Singin in the Rain

Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont (Gene Kelly and Jean Sagan) are the Hollywood power couple of their day. Audiences flock in their droves to see the latest Lockwood and Lamont pictures, back in the era of silent film making. However, with the introduction of new-fangled “Talkies” just around the corner, Lisa’s ever-growing ego and Don’s patience wearing thin, could their future be in danger of spinning off the reels?

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Singin’ in the Rain will be my last solo review of 2014. At the start of the year, and up until just a few days ago, I’d regarded it as my most heinous movie blind spot (I even called it that on Bubbawheat’s FilmWhys podcast) and as such it was at the top of my Most Anticipated from the 1001 List as a film I felt I really should see, and soon. I even saved it until the end of the year to increase the anticipation to almost unbearable levels. As it stands, even with all that pressure heaped upon it, and after a viewing that, for various reasons, had to be split in two, I thoroughly enjoyed this film.

That’s not to say it’s perfect, it definitely has a few flaws, so I’ll get those out of the way first. I’ll make an effort to dance around spoilers (I’d assumed I was the last film fan to see this, but I recently discovered at least a couple more who still have it in their futures), especially seeing as I knew practically nothing about this movie going in. Avoiding spoilers may be tricky, however, as my main issue with the film was the ending. I don’t mean how it ended story-wise – that was entirely as expected, was very satisfying and enjoyable. No, I wasn’t a fan of the dreary, soppy-eyed closing number that spoiled the ending, which would have been better suited to, in my opinion, fading straight from an embrace to the billboard, skipping the song entirely.

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Marty

Marty Piletti (Ernest Borgnine) is 34 years old, works as a butcher’s assistant and lives with his Italian mother (Esther Minciotti) in their family home in New York. All day long his customers tell him he should be ashamed of himself for not being married yet, a sentiment which is compounded by the fact that all five of his brothers and sisters, some of whom are younger than Marty, are married. Every Saturday night has been spent looking for that special someone with his friend Angie (Joe Mantell), and every attempt at finding love ends in failure, so Marty has called time on the game, and given up his search, believing himself too ugly, fat and small to ever attract a girl.Marty-vita-di-un-timido-1 Continue reading

Oklahoma!

This review was originally written as part of my USA Road Trip series for French Toast Sunday.

Curly (Gordon MacRae) loves Laurey (Shirley Jones), but pretends he doesn’t. Laurey loves him right back but is too stubborn to say so. Jud Fry (Rod Steiger) the farmhand lusts for Laurey too. Laurey’s friend Ado Annie (Gloria Grahame) is betrothed to Will Parker (Gene Nelson), but he can’t get Annie’s father’s permission until he has at least $50 to his name. Whilst Will has been earning the money in Kansas City, Annie has blossomed somewhat as a woman, and found herself with plenty of suitors, believing her most recent conquest, travelling salesman Ali Hakim (Eddie Albert), wants her for his wife. Laurey’s Aunt Eller (Charlotte Greenwood) watches everything with a wry smile and a disapproving eye, making remarks that aren’t funny, but which everyone in the film laughs raucously at anyway. Also: everyone sings.
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The Sorrow and the Pity

The Sorrow and the Pity is a documentary, initially released in 1969, which focusses on the relationship between France and Germany during the Second World War, specifically the Nazi occupation of the French city of Clermont-Ferrand. However, that’s not what this review is very much about.
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Audition

After his wife dies and his son grows up,  Shigeharu (Ryo Ishibashi) is encouraged to look for a new wife. A friend of his in the film industry suggests setting up an audition process, under the guise of looking for a star for a new movie, during which Shigeharu can scope out the perfect candidate. He is initially apprehensive of these underhand tactics, but eventually concedes and goes ahead. During the trials, it is clear one girl stands out; Asami (Eihi Shiina). The two meet up, but Shigeharu soon suspects everything with his new dream girl may not be as perfect as it seems.audition Continue reading

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

This review was originally written as part of my USA Road Trip series at French Toast Sunday. I also reviewed the film recently for Blueprint: Review.

Five youths – two couples and the wheelchair-bound brother of one of the couples’ female halves – are travelling through Texas, first checking that their ancestors’ resting places haven’t been disturbed in a recent bout of grave digging, before spending some time at an abandoned house owned by the parents of the brother and sister. However, a creepy hitch-hiker and a very-much-not-abandoned house nearby put something of a damper onto their vacationing plans. Continue reading