Well, here we go. The end of March! More classic movies and filth to look at! Let’s dig in!
063 03-16 Walk A Crooked Mile (1948) 3.5/5
Another film to be found in the “Film Noir Classics IV” set. This one is more of a police procedural as opposed to a proper noir. Basic plot is: Two federal agents, one American and one Brit on loan from Scotland Yard are after communist spies that are stealing nuclear secrets from one the leading Nuclear testing base in California. It’s a pretty good picture, that has a noir look of deep shadows, but not a noir plot. That said it’s a fun watch that isn’t hyperactive in “Red Scare” propaganda, and it features Raymond Burr in an early role as one of the commie heavies.
064 03-16 Funny or Die Presents Season Two (2011) 2/5
The last set/season from HBO. This is one of those shows that you want to like more but just flat out don’t. It’s largely not funny or inspired. Some of the better bits, like the recurring “Lady Refs” and “United States Police Department” start strong but peter out really quickly. The rest feel like filler. That said, my biased love for everything “Tim & Eric” means I needed this set, and I did love their contributions. The other exception was Rob Huebel’s “Do You Want To See A Dead Body?’ series which was the only other highlight to the set. Since it’s so miss over hit, you’re better served just finding the good stuff off Youtube or wherever it posts online.
065 03-21 Flight (2012) 2/5
Basically this is a “TV Movie of the Week” with a big budget and name actors. Denzel Washington is a pilot who’s plain crashes, caused by mechanical failure. He manages to pull off an amazing maneuver that saves most of the passengers. He’s also a coke-head drunk, so now it’s a big problem. That’s the set up. This movie is a total mess that despite being preachy (drunk pilots are bad), makes it really clear that this guy is a pretty awesome drunk pilot. It’s directed by Robert Zemeckis, and as of now, all the good will he earned with “Back to the Future” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” is burned.
066 03-22 Grey Gardens (1975) 4/5
067 03-23 The Beales of Grey Gardens (2006) 3/5
This is a pair of documentaries by the Maysles brothers about Edith and “Lil Eddie” Beale, eccentric cousins to Jackie Onassis, as they hold out living in their East Hampton estate. There’s not much to say, the Maysles are so personal with the subjects that it’s awkward and fascinating to watch despite not really having a “story”, you just spend 90 minutes with a reclusive mother and daughter, and wonder how and why they live the way they do. The original film is rightfully a cult classic that is both tragic and hilarious in equal parts. The follow up film is assembled from outtakes filmed at the time of the original and feels like more of the same (which it is) where as I would of personally liked to have learned more about them as opposed to witnessing them. Still, the pair makes for an interesting watch for sure, and both can be found on the Criterion Collections recent Blu-ray.
068 03-23 Check it Out! With Dr. Steve Brule Seasons One & Two (2010) 4/5
This is a series spun off from “Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job”. Like everything Tim & Eric, you either love it or hate it. Where am I on that spectrum? The “Boats” episode is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Nuff said ya dingus!
069 03-25 Between Midnight and Dawn (1950) 3/5
Another from the “Film Noir Classics IV” set, this one is more of a police procedural crime picture that a proper noir. Follows a pair of prowl car cops as they negotiate a romantic triangle and a small time mob boss about to kick start a mob war. The romance feels forced and light which causes the more serious crime angle to suffer. Still, Edmond O’Brien is always fun to watch, and this is no exception.
070 03-28 Walk East On Beacon (1952) 2.5/5
The final film in the previously mentioned Noir Classics set is another procedural film that has the “Red Scare” panic cranked up to 10. While beautifully shot, acted and featuring the style tropes found in noir, it just never really works. The switch from following the cops to following the commies is distracting so you never really connect with any of the characters, which causes the film to plod along and feel much longer than the running time. I’m also going to go on record that despite the promise of the poster, I doubt this is the “Crime of the Century”.
So that’s it for this TCM set, I give the whole thing a 4/5. While none of the films in it will change your life, on the whole they’re still pretty good and you can do a lot worse with your dollars.
071 03-29 What Price Hollywood? (1932) 3.5/5
This one is about a waitress who gets discovered by a big time movie director and put into the pictures. It’s my understanding that this film was the template of the “A Star Is Born”genre, and it certainly hits all the plot points of that movie. Heck, the director of this one later did the Judy Garland version! Anyway, it was pretty good, with Constance Bennett excellent as the waitress. She plays the part more brassy and ambitious, as opposed to completely naive and wonder-eyed, and it makes for a better picture since the men come off more weak and base. I’m guessing it’s due to being a pre-code, or at least on edge of the code line that women could still be strong instead of victims. That said, the very end is a let down, and I’ll leave it at that.
072 03-29 Abduction of an American Playgirl (1975) 3/5
This one is a roughie porn put out by Vinegar Syndrome as the debut of their “Peek-a-Rama” double feature line. I’m guessing that they are using it to separate the hardcore porn from the softcore exploitation of the “Drive-In” collections. Anyway, this one is about a couple of broke horn dogs who kidnap a girl to rape in a cabin since they can’t afford to go out and pick up a girl due to being broke. That said, it’s all played for laughs since the two are buffoons, and the girl they kidnap is more game for them than they are for her. So it’s a reversal and theme that is still going to be offensive to pretty much anyone these days, but actually plays pretty good with some genuine laughs to be found in the situation.
So that wraps up March! Here’s my totals:
21 Watched 19 First Timers 0 In Theaters
I’m well off now for the “Movie A Day” goal, and way off from my totals for March last year.
41 Watched, 37 First Timers, 1 In Theater
Feel free to offer suggestions of what you would like to see me rant about. Also, please do share and spread my brain around.