It was a very light month, between travel and catching up on TV shows and just not having a lot of time to watch movies. I suspect May will be better. I know I’m going to see The Avengers, and I probably will try for The Pirates as well.
The Kiss (1929) — The last silent film made by both MGM and Greta Garbo. There’s not much more to say about it, other than thankfully, it’s short. Standard plot about a woman fought over by men, until one shoots another. She’s unhappily married, in love with a lawyer, but it’s a friend’s son who finally acts on his crush. Rather confusing to today’s viewers, since characters’ motivations aren’t very plausible at times.
The Single Standard (1929) — This was the one Garbo made right before The Kiss. Another typical story, aimed at showing us how marriage is the right thing and fooling around is bad. Garbo’s Arden sails off with a boxer/painter (Nils Asther) she met the night before, living with him alone on his boat. When he ditches her — she’s too much of a distraction from his “work” — she returns home, marries the nice guy waiting for her (John Mack Brown) even though she still loves the tough guy artist, and has a child. When her ex-lover returns, the nice guy won’t let her run off with him and ruin her reputation. Instead, he offers to have a “hunting accident” the next day to make her “honorably free” to rejoin the bad boy. But seeing her kid makes her decide to do the right thing and maintain the bonds of matrimony. The only surprising elements of the movie to me were an early scene with the chauffeur, who is discouraged from being involved with Arden, and the suicide offer.
The Incredible Hulk (2008) — Well, I saw it. I thought it was pretty boring and depressing, but I was treating it like homework before The Avengers anyway. I was disappointed they didn’t have more comic-related extras, but those are apparently on the 2003 Hulk movie DVD.
It’s Complicated (2009) — KC didn’t understand what I meant when I said this was a Nancy Myers movie. It’s lady porn, full of gorgeous kitchens and a story firmly centered on a woman’s wants and fears, where everything is about her, so unlike most of the rest of popular culture. (That’s best exemplified by the venom that Myers’ work receives from “serious” male critics.) This is a movie aimed firmly at an audience often under-served by Hollywood, one who cares about having loving children and the fantasy of an ex-husband who left for a younger woman seeing the error of his ways and wanting to come back. The scenes where Meryl Streep and her three friends sit around a meal and chat stunned me, because it has been a long time since I’ve seen that many women of a certain age (and who showed it, not Botoxed or plasticized) talking to each other on film.
Jonah Hex (2010) — The only part I liked was the Civil War-era scenery. Giving Jonah the ability to raise and talk to the dead was stupid, but if I started listing everything the movie got wrong, I’d be here forever. I felt sorry for Josh Brolin having to talk through that prosthetic the whole time, and I wish the thing hadn’t been shot so dark, so I could have seen Jeffrey Dean Morgan better. We got it just to keep the collection of DC comic movies complete. (I’ve given up on the Marvel one, since I don’t want to see the Punisher movies for any reason.)
Less Than Zero (1987) — What a time capsule. The movie is a walking anti-drug ad, but I still miss the fashions and design of that era. I’d watch the Imperial Bedrooms followup, if they ever make that movie.
The Pick-Up Artist (1987) — Another reminder of why it doesn’t make sense to be a completist. I like Robert Downey (no Jr. in these credits) a lot, but this is a bad movie. Not even good bad, just mediocre, lying there, begging you to ignore it. The most interesting thing about it was who showed up in little roles, from Harvey Keitel to Christine Baranski. Co-stars a tired-looking Molly Ringwald.
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