Saturday, July 24, 2010

An Unmarried Woman (1978) (2nd time)

A mature woman from Manhattan's Upper East Side struggles to deal with her new identity and her sexuality after her husband leaves her for a younger woman. [imdb]

Nominated for 3 Oscars:

Best Picture
Best Actress: Jill Clayburgh
Best Original Screenplay

I guess we all know the feeling, right? Of respecting a film a lot, especially for what it meant and what doors it had opened, but finding it to be soooo boring at times. I have this problem with An Unmarried Woman. I respect it a lot, because it really paved the way for Sex & the City type of film/TV expression, it's well made, acted ok, but it totally lost my interest in the second part.
Watching it again didn't make it look better, maybe a bit more polished, but not in a relatable way. I like the topics discussed in the film, but I hardly cared what happened to the characters and except for 1-2 supporting ones, most of them left me cold. It's a smart film, with a pretty sharp screenplay, but not an enjoyable movie experience; even though it could've been and it was mostly promoted as one. Jill Clayburgh is good, maybe a bit overrated, but I'll write about her next week.
My rating for the film: 6/10. For someone sentimentally closer to it, it's probably a 7-8 at least. I feel guilty for just 6, because I know I've rated so many dumb movies higher, but I didn't enjoy this one, especially the last hour and I AM allowed to be subjective :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Same Time, Next Year (1978) (2nd time)

A man and woman meet by chance at a romantic inn. Although both are married to others, they find themselves in the same bed the next morning and agree to meet on the same weekend each year. [imdb]

Nominated for 4 Oscars:
Best Actress: Ellen Burstyn
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Cinematography
Best Original Song
I've seen it the first time years ago and it hasn't changed much since then. The film itself is quite dated, based on the movie making process. The cinematography is very 70s and I'm not sure it even worked in 1978, as it gave the image a strange glow.
The dialogue is fine, I'm sure it's a good play and the Adapted Screenplay works better than I remembered. Alan Alda is doing his usual overacting, which kind of works here (is it his best feature film hour?) and Ellen Burstyn is effective, but not great or as good as she could've been (she also won a Tony for the previous stage version). The direction is simple and the film itself falls, for me, in some kind of a middle category. I didn't find huge flaws (except for the image quality), but I wouldn't go crazy for it either and I'll probably never see it again.
My rating for the film: 7/10. I did like the ending and it's quite creative at times... but why was I tempted to go for 7.5?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Autumn Sonata (1978) (2nd time)

After having neglected her children for many years, world famous pianist Charlotte visits her daughter Eva in her home. [imdb]

Nominated for 2 Oscars:

Best Actress: Ingrid Bergman
Best Original Screenplay

There are two things worth noticing about Autumn Sonata: it's the first time Swedish legends Ingmar Bergman and Ingrid Bergman worked together and it was, unfortunately, Ingrid Bergman's last big screen performance. But what I way to go, if I may say that: to me, from what I've seen, this is easily the best written role she's explored and probably her best performance. But more on that in a week or so, on my other blog.
The film is the emotional knock out Ingmar Bergman had gotten people used to by 1978, but even so, I didn't remember it as being THIS deep. It's probably one of his best written screenplays, at least dialogue-wise. The emotions displayed by the story make the film difficult to watch at times, yet the performances win you over because both actresses give a master class of acting. I think it should've won for both its nominations and it stands there as one of Ingmar's most respected achievements.
My rating for the film: 8.5/10. Ingrid would've had the win in the bag had it not been for a) the foreign language factor and b) the fact that she'd undeservedly won her 3rd Oscar 4 years before.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Little Foxes (1941) (3rd time?)

It shows a post-Civil War southern community where nothing is more important than money and power to Regina Giddens. [imdb]

Nominated for 9 Oscars:

Best Picture
Best Director: William Wyler
Best Actress: Bette Davis
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Collinge
Best Supporting Actress: Teresa Wright
Best Writing, Screenplay
Best Music, Scoring
Best Editing
Best Art Direction

I was so desperate to see this film for the first time years ago, that I actually saw it dubbed in Spanish :)) How lame was that. Of course, I understood 75% of it, but even so. I love Bette Davis in this, it's a character truly worth her persona - maybe the best character she's ever played, next to Margo Channing of course. Bette plays Regina Giddens (in Romanian, and it other languages as well I'm sure, regina means Queen; so what could be more adequate than this) and despite limited screentime (it's an ensemble film), she delivers one of her best performances.
The movie itself is quite good, stagy due to the theatre background, but effective in many ways. It's not much of a complicated story, it just allows the actors to shine. They're all GREAT, wonderful performances all around. Patricia Collinge is good as a victim of the family, Herbert Marshall is great as Regina's weak husband, but next to Bette (LOVE LOVE LOVE) I was quite impressed with Teresa Wright's performance. She plays the innocent daughter and what a wonderful fresh full of energy performance does she deliver is her debut role. This Oscar loss definitely forced voters to reward her the following year for Mrs. Miniver (where she wasn't half as good as here).
My rating for the film: 8.5/10. It's a film that every Oscar fan should see and a must for a Bette Davis admirer.

***EDITED March 30, 2014***: Just wanted to add I've seen it again for the other blog and LOVED IT. I am updating  the rating to 8.5/10. Great film.