Archive | reed lackey RSS feed for this section

A Year with Hitchcock: Blackmail, by Reed Lackey

18 Feb

Hitchcock’s first “talkie” (and largely regarded as the first British “talkie” at all) is also his first straight-forward suspense film since The Lodger seven films earlier. It required a bit of intuitive insight on Hitchcock’s part into the contemporary cinematic trends to fully create it and it remains one of the strongest entries in Hitchcock’s first decade of films.

[…]

The Fear of God: The X Files, part 1

13 Feb

In this episode, Reed and Nathan discuss the 90s cult classic The X Files.

Redeeming Shawshank, by Reed Lackey

12 Feb

I can still remember the first time I saw it. I was 16 and had the evening to myself at home. I worked at a local video store from which I could bring home free movies every night so long as I returned them the next day. That night the film was The Shawshank Redemption. And it absolutely blew me away.

Is there anybody left over the age of 25 who hasn’t seen that movie? Probably not. It’s rated number 1 on the favorite movies of all time on IMDB. I’m going to assume you’ve seen it. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it and come back… We’ll wait…

Welcome back. So what’d you think? Greatest movie ever? Cheesy and overrated? Boring and overlong? Powerfully moving and affecting? Most satisfying ending in cinema history? Ridiculous popular claptrap?

What’s been interesting to examine regarding that film’s place in cinema history is how widely the pendulum has swung regarding its favor. In 1994 when it was originally released, it was largely ignored. A 2 ½ hour prison drama with a weird title starring two people who weren’t quite on the A-list just yet, especially in the same year that cinematic behemoths Pulp Fiction and Forrest Gump were also released? Most people took a hard pass on it. It’s worth mentioning that it was nominated for 7 Oscars, but also worth mentioning that it didn’t win any of them.

[…]

A Year with Hitchcock: The Manxman, by Reed Lackey

7 Feb

The last of Alfred Hitchcock’s silent films is also arguably the best (although The Lodger remains the most significant). With strong, well-defined characters, a poignant and emotional narrative, and sturdy, focused direction, The Manxman is a solid entry in the filmmaker’s early catalogue.

[…]

The Fear of God: The Twilight Zone, part 1

6 Feb

In this episode, Reed and Nathan discuss Rod Serling’s classic TV show The Twilight Zone.

A Year with Hitchcock: Champagne, by Reed Lackey

4 Feb

Sometimes films aren’t trying to be anything complex or deep or rich or thought-provoking. But they at least need to not be boring. Champagne isn’t trying to be anything but a silly farce. But when the director of said farce is Alfred Hitchcock (albeit while his legacy was still in its infancy) it’s nearly impossible to divorce the expectations from the end result.

Ultimately, Champagne doesn’t amount to much of anything. It’s silly. At times, it’s even chuckle-worthy. But mostly, from both a narrative and thematic standpoint, it’s little more than a hollow waste of time.

[…]

A Year with Hitchcock: Easy Virtue, by Reed Lackey

1 Feb

There is a discrepancy with when Easy Virtue was made in Hitchcock’s filmography. Truffaut’s definitive study of Alfred Hitchcock places this film as directly preceding The Ring, while most other records has it two films later. Regardless of when it was made, this one is quite fascinating, even if it isn’t very good. It contains very few of Hitchcock’s reputational trademarks, and yet somehow still makes sense when considered among his other early films.

[…]

The Fear of God: Get Out

30 Jan

In this episode, Reed and Nathan discuss Jordan Peele’s Get Out.

A Year with Hitchcock: The Farmer’s Wife, by Reed Lackey

28 Jan

Of all the things you’d expect from an Alfred Hitchcock film, straight-forward comedy would probably be last on the list.

Enter this early little gem — which would never rank among the comedic greatness of Keaton, Chaplin, or Lloyd (or even the funniest of Hitch’s work) — but is disarmingly funny nonetheless. The premise is very simple: a widower farmer decides to seek a wife. He seeks out a new bride in an almost mathematical fashion, frequently with highly comedic rejections. I chuckled several times during this film as each new rejection increased in absurd over-dramatics. It doesn’t ever quite rise to the status of screwball gold, but there are genuinely humorous moments.

[…]

A Year with Hitchcock: Downhill, by Reed Lackey

26 Jan

Downhill is another early Hitchcock film – released in the US as When Boys Leave Home, under which it is most easily located – that wouldn’t classify at all as suspense (although it does maintain a certain ominous tone).

It’s a small character piece about a man who takes the blame for his brother’s wrongdoing (and suffers a variety of societal troubles as a result). It stars Ivor Novello (who played the lead role in The Lodger and actually wrote the play upon which this film is based). The story takes his character through a variety of jobs, a few relationships, and even a stint as a homeless vagrant. However, for all of the travels the story takes our hero through, he frustratingly ends up very much where he began, with no characters including himself having learned terribly much about the experiences. As a narrative it’s pretty innocuous and as a technical achievement it’s rather pedestrian. There are a small handful of notable shots and, as previously mentioned, the tone is effectively ominous throughout the film. But ultimately, this film does not hold up well.

[…]