Movie Diary 1/9/2010

The Wild One (Laslo Benedek, 1954). Krazy lingo, Brando looking as though he (amazingly) took this – this –  seriously, a couple of gnarly biking stunts, Lee Marvin. Hadn’t seen this since childhood, and it’s both better and worse than remembered.

The French Lieutenant’s Woman (Karel Reisz, 1981). Harold Pinter’s bold idea for adapting the John Fowles novel mostly doesn’t really work. Looking at it again for the crazed-adaptation lecture coming up.

The Spy Next Door (Brian Levant, 2010). Jackie Chan’s got the same personality, just an older body. Even if he’s slowing down, there’s not much excuse for this. (full review 1/15)

High Sierra (Raoul Walsh, 1941). Good stuff between Bogart and Lupino, nice reversal of a set-up involving a potentially angelic girl with a club foot, location shooting, some excellent Grapes of Wrath-mode scenes. Bogie’s character is genuinely mysterious.

Nightwatching (Peter Greenaway, 2007). The kind of thing Greenaway was making 20 years ago, less ornate and fussy than his Pillow Book/Prospero’s Books phase. Still elaborately arty. It’s fueled by a gutsy performance by Martin Freeman, one of the best re-actors in the business, who brings fury and a Monty Python kind of energy to playing Rembrandt.