Millie made me watch it: The Black Swan

February 29, 2012

Millie has been pestering me for THREE YEARS about watching The Black Swan. Every time she brought it up, I resisted and after about 20 more minutes of pestering she moved on. I thought I was safe. Then one day, there was a knock at the door, and when I opened it, there stood a person dressed head to toe in black, wearing a ski mask, and wielding a skein of rope and a package shaped like a DVD. Before I knew it I was being gagged and tied to a chair! Horrible thoughts were swirling through my mind... kidnapping, robbery, murder... but no, it was worse. Much worse.

This mystery intruder forced me to watch The Black Swan.

Now, I should probably explain that my aversion to this movie is rooted entirely in the fact that the star is Tyrone Power. It's not that I hate him or anything, I just don't get why he was so popular. Give me Dirk Bogarde or Cliff Robertson instead ;) Anyway, I'm not his biggest fan, and I've never had any desire to watch his films. But Millie (and her cohorts, Casey and Terry) have always been convinced that The Black Swan would change my mind.

Sorry guys... you were wrong. The movie was good and I definitely enjoyed it! I liked Maureen O'Hara (except at the ending I sort of wanted to slap her) and George Sanders was amusing with his strange little beard/mustache/crazy eyebrow situation. And frankly, I love the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Disney World so much that any movie about pirates will induce a happy Disney haze. I still don't like Tyrone Power, and I still don't get his appeal at all. But the movie itself? Pretty darn good!

When I was done watching the movie, the person in black untied me, took their DVD and disappeared into the night. And I could have sworn I heard a faint asthmatic evil laugh as I picked up the trail of ricola cough drops they had left on my driveway.

The time machine in The Time Machine

February 05, 2012

When I was little, I can remember watching The Time Machine with my dad and absolutely hating it. We thought the Morlock scenes were really stupid, and for years we made fun of the movie so much that it ended up becoming an inside joke. We'd act like the world was ending if we saw it pop up in the tv guide, and avoided seeing it again like the plague.

Then about five or six years ago I realized that Rod Taylor was pretty darn awesome (do not dare argue with me on this point. He is amaaaazing.) and I decided to revisit The Time Machine. I gave it a second chance, and absolutely fell in love with it. I lectured my dad on why it was actually a pretty stupendous movie, and then made him re-watch it too. And he changed his mind as well.

I can't tell what about the movie would have seemed so terrible to 7 year old me, but current me thinks it's one of the best movies ever made. I love the story (even those Morlocks who aren't so stupid after all) and I think the commentary on our never-ending state of war was brilliant. And Rod Taylor is, of course, his usual fantastic self, galavanting through time in one of the most beautiful gadgets Hollywood has ever created.

A couple months ago I was watching an episode of the show The Big Bang Theory in which the main characters bid on ebay for what they thought was the miniature version of the time machine, but was in fact the authentic full-size prop from the film. It got me thinking about the whereabouts of that prop, and whether or not you could actually bid on miniature versions of it on ebay!

I found out that the real prop from the movie is owned by actor Bob Burns, but the photos above show an exact working replica made by fan Carl Piermarini. His website includes a breakdown of each step, and behind the scenes photos of the work in progress. Honestly, if I had the money to make it and a place to put it I'd be over at Home Depot picking up the supplies to make one myself.

As for the miniatures, I found one pre-assembled miniature on ebay for a whopping $500, and a DIY 1/6 scale model version for about $100 here. Although I'm sure with a little ingenuity and lots of time you could probably make one from scratch for less.

It's kind of funny to me that if I had seen Time Machine miniatures 10 years ago, I would have sent the link to my dad with "LOL" in the subject line, and now I would do anything to own one.

2012 in film: January

February 01, 2012

I thought it would be fun to totally rip off sort of copy Millie's 2011 in film series and keep track of my own movie viewing in 2012! I didn't get to watch as many movies in January as I originally planned, but it was a pretty hectic month so I'm glad I was able to watch any at all!

January: 7 new-to-me movies / 11 total

My favorite new film: Dear Murderer (1947)

I loved this movie so much! It's a fantastic British film noir, with lots of deceit, intrigue and unexpected twists! I've had this one on my "to watch" list for over a year and I'm so glad I finally got around to seeing it, because it's definitely a new favorite!

My new least favorite film: Enchanted April (1992)

I might have enjoyed this if I hadn't been watching it *entirely* for Michael Kitchen. I spent most of the movie just upset that he wasn't in it enough, and resenting all of the other actors for being onscreen when he wasn't. Also two of the ladies' voices drove me nuts, but if Michael Kitchen had been the main star they probably wouldn't have annoyed me as much as they did.

Best movie title: The Wind Cannot Read (1958) yup, Dirk.

Best cast: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) - Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison, George Sanders, Natalie Wood and Edna Best (Herbert Marshall's wife!)

Worst cast: Hmm... I don't think I watched any movies with an overall bad cast. I would have re-cast Louis Hayward's part in Ruthless (1948) but I guess that's it!

They made me watch it: It's my goal to watch at least one movie every month that one of my friends suggests, and this month I watched Love Letters (1945) at Casey's suggestion! I loved it! I'm not usually a big Jennifer Jones fan (although I love her in Madame Bovary!) but I really enjoyed her performance in this movie and the plot was terrific! And any movie with Gladys Cooper in it is usually a good movie in my book. Thanks for the recommendation, Casey!

Strangest movie: Heaven Can Wait (1943) I LOVED Charles Coburn in this movie and I can finally understand why Nicola loves Don Ameche so much ;) but the plot was truly bizarreness personified!

January's tv obsession: I seem to get hooked on a new show almost monthly... this month it was LOST. I started it about 2 weeks ago, and I only have 10 episodes left. Tv eats into my movie watching time, but I kind of like that when I get wrapped up in the plot & characters I get to spend more than just 2 hours with them ;)

Films by decade:

1940's: 5/4 new
1950's: 1/0 new
1990's: 2/2 new
2000's: 3/1 new

ps. The image I used in my graphic is from my classic film scans blog, and the font is a hand-drawn typeface that I made myself! It's for sale in my etsy shop here.