Setter’s ‘Spectives: Just Say ‘Ewww’ to ‘The V.I.P.s’

Setter Drawing for Blog 082613Normally, I don’t care for movies with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. So I wasn’t surprised to find that The V.I.P.s, their 1963 film under Anthony Asquith’s direction, was awful. And I mean awful.

Soapy, too. In a bad way, not in an I, Claudius fun way. This was soap without a lot of bubbles. Deadly dull, unperfumed, lather-free soap.

And trashy. The tale of a group of high-end passengers who get stuck in a London airport due to fog, The V.I.P.s went from one dreary relationship to another, from Burton and Taylor’s married-couple-on-the-outs to Rod Taylor’s nice-guy businessman whose secretary, played by Maggie Smith, has fallen in love with him. I didn’t find any of these situations credible, and they just got more tedious as the film rolled along. Plus, the cinematography didn’t help, either. Strange compositions seemed to include lamps or some kind of bizarre light fixture in many shots, leading them to be jarring. And the score by the normally reliable Miklós Rózsa was awfully syrupy. Not good, Miklós. Not good.

So what are the takeaways from this? Well, I still don’t like Burton-Taylor movies. I also don’t like bad movies. And I love I, Claudius.

If you can find meaning in that, you’re a better man (or woman) than I.

Skip’s Quips: Disliking ‘The Comedians’ Is No Laughing Matter

Blog Sketch 082813Well, I tried to watch The Comedians. It was a valiant effort.

Unfortunately, it failed.

I’m not sure what the issue was. The pacing seemed off. Direction, by Peter Glenville, was a bit plodding, especially during the scenes involving Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, who have never been my favorite acting team. It certainly was a powerful subject – Haiti during the reign of “Papa Doc” Duvalier – and it had some terrific performers, including Alec Guinness, Peter Ustinov, James Earl Jones and Lilian Gish, but the components didn’t really fit together. The movie felt like an unfinished jigsaw puzzle with inaccurately measured pieces.

Oh, well. I do like trying new things, but this picture didn’t grab me. Perhaps it’s one of those films that deserves to be remade. Better direction and a tighter script might serve it well.

Setter’s ‘Spectives: The Trying Is the Hardest Part

Setter Drawing for Blog 082613Please, let me never need to watch any more of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? again.

I realize it’s vaunted. I understand people like it.

Here’s the truth: I don’t. And I sure as heck ain’t forcing myself to get through the rest of it.

That’s right, I didn’t finish the movie. I only started it recently because it was on and I realized this was one hallowed film I still hadn’t seen.

Too bad I didn’t let it remain that way.

Lots of screeching, via Liz Taylor and Richard Burton. Not fun. There didn’t even seem to be a crescendo … just one wobbly plateau.

This just isn’t my shot of bourbon. If I want a flick about marital difficulties, I’ll choose Far From the Madding Crowd. Really.

And remain in the minority for all my moviegoing life. So be it.