Hello everyone and welcome back to Wrong Every Time. Now fully settled into my new life, I’m happy to report that life has indeed found its way, and so I’m returning to the voluminous and whimsical drama of pre- his explosion. This week features fantasy and film noir classics, plenty of epic action scenes and of course, a requisite helping of modest horror flicks. We’ve screened enough movies that I’m actually rebuilding my backlog, while still gathering my thoughts on the enjoyable but somewhat underwhelming Witch From Mercury. That will probably come out next week, but for now, let’s break down the new featurette collection!
First up this week is The Big Sleep, one of the crowning achievements of classic film noir and a key feature in the absurdly distinguished career of Howard Hawks. Based on the novel by Raymond Chandler, the film is co-written by Leigh Brackett, Jules Furthman and William Damn Faulkner, a genealogy both distinct and complex, which seems clear in its clever dialogue and winding plot. full of enchantment of the movie.
Humphrey Bogart stars as Philip Marlowe, an LA detective hired by a retired general to investigate an accusation of blackmail against his freewheeling daughter Carmen. Before Marlowe can leave the general’s mansion, he is confronted by Carmen’s sister Vivian (Lauren Bacall), who tries to pry out her father’s intentions from the reluctant but still impressed detective. . These meetings set in motion a series of plots and betrayals that I cannot begin to outline here – in fact, when Raymond Chandler himself was called in to clarify a disputed position regarding the number character’s fate, he is forced to admit that he is the same. It is unknown whether this character committed suicide or was murdered.
While it can be difficult to keep up with the film’s intertwining and intertwining narrative, that doesn’t take any away from the lively energy of the script or the smoldering chemistry shared by Bogart and Bacall. Between an off-screen love affair and at the height of their on-screen power, the two exchange and share kisses with sinful intensity, each holding their emotions in one hand and their keen survival instincts in the other. sharp. Marlowe keeps as many secrets from us as from his conspirators, revealing only what he is sure his companions already know, while continually creating a scaffolding of the crime interleaving. The characters are larger than life in the best way possible, striding like giants through iconic clashes of wills, their voices roaring a poem of mistrust and affection protected. A truly impressive film, both for its disorienting plot and for its superbly scripted legends’ best performances.
Then we watched Ong-Bak 2: The Beginning, the sequel to Tony Jaa’s Breakthrough Ballet Role. Jaa is still here and still aiming flying knees at unsuspecting throats, but The Beginning is in every other respect different from its predecessor. Gone is the simple modern setting of the original, replaced by an ornately decorated period tableau befitting an almost mythical story. Ong-Bak’s tight scope and relatable characters are also gone; The beginnings are nothing if not epic, including generations of trauma and larger-than-life relationships of good and evil. Unfortunately, Ong-Bak’s energetic pace and clear sense of purpose are also absent, with The Beginning instead offering a rambling, unfocused origin story interspersed with worthy exploits. marvel at his physical agility.
Tony Jaa’s martial arts talent is clearly exceptional, and The Beginning offers plenty of convincing crowd fighting and frenzied duels with similarly notable fighters. These undeniable strengths, along with the visual generosity of this prequel’s sprawling period settings, ensure that The Beginning never really feels dull. However, the film’s coherent narrative never achieves the kind of song-making legend it’s looking for, and robs its predecessor of its personal touch, ultimately resulting in a disjointed experience. fragmented and emotionally unsatisfying. A lot less than the sum of its parts, but when your parts include Tony Jaa center stage, it’s not the worst place to be.
Next up is The New York Ripper, another Lucio Fulci movie about a serial killer who quacks like a damn duck. Aside from that novel plot twist, Ripper is mostly a violent and sordid retread of Peeping Tom, repeating the film’s central trick of placing the camera along the killer’s perspective, making the the audience feels especially complicit in the violence. It’s an uncomfortable and effective play, but when combined with the film’s hollow treatment of its female characters, the end result is something that feels cruel for its cruelty’s sake. evil, not to scare, create tragic beauty, or illuminate anything about the characters involved.
Fulci horror films require a balanced element of fantasy or whimsy to temper the brutality of the violence – the indescribable cosmic horror of The Beyond, or the vague spirituality of The House by the Cemetery. Without that, The New York Ripper feels both insubstantial and despicable, concerned only with the gruesome excess of giallo and the dismemberment of bodies. The film’s disinterest in any of the more dramatic details is demonstrated by the revelation of the killer’s motives and psychology, all of which are explained in the final thirty seconds as a kind of reluctant coda. This is certainly not Fulci at his best.
The weekend is A Matter of Life and Death, a ’46 fantasy romance from the ever-reliable Archers, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. The film stars David Niven as Peter Carter, an RAF pilot flying a heavily damaged bomber over the English Channel. Knowing he won’t survive, Carter has a brief and endearing relationship with radio operator June (Kim Hunter), before leaving and plunging to his presumed death. . However, thick fog prevented his guide “Conductor 71” from finding and taking his soul to the afterlife, leaving Carter with a few precious hours to meet and fall desperately in love with June. By the time the conductor catches up with him, Carter believes that heaven’s negligence has given him a fair trial regarding his ability to continue living, and thus both Carter and the His heavenly supervisor began preparing their case.
A Matter of Life and Death is whimsical, rambling and unabashedly sentimental, embracing the striking charm of its leads and not presenting a single unlikable character throughout its running time. Niven and Hunter possess an instant chemistry that is only matched by Niven’s chemistry with all the other major players, such as his quick friendship with the treating doctor (Roger Livesey ), or his fun back-and-forth with Conductor 71 (a fun camp session). Marius Goring). Despite facing a battle for his life, Niven never appears fatalistic or overwhelmed; he remains intelligent, curious and compassionate throughout, serving as the ideal champion of love’s war against bureaucracy.
As you’d expect from The Archers, the witty script and beautiful, literal setting of the film’s stairway to heaven serves as a particularly standout production. And while courtroom debates regarding the fundamental nature of British and American culture may no longer be so urgent these days, it’s still fun to witness a showdown between people intelligent, competent defenders of art and history. When Niven’s defendant offered up a silly pop song as a testament to America’s cultural emptiness, I had to suppress a collective groan of laughter, thinking about how modern art How much they would decline in the years following The Archers’ heyday. It’s fun to watch movies where their audience isn’t idiots.