Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Week of Movie Watching

Tell No One – Rent this film. I have a soft spot for twisty thrillers, and this French number from 2006 is one of the best I’ve ever seen. The premise – a doctor’s wife was murdered 8 years ago, but one day he gets an e-mail from her. As I watched this one, I thought, “There’s no way they can resolve all this!”…Luckily for me, I was wrong. Terrific supporting performances are everywhere in this one, and none of them feel superfluous. Hell, even the dog matters to the plot! This was really a treat. Rent it.

Deliverance – This is, I think, the third time for this one, and I like it more every time. I love the way the roles of the main characters evolve. Burt Reynolds’ alpha-male Lewis ends the film whimpering in a canoe, and Ned “squeal like a pig” Beatty goes from being a city slicker stereotype to a semi-plausible macho man. I once again watched to see if the films’ ambiguities are indeed ambiguous. Is Drew shot or does he jump to his death? (He almost certainly jumps) Does Jon Voights' Ed kill the right hillbilly? (Still not 100% sure.)

Osaka Elegy and Women of the Night – It’s great to see a couple of previously hard-to-see Mizoguchi titles get a proper release by Criterion. Elegy, from 1936, is the heartbreaking story of a woman who allows herself to be used by a wealthy man in order to save her family from financial ruin, only to have them turn on her because of it.

The searing Women (1948) tells the story of a trio of women and their attempts to resist the pull of prostitution in post-war Osaka. The two films mine similar ground – The plight of women in Japanese culture, and the indifference of powerful Japanese men to it. Both highly recommended.

Ocean’s Eleven – Da original – Hadn’t seen it. It was pretty entertaining, and it goes without saying that there’s cool everywhere you look. The dialogue has a terrific jivey rhythm. Such as:

“I can’t do it. I’ve got my wife to think of.”

“Think of her rich.”

“Think of me dead.”

Akim Tamiroff’s in there, too. You have to love an actor who has worked under Preston Sturges, Orson Welles, and Jean-Luc Godard. One small quibble – It’s never a bad idea to have Angie Dickinson in your movie, but she is utterly wasted here.

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