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

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:31 am

Nouvelle Vague (Jean-Luc Godard, 1990) 4/10

Godard is an acquired taste. Not for everyone. I like most of his films made before 1966 but find many of the later overated, dull, difficult or pretentious. I can't fault the images in his films though which are almost always superbly shot - maybe I need to turn off the sound and just concentrate on the images. Here is another difficult film which took me a while to understand. Almost the entire dialogue consists of quotations from literature or films. Even the actors posturing in front of the camera seems to have been lifted off other films. Or maybe I imagined this. The plot revolves around a drifter (Alain Delon) who is picked up by a rich industrialist (Domiziana Giordano) and becomes her kept man at her lavish estate near Lake Geneva. He dotes on her and is obedient. Other characters pop up followed by a boating incident where he drowns and she refuses to help. Then another man arrives who looks like the first (also Delon) but is shrewd and aggressive. Then there is a second boating incident with roles reversed. The film is gorgeously photographed with lush views of the spectacular Swiss countryside. It is the first film I've seen where Alain Delon looks human - bags under his eyes, sagging neck jowls, frown marks on his forehead and pimples on his chin. The film is a beautiful looking bore.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:31 am

La kermesse héroïque / Carnival in Flanders (Jacques Feyder, 1935) 10/10

Hilariously sly sex farce is a fairly risqué film for its time and a sharp commentary on human nature. In the early 17th century the Spaniards invade the Flemish town of Flanders. While the town's men all scatter with fright its the women who confront the invaders ready to even give themselves to the soldiers. The town's mayor pretends he is dead while his wily and enterprising wife (the superb Françoise Rosay - director Feyder's wife) gathers together the town's females, dress up in their best outfits and greet the invaders as heroes and shower them with affection, food, sexual favors and hospitality. The result is the invaders leave and also cancel all taxes for a year. Feyder's film is like a painting by the Dutch masters with superb production design and costumes (they bring to mind the renaissance paintings of Pieter Bruegel) and its visual quality is due to the stunning camera work by Harry Stradling who was unique in having not only a celebrated career in Hollywood but also in France where he collaborated with Feyder to equal acclaim. The wicked screenplay gleefully deals with not only adultery, homosexuality and eroticism but also deceit, cowardice and greed. The film proved controversial when during WWII Feyder was accused of endorsing collaboration through this film - the invading Spaniards here substituting for the German invaders during the War. A classic of french cinema and a must-see.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:31 am

Ant-Man and the Wasp (Peyton Reed, 2018) 7/10

Silly, convoluted but fast paced action-comedy has Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) team up with the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) and her father (Michael Douglas) to go into the "Quantum Realm" - one ignores wondering what the hell it is and just goes along for the ride into what looks like the inside of the human body â la "Fantastic Voyage", the movie from way back when. They need to go inside it to look for the Wasp's mom (Michelle Pfeiffer) who got stuck there 30 years before. Mercifully the screenplay does not delve into complicated jargon explaining all the sci-fi mumbo jumbo. Instead we get snappy one-liners between every character on screen - they all seem to have done time with Neil Simon - making this one of the funnier Marvel outings. Black Hollywood is represented by Lawrence Fishburne as an ex-partner of Douglas but now gone rogue with his protegé who, in ghost-like visage, is the main villain and who annoyingly keeps interrupting the main plot. Rudd is a wonderfully goofy presence with Lilly a sexy verbal and romantic combatant for him. The film has spectacular effects with Ant-Man increasing and decreasing in size at the most awkward of moments causing hilarious mayhem. A fun-filled ride.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:30 am

Sicario: Day of the Soldado (Stefano Sollima, 2018) 8/10

Slick equally violent sequel dispenses with three elements from the original - director Denis Villeneuve, star Emily Blunt as FBI agent Kate Macer and cinematographer Roger Deakins - but retains the element of suspense along with two important cast members. The US government brings in FBI agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) after it is established that the Mexican drug cartels are smuggling terrorists across the border into the United States. He, in turn, calls upon Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) to help start a war amongst the cartels. Highly charged action thriller involves the kidnapping of a cartel leader's teenage daughter, the initiation of young boys into the cartel, numerous double crosses leading to violent death and a gripping sense of dread throughout. Despite a few slow spots gruff Brolin and cool and silent Del Toro carry it all off with aplomb giving us a sequel well worth waiting for.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:30 am

Wings for the Eagle (Lloyd Bacon, 1942) 6/10

One (of many) films for the War effort - this one is set in a Lockheed plant in California that builds the A-29 Hudson light bomber and reconnaisannce plane which were being sent to the RAF before the United States entered the War. The main plot centers around a love triangle as snappy Ann Sheridan fends off her estranged husband (Jack Carson) and his wolf-like best buddy (Dennis Morgan). With these two actors on board it appears the two have something going on with Ann Sheridan as their beard. She comes off best amongst the incessant flag waving and usual clichés. Interesting from the historical perspective with a close view of how planes were manufactured on the asembly line at a time fraught with urgency.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:29 am

Lancer Spy (Gregory Ratoff, 1937) 6/10

Boys own adventure has a British officer (George Sanders) impersonating a captured Prussian soldier in order to get secret papers for King and Country during WWI. The basic premise is lifted straight from "The Prisoner of Zenda" with Sanders great fun playing a double role - speaking in a german accent, fooling the high ups in the army (Sig Ruman and a strangely subdued Peter Lorre) and romancing a Mata Hari type spy (Dolores Del Rio). Fluff with suspense.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:29 am

Woman in a Dressing Gown (J. Lee Thompson, 1957) 8/10

A precursor to the "kitchen sink" dramas of British cinema may actually have been the first. A long standing middle class marriage is in a crisis. A clerk (Anthony Quayle), stuck in life and job, finds his slovenly and constantly chattering wife (Yvonne Mitchell) a bore and begins an affair with his much younger secretary (Sylvia Syms). The story lacks an "angry man" - Quayle is meek and gentle - and is rare in the genre for having an "angry woman" at the center who is roused into a fury and snaps out of her self infused malaise - there is a wonderfully written scene between the two actresses, one who knows what real love is and the other who has a more romantic notion of the word. This quietly riveting film is a fine portrait of ordinary people going through life. Mitchel playing a cringe worthy character is superb. Suffering from a form of clinical depression she has let herself go (lives in a dressing gown) and keeps the house in a mess - Thompson (by way of cinematographer Gilbert Taylor) frames her throughout in between furniture and doorways showing her pathetic caged character. The situations appear jarring from a modern perspective with its 1950s mores and clearly defined roles for men and women but much of it is still relevant and familiar to many parts of the world. Mitchell won the best actress prize at the Berlin film festival and is remarkable in creating a character living constantly on the edge of hysteria.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:29 am

Un nommé La Rocca / A Man Named Rocca (Jean Becker, 1961) 4/10

Deathly slow film has Belmondo trying to look for the people who put his friend in jail. Brilliantly photographed on location in stark black and white by Ghislain Cloquet (who would win an Oscar years later for "Tess"). The film picks up pace during the second half set inside a jail and on a beach. Pretty Christine Kaufmann reclines nude in bed throughout. Belmondo is always a welcome presence with his rough hewn features and star persona.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:28 am

Volver a empezar / Begin the Beguine / To Begin Again (José Luis Garci, 1982) 5/10

Warm bittersweet memory piece is a bore and still managed to win the Oscar for best foreign film (Spain's first). An old man (Antonio Ferrandis) returns to his old hometown Gijon after going into exile during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. He has lived all these years in the United States and has recently won the Nobel prize in Literature. The film is a series (of very slow) vignettes as he connects with an old flame and an old buddy. He is harboring a secret which he tells his friend but does not mention to the lady. Unfortunately the film's poignant scenes are intercut with silly comic scenes involving the hotel manager who is over excited once he realises the old man is a celebrity. The film is bathed in a romantic aura due to the soundtrack - both Johann Pachelbel's "Canon in D Major" and Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine" are played ad nauseam throughout. Sentimental fluff.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:28 am

Chappaquiddick (John Curran, 2018) 7/10

I'm old enough to vaguely remember the events surrounding Senator Ted Kennedy (Jason Clarke) and his accident when the car he was driving went off a bridge and into the ocean. He managed to escape but the woman, a secretary - Mary Jo Kopechne (Kate Mara) - with him in the car drowned. There were various tragedies involved in this incident of which the woman's death was of course the foremost. There was also the despicable tragedy of a man who failed to report the accident for over 10 hours and instead quickly got his father, Joe Kennedy (Bruce Dern) and his PR guys to get him out of the "mess". And there was the tragedy of a man who was desperate for his over bearing and ambitious father's love and respect - there is a great scene between the father, stricken by a stroke, and his youngest son which sums up their relationship. The events of that night still remain a mystery almost 50 years later. Was the Senator having an affair with the woman? Was he drunk while driving? How did he get out of the car while she remained trapped? A promising upcoming career in politics (along with a Presidential nomination) was assured Ted Kennedy as he was poised to follow in the footsteps of his two older brothers - John & Robert. The accident derailed everything and the incident hovered over his head till the day he died. The film details the cover-up and the oily political "machinery" at work. Kennedy comes off as a confused, selfish and uncaring spoilt brat - it's outrageous people voted for him and he became Senator of Massachusetts. But the story is nothing new as cover-ups have been part and parcel of political life and will always continue - personal ambition and stakes become too high as politicians blindly make compromises throwing integrity to the wind. Well made film is interesting from the historical perspective.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:26 am

Hannah (Andrea Pallaoro, 2018) 8/10

Devastating character study filmed in a minimalist manner - no background score with just natural sounds and shot in a frosty manner. The camera focuses on the face of Charlotte Rampling - now ravaged with lines and her droopy eyelids and the corners of her mouth displaying a flutter of movement which in closeup amplifies the grief on her face which she holds back. We gradually discover that her husband is in jail for some hideous crime and because she supported him she is now avoided by everyone including her son. We see her going about her drab daily existence - making meals in solitary silence, brushing her hair, bathing (no film of Rampling would be complete without her in the nude), frosting a cake, tending to her plants, working as a domestic and attending an acting class where voice exercises allow her to cathartically release her anguish disguised as part of the performance. This is a chilling portrait of loneliness and despair and Rampling is the perfect actor for the role. She has always been daring in her choice of film roles and this is just as difficult and different to the many that came before. She embodies the character with grace and dignity until we are suddenly shown moments where she breaks down sobbing with uncontrolled anguish. For this performance Rampling won the best actress award at the Venice film festival. Not a film for everyone's taste but a must-see to experience the work of a great star, who at 72, continues to be at the peak of her acting powers.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:26 am

Mary Shelley (Haifaa Al Mansour, 2018) 8/10

Saudi Arabia's first female director continues the theme from her acclaimed film "Wadjda" - a determined female protagonist, who at a young age, accomplishes a goal that leads to her independence. From a ten-year old Saudi tomboy wishing to ride a bike the director moves to this Hollywood production about Mary Shelley (Elle Fanning) who is encouraged by her father (Stephen Dillane) to think out of the box. Sent by him to Scotland she meets, falls in love and elopes with the celebrated 21-year old poet Percy Shelley (Douglas Booth) who she discovers is married with a child and a philanderer - he also has an affair with her half-sister (Bel Powley) as they all live in squalor having been cut off by their families because of the scandal. During this bleak period in her life she is challenged by the decadent Lord Byron (Tom Sturridge) to write a ghost story which eventually turns out to be the classic gothic story of "Frankenstein" - the destructive monster who represents Mary's emotional state. Since she was a woman she had to get it published annonymously and for which credit went to her husband. Fanning is superb capturing the pain and anguish of a woman born during a time and place where she is forced to be subserviant to men. Al Mansour directs the film with a sure hand creating a gloomy atmosphere and sexual tension between the characters in a film that celebrates romance and feminist history. Superbly designed film has wonderful production values. Both Douglas Booth and Tom Sturridge, playing characters who were equivalent to today's rock or movie stars, are superb as strutting versions of the male species causing much unhappiness for the women in their lives. For a kinkier version of this story please turn to Ken Russell's deliciously deranged "Gothic" which has lashings of sex and blood.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:26 am

Sanju (Rajkumar Hirani, 2018) 9/10

Hirani's film takes great pains to put to rest the accusations against actor Sanjay Dutt of being a terrorist during the Mumbai blasts of 1993. The film is also a no-holds barred account of the actor's drug addiction with harrowing scenes set in a clinic dealing with his withdrawal symptoms but most of all it's a love story between a father and his wayward son. Sanjay Dutt (Ranbir Kapoor), son of Bollywood superstars - Sunil Dutt (Paresh Rawal) and icon Nargis (Manisha Koirala) - is launched as an actor in 1981 by his father in the film "Rocky". Unbeknownst to the exacting and highly principled Sunil Dutt is the acute drug problem of his son - a classic case of a son looking up to iconic parents and not being able to measure up. Adding to the young man's woes is his mother's death from cancer and a failed love affair with his girlfriend Ruby (Sonam Kapoor) - actually actress Tina Munim who the film for obvious reasons cannot mention - who dumps him because of his drug problems and gets married to someone else. To cope with all these issues he turns to drugs regularly supplied by a slimy pusher (Jim Sarbh). The screenplay takes the form of a mystery-thriller as moments of his life are investigated and clarified by a writer (Anushka Sharma wearing a hideous wig) who is asked by the actor and his wife Manyata (Diya Mirza) to put down in the form of a book so that the public gets to know the truth instead of reading sensational accounts of his life in the tabloids. The film also deals in detail about the actor's incarceration in prison on charges of being a terrorist. Ranbir Kapoor transforms himself into Sanjay Dutt not only capturing the actor's voice, mannerisms and hangdog expression but also delves deep into his psyche capturing the man's vulnerability and acute anguish. It's an amazing performance matched by Paresh Rawal as the supportive father - all their scenes together are heartbreaking - and Vicky Kaushal who is superb as the star's caring and steadfast friend. The film is brilliantly edited and has outstanding production design, cinematography and costumes superbly recreating the era of the early 1980s and 1990s. Allegedly actress Madhuri Dixit called upon the film's producers to ensure there was no mention of her in the film as it was strongly rumoured that the one time co-stars (their biggest hit together was "Khalnayak") were also lovers who were going to get married but she back tracked herself from his life when he was arrested on charges of terrorism in 1993 - the producers appear to have obliged as there is no mention of her in the film. The film's closing credits has a song which is performed and danced together by Ranbir Kapoor and Sunjay Dutt himself. This film should not be missed.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:25 am

Foxtrot (Arturo Ripstein, 1976) 8/10

Rather odd but compelling parable about the futility of war and how its savage force grips and spreads like a virus no matter where you hide. A Romanian aristocrat (Peter O'Toole) and his chic wife (Charlotte Rampling) decide to elude the war raging in Europe on an uncharted island in the Pacific. Their only companions are a longtime friend (Max von Sydow) and a trusted servant (Jorge Luke). They set up home (an art deco giant tent) and live a lavish life dancing (the foxtrot), sunbathing, swimming and drinking champagne - pure decadence with no worries. Unannounced arrive a group of friends who completely disrupt the calm status quo of the quartet. The next few days involve endless parties, orgies and hunting of the wild birds and seals on the island. When the group leaves after a few days the relationship between the original four drastically changes and now involves rationing of food and drink as they agree on sharing everything on the island equally. With class barriers broken the lone woman becomes fair game amongst the three men leading to greed, jealousy, mistrust, deception, murder and madness. War along with its destructive powers has found its way onto the island. O'Toole and stunning Charlotte Rampling charge this fascinating film with a heavy dose of sexual chemistry creating sparks as they alternatively spar and make love. The film is beautifully shot with the stars looking resplendent in their period costumes as they pose on beaches and against sunsets. A rare film and well worth watching.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:24 am

Un Borghese Piccolo Piccolo / An Average Little Man (Mario Monicelli, 1977) 8/10

Monicelli's deceptive comedy has amusing scenes of traffic annoyances, bureaucratic horrors in Rome offices and a typical stereotypical Italian family - a harrassed and meek father (Alberto Sordi), fat talkative religious mother (a dubbed and very convincing Shelley Winters) who waves her hands around in despair and their son (Vincenzo Crocitti) for whom the father is trying desperately to get a job with the Roman municipal government using old fascist contacts. A sudden tragedy entirely shifts the mood of the film as it becomes a horrifying journey of a man seeking revenge and resorting to torture of unbearable intensity. The film shows that man is quite capable of a complete change in personality when faced by tragic circumstances in life. Sordi is superb as the comical man who resorts to a vengeful fury - the scenes of gruesome torture foreshadow the ones in Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs". Hardhitting film retains its biting if uncomfortable humour even though the plot turns tragic.


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