For want of anything better to write (I can't bear to write about Trump or Brexit, it's all too depressing) I've decided to jot down a few thoughts about the last 5 movies I've watched (on DVD). Roger Ebert I ain't, but it might be fun*.
*This is not going to be fun for any of us, including myself.
Stand By Me (1986)
You know what movies make me nervous? Movies like 'Stand By Me'.
They make me nervous because a lot of people LOVE these movies - the 80s movies that they grew up with and have adored ever since - and I'm scared I'm not going to like them and become a bad guy.
A good example of this is 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off', which I just didn't like. Or was it that I just didn't like him? I dunno.
Anyway. No need to be nervous here. 'Stand By Me' is brilliant. It's sort of like the grown up version of 'The Goonies' (loved that too) and what it lacks a little in plot it makes up with with character and spirit.
'Stand By Me' may not speak to me as strongly as it does to 80s kids, but it still sucked me in all the same.
Rating = 8/10
Ol' Alf Hitchcock and I have a love/hate relationship, in the sense that I LOVE his films until they get to their conclusions, which I HATE.
'Strangers on a Train', 'Rear Window', 'Shadow of a Doubt' - all great films, until you reach their laughably stupid endings.
'Vertigo' builds up the same way, but then suddenly hits you with A) A really good twist and B) An ending which is...well...OK. It's still a bit silly, and very Hitchcock, but it kinda works.
The reasonable ending makes this a very strong film, and I'm always a sucker for anything Jimmy Stewart is in.
Rating = 8.75/10 (although I could stretch to 9/10 if persuaded)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Watching movies on DVD, on a relatively small TV and years after their cinema release, is both a curse and a blessing. It's a curse, in that it's very difficult/almost impossible for a movie to "wow" me with special effects. On the other hand that's a blessing, as it means I can concentrate on the plot of a film and watch it more analytically than I would in a cinema.
In the first few moments of 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' then, the characters gliding over rooftops still looks good, but feels cliched. It's hard to get pumped up for a scene you've seen 1000 times before in a Snickers advert featuring Mr. Bean.
So let's hone in on the plot of this one, then. Frankly, it's a bit of a silly one, and very much plays second fiddle to the beautifully choreographed fight scenes throughout.
Is CTHD a great film? Debatable. Is it one of my favourite films? No. Is it a really fun and enjoyable film to watch on a Saturday night with a big bag of Doritos? YES.
Rating = 7/10
Dazed and Confused (1993)
Ah, Richard Linklater. The director of two of my most beloved films (the Befores Sunrise & Sunset) and a bit of a genius, in my eyes.
I judge each case on its merits, however, and I call a spade a spade, and I have to say that despite my love for the director, I didn't like this one at all.
Maybe if I was a teen in the 70s myself, getting high all the time and listening to Foghat all day, I might have appreciated this one a lot more. But I wasn't, so, I didn't. 'Dazed and Confused' has lots of Linklater flourishes, a truly great soundtrack, and some nice lines of dialogue. But that's about all it has. Not for me, Clive.
Rating = 5/10
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Everything about 'The Maltese Falcon' is fast. Bogart speaks quickly. The plot moves quickly. Scenes come and go quickly - as do characters (Bogart's partner in the detective agency is in the film for about the first two minutes).
With most films, I can take a moment to take my eyes off the screen - to have some water, perhaps, or to look at my phone, or to (and this is most likely, let's be honest) break off a triangle of Toblerone and stuff it in my mouth.
I could do none of these things with The Maltese Falcon. The plot moves so speedily that it's fatal to take your eyes off the screen - particularly as, apart from Bogart's character Sam Spade - every single fucker in the film is lying. So you absorb a two minute story by a character, think "OK, cool, got that" then find out that Bogart knows she's lying and that the entire story was bunkum. Cool.
Nevertheless, this is a good film, and one I'm pleased I've now watched. I do, however, prefer Bogart in 'Casablanca'.
Rating = 7/10
See ya next time knuckleheads!