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

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sun Jul 05, 2020 9:50 am

Reza wrote:Violets Are Blue... (Jack Fisk, 1986) 4/10

A famous photographer (Sissy Spacek) returns on vacation to her family home on the Maryland coast. She runs into her former boyfriend (Kevin Kline), now married, and soon they rekindle their affair. When years before she left town to pursue her dreams he stayed back to run the local newspaper. Lonely and envious of his family she manages to get him a lucrative job at the magazine she works for. Will he leave his suspicious wife (Bonnie Bedelia) and adoring son for her or will he realise what he is about to lose? Tedious soap opera has the two stars frolicking on the beach in between bouts of guilt. The entire premise is dreary as nothing much really happens and once again Bedelia is wasted in an underwritten part in the "nice" wife role. One wishes she had at least thrown an apocalyptic fit when she discovers the affair but even that confrontation is a weak moment. Fisk directs his wife Spacek who is radiant throughout. In comparison Kline seems to be holding back during all the moments of passion as if he was embarrased doing nude scenes with the director's wife. Ralf D. Bode's cinematography of the stunning location is a major plus. A misfire despite the three attractive stars.



Violets Are Blue is one strange film. Just as well they didn't give poor Bonnie a scene to throw a tantrum in because as it was she was painted as 'the other woman' & 'the villain' of the piece and she was Kevin Kline's wife???

Also, the film was written by the mother of Maggie G. & Jake G., Naomi Foner. Running on Empty and A Dangerous Woman remain her best cinematic efforts. She received an Oscar nomination for the former.
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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:38 am

The Texans (James P. Hogan, 1938) 7/10

Rousing western set in the South right after the Civil War. A feisty young woman (Joan Bennett) smuggles guns for her ex-Confederate boyfriend (Robert Cummings) who wants revenge on the North. Another ex-Confederate soldier (Randolph Scott) wants peace and suggests to the girl that her cattle should be taken up North to be sold as a gesture of peace and to also make money. She resists but is forced to agree when Yankees arrive to charge huge taxes on the cattle. The rest of the film depicts the exciting but dangerous cattle drive through the Rio Grande and Indian territory with the love triangle at its center. Pretty Bennett is miscast but makes a go of it as Scott carries the film on his shoulders. Walter Brennan adds comic relief as he did years later on another cattle drive in Hawks' "Red River". May Robson is delightfully over-the-top as Bennett's old garrulous grandma. The busy screenplay even throws in the Ku Klux Klan. This was one of the films instrumental in making westerns, which had largely been relegated to B-status, fashionable again with studios casting A-list stars.

Hamilton (Thomas Kail, 2020) 6/10

A filmed version of the Broadway musical that won 11 Tony awards. The original cast appears in this "film" version about Alexander Hamilton (Lin Manuel Miranda who wrote the music, lyrics and book) who became aide-de-camp to George Washington during the Revolutionary War in 1776 and later Secretary of the Treasury. The story charts his life, marriage and the various trials in his political life after John Adams becomes the President. American history is presented through music drawing heavily from hip hop, R&B, pop, soul and traditional
style show tunes. The musical also casts non-white actors as the
Founding Fathers and other historical figures giving it a modern "up-to-date" feeling. Spectacular production provides the feel of a theatrical experience with the added bonus of the camera zooming in on close-ups although I found the densely populated story rather dry and hard to follow.

Bullitt (Peter Yates, 1968) 8/10

Classic film with Steve McQueen in one of his iconic parts as tough but cool San Francisco cop - Frank Bullitt - trying to find who killed a witness in his protective custody while stealthily manoeuvring his investigation through a web of double crosses. The film's memorable set piece is the car chase (McQueen in a Ford Mustang chasing the bad guys in a Dodge Charger) through the streets of the city which inspired many directors, including William Friedkin ("The French Connection) and John Woo ("Hard Boiled"). The film's memorable supporting cast play vividly drawn characters - Robert Vaughn as an oily and ambitious politician, Simon Oakland as Bullit's boss and lovely Jacqueline Bisset, at the start of her career, as his chic girlfriend. William Fraker's camera makes San Francisco seem fresh and alive as Lalo Schifrin's jazzy score plays on the soundtrack. The film won an Oscar for its taut editing and a nomination for its sound design - the almost 11-minute car chase is shot without music with only the natural sound of screeching tyres heard. McQueen's "casual" attire in the film - blue turtle neck sweater, a brown tweed jacket with elbow patches and brown suede shoes - received a boost in popularity adding greatly to the actor's personality. Despite his name in the film McQueen doesn't use a gun until the end of the film in one of the actor's most memorable screen moments - which is a screen shot of the star holding his gun.

This Can't Be Love (Anthony Harvey, 1994) 6/10

Charming fluff has Hepburn reuniting with director Harvey after two previous films - "The Lion in Winter" & "Grace Quigley" - and it was her last leading role. Irascible actress (Katharine Hepburn), once a huge star, now lives a retired life with a housekeeper and a chauffeur (Jason Bateman) to keep her company. When her former husband (Anthony Quinn) - they were secretly married for five days during the 1940s - suddenly appears all hell breaks loose. Their once tempestuous relationship carries into the present as he tries to rekindle lost feelings while she wants him to get lost. Silly premise coasts along on the charm of the two stars. The screenplay puts in details from Hepburn's own life while Quinn resurrects his own braggart persona from past movies including a scene where he jumps onto a table and swashbuckles. Will they get back together or will they part forever after she discovers he has an ulterior motive for their reunion? Hepburn is her usual feisty self despite being unsteady on her feet and suffering from skin cancer during the shoot.

Adventure in Manhattan (Edward Ludwig, 1936) 6/10

Smart-ass reporter (Joel McCrea), who can predict crimes, tangles with a daffy actress (Jean Arthur) and a jewel thief (Reginald Owen) in this rather slow moving screwball comedy. The story takes odd detours to get to its climax but scores points whenever McCrea and the gorgeous raspy-voiced Arthur are on screen. McCrea, an underrated actor who spent most of his career as a western star, was equally at ease in sophisticated comedies which mainly came during his first decade as a star. The star couple create sparks along with an amusing Thomas Mitchell as the exasperated newspaper editor. Not top notch screwball but has many amusing bits.

Force of Nature (Michael Polish, 2020) 4/10

This is "Die Hard" set in an apartment complex in Puerto Rico during a category five hurricane. A group of people - an ex-cop (Emile Hirsch), a rookie (Stephanie Cayo), a doctor (Kate Bosworth) and her gravely ill father (Mel Gibson) - find themselves trapped inside a building as a violent gang of thieves try to loot stolen Nazi paintings stored by an old man. Also in this melange is a wounded black man who hides a "pet" that likes to eat 100 lbs of meat. The over cooked plot sounds more fun than it really is as shootouts take place in the dark. Gibson, as an ex-cop on dialyses, makes every moment of his short time on screen count as he cusses non-stop, determined to go out in a blaze of glory instead of being put in a hospital. Potboiler moves at a fast pace but there is nothing here that we haven't seen many, many times in far better films.

Violets Are Blue... (Jack Fisk, 1986) 4/10

A famous photographer (Sissy Spacek) returns on vacation to her family home on the Maryland coast. She runs into her former boyfriend (Kevin Kline), now married, and soon they rekindle their affair. When years before she left town to pursue her dreams he stayed back to run the local newspaper. Lonely and envious of his family she manages to get him a lucrative job at the magazine she works for. Will he leave his suspicious wife (Bonnie Bedelia) and adoring son for her or will he realise what he is about to lose? Tedious soap opera has the two stars frolicking on the beach in between bouts of guilt. The entire premise is dreary as nothing much really happens and once again Bedelia is wasted in an underwritten part in the "nice" wife role. One wishes she had at least thrown an apocalyptic fit when she discovers the affair but even that confrontation is a weak moment. Fisk directs his wife Spacek who is radiant throughout. In comparison Kline seems to be holding back during all the moments of passion as if he was embarrased doing nude scenes with the director's wife. Ralf D. Bode's cinematography of the stunning location is a major plus. A misfire despite the three attractive stars.

Doc (Frank Perry, 1971) 6/10

Revisionist western is a far cry from the romanticized view of Marshall Wyatt Earp and his pal 'Doc' Holliday in John Ford's "My Darling Clementine". Shot in Spain this gritty saga of the legendary gunfight at the OK Corral gets down and dirty as the West really was even if this version of the story also remains a myth as were all the other versions that came courtesy of Hollywood. Doc Holliday (Stacy Keach), dying of tuberculosis, hooks up with hard-nosed whore Katie Elder (Faye Dunaway) and both go in search of his friend Wyatt Earp (Harris Yulin) who is standing for election as Tombstone's sheriff. They face resistance from a gang of crooked cowboys which eventually leads to the famous shootout. The screenplay hints at an unexplored "history" between the two friends but doesn't follow through despite the two glancing, touching and caring for each other - there is no love lost between Earp and Katie as they find themselves "sharing" Doc's affections. Women were either virtuous wives or hard-bitten whores in the Old West while the actual "romance" was between the male protagonists as they got their kicks shooting and killing - a special code of conduct that did not include women. Starkly shot film is well acted by the three leads - Dunaway is not afraid to look absolutely filthy with grime all over her face, neck and clothes - while the final gunfight is over in the blink of an eye which apparently was how it was unlike the long drawn battle as shown in other versions.

The Mind Benders (Basil Dearden, 1963) 8/10

The screenplay takes on mind-control experiments - exposing humans to extremely low temperatures and imersing humans into isolation water tanks - which were familiar to some of the special activities of America’s intelligence agencies at the time who also specialized in using drugs like LSD on human beings. When an old professor suddenly commits suicide under bizzare circumstances, a MI5 agent (John Clements) suspects that he may have been leaking secrets to the Russians. His partner (Dirk Bogarde) sets out to prove that the old man was not a traitor but was brainwashed via an experiment, including mental torture, inside an isolation tank of water which rendered his mind to be altered. To prove his theory he agrees to be immersed into the tank allowing interrogators to brainwash him into thinking his beloved wife (Mary Ure) is a tramp. The experiment apparently does not work as he comes out unchanged but a few days later there are scary implications of a conversion not unlike Dr Jekyll into Mr Hyde. Will he go from loving his wife to distaste, then hatred and possibly onto violence merely through suggestion induced by sensory deprivation? Based on a book by James Kennaway these theories so popular at the time were later discarded after similar experiments done on astronauts proved inconclusive on many. The catalyst that brings the man out of his deranged condition rests on a childbirth sequence shown in detail unseen before on screen in such vivid detail and which brought the film an X rating. Both Bogarde and the underrated Ure give superb performances. The film's science-fiction elements here are a precursor to Ken Russell's over-the-top, mind-bending horrific sequences in "Altered States", almost twenty years later. This is yet another one in a series of highly sensational and hard-hitting films made by the team of director Basil Dearden and writer-producer Michael Relph

The Third Visitor (Maurice Elvey, 1951) 4/10

Tiresome and extremely talky murder mystery with a twist ending. Low budget film has a rambling plot - a man of dubious reputation is bludgeoned to death after being visited by assorted individuals who wanted him dead. The cops fiddle around with the case as two couples lie about their movements or knowledge about the dead man. Sonia Dresdel, dripping sarcasm, stands out amongst the cast as a woman who knows more than she has divulged about the case.

This England (David MacDonald, 1941) 6/10

Extremely rare and unashamedly patriotic, this propaganda film was typical of many that were made during WWII. This one features a small village in England during the WWII threat of a Nazi invasion and sees it through four different periods - the Norman invasion, the Spanish Armada, the Napoleonic era and WWII - showing how the working classes and peasants united against all foreign threat. The screenplay focuses on the determination and fortitude of the British as the stories are related by an inhabitant (John Clements) to a visiting American journalist (Constance Cummings). The film's title comes from a speech by John of Gaunt in the play Richard II by William Shakespeare.

Une aussi longue absence / The Long Absence (Henri Colpi, 1961) 8/10

Haunting memory piece about lost love and the horrors of war won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes film festival sharing the top prize with Luis Buñuel's "Viridiana". Deliberately paced film, with a dream-like manner, illustrates how memories can often leave deeper scars than the actual event from which they were derived. Life then becomes an endurance test with only those memories to keep you going. A middle-aged cafe owner (Alida Valli) comes across a wandering tramp (Georges Wilson) and believes he is her husband who was thought dead and missing 16-years before during the war. She discovers he has amnesia and tries her best to revive his memory. The premise may be simplistic but the film explores deeper issues of loss, hope and heartbreak which need to be faced as life goes on. The film and Wilson were both nominated for Bafta awards.

Christine (Pierre Gaspard-Huit, 1958) 8/10

"Liebelei", Arthur Schnitzler 's 1894 play, was made into a film in 1933 by Max Ophüls with Magda Schneider. Her daughter, already a star of German cinema, stars in this remake making her french film debut opposite an upcoming young french actor who would become the "love of her life". Old fashioned romantic film about star crossed lovers - not unlike "Romeo and Juliet" - "almost" echoes the two stars' affair, subsequent engagement, break-up and tragic end (for one of them). During the waning years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire a young Captain (Alain Delon) is involved in an affair with the wife (Micheline Presle) of a Baron (Jean Galland). While she is happy with their on-going complicated relationship he wants to end it. By chance he meets a musician's daughter (Romy Schneider) while out with a fellow soldier and best friend (Jean-Claude Brialy). The young couple hit it off and are soon in love. Matters escalate when he breaks off his affair, the Baron discovers the deceit and challenges him to a duel. Tragic, sentimental romance relys totally on the magnetic chemistry between the two stars who make a lovely couple on screen. Schneider was dubbed as she could not speak french but it does not distract from her charming performance. Delon holds his own opposite both leading ladies - tender and shy opposite Schneider and edgy but familiar with Presle who was always a memorably presence in all her films.

Signore & signori / The Birds, the Bees and the Italians (Pietro Germi, 1966) 10/10

Pietro Germi continues his lacerating but hilarious look at the sexual mores of Italian men although in truth that behaviour is pretty much universal the world over. After broaching the subject in his two previous films - "Divorzio all'italiana" & "Sedotta e abbandonata" - he comes up with three short stories in this frantic farce all set in the city of Treviso. The wicked screenplay goes for the jugular making fun of Italian attitudes toward marriage, divorce, chastity and even love. Germi takes full delight in exposing the hypocricy of the law, the police, the church, the family and the state. Everyone is a target and nothing sacred. The entire cast is game and work at full throttle with many appearing as background characters in all three episodes. The first story is about a doctor treating a patient who says he is impotent but things aren't quite how they seem which the doctor discovers during the savage twist at the end. In the second episode a bank clerk, married to a nagging wife, falls head over heels in love with a sexy cashier (Virna Lisi) at a cafe. Instead of playing it safe with an affair on the quiet he dumps his wife and kids and proclaims to all about his new-found love. Friends, family, the Church, the police, in fact the whole town is outraged. In the third episode a nubile young peasant goes from shop to shop prostituting herself with the owners of the establishments in exchange for clothes, shoes and other goods. All the men are "decent" citizens of the town. When the girl's father sues all the men in court for taking advantage of his minor daughter they are all aghast and have to find a way to get out of the bind. Sharply written sex farce touches on topics that would never be allowed on screen in today's "politically correct" era although the majority of films from Europe then played around with controversial subjects often camouflaged under the guise of farce. Germi was awarded the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival sharing the top honour with Claude Lelouch's romantic drama "Un homme et une femme".

Miracolo a Milano / Miracle in Milan (Vittorio De Sica, 1951) 9/10

De Sica's charming fantasy is set amongst the inhabitants of a shanty town on a large empty plot of land outside Milan. The film's protagonist is an angelic young orphan found by an old woman in a cabbage patch and raised by her. After she dies and he spends time in an orphanage, Totò (Francesco Golisano),
comes out into the world and finds shelter amongst the homeless who live in cardboard boxes and cement pipes. In time he organises them into a small happy shanty town. When oil is discovered on the land the owner arrives to evict the people. Just as matters turn bleak his mother's ghost arrives and gives him a pigeon which grants everyone a wish turning everyone into a capitalist when they demand fur coats and money. Quirky film was quite ahead of its time with its final moments of fantasy which resemble a number of films by Spielberg. De Sica manages to keep the mood joyful despite the bleakness in everyone's life and which he perpetuates through the ever-smiling character of the orphan. The film and young Golisano were both deservedly nominated for the Bafta award and De Sica was awarded the Grand Prix prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Jul 04, 2020 8:38 am

Wasp Network (2020) Olivier Assayas 2/10
Darkroom (2020) Rosa von Praunheim 4/10
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020) David Dobkin 4/10
Disclosure (2020) Sam Feder 5/10
Distant Journey (1950) Alfred Radok 7/10
Harriet (2019) Kasi Lemmons 4/10
The Taverna (2020) Alkinos Tsilimidos 6/10

Repeat viewings

Farewell My Concubine (1993) Kaige Chen 8/10 (Director's cut i.e. the version shown at Cannes not Harvey's cut)
High Anxiety (1977) Mel Brooks 9/10
Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) Jon Avnet 10/10
Mudhoney (1965) Russ Meyer 7/10
The Bride Wore Black (1968) Francois Truffaut 10/10
A Private Matter (1992) Joan Micklin Silver 9/10
Mississippi Mermaid (1969) Francois Truffaut 8/10
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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:26 pm

Reza wrote:
Murder By Contract (Irving Lerner, 1958) 9/10

Stylishly directed B-film was one of Scorsese's favorites. Shot in just seven days this low budget entry packs a wallop despite the derivative plot. A cool-headed, emotionless man (Vince Edwards) is stuck in a low paid job. Wanting to buy a house he decides to make a quick buck as a contract killer for hire. His first few hits are easy but finds himself in a quandry when asked to kill a woman who is about to testify against a Mob boss. The film, using a simple guitar melody on the soundtrack and brightly lit exterior and interior shots by Lucien Ballard, methodically goes about charting the moves of the hitman - interacting with two inept partners, failed attempts to kill the woman and a crucial meeting with a hooker. Vaughn is superb as the intelligent man with a conscience who dislikes guns and women ("they are unpredictable and keep moving"). The violence is all off-screen and the screenplay instead concentrates on the killer's psychology and how he goes about his job in a very precise but nonchalant manner. Cult film is a must-see.

I watched this from TCM's Noir Alley this week. The host noted, like you, that Scorsese has specifically mentioned the film as a big influence, but I couldn't help feeling Tarantino was the one owing a greater debt to it. Hit men procrastinating, dialogue scenes about everything but the actual killings -- it seemed a real template for Travolta/Jackson in Pulp Fiction.

Very interesting film. Vince Edwards was never much of an actor, but is right for this. The actress playing the protected witness is pretty godawful, but the rest of the cast -- especially Herschel Bernardi -- is solid for such a B-picture.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:05 am

Dreamchild (Gavin Millar, 1985) 8/10

Enigma (Jeannot Szwarc, 1982) 5/10

Rather listless tired Cold War spy thriller with an East German defectee (Martin Sheen) hired by the CIA to go back to East Berlin to steal a scrambler, a communication device, which the Russians possess. They are planning to assassinate five defectees and the device is needed to intercept and stop the killings. He is helped by his former lover (Brigitte Fossey) and relentlessly pursued by a KGB officer (Sam Neill). The film brings nothing new to the genre and basically regurgitates stale ideas and plot points. The excellent cast, including Frank Finlay, Michael Williams, Derek Jacobi, Michel Lonsdale, try their best with the given material.

Sky Riders (Douglas Hickox, 1976) 6/10

A generic plot full of potholes has the wife (a feisty Susannah York) and kids of a rich industrialist (Robert Culp) kidnapped by terrorists and held for ransom. When the cop (Charles Aznavour) in charge of the case spends too much time dilly-dallying, the kidnapped woman's former husband (James Coburn) takes matters into his own hands. The film scores in the second half during the spectacular rescue sequence by a team of professional hang gliders. The film's stunning location is Meteora in Greece (later also used in the Bond film "For Your Eyes Only") with it's towering rock cliffs where the terrorists are holed up in the Varlaam monastary perched on top. The thrilling action scenes are accompanied by Lalo Schifrin's rousing greek-themed score as the laconic Coburn (with his trademark grin) performs his own stunts hanging from a helicopter. A boxoffice flop in America the film was a huge hit abroad. Fun to revisit this after 43 years.

The Wind and the Lion (John Milius, 1975) 7/10

John Milius stages the film like a David Lean epic (some of the battle scenes were shot on locations used in "Lawrence of Arabia") while taking inspiration from films like "Gunga Din", "The Four Feathers" and Rudyard Kipling. Rousing action-adventure takes liberties with history with the kidnapped American man now a widow (Candice Bergen) who is taken with her two children by a gang of Berbers led by their charismatic leader (Sean Connery). This results in an international incident and President Teddy Roosevelt (Brian Keith) decides to use the kidnapping as both political propaganda and to gather votes for re-election rousing the nation towards war and using America's military strength as a new great power. Also getting involved is the ruler of Tangier who is already at odds with the Berber Chief. A twist in the negotiations results in the President gaining respect for the Berbers and so they along with the marines attack the Moroccans who have the Germans on their side. Meanwhile the widow, who initially considered her kidnapper a barbaric lout, begins to warm up to him as do her children. Old fashioned film relies on spectacle and the charming performance of Connery. The actor tried speaking with an Arabic accent but gave up and spoke all his lines with his regular Scottish burr and amusingly manages to seem convincing. Bergen (very wooden here) was a last minute replacement for Faye Dunaway who dropped out - Milius had originally written the part for Julie Christie. The film has outstanding production and costume design and is beautifully shot by Billy Williams. There is great attention to period detail although as usual Hollywood fails to get the Muslim prayer right with the actors going through the motions in a totally incorrect manner. The film was shot in the Spanish towns of Seville, Almeria and Madrid doubling for Tangier and Fez. Nominated for two Oscars - Jerry Goldsmith's memorable score and for the sound design.

Adventures of Captain Fabian (William Marshall and Robert Florey, 1951) 1/10

An ambitious french creole maid (Micheline Presle) uses a sea captain (Errol Flynn) to rise up the social ladder in old New Orleans. Trashy film had a tangled production history with Flynn getting into a row with the director and disappearing. His remaining scenes had to be shot with a double. And both Flynn and co-star Vincent Price (as a former lover of the maid who dumps her) sued Marshall for breach of contract and not getting paid. It ended up fine for the director as he got Presle to marry him much to her later regret. Agnes Moorehead, in black face, is embarrasing screeching out her lines as the maid's mother.

Gulabo Sitabo (Shoojit Sircar, 2020) 7/10

Frantic comedy is a battle of wits between the doddering old landlord (Amitabh Bachchan) of a decrepit old mansion in Lucknow and a poor tenant (Ayushman Khurrana) who can only afford to pay a meagre sum as rent. Matters come to a head when it is discovered that the mansion is a heritage site and could bring in big money. The old man's much older wife (Furrukh Jaffar who is magnificent) is the actual owner and he can't wait for her to die so he can take hold of the property. Meanwhile the tenant plots with the government official who has promised everyone who is evicted they will get lodgings in return. When the 95-year old woman gets wind of all the plots in motion she decides to divorce her husband, gift the property to her lover and run off with him. The hilarious screenplay makes full use of the Lucknow milieu with the entire cast spot-on in their portrayal of that culture as they perfectly capture the nuances and rhythm of the urdu language and it's distinct accent. Bachchan, buried under prosthetics and with a stooped gait, gets to play yet another wonderful part. It's truly amazing that at his age he continues to be one of the leading forces on screen in Bollywood. Ayushman matches him every step of the way playing yet another one of his memorable everyman roles which he so comfortably fits into. The two actors are like Tom and Jerry out to get each other. The film's magnificent mansion takes on the role of a prominent third character - huge and imposing with its seedy little damp rooms with cracked and broken down walls, paint peeling off yet exuding a sense of grandeur which can easily be imagined from it's distant past. The cinematography bathes the film in saturated hues highlighting the film's exceptional production design. Another little gem from director Sircar which does not quite reach the heights of his masterpiece "Piku" but is nevertheless great fun. This is the first major Bollywood release of the year that bypassed cinemas due to the Covid crisis and went straight to a streaming platform.

Efter brylluppet / After the Wedding (Susanne Bier, 2006) 7/10

Who knew Bier would come up with a type of film Bollywood once churned out by the truckload - a melodramatic weepie geared to zero in on your tear ducts. When an orphanage in India is threatened with closure a Danish relief worker (Mads Mikkelsen), out of the blue, gets an offer of a donation from a rich industrialist (Rolf Lassgård) in Copenhagen. However, there is a catch. He is asked to come to Denmark in person to meet the benefactor. When he reluctantly goes he finds not only that a huge sum shall be given but also gets coerced into attending the wedding of the rich man's daughter where he also meets his wife (Sidse Babett Knudsen) who turns out to be his ex-girlfriend with whom he had broken up years before under acrimonius circumstances. When the bride (Stine Fischer Christensen) makes an impromptu speech she lets out a bombshell. She is not the rich man's actual daughter but was raised by him when he married her mother who was expecting her at the time. The shock of this and the disclosure of a further condition placed on him regarding the donation puts him in a flux. Intense engaging family drama is well acted with some scenes played dramatically to the gallery as the screenplay plays cat-and-mouse with the audience's tear ducts. Mikkelsen, due to his international stature - memorable as the Bond villain in "Casino Royale" - is the only actor in the film I was familiar with. While he plays it restrained the other members of the cast go all out during intense scenes involving anguish and betrayal as family secrets unravel and come out in the open. The manipulative screenplay gradually reveals events like an onion being peeled layer by layer. This Danish film was nominated for an Oscar in the foreign film category.

After the Wedding (Bart Freundlich, 2019) 5/10

A scene-by-scene remake of Susanne Bier's Danish film with two major changes. The relief worker who works in an Indian orphanage, played by Mads Mikkelsen in the original, gets a gender switch. The character is now essayed by Michelle Williams and the family drama, as played out here, is very restrained without human emotions playing to the gallery making this a rather redundant weepie. An Indian orphanage, in dire straits, is suddenly offered a huge sum of money. The rich benefactor (Julianne Moore) wants to meet in person to discuss the modalities and so the American relief worker finds herself in New York. Invited to her host's daughter's wedding she finds her hidden past resurfacing when she finds herself confronted by an ex-lover (Billy Crudup) and their grown-up daughter who she thought had been given up for adoption at birth. The film is a showcase for two great actresses who are both fine but Freundlich (who is Moore's husband) approaches the story too cautiously. The emotional intensity of the performances by the actors in the original is sorely missed here. Sometimes understatement needs to be avoided and emotions need to be expressed loud and clear especially when the situation not only calls for it but is expected as in real life. This remake lacks heart which is such a shame.

Jawaani Jaaneman (Nitin Kakkar, 2020) 4/10

Fitfully amusing Bollywood remake of the Argentinian comedy "Igualita a mi". A 40-something playboy (Saif Ali Khan), who treats life like one never-ending party, picks up a teenage girl (Alaya Furniturewala) at a club who calmly informs him that he may be her father. Horrified at the thought he is coerced into taking a DNA test which not only comes up positive but also shows the girl is pregnant. Not only is he now a dad but will soon be a grandfather as well. A double whammy. The film uses it's plot to bring a modern subtext to the Indian family which in Bollywood films is usually always white-washed. Using the medium of comedy the screenplay safely plays around with the theme of ageing men pursuing young girls which, despite the cringeworthy aspect of it, is still a very common phenomena the world over. Teenage pregnancy also gets a look-in within the family structure which is treated in a matter of fact manner without anguished cries of shame. A sub-plot dealing with his work place, where he is negotiating a huge real estate deal, comes off less successfully and only seems to serve the plot in order to bring the film up to a certain length. Both actors play off each other in a breezy manner. Saif returns to form - light comedy - after a series of intense but ill-advised attempts at dramatic parts while the young actress, who is Pooja Bedi's daughter and in her film debut, confidently holds herself up against her experienced co-star. Tabu turns up in a thankless but hilarious cameo as the girl's hippie-like mother. There is nothing new here and the rather shallow screenplay does not attempt to go in deep but it does manage to bring on a smile or two.

The Thomas Crown Affair (Norman Jewison, 1968) 8/10

Slick caper film manages to overcome its flashy 1960s trappings - rather annoying multi-screen images and other camera and editing techniques by the brilliant Haskel Wexler and Hal Ashby - and comes up with a delightful cat-and-mouse chase between a suave and lonely bank executive (Steve McQueen) who manages to swindle $2 million in cash but is relentlessly pursued by an insurance investigator (Faye Dunaway) who thinks like a thief and instantly suspects her prey. What she does not anticipate is falling in love with him. The premise is old hat but Jewison brings a fresh approach to it helped in great part by the dazzling sexual chemistry between the two stars. McQueen, a huge but reclusive star, comes alive opposite Dunaway who was given the part after the director saw rushes of "Bonnie and Clyde" which had not come out when this was filming. McQueen would kid his leading lady by calling her "Done Fade-Away" unaware that she would become an overnight sensation and a fashion icon that summer.
Theodora Van Runkle designed her iconic costumes as Bonnie and was again hired to create Dunaway's 29 outfits. She takes 1960s fashion to another level here making the star look breathtakingly beautiful dressed in outrageously chic dresses and hats. McQueen's sunglasses by "Persol" also became a huge trendsetting image and adding to all the glamour were the cars used in the film - the Meyers Manx dune buggy and the red Ferrari driven by Dunaway and referred to as "one of those red Italian things". The film also owes a lot to the scene of the two stars playing a game of chess - a classic moment of seduction which oozes sex. Michel Legrand was nominated for an Oscar for the memorable score and won for the haunting title song. Reportedly this was McQueen's personal favourite of all the films he made and also one of Dunaway's happiest movie making experiences.

Agatha and the Curse of Ishtar (Sam Yates, 2019) 4/10

When you run out of any Agatha Christie mystery to adapt - they have all been filmed, some numerous times - you keep her spirit alive by coming up with plots where the writer herself turns detective. Recently divorced and struggling to get away from writing mystery novels, Agatha Christie (Lyndsey Marshall), tries to unsucessfully get a romantic novel published. Invited by a friend to an archaeological dig in Iraq she arrives at the villa where a group of guests have just discovered a poisoned monkey. It is soon followed by a spate of murders, stolen artifacts and the discovery of the world's biggest oil field. She also runs into the charming and much younger archaeologist, Max Mallowan (Jonah Hauer-King), with him she has sex on the floor of a store room filled with artifacts just as someone plants a lit dynamite to kill them. Fiction with elements of truth as Christie did actually fall in love with Mallowan and he eventually became her second husband although its not confirmed if they actually did make out that first time on the floor of a store room. Slow but atmospheric murder-mystery has good location work with Malta substituting for Iraq.

Stranger on Horseback (Jacques Tourneur, 1955) 5/10

Despite the pedigree involved - Tourneur, Louis L'Amour, Joel McCrea - this is a minor Western bringing nothing fresh to the genre. However, one can't really fault the iconic McCrea as he is always memorable. A circuit judge (Joel McCrea) rides into a small town which he notices is run by a local land baron (John McIntire). The man's spoilt, trigger-happy son (Kevin McCarthy) has supposedly killed a newcomer in town claiming self defence. The judge discovers evidence and puts the young man in jail angering his father. With the sheriff on his side he has to deal with a sleazy lawyer (John Carradine) and the old man's feisty whip-wielding , gun-toting niece (Czech-Mexican star Miroslava in one her last films - she committed suicide) who tries to seduce him into releasing the prisoner. The film's abrupt end involving a confusing shoot out also doesn't help. Rare film was out of circulation for years and is filmed in the weird Ansco colour process making the images look smudged.

Murder By Contract (Irving Lerner, 1958) 9/10

Stylishly directed B-film was one of Scorsese's favorites. Shot in just seven days this low budget entry packs a wallop despite the derivative plot. A cool-headed, emotionless man (Vince Edwards) is stuck in a low paid job. Wanting to buy a house he decides to make a quick buck as a contract killer for hire. His first few hits are easy but finds himself in a quandry when asked to kill a woman who is about to testify against a Mob boss. The film, using a simple guitar melody on the soundtrack and brightly lit exterior and interior shots by Lucien Ballard, methodically goes about charting the moves of the hitman - interacting with two inept partners, failed attempts to kill the woman and a crucial meeting with a hooker. Vaughn is superb as the intelligent man with a conscience who dislikes guns and women ("they are unpredictable and keep moving"). The violence is all off-screen and the screenplay instead concentrates on the killer's psychology and how he goes about his job in a very precise but nonchalant manner. Cult film is a must-see.

Mozambique / Operazione Zanzibar (Robert Lynn, 1964) 5/10

Shoddy B-film has wonderful atmosphere and an interesting cast. Shot on location in Mozambique we get to see a lot of the countryside including an exciting finale above spectacular Victoria Falls and on a bridge in Zambia. A cop (Paul Hubschmid) saves an out of work pilot (Steve Cochran) from a jail sentence if he agrees to go to East Africa for a job. On arrival he finds his new boss dead and the man's seductive widow (Hildegard Knef) without a shred of grief. Along the way he hooks up with a fellow passenger, a singer (Vivi Bach), who has been assigned a job at a local club. Drug smuggling, kidnapping, sinister Arabs, assorted murders make up the plot all of which are portrayed in an extremely lazy way full of potholes. The action scenes are ineptly staged while the blonde singer swims in a river, makes passionate love with the pilot and manages to retain her giant-sized coiffure without a single hair out of place. Cochran tries to go the James Bond route but has no flair and looks too old. This was his last film as he was found dead on his yacht off Guatemala with his all-female crew spooked until they docked. Kneff is totally wasted as a femme fatale although she is magnificent singing two songs in her signature smoky voice. An oddity but not without complete interest.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:41 am

Waves (2019) Trey Edward Shults 8/10
The Assistant (2020) Kitty Green 5/10
Proxima (2019) Alice Wioncour 4/10
Tonio (2016) Paula Van der Oest 4/10

Repeat viewings

L'Atalante (1934) Jean Vigo 8/10
GoodFellas (1990) Martin Scorsese 7/10
Zero For Conduct (1933) Jean Vigo 7/10
Common Law Cabin (1967) Russ Meyer 8/10
Reversal of Fortune (1990) Barbet Schroeder 9/10
Destry Rides Again (1939) George Marshall 7/10
Crash (1996) David Cronenberg 10/10
Magic (1978) Richard Attenborough 7/10
Lorna (1964) Russ Meyer 5/10
Ordinary People (1980) Robert Redford 4/10
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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Jun 20, 2020 9:41 am

mlrg wrote:
Precious Doll wrote:Da 5 Bloods (2020) Spike Lee 2/10


That bad? Haven’t seen it yet


In all fairness I am probably in the minority in my feelings towards the film. I wanted to like it and watched it with high expectations but found it nothing more than a pretty B-Grade action film with some political dressing that didn't compliment each other. Spike Lee has always been hit and miss with me and this is definitely a miss.
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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby mlrg » Sat Jun 20, 2020 9:32 am

Precious Doll wrote:Da 5 Bloods (2020) Spike Lee 2/10


That bad? Haven’t seen it yet

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Jun 20, 2020 9:13 am

Da 5 Bloods (2020) Spike Lee 2/10
My Little Sister (2020) Stéphanie Chuat & Véronique Reymond 4/10
Bad Education (2020) Cory Finley 8/10
Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (2019) Kevin Smith 4/10
Charter (2020) Amanda Kernell 4/10
A Perfectly Normal Family (2020) Malou Reymann 5/10
Angel of Mine (2019) Kim Farrant 4/10
Zana (2019) Antoneta Kastrati 4/10

Repeat viewings

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) Joseph L. Mankiewicz 10/10
Brand Upon the Brain! (2006) Guy Maddin 8/10
Diner (1982) Barry Levison 7/10
Damage (1992) Louis Malle 7/10
Cherry, Harry & Raquel (1969) Russ Meyer 7/10
The Poseidon Adventure (1972) Ronald Neame 8/10
"I want cement covering every blade of grass in this nation! Don't we taxpayers have a voice anymore?" Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole) in John Waters' Desperate Living (1977)

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

Postby Reza » Tue Jun 16, 2020 5:48 pm

Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (Craig McCall, 2010) 7/10

Fascinating look at the genius of Jack Cardiff who brought dazzling inovations to the art of colour cinematography. Inspired by great artists - Van Gogh, Johannes Vermeer, J. M. W. Turner - he created lighting effects based on the subtle or dramatic lighting he saw on their paintings. He started as a child actor in silent films and went on to be a clapper boy and a camera operator in British films of the 1930s and 1940s assisting great cinematographers like Harold Rossen, Georges Périnal, Ray Rennahan and Harry Stradling. He got his big break when invited by director Michael Powell to work on three films - A Matter of Life and Death (1946), Black Narcissus (1947), The Red Shoes (1948) - creating stunning images in colour. He worked with some of the screen's greatest beauties lighting them to enhance their features - Marlene Dietrich, Ingrid Bergman, Katharine Hepburn, Ava Gardner, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Leslie Caron and Faye Dunaway. Marilyn Monroe especially requested that Cardiff photograph her when she came to England to make The Prince and the Showgirl (1957) with Laurence Olivier. His work has inspired modern directors - Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma, Francis Coppola - who have lifted elements from his work. He later took on film direction as well. He won an Oscar for the cinematography of Black Narcissus (1947) and was nominated for War and Peace (1956), Fanny (1961) and for his direction of Sons and Lovers (1960). In 2001 he became the only cinematographer so far to win an Honorary Oscar for his long and distinguished career. Unfortunately the documentary avoids any mention of his personal life but we get to hear Kirk Douglas, Scorsese, Lauren Bacall, Kim Hunter, John Mills speak about their experiences working with him. Extensive interviews with Cardiff himself bring insight to the golden period of cinema he worked in from 1918 to 2004. He passed away in 2009 at age 95.

Cattle Drive (Kurt Neumann, 1951) 6/10

Rich snotty neglected boy (Dean Stockwell) jumps off his dad's train, runs into the desert and is rescued by a cowboy (Joel McCrea). Forced to go on a cattle drive the boy learns various lessons along the way. Old fashioned story has heart along with great action scenes - chasing a wild horse, a cattle stampede. Stockwell, in his last film as a child actor, is very good and makes a great partner to McCrea.

Discovering Faye Dunaway (Lyndie Saville, 2015) 6/10

Documentary exploring the enigma that was Faye Dunaway, iconic star of the late 1960s and 1970s. Her seminal film performances are discussed by three film critics. She was labeled difficult and uncooperative and was misunderstood. Her work speaks for itself, particularly the troika of films - Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Chinatown (1974) and Network (1976). She appeared with many top actors of the time - Anthony Quinn, Warren Beatty, Steve McQueen, Kirk Douglas, Marcello Mastroianni, David Niven, Dustin Hoffman, George C. Scott, Jack Nicholson, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, William Holden, Peter Finch, Jon Voight, Frank Sinatra, Richard Burton and Marlon Brando. Her career went into a dip when she played Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest (1981), a brilliant performance, that took camp to the next level. Sexy, feisty and defiant she was more in keeping with stars from the golden era of Hollywood.

Down to the Sea in Ships (Henry Hathaway, 1949) 6/10

Exciting action adventure film picks up after a slow start. A whaling boat Captain (Lionel Barrymore on crutches) and his first mate (Richard Widmark) battle it out over the education of the old man's grandson (Dean Stockwell). The old man feels the boy needs to be trained on the boat to eventually follow in the family's footsteps while the young man thinks out of the box and tries to give the boy a world view away from the boat. The film has spectacular action sequences - the chase and hunt for whales and a collision with an iceberg which almost sinks the boat. Feisty Barrymore is excellent as the gruff old geezer in his last lead role - he would play supporting parts in the few films that came after. Widmark, at the start of his career, is sensitive and dashing while Stockwell is memorable as always - one of the best child actors during Hollywood's golden period. Hathaway directs with his customary flair.

The Warrior Queen of Jhansi (Swati Bhise, 2019) 2/10

Lifeless, by-the-numbers British production about the Rani of Jhansi who took on the East India Company during the mutiny of 1857. An orphan who made good in the court of the Marhatas by marrying the son of the ruling Peshwa of Jhansi. When her son dies a young nephew is adopted with permission from the British to be heir to the throne. However, Governor-General Lord Dalhousie's "Doctrine of Lapse" was applied to the State whereby adopted heirs could not rule and Jhansi was ordered to be annexed to the British Empire. This leads to the Rani (Devika Bhise) leading her army against the British proving to be a thorn in their backsides. The production, led by a mother-daughter duo (as director and star/screenwriter), is too stodgy by far, with a plot that fast forwards through the badly-lit events and a cast playing to the gallery and all but twirling their moustaches. Rupert Everett is around with a face full of whiskers as the dastardly British officer trying to capture who he considers to be a pesky trouble maker. Back home in England Queen Victoria (Jodhi May) takes advice from her loyal Indian courtier (a fictional character based on Abdul Karim who in reality was born five years after the Rani's death) much to the disgust of Prime Minister Palmerston (Derek Jacobi). Fascinating story, presented in a heavy-handed way, fails to do justice to a brave warrior who was known as the Joan of Arc of the East, a feminist icon and a fearless freedom fighter whose actions eventually shifted the balance of power and resulted in ousting the notorious and scavenging East India Company leading to the start of the British Raj. Also disconcerting is the characters switching between Hindi and English and back again, sometimes in the same conversation. The film only scores points on its outstanding costumes and production design. A much better version of the story - Bollywood's "Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi" with a dazzling performance by Kangana Ranaut - also came out the same year as this turkey.

Nella città l'inferno / Hell in the City (Renato Castellani, 1959) 7/10

The film's novelty is in its pairing of two of Italy's legendary screen actresses. Their contrasting screen personalities gives this rather stale plot, set in a women's prison, a much needed jolt. A simple woman from the provinces (Giulietta Masina) gets incarcerated in prison for a crime (robbery) she did not commit. The shock and misery of her surroundings is somewhat diminished when a tough and seasoned criminal (Anna Magnani) takes charge of her. Slice of life drama has comments to make about poverty and triumph over adversity. The film is stolen by the overpowering Magnani in another one of her magnificent performances playing a woman with a tough exterior who at a crucial moment exposes a vulnerable side to her personality. The fragile, doe-eyed Masina provides an interesting contrast as the helpless naive who gradually transforms and shows she is not above learning a trick or two in order to survive.

La princesse de Montpensier / The Princess of Montpensier (Bertrand Tavernier, 2010) 8/10

Love triangle set during the turbulent religious wars between Catholics and Protestants in 16th century France. The beautiful Marie De Mezières (Mélanie Thierry), in love with her dashing cousin Henri De Guise (Gaspard Ulliel), is forced into marriage by her father to young nobleman Philippe De Montpensier (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet). When her husband goes off to war he leaves her in the care of his trusted tutor Count Chabannes (Lambert Wilson) who not only teaches her to read and write but also falls in love with her. Sweeping historical drama has Marie getting intricately involved in the sexual politics of the French court as she comes into contact with the heir to the throne, Duc d'Anjou (Raphaël Personnaz) and his formidably evil mother, Queen Catherine of Medicis (Evelina Meghnagi). She juggles the love of four men while France flows with blood as the infamous St. Bartholomew's Day massacre takes place. Old fashioned romp, inspired by the 1622 novel by
Madame de La Fayette, has lots of pomp, gorgeous César winning costumes, handsome production design and is shot by Bruno de Keyzer who uses his camera to capture stunning vistas of the french countryside on the battle field and inside palace and chateau walls. Tavernier, inspired by Westerns, used actors seated on horses while discussing important matters while the film's lighting was inspired by film noir. Thierry, a model turned actress, plays her part in a strangely subdued manner merely reacting to events and other characters. Both
Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet (as her husband) and Raphaël Personnaz (as the fiery heir to the throne) give deeply nuanced performances for which both received Cèsar nominations. Sumptuous film scores points for showing the shame of a meaningless war and the psychological effects of it on the men fighting it.

Impardonnables / Unforgivable (André Téchine, 2011) 8/10

This is the first time I've seen Venice on film that doesn't present the city as a touristic travelogue. Téchine brings on a fresh view to the city, the nearby islands, the beaches and the ocean itself. Into the stunning surroundings - many of the scenes have characters in small motorboats on the vast ocean or seen swimming - the director throws in a bunch of very diverse characters all in various stages of angst and flux. An aging best-selling writer of crime novels (André Dussolier), who was once a notorious womanizer, decides he wants to move to a quiet location to write his next book. A bisexual former model-turned-estate agent (Carole Bouquet) recommends a house on the island of Sant'Erasmo just off the coast of Venice. Much to her surprise he also proposes she join him by cohabiting with him at the rented house. A year later they are both ensconsed in the villa and married. Problems start when his wayward daughter (Melanie Thierry) arrives with her own daughter, dumps the child with them and disappears off with her impoverished aristocrat, heroin-dealing boyfriend. Obsessed with finding her he hires his wife's former lover (Adriana Asti), an alcoholic private detective, to search for his missing daughter. In addition, and on the quiet, he hires the detective's ex-con son to trail his own wife as he suspects her of infidelity. A fascinating pot-pourri of characters - each of whom can easily sustain their own movie plots - are thrown into the frey as the screenplay navigates them through their malaise. Téchine's elegant films always chart the complex routes taken by his flawed characters as they drift from relationship to relationship as they fail to find peace and contentment. The elegantly age-ravaged Bouquet, a former Bond girl, still looks ravishing as the only childless adult amongst the characters with the screenplay raising questions about what parents and children bring each other versus what it means not to have any kids. As usual Venice comes off looking the best with it's tradition of housing all kinds of people through the centuries - the happy, the bizarre and the disturbed.

East of Sudan (Nathan Juran, 1964) 2/10

Hopelessly bad adventure film set in colonial Sudan during the Mahdist insurrection. It's actually Sudan by way of Shepperton Studios as the film's fake sets make it all seem very unconvincing. A Private (Anthony Quayle), a prim corsetted governess (Sylvia Syms), her ward - the Emir's daughter (Jenny Agutter) and a subaltern (Derek Fowlds) escape the Mahdi's forces and try to make it up river to Khartoum. Silly hokum was just an excuse to put two British stars through the paces so the producer could take advantage of a government granted subsidy to make a film using stock footage. The actors scramble about strategically placed trees and shrubbery while chased by Arab slave traders and a black tribe until they come across a missionary (Johnny Sekka) who is the brother of an African King. Stock footage from "The Four Feathers" and other films is incorporated during wide shots showing the desert, assorted rivers, waterfalls and wild animals. Quayle and Sims' bickering quickly becomes tiresome and this is a far cry from their previous, much more memorable teaming in Ice Cold in Alex (1958). The film was a big letdown for Quayle as he was coming off "Lawrence of Arabia", his previous film. The only delightful part is seeing 12-year old Jenny Agutter in her film debut.

Ice Cold in Alex (J. Lee Thompson, 1958) 9/10

Riveting WWII adventure film shot on desert locations in Libya. A ragtag group of army personnel - a shell-shocked alcoholic Captain (John Mills), a mechanic (Harry Andrews) and two nurses (Sylvia Syms & Diane Claire) - journey from Tobruk to the British lines in Alexandria in an ambulance. Separated from their convoy they face various perilious situations enroute - manoeuvering through a minefield, dealing with a broken vehicle part, running into Germans and driving through the dangerous Qattara Depression which is covered by sand dunes, quicksand and salt marshes. Along the way they pick up a South African officer (Anthony Quayle), fluent in German, who proves to be very resourceful although they suspect him of being a spy. Classic film is less about war, concentrating instead on the battle between man and the harsh elements. The iconic scene at the end explains the film's hip title - a scene that brought in more money for the actors involved when it was used decades later in advertisements on television for chilled lager. The film, Quayle and the screenplay (full of psychological insights) were all nominated for Bafta awards. The film's enormous success at the British boxoffice allowed director Thompson to later film "The Guns of Navarone" which proved to be an even bigger success.

The Silent Enemy (William Fairchild, 1958) 5/10

The exploits of bomb disposal expert Lionel "Buster" Crabb (Laurence Harvey) in Gibralter during WWII. British undersea divers counteract Italian frogmen and manned torpedo attacks on British naval ships. Crabb leads a team of divers and discovers how the Italians are using a nearby ship to launch attacks on the British fleet. Action packed atmospheric film has stunning underwater photography and despite all the heroics and a sharp performance by Harvey this heavily fictionalized film has a smell of deja vu about it. The corny comic scenes with Sid James also bogs the drama down.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Jun 13, 2020 9:20 am

Light of My Life (2019) Casey Affleck 4/10
A Rainy Day in New York (2019) Woody Allen 5/10

Repeat viewings

Zodiac (2007) David Fincher 9/10
Red River (1948) Howard Hawks 9/10
The Scar (1976) Krzysztof Kieslowski 6/10
10 (1979) Blake Edwards 7/10
Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill (1965) Russ Meyer 10/10
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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Sabin » Sun Jun 07, 2020 11:30 pm

About Time (Richard Curtis, 2013) 4/10
Very slow coming around to this one. I'm a fan of Richard Curtis' work, which is to say I love Four Weddings and a Funeral and largely defend the rest of his canon. Also, the notion of a "time travel romantic comedy" doesn't put me off in the slightest. The desire to rewrite the past is subject matter for one of my most cherished films, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which in a way is a stealth time travel film itself. But this film's toxic reputation preceded itself. I suspected it had something to do with the wan romantic leads. But while Domhall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams are hardly the best choices for these roles, they've been please fine elsewhere. Put aside the lazy time travel mechanics (which I was more than happy to roll with): Richard Curtis just didn't pull this thing off. Whatever lovely kernel this film began as wasn't satisfyingly rolled out into a movie. The kernel is lovely. I'd bet anything that this film began with the idea of a father telling his son that the men in his family can time travel, followed by a flash of images of a schlubby Richard Curtis stand-in wooing the woman of his dreams, and everything leading up to the last scene with Bill Nighy. But there's such a gracelessness to the characterizations, the dialogue, and the plotting. And it's never clear that time travel is a problem for Tim. Certainly, a young man who can relive any part of his life might use it for more than sneaking in a New Year's Kiss, a chance hook-up with Margot Robbie, or stealing the love of his life -- but this is Richard Curtis. Truly, what is the story here beyond "It's a man's life?" It's more a collection of ideas and mid-life crisis notions strung together. But there's no conflict. I wish Richard Curtis could travel back in time to co-write this movie with his younger self to find something a bit more specific vibrant in this ripe material.

Domhall Gleeson is the drippiest protagonist I've seen in ages while Rachel McAdams never locates her character at all. The only thing more intolerable than a manic pixie dream girl is a manic pixie dream wife. Every scene with Bill Nighy is wonderful.

I think this might've been much improved as a short story.
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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:56 pm

The Watermelon Woman (Cheryl Dunye, 1997) 9/10

Black sapphic history by way of 1930s Hollywood is explored in this audaciously quirky independent film. The first queer movie made by a black lesbian takes a gentle stab at the stereotypes perpetuated by Hollywood by casting black actresses in the role of cook and cleaning woman as exemplified by Hattie McDaniel's "Mammy" in Gone With the Wind. Dunye explores all this and more by creating this history for her film. A young black filmmaker (Cheryl Dunye), who is a lesbian, works in a video store and makes video films for extra money - the opening sequence is set during a wedding for which she has been hired to film the guests as a memento for the family and Dunye hilariously shoots it just like the wedding sequence in Coppola's The Godfather. Fascinated by a lovely black actress in an old 1930s film she discovers she is not billed by her name but as "the watermelon woman". Her interest piqued she goes about looking for information on the actress by way of interviewing her own mother who is a fan of early black actors, asking people on the street about her and going through books at the library. She finally hits paydirt when her mother's old friend, who turns out to be lesbian, pinpoints the actress as the singer Fae Richards who sang in nightclubs, played maids in films and was the lover of a white female movie director. The story also charts the filmmaker's own friendships with a co-worker (Valarie Walker) and with her white lover (Guinevere Turner) - a fairly graphic sex scene between Dunye and Turner caused controversy when the film was finally screened. The scenes from the old films along with old photographs were all created by Dunye for this film - the actress Fae Richards is seen in glamorous poses in stills just like the ones posed by Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford and Norma Shearer for the celebrated photographer George Hurrell. Warm, funny film quietly raises insightful and serious issues about race and sexual orientation. Dunye is very good in the lead role and makes confident choices as the writer and as a first time director.

Liza / La cagna / The Bitch (Marco Ferreri, 1972) 4/10

Ferreri's films were always extremely audacious, shocking and provocative and he managed to attract most of the top European actors to participate in his screen fantasies. This one must have certainly irked feminists everywhere. Both Mastroianni and Deneuve were a couple when they appeared in this film for Ferreri - they would later appear in another film for him as well while Mastroianni (like Ugo Tognazzi, Michel Piccoli, Annie Girardot, Ornella Muti, Hanna Schygulla) was a regular part of the director's favourite troupe of actors who brought to life his unconventional stories. A painter (Marcello Mastroianni) lives a life of isolation in a bunker on a small rocky island with just his beloved dog for company. He has left his wife and two kids and moved away. When a sexy woman (Catherine Deneuve) jumps off a passing yacht and swims ashore she breaches the man's rigidly controlled life. They eventually become lovers but she is jealous of his dog so decides to drown the animal in order to have the man all to herself. She takes the dead dog's collar, wears it around her neck and as he throws a stick around proceeds to fetch it for him just like his dog. When happy she licks his hand but when she bites him in anger he beats her with a stick and kicks her as she cowers in a corner crying pitifully. Is this a black comedy or does it have some deeper meaning? Is Ferreri saying that all human relationships are animalistic in nature? Are women subservient to men just like the dog - a man's best friend? Often Ferreri's outrageous ideas run out of steam as he fails to follow through. Here the couple fly off into the horizon in a pink coloured derelict bomber supposedly to their deaths. Or maybe that was my take from the film while Ferreri had some deeper meaning about it in his brain. It's all rather tedious although watching Deneuve prance around the island with wet clothes sticking to her like a second skin and exposing herself in all her natural glory can be quite exhilarating and well worth sitting through this nonsense.

I Accuse (José Ferrer, 1958) 6/10

Compared to the recent sumptuously produced version by Roman Polanski this MGM take on the notorious "Dreyfus Affair" seems rather drab. However, it gets better as it goes along helped in great part by the magnificent cast of character actors. Anti-semitsm, a long time bane in the United States, was always gingerly handled by Hollywood until two 1947 films, the Oscar winning "Gentlemen's Agreement" and "Crossfire" proved to be major successes. The story of Alfred Dreyfus was already touched upon in the Oscar winning The Life of Emile Zola (1937) for which Joseph Schildkraut won an Oscar playing the condemned jew. Dreyfus (José Ferrer), an upright and wealthy jewish Captain in the French army, is tried, sentenced, stripped of his colours and stripes and condemned to Devil's Island. His alleged crime - selling war secrets to the German Empire. The actual traitor is another officer (Anton Walbrook) who gets away when a General (Donald Wolfit) finds it more convenient to railroad a jew on circumstantial evidence instead. France, in 1894, was deeply entrenched with anti-semite sentiments and Dreyfus fell easy prey to the voracious French army. While in prison his cause is rallied by his lawyer (Felix Aylmer), Major Picquart (Leo Genn), his wife (Viveca Lindfors), brother (David Farrar) and especially the famous writer Émile Zola (Emlyn Williams) who writes an open letter to the President of France accusing directly the Army and many senior officers for carrying out a gross miscarriage of justice. This caused a huge scandal resulting in a second trial where he was again found guilty after presentation of false testiments by senior army officers. Eventually Dreyfuss is exonerated when the original traitor confesses. Gore Vidal adapted the stolid screenplay, the film was shot by Freddie Young in cinemascope and the MGM "touch" gave it an air of importance. The film's raison d'être is its superb cast led by Ferrer (who also directed) and the exceptional group of character actors - also Herbert Lom, George Coulouris, Eric Pohlmann, Harry Andrews, Michael Hordern, Charles Gray - all getting their moment in the sun playing to the gallery.

The Snow Goose (Patrick Garland, 1971) 8/10

Classic Hallmark television film based on the book by Paul Gallico. An aging lighthouse keeper (Richard Harris) and artist forms a unique bond with a young orphan girl (Jenny Agutter) and a goose. When hunters shoot down a migrating goose that ends up off course in a small fishing village in Essex a young girl rescues it. With the help of an irascible old hunchback she nurses it back to health. When the bird recovers and flies off the young girl also retreats back to the village leaving the old man lonely once again. When WWII breaks out the old man is refused enlistment because of his affliction but he once again finds meaning in his life when the goose returns and so does the girl who now has feelings for him. But tragedy is in store for them when he takes up the call to take his boat to Dunkirk to rescue soldiers while she is left with just a painting he did of her and his memories. Sad, poignant little film is bolstered by the superb performances of both Harris, who was nominated for an Emmy for his lead performance, and Agutter who won the supporting award.

In the Gloaming (Christopher Reeve, 1997) 8/10

A film about love and forgiveness. This quietly moving observational drama explores the dynamics within a family as one member's sudden arrival proves to be the catalyst for change. The film, based on a short story in the New Yorker, is a series of short vignettes spread over a few months. The prodigal son (Robert Sean Leonard) returns to the home of his affluent parents, his loving mother (Glenn Close) and aloof father (David Strathairn), both of whom are stuck in an uneasy marriage full of simmering but repressed emotions. Nobody mentions it but they both uneasily acknowledge that their son is gay, is in the last months of his battle with AIDS and has come home to die. His sister (a brittle Bridget Fonda) has her own neuroses to bare. She is resentful of her mother for ignoring her during childhood while showering all her attention on the son. The story focuses on the mother as she learns, with gentle prodding from a nurse (Whoopi Goldberg), to reconnect with her son as they sit together and talk about themselves, his love life and her strained relationship with his father. These beautifully directed scenes are set during twilight or the gloaming hour which, as per Scottish heritage, is the time of day immediately after the sun sets. In keeping with this theme is the lilting Scottish infused score by Dave Grusin and the Irish song, "Danny Boy", which Close sings to her son as he doses beside her. Similarly themed as the far superior television film An Early Frost (1985), this short film (only 67 minutes) is held together by the quietly magnificent performance by Close whose marvelous face registers a multitude of emotions as she comes to grips with the fate of her son. Nominated for 5 Emmy awards - Best Tv Film, for Reeve's direction, the performances by Close and Fonda and the cinematography by Frederick Elves who captures the stunning autumn vistas of Westchester County, New York.

The Lone Hand (George Sherman, 1953) 6/10

Widower (Joel McCrea), with young son, rides into small Colorado town, buys a small farm and gets married to a pretty young lady (Barbara Hale). Secretly he joins a gang of outlaws robbing banks and stagecoaches much to the consternation of his hero-worshiping son. Shot on spectacular locations this B-film is typical of many similar Westerns of the time but it is played out in charming fashion complete with a twist ending. McCrea is a solid action hero.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:31 am

An Officer and a Spy (2019) Roman Polanski 7/10
The Trip to Greece (2020) Michael Winterbottom 4/10
Paddington (2014) Paul King 6/10
Passington 2 (2017) Paul King 6/10
Photograph (2019) Ritesh Batra 4/10

Repeat viewings

Un Chien Andalou (1929) Luis Bunuel 9/10
L'age d'or (1930) Luis Bunuel 9/10
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) William Wyler 8/10
Amadeus (1984) Milos Forman 8/10
The Limey (1999) Steven Soderbergh 8/10
Camera Buff (1979) Krzysztof Kieslowski 7/10
The Elephant Man (1980) David Lynch 10/10
The Believer (2001) Henry Bean 7/10
Blind Chance (1987) Krzysztof Kieslowski 7/10
"I want cement covering every blade of grass in this nation! Don't we taxpayers have a voice anymore?" Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole) in John Waters' Desperate Living (1977)

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

Postby Reza » Thu Jun 04, 2020 2:24 pm

J'accuse / The Officer and a Spy (Roman Polanski, 2019) 8/10

Solid well-crafted production with a great eye towards period detail. Polanski's film charts the dogged pursuit of justice by newly promoted Chief of Intelligence, Colonel Picquart (Jean Dujardin), to prove the innocence of disgraced and incarcerated officer Alfred Dreyfuss (Louis Garrel) who was thrown out of the army for selling secrets to the German Empire. On trumped up charges he is found guilty and imprisoned on far-off Devil's Island. The story, based on the book by Thomas Harris, was a long gestating project for Polanski who probably saw parallels in his own life with Dreyfuss although the latter fell foul of the system not because of statutory rape (like the director) but because he was a jew. The film exposes the antisemitism of 1890s France. Painstakingly researched film easily ranks right up there with Polanski's best and the subject of racism has never felt more relevant than in these trying times the world is going through. The entire cast, led by the stoic Dujardin, is flawless with special mentions to Garrel as Dreyfuss and Grégory Gadebois as an antagonistic officer reluctant to divulge information towards the investigation. Controversial film won the jury prize at the Venice Film Festival followed by 12 César award nominations. At the ceremony many people walked out when Polanski's name was called. It won awards for Polanski, the screenplay and costume design and nominations for Best Film, Jean Dujardin, Louis Garrel, Grégory Gadebois, Production Design, Cinematography, Editing, Sound and Music Score.

The Saint Strikes Back (John Farrow, 1939) 5/10

Second in the RKO series of B films based on the famous character created by Leslie Charteris. It stars debonair George Sanders in his first outing as the sophisticated detective dressed in top hat and tails. A gang murder in a San Francisco night club involves Simon Templar (George Sanders), alias "The Saint", when he is accused of the killing. He convinces the cops to help them solve the case. He also helps a woman (Wendy Barrie) by trying to prove the innocence of her father, a disgraced cop who killed himself. Fast moving but minor film has a fairly confusing plot but witty Sanders is the whole show as he doggedly pursues justice while passing quips left right and center.

Power Play (Martyn Burke, 1978) 6/10

Rarely seen drama was one of Peter O'Toole's lesser known films when he had just about struck rock bottom due to alcohol related problems. A group of disgruntled professionals and military officers become sick of their civilian government operating under a dictator. A doctor (Barry Morse) persuades his close friend, a retiring Colonel (David Hemmings), to participate in a coup d'état. They also invite a Colonel (Peter O'Toole) of the tank regiment to join their plan. When the sadistic secret police chief (Donald Pleasance) gets wind of the plan it takes every bit of effort to pull the wool over his eyes. Just when the plan reaches it's successful denouement they discover a mole in their group which leads to a surprising and unexpected conclusion. Good cast with Pleasance easily the standout.

Golgotha (Julien Duvivier, 1935) 10/10

Fascinating early french talkie depicts the last days in the life of Jesus Christ (Robert Le Vigan) covering Palm Sunday, the Passion and the Resurrection. Surprisingly there are no scenes of Christ preaching and in fact we get to see very little of him, mostly in longshot with very few closeups, until much later in the film. The film's dramatic opening has Jesus entering Jerusalem with the camera creeping up the high imposing walls of the city. We don't see him but his presence is felt through whispered dialogue between the priests, merchants and the city-dwellers. As Jesus enters the holy temple's vast courtyard, teeming with crowds gathered to greet him, there is a bravura sequence of a single 30-second long take as he zigzags through the stalls and attacks and destroys the moneylenders' tables angering them no end. His presence is a serious threat to the superstitious jewish priests who buy off Judas with thirty silver pieces to betray him. This is followed immediately by the Last Supper where Jesus is shown in a rare close-up as he confronts Judas and tells him to do what he has planned. When the soldiers arrive to arrest him and he identifies himself they fall back which is an incident never shown in any other film although is mentioned in the Bible. The film's centerpiece is the discourse between Pontius Pilate (Jean Gabin) and Christ and a brief interlude with his own wife (Edwige Feuillère) who pleads for Christ's life because she is moved by his saintly aura. There is a stunning moment in between the beatings and the ridiculing - by King Herod (Harry Baur in an acclaimed cameo) - when Pilate gives the jeering public the Nazi salute - the film was released during the rise of Nazism - which becomes a sharp critique of the burgeoning movement. Duvivier throughout insists on avoiding spectacle instead downplaying most of the events though some of the cruelty inflicted on Christ matches a lot, if not in graphic detail, how Mel Gibson presented the events in "The Passion of the Christ". The crucifixion is shown with nails being driven through the wrists and not through the palms as has often been depicted in subsequent films. Le Vigan is very good throughout as Christ and especially moving in his brief encounter with his mother Mary on his harrowing walk with the cross to Golgotha - the hill where he is to be crucified. The irony is that offscreen the actor openly advocated his anti-Semitism, collaborated with the Nazis, was later stripped of his French citizenship, imprisoned and ended his life impoverished and insane in Argentina. This is one of the best films on the life of Christ and one of Duvivier's masterpieces. A must-see.

Defence of the Realm (David Drury, 1986) 9/10

Dense but gripping political thriller involving a massive cover-up by the British government when an American nuclear bomber crashes at a base. An MP (Ian Bannen), who has planned on asking awkward questions about the incident in Parliament, is set up as a spy after he is caught with a tart who is also servicing a KGB agent. A dogged journalist (Gabriel Byrne) exposes the spy story but realizes it was a set up after his colleague (Denholm Elliott), an alcoholic, comes up with incriminating evidence about a massive cover-up. Bleak, cynical story is superbly acted - Greta Scacchi plays the MP's secretary who helps the journalist - with Elliott winning a Bafta award for his striking but brief role. Byrne, with his brooding good looks, became a star after this film.

Evil Under the Sun (Guy Hamilton, 1982) 7/10

The familiar Poirot formula on film, carried over from two previous all-star productions - Murder on the Orient Express (1974) & Death on the Nile (1978) - is replicated here but the film flopped. It is in fact as much fun as the first two and has a wonderful cast camping it up led by Sir Peter Ustinov, in his second outing, as Agatha Christie's Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. A set formula - an exotic location (the book's Devonshire setting is switched here to an island off the Adriatic coast although shot on the Balearic island of Mallorca in Spain), a group of disparate people gathered together who all have axes to grind against one person followed by a murder. The victim here is a glamourous and very bitchy stage actress (Diana Rigg) who arrives at an island resort with her third husband (Dennis Quilley) and sullen step-daughter (Emily Hone). She is in the midst of an affair with a gigolo (Nicholas Clay) who is also a guest at the hotel with his prim wife (Jane Birkin). The hotel is run by a daffy propreitess (Maggie Smith) who once sparred with the actress during their youth as chorus girls. The other guests are a producer (James Mason) and his garrulous wife (Sylvia Miles) who are angry because the actress walked out of a hit play which they had produced, a trashy novelist (Roddy McDowall) who has written a tell-all book on her which she is not allowing him to publish and a millionaire (Colin Blakely) who was jilted by the actress. When she turns up strangled on a remote beach it is upto Poirot to solve the case. Elegantly designed film has a witty script by Anthony Shaffer, outrageous costumes by Anthony Powell, superbly shot by Christopher Challis and has wonderful performances especially by Ustinov, Smith and Rigg. The film's delightful score is by Cole Porter in keeping with the story's 1930s setting.

The Goonies (Richard Donner, 1985) 7/10

Rip-roaring kiddie flick is a tale concocted by Steven Spielberg (screenplay by Chris Columbus) just like one of those old Saturday matinée serials. A group of misfit kids discover an old pirate map in an attic and set forth on a trail looking for buried treasure which leads them to a derelict house on a cliff. Spielberg repeats himself here with slight variances - shades of the Indy Jones franchise - as he puts the kids through a rollercoaster ride through booby-trapped underground tunnels below the house. Adding to the danger are an escaped convict (Robert Davi), his crazy brother (Joe Pantoliano) and their psycho Mom (Anne Ramsey) who are using the old house as a hiding place. Amusing film now seems a tad derivative as it was copied so many times over the decades since but it still holds up thanks to the camaraderie between the bunch of young actors of which Josh Brolin, Sean Astin, Martha Plimpton, Keri Green and Corey Feldman became famous as stars.


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