Movie A Day: Secrets Of The Triad Women Ups

Moving into the third week of Summer Cold and now trying not to spiral into depression over it. It’s been tough, I’m covering the warehouse at work, it’s tough when you can’t breath. Anyway, movies!

223 07/16 Secrets from Another Place: Creating Twin Peaks (2007) 3.5/5   A really well done documentary on the making of the TV series. Talks to pretty near everyone that should have been in it, with the exception of David Lynch which isn’t much of a surprise.


224 07/17 The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947) 4/5   Humphrey Bogart stars as an painter who may be poisoning his wives for inspiration. Bogart is fantastic in this one, and Barbara Stanwyck more than holds her own opposite him. She plays an absolutely lovely woman, which only seems strange when you’ve seen her in dozens of pre-code films playing gloriously manipulative bitches. Man, I love Stanwyck. Anyway, this one is pretty great and worth your time.  


225 07/18 Hail The Conquering Hero (1944) 4/5   Preston Sturges nails another movie. This one about a small town boy who flunks out of the Marines, but ends up being hailed a hero against his will upon his return. Every joke lands, the political commentary is razor sharp and holds up, star Eddie Bracken is perfect in the bewildered lead and I fell in love with Ella Rains. What more can you ask for in a movie?


226 07/18 Shinjuku Triad Society (1995) 4/5   You might think an early Takashi Miike Yakuza picture would be a bit run of the mill and you would be wrong. Really wrong. This one is as bonkers as his more well known films, only playing with Yakuza tropes. Basic plot is the old standard where a cop’s brother has started working with a gang specializing in organ harvesting. There’s more than that going on. The first in a trilogy, I’m hoping the others are as good.


227 07/19 The Clock (1945) 2.5/5   Judy Garland gets a serious non-musical role in this one, starring as a secretary in New York who stumbles into soldier on leave before shipping out. It’s basically like the Before Sunrise series, with the two wandering around falling in love except it’s pretty near charmless and there’s too many bits. A milk delivery scene goes on way too long. I found Robert Walker as the soldier annoying and none of it really worked for me.


228 07/19 Rainy Dog (1997) 3.5/5   The second film in the Black Triad Trilogy has no narrative connections to the first film. This one deals with a Japanese hitman stranded in Taiwan who discovers that he has a child. There is zero sentimentality to this one, it’s got a really bitter feel to it and while not as gleefully bonkers as the first film, this one manages to stick with you.


229 07/21 The Women (1939) 3/5   The most striking thing about this film should be that there are zero men featured in it. I don’t believe you see a single male the whole time, you certainly never hear them. That said, the most striking thing ends up being the shocking array of mysterious hats the leads all wear. The other striking thing is Joan Crawford is almost a bit role but she manages to steal the entire film. Which is saying something considering the strong cast. (I’m also still in love with Paulette Goddard.)


230 07/21 Ley Lines (1999) 3.5/5   Final film in Takashi Miike’s Black Triad Trilogy is another stand alone film, this time dealing with a group of Chinese/Japanese youths in Japan going to Tokyo in an attempt to get some money to leave the country. It’s interesting that the real theme of the trilogy isn’t Yakuza/Triad warfare or gang stories as it is about people stuck in a place they don’t feel like they belong. It makes for three distinct films exploring similar aspects as opposed to traditional film series. They all work in their own way.


231 07/22 The Seven-Ups (1973) 3.5/5   A sort of unofficial sequel to the The French Connection, this one sees Roy Scheider leading a police task force with a license to pretty much break the law in order to catch criminals. It plays it pretty straight and ends up being better than the actual sequel to The French Connection. A good crime plot and a spectacular car chase in the middle make it worth checking out.

 

That’s all I got this week.

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Movie A Day! 071-075: All That Jazz

So since last blog, my back went out. The past couple days I’ve been home, flat on my back. It’s getting better now, I can walk and sit with out buckling over in pain. You would think I would have had more movies watched, but I decided to catch up on TV. So you lucky mucks were saved from having a bunch of posts!


071 02-21 Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways (2014) 4/5
An eight part documentary about the Foo Fighters recording their latest album sounds like a bad idea, even worse if you’re not a big Foo Fighters fan. I can kind of take them or leave them, but holy shit was this good! The conceit was that they recorded a song in a different city for inspiration, so each episode is a history of the music scene of each city. They are really good mini-histories, with tons of clips, pictures and interviews with the people from the scene, and Dave Grohl is the perfect host. From Buddy Guy talking about Chicago blues, to Dolly Parton talking about Nashville, to Doctor John (not an actual Doctor) telling the most insane story ever in New Orleans, this whole series was a real treat, even if each episode ended with a pretentious Foo Fighter video of the song they recorded.


072 02-22 The 87th Academy Awards (2015) 2/5
This one started with one of the all time great openings ever, largely due to Jack Fuckin’ Black coming out and killing it. Once Neil Patrick Harris settled into hosting, the whole thing just took a giant shit, with an over serious tone in everything from the introductions to the acceptance speeches. Not a single joke or bit by Harris landed, with a stupid “NPH Oscar Predictions” bit maybe having the worst payoff in the history of television after the longest ever set-up. The only saving grace to the never ending thing was the music performances. My favourites Tegan & Sara were great, and holy shit was Lady Gaga ridiculously good in her SOUND OF MUSIC tribute. Hopefully next year the show gets better because you know I’m going to be watching.


073 02-26 Quicksand (1950) 3.5/5
Mickey Rooney sneaks twenty bucks out of the work till to take a bitch blonde out on the town, and it ruins his life. This is a hell of a tight film noir, lean and mean and horrible to watch since it’s so ridiculously skewed to completely fuck Rooney’s character. Plus it has Peter Lorre in a small part as a small time hood, and that’s always a good thing in a movie. Not the classiest low budget film you’ll see, but fun and worth watching all the same.


074 02-27 All That Jazz (1979) 4/5
Hard to believe, but I’m actually a big fan of movie musicals. I like the old, classic Hollywood ones though. The modern equivalent, with few exceptions, tend to get on my tits. I’m also not a huge fan of “jazz dance”, which Bob Fosse, the director of this one, pretty much invented. As a result, I’ve been avoiding this one, and it was a mistake, since it’s brilliant. Fosse turns the musical on it’s head while at the same time honoring tradition. So it plays like the classic Hollywood films (with the musical numbers being part of the story, not having characters break into song like in Broadway plays, thank Christ) while also pushing the format forward by being an autobiographical drama about life and death. You’ve read that right, it’s taking on the big stuff. No goofy romance here. The story comes out of Fosse’s life after having a heart attack scare, while working on a Broadway show while finishing up his movie LENNY. The dance numbers being hallucinations as well as bits of the show the character, Joe Gideon, is working on. It’s absolutely brilliant film making, with Roy Scheider giving an career best performance, hell, an all time great performance as Fosses stand-in Gideon. If you have never seen it, WATCH IT ALREADY!


075 Marvel’s Agent Carter Season 1 (Eight Episodes) (2015) 3/5
Binge watched this one. The story takes place post world war 2, coming from the CAPTAIN AMERICA films. It’s a great idea, and a good story. It’s largely miss-handled in tone though, never deciding if it’s a hard boiled, action packed drama, or a Joss Whedon-esque quip fest. It’s also another TV series that is largely ruined by the score. To have slap-sticky swing music play when Agent Carter is kicking the shit out of guys, but switch to more standard drama type score when she’s receiving the ass kicking seems misguided in our current culture. It’s a bit “Ain’t she cute, beating up boys… oh no, isn’t it terrible, a woman getting punched.” It totally kills the tone and pacing by being so obvious and manipulative. Which is a shame since otherwise they mostly get this one right. Anyway, no need for a second season of this one, as a stand alone it’s good enough.

Seriously, I can’t stop thinking about ALL THAT JAZZ since watching it last night. I got the Criterion Collection blu-ray, so I’m going to have to pour over all the extras.