Monday, February 28, 2005

Movie Reviews!

I am 3/4 through my mini-experiment. Namely, watching the original and remade versions of two movies, The Manchurian Candidate and The Ladykillers. I have seen all but the 2004 Manchurian Candidate, but I feel I'll forget this before it arrives.

The original Ladykillers was slow and dry, it was probably good for 1955. Despite its containing Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers and Herbert Lom [Dreyfus from the Pink Panther movies], it just didn't think it "gelled". I think. Because the new one, by the brothers Coen, outshined it. Same plot, most elements are different. Strangely, there were a couple of elements that were copied word for word and shot for shot, which had no bearing on anything and I didn't understand why it was done that way. But it was much funnier, I highly recommend it for rental. Even Tom Hanks, who I generally consider to be pompus, did a good job as the creepy professor. Marlon Wayans (as Gawain) stole the show as "the inside guy". Plot outline for both: professor (Guinness/Hanks) concocts a complicated plan for stealing money, gathers a group of na'er do wells to assist in completeing the plan, and the ensuing comedy afterwards. The remake did not do as good of a job transitioning from the 'plan' half of the movie and the 'after' half of the movie, but it can be forgiven. The cat: wait for it.

The Manchurian Candidate
also lived up to its hype. Well done top to bottom. I can both see how it creeped people out at the time, and why Sinatra removed it from circulation until 1988. It was released in 1962 (from the book by the same name published in 1959), and ended up eeirly foreshadowing the events of late November, 1963. Frankly, *I* was a little unsettled by it, seeing how easily certain aspects of it could be laid out in real life. (And could have been.) Another high reccomendation. Watch out for an excellent performance by Sinatra, who we forget, having known him mostly as aging crooner, had some fine acting chops and probably had his finest performance in this movie. Angela Lansbury was also outstanding as the mother. There were a couple of unexplained things that weren't particularly meaningful to the plot, unless you want to get weird about it, that might require a re-watch or reading of the book. But absolutely watch this film.

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