It’s been a while, not to mention that I don’t need to say much about most of these (whether because I’ve seen them before or some other reason), so here’s a bag ‘o movies seen.
Viewed March 23, 2009: The Blackbird, a silent film from 1926 directed by Tod Browning, starring Lon Chaney and Renée Adorée. I’m a big fan of both Browning and Chaney; this one is a prime example of why. Chaney, the master of disguises, plays a man who himself is playing two people – a crippled bishop who is highly respected in his small city community, and his alter-ego “brother,” the bishop’s evil side who is a minor thug and liver of the high life in the underworld. Conflicts with West End Bertie (nicely played by Owen Moore) over territory and over Fifi Lorraine (Adorée) come to a head. Some of this film is over the top (what, Tod Browning?) including the portrayal of the bishop’s affliction (what, Tod Browning?), but the result is still great fun.
Watched March 26, 2009: Be Kind Rewind, a 2008 movie directed by Michel Gondry, starring Jack Black, Mos Def, and a bunch of other people who probably thought this was a good sounding story (kind of like I did when I decided to watch it). A couple of ne’er-do-wells minding a video rental store accidentally, through a freak occurence, erase every tape in the store. When forced to rent a film to a local hood, they decide to remake the movie with cheap equipment, a condensed story, and themselves as stars. Soon the community, most of which is not at all fooled, clamors for these imitations. The story is wrapped inside of a pretense at a tribute to a musician, perhaps to add some kind of serious air to it, but all it does is make it a bit schizoid. This movie is pretty much a waste of time, although perhaps it might improve with a crowd and some chemical additives, which might have been the intended viewing scenario.
Viewed March 31, 2009: Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events from 2004, directed by Brad Silberling, starring Jim Carrey and a full cast of well-known actors who probably were easily convinced to appear in this film based on a popular book series. The story concerns a pair of children who find themselves orphaned and who have adventures trying to avoid the clutches of an evil relative to whom they have been entrusted. It was fun and well done; I watched this with my grandchildren. Though I had not read the books, their parents had – their opinion (if I recall it correctly) was disappointment that the source material had been jumbled up, i.e. multiple books mixed together and perhaps other liberties taken. I, ignorant of the books, thought it was enjoyable on its own. And the kids liked it.
Viewed April 4, 2009 for the umpteenth time: The Terminator from 2004, directed by James Cameron, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, and Linda Hamilton. A story of a future where intelligent machines have taken over the world from mankind, a human savior who has risen to defeat them, a robotic “terminator” who has been sent back in time to prevent that man from ever being born, and the man who follows to thwart that attempt and ensure the fulfillment of his own destiny. Thoroughly and ever enjoyable.
Also on that night, April 4, 2009, for the umpty-umpeenth time: Casablanca from 1942, directed by Michael Curtiz, starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Dooley Wilson, Paul Henreid, Sidney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Claude Rains. The classic wartime romantic triangle about love and loyalty that is simply one of the best movies ever made.
More baggage to follow.