Sunday, June 13, 2010

Seconds (1966)

Oh, creepy creepy movie...
"The Company" secretly and selectively offers people the chance to have a new life by placing them in new and younger bodies. One of many problems is the fact that once you are a part of The Company, you can never get out alive. Arthur is brought to The Company by a friend he had thought was dead, only to be drugged and then shown a video of himself raping a girl while drugged. The Company threatens to release the video should Arthur not go through with the process of being "reborn." Having no choice, Arthur is reborn as Tony (Rock Hudson) and sent off to California to live as a young and already established artist. A body is burned in a hotel room, and Arthur is declared officially dead.

Tony meets a girl, frolics in a "stomping on grapes in a barrel" orgy, and generally enjoys his youth, until he starts to realize the being reborn comes with psychological trauma. He makes a mess of things, drunkenly talking about his former life and even contacting his/ "Arthur's" wife. Eventually Tony wants to start over again, but will he be allowed? Evil laughter here.

I don't know. Two stars again. Very interesting idea, but very silly movie all in all. Will not watch again.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Shaggy Dog (1959)

The classic Disney tale of a boy changing into a sheepdog and back again at all the wrong times. Boys' dad has always hated dogs, boy wants to get the girl and tries to go to a dance, boy's brother enjoys having a secret new pet, boy would like to know how to break the spell, boy discovers shady plot while in dog form... Hilarity ensues...
Boy feels that when living as a dog, it is still important to continue with normal human hygiene...
Well... maybe because I did not watch this movie more than once as a kid, and I may have been a pretty old kid when that once came around, I'm not feeling very generous with stars. Perhaps two stars, because the special effects must have been exciting to create. I probably won't see this again unless I'm in the presence of little kids who are begging to see it.

Robin and the Seven Hoods (1964)

Frank Sinatra, singing mobsters, Robin hood references... a perfect movie for me, or so I thought. I just can't give this movie more than one star, and I'm not sure I could ever sit through it again. I could definitely sit down with David and make him watch the silliest songs with me:

*The boardroom "one for all" song about how great it is to be a mobster, in which we realize that Guy Gisborne is played by Peter Falk, and that Peter Falk can't sing

*The song about playing pool: when Little John (Dean Martin) runs the table and joins Robbo's (Frank Sinatra's) gang
*Will Scarlet's (Sammy Davis, Jr.'s) song about how much he loves the sound of gun shuts... sung as he and Robbo's gang shoot up Guy Gisborne's gambling den (Barbara: "Tap dancing combined with shooting is just really weird.")

*The song about how bad a dresser Allen A. Dale (Bing Crosby) is, sung by Sinatra, Martin, and Crosby, as Crosby keeps jumping in the walk-in closet to put on funny clothes

*The song about how wonderful Robbo is for giving money to the home for orphaned boys... sung by... Bing Crosby and a troupe of orphans wearing hats like these ladies:
*The song about the evils of "Mr. Booze," sung in order to throw the police off the trail of the hidden gambling/drinking den

*And last but not least, the song sung by Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Dean Martin dressed in Santa costumes when they have to go into hiding for their connections to a money laundering operation

There was one redeeming feature that made me laugh with and not at the movie: Occasionally the mobsters disappeared someone by putting their dead body in a cornerstone of a new building. This led to funny scenes at building dedications. But, why was this movie made? Has anyone else seen it?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Easy to Love (1953)

Being a prop in a fancy resort is hard work. Julie (Esther Williams) and the other girls at Cypress Gardens perform many shows a day. When they're not in a show, they lounge about the grounds in fancy dresses as part of the scenery, posing for photographs and flirting with guests. As the star swimmer of Cypress Gardens, Julie's schedule is extra grueling... Here she is doing synchronized swimming in a lagoon of flower petals, when all she wants is to go out for a fun evening of her own. Or maybe spend a little time making her hard-working boss Ray (Van Johnson) jealous by going on a date with her flower petal companion.
When Julie threatens to quit because of how overworked she is, Ray offers to take her to New York. Julie thinks she has finally gotten Ray to appreciate and fall in love with her, but it turns out it's just a modeling/PR gig. Luckily for Julie, though, she meets a famous singer in New York who actively pursues her and finally makes Ray start to feel some pangs of jealousy.

Esther Williams. When did someone decide that synchronized swimming movies should be all the rage? Are there other synchronized swimming movie stars out there? In this movie, not only does Esther Williams get to float about in flower petals, but she gets to audition in a tank...
...and she performs in a water-ski extravaganza that I'm convinced defies the laws of physics.
What was possibly my favorite scene didn't even involve Esther Williams, though. It involved Julie's singer suitor singing a song called "That's What a Rainy Day is For" with a whole bunch of old ladies who must have been born in the 1800s to be so old in this movie. Cute song.

Maybe two stars. Some very entertaining stunts, but the love story was so unbelievable. I watched this with Barbara, and we kept turning to each other to say, "I don't understand why he likes her yet," or "Why does she like him?" The love story needs to be believable!!! And I don't appreciate lines like, "So you don't fight nature...You fight your wife." Sorry.

The Bad Seed (1956)

My guitar teacher Sam has been telling me I need to see this movie for the past year. Apparently he and his siblings used to watch it every time it came on TV when they were growing up and tease each other about who was the bad seed. Apparently he thought it would be relevant to my life...

It was a fun movie, complete with ominous music, skipping, and pigtails. Rhoda is perfect. Neat, pretty, smart, charming... and sociopathic. Soon after meeting Rhoda, we learn that although she believes she deserved to win the penmanship medal at school, the medal has been awarded to Claude Daigle instead. And she is VERY angry. No matter how much curtseying and skipping and kissing of cheeks she does, we know she is very angry. Rhoda goes off to a school picnic, and Claude Daigle drowns off of a pier. Hmmm...

It doesn't take Rhoda's mom very long to figure out what Rhoda has done. Rhoda is creepy, and someone has actually died around her before. (Not to mention the mom's repressed memories of having been adopted out of a sociopathic family.) But what will Rhoda's mom do with her bad seed?

Three stars, and I could definitely imagine seeing this again!