Seen April 25, 2009: Dark Passage, a 1947 movie directed by Delmer Daves, starring Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Bruce Bennett, and Agnes Moorehead. Here’s a story of escaped convict Vincent Parry (Bogart) who was probably wrongly convicted of murdering his wife. He’s taken in by Irene Jansen (Bacall) who is familiar with Parry’s case and had her own reasons for being drawn to him. Through some random circumstances, Parry undergoes plastic surgery to gain a new identity and escape from the law. The initial gimmick of this movie is that until this happens, the camera view is from Parry’s eye; we never see him until he turns into Bogart. This film has a good reputation and a high standing, but I’m afraid I just couldn’t ignore the far-fetchedness, implausibility, and downright impossibility of so many things in it. I’m happy to suspend disbelief to a point, but you can only go so far before you have to start laughing at it or picking it apart. The photography was great, the acting was fine, the introductory gimmick was fun. Maybe when I’m older I’ll like it better. There’s not much time for that, though.
Next was another “Dark” movie, seen May 2, 2009: Dark Star, 1974 movie directed by John Carpenter, starring Dan O’Bannon (who also co-wrote with Carpenter) among others. This movie is also preposterous and full of implausibilities and impossibilities, but that’s exactly what makes it fun. Based on a student film, this is about the crew of the Dark Star who have spent 20 years on their mission, which is to prepare star systems for colonization by destroying unstable planets. In this movie you have your hippie, you have your surfer, you have your grudges and insanity, you have your alien pet that looks like a beach ball, you have your intelligent bombs that have to be convinced with a bit of existential philosophy not to explode. You have your cheesy effects, low budget, and camp. But mostly you have a lot of fun.
Seen May 2, 2009: Forgetting Sarah Marshall, 2008 movie directed by Nicholas Stoller, starring Jason Segel (who wrote the film), Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, and Russell Brand. Peter Bretter (Segel) is dumped by his girlfriend Sarah Marshall (Bell) who is a famous actress. He takes a trip to Hawaii to get over her but guess who’s there? Sarah Marshall, of course, along with her new boyfriend Aldous (Brand). I had high hopes for this movie; it was well-hyped, was produced by Judd Apatow whose films and TV series I’m a big fan of, has actors that I like. Maybe I should try not to have high expectations before seeing a movie, I dunno, but this just didn’t excite me. It had some funny moments (the naked break-up scene among them), very good acting from all, including Mila Kunis, and Russell Brand can be pretty funny. But not enough grabbed me or stuck with me. I imagine I’ll see parts or all of it again at some point and maybe I’ll see what everybody else seemed to see.