Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Week of Movie Watching

On the Town – Hadn’t seen this one. Three sailors (Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Jules Munchin) are loose in New York on a 24-hour leave. That’s about it, story-wise. I wished this one had a bit more music going on. There’s the terrific “New York, New York” at the start, and “Prehistoric Man”, featuring Ann Miller, but other than that, the musical numbers don’t leave much of an impression. Kelly dances in an extended dream sequence, much like in An American in Paris, and it’s wonderfully choreographed, but it left me wanting more. Still, recommended.

The Facts of Life – Bob Hope and Lucille Ball embarking on an extramarital affair. I knew nothing about this one going in, and it surprised me somewhat. With the two leads, you would expect a wacky comedy, but there’s more heft to this film than you might imagine. The film predictably pulls back from its juicy storyline at the end, but overall, it’s still an okay watch.

The Human Condition (Part 3) – I haven’t seen parts 1 and 2 of Masaki Kobayashi’s trilogy, and sent me the final chapter first. Oh, well. This one tells the story of a Japanese soldier determined to return home at the end of WWII. I mean really, REALLY determined. The imagery is stark and beautiful, and the film has some truly astounding moments, especially the finale. All that being said, it is 3 hours long, and there are no chuckles in it, which can make it a bit of a struggle to sit through. I recommend it, but be forewarned that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

Alvarez Kelly – Uneven 1966 Western with cattleman William Holden helping Confederate colonel Richard Widwark steal a herd of Union cattle. Holdens’ character is much like his role in Stalag 17 – A guy whose morals are guided by who’s paying for them. The script is the real culprit here – There are too many times that you hear a scriptwriter in the background. A rousing finale (pictured), and some good Joe McDonald cinematography can’t quite save this one.

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