Saturday 2 November 2013
Despite (or perhaps because of) my trips out of town in October, I still found time for 25 new-to-me movies. Like last month, I'll run through them in 3 posts over the coming weeks.
175. (482.) Sky Murder (1940)
The second Nick Carter, Master Detective movie. Even more predictable than its predecessor, but with an increased action quotient. They do make movies like this anymore.
176. (483.) The Manxman (1929)
Another silent Hitchcock film, this time a romantic drama. I didn't like it. There is really only one sympathetic character in the film, the other two leads were dumb assholes. I'm still not really sure which of the two men was supposed to be the Manxman, and I no longer care.
177. (484.) Number Seventeen (1932)
Another Hitchcock, this time more in the traditional suspense/thriller vein. Watching this, I became convinced that Hitchcock did it only so that he could investigate what he could get away with with stark lighting and shadows.
178. (485.) Adventures of Kitty O'Day (1945)
There are only two movies in the Kitty O'Day series, probably two too many. These would have worked well as 30-minute television episodes a decade later, but as feature-length films, there is just too much padding.
179. (486.) Family Plot (1976)
Hitchcock again, this time his last film. This one I really loved despite the weakness of its climax. Something about the look and feel of this film, its characters, its limited scope... it just all worked for me. I've read that contemporary critics were not big fans, so your mileage may vary.
180. (487.) Topaz (1969)
A Hitchcock spy thriller built around the Cuban Missile Crisis. Fascinating in its way, but too slow in all the wrong places. Enjoyable, especially as a fictional history lesson, but hardly one of Hitch's best.
181. (488.) Superman vs. The Elite (2012)
The comic that this animated movie is based on was fantastic. It showcases why Superman isn't an archaic moral concept (a story that seems to need telling at least once a decade). The movie is considerably less successful at delivering that same message. The "villains" aren't made villainous enough, and their heel turn doesn't even come until the last minute, too little time to allow the viewer to realize that they aren't who we should be cheering for. It seems that these DC animated movies are always a waste of time, vastly inferior to the material that they are based on.
182. (489.) All-Star Superman (2011)
I spoke to soon. I didn't like disjointed storytelling of All-Star Superman #1, so I didn't buy the rest, but this movie is the perfect bookend for fans of the Silver Age Superman. This is exactly the sort of thing that Grant Morrison, writer of the All-Star Superman comic, has made his bread and butter on in recent years. Finally a DC animated movie that captures the essence of its source material. Is this the exception that proves the rule?