Quick Hits Slapstick Superheroes

Autumn Sonata

dir. Ingmar Bergman – 6.9 – After watching this film my mind was wondering about various portrayals of children speaking ill of their parents. This is typically characterized by a rebellious teenager trying to separate themselves from the perceived tyranny of their parents. Autumn Sonata, however, is the story about a daughter, Liv Ullmann, who has finally been able to strip the golden sheen from her aging, pianist, mother, Ingrid Bergman, to realize that most of Liv’s memories are of a mother who was less interested in her family than her career.

This is not my favorite Bergman film but is holds up the idea that there are no bad Bergman films. It is beautiful and incredible written and acted. There are the films that I wish I could make if I made films. Wonderful and very well worth it.

Captain America: Civil War

dir. – 6.6 – Another properly extruded Marvel film. It is not my favorite but I am not surprised that it scored as high as it did. See, these films are built to score high, Disney knows what they are doing. My main (spoiler free) issue with the film is that it wanted to be bigger than it needed to be. Several scenes did not NEED to the film would be wildly different if the scenes were missing. Without a doubt Winter Soldier was a much better film.

Kind Hearts and Coronets

dir. Robert Hamer – 6.5 – What a delightful film about murder. My wife saw the current iterance, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, of Roy Horniman’s book, Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal, and told me how funny it was and that it wanted me to watch the film. Alec Guinness it the clear high point of the film playing eight different characters in a family. This a wonderful use of your time.

Modern Times

dir. Charles Chaplin – 6.1 – Modern Times is a fine film with some of the most daring photography from Chaplin films. When I need a pick-me-up I can never go wrong with any Chaplin, and I needed it when I watched this film.

The Kennedy Films by Robert Drew and Associates

Avg score 6.1 – This is a collection of four films surrounding JFK’s presidency from the Primary to his funeral. It is devastating to watch the Primary film and see that candidates are saying today what they were saying 60 years ago. This is a good civics lesson and I hope the be a little better for having watched it. The most interesting film was Crisis which follows the integration of the University of Alabama in the early 60’s when the Kennedy administration faced off against George Wallace’s governorship. My favorite feature on the disc is an interview with Sharon Malone and former Attorney General Eric Holder. Malone was the sister of Vivian Malone who was one of the subjects of the film. Faces of November is a somber reflection on the funeral of JFK and is as sad as you could imagine.

Primary – dir. Robert Drew – 5.7

Adventures on the New Frontier – dir. Robert Drew – 5.0

Crisis – dir. Robert Drew – 7.4

Faces of November – dir. Robert Drew – 6.4

Sans Soleil

dir. Chris Marker – 4.7 – I watched this 30 days ago and cannot remember much about the film. I remember it being well shot but clearly it is not memorable.

Grey Gardens

dir. Albert Maysles – 4.5 – Grey Gardens is just bonkers and I cannot really see what the rest of the world sees it. I am glad to have watched it but, I don’t know, take it or leave it.

Island of Lost Souls

dir. Erle C. Kenton – 5.1 – File under pre-code. It is interesting to watch films made before Hollywood decided that they needed to develop some level of moral code. Agree or disagree with this idea it had become a censorship tool which exists today. Island of Lost Souls is one of these hundreds of pre-code films. There is nothing lewd or uncouth in the film but it is risque just for existing. The costumes and design of the film are very good for the time.

Watchmen

dir. Zack Snyder – 5.2 – The high point of this derivative film is one of the scenes added back in for the directors cut in which Laurie is interviewed by the Army is a room identical to Bowie’s anti-room from The Man Who Fell to Earth, complete with ping pong table. That aside I would strongly suggest that you read the book. Watchmen is, far and away, the most literal adaptation of a comic book to a movie with very few content changes.

Re-Animator

dir. Stuart Gordon – 5.7 – I suppose I should include the next two together. I revisited Re-Animator after snagging the new Bride of Re-Animator blu ray. This film is the superior of the two but both are low quality schlock-horror flicks that are an absolute delight to watch. Corny but amazing.

Bride of Re-Animator – dir. Brian Yuzna – 4.5

6 Films by W.C. Fields

ave score 3.7 (Note: I am a disciple of Chaplin.)

Pool Sharks – dir. Edwin Middleton – 4.6 – Pool Sharks was an interesting field though it is derivative of the ideas put forth by Chaplin and Keaton. I must admit that the animation of the pool balls was very neat, but also sort of silly.

The Golf Specialist – dir. Monte Brice – 3.5 – This film was painfully slow and relatively un-funny. The only real thing that I can say is that it was a dreadful viewing experience. They could edit this down and it might have been okay.

The Dentist – dir. Leslie Pierce – 3.7 – The Dentist perfectly embodies it’s title.

The Fatal Glass of Beer – dir. Clyde Bruckman – 3.5 – At this point of the 6 Films experience I am really wondering what the draw of W.C. Fields ever was. I remember my Grandfather talking about Field and having enjoyed his films but I cannot put my finger on why. I did laugh, once, when the dachshund was on the dog sled. That is all.

The Pharmacist – dir. Arthur Ripley – 3.5 – Nope. Child abuse.

The Barber Shop – dir. Arthur Ripley – 3.4 – Nope. Just, nope.

I Married a Witch

dir. Rene Clair – 5.9 – What a delightful little film. There is not much to say though as the film is not very deep. In the film we meet a couple of accused witches who put a curse on the future generations of their accusers, then the daughter witch, Veronica Lake, falls in love with one of the descendants. It is fun.

 

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