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AMA Week 666 (divided by 222, but 3 doesn’t sound properly evil)

October 19th, 2012 § Leave a Comment

Hey gang o’ thieves,

I didn’t get anything up last week, as I was vacationing in the isles (Vancouver if you must know). I hope you enjoyed our double feature of Price and Lorre, I know I did, especially the hilarious “Comedy of Terrors.” If that’s your taste we’ve got more of that goodness coming up here this week. I got a slate of four films viewed and I’m dying to give you the scoop. Here it comes.

First off, I have heard that we have not one, but two sparkling prints this week. What may very be the last and best prints to ever be made of our 40s classics “Arsenic” and “Phantom” will be doing their silver screen flickering at the GI this week, and for the price of one and a half admissions for both, you’d be doing yourself the ultimate disservice not watching these films. Do you really want to see a fourth “Paranormal Activity?” 90 minutes for 5 minutes worth of story content and cheap jump scares, or the same time spent with screen legends that both humor and fright? I think if you’re reading this blog, you want what we want, quality not sequel fatigue.

I’m pretty sure I’ve raved about “Arsenic and Old Lace” on this blog before, suffice it to say if you’ve never seen it, you are denying yourself one of the best black comedies ever made. I love you Coen brothers, but you got nothing on this beat-to-beat perfect masterpiece. And were you enjoying Lorre in his comedy waning years last week? Well, see him in his prime and at the height of his career in this movie, where he shines even brighter than in his campy 60s stuff. I’m telling you, see it.

A thinner and more energetic Lorre

The second part to our double header, “Phantom of the Opera,” plays a lot different from other adaptations I’ve seen of the classic work. A lot of time is spent devoted to making us care about the Phantom before he commits his first murder, and he is presented as very “phantomy” throughout the rest of the film. There is a fair amount of comedy at play here too, most of it derived from Christine leading on her suitors and small visual gags set to whimsical music ensues. Though my favorite comedy bits come from the inimitable character actor Steven Geray, Uncle Pio from “Gilda” that I was raving about so recently. While “Phantom” doesn’t really find its footing as a horror film (it’s played as a tragedy), it is a gorgeous Technicolor wonder that boasts “a cast of thousands.” Truly an operatic spectacle.

Two more films grace this weekend and next, and they span the day from early afternoon to late night. I speak of “Jack the Giant Killer” and “The Burning.” First, to our second family friendly matinee film. “Jack the Giant Killer” is much more entertaining in a Ray Harryhausen sort of way than our previous “Magic Sword,” with a rhyming Leprechaun and an inexplicable solo Viking. I’m sure it’s much more wacky and wild than Bryan Singer’s upcoming remake (which we can only hope is better than that awful “Clash of the Titans” remake), so you should prep yourself with this benchmark.

And finally, “The Burning.” What an interesting and unique experience that was! The movie spends time actually fleshing out all the characters! And the cast doesn’t look like they are all Abercrombie & Fitch models! A truly rare specimen of a horror movie, it is worth noting that this is the first film made by the Weinstein brothers, and it’s co-written by them as well as produced. The tension created by the film is well paced and the payoff is great. And it’s got Jason Alexander with a full head of hair in his debut role! And he’s playing a jock! A far throw from “Can’t-stand-ya!” A super young Holly Hunter is also here in a debut, and Fisher Stevens too!

Jason and Fisher

That’s it this week. I’m off to go see “The Master.” Sad to hear I won’t have the shit-my-pants-can’t-leave-my-seat type experience of “There Will Be Blood,” but I hate Scientology, so I’m going dammit!

—Halloween is almost here gotta get my metaphorical pumpkins in a row, dan

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