Monday, July 18, 2011

The Week In Movies 11/7/11 - 17/7/11

This week I once more found some time for movies. Which is GREAT! As I love movies. You may have noticed that I have also not turned a movie off recently. This is a by-product of not having much time, I'm less likely to take a chance on something I think has the potential to be a bit meh. It does not mean I have more patience however as aside from my trip to the RPIFF I only saw 2 films that I had never seen before. When in need of easy viewing I go the films I know best (and haven't seen a billion times or recently.)

New viewings first this week, Gene Hackman in Night Moves is an enjoyable film with many great things going for it overshadowed by so many plot holes and a lack of explanation that it's hard to say whether it is actually any good. Just as in Altman's The Long Goodbye the hard boiled gumshoe character is brought in to the 1970's and shown as a bumbling, weak fool who stumbles around getting lucky as evidence literally falls in to his lap; the same is true of Gene Hackman in Night Moves but with less charisma and likability than Elliot Gould as Philip Marlowe. A Lot of the dialogue was fun as the supporting cast take turns to mock the "hero" and a young Melanie Griffiths is naked quite a lot for no discernible reason other than to get a young girl to take her clothes off onscreen, neither of these facts can make up for the unexplainable plot or the fact that to get the story moving we're suddenly transported to a boat, at sea, in the middle of the night so that a naked Melanie Griffiths can swim in to a crashed plane and discover somebody who looks like Michael Myers on board.

And then comes The Man On The Eiffel Tower, a quite poor piece of cinema all round. Based on the Simenon novels, this is an Inspector Maigret investigation in to a serial killer. Aside from the fun aspect of seeing Burgess Meredith as Jack Lemon's dad in Grumpier Old Men and then going back 50 years to see him running around post-war Paris this one has to be for die hard fans of Maigret only. The original director was replaced and Burgess Meredith and Charles Laughton took turns to direct it, there are some pretty poor performances (especially from Meredith) and there's an interminable chase scene up the Eiffel Tower as we wait for the death of the antagonist which was foreshadowed halfway through the movie, by him asking "have you ever wondered what it would be like to fall off of the Eiffel Tower?"

Repeat viewings this week for Grumpier Old Men, the sequel to Grumpy Old Men has almost the same laugh content as the original but features a lot more of Burgess Meredith as the very old father of Jack Lemon who still has raging hormones. Just as enjoyable as the first film and the outtakes at the end are worth the price of admission alone. However I'm thinking that it was The Odd Couple 2 that was the funniest of all the Lemon/Matthau movies from the mid 90's so I'm going to try tracking that down.

Keven Smith's fourth feature, Dogma, was the first one I saw at the cinema and I've loved it ever since. It's a very funny self aware movie with excellent performances from the ensemble cast, most notably Alan Rickman as the Metatron. It represents a growth in the work of Smith as a writer/director, it retains some of that immature humour that Smith fans (including myself) love but adds some solid story and plot, looking at the films he has made since Dogma I would suggest that this was his high point and despite how much I enjoyed Clerks 2 and Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back neither of them are the complete film that Dogma is.

Final rewatching is technically not a film but it is feature length TV and was written/directed by the second most famous film maker in the world Quentin Tarantino. Grave Danger. Having been looking forward to this episode for 5 seasons of rewatching CSI as I fall asleep when we finally got to it we actually wanted more. That speaks volumes for the quality of QT's story and direction. If you're not a fan of CSI you may still enjoy this episode, it's got quite a few of the Tarantino trademarks: the main characters reference old TV shows and change their speech patterns, close ups on feet and somebody is buried alive. I think Tarantino must have been a fan already as he puts the words of the fans in to the mouths of the characters at times and he probably understood the nature of each character more than most of the shows writers. I'm no longer a massive Tarantino fan but if there was ever any doubt as to his talent I think the dramatic increase in the quality of this show would prove otherwise.

And following up from my review this week, some more words about Ben Wheatley's Kill List to quickly wrap this up. It's so nice to leave a cinema knowing you've just thoroughly enjoyed something. It gave me a buzz the whole of the next day, whilst film has become something of a time filler or something to relax with, it is moments like this that remind me why it is that I loved film in the first place. If you get a chance to see this movie, do. For those in the UK it has a release date set of 2 September. Here's hoping the rest of the screenings will encourage that same feeling. Charlie Casanova tonight, will hopefully have a review for you by Wednesday.

You know the drill, leave me some blah, it's good to feel loved, especially when half my hits have been for a picture of Emma Thompson in Harry Potter this week!


  1. Grumpier Old Men? Sign me up!!!

    I AM the ultimate version of one of them!!


  2. surely not custard! you're just a little british! i honestly can't imagine a film like these getting made today, the actors just don't seem to be around or cared for.

  3. I haven't seen any of these films. Haha.

    Though, I like Smith - notably "Clerks" & "Chasing Amy"

  4. there's plenty of time left duke, if you only watch one of these movies before kill list hits wherever you are then make it dogma.