Sunday, March 17, 2013

Good viewing

I haven't been watching much, but I've been enjoying what I've been watching.

Hellfire is a genuine B western. Unlike so many B westerns, it is not interchangeable with dozens, if not hundreds, of other B westerns. The script is unique. Hellfire is the story of a gambler-turned-preacher looking to raise money to build a church. The best way to do this presents itself to him as catching the notorious Doll Brown and collecting the reward money for her capture. The interesting twist is that he's not willing to turn her in even after he's captured her. He's after her soul every bit as much as he's after the money. His goal is to convince her to turn herself in! What follows is plenty of action, a dose of screwball comedy, a burlesque song, and a nice bit of wild west preaching. All of this concludes in an ending which is as emotionally satisfying as it is sentimentally over-the-top. All of this is held together in the perfect performances of Bill Elliot and Marie Windsor. Good stuff indeed.

Sinister is worse than Brandon made it out to be. I can't even explain it. We get a shot of an 8mm film of girls hanging from a tree; cut to a shot of Hawke watching film; cut to film image; cut to Hawke writing in notebook; cut to film; cut to over-the-shoulder shot of notebook- Hawke writes, Why are girls in tree?; cut to film image; cut to close-up of writing in notebook. I know that I'm not remembering that sequence quite right, but that's about the moment when I shut off the movie. It was one stupid moment like that after another. Not to mention that Hawke's character is a complete idiot. Maybe he dies a grisly death at the end? I didn't stick around to find out.

Coffee and Cigarettes is fun to watch, but I don't feel satisfied after watching it. A little buzzed on caffeine and nicotine is all.

Oz: The Great and Powerful didn't quite awaken John Carter levels of Sense of Wonder in the kid-part of my brain. It still more than satisfied. I may be giving it extra points for being a part of a great day out with my girls. I expect that the rest of FC will skip this one, at least until DVD. I'll write more if anyone does watch it and wants to argue.

Station West is as tough as they come. It unravels a little too sloppily in the end. Up until that point, it's a tight knot of hard-boiled noir characters butting heads with one another, including a femme fatale who is, quite naturally, as dangerous as she is lovely.

In TV Club news, I'm done with Season 1 of Mad Men. It is a well-crafted show and I'll keep watching (I have Seasons 1-4 on DVD borrowed from my mother). I don't have much to say about it. I'm invested in Draper's story, I guess, but I don't much like him. The best moment is when the woman calls him out as a coward. I'd love to see Draper broken and repentant, but I don't think MM is ever going to go there. I'm guessing that he digs deeper into his Randian jerk-as-hero persona.

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