Thursday, February 17, 2011

198 Movies, 310 Days

High Fidelity
2000. 113 minutes. USA. Directed by Stephen Frears. Watchdate: 11/5/2010.

My umpteenth viewing of John Cusack's last great movie (hopefully not for all time). What can I say, it's a great date movie. Cusack is great, Jack Black and Todd Louiso are revelatory, Tim Robbins' hair is horrifying and hilarious. Great soundtrack, strong structure, enough said.

1964. 150 minutes. UK. Directed by Peter Glenville. Watchdate: 10/25/2010.
Nothing more or less than a splendid showcase of the talents of Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton. John Gielgud does great things with his small scene as well. This is definitely an actor's movie, although the occasionally gorgeous production design gets time to shine as well. The scene where Becket becomes chancellor, the scene at the peasant hovel, the scenes in Rome, the beach scene and Becket's death scene were all standouts.

Shaun of the Dead
2004. 100 minutes. UK. Directed by Edgar Wright. Watchdate: 10/21/2010.
I am a latecomer to the work of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and their other collaborators. But I enjoyed this thoroughly. The first half is hilarious and phenomenally inspired. The conceit of people being so apathetic and yet somehow also so preoccupied that they don't realize for an extended period of time that the entire world is falling apart is so brilliant, partly because it seems obvious after it's presented and yet it's still original. Also because it allows for some great comedy bits. My favorite is probably Pegg walking into a convenience store, grabbing a soda can without noticing the refrigerator case is covered in bloody handprints and then slipping loudly on blood but still walking nonchalantly out of the store. The scene with the zombie little girl is also great, and I absolutely loved the bit where Pegg and Frost are arguing over which LPs to lob at an oncoming zombies. The second half of the movie isn't as funny, but it still works quite well. The ending isn't great, but such is often the case with movies like this.

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