Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Young And Innocent (1937)

Beefing on Hitchcock
Young And Innocent

Alfred Hitchcock's Young And Innocent begins with an argument between an actress and her ex-husband, in which he accuses her of having a relationship with a young man by the name of Robert Tisdall. The next day, Tisdall finds her dead body washed ashore and as he runs to get help, two women arrive and see him running away. The women accuse him of the murder, and Tisdall is arrested, the incriminating evidence being a raincoat belt used in the strangling.

After an encounter with the Chief Constable's daughter, Erica, and a meeting with the half-blind and very incompetent legal aid assigned to his case, Tisdall finds a perfect opportunity to escape and search for proof of his innocence. He hijacks Erica's car, and the two of them begin a search for his missing raincoat, which would prove his innocence if the belt is still attached.

This film has many of the typical cliche Hitchcock movie elements -- the wrong man accused of a crime he didn't commit, a reluctant attractive female who eventually sides with him, a chase over various countryside -- but it still seems to feel absolutely fresh and exciting. The on screen chemistry between the leads feels natural and honest, and the story has an almost perfect refined pace. You almost get the feeling Hitchcock could have just churned these movies out from a machine template, and they'd still all stand out from one another somehow.

The main driving goal of the story here is to find a coat and, hopefully with it, a belt. A typical "macguffin" in that the important story element isn't the coat or belt, but the relationship between the male and female leads. The search for the belt is what brings the two together... It could have been anything really that they went to look for. As long as there's something to drive the romance. Much of the suspense in the film comes from the uncertainty that even the viewer has about if they will find the belt with the coat or not.

Young And Innocent is famous for a specific crane shot, which Alfred has spoken very proudly of in multiple interviews... and while it is technologically and visually incredible, an important thing to notice is that it's used to build a bit of suspense leading up to the reveal of the real murderer. An amazing shot which still has a purpose to relaying the story.

Despite this being another of the public domain films that you can find in any "10 films for 5 bucks" sets in horrendous quality, this might be one of the more important Hitchcock films. I know I've been saying this about most of the more recent films I've viewed, but it really is a damn shame that we don't have an good remaster of this one. This movie is as worthy, if not more, of a blu ray release, as The 39 Steps or the up-coming The Lady Vanishes.

If you own a copy of Young And Innocent but haven't bothered watching it yet, you're missing out. Go watch it.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Live-Beefing LOST: Season 3, Disc 4

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't watched LOST, you may be confused or apathetic about the following post. Please go watch the series through at least once before bothering with my writings. Thank you.

s03e16 - One Of Us

Well, it's been a couple months. Life got all busy and stuff, and I was too busy watching Japanese action shows. What the hell is going on upstairs?!? Geez. Okay, done with the "Previously On..." nonsense. Juliet is so much better on this than she is on Revolution. I wonder why that is... Although I'm worried I might notice that same vacant expression she has all the time on Revolution on THIS, and then I'll start to hate her as Juliet too. I hope that doesn't happen. Kate sure is a nosey ninny. Juliet is listening to Downtown in the car too. She really only ever listens to that one specific song, apparently. Aside from Juliet never coming back or contacting her, her sister seems to have a relatively happy ending to her story. Ooo, Jack is all protective of Juliet.

Clah is sloiping and Cholly is having to take care of the boy-bee. That's what I'm getting from this scene. Well that was an important scene, I guess. Earhart Aviation. That's never a good sign. Juliet didn't seem to hesitate much in chugging the juice... I have to wonder why anyone ever actually WANTS to leave this island. There are a million fans that would kill to go there, and I'm not talking just where they filmed it either. Oh yeah, the name thing with Sawyer. I forgot about that. Jack's back. Everyone always returns to the camp from that one direction. No matter where they are coming from, it's always that one part of the beach.

Poor Hurley got nominated to go find out stuff on Juliet. I think someone needs to write a Lost novel giving some background info on the fertility issues. People seem to feel uninformed about the what and why of the whole thing. If Ben has never actually talked to Jacob, how did Rachel's cancer get cured? Or did she just never have it return in the first place? Very smart of Sawyer to ask who promised to let Jack go. He ain't no dummy. Clah is bleeding and sick and it's all Juliet's fault!

This is a good episode for people who have never seen this show up until now. Juliet's just describing season 1 to us. Oh great, flashbacks to season 1. I think this was during the writer's strike. "We can't write anything... CLIP SHOW!" Juliet's banging Goodwin. I wish I had sunflower seeds. Juliet mad! JULIET SMASH!!! Sawyer and Sayid's Vigilante Justice. This fall on ABC. Juliet knows an awful lot about them. She's like psychic or something. Oh here's Downtown again. And she's not sick of this song?! More clip show stuff. "So I guess I'm out of the book club."

Oh thank goodness we can trust Juliet. She's not a mole or anything... Wha-huh?!? This is all just a ploy?!? What a twist!!! Okay, next episode. Maybe I should go get some soda and chips first. Yes, I like this plan. Hold on.

s03e17 - Catch 22

Alright, I have chips and salsa... and a ginger ale. I'm set for the next episode! It's probably a good thing I lost track of Charlie almost-deaths, because this episode is full of them... and actual deaths. Well, flashes of death. Either way, Charlie was supposed to die. Fresh out of the gate, and he gets an arrow to the neck. I love it when a show smacks its fans in the face like that. Jack may be the hero of this show, and the story is "his" story... but Desmond is the vessel with which that story is told. Plain and simple. And that's why Desmond episodes are always the best.

Hurley is the best at secrets. Kate is all getting dressed. Boy, I love a girl with no figure whatsoever! ... Well, Saywer ain't getting any. Man, this roasted salsa is fantastic. I'm glad the guy talked me into buying it. This episode is really grainy. I though blu ray was supposed to have amazing image or whatever. This looks really grainy. Hmm... Stupid Lost.

Abraham taking Isaac to kill him... It's why they call it a leap of faith, Jack. Hey yourself. I think Kate's trying to reel Jack back in after hooking Sawyer already. Stupid Kate. And because she sees Jack and Juliet all together, she jumps Sawyer again. Really classy. One of the best things ever: Jin telling ghost stories in Korean and Hurley still gets scared. "I love the part about the bird. There was a bird, right?" They could have passed over any other love story on this show, and only had Desmond and Penny... and it would have been just fine. Well, the helicopter crashed in the ocean. Lapidus definitely wasn't flying that one... He would never have let it crash.

Charlie hates true love apparently. Any real romantic would have jumped at the opportunity to help Desmond find the person from the chopper, because it might just have been Penny. Ruth was cute, but "Desmond and Ruth" doesn't sound right. I'm coming for you Ruth. It doesn't sound right. I understand she's hurt over being dumped before the wedding, but she's not all that supporting of Desmond's whole monk thing. He's better off without her.

Why was the satellite phone dead?! Really, what good would it have done for Naomi to have a dead satellite phone?? Oh, Sawyer sees right through Kate's mopey jealousy sex. He ain't no dummy. Okay THERE is the romantic Charlie. That's better. Why he didn't deduce earlier that Desmond thought the person might be Penny is beyond me. 108 cases of wine. 108 is one of the common Lost numbers! Oh yeah, this is Lost... Desmond just got fired from being a monk. Considering the picture of Mrs Hawking on the head monk's desk, I wonder how much he knew of where Desmond was "truly supposed to end up" or whatever... Or maybe she was just pulling the strings and he fired him on a favour. This Superman vs The Flash argument is one of the nerdiest things ever to end up on this show.

When Desmond Met Penny. Anyone who didn't get invested in their relationship is a moron. They're just the cutest thing. Penny's changed! A lot.

s03e18 - D.O.C.

Jack was gonna hit Sun over the head and abduct her, like Charlie did. Oh, no, it's just a house call. Close though. Jin's mother is about as insane as Locke's mother. Hurley's really great at really bad timing. I probably shouldn't have eaten so much salsa. My belly hurts now. Boy was it good though. Geez, Kate is worse with secrets than Hurley is. Oh yeah, this is when Sun started getting annoying. From here on out, she was pretty much just a one-note character. Especially in seasons 5 and 6, when all she ever says is "Has anyone seen my husband?" Oh hey, Mikhail's back... and alive.

This is also when we see how badass Jin is when it comes to fighting. "As your friend pointed out, I already died once this week." Jin's father is so great. I just want to hug him. Looks like Juliet is gonna hit Sun over the head and abduct her. Oh, she's taking her to a hatch. Close though. Ah, so it's Sun's fault Jin had to do that dirty work for her father. She has no right to complain about it then. I really like all these hatches. There should have been more of them. We'll let Mikhail go, but we're keeping the phone.

I still think the baby is Michael's, but that's just me trying to spread fanfic rumours... based off a semi-abandoned side-plot. I think I will watch the last two in a few days. Three episodes today is good enough. I have dinner to make and other things to do, but I can't if I am having to type all of this while I watch. Also, I'm tired. Sun's really sexy when she's dangerous. I feel like I could fall asleep right now. Maybe I won't make dinner, and I'll just eat a bowl of cereal instead. Yep. I'm healthy.

Wait, 815 was found and everyone had died?! DARLTON LIED TO US!!! This is solid proof that they're all dead and this is purgatory!! They answered it way back in season 3. Why did they even HAVE any more seasons?!??!?! I wasted my whole life. ROAR!!!!!!1111111oneoneoneoneonetwo.

s03e19 - The Brig

Okay, I took a couple weeks between this episode and the prior one. Sorry, it's hard to fit in 5 episodes while doing nothing else but typing and watching and eating chips or popcorn or whatever. Also, I have so many other things that I HAVEN'T seen already that I want to watch and/or read... but hey, here we are again Losting. That's a word, right? It should be. I like to Lost. A Locke episode. These are always good. Wow, the last post I made in this series was back in August. Sure, the END of August, but still... Okay I need to keep up on these better. I'm making no promises though. Right right, this is the episode where all the people who were certain that the previous episode PROVED they were all dead decided that THIS episode proved that the Island was definitely Hell, simply because one character stated it as such.

Oh right, the Kate/Sawyer nonsense. I'm just going to take this moment to read my email. Oh never mind... Hurley and Jin are trying to be inconspicuous. Locke is pretty good at lies and manipulation too. Good old Cindy. What?! The Magic Box is a MATEPHOR?!? Blasphemy!!! The Magic Box is real, because they said so on TV! I want nachos. Did I have nachos earlier in this post?? I feel like I did, but I don't want to scroll back up. I think I might pause and make nachos.

Hurley and Charlie reeeeeally suck at being nonchalant. Ooh, Locke hit a sore spot. I always run out of cheese on my nachos. Haha not this time, bitches! I piled it so high there's more cheese than chip. That's the way it should be. Yes Hurley, can I help you? I like the references to the ARG's, right now specifically the "Find 815" blog. I think absolutely everyone on this show knows how to manipulate Locke without even the blink of an eye. Ah the Black Rock. Wait, that's not Ben. That's not Ben at all!

So Sayid tells Kate, who invariably goes to Jack despite being told strictly NOT to. She's such a moron. This Locke encounter with Rousseau is fantastically simple. "Why did you throw Locke out of a window?" Sawyer puts things together VERY quickly. He ain't no dummy. Looks like Sawyer found his six-fingered man.

"Don't tell me what I can't do, John." This is reminiscent of Locke getting left behind at the walkabout... Locke's dad is a real dick, even when he's tied to a post. Hell does that to a man. And now he's REALLY in hell. Good riddance, I say. You kinda suck, Kate. I mean yeah, you have a good point... but you're worse than Hurley at this whole secrets thing. Any Sawyer and Locke scene you know is going to be good.

s03e20 - The Man Behind The Curtain

Ben's birth. I love it so much when they try to make us think that something is on Island, only to reveal that it's in the normal world. Good old Horace... Obviously before he went all earthy and joined Dharma, judging by his car. Oh Ben's not happy one bit. Now I want some cocoa. Cocoa goes with nachos, right?? Ben lies so very very much in this episode. Maybe even more than in any other. That's an understatement, Horace. Another thing I wish they had answered for certain, even if just in deleted scenes... what happened to Annie. "I thought you were dead." I guess everyone thought that. It's so great how no one intervenes in Locke beating up Mikhail. Oh and now Ben's own "daughter" is giving Locke a weapon. I guess everyone is a bit tired of Ben's leadership.

What the hell was going on with the hostiles? I guess Widmore's leadership enjoyed skirmishes with Dharma? Or maybe it was over the existence of one of the many hatches. Ben is kind of panicking here in his lies, isn't he? Roger Workman is also kind of an ass. I'm figuring the appearance of Ben's mom is one of the Smoke Monster's apparitions. I doubt it was the Island acting on its own here... Seems more Smokey, especially compared with when Smokey was Richard's wife.

Ben and his damn bunnies. Why does Richard look so scruffy here and he never does at any other time? Perhaps he was just made up that way in case someone saw him... I don't know. It all seems kind of weird to me. This really is the ONLY time he looks like this, even with all the time traveling. Maybe it's just a production error in continuity. Oh neat. The cabin. I am actually wondering if Ben was actually surprised to find this cabin, but just tried to hide it. It's great to watch this scene again, knowing that Ben is really just faking it right now. This Island just got craaaazy!! That was NOT Jacob. That was the Smoke Monster.

Oh hey, a little bit of honesty from Ben. That's rare. Sometimes I really do feel quite sad for Roger. This is definitely after the Incident and after Ben's acceptance into the hostiles... This was a pretty intense episode when it first aired. So much happens all in one hour. I call this all Dharmacide. Why did Richard even need a mask?? "I did what I had to do." Such a great episode! Okay I'm done with this for now. I'll try to get back to do another next week. Namaste.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Sabotage (1936)

Beefing on Hitchcock

"Sabotage, also released as The Woman Alone, is a 1936 British thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It is based on Joseph Conrad's novel The Secret Agent. It should not be confused with Hitchcock's film Secret Agent released the same year, or his 1942 film Saboteur." (Wikipedia)

Want to make your movie releases confusing? Make a movie called Secret Agent and then follow it up with a movie based off a book called Secret Agent, but instead of having THAT film be named after the book, call it Sabotage.

I really don't know why I'm complaining about that... After all, it's a fantastic movie with a pretty decent story, although not much of a mystery. What you do get is a relatively run-of-the-mill wartime film about how being a spy for the enemy can go horribly, horribly wrong and will result in the inadvertent death of little children that you care about... and eventually yourself. While that seems a bit trite and not all that creative, it's still incredibly well written and keeps you on the edge of your seat through much of the latter half.

One of the bolder moves in this film Hitchcock has actually admitted is one of his biggest regrets. (If you aren't fond of spoilers for 75-year-old movies, skip the rest of this paragraph.) In one of the best bits of tension and suspense, he puts a little boy (one of the main characters) on a crowded city bus, unwittingly carrying a time bomb... and uncharacteristically of Hitchcock, the bomb actually goes off. In his interview with Francois Truffaut, he states that in hindsight he would have done that scene differently. I don't know how the final act would have worked without it though, but I'm sure he could have come up with something.

Anyways, it's a good movie that can hold up pretty well to the test of time... as long as you can get past the heavy-handed fear mongering. Another one that can't really be found in any really great image/sound quality, I hope Criterion or someone maybe does a release of his 3 main "war/spy" films.