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Showing posts from November, 2012

She can't act, she can't sing, she can't dance. A triple threat.

Singin’ in the Rain  (1952) While I’m not the greatest fan of musicals, I don’t particularly have anything against them either. I can appreciate the choreography, and (if they’re decent) the tunes, but usually the stop-start construction of the stories themselves fails to engage me. There are notable exceptions ( How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying is one) and very much in the favour of this Gene Kelly starrer (which he co-directed) is that it has a really solid plot to sink its teeth into, essentially starting with the same premise as The Artist . Here, a disastrous first talkie featuring Kelly’s Don Lockwood is turned into a massive hit by adding a few all-singing, all-dancing numbers. Kelly’s a decidedly rugged song and dance man, which makes how light on his feet he is even more impressive. Debbie Reynolds meanwhile (who I most associate with her daughter and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas ) has a good pair of lungs but is othe

I just gotta get a strategy, you know?

Silver Linings Playbook (2012) I’ve liked all of David O Russell’s previous films, but about 30 minutes in I was unsure whether I’d go the distance if this one was going to be nothing but two hours of Bradley Cooper going through a bi-polar meltdown. Fortunately, the introduction of the also troubled (and utterly gorgeous) Jennifer Lawrence turns things around, and if the film ultimately ekes out a path towards a very safe, traditional place (all you need is love to remedy your condition!) that’s far preferable to what might have ended up more Requiem for a Dream in pursuing a line of mental torment and aberration. And Russell seems quite unapologetic in turning towards the Sun; so much so that he evens sets the closing act at Christmas. The director’s more oddball comic predilections are present and correct (see also Flirting with Disaster and I Heart Huckabees ) but reined in by a “real world” setting he discovered with The Fighter . He populates it with

Archive - U

Featuring: The Unbelievable Truth The Underneath Until the End of the World The Unbelievable Truth (1989) Hal Hartley's first and probably best (although Simple Men and Amateur rate highly too). All the signature tics and quirks are here and the dialogue is frequently hilarious. Adrienne Shelly and Robert " not Peter Weller " Burke are attractive leads, but Chris Cooke is served the meatiest role as Shelly's money-motivated father. **** The Underneath (1995) Early, pre-career revitalisation Soderbergh. It's all fairly so-so for the first two-thirds, but once the heist occurs the director really finds his feet, particularly during the extended bed-bound sequences with Gallagher laid up. Always nice to see William Fichtner seething with fury too. Decent overall, but better in technique than plot. ***1/2 Until the End of the World (1991) The 4 1/2 hour Director's Cut, which I'd not se

Archive - P

Featuring: Pride and Glory The Princess Bride The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes Psycho Pulp Fiction Pride and Glory (2008) I can see why this sat on the shelf, unreleased. Colin Farrell chews the scenery in an uncontrollable rage, Edward Norton doesn't seem convinced he's playing a cop and Jon Voight goes through the motions. A few decent scenes in there but the result is derivative and seen-it-all-before. **1/2 The Princess Bride (1987) William Goldman's self-aware fairy tale for all ages (but probably more loved by adults) is translated to the screen by Rob Reiner without tremendous verve but a sure eye for casting and tone.  Cary Elwes arguably never gets a part this good again, Mandy Patinkin is always great but relishes Inigo Montoya (" You killed my father. Prepare to die ") and Wallace Shawn steals the first third of the film as criminal mastermind Vizzini (" Inconceivable ", "