List List Bang Bang

March 31, 2012

2012 (January to March) Screening Log

Filed under: 2012,Screening Log — misterjiggy @ 1:02 am

March 2012

Last Update –  March 31, 2012

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  • Margin Call (2011 – J.C Chandor) mixed(-) (Blu-ray)
  • The Man with a Cloak (1951 – Fletcher Markle) mixed (cable)
  • Take Shelter (2011 – Jeff Nichols) pro (Blu-ray)
  • The Devil By the Tail (1969 – Philippe de Broca) mixed (cable)
  • The Kid with a Bike (2011 – Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne) pro(+) (DVD)
  • The War Room (1993 – Chris Hegedus, D.A. Pennebaker)  pro(-) (DVD)
  • Tiny Furniture (2010 – Lena Dunham) mixed(+) (DVD)
  • The Skin I Live In (2011 – Pedro Almodovar) pro (Blu-ray)
  • Letter Never Sent (1959 – Mikhail Kalatozov) pro (Blu-ray)
  • Our Idiot Brother (2011 – Jesse Peretz) mixed(+) (DVD)
  • Who is Harry Kellerman and Why is He Saying Those … (1971 – Ulu Grosbard) mixed(+) (on-line)
  • North Dallas Forty (1979 – Ted Kotcheff) mixed(+) (on-line)
  • Girl With Green Eyes (1964 – Desmond Davis) mixed(+) (cable)
  • La visita (1963 – Antonio Pietrangeli) PRO(-) (DVD)
  • The Big Year (2011 – David Frankel) mixed(+) (Airplane)
  • The Matador (2005 – Richard Shepard) mixed (Airplane)
  • Address Unknown (1944 – William Cameron Menzies) pro (On-line)
  • Des gens sans importance (1956 – Henri Verneuil) pro (cable)
  • The Man Who Cheated Himself (1950 – Felix E. Feist) pro(-) (on-line)
  • Public Hero #1 (1935 – J. Walter Ruben) mixed(+) (cable)
  • The Illustrated Man (1969 – Jack Smight) mixed(-) (cable)
  • Appointment With Danger (1951 – Lewis Allen) pro(-) (on-line)
  • Murder at the Vanities (1934 – Mitchell Leisen) pro (DVD)
  • Hot Saturday (1932 – William A. Seiter) pro (DVD)
  • I Only Want You to Love Me (1976 – Rainer Werner Fassbinder) pro (DVD)
  • The Lady Gambles (1949 – Michael Gordon) pro(-) (DVD)
  • The Face Behind the Mask (1941 – Robert Florey) pro (on-line)
  • The Mob (1951 – Robert Parrish) pro (On-Line)


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February 2012

Last Update –  March 3, 2012

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  • The Andromeda Strain (1971 – Robert Wise) pro(-) (cable)
  • Attack the Block (2011 – Joe Cornish) mixed(+) (cable)
  • The Damned United (2009 – Tom Hooper) pro (cable)
  • Jungle Book (1942 – Zoltan Korda) pro (DVD)
  • Face to Face (1976 – Ingmar Bergman) pro (DVD)
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011 – Tomas Alfredson) pro(+) (Theater)
  • J.Edgar (2011 – Clint Eastwood) mixed (DVD)
  • Sundown (1941 – Henry Hathaway) mixed (cable)
  • Three Outlaw Samurai (1964 – Hideo Gosha)  pro (Blu-ray)
  • The Drowning Pool (1975 – Stuart Rosenberg) mixed (DVD)

Having not read the source Ross Macdonald novels (1949’s “The Moving Target” and 1950’s “The Drowning Pool”), I can’t really compare Paul Newman’s screen Lew Harper to Macdonald’s Lew Archer of the page, but it’s fair to say that Newman’s Harper from The Drowning Pool is somewhat different than the world weary smirking P.I. from Newman’s first go-round as the character in 1966’s Harper.  While Harper was a cynical and at times satiric film, it was still rather fun and breezy, reeking (in a good way) of hippified mid-60s sun-baked sleazy LA (as shot by Conrad Hall).   The Drowning Pool, in true post-Watergate fashion, is much more dour and moody piece (and Gordon Willis’ darker hued photography (of which he was a master) accents this).  Here deep south Louisiana eccentrics replace Southern California cultists and jazz junkies. While Harper at times seems like a precursor of The Long Goodbye, The Drowning Pool comes across like a The Long Goodbye hangover – paling in the wake of the classic Altman film, Chinatown, the Willis shot Klute, and Night Moves (released mere weeks before, and also featuring a teenaged Melanie Griffith).  The Drowning Pool pairs better with minor less successful neo noirs like the Robert Mitchum Farewell, My Lovely (also 1975).   The most thrilling scene in the film features Newman and Gail Strickland racing against the clock trapped in the titular pool, not unlike an unforgettable scene featuring Newman and Richard Jaekel (who has a small part in The Drowning Pool) in the Newman helmed family drama Sometimes a Great Notion.

  • Leaves of Grass (2009 – Tim Blake Nelson) con (DVD)
  • Il cappotto (1952 – Alberto Lattuada) pro(+) (DVD)
  • Sans Soleil (1983 – Chris Marker) pro(+) (Blu-Ray)
  • The Bottom of the Bottle (1956 – Henry Hathaway) pro(-) (on-line)
  • New York Confidential (1955 – Russell Rouse) mixed(+) (on-line)

This movie is a lot of fun to watch and a decent bridge between the gangster films and racket exposés of the 30s and later mob classics (The Godfather, Goodfellas). I’ll give the generally bland but functional look of the film a pass but I docked the film marks for the Russell Rouse and Clarence Greene script which pales when compared to the earlier Rouse/Greene efforts D.O.A. and The Well. The plot, though now standard, is compelling enough; but the dialogue is some of the most direct, literal, obvious stuff I’ve ever heard. There is zero room for anything resembling character nuance or ambiguity. No thought goes unsaid, no idea unexpressed, all is telegraphed and underlined. When a “hit” is ordered by “the Syndicate”, the mob higher ups actually spell it out without nod, wink, sideways glance or coded phrasing.  The big mob boss might as well have said “you, Mr. Assassin, that works for me, take this gun and drive to 55 Main Street and kill Joey the Rat, destroy the evidence, bribe law enforcement, report back to me for next murder that I will order”. When Anne Bancroft‘s character (a sort of Meadow Soprano precursor) thinks her father is a crook and is ashamed of being a member of the family she expresses this by telling her father that he is a crook and she is ashamed of being a member of the family. Bancroft is a real spitfire who livens up every scene she is in (even when competing with Broderick Crawford’s usual bombast); though she’s a bit over the top in her final pleading scene with her screen father’s loyal hitman played by Richard Conte. Along with Bancroft, Richard Conte is another big plus for the film. I’m generally a fan of Conte (particularly Cry of the City, Thieves Highway and House of Strangers (a far more nuanced The Godfather precursor)) and found him surprisingly, but effectively, subdued here. He underplays most scenes; but remains menacing yet, as the film’s notional protagonist, still fairly sympathetic.  Conte was much more showy as the heavy in his better known 1955 efforts, as the abusive husband in the Lillian Roth bio-pic I’ll Cry Tomorrow and as a mob boss in the sleazy low budgeted late noir classic The Big Combo.

  • Todo un caballero (1947 – Miguel Delgado) mixed (cable)
  • Your Highness (2011 – David Gordon Green) con(+) (cable)
  • Too Late for Tears (1949 – Byron Haskin) pro(-) (on-line)
  • Tabloid (2010 – Errol Morris) mixed (DVD)
  • Jour de fête (1949 – Jacques Tati) pro (cable)
  • Cry Danger (1951 – Robert Parrish) pro (on-line)
  • 50/50 (2011 – Jonathan Levine) pro(-) (DVD)
  • The Great Garrick (1937 – James Whale) pro (cable)
  • Hell is a City (1960 – Val Guest) pro(-) (on-line)
  • Holy Matrimony (1943 – John Stahl) pro (cable)
  • The Sound Barrier (1952 – David Lean) pro (on-line)
  • Black Sun (1964 – Koreyoshi Kurahara) pro(-) (DVD)
  • The Artist (2011 – Michel Hazavanicius) pro(-) (Theater)
  • Carnage (2011 – Roman Polanski) pro (Theater)
  • The Moment of Truth (1965 – Francesco Rosi) pro (Blu-Ray)
  • The D.I. (1957 – Jack Webb) mixed (cable)


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January 2012

Last Update –  February 2, 2012

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  • -30- (1959 – Jack Webb) mixed (cable)
  • Man’s Favorite Sport? (1964 – Howard Hawks) mixed (cable)
  • So Well Remembered (1947 – Edward Dmytryk) pro (cable)
  • One More River (1934 – James Whale) mixed(+) (cable)
  • Bad Teacher (2011 – Jake Kasdan) mixed (cable)
  • The Ides of March (2011 – George Clooney) mixed (DVD)
  • Routine Pleasures (1986 – Jean-Pierre Gorin) pro (DVD)
  • More Than a Miracle (1967 – Francesco Rosi) mixed (cable)
  • The Exile (1947 – Max Ophuls) pro (cable)
  • Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922 – Benjamin Christensen) pro (cable)
  • Poto and Cabengo (1980 – Jean-Pierre Gorin) pro (DVD)
  • The Anderson Tapes (1971 – Sidney Lumet) pro(-) (cable)
  • Joan of Paris (1942 – Robert Stevenson) mixed(+) (cable)
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011 – Rupert Wyatt) pro (DVD)
  • The Reluctant Debutante (1958 – Vincente Minnelli) pro(-) (cable)
  • Revenge (1964 – Tadashi Imai) pro (DVD)
  • Black Girl (1972 – Ossie Davis) pro (cable)
  • Rapture (1965 – John Guillermin) pro(-) (on-line)
  • Travels With My Aunt (1972 – George Cukor) mixed(+) (cable)
  • Paranoiac (1963 – Freddie Francis) pro (on-line)
  • Way Down East (1920 – D.W. Griffith) pro (Blu-Ray)
  • War Horse (2011 – Steven Spielberg) mixed(+) (Theater)
  • Certified Copy (2010 – Abbas Kiarostami) pro(+) (DVD)
  • Sons and Lovers (1960 – Jack Cardiff) pro(-) (on-line)

I thought this film adaptation of the famed D.H. Lawrence novel by legendary cinematographer turned director Jack Cardiff was solid enough.  While the black and white CinemaScope film is pretty great looking, I’ll admit I could sense little of a Cardiff visual style – a style that came through loud and clear when he was serving as cinematographer for other directors, including such dominant figures like Powell, Huston, Lewin and Mankiewicz.  Just channel surfing the other day and catching a mere glimpse of The Master of Ballantree (a film I have not seen) the images screamed Cardiff (though admittedly when I think of Cardiff I think of spectacular color and, The Vikings aside, the academy aspect ratio).  Frankly the visual “personality” of Sons and Lovers seemed wholly that of its director of photography Freddie Francis – showing a style akin to Francis’ other work of the period as a DP in films like The Innocents or Night Must Fall.  In Paranoiac (a recent first viewing for me) Francis gets in the director’s chair leaving the DP tasks to another (Hammer films regular Arthur Grant); but the film still looks like a Freddie Francis shot film.  This suggests the similar almost seamless stylistic transition suggested by Nicolas Roeg’s move from cinematographer to director later the same decade.  With Sons and Lovers I was left with the peculiar irony that Cardiff’s move to the director’s chair seemed to diminish his unique artistic stamp.  Perhaps to a lesser extent, I had a similar feeling about Rudolph Maté, a man who directed dozens of films but also lensed some classics for the likes of giants such as Dreyer, Hitchcock, Wyler, Lubitsch, Lang and Vidor.

  • Drum Beat (1954 – Delmer Daves) mixed(+) (cable)

I like Delmer Daves’ fifties Westerns a great deal, particularly 3:10 to Yuma, The Last Wagon and The Hanging Tree, and this CinemaScope effort, which deals with tensions between the US government and certain members of a Modoc Indian tribe along the California-Oregeon border country in 1869, has a number of nice elements; but I was left with a bit of an Alan Ladd problem.  Only a year removed from his performance in the rightfully lauded Shane in which Ladd emited some sort of iconic glow; Ladd seems to mail it in here, often looking tired and disengaged.  And I don’t mean “character tired”, in that his Indian fighter character Johnny MacKay has lived a hard life and is world weary, but “actor tired”, in that prior to each shooting day Ladd closed the nearest bar.  In one very key scene beautifully shot on location in a river valley involving an attempt at a peace treaty that goes horribly wrong, the shots of Ladd, clearly from some distant sound stage, are awkwardly inserted disrupting the tension and general flow.  It also doesn’t help that Ladd’s supposedly rough and tumble character is decked out in preposterously clean and colorful Roy Rogers styled finery.  What is particularly perplexing about the lackluster Ladd is that Drum Beat represents the first effort of Jaguar Productions, Ladd’s very own production company, so he had a strong personal connection and financial stake in the project.  At least Ladd had the good sense to employ Daves, who also scripted and produced, as the somewhat balanced material suggests a certain sympathy towards the Modoc people which has some connection to Daves’ earlier groundbreaking “pro-Indian” Western Broken Arrow (1954, the year of Drum Beat, would also see the likes of Sirk’s Taza, Son of Cochise and Aldrich’s Apache, other films with a sympathetic stance regarding the treatment of Native American Indians).  Though certain of the attacks by the Modocs on the war path are rather brutal; which brings to mind the rather shocking attack of the Abenakis tribe on White frontier folk in King Vidor’s Northwest Passage, a controversial film (at least today) which makes little effort to dilute a sense of racial hatred. Robert Keith and Elisha Cook Jr. offer colorful, if not three dimensional, support; but it’s Charles Bronson (then billed Charles Buckinsky) as Modoc renegade leader Captain Jack who leaves the biggest impression.  Ladd would seem slightly livelier four years later for Daves in The Badlanders an entertaining but more routine Western (and loose remake of The Asphalt Jungle).

  • Bronson (2008 – Nicolas Winding Refn) con(+) (cable)
  • Tomorrow is Another Day (1951 – Felix E. Feist) pro(+) (cable)

I’m a little reluctant to overreach with my praise and enthusiasm for this sleeper of a film noir given that it may have sprung from my going in with rather measured expectations; but what a pleasant surprise!  Steve Cochran plays an ex-con paroled from an 18 year stretch in prison having been convicted (as a 13 year old!) for shooting his abusive drunk of a father in order to protect his mother.  The big lug Cochran was a fairly limited actor (see his less than nuanced performance as a sort of Stanley Kowalski-lite in 1951’s Storm Warning) but he was perfectly cast here and delivers the goods, playing the parolee as an uneasy man-child and a sort of sympathetic loose canon ready to go off once sufficiently confused. Cochran works a real social misfit / fish out of water vibe that is not dissimilar to what Schrader, Scorsese and De Niro later accomplished with Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver.  Upon release from prison and with little regard to the Warden’s friendly advice, Cochran’s never been kissed by a girl character soon naively and impulsively sets his sights on Ruth Roman’s Cay Higgins an ultra street smart dime-a-dance hall girl who works in “Dreamland” but doesn’t give “private lessons” (which, seemingly, dilutes the possibility that the lovely Cay doubles as a prostitute). Circumstances involving the shooting of a morally ambiguous police officer (pimp?) soon thrust the mis-matched pair into an uneasy alliance.  Cochran’s dummy and Roman’s crafty manipulator must hit the road and the fugitive experience allows the couple to grow into a true partnership of sorts, with loyalty and affection, all somewhat reminiscent of the Douglas Sirk directed and Sam Fuller penned Shockproof; or even such criminal lovers on the run classics such as They Live By Night or You Only Live Once.  Ruth Roman is really excellent in a challenging role whereby she is charged with making believable the reformation and redemption of her character.  Roman’s Cay must undergo a moral and physical transformation that turns a blonde dye jobbed taxi dancing femme fatale into a domesticated brunette lettuce picking mother to be.  The structure of the film is somewhat bi-furcated much like On Dangerous Ground, with the first half set in a rather seedy Manhattan and the second in sun-baked Northern California, and the switch in setting results in a shift in tone that risks the momentum built up in the strong first half; but director Feist and his ace DP Robert Burks (who lensed 12 Hitchcock films including 1951’s Strangers on a Train which also features Ruth Roman) ably hold it all together.  Like Shockproof, Tomorrow is Another Day does suffer from those (all too) typical of the period tidy and upbeat endings – but it’s a forgivable sin for such a nifty and intelligent film with strong central performances.

  • The Phantom Carriage (1921 – Victor Sjostrom) pro(+) (Blu-Ray)
  • The Steel Trap (1952 – Andrew L. Stone) pro(-) (cable)
  • The Help (2011 – Tate Taylor) mixed(-) (Blu-Ray)
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011 – David Fincher) pro(-) (Theater)
  • A Stolen Life (1946 – Curtis Bernhardt) pro (cable)
  • The Adventures of Tintin (2011 – Steven Spielberg) pro (Theater – 3D)
  • This Above All (1942 – Anatole Litvak) pro(-) (on-line)
  • The Green Hornet (2011 – Michel Gondry) mixed (cable)


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