Posts filed under ‘Classic’

Ten Cents a Dance

MOVIE:  Ten Cents a Dance

NUTSHELL:  A plucky taxi dancer keeps bailing out her pasty-faced husband despite brighter things on the horizon.

GOOD THINGS:  Barbara Stanwyck hubba hubba, sassy gals and manly men (except for the pasty guy)

BAD THINGS:  Pasty-faced guy you want to strangle by the end of the movie – AAGGHH!

FEATURES:  Ricardo Cortez, Monroe Owsley, boarding houses, millionaire bachelors, Sally Blane, Martha Sleeper, Abe Lyman and His Band

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Barbara Stanwyck saying, “Gee that’s a snappy looking box!”

NOTABLE:  Directed by Lionel Barrymore in 1931 but restored like new and sassier than the latest Meg Ryan thinger.

BEST PART:  Millionaire bachelors are still millionaire bachelors, even mid-Depression.

BEST LINE:  Of course he hasn’t been around long and traffic signals puzzle him…

CROWNS:  5 out of 5

January 14, 2010 at 12:03 am Leave a comment

Way Down East

MOVIE:  Way Down East

NUTSHELL:  D.W. Griffith directing Lillian Gish as a Poor Country Girl duped by a Rich Cad into a fake wedding (and some coughcough other stuff) resulting in a baby which sadly dies. PCG takes a job as a maid at the farm across from RC’s (just don’t ask) and he threatens to out her as… well… a great big tramp! but the Squire finds out from the town yakker anyway and throws PCG out in a snowstorm where Squire’s son goes after her and hops from ice floe (flow?) to ice flow (floe?) so he can save her and we can see that shot in all our History of Cinema courses.

GOOD THINGS:  There’s some pretty modern acting in here and the Gish babe is very ooh la la. Plus it has Griffith doing his “let’s create a new art form” thing without his “I have a serious problem with people of color” thing. There’s also a gnarly fight with men in fur coats mauling each other. Woo hoo!

BAD THINGS:  I’m sorry but I don’t get the irising in and out and right and left. Someone explain this. It just makes me go, “Huh?”

FEATURES:  Pelts-a-palooza, boarding houses, mean cousins, Richard Barthelmess, Lowell Sherman, Burr McIntosh (Hey, McIntosh, you cold? hahahahaahaha!), Kate Bruce, Mary Hay (Mary, Hey! What? Oh nothing just saying your name.), Creighton Hale, Emily Fitzroy, characters named “Hi Holler”, “Barn Dancer” and “The Eccentric Aunt”, (did I already mention there’s an entire barn dance sequence?), an actress credited as Mrs. David Landau (isn’t that just presh?) and last but not least – and definitely not the least teased in school: Athole Shearer

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Well the villain is pretty oily and there’s that thing where you feel like if the protagonist just took 3 minutes to explain herself she wouldn’t have to skulk around the countryside anymore. And the ice flow (floe?) thing. I mean… Jesus!

NOTABLE:  Some of the crew died while filming this because they waited and then filmed it in an actual blizzard. (Fucking dogme freaks.)

BEST PART:  The Gish Babe giving that asshole H-E-double hockey sticks right in front of everyone.

BEST LINE:  This top! But Auntie, where’s the rest of it?

CROWNS:  4 out of 5

January 14, 2010 at 12:01 am Leave a comment

White Christmas

MOVIE:  White Christmas

NUTSHELL:  Post-post-war tale of Army buddies uber alles wherein two successful song and dance men bail out their beloved former General when his Vermont ski lodge is about to go under due to lack of snow.

GOOD THINGS:  Funny stuff and some nice dancing, Danny Kaye, George Clooney’s aunt, Vera Ellen, crowns, gowns, ballerinas

BAD THINGS:  Grown men crying, some unbelievably gay moments (“Wow,” you will say to your companion, “That’s freaking GAY!”, more eyeliner than the Geneva Convention should allow

FEATURES:  Vera Ellen’s hypnotizing thin yet muscular thighs, men in need of bras (I’m looking at you, Earboy), beatnik jokes, nosy housekeepers, George Maharis flouncing around like a nut, Dean Jagger, Mary Wickes, train travel, a whole lot of feathers

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  I know he was a child-beating psycho and all but wow his eyes are so blue.

NOTABLE:  Warning: contains enormous skirts – I mean skirts that cover entire couches – skirts that made me fear for my life!

BEST PART:  Say what you will, men acting fey is still funny.

BEST LINE:  A guy that ugly’s got a lot of nerve having sisters.

CROWNS:  3 out of 5

January 13, 2010 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

Last Laugh

MOVIE:  Last Laugh

NUTSHELL:  A doorman gets demoted to washroom attendant and goes all bananas in pajamas.

GOOD THINGS:  Visually stunning with amazing mise en scene and better acting than you’d expect. Murnau’s storytelling is told only via visuals. (Movie contains only one title card.) One of the movies they blather on about in film school but you should still see.

BAD THINGS:  Perhaps if the one title card was in English rather than German, I would have enjoyed the film more.

FEATURES:  Heart-rending “eating soup” scene, strangers with candy, bellboys, a wedding, lost buttons.

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Emil Jannings egomaniacal preening and grooming of his beard

NOTABLE:  Revolving door motif

BEST PART:  Woman with lunchpail going totally berserk

BEST LINE:  No lines in this one. Hmph.

CROWNS:  5 out of 5

January 13, 2010 at 11:48 pm Leave a comment

Bob Le Flambeur

MOVIE:  Bob Le Flambeur

NUTSHELL:  Super stylish 1955 noir Montmartre de Melville in which an aging high roller goes bust and prepares for his first job in 20 years.

GOOD THINGS:  Isabelle Corey – the most cutiest patootiest french girl you’ve ever seen, silver-haired and sooo cool Roger Duchesne as Beub, impressively high fuck-me pumps, notes to the cleaning lady, Deauville, Simone Paris as the hooke– um, bartender with a heart of gold

BAD THINGS:  The spoil sport croupier and his wife (Claude Cerval and Colette Fleury)

FEATURES:  Daniel Cauchy, Dubonnet ashtrays – a lot of them, Guy Decomble, closet slots, naked retro french babes!, Gérard Buhr as the bad guy

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Extended Baccarat sequence made my life flash before my eyes.

NOTABLE:  Well I was worried for Beub – very, very worried for Beub. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll feel for the frenchies!

BEST PART:  All those frogs saying “Beub.”

BEST LINE:  You’ll end up a pavement princess.

CROWNS:  4 out of 5

January 13, 2010 at 11:45 pm Leave a comment

Mister Roberts (guest)

MOVIE: Mister Roberts

GUEST: Lisa from Zuma

NUTSHELL: Honest and truthful WW II story without a single shot fired nor single drop of blood spilled. Yarn about not the dangers of war, but the indignities. A young Navy lieutenant battles a petty captain for the hearts and minds of the supply ship USS Reluctant.

GOOD THINGS: John Ford at the helm, so to speak. Henry Fonda in his finest hour and a half. Jack Lemmon at his best. Comraderie in spades. Laundry room explosions. WACs! (Hell, who doesn’t like a good WAC once in a while.) Fonda vs. Cagney for the Pacific Theater middleweight championship. “Order of the Palm” ceremony. I want one! Ahem… Anyway, back in the day when your television had but seven channels, “Mister Roberts” playing on Movies Till Dawn was better than sex. (I was 11 years old. Duh.) Jimmy Cagney as an a-hole. How rare. Busty broads in ill-fitting Navy uniforms.

BAD THINGS: None, unless you count Doug Roberts buying the farm.

FEATURES: Last film role for William Powell, playing the now-legendary “Doc,” a sage for the ages. Jack Lemmon, as the irrepressible Ensign Pulver, who would dock a sequel bearing his name, rank, and federal tax identification number.

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS: James Cagney, microphone and captive audience in hand, emasculating his crew.

NOTABLE: John Ford fell ill, and Mervyn LeRoy cajoled “Mister Roberts” into history. Henry Fonda once said he considered playing Doug Roberts on Broadway (Tony-winner) and playing him again on screen was his life’s greatest honor. With “Gardens of Stone,” one of the few great films about war never to feature a weapon stronger than cheap whiskey or panty hose. Look close: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman are featured extras. Talk about a dreamboat? Oy. Fonda’s daughter years later was also near battle.

BEST PART: Henry Godamned Fonda climbing the bridge of that ship and pitching that captain’s prized palm tree into the drink. I’m not worthy.

BEST LINE: My name is Ensign Pulver, and I just threw your bloody palm tree overboard. Now what’s all this crap about no movie tonight?

CROWNS: 5 out of 5 palms

January 13, 2010 at 1:10 pm Leave a comment

The Great Escape (guest)

MOVIE: The Great Escape

GUEST: Lisa from Zuma

NUTSHELL: Stupid Nazis unwittingly imprison the craftiest Allied escape artists in Stalag Luft North, only to witness the largest and most effective mass breakout of POWs in military history. Based on a true story. Show is stolen by Steve McQueen as Captain Virgil Hilts, “The Cooler King.”

GOOD THINGS: Steve Fucking McQueen, man! Steve plays baseball, Steve rags on the Germans, Steve does a Super Bowl of Motocross on the 1944 German landscape. Steve! Steve! STEVE!!!! Steve stomps major ass in this epic. Oh, and Elmer Bernstein’s music is rather dandy.

BAD THINGS: Donald Pleasence losing his sight. Charles Bronson’s accent. Hello? Peru was an Ally? Steve Fucking McQueen getting recaptured. (This would have never happened in real life.)

FEATURES: Crack performances from Jimbo Garner, James Donald, James Coburn, and Richard Attenborough. Oh, and Steve Fucking McQueen.

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS: McQueen can’t get that frigging BMW over a dairy fence.

NOTABLE: More than 600 American and British officers spent the better part of a year planning this March 1944 run for the roses. About 100 of them made it, none, sadly, via motorcycle.

BEST PART: Are you nuts? Steve Fucking McQueen haulin’ booty on his stolen scooter.

BEST LINE: One has to ask for some very strange favors in the job I have.

CROWNS: 5 out of 5 shovels

January 13, 2010 at 12:31 am Leave a comment

Band a Part (Band of Outsiders)

MOVIE: Band a Part ( Band of Outsiders)

NUTSHELL: Two hoods prey upon a schoolgirl whose aunt has a rich boarder. Light and poppy compared to later Godard stuff.

GOOD THINGS: Anna Karina as Odile with more talent and eye makeup than her young age here should have allowed, the outfits, the English class, and the dawg

BAD THINGS: Hmmm.. Hmm….Uh… the aunt’s hair was kinda big

FEATURES: Sami Frey, Claude Brasseur, Jean-Luc Godard as the Narrator, Louisa Colpeyne, Daniele Girard, an extremely loud Simca, peppermint soda, hair ribbons

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS: Nothing in the movie really, mostly the uber hipsters in the theater NOTABLE: 1964 release – a very early commentary on kids more influenced by media than by actual life.

BEST PART: The direction – playing with form using silence, incongrous narration, literal narration, and beeyooteeful cinematography of Paris.

BEST LINE: It’s dumb, but I forgot your name.

CROWNS: 4 out of 5

January 12, 2010 at 11:05 pm Leave a comment

Ran (guest)


GUEST: Christopher Watkins

NUTSHELL: A masterpiece by Akira Kurosawa based on Shakespeare’s “King Lear.” An aging leader passes power to his eldest son. The sons turn on each other and their father in a truly great epic film. Please don’t let subtitles stop you from seeing this film.

GOOD THINGS: Cinematography, direction, performances, unrivaled battle scenes, locations, costumes, character depth, etc, etc. Superior to any American historical epic I can think of.

BAD THINGS: If blood and suicide turns you off, beware.

FEATURES: Well, a bunch of Japanese actors. I don’t know any of them, but all the main characters did a great job in their roles. Watch for the vengeful wife.

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS: Severed heads, suicides, spraying blood, yet at no point does it seem overdone or out of place. It all fits the tone of the film.

NOTABLE: Not even NOMINATED for best foriegn film at the Oscars. I find it superior to all the best picture nominees of that year, but it wasn’t even a blip on the FORIEGN FILM Nominees radar! Was nommed for best director – Akira Kurosawa, and won a single statue for costume design. Also, the direction has such a wonderful style to it, makes for refreshing difference from American film.

BEST PART: Vengeful wife holds one of the sons at knifepoint, then they have dirty samauri-sex. A great ending, beautiful long distance cinematography.

BEST LINE: “Man is born crying. When he stops crying, he dies.” (Something very similar to that.)

CROWNS: 5 out of 5

January 10, 2010 at 10:51 pm Leave a comment

Anatomy of a Murder

MOVIE: Anatomy of a Murder

NUTSHELL: Attorney Jimmy Stewart defends a hothead Army lifer but just wants to go fishing.

GOOD THINGS: Hot Stuff Lee Remick in capris, Jimmy Stewart

BAD THINGS: Ending, constant rape talk

FEATURES: Eve Arden, George C. Scott and his nose

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS: Jim Henson Ben Gazarra babies, credit sequence is exact match with Man with the Golden Arm’s

NOTABLE: Strange sudden Duke Ellington cameo, Otto Preminger

BEST PART: Courtroom stuff is the best part. No, really.

BEST LINE: OK, Mr. Biegler, you’ve got your panties in evidence now.

CROWNS: 3 out of 5

January 10, 2010 at 8:49 pm Leave a comment

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