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.
Sunday, November 9, 2014
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
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.
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.
"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
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.
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.
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
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
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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
Saturday, September 13, 2014
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?
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
Saturday, September 6, 2014
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.
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
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.
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
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
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
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
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
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
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.
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
"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
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.