tongue-tied lightning

2010 Viewing Log #7 (5/1-5/7)

A Foreign Affair I watched this on TCM, during the introduction Alec Baldwin was flabbergasted that Robert Osborne had chose it as an essential.  He claimed it was uneven, many of it’s attempts at humor fell flat and John Lund was miscast.  Unfortunately I agree with him completely.  It’s probably the worst Wilder film I’ve seen.  Granted, I haven’t seen much of his post-1960 output.  That said, it still has it’s moments, most of them coming via Marlene Dietrich.  It’s also interesting that Wilder actually engenders sympathy with her ex-Nazi character in 1948, so soon after WWII and all that entailed.  **

The Fortune Cookie More Wilder.  The first film featuring Matthau and Lemmon together.  It’s fun, but you know, nothing really spectacular.  Lemmon and Matthau are great, there are some good jokes, yet it suffers from it’s length and from not really adding much to Wilder’s canon.  An interesting diversion.  **1/2

The Woman in the Window This is a fantastic film.  Given that it was made in 1944 it’s hard to imagine Lang had taken much from Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt, but it bears similarities and it kind of feels like Hitchcock by way of Lang.  The compositions aren’t quite as engaging as one would expect from Lang but that’s made up for by the screenplay and Edward G. Robinson’s performance.  All this assumes one completely ignores the “it was all a dream” ending tacked on due to production code concerns.  ***1/2

Stagecoach I have a feeling this one would improve greatly with a second viewing.  I watched it in two parts which never does a film any favors.  I found it enjoyable enough with some memorable performances, a diverse cast of characters, and a great chase scene.  But in the days since I’ve seen it I keep coming back on moments and images and characters.  I definitely need to revisit it.  ***

Beeswax Probably the best directed Mumblecore feature I’ve seen.  It’s pleasant enough but it lacks a real punch.  It certainly doesn’t have the power something like Humpday did despite that film looking nowhere near as nice as Beeswax.  I certainly don’t regret seeing it and I found myself quite taken with Alex Kaporovsky’s character.  He’s apparently a director, I wouldn’t be averse to checking out one of his films.  **1/2


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