Friday, November 7, 2008

Weekend Rental Picks

A weekly series in which I try to help emerging cinephiles reduce their anxiety by pointing them in the right direction at their local Blockbuster.

Nashville (Robert Altman, 1975)
With the election still on everyone's mind, Altman's multi-character drama set in the country music capital is a great film to keep you in the political mood. Don't worry, the film's not overtly, jam-it-down-your-throat political; it merely uses the presidential campaign of a third party nominee named Hal Phillip Walker merely as a starting point to get the characters involved with each other and, eventually, unites them all. No matter who you are, you will find a character (or two) you can relate with and/or find really fascinating (My favortites? Ronee Blakely's damaged country Queen, Barbara Jean and Henry Gibson's paternal King of Nashville, Haven Hamilton).

The Gold Diggers of 1933 (Mervyn LeRoy, 1933)
And while the economy is going to shit, enjoy this gem of a Warner Brothers musical which tackles the Great Depression head on with fabulous costumes, bitchy actresses, fantastic songs and breathtaking Busby Berkley choreography. A lot of people prefer 42nd Street, but I don't think that film can begin compare with The Gold Diggers of 1933, which hides a tough interior underneath all of the frivolities of a 30's musical.

The Cranes Are Flying (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1957)
Didn't think the Soviets could make a moving romance? I didn't, well, at least until I saw The Cranes Are Flying a few months ago. I was absolutely transfixed by everything concerning this film: the deep focus photography is to die for, the acting is fantastic and the romance actually moves and doesn't just feel like an after thought. Now, if only Hollywood would take lessons from this film on how to make a proper romance and not stick us with crap like The Notebook.


J.D. said...


What an incredible fucking film.

Vera said...

Since I've seen the other two films multiple times but I've never seen The Cranes Are Flying I think I will try to get ahold of that. Although, who am I fooling? I'll never find it in this jerkwater town. So looks like I'll add it to my Netflix queue and it will have to be Nashville for the fifth time. Although for pure Diva goodness it is hard to beat Ginger Rodgers singing We're in the Money in pig latin.