Sunday, December 1, 2013

Weekly Round-Up (11/24/13 - 11/30/13)

Bigger Than Life (Nicholas Ray) **** - This film blew me away. A mild-mannered schoolteacher/family man discovers he has a serious heart ailment and is prescribed an experimental medicine that will help prolong his life. But then the drugs start changing his personality. This is a heartbreaking and even thrilling film. James Mason plays the lead in this and his performance is absolutely astonishing. The way he goes from loving family man and mild-mannered schoolteacher to....something else was masterful. Also masterful was Nicholas Ray's direction. The way he uses technicolor, light and shadow when composing the scenes and building dread was pitch perfect. This easily, EASILY ranks among his very best that already includes In a Lonely Place and Rebel Without a Cause. I absolutely LOVED it.

Frozen (Chris Buck/Jennifer Lee) ***1/2 - Is it the best animated musical from Disney since Beauty and the Beast? Hmmm. I don't know. Not quite but very, very close. I liked The Princess and The Frog and Tangled very much myself and this is probably the best among them. Part of that reason is the mostly very strong song score courtesy of Robert Lopez and his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez which contain quite a few sly references from Disney songs and musical theater songs of the past. Another thing that surprised me is that it is nowhere near as snarky as the trailers suggest, it's actually a very sweet and moving look at the relationship between two sisters that genuinely moved me. Add to that beautiful animation and a great voice cast and it's probably the best mainstream Hollywood animated film of 2013. The cold never bothered me anyway.

The Young Girls of Rochefort (Jacques Demy) **** - For me, this is probably the cinematic version of a deliciously sweet and luxurious but light and airy dessert. Three women in the titular place long for love with the men they seek just around the corner. It's fluffy stuff but the filmmaking is simply breathtaking. It's obviously heavily inspired by classic MGM musicals (including a supporting role from Gene Kelly!) but manages not to feel like a cheap imitation. This is from the director of another French musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Jacques Demy. This musical considerably lighter in tone and features dance numbers this time around. But it also features a memorable score courtesy of composer Michel Legrand. As a huge fan of movie musicals, I never wanted this one to end!


YeamieWaffles said...

Glad to hear that Frozen was good buddy, been worrying about it, hopefully I'll get to see it soon.

Lady Lilith BloodCrave said...

Nice. They all sound like really good movies. I want to watch frozen. The advertisements all look so amazing.