Life is a story. You control the pencil. Make it a good one.
Who can doubt that "Maltese Falcon" (1941) is one of the great masterpieces of early 20th century cinema? It is an experience to watch Humphrey Bogart in one of his greatest roles ever. He is a phenomenal actor and has an incredible amount of talent. His role in this film is complex and at any one time, he is in many different situations. Let us not forget the great cunning work of Mary Astor and the amazing talents of the great Peter Lorre (who is one of my favourite early 20th century actors). A brilliantly clever film, it contains some of the most righteous language ever written for screen. It is a feature length experience of film noir like you've never seen before and you'll probably never see again.
The new year is here, and with it, a brand new roster of movies to see. From Underwater to Wonder Woman 1984, there's a lot to look forward to in 2020, including sequels like the aforementioned Wonder Woman 1984.
Greta Gerwig's has had a meteoric rise of sorts in her career as a filmmaker with critical success found in her screenwriting endeavours in both Frances Ha and Mistress America. This culminated in the rapturously-received Lady Bird which I'm sure will become a cultural touchstone for its pioneering depiction of a female coming-of-age experience in a genre whose history has been full of male ennui. Now Gerwig makes her largest foray into film-making yet crafting an adaptation of the timeless novel Little Women with her largest production scale yet. A lavish period drama with extraordinary sets and locations that still has its heart firmly set in the homely family bonds that unite its central protagonists. The March sisters are well-known literary characters and have been portrayed by countless iconic women each reflecting the acting talent at the forefront of the times in which they were made with Winona Ryder, Claire Danes and Kirsten Dunst heading the cast of the most pivotal adaptation prior to Gerwig's version. Of course Gerwig has assembled a fantastic cast helmed by some of the most promising actors of today as once again a film written and directed by Gerwig has the incredibly talented Saoirse Ronan as the lead. Ronan portrays protagonist Jo March and captures her spirit, angst and defiance whilst maintaining the deep loneliness she feels when rebelling against the institution which women are seen most fit for in the Victorian era the film is set in and which limits the agency and power. I am speaking of course about marriage in terms that are not romantic and sentimentalised but the reality they presented women with for centuries- an economic proposition. The purpose of Little Women ever since its publication in the 19th century is to define its central female characters beyond how they were typically seen in a patriarchal society that limited them and deemed them either wives, mothers or spinsters. Its empowering message has given it a universal appeal that gives reason to the numerous adaptations made to voice it to generation after generation.
“Gaslight” (1944) is a tremendous achievement of 1940s cinema and a brilliant masterpiece of psychological thriller. It is about a man who constantly drives his wife to madness whilst attempting to get the jewels he wanted when he killed his wife’s aunt. A raging murderer, he needs to convince his wife that she’s crazy possibly in order to make her believe the jewels were never there. But with a man who knew her aunt watching the whole thing very carefully, it may seem impossible.
I adore this film. I've seen it once or twice before some maybe ten years' ago but now, I re-watched it for the first time in ages and really - I forgot how enjoyable it was. I've seen the Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day 1956 version a few times but I can honestly say that for me, I do prefer this version. It just feels darker and more raw. It feels like a noir and a thriller. It's a brilliant effort at the film in the early days of Alfred Hitchcock's directing career.
"Strangers on a Train" (1951) is one of my favourite movies ever. It contains some of the most intensely suspenseful scenes I have ever seen and the more I watch it, the more I understand how and why they are used. "Strangers on a Train" (1951) takes the concept that two people, who have no idea who each other are, could carry out murders on the other person's behalf - and between the two men in this picture - it almost works. Let's take a look at a historical background of me and "Strangers on a Train" (1951).
As I was pulled along with the plot of Alien Covenant, I realized I was on very familiar ground. Once again, a lonely spaceship is traversing the universe and just feels at the tragic mercy of the vast expanse . Throw in a duplicitous android, add a swarm of marauding xenomorphs, and the day only awaits saving from a fierce heroine who will inspire a generation of young girls. Another Alien movie, I thought - ho hum. Then the ending arrives. Yes, Katherine Waterston as Daniels does her bit, but this installment’s finale sets the 2017 Ridley Scott film apart. In a word, wow…
One of my all-time favourite detective noir films, "The Third Man" (1949) is just the film I wanted to re-watch on NYE. I have watched it many times over the years and I have adored it each and every time because the twist still turns out as a surprise and if you're really watching - you can see all the little hints and clues throughout the film. For example, the one about the cat.
When we think of 1920s cinema, we think of a number of things - the first thing we all think is probably of "Nosferatu" (1922), one of the heights of the German Expressionist experience which is also a massive infringement of copyright. Did you know that the court ordered to have all of the copies of "Nosferatu" (1922) burned? Well, I guess it didn't work out the way they planned.
Let’s take an adventure into the sky today. I bet the view is amazing from a hot air balloon.
When it comes to documentaries on The Louvre, I like to watch the same one over and over again. It's called BBC's "Treasures of the Louvre". But, to change it up, I found this interesting documentary series that basically goes through many different museums and looks at their worst kept secrets and their best kept histories. There's normally five parts to each of these little episodes in which they go through different items in the museum and the strange and weird stories behind them. This sounds pretty good seeing as an episode lasts on average of 45 minutes.