Whit Stillman is not a man who makes a lot of movies. He's only made about a half-dozen, mostly with budgets on the lower end of the spectrum and produced independently. While I'm dismissive of Joe Carter's recommendations on pop-culture, particularly via Twitter, but I'll always be in his debt for prompting me to check out the films of Stillman. He quotes Stillman's films relatively often, and the "attractive to women" was particularly successful at piquing my interest.
Title: The Fallen IdolRelease Date: 1948Rating: N/ALength: 95 minutesDirector: Carole ReedStarring: Ralph Richardson, Michèle Morgan, Sonia DresdelLanguage: EnglishCountry: UK What a great film this is. It's criminally unknown and for a while was out of print entirely (still is in the US). I've seen DVD copies selling for more than $100. Your best bet for watching … Continue reading Movies You Might Have Missed: The Fallen Idol
On the surface this is a bit of a silly film about competing assassins with the wild and crazy new guy trying to knock the calm, cool, professional #1 off his perch. Dig a little deeper though and you'll find...that's exactly all this is. It doesn't need to be any more, though. Sometimes you like to just watch a simple story about two men playing a cat and mouse game trying to kill each other in ludicrous ways.
The movie is fantastic, in all the senses of the word. The action is over-the-top in the best action movie manner. There are several absolutely out of place song and dance numbers, in the best Bollywood tradition. The comedy is really broad and completely comprehensible to a Western audience. The biggest "flaw" is that the emotional beats are so exaggerated as to be almost laughable.
A samurai film with Toshiro Mifune and Tatsuya Nakadai is like a Western with John Wayne and Lee Marvin: you don't need to know any more about it to want to see it.
Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) begins as an unlikely protagonist. An IRS adjuster who lives his life by the numbers, every day is much like every other and though he may not actually like it, he has become accustomed and reconciled to it. Emma Thompson narrates his existence and uses his wristwatch as a narrative device to discuss how mundane it all is.
In the West, there's no question that Akira Kurosawa is best known for his period pieces with samurai. From the ground-breaking Rashomon and epic The Seven Samurai to the cowboy-film-in-disguise Yojimbo that inspired Western imitations and Shakespeare adaptations like Ran and Throne of Blood, Kurosawa's samurai dominate the Western perception of his work. To only focus on these masterpieces, however, is to miss the great work he did with contemporary settings and stories. The Bad Sleep Well is such a one.
Il n'y a pas de plus profonde solitude que celle du samouraï si ce n'est celle d'un tigre dans la jungle… peut-être…
In perfect honesty, this mid-war film does not show Ozu at his very best. The heavy hand of national propaganda can be clearly felt overpowering his characteristic light touch at several points in the film. Regardless, Ozu is always a cut above the madding crowd and this turn by Ryu is particularly impressive since he manages to convey a man who ages 30ish years over the course of the film with very little in the way of makeup.
Robert Duvall is a great actor. No one would probably argue that point. Turns out he can direct pretty well too, but what really sets this movie apart is the writing. I'm sure I won't do this one justice, but there's no way I could leave it off this list. I myself am not a part of the Pentecostal/Holiness church tradition, but I am familiar with small-town, Southern Christianity in a general way since one side of my family comes out of that. This is the most honest film portrayal I've ever seen of how that aspect of Southern life functions.