“Seems Like Old Times” (Columbia, 1980). A wrongfully accused fugitive hides out in his ex-wife’s garage and causes all sorts of problems, not to mention the old feelings that surface between the formerly married couple. Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn and Charles Grodin are in top form in this romantic comedy. A favorite film of my youth; seemed like old times while watching it again. Written by Neil Simon. Directed by Jay Sandrich. “She’s not outside eating chicken, that’s for sure.”
“Modern Times” (United Artists, 1936). Charlie Chaplin’s last “silent” film (with some minimal dialogue on the soundtrack). Charlie plays his classic “tramp” character who is having difficulty navigating through modern life as a employed factory worker and an unemployed jailbird. He meets and falls in love with a beautiful gamin and together they keep each other moving forward. Funny, iconic and affecting. Written and directed by Charlie Chaplin.
Summer movie going has been made more fun this year thanks to the Cinemark Classic Series. Every Wednesday, Cinemark has screened a digitally restored classic film. The Cinemark folks picked a variety of films to appeal to a wide audience (I personally stayed away from the horror flicks…). Overall, it’s been a great way to revisit old favorites and to see them beautifully presented on the big screen. Thanks and well done, Cinemark (and please do this again next year)!
This week’s film was the terrific mystery/thriller “North by Northwest” (MGM, 1959). Cary Grant plays Roger Thornhill, a New York advertising executive who has to fight to stay alive after a group of deadly international thieves mistake him for a government spy. Seeing the classic crop duster chase on the big screen was worth the price of admission alone. Definitely one of the all time greats. Also stars Eva Marie Saint, James Mason and Martin Landau. Written by Ernest Lehman. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. “Apparently, the only performance that will satisfy you is when I play dead.”
“Singin’ in the Rain” (MGM, 1952). Set in 1927, a group of silent filmmakers experience a rocky (and funny) road into making talking pictures. A delightful and charming film and one the best movie musicals ever made. Gene Kelly knocks it out of the park, especially with his unforgettable scene singing and dancing to the title track. Co-stars Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Cyd Charisse and the great Jean Hagen as the “triple threat” (“can’t act, sing or dance”) Lina Lamont. A special thanks to Turner Classic Movies who brought it back to the big screen last week to celebrate the film’s 60th anniversary. The film will be available on Blu-ray on July 17, 2012 along with a fancy collector’s edition. Written by Adolph Green and Betty Comden. Directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly. “If we bring a little joy into your humdrum lives, it makes us feel as though our hard work ain’t been in vain for nothin’.”
“Mars Attacks!” (Warner Bros., 1996). It’s the U.S.A. vs. a bunch of mean-spirited Martians. No one is safe in Tim Burton’s spoof on the schlocky-but-sincere alien invasion movies of the 1950s-60s. The film’s all-star cast includes Jack Nicholson (in two roles), Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox, Jim Brown, Pam Grier, Rod Steiger, Danny DeVito, Natalie Portman, Lukas Haas and Tom Jones (yes, Tom Jones). Weird and crazy in the Tim Burton tradition. Based on the Topps trading card series, which is celebrating its 50th birthday this year (http://www.facebook.com/MarsAttacks). Written by Jonathan Gems. Directed by Tim Burton. “Well, they’re not going to eat off the Van Buren china.”
“Moonstruck”(MGM, 1987). A wonderful treatise on life, love, and being Italian. Cher plays Loretta, an Italian woman from Brooklyn who falls in love with her fiancée’s brother. Turns out that Loretta’s parents are also experiencing some bumps in their relationship, too. The film, with its wonderful script and outstanding performances, perfectly captures a passionate, neurotic, loving and funny Italian family. The Metropolian Opera/”La Bohème” motif is a plus, too. Cher won the Academy Award® for Best Actress for her performance in this film. Written by John Patrick Shanley, who also won the Academy Award® that year for Best Original Screenplay. Directed by Norman Jewison. Definitely a personal favorite. “The moon brings the woman to the man.”