Tuesday, 16 December 2008

while i'm in a blogging mood...

I inadvertently had a weekend during which I watched a lot of movies. On Saturday I picked up my IMDB list and settled on The Day The Earth Stood Still - the 1951 original, not the current Nenanu remake (which I haven't seen, which I won't see, and which I am nonetheless quite prepared to put in a basket with other crap remakes of classic films). The film does a good job at the science fiction edict of using tehnology as a McGuffin in order to shine a light on some aspects of human nature. Perhaps its more by the accident of a stretched budget than by design, but the film also does a good job of using special effects matter-of-factly and not letting them overshadow the film's story and message (a restraint I can't imagine being respected by the remake). Also, the performance by its lead, Michael Rennie, is surprisingly good for an early film of a genre not known for acting.

On Sunday Mick brought round a DVD of Before The Devil Knows You're Dead, an ensemble drama with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney and Marisa Tomei. Its essentially a character study of family members perpetuating and dealing with an event that messes with their identities and relationships. The performances are strong, and although the first half of the film has some pacing problems - it seems to hurry the event itself in a rush to explore its consequences - it's a solid effort.

Come Sunday evening, the next IMDB flick picked out was The Sweet Smell of Success. Burt Lancaster headlines ahead of Tony Curtis, but in reality its Curtis' film, and a pretty solid one, about the New York journalism/gossip machine but mixed with a nice dose of charisma, fuelled by that pre-70s style of scriptwriting that died with the mainstreaming of realist dialogue.

I had an ambitious plan to turn it into a double feature, and started watching Fritz Lang's Metropolis. I was impressed by what I saw, particularly in terms of the scope of the technical achievement, but my eyes had been bigger than their capacity to stay open, so I had to abandon after 40 minutes.  To be continued...

My IMDB list progress has essentially stayed stagnant over the last month or two at roughly 230/250. My plan is to get that up towards 240 over the coming break, and hit the line some time in the new year.

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