Saturday, January 30, 2016

Brooklyn (2015) / Quest for Fire (1981)

I love Brooklyn's costumes. Absolutely adore them. Everything Saoirse Ronan wears, I want in my closet. Which makes me wonder: am I focusing too much on the superficial aspects of the film? I know, I know, movies are a visual medium, blah blah blah, but my weakness for early 50s women's fashions completely overshadow any other points I could make about Brooklyn, such as its wonderful script, or its charming cast. Better critics than I have already covered that ground, so instead I'm going to be clicking through the Modcloth catalogue.

Imdb reveals that Quest for Fire was at one time DVD packaged with Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes (2001). Who came up with this idea? Admittedly, apemen are briefly seen in the earlier movie, though these are more similar to the bone throwing ones in 2001: A Space Odyssey. And both movies have leads who fall into uncomfortable romances: Ika (Rae Dawn Chong) becomes enamored of her rapist Naoh (Everett McGill), and Mark Wahlberg's Captain Davidson plants a far more amorous smacker than Charlton Heston ever attempted on the chimp lips of Ari (Helena Bonham Carter).

Friday, January 29, 2016

Big Fish (2003) / The Reluctant Dragon (1941)

Big Fish

I didn't get what point the movie was trying to make about the town of Spectre. When Ewan McGregor stubbles upon it as a young man, it gave off creepy, Stepford vibes: everything was neat, the grass was impossibly green, and everyone was so gosh-darn nice and didn't want anyone to leave EVER. In short, it's Tim Burton's vision of 50s small town Americana, creepified. But when McGregor returns many years later, and the town has become this rubble of a place, our hero makes it his mission to restore it to its former glory. So wait, was this Twilight Zoney patch of continual smiles and perpetual bare feet supposed to a sort of paradise? Is the movie not critiquing, but actually basking in whitewashed nostalgic small town values that never were?

The Reluctant Dragon

And speaking of smiling faces, this piece of Disney propaganda is full of 'em. So many grinning workers in the Disney studios, from drawing classes to model making to animation. The gosh-darn chipperness is helped by having most of the speaking "employees" be played by actors (including a technicolor Alan Ladd!!). Have to wonder how Francis Gilford felt, as she guided Robert Benchley through the woman populated color labs,  when the comedian continually found ways of commenting on her attractiveness.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Terms of Endearment (1983) / The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

Terms of Endearment
I hate Michael Gore's score. It sounds like what you imagine a "soapy comedy-drama" to. Which is a pity, because while the movie is a comedy drama, it certainly isn't soapy; there's far too much penache, great performances, and a top notch script for that. But whenever that dreaded flute/piano combo comes in,  it feels like muck seeping through the woodwork.

The Day After Tomorrow
I forgot how enjoyable this movie is. My God, the science is goofy as hell, but who goes to a Roland Emmerich movie expecting realism? After 11 years, it still holds up as a super duper fun disaster movie. The effects are top notch, the action scenes are suspenseful and well-put together, and it has Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal as father and son. And the American flag freezing in mid-flight.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Danish Girl (2015) / Man on Wire (2008)

The Danish Girl

There was a lot of crying in this movie. I've never seen so many wet eyes, courtesy of leads Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander. Both give very impressive teary performances, with Vikander being a particular stand out; that might be due to the stunning mascara trails she's able leave during one very moist confrontation with Redmayne.

Man on Wire

I wonder if anyone attempted a double feature of this and The Walk (2015).  Both contain reenactments of the same event, and cover roughly the same time span. But The Walk made sure that Joseph Gordon-Levitt got some humbling, and Man on Wire is satisfied enough to document an extraordinary event, no lesson needed.