Tuesday, December 31

Her Films with Burton

It's not so simple to do kiss-kiss and nice-nice as I did in my piece called Taylor-Made in the 50s.  In that decade being a good actress meant something to Elizabeth Taylor.  And as stated earlier, when she was under the control of a good director, she could shine as brightly as any.  But love and being adored by a man was more important to her.  One might question why she, of all people, didn't make an effort to have it all.  But in 1962 le scandale broke all over the world and it would be years and years before we stopped hearing about the shenanigans of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

Friday, December 27

REVIEW: The Wolf of Wall Street

Directed by Martin Scorsese
2013 Drama
2 hours 59 minutes
From Paramount Pictures

Leonardo DiCaprio
Jonah Hill
Margot Robbie
Kyle Chandler
Rob Reiner
Jon Bernthal
Jon Favreau
Jean Dujardin
Joanna Lumley
Matthew McConaughey

Tuesday, December 24

The Directors: Fred Zinnemann

By most accounts he was regarded as a superior craftsman.  When you hear of some of his films, it is his attention to realism and detail that you will recall.  He could be fussy but he wanted it all to play out as he saw it.  He brought Oscar nominations (and a few wins) to 19 actors, five in one movie alone.  He would say that the three most important things about a film are the script, the script, the script.  He made some of the best films to come out of the 1950s and 60s.  I loved his work.

Sunday, December 22

REVIEW: Saving Mr. Banks

Directed by John Lee Hancock
2013 Drama
2 hours 5 minutes
From Disney Studios

Emma Thompson
Tom Hanks
Colin Farrell
Paul Giamatti
Bradley Whitford
B. J. Novak
Jason Schwartzmann
Annie Rose Buckley
Ruth Wilson
Kathy Baker
Rachel Griffiths
Melanie Paxson

Saturday, December 21

REVIEW: American Hustle

Directed by David O. Russell
2013 Crime Drama
2 hours 18 minutes
From Columbia Pictures

Christian Bale
Amy Adams
Bradley Cooper
Jennifer Lawrence
Jeremy Renner
Louis C.K.
Jack Huston
Michael Peña
Alessandro Nivola
Robert DeNiro

Friday, December 20

RIP to a Film Noir Queen

She was a tramp.  She was a hellion... a vixen... a gun moll... a murderess.  She was blonde, edgy, hard, vicious.  She rarely smiled and when she did, she made me nervous.  She was not one to be trusted.  She came out of dark corners, off wet streets, off bar stools when she heard the words that made her mad... last call.  No one could tell her anything.  Her eyes bored into you as she trilled her honey-throated lies.  She could wear beautiful gowns with her hair piled high on her head or don a housedress with a gingham apron around her tiny waist but it didn't matter.  She was lethal.  She reached out and touched you like bacon spitting from a fry pan.  You might recover.  You might not.

Tuesday, December 17

RIP Baby Sister

I wonder if she can rest in peace.  I always thought Joan Fontaine was a troubled lady, that peace eluded her, and I thought it shone through in her film roles as well.  The actress died this past week along with a number of others... Eleanor Parker, Peter O'Toole, Audrey Totter and Tom Laughlin.  All lived to ripe old ages... Fontaine was 96.

Friday, December 13

Picture Quiz III

So you think you know Meryl Streep movies, eh?  Well, let's see.  Here are scenes from 10 of her films.  The answers will be in the next posting.

Tuesday, December 10

Taylor-Made in the 50s

Elizabeth Taylor made 52 theatrical films.  Some are among Hollywood's greatest booty while others are at the bottom of the cinema food chain.  I don't think any actress of her stature ever made so many bad movies (we can argue about that later).  Luckily, only a few of them were in the 50s.  She was then under contract to MGM and though she often rebelled at the studio's dictates, she was at her most disciplined and seemed to care more about her work than in any other decade.  It was in the 50s that she truly came into her own as an actress, certainly an adult one.  She was not a trained actress but more of an instinctive one and she could really turn it on under the watch of a great director.  She had a few of those in the 1950s. 

Friday, December 6

Dancing Girls III

We conclude our Dancing Girls series with a tribute to two of the best tap dancing ladies to ever grace the silver screen, Eleanor Powell and Ann Miller.  They were both under contract to MGM and Powell's career had ended by the time Miller came the studio.  Miller has also said that it was Powell who inspired her own future career.  The truth is there was never a tap dancer in the history of the movies to match Eleanor Powell, but if anyone ever got close, it was without a doubt Ann Miller.

Tuesday, December 3

Cabaret: Favorite Movie #5

1972 Musical Drama
From ABC Pictures
Directed by Bob Fosse

Liza Minnelli
Michael York
Helmut Griem
Joel Grey
Marisa Berenson
Fritz Wepper