Tag Archives: Das Boot

Film on TV: February 3-8

There wasn’t anything on Monday, so being one day late wasn’t a big issue. However, then my computer started misbehaving and I didn’t get it posted Monday night, either, which means this’ll post too late for the first few on Tuesday. But they’re good enough films that I let them stand. If they play again, or you see them at the library or whatever, check them out.

Tuesday, February 3

5:00am – TCM – Top Hat
Arguably the best of the ten Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musicals. Song, dance, mistaken identities, romance…yep, we gots it.

6:45am – TCM – Gold Diggers of 1933
Warner Bros was known in the 1930s for their gritty dramas and action films, but also for their backstage musicals, which are somehow both gritty and glitzy. Gold Diggers of 1933 is one of the best, full of witty one-liners and amazing geometric Busby Berkeley choreography. Oh, and Ginger Rogers ad-libs “We’re in the Money” in pig latin. It’s worth it JUST FOR THAT.

8:00pm – TCM – The More the Merrier
A World War II housing shortage has Charles Coburn, Joel McCrea and Jean Arthur sharing an apartment; soon Coburn is matchmaking for McCrea and Arthur, and we get a wonderful, adorable romance out of it.

2:00am (4th) – TCM – Hannah and Her Sisters
Ha! I took TCM to task for playing Annie Hall too much and Hannah and Her Sisters not enough, and look what happens. (Okay, the schedule had been made for over a month, so I can’t really claim any influence. But still.) Annie and Manhattan notwithstanding, Hannah is my favorite Woody Allen film – almost certainly his most balanced.

Wednesday, February 4

3:00am (5th) – TCM – Yankee Doodle Dandy
Hollywood turned out a heap bunch of musical biopics of composers in the 1940s. This biography of WWI-era Broadway composer/performer George M. Cohan is one of the few that is actually good, even earning James Cagney an Oscar (though he’s better known now as a tough guy gangster, Cagney got his start as a hoofer, and he’s as comfortable dancing as beating things up).

Thursday, February 5

8:00am – IFC – Primer
Welcome to sci-fi at its most cerebral. You know how most science-dependent films include a non-science-type character so there’s an excuse to explain all the science to audience? Yeah, this film doesn’t have that character, so no one ever explains quite how the time travel device at the center of the film works. Or even that it is, actually, a time-travel device. This is the sci-fi version of getting thrown into the deep end when you can’t swim. Without floaties. When I first rented it a couple of years ago, I watched it twice, back to back. Good thing it’s on three times today, eh? :)
(repeats 12:15pm and 5:05pm)

9:00am – TCM – 2001: A Space Odyssey
Heh, I bet IFC and TCM didn’t even plan this, but you get a choice between watching 1960s cerebral sci-fi or 2000s cerebral sci-fi (well, you can watch Primer later, because it’s repeating). Kubrick made a lot of brilliant films, but I’ve gotta say, none of them enthrall me on repeat viewings quite as much as 2001.

Friday, February 6

4:00pm – Sundance – Sophie Scholl: The Final Days
In 1943, few Germans were willing to stand against Hitler, even if they knew about the atrocities being committed. Sophie Scholl and her brother and a few friends were among the ones who did, and this fantastic film follows the group just before and during their arrest and trial. It’s not particularly surprising how it ends, but the screen fairly crackles throughout – the Nazi interrogator who questions Sophie is no match for her quiet conviction.
 

9:45pm – TCM – Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Or, or, Stanley Kubrick takes on the Cold War in one of the most piercing satires ever made. Plus Peter Sellers in three roles, what’s gonna be wrong with that? 

Saturday, February 7

4:00pm – TCM – Lawrence of Arabia
Most epics are over-determined and so focused on spectacle that they end up being superficial – all big sets and sweeping music with no depth. The brilliance of Lawrence of Arabia is that it looks like an epic with all the big sets and sweeping music and widescreen vistas, but at its center is an enigmatic character study of a man who lives bigger-than-life, but is as personally conflicted as any intimate drama has ever portrayed. 

8:00pm – TCM – Casablanca
Just so you know it’s on, here’s another chance to catch one of the best movies Golden Age Hollywood ever produced. 

11:30pm – TCM – The Great Escape
 
One of the most enjoyable POW films you’ll ever see, and yes I get the irony of that statement. It may not be realistic of the POW experience, but it is one heck of a reverse heist film.

2:30pm – TCM – Das Boot
Before Wolfgang Petersen went Hollywood (Air Force One, other action films that aren’t that great), he did this German U-boat film, which has quite a good reputation – it routinely lands on lists of both best foreign films and best war films. And yeah, I haven’t seen it yet. We’ll see if I can make time for it this time. 

Sunday, February 8

7:15am – TCM – Shadow of a Doubt
Said to be Hitchcock’s favorite among his own films, Shadow of a Doubt is quieter than most of his, but in terms of psychological subtlety, it’s definitely one of his best. Small-town girl Teresa Wright idolizes her uncle Charlie, but what will she do if he turns out to be the infamous Black Widow murderer?

1:30pm – TCM – Gigi
Maurice Chevalier’s “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” might come off as more pervy now than it was originally intended, but as a whole Gigi stands as one of the most well-produced and grown-up musicals made during the studio era. Director Vincente Minnelli gives it a wonderful visual richness and sophistication, while music from Lerner & Loewe (usually) stresses the right combination of innocence, exuberance, and ennui for its decadent French story.
 

3:30pm – TCM – The Quiet Man
John Ford directs his favorite couple John Wayne and 
 Maureen O’Hara in this lovely and understated romance of a retired boxer returning to his Irish roots and conflicting with O’Hara’s hard-headed brother Victor McLaglen over her dowry (and O’Hara’s character is plenty stubborn herself). None of the principles have been better, and the supporting cast that surrounds them is great.

5:45pm – TCM – Roman Holiday
Not Audrey Hepburn’s first film, as it’s sometimes mistakenly claimed, but her first lead and the role that propelled her to stardom and won her an Oscar. She’s a princess who wants to experience ordinary life for a change and runs off to Rome – reporter Gregory Peck senses a story and tags along incognito.

6:30pm – IFC – Elephant
I’ll be honest with you. When I first saw Gus Van Sant’s take on high school shootings, I pretty much thought it was pretentious bullcrap.  And I may in fact still think so when I see the film again. But there are elements to the tone and mood that are still with me, a couple of years later, and I’m already on my way to revising my opinion, partially due to my personal shift towards a greater appreciation for slow-moving, thoughtful, well-shot films. All of which things Elephant is.
 

11:30pm – IFC – Trainspotting
While you’re getting ready for Danny Boyle to win multiple Oscars this year with Slumdog Millionaire, don’t forget to check out his earlier films, which are all worthwhile, especially this one which thrust Boyle, Ewan McGregor, and Kelly McDonald onto the international scene. A searing look at Scottish heroin addicts, it’s sometimes hard to watch, but it’s never less than riveting.
 

4:00am (9th) – TCM – The Jazz Singer
The Jazz Singer is not a good movie. But it is an important movie, as the first feature film with synchronized sound. At the time (1927), producers thought sound would only be useful for musical numbers, and The Jazz Singer is basically a silent film about a Jewish boy (Al Jolson) defying his family to go into show business
 with sound musical numbers. Jolson’s ad-libbed “you ain’t heard nothing yet” was, of course, prophetic. Silent pictures would be almost completely obsolete within a year.

Next Week Sneak Peek

Because I’m always late, heh.

Monday the 9th
7:35am, 1:00pm – IFC – Everyone Says I Love You
9:15am – TCM – The Apartment
9:20pm, 2:45pm – IFC – Strictly Ballroom
1:45pm – TCM – Citizen Kane
3:45pm – TCM – Mildred Pierce

Tuesday the 10th
6:00am, 10:35am, 3:15 – IFC – Waiting for Guffman
2:45pm – TCM – Henry V

Wednesday the 11th
3:45am – TCM – Rebecca
1:30pm – TCM – Mon Oncle
3:30pm – TCM – The Birds
9:00pm – Sundance – Spectacle: She & Him, Jenny Lewis (Not a movie, per se. Indulge me.)
10:00pm – TCM – Lassie Come Home
10:00pm, 4:00am – Sundance – Wristcutters: A Love Story
11:45pm – TCM – National Velvet

Film on TV: December 8-14

Monday, 8 December

None. Can you believe it?

Tuesday, 9 December

11:30am / 10:30am – TCM – The Bad and the Beautiful
TCM is running a Kirk Douglas festival, but including both The Bad and the Beautiful and Two Weeks in Another Town (at 6pm) makes a nice double feature of Douglas/Vincente Minnelli/Hollywood-on-Hollywood films. Gloria Grahame won her Best Supporting Oscar for this one.

1:05pm / 12:05pm – IFC – Les enfants du paradise (Children of Paradise)
A shy mime loves a popular actress in this classic French film set in the artsy district in Paris. This is one of the most magical, beautiful, captivating films I’ve ever seen. It’s almost three hours long, and it feels like half that.

6:00pm / 5:00pm – TCM – Two Weeks in Another Town
I haven’t actually seen this one, but as a post-Bad and the Beautiful Minnelli/Douglas collaboration, I want to.

6:15pm / 5:15pm – IFC – Garden State
Somehow it has apparently become fashionable to hate on Garden State, but I refuse. I love it, and I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon.

4:00am / 3:00am (9th) – IFC – The Cooler
In this under-the-radar film, William H. Macy plays a loser whose bad luck gets him a job as a “cooler” at a casino – his luck spreads and cools off any hot winning streaks that might be going on. But when he starts a relationship with Maria Bello, his new-found love and acceptance turns his luck. This film reinforced my knowledge of Bill Macy’s talent, introduced me to Maria Bello, and gave Alec Baldwin pretty his best role until 30 Rock.

Wednesday, 10 December

Nothing again! Wowsers.

Thursday, 11 December

8:30am / 7:30am – IFC – Strictly Ballroom
Baz Luhrmann’s Australia is now in theatres, and though I liked Australia quite a lot, it isn’t actually nearly as Australian as this first entry in his informal “Red Curtain” trilogy (the others being Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge!). Strictly Ballroom has a Latin dancer shaking up the world of Australian ballroom competition by introducing his own moves. The film is exuberant, colorful, in-your-face, and fabulous.

11:35am / 10:30am – IFC – A Hard Day’s Night
Part concert film, part documentary, and part musical comedy, Richard Lester’s film depicts a day in the life of The Beatles, at the height of the British Invasion in 1964. It’s like a breath of fresh air when compared with the over-produced, bloated monsters that most musicals had become in the 1960s, and remains one of the best music-centric films ever made.
(repeats at 6:25am EST on the 12th)

11:45pm / 10:45pm – TCM – High Society
This is not one of the best music-centric films ever made, but it is the musical version of The Philadelphia Story, with both Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra crooning it up with songs by Cole Porter. Oh, and one of Grace Kelly’s last roles before she retired to become a princess and stuff. Still, you wish with that pedigree that it were better than it is. Ah, well.

Friday, 12 December

8:00pm / 7:00pm – TCM – Little Women (1933)
A repeat from last week, but mentioning it again because this time it’s followed by its 1949 remake. This is the Katharine Hepburn-led version.

10:00pm / 8:00pm – TCM – Little Women (1949)
And this is the June Allyson-led version, though it tends to be marketed now (when it’s marketed at all) as the Elizabeth Taylor version – she plays Amy. The interesting thing is that the 1933 version and the 1949 version have basically the same exact script. I mean, almost to the word. Yet, the 1933 version is actually good, and this one is mediocre at best. Watch both and tell me I’m wrong.

Saturday, 13 December

2:15pm / 1:15pm – TCM – Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
I dare anyone to watch Gentlemen Prefer Blondes all the way through (and Some Like It Hot) and tell me that Marilyn Monroe either was a dumb blonde or played only dumb blondes. Her Lorelei Lee seems like the quintessential airhead, but she’s not – it’s a highly calculated act. Similarly, the film seems like a total fluff piece, but I rank it among my favorite comedies of all time. Jane Russell is equally brilliant as Lorelei’s smart-alecky cohort, and Howard Hawks proves yet again that he can direct any genre and make it amazingly special.

4:00pm / 3:00pm – TCM – Christmas in Connecticut
Geez, Christmas is coming close fast. How does this happen every year? Barbara Stanwyck has a way of making even routine films seems special, and that’s what she does here (and in the next film, Remember the Night). She’s a popular columnist who writes about her wonderful family and cozy farm, which is all well and good except she hasn’t got a wonderful family or cozy farm, and her editor has invited himself and a lucky soldier over for Christmas to experience the great things she writes about. Madcap coverups ensue, and her falling for the soldier doesn’t serve to untangle matters at all.

6:00pm / 5:00pm – TCM – Remember the Night
Again, not really a great film, but Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray (four years pre-Double Indemnity) make it an enjoyable one. Then again, I did see it when I was in the midst of a super-Stanwyck-fan phase, so I might have a biased memory of it.

Sunday, 14 December

5:30am / 4:30am – TCM – Singin’ in the Rain
If you haven’t seen this potentially greatest movie musical of all time, DO IT NOW. If you have? WATCH IT AGAIN.

8:00am / 7:00am – IFC – Jules et Jim
Francois Truffaut directs this enigmatic love triangle of a film, as Jules and Jim have their close friendship threatened by their mutual love for the elusive Catherine (the ever-perfect Jeanne Moreau). I’m due for a rewatch on it myself; I expect I’ll get a lot more out of it now than I did when I saw it several years ago, with only one other Truffaut and no other New Wave films under my belt.

10:00pm / 9:00pm – Sundance – Adaptation
Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman followed Being John Malkovich with this film, which seems to be just as polarizing. In typical Kaufman-esque self-referentiality, Nicolas Cage plays a writer named Charlie Kaufman struggling to adapt a book to film. Adding to his difficulty is his doppelganger, Donald Kaufman, who writes blockbuster movies with ease. The film becomes an exploration of the adaptation process, as well as the Hollywoodization of screenplays. Many people think it falls apart toward the end, but I think it only seems to; in fact, what happens to Charlie’s sceenplay within the film happens TO the film as well. It’s trippy, but it’s brilliant.

2:15am / 1:15am (15th) – TCM – Das Boot
Another one I haven’t seen, but gets highly recommended to me quite often. Wolfgang Petersen’s most well-known pre-Hollywood film set aboard a submarine. Yeah, I really don’t know much more about it than that, but it routinely makes it onto “best non-English language film” type lists.

3:30am / 2:30am (15th) – IFC – Chicago
This is one of the films that started making movie musicals a viable genre again, and for that, I thank it. I also happen to like it quite a lot on its own terms.