Monday, 5 May 2008


“Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.” - Peter Ustinov

For Movie Monday today, four movies we have recently watched and a mixed bag they are too! I hope something here tickles your fancy.

1) “Hearts in Atlantis” (2001 – Directed by Scott Hicks)

An interesting period piece of the 1960s, a coming of age story and the story of a friendship between a young boy and an old man. The movie is an adaptation of a Stephen King book, or rather the first novella in the book, “Low Men in Yellow Coats”. It is a beautiful movie, slow and full of period touches, good acting with the two leads, Anthony Hopkins and Anton Yelchin certainly carrying the movie. Although we enjoyed the movie, it is also one that is easily forgotten and on reflection not as profound as it first strikes one. Worth seeing, 6.5/10

2) “The Tree of Wooden Clogs” (1978 – Directed by Ermanno Olmi)

In this Italian film set in a farming community in the 19th century, poverty-stricken Italy, nothing much happens and the film lasts for three hours. Yet the masterly film-making manages to involve the viewer into four seasons with the humble families in Lombardy, immersing one into the back-breaking work, the joys and sorrows and the relentless cruelty of a rich landowner, who controls the lives of his serfs. A beautiful film, rich in historical detail, with non-professional actors making of it almost a documentary of another time and place, that manages to make one smile, cry, laugh and sob. The soundtrack of Bach organ works is just right for the mood. Get hold of it and watch it! 8.5/10
3) “The Disorderly Orderly” (1968 – Directed by Frank Tashlin)

I first watched this Jerry Lewis film many years ago when I was 10 or 11 and I remember I laughed till I was sore. By chance I got hold of the DVD and we watched it again. Not as funny as I remembered it, but nevertheless, still managed to make me chuckle. It is slapstick and derivative, but nevertheless, manages to highlight Lewis’ comedic talents and as a farce it is one of Jerry Lewis’ best. Lewis play s Jerome Littlefield who wants to be a doctor. But he is very clumsy, and a hypochondriac (whatever symptoms he hears described, he gets). So he must settle for being an orderly. Dr. Howard, who runs the Whitestone Sanatorium where Jerome works, has faith in Jerome, but nobody else it seems... 
Alice Pearce is great playing a woman with many medical conditions (the description of her “Gall bladder just dripping and dripping” is hilarious). It all ends well and boy gets girl. Fun and games. 5.5/10

4) “The Choir of Hariton” (2005 – Directed by Grigoris Karantinakis)

A well-made Greek film, set in the late 1960s at the time of the military dictatorship. It is set in a small town in Corfu, where the annual tradition of the competition of the choirs has many choral groups in the city competing for the prize, a chocolate statuette of Venus. A leftist headmaster, Hariton, trains the school choir, but he soon crosses sword with Major Dimitriou, the town's new National Guard Commandant, who trains the army choir. They both vie for the affection of Helen, the maths teacher, while the adolescent Gregory who is in love with a fellow student is the great hope of the school choir who have their hopes set on his pure voice to win them the trophy. Intrigue, mystery, love, sex, humour, slapstick, pathos, it’s all a mixture and rather well carried off! 7/10

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