Another Watercooler, another slice of Bond for the Watercooler Musical Interlude. The first movie called Casino Royale (1967) is excluded from the purist’s James Bond canon, but this is a great theme anyway if you’re into the whole Herb Alpert/Burt Bacharach sound… and I am. Producer Charles K. Feldman scored the film rights to the Ian Flemming novel and had attempted to come to terms with Bond producers Albert Broccoli and Herbert Saltzman to make an official Bond pic, but failed. Knowing he couldn’t compete directly with everyone’s favorite British spy, Feldman opted to go the satire route. The result is a fizzy and indulgent bit of late-’60s nonsense that is pretty much a mess, but still kind of fun.

That’s all from me this week. Now it’s your turn. Has anyone seen anything worth talking about since last week?

8 Responses to “Watercooler Royale”

  1. Yes, the music is a lot of fun, and once you get it into your head it’s tough to get it out.

    High-quality movies are starting to release across the country, which is no surprise when one considers this is the time for the year’s best stuff to gain strategic dates. Lucille and I (with the kids for some) saw two exceptional films over the past week, both of which are strong contenders for ‘ten best’ lists. While I resisted giving either a five star rating, that’s not to say that one, the other or both can’t or won’t win that categorization at some point down the line. We saw:

    Holy Motors **** 1/2 (Wednesday night) Film Forum

    The Sessions **** 1/2 (Saturday night) Angelika Film Center

    Five Psychopaths *** 1/2 (Friday night) Secaucus multiplex

    Dr. Jack **** (Monday night) Harold Lloyd at Film Forum

    Speedy **** 1/2 (Sunday afternoon) Harold Lloyd at Film Forum

    Brief Encounter ***** (Tuesday) Film Forum

    Ben Lewin’s THE SESSIONS could well have been a cringe-worthy and exploitative play on the pathos and constrictions of physical disability, but instead it’s a surprisingly affecting and often funny realistic adaptation of an essay “On Seeing A Sex Surrogate” by San Francisco-based poet and journalist Mark O’Brien, a 38 year-old man imprisoned in an iron lung as a result of severe polio since childhood. The film focuses in on the loss of virginity for the character played by John Hawkes( in one of the year’s most extraordinary performances), brought about by sex sessions with a therapist (played with moving restrait by Helen Hunt) and condoned by O’Brien’s priest (played with earthy abandon by Bill Macy). The film is carried by the superlative acting, and the riveting conversations, and it builds to a deeply moving climax. The film’s fluctuating moods are beautifully transmitted by a spare piano score by Marco Beltrami, minimalist and full of feeling. HOLY MOTORS, a perverse, atmospheric, deeply melancholic film with the specters of Cocteau and Godard hovering overhead is a visual poem, a dream comes to life with searing images and a swath of visual imagination. Leos Carax’ exhilarating metaphorical film features a spectacular multi-character performance by Denis Levant is, according to the director (who appeared ‘under the weather’ at the Film Forum Wednesday night for a Q & A) based on an acute sadness from his own life, one he was reluctant to identify. This cinematic roller-coaster also contains a haunting song by Minoque titled “Who Were We?” A single viewing will never provide all the answers, but it still confirms it’s one of the best films of the year. SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS by Martin McDonagh (IN BRUGES) is an exceedingly violent dark comedy that showcases a largely brilliant script in a work that certainly brings Tarantino into focus, but the cast offers some welcome surprises (Woody Harrelson and Colin Farrell) and a few others by sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken that meet expectations. You alway shate yourself for liking it, but it’s deliriously entertaining. Too bad the ending betrayed the rest of the film, but there’s too much fun to pass it up. Two Harold Lloyd films (and one short with each) were offered up in the Harold Lloyd Festival (DR. JACK and the wonderful SPEEDY) with fabulous piano accompaniment by Steve Sterner. The Sunday afternoon screening of the latter was a sold-out event that featured a slide show presentation by author John Bengston, who then signed copies of his new Keaton volume in the lobby (I bought a book myself) and an audience sing-along of the song “Speedy.” Lloydmania was alive and well in NYC on Sunday and it was a great thrilled to be there with Lucille and the three boys.

    Young Jeremy had his picture taken with famed French comic and clown Pierre Etaix, who is the subject of a six-film festival that commenced over the weekend. I will be seeing his most essential film LE GRAND AMOUR on Tuesday night.

    As far as David Lean’s 1945 BRIEF ENCOUNTER, in a new DCP print, that was pure cinematic bliss. No matter how many times one sees this ‘perfect’ film one is again ravished by Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, the superlative script, gorgeous black and white and Rachmaninoff’s aching lyricism. For many it’s Lean’s greatest masterpiece.

  2. Did I really say FIVE PSYCHOPATHS???

    Needless to say it should have read SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS!

    Oh boy.

  3. This movie is hilarious. Yeah, it’s nonsense but it’s funny. And it has The Look of Love in it.

    It’s Halloween time so I had my obligatory revisiting of Addams Family Values. Still great.

  4. @Sam: I got to see a new(ish) 35mm print of Brief Encounter a few years ago when the Lean revival tour was making the circuit. Great film!

  5. Joel: I completely agree with you there! I am thinking the print you saw may have been the one I saw this week. But so ravishing!

  6. Sam, I loved Levant’s (and Binoche’s) work with Carax in the wonderful Lovers of the North Bridge.

  7. sartre: I second the motion! I positively adore that film and those marvelous performances as well!

  8. I had a feeling Sam that Holy Motors would be right up your alley. I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first, but oddly I was fully on board from the moment Denis Lavant, made up as a sewer dwelling freak, bit off a woman’s fingers and then licked Eva Mendes’ armpit. Yeah, I know that’s a weird moment to become engaged with a movie, but there you go!

    I couldn’t bring myself to seeing The Sessions for some reason even though I keep hearing great things about it. I do love John Hawkes so maybe I ought to suck it up.

    Alison, I was wondering if you were going to dust off Addams Family Values this year. Glad to hear the tradition continues!

    Sartre, if you liked Lovers on the Bridge (US title), you should definitely seek out Holy Motors. Interestingly, the climactic (and one of the best) sequence takes place above the same bridge.

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