This Week In Cinema: September 04-10, 2011

A film about a rock and roll singing rooster beats out a film about Italian Jews in World War II, that’s the world I live in people!

Only three movies this week, work and school sure do make movie watching a hard enterprise to engage in,

On The Beach (1959, Stanley Kramer, United States Of America) **1/2

I appreciated the lack of melodrama in On The Beach, but at the same time I would have liked some emotion to be displayed. This is the end of the world we are talking about, and the movie treats it as if it’s just a normal Tuesday. Gregory Peck is pretty good, Donna Anderson is pretty bad, and Anthony Perkins is easily the stand out. I liked certain moments, like the final few frames for instance, but on the whole I wanted more immediacy from On The Beach. I wanted to feel the consequences of what mankind had wrought. I didn’t want people supposedly in their last moments of radiation poisoning to look like perfectly manicured Hollywood stars. The message may have been good, but the deep flaws of Stanley Kramer’s picture make it hard to care about the message.

La Vita È Bella (Life Is Beautiful, 1997, Roberto Benigni & Rod Dean, Italy) **

Right from the start I found myself put at a distance from La Vita È Bella. I couldn’t connect to the humor and I had no interest whatsoever in the lead character played by Roberto Benigni. I found his entire act too cloying, I could feel him wanting me to find him funny. I didn’t find him funny and the longer the movie went the more his routine strained on me. As a director I’m not sure about Mr. Benigni’s talents either, there are a few moments where he displays skill in regards to framing a silhouette. Other than that I found his direction of La Vita È Bella to be more workman like than anything else, perhaps this is testified to by the fact that none of his movies following La Vita È Bella received any sort of acclaim. I know that La Vita È Bella has its share of fans and detractors, but I didn’t care enough about the film to fall into either category. La Vita È Bella is a movie I watched, and that says it all.

Rock-A-Doodle (1991, Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, & Dan Kuenster, Ireland/United Kingdom/United States Of America) ***

The live action elements of Rock-A-Doodle aren’t anything special. They are downright horrendous when played side by side with the animation. The story is extremely simple and obvious in its Elvis Presley allusions. But, you know what, I still had a good time with Rock-A-Doodle. The songs were catchy in a not annoying sort of way, and the animation was the typical clean style I’ve come to expect from Don Bluth. I enjoyed Rock-A-Doodle for what it wanted to be, and that was a pretty darn solid movie.

Wrap-Up:

The capsule reviews tell the whole story, but for the sake of formality I shall still pick a movie of the week winner. In no surprise at all Rock-A-Doodle, the silly movie about music hating owls, beats out a couple of serious movies quite easily and takes home movie of the week honors. Until next week, watch more movies!

Cheers,
Bill

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