Monday, April 9, 2007

April 10th Log

2006, Gary Winick, United States
1st Viewing, DVD

I was disappointed with the 1973 animated version of the classic children’s tale, but this live action version is a treat. Far more faithful and imaginative, this adaptation does not disappoint any age group. The story is a rightful classic on universal themes of friendship, life, prejudice, sacrifice and ignorance. This film succeeds where the animated version failed in that it never pushes the content with forced sentiment (though it certinaly does not completely avoid sentiment). The result is a charming and compassionate film that takes on the magical qualities of its original source. There are so many valuable lessons to to this film and it is one that should be endeared by all ages. The voice-over work of the animals is strong for the most part (though I imgine there are better options for Charoltte then Julia Roberts). Steve Buscemi may be a bit type-cast as Templeton the Rat, but he is memorable. Dakota Fanning doesn’t always work for me, but she gives Fern just the right children-like charm without the overstuffed “cuteness”. Charlotte's Web is a wonderful tale and this film is a surprisingly wonderful adaptation of it. If Charlotte were to capture the qualities of this film on her web with one word my suggestion would be: sweet. This is a very good family film!

1941, Josef Von Sternberg, United States
Repeat Viewing, DVD

Tell me. Who is that wonderful looking creature over there," says a character in Josef Von Sternberg's 1941 film The Shanghai Gesture. Then quickly the camera dolly's directly to the eyes of Gene Tierney!! A beautiful creature indeed!! In fact, one of the most beautiful to ever grace the screen. Tierney's performance is truly captivating as a rebellious and spoiled daughter who easily (and willingly) falls into a world of corruption, greed, and evil. Von Sternberg's direction is flawless. Much like with his favorite actress, Marlene Dietrich, Von Sternberg consistency films the frame with close-ups of Tierney's face. Also the atmosphere is grand and engaging. Using luscious and glorious sets, huge sweeping tracking and overhead shots throughout the casino, and hundreds of extras, The Shanghai Gesture is epic filmmaking. The script is brilliant. There's alot of depth and it remains unpredictable. The Shanghai Gesture is a hypnotic and magical film featuring skillful techniques and filmmaking, and above all a fascinating and seductive performance from the gorgeous and unforgettable Gene Tierney.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home