Some long overdue obsessions. A lot of DVDs released but for me, it's all about the Dirty Harry Ultimate Collector's Edition -- which is getting even more coverage due to the Eastwood/Lee feud -- did they plan this? As always, you can read all my DVD and Theatrical reviews at Strange Impersonation and check out whatever else I'm thinking at Pretty Poison.
As for now, Three Obsessions:
1. Hulk No, not that Hulk -- not the one with Edward Norton opening this weekend. I'm talking Ang Lee’s Hulk. A movie I revere with loneliness, this criminally underrated, unfairly maligned comic book picture managed to be serious and seriously fun. Musing on that green, mean Marvel comic fighting machine, Lee took a repressed Eric Bana and turned him into a frightening vision of male rage haunted by paternal alienation (via a crazed Nick Nolte). Shooting with exaggerated close-ups and with a keen eye for nature (something Lee's expert at -- check The Ice Storm and Brokeback Mountain) Lee purposefully created a CGI Hulk that ran through cement, sand and dirt with the agility of Shrek (Hulk trips around a lot). Lee made one of the first truly artistic comic book adaptations -- Shakespearean, really. Mark my words -- Hulk will be better appreciated through the years. And...if you watch me tonight gabbing on the STARZ documentary Comic Books Unbound (8 PM PST and 10 PM ET), I will be praising it to the holy high heavens. Unless they cut that part. They probably did.
2. Lifeboat Forget Lost. Alfred Hitchcock’s Lifeboat (1944) is one of his earlist forays in a certain kind of claustrophobic experimental filmmaking (Polanski must have studied this picture). A masterful example of confined tension, the picture opens with a handful of people climbing aboard a lifeboat (after their ship has been torpedoed by a German U-Boat). When a German is pulled on board the group’s cramped little boat, they have to work with the enemy while keeping a wary eye on the fellow. An excellent study of understandable fear, mob mentality and those who resist it, the picture is both cinematically exquisite and psychogically intriguing. And who can forget a stand-out, brilliant Tallulah Bankhead? She's lost at sea in her damn mink coat, no less. Perfect.
3. The Killers Though Robert Siodmak's 1946 version of Ernest Hemingway's The Killers is superior, I love Don Siegel's 1964 The Killers. I love the cars, the Cassavetes, the Clu Gulager (oh, how I love him in this movie), the cool Lee (that's the endlessly cool Lee Marvin), the cruel Reagan (as in future president Ronald, and a man with a great head of hair), the kind Claude Akins, the cretinous Norman Fell (as in future "fairy" teasing landlord Mr. Roper) and the comely, comely Angie Dickinson.
Having just watched the picture on the big screen (and meeting the charming Miss Dickinson -- a thrill) while presenting at the Palm Springs Noir Festival, I'm still thinking about Siegel's fast moving auto-erotic slap fest. And Angie gets slapped -- a lot. But according to her, Reagan would forever apologize for the smack -- he was a nice guy. That being said, he sure knows how to lay one on her. And is it just me or is it kind of hot that JFK slept with Angie while RWR slapped her? Maybe it's just me.