Friday, November 14, 2008

Weekend Rental Picks

Miss Julie (Alf Sjöberg, 1951)
The film is based on a world-famous play, but unlike most stage adaptations, Miss Julie is actually quite cinematic. The real beauty of Sjöberg's film is the deep focus photography, which makes it probably the closest (and best) descendant of Citizen Kane. Anita Bjöork is absolutely magnetic as the lead character, a wealthy young woman in love with one of the family's servants.

Suddenly, Last Summer (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1959)
I was watching the fascinating documentary The Celluloid Closet, about gay and lesbian representation in films, and they amusingly mentioned this bonkers Tennessee Williams drama. The film was censored so much because of the Production Code that they couldn't even directly mention the main plot point of the film (how Elizabeth Taylor and Katharine Hepburn were getting men for their gay cousin/son Sebastian). The film makes little sense, and is hardly the best film adaptation of Tennessee Williams, but it gives Mommie Dearest a run for its money in terms of batshit craziness. My favorite part has to be the final moments when Elizabeth Taylor gives the horrifying/campy scream when she recalls what happens to Sebastian.

Everyone Says I Love You (Woody Allen, 1996)
If you haven't seen Annie Hall, Woody Allen's masterpiece, go out and see that right now. But since I'm assuming that anyone reading this has already seen it or knows they should see it, I'm going to recommend the Woodman's 1996 musical/comedy. The music is kind of forgettable and no one in the cast really has that great of a singing voice, but that is Allen's intent- to make an "ordinary" musical. What I love most about Everyone Says I Love You is the wonderful ensemble (which includes Woody, Goldie Hawn, Drew Barrymore, Edward Norton, Alan Alda and Julia Roberts!) and the hilarious script, probably his last great comedy. In what other movie can you think of in which all of the characters are dressed and act like Groucho Marx at a New Year's party?

1 comment:

Marcy said...

I love Everyone Says I Love You. Honestly, I love it more than Annie Hall.