I saw "Superman Returns" last night in a plush Hollywood movie theater surrounded by devoted Superman fans. That in itself, I must admit, was part of the fun. Brandon Routh is breathtakingly, impossibly beautiful and you can trust that in a Bryan Singer movie stunning looking people will populate the screen. Here, the hero with the sensational eyelashes, works wonders in every single way. There is a hint of Superman as Jesus. Cucifixtion, resurrection, from Father to Son and I bought it wholeheartedly because it deserves to be bought. Kevin Spacey is a fun arch villain. There is nobody as convincingly evil as Kevin Spacey. It was strange, however, to see the lovely Kate Bosworth who played Sandra Dee to Spacey's Bobby Darin in "Beyond The Sea" to be so extremely at odds with each other but I bought Luthor and Lane much more than Darin and Dee. Ultimately Superman Returns is a classy, classic rendition of a perennial tale by one of the most successful aesthetes working on film today. Recommend it.
The Pumpkin Eater (1964)A Woman Under The Influence.
28 May 2006
Great movies remain great movies some of them, like "The Pumpkin Eater" acquire an extra something with the passing of time. Harold Pinter does really extravagant things with Penelope Mortimer's novel and the extraordinary Jack Clayton gives it just the right mixture of human drama and sharp satire. Anne Bancroft is indescribable moving, beautiful, powerful, frightening. Peter Finch is also superb as is James Mason. I particularly enjoyed the brief moments with Yootha Joyce, Maggie Smith and Cederic Hardwicke. I advise all movie lovers in the Los Angeles area to check the American Cinematheque listings. I saw "The Pumpkin Eater" there, a beautifully restored print and reminded me when one went to the movies to see adult themes treated by intelligent adult artist with enormous regard for their audiences. Oh, those were the days.
The Fallen Idol (1948)Lies My Butler Told Me
11 April 2006
Lies, sometimes, are an act of kindness. Many times I hasten to add. The imagination of a lonely child is ignited by a meek man in love. The man, as played by the extraordinary Ralph Richardson, is a mass of contradictions and yet we understand him. Married to a shrew and in love with Michele Morgan no less. Carol Reed is not a director that comes immediately to mind when one lists the greatest directors of all time, but in my book, is right up there with the very best. No other director has been able to bring Graham Green to the screen with its spirit so gloriously intact. Guilt and fear as riveting entertainment. Suspenseful, funny and beautiful to look at. Go try to top that.
State of Wonder (1984)Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
1 September 2005
Back in 1983, my local community was revolutionized by the arrival of a film crew headed by a young filmmaker with an Irish name - Martin Donovan - and a slight foreign accent. We are all in the film one way or another. It took some time for us to see the finished product. Martin Donovan himself came over to show us the film. We all remember that day very well. There we were, part of the pacifist dream of an artist with a transparent soul and a heart of gold. Since then, two or three times a year the film on video cassette is shown in somebody's house. It always becomes a motive for celebration. What hit me, last time I saw it, was the relevance of its message. The film is told through the eyes of the boy and with his strange language of wisdom. The fact that the film is not available in any shape of form remains a mystery.