Monday, April 25, 2016

7 Days in May | Corky Romano, Covered Wagon, and a cat in a robot suit

Corky Romano (2001)



It's usually cited as a horrible movie (6% on Rotten Tomatoes), but I think it's hilarious and sweet. It's also plenty dumb, but Chris Kattan is totally endearing whether he's belting out "Take On Me" or dressed as a Girl Scout.

Sherlock, Jr. (1924)



Innovative and clever, thanks to the famous sequence where Buster Keaton's projectionist character dreams himself onto a movie screen. Not one of the funniest Keaton movies, but still charming and wonderful. And while Keaton's Sherlock Jr character is only a dream, I would love a whole series of movies about that guy. He's part Philo Vance, part James Bond, and part Colombo.

The Covered Wagon (1924)



An impressive production with a huge cast and a lot of location shooting. It tells the story of a couple of wagon trains going from the Missouri River to Oregon. The two groups set off together, but differing opinions between their leaders (and some romantic drama between one leader and the daughter of the other) eventually split them up.

J Warren Kerrigan is pretty generic as the young hero who leads one of the trains. And Lois Wilson is just as bland as his love interest. But there are a couple of character actors who keep the movie interesting. Alan Hale (who'd go on to co-star in Errol Flynn movies and was also father of the actor who played Gilligan's Skipper) is appropriately loathsome as the other fellow who wants to marry Wilson's character.

But even better is Ernest Torrence, whom I knew as the heavy in movies like The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Steamboat Bill, Jr. This time, he's playing Kerrigan's friend and guide and it's great fun to see his imposing size and menacing looks used for good. His interactions with Hale are the best parts of the film.

The Navigator (1924)



Possibly my favorite Buster Keaton film. I'm a big fan of nautical stories anyway, but this is also one of Keaton's funniest. The bit with the painting hanging outside his window still never fails to crack me up, but there are several gags like that in it.

Peter Pan (1924)



This isn't just a staging of the play, but it has a real theatrical feel to it. The sets are grand and impressive, but the action takes place only in those certain locations. It's like watching really great children's theater with some lovely visual effects sprinkled in - especially around Tinker Bell. And Ernest Torrence shows up again, this time as Captain Hook. Easily my favorite Peter Pan movie.

reMIND: Volume 1 by Jason Brubaker



It's tough to judge the first of a multi-part story, but I'm eager to read Volume 2 of the series of graphic novels. Brubaker's got a lovely visual style and has created a beautifully mad world to tell his story in. It's got lizard-men, talking cats, robot-suits... lizard-men whose brains have been transplanted into cats wearing robot-suits. And we're introduced to the craziness in a cool, X-Filesy way through a skeptical woman whose deceased father made their village infamous by claiming to see something weird.
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