Is it February 2021? Indeed. Am I still writing out a list pertaining to perhaps the worst financial year in Hollywood history? Absolutely. Yes, there is no denying that 2020 was the definition of unconventional when it came to the world of movies. And though Tinseltown faced some impressive challenges, many wonderful and significant pieces of art were still able to hit some screens – whether they be big or at home.
So in “celebration” (if you ever could use such a word) of the achievements Hollywood made (despite a global pandemic), I wanted to give a list of my favorite movies of 2020. Are they what most would consider the best? No. But are they significant to me? Yes, and that’s all that matters when it comes to these sorts of things.
Finding a director you love can feel like quite the task. Whether it be the countless sea of film school graduates that dream of becoming Christopher Nolan, to the prior “old guard” that repeat their work over and over, the massive majority of filmmakers tend to stick to their comforts rather than genuinely reinventing the wheel. But when you do discover a director that legitimately possesses their unique view, it feels like you’re Indiana Jones, uncovering the greatest of treasures.
In the case of this cinephile, that’s how I felt when I discovered the work of Jacques Demy – a filmmaker known for his collection of American-inspired movie musicals, bold techniques, and creative use of a loud and unconventional color palette. Though most of his top-tier work came out in the 1960s, every film of his feels fresh, imaginative, and captivating – as if made today. And though many of his films are worth discussing, the one I wish to bring to your attention is Peau d’âne, aka Donkey Skin.
In my film world, stories of metamorphosis are always at the forefront of my noggin. So when it came time to pick a new slice of cinema to quench that most specific of thirsts, I found myself drawn to a two-part RKO film series – Cat People, directed by Jacques Tourneur, followed by The Curse of the Cat People, directed by Robert Wise.
Now it’s important to acknowledge that, while beautifully shot, Cat People can seem like a sophisticated affair dipped in low budget paint. In fact, many of its less-than-stellar aspects might turn off the casual viewer. Yet from my angle, this iconic staple of the horror genre is more than just an examination of a mysterious monster, but rather is a much more cautionary tale. Because the terrors at the center of these films are not that of majestic transformations, but of a common experience that most women share.
To explore these ever so relevant fears, let’s take a look at the first film in the series.
Warning – slight spoilers for an almost 80-year-old film below…
Fairy Tales have left their mark on pop culture in various ways. Many start with a phrase that is incredibly inviting – “Once upon a time” – referring to a time and place of fantasy with little to no true existence. But then there are those fairy stories that feature a modern angle – which seem to not stick as strongly with viewers, including yours truly.
Sure, I love the work of Guillermo Del Toro (The Shape of Water,Pan’s Labyrinth) more than I do most things, yet typically when filmmakers do fairy tales that are set in some sort of realism, my fantasy itch never feels fully scratched. But somehow, even with that in mind, I found myself (mostly) falling under the (slightly dated) spell of 1945’s The Enchanted Cottage. Continue reading “The Enchanted Cottage – Movie Review”→
So here’s an important question for ya – have you figured out what to do for the big Chocolate Appreciation Day? Well, to celebrate this Wednesday (aka Valentine’s Day) I thought it was time to give some major attention to some forgotten romantic adventures in cinema. Sure, there’s Funny Face, Casablanca, and all the other lovely usual suspects – but what about the unspoken champions of all things Valentines from film’s past? Here’s a movie you might want to discover this week while you enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and someone to snuggle with (even if that is your Clark Gable shaped pillow.)Continue reading “Random Harvest – Movie Review”→
So, you’ve stumbled onto a dusty old cinema. As you enter the doors, the cobwebs dash to the side, and the glimmer of the theater shines. Everything inside and on the screen comes alive. This is the home of The Faded Reel.
Welcome to this silly little project of mine, in which I hope to give you a welcoming into the world of classic cinema. And if that little intro above sounded at all enchanting, then you are in the right place. In fact, that mirrors the way my mind felt the first time my grandparents showed me many of their favorite classic films. Gigi, the famous Vincent Minnelli MGM musical film, was one of my true gateway “drugs” into this world. It featured lavish costumes, sets, and incredible moments left and right. It felt like magic, and I hope that within the content of The Faded Reel, you can feel that similar enchantment take over you.
Soon you will find articles, reviews, rankings, and links to the main show – a YouTube channel for the series of the same name. More info on the first episode will be posted soon, so keep on looking on this site. Until then, please follow The Faded Reel on Facebook and Twitter.