Uncle Hyena (unclehyena) wrote,
Uncle Hyena

Mile, House, Starx4


"Mile 22" is a tight, relentless, convoluted, and humorless paramilitary thriller. It is well made but exhausting. We saw it out of moderate curiousity, and weren't disappointed, but were far from thrilled.

"The House with a Clock in its Walls" is a juvenile paranormal thriller. It is reasonably amusing, but ultimately rather thin. We don't regret seeing it, but as often, that isn't really a recommendation.

"A Star is Born" has been made four times, now, roughly every twenty years (with a break in the 1990s, for some reason) since 1937. In the course of the last month, we have watched all four versions. The story is more or less constant: An older (mid 40s) male artist whose significant career is coming apart due to alcohol meets a younger female artist and gives her access to a larger audience. Her career takes off, the two marry, his career crashes, he dies, she goes on.


In 1937, both principals were actors, and we got the pattern for the story. The pacing was occasionally off, and the film could have easily been trimmed by ten minutes or so, but it was a generally solid movie, and the second best of the lot.

In 1954, we had a male actor and a female singer. The pattern follows the first movie closely, but the film suffers from severe bloat. If the 1937 film should have been about 100 minutes long, this one could have been really tight and clean at about 115, to allow room for the music. It premiered at an absurd 182 minutes, but was cut to a still badly bloated 154 for general release. Third best.

1976 gave us two singers, and the most divergent, and also the weakest version, of the story. The other three versions are double threaded stories; this one focuses on the female lead, and reduces the male lead to little more than a supporting character. He is never allowed to complete a single song, and his death (sacrificial and deliberate in the other versions) is stripped of all meaning. The end of the movie is an object lesson in what happens when no one has the power to tell stars who are also producers, "No." This movie was already fifteen minutes too long before adding another ten minutes of bloat at the end. Last of the four.

2018 also gives us two singers, and returns to the original pattern, but adds FUNCTIONAL character background to both leads. At 135 minutes, this film is almost as long as the 1976 139 minute bloatfest, but not a second is wasted; this film is TIGHT. Best of the breed by a significant margin, and highly recommended.

Uncle Hyena
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