So February's almost done and I haven't posted January's movies yet. Oy. My excuse is that we all got sidelined with a nasty stomach virus, but that only lasted a week from first symptom to feeling completely normal, so don't ask me what my excuse is for the other 3 weeks. Totally watched them though, 2 B&W and 2 color (and one extra). For those of you that followed along at all with last year's NYR to watch 2 films per month, this year it's been upped to 4. I'm trying very hard to review the films and give my reactions to them without giving away major plot points or spoilers. If I liked a film, my intention is to make you want to go see it while avoiding discussing enough of the movie that it makes you feel like you've already seen it. Okay? Okay.
Sylvia Scarlett (1935, George Cukor) was a little odd. I recorded it off TCM and Robert Osbourne's intro said that it wasn't well received because audiences were on some sort of Katherine Hepburn boycott. Nothing she did could make her more liked, which from what I've heard about her, might not have phased her all that much. The movie itself apparently bombed. I thought it was cute and flowed well, had an odd chunk in the middle that seemed to take a weird turn, but it evened itself out at the end to resolve nicely. It was fun to see Katherine go from girl to boy to girl, she's one of my favorite actresses and she pulled it off marvelously. A tad annoying in the very beginning because it seemed like she was trying too hard to be girly girl, but that could just be me knowing how girly Katherine herself is not. Was not. Sorry. This was the first film that Katherine and Cary Grant appeared in together, they went on to star in 3 more, including one of my all time favorites "Holiday". If you haven't seen it, go find it. Excellent film, I love it to pieces. Sharp comedy, snappy dialogue, nice solid story with a purpose and a good ending. Totally getting sidetracked, I know. I probably won't watch this one again, but I mostly enjoyed it and didn't feel like I wasted my time when the film was done.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011, Rob Marshall). Um, wow. Can I just say that they have officially franchised the snot out of this series? Oh, and I don't blame Keira and Orlando for not coming back, but that left a huge cliffhanger on what was the best (for me) plotline of the whole story! Not that I don't enjoy seeing Johnny Depp act all crazy-go-nuts or a pregnant Penelope Cruz attempt to look like a pirate's daughter, but enough is enough. Hands down, best part of the film was the relationship between the mermaid and the preacher. Hands down. They could have pretty much cut the rest of the film down to just those scenes and I would have been happy. I would have had a 45 minute film, but I would have been happy! (just found out from Bogie that they're making 5 and 6. Apparently there is still some snot left to franchise out of the series. maybe they'll get Keira and Orlando to come back for a couple scenes! I like it when stories are resolved.)
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011, Joe Johnston). I am a giant sucker for comic book movies. I just am. They might suck (coughcoughcatwomancoughcough), but I'll watch them all the way through anyway. This one did not suck. I loved it. I haven't the faintest idea how they made him look so puny in the beginning, but it was well done and made his changes (biceps the size of my head, holy smokes) appear that much more impressive. I can't really talk about much else without giving plot points away. It was slightly cheesy (yet necessary for a comic movie), partly funny, sometimes sad and sometimes clever film that one would expect from the guys who write for comic books and the man who directed "The Rocketeer" (another of my favorites, go get that one too! Jennifer Connelly in a white silk dress that I would gladly steal, come on!)
The Help (2011, Tate Taylor). Whoa. I am completely in agreement for everything this got nominated for. Well written, well acted, beautiful scenery, it was very well done. I have no problem liking a film that Bogie doesn't like, because we each have our own tastes, but when we both like a film you KNOW it's good. Go watch it. Find it somewhere, watch it, and then watch the Oscars to see what it wins, because it's going to win something!
Jailhouse Rock (1957, Richard Thorpe) was fun! I've watched several Elvis films but hadn't seen this one somehow. The storyline was a bit cheesy, but I let it slide because hey, it's the 50's. I was sad to read that the woman who plays Peggy died in a car accident several days after shooting wrapped. She never got to see the premiere, and Elvis refused to watch the film. I also read (thanks, IMDb) that the songwriters were locked in their hotel room by their music publisher because they were under deadline, they came up with "Treat Me Nice", "You're So Square", "I Want to be Free" and of course "Jailhouse Rock" in 5 hours! Amazing what a little motivation can do, huh? I wonder if they got room service in those 5 hours, I find it hard to be civil when I'm hungry, much less write songs. If you're an Elvis fan (or a fan of his songs) and you have a couple hours to kill, watch it!