Thursday, June 1, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks - Tall Buildings

Written as part of the weekly blogathon hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. Join in the fun by picking three movies that fit the week's theme and writing a bit about them!

This week, on Thursday Movie Picks! Up, up, up to incredible heights! The heights of skyscrapers!

I really have nothing much more to say about tall buildings so.... let's just get right to it.

The Towering Inferno (John Guillermin, 1974) An attempt to recreate the "success" of producer Irwin B. Allen's previous hit The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno pretty much succeeds at that goal, offering more explosions, more stars, and... well... more of pretty much everything. If it's not quite as entertaining as Poseidon, well, that's because it perhaps follows that film's template a bit too closely. But it's still one of the best  - and certainly the starriest - of the '70s big-budget all-star disaster epics.

Sleepless in Seattle (Nora Ephron, 1993) Consider this me cheating a little, because I'm kinda getting two in one, one of which I haven't seen. You see, Meg Ryan's Annie Reed gets the idea to meet a man she has never met, only heard on talk radio, on the top of the Empire State Building, from the classic An Affair to Remember, a film which I am ashamed to say I haven't seen. But this one, I have, and it is such a delight. They just don't make great romantic comedies like this anymore, with enchanting leads (this is the second of three pairings of Hanks and Ryan, and easily their best), genuine conflict, and terrific, relatable supporting characters (Rosie O'Donnell is just the best, isn't she?). God bless Nora Eprhon for this.

Man on Wire (James Marsh, 2008) In 1974, French acrobat Philippe Petit walked on a tightrope between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. This is the story of how he accomplished this illegal, but magical, act. It's an amazing story, told through interviews, real footage, and recreated footage in a seamless assemblage that director Marsh makes feel like a thriller of sorts. It's exhilarating, funny, and endlessly entertaining - which you can rarely say for a documentary!

14 comments:

  1. Yeah! We match with the Towering Inferno and it is great in its high camp style. Gosh, you could have done Love Affair, an Affair to Remember and Sleepless just for this week. It is a nice film and very sweet. Man on Wire is everywhere this week and I really have to see it.

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    1. That would have been a terrific triple feature hehehe!

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  2. LOVE all three of your choices!!!

    Sleepless in Seattle is one of the last, hopefully not forever, of that specific type of romantic comedy that use to flourish. You haven't seen An Affair to Remember?!?! Not that I think it's the be all and end all of that sort of film but there for a while, and still around Valentine's Day, it was EVERYWHERE! Seemingly so ubiquitous I was sure even remote Ubangi tribes were familiar with it. It's worth tracking down but when the kids chorus starts to sing have the fast forward button handy.

    I was so pleasantly surprised by Man on Wire. I had been resistant to it, I'm no fan of heights, but when Drew did the Four Ways an Oscar, or whatever it was called, everyone spoke so highly of it I checked it out and loved it.

    We match! As any disaster film junkie knows Towering Inferno is one of the big three-Airport and The Poseidon Adventure are the others-in that genre and the last word in star-studded imperilment. It's the one film where Jennifer Jones doesn't drive me to distraction and Faye is SO glamorous even hanging from an elevator cable!!

    I don't really think of it as a theme within a theme but it turns out that all three of mine are star-studded this week.

    The Towering Inferno (1974)-It’s the grand dedication ceremony for the world’s tallest building, The Glass Tower a 138 story skyscraper in San Francisco and the party is being held on the top floor loaded with movie stars, politicians and the building team in attendance. But trouble’s abrewing when architect Doug Roberts (Paul Newman) arrives back in town to find that corners have cut and the wiring for the building is substandard. He’s right to be worried since when a small fire breaks out on the 81st floor it spreads quickly trapping the guests while the fire department works feverishly to save them. One of the big three Irwin Allen disaster films of the 70’s, along with Airport and The Poseidon Adventure, this was an enormous hit on release with an amazing cast of some of the biggest stars of the time-Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Fred Astaire, Robert Wagner, Robert Vaughn and Jennifer Jones (in her final film) plus dozens of recognizable performers in smaller roles.

    Plaza Suite (1971)-Three act Neil Simon comedy based on his stage success all takes place in Suite 719 of New York’s Plaza Hotel. Each vignette stars Walter Matthau in different roles with three different leading ladies, Maureen Stapleton, Barbara Harris and Lee Grant in tales of a marriage in crisis, an assignation and a long married couple whose daughter has locked herself in the bathroom moments before her wedding downstairs. None are bad but the first and third are the strongest.

    Fourteen Hours (1951)-Robert Cosick (Richard Basehart) is at the end of his rope and has decided to commit suicide by jumping from the ledge of the 15th floor of the Roosevelt Hotel high above the city. As police officer Charlie Dunnigan (Paul Douglas) tries to reason with him calling in both his girlfriend (Barbara Bel Geddes) and his mother (Agnes Moorehead) the event turns into a sideshow lasting 14 hours. Quite similar to the recent Man on a Ledge but a better film this was Grace Kelly’s screen debut in a small role.

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    1. I KNOW. I feel really weird no having seen An Affair to Remember, especially since I ADORE Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant. I LOVE how glamorous Faye is in Towering Infoerno. I wish I liked it more, but I find it kind of lumbering and flat-footed although it has its star-studded charms.

      LOVE Plaza Suite, especially the third vignette, but Matthau wasn't the best choice for the male lead, at least in the second part. He's just not convincing as a ladies' man.

      I haven't heard of Fourteen Hours, but that cast! I will have to seek it out!

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  3. I've only seen Man on Wire and that's a fantastic doc. I actually own a copy if The Towering Inferno. I guess I should watch it one of these days,

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    1. Enh, I wouldn't be in a rush to watch The Towering Inferno, but it's not terrible. Man on Wire is one of the most entertaining docs I've ever seen.

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  4. I haven't seen any of these but I plan on watching The Towering Inferno soon.

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  5. Yay for more love for Man on Wire!

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    1. It really is fantastic, isn't it?!

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  6. Man, I'm seeing all my picks every where this week, this is so nice! Sleepless in Seattle was my pick too and I love that movie! It's such a classic and I agree, they don't make romantic comedies like that anymore.... :(

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    1. YAY! I wish they made better romantic comedies nowadays but it seems to be a lost art. RIP Nora Ephron!

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  7. Man on Wire is a bona fide masterpiece. And I was very close to picking Sleepless in Seattle before my theme in the theme emerged. Such a classic!

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    1. So glad to see all the Sleepless in Seattle love! Man on Wire should be studied in film school, and not just in Documentary Filmmaking classes.

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  8. Never understood the fascination with Sleepless in Seattle, just never grabbed my attention.

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