I’m very behind on these posts, I haven’t had much feedback and have become a bit discouraged, but I’m halfway finished with this resolution and if I give it up, I’ll always be upset with myself. I’ll look back on these fondly when I’m old and still remarkably sexy. I have been posting them on the date I should have posted them, which means they’re always about half a month behind. Perhaps that is why nobody sees them? So, from now on I’ll post them on the day I write them.
MOVIE OF THE MONTH [JUNE]: Funny Girl
July 1: The Man Who Came to Dinner
This was such a clever film, they really don’t make them like this anymore. It’s billed as a Bette Davis feature, but I hardly consider it one as the real star is the genius Monty Woolley as Sheridan Whiteside, a terribly rude critic whom everybody adores. His secretary is Maggie, played by Bette Davis. The two of them arrive in Ohio to meet with a prominent family, but he slips on the ice on his way in and isn’t allowed to leave the house since he has broken his leg. He immediately takes control of the home, forcing the actual owners to be his minions and put their lives completely on hold. Sheridan is such a jerk to everybody, but he’s so terribly clever that it’s hysterical! Each of his jabs should be memorized so that you can insult people later on. I plan on watching it again later and taking notes. Those are some zingers! Watch it just for the insults! Anyway, Sheridan is going on with his life, terrorizing his guests and hosts, but Maggie has fallen in love. Sheridan is having none of this. He’s selfish and wants to keep Maggie to himself. Not that he’s interested in her romantically, he just loves her work and is amused by her company. He must find a way to keep Maggie from marrying. He’s in the middle of meddling with everybody’s lives when the doctor tells him that he examined the wrong x-ray and that his leg is in perfect working order! This does not work for Sheridan, so he convinces the doctor to stay silent so that he can finish with his many plans. It’s a wonderful movie. There are Elsie Dinsmore references, great name droppings (Wallis Simpson!), ax murder stories, and an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus! See it. [My Rating: 10/10]
July 2: Les Aventures Extraordinaires d’Adèle Blanc-Sec
I’m scared to write this review. I don’t know if I can adequately tell you all the reasons I loved this movie. I don’t know if I can make you understand why this film is currently in the lead for FILM of the YEAR. It has easily beaten Joyful Noise, a feat I had thought impossible. I’ll show you the notes I took while watching:
[Adventure, comedy, wonderful actors, damaging to Egyptological affairs, beautifully grotesque, wonderfully woven interconnected story lines, I can’t honestly describe how much I love Paris–it’s my hometown, J’ai Deux Amours and mummies walking about the Tuileries, be still my heart, AND THE FREAKING TITANIC! WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS MASTERPIECE?]
It was sensational! I didn’t even mean to ever watch this movie, but I’m so, so, so, so glad that I did. When I was in London last year for the Royal Wedding, I noticed an intriguing poster. I snapped an awful picture and forgot all about it.
Then, a year later, I found it again as I was cleaning up my pictures. It was still intriguing, so I googled it and found some creepy streaming website that had it. I pushed play and didn’t leave my computer for the next hour and a half. Each moment was marvelous. It is everything I want in a movie. Comedy, action, Egypt, Paris, mummies, attractive people. There is nothing bad about the film. I don’t have a clue why it was never shown in America, it’s a serious crime. I’m going to have to convince Robert Osborne to show this one when I’m the guest host. I don’t think it yet counts for a classic, but it is obviously going to be one. It’s a freaking masterpiece. Let’s dig in. Adèle Blanc-Sec is a famed writer of popular fiction who travels the world gathering information for her novels. She is supposed to go to Peru, but she has decided to visit Egypt to search for the mummy of the personal doctor of Pharaoh Ramses II. She is successful and there is a wonderful scene where she has to escape from disgusting thieves and the fantastically grotesque government officials. Soon, she and the mummy are off to Paris. Her hope is that her friend, Professor Espérandieu, famous for his theories of awakening the dead, will be able to revive the mummy who will then be able to help her sister, who is nothing more than a living corpse after a tragic accident. Unfortunately, Professor Espérandieu is in quite a lot of trouble. He has used his powers to hatch the egg of a flying dinosaur that is wreaking havoc on the city of Paris. The officials track down the monster to his gorgeous apartment and take him into custody before he is beheaded. Adèle, who is also a master of disguise, tries many plans to free the Professor, but all fail her. Finally, she reads a love letter sent to her by the exceptionally handsome Andrej Zborowski. If he were sending me love letters, I would not ignore them the way she did. Swoon. His mustache…
Excuse me…I’m going to need a moment.
Anyway. She finds where he has been letting the dinosaur live in the zoo at the Jardin des Plantes. (Where I have been!) and she devises a plan to save the professor. She flies the dinosaur to the guillotine and snatches the professor right before he can be killed. Unfortunately, a big game hunter is lurking in the Jardin and shoots the dinosaur. The dinosaur and the professor are mentally and physically linked, so he will die. Adèle rushes him home to bring life to the mummy, but he dies in the attempt. Sad, but he did give out enough energy to rouse the mummy. Unfortunately, the mummy, who is wonderfully done and speaks fluent French (it’s a French film, by the way, don’t let this turn you off) is actually an nuclear scientist, not a doctor. All hope is not lost, though, because the Louvre is currently housing an exhibit of all the mummies of Ramses II! They hurry out into the night and break into the museum and find the exhibit and bring the mummies back. It’s just amazing. Adéle’s sister is cured and the mummies decide to tour Paris. They walk through the Tuilleries as J’ai Deux Amours played. It was everything. I wept. It’s as if the entire film burst from my own imagination. And then to top things off, Adèle decides she needs a vacation, so she boards the TITANIC! It’s too much! I about died of pleasure. It’s supposedly the first in a trilogy and I hope and pray that the next installment will be released soon. This movie is perfect and completely recommended. In fact, it is currently my favorite film of all time. [My Rating: 1,000,000/10]
July 3: Villisca: Living With a Mystery
This was an incredibly well done documentary. Given the source material, one would think it would be about the violence and gore and alleged paranormal activity that occurs in Villisca. Instead, this tastefully done film, shows the intriguing history of Villisca, the court cases that followed the crime, and the after effects of the horrible murders on the town. Of course it details the crime, but it is very well done. I loved seeing old photographs of the town in it’s heyday. I love that era. So many gorgeous shops. Sarah Bernhardt came to town! I never knew! So many lovely tin ceilings. Residents told stories of their families and talked about the rumors around the murders. Even if you never go to Villisca, I recommend seeing this. I’m so happy with how well done it is. [My Rating: 8/10]
July 4: Marked Woman
This was an alright picture, nothing stunningly memorable, but a decent ninety minutes. Bette Davis plays a hostess at Club Intime, which I think must be one of the most wonderful jobs in existence. All you have to do is be charming and drink the cocktails handsome men buy you while you subtly seduce them into buying more. I think I’ll open an old-fashioned nightclub someday. Such fun. Anyway, the Club Intime stopped being so much fun after a mobster buys the club and takes it over. Everybody started living in fear. Bette’s character, Mary, unfortunately swindles a fellow who can’t pay the bill. This is not good. The mobster’s kill the man and now Mary is accused of murder. This is bad, but it gets worse. Mary’s sister has just arrived in town to spend some time with her. Mary is working to put Betty through school, but Betty is unaware of how.The truth outs and Betty is ashamed and disgusted. Now, maybe I’m just not at all old-fashioned (which is ridiculous, I’m the most old-fashioned person I know) but if my sister were getting me money for school, I’d be delighted, not one bit ashamed. I would be happy that she cared so much for me that she would put herself into dangerous situations for my future happiness. If she were the world’s biggest prostitute, I’d still be proud of her for carrying so much for me. But, that’s me. Anyway, Mary has trouble agreeing to testify against the mobster, because she fears for her safety. She’s beaten regardless. Finally she stands up for herself and the mobster is put away. Bette is really the only reason to watch this, she was at her best. Big eyes, crisp diction, just Bette. Not that it was a bad film, but without her, it would have been long forgotten. [My Rating: 6/10]
July 5: Priceless / Hors de Prix
I’ve had this film on my computer for ages ever since I read Leonard Maltin’s 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen. I didn’t agree with a number of his choices (Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bully Story–dreadful), but I liked a few of his others (Lady for a Day) and I have a few others on the computer to watch still (C.R.A.Z.Y.). Priceless, the American title, was a really good movie. I don’t see modern romantic comedies all that often, though I do like them. Oddly, I’m a sucker for romance. This was one of the smartest that I’ve ever seen and I’m amazed that Hollywood hasn’t made a crappy remake, yet, filling it with expletives and nudity. Of course, this one had a bit, but nothing like what we have here. I’m so disillusioned with modern cinema. I know there are still remarkable films being made, but it seems like they never are shown around here. Just things like Blow up a Car, Bitch!: Part IV. Actually, I’d see that movie. This film stars two of France’s most popular stars, Audrey Tautou and Gad Elmaleh as Irène and Jean respectively. Jean works in a fancy hotel on the Côte d’Azur and has a boring life. He doesn’t mind much, though, but the viewer craves for him to have a bit of excitement. One day, Irène mistakes him for a rich guest of the hotel and he goes along with it. They have a…well, a pleasant evening when they sneak up to the Royal Suite. Jean is having a panic attack, but at least he’s doing something! Then, Irène is gone. A year later, she is back at the hotel and he has to take up the farce again. This time, though, it doesn’t go so well and Irène’s rich lover leaves her. She is pissed at Jean because she thought he was rich. She’s a gold digger. Anyway, for some reason, Jean loves her. She isn’t nice, really, so I don’t know why, but why do we love who we do? He becomes determined to show her a good time. So he drains his accounts and maxes out his cards on fancy clothes, expensive restaurants, and beautiful hotel suites. Irène continues taking advantage of him. Finally he’s at the end and is rescued by Madeleine, an older, wealthy woman. Now both Jean and Irène have rich sugar daddies/mommies! Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a sugar daddy? Ah, I would love it! I imagine it’d go something like this: “I’d look so cute in this Dior suit, wouldn’t I? You don’t want me to look shabby when we go out? I didn’t think so…but my arm looks so plain without that Chanel watch we were looking at earlier. You’ll get it for me? You’re too sweet to me. What did I do to deserve you? *kiss*” Dream job. Now that they have the money to keep them in comfort, they begin to love each other for more than what they can offer each other. It’s terribly sweet. You should try and see this one for a smart, fun night in. [My Rating: 9/10]
July 6: Critic’s Choice
[Couldn’t find a video anywhere, weird.]
I really looked forward to this picture and I can’t understand why I didn’t like it, I should have liked it, everything about it is right up my alley. What does that expression mean? I don’t have an alley. Not yet, anyway. It stars Lucille Ball and Bob Hope and is about writing a Broadway play. What’s not to love? Everything it seems. I have yet to see Lucille Ball in a role outside of I Love Lucy or one of her other sitcoms that I enjoy her in. To me, she is not a movie star, she is a sitcom legend, which is just as honorable. Bob plays Parker Ballantine, a terribly cruel critic who is beloved by his paper’s readers for this reason. His wife, Angela, played by Lucille, decides that she is just as capable of writing a play as anybody else. So she pens a comedy about her life, and it’s awful, but she refuses to accept this. In a stroke of luck, her play gets produced, but it’s terribly difficult as they have to rewrite every scene and rework the story. She’s exhausted and she just wants Parker’s help, but he’s an ass and refuses to give it to her. He thinks that because he is a critic, it isn’t fair to give his advice and suggestions to something that he will eventually review. This causes a huge rift between the two of them and it takes an awfully long time for them to work things out, which they do, but in all honesty, I can’t see them staying married for long, though the ending is supposedly happy. Parker is a jerk. [My Rating: 3/10]
July 7: Dream Wife
I always like Cary Grant. I like him in everything. I like him in this. But I don’t like this movie. Cary plays Clemson Reade, the weirdest name ever, who is engaged to Effie. She is a diplomat and is much more focused on her job than on her fiancé. So, Clem decides he no longer wants to marry Effie because he refuses to play second fiddle. Instead, he telegrams the King of Bukistan and asks to marry the Princess Tarji, who he met on a trip there to discuss selling pumps. The King consents and sends Tarji to America. This results in all sorts of nonsense that is supposed to be funny, but is hardly humorous. I suppose at the time it was, but it fell flat to me. Effie speaks fluent Bukistanian, so she is constantly in Clem’s life still. This is annoying to him and he is even more annoyed because marriages are very different in the Middle East. He makes a fool of himself again and again and again. In the end, Tarji and Clem realize they don’t love each other and Effi and Clem realize that they really do love each other. It wasn’t bad, but I was not amused. [My Rating: 4/10]
MOVIE of the WEEK: Les Aventures Extraordinaires d’Adèle Blanc-Sec I can’t say enough good things about it. It’s not hard to find online. Watch it, and, you’re welcome!