Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Betting against tomorrow

2 from 1952

Ikiru is as good as promised.  The first half is perfect.  Really perfect.  The second half is a bit too neat and nice in how things are wrapped up.  I preferred the pain and the insight of the beginning to the heavy-handedness at the end.  Still, it's a minor quibble.  The wake/flashbacks work well and do hammer home Kurosawa's anti-bureaucratic message.

What Price Glory is a war comedy directed by John Ford.  James Cagney has a lot of fun hamming it up in his role as Captain Flagg while Dan Dailey holds his own as Flagg's top seargent and romantic rival.  What Price Glory isn't a great film like Ikiru, but it is a very watchable film, a solid entertainment, and that's sometimes just what is needed.  It's also got a great supporting cast.   

1 from 1950

2 years earlier, Ford and Dailey had already teamed up on a much better war comedy, When Willie Comes Marching Home.  Bill Kluggs wants nothing more than to go kill some Jap and/or Kraut bastards.  Instead, he gets orders to stay on base outside of his hometown because he's needed most as a sharpshooter instructor.  Hilarity ensues!  When Willie Comes Marching Home has a much better script/scenario than What Price Glory and is by far the better film, but both really hit the spot on a lazy Monday after an early morning Ikiru viewing.  

Was it David Bordwell who recently compared Kurosawa to Ford?  I can't remember.


I haven't mentioned the Oscars yet, but I did watch them when they were broadcast.  

In my alternate universe, A Serious Man won best picture.  Jim Jarmusch won best director.  Pigs began flying.  Sam Rockwell won both best actor and best supporting actor for his work in Moon.  An historic moment!  The sisters from Beeswax won best actress and best supporting actress.  They are now household names.  Next Day Air was nominated for original screenplay, but lost to A Serious Man.  Julie & Julia won adapted.  Still Walking won foreign feature.  Yes Men Fix the World won best doc.  Up won animation.  The Coens swept the editing, sound editing, and sound mixing categories.  They also won cinematography.  Moon won both art direction and visual effects.  In a surprise upset, Adventureland won costume design and Zombieland won makeup.  Score went to Up.  Song went to that crazy end credits Ponyo song.   

Seriously, it was the best Oscars ever.

In my alternate universe.

Which doesn't exist.



More stuff...

Stargate: Atlantis is stupid and I'm sorry I watched an episode.  

Between the Folds is a neat documentary about origami artists that we caught on WSKG late at night.  I'd like to track it down and see it again.

"Mudd's Women" is a fun episode of Star Trek.  Three dazzling beauties distract all of the men on board the Enterprise.  I forgot how campy the show could get.  Watching the crew go googly eyes is fantastic.

Mudd's Women is also essentially an example of the "mail order bride" Western subgenre.  A lot of early Star Trek has more in common with film and TV Westerns than with print SF. 

Bumping Into Broadway is a forgettable early Lloyd short.  The gags just aren't that great and the hoky intertitles elicit more groans than laughs.  It's not bad, but it's far from Lloyd's best work.

That's all I've got. Goodnight.

1 comment:

Spike said...

You're probably right about the second half of Ikiru, but honestly, the thing pummels me so hard (in a really good way) that I probably wouldn't really be bothered by anything short of a Gosh-it's-a-miracle-the-cancer's-gone!-type ending. Unless it was a "Pay It Forward," yes-he's-dead-but-look-at-the-hundreds-of-people-that-he's-touched-standing-there-holding-candles-type ending. I just realized that I really, really don't like "Pay It Forward." I want to kick that movie in the left ear... But gosh, I sure do like Ikiru!!!