Friday, July 28, 2017

Flashback Friday: Return to Peyton Place

I finally saw Return to Peyton Place, the 1961 sequel to the 1957 Peyton Place, one of my all-time favorite movies, and both based on novels by Grace Metalious.

Have you seen Peyton PlaceIt has everything! Incest, murder, sex, a lack of sex that somehow everyone mistakes for too much sex, bastard children, town gossip raging out of control, dangerously liberal school administrators, suicide! All culminating in a dramatic trial that climaxes with town doctor Lloyd Nolan taking the stand to finger-wag the townspeople! Five of its nine Oscar nominations were for the actors, including Lana Turner's first and only for her role as secretive, untrusting, prudish Constance MacKenzie! Diane Varsi was also nominated for playing her haughty daughter Allison, who fills the interludes with purple voice-over about changing seasons and other metaphors! It was directed by Mark Valley of the Dolls Robson!

Can't beat the original!
How on earth could Return to Peyton Place possibly live up to the deliciousness of its predecessor, a movie that not only dared expose the vicious truth about American pettiness but looked great doing it? How?

Well, truthfully, it doesn't. Find out why.....after the jump.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

1986: An Additional 10

Ten more flicks from the year '86. Wokka-wokka.

'Round Midnight
dir: Bertrand Tavernier
scr: David Rayfiel/Bertrand Tavernier
Oscar Winner: Best Original Score
Oscar Nominee: Best Actor (Dexter Gordon)
A quiet study of two men: one an alcoholic jazz great knowing his last days are creeping in on him, the other a French fan who offers him a burst of energy. It's great to see this kind of story taking place between friends, instead of the May-December romance this kind of plot usually describes. It's a little long for what it is, but Gordon is magnetic.

[Captain Kirk, Ferris Bueller, and Mark Twain after the jump...]

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

1986: Another 10

Another week, another ten films screened from the year 1986 - it's happening all month long, and on into the next. Journey with me...

My Beautiful Laundrette
dir: Stephen Frears
scr: Hanif Kureishi
Oscar Nominee: Best Original Screenplay
Raises the biggest question I've faced so far: would I rather spit champagne into Gordon Warnecke's mouth, or have Daniel Day-Lewis spit it into mine? I'd accept either, as I would a copy of the idiosyncratic score.

[nine more after the jump]

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

1986: The Next 10

Last week, we started our journey through the films of 1986. This week, we continue with another group of 10 flicks, in order of viewing.

Big Trouble in Little China
dir: John Carpenter
scr: Gary Goldman/David Z. Weinstein, adaptation by W.D. Richter

Fun spin on the traditional White Male Action Star, with Kurt Russell bumbling along while his "sidekick" Dennis Dun kicks ass and gets the girl. A blast to watch, very quotable, and a great showcase for Asian-American actors like Dun, James Hong, Victor Wong, and more.

[the remaining nine after the jump]

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

1986: The First 10

We'll see how long this lasts, but I will try to keep track of every movie I'm watching for 1986 as I see them! So here: the first ten movies I watched, in order of viewing.

Top Gun
dir: Tony Scott
scr: Jim Cash/Jack Epps, Jr., from the article "Top Guns" by Ehud Yonay
Oscar Winner: Best Original Song ("Take My Breath Away")
Oscar Nominee: Best Film Editing, Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing

Sweaty, sexy, with a real feel for the competitive camaraderie between men. A visual feast that had me practically licking the screen, and I'm not just talking about the locker room scenes: Jeffrey Kimball's amber waves of plane are enchanting.

[the remaining nine after the jump]

Monday, July 3, 2017

2017: We're Halfway There

So now the year is officially half-over, and I have seen but 37 films so far. The movies I'm saddest to have missed before the end of June? Battle of Memories (dir. Leste Chen), Raw (dir. Julia Ducournau), and Prevenge (dir. Alice Lowe), and I'm hoping to catch up with Okja (dir. Bong Joon Ho) and The Bad Batch (dir. Ana Lily Amirpour) in early July.

That are the 38 movies I saw, broken up into several categories.

Barely Remember
But what I do remember is...
  • Burning Sands (dir. Gerard McMurray) - The chick who plays the Whataburger employee the pledges run a train on is the standout.
  • Fifty Shades Darker (dir. James Foley) - That Zayn/Swifty song is oddly placed
If You Can't Say Anything Nice...
Zip ze lips, as my French teacher would say.
  • All Eyez on Me (dir. Benny Boom)
  • The Devotion of Suspect X (dir. Alec Su)
  • It Comes at Night (dir. Trey Edward Shults)
  • New Trial (dir. Kim Tae-yun)
  • XXX: Return of Xander Cage (dir. D.J. Caruso)

The rest of the 31, after the jump...