Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)***
After seeing the picture a second time, I have a theory: Blake Edwards knew he could never film the actual novel in a realistic way and get away with it, so he decided to stylize and colorize the whole thing so he could pretend it was a satire. "It's just a cartoon." Yes, it's a silly cartoon with a buck-toothed Mickey Rooney as a Japanese landlord, ultra-colorful Manhattan scenes, odd dialogue and situations, a luminous Audrey Hepburn, a lovely, haunting theme song which she sings perfectly and an undercurrent of sadness and melancholy. I still, however, think George Peppard is all wrong.
Detour (1945)****
Extremely low budget proto-noir with one of the all time great femme fatale performances by Ann Savage. Director Edgar Ulmer keeps the pace brisk so you can't tell the film was shot in essentially two locations: a hotel room and a car. Great fun.
Ruthless (1948)**
Overwrought melodrama about a voracious power fiend whose only motivation seems to be because somebody else has it. Sidney Greenstreet does a good job but he is badly miscast as a rival.
Wait Until Dark (1967)**
Alan Arkin is having a blast but the movie gets tiresome pretty quickly. One of the first to employ the not-dead-yet villain trope.
How to Steal a Million (1966)**
You can't beat the pairing of Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole in Paris. It's a shame the material is so woefully dull.
Grave of the Fireflies (1988)**
Bleak, horrific story of immediately post-war Japan and two siblings struggling to survive. Not an entertaining picture despite excellent realistic animation.
The Natural (1984)**
The picture is fine in the first half with nicely restrained yet stylish direction, but falters in the second when the score becomes obtrusive and the momentum slows considerably. Then the abrupt ending.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Forgetting Pill Erases Painful Memories Forever |
"Once you start questioning the reality of memory, things fall apart pretty quickly. So many of our assumptions about the human mind—what it is, why it breaks, and how it can be healed—are rooted in a mistaken belief about how experience is stored in the brain. (According to a recent survey, 63 percent of Americans believe that human memory “works like a video camera, accurately recording the events we see and hear so that we can review and inspect them later.”) We want the past to persist, because the past gives us permanence. It tells us who we are and where we belong. But what if your most cherished recollections are also the most ephemeral thing in your head?"

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Woody Allen, Exclusive Interview | OUT OF ORDER Magazine:
"That’s the easy part; the technical part is easy. Where you fail all the time in movies, or ninety-nine percent of the time, is in the script. That’s the problem. If you have a good script, a really good script, you can give it to a mediocre director and he’ll get, you know, not a bad movie. If you have a bad script and you give it to the best director in the world, it’ll look nice but you’ll never be interested in it. So it isn’t the cities or the technical part that ever trips you up. It’s always the script. Every country has good actors, every country has good cameramen and technicians but it’s hard to write something that works and that people enjoy and get interested in. That’s really the hard part."

Friday, February 03, 2012

The Descendants (2011)**
Disappointing follow-up to Sideways, this is NOT a comedy. This is a stark, raw and uncompromising look at the privileged classes and how utterly divorced from reality they can be. A bit too under directed by Alexander Payne, which makes it hard to determine exactly what he is going for with this material.