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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Stove Bolt Six, Steady Breaker or A Tin Lizzie

Cars that make the movie 

Clint Eastwood took the perfect car for a ride in "Gran Torino" (2008) - he captured a city (the motor city, that would be Detroit) on the edge of its love affair with the auto industry, defining itself as a city struggling for a new identity and showed the skilled laborer as a tough, insulate, ready guy of the line willing to open up to a new phase of understanding. The use of the Torino is a classic displacement of the glamor and adoration of old world craftsmanship mixed with automated assembly. Eastwood told his story with words everyone can understand. This is mine, I like things the way they are and I have a very cool car. 

What other films use a car to symbolize the identity of the hero and his time period? 

Presumptive Princess

Prince Albert II of Monaco was married yesterday, I know right? Never thought that was gonna happen. So its seems (yes, WIKI is a wonderful thing) that Albert's illegitimate children have no claim to the throne and its become of great concern that he has no direct heirs. So his sister Princess Caroline (totally our favorite right?) is heir presumptive. I'm not sure if its the stars in my eyes created by a Hollywood princess, but I've always found the Grimaldi's fascinating. 

In dedication to the lovely Grace Kelly who's charm and wit stole the heart of many, she was our American Princess long before marrying into royalty: 

"Dial M For Murder" (1954)- I had the honor to see this in 3D at the Redford Theater in a far northwest corner of Detroit on a rainy Friday evening. It was captivating.  Robert Cummings is smooth and fresh, Ms. Kelly is bright and lovely, both setting a perfect background for the devious calculating schemes of Ray Milland. Director Hitchock doesn't need over the top production to make this film riveting and satisfying. 

"Rear Window" (1954) - This is a perfect contrast film to "Dial M For Murder" to showcase Ms. Kelly's talent. Here she is slick, sophisticated and seductive. The perfect juxtapose to Jimmy Stewart's immobility she is flexible, rash and complex. 

"High Society" (1956) - There must be something about this play - it almost can't be done wrong. Normally, I would rant about remakes - but this one works for all the wrong reasons. No one here fits into good casting. If you watch "The Philadelphia Story" with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant you'll see what I mean....yet...this is a really decent film on its own. Humorous, well timed, cute and as we know, the camera loves Ms. Kelly well suited as a rich flighty love interest. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Summer in the City or The American Teenager is a little crazy

Perhaps the title should be, OH SO Emo......Teenagers are a different animal and as much as we can understand brain activity and hormones its so true what Chemical Romance shouts, "They all said TEENAGERS scared the livin' shit outta me ..So darken your clothes or strike a violent pose....' Nothing can be as scary as teenager angst movies: 

"Empire Records" (1995) - These days they are all grown up and have responsible acting careers, but way back in the day- Robin Tunney shaved her head, Liv Tyler wore a plaid skirt, Ethan Embry ooozed emotional stress and Rory Cochrane & Anthony LaPaglia hadn't become familiar cop faces on tv.....faced paced getting to know you flick with edgy grown ups like Maxwell Cauflield and Debi Mazar.

"Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (1982) - Sean Penn has fortunately grown way past his portrayal as Spicolli and he is probably extremely grateful. Its one of those roles that could stereotype and haunt you if you let it. A silly stoner, wish I could get a girl movie but with impressive acting, directing and editing. Pheobe Cates, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Forest Whitaker use this jumping off point to high light decent careers. 

"American Graffiti" (1973) - Fondly looking back at the angst of the 50's teen - the first generation with true leisure time and the freedom of automobiles. Great cast, interesting premise- slightly cheesy. You'll want to keep the remote in your hand to slow down and repeat for the cars....