Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Killing of Angel Street


1981, Australia, directed by Donald Crombie

Despite its flaws, Phillip Noyce's Heatwave is a much more interesting take on events surrounding and succeeding the disappearance of Juanita Nielsen in 1975: this a prosaic film, saddled with a dreadfully obvious soundtrack and a weak romantic subplot. However, Liz Alexander, in a very rare lead role, is generally strong as the primary character, growing in conviction as the film develops and proving very convincing at the finale.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Frozen


2013, US, directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee

The last remaining 4-year-old in America has now seen Frozen, and a lot of 2013/2014 Halloween costumes suddenly make much more sense.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Born to Kill


1947, US, directed by Robert Wise

As brisk and brutal as The Sound of Music is lengthy and overblown (which is not to say I don't like the latter film). Lawrence Tierney gets more screen time than usual even if his role is very similar to his standard tough guy fare and he's given a run for his cold-hearted money by Claire Trevor. They both watch Walter Slezak walk away with the film, though: he's quite brilliant as the self-interested detective quick to sense the chance to maximize his own opportunities. By contrast, as much as I enjoy his weaselly presence in other films, I couldn't quite figure out Elisha Cook, Jr's purpose here: his character seemed more narrative device than actual person and at times he comes across rather awkwardly as one of Tierney's inner voices, surely not the intended effect.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Tangled


2010, US, directed by Nathan Greno & Byron Howard


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Adieu poulet


1975, France, directed by Pierre Granier-Deferre

Pretty formulaic stuff that's beset by mismatches: Francis Veber is hardly the best candidate to script a gritty, ripped-from-the-headlines politico-police story, though why director Granier-Deferre didn't simply abandon some of the more slapstick elements is beyond me. Ventura is solid in a role that demands nothing of him -- he's far more interesting in L'Emmerdeur or Garde à vue, from roughly the same period -- but to my mind Dewaere, an actor I generally worship, is miscast. His energy works wonderfully well in other films but on this occasion it makes him seem as though he has breezed in from another picture entirely, one that's more satire and less exposé. The film's most enjoyable quality is the portrait of Rouen as political quagmire: there aren't many films set in the Normandy city, and for all of his conventional qualities Granier-Deferre is almost always strong on atmosphere and location.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Garou-Garou, le passe-muraille


1951, France, directed by Jean Boyer

A routine 1950s Bourvil vehicle, taken from a Marcel Aymé short story that is heavily watered down in this telling -- the Occupation-era story finishes in literal suspense, of a deeply discomfiting nature, whereas this postwar version is a sometimes slapstick romantic comedy despite Bourvil's awkwardness around women. Some of the dialogue is zesty enough, most likely due to the presence of Michel Audiard, and Gérard Oury co-stars, years before he turned to directing.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Crocodile Dundee


1986, Australia, directed by Peter Faiman

A textbook example of making a film for the global market while retaining some local colour, with everything that implies both negative and positive: Paul Hogan's script does a fine job of collecting and repurposing all manner of Australian tropes (the bushman, attitudes to the law, Aboriginals' status) without actually saying much about any of these subjects except lifting an amused eyebrow, while the film gleefully embraces the sexist/racist/homophobic asides so common in Hollywood cinema of the 1980s. The New York nightlife scenes, in particular, are cringeworthy, though the early going does retain a good deal of charm, especially when John Meillon is on screen.

Index

List of all movies

Most of the images here are either studio publicity stills or screen captures I've made myself; if I've taken your image without giving you credit, please let me know.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States