Review: North by Northwest (1959)

This afternoon I was casually flipping through the channels and one of the best movies ever made was on. And if you haven’t already noticed it was North by Northwest, one of my personal favorites.

This movie stars Cary Grant as an advertising executive who is mistaken to be a spy and is tracked across the country, culminating in a chase sequence on top Mount Rushmore.

North by Northwest finds the always sexy and debonair Cary Grant working with director Alfred Hitchcock for the third time to create another Hitchcock masterpiece. And that’s easily why I like it so much. The charm and style of the actor just oozes off the screen.

Hitchcock is known for something called being ahead of the curve, meaning he’ll end a scene early before all the information is given. He does that in this movie so you’ll go “oh, that’s what that meant”. Once again, Hitchcock proves why he is the greatest director of all time with this movie.

Cary Grant is brilliant, like always. His screen presence is why he is among my favorite actors. When he shares the screen with Eva Marie Saint (your typical Hitchcock leading lady) or the other supporting actors including the always incredible James Mason, why he’s the best is evident.

This movie expertly combines acting, dialogue, cinematography, music and plot (all the essentials). Not to mention two remarkable chase scenes that only a Hitchcock movie could have to make movie magic.

Review: March of the Penguins (2005)

In the harshest place on Earth, love finds a way…

It takes a lot to impress me at the movies and I speak for most people when I say that what I to know is why I just spent 10 dollars only to be mildly impressed. Seriously. The only two times I can really remember being completely enthralled at the movies was when I saw Million Dollar Baby in January and The Lion King when I was 5. This movie makes it three.

Now, my adventure to see March of the Penguins began when my big sis Kate told me showed me the preview on the web. Rarely do I anticipate any film, believing that I will only be disappointed if I expect too much, but because penguins are another one of my teeny tiny obsessions, I was excited for this movie. What made March of the Penguins so memorable was not only the film, but where I went to see it.

I spent four days last week with Kate in Washington D.C. and we wemt to see this movie, at the AFI Theater in Silver Spring.

March of the Penguins follows the Emperor penguins of Antarctica as they make an incredible and exhausting journey from the ocean to the place where they were born in order to mate and start their families. These penguins battle freezing winter storms, starvation, and sea lions all for the love of their babies. French film maker Luc Jacquet, and cinematographers Laurent Chalet and Jerome Maison, followed the Emperor penguins in their native habitat for the nine month mating season.

As I think about this documentary in retrospect, it does remind me of The Lion King. (Work with me on this one.) Aside from the obvious animal kingdom references and the notion of family, it brings an element to a film suitable for young children and that is the simple reminder that life is not easy and that not everything goes perfect. If I were seven or eight years old, the image of that cute and cuddly baby penguin frozen to death would forever be burned into my mind.

The film in the entirety is not depressing at all. In fact, it is a celebration of the animal kingdom’s ability to survive and outlast and how in certain ways the Emperor penguin, perhaps the most majestic bird on Earth, is like humans, searching for family and happiness. It is a breathtaking film that leaves a lasting impression on anyone who watches it. Believe me it is worth the 10 dollars to see in the theaters, unlike that latest Tom Cruise vehicle that shall remain nameless. And the added bonus is that you get to spend 80 minutes listening to narrator Morgan Freeman’s dreamy voice.