One Bite at a Time




Monday, July 21, 2014

More Movies, Movies, Movies

Picking up where I left off last week:

Farewell, My Lovely. (1975) I never did find a DVD here, but a friend posted a YouTube link and I watched it there. More than a little disappointing. No one, to my knowledge, has ever filmed a Chandler book that did justice to the original material. The first attempt, Bogart’s The Big Sleep, tip-toed around what the Hayes Office would allow as well as it could. This did not allow it to include underground
pornography, Carmen Sternwood getting away with killing Rusty Regan (who is conveniently omitted), or Eddie Mars continuing to live a life of crime; the workarounds are top notch. Farewell, My Lovely, made in 1975, had no such excuses for combining and simplifying subplots: the running time is only 95 minutes, so length was not an issue. What’s left lacks any of the impact of what Chandler tried to project. The effort to recreate 1941 is too forced—Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak is shoved down your throat at every opportunity—and nothing flows. Robert Mitchum is good as a world-weary Marlowe, though his heart doesn’t really seem to be in it. The film does feature a perfectly cast 29-year-old Charlotte Rampling, so it wasn’t a complete waste of time.
                       
Terminator 2: Judgment Day. (1991) This was another HDNet flick, so I recorded it, as I think it’s one of the small handful of best action movies ever made. I still do. The special effects hold up well, and the chase scenes are spectacular, especially the tow truck chasing the dirt bike through the LA River. Just enough references to the original to let its fans feel like they’re on the inside. A great movie, not using “great” to mean “deeply moving” as in Schindler’s List  or Lawrence of Arabia; more like, “God-damn, that was a great movie!”


Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) This one didn’t hold up nearly as well. Leaving aside the scenery chewing (Leonard Nimoy and Kirstie Alley excepted, but they’re Vulcans, and overacting is not logical), the plot holes are too large to be ignored. What I remembered most were the “submarine movie” aspects, the cat and mouse of the two ships; what I forgot
was, this only takes about fifteen minutes. From how Paul Winfield could have confused which planet they were on to the creature that should have killed Chekhov abandoning him instead to the scanners that would not work in the nebula—except well enough to pick up Reliant’s critical turn—this one no longer works. The best part is Spock’s final scene, the quiet dignity he shows in adjusting his tunic when he realizes Kirk has come to him one last time.

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