I Love Lucy…especially in LURED

As #TCMParty people and/or readers of this blog may or may not know, I’m obsessed with the 1947 mystery-drama Lured. Sure, the presence of one of my favorite velvet-voiced British thespians, George Sanders, has a lot to do with it. But its major charm is Lucille Ball’s fine performance in the lead role, which, while allowing flickers of her comedic genius to show through, always makes me wish she’d done more dramatic roles.

Continue reading “I Love Lucy…especially in LURED”

LOVE ACTUALLY Alumni Report

Many movie fans feel that Love Actually is a Christmas classic on its own, which is why we’re showing it this weekend at our theater, Cinema Detroit. But some of the fun to be had as you watch is catching a glimpse of actors who weren’t quite so famous or lauded back in 2003. They may have been lesser-knowns on this side of the pond, were just beginning their careers, had better performances in store, or some combination thereof. So, let’s catch up with some of LA‘s more successful alumni…

LA-alum-chiwetel

Chiwetel Ejiofor
We better start practicing the correct pronunciation of this guy’s name…the actor, who played Peter, new husband to Keira Knightley’s Juliet, is a sure bet for an Oscar nomination for 12 Years A Slave.

LA-alum-Colin

Colin Firth
Firth was already famous, but since appearing as Jamie, who ends up marrying his Spanish housekeeper Aurelia, he’s earned two Best Actor nods, winning in 2011 for The King’s Speech.

LA-alum-Kris-Marshall

Kris Marshall
It seems like Marshall has done mostly TV in the UK, so I haven’t seen all that much of his work, but he definitely acquitted himself well in the original Death at a Funeral (2007). It’s a lot funnier than the picture looks.

LA-alum-Freeman

Martin Freeman
From hesitant suitor with a really odd job to Watson and Bilbo Baggins in 10 short years.

LA-alum-Joanna
Joanna Page
“Just Judy” works mainly in UK TV, including the “Day of the Doctor” episode of Doctor Who, in which she appeared as Elizabeth I.

LA-alum-Lincoln
Andrew Lincoln
That guy whose character was sort of stalking Juliet (Keira Knightley) now deals with a whole other set of issues as Rick Grimes on The Walking Dead.

LA-alum-Hugh
Hugh Grant
He may never win an Oscar but nobody plays Hugh Grant like Hugh Grant. And I love that, but it was flippin’ insane fun seeing his departure from the norm for his six! roles in Cloud Atlas, including one as, yes, a bloodthirsty cannibal.

LA-alum-Rickman
Alan Rickman
The caddish tendencies of the philandering husband Rickman portrayed in LA turned downright sinister when he portrayed Professor Severus Snape, head of Slytherin House and Potions master at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

LA-alum-January
January Jones
Betty Draper would probably not appreciate the antics or the wardrobe of “American Angel,” the ditsy gal who meets Colin (Kris Marshall) in a bar and is so taken with his accent. But she would like that blue.

With a cast of nearly 100, I’m sure I missed someone…remind me in the comments.

TCM Week: March 26-April 1

Monday, March 26
2:45 p.m. Zero Hour! (1957)
I’ll be tuning into this for two reasons, one being Dana Andrews, and and the other this oddly Airplane!-like synopsis: “When a flight crew falls ill, the only man who can land the plane is afraid of flying.”

8:00 p.m. Kes (1970)
10:00 p.m. Darling (1965)
***TCM PARTY***
The last Monday of British New Wave Month kicks off with Kes, about a teenager whose only escape from the chaos around him is a falcon, and Darling, about a model in the Swinging ’60s. It continues with The Pumpkin Eater (1964) at 12:15 a.m., and The Knack…and How To Get It (1965) at 2:30 a.m. Guest hosted by @mercurie80.

Tuesday, March 27
Robert Mitchum Block
Beginning at 8 p.m. with Cape Fear (1962), TCM features 5 films starring one of the toughest dudes around, Robert Mitchum. He is truly psychopathic in Cape Fear and The Night of the Hunter (1955), both of which are difficult for me to watch, but I still recommend them.

Wednesday, March 28
British actor Dirk Bogarde is featured in a block beginning at noon: The Spanish Gardener (1956), Libel (1959), The Password Is Courage (1962) and Damn the Defiant (1962).

Thursday, March 29
3:00 p.m. The King’s Thief (1955)
George Sanders Alert
As he did in Forever Amber, Sanders plays Charles II in a swashbuckler that doesn’t require much thought. I mean that in the best way.

6:15 p.m. The Man Who Laughs [L’uomo che ride] (1966)
Remake of the 1928 silent which starred Conrad Veidt.

10:00 p.m. Dirigible (1931)
Very early Frank Capra work in which two pilots try to take a dirigible to the South Pole. Sounds really odd but it’s Capra.

Friday, March 30
8:30 a.m. Random Harvest (1942)
Paula (Greer Garson) is a nice showgirl who takes in a “John Smith” from the local asylum (Ronald Colman) only to lose him when he recovers his memory, discovers that he is really a rich guy and forgets all about her. Such a romantic film. No, really. Trust me.

6:30 p.m. Beware, My Lovely (1952)
I bet you thought I was going to pick The Seven Year Itch or Lost Weekend? Both are pretty good, especially Lost Weekend. Instead, I’ve got to shill for Beware, My Lovely, sort of a film noir/thriller hybrid that stars tough cookie Ida Lupino as a widow who discovers her handyman (Robert Ryan) is really a ticking time bomb of homicidal paranoia. Some really interesting angles make it a class on subjective camera.

Saturday, March 31
1:30 p.m. Stagecoach (1939)
Orson Welles allegedly watched this 70 times while making Citizen Kane, you might want to check it out at least once.

8:00 p.m. Sunrise (1927)
***TCM PARTY***
I really want see this one because it was directed by F.W. Murnau of Nosferatu fame. That film is one of the few silents I’ve seen on a big screen (OK, it’s also one of the few silents I’ve seen anywhere) and it really scares me, so I’m interested to see what he does with this story of major drama brought on an innocent married couple through the corrupting influence of a woman from the city. Guest hosted by @tpjost.

Sunday, April 1
So many good films today…wow. One crazy-sounding one is scheduled for 6:00 a.m., Hips, Hips, Hooray (1934), the plot of which is described as “the pretext for some delightfully anarchic gags.” Otherwise, you can tune pretty much any time today and not go too far wrong.

TCM Week spotlights a highly subjective selection of the week’s essential or undiscovered films on the Turner Classic Movies channel to help plan movie viewing, DVR scheduling or TCM Party attendance. All times are EST.

 

Latest Prometheus trailer is really insane

…and by that I mean, insanely good. I know this is O-L-D news (24 hours ago!) but I’m still putting in on here. Ridley Scott is one of my favorite directors ever and I love this cast he’s got here: Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce. Tim (my hubby @tkguthat) says this movie is going explain how the Jockey got killed, how and why the wreck the Nostromo found got wrecked, and that this movie is going to present whole new alien race. I am wondering though, is Noomi Rapace going to be as awesome in this as I think she will? Can the world handle Idris Elba with a Southern accent? Is Fassbender’s character as sinister as he looks? We’ll find out in 82 days.

UPDATE: The Hollywood Reporter talked to Ridley Scott at WonderCon, where the trailer debuted. In true Ridley fashion, not a whole lot was revealed (He is quoted as saying, “If we’re lucky, there’ll be a second part. It does leave you with some nice open questions.”) but it’s still interesting.

TCM Week: March 12-18

TCM Week spotlights a highly subjective selection of the week’s essential or undiscovered films on the Turner Classic Movies channel to help plan movie viewing, DVR scheduling or TCM Party attendance. All times are EST.

Familiar to millions: A Taste of Honey author & Louder Than Bombs cover star Shelagh Delaney

Monday, March 12
A Kind of Loving (1962)
***TCM PARTY***
TCM’s British New Wave Mondays continue with five films tonight, beginning with A Kind of Loving at 8 p.m., followed by The L-Shaped Room (10 p.m.), The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (12:15 a.m.), and A Taste of Honey (2:15 a.m. Tues.), all released in the US in 1962, and Girl with Green Eyes (1964) at 4:00 a.m. (Tues.). These films promise to be a treasure trove of references for fans of English singer-songwriter Morrissey, who borrowed freely from them during his time with the Smiths and his solo career. As early as 1984, Morrissey was shouting out A Taste of Honey and The L-Shaped Room, and it has always frustrated me that these two films, along with quite a few other British works mentioned by Morrissey as favorites or influences, haven’t been available in the US. The writer Shelagh Delaney, who wrote the book upon which A Taste of Honey is based, definitely provided a lot of inspiration to him. It seems as if nearly every line was appropriated by Moz in some form. In 2006, he told Mojo magazine, “I know I overdid it with Shelagh Delaney. It took me a long, long time to shed that particular one.” Guest hosted by @mercurie80

Tuesday, March 13
1:30 a.m. (Weds.) The Lodger (1944)
George Sanders Alert
This is not the 1926 version directed by Alfred Hitchcock; this one was directed by John Brahm and stars the gorgeous Merle Oberon as a dance hall girl who lives with her aunt and uncle in Victorian London. Jack the Ripper is on the loose but the family is broke and must take in a lodger, a sinister-seeming weirdo (Laird Cregar). George Sanders is the detective on the case. Foggy, atmospheric and creepy old-school thriller.

Wednesday, March 14
EDIT: 8:00 p.m. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
***TCM PARTY***
It’s old-school vs. Method as Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando star in Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play.

2:00 a.m. (Thursday) Hotel (1967)
I love this movie so I was happy to see that no less an august personage than Martin Scorsese has given it his imprimatur…sort of. He wrote in this month’s Now Playing, “it’s actually become more interesting over the years….it’s like a snapshot of the shared American cultural horizon in the late ’60s, or at least a piece of it.” And who am I to argue? With Elizabeth Taylor, Karl Malden, Merle Oberon and a cast of, um, tens.

Thursday, March 15
10:00 p.m. The Whole Town’s Talking (1935)
Edward G. Robinson plays a hardware clerk who is a little on the meek side. He also happens to have a lookalike who is an infamous gangster wanted by the law. A series of plot twists lead him to take on the gangster’s identity. I haven’t seen this in a while but I remember being disturbed by the underlying message. Basically the hardware clerk is much happier and better off when he’s acting the thug. Carl Jung himself couldn’t have come up with a better representation of the “shadow” self though. Also starring the lovely and talented Jean Arthur; directed by John Ford.

Friday, March 16
8:00 p.m. Jason and the Argonauts (1963) and Clash of the Titans (1981)
***TCM PARTY***
Greek mythology done right, with effects by Ray Harryhausen, “the father of modern special effects pictures.” Guest hosted by @DraconicVerses

Saturday, March 17
Stereotypes Alert
TCM is apparently in violation of the Federal statute that dictates that they must show The Quiet Man on St. Patrick’s Day. Instead, they’ve got some lesser-known Irish-themed movies today until 8:00 p.m. The most interesting-looking one is scheduled at 10:45 a.m., The Irish In Us (1935). It’s one of only three films that James Cagney and Olivia de Havilland did together (not counting documentaries…the other two are A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935) and The Strawberry Blonde (1941)). Directed by Lloyd Bacon (42nd Street).

Sunday, March 18
8:00 p.m. Born Free (1966)
***TCM PARTY***

 

January Movies (whew!)

I seem to be perpetually short on time so I thought I’d make a nice list instead of those long, drawn-out posts I like so much 😉

Dude, get out of there! Hurry!

I really liked Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (4 out of 5 stars). I usually like espionage movies, and of course there is the cast (some of whom are wearing some pretty great suits). Even if just any two of these guys was in it, I’d have gone, plus I am no longer ignorant of Benedict Cumberbatch. (Don’t judge the gaps in my knowledge! OK, go ahead…but at least leave a comment.) There isn’t a lot of shoot-’em-up behavior, but it is suspenseful nonetheless, especially if you get nervous when spies are spying on each other. Shoot-’em-up is fine too, though. This Means War? I’m so there.

I really liked Shame, but in a different way (4.5 out of 5 stars). It’s nearly perfect in itself but I don’t think I could see it again. I found it as depressing as I thought it would be from reading the script, although a lot of stuff in the version I read didn’t make it into the finished film. There’s no question that Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan deserved Oscar nominations. Both actors suggested so much in a non-showy way, without much dialogue, and I believe those performances are actually what kept Academy voters away (in addition to the subject matter). I’d have given it 5 stars if there had been just a little bit more backstory about Brandon and Sissy. What is the significance of “New York, New York?” Why is Brandon obsessed with the Standard Hotel? You know that cool girl in your high school that wore vintage years before it was cool and always looked fabulous? That’s Sissy…but what happened to her after that? You won’t find out in this interview Fassbender did on Canadian TV show The Hour but I’m throwing it in here because it’s pretty interesting.

Charlotte Rampling as Mary (center)

I really liked The Mill and The Cross (4 out of 5 stars). I wish there was a movie like this for every painting. It’s difficult to describe it. Again…not a lot of dialogue. It basically shows Brueghel’s (Rutger Hauer) inspiration for each figure and situation in the work. It’s a meditation on the creative process, a record of the human condition in Flanders in the 16th century (hint: lousy), an invective on humanity’s inhumanity, and a powerful statement in favor of the separation of church and state. If you get a chance to see this on the big screen, definitely go. Much will be lost on even the biggest home TV.

I loved The Artist (5 out of 5 stars), it’s just brilliant. It’s also laden with homages and tributes to Old Hollywood and the early 20th-century silents — a feast for classic movie fans. Still working on a larger post on this theme.

This month I also decided there should be ejector seats in cinemas (5 out of 5 stars). People who are talking/yelling, chomping loudly on gum, crinkling candy wrappers, talking on a cell phone, texting, tweeting or IMing can be removed in a speedy and efficient manner. Alternatively, should ejector seats prove too costly, perhaps two auditoriums can show the movie at the same time — talkers in one, silent types in the other. I’m kidding…sort of 😉 The stillness of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Mill and The Cross was almost wrecked. That was my non-classic moviegoing month of January 2012, how was yours?