Joe Sixpack's Film Blog -- March, 2005

March, 2005


03/29/05

"Vera Drake" (New Line, 2004)
Great film. Great performance; there's no way you can tell me that Kate Blanchett's homage to Katherine Hepburn was a better piece of acting than this... And, man, has Mike Leigh come a long way as a director! Quite nice.



03/28/05

"Sword Of Doom" (1965)
A samurai drama about an undefeatable rogue swordsman who sinks as far into wickedness and dissolution as possible... This was less engaging than I would have liked... The cinematography is quite striking, though the plot is hardly as subtle as, say, a Kurosawa film. I mean, it's a well-made film, and quite stylish... But by the second half, I was ready for the film to end, and kind of felt like I was marking time until it did. Maybe I just wasn't in the right mood.



03/25/05

"Chang: A Drama Of The Wilderness" (Famous Players, 1927)
Eww. This film is apparently a classic of the silent era, a pioneering jungle film by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, the producers of the 1931 hit, King Kong. Filmed in location in Siam, this chronicles the life of a Laotian farm family living deep in the forest, amid elephants, tigers, leopards and all sorts of other beasties. Unfortunately, the film's theme is man vs. nature, with a distinctly pro-human, triumphalist agenda. Thus, while this is a technically well constructed work of art, it also basically amounts to a glorified animal snuff film, with villagers hunting and shooting large cats, snakes, monitor lizards, bears, elephants (the "chang" of the film's title...) and anything else on hoof, wing or belly that they could line up in front of the camera. As the animals yelp with anger and surprise, they are hounded and cut down in front of our eyes, as the silent-film placards crack out little one-liner "gag" captions, like, "Go Get 'Em, Fellas...!" If you have any empathy at all for the animals, this movie is simply unbearable to watch, steeped in the exploitative anti-nature ethos of the 19th Century... It's really a bummer.



03/23/05

"Oasis" (Kino, 2004)



03/22/05

"Robot Stories" (Kino, 2004)
Fledgling director Greg Pak



03/20/05

"Phantom Lady" (Universal, 1944)
Carmen's sister, Aurora Miranda has a big speaking role as Estela Monteiro, a Brazilian stage diva tied up in a mysterious murder. This was Aurora's biggest Hollywood role; she apparently only made films in the USA for about a year (and presumably returned to Brasil not long after than that...) A fine film noir, well worth checking out.



03/18-19/05

"The Bells Are Ringing" (Universal, 1944)

Carmen's sister, Aurora Miranda has a big speaking role as Estela Monteiro, a Brazilian stage diva tied up in a mysterious murder. This was Aurora's biggest Hollywood role; she apparently only made films in the USA for about a year (and presumably returned to Brasil not long after than that...) A fine film noir, well worth checking out.



03/10-16/05

"Deadwood (Season One)" (HBO, 2003)



03/01-02/05

"A Nous La Liberte" (Sonofilm, 1931)
Rene Clair... ...the subject of an abortive plagiarism suit filed against Charlie Chaplin by the Tobis film company (even though Rene Clair himself objected to the lawsuit...)


"(Purple Noon)" (1931)
The original filmization of the novel, The Talented Mr. Ripley, with French heartthrob Alain Delon playing the part of Tom Ripley, a studious sociopath who kills his best friend and attempts to assume his identity while on vacation in Italy. The film is artful and stylish, with a distinctly Continental European feel... and it's totally creepy, too!! Pretty engrossing and visually appealing, both for the astute location shots across the Mediterranean landscape, and for the lavish attention paid to Mssr. Delon, who my wife assures me is a total babe. Recommended!




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March, 2005