Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Princess Bride (1987)

I wanted to watch The Princess Bride after reading that one of the characters in the story was a very mean prince, named Prince Humperdink. Prince Humperdink wants Princess Buttercup to be his wife, but as she doesn't love him, the prince tortures the princess's lover. I thought that was interesting, because torture scenes in fairy tales for children are rare, especially if the movies/books are made by Americans. The original fairy tales (like by the Brothers Grimm) have nasty scenes, but when they are made into films, those nasty scenes are removed.

To my surprise, The Princess Bride by director Rob Reiner is very good and I like it a lot. The DVD by Lionsgate is also very good and the pictures are sharp and clear. The plot is rich (blessed the writer!) and the lines are often hilarious, reminds me of 'Fanfan la tulipe', another great swashbuckling movie. This movie has: revenge, true love, torture, friendship, honour, kidnap, monster, battle of wits, traps, duel, giant, villain, adventure etc.

Princess Buttercup, Prince Humperdink's fiancée, is kidnapped by 3 men. Their intention is to start a war with the neighbour country. A masked man who saves Princess Buttercup, is none other than Westley, her long lost lover, whom she thought had been killed by pirates. However Prince Humperdink has another intention in marrying Princess Buttercup.

The story is framed with modern scenes, where a grandfather read the story book to his sick grandson.

Cary Elwes is perfect as Westley, but my favourite is Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya, a swordsman who is looking for a six fingered man who has killed his father. I remember him from Sunday in The Park with George and Evita. I also like the bishop who cannot say 'r'.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Toon Treasury of Classic Children's Comics

Lately I like Scrooge McDuck comics by Carl Barks and Don Rosa very much that I think perhaps in the past there were other enjoyable comics like them which I didn't know. I found this book while browsing through. It is a collection of comics in the 40's - 60's. As I read the contents, I recognized a few: Little Archie, Little Lulu, Dennis The Menace, and the one which interested me most: several Donald Duck stories by Carl Barks himself.

After finishing this book, I conclude that Disney Comics by Carl Barks are still on the top of my list. I must add that I enjoy Marge's Little Lulu by John Stanley and Irving Tripp, too. Perhaps I would enjoy this book more if I were much younger.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Go-Between (1970)

The Go-Between is a collaboration between director Joseph Losey and writer Harold Pinter, based on the novel by L.P. Hartley. It tells about ageing Leo remembering his summer days in his school friend's place. This friend's family belongs to the upper class, but they receive young Leo kindly. Marcus's (Marcus is Leo's friend) older sister, beautiful Marian, takes Leo to the town and buys him a suitable summer suit and since then Leo likes her very much and will do anything for her. Marian takes this opportunity to use Leo as a go-between, to bring her messages to her lover, farmer Ted Burgess, whom she can never marry. It ends badly when Marian's mother finds out about this affair.

Marian seems to depend on Leo so much that she becomes angry when Leo finally says he cannot give her message to Ted Burgess anymore because Leo is afraid Hugh (Marian's fiancé) will be hurt. Leo is fond of Hugh as well. Marian is so angry that she says to Leo rude things.

The differences between upper class and workers are described well in this movie. However I find it hard to believe that young Leo is really that innocent. The story is set in 1900 and probably at that time 13 year-old boys were really that ignorant. It's quite annoying to see he didn't see right away the significance of the messages between two lovers he brought. And it's very annoying to see the scene where he annoyed Ted Burgess with his questions about men and women. Another annoying thing is Julie Christie's hair, which was too much.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

La Ronde (1950)

La Ronde (in English it probably means Roundabout, although in my mind I see a merry-go-round, which also appears in the movie) is an interesting movie by director Max Ophüls. It's adapted from a play and this can be seen in the movie, with a presence of a narrator to explain to and communicate with us, the audience.

La Ronde consists of several love stories which connects one to another with the same personage from previous chapter, and in the end we are taken back to the first personage who appears in the first chapter.

In the first chapter, we meet Simone Signoret, a prostitute, who is told by the narrator to wait on one of the soldiers - the 6th soldier who passes by will be hers. As the narrator knows all the stories, he knows best. The soldier, Serge Reggiani, soon leaves her to romance another woman, who will work as a maid and is seduced by her young master. This merry-go-round of love goes on until we meet an actress who makes love with a young comte, Gérard Philipe, who will miss his appointment with her again and wakes up drunk in Simone Signoret's place.

Monday, May 2, 2011

L'innocente (1976)

I've seen several movies by director Luchino Visconti and although the art in those movies are excellent, mostly they are, for me, very slow. So far only Rocco and His Brothers which I thought very captivating - for it's very dramatic. Now I have added L'innocente to this list. L'innocente is the last movie by Visconti, and he had died before the premiere.

L'innocente tells about rich aristocrat Tullio Hermil (played wonderfully by Giancarlo Giannini), who has an affair with widow Teresa Raffo (Jennifer O'Neill). This affair is publicly known, and his wife Giuliana (Laura Antonelli) can only accept it. Tullio can even discuss his mistress with his wife and tell her to stay silent in order to avoid further scandal. In her loneliness, she cannot resist the charm of writer Filippo d'Arborio (Marc Porel), who is brought to the house by Tullio's brother. Tullio is suspicious that his wife has an affair and he tries to win her back. The day after their reunion as husband and wife, Tullio learns that Giuliana is 2 months pregnant. He knows he is not the father. He contacts his brother so he can meet Filippo, but his brother tells him that Filippo is gravely ill.

Tullio himself has an affair, but he cannot accept if his wife is infidel. He perhaps can forgive her if she doesn't carry a souvenir from her affair. Tullio tries to kill the baby before it is born. To protect the baby, Giuliana pretends that she also hates the baby - and this proves to be fatal, because it gives Tullio encouragement to murder the baby, the innocent. Tullio can never win Giuliana back for his two rivals are dead.

Teresa is also not faithful to Tullio. She has another suitor, to whom she often makes promises. Tullio is not faithful, yet he demands his wife and his mistress to be faithful to him.