Halloween steadily approaches which should mean a bevy of Horror films. I’ve watched a few, but seem to be on a bit of a classic movie musical kick.
It’s Always Fair Weather 100% on Rotten Tomatoes 9 (DVD)
Plot Summary-Three GIs back from overseas vow that their friendship will endure as they reenter the civilian world. A wager is made: in ten years, no matter what, they will reunite at their favorite bar. Ten years later, they show up, but find they have nothing in common.
My Take- It’s an odd subject for the MGM musical treatment, and it’s difficult not to compare the film with Donen and Kelly’s previous collaboration, Singin’ in the Rain, but It’s Always Fair Weather is a fantastic musical in its own right. The dance numbers are unforgettable, especially Kelly’s serenade to Cyd Charisse on roller skates which is pure joy. It’s satyrical moments are probably too slight to make an impression, but the film does a moving job of portraying three men trying to reconnect after years apart.
-Directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1955
As Good as it Gets 86% on Rotten Tomatoes 9 (VHS)
Starring Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear, Cuba Gooding Jr.
Plot Summary-A deeply self-centered, OCD curmudgeon (Nicholson) finds himself infatuated with a local waitress (Hunt). Wanting to impress her, he gets plenty of opportunities with her chronically ill son, and his embattled next door neighbor needing help.
My Take-Due to the direction and the staginess, As Good as it Gets often comes off slightly sitcommy. However, its virtues, mainly the acting and Brooks’ typically stellar writing, outshine any complaints I have about its visuals. Nicholson is a true iconic movie star, here able to paint a man spewing racist, sexist, homophobic comments as a romantic comedy lead. Hunt too has a knack for the genre, and this was her best performance.
-Directed by James L. Brooks, 1997
The Leopard Man 88% on Rotten Tomatoes 7 (Filmstruck)
Plot Summary-Jerry, a promoter, gets a leopard to bolster his girlfriend’s act, but when it gets loose and women are killed, Jerry’s not sure if he’s after a rogue leopard or a human killer.
My Take-A fairly obvious mystery plot with a running time of 66 minutes and no character development, the film is reduced to a series of drawn out suspense sequences, with three in particular standing out. A terrifying scene in a graveyard, blood pouring in under the door, and Margo’s cigarette lighting up the dark alley. Three great scenes is enough to recommend any movie, and the amount of creativity and inventiveness that transformed a shoe-string budget into a memorable horror classic is staggering.
-Directed by Jaques Tourneur, 1943