Movie Diary 7/6/2010

Night Train to Munich (Carol Reed, 1940). Spiffy eve-of-WWII espionage, with Hitchcock’s hefty shadow already falling well across this part of British cinema. The kooky idea of bringing in the two cricket-mad boon companions from The Lady Vanishes (also a Gilliat-Launder script), Charters and Caldicott, to play important roles in the working out of the story, is not unlike Jay and Silent Bob sneaking into the apocalyptic comedy of Dogma.

South of the Border (Oliver Stone, 2010). Stone wants to cut through the fluff of cable news and demonstrate an interesting trend in South American leadership, but he only tells half the story here. (full review 7/16)

Despicable Me (Chris Coffin, Chris Renaud, 2010). Something of a long update on the Grinch outline, this animated effort charts a villain’s efforts to shrink the Moon. The problem is getting good help. (full review 7/9)

They Had to See Paris (Frank Borzage, 1929). Will Rogers in a movie that doesn’t do any favors to the legend of Will Rogers, especially the idea of having everybody else laugh hilariously at everything he says.

The Girl Who Played with Fire (Daniel Alfredson, 2009). More potboiler material in Part Two of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy; Alfredson uses less blunt force than Niels Arden Oplev on the first movie, but still you have to look around every once in a while and say, “So people really love these things?” (full review 7/9)

The Big Lebowski (Joel Coen, 1998). Seeing this movie again, it now looks something like Burn After Reading, but about the previous generation. Both are also funny, of course. Did you ever hear of the “Seattle Seven”?