Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September Movie Watching

As I stated in my August end-of-the-month entry, September is probably my least favorite month for movies. Mostly it's because any audience-pleasers are released during summer and any great dramatic films are pushed to "Oscar season" leaving this dead spot. And, again, September is back-to-TV month anyway.

I saw just two films theatrically: Burn After Reading and Choke. I would say that the two were about at the same level for me. In both, I knew I wasn't seeing anything great but was never bored and found a few moments here and there to be pretty funny. I've read the Choke book and a lot of it is left out, but I think they got the gist-- maybe its just unfilmable. (Really liked the appearance of Joel Grey as one of the recovering sex addicts.)

On the Fox Movie Channel, I caught The Song of Bernadette, which I'm sure I saw as a kid but have no memory of. Its actually very, very good-- a pleasant surprise. Rather than just a hokey thing, it actually examines the negative aspects of Bernadette's vision. And what a cast— Lee J. Cobb, Vincent Price, Charles Bickford, Gladys Cooper, etc. Jennifer Jones delivers what is expected of her, and at least at the end gets to emote more than a wistful innocence.

On TCM I caught a couple of the Kay Francis films they were showing: Jewel Robbery and One Way Passage. One Way Passage is the more celebrated of the two, but I wasn't in love with it. Jewel Robbery was a blast though. A bit talky, but one aspect of the plot-- that thief William Powell softens up his prey by giving them marijuana cigarettes, has to be seen to be believed!

I also watched the rare 1912 film Cleopatra. Most of the 1910s features are unendurable. Richard III (1912), for example, is torture. Cleopatra however, was pretty decent.

I watched Fellini's I Vitelloni, which I liked as a primer of things-to-come from Fellini (however it seems that many consider this his career highpoint!).

I also finally saw A Night To Remember (1958). After a slow start, it turned out to be very good. James Cameron had 40 years of technology in his favor, but dramatically, Night is just as potent as Titanic.

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