June 04, 2007

Gratuitous Llama Netflix Movie Non-Review

Casino Royale. Tried to watch it last evening but the DVD wouldn't load up. Stupid Netflix DVD......

Instead, for no particular reason I popped in the Llama-ettes' copy of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I still disagree with some of the plot emphases and I feel the whole thing suffers a bit too much Peter Jacksonization, but overall, it has a lot going for it. (I'll pause here to allow those of you familiar with my usual opinion of book-based movies to pick your jaws up off the floor.)

And speaking of which, the Colossus sends along this intriguing article about Walden Media's schedule of future Narnia-based movies. (Next stop, Prince Caspian, some time in 2008.) Apparently WM is going to have a go at filming The Screwtape Letters as well, although how the heck they'll manage that is beyond me.

Well, as long as I'm on the subject of movies, I'll go ahead and play another round of the Netflix Queue Meme. Here's what I have in the hopper. I'll bold the ones that I haven't seen before:

1. The Emperor's New Clothes - Ian Holm plays Napoleon who, instead of being exiled to St. Helena, sneaks back into France disguised as a common peasant and, apparently, falls in love. Hey, it's Ian Holm.

2. Gilbert & Sullivan: The Pirates of Penzance - This is from that series made in the early 80's, which I only dimly remember watching on tee vee. I have read some unflattering comments about the performance, but if memory serves, one of its great virtues is that there is no camp involved.

3. The Last of the Mohicans - This is the old Mawsterpiece Theatre/BBC miniseries, not the mid-90's abomination with Daniel Day Lewis. I saw bits of it when it first aired in my yoot, but don't remember anything.

4. Henry V - The Olivier per-duction from the 40's. None of yer echoes of Vietnam here!

5. Flyboys - Some WWI fighter-jock flick that seems to have come and gone very quickly on the big screen. What the heck, it's airplanes. I'm not expecting much more.

6. Major League - Okay, confess! This is a fun movie. And Bob Uecker deserved a supporting Oscar.

7. Curse of the Golden Flower - One of those big-budget, flowery coo-el martial arts movies, the Starbucks latte to Bruce Lee's Folgers-in-a-can.

8. Mozart: Die Zauberflote - A 2003 Royal Opera House production. The elder Llama-ettes are performing in a heavily-edited kiddy version for their end-of-school concert and I'm hoping they'll watch the Real Thing with me as well.

9. Platée - A French-baroque opera by Jean-Phillipe Rameau. I'm not in the least familiar with the piece, but it looks like fun.

10. Fort Apache - The great John Ford western featuring The Dook and Henry Fonda butting heads over how to fight the Indians. Who's opinion would you trust more?

11. Rameau: Les Indes Galantes - Another opera of Jean-Phillipe Rameau. I picked it for the same reason as the first one above.

12. Hondo - The Dook again, doing what he does best.

13. Much Ado About Nothing - This is a 1985 Beeb production starring people I've never heard of. A little something different from the Branagh Shakespeare-For-The-Masses treatment.

14. The Prince and the Showgirl - Olivier and Marilyn Monroe in a romantic comedy that starts strong and then sputters, but you don't mind the last part because Larry was so funny in the first part. Many of the mannerisms of the Carpathian Royal Family have made their way into the Llama Household lexicon.

15. Dennis Miller: The Raw Feed - I tried his Vegas HBO concert recently and thought he looked flat and off, so I thought I'd give this one a view to see if that was just a fluke.

16. Richard III - Again, the Olivier classic.

17. Reno 911!: Miami - Okay, as some of you know, I have a weakness for watching COPS. I also happen to think Reno 911 is a pretty funny spoof of it. Yes, I know this movie will be completely trashy, but what the heck. A guy can't do Shakespeare n' opera 24/7.

18. Dennis Leary: The Complete Dennis Leary - Will I be able to take a whole concert of the boozy-irritable Irishman shtick? We shall see - I do like Leary in smaller doses.

19. Bob Newhart: Button Down Concert - I've got the old Button-Down Mind album memorized. This is a stage version Bob did recently. How can it not be fun?

20. Rio Grande - The John Ford/Dook sequel to Fort Apache. (Yes, I know about She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, too, but that was a different story.)

21. Mr. Hobbs Takes A Vacation - Jimmy Stewart and Maureen O'Hara in a little light comedy.

22. Night Passage - I happen to think Jimmy Stewart's westerns get overshadowed by those of, say Wayne and Clint Eastwood. I've often mulled a study of the contrasts among the characters they routinely play. While I've seen most of Jimmy's cowboy movies, I haven't seen this one yet.

23. Murder By Death - *Snerk!*

24. The Pursuit of Happyness - Will Smith in an unusually serious role. I happen to be a big fan of his, agreeing with the sentiment that he has it in him to be the Cary Grant of this generation.

Well, there you have it. Feel free to offer comments, critiques or suggestions.

Posted by Robert at June 4, 2007 11:37 AM | TrackBack

For decades, every time I thought of Uecker's line, "Juuuust a bit outside!" I have cracked up. Then recently they used that scene in one of those HD DVD adverts.

He STILL cracks me up. I'm laughing just thinking about it.

Speaking of actors who were robbed (It's a pun, as you'll see in a moment), Tim Roth should have gotten the Best Supporting nod in 1995 for his brilliant work as "The Fop" in Rob Roy. It's a travesty he didn't get it.

Posted by: Hucbald at June 4, 2007 04:47 PM

Interesting Maureen O'Hara & John Wayne story:

Winterset had the 100th Birthday observance for The Duke on Memorial Day Weekend, and several of his daughters & younger sons were in attendance. One local lady worked the Pork Producer's booth at the fairgrounds with the Mrs. and I, and told us a good story. When she ran into the Duke's daughters at the ceremony on Saturday morning, she told them that as a child, she'd been so disappointed to find out that John Wayne & Maureen O'Hara weren't married in real life. His daughters laughed and said "Yeah, we're pretty sure Maureen felt the same way."

Interesting list, BTW. All you need is a spaghetti western and you'd be hitting for the cycle.

Posted by: Russ from Winterset at June 4, 2007 08:25 PM

If you like the upmarket martial arts fair, be sure to catch "House of Flying Daggers." Very cool. It is more of a love story than a typical martial arts film.

I also really liked "Hero." Visually stunning, though a lot of people find it politically problematic.

Rio Grande? Try Rio Bravo or El Dorado. They may not be the best Duke movies, but they are certainly the funiest.

Posted by: Zendo Deb at June 4, 2007 10:36 PM

As it happens, I own both Rio Bravo and El Dorado. And on the spaghetti western front, I also own For A Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. (I don't much like Fistfull of Dollars because of that whiney little kid who runs around yelling "Mama! Mama!")

Posted by: Robbo the LB at June 5, 2007 08:17 AM

"Hero" kicked ass. I really enjoyed it, too.

Posted by: The Colossus at June 5, 2007 09:55 AM

"Hero" was a good movie. A very good movie.

The granddaddy of all spahgetti westerns is "Once Upon a Time in The West". I know, I know. Clint Eastwood is NOWHERE to be found in this movie. But look at who's in it: Jack Elam, Woody Strode, Henry Fonda, Jason Robards, Charles Bronson & Claudia "Meeeeeeooooow" Cardinale. Good story, great cinematography, great actors with interesting characters to create, and another masterpiece by Morricone with the score.

Posted by: Russ from Winterset at June 5, 2007 12:51 PM

Agreed. As I understand it, Clint was originally sought for the role of "Harmonica" but either couldn't or wouldn't do it, so they got Bronsen instead.

Posted by: Robbo the LB at June 5, 2007 12:55 PM

Other films I saw/liked recently that I didn't think I would:

1. The Illusionist. Neatly plotted mystery with good performances from Paul Giamatti, Edward Norton, and Rufus Sewell.

2. Capote. Philip Seymour Hoffman is fantastic in the role.

3. Dreamgirls -- Eddie Murphy alone is worth the price of admission. He was absolutely robbed of a best supporting actor Oscar.

Posted by: The Colossus at June 5, 2007 03:33 PM

I liked Philip Seymour Hoffman before it was cool. "He'll rue the day he came up against the Extreme. I'm talking imminant rue-age."

Posted by: Robbo the LB at June 5, 2007 03:42 PM

10. Fort Apache - The great John Ford western featuring The Dook and Henry Fonda butting heads over how to fight the Indians. Who's opinion would you trust more?

The one who doesn't get massacred by Cochise and his boys? That'd be my choice, anyway.

20. Rio Grande - The John Ford/Dook sequel to Fort Apache. (Yes, I know about She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, too, but that was a different story.)

So's this. The 3 movies are only loosely related. The Duke has different names in all of 'em.
Ft. Apache - Capt. Kirby York (and Victor McLaglen is Sgt. Festus Mulcahy)
Yellow Ribbon - Capt. Nathan Cutting Brittles
Rio Grande - Lt. Col. Kirby Yorke (note the "e", and Victor McLaglen is Sgt. Maj. Timothy Quincannon)

And yeah, I am a Duke fan.

Posted by: mojo at June 5, 2007 04:38 PM

Phillip Seymour Hoffmann in the same movie with Alan Ruck (who played "Rabbit")? That's genius casting, man. Sheer genius.

Posted by: Russ from Winterset at June 5, 2007 09:02 PM