Happy Thanksgiving weekend! Watched THE MOON SPINNERS (1964) on Disney. Itʻs a Hayley Mills film. Knowing nothing about it when I turned it on, I was so surprised to see Eli Wallach and Irene Papas...and Paul Stassino. Iʻm not actually sure where I know Irene Papas and Paul Stassino from. All I know is that I know them from somewhere. Itʻs a REALLY PRETTY mystery set and shot on location in Crete. Very enchanting. I am a huge Hayley Mills fan and when she was young she was truly the embodiment of "Disney magic charm" - even before she was in Disney actually - she was just like dynamite cute. But Iʻll be the first to say she is NOT having the same effect in MOON SPINNERS. There were a couple films in her adolescence where she was just NOT feeling it. I can imagine she was under a lot of pressure...her whole childhood career. Anyway. Eli Wallach and Irene Papas steal all the scenes theyʻre in and Peter McEnery, the love interest, carries it the rest of the way. They make it enjoyable. I recommend it for fun.
Also, Irene Papas is STUNNING.
I had to look her up, and I've seen her in The Guns of Navarone, and she WAS stunning. Even while playing a "peasant" character rather than a more traditional beautiful woman role. This movie looks like the type of movie I feasted upon as a kid. I think I might watch it tonight, thanks!
Yeah, she looks GOOD with her hair back in a scarf/"peasant" fashion. Hard to take your eyes off her. Ah, ok. I looked up Guns of Navarone, saw Anthony Quinn in the cast and remembered..I actually know her from Zorba the Greek. Along with other stuff I canʻt think of now, probably. I do think you will appreciate Moon Spinners, Paul :)
Happy American thanksgiving to everyone south of the border. I haven’t had much free time, but have seen some absolute bangers over the past couple of weeks: Midnight Cowboy (1969, dir. John Schlesinger). I had recognised the name of this, but didn’t know what it was about. It’s kind of a incredible movie, embodying the late ‘60s, eliciting the feeling of great changes happening, but not entirely sure where its going or whether change was a good thing. Also, at the same time, just a simple movie about friendship. Dustin Hoffman is so sweaty this, and probably stinks to high heaven. I was impressed how it portrayed him as a pathetic little sweaty stinky loser, yet the movie finally leaves us deeply empathetic towards him.Patton (1970, dir. Franklin J. Schaffner). I had been meaning to watch this for a long time. Wow, what a film. It might be the most “pro war” movie I’ve ever seen. I was ready to enlist by the end of it, even though George C. Scott (who’s the meat AND potatoes of this) portrays him as a difficult, but charismatic and successful, asshole. It has some great action/battle scenes as well, but always shot from afar, as if we’re in the POV of Patton looking on. It’s just such a captivating powerful performance by Scott. Afterwards, I realised I had watch the best picture from 1970, and then from 1969 (I didn’t plan it, otherwise would have watched in reverse order lol). And holy hell, they couldn’t have been more different. It kind of interesting that Patton (which honestly feels like it could have been a propaganda movie released in 1944) was nominated after the “summer of love” year, when Vietnam was getting more bogged down than ever with dropping public support for the war.Days of Heaven (1978, dir. Terrence Malick). Watching this I was astounded and wondering why everything I was watching seemed like a goddamn masterpiece! This movie was so good. I watched my first Malick recently (The New World) and again was blown away by how beautiful his movies look. Having Richard Gere and Brooke Adams, perhaps the most gorgeous set of people put on film, certainly helps. I really liked the performance of the young sister (who also narrates), but she didn’t act much afterwards.
Hell in the Pacific (1964, dir. John Boorman). I’ve watched a few Boorman movies recently and my estimation of him has risen quite a bit. This has a very unique premise, with 2 soldiers being marooned on an island in the S. Pacific during WWII, one American and one Japanese (played brilliantly by Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune). As you would expect, they’re initially hostile towards one another, but eventually develop a friendship, despite never being able to understand each others language. There’s quite a bit of comedy in it too, and it’s beautifully shot by Conrad L. Hall. For a movie with only 2 characters that can’t speak and are stuck on an island, it actually flies along and never feels long.I also watched The Killer which I found to be pretty dull. And saw my highly anticipated Napoleon in the theatre, but there was a goddamn problem with the sound. It was like some channels were missing. I complained to a manager, but he came in to see, and it was during a “only talking” scene, where it wasn’t noticeable. So I enjoyed it, but the whole way through was second guessing myself whether there actually was a problem with the sound. But THERE WAS. During one of the battle scenes, you could loudly hear the sound of people yelling and horses breathing, but the sound of cannons firing and the musical score was very quiet in the background. I should have spent the extra to see it in IMAX, but my kids were with me, so I didn’t want to spend too much. I would have left and asked for a refund if they weren’t with me. Also, the kids kept saying it sounded alright. But I swear there was something off. Maybe I’m just crazy! It’s been bothering me ever since, because I don’t know.
Shitty movie projection is really annoying. These managers work hard, but they know nothing about the technically of it all. I almost walked out of Oppenheimer because the screen looked like crap. And there was an annoying girl next to me too, but i suffered
The manager said that there's no adjustments they can make to the film sound and they just play it as received from the studio. Only adjust the volume. I think 1+ of the channels wasn't playing for some reason. Or one of them was way turned up and they had turned down the overall volume to compensate. It wasn't always noticeable, but VERY noticeable in other scenes.It was super frustrating, especially because at one point I realised I was kind of ruining the movie for my kids by keeping mentioning it, so I shut up about it (mostly) from then on.
It is great to have cinematic gems like those to discover. There was something about the late 1960s and '70s that created so many memorable films. Midnight Cowboy was extremely controversial when it came out, getting the X rating from the MPAA. That did not stop it from being an Oscar winner. The grimy Times Square setting would make it a good double feature with Taxi Driver. Days of Heaven definitely is a masterpiece. The fire sequence in that has lingered in my head over the decades.
The Thing (2011): the prequel we didn't need, or even asked for, and much has been said about the VFX. despite all that, i like the movie enough to rewatch it from time to time. it's basically a remake of the original movie. maybe it's the Mary Elizabeth Winstead effect... i like her.Random Hearts (1999): this was mentioned on the podcast a few weeks ago and i don't think i ever saw it before. i tracked it down (bought the blu-ray for way too much money) and now i finally watched it. the kins of adult drama we don't see anymore. they don't make it like that anymoreAmazing Spider-Man 1 and 2: Tom Holland's Spidey is fun, but i feel like Tobey's and Andrew's Spidey have more personality. despite all the quippy dialogues and action of the Holland's, i often get bored with repeat viewing. i don't have that feeling with the Tobey and Andrew. Spidey 3 was deeply flawed. these two Amazings also have a lot of problems, but somehow i can forgive them more and am able to have a ton of fun every time i watch them.
Besides limiting my time to watch movies, Thanksgiving preparations took a lot out of me. I did not have much mental energy left when it was done. I got to a couple of films before then, though.WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS? (1984, dir. Pedro Almodóvar) - His fourth feature is vintage Almodóvar, but it does feel slight compared to films that followed. Carmen Maura is again the lead, playing a woman dealing with taking care of a dysfunctional family while struggling to make ends meet. Her husband, a very macho Spanish male, is not much help. In his films, male characters are frequently more of a burden than beneficial to the women. Her neighbor, a ditzy p-r-o-s-t-i-t-u-t-e, livens things up from time to time. The balance of drama, comedy, and outrageousness is not pitched as well as his other films.RIO ESCONDIDO (1948, Emilio Fernández) – A woman is sent to bring education and the Mexican government’s values to a remote rural town that has been in chaos for a long time. Conflict with the local leader, a boorish man prone to violence, ramps up as more of the villagers fall under her influence. I stumbled upon Río Escondido on a Mexican film channel and, despite knowing only a little Spanish, was drawn in with the black-and-white cinematography. The camera angles, the close-ups, and the framing of the characters within the arid landscape and the town are wonderful. The use of a lot of non-professional actors, especially indigenous people, and the focus on social issues gives the film a neo-realist quality. As for the story, it seems like melodramatic propaganda.The only other watch for the week was the 1980s cyberpunk anime Bubblegum Crisis. Only this time I had the option of seeing the Japanese version. I was very pleased to find a blu-ray of it available from an online disc rental company that I am trying out. Although I am not a big anime fan, the visual aesthetic and catchy pop rock soundtrack of the show won me over. With that soundtrack being such a big part of the Bubblegum Crisis vibe, hearing the superior Japanese versions of the songs added a lot to the experience for me. I also pushed my way through the disappointing sequel series, Bubblegum Crash, again. Fortunately, it is only three episodes. The drop in the quality of the animation is painful.
Changing the spelling of that ONE word made all the difference for this being accepted.
TURF TURF (1985)I loved this. Wow. 80s teen movies are so hit or miss for me (usually miss), but I thought this was good. James Spader plays private Connecticut school kid outsider transferred to what looks like a regular LA public school, where he ruffles feathers and tries to steal another kidʻs girlfriend. I like that James Spader, while pretty, is not all that likable. And baby Robert Downey Jr is his friend and I wuv him. I donʻt even know what it is about RDJ, he just clicks for me. The girlfriend main character (Kim Richards) is really strong. I hoped for a different ending but yea, it was good. Oh yes, itʻs also kind of a MUSICAL?