Saturday, November 30, 2013

407. Shock Corridor

Shock Corridor
Directed by Samuel Fuller

You would think that during the Thanksgiving holiday break I would have lots of time to watch movies but I have had so much work to do that I almost brought a hot flash on myself (and I am way too young for that).  However, I decided to take a break and watch this fun movie which was a very welcome break after watching so many "serious" movies.

Johnny Barett wants to simultaneously solve a murder at a mental hospital and win a Pulitzer prize.  To do this, he asks his stripper girlfriend to tell the police that she is his sister and that he has tried to rape her.  Lucky for him, they decide to send him to the asylum (he really rolled the dice on that one).   Among the inhabitants of the hospital including an extremely fat guy who sings opera right in your face while you are trying to sleep and a guy who thinks he is a soldier from the Civil War.

I had a lot of fun with this movie but let's start with the bad.  Every once awhile a character's thoughts would be shown.  Although I think this is a bit of a lazy technique, I have no problem with that device. However, the movie would switch to a character's thoughts in the middle of a conversation.  It was a little bit jolting and random.

Still, I love this movie.  I thought the story was extremely intriguing.  It would have been interesting enough watching a sane person go to a mental hospital, but we also get a great murder mystery.  It was also fascinating watching Barett's girlfriend deal with having to tell a police officer that her boyfriend is a sexually aggressive psychopath.

Another gem that I never would have discovered with The Book.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Referenced in The Dreamers and Naked Kiss.

Available on YouTube:

Monday, November 25, 2013


I just realized that Mediterranee was not actually the next movie on the list.  I didn't have my book with me so I trusted the internet to tell me (I wonder how many confessions of failures have started with "I trusted the internet"...) what the next movie was and it didn't pan out.  I reverted the post back to draft format and will post it again when I actually reach that film.  Until I watch the actual next movie on the list, you will just have to pine for me as you read The Great Escape post over and over again.  Sorry!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

406. The Great Escape

The Great Escape
Directed by John Sturges

So I am now convinced that this cold is just a part of who I am and will almost certainly never go away.    At the very least, it has allowed me to watch a ton of movies.  And after a string of um, questionable films we finally get to one that I enjoyed.  Get ready for a rave, ladies and gentlemen.

This film is based on the true story of the escape of Allied prisoners from Stalag Luft III during World War II.  I actually remember someone doing a presentation on the accuracy of this movie in high school and making a mental note to watch it.  That was…never mind how many years ago but I finally got to it.  See, I didn't forget, Sean Miller aka the guy who had no idea I existed.

Most war films seem to all be the same, especially Vietnam films (I am so not looking forward to that era), so I tend to get bored with them quite easily.  This movie, however, completely blew away.  Going through the checklist, we get great actors, great dialogue, and great action.

It is the sworn duty of all Allied officers to constantly try to escape, over and over again, no matter how many times they are caught and punished.  This put a really interesting twist on the formulaic prison escape genre (I say that lovingly since I am obsessed with those movies).  The standard is switched; it is weird if you don't have numerous amounts of escape attempts to your name.

Every scene is done beautifully and it is all the more fascinating since it is based on a true story.  A must see.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Steve McQueen performed most of his own stunts.

Charles Bronson fell in love with David McCallum's wife during production.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

405. Flaming Creatures

Flaming Creatures
Directed by Jack Smith

Well, it isn't the first time The Book has forced me to watch porn and unfortunately, it probably won't be the last.

Now, I know the majority of the population would not consider forty five minutes of porn a punishment; some might even consider it a reward.  But hey, I am a young woman and the closest I ever get is Buffy fan fiction.  All right, maybe this is getting to an uncomfortable place.  I will move on.

My point is that calling this art is just giving validation to some creep who gets off on filming women pretending to get raped.  I don't even what to delve into the psychology of that one.  And it also provides him an easy out: if someone doesn't like it, they either don't get it or are prissy prudes.

Okay, so let's just ignore the content of the film for a second.  The shoddy filmmaking (again people might plead artistic choice here) is just terrible.  I could barely here what was being said and I think someone forgot to adjust the iris (see picture above).

Yes, Jack Smith shocked his audience with this one.  But it is so easy to shock people (I could take off all my clothes and make bird calls in a grocery store and achieve the same effect) but it is not so easy to make a good film.  Next.

RATING: -----

Interesting Facts:

Determined by the NY Criminal Court to be obscene.

Banned in 22 states and 4 countries.

Monday, November 11, 2013

404. Nattvardsgasterna

Winter Light
Directed by Ingmar Bergman

The entire northern United States (which unfortunately includes me) is suffering from a cold that possesses an unrelenting determination that could rival the Terminator's.  And now that it is Monday I get the added guilt that comes with staying home on a weekday.  Well, at least I get to watch a good movie, albeit one with a complete nightmare of a name.  Wait, it's a Bergman film? Oh crap.

Bergman is like the blowhard at that party who just won't shut up about religion and is completely indifferent to the fact that it is not his provocativeness that is making everyone around him uncomfortable, but the dullness of his diatribe.  So just tack on my Bergman is Boring mantra to everything I say from now on.

This is the story of a priest who loses his faith, which in turn, causes others to lose their faith.  Except in the case of Marta, who is already an atheist and is portrayed as a complete loon who won't get the hint that the priest is not interested.  I am no expert on men, but I am pretty sure if you are trying to attract one, you don't keep talking about the rash you have.  But hey, that is just my two cents.

I think your interpretation of this film is going to depend heavily on your own religious beliefs.  If you are Christian, and I do believe Bergman was, you are presumably going to feel sorry for this man that he longer has a god.  I am an atheist, but I can understand that a priest losing his religion would no doubt be tragic; after all, realizing that you have dedicated your life to something you no longer believe in would no doubt be terrible.  Most of the time, the movie allows you to form your own conclusions.  However, having someone blow their brains out because they no longer believe there is a god is a bit of a push toward the more conservative side of things.

The agonizingly long takes, the sentimental religious themes, and the fact that no one cracks a smile during the entire movie: it all so very Bergman.  And I am so very tired of it.

RATING: *----

Interesting Facts:

Ingmar Bergman's wife called the film "a dreary masterpiece."

Second film in Bergman's trilogy on religion.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

403. Hud

Directed by Martin Ritt

I came down with a bad case of laryngitis and have completely lost my voice (which no doubt pleases several people).  Anyway, I took to bed and decided that a little Paul Newman would a sight for sore eyes.  Or in my case, a sight for a sore throat.

Hud has had a terrible relationship with his father ever since his brother was killed in a car accident when Hud was driving.  Once Hud's father's, Homer's, cattle are struck with foot and mouth disease, Hud is back in both his father's and his nephew's life.  Oh yeah and then Hud tries to rape the maid but she forgives him because she would have had sex with him anyway!  Um, okay?

So I don't have too much to say about this film partly because my throat is on fire and I just want to go to sleep.  I really just didn't get the point of it.  Were we supposed to think that underneath Hud's rough, rapist exterior he was a good man?  Were we supposed to feel sorry for him that he drove away anyone who ever loved him?  Or were we supposed to sympathize with the other characters because no matter what they did, Hud was always the same hateful guy?  I don't really care about the answers to any of these questions, though, because I found the movie to be quite dull and the pacing way too slow.

So not a great film but Paul Newman, as always, was fantastic so it is worth a watch.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Newman played the character Hud like a villain but many people consider Hud to be a hero.

So that this post was a bit half assed.  How many more times can I use the sick excuse?