Thursday, 26 August 2010

(500) Films of Empire - Day 345

221 - McCabe and Mrs Miller - 2 stars
I can't understand why this film is on the list ahead of another Beatty classic and superior film Bonnie And Clyde.
A more low-key adventure for Beatty who teams up with another beautiful woman to cause some mischief, but in this case running a saloon and whorehouse in a remote mining town.
Feathers are ruffled when he turns down an offer to buy out the business which results in bounty hunters coming to town to take McCabe out.
The look and feel of the film seem to have been an inspiration for Assassination Of Jesse James, in that both are Westerns that try to avoid the normal conventions of the genre.
This film seems to be thought of quite highly but I just couldn't get into it because of the poor quality of the DVD transfer. It was incredibly dark and grainy, and reminded me of trying to watch a dark scene at a 3D movie, which was very distracting.

104 - The Rules Of The Game (La Regle Du Jeu) - 4 stars
An amusing farce where the French upper class play a game of love, lies and betrayal whilst on a vacation at a remote country house.
Murder is on the cards (what is it about country mansions that inspire murder? Do the rich have nothing else to do?), and the tension builds as we try and figure out who will be killed and who will pull the trigger.
Well paced, witty and very French, it shows the gulf between the classes before the war and delights in playing them against each other.

19 - The Godfather Part II - 5 stars
Greatest sequel ever made? Better than the original? I'm not sure.
Still a damn fine piece of filmmaking though.
I don't think I've ever known 3 hours and 22 minutes to pass so quickly.
Al Pacino has never been better than his portrayal of Michael Corleone and the movie focuses on his descent into hell, becoming his father despite the fact that in the first film he was the one who intended to avoid the family business. He is able to do much with just a look, it's in the eyes and he manages to say a lot without having to resort to the shouty bombastics which have become his usual acting schtick late in his career.
The trail of blood that he spills on his way to cementing his position as The Godfather is mirrored by Vito Corleone's rise to power and revenge with Robert DeNiro doing an excellent job trying to make the role his own whilst having some early Brando in there too.
The cast is fantastic and Coppolla allows each one to shine without unbalancing the film and keeps a tight hold of the story which could threaten to get off point at times but manages to produce another terrific piece of filmmaking from the "golden age" of Hollywood when filmmakers and originality were focused on rather than technology and profit.

Days remaining - 20 Films remaining - 19

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