Thursday, September 15, 2005

Robert Wise (1914-2005)

Robert Wise (1914-2005)

Robert Wise directed well-known films such as The Sound of Music, West Side Story (for which he was awarded the Best Director Oscar on both) also, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, The Haunting (1963), and The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Before sitting in the director's chair, he spent his time in the editing room working on several important films including a little picture called, Citizen Kane, for which he received a nomination by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science for Best Film Editing.

He also received AFI's Life Achievement Award in 1998.

Robert Wise was born September 10, 1914 in nearby Winchester, Indiana. Today, in Los Angeles, California, he died.

Films Recently Watched:

In America (2002) dir. by Jim Sheridan

Saved! (2004) dir. by Brian Dannelly

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) dir. by Richard Fleischer

Dr. Zhivago (1965) dir. by David Lean
Man, David Lean sure loves trains! This film was almost too big for it's britches. I usually love an epic film, but this one may have been a little too "epic." I'm certain that this is one where multiple viewings increases appreciation, but at around 3 hours and 20 minutes, this one isn't likely to be "appreciated" by me, again, anytime soon.

Winged Migration (2001) dir. by Jacques Perrin
This was one of those, "if you liked March of the Penguins, you'll love..." recommendations. Visually stunning, but Penguins had a better story.

Sahara (1943) dir. by Zoltan Korda
Once again, this isn't the new film that released in theaters back in April and on DVD just a couple weeks ago. This is a Humphrey Bogart, WWII film in which Bogart's character, Joe Gunn leads a group of nine men to hold off an entire battalion of enemy troops. He just needs a miracle to do it.

The Village (2004) dir. by M. Night Shyamalin

National Treasure (2004) dir. by Jon Turteltaub

Sideways (2004) dir. by Alexander Payne

Shattered Glass (2003) dir. by Billy Ray
This one was unknown to me until a friend recommended it. It tells the story (based on true events) of Stephen Glass, an up and coming reporter for The New Republic magazine whose charisma and imagination vastly outweighed his better judgement. You may remember some news stories about how he fabricated entire stories and printed them as fact, which is generally considered a no-no for journalists (though, if you read and believe my own wife's recent comment, I do the same here!). More recently, similar stories have surfaced about Jayson Blair of The New York Times and Jack Kelley of USA Today. The film is almost hard to watch as you see this kid's world on the verge of completely unravelling. I was particularly impressed with Peter Sarsgaard in this. His understated performance of editor Chuck Lane was perfect for the feel of the film. I couldn't help but to be distracted by Hayden Christensen's performance as Stephen Glass. A couple of times, he goes all 'dark side,' and, for me, it was difficult to remove him from the Star Wars universe.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) dir. by Sergio Leone
This completes the "Dollars Trilogy" for me consisting of the films, A Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More and this one. All of them star Clint Eastwood as "the man with no name." All, in my opinion pale in comparison, but definitely lead up to Leone's masterpiece and this blog's namesake:

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) dir. by Sergio Leone
My favorite western, and definitely in my top 5 all-time. Leone actually demanded the ability to act from his actors and here, they deliver in spades. So much of the story is told simply by powerful stares between characters. Frank is the ultimate villain here and his reveal has got to be among the best ever. The pacing is definately slow at times, but is perfect for the narrative. The Morricone score also adds depth to this amazing film. Anybody who's never seen it and wants to, let me know, and I'll make sure you do!

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