Happy New Year (2022)!

Hey to ALL my wonderful readers,

Can you believe that it has been almost 22 mos. since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (March 13, 2020)!? A few wks. ago, someone on my Twitter feed wrote: “Your reward for surviving the pandemic is more pandemic” (TOO real- also a BIT funny). My 2nd nephew was born- V cool! I became permanent at my job at GWU (after a long wait). I got a holiday bonus (rare in past jobs). Most importantly, I was able to get vaccinated in a timely manner (and later got the booster); I stayed healthy all year (luckily)! I cut way back on the news after the past Summer; I was a MSNBC watcher for several yrs. I don’t know how I’d have made it through this (crazy) time w/o my neighbors/friends, podcasts, and this blog (which helped me feel less anxious- NO joke).

Thanks for reading, subscribing, and sharing my blog posts!

You can also follow me on IG and/or Twitter: knightleyemma.

-Emma

UPCOMING REVIEWS:

Movies w/ Adam Driver:

Silence (2016)

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018)

The Dead Don’t Die (2019)

The Report (2019)

The Last Duel (2021)

Star Trek Universe:

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) – This is the final TOS movie.

Star Trek: Voyager (S7) – This is the final season.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (S4-7)

CURRENTLY WATCHING:

And Just Like That… – This is the SATC reboot; 5 eps are available on HBO Max. I’m most interested to see what happens w/ Seema (Sarita Choudhury), who is Carrie’s realtor and new friend.

Girls (S4) – I’m re-watching the series on HBO Max (b/c Driver is part of the ensemble).

Noir City DC Film Fest: “Road House” (1948) & “Desert Fury” (1947)

Hey y’all, thanks for reading (hope you also subscribe)! I missed out on blogging re: movies during #Noirvember (yup- again), BUT am gonna share w/ you the 2 films I saw at a local film fest (at AFI in Silver Spring- a FEW blocks from my place). The best part- I met TCM host Eddie Muller (looking classy and full of funny stories) and got my book (Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir) signed!

Road House (1948) starring Ida Lupino, Cornel Wilde, Richard Widmark, & Celeste Holm

Jefty Robbins (Richard Widmark), owner of a roadhouse in a small town (near the Canadian border), hires tough-talking/world-weary Lily Stevens (Ida Lupino- who does her own singing) for a 6 wk. gig, despite the reservations of his manager/best friend, Pete Morgan (Cornell Wilde). Pete even tries to get Lily to go back to Chicago, offering her some money. Jefty is interested in Lily, as she’s “different from other girls.” He brings her breakfast in bed at her hotel. When Pete goes out of town for a fishing trip, Lily turns her charms on Pete, who is resistant. Pete usually dates the roadhouse cashier, Susie Smith (Celeste Holm). Events bring Pete and Lily closer together, until they fall in love. Lily turns down Jefty’s marriage proposal. Then, Pete and Lily have to face Jefty’s intense jealousy!

Susie: She does more without a voice than anybody I’ve ever heard!

Road House was director Jean Negulesco’s 1st film for 20th Century Fox; he had recently been fired by Warnes Bros. Darryl F. Zanuck told him, “This is a bad script. Three directors have refused it. They don’t know what they’re doing, because basically it’s quite good. Remember those pictures we used to make at Warner Bros., with Pat O’Brien and Jimmy Cagney, in which every time the action flagged we staged a fight and every time a man passed a girl she’d adjust her stocking or something, trying to be sexy? That’s the kind of picture we have to have with Road House.”

Not only was Lupino (one of Muller’s faves) a good actress, she also had a head for business (purchasing the rights to the movie for $20K). This film was a year after Widmark played a sadistic killer in Kiss Of Death. As Jefty, Widmark gets to show some of his “regular guy” side, but evolves (or devolves) into a very troubled man. Wilde’s role is as the straight man (which can be dull), but he does a good job. Wilde and Lupino have strong romantic chemistry. Holm gets the (thankless) role of the “girl next door” who’s overlooked, but she handles it well. I really liked the production design on this film; scenes in the roadhouse’s bowling alley were shot at a real alley located near the studio. Check this movie out- it’s one I think MANY will enjoy!

[1] Despite the hole-riddled ending, it’s still worth seeing because of Lupino’s and Widmark’s performances. She is great as the 2nd-rate singer (singing her own songs with a decent but obviously less than stellar voice–which was perfect for the role)… Widmark was interesting because he combined two totally different performances in one film…

[2] “Road House” is an engaging film–noir with a storyline of unrequited love and obsession. Ida Lupino has an impressive performance, singing with a wonderful husky voice. […] This film is also the third appearance of the outstanding Richard Widmark and his insane smile on the cinema. Cornel Wilde and Celeste Holm complete the dream cast of this unknown gem. 8/10

[3] Widmark’s character is by far the most interesting. A little unbalanced at the beginning, he turns crafty and bitter before he loses it altogether. There’s a good deal of pathos in the character.

-Excerpts from IMDB reviews

Desert Fury (1947) starring Lizabeth Scott, John Hodiak, Burt Lancaster, Wendell Corey, & Mary Astor

Fritzi Haller (Mary Astor) is a powerful casino owner in Chuckawalla, a small town in Nevada. Her 19 y.o. daughter Paula (Lizabeth Scott) has quit school; she returns at the same time as racketeer Eddie Bendix (John Hodiak), who left under suspicion of murdering his wife a few years ago. Paula and Eddie become involved, despite the big age gap and her being warned against him. Fritzi, a deputy/Paula’s friend Tom Hanson (Burt Lancaster) and Eddie’s companion Johnny Ryan (Wendell Corey- his film debut) try to break up the relationship. Then, Eddie’s past catches up w/ him in an unexpected way!

This is the kind of B movie that ONLY a true fan of noir will like (or tolerate)- LOL! Seeing it w/ a audience helped, as did the intro from Muller. The music is unnecessarily dramatic, overpowering some scenes. Fans of this genre MAY be surprised to see Scott as the lead here; she was a limited actress (though V conventionally pretty w/ a distinctive/husky voice). Lancaster (looking esp. handsome w/ his tousled hair and leather jacket) has the straight-shooter role here; Tom (in his late 20s) cares for/is protective of Paula. She doesn’t have many friends in town; other kids stayed away from her b/c of her mother’s profession. The romance between Paula and Eddie isn’t as interesting as the (enigmatic) relationship between Eddie and Johnny. Corey gets a meaty role for his first role; a villain w/ many layers, Johnny is V protective over his friend.

[1] Made in 1947 in perfect glossy Technicolor to distract you from the beserkness and tawdry storyline, this is one terrific exercise in censorship busting antics that managed to fulfill it’s reputation. […] DESERT FURY is genuine queer cinema. With incest hinted, guns and car tire screeching, sinister sunglass wearing and cactus pricks everywhere…

[2] Desert Fury is one of those several films from the studio days where gay was strictly taboo yet it somehow got to the screen. That scene where Corey tells Scott how he met a ragged and hungry Hodiak at the Automat and bought him a meal and took him home sure sounded like a pickup to me. Many from the generation before Stonewall told me that the Horn & Hardart Automat was one of the great pickup places in New York. Romances and flings have started in stranger places. No way that the writers would not have known that. Corey’s devotion to Hodiak can’t be explained any other way as the story unfolds. In fact he’s the stronger of the two.

[3] The best part of Desert Fury is Edith Head’s costumes. Every single scene, Lizabeth and Mary are dressed in gorgeous dresses that will have you oo-ing and ahh-ing for the entire running length. Lizabeth is very pretty in this film, and dressing her up in such beautiful costumes only makes it more fun to watch her, even when she’s exercising bad judgement.

-Excerpts from IMDB reviews

Sephora Spring 2021 VIB Sale (4/9-4/19) Recommendations

Skincare

Fresh Kombucha Antioxidant Facial Treatment Essence: A great toner for ALL skin types (I’m combo to oily- FYI). Get mini size to try, or see if part of a skin set (good value). This brand is ONLY at Sephora, not at ULTA (where I mostly shop).

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum: I already like it, though have ONLY been using it for the past 3 mos. I (luckily) found it over at my local TJ Maxx. I’m NOT so knowledgeable re: serums, BUT this works on me!

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40PA+++: Having grown up under the desert sun of AZ, I take sunscreen very seriously! This is a great choice, esp. for those of you who have tan to deep skin tones (leaves no white cast) and/or need a natural-looking sunscreen under makeup.

Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector Broad Spectrum Face Sunscreen SPF 42: Another great SPF choice, if you’re seeking something non-greasy and natural.

Fresh Sugar Lip Polish Exfoliator: I’ve used this 2-3x in the past- need to get one soon. My lips are just in bad shape!

Makeup

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation: I almost couldn’t believe that I used up the bottle in early 2020; I rarely finish my foundations! (FYI: My shade is 300). This MAY be a bit too thick/full-coverage for some, if you’re in hot/humid weather this Summer.

Fenty Beauty Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipstick: These were recently on sale (Sephora and on the brand’s site). I’m all stocked up for myself and gifting! Here are the best colors for those w/ tan skin tones: Spanked (my everyday color), Thicc, Ma’Damn (red), S1ngle (nude), and Freckled Fiesta (terracotta- great for Fall).

Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer: If I didn’t have a stack of new lip glosses, I’d get this product again- LOL! I used the original color (Fenty Glow) in 2019; the brownish color (Hot Chocolit) looks fab for tan skin tones.

My 1,000th Post: “While the City Sleeps” (1956) starring Dana Andrews, Rhonda Fleming, George Sanders, Vincent Price, Ida Lupino, & John Barrymore, Jr.

…tempers hard-core noir with more mainstream motives. It’s a slick, entertaining, and at times even scary movie.

With an intriguing plot and an impressive ensemble approach with the casting, this film offered much and, although it could have been darker in tone, it still offered a lot of potential to be a slick urban mystery. 

Hitchcock of course treated the subject of a mother-fixated psychopath just a bit better a few years later…

I did like how Lang seemed to enjoy himself thumbing his nose at the production code.

-Excerpts from IMDB reviews

The main plot concerns what happens at Kyne News Service after the founder/boss suddenly dies. Walter Kyne (Vincent Price), a playboy who doesn’t know much re: his father’s business, decides to have a contest among the heads of its three divisions for a new executive role. Mark Loving (George Sanders) runs the news wire, Jon Day Griffith (Thomas Mitchell) runs the newspaper New York Sentinel, and the paper’s art director is Harry Kritzer (James Craig). Walter’s wife, Dorothy (Rhonda Fleming), is having an affair w/ Harry, who is also the best friend of her husband. While these men one up each other, anchorman Edward Mobley (Dana Andrews), pursues the story of a murderer targeting young women living alone. Ed is trying to convince his girlfriend/Loving’s secretary, Nancy Liggett (Sally Forrest), to marry him. The gossip columnist, Mildred Donner (Ida Lupino), may be seeing Mark, but she also has eyes for Ed.

From 1936 to 1956, German director Fritz Lang made some psychologically astute movies, often working w/ pulp fiction (lightweight material). Most of these were thrillers, dealing w/ the psychosis of the killer. Plot never really interested Lang; he focused more on the details and characterizations. The serial killer here (played by John Barrymore, Jr.) is never the focus of attention. This movie was based on a real 1946 murder case, when William Heirens killed three women and left a message (in lipstick on a bathroom mirror) after the second murder. He urged the police to catch him before he killed again; the press dubbed him “The Lipstick Killer.”

As TCM’s Eddie Muller noted, usually noirs don’t have this many big names. The lighting (for the most part) is flat, like you’d see on a ’50s TV show, Muller explained. I noticed the “K” logo for Kyne Enterprise looks similar to one in Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane (also produced by RKO). The first half presents the POV of those who report the news, so if you’re interested in journalism and corporate intrigue, check it out. I watched it twice in the past two years; I didn’t appreciate it much the first time.

After 6+ mos. of quarantine life, I’m having a tough time staying positive. Also, have you noticed how much laundry and dishes there are to do!? I’d like to cook more, but my work has become quite busy (and stressful) this Summer/Fall. I feel tired pretty much all the time these days. This blog is helping me to stay sane (no joke). Thanks to all who are reading, subscribing, sharing, and liking my posts! I hope you all stay safe!

Sephora (Fall 2019) VIB Sale Recommendations

Top 5 Products I’ve Tried (& LOVED):

  1. Tatcha The Rice Polish Foaming Enzyme Powder (for gentle/daily exfoliation, or try a kit w/ a selection of products in smaller sizes)
  2. Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Face Butter (great for Winter or those of you w/ dry skin all year round)
  3. Supergoop SPF 40 Unseen Sunscreen (current sunblock; won’t leave white cast on tan or deep skin tones; great under makeup)
  4. Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask (a must for nights, incl. in Winter)
  5. Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Fenty Glow (a current fave)

Products I’m MOST Interested in Buying:

  1. Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel (tried before; great reviews from those of all skin types)
  2. Fresh Evergreen Routine Gift Set (b/c love this brand)
  3. Farmacy Honey Butter Beeswax Lip Balm (b/c just always into lip balms, starting from my “low maintenance” years)
  4. Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Hydrating Primer (great reviews; tested the product before)
  5. Makeup Forever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation (Y355 is my shade; recently tested product)