Archive for November 21st, 2012


by Allan Fish

(USA 1932 82m) DVD1

It must be marvellous

p/d  Ernst Lubitsch  w  Samson Raphaelson, Grover Jones  play  “The Honest Finder” by Laszlo Aladar  ph  Victor Milner  ed  Merrill White  m  W.Franke Harling  art  Hans Dreier  cos  Travis Banton

Herbert Marshall (Gaston Monescu), Miriam Hopkins (Lily Vautier), Kay Francis (Mariette Colet), Edward Everett Horton (François Filiba), Charles Ruggles (the Major), C.Aubrey Smith (Adolph Giron), Robert Greig (Jacques the butler), Leonid Kinskey (revolutionary), George Humbert, Luis Alberni, Rolfe Sedan,

I hardly know where to begin discussing the innumerable merits of Ernst Lubitsch’s masterpiece.  Truly great film comedies are rare and it’s the director’s own individual style that makes them great.  But without wishing to overlook the merits of such masters as Billy Wilder, Preston Sturges, Frank Capra, George Cukor and Mitchell Leisen, none of them ever really got to grips with that rarest of styles; pure unadulterated sophistication.  The sort of the film that is sublime to the nth degree and sublime in its ridiculousness without ever in itself being ridiculous.

Of course such films as Cukor’s The Philadelphia Story were sophisticated, but brilliant though that film is, its sophistication belongs to a more moral age, an age where Tracy Lord can go for a swim with a fellow and even kiss him, without any sense of any immorality having taken place.  Crooks such as Sydney Kidd are looked upon and viewed as slimeballs not to be trusted as far as you could throw them.  Trouble in Paradise meanwhile belongs to an altogether more risqué period, when sophistication stretched to sexual dalliance and sophisticated badinage exchanged not just to insult and get one up, but as foreplay. (more…)

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by Jaime Grijalba.

(Japan, 96 min.)

I’m not a fan of reviewing bad movies, I don’t like reading negative reviews either, specially from those writers that only seem to have two modes: praise or hate. I don’t see film criticism that way, I see it as an opportunity to talk about this miracle that is making a film and then receiving it, with this I mean, the beauty that is having a film reach you, whatever the method may be, that is an accomplishment, it found you and you are watching it, that is a feeling of accomplishment already for the director and for the viewer/reviewer himself. It all comes down, film criticism, to a matter of taste, and as we all know taste varies from critic to critic (or viewer to viewer, even though they would be less acute in the wording of their appraisal or condemnation, or not, sometimes the best judgements come from people in the street, those that are so maligned nowadays, I find myself learning more and more from gut reactions coming out of a theatre than reading 5 different blogs or newspapers, no offense to those writers). What I feel when I read a negative review, specially one that tries to burn and make the director pay for ‘wasting his time’, is sadness, not because they aren’t in their right mind to not like a film, but hate and condemnation is something that is never constructing and that out of spite is just trying to demonstrate some kind of higher level of intelligence that the critics supposedly have, but that is not actual fact nor real. When a critic reviews a movie, it should first be thankful that he is being able to do so in a world that is rapidly evolving and that seems to need serious film criticism less and less. So, I’m not advocating for a mutis from critics towards bad films, because if you think a film is bad, nothing should ever silence you from saying so, but hate, discrimination and name-calling is not the way to review films nowadays. So, what do you do? You go the other way around, there’s nothing more clear to see that a movie is bad is how easy it is to make fun of it, and in this topic we’re not disrespecting the filmmakers nor the movie itself, we’re just using it as a medium of comedy, while not being seriously critical, it is a easy way out for those uncontrolled critics that can’t muster up more than a few ‘they should be ashamed’ or ‘they should be burnt at the stake’ or ‘this movie shouldn’t exist’ or ‘this director should retire already’. Keep it funny, you’re still saying the movie is bad, but you’re not letting yourself show that you’re a complete asshole. (more…)

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