Movie Diary 9/14/2009

divorcee3The Divorcee (Robert Z. Leonard, 1930) and A Free Soul (Clarence Brown, 1931). Two Pre-Code titles with Norma Shearer. She won an Oscar for The Divorcee, which has a wild swing between slaphappy comedy and melodrama; Lionel Barrymore won the award for A Free Soul, playing Shearer’s drunky lawyer father. It’s still a Shearer-centric movie, with opposing male prototypes Clark Gable and Leslie Howard moving in orbit around her. Interesting to watch Shearer’s acting, which veers between modern looseness (especially in The Divorcee) and stage-stricken overplaying. She has a tendency to pitch to the camera, favoring a glance in the middle distance that reminds the audience of the drama going on.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Phil Lord,Christopher Miller, 2009). Zippy 3D and quick Simpsons-style patter. The movie will make you hungry. (full review 9/18)

Jennifer’s Body (Karyn Kusama, 2009). But what will all those heartwarmed Juno fans think? Scribe Diablo Cody  goes all horror-as-teen-angst-metaphor on us, as though nobody’d conceived of that before. Give credit: it must take a lot of time to manufacture those one-liners. (full review 9/18)