Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Weekend viewing

Prom Night (Paul Lynch, 1980)
Another one from Slant's "Camp Horror" feature, this one not nearly as entertaining as The Slumber Party Massacre. Actually rather dreary, poorly paced and not at all scary; not even any gratuitous nudity to distract from the shoddy filmmaking. It does have Jamie Lee Curtis, just post-Halloween, doing the scream queen thing, and a bizarrely long disco-dance finale, which the people at Slant seem to think is better than the movie itself. I didn't think it was good enough to redeem the previous 90 minutes, which were also marred by a DVD with such an awful transfer (murky sound and picture, bathed in red like an old VHS tape) that half the time I couldn't tell what was going on even if I'd cared to.

Singin' in the Rain (Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly, 1952)
This was my New Year's Eve: At my mom's with my brother and sister, none of us with anything else to do, watching Singin' in the Rain. It was actually quite nice, and after my disappointment last week with The Band Wagon, I ended up liking this much better, even if it did have a similar interminable and tangential Cyd Charisse dance sequence toward the end. I realize that plots are secondary at best in films like this, but I liked the plot here quite a bit, the exploration of the end of the sound era and the birth of the movie musical. Donen & Kelly's direction is outstanding, and this movie about movies really uses sweeping camera movements, vibrant Technicolor, outlandish set design and costumes, and wacky special effects to their full potential. It feels big, but at the same time the little moments between Kelly and Debbie Reynolds also ring true, which to me was just as important as the music being good.

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