Somewhere in the Night (quickie)

“Somewhere in the Night (1946),” directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, has something of an intriguing (if tired) premise; a man (John Hodiak) wakes up in a military hospital. He can’t speak because his jaw is wired shut, and he doesn’t remember who he is, but everyone keeps calling him George Taylor. He decides to go with it, and waits to recover, to give himself time to find out his identity.

It’s Film Noir, and it’s not bad so far; the trail he follows on the quest is kind of cool, mainly because he’s looking for another man, Larry Cravat, a friend of his who left him money and a letter, and who has since disappeared. Unfortunately for Taylor, he’s not alone in his quest; he keeps running into some unpleasant types, looking for Cravat and some money Larry may have stolen.

And I just had to stop watching at this point; I figured out the ‘mystery’ within the first 15 minutes, and the bad acting and endless exposition were not enough to make me stick around for the characters to figure it out too.

Want some noir with teeth? Go rent “Laura” or “The Maltese Falcon.” Leave “Somewhere in the Night” where it belongs; the back shelf of memory, never to be seen again.

“Somewhere in the Night” (1946)

Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Written by Howard Dimsdale, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Lee Strasberg

Starring: John Hodiak (George W. Taylor)

 Nancy Guild (Christy Smith)

 Lloyd Nolan (Police Lt. Donald Kendall)

Black Book

Finally, a movie to write home about.

Yes, I’ve seen some good movies this year, but none that have lit my fire, so to speak. But along comes “Black Book,” a Dutch film by Paul Verhoeven set in The Netherlands during the last year of World War II.

After some time spent in 1950s Israel, “Black Book” kicks into gear with a Jewish woman (Carice van Houten) hiding on a farm. Somewhat haphazardly, the farm is bombed and her cover is blown; she runs off with a sailor, but a man from the Resistance tells her the Gestapo knows where she is, and he can get her and her sailor to Belgium ( and safety) on a boat.

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Paprika

A spunky red-head flies through the sky on a cloud and transforms into the Monkey King; a two-headed man has one head explode into a swarm of blue insects; a procession of dolls marches through a city, swallowing the souls of all it passes.

These are just some of the images that pass through “Paprika,” a Japanese animated film directed by Satoshi Kon. Being that most of the film takes place in dreamland, the images aren’t too out of place.

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