In the spirit of this note from my Sask brother, a summary of my recent movie encounters:
- Here Comes Mr. Jordan, Heaven Can Wait, Down to Earth — Three movies all based on the same Harry Segall play. I’ve watched each of the three over the past month. Down to Earth is so bad as to be watchable the entire way through only by devoted fans of the genre, and even that was a stretch; it stinks. Heaven Can Wait, the 1978 Warren Beatty version, is the best of the three, mostly for the stellar cast (James Mason, Buck Henry, Charles Grodin, Dyan Cannon and Julie Christie among them). Here Comes Mr. Jordan is also well done, and an interesting watch for we fans of the Beatty film, as they are close in many details. So watch the first two, and leave off the last.
- Time Code — A weird movie with the screen split into four for the duration, shot in real time with four converging plots. If you are interested in seeing the experiment, get it on DVD, as there are some really neat options, including one which allows you to select which of the quadrants you hear audio from. Otherwise quite confusing, and a stretch to say its entertaining.
- American Buffalo — As a diehard David Mamet fan, I’m surprised I’d never seen this 1996 version of Mamet’s play. Stars Dustin Hoffman and Dennis Franz, who are both brilliant (slight edge goes to Hoffman). Classic Mamet-style dialogue. Classic Mamet-style plot.
- Hurly Burly — A pretentious and confusing movie starring Sean Penn, Robin Wright, Kevin Spacey, Gary Shandling and Chazz Palminteri. Excellent performance from Penn. Is Gary Shandling really an actor? Not sure about Palminteri. Too cerebral to be truly entertaining, but worth a watch.
- Sabrina — The modern one, with Han Solo in the lead. Worth watching again. Well constructed romantic comedy. Of course it’s missing Audrey Hepburn, for which you need to turn to the original.
- Groundhog Day — Ironically, given the plot, the movie can be watched time and time again, and wears very well. Bill Murray is under-rated. Andie Macdowell is not under-rated, but she performs well.
- The Gift — We rarely abandon movies, but Cate Blanchett chanelling Sissy Spacek, Keanu Reeves as an abusive drunk, Hilary Swank doing whatever she does and finally Katie Holmes. It was all enough to get us to stop the DVD and occupy ourselves with more interesting pursuits. Maybe it’s a good movie, but we’ll never know.