night in the city (jules dassin, 1950)
music friday: winterland, january 28, 1973

grand piano (eugenio mira, 2013)

This is the nineteenth film I have watched in "My Letterboxd Season Challenge 2021-22", "A 33 week long challenge where the goal each week is to watch a previously unseen feature length film from a specified category." This is the 7th annual challenge, and my third time participating (my first year can be found at "My Letterboxd Season Challenge 2019-20", and last year's at "My Letterboxd Season Challenge 2020-21"). Week 19 is called "Dee-lightful Week":

One of my favorite running weekly challenges. No real connection between these four artists other than the surface level name they partially share. At least you'll have plenty to choose from!

This week's challenge is to watch a previously unseen film starring and/or directed by Dee ReesDee WallaceRuby Dee. or Billy Dee Williams.

A goofy challenge. Last year it was "Ray, Ray, Ray, or Wray Week" (I watched Aparajito), while the year before that it was "Leigh, Leigh, Leigh, or Leigh Week" (I watched Welcome to Me). I had intended to watch the Dee Rees film Bessie, but my recording kept skipping, so I switched to a Dee Wallace movie. Which is a bit of a misnomer. I spent the entire movie looking for the E.T. star and never recognized her. Turns out she had one scene as an interviewer speaking on a phone, so her face never appeared.

Grand Piano is a compact (90 minutes, including 12-minute closing credits) thriller that offers nothing new but is effective nonetheless. Elijah Wood plays a famed concert pianist who comes out of retirement and finds trouble during his concert. It's in the tradition of Phone Booth, another movie with an unseen sniper keeping the hero in place. While he doesn't show his face until the climax, the voice of the sniper is recognizable as John Cusack. (It's an offbeat moment of humor when the two characters finally meet ... Cusack's 6'2" frame towers over Wood's 5'6".) I'm unfamiliar with the Spanish director Eugenio Mira ... he gets the job done here. Screenwriter Damien Chazelle wrote 10 Cloverfield Lane and Whiplash, two good but problematic movies. Everyone is fine here, if you don't kind the lack of ambition to do anything out of the ordinary. As a fan of Halt and Catch Fire, I am always glad to see Kerry Bishé. Grand Piano does its business and goes home, which is sometimes just what is needed.

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