Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Celluloid #9

In Home

All the President's Men (1976) Pakula - Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford play two reporters at the Washington Post trying to figure out who is connected to the Watergate scandal. The film definitely glorifies the role of a journalist and gathers quite a bit of tension for a story that most people know the outcome of beforehand. The ending is a little weird/rushed, but probably necessary since the movie already nearly reaches the 2 1/2 hour mark. 4/5

Baby Doll (1956) Kazan - Tennessee William's story about a desperate man named Archie and his young bride whom everyone calls "Baby Doll." Baby Doll and Archie had an agreement in their marriage that no sex would happen until her 20th birthday (which happens to be tomorrow in the film). Archie is also struggling with his cotton gin business and resorts to burning down a rival gin. The owner of that gin is forced to bring his cotton to Archie and tries his hardest to take Baby Doll's virginity in the process. Such maniacal great expressions...really fun and even made me nervous at times. 5/5

In Cold Blood (1967) Brooks - Based on Truman Capote's nonfiction story, we follow Dick and Perry as they set across Kansas to a farmhouse where they believe a safe with a lot of money can be found. However, they cannot find the safe and end up killing the entire family, only coming away with $43 and a radio. The film goes a little overboard at times in its examination of psychological reasons to commit murder and then later with capital punishment. 3.5/5

Shadows (1959) Cassavetes - Cassavete's debut is a jazzy, New York, black and white film centered around the concept of "passing." Lelia lives with her two brothers, Ben and Hugh. Lelia and Ben are quite light and often pass as white, but Hugh is much darker. Lelia sleeps with this white dude, but when he meets her brother Hugh, visibly becomes uncomfortable with the whole situation. 5/5

Spirit of the Beehive (1973) Erice - Spanish film that takes place post- Spanish civil war. The girls see a screening of "Frankenstein" and the younger sister becomes fascinated with the Frankenstein character. Her older sister says she has seen his spirit in an abandoned building closer to town. Ana (the younger girl) begins hanging out there and eventually mistakens a wounded man as the spirit. A very deliberately paced, beautiful, if slightly vague film. 4/5

Why Does Herr R. Run Amok? (1977) Fassbinder - The title is a joke, as Herr R.'s life is full of routine...work, parent-teacher meetings, coffee/tea with visitors, etc. His mom is too nosy, his son can't pay attention in school, and his wife is preoccupied with her expensive materialism. Herr R.'s life is starting to get to him...4/5

In News

*Wes Anderson is working on his next project based on a Roald Dahl story, Fantastic Mr. Fox. Anderson is a big fan of Dahl and the film is set to star George Clooney and Cate Blanchett, but one should also expect appearances by Anderson favorites, Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman.

* This isn't really film related, except that Alan Ball wrote American Beauty, and perhaps more importantly the beloved tv series "Six Feet Under." Anyway, Ball has written and is expected to start producing a new HBO series entitled "True Blood." I'm interested but very skeptical considering the lead will be played by Anna Paquin and according to the site charlainharris.com:

"Set in small-town Louisiana, series follows the world of vampires, who are able to co-exist with humans by drinking a Japanese-manufactured synthetic blood. While spooky, the show also contains a dose of humor alongside the horror"...we will see...

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