A New Hope

June 29, 2014

Yesterday me and Kyle went to see Star Wars at The Film Forum in New York. He dressed up like Darth Vader and I did my best impression of a 1960's storm trooper.

I was originally trying to channel c3po with a gold glittery dress that's tucked away in my closet and hardly ever gets to see the light of day, but without any other accessories I just looked like I was going to a fancy party. After lots of last-minute closet rummaging I put this together and I was pretty happy with how it turned out! Once I stood next to Kyle... er.. Darth Vader.. I think it was more obvious that I was supposed to be a storm trooper.

It was really fun seeing Star Wars on the big screen. My experiences at the Film Forum tend to be really hit or miss. I'd say about half of the screenings I've attended have had wonderful, respectful audiences. When I went to see Dr. Zhivago two weeks ago you could have heard a pin drop in the theater. It was wonderful! When I saw the original Japanese Godzilla back in April, everyone was horribly disrespectful and kept laughing at things that weren't even remotely funny. If you've seen the Japanese version you know that it's a lot more serious and less B-movie than the American version. It didn't deserve that kind of reception.

Star Wars fell somewhere in between. Obviously a lot of Han Solo's lines deserve a little chuckle, but people seemed to be laughing AT the movie, not at the funny lines in the movie (if that makes sense?) I mean serious stuff, like when poor little r2d2 is damaged towards the end. I thought Star Wars would have been immune from this kind of thing?? It didn't ruin the screening for me like the Godzilla audience did, but it was still really annoying.

After the movie we decided to take advantage of Kyle's costume to get some photos around the city. We ended up walking to a lot of the major tourist attractions for a little series of Darth Vader going sight-seeing. My personal favorite was his selfie in Times Square, ha!

Torn Curtain (1966)

June 10, 2014

I consider myself a pretty big Alfred Hitchcock fan, and I think I've seen almost all of his movies, give or take a few silents... and Torn Curtain. I'm not entirely sure how it eluded me all these years but, until this week, I had never seen it. I've always heard that it wasn't too great, so I popped it into my DVD player with incredibly low expectations. And I was pleasantly surprised!

I thought it got off to a slow start and didn't really grab hold of me until we - the audience - were fully informed about what was going on. I've always thought that was one of the best trademarks of a Hitchcock movie, that you're aware of things that the main characters aren't. You know that there's a murderer about to whip back the shower curtain, but Janet Leigh has NO IDEA. Once I was in the know, though, I thought the movie was incredibly suspenseful and classically Hitchcockian.

The movie stars Paul Newman (the obsession continues) and Julie Andrews as an engaged pair of scientists about to attend a conference in Copenhagen. Paul Newman's character starts acting kind of fishy and before Julie Andrews can say "iron curtain" she's caught in an unexpectedly traitorous predicament. And that is when the movie starts to get really good.

Honestly there was a part of me that was just like "Oh my gosh, Paul Newman, just tell your finance what you're up to and end this charade! For the love of God just tell her already!" Secrecy as a plot device is always a major pet peeve for me. Of course, a lot of movies depend on misunderstandings or confusion to move the plot forward, so honesty might not always be the best policy when it comes to screenwriting. There were several moments in Torn Curtain where the suspense rested completely on the lack of communication between Paul Newman and Julie Andrews. It definitely added a layer of anxiety to the first hour or so of the movie, but it's still very annoying that Newman's character would hide such a ridiculously important secret from someone who was his intellectual equal, and his partner in life.

Unnecessary secrecy aside, Torn Curtain way exceeded my expectations. Maybe it's because my expectations were so low that I was able to enjoy it so much, or maybe it's just a really great, underrated movie that deserves a second look. Either way, I think it's definitely worth a watch. Oh, and (to ruin what could have been a perfectly serious review) Paul Newman is shirtless again, so there's that. ;)

It's available to rent on amazon here.

The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown (1957)

June 07, 2014

This probably seems contrary to what everyone who knows me would think, but initially I was put off by the title of The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown. I thought it might be one of those comedies that was a little silly, a little fluffy, but not really funny. Boy, am I glad I decided to watch it anyway. For several reasons --

The movie is actually hilarious, heartwarming and really cute. Jane Russell plays an over-the-top movie star/sex symbol who gets kidnapped on the night of a big premiere. Her kidnappers don't seem to know what the heck they're doing, so Jane Russell helps them out. At the beginning it seems like an obvious spoof on the big-name blonde stars of the era, but her performance becomes much more down-to-earth as the movie wears on. Even 60 years ago people still needed reminding that film stars are humans, just like us.

Jane Russell's costar in the movie is Ralph Meeker. His name rang a bell because a couple years ago, Millie went through a crazy Ralph Meeker phase and I'd been meaning to (with obviously little determination) see one of his movies ever since. And now I get it. I absolutely, totally, 100% get why she went bananas over this guy. He's kind of like a rougher version of Frank Sinatra, without the singing. He was ridiculously perfect playing the slightly inept, but well-meaning kidnapper. After The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown I kind of binge-watched every Ralph Meeker movie I could get my hands on this week. Me and Millie watched Kiss Me Deadly on Wednesday and it's mind-blowingly awesome, kind of confusing, and absolutely riveting. I'd write a review of that one too (because, really, you need to watch it) but Millie already wrote the best one ever right here.

But back to the movie. In addition to Jane Russell and Ralph Meeker (sigh.) it had a fantastic supporting cast, snappy dialogue and (spoiler!) with the exception of one of the last lines in the movie, Jane Russell's character was a headstrong, iron-willed (and fisted!) gal. So watch it for the laughs, the romance, the story, or Ralph Meeker's smile (mostly that last one.) but just watch it.