Movies

Catching up from last week …
The Coen Brothers’ third film was MILLER’S CROSSING (1990) in which 1920s mobster Gabriel Byrne tries to negotiate the tricky waters of a war between his boss Albert Finney and Italian gangster Jon Politoro, made further treacherous by Byrne’s affair with Finney’s mistress Marcia Gay Harden. After two Netflix DVDs of this proved defective, I read the online synopsis of the last 20 minutes—on the whole, watchable but not particularly outstanding, though it would double-bill well with The Glass Key (for another triangle involving a crook and his subordinate).“Once you make one double-cross where does it end? It’s an interesting ethical question.”
AVENGERS (2012) is, of course, the big budget hit in which Loki’s attempt to conquer Earth with the help of the Cosmic Cube and the Chitauri (aliens from Marvel’s Ultimates universe, which is a big influence on this) force Nick Fury to activate the Avengers Initiative and bring together Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Hawkeye and Black Widow. Directed and co-written by Joss Whedon, this is great fun all the way around, as witness THG liked it too (she’s so not a super-hero type usually). That being said, the aliens were unimpressive—if the Black Widow can shoot them dead, the US Army can probably take them. “I got that reference—I actually got it.”
MANHATTAN (1979) is the story of how Woody Allen finds himself lured away from teen mistress Marielle Hemingway to his best friends adulterous lover Diane Keaton only to discover that their relationship is just as doomed as it was in Annie Hall. Although this is acclaimed as Allen’s masterpiece, it doesn’t work for me any better rewatching than it did on first glance: It’s not funny enough for a rom-com, but it doesn’t have the pacing or tone for a serious romantic drama either. It is hard now not to see his realizing Hemingway is The One as foreshadowing his later romance with Mia Farrow’s daughter. “I wrote a short story about my mother—I called it THE CASTRATING ZIONIST.”
PARTY GIRL (1995) is a fun reversal of the stereotype about librarians who need to loosen up; in this one it’s hedonistic New Yorker Parker Posey who grows up and gets her act together after being forced to work in the NY library system and developing a relationship with a local falafel vendor (the book Reel Bad Arabs applauds this one for using an Arab character as a non-stereotypical romantic lead). Fun, though my librarian friends say it wasn’t very accurate in its library science even at the time (and in the age of electronic catalogs it’s now quite antiquated, I imagine).“She’s always coding—I haven’t coded a single book!”
DOCTOR WHO: DALEKS INVASION EARTH 2150 AD (1966) is the much better sequel to Doctor Who and the Daleks in which a policeman stumbles into the TARDIS and gets a free ride to 2150, where he, Peter Cushing’s Doctor and his granddaughters must stop the Daleks turning Earth into a giant spaceship. This moves much faster than the first film (much less time wasted setting up the premise) and Cushing shows more steel. The Dalek weaponry (gas gun instead of TV’s negative-film image) is unimpressive though.“Surrender Earth to rolling trash bins? Never!”

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4 responses to “Movies

  1. Pingback: Movies and TV | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: Movies That Aren’t About Time Travel (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  3. Pingback: And a Little Bit More Time Travel (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  4. Pingback: Woody Allen, a twenties reporter and Archie Andrews: movies and TV (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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