HIGH NOON [1952] review

April 30, 2011

My only fear is that some day I will have run out of great old movies to watch and be left only with what the present produces. This thought occurred to me as I watched the first few minutes of HIGH NOON. Therefore, I savored every minute, not much unlike Marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) must have savored every minute before noon in this real-time Western and psychological masterpiece.

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SOPHIE’S CHOICE [1982] review

April 22, 2011

SOPHIE’S CHOICE is a mesmerizing film, not at all what I expected.  I had of course long heard of the movie, it’s title bouncing deep in the back of my mind as some very difficult choice Meryl Streep had to make.  I knew she had won the Oscar for the performance.  I somehow thought the choice had to do with her children, which I was in fact right about, but not in the way I had thought at all.  I thought SOPHIE’S CHOICE was going to be a concentrated drama, all taken place at one time in one circumstance, but what it is, is a epic stretching across continents with complexity of character revealed with powerful strokes.

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NATIONAL VELVET [1944] review

April 17, 2011

If you are a dreamer, like me, and you feel your faith is diminishing, watch NATIONAL VELVET and feel renewed again in the power of dreams, in the faith of dreams.  NATIONAL VELVET is a masterpiece and instantly one of my all-time favorite movies.

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IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH [2007] review

April 8, 2011

Tommy Lee Jones is very good in movies where he plays a restrained investigator in a world that has moved past his own time.  In fact, in 2007 he did it twice, first in NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN then in IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH.  I watched the former twice when it was released and just watched the latter tonight.  Jones played his character, the father of a missing soldier just returned from Iraq, with honor, respect and surprising capability.  I think when you have a face as weathered as Jones’ that that adds more character to a character than most actors under 40 can muster using everything at their disposal.

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April 3, 2011

My mini-Hitchcock marathon continues with FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, as unclaustrophobic as a Hitchcock movie gets.  There were scenes all over Europe, quite different than the single apartment in DIAL M FOR MURDER, which I watched last night.  There was really no suspenseful moments at all and the mystery was revealed quickly.  It seems the main point of this movie was just to show pre-World War II anxieties in Europe and America’s distance from those concerns.  It did not help that the main villain of the movie was allowed a final heroic act, thus neutering any final climatic moment and again allowing the wartime message to be the closing message of this film.

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DIAL M FOR MURDER [1954] review

April 1, 2011

When one cleanses their palette by watching a movie like DIAL M FOR MURDER by Alfred Hitchcock (my favorite director), one realizes just how much unnecessary filler is layered upon modern movies just to make them slightly tolerably watchable.  I was surprised to see the budget for making DIAL M was about $1.4 million.  I guess most of that was paid to the actors and Hitchcock himself as there was basically only one set and zero special effects.  Perhaps the most money should have gone to the writer Frederick Knott for adapting his play into such a suspenseful tale that produces emotions one just does not feel in movies made in this century.  Oh, and Grace Kelly is a stunningly beautiful woman, which such class and presence, although she does play a woman who has an affair that drives her husband to murderous ideas.

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