Monday, June 30, 2008

June Movie Watching

I saw just four films theatrically. There were a bunch of "skip its" for me this month, including Hulk, The Happening, and The Love Guru.

First up, I saw the much-maligned You Don't Mess With the Zohan. I've seen next-to-none of Adam Sandler's films theatrically, but this seemed just weird enough to see. Although it was lengthy, the jokes that connected were evenly spread and I had a good time. I'm surprised it got so trashed by the critics. If I remember correctly, when Phillips suggested to "rent it," Roeper was mortified.

Get Smart had me sinking in my seat during its opening thirty minutes or so, but it got better as it went along and I really liked the casting. I'm not seeing a sequel here (then again there is a Pink Panther 2 coming up...). I'm glad for Steve Carell's sake that it was a hit (if it had flopped as bad as Evan Almighty he would have had a problem). By the way— Carell has one "r": looks funny when it's spelled correctly.

Kung Fu Panda and WALL-E. What can I say? I thought they were fun, nice, visually striking.... but just not that deep. I have to be honest. I so preferred last year's Ratatouille. I'm definately in the minority on this I realize (although a few friends seem to agree with me). But this is the harsh review; generally both have a lot going for them.

Watched just one thing on the tube: a 1939 Laurel & Hardy— The Flying Deuces. No great moments (a la the dance in 1935's Bonnie Scotland) but solid laughs from the boys-- a lot of fun and just an hour-or-so long.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

This Month on TCM: "Spellbound" (1945)

Tomorrow, TCM will be showing Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound. Although not up to par with Hitchcock's greatest films, Spellbound nonetheless was nominated for more Oscars than any of his films outside of Rebecca— six in total, including Best Picture and Best Director, and won for Miklos Rozsa's score.

Spellbound concerns a woman psychiatrist's attempts to cure a potentially dangerous amnesiac for whom she has fallen in love. The emphasis is on psychoanalysis and as a result there is a lot of talk. Despite its talkiness and the fact that its often over-the-top, Spellbound is oddly watchable. In many ways, particularly with the knowledge of the Selznick publicity machine, its multiple Oscar nominations aren't that unfathomable.

The film is atypical Hitchcock, particularly for his later films, because the plot is mainly mystery-in-lieu-of-suspense. Basically, we're holding out until the end to find out what is causing Gregory Peck's John Ballantine to suffer so.

This is one of Gregory Peck's earliest roles and therefore falls within the period in which he was considered a stiff, uninteresting actor. Time and memories of Atticus Finch make his early parts more palatable. And in this one, his character is suffering from memory loss and dizzy spells, so anything works. Ingrid Bergman is at her most beautiful, but you can’t ignore that the love story is absurdly abrupt (unexcused by the acknowledgement of this fact in dialogue).

This is a lush, very “Hollywood” production, punctuated by a fascinating, if all-too-brief Salvador Dali dream sequence.

Spellbound (1945): Oddball Hitchcock film has a lot of talk but remains entertaining as Hollywood gloss, with a striking centerpiece of a Salvador Dali dream sequence.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Indy and Iron Man: Photo finish?

The general consensus these days is that The Dark Knight will be the biggest summer movie (domestic). But what of second place? Everyone I know is convinced that Indiana Jones has been beaten by Iron Man. But the fact of the matter is, Indy is pulling in twice as much as Iron Man and is on twice as many screens... and it's not that far behind.

Despite my lackluster summer box office predix, I offer another— that Indiana Jones will end up beating Iron Man if just by a few hundred thousand dollars, domestically. We won't know for sure until some time in August. I'll be keeping a close watch.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Top Series Emmys Short List Announced

Last year, the short list for the Emmys series nominees was leaked; so in a smart move, ATAS has announced this year's short list officially on their website.


√= My guesses as to what shows will get the nominations

√ Curb Your Enthusiasm
Family Guy
Flight of the Conchords
√ The Office
Pushing Daisies
√ 30 Rock
√ Two and a Half Men
√ Ugly Betty


√= My guesses as to what shows will get the nominations

√ Boston Legal
Friday Night Lights
Grey’s Anatomy
√ House
√ Lost
√ Mad Men
The Tudors
√ The Wire

Thursday, June 26, 2008

37th Annual Movie Marketing Key Art Awards: Posters

Catching up with the Key Art Awards winners announced in mid-June, here were the winners in the five feature film movie poster categories:

Action/Horror Poster

Other nominees included:
The Number 23
30 Days of Night
28 Weeks Later: Teaser

I too would have gone with Grindhouse from these nominees as well.

Comedy Poster

Other nominees included:
Blades of Glory
The Darjeeling Limited
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

I would have gone with The Darjeeling Limited from these nominees.

Documentary Poster

Other nominees included:
The 11th Hour
Jimmy Carter: Man From the Plains

I too would have gone with Taxi to the Dark Side from these nominees as well.

Drama Poster

Other nominees included:
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
Black Snake Moan
I'm Not There

I would have gone with Before the Devil Knows You're Dead from these nominees.

Family Poster

Other nominees included:
Alvin and the Chipmunks
Bee Movie: Teaser
Shrek: Teaser
Surf's Up: Teaser

I would have gone with the Shrek teaser from these nominees.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Max Ophuls gets the Criterion Treatment

I've always loved La Ronde, Max Ophuls 1950 classic.... and as it's been years since I've seen it I was so happy to see that Criterion is putting it out on DVD. Also among the Ophuls releases is The Earrings of Madame de... (1953) which is easily among the movies on my must-see-but-haven't-yet list. So glad that now I'll be seeing it in a Criterion transfer.

Certainly, Letter From an Unknown Woman (a great movie) must be in Criterion's sights, and his final film Lola Montes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

EW's Top 100 New Classics: The Head Scratchers

Before I post my own personal choices for 100 "new classics," in response to the EW list, I wanted to comment on the EW choices. I think it was a pretty decent list, all things considered. However, they are clearly factoring in "pop culture" and/or popularity, which kind of muddies their list a bit (i.e. Risky Business, Pretty Woman, The Blair Witch Project).

But even within that context, I offer these ten as their oddest included films (would anyone have missed them?):

A Room With A View (1986)

Broadcast News (1987)

Glory (1989)

sex, lies, and videotape (1989)

Thelma and Louise (1991)

Men In Black (1997)

The Truman Show (1998)

Memento (2001)

Sideways (2004)

Michael Clayton (2007)

Whereas, these ten seem glaringly omitted (whether I agree with them or not):

Cinema Paradiso (1988)

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Se7en (1995)

Good Will Hunting (1997)

The Big Lebowski (1998)

Being John Malkovich (1999)

Election (1999)

Adaptation (2002)

Bowling for Columbine (2002)

Once (2007)

Monday, June 23, 2008

EW's Top Movies, TV Shows, Albums, & Books

Entertainment Weekly, in celebration of their 1,000th issue decided to get the list-happy excited by creating separate lists of all things pop culture from the last 25 years. Generally speaking they covered all the bases and I was pleased with Pulp Fiction as the #1 movie choice.

Of course, I'm inspired to create my own "rebuttle" on the movie list, which is upcoming. Here is my take on what I personally think was left out in the four main lists:

MOVIES: Being John Malkovich

TV SHOWS: Rescue Me

ALBUMS: Tori Amos' "Little Earthquakes"

BOOKS: Pillars of the Earth

Sunday, June 22, 2008

AFI's 10 Top 10: Results

The AFI's special on the "top ten genres" was a little on the weak-side content-wise and contained such unforgivable gaffes as misspelling Steven Spielberg's name on-screen (it was spelled "Speilberg!), but the lists themselves turned out OK and the clips, as usual, were well-chosen.

The genres:

Animation. This was the first category up and when AFI rattled off the bottom five I was very worried for the whole special-- it seemed that box office was the rule-of-thumb. Then the top five were normal thankfully (and the rest of the special did not seem box office based). I was very pleased to not only see Bambi in the rankings, but at #3.

Fantasy. This was a weird category, i.e. Lord of the Rings alongside Miracle on 34th Street? So there is very little to say about it. I was glad to see Big though-- a terrific little movie.

Gangster. This list was about right. I think that even though the old and new Scarface films are about the same quality-wise (meaning not-that-great), we could have lost the pretentious 1930s one-- but I could see everyone "worried" about being criticized for not including them both. They should have put in The Untouchables instead. But the other nine were pretty much the ones. Even though I correctly predicted that the original Godfather would be #1, it's actually a little surprising that they didn't put Part 2 as #1.

Sci-Fi. I wish this would have been it's own special. Again, having A Clockwork Orange and Back to the Future on the list with 2001 and Star Wars is odd. And, of course, Close Encounters can't get no respect!

Sports. I thought this genre was a wash when I saw the nominees but I must say they really came up with a decent top ten. Certainly though Field of Dreams (which was "used up" in the bizarre-o fantasy genre list) deserved to make it (instead of say, National Velvet). Happy that Caddyshack was on there.

Western. Some odd ones, but about right. I wish they had put Stagecoach at #10 (instead of 9)-- would have been good as the "anchor." Pleased that The Wild Bunch made it (even if it was only at #6).

Mystery. Another "weird" genre but I like what they came up with, and I'm glad Hitchcock dominated what was essentially subbing for the suspense genre list.

Romantic Comedy. This was the only category for which I did not predict the #1 film correctly. And when my guess, The Philadelphia Story, clocked in at #5 I thought to myself-- good, they had the guts to go with the one that deserves it-- Annie Hall. So imagine my surprise when Annie Hall came in second... to City Lights? Are they kidding? City Lights' appearing on the nominee list was a "cheat." Its comedy mostly comes from Chaplin's usual sight gags, not the romance. If they went this route then, I'm sorry, Blazing Saddles should have made their westerns list.

Courtroom Drama. This was the list.

Epic. Not great. Surely, Gone With the Wind should have been #2 on this list. And Schindler's List really should not have been on it. And Reds-- hmm, do you think this was related to AFI's giving Warren Beatty the lifetime achievement award this year? Bridge on the River Kwai, easily, should have been on it-- this was my only personal top choice that didn't rank, but despite that, c'mon!

My scorecard was pretty high: I guessed 9 out of 10 #1's correctly. And I've seen 99 of the 100 films (only one I haven't seen is In Cold Blood). See you next June AFI!

Link to winners at AFI's site.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

AFI's 10 Top 10

If it's June, it must be time for another AFI "list" television special. As with everything that goes on too long, I was getting sick of these but as time wore on I got used to them happening and now I look forward to them! That's not to say that they don't continue to get more and more outlandish. This year it's the top ten of ten genres, except they don't do genres that have been already done as their own specials and they include dubious ones like "courtroom drama" (not exactly a biggie in the genre area). Plus, several bona fide classics, such as say um Citizen Kane, don't fit any of these genres!

But what are you gonna do? I know what I'll do, tune in on June 17, sit back and relax, and have fun watching those great clips.

It's also time for One Line Review's summer hiatus. Time to take in some of the summer sun, away from the laptop. I'll be back on June 22nd with more on the movies...In the meantime, below is my thinking on what AFI will pick for each #1 film of their geners (and also my personal favorites in each category).

AFI's 10 Top 10
Animation: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Fantasy: The Wizard of Oz
Romantic Comedy: The Philadelphia Story
Sci-Fi:2001: A Space Odyssey
Western:The Searchers
Gangster:The Godfather
Sports: Raging Bull
Courtroom Drama:To Kill a Mockingbird
Epic: Lawrence of Arabia

My 10 Top 10
Animation: Bambi
Fantasy: The Wizard of Oz
Romantic Comedy:Annie Hall
Sci-Fi: Star Wars
Western:The Wild Bunch
Gangster:The Godfather
Sports: Rocky
Courtroom Drama:To Kill a Mockingbird
Mystery:The Maltese Falcon
Epic: The Bridge on the River Kwai