13-19 July 2009

July 20 2009 at 7:58 am (The list)

kind hearts and coronetsKind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

Generally regarded as one of Ealing’s best comedies, Kind Hearts and Coronets is both subtle and audacious. In Edwardian England, Louis Mazzini (Dennis Price, a picture of posh calm throughout) is upset about not taking his rightful place in the D’Ascoyne family when his mother, who married into the family, dies. Both to avenge her and to become the Duke of D’Ascoyne, Louis picks off the surviving members of the family one by one. They don’t make comedies like this anymore – subtle humour, well-crafted plot, killer dialogue and great performances, especially from Alec Guinness as all eight of the D’Ascoyne family.

Rating: 5/5

cinema_paradisoCinema Paradiso (1988)

In 1940s Sicily, young Salvatore ‘Toto’ Di Vita (Salvatore Cascio) is a cheeky little scamp who spends all his free time at the town’s cinema and befriends father-figure projectionist Alfredo (Philippe Noiret). It is from Alfredo’s passion and teachings that Toto eventually leaves the town and becomes a famous film director. He returns to the town for the first time in 30 years to attend Alfredo’s funeral and remembers what he left behind. This tale of friendship, love, finding yourself and the magic of cinema is heart-warming and heartbreaking in equal measures. Writer-director Giuseppe Tornatore soaks the film in wistful nostalgia with sweeping music and beautiful camerawork.

Rating: 5/5

Shame list total: 1,204

2001I recently bought the Stanley Kubrick box set – five films I have seen before, some not for a long time and one which didn’t make much of an impact on me on first viewing. I thought it fitting, what with the 40th anniversary of the moon landing, to make a start this week with 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), which I watched for only the second time. I remember when I first saw it as a teenager I found it quite boring and painfully long. I’m starting to believe that when I was a teenager I was a moron. It is simply breathtaking. To encompass the evolution of human achievement in the space of two hours and twenty minutes is an ambitious project, but it was nothing that Kubrick couldn’t handle. Although a film of ideas and theories, about science and philosophy, 2001 is also uncomfortably tense. HAL 9000’s motionless red eye is chilling, and that voice manages to be both soothing and sinister. It whetted my appetite for going to see Duncan Jones’ 1970s-esque Moon, a review of which I’ll post shortly. Honest.

Original ‘idiolescent’ rating:  3/5 (I seem to recall)

Revised ‘mature, learned, moderately well-read, more culturally aware 29-year-old’ rating: 5/5

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