October 20: The Haunting
This is another one of those pictures that was supposed to have something to do with The Others. Again, I don’t have a clue why or what it had in common with that cinematic triumph. A Spanish production team perhaps or that it was filmed in Spain? I like watching Spanish movies because I’m always so pleased when I can understand. The Spanish lessons that I take infrequently are made by speakers from Spain, so their accents are quite different from the Spanish that I hear and speak every day at work. Children laugh at my funny accent, but that’s what I was taught. This was a weird movie. I definitely didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it, either. It was one of those pictures that could have benefited tremendously from a firm hand in the script editing. There was a great story, but there were too many side stories going on at the same time. The film is about two married doctors who decide to take a leave of absence after the birth of their child and take some time away. Of course they choose a creepy mansion in the middle of nowhere that is owned by the Church and has wings that are closed off. Good pick, dummies. Then again, I’d probably pick the same. I’m a sucker for mansions and religious iconography. They start renovating the place, which didn’t make much sense to me since they were renting, but whatever. The wife suddenly starts losing her mind. She sees specters and hears things and her husband is completely unsympathetic and sends her to a psychiatrist who obviously has an unpleasant past with the two of them–an affair, perhaps. So, as all of this is going on, a woman who had been asleep for like sixty years in an asylum (which just so happened to be the mansion) shows up and starts talking crazy to the wife. So, she goes to the priest who seems to know something about the place. Turns out a bunch of crazy stuff happened there. Dark miracles. It made people ill, so, the priests slaughtered all the people there and shoved their bodies in the basement thinking they would be martyrs and therefore destroy the elemental monster. This didn’t work out, so the beast was still there and the helpful priest sacrifices himself and the house goes up in flames. There was also the ghost of the couple’s dead daughter and alien blood. A very untidy film that could have been rather good. [My Rating: 5/10]
October 21: Burn, Witch, Burn!
That accursed exclamation point betrayed me. I thought I was looking forward to a lovely romantic comedy that involved a charming witch. None of this was true, sadly. It was about an annoying lecturer and his wife who used black magic to make their lives easier. For some reason, she believed that the people of the community they had just moved to were out to get them. This proved to be true, but I thought it was weird. Her husband is a classic realist, so he often preaches about the idiocy of witchcraft and religion and all that. Because of this, his wife is forced to practice her art in secret, but she doesn’t do a very good job of keeping it secret because one day he easily comes across all of her supplies and together they burn them. This was a dreadful idea because now the spells and charms are broken and the town goes mad. The professor is accused of raping a student and other dreadful things, his wife’s leaves him, another witch lights his cottage on fire, his wife nearly drowns, it was exhausting. It was also rather dull. I didn’t care much for this film and I think it should have been given a more mundane title befitting its content. [My Rating: 3/10]
October 22: Dial M for Murder
I have written before that I admire Grace Kelly more as a princess than a movie star. She’s always calm and cool, slightly aloof, and never endearing. But, in this film, in which she starred, these qualities all fit the film and she was rather marvelous in it. This picture is about a married couple, Margot and Tony, who aren’t exactly happy. I love that name, Margot, I never see it spelled that way, though. Margo! Like in my future bestselling novel/Oscar winning cinematic adaptation of my revival of Grande Dame Guignol, Terrible Miss Margo! Margot is secretly seeing another man, Tony, an American crime novelist, and thinks she is doing a good job of keeping it secret. In fact, Tony knows all about it and plans to do something about it. So, he blackmails an old school chum into murdering Margot so that he can be rid of her and inherit her money–she’s quite wealthy. This plan does not go exactly according to plan and the murderer ends up murdered and Margot remains very much alive. To save his plan, Tony plants evidence and insinuates that Margot was having some kid of dealings with this man and she killed him with full intent because she was tired of his blackmailing her. This works brilliantly and Margot is off to the execution chamber. I won’t say more because the film is really rather spectacular in its subtleties and black comedy. It’s quite funny and the entire cast is spectacular. Definitely see this one. It makes you wonder right up until the very end. [My Rating: 10/10]
October 23: Kings of Pastry
I have been meaning to watch this documentary for ages, but as time has passed, it has gotten buried in my massive Netflix queue. I should never have told my father my password. Now my tasteful and selective list is filled with crap horror with titles like Die Again: Revenge of Satan: Part XII. I don’t get why he chooses to watch such crap when there are literally fives and tens of goods movies among the many. Anyway, Remember how I’m a professionally trained pastry chef? How could you not? I use that in all my anecdotes. This film was about professionally trained pastry chefs trying to gain the title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France, MOF for short. These elite are the best of the best in the world of pastry. I admire them, but I don’t want to be like them. They all look so damned stressed. I don’t like stress, it isn’t good for my complexion. I’m easy going and whatever. I’m like a hippy, but without the drugs and the poorly cut hair and access to soap. I’m kind of disgusted that I compared myself to a hippy. Gross. I’m not a fan of hippies. (Hygienically, mainly. I applaud their lifestyle.) The documentary follows three candidates out of the seventeen that were competing to win. Competing is the wrong word since they aren’t battling each other. All seventeen could win or none could or sixteen could or two. It’s based on merit alone, which is really rather wonderful. So, we watch these very talented fellows make tarts and cakes and sugar sculptures. The idea of a sugar sculpture stresses me out immediately. I don’t think they have a purpose and therefore I don’t think they should be made. At Le Cordon Bleu, I remember watching more advanced students working on them and then watched them cry as they broke. I didn’t blame them for crying, sugar sculptures suck. I’m glad I haven’t gone to that class, yet, I will be a bitch. The documentary is so engaging that I was surprised when it reached its end. Time flew! I wanted them all to win, they didn’t of course, and it was so sad. The judging alone was enough to make me faint, I don’t know how they can stand it. I don’t think I would ever want to apply! I’d be happy working in my own little shop working on tarts and macarons and wondering why I was so fat. You must see this, even if you don’t know a thing about baking. [My Review: 10/10]
October 24: Arthur
When I saw this on the DVR, I thought to myself, “Good Gad! Have I recorded a Russell Brand film?” Thoroughly disgusted with myself, I made to delete it, but thankfully, I looked at the information. That horrid comic had nothing to do with it! Hallelu! It was an eighties film, which I’ve learned is not always a bad thing. Besides, one of the stars was Liza Minelli, so there is no way it could have been terrible. It is about a very wealthy manchild who has no desire to grow up and no reason to do so. He’s in his twenties, is always drunk, is a womanizer, is rather awful, and a laugh. I immediately sympathized with him, you know how I feel that I should be rich and living in opulent mansions. I highly doubt I’d be constantly drunk and certainly never be a womanizer, but I’d have awful fun. I’d have an on-staff tailor and pastry chef and chauffeur and hair stylist and life would be marvelous. I’d attend society parties and movie premieres and Brad Pitt would ask me to be his best man, but I’d have to turn him down because I’d be yachting to Costa Rica that weekend. I’d Skype in, of course, and give a charming speech and make jokes about Angie’s leg. We’d all have a good laugh. Anyway, in the film, Arthur’s family is forcing him to marry a woman he doesn’t love or else they will cut him off from the massive family fortune. That’s unthinkable, so he miserably consents, but in the meantime, he finally truly falls in love with Liza’s character. She’s a commoner who is so poor that she steals ties for gifts. It’s rather wonderful, but they don’t seem destined to be. After a lot of troubles, they both realize that they need each other to be happy, even if that means that Arthur has to give up his money. How tragic. A life without money would be dreadful. Thankfully, Arthur’s grandmother can’t stand to see him poor so everybody is happy in the end. It was a great movie, very funny with lines like: “Yes… fish all bathe together. Although they do tend to eat one another. I often think… fish must get awfully tired of seafood. What are you thoughts, Hobson?” And they sing my favorite romantic song “Blue Moon” which I just loved. Definitely see it. [My Rating: 10/10]
October 25: Fog Over Frisco
Yet another snooze. Why so much crap, Old Hollywood? I love you, but I can’t continue extolling your wondrous virtues if I keep seeing trash like this. Mind you, this is a Bette Davis film, so I don’t take my harsh words lightly. It was a wreck. Bette plays a gambling gal who is tied op with a respectable family. Her gangster friends simply aren’t amused by her and she goes missing. So, her sister freaks out and it becomes a news story. Thankfully, it was only an hour long, but that was still an hour too long. [My Rating: 1/10]
October 26: My Sister Eileen
It seems to me that either there are many versions of this film or TCM plays it at least once a month. Whenever I’m flipping through my schedule, I see it there, and finally sick of seeing it, I taped it and watched it. I don’t know why they play it so often. It wasn’t spectacular, nor was it bad, it was just rather dull. Rosalind Russell is the star, which is one of the redeeming factors of the film, I really enjoy her. She plays Ruth, sister of Eileen, two girls from Ohio who decide to move to New York City to advance their careers. Ruth wants to be a writer and Eileen wants to be an actress. After a bit of difficulties, they arrive in town and find a basement apartment that’s rather awful. The windows open on the street, the building is filled with strange characters, the landlord is a kook, and there is a new subway tunnel being built right beneath them. Although these things are awful, they learn to find charms in them and begin to love it. Sadly though, success was not forthcoming, so their father insists that they come home. At this point, though, an article of Ruth’s has finally been published and it’s a tremendous success. She is offered a contract and the editor is going to help Eileen get a job in the theater. They finally have everything they want! Unfortunately, the film felt like it dragged on forever and I didn’t really care if they found success or not. [My Rating: 4/10]
FILM of the WEEK: After much thought and deliberation, I have given my award to: Kings of Pastry. See it.