Sunday, September 13, 2009

Torrent Picks 9/13/09

Well its that time of the week again, when I dig deep into the recesses of my vast film knowledge and pull out five movies that some of you probably haven't seen before, or that you've forgotten or overlooked for some reason. Anyway with out any farther delay, lets get to it shall we?

Across the Universe: Here is the plot: During the mid-60’s, a young Englishman named Jude journeys to America to find his father. After locating him, Jude also makes friends with siblings Max (Joe Anderson) and Lucy. After deciding to ditch college, Max heads to New York City with Jude. They find jobs and share a building with artist-types. Lucy visits for the summer. She has graduated high school, her boyfriend has died in Vietnam, and she brings a draft letter for Max. Jude and Lucy grow close as Max prepares for Vietnam. After Max leaves, Lucy is distraught. She joins an anti-war effort. Her obsession with the group creates a jealousy in Jude. This strain grows until Lucy leaves him. When Jude sees her at a protest later on, she is being arrested. Attempting to help her, he is arrested and deported. After a firefight in Vietnam, Max returns wounded, physically and mentally. Meanwhile Lucy sinks deeper into her anti-war group, eventually discovering they are making bombs. When an explosion occurs at the group’s headquarters,lives are left in question. The story ends with a song, as to sad or exultant is left for viewers to learn. Now what sets this film apart obviously is the soundtrack and how its used, its a brilliant mixture of music video meets musically driven story, its kind of like the film August Rush, but with all Beatles songs. Plus for it to win me over thats a big thing, because I'm not really a big fan of The Beatles.

Papillon: Here is the plot: French criminal Henri Charriere (Steve McQueen) is better known as 'Papillion', which is French for the butterfly tattoo he bears. Sentenced to exile for a murder he says he did not commit, Papillon meets fellow prisoner Louis Dega (Dustin Hoffman) on board of the prison ship taking them to the infamous Devil's Island prison in French Guiana. Small in stature and near-sighted Dega is a gentleman counterfeiter whose schemes have impoverished a number of fellow prisoners. They are understandably unhappy with him so he and Papillon strike a deal between them. The tall, muscular convicted murderer will protect Dega from his enemies and Dega will finance Papillon's escape attempts with money secreted on and in his body. Although his first attempts to escape fail and are rewarded with solitary confinement and savage treatment, Papillon and Dega persist in seeking freedom against what seem to be impossible odds, even enlisting the aid of the denizens of the leper colony and constructing a raft of coconuts. Its no real surprise that this movie is here, after all long time readers will be aware of my hero worship of Steve McQueen, who is just possibly one of the best actors to have ever lived, he could do just about anything, he filled that whole left by James Dean as that iconic eternal bad boy that had a heart of gold, and he played everything from a race car driver, to former military men, this film is just another example of his versatility and range, plus, early Dustin Hoffman gives a great performance too.

The Other Boleyn Girl: here is the plot: The Other Boleyn Girl is set in period England during the reign of King Henry (Eric Bana) and tells the story of the two Boleyn sisters, Anne (Natalie Portman) and Mary (Scarlett Johansson). The story is based around the transformation of the two Boleyn girls after they enter the court of King Henry, this in turn affects their relationship with each other and The King with elements of romance, betrayal and intrigue. In the beginning Mary entrances Henry and is invited to join the King's court. However after she bears his bastard child she is locked away and Mary's ambitious father tries to secure a place for Anne in the King's court to replace her. This leads to conflict between the sisters and ultimately in Anne seducing the King and forcing him to marry her. However, Anne is unable to produce a male heir which leads to further complications and England is torn apart as the King struggles to produce a male heir for the throne due to his struggle with the two Boleyn sisters. This film is here because its one of those films that gets passed over when its first released, dismissed because it seems alot like some other film that was released around the same time, but with the attentions to detail and the care put into how everyone really looked as if they were from that period, its just a beautiful film.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: here is the plot: Lorelei Lee (Marilyn Monroe) and Dorothy Shaw (Jane Russell) are showgirls and best friends. Lorelei is engaged to Gus Esmond (Tommy Noonan), a man willing to do anything for her, especially spend his money. Gus’ father does not approve of the marriage, and tries to stop his son from sailing to France with Lorelei to get married. The senior Esmond hires a private detective, Ernie Malone, to follow them and spy on Lorelei. Malone begins to fall in love with Dorothy, who accompanied Lorelei on the journey. Lorelei has smelled money on Sir Francis “Piggy” Beekman (Charles Coburn), a married, wealthy owner of a diamond mine, and begins to wile her way into his pocketbook. Malone snaps pictures of Lorelei flirting with Beekman, but the girls create a scheme to get the film back. Beekman is happy his wife won’t see the pictures, so he gives Lorelei his wife’s diamond tiara. Lady Beekman believes her tiara is stolen, and Gus, thinking Lorelei is a thief, cuts off her credit, leaving the girls broke and alone in Paris, but they always come up with a scheme to get back on their feet and get their men. Now, this might not be the best of Marilyn's films, but, this is the most iconic, with the dance number being the most mimicked of her scenes, btw, the seven year itch is the second most iconic of her films, and as many do, I have always had a soft spot for Marilyn, and I included this because honestly, I've yet to actually put anything of hers on here.

Stalag 17: here is the plot: During WWII a group of Americans were incarcerated in a German POW camp called Stalag 17. After an escape-attempt-gone-wrong that resulted in the deaths two men, prisoners in their barracks start suspecting there is a German stoolie in their midst. Sefton (William Holden) is the chief suspect. He's a wheeler-dealer who always seems to get extra perks the other men don't get. After Sefton bribes guards in order to spend a night in a women's barracks, his barrack-mates are convinced he's the snitch and beat him severely. In order clear himself, Sefton decides to find the real culprit. Amidst this two new prisoners arrive including Lt. James Dunbar (Don Taylor). Dunbar’s companion boasts that Dunbar was responsible for blowing up a crucial German bridge. Of course, this information gets back to the Germans who immediately seize Dunbar for questioning. When the men hear that Dunbar's to be taken to Berlin, they hatch a daring plan. While causing a major distraction, they hide Dunbar. The Nazis are furious when they can't find him. Sefton, in the meantime, has learned who the stoolie is. Using the informant as a distraction for the Germans, Sefton and Dunbar make their escape. This is here because, though I'm not a fan of most war movies, but something about this one has always resonated with me, no idea why, but it just always has. And hopefully it will with you too.

Alright thats it for now, I hope you all enjoyed these as much as i enjoyed bringing them to you...



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