Nothing Is Invisible

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Posts Tagged ‘Oscars’

Scarecrow, starring Al Pacino and Gene Hackman

Posted by the editors on Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Scarecrow (1973)(DVD)  Directed by Jerry Schatzberg (The Panic in Needle Park (1971)), starring Al Pacino (The Panic in Needle Park (1971), The Godfather trilogy (starting in 1972), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Scarface (1983), Angels in America (2003) and many others)Gene Hackman  (Bonnie & Clyde (1967), A Bridge Too Far (1977), Under Fire (1983), Unforgiven (1992), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), and many other films) and others.  This road movie, of two alienated down-and-out buddies, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1973, pairs a full-on Method-Acting Pacino in youthful vigor with the virtually opposing style of a formalist Gene Hackman, shortly after his Oscar, in 1971, as Best Actor in The French Connection.  Reminiscent of the pairing of Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy (1969), characters respectively naive and experience-hardened, and in style formalist and Method, the result is an impressive, moving film, and Scarecrow is a must-see for any number of reasons, full of harshness and sensitivity, and sadness at lost hopes. (PR)

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High Society

Posted by the editors on Sunday, 11 September 2011

High Society, theatrical release poster

High Society (1956)(DVD) Directed by Charles Walters and starring Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby with Louis ArmstrongHigh Society, the film musical, is a reprise of the truly marvelous The Philadelphia Story (which starred Kathryn Hepburn, Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy and James Stewart and for which Stewart won an Oscar for Best Actor in 1940) and is Grace Kelly’s final film, released three months after she became Princess Grace of Monaco.  Receiving mixed critical reviews, though achieving box-office success, it’s true that the sauntering Bing Crosby pales in comparison to the inimitable Cary Grant’s portrayal of C.K. Dexter Haven, and Frank Sinatra, seeming to strain to sing some of the wonderful Cole Porter tunes in the film, is no comparison at all to James Stewart’s award-winning portrayal of McCauley Connor, the Spy Magazine reporter.  The lovely Grace Kelly, though uneven, is not a terrible Tracy Samantha Lord, though it is certainly impossible not to think of Kathryn Hepburn’s superb performance (of course, the film role and the play, a resounding Broadway success, starring Hepburn, which served as the basis for both High Society and The Philadelphia Story, were both written expressly for Hepburn), and to miss the chemistry between Hepburn, Grant and Stewart.  Nevertheless, High Society is certainly worth watching, even if it is only for the great Louis Armstrong and his band, who perform a couple of snappy numbers. (PR)

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Inglourious Basterds

Posted by the editors on Monday, 5 September 2011

Inglourious Basterds, directed by Quentin Tarantino, theatrical release poster

Inglourious Basterds (2009)(DVD) Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs  (1992)Pulp Fiction (1993), Jackie Brown (1997), Kill Bill (Vol. I & II) (2003, 2004)) ; starring Brad Pitt (A River Runs Through It (1992), Seven (1995) Snatch (2000), Babel (2006) and many more), Christoph Waltz (The Green Hornet (2011)), Diane Kruger (Troy (2004), Goodbye Bafana (2007), Unknown (2011)) and others.   Tarantino has said, it’s my “bunch-of-guys-on-a-mission film. [It’s] my Dirty Dozen or Where Eagles Dare or Guns of Navarone kind of thing”,  and, quite rightly, it is, indeed.  Brad Pitt is, as usual, quite good, and Christoph Waltz, simply award-winning (Best Leading Actor, at Cannes,and BAFTAGolden GlobeScreen Actors Guild Award and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2009); Diane Kruger is just fine in the role of Bridget von Hammersmark.  Brutal, violent, funny and fantastical, Inglourious Basterds, may best be described as Anne Thompson of Variety did: “Inglourious Basterds is great fun to watch, but the movie isn’t entirely engaging… You don’t jump into the world of the film in a participatory way; you watch it from a distance, appreciating the references and the masterful mise en scène.” (PR)

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The Lost Weekend

Posted by the editors on Monday, 11 April 2011

The Lost Weekend, theatrical release poster

The Lost Weekend (1945) (DVD) Directed by Billy Wilder (Sabrina (1954), Love in the Afternoon (1957), The Fortune Cookie (1966)), starring Ray Milland (Close to My Heart (1951), Dial M for Murder (1954)) , Jane Wyman (Johnny Belinda (1948), Stage Fright (1950), Magnificent Obsession (1954)), costumes by Edith Head (A Place in the Sun (1951), To Catch a Thief (1955), Inside Daisy Clover (1965).  Extraordinarily realistic for its time, The Lost Weekend, is a moving, agonizing drama based on the novel of the same title by Charles R. Jackson about the torments and suffering of an alcoholic writer.  The Lost Weekend won Academy Awards in 1946 for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Screenplay.

The music, by Miklós Rózsa, who also did the music for Wilder’s excellent film noir, Double Indemnity, features the theremin (more than an inspiration to Robert Moog, of synthesizer fame), in one of the early examples of electronic music, effects often used thereafter in 50s era sci-fi films. (PR)

“Another binge, another bender, another spree…”

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To Kill a Mockingbird

Posted by the editors on Wednesday, 30 March 2011

To Kill a Mockingbird theatrical release poster

 To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) (DVD) directed by Robert Mulligan (Love with the Proper Stranger, (1963), Inside Daisy Clover (1965), Up the Down Staircase (1967)), produced by Alan J. Pakula (Klute (1971), The Parallax View (1974), Presumed Innocent (1990)), starring Gregory Peck (On the Beach, (1959), Arabesque (1966), The Boys from Brazil (1978)), winning the Oscar for Best Actor or his portrayal, here, of Atticus Finch, Mary Badham (as Scout), Philip Alford (as Jem), with, in his first film role, Robert Duvall (as Boo Radley) (True Grit (1969), The Godfather (1972), Tender Mercies (1983)); Academy Award-winning screenplay by Horton Foote based on the novel of the same name by Harper Lee (lifelong friend of Truman Capote, on whom she based the character Dill Harris); it was her only novel.  To Kill a Mockingbird, winner of three Academy Awards (Best Actor, Best Art Direction, Best Adapted Screenplay), and a truly timeless film on the theme of compassion and tolerance, is a poignant, amusing, sad and inspiring story, full of wonderful characters, very good acting, simple, transparent directing, with an excellent soundtrack by Elmer Bernstein, and an equally excellent opening title sequence by Stephen Frankfurt. (PR)

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