Monday, January 30

Notes on Oscar Nominations

Ramblings... reflections... reckonings.  As usual the nominations me mean the recognition of some fine films, performances, etc., and the head-scratching over some that were nominated and some that were not and of course the sometimes laughable predictability of Hollywood.

Friday, January 27

Gloria Grahame

In The Great Movie Stars (St. Martin's Press, 1972), David Shipman refers to her as the best of the 1940's screen floozies.  I think he was wrong on the decade (she reigned supreme in the 1950's) but he is spot on with the sentiment.  She was usually cast as a tramp, the neighborhood nympho, at least the other woman; sometimes she was a moll, which is a bit apart from the other designations but they could all feast at the table.

Wednesday, January 25

REVIEW: A Dangerous Method

Directed by David Cronenberg
From Sony Pictures
1 hour 39 minutes

Michael Fassbender
Keira Knightley
Viggo Mortensen
Sarah Gadon
Vincent Cassel

Monday, January 23

Double Feature

I saw two movies on Friday at my local cineplex.  I had only intended to see one but when it was over, I noticed the other one was starting in just 20 minutes, so what the hell?  There are so few perks to getting older but one of them, I dare say, is being retired and going to matinees.  Actually, I need a new word there because I think matinee gives a bit of an edge to afternoons and I was there at 10:10 a.m. or as I call it, too early for popcorn.  The theaters are never crowded (not all that long ago I was the only person sitting there) and I don't have to share an armrest with a stranger.  Icky.  Yuck.  Spray.

Friday, January 20

Favorite Musical Numbers

I have seen nearly every musical ever made.  For sure not everyone likes musical films but I have always loved them.   Mind you, I didn't love every one of them but I absolutely loved most.  Musicals took my cares away and I was transported to places and times with a light-heartedness that I never otherwise expected.

I was raised on Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, which, for the most part, I quite loved.  My attention was super-charged when there was singing and dancing up on that big screen.  I didn't care if it was done on a stage in the film or if someone just broke into a song as an answer to a question or done in a barnyard or on the New York streets.

It is difficult to get a favorites list down to a just a few.  It seems that an entire catalogue of songs from any musical are my favorites and most all of the numbers I have finally settled on include dancing.  I would suggest that most or all of these musical numbers are on YouTube for you to enjoy.  Here are a dozen of my favorites, alphabetically:

Wednesday, January 18

Thelma and Agnes

It is with great pleasure that I announce the arrival of two great ladies who will to spend this time with you and me.  I know them both pretty well.  They have provided me with many hours of joy and laughter and tears and epic entertainment.  One always reminded me of the red-haired mother of my fourth grade schoolteacher (it was a small town... everyone knew everyone) and the other was the spitting image of my paternal grandmother after a successful diet.  If you're of a certain age or just know a lot about the old movies, you know them, too.  But if you don't know them, then you sit back and relax and spend some time with Thelma and Agnes.  That is, Thelma Ritter and Agnes Moorehead.

Monday, January 16

Golden Globes 2012

The Hollywood awards season really gets revved up with the Golden Globes and ends with the Oscars, although as that pesky host Ricky Gervais said at the start of the show, "The Golden Globes are to the Oscars what Kim Kardashian is to Kate Middleton.  Meowwwwww... but so true.

Friday, January 13

Film Noir

In all likelihood the primary reason for my love of the movies of the 1940s and 1950s is a type of film called film noir.  The bumper crop of them was dispatched in some abundance in those two decades.  Another tack is to perhaps say the period from John Huston's The Maltese Falcon (1941) to Orson Welles' Touch of Evil (1958)Some might not consider either of those films as film noir, but I do.  What we can be certain of, oddly enough, is that even the high-minded film scholars don't always agree on what film noir is. 

Wednesday, January 11

Mmmm Marilyn

I think Marilyn Monroe is the biggest movie star in the world... ever.  Yeah, I know that trumps John Wayne, Elizabeth Taylor, Clark Gable and a small handful of others, but really, who is bigger than MM?  Even the initials clue you in.  She dazzled us for roughly 14 years while she was alive and famous.  The years before her true fame have really become rather textbook to many.  Those years prior to 1948 are etched in our memories thanks to the scores and scores of books written about her.  This year she will be gone 50 years... and we are still talking about her.

Monday, January 9

REVIEW: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

(Out of 4 stars)

Directed by Tomas Alfredson
From Focus Features
2 hours and 8 minutes

Gary Oldman
John Hurt
Colin Firth
Ciarin Hinds
Toby Jones
Benedict Cumberbatch
Mark Strong
Tom Hardy

Friday, January 6


 My favorite actress of all-time she is. 

Capucine.  One name... very sleek, very chic... just like she was.  Have you heard of her?  She has pretty much faded from the public consciousness, I'm sorry to say, and she didn't even grace the silver screen for that long.  She was a product of the 60s and all of her notable work was done during that decade.
Her most famous work is likely the original version of The Pink Panther where she played Simone, the conniving wife of Peter Sellers' bumbling Inspector Clouseau.
And today is her birthday.  Happy birthday Cappy.

Wednesday, January 4

REVIEW: The Artist

(out of 4 stars)

Directed by Michel Hazanavicius
From The Weinstein Company
1 hour 40 minutes

Jean Dujardin
Berenice Bejo
John Goodman
James Cromwell
Penelope Ann Miller
Missi Pyle
Beth Grant
Malcolm McDowall

Monday, January 2

Piper Laurie: Learning to Live Out Loud

Kudos to actress Piper Laurie for writing a rich and intimate memoir called Learning to Live Out Loud, published by Crown Archetype.  I just finished it in my comfy chair and simply walked over here to the computer and began typing.  Let’s nail this while the iron’s hot.  It took me two days to read it.  I am always a little moved by the irony of taking so little time to read a book when contrasted with how long it takes to write it.  She started making movies around the time I discovered them and I had a bit of a crush on her.  I see it hasn’t changed.