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

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

Postby gunnar » Sun Feb 28, 2021 11:34 pm

Death of a Salesman (1951) - 7.5/10 - Willy Loman is an aging traveling salesman whose career is spiraling down the drain and his mental health seems to be going with it. He's always talked himself and his kids up to unrealistic heights and he now lives partly in the past. I thought that Fredric March did a pretty nice job as Willy and the rest of the cast was decent, too. This was the first time that I actually liked the story. I hated the play when I had to read it in high school and I still hated it when I had to read it in college. I also hated the Dustin Hoffman version from the 1980s. Perhaps it is the perspective of age, but I think it has a lot to do with the performance and the direction in the film.

Othello (1965) - 5/10 - Laurence Olivier stars as the Moorish general with Maggie Smith as his wife, Desdemona. I've never really liked this story with the jealous and treacherous Iago plotting against Othello and Cassio. This version seems to be fairly well acted, but I still didn't like it all that much.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Feb 28, 2021 10:22 pm

Sabin wrote:
Reza wrote
I seriously doubt it although Tahar Rahim is good.

YOU LIED TO ME! :)


Woah Foster won!!

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

Postby Sabin » Sun Feb 28, 2021 10:16 pm

Reza wrote
I seriously doubt it although Tahar Rahim is good.

YOU LIED TO ME! :)
"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough." ~ FDR

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

Postby Reza » Sun Feb 28, 2021 8:17 pm

Sabin wrote:
Reza wrote
The Mauritanian (Kevin Macdonald, 2021) 6/10

So, what's the verdict? Is it getting anything?


I seriously doubt it although Tahar Rahim is good.

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

Postby Sabin » Sun Feb 28, 2021 4:26 pm

Reza wrote
The Mauritanian (Kevin Macdonald, 2021) 6/10

So, what's the verdict? Is it getting anything?
"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough." ~ FDR

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

Postby Reza » Sun Feb 28, 2021 1:23 pm

The World of Suzie Wong (Richard Quine, 1960) 7/10

An architect (William Holden) moves from America to find his artistic soul in Hong Kong and finds his muse in a local prostitute (Nancy Kwan). While she is attracted to him he only wants to paint her in a variety of poses. When he suddenly realizes that he has fallen in love with her he decides to keep her as his mistress but she will not agree to this arrangement wanting him to commit to a permanent relationship. A daring subject for its time, the film was based on a bestselling book and a hit Broadway play dealing with a bittersweet inter-racial love story. Shot on location in Hong Kong the film superbly captures the city in all its colorful glory. Both Holden and Kwan have wonderful screen chemistry - he is sweet and gentle while she is feisty and funny - and both get able support from Michael Wilding and Sylvia Syms playing two of the more bearable British expatriates living in Hong Kong.

Helen of Troy (Robert Wise, 1956) 4/10

Adaptation of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey is given an epic treatment in Cinemascope by director Robert Wise. In keeping with the trend of Roman and Biblical screen spectacles during the 1950s this is a huge production but unfortunately the stilted screenplay here relies on far too many dull exchanges between a cast of stiff character actors playing assorted Greek royalty. The film comes alive during the spectacular battle scenes of the Trojan War with thousands of charging soldiers. The idealistic Prince Paris of Troy (Jacques Sernas) defies his father, King Priam (Sir Cedric Hardwicke), his mother Queen Hecuba (Nora Swinburne), his clairvoyant sister Cassandra (Janette Scott) and his war mongering brother Prince Agamemnon (Robert Douglas) and leaves for Sparta to brokerage peace with the Greek kings. But he falls in love with Queen Helen (Rosanna Podestà) - the beauty whose "face launched a thousand ships" - and runs foul of her despicable husband King Menelaus (Niall MacGinnis) who plans to keep him imprisoned. He escapes with the help of his lover and brings her to Troy which results in the mighty armies of Sparta laying siege to the fortified city and palace. Rescuing the Queen becomes secondary as the armies are more interested in looting gold which results in the formation of the Trojan Horse which plays a decisive role in the battle and proves disastrous for the star-crossed lovers. Sernas and Podestà, both dubbed, look sensational but cannot act as they merely posture with deadpan expressions. Brigitte Bardot, just short of stardom, plays Helen's slave and seems more animated during her brief scenes than the film's leading lady. Stanley Baker plays a perpetually angry Achilles - the part Brad Pitt played in the remake "Troy". A rousing Max Steiner score, including a 5-minute overture, and Harry Stradling's stunning colour cinematography are major plus points in what is basically a pretty dismal film.

The Mauritanian (Kevin Macdonald, 2021) 6/10

Someday there will be a kick-ass film based on the terrors inflicted on innocent prisoners by the United States Government at Guantánamo. This film is not it, although we do get to see the main protagonist suffer notorious forms of torture that involved savage beatings, water boarding, binding in contorted stress positions, hooding, subjection to deafening noise, sleep disruption, sleep deprivation to the point of hallucination, subjection to extreme cold, death threats
and sexual humiliation. One has been conditioned to believe that such inhuman torture methods were only either part of medieval history or in the recent past the sadistic playtime of the Stalin, Nazi and Vietcong menace. Never could it be imagined that a country priding itself as the Leader of the World would fall so low as to do exactly that. Of course that "holier than thou" aura of the United States has been repeatedly shattered during the last few years. Based on the bestselling memoir, "Guantánamo Diary", written by Mohamedou Ould Salahi, whom the United States held, without charge, for fourteen years and officially acknowledged by them that he had been tortured. The case comes to light when defense attorney Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) and her associate Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley in an underwritten part) decide to defend languishing prisoner Salahi (Tahar Rahim) who had been abducted from his home in Mauritania on suspicion of being involved in the 9/11 attacks. Their controversial advocacy along with fabricated evidence uncovered by the military prosecutor (Benedict Cumberbatch) reveals a shocking conspiracy by officials to falsely condemn the prisoner by coercing a confession out of him using extreme torture methods. The screenplay lacks drama and takes a rather bland route merely ticking off all the major events in the life of this prisoner and comes across as a flat legal procedural. At the center of the film is the outstanding performance of Tahar Rahim who underplays yet perfectly conveys the character's humour, wit, confusion, trauma and who uses his strong religious faith to sustain him through his incredible ordeal of fourteen years in prison. Jodie Foster, wearing a startling white wig and in brusque "Clarice Starling" mode, not only adds marquee value but also adds spice to all her scenes opposite Rahim. Although the film is a strong indictment against the Bush era I found the film's emphasis on forgiveness hard to take as it deflects completely from the major issue of the United States government still refusing to apologise for its hand in the goings-on in Guantánamo which is still very much around and kicking. The film ends on a memorable note with footage of Salahi being welcomed back home and singing a Bob Dylan song.

I Loved a Woman (Alfred E. Green, 1933) 6/10

An art student (Edward G. Robinson) inherits his father's meat packing business, marries a social climber (Genevieve Tobin), sells tainted meat during the Spanish Civil War and falls in love with an ambitious opera singer (Kay Francis) who is a self confessed nymphomaniac. Francis, although with little screen time, manages to steal the show as a very modern woman for her time (the story is set during 1890-1915) while Robinson alternates between being ruthless in business and a sweet puppy dog with his tongue hanging out in the presence of his notorious lover. The film has fascinating similarities to "Citizen Kane".

The Girl on the Train (Ribhu Dasgupta, 2021) 1/10

Hideous Bollywood remake of Paula Hawkins' novel which Hollywood made into a mediocre movie some years ago with Emily Blunt. This version can't decide if it wants to be in English or Hindi and for some inexplicably unexplained reason the plot is set in London. It starts off with a typical Bollywood production number and segues into the novel's convoluted plot - not sure if the novel was convoluted or was it the ragged editing here that made it seem confused and belligerent. It also doesn't help that Parineeta Chopra gives what is possibly the worse performance of her career with the entire cast following suit. A brilliant lawyer (Parineeta Chopra) gets married to a dreamy man but during a car accident loses her unborn baby and takes to the bottle in typical Bollywood fashion - drunks, on Bollywood screens, act differently to their Hollywood counterparts. Sadly the heroine here does not sing in a club while drunk which might have livened up this film. Anyway her husband dumps her and takes up with another woman while the sad drunk daily whizzes past their house on a train spying on the couple. When another woman goes missing and turns up dead suspicion falls on the drunk who was seen in the vicinity. Red herrings and suspicious characters abound making the plot more and more confusing as it goes along. It also doesn't help that the film's constant flashbacks and flashforwards begin to intertwine making it more of a jumbled mess. I also kept wondering why the stern female cop on the case (Kirti Kulhari) was constantly wearing a Sikh-like turban. When the final twist in the plot arrives one heaves a massive sigh of relief that this atrocious piece of garbage is finally over.

I Care a Lot (J Blakeson, 2021) 7/10

Not since the Wachowski brothers' "Bound" has there been a more sexy and kick-ass pair of lesbian conwomen as in this black comedy. Maria (Rosamund Pike) runs a profitable business by convincing the legal system to grant her guardianship over elders, under the guise that they cannot look after themselves. The elders are placed in an assisted living facility, kept away from all contact with the outside world and given high doses of medication to make them almost catatonic. Meanwhile she sells their assets and homes for her own profit. Helping her manoeuvre each con is her younger partner and lover (Eiza González). The fun with such plots is waiting for the fuck-up which invariably hangs just around the corner, and here it comes in the guise of an elderly lady (Dianne Wiest) who is taken in as usual but there is a slight hitch this time round. Her safety deposit box contains a cache of uncut diamonds and a mean mafia boss (Peter Dinklage) with a nasty temper turns up with an interest in the wrongly incarcerated old lady. A spirited cat-and-mouse game ensues between the cool and calm babe and the vicious killer who wants back his diamonds and his mother. Pike takes her iconic feminist character and runs with it. She is not afraid to add campy touches - inhaling on a vape and blowing out smoke like a dragon. The plot keeps upping the scale getting nastier by the minute until the ironic ending which badly deflates everything that has gone on before. It harks back to the forced plot points forced on by censorship during Hollywood's golden era. Coming off the Trump era the ending here is especially disappointing and should have maintained its icy mean streak right on till the finish line. This is another feather in the cap for Pike who makes a chilly femme fatale and was rewarded with a nomination for a Golden Globe award. Wiest is almost as good as the feisty old lady with a surprising blue vocal streak.

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

Postby gunnar » Sat Feb 27, 2021 11:57 pm

Tsotsi (2005) - 8/10 - This South African crime drama stars a hardened young criminal who doesn't hesitate to use violence to get what he wants. He steals a car at gunpoint and accidentally kidnaps the baby in the backseat. He tries to care for it, even forcing a young mother to feed the baby. The baby causes him to remember his own childhood and leads to changes in his hardened exterior. I thought the movie was well acted and has a nice soundtrack as well.

Interiors (1978) - 6.5/10 - This Woody Allen film is about a family with three grown children. The father decides that he want to live alone for a while and informs his wife that he wants a separation. The mother is depressed as a result of this, though she didn't really seem very happy prior to the announcement either. The three daughters have to deal with this and their relationship with each other as well. The movie was okay, but I didn't really like it all that much, though it has a decent cast. Geraldine Page plays the mother and her character annoyed the heck out of me through much of the film with her behavior. She's an interior decorator and there are a few instances with one of the daughters and her husband where she doesn't seem to have much regard for their opinions.

Passion Fish (1992) - 9/10 - Mary McDonnell stars as daytime soap opera star May-Alice Culhane who wakes up in the hospital after an accident and discovers that she is now a paraplegic. She has a very bad attitude toward rehab and goes through a lot of caregivers after being released from the hospital and moving into her old family home in Louisiana. Things start to change when a woman named Chantelle (Alfre Woodard) moves in and the two eventually form a bond. I enjoyed this movie a lot and think that McDonnell and Woodard each did a great job in their roles. Plus there is the classic scene with "I didn't ask for the anal probe."

Of Human Bondage (1934) - 6.5/10 - Leslie Howard stars as Philip Carey, a man with a club foot who gives up on being an artist and attends medical school. He falls for a waitress named Mildred (Bette Davis) who is very cold to him and treats him poorly, often flirting or running off with other men. This role made Bette Davis a star, but I only found the movie to be okay.

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

Postby gunnar » Fri Feb 26, 2021 11:12 pm

Ju Dou (1990) - 7.5/10 - Janshin is an old man who makes his living dying cloth in 1920s China. He has already beaten two wives to death for failing to give him a son and heir. He purchases a young and beautiful new wife named Ju Dou (Gong Li) and starts beating her as well. Jinshan's adopted nephew, Tianqing, falls in love with Ju Dou and the two begin an affair. Ju Dou becomes pregnant and has a son, but they must raise the boy as Jinshan's for fear of scandal or worse. I thought it was a good movie and an effective tragedy.

To Be or Not to Be (1983) - 8/10 - Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft star as popular Polish actors who have a theater in Warsaw. WWII arrives and throws everything into disarray. They get involved in a spy mission to retrieve a list of the members of the Polish underground. I thought that this remake of the 1942 classic was pretty entertaining and funny. I don't think that Charles Durning deserved an Oscar nomination, but the supporting cast (Jose Ferrer, Christopher Lloyd, etc.) was pretty good. It isn't in the same class as the original, but it was fun.

The Contender (2000) - 8/10 - Joan Allen stars as a Senator who is nominated to fill the vacant Vice Presidency under President Jackson Evans (Jeff Bridges). She comes under scrutiny during her confirmation hearings for alleged sexual escapades while she was in college. She refuses to comment on it because she doesn't see at anyone's business whether the allegations are true or not I thought that it was a pretty entertaining film.

Nixon (1995) - 7/10 - Anthony Hopkins stars as Richard Nixon in this biopic from Oliver Stone. There is a lot of good stuff mixed in here, but the film didn't totally work for me. It's not a bad film, but it felt a bit bloated and, at the same time, skipped over a lot of stuff. Stone seems to be trying to portray Nixon's complicated character and the (perhaps) inevitable downfall that awaited him rather than a complete biography. I don't have a problem with that, but I also didn't think it quite came together.

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

Postby Reza » Thu Feb 25, 2021 12:17 am

Seven Nights in Japan (Lewis Gilbert, 1976) 4/10

Loose update of "Roman Holiday" has the sexes reversed with Prince George (Michael York), while in the Royal Navy, on a tour of Japan. He is clearly modeled on Charles and to make it even more clear he gets a phone call with a distinctive voice on the other end with corgis yelping in the background. Bored with all the protocol and the never-ending visits planned by the British Ambassador (Charles Gray) and his wife, he uses their daughter's alibi to roam the streets incognito where he meets and falls in love with a naive Japanese tourist guide (Hidemi Aoki). Unconsequential story throws in an assassination plot to liven up the leaden plot. This rather silly and dated idea was fairly controversial back then with the Prince seriously contemplating sex with a foreigner and deciding to throw in the Royal towel when he falls deeply in love with the girl and takes a delight in rural Japan. York, then at the height of his popularity, makes a wan attempt at being appealing but the boring screenplay gives him nothing much to do. There are some lovely shots of Japan courtesy of Henri Decae's camera, and as a travelogue of Japan the film scores points.

Der Richter und sein Henker / End of the Game (Maximillian Schell, 1975) 6/10

When a cop (Donald Sutherland) is found shot in the head in Switzerland it sets off a chain of events, linked to another murder in the past (in Istanbul), that pits a Swiss Police Commissioner (Martin Ritt) against a Criminal Mastermind (Robert Shaw). Another cop (Jon Voight) investigates his colleague's murder while having an affair with the dead man's girlfriend (Jacqueline Bisset) who in turn is also secretly the mistress of the Criminal Mastermind. Convoluted plot is based on the 1950 crime novella "Der Richter und sein Henker" by Friedrich Dürrenmatt who co-wrote the screenplay with director Schell and also appears in the film as a writer who holds a key to the murder that took place in Istanbul in 1948. Both Ritt and Bisset are standouts amongst an exceptional cast which also includes the imposing Helmut Qualtinger as the crook's menacing lawyer.

False Identity (James Keach, 1990) 3/10

A radio jockey (Geneviève Bujold) finds a Purple Heart at a garage sale and decides to find who it belonged to. She discovers that it belonged to the long-lost brother of a rich man who has his small town in a grip of fear. Nobody wants to talk about the missing man until suddenly a mysterious amnesiac (Stacy Keach) turns up whose presence stirs things up further. Oddball obscure little film is badly directed, shot and acted - Veronica Cartwright as the rich man's alcoholic wife is especially embarrassing - while the two stars try to do what they can with impossibly written roles. The story starts off as an espionage drama and segues into a melodrama involving an overheated family with skeletons rattling in the closet. This film rightfully went straight to the bottom pile of trashy videos.

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

Postby gunnar » Wed Feb 24, 2021 11:41 pm

Still Alice (2014) - 8/10 - Julianne Moore stars as a linguistics professor who starts noticing problems soon after her 50th birthday and is diagnosed with a rare form of early onset Alzheimer's. Moore gives a nice performance and the supporting cast is decent.

Phantom Thread (2017) - 8/10 - Daniel Day-Lewis stars as a high end dressmaker who becomes enamored with a waitress (Vicky Krieps) and brings her into his house. He is very particular in his ways and his sisters manages his affairs (and him at times). The waitress provides inspiration, but also disrupts his life to an extent. The film has excellent settings and costumes along with really good acting. I thought that it moved a bit too slowly at times, but overall is a very good film.

A Single Man (2009) - 8/10 - Colin Firth portrays George Falconer, a college professor in Los Angeles in 1962, shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis. He is still depressed over the death of Jim, his lover of 16 years, from a car accident eight months earlier. He is contemplating suicide, but goes about his daily business and has a couple of encounters with young men who seem interested in him. The movie does a nice job portraying George's depression, thanks in large part to Firth's excellent performance, but also with the music.

The Triplets of Belleville (2003) - 8/10 - Madame Souza raises her orphaned grandson and helps him train for the Tour de France. When he is kidnapped by mobsters during the race, she goes off to rescue him with the aid of his overweight dog. She gets some help from triplets who were singing stars in the 1930s. The movie doesn't have a lot of dialogue, but it is pretty funny and is well animated, though in a style that some might not like. I enjoyed it a lot.

Mustang (2015) - 8.5/10 - In a small village in Turkey, five sisters walk home from school one day and stop to play in the sea with their classmates. They play a game where they sit on a boy's shoulders and try to knock each other off. The girls live with their grandmother since they were orphaned a decade earlier. They get in trouble for 'acting obscenely' with boys and their home slowly transforms into a prison thanks to their uncle and grandmother, complete with bars on the windows and a high wall. The youngest girl, Lale, is adept at sneaking out of the house and does so at many opportunities. The girls sneak out to attend a soccer match in a neighboring city and the grandmother decides it is time to start marrying them off. The girls were believable as sister and did an excellent job of acting, especially the girl who played Lale, the protagonist of the film.

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

Postby gunnar » Tue Feb 23, 2021 3:51 pm

The Garden (2008) - 7/10 - This documentary follows the battle to save the South Central Community Garden in Los Angeles. The site was barren and covered in trash when it was turned into a community garden following the 1992 Los Angeles riots. There were over 300 plots, many run by Latino families. The site was purchased by a developed who moved to evict the farmers from the land. The battle played out in court and in the court of public opinion for a couple of years. It was an interesting film.

I Am a Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary School (1993) - 7.5/10 - This documentary looks at the students and staff of a Philadelphia school in a very poor neighborhood where there are many challenges. I could relate to this from my experience teaching at the high school level where man of the students came from a similar background. The challenges can change a bit as they grow older, but they are not that different really. It was a good film.

American Dream (1990) - 8/10 - This documentary examines the Hormel strike by meatpacking workers in 1985-1986. Hormel decided to reduce salaries by more than $2 per hour and reduce benefits by 30% despite posting a $30 million profit. Workers at one plant went against the advice of the national union and hired a strike consultant. Unfortunately, the workers did not have a lot of leverage. I think that attempts to reduce salaries and benefits has been a theme for decades. We certainly felt it at my job, though not to the extent that the Hormel workers did. My dad was a teacher and they went on strike once in the early 1970s and the entire teaching staff of the district nearly got fired as a result. It came down to a 4-3 school board vote.

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

Postby gunnar » Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:14 am

Topper Returns (1941) - 5.5/10 - Cosmo Topper is heading home with his chauffeur when they happen across two young ladies who are headed to the mansion next door. They talk him into giving them a ride to the mansion where one of the ladies is about to inherit the whole estate. That night, one of the girls is murdered and her ghost forces Cosmo to help her find out what happened to her. The movie is slightly better than Topper Takes a Trip, though Billie Burke is annoying as usual and the way some of the characters act just doesn't seem realistic. I realize that it's a comedy, but this took a bit away from my enjoyment of the film. The bombastic and ineffectual nature of the police detective is one example.

The Emperor's New Groove (2000) - 8/10 - A self-centered young Emperor gets turned into a llama and has to rely on the help of a llama herder whose home he planned to destroy. I thought that it was a lot of fun.

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

Postby Reza » Wed Feb 17, 2021 11:07 pm

Judas and the Black Messiah (Shaka King, 2021) 9/10

Sensational dramatization about the machinations of the FBI to curtail the growing voice of the Black Panther Party during the 1960s. The events depicted are rendered more shocking by the undiminished currency of its themes. Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya), chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in late-1960s Chicago, is betrayed at the hands of William O'Neal (Lakeith Stanfield), an FBI informant, and during a raid is shot dead in his apartment. Fascinating look at the Black struggle for respect and equality and how relentlessly the U.S. Government found ways and means to silence that voice. The superb screenplay forcefully condemns racial injustice and the story plays out with a sense of foreboding dread throughout. At the center of the film are the audacious performances by the superb ensemble cast led by Lakeith Stanfield and in particular by the sad-eyed Daniel Kaluuya (the heart and soul of the film), Dominique Fishback as his steadfast girlfriend and Jesse Plemons as the slimy and sinister FBI handler. In a brief cameo Martin Sheen, under mounds of facial prosthetic makeup, plays the despicable J. Edgar Hoover - head of the FBI and the sadistic instigator of many a witch-hunts in the Country. The film ends with archive footage of Hampton's speeches, his funeral procession, and a television interview O'Neal gave in 1989 - he continued working as an informant for the FBI within the Party before committing suicide. This is one of the year's best films and a must-see that deserves serious Oscar consideration.

What Would Sophia Loren Do? (Ross Kauffman, 2021) 8/10

Charming documentary traces the life of an 82-year old Italian-American grandmother and intertwines it with the life of her idol Sophia Loren. The old lady, a big fan of the movie star, took inspiration from the star's movies and founf that it brought her comfort during her life. Heartwarming film has many scenes from Loren's movies charting her life and career with many similarities - starting with their Italian heritage - between the two. The wonderful and touching moment at the end has the two ladies meeting up via their children, producer Regina Scully and director Edoardo Ponti, who were working together on Loren's new film - "La vita davanti a sé" / "The Life Ahead". Humourous, witty and often moving short film is delightful fun.

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

Postby Reza » Tue Feb 16, 2021 12:06 pm

The Hangman (Michael Curtiz, 1959) 7/10

Robert Taylor, matinée idol of the 1930s and 1940s and one of the most handsome actors in Hollywood, started the last decade of his life with a prematurely rugged face reduced to mainly B-films and the start of a 3-year run as star of the tv series "The Detectives". Veteran director Michael Curtiz, also once part of the A-list scene, directs this talky little Western surrounding his leading man with present and future familiar faces from television - Fess Parker (Daniel Boone), Tina Louise (Gilligan's Island), Jack Lord (Hawaii Five-O), Lorne Greene (Bonanza), Gene Evans (My Friend Flicka), Mabel Albertson (Bewitched) and Betty Lynn (as sweet "Thelma Lou" in The Andy Griffith Show). A tough U.S. Marshall (Robert Taylor) arrives in a small town to identify and arrest a fugitive (Jack Lord) now living under an assumed name with a pregnant wife. Since nobody knows how the fugitive looks he bribes the man's former girlfriend (Tina Louise), now down and out after being jilted by her lover, to accompany him in order to identify the criminal. Nobody in town, including the sheriff (Fess Parker), believes that the well-liked young man could be a criminal and the plan fails when the woman warns her former lover and pretends not to recognise him. Stock western goes through its paces with Taylor actually quite good although its Tina Louise who comes through with a superb performance completely in contrast to her sexpot image courtesy of the Playboy magazine pictorial and her subsequent film debut in "God's Little Acre" which came out before this film. Excellent production values, courtesy of Paramount studio, also help, and Mabel Albertson is hilarious as a busybody who tries to come-on to Taylor.

Razzia sur la chnouf / Raid on the Drug Ring (Henri Decoin, 1955) 9/10

French gangster film and noir explores the drug underworld in Paris. A master criminal (Jean Gabin) is lured back to Paris from across the Atlantic by the head of a major narcotics ring (Marcel Dalio) in order to oversee and bring efficiency to their distribution. He is provided a restaurant as a cover where he takes up with the 22-year old cashier (Magali Noël) - sex in french cinema was always treated as natural and with utter realism though Gabin today would be called out for being a dirty old man for making his move on the young virginal girl who is actually very receptive towards him. The screenplay moves almost like a police procedural or a documentary with cops sniffing at the heels of the drug couriers who also have a habit of double crossing their handlers. Such couriers are ruthlessly eliminated with help from two hitmen (Lino Ventura & Albert Rémy) who handle the matter with cold-blooded efficiency. The magnificent Gabin plays his character with curious sympathy and sophistication with his face a deadpan mask. The film later gained notoreity for one questionable sequence which suggests that black singers and dancers can only "swing" when high on drugs - a laughable notion apparently prevalent then about black people. Lila Kedrova is superb as a junkie begging for a hit and a fantastic jazz score compliments the action on screen. Decoin, one of the great traditionalist french directors, made this gritty film after a long list of melodramas most of which had his then wife Danielle Darrieux as leading lady.

Schachnovelle / The Royal Game / Brainwashed (Gerd Oswald, 1960) 8/10

Fascinating story about a man's broken spirit and how the game of chess comes to his rescue. The film is inspired by the novella by Stefan Zweig ("Letter From an Unknown Woman") which he wrote just before his suicide. A broken political prisoner (Curd Jürgens) boards a ship and takes on a chess champion (Mario Adorf) and much to everyone's surprise defeats him even though he claims never to have played the game before. A lawyer by profession he had famously, with the help of the Church, saved important art objects in Austria by hiding them abroad from the occupying Nazis. A battle of wits ensues with the Gestapo head (Hansjörg Felmy) who wants him to reveal the whereabouts of the treasures while his girlfriend (Claire Bloom), a ballerina, comes between the two men forming a love triangle. Put in solitary confinement and with the help of a stolen book he distracts his mind from a complete psychological breakdown. The book describes important chess moves by the masters which he memorizes and plays with himself using bread crumbs. Jurgens is magnificent giving a highly emotional performance as the sophisticated and intellectual man almost driven to a nervous breakdown. He gets able support from Felmy as the reptilian, smooth-taking Nazi and lovely Claire Bloom as the desperate woman willing to sell herself in order to help her friend. Superb cerebral story is riveting throughout.

My Six Loves (Gower Champion, 1963) 4/10

Debbie, six "adorable" kids (aren't they always) and a dog. You just know exactly what is going to happen in this formulaic rather tired but cutesy comedy. Exhausted Broadway star (Debbie Reynolds) retreats to her Connecticut farm for some much needed R&R and discovers six kids on her property abandoned by their drunken layabout parents. She has two suitors - a charming and sensitive minister (Cliff Robertson) and her grumpy agent (David Jannssen. For laughs there is her personal sidekick (Eileen Heckart in fine wisecracking form), an obnoxious cook (Alice Ghostley) and a grouchy school bus driver (Alice Pearce). Debbie solves the kids' problems and sings "It's a Darn Good Thing" while dressed to her teeth in chic Edith Head gowns spectacularly inappropriate for the country setting. Cloying sentimental claptrap although Debbie is her usual charming and exhuberant self and always worth a watch.

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

Postby gunnar » Mon Feb 15, 2021 11:42 pm

My Son John (1952) - 5.5/10 - Dan and Lucille Jefferson (Dean Jagger and Helen Hayes) are sending two of their sons off to serve their country in the armed forces, but their eldest son John (Robert Walker) couldn't make it home in time for the send off. When he does show up, the parents are worried that he is a communist. The father is real piece of work with his quick temper and rabid anti-communist stance while the mother is pretty needy. The movie is a product of its time with its propaganda. It isn't a very good movie, but there are some interesting parts. Unfortunately, Walker died before the movie was quite finished.

Tender is the Night (1962) - 6/10 - Jason Robards stars as talented psychiatrist Dick Diver who treats mentally ill heiress Nicole Warren (Jennifer Jones). After she is cured they marry, have two children, and move to the French Riviera. As time passes, Dick becomes dependent on alcohol and his wife; she gets stronger while he gets weaker. However, the appearance of a beautiful young actress (Jill St. John) who seems attracted to Dick threatens Nicole's mental wellbeing. The movie is entertaining enough, though it seems a bit inconsistent to me.

La Mandragola (1965) - 8/10 - Callimaco hears of the beauty of Lucrezia of Florence and when he sees her upon his return to Florence, he falls in love with her. Lucrezia has been married for four year to an older notary who puts her through all sorts of quack methods to try and increase her fertility since she hasn't gotten pregnant by him yet. Callimaco takes advantage of this by posing as a doctor and convincing the husband that a potion made with mandrake root can make her fertile, but it can be deadly for the man who beds her so they will need to find a substitute (him of course). The movie is pretty funny and is based on a satirical play by Macchiavelli set in the early 1500s. I enjoyed it a lot.


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