Sunday, November 9, 2014

#563 The Snake Pit

It's sort of strange seeing sweet-faced Olivia de Havilland play a character who is mentally ill, especially after seeing her as Melanie Wilkes and Maid Marian. Here she plays a woman who stays at a mental hospital, but can't remember how she got there, or much else. She is constantly losing time, and has trouble remembering where she is and who people are. She not only has to deal with not understanding her own mind, but also with being switched from ward to ward and a super strict nurse, who constantly gives her a hard time. Eventually, she starts to understand the roots of her issues, and this movie has a nice happy ending where she goes home with her husband.

#562 Klute

Klute is about a private detective who gains the help of a call girl while trying to solve a mans disappearance. To be honest, the movies plot didn't interest me all that much, but the performances of Donald Sutherland and Jane Fonda make this movie worth watching. Individually they are great, but the best scenes of the movie are of the two of them together. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

#561 The Seventh Victim

I'm surprised that this movie could get made in the 1940s, considering that it's about Satanism and suicide. What's interesting about the Satanists in this movie is that they seem like a group of totally normal people. They actually reminded me of the Satanists from Rosemary's Baby.  Anyways, this movie is about a girl who, after trying to find her missing sister Jacqueline, finds out that she is part of a Satanic cult. Jacqueline is accused of betraying the cult by seeing a psychiatrist, so they want her to kill herself. What is great about horror movies as well as film noir from the 30s-50s is that they have great use of lighting and shadows. There is a great scene in this movie where Jacqueline is running from someone in the dark, and she hides in the shadows and completely disappears while the man walks by.

#560 The Dead

I have never read the short story that this is based on (or anything by James Joyce for that matter), but apparently this movie is a very faithful adaptation. I believe it because the structure of this movie does seem more like a short story than a typical film. The first part of this film takes place at a party, where this married couple Gabriel and Gretta are there with a bunch of friends. They dance, have dinner, and spend a lot of time talking about music. Then, Gretta hears this song which seems to have a huge effect on her, putting her in a bit of a daze while she listens on the staircase, as well as in the carriage on the way home. When they get home, he asks her what is wrong, and she tells him about this boy who used to sing the song, and who ended up dying after standing outside of her window one night in the rain. It shows how the dead, no matter how long they are gone, can still have a big effect on those they leave behind.

#559 Sunset Boulevard

"Back then we didn't need dialogue. We had faces!" The introduction of talkie pictures was such a major event in film history, so it isn't a surprise that there are a bunch of great films about this subject, especially films with a focus on the effect it had on silent film actors. These films include "Singin' in the Rain," "The Artist," and the film I just watched, "Sunset Boulevard." The film is about a writer, who find his way into the house of former silent film star. He moves in with her, and she becomes his sugar mama who dresses him, and buys him lots of gifts. She asks him to help her with her script for a film that she wants to be her comeback film directed by Cecil B. DeMille, who she had previously made twelve films with. Unfortunately for her, DeMille has no interest in helping her relaunch her career, but he also doesn't have the guts to tell her himself. So, the writer, and her butler decide to keep it a secret. I felt so bad for the butler character. At first, he just seems like a man who has served her forever and is thus very loyal, but you eventually find out that he wasn't always her servant. In fact, he was the director of her earliest films, and he was her first husband. He made the choice to serve her after he couldn't handle it when she left him. So, he does whatever she asks, writers her fans letters so that she thinks she still has fans, and makes sure that she doesn't find out that DeMille has no interest in making her film. At the end of the movie, he even indulges her fantasy after she kills the writer and goes crazy, and makes her think she is shooting a film while she is being taken away by the police.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

#558 Shadow of a Doubt

Shadow of a Doubt is about a girl named Charlie who is very excited about her uncle coming to visit, also named Charlie. He is apparently everyone's favorite person, and for some reason has a couple detectives looking for him. At first I thought that this man was an impostor who was just pretending to be Charlie. Girl Charlie mentions that he looks different, and I didn't see anything about this man for this family to get excited about. I was wrong, however. He does indeed turn out to be Uncle Charlie, and Uncle Charlie also happens to be a murderer who kills widows and steals their money. Girl Charlie finds out about this, but for some reason she doesn't tell anyone, and this almost gets her killed twice. The second time, Uncle Charlie tries to push her off of a train, but she manages to save herself, and its the uncle who dies. He not only falls off the train, but we see another train coming as well, so he also gets ran over. Ouch.
Fun fact: In the Woody Allen movie "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," Vicky sees a movie with a guy from her Spanish class, and I always wondered what it was, and now I know! They went to see Shadow of a Doubt. They show the train scene from the movie right before Uncle Charlie tries to push Girl Charlie off.

#557 Tristana

This movie reminded me a lot of Luis Bunuel's other film "Viridiana." An old man falls in love with a beautiful young woman who comes to stay with him, and this ultimately leads to his demise. Except in this film, he succeeds in seducing the young girl. They live together for a while, and the old man sees himself as both her husband and father, and basically keeps her prisoner. She eventually moves out when she falls in love with an artist, but movies back in when she thinks she is going to die. She ends up living, however, and hates the old man more and more each day, especially after a priest convinces her that she should marry him. She hates him so much that when he asks her to call for a doctor one night, she only pretends to and then lets the cold air in his room and waits for him to die. It seems that she subconsciously wants him dead right from the beginning because towards the beginning of the film and right before she lets him die, she has the same dream where his severed head is ringing a bell.

#556 Pink Flamingos

This movie made my list of movies to never watch with other people. It's also on my list of movies that I will never watch again. I also don't have a picture for this post because I didn't want to do a Google search for fear that I would see that big gaping asshole again. This movie was basically John Waters thinking of every way that he could shock people, and he succeeded! This movie is just filthy and gross, and seems even more filthy and gross because it is so low budget and looks like a home movie. The only other John Waters movies I've seen are Cry-Baby and Hairspray, and those movies are also really campy, but they are definitely a lot tamer than Pink Flamingos. I knew that this movie would have some shocking moments, like the famous dog shit scene, but I really underestimated it. Normally the volume on my TV is at 24, but I turned it down to 10 because I didn't want any people walking by my door to hear what I was watching.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

#555 Shock Corridor

This fellows ambition was a bit too much for him. Shock Corridor is about a man who wants to win the Pulitzer Prize, so he has his girlfriend pretend to be his sister and say that he keeps trying to have sex with her, so that he can be put in a mental institution in order to solve a murder. So of course, the crazy environment and the shock treatments make him actually go crazy, and he ends the movie as a catatonic schizophrenic. The most interesting character in the movie was the black KKK guy. He was the only black guy in an all white university, and was clearly driven insane by all of the racist people who didn't want him going to that school. The way he was introduced was great.

At first you just see this sign with all of this incredibly racist stuff on it, and you just think, "Ugh, I hate this character already," and then it lowers and reveals that its being carried by black man. He talks about the KKK and has his little white mask thingy, and even starts a little race riot and chases a black orderly. Later in the movie we find out that he was made that way from all of the harassment he faced for attending a college with white students. It's actually really sad.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

#554 The Grapes of Wrath

I read this book about ten years ago, and there are only two parts from the book that I really remember. The part when this woman lets them buy candy for two for a penny, and the ending when Rose-of-Sharon's baby is stillborn and she breastfeeds a starving man in a barn. This movie showed the first part exactly how I remember from the book, but since this was the 1940s, they didn't even have a scene that implied the ending of the book. Instead, the movie has more of a hopeful ending. This movie makes me really glad that I do not live during the Great Depression. The scene when Ma Joad is cooking for her family and this big group of starving children come asking for food is so sad! The Joad clan has to worry about starvation and family members dying and local people who want to keep the "Okies" out, all so they can go to California, even though they know that there aren't any more jobs. Henry Fonda is great as always as Tom Joad. He is always great at playing hero, and you can't help but root for him. I watched this movie earlier where he played a prisoner who kills a priest so he can escape prison, but you still wanted him to get away with it! He was also terribly handsome when he was young, so that might also have something to do with it...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

#553 The Player

The Player stars Tim Robbins as a Hollywood executive who starts getting threatening postcards. He spends his days listening to writers give terrible movie pitches, so he is convinced that he is being threatened by one of these writers. After following one of them to the movies, he ends up killing him, but it turns out that this writer is not the one who was writing to him. So, not only does he have to worry about a murder investigation, but he is also continuing to get these postcards. He also starts seeing the girlfriend of the writer he killed. We never do find out who was sending him the postcards, but he ends up blackmailing Robbins into making a movie about the events in exchange for a happy ending.
This movie is filled with cameos from actual movie stars like Anjelica Huston, John Cusack, Andie McDowell, Bruce Willis, Julia Roberts, and Cher. There are so many cameos, I kept getting confused about who was playing themselves and who was playing a character. Like when I first saw Whoopi Goldberg, I assumed she was playing herself, but she's actually playing a police officer. Also, I love that for one of the movies that was pitched, the writer kept insisting that the movie not have stars and that he wanted the woman character to die, and at the end when they show a screening of the movie it stars Julia Roberts and Bruce Willis, and he comes in and saves her at the last minute.

Monday, September 22, 2014

#552 The Conversation

The Conversation is about an audio surveillance worker who becomes obsessed with this conversation that he recorded between this young couple. He listens to the tapes over and over again, and particularly fixates on the phrase "he'd kill us if he had the chance." He believes that this means that the couple are in danger, so he refuses to hand over the tapes to The Director, the man who hired him. His obsession with the tapes, combined with the guilt over the death of people involved with a previous surveillance case he worked on, makes him go a little nutty. He starts having bad dreams, and starts seeing things including blood gushing out of the toilet, and the young woman's murder, which turns out to never have happened. He is so convinced that they are in danger that he fails to see what is actually happening, which is that the young couple were planning to kill The Director.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

#551 Children of a Lesser God

I have liked every single one of the films I've seen that William Hurt starred in during the 1980s. This includes Body Heat, The Big Chill, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Broadcast News, and now Children of a Lesser God. In Children of a Lesser God he plays a speech teacher at a school for the deaf. While there, he falls in love with the school's janitor, played by the fabulous Marlee Matlin, who is also the youngest person ever to win the Best Actress Oscar. She is a former student who refused to learn how to speak after being teased about it as a child. At the beginning, you think that the movie is going to be about Hurt's character helping her to stop be so stubborn and learn to speak, but it is instead about him having to learn to respect her choice not to speak. Hurt is great as usual, but the actor who really stands out in this film is Marlee Matlin. She is great as the angry and stubborn Sara, who tries to close herself off from her emotions for fear of "shriveling up and blowing away." There is a part in this movie where she actually does speak, and it is the most heartbreaking moment of the whole film. She gets so frustrated that Hurt keeps trying to get her to speak, she screams at him instead. There is another great scene with Matlin and Piper Laurie, which is when Sara sees her mom for the first time in eight years.

#550 L'Age d'Or

This is one of Bunuel's surrealistic films, so there is a lot of really bizarre stuff happening. The beginning and ending scenes in the movie have nothing at all to do with the rest of it, except that they apparently happened a few hours before the start of the main story and at the same time as the ending of the main story. Well, since this film is surrealism, there isn't really a story, but L'Age d'Or is essentially about a man and a woman who are super horny. It seems like everything that they see reminds them of sex, and when they try to have sex with each other, they keep getting interrupted. This movie has a lot of pretty odd scenes, like when the man looks at an advertisement and it makes him think of the woman masturbating,  and the scene after they get interrupted for the second time, the woman decides to perform fellatio on a statue's toe. I guess she gets tired of waiting for the man because she ends up dumping him for the orchestra conductor, which makes him angry, so he takes all of the feathers out of his pillow and starts throwing stuff out of the window, including a guy dressed like the pope and a giant giraffe statue. The people in this film are also really short tempered. In one scene, the man slaps this old woman in the face because she spills a little wine on his suit. In another scene, a man shoots a little boy (twice!) because the boy knocked something out of his hand. While this movie has a little more of a plot than Un Chien Andalou, it is just as bizarre.

#549 Cinema Paradiso

I loved loved loved this movie! I've always been a big fan of movies about movies, including Singin' in the Rain and Hugo, and this is another great movie that I can add to that list. Cinema Paradiso is about a film director named Salvatore (nickname Toto) who looks back on his life after he finds out that his friend Alfredo died. Alfredo was the projectionist at the Cinema Paradiso, the local movie theater. Toto went to the theater all the time and learned how to work the projector as well as started a collection of film strips (mostly kissing scenes) that Alfredo was ordered to cut out of films by the town's priest. After a freak accident leaves Alfredo blind, Toto becomes the new projectionist, and works there until Alfredo convinces him to leave and do something with his life. There is also a pretty cute love story when Toto is older with him and this pretty girl he sees at the station. As a massive film lover, I really appreciated this film and how it showed how excited people used to be about going to the movies. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case anymore, which this movie also shows when the Cinema Paradiso gets demolished at the end. It was so sad!!! I also really loved the ending of the movie, when Toto splices together his collection of kissing scenes and watches them on the big screen.

One of the kisses, which appears at about :22 looks like it's from "His Girl Friday," but I have never seen that before! Did the priest cut out parts from my DVD as well? 

#548 David Holzman's Diary

This movie is about David Holzman, a guy who gets fired from his job and then decides to start filming his life in order to find "the truth." Unfortunately, as soon as he starts his video diary, his life starts to get even worse. His girlfriend is totally unhappy with being filmed and ends up dumping him. Throughout the movie we also see what a creep this guy is. He not only films his nude girlfriend while she sleeps, but he also films his female neighbor through her window. One time he even calls her so that he can get another glimpse of her. Slowly he starts to realize that he is not getting what he wants from filming himself. There is even a scene where he is yelling at his camera and sound recorder saying "Why aren't you working!?" His documentary eventually ends when someone breaks into his apartment and steals his camera equipment, which we find out by listening to an audio recording he made that is accompanied by photos.
Interesting fact: watching this movie unintentionally continued my little Vincent Price marathon (yesterday I watched The House of Seven Gables and Masque of the Red Death and today I watched Witchfinder General) because there is a montage of all the shows he watched one day, and you see glimpses of Price as Egghead on Batman.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

#547 12 Angry Men

This movie never lost my attention for a moment. Pretty much the entire movie takes place in a single room, and yet this is one of the most tense movies I have ever seen. It is about these 12 jurors who have to make the decision about whether or not to send this 18 year old kid to the electric chair. He has all of this evidence against him, including eyewitness testimony, so it seems like an open and shut case, but Juror #8 is not convinced. He never claims that the boy is innocent, he just says that there is reasonable doubt to whether is guilty. Throughout the movie he convinces more and more of the jurors, and they all slowly start to realize that the evidence wasn't as strong as they all believed. Henry Fonda is great in this movie, like he was in everything else I've seen him in. He is always great at playing the noble soft-spoken hero. I remember when I saw him in "The Wrong Man" where he played a man wrongfully accused of robbery, and that was one of the most stressful film watching experiences of my life. Henry Fonda would never do something like that! He is the ultimate good guy.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

#546 Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer

This movie isn't really about Aileen Wuornos or her crimes, but is about the people around her who were capitalizing on her fame. There were the crooked cops who were involved with movie deals, her creep lawyer who seemed more interested in promoting his music career than saving her life, and her awful adopted mom, who conveniently adopts Wuornos (who is basically her same age) before her first trial and has an agent to negotiate her appearance fees. There are a lot of scenes in this movie that just left me with an uneasy feeling. There's a scene when a cop gives a tour of death row and he just talks about the whole process so casually it is really depressing. There's also the scene when the director finally get's to talk to Wuornos and we find out that her "mom" and lawyer were the ones who convinced her to plead guilty and that they were even telling her to kill herself. They just seem like such awful people who were taking advantage of someone who was becoming famous for being the "first female serial killer." What is interesting is that even though the director is pointing all of this stuff out, he isn't really doing anything different. He is also capitalizing on Wuornos' crimes with this documentary.

#545 The Reckless Moment

Instead of the good guy getting seduced by the bad girl like in most film noir, this film has the bad guy falling for the good girl. At the start of the movie, Joan Bennett is telling her daughter's boyfriend that she doesn't want him to see her anymore. He says that he'll stop seeing her for money, but instead of indulging him, she just leaves and tells her daughter about it. Of course her daughter doesn't believe it, but then her boyfriend tells her himself that he does in fact need money. The next morning, Bennett finds him dead, and gets rid of the body in the swamp. After his body is found, James Mason shows up with letters that her daughter wrote to her boyfriend, and tries to blackmail her. The blackmail storyline has been done so many times that I thought this movie would be predictable, but unlike in other blackmail stories, the one doing the blackmailing ends up falling for the person he's blackmailing. I thought it was odd how he was so nice about everything, but then it becomes apparent that he cares about her when he says that he'll give up his share of the money and that she would only have to pay his boss. Mason's character is interesting because he is someone who has always been a bad guy, but decides to be good when he falls in love. Unfortunately, trying to be good leads him to do something worse than anything he had ever done before.

#544 The Fourth Man

When I saw this was one of Verhoeven's Dutch films, I was a little bummed that Rutger Hauer wasn't in it. I ended up liking this one a bit more than Turkish Delight, however, even though that is supposedly the greatest Dutch film of all time. The Fourth Man is about this writer named Gerard who has all of these dark visions of the future and starts sleeping with this woman named Christine even though he is gay. He finds a photo of another one of her lovers (Herman) and recognizes him from the train station. He really wants this guy, so he convinces her to bring him to her house. While she goes to get him, he finds out that she had been married three times before, and when he gets Herman to himself, they end up in a tomb that holds the ashes of her three husbands. He is convinced that she is a black widow, and that either he or Herman will be "the fourth man." I love how you never really find out if she is actually a murderess, so you don't know if Gerard is crazy or not. Throughout the movie he is having dreams about a woman in blue, who he sees everywhere and ends up leading him to the tomb. He also has visions of an eyeball being gouged out and Herman covered in blood, which also ends up happening. If he is having psychic visions, then perhaps it is possible that Christine is a witch. Or perhaps Gerard is insane and there was no woman in blue.

Friday, September 5, 2014

#543 The Big Heat

Film noir is usually pretty dark, but this is one of the darkest I've seen from the genre. After his wife is murdered by a car bomb, a cop decides to take down the crime syndicate who killed her. He becomes obsessive about it and even ends up losing his job. Gloria Grahame plays one of the criminals' girlfriends who gets her face disfigured after one of her boyfriends thugs sees her drive off with the cop. I didn't like her character at first and thought she was kind of annoying. Apparently the part was written for Marilyn Monroe, which would explain why she is such a ditz. I thought she was just going to become a damsel in distress, but instead she decides to get even. She does what the cop couldn't and kills the woman who holds the  evidence against the bad guys (which was set to be released if anything happens to her) then goes to her ex's house and messes up his face the wayhe  messed up hers. Unfortunately she dies, but not before she tells him that she is the reason for his future downfall. I love that they didn't just let her character become a victim.

#542 Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse

Considering that Apocalypse Now is such a classic, it's interesting to see how little faith Francis Ford Coppola had in himself while making the film. He was so stressed out about the film that he was even saying that he wanted to kill himself!  It's crazy how much stuff went down during the making of Apocalypse Now. They used helicopters from the Filipino military, and they would just take off with them in the middle of shooting because a civil war was going on. Poor Martin Sheen had a heart attack in the middle of shooting and Coppola had to deal with Dennis Hooper being all stoned and not knowing his lines. He was so sure that this movie was going to turn out awful, but it is now considered to be one of the best films ever made.

Monday, September 1, 2014

#541 Blackmail

After this, I only have two more Hitchcock films to go. After I watch Shadow of a Doubt and Frenzy, I will have watched all of the Hitchcock films in the book. This is the earliest of his films that I have seen. I have never seen any of his silent films, and this is his first talkie. Apparently this was the first sound picture for England, and they decided to make it a talkie after they had already started production. You can tell because the first 10 minutes are silent. I don't know why they didn't just go back and dub the scenes. They end up feeling out of place. Blackmail is about a woman who stabs to death a man who tries to rape her. Her boyfriend is a detective, and he recognizes her glove at the man's apartment, so he knows that it was her and after he confronts her about it, this other man comes up to them with her other glove and decides to blackmail them. There are some interesting scenes like when she is sitting at the table listening to someone talking and the only word she hears is "knife," which is getting louder and louder the longer the woman talks, but I started losing interest in this movie about half way through. I love Alfred Hitchcock, and I've never seen a movie of his that I have not liked, but I think that this was my least favorite one so far. I wasn't interested in the characters at all, and I didn't think that the plot was that interesting.

Friday, August 29, 2014

#540 The Blue Angel

This movie was actually a lot darker than I thought it would be. It is about a strict professor who finds out that his students are going to this club called The Blue Angel. So, he decides to go there and stop them, but ends up falling in love with a nightclub singer called Lola Lola. When he proposes to Lola, and she starts laughing, I thought for sure that she was going to reject him, but oddly enough the two of them end up getting married. So, he quits his job and ends up traveling around with her and her act. After four years, he ends up working as a clown. At the end of the movie it is really depressing to see him humiliate himself onstage. Half of the audience loves it, but the other half of the audience gets angry. While he is onstage getting eggs smashed on his head and being forced to act like a chicken, his wife is downstairs making out with the strong man. He then loses it, and tries to kill her, all the while still acting like a chicken. He loses all of his self respect as well as his mind, all for a woman who never really loves him.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

#539 The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

What an odd movie. I would expect nothing less from Luis Bunuel. This movie is about a group of upper class people who keep trying to eat together, but keep getting interrupted by more and more bizarre situations. It starts off small, with them getting the date mixed up on when they were having dinner together, and then the situations get more and more peculiar. As the movie goes on you find out that the odd situations are actually people's dreams, or their dreams within dreams. For example, they all get invited to eat with a colonel. As they sit down to eat, curtains open up and they are revealed to be on a stage. Suddenly, we see one of the character's wake up, talk about his weird dream, and then he and his wife go to dinner with the colonel. While at dinner, two men get in a fight and one shoots the other. Then, a different man wakes up and says that he dreamed about the first man having a dream and then going to eat dinner with the colonel, where a man was shot. The most bizarre dream was when they all were arrested (which itself may or may not have been a dream) and one of the policemen dreams that they are torturing a man with a piano and that a ghost of a sergeant is roaming the halls and setting prisoners free. What is great about this movie is that even though all of these weird things are happening, the characters all act like everything is normal. Like when there was apparently a war going on outside of the house, they all just sat there talking to each other like nothing was going on.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

#538 Viridiana

This is the third Luis Bunuel film that I have seen, after Un Chien Andalou, and Abmismos de Pasion, his adaptation of Wuthering Heights. This film is two separate stories about how you can't really trust anyone. The first half is about Viridiana, a woman about to take her vows to become a nun, who is forced to stay with her uncle for a little while. She looks exactly like her uncle's dead wife, so he instantly falls in love with her and tries to convince her to stay and be his wife. He even has her wear his wife's wedding dress, and when she refuses his advances, he drugs her and almost rapes her before changing his mind. After she leaves, he ends up killing himself. The second half is after Viridiana decides that she no longer wants to go back to the convent. She decides to do good another way and lets a bunch of vagrants stay with her. At first they seem grateful and harmless, but as soon as she leaves, they destroy the house and one of them tries to rape Viridiana after she returns. This woman just goes through a whole bunch of crap because she was doing what she thought was right, and this movie shows you how harsh life can be. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

#537 All About My Mother

Pedro Almodovar film's are always filled with lots of drama and dramatic situations, but this is the first of his films that I've seen that was actually sad. I cried three or four times while watching this movie. It is about a woman named Manuela whose son dies while trying to get an autograph from this actress who was playing Blanche in a production of A Streetcar Named Desire.  So, she decides to go to Barcelona to find his father, who never even knew that he got Manuela pregnant. It turns out that her son's father is a transsexual named Lola who impregnated a young nun (!) played by Penelope Cruz and also infected her with the HIV virus. She ends up becoming her surrogate mother while also working as a personal assistant for the actress, who coincidentally is doing Streetcar in Barcelona. This is the 9th Pedro Almodovar film that I've seen, and I have genuinely liked all of them. This one seemed a lot more personal to him than the other ones, and at the end, he even dedicates it to his mother (along with Bette Davis, Gena Rowlands, and Romy Schneider.) Aldmodovar's films always seem to have such interesting and complex characters who you can't help but like even if they are very flawed, and even if you don't like them, you are intrigued by them. Like in this movie, I didn't really like Agrado that much at first, but as the movie progressed she grew on me. There's this great scene where the two leads are in the hospital and Streetcar can't go on, so she decides to tell the audience her life story and she gives this great speech about authenticity.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

#536 Cria Cuervos

Cria Cuervos is about a little girl named Ana who seems to be completely desensitized to death. After she watches her mother suffer with cancer and die, she blames her father and decides to poison him. The "poison" that she uses is actually baking soda, but when her father actually dies of a heart attack, she thinks that she was the cause. Throughout the movie this little girl has to deal with so much stuff that little kids shouldn't have to deal with, including death and her father's adultery. Even when she is playing, she is pretending that she is an adult. There is a scene where her and her sister dress up and pretend to be a married couple, and what they do is fight about the husband coming home late. Later on in the movie you see a flashback to when Ana witnessed her parent's having a similar fight. In another scene, Ana is playing with a doll and is annoyed about changing it's diaper and breastfeeding it.
After "killing" her father, she seems to have no problem with killing other people. She offers to kill her grandmother who is suffering from Alzheimer's, and she puts "poison" in her aunt's milk. I thought that she was going to change her mind and knock the cup out of her aunt's hand or something, but for some reason she wanted her aunt dead. Later, she goes to her aunt's room and pets her head and says "poor thing..." which is exactly what she did to her pet hamster when it died. She then goes down to the kitchen and washes her Aunt's cup, which mirrors the earlier scene when she finds her father dead. She was very surprised when she woke up the next morning to find her aunt was still alive.
The only time that Ana seems to be happy is when she is imagining that her mother is with her. I didn't even realize until after the second time that Ana saw her mom that she was dead. Ana Torrent is really great as Ana. She just has this great face and those big expressive brown eyes. She is an innocent little girl who is dealing with all of these dark things, and her character is somewhat similar to her character is The Spirit of the Beehive, which she is also great in.

#535 Talk To Her

Pedro Almodovar seems to have a way with taking a subject matter that would normally be creepy and unsettling and turning it into something interesting and rather beautiful. With the character of Benigno, instead of being creeped out by him, I ended up just feeling really sorry for him. This movie is about two men, Benigno and Marco who become friends after Marco's bullfighter girlfriend goes into a coma after being gored. At the start of the movie, Benigno has been taking care of another coma patient, Alicia, for four years. You see from the start how attached he is to her, but as you watch the movie you find out that he is actually in love with her, and has been since before she was in a coma. He takes care of her night and day, and during his time off he does the activities that she used to like, so that he can talk to her about them. At first it seems sort of sweet, but then you realize that he is delusional about their relationship, and that he doesn't think there is anything wrong with wanting to marry a woman in a coma. When the doctors find out that Alicia is pregnant, I really didn't want it to be Benigno who raped her, but who else could it have been? I do believe that he genuinely loves her, but he is also mentally unstable. His behavior and actions were definitely not okay, and he deserved to go to jail, but you can't help but sympathize with him a little bit. The friendship between Marco and Benigno is also really interesting. You would think that Marco would be disgusted with Benigno, but he sticks by him through everything.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

#534 Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

"Ladies and gentlemen....welcome to violence!" This movie is completely ridiculous and over the top and I love it! It is about a female gang of go-go dancers who are also drag racers and murderers. The leader is Varla, who has Elvira-level cleavage throughout the whole movie and always seems to be standing with one foot up on her car. There's Rosie, with her over the top Italian accent (complete with hand gestures), who may or may not be in love with Varla, and then there's Billie, who spends the movie either dancing, flirting, or drinking. In the beginning of the movie, Varla murders this guy, and then the girls kidnap his girlfriend, who spends the rest of the movie running around in her bikini and crying. Then they spend the rest of the movie trying to figure out how to steal from this old man. The plot is the least important aspect of this movie, however, and its more about the camp. This movie has tons of campy dialogue including stuff like when asked if they want a soft drink and Varla replies "Honey, we don't like nothing soft. Everything we touch is hard." This movie is anything but subtle, and that's what makes it so great. There are at least four parts in this movie where people are rolling around in the dirt while fighting. I also love that Varla fights by karate chopping. She must have some deadly hands because both times that she fights she kicks the guys' asses. This movie was just a lot of fun to watch and you can see the influence it had on a lot of other things. There's one line of dialogue that is also the name of a Daniel Clowes comic, and there's another line of dialogue that was sampled in a Rob Zombie song. According to IMDb, Quentin Tarantino might be remaking this movie, and I think that it would be really cool to see an updated version. You can see a bit of influence from this movie in "Death Proof."

Saturday, August 2, 2014

#533 Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown

About a month or so ago, I saw one of Pedro Almodovar's films for the first time. I rented "The Skin I Live In" and I loved it so much that I wanted to watch Almodovar's entire filmography. Since then I have seen "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down," "Matador," and "Laws of Desire." It just so happens that the fifth film of his that I have seen is on the list of 1001 movies that I must see before I die. This movie was pretty different from all of the other movies that I've seen of his. The other movies were more about sex, and obsession, and were darker than this movie.  The one thing that this film has in common with the other films is a theme of mental illness. "Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown" centers around Pepa, played by Carmen Maura, who gets dumped by her lover. While trying to get in touch with him, and through a series of coincidences, she meets his son, played by Antonio Banderas, her lover's mentally ill wife, and his new mistress. She also has to deal with her friend who believes that she is in trouble with the law because she had an affair with a Shiite terrorist. This movie has tons of melodrama, but still manages to be funny.  This is also the first of Almodovar's films that I've seen where Antonio Banderas isn't playing the mentally ill one. In this movie he is playing a pretty normal guy who keeps trying to make out with Pepa's friend even though his fiance is passed out in the next room. While I liked "The Skin I Live In" and "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!" better than this one, it was still good movie, and it makes me want to continue to check out Almodovar's filmography.