226. The Earrings of Madam de… [B+]
227. Night of the Hunter [A]
228. The Room [F]
229. Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 [F]
The Earrings of Madam de...: This is widely considered to be one of Max Ophul's masterpieces. It's certainly a well-made film, with several instances of long, mobile takes that would be impressive today, and excellent performances (including a turn by Vittorio Di Sica, of Italian neo-realist fame). Still, I find it hard to be invested in the emotional machinations of characters who live such incredibly wealthy and opulent lifestyles, though the film manages to do it by the final act (when Andre gives the earrings to his wife only to immediately take them away, it's heartbreaking). Definitely worth seeing if European cinema of the period appeals to you.
Night of the Hunter: In a word, magnificent. Robert Mitchum thought this was his best role on screen, and it would be difficult to argue with him. He embodies pure evil, yet does it with such charisma that it's hard to take your eyes off of him. The rest of the cast is equally good. The music, like the rest of the movie, is over the top and very effective. The cinematography is some of the best you'll see in black and white. I was lucky enough to catch this in 35mm, and it does not disappoint on the big screen (shots of the two children rowing down the river are just stunning).
The Room: Apparently, this is a big hit as a midnight movie here in Los Angeles, but I experienced it with a few friends on home video, so the atmosphere wasn't quite the same. It might be the worst movie ever made, though that's a big label to brandish, so I'll just say that it's one of the worst. It's a shame I was the designated driver, because everyone else was wisely hammered by the end. There is ridiculous dubbing, plot lines introduced than dropped, set dressing that seems to have been purchased from Target (including picture frames with the sample pictures still in!), the performances range from awful to unbelievably awful (the star/writer/director/executive producer/everything else) turns in a performance that you have to see to believe, and i could go on and on. But it's not worth it, really.
Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2: In a way, it's more shocking that this sequel was ever made than The Room
. With the exception of a few new scenes, the entirety of the film is a character reciting the events of the first movie even though he is an infant or not present at all in may of these "flashbacks." So much of it is recycled (and, no doubt, to pad out the running time) that the entire cast of Silent Night, Deadly Night
is listed (a cast which is larger than the actors brought in for the new scenes by a wide margin!).