Movie Resolution: Week 31

July 29: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

I enjoy these movies, such mindless fun. The books look like a drag, but the children I work with seem to adore them. Maybe it’s because of the sketches and beyond simple plot? I don’t know, don’t really care either, as long as they’re reading something. This film brings together the same cast of the previous two films in the series for more of the same. There is no real plot, just broad themes. In this one it was about father/son relationships. Each thing that happened called back to that idea. Nice movie. [My Rating: 6/10]

July 30: The Wolf Man

You know how I’m really close to Anne Rice, right? She doesn’t know it, yet, for some reason, but it’s surely only a matter of time. We’d discuss our writing, chat about politics, enjoy a cup of coffee as we watch Prince Oberon play, and watch a lot of television. She seems to watch an exceptional amount of television. Then, she’d give me a copy of her latest, unpublished novel. She’d wink and say to keep it secret and of course I would as I devoured the excellent prose of her latest masterpiece. I hear rumors that it’s about Atlantis, which is a total delight. Anyway, she had been posting all sorts of werewolf questions on her Facebook page, which I read with a great deal of interest, not knowing much about the werewolf lore and honestly not all that interested in it. It seems barbaric–a man turning into a murdering, animalistic beast. Not chic. Vampires, on the other hand, are elegant and sensual and can manage to speak without grunting. Upon the publication of her latest novel, The Wolf Gift, which is up next on my reading list, I decided to watch the original werewolf film. I was surprised and gladdened by how good it was, most of the old horror movies are, if I’m honest, a bit dull. Dracula was a snooze. The Invisible Man was good, but it’s been probably a decade since I’ve seen it, so I can’t trust my memories. Larry Talbot plays the son of an aristocratic Welshman. After many years away and the death of his brother, he returns to the homeland to comfort and help his father. Soon after his arrival, he takes an interest in Jenny Williams, the daughter of an antique salesman. They decide to go see the gypsies one night and are attacked by Bela Lugosi! He was a werewolf, though, so they didn’t ask for autographs. Anyway, Larry was bitten and now he is doomed to the curse. At first he doesn’t believe in it, but he soon realizes that he truly is doomed to become a monster. Soon, the villagers set out to destroy the beast that is killing their folks. Larry tries to resist, but he can’t fight the curse and goes out to attack! Unfortunately, he is beaten and killed by his father, who is shocked when he understands what he has done. A surprisingly well fleshed out story. Excellently shot and solid acting. [My Rating: 8/10]

July 31: Plunder of the Sun

I’m always intrigued by archaeological movies and usually they disappoint me. This was disappointment. Doesn’t the title sound full of daring action and romance? It’s not, but it tries to be, which makes it even worse. Al Colby is an American insurance man who is stranded in Havana because he’s flat broke. Havana looked like a wonderful place to go. Are we allowed to go, yet? I remember something happened after President Obama took office. Maybe I’m making this up, I’m usually pretty politically savvy. One moment… *clicks Google* We can kind of go to Cuba. You can’t just go gallivanting around, you have to go on an educational tour. I wonder if that educational tour includes a cabana and fruity drinks? Perhaps a side excursion? I think I’ll wait until the luxury resorts open back up. Anyway, Al is in Cuba and gets a strange offer from a wealthy collector. He wants him to take a small envelope across the border for him. In exchange he will give him a nice sum of cash. Since Al is broke, he agrees. On a boat ride he meets…people, oh it was boring. Then back on land he meets more people. Turns out the package is actually an ancient manuscript that gives instructions on finding treasures in Zapoteca. Did ancient cultures really leave treasure maps? I went with it in The Mummy, because The Mummy was 1,000,000 kinds of amazing. One of my favorites. So, he conspires with a creepy guy and then they find the treasure, which looks amazing, then the creepy guy tries to kill him, and then the police arrive, and he gets to go to America with his romantic interest. I didn’t like this. I discovered later that John Wayne’s production company made this and that helps me understand. John Wayne was OVERRATED! I’ve yet to see anything of his that I enjoy. [My Rating: 1/10]

FILM of the MONTH: JULY: Les Aventures Extraordinaires d’Adèle Blanc-Sec Shut up and watch it! I LOVE IT SO!

August 1: Now, Voyager

This film is one of Bette Davis’ iconic roles. It’s allegedly one of the most romantic films ever made, which I agree with to a certain extent. And it also contains one of the greatest quotes in cinematic history, “Oh, Jerry, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars.” Truly a great line. Wish I’d wrote it. Bette even uses it in her album, Miss Bette Davis, which you must own. The song is titled, “It Can’t Be Wrong.” The album is so bizarre and wonderful. Here, it is:

 

Isn’t Spotify just the bee’s knees? It has to be my favorite service ever, I can’t think of anything greater. I have discovered so much music. I love music. This has nothing to do with Now, Voyager, I’ll get back on track. Bette plays Charlotte, a young woman turned sad and ugly by her domineering and selfish mother. Dr. Jaquith suggests a visit to his sanitarium (don’t you just adore sanitariums? I do. Asylums and institutions get me all aquiver.) to get her health back. While there, she rediscovers herself and finds that she is a lovely woman. She doesn’t need to rely on her mother’s abuse. She can live by herself and be content. Before going back to Boston to start her life anew, she decides to take a South American cruise. On board, she meets Jerry and falls madly in love with him. Jerry feels much the same way for Charlotte, but unfortunately he is already married and has a daughter, so things won’t work out smoothly for them. They decide to separate and Charlotte returns to Boston where she spars with her mother who won’t accept her. Her mother does not like not being in control. Not long after, Charlotte becomes engaged to a kind, wealthy man whom she doesn’t really love, but is comfortable with. (Dream first wedding!) At a social outing, she sees Jerry again and realizes that she must have him in her life. She breaks her engagement and quarrels with her mother, who dies of a heart attack soon after. Consumed with guilt she hurries back to the sanitarium where she feels safe and comfortable. There, she takes on Tina a repressed child. She sees a lot of herself in Tina and wants to help her the way that she was helped. Later, it is revealed that Tina is Jerry’s daughter. Only in the movies! She decides to stay with Tina and help her instead of being with Jerry when she realizes that she loves him but doesn’t need him for her happiness, she gets her true happiness from helping others, therefore the line: “Don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars.” [My Rating: 9/10]

August 2: The Painted Veil

[Couldn’t find a video. Odd.]

I fell asleep during the middle of this one and found it so uninteresting that I didn’t bother catching up. It was so boring. So terribly dull. So uninteresting. So lackluster. I can’t think of any more synonyms off the top of my head. You get the idea. Greta Garbo plays Katrin, a lonely Austrian girl who longs to see the world. She consents to marry her father’s assistant and they gallivant off to China. Once there, her husband is so busy with his work that he ignores her and Katrin is not amused. Lonely, she decides to have an affair with a member of the Embassy. This is discovered eventually and her husband is pissed and decides to go further into China to fight an outbreak of cholera. Now that they’re together, they grow closer and I’m bored. [My Review: 2/10, only because of this quote: “I like China very much. I like America too. I like all the places I haven’t been.]

August 3: She-Devil

If I hadn’t tuned into my preferred presidential candidate’s roast on Comedy Central, I never would have known this film existed. I bet you don’t know it exists either. Shame on all of us. Shame on the system for denying us this wondrous comedy. Roseanne Barr and Meryl Street costarring in a well-written film with excellent acting! Why is it hidden from us? I was so happy to find it. It’s on Netflix Instant, hurry, watch it! Wasn’t it great? Let’s do a review, shall we? Roseanne stars as Ruth Patchett a harassed housewife who loves her demanding children and uncaring husband and tries to do the best she can for them even though she is unappreciated. She seems a bit discontented, but doesn’t seem to realize that life is escaping from her. One day, her husband meets Mary Fisher (Meryl Streep!) and they immediately begin an affair. Why isn’t apparent. Ruth’s husband, Bob, is played by Ed Begley Jr., and he’s not exactly eye candy. People are attracted to less attractive things, though, it happens. I’ve been to weddings where I say to myself, “Really?” Bob starts spending most of his time in Mary’s pink mansion by the sea and it isn’t long before Ruth catches on. She comes up with a list of how to destroy Bob and starts going through it. It’s marvelous! There were a few things about Roseanne’s character that I felt weren’t quite right. She is the she-devil from the title, but she’s still a parent. She didn’t seem to care much for her children, admittedly, they were monsters, but it was odd when she dumps them at Mary’s mansion and goes for months without seeing them. Ruth is successful in destroying Bob’s life, changing Mary’s life, and giving herself a new life. It’s a black comedy and a fine one. I don’t understand why so many people hate it. Definitely worth watching. [My Rating: 10/10]

August 4: There’s Always A Woman

This film felt like a blatant rip off of the Thin Man series, which made this picture feel much less original. It wasn’t bad, though. William Reardon’s detective agency isn’t doing so well, mainly because he doesn’t understand how advertising works. Since they’re down in the money, he decides to take his job with the District Attorney back. His wife, Sally is not amused by this because her husband was living his dream and wants him to be happy and independant. She decides to try to keep the business afloat for a while until it proves impossible. William gives her his blessing and runs off to his new job. Not long after an easy case comes in that pays well and Sally couldn’t be more delighted. Soon, though, the case takes a turn for the worse when her client’s husband is found murdered. Now Sally has a murder to solve! What she doesn’t know is that her husband is also on the case with the police. He doesn’t know that she’s on the same case, too! Could be amusing, but it wasn’t really. The writing was very good, but the whole thing felt rushed and forced. I wonder if another installment of the Thin Man was released about the same time and this was meant as competition? Not bad, but don’t seek it out. [My Rating: 4/10]

FILM of the WEEK: She-Devil I can’t understand why this film isn’t more well known. It’s really one of the great black comedies. Plus, Meryl Streep and Roseanne!

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