Modesty Blaise and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and watching movies alone

August 23, 2015

I just re-watched Modesty Blaise (somehow it had been years since the last time I saw it, YEARS!!) and I was reminded of how visually awesome it is. I've seen this countless times and honestly I still don't have much of a clue what's going on with the plot (seriously, no clue whatsoever) but Monica Vitti and Dirk Bogarde play, respectively, *the* most epic heroine and villain that it's fascinating to just sit back and watch regardless of what's actually going on with the story. The whole movie is very gif-able but on this particular viewing I was super smitten with this little scene and had to make a gif from it:

I always have a chronic yearning to watch this movie percolating under the surface of my daily thoughts ("which potato product should I make for breakfast/lunch/dinner? ... *whispering voice in the back of my mind* mooddeessttyyy bbllaaiiissee ...") but today that yearning morphed into an urge and I had to see it. It's definitely related to my infatuation with The Man From U.N.C.L.E., the 60's spy movie that came out last week. Like almost everything else in my life that I end up loving, I was originally coerced into watching it by Millie (who, by the way, wrote a super fantastic post about MFU that you should really be reading instead of this.)

I saw it last Friday and then I spent the last seven days aching to see it again. I planned on going with my mom and Grandmom ("Grandmom would love this! We should take her to go see it!" she exclaimed, trying to mask her quiet desperation.) Ultimately they both backed out on me, so I went alone. Which is actually really okay, because to be honest I like seeing movies by myself more than with friends or family. Is that weird? I feel like in our culture, movie consumption (at least in a theater) is generally considered to be a group event. We read books alone, listen to music alone, watch television alone, but movies are supposed to be a communal activity. We should have someone who can discuss the movie afterwards and help us not look like a loser beforehand. But there's something so awfully freeing about sitting in the darkness alone and not caring what your fellow movie-goers think of your reactions. I don't generally cry during movies, but I have an awful habit of smiling - like a giant, ear to ear grin - when I'm enjoying a film, and I get very self conscious about it when I'm part of a group. So tonight when I watched The Man From U.N.C.L.E. alone (although technically surrounded by about 50 senior citizens) I could grin til my face ached and it was heaven.

Why was I grinning so much, you ask? Because this movie is so darn awesome. It's based on the tv show of the same name, in which an American spy and a Russian spy are forced to work together during the cold war. Henry Cavill plays the American, Napoleon Solo, and Armie Hammer plays the Russian, Illya Kuryakin. It has a fantastic soundtrack, very 60's-esque split screens and giant yellow lettering. It's fun, suspenseful (even on the second go-around), action-packed, SUPER stylish and incredibly sleek. Oh yeah, and I'm definitely in love with Armie Hammer's character in this movie. His Illya Kuryakin shot straight up to the top of my "fictional men that I'd love to marry" list (other notable husbands include Paul Verrall from Born Yesterday, Longfellow Deeds from Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and Robert Gold from Darling, in case you were curious)

Long story short (actually, I think this post is too long for me to say that at this point) you should really go see The Man From U.N.C.L.E. If you like classic films from the 60's, spy movies, 60's fashion (OMG the fashion in this movie, I die!), handsome guys and spunky girls, you'll like this movie. I promise. Pinky swear! Just go see it!

Now let's circle back to Modesty Blaise real quick, because this post clearly isn't long enough yet.

I got back home after MFU, simultaneously energized from getting to see it again and despondent that I didn't have it on DVD yet. I have a very obsessive personality when it comes to media, I love listening to the same song on repeat for weeks or watching reruns of the same tv show (not the same episode though, in my defense) every night for years (hi there, 30 Rock!) and I'm the same way with movies. Rather than seeking the help I probably really need, I decided I had to do something to fill that gaping "I need to watch this as many times as humanly possible" hole in my heart.

Modesty Blaise is a fun 60's spy comedy with a very vague plot, spectacular outfits, insane dialogue (Dirk Bogarde really gets the best lines in this, and his over the top delivery is side-splitting hilarious. "Tor-cha!") and wacky randomness like sudden hair color changes or fishes swimming in giant champagne glasses. I think it tends to get a bad wrap because of the confusing plot, but many a great film makes absolutely no sense. Between you and me, I'd rather watch and not understand Modesty Blaise than watch and not understand 2001: A Space Odyssey. What is the floating space baby??

Wow, this is the most disjointed post ever. Ahh! When I started writing this I really did have a good plan for weaving all of these threads together, but .. not so much anymore. I'll just sum things up now before this gets any longer:

1. Go see The Man From U.N.C.L.E. You won't be disappointed.
2. Feel free to crush on Napoleon Solo. Illya is taken. MINE.
3. Also watch Modesty Blaise. Expect lots of cool, very little sense.
4. Seeing movies alone is fun!
5. Writing posts at 2am might not be a great idea for me anymore.
6. Floating space baby is creepy.

"Her womb was a torture chamber of mother love"

August 09, 2015

Last week Millie and Casey were here for a visit! We took plenty of goofy photos *and* we went into New York for a double feature at The Film Forum. As part of their True Crime series they were showing the Bradford Dillman movie Compulsion (one of the main reasons Millie picked this particular week to visit) and The Girl on the Red Velvet Swing.

Compulsion was an amazing film. The Girl on the Red Velvet Swing was... interesting. It's a 1955 movie starring Joan Collins, Ray Milland and Farley Granger that (not super accurately) depicts the true story of Stanford White's murder. Stanford White was a famous New York architect who had an affair with Evelyn Nesbit before she married her insanely jealous psychopathic husband. Here is the reaction shot we took after we got out of the movie:

If you're interested in learning why we look so horrified, we also filmed this little video for you explaining why the movie scarred us for life and where exactly the line "her womb was a torture chamber of mother love" factored into the story. I'm not making this up.

Bonus! If you start this video en route to Princeton Junction from the Spring Street parking garage, this video will help you with directions *and* you'll have a fun discussion about a terrifying movie to listen to while you're on your way!