Friday, June 16, 2006

More movies

To continue the previous post—here’s some more films I’ve watched the past few weeks.

The Warriors (1979). I hadn't seen May's midnight movie at the Circle in over 15 years so I was really excited to watch it for the first time ever on a film print—and at midnight to boot. Even better, a scratchy film print! The Warriors is very 1970s (this is good concerning movies) and I was surprised that there wasn't as much violence and fighting as I remembered. Director Walter Hill (who I'm a big fan of) does get to use some great slow-motion in some of the classic fight scenes—Warriors V. Furies, Warriors V. Punks in a tiny bathroom and Warriors V. Lizzies (the best shot is the slow-motion chair to one Lizzie's face!).

My Favorite Year (1982). This is an enjoyable romp through 1950s TV when a former English rogue actor shows up to appear on the show. Peter O'Toole plays the actor who is a drunk—although a loveable, fun loving drunk—who is still living life to the excess. This is a very charming film and The Hidden Staircase makes up for her recommendation of The Baxter last month as she said that I'd enjoy this since I'd never seen it. That wasn't so great but this one was worth watching.

The Notorious Betty Page (2006). Fun night at the Circle as we had a local burlesque troupe come in and do a show between screenings. The film version of Page's life was way lighter than I expected. Almost as much a satire of 1950s mentality regarding pornography (compared to how innocent it looks nowadays) as it is a biopic of Page's life. If anything the film rushes through some of the painful episodes to get to some of the naughty bits. Okay but not much substance. Gretchen Mol is way better than I would have guessed.

The Break-Up (2006). This is raking in the $$$ at the box-office but I'm not won over. It's just a lot of couple bickering and yelling at each other as their relationship crumbles even though neither truly want it to end. Yet they are stubborn so they keep on bickering. If I wanted to watch a couple fight for 90 minutes I'd get in a bad relationship and start up goofy arguments with her. I'm a big Vince Vaughn fan and he has some great moments in this—his scenes with longtime pal Jon Favreau stand out—but for the most part I just didn't think this was all that great.

A Prairie Home Companion (2006). Robert Altman's latest is this loosely adapted script based on Garrison Keiler's long running radio show. I didn't have big expectations even though it was Altman but I was completely captivated by this film. It breezes by in what seems like 45 minutes. Typical Altman «sketchbook» style that sees him moving from one storyline to another. I have called it a «floating» style of storytelling where there isn't one dominant story but several running at one time that bump into each other from time to time. The film is set in, around and behind the scenes during a radio show. We see the show as it is performed and then we see all the backstage banter and events that truly make the performance a lively affair. Great ensemble cast. Altman is a master at joining these large casts in a fluid, natural way. Wonderful.

The Tenant (1976). Roman Polanski stars and directs this off-kilter piece about an old apartment building in Paris that might have tenants up to no good. Not altogether a strange concept from him as he did make Rosemary's Baby after all. The Tenant is more low-key and slow to develop but it does get weird as it progresses. Polanski is in his element when he gets to deliver a paranoid, chilling story—although I'm not sold on his acting and he's the lead in this—and The Tenant has enough chilly bizarreness it's worth seeing late some night for a shock or two.


Mark Rogers said...

Hooray for The Warriors. I've been meaning to try out the game from the makers of Grand Theft Auto. It's supposed to be VERY violent. Like you said, by current standards it's not even a very violent movie.

P.S. I'll be sure to let you know how I like Near Dark. Be sure to drop by Analog Medium again and let us know what you think about District B13

BigKilla said...

Mark's got Near Dark coming today on Analog Medium's NetFlix list. From what I hear, it's my kind of movie. Thanks for the tip.