Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Thu Jun 06, 2019 5:32 am

Compartiment tueurs / The Sleeping Car Murders (Costa-Gavras, 1965) 8/10

Murder on the Marseilles to Paris sleeping train has a whiff of Agatha Christie's famous thriller, also set on a train, but since this is a french film the characters are all quirky and not very distinguished and the film's structure is similar to Ed McBain and the 87th Precinct books. Five strangers share a cabin on an overnight train while a sixth, a stowaway, joins them when all are asleep - a shifty fellow (Michel Piccoli) with a sex offence in his past, a flamboyant second rate actress (Simone Signoret), a young woman (Catherine Allégret) who befriends the stowaway (Jacques Perrin), a nondescript man (Paul Pavel) and a sexy beauty (Pascale Roberts) who is found strangled to death when the train reaches Paris. The hard-boiled police inspector (Yves Montand) - a tip of the hat to Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe, and his partner (Claude Mann) start interrogating the occupants of the cabin but one by one each is killed off by a mysterious gunman. Fast paced thriller throws in a red herring (Jean-Louis Trintignant as the actress' younger lover) leading to a sharply edited car chase, a claustrophobic scene set inside a phone booth and the end involving an unexpected gay twist which must have seemed shocking back in 1965. Costa-Gavras' first film is in complete contrast to the heavily political subjects he took on for all his subsequent work in which many of the present cast - Montand, Signoret, Trintignant - played major roles. The bizarre camera angles along with the jazzy score help to create the frantic mood and tension.

Mimì metallurgico ferito nell'onore / The Seduction of Mimi (Lina Wertmüller, 1972) 9/10

This first collaboration between Lina Wertmüller and Giancarlo Giannini not only reflects her own political committments but embodies the notion of Italian machismo through his character who is an inept and simple man. Heavily influenced by Federico Fellini she hilariously celebrates the grotesque side of human nature with her sympathetic view of the Italian working class who are downtrodden or politically neglected. Through her films she also celebrates her country as she takes her camera across the varied locales - here Piedmont and Sicily. Both Wertmüller and Giannini work with total abandon creating this hilarious masterpiece. Mimi (Giancarlo Giannini) suddenly leaves town after he angers the local mafia and he quickly learns to be a chameleon adapting himself to whatever situation he finds himself in. He changes political allegiances, women, jobs, towns, clothes. Leaving behind his wife (Agostina Belli), who hates the act of sex, he quickly encounters another woman (Mariangela Melato), a virgin anarchist, falls in love and has a child with her. The outlandish plot has him plotting revenge on his wife who has subsequently made him a cuckold and is pregnant with the child of an army sergeant. So he decides to seduce the sergeant's fat and plain wife (Elena Fiore) who also wants to revenge the wrong her husband has done to her. The film's highlight is their sex scene which has to be seen to be believed as Wertmüller, Giannini and a nude Fiore work in complete tandum to create one of the funniest moments ever put on screen. It is also a film which does not know the meaning of being politically correct as Wertmüller stages comedy around domestic abuse and sexual assault but does so in a satirical manner exaggerating the silly, pointless emotions driving the character's actions. Giannini's bravura performance rightfully made him a star while Wertmüller's frentic direction won her a prize at the Cannes film festival.

The Golden Salamander (Ronald Neame, 1950). 6/10

Atmospheric if rather slow British thriller has an excellent cast. An archaeologist (Trevor Howard) arrives in Tunisia to collect a shipment of antiquities. Instead he finds romance with a young local girl (Anouk Aimée) and clashes with a gang of gunrunners (Herbert Lom, Jacques Sernas) with whom he gets into a cat-and-mouse game ending with a chase sequence involving a boar hunt. Superbly shot on location by Oswald Morris.

All is True (Kenneth Branagh, 2018). 2/10

Lifeless and extremely tedious film about the last years of William Shakespeare's life. When the Globe theatre burns down Shakespeare (Sir Kenneth Branagh) returns home after years to his much older wife (Dame Judi Dench) and two grownup daughters. His remaining years are spent arguing with his daughter while pining for her fraternal twin, his son, who died at age 11 during the plague. The film briefly comes alive with the appearance of the Earl of Southampton (Sir Ian McKellen) who was Shakespeare's patron and supposed lover as the two men recite sonnets to each other. The entire enterprise is an ill-advised vanity project for Branagh who under loads of prosthetics not only looks like Ben Kingsley but makes his face immobile. Skip this film.

Beyond the Gates / Shooting Dogs (Michael Caton-Jones, 2005) 8/10

Moving and terrifying account of the Rwandan genocide which systematically resulted in the mass slaughter of the ethnic Tutsi and moderate Hutu groups. The setting of the film is the École Technique Officielle (ETO) in Kigali, Rwanda, in 1994. John Hurt plays a Catholic priest (loosely based on Vjekoslav Ćurić who was a Bosnian Croat Roman Catholic priest, friar and humanitarian and was one of the recognized martyrs of the genocide and known in Rwanda as the "African Oskar Schindler") and Hugh Dancy an English teacher, both Europeans, who are caught up in the events of the genocide as they try to save and bring comfort to the fleeing Tutsis. The film is notable for being shot in Kigali where most of the genicide took place. The film's title - "Shooting Dogs" - refers to the actions of the United Nation soldiers in shooting dogs that were scavenging dead human bodies yet were not allowed to kill the Hutu extremists who were savagely killing the Tutsis. The film captures the fear and evil, the humidity and dust and the graphic moments of violence which eventually caused the deaths of over a million innocent humans.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Tue Jun 04, 2019 1:12 pm

Femmina Violenta / Sin / The Beloved (George P. Cosmatos, 1971) 2/10

Low budget potboiler shot in Cyprus with an over heated screenplay involving illicit love, jealousy and murder. A man (Richard Johnson) returns home to an island village in Greece after 15 years. He discovers his late father left him only an old shack in his will and his childhood sweetheart (Raquel Welch) is unhappily married to his childhood buddy. With a dusky Raquel Welch around - in peasant mode no less - it's but obvious that adultery is the next step which leads to tragedy involving rape by a gang of kids. This absurd film barely got a release and has only Miss Welch, her flared nostrils, lustrous hair (which she tosses around like a horse) and incredibly flashy white teeth to provide the so called "entertainment". Adding to the inanity on the screen are the distinguished Dame Flora Robson as a greek materfamilias and Jack Hawkins as an Eastern Orthodox priest. This trashy film is an unofficial adaptation of Emile Zola's "Therese Raquin" and is a must-watch for fans of Miss Welch who can be seen on the poster at her charming best.

Fosse/Verdon (Thomas Kail, Adam Bernstein, Minkie Spiro & Jessica Yu, 2019) 9/10

Dancer, choreographer, director Bob Fosse (Sam Rockwell) was known for his dazzling style on stage and screen. He was also a serial womanizer and a chain smoking alcohol and drug addict all of which contributed to the edginess evident in his work. Gwen Verdon (Michelle Williams) was the greatest dancer on Broadway and a Tony winning star of some of the most famous stage musicals - "Can-Can", "Damn Yankees" and "New Girl in Town". The musical "Redhead" brought the two together with Verdon as star and Fosse in his debut as director and choreographer. They married soon after and their tenuous relationship forms the basis of this outstanding screen biography as the film charts their careers and relationship which produced one daughter, numerous infidelities on his part and further stage successes like "Sweet Charity", "Chicago" and "Dancin'", the latter two were collaborated on while they were estranged - they never divorced and remained married while she took up with another partner and he with stage actress Ann Reinking with whom even Verdon joined hands with on stage projects. Fosse's independant film career was also a huge success starting with the flop adaptation of "Sweet Charity", for which Verdon was overlooked and Shirley MacLaine cast instead. His next film "Cabaret" brought him an Oscar for his direction followed by two more nominations for "Lenny" and "All That Jazz". The film is dazzlingly edited as their story is presented in a non-linear way with flasbacks and forwards as they interact with friends, spouses and lovers - Joan McCracken, Neil & Joan Simon, Paddy Chayefsky, Liza Minnelli, Chita Rivera, Hal Prince, George Abbott, Cy Feuer and Ben Vereen. For theatre and movie buffs this film is a marvel as it recreates memorable moments from stage and screen triumphs. Both Rockwell and Williams give career high performances capturing the true essence and genius of both individuals. A must-see.

Delhi Crime (Richie Mehta, 2019) 7/10

Riveting account of the notorious 2012 "Nirbhaya" Delhi Gang Rape case - a 23-year old woman was gang raped by six men on a bus and her male companion was beaten. The case was brought to trial in Delhi when the rapists were caught and public outrage resulted in major clashes with security forces. The screenplay follows the investigation into the aftermath of the crime as Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Vartika Chaturvedi (Shefali Shah), leads her team into looking for the six culprits as the victim lies injured in hospital fighting for her life. The film soars during the complex details of the investigation with Shefali Shah giving a beautifully nuanced performance but is marred by many of the supporting cast who come off as amateurs in front of the camera. Having the entire dialogue performed in English also hampers the screenplay which would have been even more hard hitting if it had been in Hindi. The english language does not quite capture the nuances of many of the characters as they look awkward speaking a language which makes them clearly look uncomfortable on screen.

Seemabaddha / Company Limited (Satyajit Ray, 1971) 8/10

The second part in Ray's Calcutta trilogy shows the city's rapid modernization, rising corporate culture steeped in the remnants of British nuances, greed and the intense need to survive the rat race. An ambitious sales manager (Barun Chanda), working for a British firm dealing in fans, has spent the last ten years climbing the corporate ladder and now eyes a directorship in the Company. He has it all - a lovely trophy wife, a son studying in a posh boarding school and a plush apartment. Visiting them is his wife's young sister (Sharmila Tagore) who is exposed to their nouveau riche life of clubs, the cocktail party set, beauty parlours, restaurants and the race course. Ray uses her character as the main protagonist's conscience as the man finds himself not only attracted to her but can also relate to her as she is educated and has a strong voice providing constructive feedback. During a crisis at the office he takes certain illegal decisions that brings him the desired promotion but at the same time makes him fall in her eyes leaving him successful but shattered. There is a strong but subtle hint of cynism in the screenplay - the film almost seems to be Ray winking at Billy Wilder's "The Apartment" which was also about the attempts to rise in a corporate culture and what an individual is willing to do to get to the top. The low budget of the film and some unnecessary flashy touches put this film several notches below some of Ray's other masterpieces but the cast makes a strong impression especially lovely Sharmila Tagore who was used by Ray in many of his films.

Les félins / Joy House (René Clément, 1964) 8/10

A petty criminal (Alain Delon), on the run from mobsters, takes refuge as a chauffeur to a millionairess widow (a very chic Lola Albright) at her secluded gothic mansion in the South of France. Also in the house are her maid/niece (Jane Fonda) and hidden in the attic is her lover who has killed her husband. As the younger woman moves to seduce him he has to contend with the scheming widow, the murderer in the attic as well as fend off the mobsters who have discovered his whereabouts. Slick thriller, based on a pulp novel, has a kinky sense of humour simmering just between the surface as the ménage á trois indulge in sexual intrigue and double crosses. Delon is perfectly cast as the suave and sexy don juan who has no idea the limits both women can go to and is superbly matched by a dubbed and uninhibited Jane Fonda for whom this film was the start of her European sex kitten phase. The film has the added benefit of outstanding production design - the house is a maze of corridors, sliding walls and peepholes - wonderful camerawork by Clément regular, Henri Decae, and an upbeat score by Lalo Schifrin. The film bombed and got scathing reviews during an era when the nouvelle vague was all the rage and such films seemed old fashioned. However, it remains delightfully unpretentious helped in great part by the star trio.

The Sum of All Fears (Phil Alden Robinson, 2002) 4/10

Listless adaptation of the Tom Clancy thriller dispenses with Alec Baldwin and his succesor Harrison Ford and reboots CIA agent Jack Ryan in the guise of Ben Affleck who is far too young to carry off the role. The plot, in the wake of 9/11, sounds promising with a terrorist attack on Baltimore but the villains - a bunch of Neo-Nazis led by Alan Bates - seem like buffoons. They purchase a 30-year old nuclear bomb recovered from the Middle East desert, fix it up and blow up most of Baltimore where the President (James Cromwell) is attending a football game and putting the blame on Russia thus pitting both super powers against each other. Ryan is the only one around who believes its not the Russians and is laughed off by his superiors including his mentor (Morgan Freeman) at the agency. Implausible plot is full of holes and coupled with a miscast lead and low-level action sequences this film is pretty much a write-off.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sun Jun 02, 2019 4:31 pm

Los amantes pasajeros / I'm So Excited! (Pedro Almodóvar, 2013) 2/10

Almodóvar hits rock bottom with this farce set on a plane about to make a crash landing. The crew is gay or bisexual, the passengers in economy have been drugged and the three stewards camp it up lip syncing to "I'm So Excited" by the Pointer Sisters. Fearing death the crew goes all out to make the plane a fun and happening place for the passengers in first class. A mean drug-fueled punch is prepared which everyone drinks and with inhibitions out of the window an orgy ensues. This madcap premise may sound hilarious but is instead a shocking bore as every antic and bitchy comment falls flat. Repetitious jokes about blowjobs and cheap sex gags all fall flat. Almodóvar should have taken a crash course in "Carry On" smut to bring in laughs. It's all meant to be a biting satire on the dismal state of the world but merely induces sleep. The only worthwhile thing in the film is the red and blue colour scheme of the plane's interior. And it's the first time Almodóvar regulars - Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz - appear in one of his films together. Lucky for them it's only a cameo appearance at the start and were spared from the dull excesses of this dismal film.

The Man With Two Faces (Archie Mayo, 1934) 4/10

A sleazy ex-con (Louis Calhern) has a strange control over his actress wife (Mary Astor) who lives in a trance around him much to the consternation of her actor-brother (Edward G. Robinson). When the unscupulous man suddenly turns up dead suspicion falls on the brother. Based on a flop Broadway play by George S. Kaufman and Alexander Woolcott the movie version is stagy allowing the actors to bellow out their lines as if on stage. Ricardo Cortez is the play's producer in love with the actress who is making her comeback after a severe nervous breakdown. Calhern has a field day playing the witty mincing louse who has no redeeming quality and treats his two mice better than the people around him. Despite the theatrics involved with his performance Robinson is completely wasted.

Gloria Bell (Sebastián Lelio, 2019) 7/10

Character study of a woman, Gloria, 50-something, long divorced with grown up kids who are busy with their own lives. The film questions how society deals with the aging process for women so differently than it does for men. Gloria (Julianne Moore) is a free spirit, inwardly lonely, who has a thankless job and frequents L.A. nightclubs at night dancing to disco, drinking heavily and meeting men. Looking for a meaningful relationship she hooks up with a recently divorced man (John Turturro) who still pines for his ex-wife and has a strained relationship with his two grownup daughters. Needless to say things don't work out but Lelio's screenplay, an adaptation of his own Chilean film of which this is a remake, makes valid points about fears that hinder people from having a meaningful relationship capturing the awkwardness of dating and meeting grown up children, her mother (Holland Taylor), an ex-husband (Brad Garrett) and his wife (Jeanne Tripplehorn). Moore is superb giving a raw performance, not afraid to bare her body or soul, showing the character's vulnerability. She is matched on screen by Turturro as a wishy-washy spineless man who loves her but is afraid to acknowledge her existance in front of his daughters. The film's nostalgic soundtrack of 80s disco and pop songs will have you humming afterwards.

Left Behind (Vic Armstrong, 2014) 5/10

According to the Book of Revelation the apocalypse will take place with millions of believers and all children mysteriously disappearing and going to heaven. The film, based on the bestselling novel by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, covers this day of judgement from the point of view of a father (Nicolas Cage) and his daughter (Cassi Thompson). He is a pilot flying a plane which hasn't got enough fuel left to reach an airport while she is suddenly left to deal with the situation on the ground with her young brother and religious mother who have disappeared. This is like one of those heathen vs christian biblical films from the 1950s where the latter with their belief in God win out. Here the survivors are the non-believers who are left to flounder in a world and left to face the end of days. The inane finalé has the daughter guiding her father's plane to land ending with a spectacular crash landing - shades of Karen Black flying a crippled Boeing 747 in "Airport '75". The film was universally panned probably because strange religious theories today do not go down well with the American public even though they lap up equally weird fiction involving super heroes who fly and save the world. The film does not deserve the critical brickbats it received but with Cage at the helm of yet another of his endless supply of B-films they probably felt justified in shooting it down.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Precious Doll » Sun Jun 02, 2019 12:48 am

The Ground Beneath My Feet (2019) Marie Kreutzer 6/10
Damsel (2018) David & Nathan Zelllner

Repeat viewings

Sergeant York (1941) Howard Hawks 7/10
My Name is Julia Ross (1945) Joseph H. Lewis 7/10
Lilith (1964) Robert Rossen 8/10
Cat People (1942) Jacques Tourneur 7/10
Ring of Bright Water (1969) Jack Couffer 8/10
My Dog Skip (2000) Jay Russell 8/10
Room at the Top (1959) Jack Clayton 9/10
The Man with a Movie Camera (1929) Dziga Vertov 8/10
King of the Gypsies (1978) Frank Pierson 7/10
“Those Koreans. They’re so suspicious, you know, ever since Hiroshima.” Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) from American Horror Story: Season One

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Wed May 29, 2019 5:25 pm

Bizalom / Confidence (István Szabó, 1980) 9/10

Szabó's first film to crossover into the West was nominated for an Academy Award. Filmed in Hungary during the communist regime the story, set during WWII, is about people living in terror and in secret always on the lookout of being betrayed by a friend, a family member or by an acquaintance to the government when put under threat of their lives. This was the situation in the country when the film was made just as it was during the Nazi occupation in 1944 as Szabó draws a not very discrete parable. A woman discovers her husband works for the anti-Nazi resistance. For her protection she is placed in the house of an old couple where she poses as the wife of another resistance worker. Can she trust him? Can they both trust the couple who are their hosts? In the midst of life's uncertainty, paranoia and the terror of war they both fall in love. Szabó shoots the film in cramped spaces (probably due to budgetary constraints) adding to the sense of entrapment helped in great part by Lajos Koltai's superb lighting - he initially uses harsh blue toned lighting to signify a sense of mistrust which gradually grows into warmer hues as the couple grow closer. Eerie, visually chilly film works like a psychological thriller leading to a haunting finalé.

Pierrot le Fou (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965) 6/10

Godard's films took on a sudden turn for the absurd with this one as his experimental mode kicked in and he decided to throw at his audience everything and the kitchen sink. It all comes off the screen in a sort of rapid-fire smorgasbord of colour, noise and images, often very iconic and posed, with references to pop culture, literature, paintings, movies and music as characters implode with energy. There is constant movement, spontaneous singing, some characters speak directly to the camera while others act as a chorus on the confused goings-on with even a dead body placed within a scene and no explanation given. Maybe viewing the nondescript body the audience is supposed to understand the change in tone of the plot even though the main characters act totally nonchalant around it while continue doing their thing. Here Godard's premise is simple. A man (Jean-Paul Belmondo) and his former lover (Anna Karina, who was married to Godard then) go on a cross-country ride chased in a hail of gunfire by anarchists - something to do with the woman having links to some underground military faction. Both are alienated from the world (he has left his bourgeoise wife) and find solace in each other - they end up on a deserted island where things end up in explosive fashion. Adding greatly to all this nonsense are the stunning crisp images created by Raoul Coutard's camera. Belmondo is deadpan and looks very cool throughout with a perpetual Gauloises hanging from his lower lip - a throwback to his role as the petty gangster in Godard's "À bout de souffle" - while Karina is an absolute delight dressed in simple chic 1960s fashion. With so much happening on screen you can't help staring at the images whizzing by but if you really think deep its all nothing but a director showing off and playing to the gallery.

Us (Jordan Peele, 2019) 8/10

Peele's deliciously wicked take on slasher films pits a black suburban family of four against their dopplegängers. The premise is strictly predictable but Peele manages to keep a smart balance between horror and comedy using hilarious references to pop culture throughout - the one on "Home Alone" comes twice and at just the right moment of a tense situation causing much needed laughs. The screenplay mixes elements of Hitchcock and Cronenberg with enough false endings to populate many films. Lupita Nyong'o gets to do what Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland did back in their Warner Brother days - play against her twin. The premise does not shy away from using kids as killing machines who quickly get into the spirit of survival breathlessly counting and comparing their kills. Put away your intellect and sit back and enjoy this rollercoaster ride of horror. And yes, there is a twist ending. Of course there had to be. After all smart people make sure there is room for a sequel.

Murder by Decree (Bob Clark, 1979) 7/10

Jack-the-Ripper is out and about the foggy gaslit streets of the East End in London and Sherlock Holmes (Christopher Plummer) is out to get him with a little help from the droll Dr. Watson (James Mason). With the police (Frank Finlay & David Hemmings) reluctant to involve the detective it soon becomes evident that there might be a cover-up involving someone higher up on the social register. As with all such films there is also the fascination of seeing Victorian London courtesy of the production designers who go all out recreating cobblestone streets, brothels and madhouses. With Clark at the helm he ensures a heavy dose of Canadian talent on view starting of course with the great Plummer who imbues the detective with all his familiar tics. He is ably matched by Mason who plays Watson as a staunch royalist who, as the case proceeds, is horrified to discover that the cover-up could involve royalty. No period film set in England at the time would be complete without an actor-knight or two about - Sir John Gielgud plays the PM Lord Salisbury and Sir Anthony Quayle plays the Scotland Yard commissioner. Also on board are Canadians Donald Sutherland as a wacky psychic and Susan Clark and Genevieve Bujold as two ladies who may know more than a thing or two about the mysterious murders. Atmospheric outing was shot at Shepperton studios the same time as Ridley Scott's "Alien" which was also about certain murders of the macabre variety. The film is a bit overlong but great fun nevertheless.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Wed May 29, 2019 5:23 pm

Kyoto / Twin Sisters of Kyoto (Noboru Nakamura, 1963) 7/10

Slow moving film is more a celebration of Japanese asthetics and culture than the main plot which revolves around the sudden discovery of a sibling. Nakamura's camera explores Japanese architecture - ancient houses with delicate thin walls incorporating trees, plants and flowers set within exquisitely planned interior courtyards - parks with ponds full of lotus, various religious festivals at shinto shrines, the geisha quarters and forests around Koyoto which for eleven centuries was the imperial capital and has remained Japan's cultural center. The main plot, based on nobel winner Yasunari Kawabata's book, revolves around a 20-year old girl who has been adopted by a couple and has been led to believe she was stolen when an infant and raised by her childless foster parents. By chance she comes across a lookalike who turns out to be her twin sister who lost both her parents when she was an infant and was raised in poverty. In old Japanese culture twins were considered a bad omen so the parents abandoned one child who was found and raised by the childless couple. They hid this fact from their daughter so she would not grow up feeling shame for having been abandoned as a child. Thrilled to discover this sibling she tries to bring her into her life only to find the sister attracts the attention of her own suitor. Superbly acted film deals with love, longing, suppressed desires and sacrifice. Nominated for an Oscar in the foreign film category the film lost the award to Federico Fellini's "8 1/2".

Odds Against Tomorrow (Robert Wise, 1959) 9/10

Sour, angry, hardbitten look at the hidden underbelly of New York in this exceptional noir. An ex-cop and convict (Ed Begley) comes up with a "fool-proof" plan for a bank heist. He tries to persuade two men to join him but both are reluctant - a Jazz musician (Harry Belafonte) who is reeling under gambling debts owed to a mobster breathing down his neck and a bigoted ex-con war veteran (Robert Ryan) who has been reduced to living off his mistress (Shelley Winters). Both under great duress agree to participate in the heist which gets botched. Superbly directed film - Wise uses distorted camera angles to create a surreal atmosphere - was one of french director-auteur Jean-Pierre Melville's favourite films. A moody jazz score and chilly black and white cinematography add to the bleak plot. Both Belafonte and Ryan create sparks as partners caught up not only in the conflict of a heist gone wrong but also hating each other with a vengeance. Winters and Gloria Grahame, in a cameo appearance, both create sharply delineated characters. The screenplay (by the blacklisted Abraham Polonsky) uses the simmering racial tension to create a drama that literally explodes in a finalé taken from the classic James Cagney gangster film "White Heat". This was one of the last official noirs to come out of Hollywood and a reminder that director Wise was certainly a name to be reckoned with especially when his name got tarnished over time thanks to the big budget musicals he directed ("West Side Story", "The Sound of Music", "Star") during the following decade and which eventually became his epitaph.

Pink String and Sealing Wax (Robert Hamer, 1945) 6/10

In Victorian Brighton an abusive pub owner's tarty wife (Googie Withers) manipulates the infatuated son (Gordon Jackson) of a puritanical pharmacist (Mervyn Johns) to obtain strychnine to bump off her husband. Contrived melodrama, based on a play, has the brilliant Googie Withers - all heaving bosom with a delicious sneer plastered across her face - who gave bad girl Margaret Lockwood a run for the money in 1940s British cinema. The bitchy interplay between the jaded female barflies is hilarious while the rigid Victorian household of the pharmacist is like a ticking time bomb as his brood of kids and wife thteaten to unbend the strict house rules. The film goes to prove that Ealing studios could look beyond comedies and come up with some nasty noir-toned dramas as well.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sun May 26, 2019 7:39 am

Den 12. mann / The 12th Man (Harald Zwart, 2019) 8/10

In 1943, during WWII, twelve Norwegian saboteurs are caught by the occupying Nazis. When one (Thomas Gullestad) manages to escape he is relentlessly pursued by an SS officer (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers). This true story is more about man against frigid nature - he has to journey 1200 km across Norway into neutral Sweden crossing icy fjords, snowy fields and mountains with his toe shot off and gangrene setting in - than it is about the menacing danger of getting caught by the Nazis. That danger, however, remains a constant threat as he hobbles on helped along the way by ordinary citizens. There is a touching scene between him and a little girl who draws him a map of his world travels alongside savage moments of graphic torture and shootings as the Nazis grimly go about their business. Rhys-Meyers (speaking German) is very good playing a less campy version of the maniacal blonde Nazi played by look-alike Malcolm McDowell in "The Passage". Tense and harrowing film is stunningly shot by Geir Hartly Andreassen. This is a film you can actually feel the intense cold as you watch the story unfold on the screen.

Hotel du Nord (Marcel Carnè, 1938) 8/10

Atmospheric film has outstanding studio-bound sets (designed by Alexandre Trauner), a great cast but a rather trite plot (clichés galore) about assorted people living in a tatty little boarding house next to a canal in Paris. The camera moves smoothly through the cramped interiors capturing the lives of the inhabitants in various rooms of whom the most prominent are a young couple (Jean-Pierre Aumont and Annabella) who make a suicide-pact, a good hearted prostitute (Arletty) shacked up with her vicious pimp-lover (Louis Jouvet) and a cuckold (Bertrand Blier). When the suicide plan doesn't run according to plan the young despondent girl, still pining for her cowardly boyfriend, takes a job at the hotel as a waitress and attracts the attention of the pimp. The film has the dark overtones of noir as it takes in the joys and despair of youth, the fear of discovery, revenge and jealousy which eventually leads to murder. Annabella and Aumont register no chemistry and come off bland compared to the film's two great stars - Jouvet as the sadistic man who, in hiding from a crime-ridden past, has transformed into an almost romantic figure and the great Arletty who brings a touch of endearment to her part of the sharp whore with a seeming heart of gold. One of the great french classics has many of Carné's touches even though the screenplay (by Jean Aurenche) lacks the poetry found in the director's two collaborations with Jacques Prévert, "Le quai des brumes" and "Le jour se lève". It still remains a must-see.

The Spanish Princess (Lisa Clarke, Birgitte Stærmose, Stephen Woolfenden & Daina Reid, 2019) 8/10

Eight-part tv serial detailing the political alliance between England and Spain with the betrothal of the son of King Henry VII with the daughter of Queen Isabella of Spain. The complex political machinations have Princess Katharine of Arragon (Charlotte Hope) arrive in England, get married to Prince Arthur, the heir to the throne, and become a widow all in the space of a year. She sets her eyes on the throne and deeming herself still a maid tries to gain the affection of Prince Henry (Ruairi O'Connor) who is now heir to the British throne. She is opposed vociferously by Margaret of Beaufort (Harriet Walter who is superbly despicable as the treacherously conniving royal matriarch), the present king's mother and grandmother to the future king. It takes a whole lot of perseverance to overcome every obstacle thrown her way to finally reach her goal as Queen of England. The film, based on the novels by Phillipa Gregory, is a direct sequel to the two tv serials that preceded this one - "The White Queen" and "The White Princess".

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Precious Doll » Sun May 26, 2019 12:58 am

Acute Misfortune (2019) Thomas M. Wright 5/10
Sheherazade (2018) Jean-Bernard Martin 4/10
Interview (1971) Mrinal Sen 7/10
Everybody in Our Family (2012) Radu Jude 7/10
Gundermann (2018) Andreas Diesen 4/10
Never Ever (2016) Benoit Jacquot 1/10
American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace (2018) Various 5/10

Repeat viewings

Absence of Malice (1981) Sydney Pollack 7/10
Phantom Lady (1944) Robert Siodmak 7/10
“Those Koreans. They’re so suspicious, you know, ever since Hiroshima.” Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) from American Horror Story: Season One

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Thu May 23, 2019 6:30 pm

Mahanagar / The Big City (Satyajit Ray, 1963) 10/10

Ray's classic films are his way of gently nudging his lower middle-class audience towards accepting change in a Bengal that was rapidly moving into the modern world. Long held old customs and thinking are shown to be obsolete as his characters struggle to hold onto the old ways of the past. A postal clerk (Anil Chatterjee) lives in a small apartment in Calcutta with his elderly parents, his sister (Jaya Bhaduri), wife (Madhabi Mukherjee) and young son. He is the sole breadwinner and finds that his salary can no longer sustain his joint family. When his wife decides to find a job a crisis ensues within the family. His old father is scandalized and gives him the silent treatment thinking his son has lost his self respect by allowing his wife to leave the house to work. When he loses his own job the wife's income comes in handy but he is secretly resentmentful and jealous. Ray's screenplay celebrates female empowerment and as a result shows different evolving relationships - between the husband and wife, the employer and employee and the working woman and her child. Madhabi Mukherjee is superb as the wife whose eyes open up to the "outside world" as she bonds with a co-worker - she wears lipstick, dark glasses and enjoys her job which allows her freedom giving her confidence she lacked in the confines of her home. A moving but bitersweet social drama with Ray's favourite collaborator, Subrata Mitra, on camera while the sparse music score is by Ray himself. The film won the Silver Bear for Ray's direction at the Berlin film festival.

Appointment With Danger (Lewis Allen, 1951) 8/10

Hard hitting noir thriller is basically a police procedural done in semi-documentary fashion and is also an ode to the United States postal service. A tough cynical postal inspector (Alan Ladd) infiltrates a gang in order to get to the murderer of a colleague. A great cast of character actors play off a superb Ladd - the psychotic (Jack Webb) and dimwit thugs (Harry Morgan) and the sympathetic moll (Jan Sterling). Phyllis Thaxter is the nun who witnesses the murder. John F. Seitz provides the noirish camerawork.

Accused (Thornton Freeland, 1936) 6/10

Nifty little British murder-mystery which incorporates itself into the musical genre. The aging leading lady (Florence Desmond) of a tawdry musical stage show in Paris comes on to an actor (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) who rejects her advances. His jealous wife (Dolores del Rio), who has a knife throwing act in the show, is suddenly accused of murder when the actress is found stabbed to death. It's upto the husband of the accused to find the murderer. Fast paced thriller is quite an international hybrid with American Fairbanks (who also produced this British film) and Mexican del Rio in a story set in Paris. The opening musical interludes segue into a murder plot followed by a court room trial. The stars, including a young Googie Withers as a suspect, give it a go.

Bugambilia / Bougainvillea (Emilio Fernández, 1945) 8/10

After a very successful 18-year sojourn in Hollywood Dolores del Rio returned permanently to her native Mexico. She continued her career in a series of highly acclaimed films opposite Pedro Armendáriz, photographed by Gabriel Figueroa and directed by Emilio Fernández who, off-screen, was obsessed by his leading lady which resulted in a highly turbulent and violent relationship. It certainly does not show on the screen as the now mature star still looks radiantly beautiful. This tragic melodrama has her playing the spoilt daughter of a rich mine owner who enjoys flirting with all the young men in town much to the annoyance of all the single women (shades of Scarlett O'Hara). She unexpectedly falls in love with a rugged lower-class man (Pedro Armendáriz) who raises fowl for fighting but due to circumstances - there is a disaster at the mine which kills and injures many men which the townfolk blame on the owner - the two lovers are prevented from uniting. The film is a combination of rising passions with every element of the production team coming together and creating a moving and highly dramatic film. The electric chemistry between the two stars - the vivacious personality and flashing eyes of del Rio and the quietly simmering intensity of Armendáriz - helped the film attain its classic status.

In Caliente (Lloyd Bacon, 1935) 7/10

Musical fluff down Mexico way with Busby Berkeley guiding the extravagant musical dance sequences. Fun plot has a fast talking and drunk magazine editor (Pat O'Brien) hijacked to Mexico by his publisher (the delightful Edward Everett Horton) to save him from the clutches of a golddigger (Glenda Farrell). Things take on a new twist as he runs foul of a Spanish dancer (Dolores del Rio) who plans revenge because he had given her a savage review in his magazine. Of course love blossoms while the mariachi band plays non-stop. Fast paced film has snappy dialogue and an alluring Dolores del Rio (she gets to wear the screen's first two-piece bathing suit) to keep the temperature soaring. The production number "The Lady in Red" audaciously highlights singer Wini Shaw's breasts through her transparent dress as she goes around a dark nightclub lighting a candle at every table. Berkeley choreographs the "Muchacha" number which has del Rio atop a horse that goes up a staircase.

Madame Du Barry (William Dieterle, 1934) 7/10

The notorious Jeanne Bécu, Comtesse du Barry (Dolores del Rio) was the last mistress of King Louis XV of France (Reginald Denny) and extremely powerful behind the throne. An extravagant lifestyle and a kinky sexual appetite are the tongue-in-cheek highlights of Hollywood's version of history which star del Rio performs with infectious glee whether in a catfight with a bitter rival (Verree Teasdale) or standing up to a defiant Marie Antoinette (Anita Louise). All her scenes with Reginald Denny are a delight as they sexually play off each other. Despite the production code being in effect the screenplay manages to get past the censors a number of funny and risquè lines along with del Rio's first appearance at court which she proceeds to do wearing her see-through nightgown. Extravagant film has superb production values with lovely del Rio having a ball of a time as the tart who did well by the King of France.

Fort Algiers (Lesley Selander, 1953) 2/10

Boring hokum has a French spy / chanteuse (Yvonne De Carlo) infiltrate the desert palace of a Berber sheik (Raymond Burr in black face wearing a huge turban) in order to see if he is inciting the local warlords against the French. She is as adept as James Bond with explosives and also charms her host. When the jig is up she has to rely on her Legionnaire lover (Carlos Thompson) to come to the rescue. Laughably bad film which even the charms of De Carlo cannot save.

Der Fußgänger / The Pedestrian (Maximillian Schell, 1973) 6/10

Maximillian Schell's Oscar nominated film tackles the daunting subject of German post-war guilt but does it in a haphazard manner using stylized flashbacks, rapid editing often going off into jarring tangents. A journalist (Peter Hall) and his team investigate an aging German industrialist (Gustav Rudolf Sellner) who may have been responsible for the massacre of a Greek village during World War II. There is also the mysterious recent car crash that killed his son (Maximillian Schell) with rumours that all was not well between the two and the son may have attempted to kill his father upon discovery of his father's Nazi past. Meanwhile the old man spends time with his grandson taking the child around museums which trigger off memories of that notorious wartime episode. There is a scene with the old man's mother (Margarete Schell Noé - Schell's own mother) and her friends sitting around a dining table drinking tea and chatting about the futility of wars. Schell cast many famous actresses - Elisabeth Bergner, Lil Dagover, Françoise Rosay, Dame Peggy Ashcroft, Käthe Haack - to play these old ladies. Such scenes distract from the main focus of Schell's attempt to examine the skeletons in his country's closet although the film raises interesting questions about national responsibility. The film has an outstanding music score by Manos Hatzidakis.

Tarnished Lady (George Cukor, 1931) 3/10

Cukor's first solo film was an attempt by the studio to launch Tallulah Bankhead in her talky debut. While she has personality and that voice the film itself did nothing for her. A selfish woman (Tallulah Bankhead) finds herself on poverty row so she dumps her lover for a rich man (Clive Brook). Once married she is bored with her spoilt life and pines for her lover. Rashly divorcing her husband she discovers her lover is involved with her bitchy friend and ends up in the gutter. Pride keeps her from returning to her husband who is now bankrupt. The stale screenplay fails to help Bankhead and she merely goes through the motions in the kind of film MGM was churning out for Joan Crawford and RKO for Constance Bennett. Cukor's static direction does not help nor does the stiff performance by Clive Brook. Left on her own device Bankhead acts archly almost as if playing to the gallery on stage.

Burnt Offerings (Dan Curtis, 1976) 5/10

One of many horror films made during the 1970s which has as its main plot point a family in danger by unforseen forces. Here its a gothic house in the country rented for the summer by a couple (Oliver Reed & Karen Black), their son and an aunt (Bette Davis) from the owners - an old man in a wheelchair (Burgess Meredith) and his sinister sister (Eileen Heckart). The rent is deceptively low and the only catch is their old mother in one of the top rooms who has to be looked after the tenents. The story, based on the book by Robert Marasco, seems to be a percusor to Stephen King's "The Shining" as the house feeds off its occupants causing a parent to get possessed by an evil spirit - he tries to drown his son in the pool, has recurring dreams of a grinning chauffeur at a funeral and his sex life with his wife (Black's sensuality luckily does not go to waste as witnessed during a scene at the pool) seems to be on the wane. Bette Davis is around for star power but sadly the screenplay does not allow her to do much. As the horror clichés come at you with full force Black begins to wildly overact while Reed surprisingly underplays. There is a twist ending but the story takes far too long to get to it.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Precious Doll » Sun May 19, 2019 1:05 am

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019) Joe Berlinger 5/10
The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir (2018) Ken Scott 5/10
All Is True (2018) Kenneth Branagh 6/10
Welcome to Marwen (018) Robert Zemeckis 4/10
A Fortunate Man (2018) Bille August 8/10
A Man in a Hurry (2018) Herve Mimran 4/10
Poms (2019) Zara Hayes 4/10
The Taebaek Mountains (1994) Kwon-tae Im 6/10
My Sassy Girl (2001) Jae-young Kwak 4/10
Lunatic (2019) Chris Lilley 6/10 (TV series)

Repeat viewings

Tommy (1975) Ken Russell 10/10
Shoplifters (2018) Hirokazu Koreeda 9/10
Cabaret (1972) Bob Fosse 10/10
“Those Koreans. They’re so suspicious, you know, ever since Hiroshima.” Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) from American Horror Story: Season One

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sat May 18, 2019 12:43 pm

La cage aux rossignols / A Cage of Nightingales (Jean Dréville, 1945) 5/10

A young writer (Noël-Noël) gets a job at a boy's boarding school run by a vicious task master. He changes their lives by getting them to sing in a choir. Innocuous little film, released two years after its premiere in France, was inexplicably nominated for an Oscar for its original story. Hardly original as the plot resembled the old Bing Crosby film "Going My Way". Years later this film inspired the french film "Les choristes" which was nominated for an Oscar in the foreign film category.

Cage of Gold (Basil Dearden, 1950) 6/10

Contrived plot manages to still work thanks to a good cast which enhance this noir-like melodrama. A sweet young girl (Jean Simmons) jilts her doctor boyfriend (James Donald) when the cad (David Farrar) she once loved suddenly comes back into her life. He gets her pregnant, marries her and then runs out on her when he realises she has no money. He returns to France and his old occupation as a smuggler taking up again with his former rich girlfriend (Madeleine Lebeau). When he is wrongly reported to be dead his wife gets married to the doctor and lives happily ever after....until the cad comes back with blackmail on his mind. Farrar is superbly despicable throughout and manages to balance out lovely Simmons and her sweetness. The implausibilities in the plot are covered by Dearden's brisk direction.

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (Chad Stahelski, 2019) 4/10

Never thought I'd ever get to say this but John Wick has worn out his welcome with this third outing. Maybe not John Wick (Keeanu Reeves) himself but this franchise for sure unless they come up with a proper screenplay next time. The films are famous for the bone-crunching fight sequences but when the film just becomes one long repititious fight sequence it gets a tad boring. How many ways can a person be killed? Many ways of course but here it all seems the same as every over-the-top action sequence blurs into each other without any sense of excitement. The whiff of a plot here - Wick has a price on his head and every assassin is out to get him - is just an excuse for the director to work in non-stop action sequences which all seem the same. Even the presence of an eclectic supporting cast - a kick-ass Halle Berry, a droll Anjelica Huston hamming it up as a Russian, Laurence Fishburne and Ian McShane - fail to save this film.

Bakushû / Early Summer (Yasujirō Ozu, 1951) 8/10

Ozu's films have a strange feeling of stillness and a sense of calm as he places his camera at floor level and shoots his actors directly without resorting to the familiar over-the-shoulder shots so common in Hollywood films. It places the audience within the scene being played on the screen. Like most of his films this too is about life as seen from the perspective of a typical middle-class family as they go about their daily existence. The astute screenplay touches on the family structure contrasting the old with the young. An elderly couple live with their married son who is a doctor with two young bratty children. Their unmarried daughter (Setsuko Hara - Ozu's muse), a secretary, also lives with them and the film's main plot revolves around the family wanting her to get married and settle down. Her boss suggests a match for her - a 40-something businessman friend - who her family considers to be an excellent candidate. However, she decides to take a different route causing much consternation for the family who feel her choice of a partner is not a good one. Post-war Japan was starting to see many changes which went against tradition and Ozu highlights the rising role of women who were beginning to break free from tradition and lead their own independent lives. The warmth depicted throughout the film in the playful interactions amongst the family members and also between the daughter and her friends suddenly takes on a chilly air towards the end signifying a seasonal change to autumn. The "early summer" of the title leads towards the next season as life goes on.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Wed May 15, 2019 4:21 pm

Le amiche (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1955) 5/10
Landru (Claude Chabrol, 1963) 4/10
The Ambassador's Daughter (Norman Krasna, 1956) 3/10

César et Rosalie (Claude Sautet, 1972) 8/10

Heartfelt mature love story which only the french manage to pull off with great ease. Sautet explores the theme of an eternal love triangle - he would venture down the same route years later with the equally exquisite "Un Coeur en Hiver" - and he has here at his disposal two of the most accomplished stars of french cinema. César (Yves Montand) is a boistrous man's man, a successful businessman and madly in love with Rosalie (Romy Schneider) who is a divorced single mother. She also loves him and finds it attractive that he is self-made, very confident in himself and not selfish in affection towards her and her young daughter. The relationship suddenly takes a turn with the entry into their lives of David (Sami Frey) who was once her great love but left to pursue a career. At first César resists, is jealous and tries to win back Rosalie's wavering love but since these characters are french the problem is resolved in an unusual manner - the ex-boyfriend is invited to move in with them and the two men actually begin to bond. It's unusual to see Montand take on the role of a romantic lover even though he had a reputation of being one offscreen - lover of Edith Piaf, long-time husband of Simone Signoret and (briefly) Marilyn Monroe's lover. A series of highly political films during the 1960s made this part very different but he slips into the romantic mode with great ease. Schneider had a natural heartbreaking manner about her with her lovely flashing eyes and sensual demeanor. Sautet concludes his story allowing the audience to decide. It's almost as if he dare not come to a fixed conclusion allowing the romantic aspect of the story to linger in our memory with a bittersweet tinge. Keep a vigilant eye open to catch the brief appearance of a very young Isabelle Huppert.

Julie (Andrew L. Stone, 1956) 6/10

Overwrought melodrama about domestic violence is a precursor to not only the Julia Roberts film "Sleeping With the Enemy" but hilariously to also "Airport 1975". The silly story and screenplay (inexplicably nominated for an Oscar) is the kind where suspense is created by having the leading lady, who is under terrible threat, trying to get away in a car and finds herself fumbling to get the keys into the ignition which she then fails to do making the audience want to slap her. Since it's a film with Doris Day the film opens deceptively with her singing the title song (also nominated for an Oscar) and then proceeds to plunge right into a scene of an argument with her husband (Louis Jourdan) who is clearly a deranged jealous psychotic who almost kills them both in the car she is driving by jamming his foot on the accelerator. Soon after he admits to murdering her first husband in a jealous rage and threatens to kill her if she leaves him. So naturally she bolts with the help of a friend (Barry Sullivan). The police can do nothing without proper evidence and the rabid man pursues her like a hound. The plot keeps getting more and more prepostrous and ends on a plane (on which she is a stewardess) where there is a shootout, the pilot is killed and she finds herself flying the plane and trying to land it with help from the airport control tower - shades of Karen Black doing the same in "Airport 1975". Day spends the entire moving wringing her hands in distress croaking out her dialogue in great anguish - she hated doing the film because the plot brought unpleasant memories of her two earlier marriages to similarly abusive husbands and now she was being forced by her greedy third husband (a producer on the film who was jealous of her off-screen friendship with actor Louis Jourdan - life imitating art) to shoot this low budget film for the money. Years later she would discover this husband had spent her entire fortune leaving her almost destitute. The only good thing that came out of this movie for the actress was that she fell in love with the film's location (Carmel, California) and after early retirement from the screen lived there with her dogs until the day she died. The film is not believable for a moment starting with the slight-built Louis Jourdan who looks like he could easily have been overpowered by the no-nonsense and robust Doris Day. However, despite the film's absurd situations it falls in the category of "so bad it's deliciously campy and a guilty pleasure" and provides a lot of laughs.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Wed May 15, 2019 4:19 pm

Touchez pas au grisbi (Jacques Becker, 1954) 10/10

Nobody played world weary better than Jean Gabin and he did it with great charisma. Becker's superb noir takes us into the realm of gangsters and in particular one who is planning to retire. His life now is a series of quiet evenings spent dining with friends, often with a pretty lady on his arm. Stylishly attired he represents the old school with a strong sense of honour and loyalty towards friends and expects the same in return. Having concluded a job recently - a gold heist which is never seen - he expects to retire in peace. However, it's not to be as a close friend is betrayed by a femme fatale (Jeanne Moreau) and kidnapped by an upstart drug dealer (Lino Ventura) who demands the loot in return for the man. The last third of the film is in complete contrast to what we have seen before as sudden violence erupts before matters come to a close all the while keeping up appearances. French gangster films are in complete contrast to their American counterparts. There is a strong touch of elegance in behaviour as the gangsters are seen more as smartly attired businessmen with impeccable manners calmly going about their business of earning their living. Women are given respect and love but are not to be trusted. True bonding is only between close male friends. This influential film not only revived the post-war career of Gabin (he won the best actor prize at the Venice film festival) but also heavily influenced other classic french films like Jules Dassin's "Rififi" and Jean-Pierre Melville's "Bob le Flambeur". This romantic vision of the Parisienne criminal was a welcome alternative to the stereotypical hoods of the genre as exemplified by Warner Brothers in Hollywood. A masterpiece of french cinema.

The Constant Husband (Sidney Gilliat, 1955) 5/10

Amusing premise quickly runs out of steam after a promising start. A man (Rex Harrison) awakens in a hotel bed in Wales with no recollection of who he is and why he is in that place. With the help of a doctor (Cecil Parker) he traces himself to a home and wife (Kay Kendall) only to later discover he has six other wives as well. The comedy of the situation quickly dries up as the screenplay becomes repititious leading to a court trial for bigamy. Prim Margaret Leighton is the solicitor who defends him by proving him innocent and manages to win the case in more ways than one. Harrison and Kendall lead a delightful cast but this frothy comedy quickly becomes very stale. Shot in lovely technicolor.

Flight to Hong Kong (Joseph M. Newman, 1956) 7/10

Low-budget action thriller with noir overtones is strictly a B movie but is actually quite good. A charming crook (Rory Calhoun) operates a smuggling ring for the mob out of Macao. Like James Bond he has a way with women who fall all over him. Matters come to a head when he decides to go independant and the syndicate comes after him. Barbara Rush is a writer who gets herself in a tizzy over him and enjoys the fact that he is different from all the guys back home. The cynical screenplay has the hero get more hard edged and unsympathetic as the story moves along. Second unit work shot in Hong Kong, Macao, Tokyo, San Francisco and Honolulu is incorporated into the film to give it an exotic touch and provides atmosphere. Calhoun was an interesting actor with an active career in B-films. His early criminal record (incarcerated at San Quentin for various petty crimes) ruthlessly allowed the studio to make him into a scapegoat for Rock Hudson. His indiscretions were "sold" to the newspapers by his agent in exchange for keeping quiet about Hudson's sexuality. This only soldified his "bad boy" image but kept him from becoming a big star like Rock Hudson.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sun May 12, 2019 7:32 am

Gruppo di famiglia in un interno / Conversation Piece (Luchino Visconti, 1974) 9/10

Visconti's penultimate film, which he directed after a recent stroke which had left one side of his body completely paralyzed, is not only autobiographical but continues to explore his refined sense of obsession with all things beautiful and baroque. We enter the world of a lonely retired American professor (Burt Lancaster) living in his cloistered and luxurious palazzo in Rome surrounded by his furniture, paintings, objets d'art, books and music. His solitary life is suddenly invaded by a vulgar marchesa (Silvana Mangano) and her loud and obnoxious companions - a gigolo (Helmut Berger - Visconti's muse and lover), her daughter (Claudia Marsani) and the daughter's boyfriend (Stefano Patrizi) - to whom he is forced to rent out the upper portion of his apartment. Chaos ensues as his quiet reverie - memories of his Italian mother (Dominique Sanda) and wife (Claudia Cardinale) - are interrupted by constant rude squabbles, drug induced orgies, ruffians being invited in and constant noise of workers ripping apart walls upstairs. The film contrasts elegance - the old man's quiet demeanor and opulent abode (Mario Garbuglia's superb production design glowingly shot by the great Pasqualino De Santis) - with the modern sensibilities of the young and the renovated apartment upstairs that looks like a large modern bathroom. Visconti found inspiration in this restricted premise and the relentless talk-fest of the screenplay which perfectly suited the incapacitated director into creating a moving and highly personal film about memory, loneliness, the disentegration of family, decay of traditional values, homosexual longing and death. Lancaster (already a veteran of Visconti's cinema having worked before in "Il gattopardo") is quietly magnificent and is ably matched by lovely Silvana Mangano as the haughty, vulgar woman who, like the old professor, has chosen to "hide" from the past but doing so in the complete opposite manner by going all out with a show of defiance - flaunting her wealth, taking up with an individual (a young leftist lover) her aristocratic family would have rejected. This moving film is an ode to Lancaster's generosity who provided insurance to the film's backers so that the ailing Visconti could complete yet another of his cinematic masterpieces.

Glory at Sea / Gift Horse (Compton Bennett, 1952) 4/10

By the numbers WWII film about a British crew on a loaned out American destroyer. Repititious scenes on the day-to-day activities of the crew under the command of a tough captain (Trevor Howard) who has returned to his post after a court martial and whom the crew gradually learn to admire. Good cast (James Donald, Richard Attenborough, Sonny Tufts, Bernard Lee, Dora Bryan) go through the paces with an action packed finalé of a commando attack on a Nazi-held French coastal bastion. Rather dry story is one of many similar films depicting wartime heroics years after the war was over.

Hostages (David Wheately, 1992) 7/10

Fictionalized docudrama about the crisis in Lebanon and the Middle East during the 1980s when British (Colin Firth), Irish (Ciaran Hinds) and American (Harry Dean Stanton) hostages were kidnapped by different Muslim factions. The film focuses on the families (Natasha Richardson, Kathy Bates) going from pillar to post as the various governments either refuse to negotiate or do so by supposedly providing missiles (to Iran - which President Reagan denied) - in an attempt to broker a release. Extremely brutal recreation of the events showing the torture and squalid living conditions of the hostages during their long incarceration. The screenplay does not paint the captors as evil incarnate - they had their "reasons" - although there is more than a hint of painting the United States as the "Devil's Empire", in hindsight a notion not too far from the truth considering their role of interference in so many countries through the years which unfortunately continues to date with on-going retaliation and repercussions.

Stavisky.... (Alain Resnais, 1974) 5/10

Glossy and atmospheric film with outstanding production design, period costumes, a lovely score by Stephen Sondheim and elegantly cinematography by the great Sacha Vierny. Too bad the pacing is slow and the screenplay merely boils down to a boring talkfest. Resnais stylishly stages the true story of Jewish financier, Stavisky (Jean-Paul Belmondo), a con-man and swindler who sold worthless bonds while moving around high social and political circles in 1930s Paris. His eventual fall from grace, arrest and death reveal him to be a pawn in a swindle with political implications. Charles Boyer, at the tail end of his long and distinguished career and just three years away from his suicide, steals every scene as Stavisky's old aristocratic friend. He was awarded a special prize at the Cannes film festival.

Le Voleur / The Thief of Paris (Louis Malle, 1967) 8/10

An orphan (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is cheated out of his inheritance by his sly Uncle and discovers that the cousin (Geneviève Bujold) he loves is now to be married to someone else. So he robs her inlaws-to-be of all their jewels which results in the marriage plans going awry. It also begins his career as a thief as he plans to get back at the bourgeoise going from strength to strength robbing them blind. Malle enters the territory of Melville and Bresson with this film but does so with tongue firmly in cheek. Belmondo is in his element as the crook with a twinkle in his eye (a precursor to his role in Alain Resnais' "Stavisky") bedding various beautiful women (Marlène Jobert, Françoise Fabian, Barnadette Lafont, Marie Dubois) along the way. Lovely Bujold, at the start of her career, makes a winsome love interest for the agile Belmondo. The film's handsome production design - Belmondo proceeds to viciously destroy exquisite pieces of furniture during his robbery sessions - is complimented by Henri Decaë's lush cinematography. Entertaining film is great fun.

Reza
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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sun May 12, 2019 7:30 am

Ni Liv / Nine Lives (Arne Skouen, 1957) 8/10

True story of Norwegian resistance fighter Jaan Baalsrud's escape from the occupying Nazis during WWII. A sabotage mission goes horribly wrong and when all his fellow soldiers are shot while escaping Baalsrud (Jack Fjeldstad) manages to trek through the snowy winterland of Northern Norway into neutral Sweden. The journey on foot through deep snow and over a treacherous terrain, while wounded, is an endless nightmare which is managed with the help of brave local people. Superbly shot film is a riveting account of one desperate man's courage and determination to outwit not only the marauding Nazis but also nature which is relentless in its ferocity. One of the most famous films out of Norway was deservedly nominated for an Oscar in the foreign film category.

Cold Pursuit (Hans Petter Moland, 2019) 5/10

Notwithstanding the deadpan comedic undertones of this noirish thriller we are strictly in vigilante territory. With Liam Neeson as the star the film can't help be a rehash of almost every film he has made since the death of his wife Natasha Richardson. Not sure if her death made him go this route but he seems to be drawn to the subject in a rather macabre way. An upright citizen (Liam Neeson) of a small town in the Rocky Mountains loses his shit when a drug lord kills his son (the bit part is played by Micheál Richardson - son of Liam and Natasha). He starts to systematically use his hunting skills to knock off, one by one, members of the gang. Into this mix also erupts a gang war between the drug lord (Tom Bateman) and a rival gang led by a Native American (Tom Jackson). The screenplay takes perverse pleasure in ridiculing Native Americans via racist jokes which are not funny. The film got lost in the shuffle after Neeson stupidly dug up an episode from his distant past relating to the press how he had wandered around town with a crowbar hoping to get into a fight with "a black bastard" and kill him after a white female friend of his had been raped by a black assailant. That remark pretty much put to rest the fate of this film with its own racist overtones. The film is a remake of director Moland's own Norwegian film "In Order of Disappearance". Laura Dern, as Neeson's grieving wife, gets totally shortshrifted as she disappears from the movie early on leaving the male cast to take on each other with bone crunching violence. Maybe its time Neeson, a great actor, to reconsider the route his career has taken and return back to meaningful cinema. Alberta and Vancouver were the backdrops for the film's breathtaking snowy locations which substituted for Colorado.

Count Five and Die (Victor Vicas, 1957) 4/10

Extremely dull spy shenanigans in WWII London. The Americans and the British team up to trick the Germans into belueving that the cross-channel invasion would be in Holland instead of France. Jeffrey Hunter and Nigel Patrick lead the teams with help from a Dutch resistance worker (Annemarie Düringer) who may or may not be a German spy. Too much talk in shabby dark rooms, zero suspense and contrived and unconvincing love scenes between Hunter and Düringer kills this story.

Roadblock (Harold Daniels, 1951) 8/10

Fast moving B-noir has the great Charles McGraw getting led astray by femme fatale Joan Dixon. An honest insurance detective decides on a quick-rich scheme the minute he lays eyes on the sexy passenger next to him on a plane. She makes it very clear she wants a rich man so he makes a deal with a racketeer, provides inside information on some big cash on a train with a cut on the side for himself. The fun is in seeing how he tries to evade his fellow detectives who suspect him despite his watertight alibi - a honeymoon in the mountains with the sexy babe who is now his wife. The twist in the plot actually arrives during the opening moments of the story.

Time Out of Mind (Robert Siodmak, 1947) 3/10

Hollywood's sappy attempt at recreating a Gainsborough melodrama in an American setting. The screenplay, based on a long-forgotten bestseller by Rachel Field, tries its best creating the right atmosphere via Siodmak's trademark use of moody and shadowy lighting and the presence of British import Phyllis Calvert. A tough shipping magnate (Leo G. Carroll) lives with his son (Robert Hutton) and daughter (Ella Raines) in an imposing house on a cliff on the sea coast of Maine - the repetitive view of waves crashing on rocks below the house are meant to evoke memories of British films set in Cornwall. A crisis erupts when the son refuses to follow in the footsteps of his seafaring family and decides to pursue instead his passion for music. However, he fails at that too after getting stuck in a loveless marriage to a snooty rich bitch (Helena Carter). The only person who has faith in him is the maid (Phyllis Calvert) who has been in love with him since childhood. The romantic plot makes no sense as its difficult to understand this woman's relentless belief in a man who is an immature whining drunk and failure. The cast gives it a valiant try - Calvert, in particular, is very good - but its all rather dreary and a bore.

Operation Amsterdam (Michael McCarthy, 1959) 9/10

Taut authentic looking WWII film mostly shot on the deserted streets of Amsterdam giving it a very natural feel. A British agent (Tony Britton), along with two Dutch Diamond merchants (Peter Finch & Alexander Knox), are sent on a mission to evacuate dutch industrial uncut diamonds so that the Nazis don't get their hands on them. The story takes place during the space of one day just as the Germans are starting their occupation of the Netherlands and the screenplay superbly conveys the constant danger and surreal atmosphere on the streets. Sporadic bombs go off and while there are snipers shooting off guns in one neighborhood there are people sitting on street cafés drinking coffee in an adjacent one. Nobody can be trusted as the city is rife with fifth columnists. Most of the street scenes were shot during the early hours of the morning giving the streets a deserted look. The entire score, which underlines the suspense, consists of either drums or organ music. There are superb action set pieces filmed in a matter of fact way - a scene of chaos on a harbour as it gets bombed, a shootout between partisans and the german soldiers on the streets, a terrifying straffing by a low-flying german plane on innocent refugees on a deserted country road and a superbly staged car chase through the streets driven by an enigmatic Dutch woman (Eva Bartok) who helps the three men and who may or may not be a traitor. The film also quietly brings to life the dutch dilemma of jewish merchants, about to go under Nazi siege, who were conflicted about giving up their wealth as they thought they could use it as bargaining chips with the germans - the holocaust was still to come and nobody believed the depths of depravity of the Nazi forces. Both Finch and Bartok give superbly nuanced performances with the latter particularly memorable having actually lived through the nightmare in real life of being forcibly married to a Nazi officer at age 15 who repeatedly raped her - the actress has a sad haunted look on her face throughout. This is one of the best war films and deserves a re-evaluation.

Simon and Laura (Muriel Box, 1955) 7/10

Charming if dated satire (based on the popular hit West End stage play by Alan Melville - even the Queen attended a performance) which makes hilarious digs at the BBC and the then newly burgeoning medium of television. There is also an element of Nöel Cowards's "Private Lives" in this amusing story of a long married battling couple, here theatrical actors, who are on the verge of divorce when their agent persuades them to work on a tv soap opera based on themselves as a happily married couple. They agree to participate on the project as a business proposal as they both need the job and the money. Unfortunately the intimate comedy subject is given a lavish widescreen colour treatment which seems jarring. However, its success is mainly due to the delightful cast led by Peter Finch (in his first lead role in films) as Simon and the delightful Kay Kendall as Laura. They are given funny support by a great group of British character actors - Ian Carmichael (who also played the part on stage and many years later the lead role of "Simon" in a tv series version) as the harried BBC producer, Maurice Denham as a droll butler, Thora Hird as a gruff cook, Hubert Gregg as the exasperated agent and Muriel Pavlow as the scriptwriter secretly in love with the producer.

The Spy With a Cold Nose (Daniel Petrie, 1966) 1/10

Hideously unfunny comedy about a dog with a spying device given to the Russian government. The inventor, a bumbling British civil servant (Lionel Jeffries) who thinks he is James Bond, has to try and get the device back when the Russians suspect something smells foul. Not even Laurence Harvey as a randy vet with a plummy english accent nor Dahlia Lavi as a sexy Russian spy (with or without her clothes) can save this mess. A who's who of Brit character actors - Eric Sykes, June Whitfield, Robert Flemyng, Eric Portman, Colin Blakely, Denholm Elliott - also all flounder around miserably.

Masquerade (Basil Dearden, 1965) 7/10

One of numerous James Bond spoofs that came in the wake of the series of films with Connery. This one is exceptionally droll especially when it comes to hearing the plummy intonations of Jack Hawkins and Charles Gray (a rare chance to see both actors together in a film - a year later Gray would start dubbing Hawkins after the latter lost his voice to cancer). The William Goldman screenplay also delights in skewering Britannia - "we are British...these days we invade only when we are invited or when the Americans allow us", a sentiment that actually holds true to this day. The plot revolves around a dusty Arab country, it's oil reserves and the Brits trying to protect their interests which are being threatened by the protectorate eyeing the Soviet Union as a possible new ally instead. So a Yank (Cliff Robertson), is roped in to ensure the 14-year old sheik (who is pro-Brit), the natural heir to the throne, gets to keep it. There is a kidnapping, assorted crosses followed by double crosses, a sleazy knife thrower (Michel Piccoli in his english language debut), a dwarf and then there is the statuesque but very willowy Marisa Mell to keep you awake if by chance you are getting bored. Rugged Spanish locations add to the clever script which keeps up the relentless quip quotient running at breakneck speed mixing humour and action. Robertson is likeable enough as the born loser who finds himself in over his head as he is crossed left right and center but Jack Hawkins is absolutely delightful playing his part with just the right amount of knowing wit using his mellifluous voice to great effect. This is a film that needs to be known better and re-discovered.

Dark Places (Don Sharp, 1974) 6/10

Typical Hammer-like schlock has a haunted house with a mysterious past involving a trio of murders, an heir (Robert Hardy) searching for hidden loot and the three individuals - a realtor (Herbert Lom), a doctor (Christopher Lee) and his slutty sister (Joan Collins) - who are also after the loot and trying to scare the owner off. The plot veers off into the past as the owner slips in and out of the present getting a glimpse of the past occupants including "his" wife (Jean Marsh), a couple of devlish kids and a nanny (Jane Birkin) in whose arms he finds solace. Little known film in the genre of British horror is slow but has an interesting cast and holds interest when things go bump in the night. The only familiar aspect you may get from this film is the fact that not only is Joan Collins very sexy but her "acting style" has remained consistent throughout her 68-year film career - a sexy laugh, a pout and the ability to make her fellow male co-stars (and the male audience) weak at the knees. A lady who has built an active career without actually having an iota of acting chops. That's the sign of a true "star" and one who is still going strong.


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