Movie Diary 7/27/2010

Middle of the Night (Delbert Mann, 1959) and Jeanne Eagels (George Sidney, 1957). Two with Kim Novak, from the new box set. The Mann film is a very Paddy Chayefsky proposition, and pretty effective for that; the Sidney film is a misfire, but with a handful of wild shots and a thoroughly unsympathetic main character – Novak’s overreaching shows the limits of her talent.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Edgar Wright, 2010). Please, Edgar Wright, make more movies. And we should be sick of Michael Cera doing this kind of thing, but not yet – not with this hoot. (full review 8/13)

Middle Men (George Gallo, 2010). Luke Wilson and a broken-down cast in the story of guys who got rich with Internet porn. And yet still using Rolling Stones songs on the soundtrack. (full review 8/6)

Animal Kingdom (David Michod, 2009). Tough Aussie stuff, almost a variation on A Prophet, if not at that level; some fearsome work by Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton & co. (full review 9/3)

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (Brad Peyton, 2010). Talkin’ animals, people. And a 007-style credits sequence. (full review 7/30)

The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sidney Lanfield, 1939). Wanted to check the seance sequence in this one. Yup, there’s one. (Working on an upcoming lecture.)

Insomnia (Christopher Nolan, 2002). Again, working on a lecture – different one. A neatly managed job of work, and Nolan really gets excited when Al Pacino’s cop goes at it with Robin Williams’s suspect; the shades of Batman/Joker are already lurking there.

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo (Jessica Oreck, 2009). Japanese people love insects – like, keep them as pets. This movie tells the story, and tries to create a little zen mood besides. (full review 7/30)

The Cheat (Cecil B. DeMille, 1915). This makes two versions of The Cheat seen in the same year; this one’s got some strong set-ups and evocative lighting (great use of an Oriental screen), plus something like a middlebrow’s idea of a sophisticate’s idea of kink.