Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day #21,651

Walk km 4212-4214: to the library

the art gallery
aprox km 4214 facing Georgia Street

Movie #1249: (#67 this year): Drole De Drame(1937, Marcel Carne)

a particularly silly scene - Louis Jouvet in disguise as a Scotsman with sunglasses
This must have caused quite the stir in 1937. Absolutely absurd tale of non-murder in England. So silly that it's almost surreal.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day #21,650

Walk km 4201-4212: Science World to English Bay and return with Glenn & Elly (Meetup group)

Glenn & Elly
aprox km 4206 English Bay

Movie #1248 (#66 this year): Swing Hostess(1944, Sam Newfield)

Back in the day, PRC was just a legend. There were many low-budget Hollywood studios (like Republic or Monogram) but PRC (Producer's Releasing Corporation) was the lowest of the low. Back then, I didn't actually think I would ever get to see a PRC production. Fast forward past the time of the TV late show through VHS & Beta to DVD. And PRC is here. Movies that were only legends like "Swing Hostess" can now be purchased in almost any DVD shop.
And the magic is over. I've seen a number of PRCs and they're nothing special. They aren't nearly as bad as one would have expected. They're just dull and tedious. Take Swing Hostess - the hostess with the mostest here is Martha Tilton, a cookie-cutter crooner whose music is as dull as dishwater. And so are the comedy routines and the mistaken identity plot that goes with it. Tedious. It was much better when we could only dream of seeing those ultra rare PRCs.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Day #21,649

Walk km 4194-4196: to the library
Walk km 4196-4201: Thurlow/Cordova/Water/Alexander/Portside Park/Waterfront/seawalk/Thurlow

aprox km 4199 Alexander @ Main

Book #289 (#13 this year):
Ride The Nightmare(1959, Richard Matheson)

Another of the Matheson crime novels. It shows an improvement over "Someone Is Bleeding" but confined to the straightjacket of the crime novel, Matheson is unable to show off his best asset: imagination.

Movie #1247 (#65 this year): La Balance(1982, Bob Swaim)

Police procedural with the cops as the bad guys. And the bad guys as the bad guys. So what's the point? Dunno.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day #21,648

Walk km 4187-4194: Smithe/BC Place/seawalk/Quebec/National/Station/walkway/Cottrell/1st/Clark/3rd/Woodland/5th/Commercial

Movie #1246 (#64 this year): Premier Juillet(2004, Philippe Gagnon)

Follows the predicaments of various folks for which July 1st is moving day. A pleasant time waster. Nothing more.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day #21,647

Walk km 4181-4187: running errands

Movie #1245 (#63 this year): Il Est Plus Facile Pour Un Chameau...(2003, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi)

The last couple of French DVDs from the library were stinkers but I liked this one a lot. Ms Bruni Tedeschi directs and plays the lead character of a very rich young lady who really thinks it would be better to be poor. Money hasn't helped her at all. She's gangly. She's awkward. She doesn't know when people say nice things to her whether they are talking to her or to her money. Her life is a mess. Two thumbs up for Valeria (directing and acting).

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day #21,646

Movie #1242 (#60 this year): Side Street(1950, Anthony Mann)

The year is 1950 and the director is Anthony Mann. Any chance that this will be a stinker? None!
The usual noir from Mr Mann. Lotsa neighbourhood bars, torch singers, milkmen, seedy tenements, postmen, gangster's molls, latest model cars, plodding police work, gats and a car chase through the concrete jungle. The works.

Movie #1243 (#61 this year): No Questions Asked(1951, Harold Kress)

"Film Noir" double feature today. These two could have been on a double bill back 60 years ago. Both were MGM productions and Jean Hagen (the torch singer in "Side Street") makes a return engagement here. Unlike "Side Street" which was directed by the great Anthony Mann, this one is directed by Harold Kress. That's right: Harold Who? So, instead of watching intently at a master at work, with this one I could just sit back and enjoy the ride. Well, its no "Side Street" but it ain't half bad either. Sure, there are gaping holes in the plot (why did Barry Sullivan run from the murder scene?) but it doesn't really matter: just give me those city night scenes with men in fedoras and women in coctail dresses and I'm happy.

Movie #1244 (#62 this year): C'Est Beau Une Ville La Nuit(2006, Richard Bohringer)

This is not the worst movie ever made. But it sure tries. This is a movie that just rambles...............and rambles...............and rambles...........and goes absolutely nowhere. A total waste of time.
And to add even more tedium.... the plot is about a musical group on tour and the music is just as bad as the movie! Its this jam crap with nonsense lyrics that are meant to be profound. Horrible! Awful! But worst of all, boring.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day #21,644

Walk km 4174-4181: to False Creek to meet up with the Meetup Walking group and then to Science World

artwork (looking toward Beach Ave)

artwork (looking toward English Bay)
aprox km 4176 between Beach Ave & English Bay

Book #288 (#12 this year): Spinners(1998, Anthony McCarten)

I couldn't find what I was looking for at the library so I just browsed through the titles and picked something that looked interesting. Well, this one wasn't bad. Spacemen visit a small New Zealand town and take liberties with some of the womenfolk. McCarten shows a vivid imagination and an excellent writing style. Nothing earth shattering but a pleasant read.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day #21,643

Walk km 4167-4170: shopping
Walk km 4170-4174: Haro/Thurlow/Burnaby/Burrard/Drake/Pacific/Mainland/Homer/Robson/Seymour/Smithe

at Tim Horton's
aprox km 4174 Hornby Street

Movie #1241 (#59 this year): Comment Ma Mere Accpucha de Moi Durant Sa Menopause(2003, Sebastien Rose)

Micheline Lanctot

The inspiration here appears to be Woody Allen. A cast full of screwed-up people talk drivel. However, unlike Woody Allen, this ain't funny.
BTW: 30+ years after The True Nature Of Bernadette, Micheline Lanctot still looks great!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day #21,642

Walk km 4157-4167: Robson/Georgia/Prior/(bus)/Knight/34th/Culloden/35th/Sherbrooke/47th/Inverness/Waverley/Ross/48th/Inverness/59th/Yukon

buildings and skytrains
aprox km 4159 Quebec Street

Movie #1239 (#57 this year): La Bete Humaine(1938, Jean Renoir)

I don't think you're supposed to dis Jean Renoir but this wasn't so hot. His actors appear to be acting. They do a lot of posing.
Beautiful looking film though.

Movie #1240 (#58 this year): Caged(1950, John Cromwell)

Pretty good women's prison flick. There isn't really a plot - it's more of an expose on life in prison where women come in as wayward but go out as hardened criminals. Kudos to Cromwell and his producer for not including a scene where a do-gooder gets to make a speech about this all being society's fault. Cromwell lets the action make his point.
Eleanor Parker is the lead actress and does quite well but Hope Emerson steals the show as she gets the better role as the nasty matron. The best scene is where Hope gets all dolled up to go out on a date and stops by to tell the inmates what he and her man are going to be doing up in his room!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day #21,641

Walk km 4151-4157: Smithe/Homer/Davie/(skytrain)/King Edward/Yukon/26th/Peveril/29th/Walden/30th/John/31st/St George/28th/Harriett/30th/Windsor/31st/Knight

Nissan Figaro
aprox km 4155 Walden Street

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Day #21,640

Walk km 4137-4151: to Waterfront Station and then with the Meetup Group to and around Stanley Park

members of the Meetup group
aprox km 4149 English Bay

Movie #1238 (#56 this year): Bowery Bombshell (1946, Phil Karlson)

Back in the 70s, I saw a ton of these Bowery Boys movies. Even then I didn't like them (back then I'd watch anything). Here we have highly respected director Phil Karlson having a go at the Bowery oeuvre and pretty much single-handedly destroying the "auteur theory" in the process. Even Karlson can do nothing with this paean to stupidity.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day #21,639

Walk km 4126-4137: Main Street Station to English Bay then back to Edgewater Casino then to Vancouver Library (with Julie) then home

dancers on the side of a building (expand picture - you might be able to see them)
aprox km 4135 Vancouver Library

Movie #1236 (#54 this year): Masterson Of Kansas(1954, William Castle)

A nice Friday afternoon movie. Castle is more famous for directing gimmicky horror movies so I thought I'd check out what he could do with a western. Nothing special but a few nice visual touches all wrapped up in vivid technicolor makes for a pleasant 73 minutes.

Movie #1237 (#55 this year): Kitten With A Whip(1964, Douglas Heyes)

Turns out that today was a Douglas Heyes double feature. He wrote the script for Masterson Of Kansas and gets to write and direct this one. And what he was going for with this one can be summarized in one word: lurid. Not a bad attempt either. Ann-Margaret is a 17 year old escapee who breaks out of juvenile hall and ropes in senator-to-be John Forsythe. And then her friends arrive. And then they take a little trip to Tijuana. All good fun.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day #21,638

Walk km 4120-4126: Haro/Bute/seawalk/Stanley Park/Alberni/Jervis/Robson

a tree
aprox km 4123 Lost Lagoon

Movie #1235 (#53 this year): Warhead (1977, John O'Connor)

The worst movie ever made? Hard to tell but this has to be a contender. Israeli propaganda movie. If you didn't like the PLO in real life, check out these Hollywood PLO guys. Nasty (they start the movie off by blowing up a schoolbus full of kids). Stupid (really really stupid - just check out how they keep banging that neuclear bomb against their truck when they try to load it!). And off course, over-sexed (you don't want to know what happens to the female Israeli soldier that they capture). And all this using a script that must have been written by a six year-old. Mind numbingly awful.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day #21,637

Walk km 4107-4120: Smithe/Howe/Nelson/Cambie/Broadway/Main/18th/Quebec/23rd/Ontario/24th/(walk in QE Park with Meetup group)/Main

two boats meet at a buoy
aprox km 4110 False Creek

Movie #1228 (#52 this year): La Chinoise(1967, Jean-Luc Godard)

Much Marxist/Leninist theory being spouted by students who appear to be brainless. Was this intended? Who cares! This movie is specific not general.
Today, not even the Chinese are communist and terrorism is no longer political. That renders this movie pointless.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day #21,636

Walk km 4103-4107: to library and Army & Navy

apple blossoms
aprox km 4106 near Hornby & Hastings

Movie #1227 (#51 this year): The Fat Spy (1966, Joseph Cates)

A musical comedy about a group of teens digging for buried treasure. And I suppose that's what I'm doing. I spotted this DVD in the Army & Navy today with 6 movies for $5. All six titles were unknown to me. But what if there is a treasure buried in there - some long forgotten movie ready to be rediscovered? I had stopped at the library and rented a Renior and a Godard: two certified treasures. So, why did I watch Joseph Cates' "The Fat Spy" first? The lure of discovering buried treasure? I have terrible taste in movies?
Mr Cates gives it a good try here. Unfortunately, nobody here has any talent. So at first it was fun to watch (like watching a train wreck) but eventually the stupidity of the whole thing wore me down and I was happy to see it end.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day #21,635

Walk km 4090-4103: Science World to English Bay (and return) with Meetup Group

Movie #1226 (#50 this year): The Devil With Seven Faces (1971, Osvaldo Civirani)

Another from the Mill Creek "Drive In Movie Classics" which means another movie with both sides cut off to fit a TV screen. Despite that and a useless script, I kind of enjoyed this bit of euro-trash.
The director has a nice visual flair and I loved the soundtrack music with its fake-Morricone theme and plenty of that wordless vocal lounge music.

Day #21,634

Walk km 4086-4090: walking downtown

Robson Square
aprox km 4088 robson Street

Movie #1225 (#49 this year): Vivement Dimanche (1983, Francois Truffaut)

I looked in the Vancouver library catalogue after reading the Charles Williams book that I found in a used book store about a month ago. They had no Charles Williams books but they did have this movie based on one of his books. But it was on loan. Then after reading the Vin Packer, I read an interview with her. She was asked which authors she would like to see back in print. She named three including Charles Williams. So, I looked for this movie again and this time it was in. I was all settled in to a see a nice "film noir" from Truffaut via Williams. However, this movie is no "noir". Rather it is more a homage to Hitchcock. Many murders but the focus is more on the exploits of the ravishing Fanny Ardant as she goes hither and yon getting into all sorts of tight spots as she accumulates a mountain of clues that she passes on to her boss, Jean-Louis Trintignant. Murder can be fun.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Day #21,633

Walk km 4083-4086: running errands

Movie #1224 (#48 this year): Heat Lightning (1934, Mervyn LeRoy)

Back home and back to TCM. Aline MacMahon stars as Olga the mechanic at a desert roadside service station and motel. It's kind of like a Grand Hotel done motel style. Also, since two of the characters at the motel are gangsters, it may have been the inspiration for The Petrified Forest. Aline is excellent and Mr LeRoy does a fine job shooting on a backlot set.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Day #21,632

Book #287 (#11 this year): Dark Don't Catch Me (1956, Vin Packer)

While in Reno I went into the Easter Seals thrift shop. I wasn't looking for a book but when I spotted a shelf in the back I couldn't resist having a look through them. I found a brand new (brand new as in never been read not as in "hot off the press") paperback. A Vin Packer published in 1965. Copyright in 1956. Cost: 75 cents.
If it didn't have a cover I would have guessed that the author was Erskine Caldwell. It was a story set in Georgia with plenty of racy and racey material. In fact, it does appear that Vin added heaping helpings of racial and sexual tension as to ensure a best seller (cover blub announced that 5,500,000 Vin Packer books had been sold). However, despite the lurid storyline, there was some pretty solid writing on display. It kept my interest to the end despite finishing it while in an airport waiting room and on a plane (not the best places to retain concentration).
Now, it turns out that Vin Packer isn't really Vin Packer. He's Marijane Meaker who (besides being a she) is also a bestselling children's author under the name M.E. Kerr. Hard to imagine the author of "Dark Don't Catch Me" writing children's books but it's in the Wikipedia so it must be true.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day #21,631

Walk km 4079-4083: Grand Sierra to downtown

"Biggest Little City" sign
aprox km 4083 Virginia Street

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Day #21,627-9

Walk km 4058-4079: Las Vegas

the Venetian
aprox km 4069 Las Vegas Boulevard

Three days without internet.

Book #286 (#10 this year): Sun Storm (2003, Asa Larsson)

I guess there was something missing from this frenzy of Swedish crime novels: where were the women? This whole thing started with the husband and wife team of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo (in my mind anyway - there probably was a Swedish crime novel industry before them but I wasn't aware of it). But since then, I've only read novels by male Swedish crime writers. Until now.
I was a little alarmed by the beginning of this novel. All the bad guys were men and the good guys were all women. However, by the end, multiple positive male characters were added.
But the bottom line: how was it? Excellent! Especially considering that this is a first novel. I'll be looking out for any subsequent books.

Movie #1219 (#43 this year): Bobby(2006, Emilio Estevez)
Movie #1220 (#44 this year): King Kelly Of The U.S.A. (1934, Leonard Fields)
Movie #1221 (#45 this year): Capote (2005, Bennett Miller )
Movie #1222 (#46 this year): Rhythm In The Clouds (1937, John H Auer)
Movie #1223 (#47 this year): Check And Double Check (1930, Melville W Brown)
Capote is the best of this lot. Not a biopic but the story of him writing "In Cold Blood". Kept my interest throughout.
Bobby is Bobby Kennedy but the movie isn't really about him. It's sort of a remake of Grand Hotel with short stories about the numerous people staying or working at the hotel where Bobby Kennedy was killed. Not bad.
The three 1930s musicals were pretty much useless. The best was Rhythm In The Clouds with a writing credit for Nathaniel "Miss Lonelyhearts" West. Music was pretty bad except for a few OK instros. King Kelly Of The USA was without any merit - the music was really bad. "Check And Double Check" had music by Duke Ellington but there wasn't much of it. The comedy routines of radio stars Amos & Andy got very old very fast.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Day #21,626

Walk km 4052-4058: Center/6th/Sutro/4th/Galletti/Glendale

welcoming sign for the Tahoe Motel
aprox km 4056 4th Street

Movie #1217 (#41 this year): Juno(2007, Jason Reitman)

A likable little film with lots of little touches that make a story believable. Since it was financed by NewsCorp I thought that part of the reason for making it might be as anti-abortion propaganda but it seems that abortion is not one of Rupert Murdoch's major concerns. The reasons for rejecting abortion as an alternative are kind of glossed over though (it has to do with fingernails). And then again, you could just as easily call this a pro-premarital sex movie because everything works out fine in the end.

Movie #1218 (#42 this year): Rock Rock Eock(1956, Will Price)

The plot on some of these musicals can be petty bad but this one takes the cake. Tuesday Weld needs a new dress for the prom. Written by someone who must have thought that the target audience for this movie was three year olds.
A great number of acts lip sync their way through their latest records many of which have nothing to do with "rock". Lip sync hi-lites are Johnny Burnette with "Lonesome Train" and Frankie Lyman with "I'm Not A Juvenile Delinquent"

Friday, March 5, 2010

Day #21,625

Walk km 4043-4052: Peckham/Airway/Maona/Yori/Chaska/Grand Canyon/Laiolo/Brentwood/Condone/Vassar/Kietzke/Mill

a horse
aprox km 4046 Peckham Ave

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day #21,624

Walk km 4037-4043: Truckee River walkway/Kuenzli/Kinman/Curti/Yori/Stewart/Mill

aprox km 4039 Truckee River walkway

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Day #21,623

Walk km 4028-4037: Truckee River walkway/Rock/Mill/Telegraph/Vassar/Terminal/Villanova/Matley/Plumb/Harvard/Market/Louise/Mill

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day #21,622

Walk km 4020-4028: Mill/Louise/Market/Kietzke/Roberts/Cordone/Brentwood/Capitol Hill/Pueblo/Plumas/La Rue/Arlington/California/Flint/Arlington/Commercial

Studebaker President
aprox km 4024 Plumas St

Movie #1216 (#40 this year): In The Line Of Fire(1993, Wolfgang Petersen)

Jeez, I thought this one came out just a year or two ago. It was 17 years ago!
Wolfgang Peterson has made a nice tense thriller about secret service agents protecting the president of the United States from a deranged killer. However, they never say whether this president is a Democrat or a Republican so I wasn't sure who to cheer for. Oh come on, that was just a joke!
Actually, the guy who played the president's Chief Of Staff in this film ended up running for president in 2008 as a Republican.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Day #21,621

Walk km 4010-4020: walkway along the Truckee from Grand Sierra to the far side of Idlewild Park/Latimore/Idlewild/Riverside/Keystone/2nd/Washington/3rd

aprox km 4017 under Keystone near Riverside

Movie #1213 (#39 this year): Hannah And Her Sisters(1986, Woody Allen)

Here's one I've been meaning to watch. Amazingly, I guess I've been meaning to watch this one for 24 years! I was wondering why everyone looked so young.
I can't relate to this because I don't know people like this. But in another way that also makes it more interesting because we know that what we're seeing is real because Mia and Woody's real life problems do resemble a Woody Allen script.
Maybe next time I'll watch that other one I missed the first time around - "Annie Hall".