Movie Diary 4/8/2014

Draft Day (Ivan Reitman, 2014). Costner in a story about the machinations of NFL draft-day trades and suchlike. An easy film to be around, but one yearns for Ron Shelton to come in and take the thing away from Reitman. Also: Jennifer Garner is the love interest, which makes one wonder, why does this appealing actress pick the movies she picks? (full review 4/11)

Movie Diary 4/7/2014

Each Dawn I Die (William Keighley, 1939). Some good things going here in the jail, plus it’s got Cagney in fine shape and George Raft looking really cool. All of which is working against the fact that the movie’s spine is made of pure corn.

High Sierra (Raoul Walsh, 1941). According to the Crop Duster archive, I watched this movie in 2010. In my memory, I had not seen it in years – something I continued to believe while I watched it tonight. I work too much.

Missing Captain Vol. II (Weekly Links)

Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson, from Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson in Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Links to reviews I wrote this week for the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier. “Actually a movie.”

Nymphomaniac Vol. II. “Needs to be seen as a single picture, preferably in one go.”

The Missing Picture. “Chilling but fascinating.”

Anita: Speak Truth to Power. “Not exercising journalism here.”

Tuesday, April 8, join me for “The End of the Trail: How the Movie Western Rode Into the Sunset,” a free talk in the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau series, at 2 p.m. at the Gardens at Town Square in Bellevue.

Join me Thursday April 10 for two talks on Whidbey Island. At 1 p.m. I’ll present “The End of the Trail: How the Movie Western Rode Into the Sunset,” a free talk in the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau series, at the Freeland Library. Details here. Then at 6 I’ll give the talk farther north, at the Oak Harbor Library; details here.

Another installment of the Overlook Podcast is up and running. In this one, Steve Scher and I talk about Darren Aronofsky’s Noah; a look around the shelves of Scarecrow Video turns up the new DVD of a great Orson Welles title. Listen here.

 

Movie Diary 4/3/2014

Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013). Scarlett Johansson as a visitor. This movie is going to climb inside people’s heads and stay there. The spooky music is by Mica Levi, a name you will want to remember.

Movie Diary 4/2/2014

Little Caesar (Mervyn LeRoy, 1931). Nice clothes, nice cigars, a fancy stickpin for one’s cravat. This is what it’s all about. One of the distinguishing factors of the early gangsters: so little introspection, so much outward gloss. Edward G. Robinson shines, of course.

Movie Diary 4/1/2014

The Missing Picture (Rithy Panh, 2013). The filmmaker recalls his nightmarish experiences as a child under the Khmer Rouge. The recollections are enacted by carved, painted wooden figures, a haunting approach that also incorporates some vintage footage. This is one of the five nominated foreign-language Oscar films, and a worthy choice. (full review 4/4)

Movie Diary 3/31/2014

Underworld (Josef von Sternberg, 1927). From JvS’s memoir: “In spite of all the concessions I made to popular taste, I had fooled neither the author nor the sales force. Without a moment’s hesitation they had detected a sinister artistic purpose and had recognized it for what it was – an experiment in photographic violence and montage.” That’s about right. The author was Ben Hecht, who asked that his name be taken off the film after he saw what Sternberg had made, and later collected an Oscar for it.

The Musketeers of Pig Alley (D.W. Griffith, 1912). Sheer, utter command of the screen. Still pretty awesome after 100 years. It’s an early one for Lillian Gish, and the main gangster is played by Elmer Booth. He would die three years later as a passenger in a car driven by a drunk Tod Browning.

Anita: Speaking Truth to Power (Frieda Lee Mock, 2013). Worshipful. (full review 4/4)

The Racket (Lewis Milestone, 1928). Sags a little after a while, but there’s some exciting stuff in the early going, including good hurly-burly on a dance floor and a gangland shooting.

Nymphomaniac Vol. II (Lars von Trier, 2013). Among other things, confirmation that this movie should be seen as one sustained thing, not two films. Other than that – hmmm. This part seems less about female sexuality than about how the rest of the world looks at someone doing what she wants to do without compromises. (full review 4/4)

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