Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Directed By: William A. Wellman
Written By: Harvey F. Thew, from story by John Bright & Kubec Glasmon
Main Cast: James Cagney, Edward Woods, Jean Harlow, Robert Emmett O'Connor, Leslie Fenton, Joan Blondell, Donald Cook
ON MY JOURNEY I MET A MAN NAMED 'CAGNEY'
I remember when I was younger, watching the film "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and loving James Cagney's portrayl as George M. Cohan, even at that young age. I won't harp about "YDD" because it's a movie that we'll soon be covered on my journey, but I was very excited to see "The Public Enemy" and get another glance at Cagney captivating me on the big sceen...and that's just what he did!
Cagney plays Tom Powers, who starts out at a young age in 1909 robbing department stores with his buddy Matt Doyle and selling the hot goods to Putty Nose, a famous gangster and getting next to nothing in return. Tom is a troubled young kid who doesn't get along with a whole lot of people outside of Matt, especially his brother and recieves lashes from his father with a belt on a seemingly regular basis.
Soon Tom grows up and is still acquainted with Putty Nose and with his friend Matt. When Putty puts the boys onto a scheme to snatch some furs from the local fur warehouse, he promises them that they'll be safe and that if trouble brews, he'll take care of them. Well trouble does brew, and when the boys go looking for Putty he's nowhere to be found. Putty Nose leaves the boys high and dry and Tom, still a young man, is left with the bloodshed of a cop on his hands. Following that mess, they fall in with another famous gangster, Paddy Ryan, owner of a local pub, he's an old gentleman with manners, but who still knows how to get what he wants. Paddy turns the boys into an overnight success as they begin bootlegging beer during prohibition times.
Throughout his bootlegging success Tom still has problems at home as his brother and mother urge him to get out of the crime business and go straight. Tom and his brother fight constantly when put together in the same room and their mother, a sweet old woman who wants nothing but peace in the household, plays the mediator between them. Tom also plays his hand at love, meeting and falling for Kitty. When he grows sick of Kitty, he smashes a grapefruit in her face and sends her packing, only to meet up with the vivacious Gwen.
"The Public Enemy" is just what I was looking for in a 30's gangster flick. "Little Caesar" was good, but this gangster movie knocked it out of the park and after a little bit of research you find out that it set the tone for gangster films from that point on and it's not hard to see why. James Cagney is fantastic and could easily become a favorite actor of mine, as he takes charge of the screen whenever he's on it and you know instantly who the star is. The ending of "The Public Enemy" is very simple, yet very effective and I honestly wouldn't have changed a thing about it. While it wasn't the ending that I was expecting, it was still a great one and one that definitely worked for me. The rest of the acting was also great, as I kind of had a fondness for the character of Paddy Ryan played very well by Robert Emmett O'Connor. "The Public Enemy" is a fantastic film that definitely deserved inclusion in this book and I would easily recommend it to anyone looking to check out some older flicks.
RATING: 10/10 Gotta' go the full monty for this one, it was nothing less of fantastic and I can't wait to buy it and watch it again someday when my journey is through.
NEXT UP: M...Which I've actually seen before and loved it, so I can't wait to take another gander at it and give a fresh opinion. Review will probably come later tonight or early tomorrow.
December 30, 2009 5:14pm
Monday, December 28, 2009
Directed By: Charles Chaplin
Written By: Charles Chaplin
Main Cast: Charles Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Harry Myers
CHARLIE CHAPLIN STICKS TO HIS SILENT GUNS
With the emergence of talking pictures, it is said that Charlie Chaplin agonized over the production of "City Lights", a film that could've have been his first talking film, but one that ultimately stayed in line with other Chaplin works and remained silent and still fantastic!
Charlie returns to the big screen as the Little Tramp, and doesn't waste too much time running into a beautiful, blind flower-seller on the street corner. The Tramp is captivated by her beauty and stunned when he realizes that she's blind. He buys a flower and moves on, not quite sure if he'll ever see her again.
A little later in the film The Tramp runs into a man on the verge of suicide because his wife has just left him. While he is intoxicated, the man tries to tether himself to a boulder and hurl himself into the river, only to be stopped by The Tramp. With a new zest for life, thanks to the little fellow, he declares the Tramp his new best friend and immediately takes him out for a night on the town, where the Tramp soon finds out he's a millionaire. The next morning when the man awakes, and the Tramp comes calling at his door, the millionaire cannot remember the previous night and therefore cannot remember the Tramp. This is a running plot point throughout the picture, as everytime the man is drunk he knows and loves the Tramp, but as soon as he sobers up, the kind little fellow is a stranger to him.
After numerous further meetings with the blind girl, the Tramp learns that she is very poor and on the cusp of being kicked from her home by her landlord. The Tramp tells her not to worry and promises to return with the funds to save her home. The Tramp takes on a few jobs, including that of a boxer, which provided me with my favorite moment of the entire film, as Chaplin participates in a very well choreographed and hilarious boxing match, with a much bigger and much stronger fellow. As always I certainly won't spoil the ending, but this flick is certainly worth a rent to check out the fantastic open ending and all the rest for that matter.
Along with the boxing sequence, this film provides countless other hilarious and memorable moments: Charlie getting a piece of streamer caught up in his plate of spaghetti and not realizing it as he slurps up his noodles, Charlie swallowing a whistle right as an important party goer is about to give a speech and Charlie final encounter with the blind girl, which provides us, not with a funny moment, but a very romantic and heartwarming one. I liked this movie more than I liked "The Gold Rush" and while I would call them both great films, I still felt myself missing Buster Keaton, as I watched "City Lights". Although, Charlie Chaplin was his own man and did his own things, which were much different than Keaton.
RATING: 8/10 First instinct of a rating was to go with an '8', and as always that's what I went with.
NEXT UP: The Public Enemy...James Cagney enters the stage!! Not expecting anymore films from Netflix until Wednesday, so I'll see 'ya then.
December 27, 2009 10:49pm
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
The next film that yearns to be viewed by my eyes is titled "Earth" and it is scheduled to arrive from Netflix tomorrow, so keep your eyes peeled for that reviewed. Until then, my dear readers (if there are any) hang in there just a bit more, and I'll soon return to writing reviews, for you and yours to read.
December 9, 2009 8:44am
Monday, November 2, 2009
November 2, 2009 12:07am
Friday, October 30, 2009
Directed By: Luis Bunuel
Written By: Luis Bunuel, Salvador Dali
My review of The Age of Gold, will be kept short and sweet, because I really am not sure how to put this movie down into words. Suffice it to say that if you enjoy David Lynch's Eraserhead, then this flick is probably for you. Once again, I don't mind odd, I just like to have some idea of what's playing out in front of me, and if there's an amazing amount of symbolism, then I at least want it to make sense and not just be babble spread all over the screen for the viewer to look at and have to furrow their brow and be completely puzzled.
There were certain parts that I didn't mind, the sexual misadventures of the man and woman, were quite interesting, as the man and woman kissed and gnawed at each other's fingers and gazed at the feet of a statue, while the woman even resorted to sucking the toe of the statue. Quite odd, yet quite interesting and gloriously grotesque. I'll give it a few notches for the few scenes that didn't make me want to rip my hair out, but that's all I can give it, as most of this film was a complete waste of time. Sorry Mr. Bunuel, me and your films just don't seem to be seeing eye to eye.
RATING: 2.5/10 That's absolutely as high as I can go, and that's being generous.
NEXT UP: Earth...Should be ready either late tonight or tomorrow. Stay tuned kiddies.
October 29, 2009 11:16pm
Monday, October 26, 2009
Directed By: Josef von Sternberg
Written By: Carl Zuckmayer, from the novel "Professor Unrat" by Heinrich Mann
Main Cast: Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich, Kurt Gerron
Saturday, October 24, 2009
I decided it was time to face forward, so I turned back and that's what I did. I looked up ahead at the thirties, which approached me. I saw a new cast of characters and films that I'll certainly look forward to spending time with: Dracula, Frankenstein, City Lights, M, I Am a Fugitive from A Chain Gang, Scarface, Freaks, Duck Soup, King Kong, It Happened One Night, The Thin Man, Mutiny On the Bounty, Modern Times, Dodsworth, Grand Illusion, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Stagecoach, The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind and The Rules of the Game, just to name a few. I look forward to getting to know those movies from the thirties that I have yet to experience, and reliving the ones that I already have.
Your courageous journeyman,
October 24, 2009 5:07am
Written By: Joseph Fleisler, Georg Wilhelm Pabst, from the plays "Erdgeist" and Die Buchse der Pandora by Frank Wedekind
Luoise Brooks plays Lulu, a beautiful, sexy seductress who can make any man fall to their knees with lust. However, Lulu has her eyes on Dr. Schon, a man who is already engaged and when the film starts looks to break off his affair with Lulu. At first, Lulu doesn't seem to care, knowing that she can have any man she wants anyhow, but when she overhears Dr. Schon tell his son that you just don't marry a woman like Lulu, then she must have what it appears as if she cannot. So, Lulu and Dr. Schon are married, but on their wedding night, Dr. Schon happens upon Lulu alone in a room with Schigoloch (who is either her father or her pimp, it is never defined) and a nightclub strongman Rodrigo, in a compromising situation, Dr. Schon's suspicions become reality and he realizes that he'll never fully be happy with Lulu, as there'll always be other men and he'll always be jealous. Dr. Schon removes a gun from his dresser and at first, attempts to murder the two men, but when the house is emptied later in the night, takes the gun and demands that Lulu kill herself, so that he can become a rational man again, without her. When a struggle takes place, Dr. Schon is shot and killed and Lulu is put on trial for his murder. She is sentenced to five years in prison, but when a commotion breaks out in the courtroom, Lulu gets away with Schon's son, Alwa, who has always had eyes for her.
RATING: 6/10 Great performances with an average story, equal out to an above average rating and the twenties are finished, my friends!
Directed By: Dziga Vertov
Written By: Dziga Vertov
Friday, October 23, 2009
Main Cast: Anny Ondra, John Longden, Donald Calthrop, Cyril Ritchard
**HITCHCOCK SIGHTING** Early in the film, during a scene on a bus, Hitchcock can be spotted wearing a hat and reading a newspaper. A little boy in the nearby seat stands up, pulls Hitchcock's hat down over his head and then scampers off, only to return seconds later peering at Hitch.
RATING: 9.5/10 I dropped it a half a notch for the sever overacting of Anny Ondra, but really its just a formality, as it is something that can easily be overlooked to find a fantastic film.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Directed By: Vsevolod Pudovkin
Written By: Osip Brik, I. Novokshenov
Main Cast: Valery Inkijinoff, I. Dedintsev, Aleksandr Christyakov, Viktor Tsoppi, F. Ivanov
Written By: Carl Harbaugh
Steamboat Bill Sr.'s river boat is declared condemned and when he tries to fight it he ends up in the town slammer. Steamboat Bill Jr., already shunned by his father for sneaking off in the night to visit King's daughter, tries to reconcile with his Dad and head's to the jail with a loaf of bread loaded with some breakout tools, in probably my favorite scene of the film. They eventually get loose from the clutches of the Sheriff, but not before a cyclone strolls into town, providing one of the most suspenseful and spectacular Keaton scenes of all his movies I've seen.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Directed By: Luis Bunuel
Written By: Luis Bunuel, Salvador Dali
Main Cast: Pierre Batcheff, Simone Mareuil, Luis Bunuel, Salvador Dali
WEIRD, WILD STUFF
"To describe the movie (An Andalusian Dog) is simply to list its shots, since there is no story line to link them"
At a running time of only sixteen minutes, Un Chien Andalou or An Andalusian Dog, is probably one of the most bizarre movies I've ever witnessed.
Linked together by a series of weird and surreal shots, An Andalusian Dog, was apparently made based on dreams that both Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali had, and made to intentionally make zero sense. Now, I've always been a fan of weird movies and films that really make you think and wanna research them to find out the answers that lie behind their seemingly impossible to follow plot, but An Andalusian Dog is intentionally confusing and apparently has no real plot.
The shots are totally bizarre though: a man slicing a woman's eye open with a razor blade, a transvestite riding a bicycle down the street and apparently falling over dead, ants crawling out through a hole in a man's hand, a man pulling a piano which is tied to two ropes and upon the piano lay rotting carcasses of dead horses, a woman's armpit and two people walking down a beach and shown later with sand covering them up to their chests, as they lay motionless. Sound weird enough for 'ya?
I guess I was a bit intrigued by this film, but can't say that I really enjoyed it all that much. I went ahead and watched it twice, since it was so short and since I was so perplexed by it. I had only seen one Bunuel film prior to this and that was "The Exterminating Angel" and that was another one that left me with a feeling of "HUH". One thing's for sure and that's is if you're a fan of David Lynch, then you'd probably love Bunuel and Bunuel seems even crazier and more of an oddball.
RATING: 4/10 That's just about as high as I can go, and I'm being generous. Can't say I really enjoyed it, but it was quite perplexing and I do commend the director for, at least, that much.
NEXT UP: The Passion of Joan of Arc...My introduction to Carl Theodor Dreyer
October 21, 2009 1:57pm
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Aside from all the hubbub surrounding the Medicine Man Show, the citizens of Hickoryville have been raising money for a new dam and have finally met the amount needed. They lock the money up in a small safe and place it in the care of Sheriff Hickory for safekeeping. When the Medicine Man owner sees this in the paper, he sees an opportunity to regain some of the money that he lost, due to the fire at his Medicine Man Show cart.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
But back to Alonzo, who has a big secret that he's keeping from everyone, except his trusty sidekick Cojo. The secret...he has arms! With the help of Cojo, Alonzo keeps his arms strapped to his torso at all times, unless he's alone, and in no danger of being found out. He also doesn't want to be found out by the police, because he's a fugitive and the fact that he has two thumbs on his right hand would make him an easy suspect to catch. When the circus owner and Nanon's father, Antonio Zanzi discovers Alonzo's secret, Alonzo strangles him, and Nanon witnesses it, except she doesn't see the perpetrators face, only his two thumbed right hand.
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