Saturday, February 23, 2013

TEN TALL MEN (1951)

Mildly interesting early Burt Lancaster flick with Burt as a member of the French Foreign Legion who finds himself imprisoned due to punching his commanding officer (he was beating a woman).  Finally he's released...to lead a bunch of guys on a suicide mission to distract an advancing army for five days until reinforcements arrive.  After locating the enemy camp Burt discovers that two rival factions are joining force based upon an upcoming marriage.  Burt and gang kidnap the bride to be.  She's like a wild animal and tries to kill them at every turn (even crushing one dude with a horse), but once she gets a gander at Burt's ol' baby blues she melts like butter.

For an old timey Saturday afternoon time waster TEN TALL MEN to alright.  The pace is okay, the acting passable, the action scenes forgettable, the Morocco settings look a lot like Southern California (including that cave that's been in like a million movies), the Moroccan people don't look very Moroccan and the comedy absolutely terrible.  It would have been much better if they had skipped the unfunny comedy bits and just made it a serious action movie.  Worth a watch for Lancaster fans.  Everybody else should probably just pass.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU (1938)

James Stewart is the son of an ultrawealthy banker and his ultrasnooty wife, but as love would have it James falls for Jean Arthur who has quite the eccentric family.  And even worst...they're middle-class!  Yikes!

To say that YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU is idealistic and overly sentimental is an understatement, but you know what?  I still love it and I always get a little teary-eyed during that harmonica scene.  Yea, the story is completely unbelievable, but who cares?  It's a fun time.

Quick pace, great ensemble cast full of familiar faces and happy tears.  What more could you ask for? Well, some closure on that Grandpa's IRS situation would be nice, but it never happens.  I guess his troubles just disappear kinda like they do in films of this kind.  Highly recommended.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

UNDER THE SUN OF SATAN (1987)

Gerard Depardieu is a devout country priest who spends his time talking to his imaginary master, doubting himself and beating the crap out of himself with chains.  If a normal person did this they'd be thrown in the nuthouse, but somehow he made a career out of it.  One evening while walking through a field Satan comes up and starts talking shit to him.  Next thing you know Depardieu confronts a teenage girl who has two lovers...well, that is until she murdered one of them!  Stuff happens and Depardieu continues to talk to his invisible friend a lot.

As dull as that sounds, for whatever reason, I actually liked this movie.  It's beautifully photographed and Depardieu's performance is quite demanding since the majority of his lines are just him standing there talking to no one, but he does an extremely believable job portraying a highly conflicted individual struggling constantly (with every thought and deed) with his relationship with God.

As a man of zero faith I have no belief in God, Satan, Zeus, Nanabozho, the Flying Spaghetti Monster or any other deity, so I'm probably not the best person to review this film, but despite my lack of faith I was still moved by Gerard's tortured performance and that of Sandrine Bonnaire as the troubled girl.  Recommended.