Aug. 5th, 2012

innocent_man: (drama)
Down with Love is an homage, if you will, to the sex comedies of the 60s. I have never seen any of these (Pillow Talk is apparently one of the best examples), so I was worried that I wouldn't "get" Down with Love.

As it was, though there was obviously some context I was missing, it was still really enjoyable. Renee Zellweger plays Barbara Novak, a woman from Maine in the 60s who has written a book called Down with Love, in which she encourages women to abstain from men (substituting chocolate for sex) until they separate the notions of "love" and "sex." And then, they should have sex like men do: "a la carte." (Sounds about right to me.)

Ewan MacGregor, meanwhile, plays Catcher Block, star expose reporter, who winds up deciding to force Novak to fall in love with him, thus exposing her as not really a "Down-with-Love" girl at all. He accomplishes this by putting on a country-fried, down-home persona and wooing her. Of course, he falls in love with her in the meanwhile, and then...

...well, things go a little off the rails (spoilers). She reveals that she knew who he was all along, and was playing him. But then he agrees to marry her, thinking that means she plays housewife, and she realizes that, no, she really is a "down with love" girl, and fucks off to go start her own magazine (which sucks up all the women in the city who want jobs, because they're sick of working for unappreciative chauvinists). Catcher finally figures out that he's fine with being the less-productive member of the marriage with his wife being a career woman, and pow. Happy endings abound.

David Hyde Pierce plays the role of Block's "boss" and neurotic best friend, while Sarah Paulson plays a similar role to Zellweger. Their chemistry and interactions provide really nice foils to the stars. Tony Randall, who was apparently the role that Pierce plays in this movie in the older Rock Hudson/Doris Day sex comedies, plays the head of the publishing house that agrees to publish Down with Love (though he doesn't care about the content until it stops him getting laid).

All in all, the movie is fun, well-acted and meta as all hell. I like it.

My grade: A-
Rewatch value: Dunno, but probably high.

Next up: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
innocent_man: (mouseketeer)
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde is, of course, one of the many movie adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel. I have not actually read the novel (though I did see the musical), so I'm not familiar with the storyline. However, a quick perusal of the Wiki indicates that the movie is, shall we say, not so faithful to the story.

Spencer Tracy plays Jekyll/Hyde. In this story, he's a young doctor engaged to a beautiful socialite (Lana Turner), and seeks to understand the nature of the soul. He believes that people can be spiritually displaced by a shock, throwing good and evil out of balance. On his way home with his friend Dr. Lanyon (Ian Hunter), he sees a young woman being assaulted. He helps the girl, Ivy (Ingrid Bergman) home, and they share a kiss. Dr. Lanyon points out later that this may have a triumph of Jekyll's evil side.

Jekyll brews the forumla that we're all familiar with and changes into Hyde. He goes to the pub where Ivy works, starts a brawl just for the fuck of it, has her fired, and then moves her into a flat and keeps her, abused and degraded, for an indeterminate amount of time. During this, we assume, he doesn't revert to being Jekyll, but he does change back when his fiancee returns home from Europe. Ivy comes to see him as a patient, and he promises her that Hyde will never trouble her again, but later he reverts to Hyde and murders her. He then goes on a wee rampage, finally winding up getting shot dead in his lab as his butler recites the Psalm 23.

Spencer Tracy apparently hated his performance here, and I think he was maybe a little too old for the role, and definitely too American (but that's hardly the last time we'll see an American playing a Brit without bother to even try to sound like one). I think that the story of the novel would have been more interesting than this, though I do think that some of the transformation effects were interesting, especially for the time. The idea that Ivy and Fiancee (sorry, um...Beatrix, that's right) are the urges that are driving him toward good or evil also made for some interesting cinematography, though the idea that Ivy is in any way "evil" is kind of offensively laughable.

I'd be interested to see a different, less sanitized version of the movie, I think.

My Grade: C+
Rewatch value: Low

Next up: Dragnet
innocent_man: (centimani)
Well, here we at back at Promethean after a brief digression into Song of Ice & Fire that wound up going about a month longer than we'd originally intended. S'all good, though. Game was fun, and it's not like any of my Promethean players are going anywhere.

So at the end of the last session of Promethean, the characters had left Tucson. Grimm had answered the question ("What are the angels?") with "our weakness." The throng decided to hang together, but mostly because they didn't want to be alone again. There's still a lot of tension.

The decision was to head east, and to stop in Roswell, New Mexico. And, here we cut. )

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