Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Recommendations :: What I've Been Watching, and So Should You! (Or Not....)

Sure, Superchick (1973) is from Crown International, so I already knew full well it would never, ever live up to that poster let alone the trailer. Still, I kinda dug Policewomen, a contemporary piece made by the same folks, so I gave it a whirl and found this tale of a free-loving, kung-fuing stewardess and the somewhat dicey entanglements with her trio of cross-country beaus (and anyone else willing to take a number and wait in line...) to be gleefully moronic in a *bonk*bonk*bonk*bonk*bonk* kind of way. Recommendation: Worth it for the musical "composing" scene alone -- in a Stravinsky, Rite of Spring sense. Wow.

I was really kind of amazed by the bawdiness of One Body Too Many (1944), with hero Jack Haley spending half the movie in his birthday suit. Seriously. He did. (And that thing with the kittens floored me.) Good supporting cast, too, with a special shout-out to Bela Lugosi. He was pretty funny, as is Haley, in a rare top-billed performance, in this otherwise rote tale of spiteful heirs conniving to increase their shares of inheritance of the recently deceased patriarch by any means necessary; and when the body in question keeps disappearing, this leads to an evening of buffoonery with a few gruesome twists. Recommendation: I dug it, but if you've seen one of these Reading of the Will programmers and didn't like it, odds are this one won't change your mind.

With Reign of Terror a/k/a Black Book (1949) Anthony Mann tries to do for period melodrama what he did for the western with Winchester '73. One wouldn't think a noirish, hard-boiled sensibility would work for a costume piece like this; but this tale of the French underground's efforts to derail Robespierre is really good and littered with many familiar, out-of-place faces who completely shine as the plot and several heads keep a'rollin' along. Recommendation: Despite the absolutely butchered public domain print I sat through nearly ruining things, this one is well worth the eye-strained effort.

As one who suffers from the rare genetic anomaly of preferring the Dave Clark Five over the Beatles, and being an unabashed fan of John Boorman's "unique" cinematic styling, I fear I was expecting a little more from Having a Wild Weekend (1965). By no means a bad film, mind you, and I suspect it will grow on me, but if I have to sum up first impressions, no matter how hard I try to soft soap it, this film is teetering on the precipice of being a major disappointment. Recommendation: File this one under Expectations Be a Bitch Seldom Satisfied.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012) is about three or four different movies trying to be one movie. (One of which was pretty good, the others ... eh.) And the resulting over-compression to make it all fit into one narrative proved too steep a hill to climb. It didn't help that I spent too much time debating on placing where I'd heard Bane's voice before (SOLVED! Toucan Sam by way of Sean Connery) and then continuing the debate on which was more silly, his or Batty's cranky asthmatic Sydney Greenstreet impression. The opening action set-piece and the cast almost saves it (-- especially Hathaway, Oldman and Gordon-Levitt), but the film is ultimately undone by a third act that teetered between really clumsy and kinda dumb. Overall, not terrible, but just not very good. Recommendation: As always, your mileage may vary.

Entrance (2012) ... Well, that was odd. And disturbing. Disturbingly odd. To give a plot description would spoil the soup but I did not see the third act playing out quite like that. So, well played, movie. Now, I enjoy a slow burner but I fear most will find the opening two acts of this "psychological thriller" too slow and too plodding with irritating characters who do nothing but mundane, day-in-the-life navel gazing. So irritating, in fact, you will probably wish on them some form of grievous bodily harm. And if you hate those kind of movies, well, here, the movie was listening to your bitching, and, in this case, be careful what you wish for.


Stacia said...

I have never seen One Body Too Many. My life, up until now, has clearly been a lie.

W.B. Kelso said...

I have a tendency to oversell things, so buyer be wary, but I dug the heck out of it. Lugosi's working hard as the comedy relief, though they beat a coffee gag into the ground, dug it back up, beat it some more, and then buried it again. Also recommend Haley's only other top-billed feature, SCARED STIFF (not to be confused with the Martin and Lewis GHOSTBREAKERS remake)if you haven't had the pleasure. I believe both are currently on YouTube, and I saw ONE BODY... through Amazon Prime streaming.

Stacia said...

Added both to my various queues! My computer doesn't like streaming video, it cries a lot, so DVD is still the way to go for me.

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