Posts Tagged ‘romantic comedy’

Say Anything… – Minute Movie Review

Freitag, Oktober 8th, 2010


Lovable loser John Cusack decides to date high school valedictorian Ione Skye. Surprisingly, she actually agrees to this. What follows is a sweet story about first love, combined with some unnecessary dramatic elements and some clever dialogue. Young John Cusack is adorable and his character Lloyd Dobler might be the most sought-after guy in movie history. Written and directed by Cameron Crowe, the film showcases his raw talent for emotionally touching stories, without ever achieving greatness, for it is too mired in mediocrities.

Random Observations:

Say Anything… at the IMDb

Well, will you look at that. This really has been “80s teen comedy week”.

John Cusack’s sister is played by Joan Cusack, his real life sister. Sort of like Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal in Donnie Darko. Only much earlier.

Crowe already displayed his interest in music here. An interest that earlier and later culminated in Almost Famous, the somewhat biographical film about his experiences of working for Rolling Stone as a teenager.

Harold and Maude – Minute Movie Review

Freitag, September 24th, 2010


Harold is a young man obsessed with death – he attends funerals for fun and likes to stage fake suicides. His rich single mother naturally despairs. Maude is about to turn 80 and embraces life to the fullest, doing whatever she wants with vigour, fascinating Harold. Hal Ashby’s 1971 film is the first quirky American romantic comedy, pairing two people who couldn’t be more different and yet fit together perfectly, despite or especially because of the huge age difference. The film is funny, touching and bitter-sweet, accompanied by a Cat Stevens soundtrack that fits the tone of the film perfectly. Really, there is no excuse for not having seen this film yet, but if you haven’t and enjoy grotesque humour paired with horribly true life lessons, you’ll love this film.

Random Observations:

Harold and Maude at the IMDb

Bud Cort is perfect in the lead role – I wonder whatever happened to him or rather his career. I don’t think he made a single good film since then.

The faked suicides are highly unrealistic, but very entertaining. How’s that for a sentence I never thought I’d write?

It’s a real shame that the Jaguar hearse did not survive the filming. Now there’s a car I’d love to drive!

Walk Don’t Run – Minute Movie Review

Freitag, Juni 25th, 2010


When ageing businessman Cary Grant arrives in Tokyo two days early, he can’t get a hotel room. Desperate, he convinces young American Samantha Eggar to let him stay in her room. The next day, he meets athlete Jim Hutton, who also arrived two days early and needs a place to stay, offering him the second couch. What follows is classic Grant: he does everything he can to manipulate the woman to fall in love – but this time not with him, but with Hutton. The film is a supremely silly slapstick comedy, a vastly underrated swansong to Grant’s career and a great portrayal of his infinite charm and personality. The supporting cast is rather weak, but Grant alone makes the film worth watching.

Random Observations:

Walk Don’t Run at the IMDb

This is a remake of the 1941 film The More the Merrier, moving the location from Washington affected by the WW II housing shortage, to Tokyo during the Olympics.

The film was actually shot on location during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

This is Cary Grant’s last film. At 61, he had become to old as the romantic lead, so he decided to retire instead of doing supporting parts.

His Girl Friday – Minute Movie Review

Montag, Juni 21st, 2010


Fast talking guys and gals, witty repartee and doing anything to get a story – those were the heydays of journalism. In this update of the stage play The Front Page, Cary Grant’s Walter tries everything to convince his colleague Hildy to stay – not just for professional reasons, but also because he can’t stand the idea of his ex-wife Rosalind Russell marrying another man. Director Howard Hawks creates an immensely funny romantic comedy that focuses on the comedy and delegates the romance to the back-seat, making it all the more effective. The story might be largely preposterous, but just to hear these newspapermen (and-women) talk for 90 minutes is sheer delight.

Random Observations:

His Girl Friday at the IMDb

Many critics at the time thought that Grant was miscast, stating that Clark Gable would have been a better choice. Considering the similar character Gable played in You Can’t Take It with You, I’ll take Grant any day.

Quite possibly the best line in the film: “He looks like that actor…Ralph Bellamy!”

I also quite like that the last person who said he would get the better of him to Cary Grant was Archie Leach.

The play had previously been adapted for a 1930 film and has served as the inspiration for any number of remakes and updates, including Billy Wilder’s 1974 version starring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon.

Holiday – Minute Movie Review

Freitag, Juni 11th, 2010


Cary Grant is about to get married, but when he discovers that his love Doris Nolan is a very rich woman, things get a little complicated. But he is accepted by her family despite his working class origins – especially by her sister Katherine Hepburn, who soon has more interest in him than Nolan. The film is a combination of comedy and drama, combining funny lines and fish-out-of-water scenes with a dramatic touch that gives the whole undertaking emotional resonance. Grant and Hepburn are brilliant together, creating a couple almost without flaws. The ending is a little too sappy for my best taste, but at least it stays true to the characters.

Random Observations:

Holiday at the IMDb

The film is actually a remake, the first film adaptation of the play was done eight years previously.

Former circus acrobat Cary Grant does his own back-flips in this film.

Utterly brilliant: Lew Ayres as the sisters’ brother, whose need to be a part of the family business has turned him into a heavy drinker.

The film is directed by George Cukor, one of those directors that really knew how to use the studio system of early Hollywood to their advantage. He might not have been as versatile as some of his peers, but he made some very good films.

The Awful Truth – Minute Movie Review

Dienstag, Mai 18th, 2010


After suspecting each other of infidelity, married couple Cary Grant and Irene Dunne decide to get a divorce. But during the 90-day waiting period for it to be finalized, they both do everything in their power to undermine the other’s attempt to find someone new. Based on a play (and adapted on film even before this 1937 classic), the film is a charming romantic comedy that works because both partners, despite their many flaws, are exceedingly sympathetic characters. Fine performances all around – also from the supporting cast – make this an enjoyable, if shallow film.

Random Observations:

The Awful Truth at the IMDb

Director Leo McCarey won an Oscar for this, one of very few directors ever to win for a comedy film.

Did you know that American every-man Cary Grant was actually British?

The story is a bit uneven, with her new partner definitely being wrong (and as such it being easier for the viewer to cheer for the husband to break them up), while no such indication is ever made about his new girl – meaning that her sabotage comes off decidedly more mean-spirited.

Secretary – Minute Movie Review

Donnerstag, April 29th, 2010


After being released from a mental institution, Maggie Gyllenhaal still has trouble dealing with life. She gets her first job working as a secretary for James Spader. Before long, their relationship turns to more than the usual employer-employee one, when he begins dominating her – and she enjoys it. An unflinching and unprejudiced look at the peculiarities of sadomasochistic relationships, the film is quite likely the most offbeat romantic comedy of all time. Sadly, despite the strong themes, the film never really finds its footing, swaying between a whimsical outlook and a harsh reality that threatens to destroy the story. Strong performances by the lead characters, however, salvage the wreck somewhat, creating an interesting and unusual film.

Random Observations:

Secretary at the IMDb

Since the film is based on a short story, the role was obviously not written with Maggie Gyllenhaal in mind, but it might just as well have been.

Both Gyllenhaal and James Spader have a knack for picking films in slightly outlandish films – Crash anyone?

The Apartment – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, April 21st, 2010


It’s 1960 and a young man working for an insurance company has figured out the perfect way to get promoted: let his superiors take their dates to his apartment! Naturally, this leads to some trouble, especially when the girl he is hopelessly in love with turns out to be the mistress of his new boss. The film is a classic comedy and probably one of the funniest films ever made. The pitch perfect script by director Billy Wilder never disappoints and Jack Lemmon in the lead role is simply superb, acting-wise. The film also manages to combine the comedy with some real drama and insight into urban and suburban life – long before Mad Men came along.

Random Observations:

The Apartment at the IMDb

As one could expect from any project involving Billy Wilder, the film is extremely quotable.

Nice turn by Fred MacMurray as the heartless boss. And I guess Shirley MacLaine is good as well.

Co-written by I.A.L Diamond, née Itek Domnic. If someone could explain those initials, I would be most pleased.

The eminently funny Ray Walston is also in this film – mostly there to deliver a jab at Marilyn Monroe for Wilder.

Roman Holiday – Minute Movie Review

Sonntag, April 18th, 2010


Young Princess Ann is tired of her sheltered lifestyle and on a visit to Rome decides to break out. She spends 24 hours with an American journalist who pretends not to recognize her in the hope for the story of a lifetime. Naturally, they become friends while having fun in the city, and even more naturally, fall in love. A fish out of water story like this is admittedly not fairly original, but it might have been more original in 1953. Nevertheless, the film endures, for the great acting by leads Audrey Hepburn (in her Oscar-winning first lead role) and Gregory Peck, their easy chemistry, some truly funny scenes (most involving Peck’s photographer friend) and a return to reality after the fairy tale.

Random Observations:

Roman Holiday at the IMDb

Extremely unusual for the time, the film was entirely shot on location in Rome. It was the first Hollywood production to be shot exclusively in Italy.

Writer Dalton Trumbo had to go uncredited since he was blacklisted for his refusal to talk to the House Un-American Activities Committee. His friend and fellow writer Ian McLellan Hunter fronted for him and even won an Oscar for a story he didn’t write.

Frank Capra was first attached to direct, but withdrew when he heard that Trumbo had written the story. William Wyler then directed his first comedy in over twenty years.

Gregory Peck jumped at the chance to make the film, despite the fact that “the script had Cary Grant’s thumbprints on it”.

Adventskalender 2

Mittwoch, Dezember 2nd, 2009

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