Thursday, January 29, 2015

VOYAGE TO ITALY (1953, ITALY)

Hulupalooza! (Post 11 of 12)

Voyage to Italy


Roberto Rossellini's Voyage to Italy is a film that doesn't seem to have a lot to it at first glance. A couple that have been married for several years travel to Italy and discover their marriage is in trouble and whose love for each other is in question. The husband (George Sanders) is a workaholic whose time away has caused some friction with his wife (Ingrid Bergman). She spends a lot of her time at museums and tries to find meaning or answers through a kind of intellectual understanding of life. Nothing overly dramatic happens to their marriage. It's like real life often is-you grow apart or familiarity begins to breed contempt. The ending does give hope for a reconciliation between the two, but happily ever after is not a given.

I do think there is more here than meets the eye and it's also interesting to see Sanders and Bergman speaking in Italian.  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

THE VANISHING (1998, THE NETHERLANDS)

HULUPALOOZA!! (Post 10 of 12)

The Vanishing
The plot of George Sluzier's film The Vanishing (Spoorlos) doesn't go in the way you would think it might after you watch the first part of it..  

The Vanishing is an abduction movie light on action, but heavy on suspense. A woman is abducted at a rest stop and her boyfriend obsessively searches for her. Throughout the movie we see the abductor living his life, but we don't know what happened to his woman. We also see the boyfriend living his anguished life and desperately trying to piece together clues of her whereabouts. The way the plot turns when the boyfriend and the abductor finally meet up is original and surprising to say the least.

Sluzier remade his film in the U.S. in 1993 to very mixed reviews.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

THE LAST WAVE (1976, AUSTRALIA)

HULUPALOOZA!!  (Post 9 of 12)


Definitely one of those cult movies I've heard about for since the late 70's but never got around to seeing. But what was it about again? Australia, Peter Weir, Richard Chamberlain...that's about all I knew about it.

After (finally) seeing it, it turns out this was about an American lawyer (Chamberlain) living in Australia that gets involved with a case involving four Aboriginal men accused of killing a man. This isn't any ordinary case. The lawyer continues to have strange dreams, mostly involving one of his clients (David Gulpilil, who also appeared in the Australian classic Walkabout). The film also involves apocalyptic weather, aboriginal tribal history and cultural clashes.

It was a movie that took me into its metaphysical plotline at times, but not nearly as far as I wanted to go with it. In other words, it's a movie I liked, but really wanted to love.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

LA JETEE (1961, FRANCE)

HULUPALOOZA!(Post 8 of 12)


The 1001 movie book has never listed Terry Gilliam's film, Twelve Monkeys in any of its editions. This cerebral time-traveling sci-fi is one of my favorite films of the genre and I would definitely included it in my book.

What I didn't realize until recently was that Twelve Monkeys was based on the French film, La Jetee (The Pier) which is a twenty-eight minute French film whose story is told almost entirely through still pictures and narration. 

I'm not sure I would have even made the connection between the two films if I hadn't know it going in. La Jetee does tell its story well, though I'm not sure this form of storytelling could have survived a full length movie. The plot involves a man who sees a death at the beginning of World War III and later becomes a guinea pig in some time travel experiments to try to somehow use the information of the future and past to try to fix the problems of the present. 

One problem I have is that they tend to gloss over the time travel element. I guess the viewer should just take this as a given and get on with the plot. I admit I like time travel stories, but the viewer or reader often has to overlook the sometimes spurious nature of the science involved. I guess not everything can be as convincing a time travel device as a DeLorean speeded up to 88 miles per hour.

By the way, La Jetee is in the 1001 movie book. Let's try to find room for Twelve Monkeys in the next one, eh?