Just a few thoughts on a handful of films I watched over Christmas break. For actual well written capsule reviews check out Not Coming probably one of the best film sites on the web.
It's a Wonderful Life d. Capra
As I do every Christmas eve, I watched this. There is a lot to like. I love the sappiness of good Capra films, and this is definitely a very good, and very sappy film. But, what I like most about this film is Gloria Grahame in a supporting role. In the feel good movie of all time, you have Ms. Grahame, one of the most gorgeous femme fatales in Hollywood history. She who ruined her marriage to Nicholas Ray by sleeping with his son. It always jolts me when I see her in this film. God bless her.
Point Break d. Bigelow
At my old roomate's wedding in Indy in mid December, my friend Tyler and I took to calling each other "brah" a lot. He was wondering who ever said "brah" first, I said it was Keanu in Point Break, he wasn't sure. Regardless of the facts, Johnny Utah said it best. You forgot something brah. Brilliant. I'm sure ten years from now I'll still watch and enjoy this movie. Does that make it timeless?
Pickpocket d. Bresson
Robert Bresson is one of my all time favorite directors. And, nearly without fail you can tell how a Bresson film will end in the first 10-15 minutes. And, that's okay. His directing style is inimitable. Pickpocket is sensational. The theft scenes play like ballet. For those scenes, the thinly drawn 'love story,' and the themes of redemption, it may be Bresson's most accesible film.
Eastern Promises d. Cronenberg
A friend once told me all Cronenberg films are stories of transformation. Taken in that light A History of Violence became my favorite Cronenberg. But, my is Eastern Promises a close second. And I will sit around for days pondering the implications of the ending, which I have shifted my thoughts on a half dozen times already.