Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Weekly Round-Up (6/15/14 - 6/21/14)

Oh, crap. I forgot to post this. My bad.

Wings (William A. Wellman) *** - This is often credited as the first ever Oscar winner for Best Picture even though technically it shares that distinction with the much superior film Sunrise. This one won for Best Production while that latter film won for Best Artistic Achievement. You can definitely see why it won. It's a real epic film. The shots are stunning and exciting. It's extremely well-crafted. The special effects and the stunts still hold up to today. Unfortunately, the story they crafted around it is kind of a shallow romance that's now kind of dated and somewhat melodramatic. It's also borderline propaganda. Clara Bow lends some credibility and there are a few really good moments but overall, it's a good but not great film.

22 Jump Street (Phil Lord/Christopher Miller) ***1/2 - The first movie was surprisingly good. The directing duo of Phil Lord and Chris Miller are starting to build an excellent rep as one of the best mainstream comedy directors out there. This one is in some ways even better than the first one because it builds on the absurdity of the first one, adding a layer of meta-humor but fortunately never goes overboard. It still managed to create a cohesive story where you give a damn what happens. Ice Cube almost steals the movie in this one. There are lots of really good laughs in this film but the end credits were easily the funniest.

Blackmail (Alfred Hitchcock) ***1/2 - This is another one of Hitchcock's early works. I thought it was a silent movie but it's really a very early talkie. A cop's girlfriend stabs a man who was going to rape her and they're met by a two-bit criminal who plans to blackmail them. I must say as I was watching this film, I can't help but see all the foreshadowing of the greatness that is to come with his visual motifs and plot elements. It's not my favorite Hitchcock but it's still an excellent film. You can definitely see his star rising in this one.

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