Wednesday, 28 April 2010

(500) Films of Empire - Day 224

221 - Far From Heaven - 3 stars
There is a phrase "they don't make them like that anymore" but with Far From Heaven, director Todd Haynes has managed to make one like that. In particular he has managed to recreate the look and feel of a Douglas Sirk film, a 50's melodrama where the fashions are perfect and young ids say "Aw shucks" and call their parents "Sir", and that has at its core a wonderful performance by Julianne Moore.
She is becomes the subject of much housewife gossip when her husband (played by Dennis Quaid in a very underrated performance) comes out as a homosexual, and seeks solace in the form of her black gardener President Palmer from 24.
Sounds like a standard episode of the Jeremy Kyle show but back in the fifties this would have been quite the scandal!

136 - Amadeus - 3 stars
I want to bring up a quick issue that I have with films that use voiceover narration as a storytelling device. In this film, Salieri is recounting his life and rivalry with Mozart to a priest. Therefore it is his version of the story he is telling the audience. Yet there are numerous scenes in which he does not appear. How does he know exactly what occurred? Or is it his version of events made up from second hand accounts, etc? Can it be trusted? Is this why Mozart has such an annoying laugh?
Not a biopic in the traditional sense, more a look at one man's obsession with Mozart and how he was so talented in the eyes of God, so much so that Salieri gave up on his owntalent in order to try and destroy Mozart's.
Excellent production design and musically only uses original Mozart pieces but didn't really justify a 3 hour running time when it didn't really get to the heart of Mozart.

184 - Dirty Harry - 3 stars
An actor couldn't really ask for a better scene to introduce their character than Harry Callahan's disruption of a bank robbery. From casually eating a hot dog and teller the shop owner to call in a 211 to the infamous "Do I feel lucky?" speech, it says everything about the man that would go on to define Clint Eastwood's big screen status.
The rest of the film however is a pretty average cop drama, based on the original Zodiac case in San Francisco.

Days remaining - 141 Films remaining - 171

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