Sunday, January 10, 2010

Last movie of 2009/first movies of 2010

The Stranger: 1940s movie featuring Orson Welles as an escaped Nazi war criminal taking up in a small town as a teacher, and being hunted down by Edward G. Robinson. Some nice if fairly obvious noirish directorial touches, but overall I think they were a bit too close to the subject to do it really well-- whereas later treatments (e.g. Apt Pupil or Kessler) have focused on the disturbing fact of ex-Nazis integrating themselves into postwar society just like ordinary folks, suggesting that maybe there's less to differentiate ex-Nazis and ordinary folks than the latter would like to think, Orson Welles has to be a complete psychopath with no real redeeming features. Which, given that he spent The Third Man playing a character who can mingle charm and amorality in equal measures, is a real missed opportunity.

Darling: 1960s Julie Christie film that won a lot of Oscars and Baftas, but from a modern perspective it's hard to see why. At the time it was probably daring in its portrayal of homosexuality and abortion (i.e., actually admitting these things go on instead of relying on subtext and euphemism), but it comes across as very right-wing, essentially conveying the message that the bright, swinging young media darlings of the day are really just amoral little tramps who sleep around, abort babies on a whim, and make friends with (horrors!) pooves and (double horrors!) Italians in order to get on (it's not inappropriate that this copy was a Daily Mail free-DVD). You can just hear the Little England housewives of the day consoling themselves with this movie: "see? They may be beautiful and rich, but they're Not Happy, no they're not..." Dirk Bogarde plays a heterosexual, and does it badly.

The Simpsons Movie: A lot of fun and some good laughs to be had, but I'm still glad I didn't spend money for it, as it was basically just a triple-length episode of the TV series. They never explained what happened to the pig, either, but I'm not sure it matters.

Movie count for 2009: 111

Movie count for 2010: 2