I must say, October was a pretty lousy month for movies. Of course, some of my movie choices were a bit suspect to begin with, so I have no one to blame but myself. So here we go.....
Le Samouräi (1967) Jean-Pierre Melville [1:45]
Alain Delon is in top-notch form in this neo-noir character study from French master Melville. I hope to watch this again soon. (Can you believe this is the only Criterion movie I watched in October?)
It’s a Disaster (2012) Todd Berger [1:28]
Well, it wasn’t a complete disaster, but it could’ve been. This dark comedy has a few fun moments, but the end-of-the-world scenario exists only to allow the characters to do their thing, which gets old after awhile, even with the odd direction the film takes near the end.
The Shuttered Room (1967) David Greene [1:39]
Oh, this was quite bad.... A pretty good cast of Gig Young, Oliver Reed and Carol Lynley is wasted in what amounts to a “thing trapped in a room” story. A double feature on one of Warner’s Horror Double Feature DVDs.
Murder, My Sweet (1944) Edward Dmytryk [1:35]
Considered a classic of film noir, this adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s 1940 novel Farewell, My Lovely, is a prime example of noir at the height of its glory days.
Gravity (2013) Alfonso Cuarón [1:31]
The visual spectacle far outweighs the story (and sometimes believability) of this “astronauts in space” thriller, but there’s more than enough good to outweigh the bad. See this on the largest screen possible.
Upstream Color (2013) Shane Carruth [1:36] (2x)
I first saw this film in July and it intrigued me enough to watch it again. The second time, I saw how it’s more (far more) about the director than it is the audience. The picture above is one of the few times anyone smiles in the entire film. Carruth is a talented filmmaker (especially visually), but the sum total of this film on a second viewing was highly disappointing.
Whirlpool (1949) Otto Preminger [1:38]
Whirlpool is certainly not the stinker Pauline Kael says it is in her book 5001 Nights at the Movies, but it’s also far from Preminger’s best work. The always gorgeous Gene Tierney plays a kleptomaniac looking for a cure via hypnotist José Ferrer. Her psycho-analyst husband (Richard Conte) is clueless for most of the film. Although the ending doesn’t satisfy, Ferrer is the film’s standout as the condescending hypnotist. Worth a look.
It! (1967) Herbert J. Leder [1:36]
The other feature on the previously mentioned Horror Double Feature DVD. This one starts well, with a London assistant museum curator (Roddy McDowall) discovering a golem who will carry out his every wish. I remember recording this one on late night TV years ago and missing the last 20 minutes. I should’ve left well enough alone. The ending is so ridiculous it’s laughable. The golem looks pretty cool, though....
Young Frankenstein (1974) Mel Brooks [1:46] (4x)
What can you say about Young Frankenstein? Many consider it Mel Brooks’s best film. It may very well be. What struck me was the wonderful cinematography and how well Brooks constructs the look and feel of some of the old horror classics. And the cast is just about perfect.