Archive for July, 2010

Metropolis

2002 poster for the restored version, featurin...

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Metropolis is a film that features some incredible visuals. The art-deco inspired backgrounds look very stunning as well. As for the content of the film itself, well I am not so sure. A lot of the time I wasn’t exactly sure of what was going on, and a lot of the characters seemed to be really quite stupid, especially Joh Frederson the industrialist/dictator. I did enjoy some of the facial expressions shown by the actress Brigitte Helm when she was the Machine Man, intent on causing chaos and destruction and the scenes of her dancing as well.

One thing that helps make these sort of scenes look amusing is the fact that silent films run at a different speed to talkies, so the action goes a little faster. It cannot just be because this is a silent film, as there have been several silent film that I have enjoyed. Perhaps I’m just not a great fan of German expressionism? The sets are impressive but it is a bit over the top.

Top Gear Ayrton Senna Tribute

This was shown this week on the UK edition of Top Gear. Apparently Bernie Ecclestone has decreed that the F1 footage shown in here is never to be broadcast again.

Just watching the Senna footage just reminds me of how great F1 was when I was a kid and how crap things are today in comparison, especially when you watch last week’s German GP. The tifosi may think that Schumacher is the greatest or that Alonso is the best driver today, but they just don’t compare at all, especially when you note that Schumacher and Alonso have made sure that their team mates are not challengers to them, while Senna went out of his way to be the team-mate of Alain Prost who at the time was considered to be the best driver of that generation, just so he could prove that he was better. Senna didn’t need his team mates (or anyone else) to be told to get out-of-the-way so he could pass, he would just pull out some amazing overtaking manoeuvres.

Boys Town

Cover of "Boys Town"

Cover of Boys Town

Boys Town is a hard film to review for me because although I thought it was a great story, and Spencer Tracy’s fine Oscar worthy portrayal of Father Flannigan was good, but there was one element that almost ruined the film for me. I am talking about Mickey Rooney’s performance as Whitey Marsh.

I have seen a few Mickey Rooney films and know that he can be quite a ham, but here his over-acting really affected my enjoyment of the film. The part really could have used a little subtlety instead of Mickey trying to steal every scene when he really didn’t have to. Perhaps I could put it down to him just being 18 at the time he made this film BUT… he had been acting in vaudeville and movies all his life so there shouldn’t be an excuse. Perhaps because Tracy’s portrayal of Father Flannigan is very understated the director wanted to have the Mickster play his part way OTT.

The film is very good if you can overlook Rooney’s over-acting.

Mary Blair Illustration for Baker’s Instant

Another great Mary Blair illustration for Baker’s Instant chocolate flavoring.

The Naughty Nineties

Abbott (right) and Costello, 1942

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This is one of Abbott & Costello‘s funniest films and includes a few of their better known sketches, including Who’s On First. The plot features A&C on a riverboat.

I’d recommend the film just on the basis that it contains Who’s On First as it’s probably one of the best film comic routines ever. (I do know that A&C did do it in an earlier film and that a lot of their material was recycled over and over again, but I really don’t care!)

The Man Who Wrote The Joker’s Jokes

I am putting a brief hiatus on my posting of Joker stories. Whilst the Joker is undoubtedly my favourite of all comic book characters, I feel that I must move onto other things.

The Ghost Breakers

Cover of "The Ghost Breakers"

Cover of The Ghost Breakers

The Ghost Breakers is another one of the comedy/horror films that were made during the 1940s. This one starred Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard and is a sequel of sorts to the haunted house comedy The Cat And The Canary from a year earlier.

While it probably wasn’t as funny as Abbott & Costello‘s similar type film Hold That Ghost, this film did have a few more scary scenes in it. Hope has a few good lines and is quite funny but I found Goddard’s performance to be a little disappointing, especially when compared to her other big role from 1940 in The Great Dictator. My favourite role of Goddard’s so far is in Modern Times. In The Ghost Breakers she has a few good scenes but doesn’t really do anything funny. I guess you could stereotype her role as standard damsel in distress.

The Ghost Breakers was still quite an enjoyable film to watch and one that I enjoyed a lot.

Stupid Comments

I have been trawling thought the 3AW website and some of the opinions of their listeners and some of their presenters, is even worse than the Herald Sun‘s. Of course when you think of hard-hitting political and current affairs you think of this guy…
Apparently John Michael (oooohhhhh aaaaaahhhhh) Howson is upset about Muslim women having their faces covered by burqas because… I don’t know. It can be found here. (Is John Michael Howson gay? I never knew.) I do find it weird when flamboyantly gay men are extreme right wingers and show the amount of intolerance and hatred that Howson does. I guess it’s OK for him to be different but nobody else is allowed to be.

Of course radio (and TV) presenters are supposed to show leadership and reasoning on issues (hahahahaha) rather than just leading the sheep in a bigoted chorus of rubbish. I always thought that to be in the media and to present opinions on matters like this you need some degree of intelligence and not just be some flamboyant guy who was a Hollywood gossip reporter twenty years ago.
As for Darren James… someone should just tell Hinch that all James does is agree with the bigoted opinions of Howson and not try to regulate the debate. From what I know the guy has no backbone to express his own opinion but just says “I agree John Michael” before mentioning some brand name that he may or may not be endorsing.

Anyway here are some of the people who commented on the burqa issue on the 3AW website. Be aware that these comments are the most nonsensical that I could find…

Neil Mitchell also had something to say on this issue more recently and again the uneducated and ill-informed were out in force…

Sigh!

Monkey Business

This is the third film that the Marx Bros. made, the one that features them as stowaways on a ship. The film is perhaps a bit more chaotic that the later Marx films but it still has some funny moments. Perhaps the most well-known scene in this film is this one…

The only real downer in the film comes in the last fifteen minutes when Chico has his obligatory piano recital and Harpo plucks the harp. Then again these things happen in all Marx Bros. films and one can always press the fast forward button. You can at least be thankful that there is no lame crooner taking up screen time from the Brothers’ antics, which would happen when they went to MGM.

It is a great film although not quite as funny as Duck Soup.

It’s currently available from Target for less than $10 and has just been re-released by Universal as part of their Studio Classics range.

You Can’t Cheat An Honest Man

Sam Berman's caricature of Charlie McCarthy an...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s a bit hard to explain but for many years Fields had a radio rivalry with Charlie McCarthy, Edgar Bergen’s (Candice’s father) dummy. It’s strange indeed to think of someone doing a ventriloquist act on the radio, but that is where this funny rivalry was created. Both Fields and Bergen have some great moments to themselves in the brief moments when they are in a scene together there is some really good chemistry and funny jokes.