Monday, May 23, 2016

The Classic Movie Ice Cream Social

Fritzi of Movies Silently is at it again with a new blogathon, this one being about your favorite feel-good movie. Admittedly my choice isn't really something along the lines of this particular category but I get a warm, fuzzy feeling when I watch it. So what's the film?

(1942, dir. Mervyn LeRoy)

Why this one? Speaking as a cynical romantic, it takes a lot for me to be won over with fictional love stories. But with this one, it did just that. (When you see enough movies from this era where the leads pour out a heartfelt "I love you" about a half hour into the picture, those three little words start to lose their potency.)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Frank Langella Blogathon

Carissa of Cab Drivers and Coffee Pots is hosting a blogathon focusing on the Oscar-nominated actor. And as Alex has shown a few years back, Langella has had quite the extensive career. But which film of his have I decided to cover? Why, the one that got him an Oscar nomination, of course:

(2008, dir. Ron Howard)

Nominated for four other Academy Awards (alas winning none), this is one of those based-on-real-events films that holds up on re-watches. (Not many of those hold that honor.) And quite honestly, it's perhaps one of the best films from the last decade.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Great Villain Blogathon 2016

So Ruth of Silver Screenings, Karen of Shadows and Satin, and Kristina of Speakeasy have teamed up for this blogathon where the objective is as followed:
All you do is pick a movie villain to cover, and then have a ball hailing the hateful and heinous, contemplating the corrupt and evaluating the evil. Villains from absolutely any era, country and genre of film are welcome.
My film felon of choice for this, you may ask?

Robert Montgomery in Night Must Fall (1937, dir. Robert Thorpe)

Why this performance? Well, a few reasons. One, it’s one of several forgotten Oscar-nominated performances that I consider a favorite. And two, I wanted to cover something a little more unconventional.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Great Katharine Hepburn Blogathon

For the third year in a row, Margaret Perry of her self-titled blog is doing the Great Katharine Hepburn Blogathon in honor of the four-time Oscar winner's birthday. This time around I decided to chip in. My film of choice?

(1968, dir. Anthony Harvey)

Of Hepburn's extensive filmography, this is one of my favorite films of hers. (The Philadelphia Story is also among that list.) Though like a number of her later films, it tends to get overlooked in favor of Bringing Up Baby or Adam's Rib. Why that is, I can't say.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Decades Blogathon

Mark of three rows back and Tom of Digital Shortbread have brought back their Decades Blogathon, which is the theme is to discuss a film released in a year ending in six. Last year, I wrote about Mildred Pierce. So what am I writing for them this year?

(1966, dir. Mike Nichols)

Admittedly this was just an excuse to re-watch it but I was overdue for a re-watch, especially considering Nichols' passing not that long ago. What struck me upon re-watching it was that it still works after half a century (!), something not many other films of the 1960s can attest to.

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Merry Gentleman

Between his last venture as Batman and his Oscar-nominated comeback in Birdman, Michael Keaton had a career of varying highs and lows. He basically went from leading man of the 1980s to character actor of the 1990s and 2000s. Regardless of that career shift, Keaton remained a welcoming face in the films he appeared in.

In 2009, he stepped behind the camera for The Merry Gentleman as well as starring in it. As of late, there have been a number of actors dabbling in directing. So how well has Keaton fared? (For the record, Keaton became director when screenwriter and original director Ron Lazzeretti stepped down due to medical reasons.)

Having a dark story set during a supposedly cheerful time of year (the Christmas season) gives The Merry Gentleman a twisted sense of humor to say the least. Being a neo-noir, the film shares elements of those of a similar nature from the 1940s. (Clearly Lazzeretti did his research.)

The Merry Gentleman features some solid work from Keaton and Kelly Macdonald. (There's also a chilling one-scene turn from Bobby Cannavale.) As with other noirs, the dynamic between Keaton and Macdonald's characters is a complex one.

The Merry Gentleman proves that Keaton is not only a solid actor, he's a very capable director as well. Hopefully he'll direct another film in the near future. (Preferably something a little more put together.)

My Rating: ****

Walking and Talking

By the time the 1990s rolled around, those of the Generation X crowd were beginning to make their presence known throughout media. They expressed the plights of middle-class America, the ups and downs of causal encounters, and the sometimes harsh realities of living on your own.

Nicole Holofcener's Walking and Talking was one such film. Released not long after Friends became a regular feature for TV audiences, Holofcener's debut focuses on two friends as they balance and cope with their personal lives. (A familiar plot for fiction of this nature, yes, but sometimes different facets get the spotlight.)

It doesn't take long to see that Amelia (Catherine Keener) and Laura (Anne Heche) are of different temperaments. Laura is confident in her personal life but not her professional one. Amelia meanwhile is more insecure in the former department. These are character types that are still seen in media today.

Walking and Talking also depicts how even as one's in their thirties, they still don't know what to do with their life. (Well, Friends also showed that but the point still stands.) It's worth mentioning that there's no deadline for having your life in order. Just take small steps for those things.

Walking and Talking shows that Holofcener displays a different approach to depicting everyday life. Similar to Girlfriends nearly twenty years prior, it highlights something seldom seen nowadays: female friendship.

My Rating: ****