Sunday, February 5, 2017

Hammer Watch: The Wicker Man (1973)

For about two decades I'd intended to see this movie, and somehow just never got around to it.  I'd guess this is partly because I had no idea why I was supposed to see this movie.  People would just say "you've never seen The Wicker Man?" and I'd say I hadn't, and they'd laugh knowingly and tell me to add it to my queue.

I should pause here and point out - apparently I never ask what a movie is about when being given a recommendation.  You'd think I'd care more.

Friday evening, I swung by Vulcan Video on my way home and, after some deliberation, selected this movie out of the sea of titles.  Saturday night Jamie and I stayed in, and while I'd planned to watch The Wicker Man (1973) after she went to bed, we wound up dropping it in the player and watching it together.

Suffice it to say, I now know what The Wicker Man is about, and I get why it has a reputation as a bit of must-see cult cinema in The States, and - I guess - a bit more of a reputation in the UK.  It also was not what I'd call Jamie's cup of tea, and I suppose she'll be picking the next three or four movies we watch together.

The timing is a bit odd.  I'm currently wrapping up a multi-hour/ multi-part series from the You Must Remember This Podcast, something called "Charles Manson's Hollywood".  I'll talk more about that series and the podcast in a future post, but I've spent the past week or so thinking a lot about the hippie and counter-culture scene of the 60's that bled into the 1970's of late, and the bending of free-love into very traditional gender roles, exploration of the psyche via psychedelics and non-Judeo-Christian religion, communal utopianism - and how most of that collapsed in on itself, sometimes ending in violence...  Well, you can see how I might have drawn some parallels here.

Noir Watch: Road House (1948)

Before all of you get excited, I did not watch the Patrick Swayze movie of the same name.  So settle the hell down.

Instead, I spent part of my Saturday watching the Ida Lupino starring noir, Road House (1948).  And, coincidentally, I finished the movie, looked at facebook and the Film Noir Foundation informed me that it was Lupino's birthday.  So, happy birthday, Ida.

I'd heard some good things about Road House, and I'm becoming a bit of a fan of Lupino.  Add in that the cast included Richard Widmark in crazy-villain mode, and it was one of my two rentals from Vulcan Video on Friday night.

Texas Watch: Hell or High Water (2016)

If you've seen the trailer for this movie, and you think that maybe you have a rough idea of what this movie will be like - bingo.  You are correct.

Hell or High Water (2016) is currently nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, which is maybe the surest sign that the Academy is comprised of white people over the age of 65.  A post No Country for Old Men meditation on justice in the sun-baked desert plains of West Texas, it's an enjoyable enough way to spend the run-time of a movie.  But with no non-standard plot turns or character moments, a movie where the sub-text of the film is text, it's the sort of thing that's been done better elsewhere (see the movie named at the beginning of this sentence) and has characters walking a path of moral uncertainty enough that you can say it has some edge to it.

That said, I didn't actually dislike Hell or High Water.  It's a fine movie with characters you'll enjoy (I've seen these same characters done a few dozen times, and if you're going to do those characters, this is pretty good), a decent plot, and if you like Chris Pine (I do!) and Jeff Bridges (what sort of psychopath doesn't like Jeff Bridges?), I've got a movie I'd say you can watch comfortably with your dad.  Or, better yet, your sibling.