Welcome to another installment of Movies, Movies, Movies! Only 3 movies reviewed this week, but all are from The Criterion Collection and all are quality films.
Nashville (1975) Criterion Collection spine #683
Starring: David Arkin, Barbara Baxley, Ned Beatty, Karen Black, Ronnie Blakley, Timothy Brown, Keith Carradine, Geraldine Chaplin, Robert DoQui, Shelley Duvall, Allen Garfield, Henry Gibson, Scott Glenn, Jeff Goldblum, Barbara Harris, David Hayward, Michael Murphy, Allan F. Nicholls, Dave Peel, Cristina Raines, Bert Remsen, Lily Tomlin, Gwen Welles, Keenan Wynn, James Dan Calvert, Donna Denton, Merle Kilgore, Carol McGinnis, Sheila Bailey, Patti Bryant, Richard Baskin, Jonnie Barnett, Vassar Clements, Misty Mountain Boys, Sue Barton, Elliott Gould, Julie Christie, and many more.
Director: Robert Altman
Genres: comedy, drama
Synopsis: A political convention is being organized in Nashville. Over the course of five days, an eclectic amalgamation of individuals converges on the city, including hippies, free spirits, religious gurus, starmakers, musicians, lovers, cheaters, and also many who simply call Nashville their home.
Impressions: I loved this time capsule of a time that I grew up in. I also like getting a close-up of the city of Nashville. The plot is multi-layered and bounces all over the city with several separate groups who all seem to intersect at least once. I really liked seeing so many familiar (and young!) faces in one movie. You’ll see them as you’ve never seen them before in, “Nashville.” Standout performances for me were Keith Carradine, Lily Tomlin, Ronnie Blakley, and Henry Gibson. Have I mentioned this is a comedy? It’s slick with political commentary, yet there is a lot of sharp social commentary as well. It’s a visual feast. It’s a memorable slice of Americana for that time. Everyone should see it at least once. As it’s part of The Criterion Collection, there’s a special features disk with interviews, etc. Altman is a great director and directing style is talked about with some of the actors that were in the movie.
Etc.: from imdb: Each actor was required to write and perform their own songs, and the songs were recorded live; the original cut was so long, it was almost released as two parallel movies: “Nashville Red” and “Nashville Blue.” There is a plethora of trivia at imdb.
Awards: 24 wins and 26 nominations
Local Hero (1983) Criterion Collection spine #994
Starring: Peter Riegert, Burt Lancaster, Fulton Mackay, Denis Lawson, Norman Chancer, Peter Capaldi, Rikki Fulton, Alex Norton, Jenny Seagrove, Jennifer Black, Christopher Rozycki, Gyearbuor Asante, John M. Jackson, Dan Ammerman, and many more.
Director: Bill Forsyth
Genres: comedy, drama, environmentalism vs. corporatism
Synopsis: Mega Oil Corporation geological surveys show that an idyllic Scottish village holds lots of oil. Felix Happer (played just right by Lancaster, who was 68 at the time) is the eccentric CEO of the US corporation that seems more interested in studying the night sky than doing killer cutthroat deals, nonetheless sends Mac (played by Riegert,) one of his best hotshot acquisitions people to Scotland with the full intention of buying the whole village and replacing it with an oil refinery. Mac doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into when he meets the residents of the remote village.
Impressions: I enjoyed the spirit of the movie very much. I was really worried at the initial premise of destroying a village for oil, but I know it happens too much. I loved Riegert as the main character and was happy to see him given such a plum role to play. Lawson as the local innkeeper whose inn is the social hub of the place is so perfect for the part. The place away from all hubbub and technology and near so much natural beauty drew me in and relaxed me as I watched the magic happen as the plot unfolded. It’s a very heartwarming movie, but it’s not mushy.
Etc.: Scottish film; music by Mark Knopfler (his first film score;) filmed in 20 locations in Scotland and a few locations in Texas, USA; The village used in the film is called Pennan but it is on the East coast unlike the one in the film. The beach used is called Camusdarach and is on the West coast.
Awards: 4 wins and 6 nominations
Fantastic Planet (1973) La planète sauvage (original title) Criterion Collection spine #820
Starring: Jennifer Drake, Eric Baugin, Jean Topart, Jean Valmont, and many other voices.
Director: Rene Laloux
Genres: animation, sci-fi
Synopsis: Giant blue humanoid aliens rule the planet. Humans are tiny vermin to them, much as mice are to us; sometimes the parents allow the children to keep them as pets. The story is about Terr, an infant whose mother is killed in the wilderness and who is found by Tiwa, one of the alien children. Terr becomes Tiwa’s beloved companion and is privvy to education that Tiwa is given through a special device. Once Terr begins to learn, he understands that he’s more than a child’s pet.
Impressions: The animation is phantasmagorical! It draws you into another world. There is an endless delightful surprise along the way of the story. There is powerful allegory held within it. Thanks for Hobo Moon Cartoons for first bringing Fantastic Planet to my attention.
Etc.: created in France (devised) and Czechoslovakia (animated) with English subtitles; it took 5 years to make it;
Awards: 1 win and 2 nominations