blogger, Classics, Movies, The 'Stringbean' Effect, The 500 Film Challenge, The Good Stuff

#431: You Can’t Take It With You

Good morning everyone.


Sorry for this late post, I was completely distracted after watching this, plus I was eager to finish my thoughts on Waiting for Forever. I’m prone to having writer’s block so I have to be weary of my ideas.

3 May 2011

Anyway, I’ve finally found a copy of this 1938 film by Frank Capra starring Lionel Barrymore, Edward Arnold, James Stewart and Jean Arthur in a screenplay by Robert Riskin, and based upon a play by George S. Kaufman. This film was done before Capra and Stewart went to the war. This film won 2 Oscars for best picture and best director.

Upon reading Frank Capra’s biography written by James McBride, I have concluded that Capra is fond of the idyllic image of the American family, which I guess he plans on incorporating in other families that might stumble upon his movies. Most of his best loved films such as this are in black and white, and I can’t help but imagining when the technicolor paint might come in and fully add color to his characters.

In this film wherein he works firsthand with his soon to be Mr. Deeds star James Stewart, one of MGM’s fresh studio actors, and Lionel Barrymore whom he both works with in his Christmas classic It’s A Wonderful Life, and other studio actors at the time such as Edward Arnold and Jean Arthur. This film is about an eccentric family who’s only normal daughter is soon to be engaged with the vice-president of the company she works for. Along with this engagement is the arrangement that the two families should get along, or at least get to know one another before the couple weds.

One night, as Tony Kirby (Stewart) invites Alice Sycamore to dinner for her to meet his socialite mother and his rich-banker father. After a huge embarrassment which the couple are able to escape from and ends the night in a rumble of rich socialites in fear of a potential rodent, Alice tells Tony that unless his parents wouldn’t get to know her casual self along with her family then it’s no sense for them to get married at all. Under the impression that all Alice wants is for him and his family to arrive to the Vanderhof household without further notice — meaning, to surprise them at their most casual evening — he invites his parents to the Vanderhof household where they catch the odd family, yes, in their most casual evening where everyone is allowed to play any musical instrument, dance to any music they want, while others basically do what they want to do.

I have not seen the play version of George S. Kaufman (if only I could, of course) but in this genre of family and fun loving films, You Can’t Take It With You is easy to like and to have a good laugh at. My favorite scene would have to be Barrymore’s discussion about the difference between his life and that of the Kirby’s. This movie is best watched at night when you’ve already done the dishes and all you want is a classic feel-good movie from one of America’s greatest film directors.

Indie, Movies, The 500 Film Challenge, The Good Stuff, Thriller Shocker

#429: Hard Candy

6 May 2011

 Ellen Page always gives out a kick-ass performance as shown in this film and in hr 2006 Oscar winning performance in Jason Bateman’s Juno. Two years before Juno, she opted to shave her head and play the role of a girl who’s just shaved her head and cares no less at what people may think or see about her.

Hence, in this film she plays [yet again] a kid who meets up with a guy she chatted up with online who’s about 18 years her senior with whom she suspects is a pedophile.

 Patrick Wilson plays Jeff, a photographer whose subjects mostly incorporate women, and girls way young to be his niece. At the first part of the movie, we see the two chatting up online. Ellen plays Hayley, a fourteen year old honor student who thinks way beyond her years. After flirting up with Jeff online, she asks him if it’s okay to hook up. Jeff being slightly unaware of the way Hayley throws herself at him incessantly agrees and meets up with her at a coffee shop.


Upon “hooking up”, Hayley takes a bite out of the chocolate cake she orders, leaving a mess of chocolate in her lips. Jeff comes into the scene as if that part was a bit acted out accordingly by Hayley to see if Jeff will feel turned on by this gesture… which I think he does feel after introducing himself to her, and her introducing herself to him likewise.

Jeff invites Hayley to his home. Hayley never forgets to mention the fact that out of 5 doctors, 4 of them thinks she’s insane. Jeff thinks perhaps that Hayley’s just playing coy and doesn’t really mean what she just said. As soon as they get to Jeff’s home, Jeff shows her some of the photographs he’s taken including one for a woman named Janelle. Hayley asks him if he’s aware of the legal boundaries there is for taking photographs of women and girls being exposed in this kind of form. Jeff says that he is aware. Hayley though insists that he might want to do them deep inside. Jeff admits that the only girl he wanted since he was young was Janelle. A couple of screwdrivers after, Hayley insist that Jeff take a photograph of her like the models who throw themselves at him for a picture. She runs into his living room and strip dances for him, Jeff walks in carrying a camera to try and get a photo of her. As effect though of something Hayley put in his drink, he gets disoriented and falls. He wakes up tied up in a chair and soon begins a series of torture Hayley does to get the truth from him about his pedophilia and about a girl that is currently reported missing.

 One thing I could never fathom to do while watching this flick was to eat chocolate ice cream in a cup. Yes, in a cup and not in a cone. Or even if it was in a cone, I would never eat it. You’ll understand why when you see the fourth or third from the last torture done by Page. Although I don’t carry any balls, I don’t think I’d need a medical text to understand how difficult and how painful that torture scene might be to play. I like how Patrick Wilson played Jeff. He kept his cool for the most part of the film, was indirectly malicious and still charmingly handsome. I’ve seen this movie before on cable but I never remembered him to be playing the part of Jeff. I always thought it would either be Mark Wahlberg or Sam Rockwell would fit the part, but then again it would look assumingly possible.

The cinematography and the camera angles were great, too. The stunts, although I don’t think Ellen Page would need a double for the stunts she made on this film, were quite accurate and possible. I was bothered though how on earth would she manage to carry Patrick Wilson? I guess for that she needed help.

Anyway, I’d watch this film again and would remember it as a fantastic thriller similar to the way I felt when I watched Michael Haneke’s Funny Games. I didn’t feel cheated at all and my time was well spent just watching this. I must say as well that David Slade is now officially an expert at making me feel uneasy. Sandra Oh’s cameo was sufficient, and it wasn’t necessary for her anymore to come back after her 15 minute exposure in the film. Otherwise it would have been a completely different ending.

Love Stories, Movies, Semi-bad films, The 500 Film Challenge

#430: Waiting on Forever

3 May 2011

I simply wanted to watch this film because of it’s poster.

Anyway, this film stars Rachel Bilson, newcomer Tom Sturridge, Jamie King, Matthew Davis, Scott Mechlowicz, Richard Jenkins and Blythe Danner. Directed by James Keach, this romantic drama is about a jobless juggler named Will Donner who follows his childhood sweetheart Emma Twist from California to her home in Pittsburgh. Emma goes home to be with her dying father (Jenkins) and her mother (Danner, yes she’s Gwyneth Palthrow’s mom, children.) and to leave her complicated life and failing career as an actress.

Her boyfriend Aaron follows her home to confess about her infidelity to her father. Meanwhile, Emma spends the whole day with Will and reminisces the days when they were both young and admits about the status of her relationship with Aaron. Later she finds out that Will has been following her all the way from California and asks him to promise not to follow her ever again. Will painstakingly keeps his promise and leaves town.

After a couple of minutes of watching Will drift into tears and memories of the past, we are sent into a version of why Aaron, Emma’s boyfriend, had to follow her back to her home. As it turns out, upon confronting the guy Emma had allegedly slept with, Aaron bursts out into anger and kills the guy. Afterwards, Emma knocks on his door and ask for his forgiveness. She also mentions about Will following her around town. Aaron asks for his name and later on uses this to put all the blame on killing the alleged “other guy” to Will.

After Will gets bailed out and disappears fully out of Emma’s sight, a series of unfortunate things happen around Aaron and at the same time Emma’s father dies, too. Emma realizes that Will is someone of whom she’s truly worth having and the wait doesn’t seem to be forever after all.

Newcomer Tom Sturridge plays the squinty-eyed romantic Will Donner who for some weird reason doesn’t fail to play the role of the stupid and naive yet he can still look like he can kill you in a second. Rachel Bilson seems like she’s still portraying Rachel Bilson, effortless and still in a very The O.C kinda way (the show, not the disorder). Although you can’t blame her, ’cause her role is quite minimalist, it’s just that there’s always some other character who fills in the way she delivers, in this case it’s just Sturridge’s.

Richard Jenkins plays the father, who convincingly sounds courages to the fact that his character will die soon as the film progresses. My favorite part would have to be the bathtub scene, wherein he finally unleashes the real side to his wife, played by Blythe Danner about her attitude towards her husband’s situation.

This movie has a lot to work out on but since it’s already out there I guess there’s nothing else that we can do but watch it. If only it weren’t for the big heart on the movie poster, I wouldn’t be interested in this. However, there were parts that I did like, most parts were okay, most parts were just incredulous to begin with. The part wherein Will’s brother, played by Scott Mechlowicz bails Will out of jail and talks to him at the back of the car is reminiscent of Elia Kazan’s On The Waterfront and the infamous “I coulda been a contender Charlie, I coulda been a contender” scene. It fails to deliver the same strength though, as the movie yet again drifts to another conflict.

All in all, I can suggest this movie to those who’re into seeing boys pour out themselves over and over again.

Classics, Movies, The 500 Film Challenge, The Good Stuff

#432: The Graduate

2 May 2011

This American film by Mike Nichols is as hot as the noontime weather. Starring Dennis Hoffman, Katharine Ross and Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson, I have a couple of things to look forward to in watching this movie. The music was mostly provided by Simon and Garfunkel. Screenplay written by Buck Henry and Calder Willingham. I’ve finally been able to find a copy of this upon a trip to Makati Cinema Square.

Benjamin Braddock (Hoffman) just graduated from college and is about to return to his California suburb relatives who no nothing but party, play socialites, and be amused by what money can buy. All he ever seemed to want after graduation was to think about the inevitable future that one is naturally about to encounter post-grad.

However, upon his return home his family demands that he play his part as the successful young college grad that everybody expects him to be. This adds up to his confusion about the night. For the rest of the first ten to fifteen minutes of the film, we get confused as well about what to feel, along with Benjamin and the swirling aura of faces drenched in alcohol and fake laughter. In two weeks he gets to play this part up until he gets the chance to finally think and be left alone to himself..inside a scuba outfit which he demonstrates in a pool party his parents conducted for his 21st birthday. We’re brought along with his depression as he falls into the pool.

During the night of his arrival, one of his parent’s contemporaries Mrs. Robinson (Bancroft) seduces him. She admits to liking him and she asks that whenever Benjamin is either bored that he give her a call and they arrange to meet and sleep together. Benjamin is horrified at the idea but at the end of his two weeks staying at home pondering, he gives her a call and they meet at a hotel where mostly old people socialize.

After sometime, his parents insist that he date the young Elaine Robinson who seems to be his match, knowing that she studies in Berkeley and also has a bright future ahead. Upon realizing that this may cause a conflict in his affair with Mrs. Robinson, although he feels nothing towards Mrs. Robinson, he declines this offer but goes in it anyway and soon after falls in love with Elaine (Ross).

In the end, he proves his love to Elaine and to the rest of the Robinsons as he steals Elaine, who just got married to Chris (a blonde frat boy), from the altar and the two jumps into a bus with everyone in it staring back at them.

Now consider this being shown back in the 60s, this film (according to my dad) seems to be in its extremes, and has been an inspiration to numerous outrageous chick flicks today (the scene where Benjamin searches for the right church where his lady love is getting married into up to the part where he taps into the window of the church screaming “Elaine!!” has been imitated by Mike Meyers in Wayne’s World..). Its one of the best satirical comedies I’ve ever seen in which I can relate to along with my other high school classmates who’s just recently graduated. It exudes the late 60s era, and it inexplicably tells us something that not only are the events in it funny, but they’re mostly real.

Dennis Hoffman plays Benjamin Braddock really well wherein he looks as awkward about the whole situation wherein it somehow makes us feel that we too should feel the same thing. Anne Bancroft plays Mrs. Robinson opposite of what I expected her to be. I thought she would be obviously seductive but the way she portrayed her character, in which it wasn’t obvious at first that the persona of her character would be interested in consciously lost Benjamin. She handled it very well and is an epitome of sexiness and convinced us as well that her shrewdness is inevitable.

Katharine Ross (whom I originally thought was Mrs. Robinson, my mistake.) played the doe-eyed Elaine Robinson with beauty and depth and was completely good at being the middleman and Braddock’s perfect resolution.

The Graduate is an inexplicably directed satire, written well into the depths of what we most often are tired to admit. What I could not stand though was the fact that I’ve heard Simon and Garfunkle’s ‘Scarborough Fair’ not only once but on numerous occasions inappropriate. But nonetheless, this film is so good that I would like to watch it again.

blogger, Movies, The 500 Film Challenge

TFMC # 443 and 442

April 24th


I’ve had a great weekend so far. I’m no catholic but since I live in a catholic country, most shops are closed during the lent. Hence, I was able to watch a couple of movies from Friday the 22nd till Saturday 23rd.

#443: The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (22 April 2011)

Was never a fan of Matthew McCaugnahey, but I am a fan of Emma Stone and Jennifer Garner. All the while I kept thinking, and calculating how old the guy who played Matthew’s kind-of brother really is in real life. As I could remember, he was also in Clueless and a number of other 90s movies. He never changed in appearance. I couldn’t even tell if he looked older or younger. It’s weird.

Anyway, I have never seen this movie in full up until tonight via HBO. It’s about a bachelor who takes a trip to the past to visit every girl he’s been to bed with, from the shortest hook up to the longest which only took him a day. Until he realizes that the only girl/woman he’s ever loved is about to get married. It’s basically the same old love story. Nothing really special about this flick… although I must say the part that made me stand up from the couch and get a glass of warm milk was the part wherein the three tiered cake crumbled down to pieces. Again, I was never impressed by Matthew’s abs.

#442: The Green Hornet (22 April 2011)

Directed by Michel Gondry, the same guy who directed The Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep, starring Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Tom Wilkinson (also from Eternal Sunshine..), and Christoph Waltz who reprises his role as a bad guy who doesn’t look like he’s got the confidence of it.

This film remake of the 1960s classic and comic stands firmly as a good reference for comparison in case someone else in the future might think of doing yet another remake for this film. It’s a good thing they hired Gondry and his team of cartoon and CGI geniuses to do the editing and visual effects for most of the fight scenes. And it’s also a good thing they found Jay Chou to play Kato, the nameless sidekick who gave justice in being a modern day Kato (of course, nobody can be compared to Bruce Lee. I mean it. Nobody). It’s also a good thing they found Seth Rogen to play the nonsense Green Hornet. Although I’m not sure if the Green Hornet in the show was the same as the one portrayed in this flick or if they just changed it differently for perspective purposes. I would like to comment to the many reviews I’ve read about Rogen and Diaz’ chemistry. First of all, there was never that much chemistry to begin with. Second, why haven’t they noticed that she was more involved into Kato than towards Britt?

To be honest though, I thought Rogen would be a bit of a badass, superhero kind of thing. But not too bad though, I guess his style is really towards the sloppy type. I am not surprised to find Jay Chou to be such a cutie.

All in all, I give this movie a 3.0/5 (5 being the highest).