Quick Takes – 07.18.10

Indiscreet (1958)

Grade: C+ | 1st Viewing

Indiscreet is what happens when great performances get stuck in a bad movie. Screen legends Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman delight every frame they inhabit, which makes the uneventful story something that’s watchable. Watch this movie and you may believe that there are no leading men anymore that exist who are as charming and hilarious as Cary Grant. The ball scene where Cary Grant finds himself alone on the dance floor and breaks into some sort of awkward jig is beyond hilarious.

The real star of the film is Ingrid Bergman as the jilted lover. She coins the famous line “how dare he make love to me and not be married” and she is hilarious every time she throws a fit. The genius of Bergman is that she takes a role that could easily be a pouty female stereotype and makes it powerful with her expert line delivery.

The A-Team (2010)

Grade: C | 1st Viewing

I saw this movie on a whim with my parents when we were looking for some mindless entertainment. Mindless is what we got all right. The action is decent enough and it kept itself light, which many action movies fail to do, but overall it was just bland.

The redeeming factor was Sharlto Copley. He has the fewest lines of any member of The A-Team, but he is by far the most hilarious. I was glad to see him ease into American films so easily and I hope this sets him up for a lot more work in Hollywood.

Aliens (1986)

Grade: B+ | 1st Viewing

One thing that I noticed when watching Aliens is that James Cameron is great at storytelling, but he is terrible at writing dialogue. The first third of the movie is cringe-worthy as Bill Paxton forces Cameron’s pseudo-jock dialogue. Luckily, the rest of the movie more than makes up for the annoying marines in the opening (it helps that half of them die in the first encounter).

Personally I like Ridley Scott’s original more than James Cameron’s sequel, but it is interesting seeing the difference in their tone. Scott portrays a real distrust of technology with the evil android and the over-crowded laboratories while Cameron seemed to distrust humans, with technology existing as one of the only reliable forces. It curiously seems counter to his other famous movies (Terminator, Avatar).

Pierrot le fou (1965)

Grade: A

For the longest time I’d been meaning to do a full write-up of my favorite Jean-Luc Godard movie, but instead I’ve had to resort to a quick take. Jean-Luc Godard was a walking contradiction with his hatred of American consumerism and his worship of American cinema. In Pierrot le fou all of those contradictions come to light right from the start. The film opens with audio that initially sounds like a voice-over. The camera then cuts to a bathing Jean-Paul Belmondo and it appears to be a soliloquy. Then his daughter moves into the frame and it is revealed that the speech is dialogue. It’s visual trickery that Godard loves to use to keep his audience on their toes.

When it comes to compiling lists of best cinematography of all-time, it would be hard to discount Pierrot le fou. Not only do Godard and director of photography Raoul Coutard employ revolutionary camera tricks, but the film is also lighted in a way that enriches its gorgeous color palette. It’s funny, well-acted and easily one of the best films ever made.

What movies did you see last week?

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  • Aliens becomes infinitely more fun on repeat viewings once you succumb to the power of Bill Paxton. “this ain’t happening, man… This can’t be happening, man! This isn’t happening!”


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