Hank’s (and Rob Harmon’s) Recommendations 08/13/13

hank_paperHANK’S PICS 08/13/13

THE COMPANY YOU KEEP — When a wife and mother, and former member of the Weather Underground (Susan Sarandon), turns herself in for her role, thirty years ago, in the robbery of a bank and the murder of a security guard, it upsets a whole network of former Weathermen who have since rebuilt new lives, especially one who is now forced to go on the run, pursued by both the FBI and a dogged reporter.

Directed by and starring Robert Redford, this film is a man-on-the-run thriller, a newspaper drama about going for a big story in a dying industry, as well as a film about families, lies and betrayals. It is also about the past (the Vietnam War and the violent protests against it) and the present (posing political questions that are still relevant today).

While Redford himself looks perhaps ten years too old for the part, he has assembled an incredible cast (Shia LaBeouf, Julie Christie, Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper, Terrance Howard, Stanley Tucci, Richard Jenkins, Brendan Gleeson, Sam Elliot and Brit Marling) to tell a fairly gripping, thought-provoking story.

While not, perhaps of the stature of Redford’s other directorial outings (ORDINARY PEOPLE, THE MILAGRO BEANFIELD WAR, A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT, QUIZ SHOW, THE HORSE WHISPERER; Redford also, more recently, directed the less compelling THE CONSPIRATOR), this is an under-rated, under-distributed film, both intelligent and entertaining, whose company you should definitely keep.

Rob_Harmon_image_for_picksROB HARMON’S PICS 08/13/13:

ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S BIRTHDAY

Today is the birthday of filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, born this day in 1899 in Leytonstone, England and died on April 29, 1980 at the age of 80. My earliest fascination with Hitchcock and his films almost exactly coincides with when I was first becoming interested in film itself—middle school and high school—and the two (film and Hitchcock) have been almost synonymous in my mind ever since.

Mr. Hitchcock’s staggering influence upon the cinema survives to this day, particularly in the genres of mystery/suspense thrillers and horror, but equally important in many other respects, too numerous to list here. With a total of 53 films to his credit it is never a bad time to familiarize yourself with the Master of Suspense: let’s call this Film, or Hitchcock, 101!

To Catch A Thief MoviestillsWe’ll start with Ten Hitchcock Masterpieces:

1 • REBECCA (1940): Poor Mrs. Danvers….
2 • FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (1940): Intrigue for a Yank across the pond, with Europe on the brink of war.
3 • SHADOW OF A DOUBT (1943): Everyone should have an Uncle Charlie.
4 • NOTORIOUS (1946): Hitchcockian romance, at its very best.
5 • STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951): Hitchcock adapts Highsmith—mind who you speak to on trains….
6 • REAR WINDOW (1954): Did he, or didn’t he, see a murder?
7 • VERTIGO (1958): Dark, touching, and sad, this is perhaps Hitchcock’s most personal film.
8 • NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959): Some guys have all the fun.
9 • PSYCHO (1960): Bates Motel – twelve cabins, twelve vacancies.
10 • THE BIRDS (1963): It’s woman vs. nature.

Seen those? How about, Ten Must-Sees from Hitchcock’s British Period:

1 • THE LODGER (1926): Jack the Ripper, anyone?
2 • THE RING (1927): Excellent silent boxing drama.
3 • BLACKMAIL (1929): Guilt pursues the killer—an innovative use of early sound technology.
4 • RICH AND STRANGE (1932): Eerie, early romantic melodrama.
5 • THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1934): Knowing too much is a dangerous thing, indeed…. (1956 American version: Stewart and Day give strong performances; a worthy encore!)
6 • THE 39 STEPS (1935): High adventure on the Scottish moors—a man, a woman, and a pair of handcuffs!
7 • SABOTAGE (1936): Who killed cock robin?
8 • YOUNG AND INNOCENT (1937): The camera identifies the killer.
9 • THE LADY VANISHES (1938): Intrigue among passengers on a train across Europe—a ripping good yarn!
10 • JAMAICA INN (1939): Great adventure story; Laughton memorable as the villain, Sir Humphrey Pengallan.

Still hungry? Here are Ten Further Classics from Hitchcock’s Hollywood Career:

1 • SABOTEUR (1942): It’s The 39 Steps in the good old U.S.A.!
2 • LIFEBOAT (1944): Tallulah Bankhead in a boat.
3 • SPELLBOUND (1945): Romance and psychoanalysis – a union that only Hitchcock could bring about.
4 • ROPE (1948): What’s in the trunk?
5 • STAGE FRIGHT (1950): Highly under-rated; Dietrich sings “The Laziest Gal in Town.”
6 • DIAL ME FOR MURDER (1954): Crackling good murder mystery; originally filmed in 3-D!
7 • THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY (1955): Dead body on a mountain-top—what to do with it?
8 • THE WRONG MAN (1956): Eerie, dark drama based on a real-life case.
9 • MARNIE (1964): Hitchcock examines the female psyche—’nuff said!
10 • FRENZY (1972): Hitchcock returns home to England—who knew rigor mortis could be this much fun?