Sunday, August 05, 2012

Rental Review Time

A Face in the Crowd [imdb] [wiki]

This is an old classic, and yet, amazingly, neither of us had seen it before. Made in 1957 and directed by Elia Kazan, it was a story with a strong statement about the always unholy relationship between entertainment and politics, and the raw power that comes out of it. If you were a Keith Olbermann watcher, you know that every time he brought up Glenn Beck, he called him "Lonesome Rhodes" Beck. The Lonesome Rhodes character is the one played by Andy Griffith in this movie. He was a drifter who happened to have a folksy personality, a little musical skill and a lot of charismatic crowd appeal. He ends up on the radio almost by accident, becomes really popular, and the spiral begins. Really recommend this one that we watched on DVD via the library. The DVD also included a little documentary about the making of the film, and it includes relatively recent interviews with the now-deceased Budd Schulberg (the screenwriter), Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal, and Tony Franciosa. Also in the movie are a young Walter Matthau and Lee Remick.

The Adventures of Tintin [imdb] [wiki]

I love Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Steven Moffat, John Williams, Andy Serkis, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Mackenzie Crook, Daniel Craig, etc., I love animation, kid movies also made for adults, adventure, and action. Despite all that, I got bored watching this and we didn't even finish it. That's very unusual. Maybe it's better if you have some background with the Belgian Tintin comics - getting to see the characters come to life - maybe it would have helped. This kind of realistic motion-capture animation sometimes gives me the creeps, and other times (other movies) I think it works fine and doesn't bother me. This one is in the former category. I was just wishing they would have either used real-life people (animals included) or go completely cartoon and give it the look of the original. In fact, that would have been awesome. The action scenes in this just didn't carry me along with them, and characters were pretty flat. I won't say "don't see this," but I will say that we got bored with it. Your results may vary.

The Grey [imdb]

This was presented as a true-to-life survival drama, but I would really say it's more surreal than real because of the way the wolves are portrayed. There are probably animals in the wild that are this big, this dangerous and possibly this mean, but not wolves. OK, so suspend disbelief and pretend they are real wolves (and I wish that they had just made up a fictional critter instead of fostering unnecessary wolf-hatred), and it's a pretty good story about survival, living vs dying, overcoming fear, the basic nature of humans, and sorting out religion. It was a teensy bit predictable here and there, but did have quite a few surprises, including the ending. Even though there are lots of philosophical discussions among this bunch of Alaska plane crash survivors, the movie doesn't resolve them for you. I liked that. One of the most striking things about this movie is the reminder that there are places on earth where humans are not meant to live, but still do.

We saw this on regular DVD which included some deleted scenes, none of which I thought should have been left in, so good call there. It was entertaining and worth a rental. Also, the snow scenes might help take the edge off these hot summer dog days.


Connie, Orlando said...

AMC or TNT has played the Griffith movie lately & I've missed it. Will try to catch it next time.

I refuse to see The Grey. I don't like Neesom (he came out in support of the carriage horse industry in NYC on Jon Stewart during the last big outcry) & I'm sick unto death about the horrid portrayal of wolves in books, movies, etc. Cats, snakes & wolves - the overly maligned critters - always!

Blueberry said...

...and crows as well, smart and wonderful but always the bad guy. Bats too.

Connie, Orlando said...

So true. Have you seen the Nature special on crows? It was incredible, as always.

Professor Chaos said...

wolves are my favorite animals. I hate the whole big-bad-wolf kind of treatment they get in our culture. I saw the first half of Face in the Crowd but accidentally erased it from our Tivo. Now I'm going to have to see the whole thing.

Blueberry said...

I think it would have been better for the villains in The Grey to be other humans, or obviously fictional... UNICORNS! Yeah! Man vs. unicorn in Alaska!!!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I was never been able to get interested in the Tintin books when I was a kid. The Asterix ones either. Euro cartoons always seemed kinda dull to me.

Camila said...
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