Monday, March 16, 2015

Movies Since Last Time (Again)

It’s been busy in and around Castle Schadenfreude, so movie watching took a bit of a hit. What we watched was good, so there’s that.

Legends of the Fall (1995). Always worth watching. Great cast, all at the top of their games. Great story,
where the individual trials of every character resonate and create empathy. Well photographed. Well paced. A chick flick men can watch and not feel as if their balls are shriveling scene by scene. One hell of a movie.

The Enemy Below (1957). I saw this as a kid—read the book, too, in Reader’s Digest condensed version—and wondered how it might hold up. It’s   
even better than I remembered it, probably because I missed the anti-war sentiments the first time around. They’re not all handled as smoothly as they might be, and we’ve seen a lot of similar scenes since, but this was good stuff for 58 years ago. One of Robert Mitchum’s best performances, with Curd Jürgens a more than able foil as the U-boat commander. All the tension of an excellent submarine/destroyer battle film—I’m a sucker for scenes inside a sub that’s being pinged—with a good portrayal of men who’d rather be elsewhere, doing their jobs. Well worth the time.

Glory (1989). As in the event, the white officer (Matthew Broderick) got top billing, but the black troops (notably Andre Braugher, Morgan Freeman, and Denzel Washington, in an Oscar-winning performance) do all the work. Broderick’s generally a fine actor, but he’s in over his head here, with an accent I tried to place for two hours, but couldn’t. This is a great story, about the 54th Massachusetts regiment in the Civil War, an all-black outfit led by white officers who come to see why these men need to do more than dig ditches. Glory treads a fine line between the glorification and horrors of combat. These men want to fight, and many of them die horribly, but for a while they lived as equal men, at least in their own eyes, and the eyes of their officers. One hopes that was enough for them.

Eddie Murphy: Delirious (1983). Murphy’s first HBO special, filmed at DAR Constitution Hall. Some of the topics feel uncomfortable thirty years later, but they’re still funny, even if one feels awkward laughing at them in the 21st Century. Murphy is a joy, embracing his new-found celebrity (he’s only 22 and still working onSaturday Night Live) without seeming to take himself too seriously. After the different phases of his movie career, it’s easy to forget why younger comics like Chris Rock worship at the altar or Murphy until one goes back to see him in his unvarnished original incarnation. Laughed so hard my head hurt.


pattinase (abbott) said...

I miss that Eddie Murphy.

Dana King said...

I've been a big fan since I first saw him om SNL, and it was good to be reminded what a unique talent he was. Our timing was good, too, as we'd just seen bits of his stuff on SNL during hs 40th anniversary show. He might have been the best, and most influential comedian, of his generation, influenced by Carlin and Pryor , and passing that along with his own twist to everyone else. Add that to his early movie work (48 Hours and Beverly Hills Cop), where they did some stuff n o one had done before. A trend-setter in a lot of ways.