I must’ve been the last person standing who hadn’t seen The Big Chill yet when I tuned in to the movie for the first time a couple of days ago.
It goes without saying that this is a hugely popular flick. It also goes without saying that I wasn’t too impressed by it.
Lots of characters … little genuine development. Personages felt two-dimensional, without heft or texture. I got the names of various individuals confused. Like it mattered.
I think there are good things in the film: The dialogue is often sharp, and there are a number of amusing scenes. Plus, there’s a nice collection of popular songs accentuating the action. Ultimately, though, I didn’t find the picture credible, and that was exacerbated by the pat ending, which does a poor job of wrapping things up. Conflict is left hanging. And so was I.
Who knows why I waited so long to see TBC; that will probably remain one of the world’s unheralded mysteries. (Riiiight.) I will say that I’m happy I watched it … as I now don’t feel obligated to view it again. All because this Chill left me cold.
Billy Wilder can do no wrong.
Well, that’s not exactly true. But he’s one of my favorite directors, and after seeing Irma la Douce the other night, I can confirm that he’s one of the most innuendo-laden as well.
This is pretty sexy stuff, the Paris-set tale of a prostitute (played by Shirley MacLaine) and her ex-policeman beau (Jack Lemmon). Terrific writing, cinematography and art direction, too, with the City of Light coming to marvelous life onscreen. It may not be my favorite Wilder picture, but it has a lot going for it, with the director’s usual tart dialogue livened up by a salacious setting.
It helps, of course, that Paris is one of my favorite places, and my fond memories of it complement the images put on celluloid.
Let’s not forget a performance by the inimitable Lou Jacobi as a worldly bartender; he helps make the movie. Which should be better known, in my opinion. That it isn’t smacks of a time-tested Puritan sensibility, though in this age of Fifty Shades of Grey, I wonder if that’s all in the past.
Well. I know which film I’d rather watch.
Hello, readers! Just letting you know that I had the opportunity to interview the wonderfully talented Randall—yes, he of the famous Honey Badger series on YouTube–for CURNBLOG—and it’s up and running now. In it, you can discover what makes this very funny comic personality tick … from animals to causes, as well as how he got Lucy Lawless to star in one of his videos. It’s a terrific interview, and I hope you enjoy it. You can find it here: http://curnblog.com/2015/02/11/interviewing-honey-badgers-randall-life-worth-narrating/.
Who doesn’t like movies about a couple of guys taking a trip to Italy to dine at fancy restaurants while doing interminable impersonations of assorted celebrities?
I don’t. And consequently, I didn’t care for Michael Winterbottom’s disastrously unfunny The Trip to Italy at all.
I wasn’t a big fan of The Trip, the film’s picaresque predecessor, but at least the concept, which involved Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon doing impressions during meals at various restaurants in England, was somewhat novel at the time. Its sequel, however, is not so lucky. In fact, many of the impersonations (Michael Caine, Al Pacino) seem to be rehashed from the original film, leaving the viewer wondering if they have anything actually new up their sleeves to bring to the table.
It’s quite an awkward mix, this picture, what with the “comedy” (basically Coogan and Brydon talking over each other without offering much context) juxtaposed with shots of food and Italian landscapes … though the cuisine and scenery seem to be extraneous, playing second fiddle to the duo’s tedious, presumably improvised schtick.
I’m sorry, but I like my comedy cooked throughout, not half-baked. And The Trip to Italy is so underdone it’s raw.
One of the biggest problems with the flick is that it’s not cinematic. It’s a collection of episodes punctuated by flat humor and pseudo-philosophical asides. You’d be hard pressed to find another picture in recent years that dwells so much on quotes provided by Shelley and Byron. But you’d also be hard-pressed to find one that trivializes their work so frustratingly by making fleeting references to them and not following up with any further insight. That’s pretentious, fellow viewers, and makes for problematic movie-watching. I like my Shelley and Byron well-done, too. Not the way The Trip to Italy cooks them up.
I’m not sure what the market is for this kind of thing; it can’t be too large. It’s definitely not my kind of comedy. All I can say is I hope a third installment isn’t in the works. Making this series into a trilogy would just be too much cinematically to bear.
You may be wondering: Why has it taken me so long to watch The Kentucky Fried Movie, which I just saw for the first time last night.
The answer: I have no idea. But after watching it yesterday, I can safely say that I don’t think I was missing anything.
Sure there were some diverting moments. Mostly, however, it was a collection of not-as-funny-as-they-should-be skits, including a longish courtroom sketch that plodded its way to a decision. Blah.
Yes, it’s quotable: In that regard, it’s a film of “extraordinary magnitude.” I just wish it had more laughs. With Jim Abrahams and the Zucker brothers as the writers, that should’ve been the case. Sadly, many of the jokes didn’t fulfill their expectations. Some good ideas here and there. Not a lot of great ones, though.
Now that I’ve seen KFM, I have no desire to see it again. Still, I’m happy I got to watch it once. It’s important to keep an open mind about movies, right … even for the ludicrous ones?
Well, maybe not for those.
Most movies that start viewers off with narration bother me.
The Angriest Man in Brooklyn is no exception, and I had to turn it off last night before getting past the first half hour or so.
Narration is a crutch frequently used, it seems, to offset the fact that a story somehow isn’t told traditionally through the action onscreen. The problem is, it usually winds up being tiresome and suspense-killing, which you don’t want in a movie. That’s what happened in TAMiB.
But what really happened there? A lot of talent was wasted in this film – including Robin Williams, Peter Dinklage and Mila Kunis – which had something to do with a very peeved lawyer (played by Williams) being told erroneously that he has 90 minutes to live. Oh, goody, that plot device. No wonder I couldn’t watch the picture.
The script was a mess, to say the least. It was hard to say what it was going for: a comedy or a drama. Or perhaps both. It didn’t matter; I lost interest. And I don’t expect to resume watching it soon.
If only there wasn’t any narration. Maybe things would’ve been a little better.
Just thought I’d jump into the ring regarding the controversy surrounding the upcoming movie The Interview.
Saw a trailer for it recently. It looks pretty silly and sophomoric. And the premise – that a TV star and his producer would be recruited to “take out” maniacal North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – is ridiculous. Folks can rest easy. It’s just a movie.
Funny thing is, no one seemed to mind when Leslie Nielsen’s bumbling policeman Frank Drebin beat up world leader caricatures – including one of Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini – with two-fisted aplomb in The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!. Maybe because the context was so ludicrous, it couldn’t be taken seriously. My feeling is The Interview should be viewed in the same way. I repeat: It’s just a movie. It’s not advocating anything … right?
Which is not to say that filmmakers and their pictures shouldn’t necessarily be absolved of responsibility for the outlook of their projects. In this case, I think, the idea is so absurd that any fears about the prospect of potential political upheaval are unfounded. Case closed.
Last night marked the first time in my life that I’ve watched the Donald Petrie movie Mystic Pizza.
OK, it’s not a masterpiece. But this charming slice-of-life comedy-drama, which concerns the romantic trials and tribulations of three young women as they shepherd slices and pies to customers in a Mystic, CT, pizzeria, has a lot to offer, including solid performances and slick direction. Though it’s a bit unfocused – there doesn’t seem to be a central character, and the film veers from one relationship to the other without honing in on any single one – the script offers some telling observations, particularly when it comes to prejudice in small-town America. (The three women are of Portuguese heritage, and the strongest personality, played by Julia Roberts, encounters bigotry from her rich boyfriend’s family.)
I liked this picture. I wouldn’t rush to see it again, but it was a pleasant diversion. And I’m going to refrain from calling it a chick flick; in my opinion, if a movie is good, it’s accessible to and enjoyable for everyone. So it is with Mystic Pizza: pretty solid filmmaking, and I’m glad I got to watch it. Frankly, there’s nothing mystic about that.
Yesterday, while at the theater to watch Nightcrawler, I saw the trailer for the Jon Stewart film Rosewater.
I have to admit, I’m a bit skeptical about this production. Stewart directed the movie and wrote the script for it, and although I think he’s a funny, often insightful guy, I’m far from a devotee of his work and don’t agree with him on everything. This serious picture, which documents the imprisonment and questioning of a journalist in Iran, is hardly comic material, and comedy is Stewart’s specialty. From a cinematic standpoint, it’s a big risk.
On the other hand, the trailer suggests some interesting cinematography and intriguing dialogue, which would be a big step forward for the usually lighthearted Stewart. It’s also topical subject matter, given the tyrannical regime currently in Iran, and might call further attention to the events occurring there. So there’s a part of me that’s looking forward to seeing it.
The question is: Will it be good? It’s hard to say. I guess I have to wait and see.
I hate doing that.
One day, hopefully, A Confederacy of Dunces will become the movie it’s destined to be.
I’ve felt for a long time that this great John Kennedy Toole novel – which focuses on bizarre character Ignatius Reilly as he fumbles from mishap to mishap in New Orleans – was made for the cinema, as it’s got sweep, humor and a kind of beauty in its comic pages. Apparently, a project for a film of this book has been in the works for a while; its IMDB page notes that a picture is currently in development. This can, of course, take a long time to come to fruition, but I’m sanguine about the prospects. Ultimately, I believe, it’ll happen. It’s too good of a story not to.
Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair that so many lesser works have appeared onscreen before Dunces. I just have to keep hoping that this movie will become a reality. I also hope that it won’t be ruined like so many adaptations of classic tomes beforehand. It’s hard to know at this stage, though. Staying positive about the prospects is essential.
I think I can do that.