East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Sunday, January 13, 2008


The Band Wagon (Vincente Minnelli, USA, 1953): The bonus disc features a 1930 Vitaphone short, Jack Buchanan with the Glee Club Quartet, in which JB's expert mistiming gives you some idea why he was Britain's leading musical comedian of his era, though it's not apparent how he functioned as a romantic lead: surely endearing dithering can only go so far (take note, Hugh Grant). Then again, given the breadth of his performance as Jeffrey Cordova, I wouldn't put anything past him. He does a pretty decent Oedipus, has no trouble talking circles around James Mitchell, and edges Fred Astaire in the all-timer "Triplets" number (it's all in the facial expressions, which you can't really make out in the above YouTube clip), and all this with spinal arthritis. In a fairer world, he'd be remembered like we remember the dark-dancing Astaire: well, maybe ninety percent as much. A PLUS

Hot Fuzz (Edgar Wright, UK, 2007): Not as good as Shaun of the Dead, which had a moral or something, but the small town conspiracy premise provides some good cheap laughs: pistol-packing grandmamas and such. The series of unfortunate events does go on a bit, so you might be worn out by the time they get to the "which Clint flick are they pastiching now?" finale. B PLUS

Stealth (Rob Cohen, USA, 2005): While Michael Bay has now been deemed a fit subject for intellectual contemplation, those of us who actually watch and occasionally enjoy mechanised action movies prefer the company of Cohen. Stealth doesn't flukily crash into good movie territory like The Fast and the Furious did, but it has its awesome ludicrous moments, like Josh Lucas flying away from an airborne ring of flames, and Cohen respects every narrative cliche. By the time the Evil Robot Plane develops feelings and learns that collateral damage is wrong, you'll be wishing our real world storyline progressed so inevitably. C PLUS



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