Saturday, August 02, 2008

My Own Cinema For The Week

Since I intentionally yet inadvertantly (work that one out) hurt J.D.'s feelings, I thought I'd make it up to him by actually doing the meme he tagged me for (whether this is good enough as an apology, only he can judge...). By the by, each night's subtitles are inspired by the continually hilarious use of the word "fracking" in Battlestar Galactica (which is very very good, although I suppose that shouldn't surprise me), which, while a canny way of escaping television censorship, wouldn't get around my mother.

1) Choose 12 Films to be featured. They could be random selections or part of a greater theme. Whatever you want.

2) Explain why you chose the films.

3) Link back to Lazy Eye Theatre so I can have hundreds of links and I can take those links and spread them all out on the bed and then roll around in them.

4) The people selected then have to turn around and select 5 more people.

Night #1: Flicking FunThe More the Merrier (George Stevens, 1943)
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (Pedro Almodovar, 1990)

I went through a whole raft of Classic Hollywood 'screwball' comedies (possibly my favourite genre) before settling on the little-seen The More the Merrier... Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea are two of the wittiest and charismatic stars, and it's disheartening to see how they're so overlooked. The film is about house-sharing during the Second World War... naturally, such close proximity of strangers makes for hilariously awkward consequences. But romantic, too, and cleverly constructed... it's a gem. And then, for the second film of the night, I've picked Almodovar's screwball-inspired Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (or simply Atame! in its original form), which is sick, twisted, and an overlooked (see a theme here?) stroke of genius. Victoria Abril is on cracking form, as a porn star kidnapped (and tied up) by ex-lover Antonio Banderas. You'll never forget it, I swear. And just imagine what the sex scenes look like on a big screen...

Night #2: Flick DownToy Story (Jon Lasseter, 1995)
Babe (Chris Noonan, 1995)

A night from my childhood- both are from 1995, when I turned 7, and both are absolute staples of my young film viewing. Toy Story is still Pixar's best (these Wall-E people are crazy), and I still remember the story about my younger sister (who would have been almost 4) sleeping through the entire thing. Babe, though, feels like it's always been there- I had the video, the toy, even the hot water-bottle cover, I read the Dick King Smith book it was based on. Whenever I watch it, it warms my heart. And hopefully, this double bill will do the same for its imaginary audience.

Night #3: Brit FlickThe Way to the Stars (Anthony Asquith, 1945)
A Fish Called Wanda (Charles Crichton, 1988)

Being a rare British voice in this circle of the blogosphere, I feel it my duty to have at least one night that offers up the best this country has to offer. The Way to the Stars is easily one of the best films produced both during and about the Second World War- genuine, funny, realistic, and beautifully performed by a stellar cast (particularly Rosamund Johns). And then, for some light relief, its John Cleese's classic A Fish Called Wanda (from 1988, the year of my birth), which is one of the funniest films ever made anywhere.

Night #4: Flick LoveBachelor Mother (Garson Kanin, 1939)
Paris, Texas (Wim Wenders, 1984)

When I go in for love (figuratively speaking), I don't really go for the traditional, straightforward romantic comedy (not that there's anything wrong with that, and I enjoy a great deal of them. But anyway.). No, I go for tragedy, perversity, oddball and single mothers (well, not really with the last one). And this is exemplified by this double bill. Bachelor Mother is terrific vehicle for the comedienne in Ginger Rogers, who here plays a store clerk who is mistakenly believed to be the mother of a foundling by boss' son David Niven (incidentally, boss is Charles Coburn, popping up again after being seen earlier this week in The More the Merrier). Hijinks and a predictable end ensue, but it's a fantastic watch. And Paris, Texas is Wim Wenders' masterpiece (sorry, Wings of Desire), the painful story of a man rediscovering his identity and the family he left behind. No happy endings here, just beautiful filmmaking.

Night #5: Inspect-a-FlicksLa double vie de Veronique (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991)
Vivre sa vie (Jean-Luc Godard, 1962)

It's pure chance that both of my more 'existential' picks are both foreign- and, indeed, both French. Krzysztof Kieslowski may be best known for his towering Three Colours trilogy but it's this precursor in his catalogue that I love most deeply- Irene Jacob is bewitching as both Veronique and Weronika, two women whose lives prove inscrutable mirrors of each other. And in Vivre sa vie, one of Jean-Luc Godard's earliest pictures, his wife Anna Karina is just as fascinating as Nana, whose life is told in twelve unconventional chapters. I think this penultimate night is a time to engage your brain fully before it revolts at the final night...

Night #6: Flick OffSpeed (Jan De Bont, 1994)
(William Friedkin, 2006)

I get my movie thrills in different ways, and this final pairing shows just how differently I try and achieve this. Speed is pure adrenaline, one of the first 'adult' movies I remember seeing- I recently bought the DVD because my VHS had finally given out from me watching it so much. It is, perhaps, the only film I can take Keanu Reeves in, and is also to be credited/blamed with starting my love affair with Sandra Bullock (she's not giving me enough to work with anyone, dammit!). And for our final film, we have one of the finest films of recent times, the pyschological and physical freakout that is Bug. DVD isn't enough for this masterclass from William Friedkin- I need the massive cinema screen late at night that was my first viewing. Both films pack a walloping punch- I'll be shaking, whether it be from excitement or pure unadulterated fear.

I know I'm supposed to tag people, but I'm not exactly the most sociable of bloggers and I think most people I know will already have been tagged. But feel free to take the baton if no one else has passed it to you.


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