Saturday, June 23, 2007

June 23rd Log

1945, Billy Wilder, United States
Repeat Viewing, Turner Classic Movies

Winner of both the Academy Award for Best Picture and the Cannes Palme d’Or, The Lost Weekend is a film worthy of it's high praise and accolades. Carried by the somber cinematography and atmosphere but strengthened by dark and complex psychological script, The Lost Weekend is a truly involving film with some brilliant Billy Wilder-esque dialogue and strong performances by Ray Milland, Jane Wyman, and Howard da Silva. Some of the subject matter may have aged a bit, but the psychological depths and fine craftsmanship of the film has not been effected at all since it's 1945 release. Ultimately, The Lost Weekend is a film of the troubles and isolation caused by alcoholism. There are moments, images, and emotions that are deeply powerful, sad, and memorable within this film. Wilder is such a brilliant screenwriter who's dialogue is always magical. Of course, he's also an outstanding director and here he collaborates perfectly with his great cinematographer (John F. Seitz) and the excellent musical composer (Miklos Roza), as well as his actors to create a film that really has little flaws. A great film!

1960, Billy Wilder, United States

Repeat Viewing, Encore

Billy Wilder's The Apartment is truly an inventive and brilliant classic romantic comedy. Some of it may seem a bit clichéd for today's standards, but this film started many of those cliches, and still holds up well over time. As with any film from Wilder, the screenplay is incredible. Every word of dialogue is important, meaningful, and honest to the development of the characters. The film works on many different comedic (or even dramatic) levels. It's funny whether viewed as a romance or satire of the everyday work environment. Really as funny as it is, I believe The Apartment works best as a love story. There are some truly sad and touching yet ultimately absolutely romantic moments. And even though you can see the ending coming, it remains effective and truly wonderful! Of course, Wilder always ended at the punchline of the story and The Apartment embodies this. It's a flawless film from direction, to acting, to cinematography, to lighting and so on. Bottom line, this is a great film from a great filmmaker, and absolutely a must see for fans of the of classic American romance comedies. "Shut up and deal."

2003, Greg Marcks, United States
1st Viewing, IFC

11:14 is an interesting and well thought out premise that is ineffectively executed. This intertwining and connected ensemble narrative is certainly nothing new, but this films fails where the great films of this kind succeed: characters. Here is a film so set on its plot devices that the characters are weakly developed. You are left with no sense of compassion or emotional involvement of any kind except frustration. Ultimately the plot devices become contrived. For the most part this film did keep my interest so I guess it had that going for it. I can imagine this film will find an audience and I will be curious to see what firs-time feature filmmaker Greg Marcks does with his next film.


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