Sunday, March 03, 2013

My Week of Movie Watching

A Single Man – Drama from 2009 stars Colin Firth as a gay University professor struggling with the recent death of his partner. The film follow him through one day, at the end of which, he plans to kill himself. Julianne Morris stars as his alcoholic childhood friend. There is a lot to recommend here, like Firth’s lovely, subtle performance, and the production design, which is a dead-on perfect evocation of 1962 California. Despite all this, I found that the film left me a little bit cold, because none of the characters really engaged me personally. Still, Recommended. 

Snatch – This Brit gangster flick is wall-to-wall energy, and one of the most quotable movies I’ve ever seen. It involves two plots that kind of run side by side: In one, a bunch of toughs try to recover a stolen diamond. In another, a shabby pair of  boxing promoters try to get a fight with a nasty mob boss without getting themselves eaten by pigs. The thing that makes Snatch such a joy are the characters that populate it. Characters such as: Turkish, Brick Top, Bullet-Tooth Tony, Boris the Blade, and an Irish gypsy boxer (Brad Pitt) who doesn’t utter one understandable sentence. The dialogue is razor sharp and shockingly profane. My favorite, uttered by the nasty mob boss Brick Top:
 "Do you know what "nemisis" means? A righteous infliction of retribution manifested by an appopriate agent.  Personified in this case by an 'orrible cunt....Me."

Wait Until Dark – Top notch thriller from 1967 stars Audrey Hepburn as a blind woman terrorized by three bad guys trying to recover a cache of heroin hidden in a doll she possesses. This role was a bit out of Audrey's comfort zone, but she does a good job here, as does Alan Arkin as the baddest of the bad guys. It’s not perfect - There are a couple of plot points that are best not examined too closely, like why Hepburns’ character would send a young girl out to find her husband in New York – at night - but it’s a hugely fun watch, especially the last half an hour. There is a brilliant little set piece about how Hepburn uses a ringing telephone to expose the villains. A bit of trivia: This film is based on a play by Frederick Knott, who was also the man who wrote Dial M for Murder. Recommended.

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