Quadrophenia (1979, Franc Roddem) [r]
* Not that I really need to spend time thinking about a movie that dissects The Legend of The Who from highbrow intricate angles, but I sure did enjoy Sting as the Pinball Wizard. Creepy as shit! And pretty good trash as a whole, this movie.
The Queen (2006, Stephen Frears) [r]
A crash course on public relations, delivered in the surprisingly dramatic context of the struggle by new PM Tony Blair to mitigate the widespread scorn toward the monarchy’s silence in the days after Princess Diana’s sudden death. This isn’t very cinematic, but neither are most of Frears’ films; rather it’s an incredible showcase for its actors — Helen Mirren yes, but also Michael Sheen as Blair and the delightful James Cromwell as Philip — and for writer Peter Morgan’s remarkable ability to streamline a complex situation into a relatively lean and often sardonic script.
Queen Christina (1933, Rouben Mamoulian) [r]
Pre-code costume drama and showcase for Greta Garbo’s formidable androgynous image is more artistically pedestrian than Mamoulian’s other works of the period, despite the resources at his disposal under MGM. It is hugely entertaining hokum, at least if you can look past the total mess it makes of a fascinating individual, the Queen of Sweden who reigned from 1632 (at age six) to 1654. Her ambiguous sexuality is very fitting for Garbo as an actress, but the script spins this into Hollywood goo that has the inaccessible monarch turning to putty at the hands of an envoy and makes her sophistication and eccentricity into a big joke. There isn’t much separating this from other MGM fantasies of wealth, and it looks trite compared to the likes of The Scarlet Empress and The Private Life of Henry VIII.
Queen Kelly (1929, Erich von Stroheim) [hr]
A sex-starved queen is made a mockery when her malicious fiancee finds himself enchanted by a schoolgirl (Gloria Swanson) and her panties, and that’s just the start. Audacious and unstoppably entertaining; a cousin to G.W. Pabst’s films with Louise Brooks but scrappier, more fatalistic and morbid. Hardly alone in the director’s filmography, it’s a vision stymied, but what’s here is fascinating in its eye for weirdness and frustrated, longing sexuality, hidden yet seeping from everything.
The Quiet Man (1952, John Ford)
Ireland-set comedy starring John Wayne is forced wackiness, stunted by Wayne’s usual claustrophobic self-importance and the film’s rampant misogyny. Result feels dull to me, and hard to sit through.
Quiz Show (1994, Robert Redford) [hr]
The story of the rigged game show 21 may not sound like the stuff of high drama, but it’s made riveting by its very human qualities. The intelligent, never overblown script takes on every aspect of the famous case with sympathy and wit, and we end up with a moving portrait that leaves each of its three main characters with a masterfully ambiguous fate. Director Redford’s success here is in not allowing any of his characters to be the bad guy.