Movie Diary 4/18/2016

No Man of Her Own (Mitchell Leisen, 1950). Barbara Stanwyck in an adaptation of Cornell Woolrich’s I Married a Dead Man, a great idea about a woman pretending to be someone she’s not. The film sweeps from stately mansion to red-light district, and Stanwyck handles it all with aplomb – of course. John Lund (from A Foreign Affair) is in it, and super baddie Lyle Bettger too.

Dog Day Afternoon (Sidney Lumet, 1975). We spent six hours moving through this baby, as part of SIFF’s “Cinema Dissection” series. Good discussion and some very committed moviegoers made it a fine day. I hope Penelope Allen and Marcia Jean Kurtz know they have some fans out here.

Shop Diaries (This Week’s Movies)


Cedric the Entertainer, Nicki Minaj, Ice Cube: Barbershop: The Next Cut

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

Criminal. “Far-fetched as it is, I don’t have a problem with the plot. Brain-switching and nukes? Bring it on. That’s not what makes Criminal a bad movie.” (In case of Herald paywall, Weekly link here.)

The Jungle Book. “Everything is bigger.”

Barbershop: The Next Cut. “Less abrasive than Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq, but it makes similar points.”

The Adderall Diaries. “Dumb on pretty much every level.”

Saturday, April 16, I’ll be a last-minute pinch-hitter at SIFF’s “Cinema Dissection,” filling in as moderator for Sandy Cioffi, who chose Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon as her specimen. We will talk about the movie – stopping and starting it whenever we want – for six hours. Be at the SIFF Film Center at 11 for the good times. More info here.

At the Overlook Podcast, Steve Scher and I talk about Everybody Wants Some!!, The Invitation, and the phenomenon of a great performance elevating an okay movie – as Ethan Hawke does with Born to Be Blue. Give a listen here.

Movie Diary 4/13/2016

The Crooked Way (Robert Florey, 1949). As Johnny Carson used to say, they can’t all be gems. This noir nugget has John Payne as an amnesiac war veteran returning to L.A. and immediately spotted by the criminals he used to run with. Not a lot of logic on display, but many examples of the genius of cinematographer John Alton, who creates some incredible set-ups. Co-starring Ellen Drew and – Sonny Tufts?!?

Movie Diary 4/12/2016

My Golden Days (Arnaud Desplechin, 2015). The director of my #1 films of 1996 and 2005 returns with a kind of prequel to How I Got Into an Argument…My Sex Life, and it is not only full of talk and love and philosophy, it also has a spy movie inside it. It’s not as exciting as those other pictures, but it glows. (full review 4/22)

Criminal (Ariel Vroman, 2016). The brain waves of CIA agent Ryan Reynolds are transplanted into the head of psychopath Kevin Costner, with zany results. Does anybody remember a 1970 TV movie called Hauser’s Memory, with David McCallum? It was based on a Curt Siodmak novel, which itself might have been a variation on the author’s own Donovan’s Brain. Anyway, this movie looks awfully familiar. It’s also got Tommy Lee Jones (very eccentric) and Gary Oldman (giving up). (full review 4/15)

Barbershop: The Next Cut (Malcolm D. Lee, 2016). Ice Cube and Company return to cutting heads, and the combo of comedy and social comment is much the same as before – very Capraesque, in a good way. Funny people here, and some of the same turf (but with a wildly different approach) as Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq. (full review 4/15)

Elvis & Nixon (Liza Johnson, 2016). A great pop culture moment gets the treatment, with Michael Shannon as E and Kevin Spacey as Tricky Dick. There was no way this was going to be subtle, but Shannon manages to do some tasty stuff. (full review 4/22)

The Jungle Book (Jon Favreau, 2016). It’s a CGI wonderland for the Kipling-by-way-of-Disney characters. The movie keeps wanting to be like the tiger, when really, can’t it be more like the bear? (full review 4/22)

Everybody Wants to Be Blue (This Week’s Movies)


Blake Jenner, Zoey Deutch: Everybody Wants Some!!

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

Everybody Wants Some!! “A wonderful movie.”

Born to Be Blue. “Hawke hits all the notes.” (In case of Herald paywall, Weekly link here.)

The Invitation. “Every little thing becomes suspect.”

Marguerite. “We believe what we want to believe, and Marguerite becomes the living embodiment of that tendency.”

Tonight, Friday April 8, 7 p.m., the talkers in Framing Pictures re-convene for a conversation at Scarecrow Video. We’ll look at a new video release of Howard Hawks’s Only Angels Have Wings (why not just call it the greatest movie ever and be done with it?), plus thoughts on new films by Richard Linklater, Jeff Nichols, and Arnaud Desplechin – and what you’d like to talk about. Check the FP Facebook page for updates.

Movie Diary 4/5/2016

Everybody Wants Some!! (Richard Linklater, 2016). Is it actually a spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused? In some ways yeah, but as an exercise in non-judgmental empathy, the feat is even more impressive, because here our main characters aren’t the cool misfit kids – any coming-of-age movie can do that – but the absolutely average Joes (mostly jocks) of college. This movie accepts everything. I can also attest that the summer of 1980 is accurately recalled. (full review 4/8)

The Young Lions (Edward Dmytryk, 1958). Thinking about Brando lately, and this movie popped up. I hadn’t seen it since I was 15 or so. Not exactly great stuff, but some interesting WWII material, and Brando has his share of fine moments. The basic-training hazing of Monty Clift goes on longer than it should, probably because of From Here to Eternity (which, it’s amazing to note, came out only five years before this – Clift looks incredibly aged from that movie, even beyond his accident). Dean Martin’s in it, too.

Movie Diary 4/4/2016

The Invitation (Karyn Kusama, 2015). Cool idea for low-budget suspense, about a dinner party where things go from being awkward to fully freaked-out. An amusing “only in L.A.” vibe runs throughout. (full review 4/8)

Marguerite (Xavier Giannoli, 2015). Catherine Frot plays a society lady whose horrible singing is endured because she’s got money. An interesting take (completely fictionalized, in this case) on a true-life story – the straight-up biopic of the real figure, Florence Foster Jenkins, will have to settle for Meryl Streep in the lead; that’s later this year. (full review 4/8)


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