Recently Seen Roundup

2.50, less than the cost of renting a movie, for a movie a) starring Humphrey Bogart b) directed by John Huston c) with Peter Lorre in a supporting part and as I later found out d) co-written by Truman Capote, how could I resist? I'm glad I didn't, because while Beat the Devil is a mess of a movie with a plot that's both ludicrous and not quite there, the lines and the performances are wonderful. I want to see more of Jennifer Jones now, who's hilarious here, and what about this short bit by Peter Lorre on time:
"Time. Time. What is time? Swiss manufacture it. French hoard it. Italians squander it. Americans say it is money. Hindus say it does not exist. Do you know what I say? I say time is a crook. "

Also for a mere 2.50, "Reform School Girl". I already had a postcard, two in fact, of the poster, and I just had to see what was behind it. It turns out it's a lovely little B-movie, 73 minutes long, which is a lot less outrageous and sleazy than you'd think, although I'll admit it contains plenty of girls walking around in their nightgowns and pulling each other's hair. The girls here are scary, seriously, scarier than the guy who's supposed to be the main bad guy. The acting from some supporting players is as bad and over-the-top as you might expect, but all-in-all this is very worth seeing, and not only for the camp factor.

I can admit it now: I'd never seen Fast Times at Ridgemont High, but this gap in my cinematic education has now been filled. I liked it a lot, mostly because it has no narrative ambition aside from showing a year of this kids' lives. It also shows all too clearly how out culture had regressed and grown more conservative in the past 25 years. Sure, in sex comedies, the girls still freely have sex, but they don't think about it like the girls do here, not to mention they're not by far as complex characters as Stacey and Linda are here. And the way abortion is treated in this movie? I don't think it could happen any more today.

I also saw "The Sea" or HafiĆ°, an Icelandic movie my cousin (hey Ruben!) lent me. I liked how it started the same way it ended: it emphasizes how images in and of themselves are often meaningless, but are given meaning by what comes before. Aside form that, the plot is overdrawn, with soap-like developments being divulged with much ado but little surprise, and the only really redeeming thing are the character quirks and the strong performances. It also gives a good impression of how claustrophobic it must be to live in such a small, isolated community.

Finally, I've also been watching "Flight of the Conchords" a lot, and I just want to say, Jemaine and Bret? I love you. The series by itself if plenty fun, with supporting characters Murray and Mal are over-the-top but hilarious, and then there's the musical numbers, which bump this series from good to great. Little things like the "binary solo" in the humans are dead are brilliant, and some songs you can't even decide which excerpts to lift out. So, I'll just leave you with the following:

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