Monday, June 11, 2007

Short Film Rants

Hello out there! Sorry about my absence, but I've been at work the past four days and was too tired to write anything meaningful. There will be some more entries this week, but, for now, here are some quick thoughts on a few movies I've seen in the past couple of weeks.

Flags of Our Fathers (Clint Eastwood, 2006): Not a terrible film per se, but not the revelation that many critics proclaimed it. I found it to be just an imitation of a 40's morale-booster with a muddled final 30 minutes in which Eastwood just throws random flashforwards and flashbacks hoping they will stick. What I had a good time doing, instead, was detecting all the B- and C-List actors that appeared in the film (Oh, look that's Gaby's new husband on Desperate Housewives! Geez, that's the Indian from Joe Dirt! That's the guy from that one show with the gay couple who's daughter is dating the guy from the family that owns a bar! That's Lt. Dischert from Monk!). ***

Mysterious Skin (Gregg Araki, 2005): This film isn't for everyone, but I found it to be one of the most hypnotic and finest I've seen in awhile. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a gay hustler who was sexually abused by his little league coach. Brady Corbet plays a young man who can't remember stretches of his childhood and believes he was abducted by aliens. The film is beautiful and the way these two lives collide is fascinating. Both of these actors give great performances and make this film a must see.

The Broadway Melody of 1936 (Roy Del Ruth, 1935): It's kind of embarassing to see this MGM musical and realize that also in 1935 RKO released the quintessential 30's musical Top Hat and Warner Brothers released the witty, as-good-as-the-original The Gold Diggers of 1935. Both of those musicals are far superior to this dud, a sloppily edited, horribly acted backstage musical. Buddy Ebsen is flat out terrible, Robert Taylor is yummy but nowhere near as good as he was in my favorite performance of his (Personal Property) and Eleanor Powell is infinitely more interesting as La Belle Arlette than she is as her character (although her Katharine Hepburn impression wasn't bad). The only bright spot in the film is Una Merkel as Taylor's secretary Kitty Corbett. **

Broken Blossoms (D.W. Griffith, 1919): This is one of those silent movies where a small nod is supposed to reveal character and the characters spend vast amounts of time staring off into the distance contemplating things they'll never understand. The first hour of this movie is pretty boring, but, like many Griffith films, the editing at the conclusion of the film is first-rate and makes it a better film. ** 1/2

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