Thursday, March 31, 2011

Re-Watching Movies

I rarely do this. If I do, it's several years after first seeing the movie. The main reason is becuase I have a really good memory.

I mean, yeah, I want to watch a movie again. But it's just that I remember it pretty darn well that prevents me from re-watching it.

So what about you? Do you re-watch movies on regular basis? Or don't you?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cinematic Alphabet

I saw this over at Rupert Pupkin Speaks. I thought I'd take a crack at it. I should add that every letter except "X" will be used.

The Apartment (Wilder, 1960)
The Bad and the Beautiful (Minnelli, 1952)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Brooks, 1958)
The Defiant Ones (Kramer, 1958)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Gondry, 2004)
A Face in the Crowd (Kazan, 1957)
The Grapes of Wrath (Ford, 1940)
His Girl Friday (Hawks, 1940)
In a Lonely Place (Ray, 1950)
Judgment at Nuremberg (Kramer, 1961)
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Black, 2005)
The Lady Eve (Sturges, 1941)
The Manchurian Candidate (Frankenheimer, 1962)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (Selick, 1993)
Once Upon a Time in the West (Leone, 1968)
The Philadelphia Story (Cukor, 1940)
Quiz Show (Redford, 1994)
Road to Perdition (Mendes, 2002)
A Single Man (Ford, 2009)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (Huston, 1948)
Up in the Air (Reitman, 2009)
The Verdict (Lumet, 1982)
Wonder Boys (Hanson, 2000)
Young Frankenstein (Brooks, 1974)
Zodiac (Fincher, 2007)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Waiting for Lefty

By now, you should know that I have an admiration for plays. I prefer plays with dialogue that stands out. Clifford Odets' Waiting for Lefty has just that.

Odets was responsible for co-writing one of my all-time favorite movies. After hearing the snappy yet vile dialogue in that, I grew curious in Odets' other works outside of Hollywood.

Waiting for Lefty revolves around cab drivers planning a strike. This was written when strikes were becoming commonplace for New York City. Do I have a problem with that? Not at all.

The only thing I didn't like about Waiting for Lefty was that each act would flip flop between characters that had no real connection. It got a bit confusing. But still, I loved Odets' way of words.

My Rating: ****

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Good, The Bad, The Morally Ugly

There were three types of characters found in classic movies: the hero, the villain and the anti-hero. Being the list-making person that I am (and also being bored out of my mind), I am going to name five of my favorites from each category.

Tom Joad, The Grapes of Wrath
George Bailey, It's a Wonderful Life
Will Kane, High Noon
Terry Malloy, On the Waterfront
T.E. Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia

Harry Lime, The Third Man
Harry Powell, The Night of the Hunter
J.J. Hunsecker, Sweet Smell of Success
Norman Bates, Psycho
Mrs. Iselin, The Manchurian Candidate

Charles "Chuck" Tatum, Ace in the Hole
Sidney Falco, Sweet Smell of Success
"Fast" Eddie Felson, The Hustler
Michael Corleone, The Godfather trilogy
Han Solo, Star Wars trilogy

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Paths of Glory

We all know that war is hell. It never justifies anything and most of the time it never solves anything.

After three soldiers are accused of cowardice, their commanding officer Col. Dax (Kirk Douglas) tries to prove that they were responding to an impossible attack.

Paths of Glory was the first of Stanley Kubrick's so-called trilogy on the dehumanization of war (the other two would be Dr. Strangelove and Full Metal Jacket). All three basically showed that even if you get out alive, you never leave the war behind.

This was also the first of two movies Douglas and Kubrick would do together (the second, of course, was Spartacus). Like Spartacus in a sense, Paths of Glory needs Douglas as its driving force. Mind you, that's not a bad thing.

Not many movies revolve around the First World War; Paths of Glory is one of those few. It's one of the many highlights in both Douglas and Kubrick's filmographies. Should you ignore it? Hell no. The final scene alone is worth the price of admission.

My Rating: *****

Friday, March 25, 2011


Can someone commit the perfect murder? Can a person kill someone and get away with it? That's the question raised in Alfred Hitchcock's Rope.

Brandon (John Dall) and Philip (Farley Granger) have murdered a classmate of theirs. Brandon is eerily calm about the crime he has committed; Philip not so much. During a party thrown at the crime scene, their former house master Rupert Cadell (James Stewart) grows suspicious when the conversation shifts its focus on committing the perfect murder.

Rope is noted for allegedly being filmed in one continuous take. However, I could tell when a new scene started. But still, it's an ambitious feat for Hitchcock to try out.

The murder that the movie revolves around is loosely based on the infamous Leopold and Loeb case. Of course being the criminology freak that I am, I clearly liked that little fact.

Rope is a very well done movie though I would've loved it had it been just a little longer. Apart from that, I adored this underrated Hitchcock movie.

My Rating: ****1/2

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Star is Born

"There's no business like show business..."

That's how the song goes. It's true there is no business like show business. I mean is there one that's both glamorous and dirty at the same time?

A Star is Born has Hollywood star Norman Maine (James Mason) giving singer Esther Blodgett (Judy Garland) a boost in the movie business. Under stage name Vicki Lester, her star rises, but his starts to burn out.

When Garland made A Star is Born, her own career was a reflection of Norman Maine's: an once-prolific movie career drowned by alcohol. But once she gave a booming rendition of "The Man Who Got Away", it was clear that she's back. Groucho Marx wasn't kidding about calling Garland's Oscar loss "the biggest robbery since Brink's." Seriously, if anyone deserves an Oscar more, it's Garland.

Mason, like his character, gets overshadowed by Garland rather easily, but he has his moments. Like one scene towards the end. He overhears a conversation that brings up the fact that he's all washed up, his drinking being the main contributor. His immediate reaction: flawless.

I normally am not that big a fan of musicals, but I do love the energy one has during a musical number. Like Garland during her "Someone at Last" and "Lose That Long Face" numbers. It's fun to see someone do a restrained role, then let loose in another.

George Cukor, whom I trusted with his comedies (The Philadelphia Story, Adam's Rib, Born Yesterday), blew me away with A Star is Born. Honestly one of the best movies I have seen.

My Rating: *****

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor: 1932-2011

The screen beauty, best known for her award-winning performances, multiple marriages and humanitarian work, died earlier today from congestive heart failure. She was 79.
~February 27, 1932 - March 23, 2011~

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Stylish Blogger Award

I was tagged by A Mythical Monkey writes about the movies for this award. (EDIT: I was also tagged by the diary of a film awards fanatic and Forever Classics after publishing this post.) Need to name seven facts about myself (deja vu). So here are seven facts.

  1. Although I'm a woman, I hate wearing anything feminine. Pink, dresses, skirts: hate them. I'm fine with jewelry however, but only my class ring and a simple necklace.
  2. I'll continue that comment of hating all things feminine by adding I don't like cosmetics. I wore mascara for a while once, but when I took it off I looked like I was mugged.
  3. I have taken numerous stabs at writing stories and scripts, but I always hit this one roadblock: I never know how to end them.
  4. For literature, I prefer plays over books most of the time. Basically because I like dialogue over description when it comes to literature, In Cold Blood aside.
  5. I always try to find performances that'll leave me speechless. I've seen a few (Marlon in On the Waterfront, Monty in Judgment at Nuremberg), but I'm still trying to find one that'll have me struck dumb.
  6. That being said, I'm also trying to find female performances that stick with me. Again, I've seen a few (Liz in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Audrey in Wait Until Dark), but I haven't seen "the one".
  7. I'm a little infamous for being really picky with my movie choices, but I'd be willing to give a movie a chance. That is, if I heard good things about it.
Okay, seven people:

Monday, March 21, 2011

All About Eve

Even though most of my movie watching consists of classics, there are some that have eluded me.

All About Eve is one of them. It' revolves around theater hopeful Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) and stage legend Margo Channing (Bette Davis). Eve first helps Margo, then seeks out to get Margo out of her spotlight.

This was my introduction to Davis and really, what better introduction to her than All About Eve? I love how she can be glamorous and bitchy at the same time. A lot of people say this has Davis' best work as an actress. For now, I agree with them.

My God, Baxter is so cold as Eve. I was grateful when De Witt slapped her. Hey, she was asking for it. But apart from the reveal of Eve's true nature, Baxter has us sympathizing for her during the first half.

What's left to say about a movie that has been talked about so much already? Well, not much, so I'll just go with the obvious. Every actor was right for their part, the screenplay (which rightfully earned its Oscar) is full of witty comments and snapping remarks, and the movie itself is very well done. Oh, and I just adore that final shot.

My Rating: *****

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Shop Around the Corner

When an old movie needed an actor to play the likable lead, the first choice was always Jimmy Stewart. For good reason too. He had this nature that makes people notice him.

He and Margaret Sullavan are Alfred Kralik and Klara Novak, bickering co-workers at a department store. Unbeknown to both of them, they're pen pals falling in love with each other.

I'm not a fan of romance movies, but I'm a sucker for the old ones. I like the old ones because they weren't forced like the current ones; they focus on the slow-burning passion between the two lovers.

Stewart, as usual, had me smiling from his performance. The Shop Around the Corner is one of the sweetest movies I've seen. Like It's a Wonderful Life and Harvey before it, I was smiling from ear to ear from the ending.

My Rating: *****

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Take the suavest actor and the most glamorous actress, and put them in an exotic locale. What do you get? If the actor's Cary Grant and the Audrey Hepburn's the actress, then you got Charade.

Hepburn is Regina Lampert, a soon-to-be divorcee. Her husband turns up dead. Peter Joshua, played by Grant, helps her try to solve the mystery her husband's death left behind.

Like I said before, I found it hard to take Grant seriously after seeing Some Like It Hot. But I think after His Girl Friday I started to take him more seriously, even if most of the movies I see him in are comedies. Still though, I think that charm of his has something to do with it.

I've admitted before that I both admire and envy Hepburn. And here in Charade, both of those feelings deepen. She's elegant, witty and funny, traits not all actresses can possess. I'm starting to think that she's now my favorite actress.

Charade is one of the most entertaining movies I've seen. It's jokingly called "the best Hitchcock movie Hitchcock never made", and for good reason too. There are so many twists and turns, it'll make your head spin.

My Rating: ****1/2

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sid and Nancy

It's starting to annoy me that Gary Oldman doesn't have at least one Oscar nomination to his name yet. He should have one by now. Sid and Nancy is one movie that should have gotten some buzz.

In Sid and Nancy, he plays Sex Pistols guitarist Sid Vicious. He meets Nancy Spugen (Chloe Webb) one day and falls in love with her, resulting into one of the most notorious love affairs of all time.

Although I do listen to music frequently, I have to admit I haven't heard any music by the Sex Pistols. That is, until I saw Sid and Nancy. I'm not a huge fan of punk rock, but I liked a few of the songs.

Oldman's performance as Vicious, like I said in the intro, should have gotten at least some awards recognition. But alas, it was not. I just hope that Oldman won't get a honorary award to make up for previous snubs. AMPAS, give the man a damn nomination already!

My Rating: ****1/2