In my view, the facial play of Rowan Atkinson, who enacts Mr. Bean in Mr. Bean’s Holiday (2007), is more over-the-top than funny, but he grows on you. And this movie grows on you. It grew on me, anyway. It turns out to be an appealing slapstick farce, its titular character bungling his way across France.
Sometimes nicely helpful, Mr. Bean is also intermittently unscrupulous when he gets in a jam—and so deserves every problem he incurs. In short, he’s recognizably human. And despite the facial play Atkinson’s portrayal of him is wonderfully droll and vigorous. The leading lady, Emma de Caunes, is charming.
Although funny, much of what happens at the Cannes Film Festival in Holiday is pretty hokey, but the picture serves up some unusual comic invention in a scene such as the one where Mr. Bean as busker lip-synchs to Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro.” Even better, more hilarious, is the Harold Lloyd stuff with the bicycle pursuit and the startling making of a yoghurt commercial. Here the movie really makes antic hay—just what we want from a visual comedy. It instantly becomes less important that Mr. Bean is recognizably human than that he is pratfall-funny.
Written by JP Miller, Days of Wine and Roses (1958) was a Playhouse 90 TV movie before it was remade as a theatrical movie. Though technically crude, it is a memorably strong drama about the ruination of sought-after social mobility by alcoholism. Joe and Kirsten are the broken, hard-drinking couple, and, social mobility or not, Kirsten can only see the world around her as a “dirty” place without getting drunk. Of the two, she is the more vulnerable and myopic.
The picture was well directed by John Frankenheimer. Cliff Robertson is a natural for the part of Joe. His acting is nigh effortless, whereas with Piper Laurie (Kirsten) we do see the effort. Laurie is inconsistently convincing, but—interestingly—she does manage to be deep. A psyche is there. . .
I’m glad I finally saw Days (on DVD) after all these years, and, yep, I’m sticking with the original.
Liberty Island is a website that publishes stories whose meaning is essentially conservative. So far I have read several of them, one of which, Jamie Wilson’s “Murder at CPAC” (2014), is a tasty spoof and then some. More than a spoof. In the noir thriller mode, it’s nicely unpredictable (for all the clichés) and engaging. Its ending resembles that of Kiss Me Deadly, and the message is about progressives not being able to face the TRUTH.
Few liberals will like “Murder at CPAC”, if any of them read it. (CPAC, of course, stands for Conservative Political Action Conference.) But I suspect that conservatives, libertarians and some apolitical people will like it.
Another story is “Beautification Claws” (2014), a clever fantasy by Karina Fabian. Here, a jejune girl confronts the talking dragon that protects a crime-ridden neighborhood. The theme is the need of certain vicinities not for Great Society luxuries like beautification but for constant, big-guns security. First things first.
There is admirable wit in these tales, and they are not just meant to entertain. No, sir.
The website’s address is libertyislandmag.com