Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Weekend viewing

Out of the Past (Jacques Tourneur, 1947)
Cool little noir with Robert Mitchum and a great femme fatale performance from Jane Greer, who appears to have gone on to a lengthy but relatively undistinguished career, mostly in TV. Like most noirs, the plot eventually becomes incomprehensible and takes a back seat to the attitude, atmosphere and dialogue, all of which are dark and rich. I also liked that, unlike your typical noir, this took place as much in small towns and rural areas as it did in big cities; proof that there are seedy underbellies everywhere. Plus, an appropriately tragic ending by which nearly every major character is dead. Fun stuff.

Scoop (Woody Allen, 2006)
It's funny how unenthusiastically Allen seems to view his own career, treating each film as completely equal, so that when he makes a breakthrough and gets great reviews and seems to actually have something to say, he doesn't even notice since he's already halfway through the next film. All of which is to say that the quality of Match Point has no bearing on this movie, which is just another wan late-period Allen comedy. I actually haven't seen a lot of Allen's comedies of the last decade or so - Hollywood Ending, Anything Else, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion - but this wasn't as good as the one that I have seen, Small Time Crooks, which was rather amusing although ultimately forgettable. Scoop is just forgettable, rickety and tired and awkward, and the change of scenery (once again set in London) isn't enough to make it seem fresh.

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