Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Fly (1958)

Film: The Fly (1958)
Format: Streaming video from NetFlix on laptop.

I love classic science fiction and horror. I like the new stuff, too, but there’s a lovely nostalgia that goes along with movies in these genres from 50 and 60 years ago. The science, of course, is often goofy and ridiculous, and that’s a lot of fun. The horror also often seems so tame that it comes across much more charming than scary. That’s not always the case, of course. There are plenty of older films that have a genuine sense of horror and fear. In the case of the original version of The Fly, though, we’re looking at something that is far more about the entertainment than the scare factor.

If you’ve seen the remake from the 1980s, you know the basic story. A scientist develops a machine that allows for matter transference, basically a teleporter. After a number of tests, he transports himself. However, during this experiment, a fly enters the chamber with him and “his molecules” get mixed up with the fly’s, creating one human-sized fly man and one fly-sized man fly. Since this is an older film, we’re not going to get the gory stuff of the remake and the combination of human and fly isn’t going to be at the DNA level. Instead, we’ve got a man with the head and left arm of a fly and a fly with the head and left arm of a man.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Sure Hope It's Waterproof...

Film: A Hatful of Rain
Format: Internet video on laptop.

The idea of a parent misjudging his or her children is a pretty old story. There are plenty of novels, plays, and movies in which a parent dotes on an undeserving child and ignores or mistreats the child who really deserves respect. A Hatful of Rain takes that basic idea and spices it up by adding drugs and giving it a noir twist. That’s at least the intent here; whether or not it’s successful will depend, I suppose, on the viewer.

In a way, this is sort of Death of a Salesman replacing the story about the father and focusing on the sons. John Pope, Sr. (Lloyd Nolan) arrives at the apartment home of his son Johnny (Don Murray), Johnny’s wife Celia (Eva Marie Saint), and Johnny’s younger brother Polo (an Oscar-nominated Anthony Franciosa) to pay a visit. John is extremely proud of his elder son, who is a decorated Korean War veteran. Despite being a bartender himself, he’s also ashamed of Polo, who works as a bouncer in a nightclub.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Smuggler's Blues

Film: Frozen River
Format: DVD from DeKalb Public Library on laptop.

One of the many things I find interesting about movies is those instances in which a movie takes a very different perspective from the norm. I think about a film like Paradise Now, for instance, that attempts to show suicide attacks from the point of view of the attacker. While definitely sympathetic to Palestine, the film isn’t pro-suicide bomber, but an attempt to get inside the mind of someone who would do such a thing. In the case of Frozen River, the question asked is what might drive someone to act in a way completely against what she evidently stands for.

Ray Eddy (Melissa Leo) lives in a trailer with her sons T.J. (Charlie McDermott) and Ricky (James Reilly). Ray is prematurely old—she’s probably in her late 30s or early 40s but looks closer to her mid-50s. She works part-time at a dollar store and does the best she can with a husband who is a chronic gambler and who regularly takes the money she has saved up to buy a double-wide trailer and blows it on lottery tickets and games at the local Mohawk casino. This is where we start the film—with her unable to make the balloon payment for her trailer and being threatened with having her television repossessed by the rental company.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Off Script: Only Lovers Left Alive

Film: Only Lovers Left Alive
Format: DVDs from DeKalb Public Library on laptop.

I don’t know if Jim Jarmusch can be considered an acquired taste because I liked Jarmusch’s films from my first viewing of them. While I could probably rank his films in some order, every one that I have seen is one that I’ve liked. Only Lovers Left Alive is a film that I’ve wanted to see for some time, and it’s a film that makes me angry on a specific point. That it does says far more about me than it does about Jim Jarmusch or Only Lovers Left Alive.

In a very real sense, this is probably the least horror movie horror movie I’ve seen in a long time. It’s classified as such only because our two main characters and two of their main associates are vampires. We’re never actually told that they are vampires and that word appears nowhere in the film, but they have fangs, drink blood, can’t go out during the day, and appear to be undying. The film is not so much about them tracking down victims and killing them or about the tortured love between vampire and human victim, but about the endless toll of the years on them and their troubled and increasingly difficult existence in the modern world.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Brokeback Manhattan

Film: Carol
Format: DVD from NetFlix on laptop.

Every year when the Oscar nominations are released, I find myself with a sudden influx of new films on the list to get through. I do my best initially to get through as many as I can, but by the end of the year, I find that I’m tired of hammering on the most recent year of film. This is why I still have films to watch from the past few years. It also means that I’m still in that phase of catch-up mode for 2015, which is why I moved Carol to the top of the queue recently. Since Best Actress performances are still where I’m the most lacking (although I have caught up tremendously on them and they lag behind Best Actor by about half a dozen now), watching the one that is both currently available and that I haven’t seen seemed like a good fit.

What I didn’t know going in was that Carol was directed by Todd Haynes. I tend to like the films of Haynes, so it made me far more interested in this from the outset. That it touches on themes similar to Far from Heaven, which I think may be his most accessible film and certainly one of his best is an additional benefit. Far from Heaven focuses mainly on interracial romance set in the 1950s but touches on a homosexual relationship as well. Carol ditches that main point and concentrates instead on a lesbian romance set in the same time period.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Over the Border

Film: Hold Back the Dawn
Format: Internet video on laptop.

Keepvid is a nice little internet site that allows one to download videos, which is something I’ve used any number of times to safeguard a rarity that has appeared on YouTube. The downside of Keepvid is that it doesn’t work with Dailymotion, which means that anything I find there is at risk for vanishing suddenly, leaving me with no good option. Because of this, I watched Hold Back the Dawn today in fear that it might suddenly turn into a pumpkin.

This starts with our romantic hero and narrator Georges Iscovescu (Charles Boyer) more or less breaking onto a Paramount Studios set so that he can speak to a film director named Dwight Saxon (played by this film’s director Mitchell Leisen, and filming a scene with Victoria Lake) who he once met. He offers Saxon a story for $500 and his desperation more than anything gets Saxon to listen. Thus begins a tale of love and melodrama starting in a place that is certainly racier than would normally be the case for a film from 1941.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

(Not So) Green Acres

Film: The Southerner
Format: DVDs from NetFlix on laptop.

NetFlix moves in mysterious ways sometimes. I get only a single movie at a time, but despite having Cleopatra, I was sent The Southerner for no discernable reason. So what can I do? It’s a movie I have to watch eventually, and I won’t get anything new until I send it back. It’s not a movie I was prepared to watch though, and while yes, I would have had to watch it eventually, it’s not the sort of film I like very much. The Southerner is yet another “misery parfait” movie where nothing much good happens to our main characters, everyone seems to be out to get them, and even the forces of nature are turned against them for the entire short running time. At least it’s short, clocking in at just over 90 minutes.

Stop me if you’ve heard this plot before. Sam Tucker (Zachary Scott) and his wife Nona (Betty Field) are cotton sharecroppers trying to raise their kids Jot (Jay Gilpin) and Daisy (Jean Vanderwilt) and keep alive the cantankerous and consistently negative Granny Tucker (Beulah Bondi). What Sam really wants more than anything is to raise his own crop and make all of that sweet farmin’ money for himself. He arranges with his boss to clear off a patch of land that has lain fallow for some time so that he can raise his own cotton. Of course, the house on the property is a house in name only in that it has four walls and something like a roof. And, of course, the well is dry.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Two Shakespeare Plays in One

Film: Cleopatra (1963)
Format: DVDs from NetFlix on laptop.

I’m on a short vacation, and am spending the next few days doing a lot of cleaning around my house. Fun, right? It makes sense to me, though, that as I get these breaks between quarters, that I should attempt to knock out some of the longest films I have left on my Oscar lists. The biggest of those Kahunas is Cleopatra from 1963, the only remaining film I had that crossed the four-hour mark. So, while I degrease my kitchen, I’ve spent far too long watching the only movie to both top its year’s box office receipts and still lose money.

It’s a stretch to say that this is really two complete plays of Shakespeare, but it touches on Julius Caesar in the first half of the film and then pretty much runs through the entire plot of Antony and Cleopatra. As such, Cleopatra is very much a film of two halves. The first half deals with Julius Caesar’s (Rex Harrison) battles with Pompey and his encounter with Cleopatra (Elizabeth Taylor). It follows through to the death of Caesar at the hands of the Roman Senate. It touches on a bit of the chaos afterwards, but essentially puts the last couple of acts of Shakespeare’s play into a 60-second voiceover. The second half of the film, which starts with that speed through of the revenge for Caesar’s death, concerns the romance between Cleopatra and Mark Antony (Richard Burton). This section, slightly longer than the first (although the film is pretty neatly divided in halves), follows Shakespeare’s play pretty closely.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Love on the Ward

Film: Private Worlds
Format: Internet video on laptop.

This is going to sound mildly heretical, but I really don’t understand the appeal of Claudette Colbert. Sure, she’s good in It Happened One Night, but I get the impression that I’m always supposed to find her irresistible and I find her pretty resistible. I don’t know what it is. The last of her Oscar nominations for me to see is Private Worlds, and since knocking out a rarity now and then keeps my stress levels down, that’s what I went for tonight.

Private Worlds packs a good deal of weird into its 82 minutes, so it’s got that going for it. The film takes place inside a mental hospital, and while it concerns the doctors and their lives more than anything, we get a few glimpses of some of the patients. As the film opens, everything at the hospital is clicking on all cylinders. The patients are treated with kindness and respect, even if the matron (Esther Dale) disapproves and wants everyone tossed into solitary. Running the hospital is Dr. Alex MacGregor (Joel McCrea), who is ably assisted by Dr. Jane Everest (Claudette Colbert). A woman doctor for this time is pretty surprising and a woman doctor in an asylum is even more surprising.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Nick's Picks: Short Term 12

Film: Short Term 12
Format: Streaming video from NetFlix on rockin’ flatscreen.

This is the third in a series of twelve movies selected by Nick Jobe.

About half a year ago, I made a list for myself of movies that aren’t on my Oscar or horror lists that I should get around to watching. Short Term 12 is one that’s been on that list from the start, so when Nick put it on his list of movies for me to watch this year, it was like killing two birds with one stone. It’s one I’ve wanted to see for a while, so today seemed like a pretty good opportunity. That it was the film that led to Brie Larson getting her role in Room and thus her Oscar is merely a bonus.

Short Term 12 takes place mainly in a group home for troubled teens. Grace (Brie Larson) is the supervisor of this home, where she works with Mason (John Gallagher Jr.), who is also her live-in boyfriend. As the film starts, it’s the first day on the job for Nate (Rami Malek) and Mason is relating a story about a past encounter with one of the kids when another one of the kids makes a break for the gates. This is a typical day, apparently.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Mine, All Mine

Film: North Country
Format: DVD from personal collection on laptop.

One of the problems with watching Oscar films is that I don’t get a lot of horror, science fiction, or comedy. I’m watching the horror lists (and am thinking of adding a few more) specifically because otherwise my diet is pretty much drama drama drama. That’s what I signed up for with North Country, a film in which Sean Bean survives, Jeremy Renner plays a sleeze, and Charlize Theron once again plays less glamorous in search of Oscar gold.

North Country is about the first ever class action sexual harassment lawsuit, which means you should have a good idea of what we’re in for. Lots of public shaming, Charlize Theron getting grabbed, and, what the hell, a rape tossed in for good measure. Oh, and family drama. And ALS. Sorry, that’s probably rude of me. If I come across as bitter, it’s only because North Country isn’t an easy film to sit through. Since it is a social justice film we’ve definitely got a destination that we’re heading to, but getting there is going to be ugly.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Marsh House

Film: When Marnie Was There (Omoide no Mani)
Format: DVD from NetFlix on rockin’ flatscreen.

Probably the biggest compliment that can be paid to an animated film is that it creates characters that, regardless of the story or the fantastic elements that might be included, are very real and very human. There’s a moment in the first 15 minutes or so of When Marnie Was There that, more than anything else, sold the story to me. Our main character, Anna, is crossing a marsh at low tide and stumbles just a little. She doesn’t fall, doesn’t trip, and doesn’t stumble for any reason other than that she places a foot wrong for just a second. It’s completely unnecessary and completely human, and it’s a thing of beauty. It shows such lovely detail of making a character a real person, and it’s one of the little things that makes Studio Ghibli films worth watching.

Anna (voiced in the English version by Hailee Steinfeld) is a 12-year-old girl who feels out of place. She lives in Sapporo with foster parents, and keeps to herself, spending her free time sketching. After a serious asthma attack, Anna is sent for the summer to visit with her foster mother’s relatives Kiyomasa (John C. Reilly) and Setsu (Grey Griffin). It is there that she encounters an old, dilapidated mansion that seems to draw her to it. In her dreams, she sees the mansion inhabited by a young girl with blonde hair.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Higher Calling

Film: The Cardinal
Format: DVD from NetFlix on rockin’ flatscreen.

I can’t say I was fully down with watching The Cardinal. Religious epics often leave me cold in the first place, and a three-hour long film of what promises to be an apologetic for the Catholic Church appeals to me not at all. But, a film list is a film list, and when this shows up on the top of the queue, it’s time to give it a watch. This is, more or less, that three-hour apologetic that I was dreading, but there are some really great moments here, or at least some interesting ones.

As the film starts, Bishop Stephen Fermoyle (Tom Tryon), a good Irish-Catholic boy from Boston, is being made a cardinal, hence the name of the film. We get a few returns to this moment through the film and we end here, but the bulk of the film is told in flashback as Fermoyle recalls the events that took him from seminary student to parish priest to a high position in Holy Mother Church.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Picks from Chip: Widows' Peak

Film: Widows’ Peak
Format: DVD from NetFlix on laptop.

This is the third in a series of twelve movies selected by Chip Lary at Tips from Chip.

With Widows’ Peak, Chip has offered me something of a poser. I like to focus on narrative with these reviews. Widows’ Peak has a clear narrative; in fact, it could be argued that it’s close to all story. However, discussing too much of that narrative spoils the entire film. This starts as a bit of social dealing, moves into petty rivalry, and quickly devolves into full blown mystery.

So let’s start with the basics. In the 1920s, the Irish town of Kilshannon gets into a bit of a tizzy thanks to the arrival of Edwina Broome (Natasha Richardson), a young woman widowed in the war. The only place for her in Kilshannon is what the locals refer to as Widows’ Peak, an area of the town on which virtually all of the residents are widows. Edwina does cause a stir for several reasons. First, she is British, and not all of Ireland views the Brits very favorably. Second, she’s still quite young, and unlike the other women of the Peak, she doesn’t dress in mourning black. Third, because she was raised as the daughter of an ambassador, she speaks with an American accent.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Off Script: Pumpkinhead

Film: Pumpkinhead
Format: Streaming video from Hoopla Digital on The Nook.

I remember watching Pumpkinhead in college. Without even trying, my roommates and I somehow got cable including HBO, possibly from our neighbors upstairs, and one night, Pumpkinhead was on. I remember this specifically because one of my roommates, a big meathead named Tom, managed to guess wrong on pretty much every aspect of the film despite this being a pretty straightforward, even typical monster movie in a lot of respects. The only really solid thing about the film is Lance Henriksen, the practical effects, and a pretty solid monster.

The film starts in the past in the middle of a swampy nowhere. A young boy is sent to bed and his parents lock up their little cabin. Soon after this, another man arrives and pounds on the door, asking to be let in. The boy’s parents refuse and, as the boy looks out his window, he sees the man picked up and dragged off by a giant spindly monster. This is our first glimpse of the title critter.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Bonus, Baby

Film: Two Days, One Night (Deux Jours, Une Nuit)
Format: Streaming video from NetFlix on laptop.

I don’t remember precisely when Marion Cotillard became the darling of movie fanboys everywhere. I think it may have started with Public Enemies followed by Inception. Regardless, there were a few years in the movie blogging community when everyone seemed to be madly in love with her. I like Marion Cotillard just fine; I think her performance in La Vie en Rose is one of the best of the decade, but I don’t really understand why she was a “thing” for a few years. Regardless, in 2014, she earned a rare non-English-speaking Oscar nomination for Two Days, One Night (Deux Jours, Une Vie in French). Since this is the last chance I’ll have for more than the next week for something subtitled, I figured I’d give it a shot.

Two Days, One Night is a film with a depressingly realistic plot that is devilishly simple. Sandra Bya (Cotillard) has suffered a mental breakdown and has been forced to take a leave from her job working in a solar panel factory. During her absence, it is discovered that the other 16 workers, by each working an extra three hours every week, can cover her shift and complete her work. The film starts as she is ready to return to work, only to be told that the rest of the crew has been asked to vote. Either Sandra can return to work or they can each have a €1000 (a little over $1100) bonus. But they can’t have both. Pressured by the foreman, 14 of the workers vote for the bonus. Sandra is told this by her coworker Juliette (Catherine Salee), one of the two who voted for her.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Friendly Fire

Film: Mister Roberts
Format: Turner Classic Movies on rockin’ flatscreen.

Plans change. Some time ago, I recorded the 1935 version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the DVR. TCM changed its schedule, though, and instead of getting that, I got Mister Roberts. Ah well, it’s Cagney, and it’s Cagney in one of his more impressive roles, so I figured I’d watch it anyway. I’ve seen Mister Roberts before and it was film I was looking forward to seeing again. I like the cast, and while I don’t love the ending, I love most of the story.

I do wonder about how the filmmakers managed to get the U.S. Navy’s cooperation for producing this film. It doesn’t really paint the nicest picture of the Navy, or at least this one part of it. The movie takes place in the waning days of World War II in the Pacific. However, this doesn’t really take place during the shooting war. The plot takes place mainly onboard the USS Reluctant, a cargo ship that has spent the war resupplying combat ships. On the surface, it’s a successful ship and was even awarded a palm tree for efficiency.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Decisions, Decisions

Film: Tom, Dick and Harry
Format: Turner Classic Movies on rockin’ flatscreen.

Once upon a time, Burgess Meredith was young. For those of us who remember him as Mick from the Rocky films, that seems difficult to believe, but it’s true. There was even a time when he could pull off being a romantic lead. Evidence is Tom, Dick and Harry, a little slip of a comedic romance released about half a year before the U.S. entered World War II. Tom, Dick and Harry isn’t the sort of film to set the world on fire because there’s not really a lot to it. It’s an odd bit of wish fulfillment that seems more or less designed to keep people happy as the war loomed.

I’ll sum this up nice and quickly. Janie (Ginger Rogers) works as a telephone operator. She’s dating Tom (George Murphy), a dull but solid and ambitious car salesman. After a night at the movies and a run-in with an obnoxious ice cream salesman (Phil Silvers), Tom asks Janie to marry him. After some fussing, she agrees, and dreams that night of what it would be like to be married to a guy who is married to his job.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Covert Ops

Film: Bridge of Spies
Format: DVD from NetFlix on rockin’ flatscreen.

The problem with rarely going to the theater and simultaneously keeping a blog about Oscar films is that every year when the Oscar nominations are announced, I find myself suddenly with a series of films to watch that are often not immediately available to me. So, as the films are released, it’s a slow game of catch up. Bridge of Spies is one I was interested in, so when it became available, I rolled it to the top of the queue and crossed my fingers that I’d get it quickly. And so I did.

I like spy movies. I’m not entirely sure what I find interesting about them or why I like them as much as I do. Many spy films, of course, are action movies, so there’s that attraction. Bridge of Spies is not an action movie. There are a few scenes in which shots are fired and there’s a pretty cool plane crash sequence, but this is a movie about courtrooms and negotiations and backroom deals, with many of those deals having massive implications on a geopolitical scale.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Off Script: Night of the Demon

Film: Night of the Demon (Curse of the Demon)
Format: Internet video on laptop.

I like a good horror movie, and one of the real joys of the genre is watching one of the more formative films. The 1950s were a great time for science fiction and horror. Directors were still trying to figure out what really made people scared and what was really effective in terms of shocking and surprising the audience. Jacques Tourneur was a master of creating mood. With Night of the Demon (also released under the name Curse of the Demon), Tourneur breaks some basic rules of horror, and does it to solid effect.

That cardinal rule is to not reveal the monster at the start of the film. We open with a panicked scientist named Harrington (Maurice Denham) arriving at the home of Doctor Julian Karswell (Niall MacGinnis). He begs Karswell to call something off. Karswell agrees, but seems unable to do anything about this when Harrington mentions that a parchment containing runes has been burned. Harrington leaves, but soon enough he is confronted by that thing that he asked to be called off: a demon, and we see it in all its glory. Harrington, naturally, doesn’t survive the encounter.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Family Reunion Disunion

Film: August: Osage County
Format: Streaming video from NetFlix on The Nook.

I think, if you ask just about anyone, he or she will complain a little (or a lot) about his or her family. It’s a natural thing to do. When you run across a film like August: Osage County, you have one of two reactions. It’s entirely possible that you see a film like this and sympathize with it completely; it ends up fitting you like an environment. The other possibility, and the reaction that I thankfully had to it, is a realization that the issues of your own family are almost nothing compared with what they could be. The Weston family is dysfunctional just to the edge of believability. It’s worth noting that one of the more interesting dysfunctional families on television in the last decade or so (from Burn Notice) was surnamed “Westen.” That seems like a bizarre trend.

Anyway, August: Osage County is the king-hell story of family dysfunction. There isn’t a moment of this that isn’t about psychological suffered by one person in the extended Weston family at the hands of another member of the extended Weston family. It begins with family patriarch Beverly Weston (Sam Shepard) hiring a local named Johnna (Misty Upham) as a cook and as someone to look after his wife, Violet (Meryl Streep). Violet has been diagnosed with cancer and is a brutal, acerbic woman who, thanks to her diagnosis, is hooked on a variety of medications (and not for the first time). Beverly, himself a once-acclaimed poet, is a drunk and is unabashed about it.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Nursed Back to Health

Film: Sister Kenny
Format: Turner Classic Movies on rockin’ flatscreen.

We live in many ways in the best possible time. Sure there are tons of problems around the world and it seems like many of them will never be solved. Some of those problems have the potential to kill us all, but we’ve weathered storms before. Medically, though, we’ve come a very long way. It’s been a long time since most people have had to worry about polio, which was the stuff of nightmares just a couple of generations ago. Sister Kenny is a film about polio and specifically about a radical treatment for polio victims. The film is based on the real life and experiences of the real Elizabeth Kenny. I don’t know how accurate it is, but it honestly plays like the truth.

In the years just before World War I, Elizabeth Kenny (Rosalind Russell) has become a nurse. Her friend and mentor Dr. McDonnell (Alexander Knox) would like her to work at his hospital, but she decides instead to live back at home in the Australian outback and be a bush nurse, tending to the local people who have no other medical care. Dr. McDonnell predicts she’ll last six months, but we flash forward to the people in the area throwing her a party on her third anniversary. During that party, she is called away for a case of a new illness that she has never seen. She sends off a telegram to McDonnell and waits for an answer. The diagnosis comes back as infantile paralysis (i.e. polio). Not knowing what to do, she treats her patient with hot compresses and then works their muscles once their muscle spasms have subsided.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Gimme Some Space

Film: Room
Format: DVD from NetFlix on rockin’ flatscreen.

There are movies I look forward to and movies that I watch because they are on one or more of my movie lists. I can’t say that I was looking forward to Room. I knew the basics of it going in, and since I watched the Oscars a few days ago I went into this knowing that Brie Larson won Best Actress for this role. But it’s not a story that I was looking forward to seeing. Following the Oscar lists means I sign myself up for far more drama and emotional pain that I would normally look for in my movie watching.

Ma (Brie Larson) and Jack (Jacob Tremblay) live in a place they call Room, a 10x10 space with a bathtub, sink, tiny kitchen, toilet, a television, and a bed. For Jack, Room is the only place that exists; it is the entirety of his world. In the night, a man they call Old Nick (Sean Bridgers) comes and Jack is forced to sit in the wardrobe until he is gone. In Jack’s world, the only thing outside room is outer space, and the only view of the world outside Room is the skylight.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Saying One Thing and Meaning Your Mother

Film: Freud (Freud: The Secret Passion)
Format: Internet video on laptop.

When I started reviewing movies on this blog in 2010, I didn’t have a particularly high opinion of Montgomery Clift. Honestly, I think I was just unlucky in picking movies of his I didn’t like much, or roles of his I didn’t like much. As the years have gone by, I’ve discovered I have an appreciation for the man’s work. With Freud (also known as Freud: The Secret Passion), pretty much everything is about Clift and his performance. If he can’t hold the movie together, there’s nothing to hold together.

That’s an issue here, because I’m not a huge fan of the work of Sigmund Freud (played by Clift). I realize that it was in vogue for a number of years, but as far as I know quite a bit of it has been seen as the first blind stabbings into the inner workings of the mind. Freud may have been onto a few things, but for a long time Freudian analysis was considered a panacea for mental disorders, and it’s certainly not that. Not everything is driven by sexuality and not all mental illnesses are caused by repressed memories. That’s not what this film would have you think, incidentally.