Movies traditionally are made up of three equal parts: the script, the musical score and the cinematography. Given the advances in technology in the past 25 years, the argument could be made for re-dividing the “pie” to include special effects. But if the first three elements are first-rate, as they are in “North by Northwest,” three “slices” are perfect.
Director Alfred Hitchcock suggested a few scenarios to Ernest Lehman (five-time Academy Award nominee for scriptwriting, including “West Side Story,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “Sweet Smell of Success”) and Lehman was off and running. Add the talents of cinematographer Robert Burks (“Vertigo,” “The Music Man” and “The Birds”) and the brilliant musical score of Bernard Herrmann (“Taxi Driver,” “Psycho” and “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir”) and it’s difficult to imagine this film not succeeding.
“North by Northwest” does not disappoint. Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) is a victim of mistaken identity that gets him into a whole lot of trouble. No one believes his tale of kidnapping, including his own mother! Eluding the bad guys (or are they good guys?) lands him on a train bound for Chicago and the very good fortune (or is it bad luck?) of being seated in the dining car with a beautiful blond (Eva Marie Saint).
Hitchcock had the ability to tell an “edge-of-your-seat” thriller with consistency, but his creative team (particularly composer Herrmann) makes this classic film a winner even 50 years after its debut.
Note: Olympic Theatre Arts will feature “North by Northwest” for its movie night at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16. Refreshments are available and because of the film’s length, there will be a 15-minute intermission. For more information, go to http://olympic-theatre.tripod.com/ or http://
Sometimes light and airy is OK. “Jumping the Broom” features the classic family struggles encountered at weddings and they can be funny at times.
Sabrina and Jason’s families are meeting for the first time just prior to the couple’s exchange of vows. The bride’s family has opened their extravagant home in The Hamptons for the weekend nuptials. The groom’s mom works at the post office and his friends are far from Ivy League. Not that big of a deal, really, unless said groom is determined to keep his friends and family apart from his future in-laws.
Angela Bassett, as the bride’s mother, has uptight issues of her own (as well as a huge secret) and her tension permeates the festivities. The father of the bride, Brian Stokes Mitchell, has a secret, too, and as if the bridal couple didn’t have enough to fret about, the groom’s mom (Loretta Devine) decides to speak her mind.
What’s lacking in “Jumping the Broom” is a dynamic bridal couple. When the most memorable characters in the cast are the supporting roles, it’s hard to become engaged, so to speak.
That being said, even with a fluffy script, a movie can be a pleasant diversion from reality and as the long, dark days of winter near, a brainless diversion may be just the ticket.
Ever wonder what happens behind the high-rise façades trimmed in neon lights at the casinos in Las Vegas?
The DVD of “The Cooler” offers a glimpse behind the glamorous veneer and it’s not a pretty picture.
Whatever one’s preconceptions of the fast track in this gambling mecca may be, “The Cooler” sets them straight. Alec Baldwin as Shelly personifies “old” Vegas. No family playground for him or his hotel.
Anxious to prove to the upstart MBA types that “Shelly knows best,” Baldwin makes your skin crawl.
Maria Bello started in television years ago on “ER” and is starring in the American version of “Prime Suspect.” In between those series she appeared in numerous feature films and in “The Cooler” she plays the hapless waitress Natalie for all she’s worth. Not just a pretty face (and not just a pretty body), Bello’s Natalie is multifaceted as she teeters for the first time on the emotional roller coaster of love.
But “The Cooler” is a cool movie because of William H. Macy. What a terrific actor. He’s one of a handful who seem to transform themselves with each new role. If “cooler” is synonymous with “loser,” then “Macy” is synonymous with “Academy Award.” Sometime, down the line, his talent will be acknowledged with a golden statue.
Grading this week’s DVDs: the ABC’s
Mon, Mar 19, 2012
Politics, political figures and spies
Tue, Mar 6, 2012
Tue, Feb 14, 2012
And now, reality
Mon, Jan 30, 2012
Looking back on the year that was (Part 1 of 2)
Wed, Dec 7, 2011
Film buffs should revisit ‘Northwest’
Wed, Nov 2, 2011
Conspiracy theories played out on film
Tue, Oct 18, 2011
Mix-ups, marriage and horse management
Mon, Oct 3, 2011
Going ‘Grease,’ locally and on DVD
Tue, Sep 13, 2011
It’s All About the Music
Fri, Sep 9, 2011