Anthony Hopkins, Judi Dench
    • I read the book this is based on a few years back. It is the true story of a New York woman who wrote to a London bookstore for out-of-print books she couldn't find in America.
    • I think it was well done. And more Judi Dench! (Her part is pretty small though.)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
    • I took advantage of The Boy's job at the movie theater and went to see this for free. It's a cute superhero film from the Marvel people.
Except for Guardians of the Galaxy all the rest were recorded from TCM, HBO or Starz. I will really try to get to the theater to see more movies for free. But there's nothing else playing right now I want to see. Figures!

1 comment:

  1. Dang! I wrote a whole comment when I was in Chico, but it doesn't seem to have made it through the ether. Main points: (1) So glad you survived the earthquake! We felt nothing in Chico. (2) I love "All Quiet"! Woody has promised to slog through the whole LOTR trilogy with me so I can complete my list, ugh ugh ugh. We are nothing if not dedicated. But maybe it will surprise me. Maybe.

    I still owe you a letter!