Brief comments on film by Amy.
Some old, some new.  Domestic films and foreign too.

No Man of Her Own (1950) — I am happy to start of this month’s Snaphots with something positive to say. No qualifiers, no exceptions, no “I liked this movie aside from the writing, directing and acting.” Of course, in order to achieve this state of cinematic bliss, I had to watch a movie that was over fifty years old. No Man of Her Own had me literally on the edge of my seat, breathless to know how it was going to end. If you haven’t seen much Barbara Stanwyck, who stars as Helen the hopeless unwed mother, you are missing out. If you need more inducement, this film is based on the novel by Cornell Woolrich who also authored Rear Window. No Man of Her Own is not especially deep, but its a great illustration of something that author Marilynn Robinson has said: “…one lapse of judgment can quickly create a situation in which only foolish choices are possible.” (Related recommendation: The Lady Eve for a more comic side of Stanwyck)

Robin Hood (2010) — You knew it was too good to be true with that first review, so this one brings us back to reality. I can’t say that I expected this movie to be good but I at least wanted it to be good. I feel an unexplainable desire to see Russell Crowe do well, kind of like the corner deli that isn’t very good but you still go there out of principle because you really like the owners. Two things in particular bother me about this film: First, why does Hollywood consistently cast actors in roles that they are just too old for? Are the pickings so slim we need to have twenty-five year olds playing high schoolers and fortyish “Maid” Marions? Second, here’s a thought: if you want to tell a modern story of liberated women and unconventional heroes, don’t set your film in the Middle Ages. Just a suggestion. All in all, this one was hardly worth the Redbox rental; I had to repeatedly stop folding laundry in order to fast forward the boring bits.

Babies — If you haven’t heard of this one, here is the basic premise: film crews capture the first year of four babies from four countries. No narration and very little dialogue. Just babies. I know it sounds boring and the last twenty minutes or so do drag a bit, but it is amazing how entertaining human beings can be even when they incapable of speech, or even of holding themselves upright. What is most intriguing about this film is that one naturally compares the varying parenting styles. The filmmakers allow you to see the beauty of each one without really judging. A truly well-done documentary, even if it is a little boring toward the end.

Mentions: I Love Lucy: one of the boys recently discovered the show. I had forgotten how funny it is. The Endurance: fascinating documentary of Antarctic explorers trapped in an ice flow and their struggle to return home.


4 Responses to “Snapshots”


  1. layla

     

    i took your advice and watched “no man…” captivating film. even one of my self-proclaimed b&w film-haters (child age 12) hung around long enough to see this through to the end. now i want to watch rear window. again. for the 37th time. i should just buy a copy for myself.

    Reply
  2. Thomas Hunter

     

    I think that Russell Crowe cast as Robin Hood fits within the bounds of the historical tradition of Robin Hood. Much as the recent Star Trek movie sought to “reboot” the series by introducing fresh takes and concepts on an old, and perhaps weary, storyline.

    All the knowledge we have of Robin Hood has been developed and romanticized over 800 years of history. Very little is known about the original man, except that he was known a a murderer and a man “of the knife.” Much as the game telephone twists the truth from person to person, so has the legend of Robin Hood evolved over the ages. Conceivably, the filmmakers could take even bigger steps away from the story, although they did want to stay within the realm of recent re-tellings of the tale.

    I have a question about what leads you to believe that the story of the Robin Hood movie centers around the idea of a liberated woman and unconventional heroes? I see those themes within the movie, but how do those themes not fit with the time period?

    Reply
  3. Amy

     

    My beef with Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchet is that I think they are too old for the roles. Maybe I am ageist. As to the themes of “liberated womanhood” and “unconventionality” I just don’t see a woman of the Middle Ages being as assertive as Blanchet, as modern as Crowe or say Friar Tuck. I dislike the insertion of current attitudes into historic settings. Perhaps if the makers had gone on full-blown satire like
    A Knight’s Tale, I would have liked it more.

    Reply
  4. layla

     

    i wish i could just see the 90’s version of robin hood for the “first time” all over again. to be caught up in the drama and fantasy. if i were to view it again now, i would scrutinize it heavily on so many levels, i would squash all pleasure right out of it. kevin costner was just about the dreamiest hero a 15/16-year old girl could swoon over…

    Reply

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