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Monday, 19 April 2010

A Motley Selection

More and more nowadays I find that I don't really want to discuss any of my recent viewings in any depth and I resort to making brief comments about a selection of films. So it will be today, until I get as bored doing this as I did watching some of the following selection:

Murders in the Zoo (1933): A reasonably well-done, but not so golden oldie, where our hero Randolph Scott deals with a missing mamba and discovers that big baddie Lionel Atwell has been poisoning his rivals with a make-believe mamba mouth. Or something like that. The stock animal shots were fine.

Cadillac Records (2008): I didn't dislike this movie as much as I thought I would, largely because of the glorious music of the sixties. Adrien Brody (much better than the last time I saw him in the Dario Argento fiasco) plays the founder of Chess Records in Chicago ready to exploit the new fashionable black sounds and a selection of black actors take on the roles of the various stars of that period. I particularly liked Mos Def as Chuck Berry, while producer Beyonce Knowles gifted herself a fine showcase for her voice as Etta James.

Mad Money (2008): This rather muddled caper movie which had more plot holes than a leaky sieve featured Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, and Mrs. Cruise as the employees of a facility for shredding worn-out banknotes and their wheeze of smuggling vast quantities of cash out every day in their underwear. Keaton's and Katie Holmes' overacting were annoyingly frenetic and most of the rest of the cast decided to follow suit.

The Possession of Joel Delaney (1972): It's been a while since I last saw this paeon to 70s' fashion where socialite Shirley MacLaine deals with her brother Perry King's possession by the soul of a Puerto Rican serial killer with a penchant for beheading his victims. Watchable, but rather nasty, as she and her children are brutalised by the increasingly violent King and an ending of no surprise whatsoever for the savvy horror fan.

The Tunnel (1935): An obscure and fairly well-conceived British flick where Leslie Banks oversees the building of a tunnel to link London and New York to further harmonious relations amongst the English-speaking nations!!!

Ca Brule (2006): Also known as "It Burns", this French flick was hard to like and rather dreary as a rebellious teenager develops a crush on a local married fireman and sets the countryside ablaze to catch his attention, managing to kill them both in the process. There...I've given the ending away and you don't have to bother watching it.

The Late George Apley (1947): This adaptation of the Marquand novel provides an excellent showcase for Ronald Colman as the Boston blueblood and snob who learns to deal with the world outside of Beacon Street as his children fall in love with unacceptable 'foreigners' (like from a neighbouring city or educated at Yale rather than Harvard). Lightweight, but a fairly ironic and entertaining period piece.

Knowing (2009): Yet another forgettable outing for worried action hero Nicolas Cage as he becomes obsessed with deciphering a string of numbers outlining past and forthcoming disasters. I can just about remember when I used to like this actor in some of his early and far kookier roles.

Tampopo (1985): I'd forgotten just how pleasant this Japanese hymn to the joys of eating is, as a wideboy helps a widowed noodle bar owner turn her restaurant into the paragon of all noodle bars, taking time out for a number of unrelated vignettes on how food is not just necessary for nourishment but also for erotic delights. A very tasty treat indeed.

Van Wilder: Freshman Year (2009): The less said about this jejune straight-t0-disc spinoff the better.

Despearately Seeking Susan (1985): I haven't seen this one for quite a while, but it holds up reasonably well, largely due to likeable actress Rosanna Arquette, the eldest of the acting siblings. She becomes fascinated with the elusive "Susan" (as played by Madonna) whose exploits she follows in the small ads. After acquiring Susan's jacket and losing her memory, people take her to be Susan, especially Aiden Quinn as her reluctant saviour and Will Patton as a gangster out to retrieve some stolen earrings. Meanwhile her philandering and self-obsessed bathtub-salesman husband shows his true and rather miserable colours. At the time people thought that Madonna stole the film from the more talented Arquette, but in retrospect one realises that Madonna may have been an iconic-looking figure in the period when the movie was made but she is definitely no actress.

I think that's about all I can stand to write about for today, but I guess it was all a lot better on balance than I suggested at the start.
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