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 » Sat Dec 05, 2020 8:51 am

Mank (David Fincher, 2020) 9/10

This has to be one of the best looking films of the year. In fact any year. Shot in impeccable black and white the film has outstanding production values evoking the golden age of Hollywood in all it's decadent glory - the stars, their homes, the vicious politics behind the scenes. The film delves into the machinations that went into creating the screenplay for Orson Welles' classic "Citizen Kane". Credit for the screenplay eventually went to both Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman) and to Welles (Tom Burke), who both shared the only Oscar the film received for Original Screenplay. However behind the scenes Welles offered Mank $10,000 in return for sole credit which the screenwriter refused. And this was after an initial contract between them where Mank was to be simply a writer "for hire" and was not to get credit for writing the screenplay. The story he wrote was a thinly disguised biography of newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst (Charles Dance) which grew from the writer's close association with the tycoon and his mistress, the Hollywood star Marion Davies (Amanda Seyfried), and of his time spent with them at the Hearst castle San Simeon. Mank, famous for "fixing" screenplays of other writers, was a great wit but a voracious alcoholic. Oldman superbly captures this flawed character. Often labeled "the court jester" due to his pathetic but witty drunken rants while disrupting Hollywood parties he still manages to maintain relationships, some loving but many exasperating, with people close to and around him - his wife (Tuppence Middleton), his secretary (Lily Collins), with MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer (Arliss Howard), the wunderkind MGM producer Irving Thalberg (Ferdinand Kingsley) and especially Marion Davies with whom he formed a special bond. While Oldman gives a solid and sympathetic performance, the film's surprise package is Seyfried. Not unlike Marion Davies herself - a sweet young starlet - she shows remarkable depth in her brief scenes portraying the oft-ridiculed comedienne and star, bringing out her soft yet steely reserve and genuine love for Hearst. Sharply written story is not for everyone - you need a crash course in Hollywood lore to truly enjoy this film. It also helps if you have actually seen "Citizen Kane", a film almost everyone has heard of yet not many have seen. However, you cannot deny this film's outstanding look and style - the editing, the expressionistic cinematography, the costumes and the production design, all of which seem to be from a film of that era. Fincher captures it all perfectly - the glamour, the sleaze, the corruption and glory - and also pays a fitting posthumous tribute to the genius of Herman J. Mankiewicz.

Le placard / The Closet (Francis Veber, 2001) 4/10

Silly film about a man (Daniel Auteuil) who comes out of the closet even though he was never in one. Sad and lonely - his wife has left him, his son ignores him and everyone at his work place finds him a bore and uptight and hates him. His neighbour comes up with an idea to save his job. He is told to pretend he is gay which he does after fake photos of him in a gay bar are circulated at the office. Fearing bad publicity the Company President (Jean Rochefort) decides to keep him on. Soon his life changes - the office brute (Gerard Depardieu) befriends him causing complications for him with his wife, his son finds him cool, his immediate boss (Michele Laroqe) ends up shagging him and his nasty wife gets her comeuppance. Auteuil breezes through the film with a stricken look across his face while Depardieu gets sidelined. Despite challenging sterotypes the jokes are all pretty lame and the film is instantly forgettable.

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

Postby gunnar » Fri Dec 04, 2020 11:00 pm

Banjo on My Knee (1936) - 6.5/10 - Ernie and Pearl are getting married in a small Mississippi River community. Ernie has a temper and runs away on his wedding night when he thinks he's killed a man. Pearl waits a long time, but when Ernie finally returns, he plans to leave again almost right away so Pearl runs off to New Orleans to get away from him. I thought that Barbara Stanwyck did a decent job as Pearl and Walter Brennan was good as Ernie's eccentric father, Newt. Ernie (Joel McCrea) was pretty unlikeable though and that detracted from the story. I couldn't really see why Pearl would stay with him. There was enough in here so that it wasn't a horrible movie, but it wasn't that great either.

It Happens Every Spring (1949) - 7/10 - Ray Milland stars as a college professor who discovers that an accident has caused chemicals to mix in such a way that the resulting liquid causes objects to avoid wood. He decides to use this to become a star baseball pitcher, leaving behind his old job and girlfriend (Jean Peters) for an 'emergency leave of absence'. The movie is enjoyable enough, though pretty formulaic and not really anything special.

Johnny Come Lately (1943) - 8/10 - James Cagney stars as a drifter named Tom Richards who visits the town of Plattsville in 1906. The town is run by the crooked W.M.Dougherty (Edward McNamara), though a small newspaper run by elderly resident Vinnie McLeod (Grace George) stands up to the corruption as best they can, though they are in financial difficulty. Richards takes over running the paper and the fight with Daugherty. I thought that this movie was very entertaining with plenty of humor. It's a fairly simple story and runs along familiar lines, but is done well and the performances are pretty good. Marjorie Main has a nice turn as saloon owner, 'Gashouse' Mary, and Hattie McDaniel is pretty funny as Aida, Vinnie's live-in maid.

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

Postby Reza » Thu Dec 03, 2020 4:09 am

The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives (Uttam Domale, 2020) 6/10

Cringy, bitchy, vulgar, superficial but very funny look into the lives of four Bollywood wannabee divas married to four has-been actors. The only one of the four to have had a fairly thriving Bollywood career as an actress is Neelam Kothari (wife of Samir Soni) which ended over 20 years ago. The other three are Bhavna Panday (wife of Chunkey Panday), Seema Khan (wife of Sohail Khan) and Maheep Kapoor (wife of Sanjay Kapoor). All four women are not only nurturing mothers but have independant and fairly thriving business careers so they are not total write-offs. Their friendship, lasting 25 years, is brought to the tv screen on this reality show courtesy of producer Karan Johar who ensures he not only gets ample screentime himself but tries to out vamp all four divas - all close friends of his. The glue that silently holds these four screeching women together is the biggest Bollywood diva, Gauri Khan, wife of superstar Shah Rukh Khan. The star couple make an appearance during the last episode which revolves around a Bollywood bash thrown by Gauri for her four friends to celebrate their long friendship. All these women seemed to have modeled their lives off the pages of a Jackie Collins potboiler. It has to be one of the worst shows on the telly but like a bad habit very hard to resist. Campy fun.

His House (Remi Weekes, 2020) 8/10

A Sudanese couple escape their war-torn country, reach England and take asylum. Assigned a house to live in they discover the place is haunted by a demon who wants retribution for the death of their daughter who drowned in the sea when their boat capsized during their escape. Is the couple going mad? Do they actually see and hear the strange being living inside the walls of the house? Harrowing story delves deep into the psyche of refugees who have witnessed unbearable horrors enroute to a life of safety. The ones who make it out alive carry horrific memories and scars with them for the rest of their lives. An eerie ghost story - haunted house mystery is used as a springboard to look into the tortured souls of surviving refugees who leave behind a traumatic past full of blood and death. The film's superb sound design helps to create the nightmares buried deep inside the brain of a person who has gone through hell to reach salvation and safety.

Paris By Night (David Hare, 1988) 7/10

Playwright David Hare's work has often been concerned with modern Britain and with society's apparent failure to live up to the idealism of the post-war period. Here he launches an acid assault on the morals of Thatcherism. His central character, in this dark twisted tale, is a Conservative Member of the European Parliament (Charlotte Rampling), a cold and ambitious woman who is disgusted by her weak alcoholic husband (Michael Gambon), also a senior politician, and is neglectful of her young son. For some time she has been receiving annonymous phone calls with a man's voice hinting at some past indiscretion. She is also being blackmailed by a former business partner who was swindled in a business deal by her husband. While on a trip to Paris to attend a conference she has an affair with a young man (Iain Glen) and has a chance encounter with the blackmailer who begs her for money. She tips him over into the Seine and he drowns. Since there are no witnesses she carries on without remourse until she is told by the dead man's daughter that he was penniless and only needed money to help her. Rampling is riveting as she moves through the film with the stealth of a deadly panther as Roger Pratt's evocative cinematography and camera angles bathe her in shadows and sudden light. The eerie noir-like atmosphere of the plot conjures up a nighmarish world of deception, sexual manipulation and extortion.

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

Postby gunnar » Wed Dec 02, 2020 9:23 pm

Red Dwarf: The Promised Land (2020) - 7/10 - The crew of the Red Dwarf encounters a fleet of ships filled with the cat people descended from Lister's cat. While this wasn't the best of Red Dwarf, it was comfortable and fun. I prefer the episodic format of the tv series, but this worked. It's good to see the crew back in action and I definitely hope that they keep creating more Red Dwarf for many years to come.

Wild in the Streets (1968) - 5/10 - A popular rock star starts a movement to lower the vote to 14 and get the power in the hands of the youth. He seems to have tons of followers who cause problems for the establishment through protest and violence. Liberal use of LSD helps bring about changes that he wants and gains him power in Washington, D.C.. The movie is kind of ridiculous and I didn't really enjoy it very much, except for the soundtrack, which I thought was good. The movie fits in okay with the counterculture in the 1960s I guess. A young Richard Pryor is the drummer in the band.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Nov 29, 2020 1:49 pm

Tenet (Christopher Nolan, 2020) 2/10

A CIA agent (John David Washington), his sidekick (Robert Pattinson), an arms dealer (Dimple Kapadia), a Russian oligarch (Kenneth Nranagh) and his estranged wife (Elizabeth Debecki) all come together in a convoluted plot that allows them all to move backwards in time. In fact the plot is so dense - nonsense about plutonium bombs that will be detonated by the crazed heavy causing WWIII - that it comes in the way of all the spectacularly staged action set-pieces which all fall flat. This science fiction action thriller is totally devoid of actual thrills as one's brain is trying desperately to understand what is happening on screen so each scene sort of whizzes by with one's brain in a fog. Also not helping matters is the terribly deadpan Washington who is in almost every scene of the film but has zero star charisma. Pattinson, Debecki and Kapadia have great presence playing interesting characters while Branagh is saddled with a role that requires the obligatory "foreign" accent to differentiate him from the good guys. Nolan's regular mascot, Sir Michael Caine, appears in a brief cameo with a witty quip about the demerits of a Brooks Brothers suit. As if the whole enterprise was not boring enough Nolan stretches it to an excessively hideous 2.5 hours with bad sound to boot - all the actors' dialogue sounds strangely muffled causing one to strain one's ears to hear what they are saying. Thanks to the Pandemic the film bombed big time and should be a lesson to film makers to go on thinking big if they want but at least make sense of what they present on the screen. The film's only saving grace is the spectacular cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytema.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (Jason Woliner, 2020) 1/10

Stupid beyond belief. Every joke in this sequel falls flat. A classic case of trying to wring laughs out of a premise that was never funny in the first place. Sacha Boren Cohen should from here henceforth stick strictly to dramas only. His Borat shtick is a pathetic bore.

The Pledge (Sean Penn, 2001) 7/10

Penn's film is a remake of the classic 1958 German film "Es geschah am hellichten Tag", and based on the book by Friedrich Dürrenmatt. A lonely retired cop (Jack Nicholson) becomes obsessed with a murder case after making a pledge to the battered young girl's mother (Patricia Clarkson) that he would find the killer. The police - the Chief (Sam Shepard) and another cop (Aaron Eckhart) - close the case after a mentally challenged supect (Benicio Del Toro) is coerced into a confession after which he shoots himself. Discovering a pattern of similar murders he purchases a gas station on the route of the suspected serial killer's beat and befriends a chip-toothed waitress (Robin Wright) and her daughter who eventually move in with him after she is attacked by her ex-husband. He uses the young child as bait to trap the killer. An extraordinary cast work together to bring this chilling story to life with many of the actors agreeing to appear in small roles as a favour to both Penn and Nicholson. Each gets a vivid moment or two - Harry Dean Stanton as the owner of a gas station, Mickey Rourke as a grieving father whose child has been missing for 3 years, Helen Mirren as a psychiatrist, Vanessa Redgrave as the grandmother of the most recent victim and Lois Smith as an invalid who makes little wooden porcupines. Dark, and disturbing film is brightly lit by cinematographer Chris Menges capturing the icy wilderness of Nevada (although the film was shot in Canada) and the poverty-stricken small towns the cop moves through. Penn carefully weaves in themes of mental impairment and fundamentalist religion into the plot with a deeply felt performance at the center by Nicholson.

Agatha and the Midnight Murders (Joe Stephenson, 2020) 5/10

Fed up to death over her creation of Hercule Poirot and how the character has taken over her life, Agatha Christie (Helen Baxendale) has written a manuscript for a new book in which she kills off the Belgian detective. With bombs falling over London she finds shelter in the basement of a posh hotel with her friend and chauffeur and an assortment of other people including a Japanese fan who wishes to buy the book's rights, his shrewd partner, their bodyguard, a PC, a rich Lord, his glamorous companion, an Italian gangster and two mysterious women. As in all of Christie's books there is soon a murder, and another and then followed by yet one more. Trapped in the basement the killer is one of them and before the story ends there are five dead bodies, a twist ending and Christie not only figuring out the killer but also coming to an appreciation of Poirot. Now that all of Christie's books have been filmed, some many times over, this latest series of tv films has created a spinoff with the author herself front and center of the murder mysteries.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Nov 29, 2020 1:32 am

Let Him Go (Thomas Bezucha, 2020) 3/10

What starts out suspiciously like a Hallmark tv-movie weepie suddenly turns into a Western thriller with gothic overtones. Bringing gravitas to the proceedings, but barely raising it above a notch or two from being a mere revenge potboiler, is the lackadaisical charm of both the leads. A retired sheriff (Kevin Costner) and his plucky wife (Diane Lane) deal with tragedy when their son dies in a freak accident. Some years later his widow remarries a stranger and disappears with their grandson. Having witnessed the man mistreating his wife and her son - their grandson - they end up on a road trip to see what became of them. The plot shifts totally into bizzare mode from here onwards as they discover their former daughter-in-law and grandson are living on a ranch in the back of beyond ruled by a Ma Barker-like matriarch (Lesley Manville) who controls the lives of her brood of nitwit sons. Trying to persuade the young woman to come with them backfires and the old lady and her sons invade their motel, assault them and chop off the sheriff's hand. The plot then further shifts into a ridiculously implausable revenge saga which results in more mayhem, a number of dead bodies and a burning ranch. Absolutely hard to believe that a former sheriff could be so inept with a gun or his fists. Both Costner and Lane should have avoided this genre movie like the plague. Manville is not only completely over-the-top but also seems to be having a great time playing with an American accent and brandishing a hatchet and a shotgun. Extremely disappointing film.

The Charge of the Light Brigade (Tony Richardson, 1968) 7/10

Richardson's film is a clear exercise in how NOT to wage war. In fact it's a clear warning against military interventions in other lands - true of most wars but very relevant in 1968 with the Vietnam War then raging and the great folly it turned out to be for the United States. This particular failed military action - hardly resembling the poem written by the then Poet Laureate, Lord Alfred Tennyson - involved the British light cavalry led by the overbearing Lord Cardigan (Trevor Howard) against Russian forces during the Battle of Balaclava in 1854 during the Crimean War. The Commander of the British Forces, Lord Raglan (Sir John Gielgud), had intended to use the Light Brigade in preventing the Russians from capturing Turkish guns but due to miscommunication in the chain of command the Light Brigade was instead sent on a frontal assault against a different artillery battery, one well-prepared with excellent defensive fire. The assault charge ended with very high British casualties and no decisive gains. This was the first major Battle that Britain was involved in since the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 and in the interim the Army was riddled with an inept chain of command, the arrogance of aristocratic officers bound by bureaucracy, interpersonal wars within the unit, including unfaithful wives and an intense bitter rivalry between Lord Cardigan and Captain Nolan (David Hemmings), who led the charge. Making matters worse was the spread of cholera and the intense heat and flies which started killing off soldiers even before the battle began. Fascinating, if flawed film, was cut by the studio without Richardson's permission. There are still some wonderful moments scattered throughout along with an exemplary cast, including Vanessa Redgrave as an adulterous wife and Jill Bennett as a soldier's wife, infatuated with Lord Cardigan, who accompanies the Army and wrote a journal of her experiences during the Crimean War. The film includes jingoistic animated images by Richard Williams, based on the 19th century graphic style of Punch magazine, to explain the political events surrounding the battle. The film has a memorable score by Richard Addison and superb widescreen cinematography by David Watkin.

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

Postby gunnar » Sun Nov 29, 2020 12:22 am

Movies watched from the last 10 days

Pathfinder (1987) - 8/10 - The movie takes place around the year 1000 AD in the northern part of what is now Norway. Aigin is a teenage boy of the Sami people who returns home to find that a group of foreign soldiers/raiders have killed his family. He escapes to another Sami village, but is pursued, thus endangering them as well. I thought that it was a pretty good film. The enemies are pretty one dimensional, but the movie was entertaining.

Blue Skies (1946) - 6.5/10 - Fred Astaire is the narrator and a dancer. Bing Crosby is a man who opens and then sells nightclubs. Each of them falls in love with a showgirl (Joan Caulfield). The movie features a lot of Irving Berlin songs. I found it to be pretty slow through the first half, but I thought it got a little better after that. Overall, it's not a great film, but is watchable.

Birth of the Blues (1941) - 7.5/10 - Bing Crosby plays a talented clarinet player with a flare for Dixieland music. He puts together a band, but they initially have trouble gaining acceptance for their music in New Orleans around the turn of the century. I thought it was a fun movie, certainly moreso than Blue Skies, and the music was good, too.

To the Shores of Tripoli (1942) - 7/10 - A wealthy playboy joins the Marines, but is definitely lacking in discipline. His sergeant is an old friend of his father. He also tries to start a romance with a navy nurse who outranks him. The movie came out a few months after Pearl Harbor, though it was in postproduction when the attack happened. Despite the movie's flaws, I enjoyed it. John Payne, Maureen O'Hara and Randolph Scott star. This was also Harry Morgan's film debut.

The Thief (1952) - 8/10 - Ray Milland stars in this noir film as a nuclear physicist who works for the Atomic Energy Commission, but has also been selling secrets to a foreign power. A traffic accident with one of the couriers leads to his being investigated by FBI agents, leading to a climactic scene at the Empire State Building. I thought that this film was very good. There is no dialog in the film, but it does contain ambient sounds as well as a nice soundtrack.

The Well (1951) - 7.5/10 - A five year old black girl falls down a well and goes missing. People are searching for her and a white man is suspected of having kidnapped her, leading to escalating racial tension and violence as rumors spread. Richard Rober did a nice job as the sheriff who tries to keep things under control. Harry Morgan plays the stranger who is accused of taking the girl. I thought it was a solid film.

The Dark Mirror (1946) - 8/10 - A doctor is found murdered in his apartment and there are several eyewitnesses who identify the young woman that he is with. However, it turns out that she has an identical twin and one of them has a perfect alibi, but they won't tell which one. A psychiatrist becomes involving in analyzing the two women in part to see if he can determine which one could be the killer. I thought that this was a very entertaining film. Olivia de Havilland does a nice job as the twins and we get good performances from Lew Ayres as the psychiatrist and Thomas Mitchell as the police lieutenant in charge of the case.

I Love You Rosa (1972) - 7/10 - Late in the 18th Century, a young Jewish woman is widowed. An old Jewish law dictated that her husband's brother should marry the widow, but Nessim is a young boy of 11 or 12. Nissim is in love with Rosa, but she sees him as a son and helps raise him as such. I thought that it started pretty slow, but got better as it went along. It wasn't great, but there was enough in there to like.

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

Postby Reza » Tue Nov 24, 2020 4:18 pm

Hillbilly Elegy (Ron Howard, 2020) 4/10

A true story about overcoming poverty and a relentless cycle of domestic violence and still managing to achieve the American Dream. Based on the bestselling memoir by J. D. Vance which not only charts the life of an Appalachian family as seen through the eyes of the youngest family member but is also an intricate reflection on white working-class Americans. A young boy manages to rise above the issues holding him back and through sheer hard work and determination becomes a Yale Law School graduate. He grows up with a mother (Amy Adams) who is literally batshit crazy, who alternates by being a loving parent and bouts of manic physical and verbal abuse while under the influence of drugs. His nurturing feisty grandmother (Glenn Close) offers tough love and encouragement despite her own pathetic life with an abusive husband (Bo Hopkins). Everyone around him has had a seemingly nasty life - kids in the neighborhood are messed up, on drugs with no positive role models around. His traumatic childhood is viewed via flashbacks as he, during the present, is on the verge of getting an important internship when he is called back home due to his mother overdosing on heroin. Living now with an emotionally supportive girlfriend (Frieda Pinto) his trip to sort out his mother's life back home is a nightmare as her condition makes him recall his traumatic childhood spent with her and his older sister. All the scenes with Adams and Close are full of shrill high drama and boringly repetitive. Close tries to disappear into the role of the old grandmother - large eye glasses on a face devoid of makeup, under a crop of short curly hair and a shuffling gait - and while she's good it's really not that great a performance being touted in some circles as one that could finally net the actress her long awaited Oscar. There is just too much acting going on by both Adams and Close. The film's best moments all belong to the adult J. D. with Gabriel Basso superb in the part. Contrived, self conscious film doesn't dig deep enough to explain why these characters had such lousy lives and because of it one fails to find any of them sympathetic.

Conduct Unbecoming (Michael Anderson, 1975) 8/10

"Conduct Unbecoming" was a phrase used as a charge in courts martial of the British Armed Forces in the 18th and early 19th centuries "for behaving in a scandalous, infamous manner, such as is unbecoming the character of an officer and a gentleman". A courtroom drama presented as a whodunnit and set in a British officer's outpost mess in the North West Frontier Province of India during the Victorian era. The plot revolves around a scandalous mystery which is exposed in a kangaroo court presided over by the senior officers in order to preserve the honour of the regiment. A newly arrived junior officer (James Faulkner) is accused of assaulting the pretty, flirtatious widow (Susannah York) of the regiment's revered hero. A court is quickly set up by the senior officers and they select another junior officer (Michael York) to ‘'defend'' the accused. When the investigation reveals certain nasty truths there is strong pressure to quickly cover up and convict the accused in order to uphold the honour of the regiment at all costs even if it means condemning the wrong person. The riveting plot is a harsh indictment of the British army, circa the 1890s. The film is mostly set bound with a few outdoor shots filmed on location in Pakistan (the opening parade sequence is shot in what is now the F11 sector in Islamabad, with the Margalla Hills in the background, and some scenes are shot near Kohat in the NWFP). However, due to sharp editing the story moves at a quick pace and belies it's stage origins. An extraordinary cast was selected to play the various characters - Trevor Howard as the Colonel of the Regiment, Helen Cherry as his wife, Richard Attenborough and Christopher Plummer as Majors and close friends of the deceased hero, Stacy Keach as a Captain and Persis Khambatta as an important witness - and each is given a memorably dramatic scene to perform in the confines of the melodramatic and very suspenseful plot. The film is exquisitely designed with superb sets and costumes. Susannah York is memorable as the woman who holds the key to the mystery.

Trauma (Marc Evans, 2004) 1/10

Visually stylish but hokey and confusing psychological thriller. A former art student (Colin Firth), who suffered a childhood trauma, survives a deadly car crash that kills his wife (Naomie Harris). The guilt-ridden man starts life afresh after moving into a creepy remodelled house which was a mental institution, finds a job and befriends a neighbour (Mena Suvari). When he starts seeing visions of his dead wife, a spiritualist (Brenda Fricker) informs him that his wife may still be alive. He also becomes a suspect in the murder of a pop star which the police are investigating. During the questioning he starts to lose track of reality and goes mad. The director goes overboard using distorted camera angles, fractured editing and overlapping flasbacks to show the man's confused state which soon becomes tiresome as the plot keeps getting more and far fetched. Overwrought nonsense has to be the lowest point in Firth's career.

Unhinged (Derrick Borte, 2020) 6/10

Are you having a bad day? Well it's not nice to behave like "Angry Joe" (Russell Crowe) who started his day by bludgeoning to death his ex-wife and her husband and setting their home on fire. And he continues after a run-in with a single Mom (Caren Pistorius), with various problems of her own (running late while dropping her son at school and losing her job), on a freeway and starts relentlessly chasing her because she refused to apologise after angrily honking at him while he remained parked at a green light. This B-film holds the distinction of being the first film to get a wide cinematic release during the pandemic and which tries to speak to the masses about anger, fear and helplessness felt by everyone while confined by the deadly Covid-19 virus. The screenplay goes for the jugular as the man goes on a savage rampage stalking, terrorizing and killing everyone dear to her. An obese Crowe, with a straggly beard, makes one hell of a psycho maybe representing the kind of disenfranchised population that ushered in the Trump Administration. Unsettling, heavy-handed film leaves a bitter taste in the mouth yet keeps you on the edge of your seat watching the screen as the mayhem on the freeway gets more and more outrageous leading to the expected catharsis involving a pair of scissors imbedded deep inside an eye socket.

No Reservations (Scott Hicks, 2007) 6/10

Overworked control-freak chef (Catherine Zeta-Jones), single by choice, works her kitchen staff like a warden in a concentration camp hating any and all criticism from restaurant patrons. Into her ordered life arrives her deceased sister's young daughter (Abigail Breslin), who has to move in with her, and a brashly dramatic co-chef (Aaron Eckhart) hired by the owner (Patricia Clarkson) of the restaurant to work alongside her. Chaos ensues in both her home and work life. This is a remake of the German/Italian film "Mostly Martha" and sticks mostly to the original's premise with mouth-watering shots of exotic food creations. It also pushes all the predictable sentimental buttons - you just know the child is going to thaw out her aunt which will ease her into a relationship with Eckhart. It's nice to see lovely Zeta-Jones in the era before she chose to carve up her face like one of her lobster concoctions in the kitchen here and her brittle character is a good antidote to the more mauldin situations in the screenplay. Formulaic film gets by on oodles of charm and the underplayed chemistry between the two stars.

Then She Found Me (Helen Hunt, 2007) 5/10

A Rom-Com chick flick low on romance or drama or comedy yet is a pleasant enough watch thanks to a good cast. A school teacher (Helen Hunt) is going through a low period in her life. She is 39, the clock is ticking and she is desperate to get pregnant but her best friend and husband (Matthew Broderick) decides to dump her and walks out on their one-year old marriage. Then her mother dies, a divorced englishman (Colin Firth), with two kids, shows interest in her and out of the blue she is confronted by an eccentric self obsessed talk show host (Bette Midler) who claims she is her biological mother. Making matters further worse is the return of her husband who decides he made a mistake and wants her back. Hunt, making her directorial debut (she also co-wrote the screenplay adapted from a novel), looks harried throughout - it's her character arc of course, but also seems she has taken on too many roles on a film that is really not worthy of her. Firth does a "Hugh Grant" shtick while Broderick is absolutely wasted in an underwritten role. Only Midler manages to override the bumps in the script, is funny and comes through as a real person.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Nov 21, 2020 4:19 am

The Crown - Season 4 (2020) 9/10

As expected this season's main thrust is the two important women who made a mark during the era depicted here. Princess Diana (Emma Corrin in a lovely performance) is perfectly captured in all her initial gauche frustration which gradually changes to the woman and mother who became known as the "Peoples' Princess", and the steely Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson) who is presented here as grating opportunistic, phoney, unpleasant, bullying, arrogant and the ruthless "Iron Lady" which she eventually became known as. They both get special focus although the episodes are all built around the Queen (Olivia Colman) who stands front and center as we get a closer look at her sympathetic relationships with her family with a special emphasis on her four children who are revealed to be flawed human beings just like everyone. The series is best during the quiet reflective moments between the Queen and the quizzical Prince Phillip (Tobias Menzies) as they sit and talk about personal family issues with her genuinely worried and he allowing her to be that way although showing a strong sense of quiet support for her. The screenplay has an interesting way of connecting the life dots of a character and letting it flow into that of another character. The dots connect showing everyone basically has the same issues more or less but each reacts differently. There are moments new to me - a pre-wedding lunch meeting between Diana and Camilla (Emerald Fennell) and the sad from-the-heart reaction of Princess Margaret who implores the Royal family not to let Charles marry Diana since he is still in love with another woman and it would ruin the young woman's life. Conflicted, needy and sad Charles (Josh O'Connor), desperately in need of validation, vascilates between wife and mistress, while his feisty sister Anne (Erin Doherty) has personal issues of her own and has to contend with unflattering comparisons to sunny Diana. The most flamboyant member of the family, Princess Margaret (Helena Bonham Carter), gets a whole episode to herself as shocking secrets about the family are discovered involving the nieces of the Queen Mother (Marion Bailey). The last episode, "War", concludes with battles lost - a royal marriage in jeopardy and the ouster of the Prime Minister. Olivia Colman is a marvelous presence throughout - showing cool reserve and compassion (the last scene with Thatcher is memorable) along with bouts of flashing anger (a classic moment where she gives a lashing to her ineffectual son) and carries the entire show on her slender shoulders. The series is rightly conceived as a soap opera perfectly in tune with the many dramas going on in the lives of the Royal family. Both Colman and Anderson deserve to win Emmy awards next year.

Greenland (Ric Roman Waugh, 2020) 6/10

Doomsday disaster scenario, like so many films before it, manages to maintain suspense from start to finish. Sure its hokey but you quickly buy into the plot and go on the rollercoaster ride with the (stock) characters. An engineer (Gerard Butler), his estranged wife (Morena Baccarin) and their diabetic young son find themselves listed for a special flight to safety when all hell breaks loose. Parts of a comet are crashing down on earth with the first decimating Central Florida followed soon by more comets crashing onto other continents. You know from the get-go the family is not going to get onto that plane. In fact they get separated - first husband from his wife and kid and then the kid is kidnapped from the wife by a weird couple in a car who first offer to help. There is also the elderly character - the grandfather (Scott Glenn who looks like he hasn't bathed in three years) who will decide to stay on and refuse to accompany his family while they try to make a mad dash to Canada from where the last few planes are flying off to Greenland. The government has created bunkers there to survive the final onslaught of the big comet that threatens extinction greater than the one that took out the dinosaurs. The prepostrous plot - hey it COULD happen for real - is like one of those brain slamming amusement park rides. You just got to believe the nonsense and go with the flow. If Gerard Butler can, so can we, as we ride along on his massive shoulders. Butler has now taken on the mantle of Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal, stars of numerous B-films of the past, and keeps churning out similar junk which have a certain guilty pleasure about them. He is appropriately wooden throughout while everyone around him manages to scream with a certain degree of conviction as the screenplay puts in front of them one pothole of danger after another. Sometimes its fun to wade through such escapist films - especially during this era of Covid - as it clears one's brain for more serious shit at the movies.

Romeo and Juliet (Renato Castellani, 1954) 7/10

Extremely rare film version of Shakepeare's tragedy. It was partially shot on location in Italy and won the Golden Lion at the Venice film festival. This version has all but disappeared, overshadowed by the 1936 MGM version with Leslie Howard and Norma Shearer and the 1968 Franco Zeffirelli version with Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey. While the leads in the former were far too old, they were age-perfect in the latter. Here both Laurence Harvey and newcomer Susan Shentall are age-wise in between the actors in the other two films. The film has been shot in stunning colour by Robert Krasker but the screenplay takes liberties with the Bard reducing the roles of a number of the important supporting characters to mere cameos - Mercutio, Tyblat and Romeo's parents. Despite this the film makes an interesting addition to the various versions with strong Italian atmosphere courtesy of Castellano. Harvey plays Romeo as an aloof young man desperately in love but who finds his life crashing down after he kills Tybalt in revenge for the death of his friend Mercutio. All his scenes opposite Susan Shentall are superbly played although it is Shakepeare's romantic lines that help both actors to so easily achieve the passion they find themselves entwined within. It was Shentall's only film as she married soon after the film came out. Bill Travers (Benvolio), Flora Robson (the Nurse), Sebastian Cabot (Capulet) and Mervyn Johns (the Friar) are all very good, as is John Gielgud as the Chorus.

My Salinger Year (Philippe Falardeau, 2020) 4/10

A college graduate and aspiring writer (Margaret Qualley) gets a job with a literary agent (Sigourney Weaver) whose major client is J. D. Salinger. Rather derivative film spends too much time playing musical chairs with the two young men in her life. Just like her boring and stifling job the film also has the same stale whiff. Qualley is appealing in an antiquated way - her teeth reminded me of Anne Hathaway - and the film is like a pale shadow of "The Devil Wears Prada". It's a pity the story is about her instead of her brittle boss played with vinegary charm and elegance by the great Sigourney Weaver. After spending most of her time reading and responding to Salinger's fan mail he finally makes an appearance at the very end only we never get to see him. The film is based on Joanna Rakoff's 2014 memoir.

The Last Legion (Doug Lefler, 2007) 5/10

Old fashioned sword and sandal adventure film brought to the screen courtesy of Dino de Laurentiis and Harvey Weinstein. Roman Commander Aurelius (Colin Firth) comes to the aid of the last surviving blood relative of Julius Caesar - a 12-year old boy - and along with his band of men, a priest (Ben Kingsley) and a warrior (Aishwarya Rai) from Kerala go on the run to escape from the traitorous Romans who have joined the savage Goths. Their only hope for survival is to reach Brittania and persuade a Roman Legion stationed there to come to the aid of the Boy Emperor. Derivative action-packed film is not without interest as the hybrid cast make an all-out effort to provide entertainment. One of Bollywood star Rai's numerous forays into Hollywood, here playing a kick-ass warrior with most of the action sequences centered around her character.

Genova (Michael Winterbottom, 2008) 5/10

After his wife is killed in a tragic car crash, a University professor (Colin Firth) moves to Genova, Italy with his two daughters where he takes up a teaching position. The move is to bring about a change in their lives after the accident due to which his younger daughter carries the guilt of having caused the crash. Moody film has an underlying feeling of eerie dread. On the surface it is like a travelogue with the camera capturing the stunning vistas of the coastal Italian city but the camera movements provide a feeling of despair and the city does not provide a feeling of comfort. While the rebelious older daughter assimilates into a routine - boyfriend, sex and pot - the younger one has nightmares, wets her bed at night and talks to her mother (Hope Davis), who periodically visits her. Their dad keeps busy with his job and finds interest in two women - a student in his class and a former classmate (Catherine Keener) from America who now lives in Genova. A story about a family trying to figure out how to move on while handling grief. The film borders on the morose leading up to a second harrowing moment which seems to snap them all out of their sad reverie and on to a more positive phase of existence. Firth is good and provides a stark portrayal of a father who, while extremely congenial, lives in constant dread of something happening to his children. Genova and its narrow bewildering streets here almost takes on the menacing tone of Venice as in Nicolas Roeg's "Don't Look Now" with the appearance of a ghost which could be the little girl's imagination. Unfortunately there is no payoff to the strange supernatural feeling that has lingered throughout the film.

8 femmes / 8 Women (François Ozon, 2002) 9/10

A secluded mansion in the dead of winter with no way out. Phone lines cut and a corpse in the master bedroom with a knife in its back. Which of the 8 women inside the house murdered the family patriarch? Ozon's delightfully witty and wicked whodunnit is an hommage to the mysteries of Agatha Christie by way of Alfred Hitchcock, George Cukor, Douglas Sirk and Vincente Minnelli - a murder-mystery set during the 1950s with an all-female cast that is also a musical. The suspects, who all start off as innocence personified, gradually reveal themselves to have a motive to doff-off the victim. Ozon has assembled the crème de la crème of French cinema to play the suspects. Leading the roll call of stars is Catherine Deneuve as the widow of the victim. Did she kill him? Or was it either of her two daughters (Virginie Ledoyen, Ludvine Sagnier), her uptight spinster sister (Isabelle Huppert), her wheel-chair bound mother (Danielle Darrieux), the victim's despised sister (Fanny Ardant), the cook (Firmine Richard) or the newly appointed sexy chambermaid (Emmanuelle Béart) - there is a marvelous little hommage to the late actress Romy Schneider seen in a photograph as the maid's former employer. Each actress gets to perform unexpected musical numbers as secrets get revealed exposing adultery, child abuse, incest, lesbian-love, embezzelment, backmail, murder and suicide. Frothy over-the-top film is carefully designed to invoke the colour palette of Douglas Sirk's melodramas with lovely costumes that recall Dior and Edith Head, a score that has elements of Bernard Herrmann and Elmer Bernstein and the joy of singing found in the best of Minnelli's musicals. Gorgeous, campy film is great fun and was nominated for 12 César awards across the board with Huppert, Ardant, Darrieux and Sagnier singled out with nominations for their delightful performances.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Nov 15, 2020 11:21 am

Murder in Three Acts (Gary Nelson, 1986) 4/10

Agatha Christie's Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot (Peter Ustinov), saves the day yet again when he solves three murders in this tv adaptation of the 1934 mystery novel "Three Act Tragedy". The series of tv films Ustinov appeared in as Poirot are unfortunately not set during the 1930s and 1940s, thus losing a lot in atmosphere. The original novel's London setting is transplanted in this adaptation from London to Acapulco during the 1980s where Poirot finds himself on holiday courtesy of Captain Hastings who also forces him to attend a party at the lavish holiday home of a famous retired Hollywood actor (Tony Curtis). From the assortment of guests at the party an innocuous clergyman chokes to death after drinking a cocktail although Poirot does not suspect it is murder. Both he and the actor fly back to Los Angeles. In their absence the same guests attend another party at the Acapulco house where the actor's friend, a doctor, dies a similar death after having a drink. This time its proved he died of poisoning. Both Poirot and the actor fly back to the scene of the crime where the detective gets busy using his little grey cells to ferret out the murderer from the guest list. Could it be the young woman (Emma Samms) who has a crush on the aging actor? Or maybe her mother (Marian Mercer)? Other suspects include the actor's assistant (Lisa Eichhorn), his former lover and co-star - a great Broadway star (Diana Muldaur), a writer, the housekeeper and a gigolo. The set formula involves Poirot gathering everyone around him and exposing the murderer. Curtis, looking ridiculous dressed in a combination of shorts and knee-high socks, is the most famous actor in the cast while the rest of the actors come from the world of stage and television. Rather tepid film where even Ustinov, his french accent hilariously shaky, looking ill at ease.

Valley of the Kings (Robert Pirosh, 1954) 6/10

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas have said that the character of Indiana Jones was rooted in the adventure films and serials of the 1930s which they watched as kids. Checking out the plot of this MGM adventure film it seems they took large chunks of this plot as the basis of their film "Raiders of the Lost Ark". In Egypt an American archaeologist (Robert Taylor) runs into the daughter (Eleanor Parker) of his mentor who persuades him to go in search of the tomb of the Pharoah who ruled Egypt during the time of the Prophet Joseph. Accompanying them is her husband (Carlos Thompson) a European of questionable loyalty. The characters have a startling similarity to Indiana Jones, Marion Ravenwood and Belloq along with a plot which also uses elements of the Old Testament (the Ark of the Covenant) as in Lawrence Kasdan's screenplay of "Raiders" as conceived by the story by Lucas and Phillip Kauffman. The plot here, set in 1900, has the trio trekking across the Sinai desert all the way to the Valley of the Kings in search of a tomb and its treasures. One of those early rare films that was actually shot on location in Egypt with the cast filming in and around the pyramids at Giza, at the base of Mount Sinai (which Moses climbed and where he received the 10 Commandments from God), the Karnak temple of Amun in Luxor and the Temple of Ramses II in Abu Simbel which here is seen in its original location where it was constructed 4,500 years ago. This famous temple complex was relocated in its entirety in 1968 on to an artificial hill to avoid it being submerged when the Aswan dam was constructed and the entire area was flooded when it became a lake. Here we get to see a fight sequence right on top of the giant statue of Ramses II between Taylor and Thompson without the use of back projection which was very common then in films made on soundstages in Hollywood. The film was shot two years after the revolution that brought Gamal Abdel Nasser as President and during his tenure no foreign film crew was allowed to shoot so freely among the monuments in Egypt. So this was one of the rare films that managed it before the ban. Like the Spielberg film this too has many action sequences - horse chases, a camel stampede, a severe dust storm in the desert through which both Taylor and Parker battle for survival, sword fights and an encounter with a deadly scorpion. A rough-mannered Taylor and a tough but elegant Parker, then in the midst of an offscreen affair, create sparks tossing off quips and battling the elements and the bad guys. Old fashioned but enjoyable.

La fièvre monte à El Pao / Fever Mounts at El Pao (Luis Buñuel, 1959) 8/10

Overheated drama set on a steamy penal Caribbean island ruled by a despotic Governor. His bored lascivious wife (María Félix) is involved in numerous affairs rousing her husband's wrath. After he is assassinated she starts an affair with her husband's protégé (Gérard Philipe) who is appointed as the security officer of the local prison. The new ruthless Governor (Jean Servais) also lusts after the woman and after she rebuffs his advances he tries to put the blame of her husband's murder on her lover. He blackmails her into having sex with him and his attempts to rape her is foiled when she ends up raping him instead. Félix, with blazing eyes, looks out for any opportunity to consolidate the position of her idealistic lover even if it means stripping and going to bed with a man she detests. The two stars seem mismatched - Philipe is slight, sensitive and very slim while Félix is big built and like a wild animal full of fire - yet they manage to create sparks on screen. This was Philipe's last film as he died of cancer during the shoot and Buñuel had to use a body double during some scenes. The film has strong elements of noir - Félix is most certainly a stunning femme fatale - although within the confines of a political melodrama. The dazzling long tracking shots are by Buñuel regular Gabriel Figueroa.

Ludo (Anurag Basu, 2020) 8/10

Anurag Basu takes on the concept of Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" and comes up with four completely wacked out stories with hilariously wacked out characters that converge at the end. The innovative screenplay juggles a myriad of desperate characters going through intense moments in their lives. At the center of it all is a vicious gangster (Pankaj Tripathi) whose actions are a catalyst for the calamaties in the lives of a number of unconnected people. The gangster's protégé (Abhishek Bachchan), just out of jail, discovers his boss framed him and his ex-wife's current husband is being held hostage. Pining for his daughter he comes across a small girl (Inayat Verma) who has run away from her parents and who goads him into a plan that involves kidnapping and a hefty ransom which he hopes to use to free the hostage. A couple (Aditya Roy Kapoor & Sanya Malhotra) who had sex during a drunken tryst in a hotel discover that their love making has gone viral on social media so need the gangster's help to fix the situation before the woman's upcoming marriage to a rich conservative man. A salesman (Rohit Saraf) and a nurse (Pearle Maanay) find themselves in an ambulance with a suitcase full of counterfeit money and the wounded gangster who they toss into a river after which they go on the run. A male nautanki dancer (Rajkumar Rao), still madly in love with his now-married childhood friend (Fatima Sana Shaikh), finds himself trying to help her husband who has been arrested for two murders. This involves a nutty blackmail plan that ends up in a shootout with two dead cops in a hotel room. The engaging plot twists laced with black humour make this film an enjoyable rollercoaster ride. The actors are all very good - especially Bachchan as the sad father who finds meaning in his life through his encounter with the small girl - but the film is stolen by the hilarious Pankaj Tripathi as the villain who is unaware how much damage he has wreaked all around. And he gets to mouth the very funny line "when luck suck everyone fuck". Quirky fun.

La diosa arrodillada / The Kneeling Goddess (Roberto Gaveldón, 1947) 6/10

The smouldering and statuesque Mexican div,a María Félix, had a reputation for being a man-eater onscreen and the quintessential femme fatale to rival any from Hollywood during the 1940s. The film sets its tone from the get-go, a mix of film noir and grand opera, as two lovers cannot bear to be parted yet have brief moments only to consummate their passion. He (Arturo de Córdova) is a rich businessman with an invalid wife (Rosario Granados) and she (María Félix) is a model who poses nude for an artist. The presence of her nude sculpture raises suspicion in the wife who then dies suddenly under mysterious circumstances. The situation in this dream-like film keeps changing as flashbacks reveal events of the plot to which we have not been privvy. Despondent about his wife's death he follows his mistress to a seedy club in Panama where she is part of a dance act with a former lover (Fortunio Bonanova) which culminates in a moment where he is making wild passionate love to her when suddenly he starts strangling her. Did he poison his wife or did she die of a heart condition? Will he be acquited after being arrested and what will the autopsy on his wife reveal? The screenplay, with its confusing red herrings, is just a melodramatic excuse to show Félix at the top of her sexual game and she comes up spades during each of the scenes where she reacts to de Cordova's love making sessions. A twist ending leaves a bitersweet taste.

Goldfinger (Guy Hamilton, 1964) 6/10

After the incredible high of "From Russia With Love" this film almost seems like a let down with its total lack of suspense. It has a number of small memorable moments - the DB5 makes its first appearance, the brief encounter with Shirley Eaton and the famous gold paint sequence, the Andermatt sequence with Tania Mallett and the asexual encounters with Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman) - although truth be told Blackman lacks chemistry with Connery and her iconic status as a Bond girl is strictly due to the sexual nature of her first name than for any sex appeal which was the forté of all the Bond girls. I've never really enjoyed this film. The locations - Miami & Kentucky - very bland, and both the villains - Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) & Oddjob (Harold Sakata) lack menace. In short the plot is a total bore. Connery is cool throughout and Shirley Bassey's iconic title song is still exciting to hear.

Le Dernier Métro / The Last Metro (François Truffaut, 1980) 8/10

Evocative film brings back sharp memories of Hollywood films about WWII shot on studio sound stages. Truffaut's film is set during the German occupation of Paris and the screenplay revolves around actors rehearsing a play. An actor (Gérard Depardieu), who secretly works for the Resistance, is cast as the leading man in a new play being put up at a famous theatre. His leading lady (Catherine Deneuve) is not only the owner of the theatre but also the star actress. Her husband (Heinz Bennent), the theatre's director and a German jew, has escaped Nazi Germany and is now secretly hiding in the basement of the theatre from where he gives notes on the production to his wife who is the only person who knows he is there. The colourful characters surrounding the two actors are a gay director (Jean Poiret), the young ingénue (Sabine Haudpin) who will do anything to get a part in the play, the stage manager (Maurice Risch), the costume designer (Andrea Férréol) who is a lesbian and a powerful and extremely nasty critic (John-Louis Richard) who is pro-Nazi. Truffaut's film not only deals with anti-semitism but is also a plea for tolerance as we witness the romantic intrigues, suspenseful moments with the Gestapo (one of the officers is played by future star Richard Bohringer) and a burgeoning love triangle between the actress and the two men - her leading man on stage and her husband residing below the stage. Depardieu is a strong presence. He maintains his familiar gangly appearance but also manages to bring a touch of suavity to the part. Bennent is strong and courageous. The enigmatic Deneuve is blonde, icy and stunningly beautiful and it isn't until the very end that we discover which man she really loves. The film was nominated for an Academy Award in the foreign film category and went on to win 10 Cesar awards - for best film, best actor (Depardieu), best actress (Deneuve), best director (Truffaut), screenplay, the stunning cinematography (Néstor Almendros), the memorable score (Georges Delerue), production design, editing and sound. Both Bennent and Férréol were nominated for their supporting performances. Endearing and uplifting nostalgic film shuns politics and simply entertains.

Il magnifico cornuto / The Magnificent Cuckold (Antonio Pietrangeli, 1964) 9/10

If you cheat on your wife what are the chances that she too is cheating on you? Pietrangeli's amusing farce poses that question and is a typical sex comedy from the 1960s. The question becomes very relevant if your wife is the stunningly beautiful Claudia Cardinale during that period in Italian cinema history. A hat tycoon (Ugo Tognazzi) is the proud husband of his gregarious and very luscious wife (Claudia Cardinale). When he is seduced by a friend's equally nubile wife (Michèle Girardon) and he meets her for occasional trysts, guilt gets the better of him and he starts imagining his wife is two timing him as well - there is a fantastic sequence where Cardinale does a sensual striptease with just a black feathered boa covering her naked body. Paranoia takes over as he starts visualizing her having affairs, starts stalking her and talking to her while she sleeps hoping she will let the cat out of the bag. Tognazzi is very funny as the mentally harried husband and has great chemistry with Cardinale who is presented like a goddess dressed in lovely outfits (by Nina Ricci) dazzling everyone around her with her charming smile and smoky voice. There are amusing supporting turns by Bernard Blier as a cuckold friend and Salvo Randone as an employee. The great Gian Maria Volontè makes a cameo appearance. The amazing black and white cinematography is by Armando Nannunzi which, along with Armando Trovajoli's snappy jazz influenced score, helps create the perfect atmosphere for the shenanigans on screen. Great fun.

La vita davanti a sé / The Life Ahead (Edoardo Ponti, 2020) 7/10

Romain Gary's novel "La vie devant soi" deals with several themes including the effects of the Holocaust, prostitution, immigration, euthanasia and especially aging. It was first adapted for the screen in 1977 as "Madame Rosa" with the great Simone Signoret as the aging prostitute. This second screen adaptation is a gift by director Edoardo Ponti for his mother, screen legend Sophia Loren. Now 86 she effortlessly sinks into the role and elevates what is essentially a sentimental and somewhat hoary plot. She is matched every step of the way by the child actor Ibrahaim Gueye, who plays the delinquent Muslim orphan from Senegal whom she is forced to take in. A holocaust survivor who became a prostitute on the streets of Paris now lives a retired life looking after assorted abandoned children of prostitutes. The initial clash between both - he is sullen, angry, scared and deals in drugs on the side, while she is feisty and a no-nonsense old broad - predictably turns to understanding followed by love. The old woman who lives in an apartment has created a hideout in the basement where she goes to reflect on her life and memories of her jewish heritage. As dementia begins to set in the boy promises not to let her die in a hospital. Loren is very moving in a performance that could very well have been in a film by Vittorio De Sica. It's fitting that the star here is directed by her own son as she returns to the screen with nary a false note. She is still regal and full of fire. Maudlin material is given that special oomph by her star presence.

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

Postby Reza » Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:46 am

La prima notte di quiete / Indian Summer (Valerio Zurlini, 1972) 7/10

Downbeat story about a gifted but restless young man (Alain Delon) who takes up a casual teaching job and lives with a depressed woman (Lea Massari in an intense performance). To while away his time he befriends a group of local men who indulge in drinking, gambling, womanizing, fast cars and taking recreational drugs. They are a real estate agent (Renato Salvatore), a gay pharmacist (Giancarlo Giannini) who falls in love with him and a crooked businessman (Adalberto Maria Merli) with whose young girlfriend (Sonia Petrovna) - a prostitute - he falls in love with. A ravaged Alida Valli appears as the young woman's mother who encouraged her daughter to become a child prostitute. Her brief scene verbally assaulting Delon is one of the film's highlights. The story veers off into melodrama leading up to an even more depressing finale than what has come before. Delon is very good, dressed in an overcoat with a cigarette dangling perpetually from his mouth, as the poet-like tortured man who cannot live up to the high standards demanded by his rich family. Shot by Dario De Palma on location in Rimini on the Adriatic coast - a city bathed in hues of misty grey and blue complimenting the mood of the protagonist.

Skyfall (Sam Mendes, 2012) 10/10

The film opens with a nail-biting pre-credit chase sequence set in Turkey (on the streets and rooftops of Istanbul) as the steely-eyed Bond (Daniel Craig) and a kick-ass Miss Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) go after a killer. On the orders of "M" (Judi Dench) Moneypenny takes a shot at the killer, fighting with Bond on top of a moving train, and hits Bond instead who falls down into a river just as Adele starts singing her Oscar-winning theme song over the credits. A remarkable high watermark for the series the film has a number of surprises in store for fans. The screenplay puts "M" front and center for the first time in the series right up there next to Bond. In a delightful departure Miss Moneypenny is now black and very much part of the action, "Q" (Ben Whishaw) is a droll nerdy whippersnapper who turns out to be incredibly savvy and smart. While "M" has her job on the line with a political overseer (Ralph Fiennes) breathing down her neck, Bond faces the gay supervillain cyber wacko, Silva (Javier Bardem in a Princess Di wig), as they indulge in a campy pre-coital tête-à-tête. The film's exotic locations shift from Turkey to London to Shanghai to Macau and ends up in Scotland where a back story to Bond's childhood introduces us to the gruff caretaker (Albert Finney) of his ancestral home, "Skyfall", where the final tragic confrontation with Silva takes place. Stunningly shot by Roger Deakins, this dark film moves at a breakneck pace - along the way we also get to revisit the Aston Martin DB5 and a Bond babe (Bérénice Marlohe), with whom Bond is surprisingly quite chaste - but its his Freudian relationship with "M" that is the heart and soul of this very moving film. In addition to the Oscar winning title song the film also won for its sound editing and was nominated for Thomas Newman's score, the cinematography and the sound design.

Un flic / A Cop (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1072) 5/10

This was Melville's last film but its no classic. It was his third collaboration with Alain Delon who this time around plays a cop. There are two well directed robbery sequences - the film opens with a tense wordless bank robbery as a crook (Richard Crenna) and his three cronies rob a remote seaside bank. They manage to pull it off but one robber gets shot. Later the crook robs a suitcase full of heroin after being lowered from a helicopter onto a moving train. In pursuit is a relentless cop (Alain Delon) who not only suspects him but also shares the crook's mistress (Catherine Deneuve) who on some afternoons shacks up with him. Moody film has the director's usual touches - brooding characters often staring into space or working silently with the camera focused on them in closeup. Slow film with Delon looking uneasy throughout and Deneuve merely around as decoration in an underwritten role. Pity the film doesn't come up to the standard of the director's other classics and he had to end his career with just a whimper. Stick instead to the director's other two films with Delon.

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

Postby Reza » Fri Nov 06, 2020 10:59 am

Pour la peau d'un flic / For the Skin of a Cop (Alain Delon 1981) 3/10

Slow, boring excessively talky thriller was Delon's directorial debut. A former cop turned detective (Alain Deon) is approached by an old woman to search for her blind daughter who has disappeared. As the investigation carries on the cop keeps either running into corpses or he ends up shooting assorted hoods who are chasing him. Helping him are his adoring secretary (Anne Parillaud in one of her early film roles) and another retired cop (Michel Auclair). Halfway through the plot begins to meander, get complicated and with no conclusion in sight one begins to lose interest. It all ends with yet more shootouts with Delon getting an amusing comeuppance. Neil Diamond gets to sing on the soundtrack while Delon has Parillaud (they were an offscreen couple at the time) perform three gratuitous nude scenes which, although pleasing to the eye, have no relevance to the plot. Delon dedicted the film to Jean-Pierre Melville who directed him in Le Samouraï (1967), Le Circle Rouge (1970) and Un Flic (1972).

Le battant / The Fighter (Alain Delon, 1983) 6/10

Hardboiled thriller is overlong but moves at a fast pace. Delon directs for the second time and again casts his lady love Anne Parillaud and in true sexist fashion has her parade in the nude while he keeps himself discreetly draped. A thief returns after spending 8 years in prison for murder and theft. While he was framed for the murder he did steal a cache of diamonds. The minute he is out he is relentlessly pursued by the cops and his old cronies, led by an oily café owner (François Périer), who all want the stolen diamonds. His wife and his old partner are shot dead but he smartly stays one step ahead of them all dodging bullets as assorted hoods drop dead around him while he shoots a few in cold blood as well. He also gets to satisfy two sexually insatiable women who crawl into his bed - a young ex-con (Anne Parilaud) and a middle-aged tramp (Andréa Ferréol), both of whom cannot be trusted. Delon's film is a throwback to the crime films of Henri Verneuil, Rene Clément and Jean-Pierre Melville but comes up short. What we have instead is a fairly atmospheric film with an energetic if rather wooden Delon getting by on sheer star power.

L'amour d'une femme / L'amore di una donna / The Love of a Woman (Jean Grémillon, 1953) 9/10

Poignant drama about the plight of modern working women in 1950s France raising questions about the dilemma of choosing between a job and marriage. A young female physician (Micheline Presle) arrives on a bleak island off the coast of Brittany. She is immediately faced with opposition by the conservative locals who feel only a male doctor should be allowed to work. The only person to champion her is a spinster teacher (Gaby Morlay) on the verge of retirement. When she saves the life of a young child she starts to earn the respect of the villagers. A visiting Italian engineer (Massimo Girotti) starts courting her and when he proposes marriage she accepts not only because she loves him but is also scared of leading life alone as a spinster. However, when he asks her to choose between marriage and her job she has second thoughts. Strikingly shot film brings out the beauty of the desolate island landscape. The desolate surroundings are also a metaphor for the empty life in store for the woman if she makes the wrong choice. This was Grémillon’s last film, much ahead of its time, allowing the woman to take a decision not many women were willing to risk back then. The luminous Presle and the dark brooding Girotti make an intensely romantic pair with both actors giving understated performances which help to balance out a story often verging dangerously on melodrama.

Witness (Peter Weir, 1985) 9/10

Riveting thriller is set within the Amish community - a child (Lukas Haas) traveling with his mother (Kelly McGillis) witnesses the murder of a cop (Viggo Mortensen in his film debut) in the restroom of a Philadelphia train station. The man he identifies is a crooked cop (Danny Glover) so the detective in charge of the case goes undercover hiding out within the Amish community. The screenplay also sensitively handles the growing attraction between the detective and the Amish woman - the impromptu dance between the two to the song "Wonderful World" as they are bathed by the lights of his car is a memorable screen moment. The set up of the plot is old hat but the story's originality lies in the detailed look at a community which is in sharp contrast to the modern world - the Oscar winning screenplay touches on the theme of pacifism versus violence. Superbly acted film - this is one of two great performances by Ford - also has a luminous performance by Kelly McGillis. Along with winning two Oscars - for the screenplay and editing - the film was also nominated for Best Picture, Ford as lead actor, Weir for his direction, for John Seale's cinematography, the score by Maurice Jarre and the film's production design. The similarities between the Amish and traditional Muslims is quite startling.

Against the Sun (Brian Peter Falk, 2014) 6/10

January 1942: the three man-crew - the pilot, the bombardier and the radioman - of a torpedo bomber take to a raft when their plane goes down in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Survivalist story goes through the tropes - cramped quarters, no water or food, accute sunburn, a devastating electric storm causing high waves, desperate attempts to fish, shooting a bird, danger from sharks - and manages to work as the three men gradually start to lose all grip with reality and begin to turn on each other. The superb camerawork is dazzling as the inventive shots keep the film from getting monotonous. Ignore the CGI shark which they catch and disembowel for food but even that scene makes for a shocking and effective moment. The story is based on Robert Trumbull’s “The Raft,” a 1942 account of a harrowing 34-day ordeal at sea.

A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick, 1971) 10/10

Kubrick's treatise on rape and violence, dramatically scored to the music of Rossini and to Beethoven's Symphony # 9 in D Minor, is an audacious satire about human deviance, stark brutality, juvenile delinquency, youth gangs and social conditioning. This black comedy, set in a dystopian near-future Britain, is about Alex (Malcolm McDowell), an anti-social but charismatic delinquent, who leads his gang of thugs on a merry-go-round of rape and theft. Drugged out on a liquid drink they break into the home of a writer, beat him to a pulp as Alex rapes his wife while singing "Singin' in the Rain". After an altercation with his gang he breaks into the house of a wealthy lady and bludgeons her to death with a phallic sculpture. Caught he is sentenced to a prison term where he agrees to an experimental therapy that will not cause revulsion in him at the sight of violence and sex but also have a far reaching effect on him and the people he tormented. Based on the novel by Anthony Burgess (and adapted for the screen by Kubrick), the film is extremely disturbing, thought provoking and with a nasty bent of humour. The film was critically acclaimed upon release, rated X for its scenes of explicit sex and violence, and was banned for decades in some countries. It was later withdrawn from cinemas in Britain after copycat murders took place hinting at the film. The film was nominated for 4 Oscars - Best Picture, for Kubrick's direction and screenplay and for editing. Sadly McDowell's towering performance, full of malevolent glee, was not nominated. Also memorable are John Alcott's superbly lit cinematography and Milena Canonero's costume designs for McDowell and his thugs. Highly inflential film still remains a roller coaster ride of terror. A must-see.

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

Postby Reza » Wed Nov 04, 2020 9:15 am

Sissi - Die junge Kaiserin / Sissi - The Young Empress (Ernst Marischka, 1956) 7/10

Second part in the simplistic and overly romanticised trilogy based on the life of Elisabeth of Austria (Romy Schneider). Now married to Emperor Franz Josef (Karlheinz Böhm), Sissy trys to adjust to life as an Empress but finds it a daunting experience. Her husband is always busy at work while her mother-in-law, the Archduchess Sophie (Vilma Degischer), finds constant fault in her. Matters come to a head when the old woman takes Sissi's new-born daughter and decides to rear the child herself claiming the mother is too young to do so herself. Sissi retaliates, packs her bags and goes back home to her parents (Gustav Knuth & Magda Schneider). The Emperor arrives to take her back by way of a delayed honeymoon high up in the Tyrol mountains. The whole tone of the film is sacchrine sweet but lovely Schneider, the magnificent ballroom-waltz sequence, the technicolor cinematography and the location filming makes it a delightful ride. This episode touches on the country's politics with Sissi embracing the Hungarians who all fall in love with her as both Franz and Sissi are crowned as Emperor and Empress of Hungary. Uplifting film with sumptuous visuals.

Le vieux fusil / The Old Gun (Robert Enrico, 1975) 5/10

During the War a peaceful French surgeon (Philippe Noiret), working in a provincial hospital, relocates his wife (Romy Schneider) and daughter to his ancestral home in his village to keep them safe from the occupying Germans. The house is like an old castle-like fortification with a moat. A week later he pays them a surprise visit only to find them dead - the daughter shot and his wife burnt to a char with a flamethrower - and a group of Nazis still camped inside the house. The trauma turns him into a vigilante and after destroying the bridge, the only entrance into the castle, he starts picking off the soldiers one by one with a shotgun. The film was highly acclaimed in France winning three Cesar awards - for Best Film, Philippe Noiret for Best Actor and for the music score - but viewed today gives off a rather stale whiff of all the Sylvester Stallone vigilante B-movies. Schneider appears throughout in flashbacks which explain how the couple met and spent a happy married life together. Slow film is further hampered by the flashbacks which keep breaking the tension as Noiret stalks his prey.

Made in Heaven (Nitya Mehra, Zoya Akhtar, Prashant Nair & Alankrita Shrivastava, 2019) 7/10

Amusing series, created by Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti, as an antidote to the gauche weddings prevalent in our society. Each episode of the series depicts the planning of a wedding and the complications involved with flaws and warts galore. Social issues are frankly discussed - issues relating to dowry, extramarital affairs, domestic violence, article 377, along with many funny cultural idiosyncracies of the rich, the nouveau riche and the poor. The plots are centered around two wedding planners who are partners in a company called "Made in Heaven". Tara Khanna (Sohbita Dhulipala) is a girl from the wrong side of the tracks married into an A-list family with a husband (Jim Sarbh) who is two-timing her with her best friend (Kalki Koechlin). Karan Mehra (Arjun Mathur) is a closeted homosexual with a number of financial and sexual related problems. Together they manage and try to plan assorted farcical weddings. Their personal issues are carried through from one episode to another while each episode depicts the wedding they are working on. This is the first Indian series to treat sex openly and in a very frank and realistic manner. The plots in the series have a strong familiarity which is easily relatable.

Le professionnel (Georges Lautner, 1981) 8/10

Slick spy thriller has delighful Belmondo as a James Bond-like secret agent - a mix of Sean Connery & Roger Moore - taking revenge on his superiors who sold him to an African Country after his assignment of assassinating the dictator was called off at the last minute. After enduring two years of torture in a prison he escapes, returns to Paris and calmly informs his former bosses that he will carry out that same assignment on the dicator who is arriving in Paris on a State visit. The chase is on with a relentless cop (Robert Hossein) in pursuit as the agent pays clandestine visits to his mentor, wife and mistress. A big boxoffice success, the film has the added bonus of a classic score by Ennio Morricone with its instantly recognizable musical theme, "Chi Mai", a memorable car chase sequence through familiar Paris streets and Henri Decaë's crisp cinematography. This is one of Belmondo's best performances and despite the somewhat dated aspects of the story it is an exciting film.

Deux hommes dans la ville / Two Men in Town (José Giovanni, 1973) 7/10

A critique of french prisons and in particular a plea against the death penalty. The director, José Giovanni, had spent years in prison as a condemned prisoner who later got a pardon and started writing novels, followed by screenplays and directing films. The theme of the film, based on his own life "adventures", was extremely close to his heart and formed the basis for all his stories and films. A former bank robber and safe cracker (Alain Delon) is released from prison after a ten-year stint. He is mentored by an old social worker (Jean Gabin), moves back in with his wife (Mimsy Farmer) and tries to earn an honest living. However, he is relentlessly pursued by a cop (Michel Bouquet) from his past who believes the former convict will slip and resort to his old ways. Also not helping matters is his former partner in crime (Victor Lanoux) who keeps tempting him towards another "job". Tragic french crime drama, with many similarities to "Les Miserables", deals with the injustices of the law with the good guys seemingly even worse than the bad. Gerard Depardieu, in one of his early film appearances, plays a cocky young hood.

Un papillon sur l'épaule / Butterfly on the Shoulder (Jacques Deray, 1978) 7/10

A man finds himself in a Kafkaesque nightmare when he checks into a hotel in Barcelona and a series of mysterious events take place making him question his sanity. Hearing a noise in the room next door he finds a corpse, is hit on the head, wakes up to find himself in a sanitarium being looked after by a doctor (Jean Bouise). He runs into a seemingly nutty patient who talks to an invisible butterfly on his shoulder. After two days he is released and returns to the hotel to find another corpse in a room. He is chased by a group of men, is rescued by a mysterious woman (Claudine Auger) who may or may not be part of the group after him. They all want a briefcase which happens to be in the possession of the wife of the first murdered man. When she is murdered he goes to the police who don't believe him, his wife (Nicole Garcia) is kidnapped and the missing briefcase is demanded in exchange for her. After handing it over there is a shootout where a number of people chasing him are shot dead. Strange surreal thriller keeps the suspense going till the shocking final moment. The screenplay throughout keeps the audience in the same space as the bewildered Ventura who finds himself being chased by gun-toting hoodlums who not only talk to him in riddles but have some shadowy figure pulling their strings as well. Tense unsettling mystery.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Nov 01, 2020 12:49 pm

La horse (Pierre Granier-Deferre, 1970) 7/10

An elderly cattle farmer (Jean Gabin) rules his family and lands with an iron hand. Discovering a cache of heroin on his land he rightfully deduces that his young grandson visiting home on leave has a hand in it. He destroys the powder, hides the young man and waits for trouble to arrive. It comes in the form of barn burning, killed cattle and the rape of his grand daughter at the hands of the gangsters to whom the cache belonged. Old fashioned thriller has Gabin getting his family members to retaliate with as much violence and force. The star, then aged 66, had lost none of his power, giving a riveting performance of quiet menace with very few words of dialogue. Yet Gabin makes an enormous impact with his actions resulting in many crowd pleasing moments.

Grace and Glorie (Arthur Allan Seidelman, 1998) 6/10

Years ago Gena Rowlands starred in a tv film with screen legend Bette Davis and now Diane Lane gets to do the same. A hospice worker (Diane Lane) spends time with a terminally ill patient (Gena Rowlands) on the old woman's farm. Both women have suffered the loss of their children and help each other overcome life's woes - the younger woman learns to live again while the older lonely woman dies having made a friend. Sentimental story allows the great Rowlands to shine yet again.

Film d'amore e d'anarchia, ovvero 'stamattina alle 10 in via dei Fiori nella nota casa di tolleranza...' / Love and Anarchy (Lina Wertmuller, 1973) 9/10

Wertmuller's delightful romp is a wicked look at prostitutes and their bawdy lives inside a whorehouse in Rome. At the center is the main plot about an over-zealous but naive anarchist (Giancarlo Giannini), a country bumpkin, preparing to assassinate Benito Mussolini after his close friend was killed by fascists trying to do the same. His political contact in Rome is a prostitute (Mariangela Melato) in a popular brothel who also has a cross to bear with Il Duce. They become casual lovers but he falls in love with another prostitute (Lina Polito). Their selfish love for him results in a tragic self sacrifice. Wertmuller and her cinematographer, Giuseppe Rotunno, use the bare outline of the plot and give it an ironic gravitas with sweepingly shot scenes set in the countryside and of the squares and monuments in the streets of Rome. The hilarious screenplay is littered with colourful dialogue which all the actors, playing the grotesque bordello inmates, spout with glee. The actors are all superb - Gianinni, who was then on a roll in a series of films for Wertmuller, is painfully tongue tied and gauche as the naive farmer who's eyes keep widening with shock and surprise during his encounters with the women of the whorehouse until the moment leading up to the final act of violence that he is forced to bear through a sense of naive romanticism. Melato is a revelation as the foul-mouthed gregarious whore sporting a platinum blonde Jean Harlow hairdo. Her ampe-up performance is the heart and soul of the film perfectly complimenting Giannini's hangdog vibe. Gianinni won a well deserved Best Actor prize at the Cannes film festival.

Travolti da un insolito destino nell'azzurro mare d'agosto / Swept Away... by an Unusual Destiny in the Blue Sea of August (Lina Wertmuller, 1974) 6/10

Black comedy or a misogynistic nightmare? Wertmuller returns to her two favourite topics - sex and politics - in this tale about class warfare. A rich capitalist bitch (Mariangelo Melato), on a yachting holiday with friends in the Mediterranean, unexpectedly finds herself in troubled waters. Her constant complaints and insults infuriate an underclass deckhand (Giancarlo Gainnini) who is one of the crew members hired to serve the guests. Through a twist of fate both find themselves first stranded on the open sea in a dinghy followed by getting shipwrecked on a small deserted island. Sick of listening to her incessant rants about the virtues of her class he refuses to help her and takes delight in eating and drinking in front of her without offering her any. She abuses him and he gives as good as he gets. He wants her to be his slave, slaps her around and humiliates her by getting her to wash his underwear. He attempts to rape her but decides against it and instead waits for her to come to him begging for sex. And she does with both fornicating like wild animals on the sand dunes. After he has willed her into total submission she starts enjoying the role reversal and never wants to leave the island. Overlong film quickly becomes tiresome, repetitious and unbelievable. Wild-eyed Giannini is great fun to watch as he lets loose all his years of frustration forcing patriarchal tribal rules onto the captive Melato. This is another subject that would never see the light of day in Hollywood especially during these ultra-sensitive times - a remake was attempted with Madonna but which flopped. Italy has always been way ahead of the times often coming up with outrageous topics - political correctness be damned.

55 Days at Peking (Nicholas Ray, Guy Green & Andrew Marton, 1963) 6/10

One now knows enough vicious truths about the "delights" of colonialism to understand that the "white" man was never ever oppressed. It was always the "black", "brown" or "yellow" men, historically always portrayed as villains, who were actually the oppressed. Hollywood brings to the screen the 1900 Boxer Rebellion - an anti-imperialist, anti-foreign, and anti-Christian uprising in China between 1899 and 1901. Widespread famine and starvation allowed foreign encroachment in mainland China, achieved systematically over time through Christian missionaries, with 13 of China's 18 provinces forced into territorial concessions by the colonial powers. Samuel Bronston's epic film was shot under a lot of confusion - a script that was changed as they went along, stars behaving badly on set - Ava Gardner misbehaved by constantly throwing tantrums and was drunk and kept forgetting her lines so in order to get rid of her quickly the scriptwriter wrote her out of the film by killing her character off. The irony of it is that viewed today Ava Gardner is the most memorable part of this epic film while most of the other stars appear wooden as they go through the action scenes in a bored manner. There is also the hilarity of seeing distinguished caucasion actors - Flora Robson (memorable as the haughty Empress), Leo Genn, Robert Helpmann - playing chinese characters. Chinese frustration comes to a boil when the Dowager Empress (Flora Robson) along with her trusted statesman, Prince Tuan (Robert Helpmann), secretly encourage the boxers - a secret society of rebels numbering in the thousands - to attack the foreign missions who are beseiged inside their compounds. The foreigners held out for 55 days after which help appeared from abroad to curb the rebellion. Caught in the ensuing fray are the British Ambassador (a droll but very bored David Niven) and his wife (Elizabeth Sellars), an American (lockjawed Charlton Heston) leading the marine brigade, his Sergeant (John Ireland), a priest (Harry Andrews), an Austrian doctor (Paul Lukas) and a Russian Baroness (Ava Gardner) whose husband committed suicide after he discovered her affair with a Chinese General (Leo Genn) who is the most trusted man and former lover of the Dowager Empress. Gargantuan production with China and its Forbidden City created in the outskirts of Madrid via outstanding sets, an Oscar nominated score (and song) by Dimitri Tiomkin, elaborate costumes and stunning cinematography by Jack Hildyard all of which try to disguise the shortcomings in the screenplay. The second half of the film covers the intense battle scenes interspersed with a clumsy romance between Heston and Gardner - he wanted Jeanne Moreau as his co-star but Gardner was thrust on him by producer Bronston. The battle incidently was purely fought by the foreigners to protect their own interests in expoliting China of which here even America is no better than the other greedy nations. Nicholas Ray suffered a heart attack and was replaced as director. It's the sort of film that is no longer made by Hollywood - such lavish productions brought the studios down to their knees during the 1960s ushering in a new form of cinema. However, one cannot deny the grandeur and pure spectacle of such productions along with a glimpse at stars the likes of which no longer exist on screen today. The film may have failed at the boxoffice but it remains interesting throughout and never boring.

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

Postby Reza » Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:52 am

Back When We Were Grownups (Ron Underwood, 2004) 4/10

A widow's (Blythe Danner) busy life revolves around her quirky family - her daughter (Ione Skye), three step-daughters, their husbands, grandchildren, a 99-year old eccentric uncle (Jack Palance), her brother-in-law and confidante (Peter Riegert), her childhood sweetheart (Peter Fonda), her Mom (Nina Foch) and her late husband's first wife (Faye Dunaway). No real plot, but just a series of vignettes with Danner wondering what has become of her life which she has spent running around for other people while totally neglecting herself. Typical Hallmark television film, sometimes syrupy and sometimes teary, is held together by the likeable central performance by Danner who was nominated for an Emmy award. Instantly forgettable film.

Lola (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1981) 10/10

The film is partially inspired by Josef von Sternberg's "The Blue Angel" and is the second of Fassbinder's trilogy of historical satires dealing with democracy and the free enterprise system in post-WWII Germany. It is shot using a palette of primary colours heavily influenced by the technicolor films of Hollywood during the 1950s and in particular the melodramas of directors Vincente Minnelli and Douglas Sirk. Lola (Barbara Sukowa), a prostitute and singer, is the mistress of a corrupt building contractor (Mario Adorf), and also the mother of his illegitimate child. She works in the brothel owned by him and entertains the town's mayor and other crooked officials. Her desire to rise above her "station" and become one of "them" - the town's elite - sets her plan in motion when she hears that an idealistic building commissioner (Armin Mueller-Stahl) has been newly appointed. She seduces him (dressed in virginal white) without divulging her true identity. Smitten by her he proposes but she eventually breaks off their engagement telling him to leave town because his honesty does not gell with the rest of the town citizens. When his assistant informs him that the contractor is behind all the corruption and also exposes Lola's actual profession the devastated man comes down hard against all the politicians. However, when he is offered to take Lola and do what he wants with her he arrives drunk at the brothel and hires her for the night. She realises he is deeply in love with her and she accepts his proposal of marriage. The ironic ending is in contrast to the von Sternberg film which had the old man destroyed by his love for the prostitute. Fassbinder exposes Germany's political corruption during the 1950s and has his protagonist make a deal with the contractor. He gets his whore in exchange for turning a blind eye towards the corruption. And she gets "respectability" through marriage even though she continues being the contractor's most "expensive mistress". Everybody in the end gets what they want. Both Sukowa and Muller-Stahl are superb and the director's regular group of actors - Karin Baal, Ivan Desny, Elisabeth Volkmann, Rosel Zech, Matthias Fuchs, Günther Kaufmann - all appear in small but vivid parts. This is one of Fassbinder's best films - a sumptuous, cynical historical satire that celebrates corruption and infidelity.

Operazione paura / Kill, Baby...Kill! (Mario Bava, 1966) 9/10

Bava takes what are typical gothic elements of the horror genre and uses an atmosphere of dread to create a chilling film. A small run down village lives in fear of the ghost of a small girl. Legend has it that when a young girl, killed years before by drunks, shows herself to someone that person dies an agonizing death. A coroner (Giacomo Rossi Stuart) is summoned when the body of a girl is found impaled to death. Scoffing at the legend but amazed to find the villagers so scared - a young girl has seen the ghost and the local witch (Fabienne Dali) "treats" her in order to save her - he tries to solve the mystery with help from a medical student (Erika Blanc). Low budget film had a troubled production history but despite that Bava's lush production design - the crumbling village buildings, misty cobbled streets, tall spiral staircases and mansions with large halls and eerie decor - and Antonio Rinaldi's hallucinogenic cinematography, which periodically zooms into intense closeups, give it a feeling of an acid trip very much in keeping with the mood prevalent during the swinging sixties. The film with its iconic image of the little ghost girl in a white lace dress bouncing a white ball influenced a spate of film directors from Fellini to Scorsese to Lynch. The film never lets up creating a mysterious aura from start to finish.

Venom (Piers Haggard, 1981) 6/10

An interesting cast have a go with a deadly black mamba on the loose just as a kidnapping plot is underway. An international criminal (Klaus Kinski) plots with his girlfriend (Susan George) to kidnap the asthmatic grandson of a great African hunter (Sterling Hayden). The plan goes awry when the child gets delivered a poisonous black mamba instead of the harmless pet snake he had ordered. Matters come to a head when the chauffeur (Oliver Reed), also a member of the gang, shoots a cop and the entire police force lays siege to the house from outside. Negotiations for a safe escape are turned down by the head cop (Nicol Williamson) and a toxicologist (Sarah Miles) is called in to warn everyone inside the house about the snake. As with most such films the behind the scenes infighting between cast members - both Kinski and Reed were daggers drawn throughout the shoot - is just as interesting as the on-screen drama with the snake. The camera slithers around taking on the view point of the snake as it starts biting the cast members one by one allowing the actors to go all out in their death throes, writhing in agony as their bodies contort in grotesque ways. Despite every cliché in the book the film still manages to deliver as it goes way over the top - with some of the actors hamming it up to high heaven - making it a fun film to sit through. It is strictly a B-film with stars no longer in vogue but who gamely give the stale material a stab. However, the best performance is given by the nasty snake as it bares its dripping fangs and lunges at whichever cast member it can reach.


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