October 22, 2005

Recent viewings: Garbo, John Wayne, Batman

I've seen a lot of different movies in the last few weeks but I haven't had time to scribble much about them. For instance, I picked up Garbo - The Signature Collection a while ago. That's the one with something like twelve movies (this includes three silent films from the late 1920's.)

Most of them are pretty good. I especially like Ninotchka (directed by Ernst Lubitsch, 1939). Very funny and I like the way the movie kind of uses the Garbo image (silent, aloof) as a part of the primary comedy. Garbo is great in it by the way.

Anna Christie (1931) ... well, I didn't like that one so much. In fact, I stopped watching after about 40 minutes because it was painful. This was her first "talkie." In fact, I think that's how they promoted it: "Garbo Talks!" Good grief, does she ever. That's all anyone does in this thing - long, long scenes of people sitting around talking. Anyway ... not the best film in the collection.

Camille (1936), on the other hand ... I really liked that one. Sentimental, yes. Romantic, yes. But a really good movie, none the less. And Garbo is extremely fetching in this one.

Other than Garbo, I watched John Wayne's Hondo (1953) a few days ago. It was released as a Special Collector's Edition at the same time as McLintock! - see the earlier post. Both of these films, by the way, were at a great price - $12.00 each when I picked them up. Of the two, I think my sentimental favourite has to be McLintock! but, honestly, Hondo is a much better film. As someone else mentioned, it has some similarities to Shane, another 1953 film.

Wayne is quintessentially John Wayne here with his North American machismo and all, and this film is one of the few movies I've actually seen that had the old Hollywood western cowboys and Indians thing going on (though, for the period, the First Nations people are portrayed with more sympathy than you might expect). Overall, it's a good western. (Of course, if you don't like westerns this is probably not your cup of tea.)

And let me mention one other movie ... Batman Begins (2005). Yes, it's very good. Of all the Batman movies I've seen, it's easily the best and definitely one of the best of the very popular glut of comic book movies that have been released. As usual with these kinds of movies, it works so well because they concentrate on character and story. But this movie reminds me a lot of the first Spiderman movie (though it's much better than that film).

The first half of the film is great. The second half, good but not great. The reason? Once he becomes Batman and the bad guys enter into things and the heroics start, it loses me (as did the first Spiderman). In other words, the man becoming the hero is far more interesting than the hero as the hero.

However, in this case, while Batman Begins loses some steam in the second half it doesn't lose a lot of it (unlike the first Spiderman).

Tag: , , , , , ,

No comments: