17-23 November 2008

November 30 2008 at 3:39 pm (The list)

Sorry for the delay but here are my films from last week.

 

cool_hand_lukeCool Hand Luke (1967)

It seems fitting after Paul Newman’s recent death to catch up on some of his classic films that I’ve never seen. First up, then, is one of his most popular films. Luke ‘Cool Hand’ Jackson (Newman) is arrested for drunkenly but meticulously cutting the heads off parking meters – an opening scene which perfectly announces the character’s couldn’t-care-less attitude. He winds up in a rural prison and soon becomes a hero for the other inmates – a cross between mascot, jester and leader. But Luke has trouble conforming to the rules, and his relentless rebellion starts to take its toll. This inspiring story is full of great scenes from Luke doggedly stuffing his face with 50 eggs in an hour to win a bet to getting beaten to a pulp by the fellow inmate Dragline (a burly, Oscar bagging George Kennedy) and refusing to stay down. It is, however, a bit jumbled tonally – what starts as a light-hearted prison romp ends as a downbeat tale of faith and redemption. Still, Newman gives a stirring performance as Luke, a man who simply will not give up sticking it to The Man. One of the most iconic films of the 1960s, its influence can be seen in the likes of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and The Shawshank Redemption.

 

Rating: 4/5

 

2834blue-velvet-postersBlue Velvet (1986)

This is exactly what the shame list is all about. I used to feel a little intimidated by David Lynch. Having once caught a few snippets of Eraserhead on TV I thought that this was one director whose work I could never understand. Starting my Lynchian education with Blue Velvet was clearly a good move. After finding a human ear in a field near his home, college student Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) turns detective and finds himself getting deeper and deeper in a murky criminal underworld hidden beneath the surface of his idyllic hometown. Blue Velvet is not the incoherent madness I was expecting but instead a gripping thriller full of colour, kitsch nostalgia and just a touch of otherworldly surrealism. The world that Jeffrey enters is full of blood reds and deep blues set against jet blacks. With kidnapped families, violent sex and Dennis Hopper as one of the most terrifying psychos in screen history, Lynch turns the sundrenched American Dream into a dark American Nightmare.

 

Rating: 4/5

 

Shame list total: 1,231

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