Monday, May 23, 2011

Still Reeling (in the movies)

It's been a tough month, what with obligations and parties and the busiest time of the year at work and promises to keep and miles to go and my horse thinking it queer and, really, just the whole goddamn thing. Seriously, go find a kit, get yourself a caboodle (Amazon has 'em cheap), combine the two and that's what I got in things to keep me busy. But I'm still watching, still thinking around the clock about movies, still trying to get excited for something, anything in this, my most dreaded movie season, the summer season. Really, there's just nothing I ever want to see in the summer season. It doesn't mean I don't usually find something worthwhile in the end but I never expect to and usually can't muster up enough excitement to look very hard anyway.

At home, I wait it out by watching, scanning, perusing or just glancing at hundreds of movies, all those now available to me on streaming whenever I want. Here are some things I observed last week:

Escape From New York: By god, it's still entertaining. It's still stupid as hell, too (I mean, seriously, the architecture, the center of commerce, the history, all of it thrown away to make a prison?! Hahahahaaaaa!) but damn, it's entertaining. The one area where the "New York as Prison" worked best when it was released was the wink and a nudge joke John Carpenter was making about New York already being halfway there anyway. Now, though, with the downtown area glossed up, Disneyfied and fun for the whole family, most people probably wouldn't realize there was ever a joke there.

The Blue Angel (Original German Version): The scene where the Professor (Emil Jannings) drops the cigarettes is a great moment. For those unfamiliar, he has to crawl under the table to pick them up while Lola (Marlene Dietrich) stays seated at the table smoking hers. Meanwhile her legs are down there, in his face, driving him crazy. It's a great shot by Sternberg, the once dignified professor, on his hands and knees, under the table at her feet while she goes about her business. Talk about defining a relationship in purely visual terms.

Easy Virtue: Silent Hitchcock melodrama. Not as bad as I'd heard. By any other director would have seemed decent. By Hitchcock's standards, fairly sluggish and dull. But the line Noel Coward pens for the closer is the ultimate in self-pitying mega-drama!

Greedy: Not much to say here except this: Phil Hartman, god what a loss!

Algiers: The moment where Hedy Lamarr and Charles Boyer first spy each other is fantastic. The camera focuses in on Lamarr lips as they widen to a smile. Boyer, meanwhile, is doing nothing but eyeing her jewelry.

When We Were Kings: The final fight and its analysis is a joy to behold but it should be noted: Norman Mailer does the worst Ali impersonation in the history of ever.

Finally, Ed Howard, the most prolific unpaid movie reviewer on the internet, has a music club now which I will be participating in but, alas, not this time or, at least, not on the first day. I dropped the ball, simply no way around it. I didn't get the album in time (though I do have it now) and still haven't listened to it what with everything going on. But, if you have listened to and/or know well the album Heart of the Congos by The Congos, by all means, hop over to Only the Cinema and join in the discussion. I'm sorry I missed it but will chime in later once I've listened to the album and formed something resembling a cogent opinion.

That's all for now. Back to work, watching movies and listening to The Congos.