Tuesday, May 03, 2011

An Alan Smithee Film Festival, May 4 - May 10, 2011

Three Kings (1999)
Alan Smithee attended a screening of Three Kings when it was released, and he remembers enjoying it, so he thought it worth a re-viewing. There's no doubt it entertains. It goes slack in the second half, and loses its sense of humor, but overall, it satisfies. This was the first film in which George Clooney successfully controlled his distracting head-wagging, and shedding that one tic paved the way for his transformation to Hollywood mega-superstar. Recommended.

The Crazies (2010)

This slightly above-average film is made substantially more watchable by the presence of Timothy Olyphant, who is on Alan Smithee's list of men he would consider switching teams for. Alan Smithee is currently prepared to cuddle with Mr. Olyphant should he request it. Anything more, and Alan Smithee would have to think about it.

Up (2009)
Pixar has made two masterpieces, Monsters, Inc. (2001) and WALL-E(2008); there is a good argument for calling Up their third. Alan Smithee saw Up in 3D when it was released, so he was curious whether it would entertain in RegularD. For those wondering: it does. Pixar has only made two turkeys, Cars (2006) and Ratatouille (2007). Yet their next scheduled release is Cars 2. Explain.

The Search (1948)
An honestish and frank look at post-World War II orphaned children. This was Montgomery Clift's first film, and it's clear he meant to bring a "naturalness" to his performance. He seems to be in a different movie than everyone else, for better or worse. The New York Times wrote that Clift brought "precisely the right combination of intensity and casualness into the role." Alan Smithee found the casualness at odds with the tone of the film. Recommended for its sensitivity to the subject matter, and for its setting; the film was shot in the ruins of post-war Germany.

The Cat's Meow (2001)
This moderately well-reviewed Peter Bogdanovich film doesn't add up to a lot. It picks up in the second half, if you make it that far, when Edward Herrmann, who Alan Smithee remembers fondly from TV's Gilmore Girls, finds an opportunity to entertain. To be watched if you are home sick and don't have the energy to change the channel.

Back from Eternity (1956)
A standard adventure film made above-average by excellent acting from Robert Ryan and Rod Steiger (the New York Times called their performances "outstandingly conventional"). William C. Mellor, who was cinematographer on Giant, Bad Day at Black Rock, and many others, contributes much to the film's atmosphere.

Tarzan's New York Adventure (1942)
Surprisingly, TNYA was well-reviewed by several sources. The film has about 1,000 percent more chimpanzee shenanigans than any person over the age of six would care to view, and a little bit of Johnny Weissmuller goes a long way, however, the scenes featuring a scantily-clad Maureen O'Sullivan as Jane make it all worthwhile.
You see what I mean

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968)
Life is miserable for everybody, and then they die. Here's a film about that.

My Gun Is Quick (1957)
Old B-movies were often filmed on location rather than in the studio to save money, and that can give them a kind of realism not found in A-movies. My Gun Is Quick, however, was filmed at Allied Artists Studio, a so-called "poverty-row studio." The sets look cheap, and they're almost barren. Add to that a dull script (though with one or two zingers) and you have a decidedly boring affair. The acting, surprisingly, is not terrible. Better than Johnny Weissmuller.

Lured (1947)
How can you go wrong with a cast that includes George Sanders, Joseph Calleia, Boris Karloff, Charles Coburn and Lucille Ball in a film directed by Douglas Sirk? This is a fun little film, shot with flair, that becomes less interesting near the end as it focuses on the solution to the murder-mystery. Recommended.

The Illusionist (2010)
During Alan Smithee's formative years, he and his father made regular pilgrimages to two great Sacramento movie houses, The Showcase and The Old J (both now defunct). At some point, he saw the entire Jacques Tati oeuvre, so his hopes were high for this new animated film from the director of the creepy The Triplets of Belleville (2003). Fortunately, Chomet's penchant for grotesque characters is kept in check, and he is unable to ruin the bittersweet story by Tati.

Millennium (1989)
The weak link in this sci-fi movie, as you might guess, is Cheryl Ladd. I hate to say it, as she was my favorite Angel. Her acting is oddly better when she plays her character in the future, but Alan Smithee is splitting hairs - she still stinks pretty bad. Still, it holds the attention, and it's better than My Gun Is Quick.

This concludes the Alan Smithee Film Festival. Now, isn't it time for your own film festival?

9 comments:

Kurt said...

I wish I could have been there.

tut-tut said...

I'm having my own TV festival of adolescent British humor: Peep Show and That Mitchell and Webb Look.

tut-tut said...

Alan Smithee, kudos to you for saying The Triplets of Belleville is creepy! Indeed.

Alan Smithee said...

So creepy!

Casey said...

Where can I buy tickets to this festival?

Alan Smithee said...

Attendance is on a drop-in basis.

The rules said...

What did people wear on the red carpet at the festival?

Alan Smithee said...

A tee shirt and house pants.

tony said...

Re:Timothy Olyphant.....I recommend playing hard to get