Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Three Films Make A Post: Fiery Fury! Burning Passion! Flaming Color!

The Asphalt Jungle (1950): I know, this is the kind of holy grail movie you actually aren't allowed to criticize, but watching it has always been a frustrating experience for me. For about 80 percent of its running time, John Huston's movie is pretty much the perfect heist movie, the kind of film that seems unable to go wrong in anything, entwining its complexly drawn characters in a web they won't be able to escape at the end in a way that makes it look simple and easy.

Then, quite suddenly, everything gets bogged down in obvious examples of studio (and Code) interference, with endless, useless scenes for the dramatically useless Marilyn Monroe (who at this point in her career just couldn't act at all) character, and a needless fixation on spelling out every single detail of everyone's demise that makes DOOM look less existentialist than like a subset of tedious bookkeeping. Huston does his best (which is a lot, obvious) with what he has to work with at the end, but for me, these flaws turn what could have been the perfect heist movie just ever so frustrating.

L'insolent aka The Insolent aka Deadly Sting aka The Killer (1973): I suspect Jean-Claude Roy (mostly a specialist in soft and hardcore porn) would have loved to have Huston's kind of problems. As it stands, he's staging a low budget vehicle for Henry Silva playing a character modern parlance would probably re-dub The Jerk, with a script so indifferent and lackluster it won't even bother to explain our central character's motivation. Not that the rest of the script makes much more sense, for neither the central heist nor its consequences nor the ensuing double-crosses work in any way at all once you start thinking about them for more than one second.

Now, if Roy's direction were more stylish instead of bland and dependable, I'd love to be distracted from the script's numerous improbabilities, but as it stands, there are just so many more interesting Eurocrime or heist movies to watch I don't know why anyone should bother with this one. Roy doesn't even make very good use of Silva, a man - as everybody knows - born to play exactly this type of thug (or a very loving family man).

Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan (2013): If there's anything I dislike more than crappy semi-slashers with boring CGI monsters which should by all rights be awesome (or at least fun), it's crappy semi-slashers with boring CGI monsters that think they are oh so funny, even though they're just lazy and stupid. Axe Giant sure as hell is one of these examples of everything I hate, so the less said about it, the better.

No comments: