Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Week of Movie Watching

Mon Oncle Antoine – I hadn’t seen Claude Jutra’s 1971 evocation of small-town Quebec after the war. It’s pitch-perfect in its details of the period, and heart-rending in its story of how young Antoine has his eyes opened about the adults in his life. Very highly recommended.

Beat the Devil – Another one that I hadn’t seen. This one showed up on late-night Buffalo TV, so I finally got to check it out. It was missing a sizable chunk, but what the hell. The plot. I gather, had something to do with uranium, but I never did get a handle on it. It had some good fun, though. The high points for me were Robert Morley as one of the crooks, and Jennifer Jones as a ditzy blonde who falls for Humphrey Bogart.

Encounters at the End of the World – Werner Herzog’s examination of the people who live and work in Antarctica. This could have been fine as a straight documentary, but Herzog being Herzog, this one also includes footage from “The Lone Ranger”, and a painting of a monkey riding an antelope. Amazing camerawork, but in my estimation the film suffers somewhat from Herzog’s penchant for zeroing in on the most eccentric individuals. Recommended.

Hard Times – No, not Dickens. This is the 1975 Depression-era street fighting movie with Charles Bronson and James Coburn. A couple of pretty good performances from Coburn and Strother Martin are wasted here because of Bronson’s inability to portray a believable human being onscreen. His character here is much like his character in Once Upon a Time in the West – A monosyllabic zombie. This one never leaves any doubt as to where it’s headed, and thus I can’t quite recommend it.

No comments: