“…we peaked on the phone.”

i.e. several film reviews…

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Elizabethtown (Cameron Crowe). I saw a modified version on the flight back to Melbourne (yes, I should have been sleeping, but I figured I wouldn’t pay to watch this, so might as well). Cameron Crowe is a director that many actors would like to work with – his films are usually heartwarming stories about living (I’ve heard that in Vanilla Sky, however, he takes a leaf out of David Lynch’s book…), and most are on my list of ‘movies to see’. Say Anything, his directorial debut, is often regarded as his best, though Almost Famous takes the prize, according to imdb.com. And here I am already waffling about the director rather than this particular work of his…*sighs* One-line summary: Drew Baylor’s high-flying life is about to go pear-shaped when a family event sends him on a journey during which he discovers life again at the insistence (I mean it) of one Claire Colburn.

Maybe it’s the actors, maybe it’s the story, maybe it’s the direction (however unlikely – but I can’t leave this out), but there is something…missing in the film. It’s kinda amusing to see the situation Drew finds himself in, but his character is not quite eccentric enough (ala Lloyd Dobbler – yes, I know I haven’t seen Say Anything yet…but it’s quite difficult not to know anything about that particular film) or earnest enough (Jerry Maguire) to be memorable. Claire is, perhaps, but even then, I guess there’s something about the situation that struck me as ‘how in the world…?’ – the situation was almost surreal, but not quite as brilliant as Dali’s.

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First things first: Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho has an excellent trailer! In all honesty, it’s probably best to watch it before turning to the film itself. Tongue in cheek, with the warning that this is a film ‘you must watch from the beginning’, a teaser in the true sense of the word. Maybe it’s just me, and this is yet another major cliche, but they just don’t make them like that anymore!

Psycho is perhaps the most famous thriller in the history of Western film. Despite it’s weapon, this is not a slasher flick, unlike the B-grade horrors of my generation. And even though I knew exactly who the murderer was, exactly what the ending would reveal, exactly whom Janet Leigh’s Marion Crane should have been wary of, once the famous shower scene was over, I found myself being drawn further and further into the film, into the fates of the characters involved. Like リング, the tension is maintained by limited glimpses of the killer (although the Japanese are definitely more masterful – viewers of Nakata Hideo’s modern classic had no idea whatsoever as to how the victimis were killed) and no obvious clues as to when the attacks would occur, even if anyone who’s seen thrillers since then should be able to pick them nonetheless. The acting is perhaps what you’d expect of the 1950s and 1960s (try a few old tv shows for examples), a style which I don’t particularly like since it seems somewhat artificial to me – but in the actors here were not as plastic as I’ve come to expect from older films. The AMPAS may have preferred to praise Leigh, but for me, Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates created the role of the innocent faced culprit (something I associate Edward Norton with nowadays). Perhaps unfortunately, he remained renown for psychotic roles, despite having an incredibly long career. Anyways, Psycho‘s longetivity speaks for itself. Hopefully, you haven’t seen enough subsequent horror films to ruin it.

As a sidenote…I am highly unlikely to see the sequels, both of which start Perkins as Bates again – I doubt I’d recommend them even if I did.

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2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick) – which I don’t really get…I’ve become a person who dislikes reading up on a film before I see it – unless material is distributed with the film to give viewers a general idea (it happens quite a bit for films adapted from stories presented in another media form, although I haven’t quite seen it in the west). The only other Kubrick film I’ve seen – A Clockwork Orange – is a lot more straightforward. Something about the music though – it’s very interesting. The first part of the film is dominated by Johann Strauss’s An der schönen blauen Donau (perhaps most famously taken-off in The Simpsons) and look! – there’s a wiki entry ^^. Implication: everything is peachy. For the second part, dissonant chords clash and raise the tension (except when there’s silence, during most of the scenes outside the spacecraft – another detail Kubrick is famous for). I didn’t really notice what was happening in final part – the film was losing me at that stage…it was almost like a series of images, a series of scenes – there seems to be a point that I just don’t know how to describe.

In short, I need to sleep, review all the others, look into the film a bit, and then watch it again.

About karice
MAG fan, freelance translator and political scientist-in-training. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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