Tuesday, December 04, 2007

More watching, movie style

I finished watching the first season of Ricky Gervais' other series, Extras. Only six shows, but each one a delicate masterpiece of comic timing. The show isn't quite as brilliant as The Office (perhaps because there's far less poignancy leavening the humor in Extras), but well worth watching. Gervais, again, is superb in his expressions and physicality (despite Patrick Stewart's remark at the end of the season about his "fat, expressionless face"). Can't wait to watch the second season, and David Bowie's song.

I'm still doing the Best Picture Project I talked about here. Because I moved some films around, I'm only just now getting around to Gigi. I'm watching it in French, which makes it a bit better, but not by much. With this and An American In Paris, I think it's safe to say that Hollywood is not capable of making a film about French romance that is not terrible.

I saw Shadow Of a Doubt for the second time recently. I'm a big Hitchcock fan, but sometimes I think the old fellow is given a bit too much leeway, critically speaking. Shadow is deeply flawed, and if it were made by anyone else, it would probably be classed at best as one of those middling noir pictures the studios cranked out in the '50s. A needless romance subplot with a fish-faced cipher of a character; misplaced drama (gotta hurry! To the library! Before it closes!!); bizarre logic (oh, we'll let the murderer leave town, so as not to hurt anyone's feelings); and character stupidity (I guess I'll get on the train with the murderer now). Still, it is Hitchcock, so there are some dramatic shots, and Joseph Cotten is decidedly creepy.

Hot Fuzz, by the makers of the terrific Shaun Of the Dead. This time around they're spoofing the action hero genre. It's a bit long, especially the drawn-out gun battle at the end. Call me the wrong audience for this movie, but I liked it a lot better when they were dealing out the dry English wit and subtle banter. A fun flick with a good heart.

I Like Killing Flies, an interesting, funny, and kind of touching documentary about the quirky owner-chef of a popular diner in a bohemian neighborhood of New York City. The movie trails him and his family as he frets about moving from his decades-old spot to a new, bigger location.

Sullivan's Travels and The Great McGinty. I think Preston Sturges is over-rated in general. McGinty isn't anything too special, but Sullivan's is in a sense daring for the points it tries to make, and in many ways ahead of its time. It certainly stuck in the minds of a certain pair of movie-making brothers called the Coens.

1 comment:

Churlita said...

I agree with you about Hitchcock, but I do think Rear Window is almost perfect.