Movie Resolution: Week #51

December 15: Call It A Day

[Trailer]

I watched a lot of Olivia de Havilland films this week, which is a good thing, I wish she starred in everything with her signature voice and impeccable acting ability–she is a living triumph of the screen. This was an odd little film. It was all about a family that starts acting out of the ordinary on the first nice day of spring. Spring fever, I suppose. Olivia’s character is passionately in love with the artist she models for. Her sister is magnificently melancholy as she contemplates death and her love for a dead artist. Her brother is in love with the neighbor and wants to go driving all over the Continent. Her mother gets caught up with a man who thinks he is to be engaged to her. Her father is fighting off a frisky actress he is working with on taxes. Everything is turned topsy turvy, but by the end if the day, it all works out and life goes back to normal. Cute, unimportant picture. [My Rating: 7/10]

December 16: Dangerous Blondes

[No trailer to be found, don’t worry, though, it sucked.]

This movie was a dreadful bore. I thought a murder mystery in a photography studio would be a little interesting, but I was wrong. There were bits about an elevator and a socialite and a detective and…nothing…yawn. Don’t bother. [My Rating: 1/10]

December 17: Libel

[Clip. Why can’t I find any trailers this week?]

I was not prepared for this movie. I have been so seasoned to anticipate crap. It was not crap at all, but I thought it was. When I first started it, I was very distracted by something and didn’t pay it much attention and thought it was a dreadful trifle about an anguished pianist. I turned it off and tried again the day over dinner and was mesmerized. It was not a trifle or dreadful, it was engrossing and curious. My beloved Olivia de Havilland starred as the shocked American wife of a member of the English aristocracy. It is a shame that Olivia no longer acts and stays in her Parisian penthouse and doesn’t grace us with her excellency. I still remember fondly the warm June day I stood below her windows, which were partially opened, and shouted up, “Olivia, I love you! You were magnificent in Light in the Piazza!” The rest of my plan failed. She was supposed to invite me up for tea and a long chat. But, she’s not dead yet, so there’s always a chance for my next trip to Paris. Should I send my card? Should I make cards? Would she appreciate that? Back to the plot! Olivia’s husband is accused of not being who he claims to be. An acquaintance from his military days asserts that he murdered the true Sir Mark and took his identity. He publishes this in a “rag mag” and is sued for libel by Sir Mark. They must go to court and he struggles because he discovers that he isn’t sure that he is Sir Mark after all. The war was very stressful for him and it damaged him mentally and emotionally. He can’t remember many things surrounding it and this stresses Mark and Olivia out. There is evidence against him and Olivia turns against him. Mark is at the breaking point. I shan’t give away the ending because it was a surprise for us all and kept me guessing until the very end. See it! [My Rating: 10/10]

December 18: Fast and Furious

[Trailer]

I could not maintain interest in this movie. I wanted to like it. It starred Franchot Tone, another of Joan Crawford’s husbands, and was about a murder in a seaside resort that was investigated by a rare book dealer and his charming wife. Unfortunately, it’s a dreadful bore. The best scene was when they hosted a wild, roaring, drunken party in their hotel suite. The rest was tiring. I wouldn’t bother, but it was better than some of the drivel I’ve seen. [My Rating: 3/10]

December 19: Forks Over Knives 

forks over knives

I don’t know if it’s true, but this documentary seems to have been based on The China Study, a book that totally changed the way I eat. The author of that book is heavily featured in this film, so I’m assuming that his work was a definite inspiration. The documentary is an argument for a vegan diet, one that I aspire to, but am not quite there yet. I’ve been a vegetarian for over two years now and can’t even imagine eating meat anymore. It’s so gross. Why anybody would want to slaughter an animal to eat dry, chewy beef and chicken is absolutely beyond me. I no longer have any desire whatsoever for that kind of food and never partake of it. Since becoming vegetarian, I’ve probably consumed a bit of stock in soups at restaurants, but that’s it. It’s wonderfully easy being vegetarian and I did not expect that. At first, it wasn’t because I had never been an adventurous eater and was used to my routine of chicken breasts and seafood. But, soon my tastes changed and now I’ll try anything. Food tastes better. It’s more flavorful and exciting. I absolutely adore grapefruits. That never would have happened before. Indian cuisine is a delight and I made a curry last week that was insane. It was inspired by a rather pedestrian vegetable tagine that I had at Harrods in November. Mine was easily superior. I’ll even eat okra now! I love everything about being a vegetarian and I will never willingly go back to being a carnivore. The only time I would is if I were stranded on an island. I’d eat fish. Forks Over Knives presents the strangely controversial fact that a plant based diet is better for you. It’s not a theory or a belief system, it’s a highly documented scientific principle. You can feel better and be healthier if you switch to a vegan diet. Admittedly, you can be healthy eating meat. You can be healthy with any diet as long as you’re aware of what you’re consuming and stay active, but a vegetarian and especially vegan diet is definitely worth your while. People say they become a lot more energetic when they make this switch, but that never happened to me. Maybe if I go vegan it will. I’m not ready for that, yet. I’m going to do it, but I love cheese and eggs. I don’t ever drink milk, but I do so much baking that it’s going to take me a while to reexamine all my recipes and make them vegan–if that’s even possible for some of them. Anything’s possible, though. I really recommend this film and the lifestyle it presents. And, to make it even better, there is a segment with this old woman named Ruth who I adored that exercises all the time and never stops grinning.

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I love her. [My Rating: 10/10]

December 20: The Secret of Nikola Tesla 

Ever since I learned who he was and his story, I have been a great admirer of Nikola Tesla. I admire quirky people with giant brains, especially those who were recluses, environmentally responsible, and potentially psychic. Nikola fits the bill to perfection. I’m obsessed with learning about his inventions and his theories of a worldwide, wireless energy grid based on the natural energies found within the earth. I think if he had been given the proper funding by a party not financially entrenched in oil and coal, today we would not have outlets. Everything would be wireless. The energy works, we just really need to redevelop and refine it. This film was a dramatic and probably whitewashed look at his life, from poor immigrant to successful inventor to crazy old man. The acting was stiff and formal and the dialogue felt like it came directly off a community theater stage. But, that didn’t bother me really–it was a good story. Makes you think of what could have been and reinforces my unfavorable opinion of Thomas Edison. I’ve never been a fan. I appreciate his inventions, but didn’t care for the man. He was greedy and a sneak, but a genius, of course. Orion Welles was in this, too, and did a fine job as an actor of his caliber would. Slow, but engaging. [My Rating: 8/10]

December 21: The Ambassador’s Daughter

[Trailer]

My third Olivia de Havilland feature in a week, what a wonderful week! If only there had been a couple of Joan Fontaine, Bette Davis, and Joan Crawford films in the mix, too, I should have been in cinema heaven. This was by no means Olivia’s greatest work, but it was good. I would have trouble picking her best. Would I choose Light in the Piazza, Lady in a Cage, Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte, or Libel? I just don’t know! She is fantastic. I’ve heard that she doesn’t respond to fan mail, and that really disappoints me. I still have to send her one. Maybe I will this weekend. Would you be freaked out if a foreigner sent you a letter with a picture of himself in front of your Parisian townhouse?

242468_1697790572848_7295371_o

Speaking of Paris, that is where there is cute picture took place. Olivia stars as the titular ambassador’s daughter who is offended and annoyed by a visiting senator who wants to prohibit soldiers on leave from visiting Paris. All of us who know and love the city can understand what she must have felt. It would be a crime against humanity. So, to prove the senator wrong, she agrees to go out with a random solider and report all of his actions to prove that American soldiers are indeed perfect gentleman while in Paris. She poses as a Dior model (I know!) and can’t help falling for him. He’s perfectly charming and does all the right things. Unfortunately, misunderstandings abound and she thinks he’s a creep and he thinks she’s a flirt and they almost abandon each other, but it works out well in the end. Olivia breaks off her engagement to a prince for him. I was annoyed by this. I can’t think of anything better than marrying a prince. I’d be a prince, too! I’d be an awesome prince. To make the film even better, Myrna Loy costars as the witty wife of the senator and Dior fashions flood the film. The scenery is gorgeous and it’s quite a lot of fun. Good picture. [My Rating: 8/10]

FILM of the WEEK: Forks Over Knives

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