Monday, June 4, 2007

"You're about as romantic as a pair of handcuffs."

Here's a list of movies that I've seen recently and meant to talk about them but didn't.

Bullitt -- Sex on a stick. No, sex on the hood of a Mustang. Best. Car chase. Ever. But more importantly, Steve McQueen's character, Frank Bullitt, for all his machismo and tough exterior, is deceptively deep and becomes a truly sympathetic figure. I was pleasantly surprised.

Where the Sidewalk Ends -- It's hazy in my mind now, but I thought this was a decent noir thriller in which a tough cop gets in over his head when he accidentally kills a suspect and tries to cover it up. Nothing spectacular, but it was entertaining enough.

The Third Man -- This was a polished bit of gold, this one. Such a tight screenplay with perfect characters and perfect cinematography. An American, Holly Martins, arrives in post-war Vienna (haunting in its ruined beauty) to find that his friend Harry Lime has been murdered, but as he tries to find out more details about it, the less people want to cooperate. Seems that his friend wasn't the swell guy he thought he was. The distraught lover Anna was particularly heartbreaking. There's a part where Holly finally makes Anna laugh. Holly likes to see her smile and wants her to laugh again. "There isn't enough for two laughs," she says and she breaks down in tears. Orson Welles was, of course, brillliant. Excellent chase sequence through the sewers at the end. Oh, and the very final shot made my heart crack a little more, but that was to be expected.

Green for Danger -- British mystery starring Alastair Sim as a quirky Scotland Yard inspector sent to investigate a murder at a rural hospital. A nice, smart little mystery that kept me wondering whodunit, and Alastair Sim was a complete hoot. This film was also extremely English. Oh my God. I don't think I've seen anything so English in my entire life, except for maybe a crumpet. Yeah, this was as English as tea time and biscuits. It did give some nice insight into what daily life and work was like in the countryside during 1946 when air raids were still taking place.

The Big Heat -- Whoa, now this one was goooood. From 1953, it actually surprised me with its violence, both depicted and implied, and this was the first cop-noir-thriller that made me cry! Several times! And it made me yell out "Oh shit!" twice! Det. Sgt. Dave Bannion (Glenn Ford) is known as a tough-as-nails ball-buster at work, but at home, he's a complete sweetheart, which is what endeared him to me. His relationship with his wife was surprisingly "modern," as he helped with the dishes, set the table, and shared drinks and cigarettes with her. He was a doting dad, too, and couldn't say no to telling his daughter her favorite bedtime story. But he's got a job to do, and when a cop is found dead from an apparent suicide, it touches off a string of not-so-coincidental murders, and he becomes hell-bent on revenge when his family is targeted. He's determined to bring down the corruption surrounding this whole thing, starting with a godfather-type mob boss with an accent that sounded like a mix between Jackie Mason and Al Pacino. One of his vicious underlings, Vince Stone, is played awesomely by Lee Marvin in a not-to-be-missed performance. Seriously, when is Lee Marvin NOT awesome? The female characters all may seem stereotypical at first, but they develop nicely into strong and sympathetic figures. There's even a little old lady who helps Bannion catch one of the bad guys, and you can tell that for a man who hates cowards, Bannion truly had admiration for this one elderly woman who was brave enough to speak up. I liked his character very much. I think this movie could be remade today and it would totally fit modern standards of cop-thrillers.

Annnnnd that's all I've got.