Tuesday, 1 December 2009

(500) Films of Empire - Day 77

495 - Jailhouse Rock - 2 stars
This is the first Elvis Presley movie that I've seen. Pretty sure they were shown on BBC2 on a weekend afternoon back in the nineties but I remember growing up watching the Martin & Lewis comedies on a Saturday afternoon, really enjoyed those, but none on the list.
Interesting move to have Elvis's character rather dislikable; a self absorbed ex-con (on manslaughter no less, no petty crimes here), but this was made just after Rebel Without A Cause when the moody, sexy teenager was the King of Cool, and Elvis certainly ticked those boxes.
A very average movie that would have benefitted from more of Elvis's greatest hits (only the title number is a classic) in this tale of an ex-con who makes it big in the music business and Hollywood before learning a life lesson about not being such a twat!

124 - The Silence Of The Lambs - 4 stars
"It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again". Still hard to believe that a psycho thriller like this scooped all the top Oscars (film, director, screenplay, actor, actress) and only the third horror film to be nominated for the Best Picture prize. But the reason it won is because this is an extremely well made movie (even though the look of the film has dated slightly in the last ten years). Several fantastic set pieces; the 'wrong door' raid on Bill's hideout, the Night Vision sequence and the wonderful execution of Lecter's escape, done with a bait and switch that would have tickled Hitchcock. But the success of the movie comes down to the performances of the leads Foster and Hopkins. I say leads, but Hopkins' charasmatic cannibal is only in the film for just over 20 minutes yet makes such a lasting impression, "I ate her liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti" that it seems like he is there the whole time. He is a complete psychopath, shown in the viciousness of his escape, yet we are happy that he is going to get his revenge on the slimy Dr Chilton. So popular was Hannibal the Cannibal (Hopkins slightly hammy portrayal, not Brian Cox's in Manhunter) that we would endure a couple of inferior remakes/sequels/prequels/etc and spoofs that it nearly impacts on the effectiveness of this film. Forget the rest and enjoy one of the best serial killer movies ever made.

Days remaining - 288 Films remaining - 384

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