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Inspektor GAI (1983)
Good movie about life.
Pyotr Sergeyevich Zykin (Sergey Nikonenko) is a traffic officer who takes his job seriously and is proud of his position. One day he pulls over businessman Valentin Pavlovich Trunov (Nikita Mikhalkov) for a minor infraction. A minor feud begins between the two after Trunov posts a complaint about Zykin and Zykin gets chewed out at work. Although the movie is about the rivalry between the two men (in a very Eastern European fashion), it focuses largely on Zykin and can be accurately described as his story. We see his devotion to his work, his hobby as a motorcycle racer, several scenes of his home and family life, and his romance with his younger cousin's teacher Ekaterina (Marina Levtova). Less time is focused on Trunov but we come to know him as well. And while the film has a comedic tone it also makes you think more seriously about life. A copy of the film is on YouTube and so I encourage you to go check it out.
Ya shagayu po Moskve (1964)
Would be a good movie if not for the relatively boring story and characters.
It seems as though people generally see this movie as a symbol of hope and freedom in the Soviet Union. This would make sense judging by the western music that the characters listen to and the somewhat rebellious nature that they have. I'm writing this because it's important to establish that I wasn't alive in the Soviet Union and that I didn't watch it with any kind of nostalgia. I also feel it's important to establish that I am aware of how people feel about the film and the film's historical context as a symbol of hope and freedom in a totalitarian state, before they shrug off my review by saying that I missed the point. The movie sees a group of late teen to early 20s friends all reunited in Moscow. It's a pretty basic story and while it can be done well I don't think it was particularly well executed here. They just sort of go around Moscow with their own ambitions, sometimes getting into trouble, and try to meet women. The film also plays in a series of vignettes, vignettes that only sometimes go somewhere. I didn't find the story particularly engaging nor did I relate to any of the characters. It's only an hour and 18 minutes but it felt longer than that. There are things I like as well. The cinematography was excellent and there are a lot of really good shots of Moscow to boot. The music's also good too. But generally, I just found it kind of boring.
High School Big Shot (1959)
50s exploitation film cheese.
There seems to be a time in the 50s and 60s where a sub genre of exploitation film (though there may be those who object to my use of the term) existed involving teenagers who drift into crime. I assume that this was part of some kind of shock value but I'm really not sure. High School Big Shot is just such a film. Marv Grant (Tom Pittman) is a poor, nerdy high school student who begins dating the popular Betty Alexander (Virginia Aldridge). It eventually becomes clear, however, that Betty was only using him for money, which begs the question as to why she decided to date the poor kid if that was her goal. Because Marv has virtually none to spare he makes it up to her by helping her cheat at her schoolwork, an act that results in his acceptance at a college rescinded and her expelled. I realize that plagiarism and cheating are serious offenses but even still I find the punishment a little harsh. Shortly after this Betty dumps Marv and returns to her bully meathead of an ex Vince Rumbo (Howard Veit). Because Marv still wants to be with Betty (in spite of how unapologetically shallow and awful she is) Marv hatches a plan with two local crooks to steal from his place of work. With a plot like that, I didn't really expect it to be good. It is fairly formulaic and not executed well. The acting is passable for the most part but it's pretty forgettable and uninteresting. It's also just plain stupid and has all the makings of a film noir done wrong. As usual, however, the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode is a lot of fun so go and watch that.
Brilliant as both a comic book movie and a stand-alone movie.
I've never seen a movie (with the possible exception of The Force Awakens and The Incredibles 2) to be as hyped as this with both good and bad things emanating from that. Ever since the first trailer came out in April, I've been waiting to see it. I knew that this wouldn't be like any other comic book movie I'd seen up to that point (I've yet to see Logan and Watchmen). And indeed, from the trailers it looked like Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, both of which also star Robert De Niro. Even still, Joker perfectly encapsulates everything about the character. The Clown Prince of Crime, the Jester of Genocide, the Harlequin of Hate. The movie gives a believable and more than fitting backstory for the Joker. If not than you could look at it as the story of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) just an unfortunate and deluded man with aspirations of being a comedian who endured one too many kicks in the teeth. It is a comic book movie but more dark and gritty than any I've ever seen, including The Dark Knight. I often don't like the way that DC assumes that since the Dark Knight trilogy the only path to success is by way of the dark route, without actually taking the time to do it right. Joker does it right. And with an R rating it's not for kids.
Nice to see DC not trying to be dark for once.
After the monster success of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy it semed that DC decided that the only way to success was to be dark and gritty. This, at least, is what they apparently did with Man of Steel, Batman vs. Superman, Suicide Squad, and Justice League. The difference is that Nolan knew what he was doing. Personally I thought Man of Steel was just okay (wheras everyone else either loved or hated it) and Justice League was neither good nor bad. But then Wonder Woman came out and people thought that there could be hope for the DCEU, focusing on a deemphasized shared universe. And the story continues with Shazam. Shazam is clearly made to be a fun movie which is something that's been missing from DC for a while it seems. And that's why we go see movies anyways. To be entertained. It reminded me a lot of those 80s kids movies like E.T. and The Goonies which also seem to be making a resurgence with things like Stranger Things and the new It adaptation that came out two years ago. The movie's not perfect but it doesn't need to be. This is the most fun I've had at a movie in a while and it's on that testimony that I urge you to see it.
The Duke in the UK.
John Wayne was offered the role of Inspector Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry. He declined and the role went to Clint Eastwood instead. After the movie became a hit Wayne realized that he missed out and so started in two '70s cop films to remedy this. McQ (which I have yet to see) and Brannigan. It's strange to see Wayne in a '70s cop film. And even stranger to see him in a cop film outside the United States. The first time I saw The Longest Day I never expected I'd see Wayne drive a Ford Capri in pursuit of a Jaguar through London. He's clearly out of his element but so is his character, Lieutenant Jim Brannigan, an American police detective from Chicago who is sent to the United Kingdom to pick up gangster Ben Larkin (John Vernon) and extradite him back to the United States. He's given a young streetwise local guide in Detective Sergeant Jennifer Thatcher (Judy Neeson). Brannigan also butts heads with Commander Charles Swann (Richard Attenborough) our stuck up British person who has to deal with an unruly American. The plot is fairly formulaic and the characters are kind of stock but it's still fun. It's also not just a Dirty Harry rip-off which one might assume knowing the history behind behind the film. It's much more lighthearted, we have a much less repulsive villain, and tell me; where's the comedic bar fight scene in Dirty Harry. The biggest problem with the movie might be Swann, simply because the movie doesn't really seem to know what to do with him as a character. For most of the movie he's the stuck up British stereotype but then he goes and punches people in the aforementioned fight in the pub. But apart from that, Brannigan's still a pretty entertaining movie.
Taxi Driver (1976)
"One of these days a real rain will come and wash all the scum off the strees."
Taxi Driver is a movie that a lot of people have talked about and for good reason. It's a properly good film, working superbly as both a character study of Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), a mentally unstable Vietnam veteran with a plan to purge the wrongs in society, and as a testament to the rising crime rate and urban decay in New York in the '70s, the very same rising crime rate and urban decay that incenses Travis. Travis's journey is our plotline. At the film's onset he is seemingly unemployed and so, knowing the city well, goes and becomes a taxi driver. On a date with Betsy (Cybill Shepard) a pretty campaign worker with whom Travis is infatuated, she remarks that he is a "walking contradiction." And certainly this characterization is an apt one. When applying for the job Travis seems normal. A little awkward maybe, but nothing out of the ordinary. At least not too out of the ordinary. And his disaffection with high crime, prostitution, and garbage strewn about the city streets is one that many people can agree with. Even his goal of saving Iris Steensma (Jodie Foster) from her situation is a noble one. Martin Scorsese keeps the movie set in Travis's world view, a world view which never really changes. Travis's mental state and perception of reality don't so much change as they simply worsen. It's a very gradual shift so we hardly realize it's happening up until Travis makes a botched attempt to assasinate Senator Charles Palantine (Leonard Harris), the presidential candidate for whom Betsy is volunteering. After that his massacre of a brothel, his final deluded attempt to clean up the city, is only natural. If you haven't seen this movie yet, do yourself a favor and remedy that.
A movie about people.
This is the first Yasujiro Ozu film I've seen and from what I understand most of his movies are about people and their daily trials and tribulations. Noriko Somiya (Setsuko Hara) is an unmarried woman in post war Japan. She is outwardly happy and lives with her father Professor Shukichi Somiya (Chishu Ryu), an elderly widower whom she cares for. At 27 years old she is told to get married soon by everyone in her life including her father. Noriko maintains her reluctance. That's essentially the plot of the film and it works because of the characters. They all feel real and the storyline is a very tangible one, not only in Japan but everywhere. It's very a simple movie and it works better because of that. There are no real villains as everyone has good points and bad points to make for our lead. So yeah, it is a lot like watching real people interact. Late Spring isn't groundbreaking or epic or a heart pounding drama. It's just a good, simple movie about a daughter's relationship with her father. I recommend it.
American Psycho (2000)
"This is not an exit."
In New York, Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) is a wealthy, young and handsome yuppie executive who is exceedingly vapid and vain, professes socially attractive beliefs that he doesn't believe in, generally dislikes his peers, is generally disliked by his peers, is regarded as lazy and a waste by those outside his social circle, dates an equally vapid and vain woman, and cheats on her with his peers' spouses (who are, of course, as vapid and vain as they are.) Patrick belongs to a subculture of wealthy, young and handsome yuppie executives, who are exceedingly vapid and vain, profess socially attractive beliefs that they don't believe in, generally dislike their peers, are generally disliked by their peers, are regarded as lazy and as wastes by those outside their social circle, date equally vapid and vain women, and cheat on them with their peers' spouses (who are, of course, as vapid and vain as they are.) They are all the same, so much so that they call each other by the wrong name. These wasters go to New York's finest clubs and restaurants every night, dabbling in expensive clothing, food, hair product, and cocaine. They discuss music and fashion advice. They waste away the hard earned fortunes of their parents without actually doing much work themselves. Nevertheless, they are all aware of one thing; they're better than you. Patrick however, is slightly different, and markets himself in a particular way. First of all he may be aware of how superficial and ridiculous this subculture is (though this does not change his participation in it.) And secondly, he may or may not be a serial killer. Perhaps desperate to find individuality in a world lacking it or perhaps severely ill, Patrick makes himself different from those around him by killing people. Anybody. Coworkers (especially if they make him insecure), the homeless, women off the street, security guards, anyone. Sometimes the motive is clear. Other times it's completely random. The movie and novel are told from his perspective so it's completely possible that he's imaging all of this and that it's not actually happening. The movie sometimes doesn't follow its own logic but this is all part of the appeal. I've heard people claim American Psycho to be a horror film. Certainly it has those kinds of elements but I'd call it more of a dark comedy. It has a dark, satirical comic edge to it. It's not for the faint of heart but generally speaking it's one to watch.
Solidly done adaptation.
Stephen King's novel upon which the film is based strikes alot of people different ways. Personally I enjoyed it, though I felt it was longer than it needed to be and a few sscenes were far from neccesary. Luckily this film (unlike its sequel) does not fall into the trap. If you don't know the story it concerns a group of 11-13 year old kids living in the fictional town of Derry, Maine where a malevolent entity makes an appearance every 27 years. They come to realize the existence of the monster and so come together to fight it. Alongside the monster they also have to fight psychotic bullies, variously troubled family lives, and growing up. The film did a good job of bringing the story to light without making it too dense and long (again, not a feat shared by its sequel). The child actors are all apt at portraying the memorable characters and it is a legitamitely scary film. I'd say to go check it out if you liked the book but you've most likely seen it already.
Julie and Jack (2003)
Hard to categorize.
I'm still not entirely sure what to make of this movie. I certainly wouldn't call it good but it's such a mix of emotion with poor acting and direction that it's kind of unreal. It has a very early 2000s feel to it so I might call it dated as well. The movie drops a lot on the audience several times so it's harder than you think to fully flesh out. Jack Livingstone (Justin Kunkle) is a software developer (because that's what James Nguyen likes to give his male leads as occupations) who is doing poorly at work. Following the advice of his sleazy, sex addicted friend Jack decides to sign up for an online dating service. He meets a mysterious woman named Julie Romanov (Jenn Gotzon Chandler) with whom he hits it off, save her evasive behavior whenever Jack asks her questions about her past. At one point (after about 3 months) Jack finally demands to know more about Julie's past when an out of the blue plot twist reveals that Julie and Jack have never met in person but have in fact been dating through virtual reality the entire time. Julie disappears and cuts off contact with Jack who then goes about trying to track her down. It turns out that Julie was a computer software student who started a million dollar computer company (again, because that's what Nguyen likes to give his characters as businesses despite living like regular people) who eventually disappeared. In a second plot twist it is revealed that Julie has actually been dead the entire time and that the computer she designed had enough of her personal information to replicate her in the dating service. After wrapping your head around that second out of the blue plot twist, you realize that Nguyen's affinity for paying homage to Alfred Hitchcock was alive and well back then as well as it has several references to Vertigo in place of The Birds. Jack rebuffs Julie and then forgives her but it comes too late as she is quickly decomposing as a pack of computer information (clearly I'm no expert with computers writing sentences like that). So the film has a very tragic ending that actually leaves an impact which is bizarre considering the fact that it's very poorly made. And given how strangely the plot is structured it's hard for me to actually say what I think of the film as a whole. It's not well acted, it's not well directed, it's not particularly well written but at the same time it really has to be seen to be believed.
Feelings: I'm Feeling Alone (1974)
Kind of pointless.
Feelings: I'm Feeling Alone is (I assume) an educational film but what, if any, lesson we're supposed to gather is beyond me. Some kids lament over being alone. Actually one kid laments over his dad being silently disappointed in him and another over his parents fighting. They all sing a somber tune about their situations which succeeds in making us feel sad about this before the film ends with no conclusion, lesson, or even glimpse of hope, making this the most bleak educational film I'm ever seen. Maybe this was meant to be shown to parents so as to know how what they do might negatively affect their children. Or maybe it was meant for children to learn how to be nicer to classmates with fewer friends. Even if that is the case it doesn't work terribly well in either case. It is, however, hilarious in the hands of Rifftrax.
It Chapter Two (2019)
I liked the Losers as kids better than them as adults when I read the book, so I figured that I would already like the first film better than this one. It also might be important to point out that I was not aware of how long the movie was before I walked in. But even still, this wasn't as good as I expected it would be. It had legitimate scares and the acting is pretty good for the most part, especially Bill Hader as Richie Tozier. But the film went on for too long, it relied too heavily on cliches, it took itself too seriously when it was discussing the lore, it makes half an effort to follow certain things from the book (as in it will show something from the book but not follow through with it entirely), and generally I viewed it as unfocused. Were there still things to enjoy? Yes. Just not enough to fully recommend it.
Absurd Encounter with Fear (1967)
Well the fear is spot on.
If you're reading this review in the first place then you've read the short IMDb summary which reads, "A man approaches a woman in a field." Good description as that is essentially what happens. Jack Fisk (David Lynch's best friend) wears a ghoulish pale white face in the vein of Carnival of Souls. He runs across a field somewhere to a girl (Peggy Lynch) sitting down. Such a premise could have gone in multiple ways. I could imagine this same scenario in a romantic way but for Lynch it's all based on fear. The pale white face paint the man wears, the music that plays, the way that he just stands over the woman after he's gone up to her. It is all very eerie. What makes it more so is how he begins pulling flowers out of his pants which couldn't be more disturbing. The film ends with Fisk looking at the camera abruptly. Given the fact that it's Lynch and how abstract it obviously is it's very open to interpretation, though I'll not use this space to explain my view on what the film means. I believe this was Lynch's second short film and it's a lot better than his first.
Six Men Getting Sick (1966)
At the time that this made David Lynch was an art student. He had never made a film before and it kind of shows. There is no plot nor are there any characters save the titular figures who get sick six times. Before I watched it I assumed it would be a hand drawn cartoon and that it would be silent. I don't know why I expected this I just did. So you could say that the film kind of took me by surprise though I'd hesitate to say that it was pleasant. I'd also be lying if I said I liked it or that it wasn't really annoying the third rotation. It's not that I don't like Lynch. I do. I like Eraserhead which has a similar type of mindset. This just holds no appeal for me other than as a study.
The French Connection (1971)
A hard hitting, no nonsense cop thriller.
Dirty Harry came out the same year as The French Connection and both films are now seen as archetypes of the 1970s police movie. But Dirty Harry was more smooth and poised. It's hero was cool and wore shades. The French Connection was dark and gritty. Not that Dirty Harry wasn't also dark and gritty, because it clearly was. But whereas Harry Callahan could be ruthless when he needed to be, Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle (Gene Hackman) was ruthless constantly. The shaky camera work also heightens the realism. Whether Doyle is chasing someone on foot or by car it holds you in. This was one of Hackman's first starring roles and it's certainly become one of his most famous. Roy Scheider (in a pre Jaws role) is also great as Buddy "Cloudy" Russo, Doyle's right hand man. The French Connection is a must see for anyone. Check it out.
Raid on Entebbe (1976)
Apparently accurate which is odd.
Admittedly I haven't done much external research on Operation Thunderbolt (at least not yet) but the consensus view is that Raid on Entebbe is an accurate historical film. It's also weird to think that not one but two films about Operation Thunderbolt came out the same year that it occurred, in 1976. So as a result they made an accurate film with the exception of a few details that hadn't come out yet (such as the murder of Dora Bloch). In 1976 terrorists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijacked an Air France flight from Tel Aviv to Paris shortly after a layover in Athens. Owing to sympathy offered by Idi Amin the plane was rerouted to Uganda and Israeli passengers were forced into a hangar where they still held as hostages. With pressure mounting, Israel launched Operation Thunderbolt to free the hostages. And that's more or less what the film portrays. Charles Bronson and other, less famous names star in the picture like Peter Finch, Yaphet Kotto, Sylvia Sydney, Martin Balsam, Jack Warden, and a very young James Woods. The film also manages to keep up the suspense, not always easy for thrillers based on real events. One somewhat major problem is that the quality (at least on the copy I watched) was fuzzy and looked like the screen of a TV that was playing this film in the '70s. Other than that it's a fairly solid film.
Krestyanskaya Dolya (1912)
Pre revolution tale of feudal Russia.
A commonly told Russian story about two peasants in the vast countryside who wish to marry but circumstances prevent this for a time. His family's house burns down and so she has to go to either Moscow or St. Petersburg and becomes a governess for a slimy aristocrat. A very similar plotline occurs for Avdotya Romanovna Raskolnikova in Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. The film by itself isn't great. It's pretty basic and some might call it formulaic but it's workable. The biggest reason tob watch this is honesly as a piece of pre-Soviet Russian history. After all this is a film made 5 years before the Russian Revolution.
Quella dannata pattuglia (1969)
Would be a standard Macaroni Combat if not for the lack of much combat.
The Battle of the Damned follows a group of American (although on the poster I saw they were British) soldiers who are ordered to blow up a Nazi base in North Africa. That's really it. It kind of reminds me of Commandos, another Macaroni Combat with Lee Van Cleef, only switch an Italian base with a German one. Most of the movie is just them driving to the base and eventually getting there. There's also some beef between the Captain in charge of the mission and one of the men. Like I said, that's basically everything. Not terribly interesting and there are similar movies to watch that'll provide better entertainment.
Good Boys (2019)
I'll admit that some incredibly mixed emotions flowed throughout the film.
I really like that these kinds of movies are being made again. Stranger Things (I know that that's a TV show), It, Shazam, and this. The kind of '80s kids movies that half the time aren't really for kids. Good Boys is definitely in the vein of that but most of the jokes are something akin to Superbad but with middle school kids. In my view this works to both the movie's advantage and detriment. Before I go any further I'll just point out that the movie was funny. Really funny as a matter of fact. The mixed feelings come from some of the jokes that I found cringeworthy mainly because children were involved. I knew that this was rated R (kind of like Stand by Me) and that they'd say the F word, drink illicitly, and stuff like that but the point remains. But apart from that I really enjoyed it. I especially liked how they humanized the teenage "bullies." They didn't really need to do that but they did and even though it's a relatively small part of the film it worked for the better. If you can take something like South Park perfectly fine than there's no reason you wouldn't like this.
Number Seventeen (1932)
Quick escalation and intrigue makes this a fun watch.
First things first is that the movie can surprisingly be pretty confusing. Number Seventeen mostly takes place at a house in London, giving us a simple and down to Earth setting. One day a man named Forsythe (John Stuart) seemingly just wanders into the vacant house one day to get out of a storm. The door is open so he walks right in. He encounters another man named Ben (Leon M. Lion) who does not live there and both find a dead body. The two decide to investigate the house to help determine why a dead body should be here. They are eventually joined by Rose Ackroyd (Ann Casson) who lives next door and had already been investigating the house with her father. Eventually more people arrive on the scene as the plot thickens and eventually escalates. While it is a fun film filled with intrigue the biggest problem for me was how confusing it could get. I know that sounds weird considering the fact that it starts off in a very low key fashion (just two seemingly ordinary men finding a dead body in a house eventually joined by someone else) but it's true. When other people began showing up at the house I started having trouble keeping track of who's who. I've read that this problem gets better with repeated viewings so I guess that's the ticket. Of course, that's nothing compared to the insane way that it ends. Moreover the quality on most versions (including my VHS) is not the best but that's something I let slide most of the time. Overall, I liked it all right.
Even this late in his career, Alfred Hitchcock manages to adapt to time.
Before Frenzy the last film Hitchcock made in the United Kingdom was Jamaica Inn (1939), a film which (admittedly) I've yet to see but was generally panned, including by the director himself and author Daphne de Maurier. In the 33 year gap the British born Hitchcock moved to the United States to make films like Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), and Psycho (1960), which are considered by many to be not only the greatest Hitchcock films but the greatest American films. Returning to Britain he set about making Frenzy. Richard Blaney (Jon Finch) is an ex-Royal Air Force fighter pilot in London. Generally rude towards most people, he is fired from his job as a bartender on a false assertion from his boss that he doesn't pay for the drinks he himself has. This leaves Blaney without much in the way of prospect. Bob Rusk (Barry Foster) is a successful and (superficially) charming fruit merchant in Covent Garden and friend of Blaney's. Meanwhile a serial killer is going around London murdering women with neckties, recalling not only Jack the Ripper and Whitechapel but Hitchcock's early film The Lodger (1927) as well. Rusk is the murderer but due to a series circumstantial pieces of evidence Blaney is implicated. Blaney rushes to evade capture by the police while he eventually comes to the realization that Rusk is the killer. The trope of an innocent man being mistaken and then evading capture by the police while also finding out who the real criminal is was one Hitchcock used in several of his movies throughout his career. Under other directors it would have been a drag but Hitchcock managed to keep it fresh and new by introducing new types of characters and scenarios. Sometimes the stakes were the life of one man, other times they were the life of an entire nation. Despite the fact that Frenzy is Hitchcock's penultimate film it is no different in it's suspenseful storytelling (being Hitchcock of course). Being able to pull that off is truly a feet only a director like Hitchcock can achieve. Another thing to point out is how well this adapts to time and location. Hitchcock was British by birth so it's no surprise he was able to adapt back to Britain after 33 years of an absence. Frenzy feels as authentically British as something like North by Northwest (1959) or Shadow of a Doubt (1943) feel authentically American proving that Hitchcock is a master of both countries' cinemas (which we already knew.) The biggest shift however is in how he made a movie in the '70s. Judging by this review you can more or less ascertain that it's a Hitchcock film through and through. But when I watched it for the first time I was surprised by how explicit the film could get. The 1970s (and '60s as well, I suppose) was when a lot of mainstream films were allowed more liberty with what they could show on screen (at least in the United States and United Kingdom.) This I already knew but even so I had never seen a Hitchcock film (not even Psycho) that had murder scenes so realistic or gritty (if that's an appropriate word to describe.) According to film academics (I preface it this way in order to distinguish my opinion from theirs) certain euphemisms I'll not repeat existed in his films before that evaded the censors. If said alleged euphemisms are as vivid as you prefer or if you're a Hitchcock fan who may get squeamish about dead bodies than this might not be the film for you. It's important to understand that this is a film belonging to the category of A Clockwork Orange or Get Carter. If this won't bother you I highly recommend this movie.
Juno and the Paycock (1930)
Different kind of film.
I knew going in that Juno and the Paycock was not going to be a typical Alfred Hitchcock movie. Even still it wasn't quite what I expected. It follows a commonly told story in Ireland of a poor family struggling to make ends meets. The setting is shortly after the end of the War of Independence from the United Kingdom and into the first year of the Irish civil war between the Pro-Treaty IRA forces of the Irish Free State and the more radical republican Anti-Treaty belligerents. I didn't know that this was a play going in but it's easy to see how as the majority takes place in a Dublin tenement. Sifting through a few of the other reviews I've noticed a few critics claiming that this was simply not a stellar adaptation for a play. I find myself in agreement simply because I found the film disinteresting (the first Hitchcock movie like it that I've seen.) Maybe I should watch another version of it (I think it's a pretty common production in Ireland) or even watch this one again. But as of now, it didn't do much more me.
The Man Who Cheated Himself (1950)
Good film noir with a neat premise.
Lieutenant Ed Cullen (Lee J. Cobb) is a veteran detective with the San Francisco Police Department having an affair with a married socialite Lois Frazer (Jane Wyatt.) Frazer has just killed her husband Howard Frazer (Harlan Wade) right in front of Ed who is, by luck of the draw, assigned to investigate. Ed is joined by his younger brother Andy Cullen, a new officer to the homicide division. The film can be slow moving at times but it's never boring. There's always enough going on so that you want to see what's next. The best part of the movie by far is near the end when Ed and Frazer are hiding out in Fort Point, a disused military fortification under the Golden Gate Bridge. There's no dialogue and it relies a lot on cinematography. Definitely not what I was expecting but it was very neat to see nonetheless. I recommended it.
Expect something more like The Big Lebowski than Pulp Fiction.
While it still did generally feel like a Quentin Tarantino movie it wasn't really what I was expecting. At first I felt somewhat underwhelmed by that. It was more slow moving than I was used to with Tarantino and I kept wondering when this fantastic movie everyone was talking about would show up. And with the exception of the fight scene at the end, it never really did. But an hour after leaving the theater I looked back on it again and I realized that maybe this is just a different kind of movie. It's still Tarantino and there are still plenty of callbacks to film history like spaghetti westerns, macaroni combats and Bruce Lee martial arts flicks. No surprise with it being set in Hollywood, of course. But it wasn't overly stylized and was more subtle than usual for Tarantino. In 2016 the Coen brothers released Hail Ceaser which followed one day out of Hollywood life in the '50s. And that's essentially what this film does, only with the '60s. The film basically follows three plot lines and it's a series of segments. Again, something more like The Big Lebowski or Caddyshack or Napoleon Dynamite or the aforementioned Hail Ceaser. So you could say that I liked it more as I thought about it more. Though I still didn't like it as much as everyone else.