Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Favorite Film Discoveries of 2012 - West Anthony ""

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Favorite Film Discoveries of 2012 - West Anthony

West Anthony is one of the gentlemen behind the Auteurcast, a podcast that I recommend you check out. 
from their site:
"The AuteurCast is a weekly podcast dedicated to filmmakers, their movies and film criticism with an emphasis on indie, foreign and art house films.
Each episode is one entry into an overall series of filmmaker retrospectives. We examine essential, important, major and minor works of interesting and pop culture filmmakers, whether that be the obscure, early works from Paul Verhoeven, World Cinema in Zhang Ke Jia or mainstream Hollywood fare of Zack Snyder. We encourage discussion, debate and dissection but overall a reverence to Cinema around the world."

Barbara Stanwyck stars in this pre-Code picture about a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who falls for a wealthy guy whose mother does everything short of shooting her in the face to break them up. And I mean JUST short -- yes, the bitch pulls a gat on Stanwyck. If you were on the fence about the one percent before, prepare to be knocked over.

This heartwarming film from Michael Curtiz, about a music professor (Claude Rains) with a bunch of daughters -- no points for guessing how many -- is notable for being the screen debut of John Garfield, whose 100th birthday is this year. Be sure to celebrate by watching a minimum of five John Garfield films in 2013!

I'd seen Always, the Steven Spielberg film that is a remake of this film, but I hadn't seen this film. Spencer Tracy is a WWII pilot who dies in combat and comes back as a ghost to help another pilot (Van Johnson). Irene Dunne is the love interest and Ward Bond is -- big surprise -- the sidekick, with the great name Al Yackey. The last of five collaborations between Tracy and director Victor Fleming.

This pretty great Western from William Wellman, about a wagon train of women on their way to an all-male ranch in desperate need of feminine companionship, is also about as startlingly misogynistic as it sounds, as least in the first half; later, as the women assert themselves, it takes some of the edge off. Think Mars Needs Women, except it's on Earth. And without Martians.

A Howard Hawks film with Cary Grant as a scientist who creates a formula that makes you act like a kid. It's pretty silly, and Grant acting like a dopey youngster was curiously unappealing to me, but many other elements of the film (like Ginger Rogers) were pretty good. Featuring an early performance from Marilyn Monroe, and Hugh Marlowe, the blandest man in American film.

This Russian film by Mikhail Kalatozov is a breathtaking masterpiece. A group of Russian geologists looking for diamonds in Siberia find themselves trapped in a nightmare of survival. A brilliant adventure with a jaw-dropping visual style. If you only see one movie on this list, you're a schnook. Wait -- I'm sorry, that was very rude of me, let me start over. If you only see one movie on this list, see this one. You schnook.

Until last year I had only seen the first of the five original Planet Of The Apes movies; after getting them all from Amazon for a ridiculous price, I enjoyed an Apes marathon one summer day whilst everyone else on Earth was at ComicCon, which they won't let me into anymore for some reason. (Yes, I do take it personally. Sue me.) This is the best of the four sequels. Directed by Don Taylor, who played Lt. Dunbar in Stalag 17.

A noisy, rambunctious and, in our current cultural climate, utterly anachronistic action comedy from Richard Rush which is the prototype buddy cop picture. Every car in America was destroyed for this movie, which wasn't a problem at the time because we made more back then. Alan Arkin and James Caan are such a fun duo it's a wonder they didn't make a bunch more movies together.

A documentary by D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus about the Clinton presidential campaign of 1992. Great stuff, unless you're a Republican, in which case you'll probably just get annoyed, which is just a bonus as far as I'm concerned.

SABRINA (1995)
This remake of the Billy Wilder film from forty years before is actually really good. It remedies the problem I had with Wilder's picture -- namely, the casting of Humphrey Bogart and William Holden as the Larrabee brothers, which didn't really work for me. On the other hand, Harrison Ford and Greg Kinnear work just fine; of course, Julia Ormond is no Audrey Hepburn, but she does okay.


Robert M. Lindsey said...

Monkey Business was on my list too. Plenty corny, but fun.

KC said...

I think that business with the swinging gate in Four Daughters is one of the most charming things I've ever seen in a movie. It's such a simple thing, but it says so much about home, love and comfort.

Ned Merrill said...

Garfield is great in FOUR DAUGHTERS, his debut, and if you enjoy that, I recall liking DAUGHTERS COURAGEOUS (an unofficial sequel) even better. Need to catch up with SHOPWORN, as it is in the pre-code set sitting unwatched on my shelf. Same goes for LETTER NEVER SENT.

Don't love FREEBIE AND THE BEAN as much as everyone else seems to...actually prefer BUSTING (from earlier the same year, '74). Anyone catch the FREEBIE tv series, which starred Hector Elizondo and Tom Mason?