Sunday, September 28, 2014

Silent Sundays: The Perils of Pauline: The Tragic Plunge (1914)

Pauline (Pearl White), her fiancé Harry, and her evil greedy guardian Koerner meet a Lt. Summers. He is a lieutenant in the navy and also designs submarines. Lt. Summers invites Harry, Pauline, and Koerner back to his place to meet his fiancée Mlle. Yagow.
            It turns out that Mlle. Yagow is a spy along with the valet. Koerner recognizes Mlle. Yagow as a possible ally in his evil plot to get rid of Pauline. He offers her $100,000 upon Pauline’s death.
            Lt. Summers completes his submarine plans and places them in what he believes is a secret place. The valet comes goes into the office not long after Summers has walked out. He finds the plans and takes them to his superiors. The valet tells his superiors he will do whatever it takes to sink the submarine with Summers in it even if it means he will die as well.
            Koerner arranges for Pauline to go on the submarine knowing full well what the valet has planned. The submarine goes underwater and as soon as it reaches a low depth the bomb goes off sinking the vessel to the ocean floor. The valet is found hiding and confesses about him and Mlle. Yagow working for the enemy who wants their plans. The submarine crew are able to get Pauline out and to safety by having her crawl through the torpedo launcher.
            Pauline and Harry set up a rescue for the crew. They then go find Mlle. Yagow. They fight her and the leader she is working for and escape with the plans.
            The submarine is able to be lifted to the surface and the crew are saved.

            Finally, Pauline is some peril! I liked The Tragic Plunge a lot. It was a little nerve wracking.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944)

“The trouble with kids is they always figure they're smarter than their parents”

            If you are a fan of Old Hollywood you would know that there were several taboo subjects that could not be addressed or even joked about. Marriage was often taken as a joke, well to a certain extent like two people accidentally getting married in a drunken stupor. Motherhood was never really taken as a joke because it was a serious duty for a woman back in the age of Old Hollywood. Well, The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek take both marriage and motherhood and turns it into a free for all comedy.
            The film opens up on the governor of a state on the phone with a newspaper editor from the small town of Morgan’s Creek. The editor is frantic asking the governor for back up and more supplies because people will be flooding their town soon. When the editor finally reveals why he needs the supplies for the governor gets extremely excited and he wants the press called to the small town.
            Going back to Morgan’s Creek where everything all began: a group of soldiers looking for a date to a dance. It is to be their last dance before they leave for war. A girl on the street points them towards the record shop where Trudy Kockenlocker (Betty Hutton) works. As soon as she sees the soldiers she has stars in her eyes. She agrees to go to the dance with the group of soldiers. As the soldiers walk out of the shop Norval Jones (Eddie Bracken) walks in. Norval is in love with Trudy. He wishes he could be going to the dance but he is not a soldier. He has tried to enlist time and again but every time he goes to get his checkup he breaks out in spots because he gets so nervous.
            That night Trudy has gotten all ready to go out but her father is furious with her and will not let her leave the house. Trudy calls Norval to come get her. Her father knows Norval is a good guy who would not try anything with his daughter so he lets Trudy go out. Trudy has other plans. She just wanted Norval to come get her so she can go off and have some fun with the soldiers. She tells Norval to stay by the movie theater and she will be back to get him at 1:30.
            Trudy has more than a great time. She pulls up to the movie theater later than 1:30 in the morning. As she drives away a sign falls off her car that says “Just Married”. At home while sitting with her sister, Trudy recalls what she can remember of that night. She recalls someone mentioning something about getting married. She looks down at her hand to see a ring on her finger. Trudy cannot do anything because she gave a false name when she and one of the soldiers got married.
            With a lot of coaxing and nudging Trudy manages to get Norval to propose to her. She explains to him what has happened that she knows she got married. She needs Norval know because she is going to have a baby. After some thinking Trudy does not want to have Norval marry her because he loves her so much and he so nice. They decide to go get married at a Justice of the Peace out of town. They give false names but Norval messes everything up handing the JP a piece of paper with his real name on it. The JP thinks Norval is abducting Trudy because she is a minor. The police and a whole crowd of people bring Norval and Trudy home. Trudy’s father manages to get the JP to rip up the marriage certificate to make it look like the wedding never happened. Trudy and her sister finally break down and tell their father why she had to marry Norval. The father is a police officer he tells his girls that he can try to get Norval out of jail by making it look like he escaped. Norval is such an idiot he does not realize what is going on until Trudy and her sister show up at the jail.
            Months go by. Norval went to see if he could find the group of soldiers Trudy went out with but he was unsuccessful. He comes back to town. Trudy and her father and sister are living somewhere out of town. Norval is still wanted but he has to find Trudy. A storeowner was just about to take Norval to Trudy when the bank owner notices him and calls the cops. The storeowner tells Trudy that Norval is back in town. She feels so bad about what has happened to him. She has her father and sister bring her to town to explain everything to set Norval free.
            The sister rushes up to where her father is trying to talk to some of the council members to say Trudy needs to go to the hospital. Turns out Trudy has SIX babies! That is the reason the newspaper editor called the governor. The governor pardons Norval since he could not have it reported that the father of the towns new fame is in jail. No one knows besides Trudy, Norval, her sister, and father that the babies are not his. Poor Norval has a nervous breakdown when he sees the babies in the hospital.
            Oh my god I felt so bad for Norval! The poor guy got into something that he had nothing to do with in the beginning. If I were him and I saw those six babies I would have told Trudy goodbye she is on her own I did not sign up for this! My good lord six babies. I would have told the hospital to take them back I do not want that many. My one cousin has four month old twins and they are an absolute handful, never mind the thought of more than two babies. The story in the film did remind me of something my cousin and her husband were talking about: they have identical twin boys Aiden and Paul. I do not even know what got the conversation started but my cousin asked her husband if he could imagine when the boys are older a girl coming to the door telling them one of the boys got her pregnant. We all laughed and hoped to God that that does not happen.
            I was not crazy about The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek and I think it had a lot to do with Eddie Bracken and the character of Norval Jones. Holy crow the actor and character were beyond annoying. Betty Hutton was good but not as good as the other films I have seen her. Now I know this was during World War II but almost half the film felt propaganda and it got annoying really fast.  I had heard so much about The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek and how it was incredible that the story got by the censors. With Preston Sturgess as the director and Betty Hutton in the lead I was expecting a good film. I felt let down. Still do not let me and my negative feelings towards it keep you from seeing the film. It is worth watching at least once. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Silent Sundays: The Perils of Pauline: The Shattered Plane (1914)

Pauline’s (Pearl White) guardian Koerner suggests to her that she should ask a famous aviator if she can go with him on one of his record breaking flights. Koerner suggests this to Pauline because he is still trying to have her killed so he can take her money. Pauline’s fiancé Harry is not happy with Koerner for his suggestion. All Harry wants to do is marry Pauline but she is constantly going off on some adventures and getting herself in trouble.
            At the airport Koerner overhears the aviator tell a technician. The aviator is not too crazy about Pauline coming around but once he sees her he agrees. Koerner pushes his luck with asking the aviator if Harry can come along but the aviator says he can only take Pauline with him. Koerner goes to his partner Hicks with the news about the wires in the plane. Hicks has someone deal with the wires.
            In the meantime Harry still does not want Pauline going on the trip. He does everything he can to stall her. He messes with one of the cars causing it to break down on the way to the airport. Fortunately for Pauline and unfortunately for Harry another car comes by and she has the driver take her to the airport.
            Pauline is late for takeoff and the aviator leaves without her. Harry shows up believing she is on the plane. Soon the plane turns around and crashes. Harry is shocked and terrified because he believes Pauline to be on the plane. Before he becomes too upset Harry runs into Pauline. The couple leaves the airport and heads home.

            Pauline was once again not really in any peril. Harry is once again a hero making Pauline late for her flight. I thought it was so cool seeing scenes of Fort Lee where Shattered Plane and all the Perils of Pauline films were made. At the time these films were made Fort Lee and the surrounding towns were all wilderness and dirt roads. Today Fort Lee is home to the George Washington Bridge and “Bridgegate” and  insane amounts of traffic. It is hard to believe that the town and the towns around it were once small backwoods places the film industry would come over and use for exteriors. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

If I Stay (2014)

“Isn't it amazing how life is one thing and then, in an instant it becomes something else. Like here I am, Mia, the girl who thinks about the cello and Adam, and whether I get a stupid letter or not, and just like that...”

Four years ago I studied abroad in London for a month. It was the first time I was ever away from home for so long and the first time I was in a foreign country. I missed my family terribly I kept thinking about them and all the things each one would have liked to have seen and done. One day I was in the Imperial War Museum (one of the absolute best museums I have ever been to. Definitely go if you can) and my friend were walking through the Holocaust section. It was the first time I had ever seen anything related to the tragedy. The one part I will absolutely never forget for the rest of my life was hearing an interview of a survivor. The survivor was a woman and she said at the time when she was taken to a camp she had been separated from her brothers and father. Her mother was with her. She went on to say that if she had to she could possibly imagine life without her father and brothers but she could never imagine living life without her mother. After hearing this I got so choked up. I missed my mom the most and I even missed my dad even though he drives me up a wall. I missed my three younger brothers too mostly because I knew they would have been having a ball in London. That part of the interview hit me right in the gut. I could never imagine my life without my family no matter how we may argue or grate each other’s nerves we still love each other unconditionally. I remember going back to my room that night and emailing my mom about the interview. I nearly cried writing that email.  
Now you might be thinking what does a line from an interview with a Holocaust survivor have to do with the new movie If I Stay. It has everything to do the main character’s struggle of wanting to let go and wanting to live.
Mia Hall (Chloe Grace Moretz) comes from a family who loves her unconditionally. Her parents, Denny and Kat (Mireille Enos), are very into music especially rock music. Mia on the other hand loves classical music and plays the cello extremely well. She loves her parents but she is in no way like them and feels like the odd duck out.
School is canceled one day due to snow. Denny and Kat convince Mia to come out with them to spend some time together. With some bribery and guilt tripping from her parents and her younger brother, Mia agrees to go. Unfortunately tragedy befalls the family when their car is struck head on by a truck on the icy, snowy roads.
Mia is now left in limbo. She can see and hear everything that is happening around her. Her physical body is taken to the hospital where she is operated on for hours. A nurse tells her on the operating table that her whole fight, whether she survives or not, is up to her. Mia now has to choose to live or not. She thinks over her life with her parents and her brother and how her world will be nothing without them. She especially thinks about Adam, her boyfriend and the love of her life. Mia has to think now that there is no one there for her besides her grandparents if being alive just for Adam and to go to Juilliard to play her cello will be enough.
I must confess I only went to see If I Stay to see Mireille Enos. A few weeks ago I saw Chloe Grace Moretz on Live with Kelly and Michael and the clip that was shown for If I Stay was one with her and Enos. I loved the scene. I got super excited to Enos because I thought she was incredible in the TV show The Killing. After seeing Enos in If I Stay I think I like her even more. I was not expecting to see her in a role like Kat Hall, this rock chick who was all carefree, after watching her be so serious in The Killing. Two of her scenes were my favorite of the entire movie. Enos was fantastic. Moretz just killed her role she was amazing. The girl can only get bigger and bigger she has such a great talent for acting. I have seen her in several other movies (she will always be the little girl from the Amityville Horror remake to me) and this was my favorite of hers.
If I Stay was completely heartbreaking yet excellent. The entire cast was perfect. The story was good. I was not thrilled that Mia chose to live for a boy but  for her Adam was her true love and someone that was so important she wanted to live for. Right now in my life I only have my family that I would want to live for. That was my point with the interview from the Holocaust survivor from the Imperial War Museum. I could never live without my parents and my brothers. I wanted to and still want to cry just thinking if, God forbid, anything like what happened to Mia ever happened to me and my family. I know I would never be able to get over their loss and I would feel such pain and ache and want for them every day. But I know they would have all wanted me to move on and live my life. I know they would always be with me and watch over me and love from wherever they had gone to.
I absolutely recommend seeing If I Stay. It is such a good gut wrenching emotional story with great acting. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Silent Sundays: The Perils of Pauline: A Watery Doom (1914)

“Save me Henry! I’m afraid!”

            In this sixth episode of The Perils of Pauline entitled A Watery Doom…
            Koerner enlists the help of some local gypsies to help get rid of Pauline so he can have her fortune. The lead gypsy brings Koerner into a building and tells him Pauline will be placed in a basement where water will come through a wall they will blow out with dynamite. Koerner laments that Harry, Pauline’s fiancé always comes to her rescue and ruins everything.
            Pauline and Harry have just returned from a drive. A call comes through for Harry that one of his plants is on fire and he must hurry down. The caller was one of the gypsies.
Pauline goes with Harry just as Koerner planed.
            On the way down to the plant their car is stopped by the gypsies and both of them are dragged out of the car and tied up. Of course almost as soon as the bad guys put Harry and 
Pauline in what should be their demise, the couple managed to become untied. They cannot get out through the door above them since the gypsies have blocked it with furniture.
            Soon water begins to gush in. Pauline and Harry are unable to stop the flow and the room quickly fills with water and even worse, rats. Harry finds that they can climb up the chimney. When they are on the rooftop the gypsies see them and begin to shoot and chase after them.
            Back at the house, Koerner began to celebrate his success and wealth. He fired all the help. Before the help could leave Pauline and Harry come home. When Koerner sees the couple alive he runs out of the house terrified.
            A Watery Doom is back on form with the suspense and the action compared to the episode before this. Harry is the hero in this episode leaving Pauline with nothing really to do. Still, The Perils of Pauline, was of course, entertaining and enjoyable. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Arthur Newman (2012)

Have you ever wished you can up and leave the life you are living and start a new one with a different name, a different outlook on life, and a different personality? I think we all have wished that at some point. I definitely wish I could. I would want to be someone stronger who is not so emotional and attached. I would want to be like the character Rosa Diaz from Brooklyn Nine-Nine who is like this total bad ass who could melt your soul with one look. I would mostly want to just live my live. I feel like I have not lived that for all of my twenty-six years on earth I have been afraid to let go and just do things. I have always felt stuck and it is killing me to no end.
Arthur Newman takes two people from two completely different backgrounds and brings them together through their want to be someone they are not.
Wallace Avery (Colin Firth) feels stuck in his life. He is a manager of a Fed Ex with a girlfriend who kind of likes him but just puts up with him for the most part and a son who does not even want to speak to him. Wallace buys a new identity and decides to fake his own death. He tells his girlfriend that he is going on a camping trip that will end with him on the beach. On the beach Wallace throws a few beers around, takes off his socks and shoes, and leaves his wallet in one of his shoes.
Wallace takes off on the road as his new identity Arthur J. Newman. In one town he drives through he sees a group of cops have blocked off part of the road. They are trying to get a young woman (Emily Blunt) out of a car she has stolen. Arthur does not think anything of it until he sees the girl at the same motel he is staying at. She is sitting incoherently on a chair beside the pool. Arthur sees something is not right with her at all and takes her to the hospital. Trying to get her checked in he finds her ID and finds her name is Michaela and she snaps back that she wants to be called Mike. Sometime later a doctor tells Arthur that Mike overdosed on cough syrup with codeine and needed her stomach pumped.
The following day Arthur waits for Mike so he can give her a ride. He did not want her to go along with him but they get to know each other. They find out they are both trying to run away from their responsibilities and from being who they originally were.
Colin Firth and Emily Blunt were great together. Their roles were corky for them or at least they seemed so to me. Arthur and Mike were darker roles for Firth and Blunt than I am used to seeing them in. Both Blunt and Firth did a fantastic job with their characters. They were both so uncomfortable and unhappy with themselves that they make you feel kind of uncomfortable watching them. I like those kinds of characters and they only really work if the acting is good.
      Arthur Newman was a good movie. I remember wanting to see it when it was originally released. I had no clue what it was about but I just wanted to see it because I really like Emily Blunt. She did not disappoint and neither did Colin Firth. The story did not disappoint either. It was unlike most movies that are released today. The characters were not very likeable and the story ended in a not so typical way. I like untypical endings very much. I liked how this showed that running away and becoming some else is not all it is cracked up to be, there is no real happily ever after. Arthur Newman is a movie I suggest seeing