Sunday, 8 July 2012

The week in brief (2 - 8 July)

This week's big(ish) list o' movies:

The Outsiders (1983): 5/10
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012): 7/10
Sea of Love (1989): 7/10
Mr Deeds Goes to Town (1936): 8/10
Rebecca (1940): 7/10
The Adjustment Bureau (2011): 5/10

So, a bit of a mixed bag once again. The pick of the bunch are a couple of 'oldies but goodies': first of all, Frank Capra's original version of Mr Deeds Goes To Town. Mr Deeds is a classic comedy which sees Gary Cooper as the small town poet who inherits a fortune, then finds himself at the centre of a media circus when he tries to give the money away. Rather like the other Capra films I've seen (Mr Smith Goes to Washington and It's A Wonderful Life), it's a story where innocence and honesty triumph over cynicism and greed. Despite being made 70 odd years ago, it's still very funny, with a fine screenplay, and brilliant comic turns from Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur.  Secondly, I also rather enjoyed Albert Hitchcock's first American movie, Rebecca - it won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1940, and is an intriguing mystery set at a isolated Cornish estate. The stand out performance for me comes from Judith Anderson as Mrs Danvers, probably the creepiest housekeeper in cinema history.

There were also a couple of films which I didn't really enjoy this week. The Outsiders is a bit of a strange one - a tale of street gangs in 1950s Oklahoma which squanders a remarkable cast (including the likes of Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez and Diane Lane) with a pretty limp, unconvincing story. The direction was just too showy, making everything seem completely artificial and taking me away from the action. I know Francis Ford Coppola is regarded as being one of the great American directors, but there's a fair bit of dross on his resume alongside genuine classics like The Godfather (Parts I and II), Apocalypse Now and The Conversation. Another minor disappointment: The Adjustment Bureau. Despite solid performances from Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, the movie just didn't work for me. The idea of a sinister cabal of besuited men controlling the world is quite an intriguing one, but the execution of that idea was muddled and confusing.

Finally, I should mention that I caught the new Spider-Man movie at the cinema. I've always been a big fan of old Spidey - he was my favourite superhero when I was growing up, and I thoroughly enjoyed Sam Raimi's first two Spider-Man pictures. As for the new one - well, I'd say it's a qualified success. Andrew Garfield makes for a suitably neurotic webslinger, and the scenes establishing the character's origins are about as good as I could have hoped for. However, I was disappointed with the villain of the piece, the Lizard - a CGI creation without any presence or personality - and the ending, with the spider - lizard face off, was a bit too predictable.

Kirk's Quote of the Week

The Big Lebowski (1998)

"The Dude: Mr. Treehorn treats objects like women, man.
Malibu Police Chief: Mr. Treehorn draws a lot of water in this town. You don't draw shit, Lebowski. Now we got a nice, quiet little beach community here, and I aim to keep it nice and quiet. So let me make something plain. I don't like you sucking around, bothering our citizens, Lebowski. I don't like your jerk-off name. I don't like your jerk-off face. I don't like your jerk-off behavior, and I don't like you, jerk-off. Do I make myself clear?
The Dude: I'm sorry, I wasn't listening."

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