Movie Diary 1/25/2010

Top Hat (Mark Sandrich, 1935). “We are Bates.” Along with great artistry at the top, you gotta have the character actors. Give it up for Horton and Blore.

North Face (Philipp Stolzl, 2008). When you are a physical coward – well, a coward – certain kinds of movies are hard to resist, and the sub-genre of mountain-climbing pictures is one of those kinds for me. (Actually, I don’t mean that about the cowardice, in this case – you don’t have to be brave to climb a mountain, just lunatic.) This example proves that corn can grow at high altitudes, but there are still some appealing elements, most of which – sheer cliffs, avalanche danger, spectacular outdoorsy feel, German precision – go back to the German “mountain films” of the 1920s and 30s, the movement that gave Leni Reifenstahl a foothold in the industry. (full review 2/5)