Friday, March 31, 2023
Roger Ebert's site gives it 3 1/2 out of 4 stars and calls it "a timely commentary on isolation and intrusion." NPR calls it "a pandemic-era thriller that's eerily keyed into our current moment". The Guardian praises it and says it "keeps things refreshingly simple and stringently devoid of any extraneous padding." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 92%.
Thursday, March 30, 2023
Reviews were mixed.
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
As the day was pleasant, Madame Valmondé drove over to L’Abri to see Désirée and the baby.
It made her laugh to think of Désirée with a baby. Why, it seemed but yesterday that Désirée was little more than a baby herself; when Monsieur in riding through the gateway of Valmondé had found her lying asleep in the shadow of the big stone pillar.
The little one awoke in his arms and began to cry for “Dada.” That was as much as she could do or say. Some people thought she might have strayed there of her own accord, for she was of the toddling age. The prevailing belief was that she had been purposely left by a party of Texans, whose canvas-covered wagon, late in the day, had crossed the ferry that Coton Maïs kept, just below the plantation. In time Madame Valmondé abandoned every speculation but the one that Désirée had been sent to her by a beneficent Providence to be the child of her affection, seeing that she was without child of the flesh. For the girl grew to be beautiful and gentle, affectionate and sincere, —the idol of Valmondé.
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
free via YouTube, but it's "age-restricted" for some reason so you'll have to click through to YouTube to watch it:
Roger Ebert has it on his list of Great Movies. Filmsite calls it "a stylish but stark film noir crime drama, and the definitive heist-caper movie". The Criterion Collection calls it "one of Hollywood’s tautest, twistiest noirs". Turner Classic Movies has an overview. Rotten Tomatoes has a 96% critics concensus score.
I'm drinking my usual cuppa coffee (no whitener, no sugar):
Please share your own drink and join us at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.
Monday, March 27, 2023
The Guardian says, "Set in Nova Scotia, Bretten Hannam’s tremendously shot film follows two boys as they flee their abusive dad and embark upon a quest". The Hollywood Reporter says, "Wildhood combines the foundation of heartrending coming-of-age narratives with the feel-good elements of road trip flicks to create a delicate, not to mention visually appealing, [second] film [for this director]." Rotten Tomatoes has a 100% critics consensus score.
Sunday, March 26, 2023
Roger Ebert has a full 4-star review, calling Steisand "magnificent". There's a 94% positive reviewer consensus at Rotten Tomatoes.
Saturday, March 25, 2023
DVD Talk opens with this:
Here Comes Mr. Jordan is one of those rare Hollywood classics that hasn't dated and never fails to raise one's spirits. It's one of the first and best of the Films Blanc, the splinter genre of light comedy-dramas that imagine the universe to be governed by a fanciful Hereafter. Screenwriters Sidney Buchman and Seton I. Miller put Robert Montgomery into a no man's land between heaven and earth, while sympathetic angels work to correct a cosmic error. Nominated for seven Oscars, the film won two, for Original Story and Screenplay.Slant Magazine describes it as a "Hollywood gem". Criterion calls it "A sophisticated supernatural Hollywood comedy whose influence continues to be felt". TCM has information. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 100%.
Friday, March 24, 2023
Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus rating of 100%.
Thursday, March 23, 2023
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
Criterion opens its description with this: "The inaugural film in the Lone Wolf and Cub series immediately thrust Itto Ogami into the ranks of the all-time great samurai movie icons." Rotten Tomatoes has an audience consensus score of 90%.
Tuesday, March 21, 2023
This is a live version. The song was recorded at Sun Studio by Pinetop Perkins, who died on this date in 2011 at 97 years of age.
Pull up a chair and join me in a cuppa (mine's chamomile) while you listen:
I'll be joining the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering. Join me?
Monday, March 20, 2023
The director died of breast cancer in 1980 at age 48. Wanda is her only feature-length film as director.
I watched it on HBO Max.
NPR concludes, "Unable to find backing for another film — [the director] wanted to adapt Kate Chopin's The Awakening — Loden died of cancer at age 48. But her legend continues to grow. On the basis of a single movie, posterity has made her a symbol of all the women filmmakers who might have had great careers but never really got the chance." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 92%.
Sunday, March 19, 2023
Saturday, March 18, 2023
Friday, March 17, 2023
Thursday, March 16, 2023
Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Via Daily Motion:
TCM has information. Rotten Tomatoes has an audience score of 80%.
Tuesday, March 14, 2023
Here's a screenshot from the movie:
Please post your own drink reference and join us at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.
Monday, March 13, 2023
Sunday, March 12, 2023
The plot focuses on a traumatized man named Travis (Stanton) who, after mysteriously wandering out of the desert in a dissociative fugue, attempts to reunite with his brother (Stockwell) and seven-year-old son (Carson). After reconnecting with his son, Travis and the boy end up embarking on a voyage through the American Southwest to track down Travis' long-missing wife (Kinski).I watched it on HBO Max.
Roger Ebert has it on his list of Great Movies. Rotten Tomatoes has a 94% critics consensus score.
Saturday, March 11, 2023
The Man in the Brown Suit is a 1924 Agatha Christie detective novel. You can read it online here or listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post. It begins,
Nadina, the Russian dancer who had taken Paris by storm, swayed to the sound of the applause, bowed and bowed again. Her narrow black eyes narrowed themselves still more, the long line of her scarlet mouth curved faintly upwards. Enthusiastic Frenchmen continued to beat the ground appreciatively as the curtain fell with a swish, hiding the reds and blues and magentas of the bizarre décors. In a swirl of blue and orange draperies the dancer left the stage. A bearded gentleman received her enthusiastically in his arms. It was the Manager.
“Magnificent, petite, magnificent,” he cried. “To-night you have surpassed yourself.” He kissed her gallantly on both cheeks in a somewhat matter-of-fact manner.
Madame Nadina accepted the tribute with the ease of long habit and passed on to her dressing-room, where bouquets were heaped carelessly everywhere, marvellous garments of futuristic design hung on pegs, and the air was hot and sweet with the scent of the massed blossoms and with more sophisticated perfumes and essences. Jeanne, the dresser, ministered to her mistress, talking incessantly and pouring out a stream of fulsome compliment.
A knock at the door interrupted the flow. Jeanne went to answer it, and returned with a card in her hand.
“Madame will receive?”
“Let me see.”
The dancer stretched out a languid hand, but at the sight of the name on the card, “Count Sergius Paulovitch,” a sudden flicker of interest came into her eyes.
“I will see him. The maize peignoir, Jeanne, and quickly. And when the Count comes you may go.”
Jeanne brought the peignoir, an exquisite wisp of corn-coloured chiffon and ermine. Nadina slipped into it, and sat smiling to herself, whilst one long white hand beat a slow tattoo on the glass of the dressing-table.
The Count was prompt to avail himself of the privilege accorded to him—a man of medium height, very slim, very elegant, very pale, extraordinarily weary. In feature, little to take hold of, a man difficult to recognize again if one left his mannerisms out of account. He bowed over the dancer’s hand with exaggerated courtliness.
“Madame, this is a pleasure indeed.”
So much Jeanne heard before she went out closing the door behind her. Alone with her visitor, a subtle change came over Nadina’s smile.
“Compatriots though we are, we will not speak Russian, I think,” she observed.
“Since we neither of us know a word of the language, it might be as well,” agreed her guest.
By common consent, they dropped into English, and nobody, now that the Count’s mannerisms had dropped from him, could doubt that it was his native language. He had, indeed, started life as a quick-change music-hall artiste in London.
“You had a great success to-night,” he remarked. “I congratulate you.”
“All the same,” said the woman, “I am disturbed. My position is not what it was. The suspicions aroused during the War have never died down. I am continually watched and spied upon.”
“But no charge of espionage was ever brought against you?”
“Our chief lays his plans too carefully for that.”
“Long life to the ‘Colonel,’” said the Count, smiling. “Amazing news, is it not, that he means to retire? To retire! Just like a doctor, or a butcher, or a plumber——”
“Or any other business man,” finished Nadina. “It should not surprise us. That is what the ‘Colonel’ has always been—an excellent man of business. He has organized crime as another man might organize a boot factory. Without committing himself, he has planned and directed a series of stupendous coups, embracing every branch of what we might call his ‘profession.’ Jewel robberies, forgery, espionage (the latter very profitable in war-time), sabotage, discreet assassination, there is hardly anything he has not touched. Wisest of all, he knows when to stop. The game begins to be dangerous? —he retires gracefully—with an enormous fortune!”
“H’m!” said the Count doubtfully. “It is rather—upsetting for all of us. We are at a loose end, as it were.”
“But we are being paid off—on a most generous scale!” Something, some undercurrent of mockery in her tone, made the man look at her sharply. She was smiling to herself, and the quality of her smile aroused his curiosity. But he proceeded diplomatically:
“Yes, the ‘Colonel’ has always been a generous paymaster. I attribute much of his success to that—and to his invariable plan of providing a suitable scapegoat. A great brain, undoubtedly a great brain! And an apostle of the maxim, ‘If you want a thing done safely, do not do it yourself!’ Here are we, every one of us incriminated up to the hilt and absolutely in his power, and not one of us has anything on him.”
He paused, almost as though he were expecting her to disagree with him, but she remained silent, smiling to herself as before.
“Not one of us,” he mused. “Still, you know, he is superstitious, the old man. Years ago, I believe, he went to one of these fortune-telling people. She prophesied a lifetime of success, but declared that his downfall would be brought about through a woman.”
He had interested her now. She looked up eagerly.
“That is strange, very strange! Through a woman, you say?”
He smiled and shrugged his shoulders.
“Doubtless, now that he has—retired, he will marry. Some young society beauty, who will disperse his millions faster than he acquired them.”
Nadina shook her head.
“No, no, that is not the way of it. Listen, my friend, to-morrow I go to London.”
“But your contract here?”
“I shall be away only one night. And I go incognito, like Royalty. No one will ever know that I have left France. And why do you think that I go?”
“Hardly for pleasure at this time of year. January, a detestable foggy month! It must be for profit, eh?”
“Exactly.” She rose and stood in front of him, every graceful line of her arrogant with pride. “You said just now that none of us had anything on the chief. You were wrong. I have. I, a woman, have had the wit and, yes, the courage—for it needs courage—to double-cross him. You remember the De Beer diamonds?”
“Yes, I remember. At Kimberley, just before the war broke out? I had nothing to do with it, and I never heard the details, the case was hushed up for some reason, was it not? A fine haul too.”
“A hundred thousand pounds worth of stones. Two of us worked it—under the ‘Colonel’s’ orders, of course. And it was then that I saw my chance. You see, the plan was to substitute some of the De Beer diamonds for some sample diamonds brought from South America by two young prospectors who happened to be in Kimberley at the time. Suspicion was then bound to fall on them.”
“Very clever,” interpolated the Count approvingly.
“The ‘Colonel’ is always clever. Well, I did my part—but I also did one thing which the ‘Colonel’ had not foreseen. I kept back some of the South American stones—one or two are unique and could easily be proved never to have passed through De Beer’s hands. With these diamonds in my possession, I have the whip-hand of my esteemed chief. Once the two young men are cleared, his part in the matter is bound to be suspected. I have said nothing all these years, I have been content to know that I had this weapon in reserve, but now matters are different. I want my price—and it will be a big, I might almost say a staggering price.”
“Extraordinary,” said the Count. “And doubtless you carry these diamonds about with you everywhere?”
His eyes roamed gently round the disordered room.
Nadina laughed softly. “You need suppose nothing of the sort. I am not a fool. The diamonds are in a safe place where no one will dream of looking for them.”
“I never thought you a fool, my dear lady, but may I venture to suggest that you are somewhat foolhardy? The ‘Colonel’ is not the type of man to take kindly to being blackmailed, you know.”
“I am not afraid of him,” she laughed. “There is only one man I have ever feared—and he is dead.”
The man looked at her curiously.
“Let us hope that he will not come to life again, then,” he remarked lightly.
“What do you mean?” cried the dancer sharply.
The Count looked slightly surprised.
“I only meant that a resurrection would be awkward for you,” he explained. “A foolish joke.”
She gave a sigh of relief.
“Oh, no, he is dead all right. Killed in the war. He was a man who once—loved me.”
“In South Africa?” asked the Count negligently.
“Yes, since you ask it, in South Africa.”
“That is your native country, is it not?”
She nodded. Her visitor rose and reached for his hat.
“Well,” he remarked, “you know your own business best, but, if I were you, I should fear the ‘Colonel’ far more than any disillusioned lover. He is a man whom it is particularly easy to—underestimate.”
She laughed scornfully.
“As if I did not know him after all these years!”
“I wonder if you do?” he said softly. “I very much wonder if you do.”
“Oh, I am not a fool! And I am not alone in this. The South African mail-boat docks at Southampton to-morrow, and on board her is a man who has come specially from Africa at my request and who has carried out certain orders of mine. The ‘Colonel’ will have not one of us to deal with, but two.”
“Is that wise?”
“It is necessary.”
“You are sure of this man?”
A rather peculiar smile played over the dancer’s face.
“I am quite sure of him. He is inefficient, but perfectly trustworthy.” She paused, and then added in an indifferent tone of voice: “As a matter of fact, he happens to be my husband.”
Everybody has been at me, right and left, to write this story from the great (represented by Lord Nasby) to the small (represented by our late maid of all work, Emily, whom I saw when I was last in England. “Lor’, miss, what a beyewtiful book you might make out of it all—just like the pictures!”).
I’ll admit that I’ve certain qualifications for the task. I was mixed up in the affair from the very beginning, I was in the thick of it all through, and I was triumphantly “in at the death.” Very fortunately, too, the gaps that I cannot supply from my own knowledge are amply covered by Sir Eustace Pedler’s diary, of which he has kindly begged me to make use.
So here goes. Anne Beddingfeld starts to narrate her adventures.
Friday, March 10, 2023
Roger Ebert gives it a full four stars, particularly noting "Nolte and Coburn are magnificent in this film". Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 88%.
Thursday, March 09, 2023
It got good reviews, especially of the actors' performances.
Wednesday, March 08, 2023
Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 88%.
Tuesday, March 07, 2023
Criterion says, "Juliette Binoche gives a tour de force performance as Julie, a woman reeling from the tragic death of her husband and young daughter." Empire Online concludes, "This superb French arthouse modern classic still beguiles." Roger Ebert has it on his list of Great Movies. Rotten Tomtatoes has a critics consensus score of 98%.
There are several coffee-related scenes in the film, but I've removed the screenshot.
Please share your own drink-related post and join us at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.
Monday, March 06, 2023
He was a good husband, a good father. I don’t understand it. I don’t believe in it. I don’t believe that it happened. I saw it happen but it isn’t true. It can’t be. He was always gentle. If you’d have seen him playing with the children, anybody who saw him with the children would have known that there wasn’t any bad in him, not one mean bone. When I first met him he was still living with his mother, over near Spring Lake, and I used to see them together, the mother and the sons, and think that any young fellow that was that nice with his family must be one worth knowing.
Sunday, March 05, 2023
The film incorporates elements of exploitation film, and is highly sexual: Hanzo has an outlandishly large penis which is a frequent theme (though we never actually see it in all its uncovered glory), and he uses his impressive member to interrogate women, usually by rape, to reveal cases' hidden secrets and truths.
I made it as far as the rape by our hero of his boss' mistress as part of his interrogation. She pretty quickly moves from "no, no" to "don't stop". It went on so long I got tired of it and quit watching. Ask me about what he does in his private exercises leaning up against a wicker basket filled with uncooked rice. Go ahead. Ask. The soundtrack is a hoot.
Even the trailer is age-restricted, so you'll have to click on "watch on Youtube" to view it:
Saturday, March 04, 2023
Friday, March 03, 2023
Heaven of Horror says it's more of a war movie than a horror film. The Review Geek opens its review with this: "Valley of the Dead is certainly not original, but it’s also not a bad zombie flick either."
Thursday, March 02, 2023
Wednesday, March 01, 2023
Criterion says, "With intense performances and hauntingly powerful scenes and images, Blue Velvet is an unforgettable vision of innocence lost, and one of the most influential American films of the past few decades." Roger Ebert did not like it, giving it only 1 star. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 95%.
The song Blue Velvet is featured: