Friday, October 10, 2008

Hollywoodland

I liked Hollwoodland, but I wanted to like it more. The George Reeves part with Ben Affleck was very good, but it was only about 40% of the movie. And the Adrien Brody part was okay, but it just felt like an intrusion on a more interesting movie. Brody had his own plot, but it wasn't very compelling. It might have been more compelling if I hadn't been tapping my foot impatiently, but I doubt it. So what you're left with is a mystery with no resolution at all. Huh.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Guys and Dolls


I really like Guys and Dolls. I'm a huge fan of Damon Runyon's stories, upon which the movie is based. But, and I admit this is weird, I don't really like a lot of the songs. I like musicals in general, but some of the songs here, especially the ones sung by Adelaide, are extremely annoying. So it's one of the only musicals where I like the dialogue a lot more than the songs.

Don't get me wrong; some of the songs are great. Although in this movie version, the casting is a little wonky. Marlon Brando plays Sky Masterson, who does a lot of singing. Meanwhile, Frank Sinatra is stuck in the patter role of Nathan Detroit. It seems like they could have been switched, although I have to admit that both do a good job in the roles they've got. Although Brando's songs were reportedly stitched together note by note, which takes away from the effect a bit.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Rogue

Rogue is about a giant crocodile who eats a bunch of jerks. I probably would have liked it more if I had found the setting (the Australian outback) interesting. I didn't. Instead, I just got impatient for the people to start getting chomped.

This was also my problem with Descent. I prefer movies where I want the people to live, you know?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I Only Arksed!

This movie is not very good and I didn't watch all of it. It's one of those terribly mid-twentieth-century British comedies with a lot of wackiness. The premise is that the worst soldiers in teh army are all sent to this one Arab country, and then you turn the movie off because when Michael Bentine is one of the subtler performers, you know you're in for a rough time.

I mean, seriously. "Arsked"?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Mr. Arkadin

This is a movie that's more "interesting" than it is "good". Orson Welles made it by reusing a couple of scripts from his extremely entertaining radio series The Lives of Harry Lime, but it doesn't really hold together. Or make sense.

I'm pretty sure I understood the plot, which involved the titular Mr. Arkadin (Orson Welles in an extremely silly beard and even sillier accent) hiring a guy to dig into his past, claiming that he has amnesia and wants to know where he came from. It's really just an excuse for various disreputable and colorful characters to tell stories about Arkadin's youth. If i had worked, it would have been like a seedy version of Citizen Kane, but it doesn't fly.

I watched the Criterion version, which has several different edits of the movie. Apparently Welles didn't get final cut, so the studio released a version that he despised. The Criterion version has three or four different cuts, but I don't think it makes any difference. It's an interesting failure, but that's still a failure.

One thing did interest me. There are a lot of scenes that involve a lot of chatting and expositioning, so the characters keep moving around to keep the scene visually interesting. It looks pretty tiring if you ask me, the way they keep circling each other like that. There's a boat scene in particular where the characters are flinging themselves back and forth like the Enterprise is under attack by Romulans.