Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Twitter Thoughts—February 2016 Week 4

Featured films:

One Million B.C. (1940) ***
Under the Volcano (1984) **½
Judgment at Nuremburg (1961) ****
Running On Empty (1988) ***½
The Gunfighter (1950) ***
Eddie the Eagle (2016) ***
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Tiger: Sword of Destiny (2016) **

It was a movie a day week. Can’t complain about that. I started the week off with a movie I fully expected to hate, the original Hollywood take on the origin of civilization in “One Million B.C.”, but its naïve take on caveman life was surprisingly entertaining with virtually no modern language dialogue. Sure the dinosaurs were obviously domesticated lizards with prosthetics and I’m pretty sure PETA would’ve had a problem with their treatment had they been protecting animals in films in 1940. It’s ridiculous, but fun.

I had a little more trouble with Albert Finney’s Academy Award nominated performance in “Under the Volcano” which didn’t have the sophistication of knowledge about addiction that more recent films about alcoholics have shown. It was too content to just present him as a drunk and not a tortured soul. The damage he does to those closest to him seem to draw them in more than push them away. Addiction is too frustrating for the bystanders than what we see here.

All was made good by the wonderful and important “Judgment at Nuremburg” with outstanding performances by Spencer Tracy, Maximilian Schell, Burt Lancaster, Marlene Dietrich, Montgomery Clift and Judy Garland. It’s nice to see a young William Shatner before Star Trek defined his career. All these amazing actors gather in a movie that performs a tricky balancing act between understanding and satisfaction.

“Running on Empty” got my tear ducts flowing. “The Gunfighter” is a solid classic western that tries to come to terms with the problem that most of the men glorified by such westerns acted against the law. And “Eddie the Eagle” is a nice feel good sports flick about a man who flew under the radar of even sports enthusiasts. The big disappointment was Netflix’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” sequel “Sword of Destiny” which demystifies the magic of the original by turning it into superhero comic book style simplicities. It lacks the emotional depth of the original, and the choice to perform the dialogue in English rather than Mandarin results in too much of a goofy sounding play-by-play to the fantastic elements of the story.

Here are the tweets.

One Million B.C. was the Quest For Fire of it's day. ‪#31DaysofOscar ‪#DLMChallenge No. 61

Under the Volcano gets the tediousness of alcoholism right but not the compelling nature of cinema. ‪#31DaysofOscar ‪#DLMChallenge No. 62

The importance of a film like Judgment at Nuremburg should not be lost on our society today. We must never forget. ‪#DLMChallenge No. 63

What a talent we lost with River Phoenix. ‪#RunningOnEmpty ‪#DLMChallenge No. 64

‪#TheGunfighter makes an early Unforgiven case that somehow ends up glorifying the gunfighter anyway ‪#DLMChallenge No. 65

Even in a movie called ‪#EddieTheEagle Hugh Jackman makes me feel like an inferior human being. ‪#DLMChallenge No. 66

‪#SwordofDestiny is a dumbed down comic book superhero version of ‪#CrouchingTigerHiddenDragon ‪#DLMChallenge No. 67

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