The Belles of St. Trinian's (Film Movement BD) 1953. What a delightful film! Alastair Sim playing twins, one of them in drag! Priceless. Definitely worth revisiting after many decades. Still makes me laugh out loud.
Last week I bought the Pink Panther Collection-Peter Sellers which was on sale at iTunes. I hadn't bothered to replace any of my DVDs with their Blu-ray counterparts, so this was my first experience watching The Pink Panther tonight in HD. I thought I remembered some folks not being that impressed with the Blu-rays of the films, but the HD streaming version of the first one which I watched tonight was pretty spotless and sharp and colorful.
I hadn't watched this movie in a long, long time. Sellers' Clouseau was much less cartoony in this first one (lots of pratfalls but no exaggerations with his accent, no running gags with Kato or his boss, etc), but it was chock full of Blake Edwards style slapstick and farce. Too long for the meager story it had to tell, but the movie was having to service four stars of the era, so I guess its length was understandable. Lots of great Henry Mancini background music.
Tonight (or, technically, last night, since it's after midnight):
The 1962 version of State Fair recently came in from Twilight Time, but before that I thought it would be worth revisiting the 1945 version, which I haven't seen in a while. I remember enjoying it very much before, but I don't remember the last time I watched it, which made this viewing feel very fresh because I didn't know it beat-for-beat like I do with some of the other R&H titles. I also just wanted to put on something that would make me happy, because with the state of current world events, I felt like a respite from the sadness. This fit the bill perfectly. The songs are, of course, gorgeous, and the cast is instantly likable, so it's very easy to invest in their stories and root for them. The only thing that didn't quite work as effectively as I would have liked is the rushed ending, which I think could have used about ten more minutes or so to play out the impact of their decisions. But I really loved everything that was in here, and I look forward to watching the 1962 version tomorrow (or today, since t's after midnight.)
Borgen (iTunes HD) Finished the last 3 chapters of Season 2. Very satisfying finale. Will tackle Season 3 in the near future. I heard that there might be a Season 4. ??? Johnny Reno (iTunes HD) 1966. B-Western with ageing but competent actors, particularly the "boy next door," Tom Drake. A story of moral courage. Simple and effective. The transfer looked strange, with some kind of electronic buzzing. It Started in Naples (iTunes HD) 1960. Now this is the kind of transfer one sings about. And it serves the film as well as it is as colorful and sunny as the locations. The film is a delight as well. Recommended to lift your spirits.
It Started in Naples (iTunes HD) 1960. Now this is the kind of transfer one sings about. And it serves the film as well as it is as colorful and sunny as the locations. The film is a delight as well. Recommended to lift your spirits.
The film intrigued me when I saw promos for it when it came out (2015!)...and Blake Lively is easy on the eyes. But I wasn't sure about the plausibility of the story and if Peg would end up thinking it was stupid.
But it turned out great. Though quite implausible (and with a fairly predictable ending) the story was interesting enough to keep us engaged throughout. And a great cast didn't hurt. We both enjoyed this film a great deal.
Originally Released: 05/29/2015
HDX (1080P) digital streaming on Apple TV app, upscaled to 4K via Roku Ultra
It's been a pretty heavy and depressing week, so I was looking for something light and breezy and this fit the bill. Samuel L. Jackson runs the United States's premiere program for raising assassins from birth. One teenage assassin, played by Hailee Steinfeld, goes missing during a mission and is presumed dead. She takes advantage of this to live out her fantasies, mostly crafted from high school movies and TV shows. But even as she begins to feel more and more at home in her new life, her own life isn't ready to leave her alone.
Steinfeld is winsome as Megan, the runaway assassin, combining naivete with brutally efficient competence. But the real standout is Dove Cameron as the teen girl in Megan's host family, still bitter and angry over her parents' divorce at the beginning of the movie. Sophie Turner's American accent is questionable at best, but she has pretty decent comedic timing.
Not an especially memorable movie, but a perfectly decent one.
After rewatching the 1945 version out of my Rodgers & Hammerstein box set last night, tonight I broke in my brand new copy of the remake from Twilight Time, which I've never seen before. I liked the 1945 version very much, and I liked this one, too. I appreciated that it felt like a different experience; the elements that make it recognizable as State Fair are still there, but they weren't interested in making an exact copy, which works to the film's benefit because it still felt fresh, even though I had viewed them back-to-back on consecutive days. I recognized the outline, but not the specifics, and this cast and script did enough of their own for the remake to feel like it adds something to the legacy rather than being purely a retread. Again, everyone in it is very good and easy to invest in. Also, the cinematography is gorgeous and I really enjoyed seeing it opened up in CinemaScope as compared to the old Academy ratio of the previous version. It really opened things up more. Twilight Time did their usual terrific job with the transfer, and the whole thing was a pleasure to watch. The new for 1962 song "Never Say No to A Man" has not aged well. But it's a nice melody, even if the lyrics are questionable today. And the rest of the movie works quite well.
One odd thing, though: the Blu-ray includes a bonus feature labelled as a "State Fair TV series pilot." This is a cool addition that definitely adds value to the purchase, but there's no context for when it was ordered or what happened to the series. It seems like it might be a busted pilot that didn't get picked up, but some context would be nice.
Tonight - Official Secrets with Keira Knightley, terrific as a whistleblower in Britain in the run up to the Iraq war. Intense film that holds your attention throughout. Based on a true story. Watched the HD stream on iTunes, perfectly suitable for this type of movie.