The Watercooler Musical Interlude celebrates Veteran’s Day with Maurice Jarre’s theme from The Longest Day. This is Jarre’s second appearance in the Watercooler following Lawrence of Arabia back in June.

As a WWII nerd when I was a kid, The Longest Day was always one of my favorite movies. In retrospect, it’s pretty bloated and dull, but I still have a real soft spot for it. The most memorable bit for me is when Pvt. John Steele (Red Buttons) parachutes into Sainte-Mère-Église only to have his parachute get hung up on a church steeple.

That’s all from me this week. Now it’s your turn. Did anyone see anything worth talking about since last time? Lincoln? Skyfall? Anyone?

12 Responses to “The Longest Watercooler”

  1. Agree with your summary assessment of THE LONGEST DAY, though I can see why a childhood infatuation still resonates. Jaree’s work here is excellent, as it is in LAWRENCE and ZHIVAGO.

    Lucille and I and a few few of the kids (with Broadway Bob and Jo for one) watched four films in theaters this past week, all new releases, and all quite worth seeing in a banner week for quality.

    Lincoln ***** (Saturday night) Union Square Cinemas

    Wreck It Ralph **** (Thursday afternoon) Edgewater multiplex

    Skyfall **** 1/2 (Friday night) Secaucus multiplex

    Flight *** 1/2 (Sunday night) Edgewater multiplex

    Master filmmaker Steven Spielberg has hit a grand slam with his new work LINCOLN, based on the last important accomplishment of Abraham Lincoln’s life and career with a meticulously researched examination of the machinations behind the ratification of the Emancipation Proclamation. Spielberg’s emotional restraint is remarkable, and the drama is built around the various subplots and supporting players which establish a moral compass of American life in the 1860?s and lame duck congressmen who must be approached and cajoled one by one. Janusz Kaminski’s subdued cinematography and the unobtrusive score from John Williams are vital component’s in this equation, but Spielberg’s refusal to pound away at Civil War pathos and sprawling oratories allow for the drama to take riveting hold without prodding. Tony Kushner’s screenplay is intricate and insightful, and three performances are spectacular: Day-Lewis as the embattled Lincoln (probably the favorite now to win critics’ awards and the Oscar), Sally Field as Mary Todd and Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens. LINCOLN, based on the most beloved president, had a built-in reason to seek out, but Spielberg now makes claim to the most fascinating film ever made on this historical giant, eclipsing by quite some distance Ford’s YOUNG MR. LINCOLN and Griffith’s silent ABRAHAM LINCOLN. An interesting side note involved the pre-screening drama in the theater when a young man was in the act of “saving” about twelve seats in front of us for “friends.” He was repeatedly contested by angry patrons at the sold-out screening, who demanded he give them up. As it turned out his friends eventually showed up, and among them was the actor Paul Dano. As far as the young man who was saving the seats he was actually the actor Jeremy Strong, who played Lincoln’s personal secretary Nicolay. No doubt the young actor was thrilled to bring along his throng for the 7:10 P.M. showing.

    SKYFALL has taken the decades old James Bond series to an entirely new level of character-driven narrative immersion, without sacrificing the pyrotechnics that have fueled the most recent entries. responsible for this wholly effective approach is Sam Mendes, who culls exceptional work from Daniel Craig, Judi Dench and Javier Bardem in an exhilarating roller coaster of a film, that boasts what well may be the most arresting color cinematography yet seen this year by Roger Deakins. The sumptuous work includes superb use of lighting and silouettes, and some classical compositions. After my indifference for the last few Bonds, I was unprepared for this surprising entry, clearly one of the best of the entire series.

    WRECK-IT RALPH is a witty and breathless retro animated film about video games and the characters that inhabit that magical dimension that is exceedingly imaginative and and emotionally resonant. I am thinking this will impress adults as much as the kids they are bringing. My own kids loved it.

    FLIGHT features one of Denzel Washington’s finest performance in a largely riveting cautionary tale that is flawed, but hard to look away from. The plane landing is brilliantly done, as is the hearing inquiry.

  2. I didn’t get to the theater this weekend, but I did watch Dial M for Murder for the first time. Pretty good stuff, though I think my favorite thing about the movie was Grace Kelly’s dresses. Just gorgeous.

    Recently I’ve seen Seven Psychopaths, Cloud Atlas, and Argo. They were each brilliant in their own ways. Seven Psychopaths was a more introverted comedy than I expected, and the better for it. Sam Rockwell can do no wrong, can he? Argo, was of course firing on all cylinders, as everyone seems to agree. The much-maligned Cloud Atlas was beautiful and inventive and imaginatively powerful, and one of the few films that I loved at least as much as the book.

    Really want to see Skyfall and Flight and of course Lincoln. And, oh, gajillion others. We’re finally at the point of the year where there are great films coming out every weekend, and I’m hungry to gobble them all up.

  3. Saw Skyfall and I’d give it a B. Technically pretty brilliant (how can you go wrong with Roger Deakins?) and the cast is roundly excellent, but it sort of lost me about 2/3 of the way and never really brought me back in. I don’t know how folks rate this over Craig’s Casino Royale but I can see why people seem enthusiastic about it. I can also see why people are disappointed in it.

  4. definitely not as good as “Casino Royale”. I didn’t think “Skyfall” lived up to the hype, and as a Bond fan, I was disappointed this 50th anniversary brought us a film with very little humor, banter or sexuality. It’s more of a Jason Bourne film by way of Nolan’s “Batman” than a true James Bond film. I enjoyed parts of it, and Bardem is great. Craig is a good Bond, but I’d say he was pretty dull in “Skyfall”. Overall….not close to my favorite Bond films.

  5. Grace Kelly’s dresses are indeed fabulous in Dial M for Murder. But John Williams is particularly fantastic as the Chief Inspector. And I always liked Ray Milland.

    I helped a friend move this weekend, so no movies for me.

  6. I’ve said this in other places too, so pardon the repetition, but I thought Mendes and Co. walked an admirable tightrope between a fun Bond and a Bond with some contemporary metaphorical weight. Bond can’t really be the sexual he-man predator who thinks nothing of his sexual conquests dying for Queen-and-Country anymore, or, he can’t be that without a bit of apologia. And while I often grow tired of political correctness being used a lazy default hammer against artistic expression, I agree in this case. I’m torn. I think the best Bond film of all time is either “Casino Royale” or “Skyfall” and the latter could’ve used a Vesper Lynde.

    That said, I respectfully disagree with the assertion that “Skyfall” isn’t sexy. Bond doesn’t have as much fun this time as usual (which makes sense considering the scenario), but the film has a number of moments that are very sexy. Virtually any of the scenes between Bond and Eve (particularly the shaving), the scene between Bond and Severine in the bar when he convinces her to reveal Silva to him. The scene between Bond and Silva with Bond in the chair. And in terms of fun, the opening action scene is a wonderfully preposterous knockout, the Adele song kills, etc.

  7. You make an excellent point on Skyfall’s sexiness, Chuck. And I find it admirable that not only is one of these sexy scenes between two men, but that it’s partially sexy because of the ambiguity of it. I also really liked the shaving scene. It was very sexy and yet very PG, which is a type of clever innuendo that the early Bond films seemed to revel in.

    I thought the opening was the best sequence of the film, which I found frustrating because the action after is a long series of mostly uninpsired diminishing returns. But the settings were all gorgeous and Deakins shot the hell of them, so I can’t complain too loudly.

  8. If the opening sequence can rightly be signaled out as excellent as it should be I’d also put in a boiterous approval of the stupendous finale, which would also stand among the greatest set pieces in any Bond film. I do acknowledge that what happens in between is a matter of taste, but Deakins and Mendes did some things in a visual sense that kept the film incredibly involving. This may have been the most character-driven Bond since teh early days.

    Chuck and Joel make some excellent points here.

  9. I’m not crazy about Skyfall at all. It seems like a James Bond movie for people who don’t like James Bond movies, but that’s not quite fair because most of the people I know who love James Bond really like it. It felt schizophrenic to me. On one hand it ran as far away from the feeling of the franchise as possible and on the other hand they kept squeezing in these appalling references to the franchise’s glory days.

    I generally like Craig’s Bond. He’s grim without being completely humorless and he shows signs of humanity here and there, but this is the third dark Bond in a row and I’m not sure that was such a good idea.

    I didn’t care for the Straw Dogs/Home Alone finale much either.

    I loved the cinematography and Javier Bardem though and I won’t criticize it for the fact that Bardem’s evil plot was absurd because none of the schemes in any of the Bond films really pass the smell test. I’d give it a 3 out of 5

    Loved Lincoln. DDL is of course fantastic, but the big surprise to me was Sally Field whose Mary was an integral part of the story. Spielberg walked a fine line between pageantry, mythology and reality and managed to pull while echoing our current situation without over emphasizing it. 4 1/2 of 5

    Flight. It was a great idea making Denzel both the hero and the heel, but the musical choices were too obvious and I didn’t care for John Goodman’s character (the audience loved him). I also didn’t quite buy the resolution even though there was really no other way to end it that still would’ve been satisfying.

    Jennifer, so do I need to break down and see Seven Pyschopaths? sounds like it. Glad you loved Cloud Atlas. I know you were a fan of the book.

  10. Sam, how does Wreck it Ralph stand up to some of the other animated films this year?

  11. I must say Craig, I believe it is one of the most creative in that category, and it stands with FRANKENWEENIE and BRAVE in my view.

  12. I’ll have to check it out then. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.

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