Saturday 26 August 2017
Time to catch up on what Walter's been watching! This is part one for August.
107. (1166.) Detour (1945)
The plot of this movie is so slim, the whole thing can be described completely in under 4 sentences. Usually, the hitchhiker in this sort of story is the predator, but in this case he's the, uh, well, bad shit happens to him because he's stupid. It's got a bit of a surrealism vibe because you can't quite buy into the validity of the protagonist's motivations. Anywyay, the movie is still an enjoyable watch thanks to a streamlined script and skillful cinematography creating good atmosphere, and that in a nutshell is the definition of most noir cinema.
108. (1167.) Day for Night (1973)
Loved it! Loved it! Loved it! Hollywood loves to make movies about itself, and the concept works even better when a foreigner (in this case, Francois Truffaut) is making the film with a critical (and cynical) eye. Watching it, I was struck by the impression that the style of this movie was what Robert Altman was always chasing (to varying degrees of success). Given that I seem to spend so much time watching (and complaining about) Altman movies, maybe I should be watching Truffaut instead. Did I mention that I loved this film?
109. (1168.) The Unholy Three (1930)
Sometime in the recent past, I watched the original, silent version of this movie (also starring Lon Chaney and Oz munchkin Harry Earle) and speculated that it would be better if it was a talkie. I was wrong. The silent version has superior menace and a more satisfying ending. The fault here probably lies in the change in directors. Tod Browning, famous for Freaks (also starring Earle), directed the original but not this. (For his part, Chaney took well to sound. He would have made a very successful transition into talkies if cancer hadn't killed him. This was his last movie.) If you have to see just one of these, see the silent version instead.
110. (1169.) Two for the Road (1967)
I'd seen clips of this Audrey Hepburn mid-life crisis film in the past, but I finally sat down and watched the whole thing. This is very much of its era, especially in regards to gender politics and fashion, but Hepburn's screen charisma keeps it entertaining. (How is it that this was released only six years removed from Breakfast at Tiffany's? I wouldn't say Hepburn looks old here, but it's hard to believe that she played Holly Golightly in the same decade.)
111. (1170.) Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014)
I thought this would play out like one of the many formulaic Disney Channel television shows, but it was more akin to a Walt Disney family-oriented B-movie of yesteryear, like, say, The Shaggy Dog or The Absent Minded Professor. (What can I say? I'm a sucker for Fred MacMurray movies.) I'm pleased to see Disney is still making them. (Low key but entertaining family movies, that is. MacMurray died in 1991. His last film was Irwin Allen's ensemble horror killer bee movie, The Swarm. I tell you, the man could do no wrong.)
More to come.