Monday, September 20, 2010

My Week of Movie Watching

The Paradine Case – I’m starting to work my way through some of the lesser Hitchcock films that I still hadn’t seen. This one has its admirers, and there’s some stuff to like here, particularly another of Charles Laughton’s great droll supporting performances, and some amazing production design (This film has the greatest courtroom set I’ve seen). The big drawback for me was Aida Valli’s performance as the accused Mrs. Paradine. Gregory Peck’s defence attorney is supposed to fall in love with her, but honestly, there’s no reason why he would – She is so frosty that it damages the film.

Three Days of the Condor – Sydney Pollacks 1975 thriller about a CIA operative (Robert Redford) who steps out for lunch one day, and narrowly avoids being murdered along with the rest of his colleagues. I liked the sense of paranoia that this film produces, and I loved Max Von Sydow as an icy killer-for-hire, but I had trouble believing Faye Dunaways’ character would fall so quickly into bed with what could only logically be like a nut-job kidnapper – Even if he did look like Robert Redford. Recommended, though.

The Perfect Storm – The true story of the loss of the fishing boat Andrea Gail in a massive storm is one of the most relentless action movies I’ve seen. The film takes a little time to establish a bit about the characters, and then drops the hammer on them. The film is almost solid action for at least the last hour, and it struck me that filming it must have been a huge physical ordeal for the actors. They get whipped by wind, thrown around a lurching deck, and plunged under water. It’s a terrifically well done film, as it captures the frenzy of men trying to save themselves, when realistically, they have no chance. Made by Wolfgang Petersen, who also directed the great Das Boot. Check it out, too.

The Proposal – I kept thinking that maybe, just maybe, this film wouldn’t go down the path it seemed to be. Corporate toady Ryan Reynolds is forced to marry his uber-bitch boss (Sandra Bullock) so she won’t get deported and he will get his big promotion. Then he takes her home to meet his family, and she melts and becomes human. I hoped the film would give her a Noir-ish ending, where she would agree to get deported, and he would get to go back to Alaska and marry his childhood sweetheart. But no, it threw together a smarmy ending that made me want to gouge my eyes out with a fork.

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