April 27, 2005

The Pink Panther (1963)

pinkpantherThe intention was to start a franchise for David Niven as suave ladies' man/cat burglar Sir Charles Litton. However, Peter Sellers, a little-known British comic, was a late addition to the cast after Peter Ustinov dropped out. Sellers proceeded to steal the movie in the role of Inspector Clouseau, the French detective who cannot catch the notorious thief who's sleeping with his wife right next door. Inspector Clouseau would become the franchise, and nine Clouseau films would follow between 1964 and 2005. All of the following were directed by Blake Edwards, except numbers 3 and 10:
  1. The Pink Panther (1963)
  2. A Shot In The Dark (1964)
  3. Inspector Clouseau (1968), starring Alan Arkin as Clouseau.
  4. Return of the Pink Panther (1975), with Christopher Plummer in the role of Sir Charles Litton.
  5. The Pink Panther diamond has no role in The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976), but the name had become so synonymous with Clouseau, the name was used anyway.
  6. Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978) is Sellers's final legit appearance as Clouseau. Peter Sellers died in 1980 at age 54. David Niven returns as Litton for this movie and "Trail" in 1982. Niven would pass away (ALS) in 1983.
  7. Peter Sellers's scenes in Trail of the Pink Panther (1982) consist of outtakes and unused scenes from previous Clouseau movies.
  8. Curse of the Pink Panther (1983) is a bizarre attempt to create a new Clouseau-like character.
  9. Son of the Pink Panther (1993), starring Academy Award winner Roberto Benigni.
  10. The Pink Panther (2005), starring Steve Martin as Clouseau.

April 16, 2005

Fever Pitch

feverpitchA good-natured and funny rom-com set against the backdrop of the Red Sox 2004 season. The movie did not screw up the Boston-ian parts of the movie. Jimmy Fallon was surprisingly subtle and charming, despite limited talent. Fallon and Barrymore were well-suited for each other. I have barely seen Jimmy Fallon (Saturday Night Live: 1998-2004), before, and I didn't think much of him... before this movie. Drew Barrymore is usually the best thing in all her rom-coms (50 First Dates, Never Been Kissed, Home Fries, The Wedding Singer), and America's love for her makes up for the safe, easy movies she makes. (Showcase Cinemas Woburn)

April 8, 2005

Sin City: Guys Movie Night

sincityOur third selection for Guys Movie Night is a vast improvement on Be Cool. To call Sin City a "gritty" film noir is like calling Mount Rushmore a pile of rocks. Sin City is uber-gritty. Three intertwined crime thrillers with no mercy. Heavy doses of love, revenge, murder, madness, cannibalism, sex, slicing, punching, ripping, tearing, shooting, decapitating, all in a stunning blend of high-contrast black and white. A honest and faithful recreation of graphic novelist Frank Miller's vision. (AMC Burlington)

April 2, 2005

Steamboy

steamboyFrom Katsuhiro Otomo, the director of Akira, comes this apocalyptic, evils-of-technology fable set in the Steam Age: Victorian London, 1863. Otomo rages against the danger of science perverted to serve capitalistic, warmongering influences, yet at the same time he fetishistically showcases fantastic steam-powered technology. Besides the preachy moralizing, Otomo shows a disappointing misogynist streak- there are barely three speaking parts for women in the movie: The protagonist's mother gets a few lines early on, the Queen of England has one line, and the "comedy" relief is a ugly, spoiled, elitist preteen heiress who beats her Chihuahua and calls everyone 'stupid'. (Kendall Square Cinemas)