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

Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:48 am
by Reza
Lean on Pete (Andrew Haigh, 2018) 6/10

Relentlessly downbeat film has an intensely raw internalized performance by Charlie Plummer who begins to (literally) run each time life brings a blow. A lonely teenager, living with his jovial but neer-do-well dad, finds a job looking after the race horses of an irascible trainer (Steve Buscemi) bonding closely with one called "Lean on Pete". After a tragedy and discovering that the trainer is about to sell the horse he takes off with him cross country to search for his aunt (Alison Elliott). British director Haigh goes from very homegrown surroundings of his previous films to the vast American outback with beautifully shot scenes on the wide Western plains. The journey across has various encounters with very different people drowning in social ills allowing the young boy to grow stronger through each experience. There is a quietly lived-in feeling about this story which is more about the feeling of helplessness the boy experiences within life's cruelty. Buscemi, as always, is superb.

Lady in the Iron Mask (Ralph Murphy, 1952) 5/10

Rather tired version of the Alexander Dumas story gets a gender flip with the 3 Musketeers, led by D'Artagnan (Louis Hayward - who played the man in the iron mask in 1939), trying to save the life of the princess (Patricia Medina) kept in a dungeon while her twin rules. The plot goes through the usual horse chase sequences, sword and fist fights but is rather lifeless. Ernest Laszlo's cinematography and Dimitri Tiomkin's zesty score are plus factors.

The Looming Tower (Craig Zisk, John Dahl, Ali Selim, Michael Slovis & Alex Gibney, 2018) 8/10

Fascinating ten-part miniseries based on the Pulitzer prize winning book by Lawrence Wright about the events leading up to 9/11 and the frantic pursuit of Al-Qaeda that began when the American embassy in Nairobi was bombed in 1998. The chase to get to the roots of Al-Qaeeda was massively bungled due to the powerplay between the FBI and the CIA - the latter failed to share vital information about Saudi terrorist operatives who it was later discovered had entered the United States in early 2000 and who were on the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center Twin Towers and the Pentagon. The riveting screenplay follows the head of New York’s FBI Counter-Terrorism unit, John O’Neill (Jeff Daniels) who, helped by agent Ali Soufan (Tahar Rahim), relentlessly pursues leads on Al Qaeeda which results in a clash with CIA analyst, Martin Schmidt (Peter Sarsgaard), and his team who at the behest of the CIA head (Alec Baldwin) holds back vital information from the FBI which inadvertently leads to the 9/11 tragedy. Superbly acted film has nail biting suspense despite knowing the outcome which led to so much death and destruction. And the irony befalling John O'Neill after he is forcibly asked to resign is especially sad. A must-see.

Mortal Engines (Christian Rivers, 2018) 6/10

Extremely loud, CGI ridden, fantasy film that takes its cue from Mad Max and the Star Wars franchise. It's our world, post apocalypse, far off into the future with London town traveling on wheels devouring smaller towns to sustain itself. The city, with the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral resting on top like a crown, is steered by a megalomaniac (Hugo Weaving) who is upto some mischief inside the bowels of the church. A mysterious young woman holds the key to stop the madman who years before killed her mother. Helping her along the way are an outcast from London and a slinky outlaw as she is chased by a zombie machine who was once her friend. Like most fantasy films today the plot is absolutely absurd but makes up with non-stop action as the cast of mostly unknown young actors run askew through a world created via outstanding production design.

Mascara (Patrick Conrad, 1987) 7/10

The deranged world of 80's Eurotrash culture is the backdrop of this fascinating film which could easily pass off as one of the early films of John Waters or Pedro Almodovar. A chic and androgynous Charlotte Rampling is surrounded by an eclectic group of characters - an opera designer lover (Derek de Lint) who is hated by her brother (Michael Sarrazin), a Police Superintendent who adores opera, has a fetish for white female dresses and an obsessive and incestuous eye for his sister. The film's main plot involves the murders of two transvestite performers being investigated by the police and set mainly inside the bowels of a large theater club called "Mister Butterfly" which is a blend of cabaret, new wave and opera. Sleazy and bizzare film has elegant appearances by transgender star, Romy Haag, as the madame-manager presiding over the club and her brood of lip syncing drag queens (one of the outrageous concert sequences involve a drag queen impersonating Tina Turner singing while dressed up in her Mad Max garb). Eva Robins, the famous Italian transgendered star of tv, music, fashion and film, has a prominent role and has the film's most famous scene which predated a similar moment that gained more notoriety five years later in "The Crying Game". This is a rare campy cult film that deserves to be seen more widely not only for its audacious yet disturbing excesses but also to see just how eclectic and interesting Charlotte Rampling's career choices have been.

Free Solo (Jimmy Chin & Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, 2018) 4/10

Rock mountain climbing with or without ropes is a world totally alien to an acrophobe like me. I mean why would someone want to endanger their life by climbing a sheer rock wall? I guess everone is entiltled to whatever gives them a high. This Oscar winning documentary is about Alex Honnold who became the first person to free solo climb Yosemite's 3,000 foot high El Capitain rock. One can't deny the passion of this person but the film quickly gets repetitive with friends and colleagues fawning over the climber's accomplishments. Sitting through endless shots of climbing sequences are akin to watching slow games like golf or cricket or watching paint dry on a wall. A great achievement for Honnold is a boring time for me at the movies.

Look Away (Assaf Bernstein, 2019) 4/10

Pretty but put-upon high school teenager (India Eisley) discovers her evil twin inside the mirror, swaps places with her and wreaks vengeance on everyone who did her wrong or made fun of her. A variation on the "Carrie" theme keeps getting more and more unpleasant as it evolves into a silly slasher flick. Is she psychotic? Is there really a twin or is she using that in her mind to seek vengeance. India Eisley, daughter of Olivia Hussey, is good and an interesting addition to the new faces in Hollywood but this vehicle is too formulaic for her to make any sort of positive mark. Jason Isaacs as her womanizing dad and Mira Sorvino as her mentally depressed and neglected mom are both wasted. Flat and uninvolving film.

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

Posted: Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:49 pm
by Precious Doll
Greta (2019) Neil Jordan 2/10
In Safe Hands (2018) Jeanne Herry 7/10
I Feel Good (2018) Benoit Delepine & Gustave Kervern 6/10
The Fall of the American Empire (2018) Denys Arcand 8/10
Keep Going (2019) Joachim Lafosse 1/10
By the Grace of God (2019) Francois Ozon 8/10
The Four Sisters (2018) Claude Lanzman 7/10
Leaving Neverland (2019) Dan Reed 8/10

Repeat viewings

The Shop Around the Corner (1940) Ernst Lubitsch 7/10
The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) Peter Yates 7/10
Night of the Demon (1957) Jacques Tourneur 9/10
Scarface (1932) Howard Hawks 7/10
The River (1984) Mark Rydell 5/10
Panique (1946) Julien Duvivier 8/10

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

Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 11:18 pm
by Precious Doll
Alita: Battle Angel (2019) Robert Rodriguez 4/10
Vox Lux (2018) Brady Corbet 6/10
A Summer at Grandpa's (1984) Hsiao-Hsian Hou 7/10
Sharp Objects (2018) Jean-Marc Vallee 4/10

Repeat viewings

The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942) William Keighley 7/10
The Invitation (2015) Karyn Kusama 7/10
Out of the Past (1947) Jacques Tourneur 8/10
Notorious (1946) Alfred Hitchcock 8/10
The Last Movie (1971) Dennis Hopper 6/10
Smart Money (1931) Alfred E. Green 7/10

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

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:52 am
by Reza
Precious Doll wrote:
Reza wrote:At Eternity's Gate (Julian Schnabel, 2018) 6/10

Paul Friend as his beloved brother Theo

Reza, its Rupert Friend.

Haha thanks for the correction.

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

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:16 am
by Precious Doll
Reza wrote:At Eternity's Gate (Julian Schnabel, 2018) 6/10

Paul Friend as his beloved brother Theo

Reza, its Rupert Friend.

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

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:04 am
by Reza
Gully Boy (Zoya Akhtar, 2019) 9/10

Passionately directed coming-of-age story is set in Dharavi, a slum right in the center of Mumbai, where thousands of people live in extremely cramped quarters. These are people whose lives are ordained by abject poverty, petty crimes, drug dealing and who are too scared to dream of a better life simply because they know this is the only way of life they will live. The sensitive screenplay uses this milieu while focusing on Murad (Ranveer Singh), a young Muslim student fond of American rap music, who to his delight discovers that his city has an underground Hindi hip-hop scene where young men and women weave their sad, angry, poverty ridden lives into songs which talk about injustice and humiliation that surrounds them. This is also a vivid story of the slum dwelling itself - small living quarters housing entire families - which is superbly photographed by a camera that weaves snake-like through narrow streets and in and out of small homes in the densely populated slum. Every character, big or small, is written with such vivid detail that just looking at them on screen one can easily etch out their life arc. The story charts the defiant course taken by Murad to follow his dream of becoming a rap singer and this brings him into conflict with his violent father (Vijay Raaz) who not only tells him to stop dreaming big but who has also disturbed their family equilibrium by marrying a second time and moving his younger wife into their one bedroom home which already houses his first wife, elderly mother and two sons. On a lighter side is Murad's intense romance with Safeena (Alia Bhatt), a possessive Med-student, who dresses conservatively and wears a hijab. The film's myriad of characters surrounding Murad include Sher (Siddhant Chaturvedi) his rap mentor, Moeen (Vijay Varma) his close friend who is a petty thief and drug dealer and Sky (Kalki Koechlin) a rich girl who encourages him to make a video and with whom he has a one night stand which complicates his relationship with Safeena. Superbly acted film has career high performances by both the leads. Ranveer Singh completely tones down his familiar flamboyance giving a remarkably restrained portrayal while Bhatt matches him every step of the way playing a vivacious and sharp witted young woman who knows with great precision the path she has chosen in life - to be a surgeon and to marry Murad her childhood sweetheart. Their scenes together have great heart as their romance plays through various ups and downs. No Bollywood film would be complete without its songs and this is where the story soars through the exciting use of over 20 rap songs which provide hard hitting social commentary through their lyrics. This heartfelt film, full of vibrant energy, uses its long running time to lovingly create characters, atmosphere and also manages to observe Mumbai's sharply contrasted Westernised elite and contrast them with the servant underclass. Superb film is a must-see.

At Eternity's Gate (Julian Schnabel, 2018) 6/10

Schnabel's idiosyncratic and wildly uneven film about Vincent Van Gogh has a towering central performance by Willem Dafoe. Using a handheld camera Benoît Delhomme keeps the action lurching through stunning shots of the countryside - deep yellow fields of sunflowers, barren rocky terrain and wheat fields - which the artist uses for inspiration. The screenplay focuses on the latter period of Van Gogh's destitute life which was full of misery caused by unappreciation for his work along with his horrific mental decline. The film uses extreme closeups of the actor's tormented face as he either talks directly at the screen or converses with various characters played by an assortment of stars - Oscar Isaac as Paul Gaughin with whom there are heated discussions about the nature of art and for whom maybe Van Gogh chopped off his ear, Emmanuelle Siegner as an inn keeper, Mads Mikkelsen as a priest, Rupert Friend as his beloved brother Theo and Matthieu Almaric as a doctor. The film is more about the images Schnabel creates and his decision to shoot a lot of the story using POV shots makes it a vastly different take to previous cinematic incarnations about this genius painter. Dafoe, nominated for an Oscar, has a great face of which Schnabel makes full use presenting the artist into an almost Christ-like figure.

Ben Is Back (Peter Hedges, 2018) 6/10

Intimate little drama that starts off with great insight about the difficulties faced by families with a drug addicted child but it suddenly takes on the mantle of a tense thriller which appears jarring. A former drug addict (Lucas Hedges) unexpectedly returns home from rehab for a 24 hour period on Christmas eve. His mother (Julia Roberts) and young step siblings are thrilled but his sister and stepdad (Sterling K. Brown) are weary of him and disturbed by his appearance. During the following day the boy's past life is gradually revealed to his loving and horrified mother as certain forces within the town try to wean the young man back into their evil fold. Hedges, an interesting young actor, continues his recent streak of great performances here under the direction of his own father. But this film is equivalent to the great women-centric films of the 1940s and becomes more a showcase for Julia Roberts who despite that familiar high wattage smile manages to subvert her star persona and completely gets into the skin of her character - a very concerned mother who refuses to give up on a son who has spent most of his life lying, cheating and getting deeply enmeshed into drug addiction. She gives an extremely moving performance suppressing her anger and rage and quietly balancing it with love, belief and forgiveness. The last third of the story gets bogged down in a dangerous cat-and-mouse game with too many coincidences and potholes littering the screenplay. Despite this the film manages to showcase the harrowing after effects of drug addiction on families - some who lose their loved ones while others have to helplessly watch the daily struggles of the addict trying to stay clean.

Seven Thieves (Henry Hathaway, 1960) 6/10

It's always a great pleasure to see Edward G. Robinson on screen in his familiar avatar. Playing a scientist just out of prison he decides to pull off one last heist before he dies. The plan is to rob a casino in Monte Carlo and close off his crime career on a high before he dies. What starts off as a fool proof plan encounters a couple of bumps along the way. An eclectic cast of stars - Rod Steiger, sexy Joan Collins wearing slinky Oscar nominated gowns, Eli Wallach and Alexander Scourby - play other members of the gang of crooks. Old fashioned and well acted film - Steiger dispenses with his usual ham and plays it subdued while Collins actually acts instead of merely being decorative. Many tense moments during the robbery sequence.

Faster (George Tillman Jr., 2010) 3/10

Crappy revenge drama - ex-con (a stone faced Dwayne Johnson) goes after a group of people who killed his brother and left him for dead. Acting like a vigilante he starts shooting them point blank one by one. Hot on his trail are a cop (Billy Bob Thornton) with secrets of his own and a relentless hit man. The film has endless car chase sequences with Johnson driving like a maniac but its all pretty stale and lifeless.

Too Big to Fail (Curtis Hanson, 2011) 7/10

The 2008 United States Financial meltdown and the attempt to save Lehman Brothers gets a replay in this HBO film with some white washing along the way. Great cast.

The Vicious Circle (Gerald Thomas, 1957) 7/10

Harley Street doctor (John Mills) discovers the dead body of a german actress in his flat which sets off a chain reaction of a sinister plot involving blackmail. Typical Hitchcock-like suspense drama has an innocent man stuck in the midst of a situation from which crawling out gets more and more difficult. Superb cast of British actors - Derek Farr, Wilfred Hyde-White, Noelle Middleton, Lionel Heffries, Roland Culver, Mervyn Johns - play various pawns in the mystery. The director (Gerald Thomas) and producer (Peter Rogers) behind this project later became famous for the series of hilarious "Carry On" films.

Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018) 6/10

A geeky fanboy's delight with its pop culture shit coming at you at breakneck pace. This is Spielberg's ode to all geeks out there and foremost an ode for himself as well. A futuristic world (Ohio here) resembles a giant junkyard where people spend their time getting off on a virtual reality game called the Oasis. Created by a genius (Mark Rylance), now dead, who has left three keys to a puzzle in a virtual maze which hold the answer to their problems - the prize is his Corporate Company's stock. An orphan (Tye Sheridan), helped along the way by his robot pal Aech (Lena Waithe) and a kool chick Ar3mis (Olivia Cook), try to find the other keys staying one step ahead of the Corporate overlord (Ben Mendelsohn) hell bent on finding the other keys using an entire army at his disposal. The chase is on as CGI goes into overdrive with battles galore which Spielberg gleefully punctuates throughout by familiar pop culture virtual images accompanied by old songs on the soundtrack by the likes of Van Halen ("Jump" opens the film), Tears For Fears, Joan Jett, Prince, Blondie, The Temptations, The Bee Gees, Bruce Springsteen, Hall and Oates and Earth Wind and Fire. An homage to Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" is one of the film's highlights. Like all pop culture the film dazzles but in the end doesn't really add any gravitas but its great fun while it lasts. And the soundtrack to this film is a must-buy.

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

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:14 am
by Precious Doll
Consequence (2018) Darko Stante 5/10
At Eternity's Gate (2018) Julian Schnabel 2/10
Life Itself (2018) Dan Fogelman 1/10
If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) Barry Jenkins 8/10
Blindspotting (2018) Carlos Lopez Estrada 5/10
Serenity (2019) Steven Knight 1/10
The Tree of Blood (2018) Julio Medem 2/10
Stan and Ollie (2018) Jon S. Baird 5/10
Wild Nights with Emily (2019) Madeleine Olnek 5/10
Sauvage (2018) Camille Vidal-Naquet 5/10
High Flying Bird (2019) Steven Soderbergh 2/10

Repeat viewings

Carmen Jones (1954) Otto Preminger 7/10
Chimes at Midnight (1965) Orson Welles 8/10

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

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:30 pm
by Reza
Destroyer (Karyn Kasuma, 2018) 6/10

Nicole Kidman gives a harrowing performance in this neo-noir thriller looking like death on two legs. I couldn't make out if it was Hollywood makeup magic that created her washed up, angst ridden freckled face or was it the other way round with Kidman's actual face scrubbed clean of makeup. Crime ridden Los Angeles always seems so downbeat, cynical, seedy and corrupt in movies ("Chinatown", "To Live and Die in L.A.", "L.A. Confidential") with cops mirroring the city they live in. An LAPD detective (Nicole Kidman), drunk and disheveled, harbors a 16-year guilt over a sting operation that went wrong causing her to suffer a nervous breakdown from which she hasn't managed to recover. The discovery of a dead body starts a chain of events that takes her into the dark past from which it becomes clear that recovery for her is going to be next to impossible. The screenplay flits between the present, where she attempts to find a ghost from her past, which in flashbacks we gradually discover what brought her to her present almost catatonic state. This interesting premise is let down by a deathly pace as Kidman goes through the motions of her dismal life - interacting with her flighty and angry daughter, ex-husband, colleagues and suspects (a grotesque encounter with one suspect involves a hand-job to get the required information). There are two action set pieces, both involving tense shootouts during bank robberies, that are handled with a raw quality by the director who otherwise fails to keep up with Kidman's gritty and mesmerizing performance.

Mary Queen of Scots (Josie Rourke, 2018) 4/10

Visually dull, listless retread of the dramatic rivalry between two great monarchs, both cousins, Queen Mary (Soirse Ronan) of Scotland and Queen Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie) of England. Both actresses are miscast as neither has the aura to play these fiery queens. It's as if we are watching two school girls performing in their high school play. The grand sense of majesty brought to these parts in past films by the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Vanessa Redgrave, Glenda Jackson and Helen Mirren is sadly missing. The dense plot has the Catholic Mary return as widow of the Dauphin of France to rightfully claim the Scottish throne and get into a dire twist amongst raging Protestants in Scotland. Her rough marital associations with first her cousin Lord Darnley and then after his murder with the Earl of Bothwell are further cause of trouble as she is labeled a whore by the agitating religious populace. Elizabeth appears sporadically in the film and is goaded on by the men at her own court to marry and produce an heir which her cousin has managed thus becoming a serious threat to the English throne. The scene of a fictional meeting between the two monarchs is used for dramatic effect with an underused Robbie shining briefly during their encounter. Her face ravaged by small pox, covered by white chalk-like makeup and wearing a scruffy red wig Elizabeth admires Mary's youthful beauty and envies her son. The film also absurdly resorts to revisionist casting with a number of courtiers played by asian and black actors none of whom would have been allowed within a ten mile radius to either of the courts. In the end history favoured both monarchs. Elizabeth I ruled England for 45 years and while she had Mary executed it was the latter's son who ruled both England and Scotland after her own death as King James I.

Constantine (Francis Lawrence, 2005) 6/10

Dante's vision of hell - red and hot with emaciated demons with chewed up faces running around on all fours - gets a look-over in this supernatural film based on the graphic "Hellblazer" comic books. A woman commits suicide but her cop twin sister (Rachel Weisz) thinks she was murdered because she believes that being a devout Catholic she could not have killed herself. Constantine (Keeanu Reeves), chain smoking and dying of lung cancer, has the "gift" of being able to see demons and angels on earth and makes it his mission (with a side job of playing exorcist) to send the demons back to hell. The screenplay plays like a detective mystery as the man helps the cop solve the mystery of her sister's death. Reeves gives a magnetic (if stiff) star turn as the droll demon-hunter with a miscast Weisz who seems to be going through this drill just for a paycheck. Having great fun are Tilda Swinton sporting gigantic wings as a bitchy archangel (Gabriel) and Peter Stormare as a campy Satan in a white suit that was once upon a time trendy at Studio 54. The noir-like atmosphere and the cheesy effects make this a fun variation of "The Exorcist" of which it is a hybrid spawn.

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

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:29 pm
by Reza
The Front Runner (Jason Reitman, 2018) 4/10

I've often wondered why the media in our country only concentrates on the corruption of politicians and avoid the subject of their sexual proclivities. Apparently the private sex lives of politicians was off limits in the United States too until suddenly in 1988 the front runner status of Gary Hart as President was derailed by the media due to a sexual scandal involving Donna Rice (Sue Paxton), the blonde seen going into the D.C. townhouse with him. Tabloid journalism went from strength to strength with Hart later recalling, "I watched journalists become animals, literally." This rather lifeless film also raises an interesting "what if" question. What if Hart had become President.....would the Gulf War and later the invasion of Iraq been avoided? Hugh Jackman exudes charm with underlying sinister undertones but most of the other gifted cast members get shortshrifted in underwritten parts - Vera Farmiga as Lee Hart, J.K. Simmons as Bill Dixon, the campaign manager and Alfred Molina as Ben Bradlee. Reitman tries to jazz things up a bit â la Robert Altman moving his camera snake-like and capturing various characters and their snatches of overlapping dialogue. Once the scandal is exposed the screenplay seems to move away from Hart and shows more concern with what the American public want. In the end we never see what made Hart so popular with the voting public or what made him be unfaithful to his wife. It's hard to feel sympathy for a character who comes off cold and distant.

The Stand at Apache River (Lee Sholem, 1953) 5/10

A group of disparate people - a sheriff (Stephen McNally), a Colonel (Hugh Marlowe), a stagecoach passenger (Julie Adams) and others - find themselves besieged at a small inn by marauding Apaches. Typical B-Western goes through the motions as one by one the white characters fall prey to the Apaches who themselves drop like flies as they get shot. Pretty Julie Adams is a standout (and unbelievably but exquisitely dressed to her teeth by Bill Thomas) in this briskly paced Universal western but the stale plot has a stench of deja vu written all over it even if it presents a more balanced view of Indians.

The Day Will Dawn (Harold French, 1942) 6/10

Flag waving WWII British propaganda film with stiff upper lip characters. An indolent journalist (Hugh Williams) is sent on a mission to Norway to pin point a Nazi submarine base to the British who plan to bomb it. Along the way he romances a young local girl (Deborah Kerr), gets help from her father (Finlay Currie) to reach the base, almost falls prey to an obese Nazi (Francis L. Sullivan), is caught and imprisoned and about to be killed by a firing squad when in the nick of time the British Navy arrives. Exciting and suspenseful wartime thriller was made at the height of the War with scenes of London being relentlessly bombed. Ralph Richardson has a small role as the droll friend of the journalist. Terence Rattigan wrote the screenplay.

The Owl and the Pussycat (Herbert Ross, 1970) 7/10

Opposites attract and hilarity ensues when a foul-mouthed hooker (Barbra Streisand) and a bookish intellectual (George Segal) meet up unexpectedly in the middle of the night. Based on a rather flimsy play (adapted by Buck Henry) that was in it's original premise (at least on stage) about an inter-racial couple played by Alan Alda and the Tony nominated Diana Sands. Streisand wanted Sidney Poitier to star opposite her but the studio balked and didn't think the American public would accept an inter-racial relationship in a major comedy release. The film was also Streisand's first film without songs having just come off three major Broadway musical film adaptations. The pairing with Segal is pure magic and the non-stop rat-a-tat dialogue is laugh out loud funny thanks to the superb comic timing of both stars. The play is opened up and along with scenes set in assorted apartments and in a bath tub the two stars are also filmed (mostly at night) walking on the streets of New York. The camera is obviously in love with Streisand and she looks "gorgeous" - the famous outfit with the flared bell bottoms and handprints on each breast certainly help. Her nude scene was cut before the film came out. This film also introduced Segal to the comedy genre in which he would go on to make many hit films while Streisand would soon repeat this performance of the annoying talkative female who verbally and physically accosts the unsuspecting male into total submission in the far superior "What's Up Doc?".

Man in the Dark (Lew Landers, 1953). 5/10

B-noir with a silly premise - bank robber (Edmond O'Brien) is caught by the cops, forced to undergo brain surgery to finish his criminal tendencies but finds himself suffering from amnesia with no recollection of his old life. When he is kidnapped by his old gang it becomes a race before time trying to retrieve his memory before he is killed. Film was originally shot in 3-D so a number of scenes have objects flying towards the audience. The film is somewhat redeemed by it's noir cast - Horace MacMahon, Ted De Corsia and the great Audrey Totter as a moll with a heart of gold - and a short running time.

Yellow Sky (William A. Wellman, 1948) 9/10

A lot of the success of this classic western is due to the exquisitely stark cinematography by Joseph MacDonald shot on Death Valley locations. Also making a mark is the strong cast, a bleak but taut screenplay by Lamar Trotti with shades of Shakespeare's "The Tempest", the sound design capturing the whispered movements of wind blowing through a derelect town and a lovely score by Alfred Newman. A group of bank robbers take refuge in a ghost town where they come across a grizzled old gold prospector and his feisty tomboy granddaughter (Anne Baxter). There is simmering conflict between two members of the gang - the "good" (Gregory Peck) and the "bad" (Richard Widmark) - which comes to a head eventually over the woman and the gold with the "good" going after the woman and the "bad" only having his eyes on the gold. Peck and Baxter start off antagonistic - she packs a mean wallop which he discovers to his surprise and shock - which gradually gives way to the expected clinch which comes in an offbeat way via a hat. The entire cast is superb - it's one of Peck's great performances and Baxter matches him every step of the way with her flashing eyes and tough stance compensating for her diminutive height - and Wellman creates many magnificent images - the trek through the salt desert with the tired and thirsty horses stumbling and buckling to their knees, the eerie silence in the ghost town and the final shootout.

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

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:26 pm
by Reza
Danger: Diabolik (Mario Bava, 1969) 9/10

Mario Bava's cult film is based on a popular European comic strip. Exploiting every cliché Bava's film, not unlike a number of the Bond films, puts across a campy violent thriller with incredibly over-the-top sets, action set pieces, trendy E-type Jaguars, lots of sex (including phallic imagery using stalactites and a hose gushing molten gold) and matte sequences galore. Diabolik (John Phillip Law), a super criminal, lives in his cave-like underground lair with his mistress (Marisa Mell). A master of complicated robberies involving gold bullion and emeralds he is relentlessly pursued by a cop (Michel Piccoli). Another criminal (Adolfo Celi) makes a deal with the cops to turn in Diabolik in exchange for a pardon. Fast paced film has a tongue in cheek quality, hilariously shoddy effects, a memorable score by Ennio Morricone, Bava's spectacular camera work with 360 degree turns and zooms. The film's hip and sexy costumes are a highlight - Marisa Mell's entire wardrobe is the height of sixties fashion while Law gets to wear tight black and white latex body suits as his disguise during the robberies with his mask designed by Carlo Rimbaldi (who later created E.T. and the mechanical head effects for the creatures in Alien). The icing on the cake is a delightful cameo appearance by Terry Thomas as a buffoonish government official. The film works at every level including the great chemistry between Law and Mell.

Alita: Battle Angel (Robert Rodriguez, 2019) 7/10

Slick futuristic film is an elaborate live-action version of a popular Japanese anime. It is also a film made up completely by joining together ideas and images from a number of previous films - "A.I.", "Rollerball", "Elysium", "Transformers", "Blade Runner", "Ghost in the Shell", "Ben-Hur", "The Hunger Games" - and since James Cameron is the producer we get two distinct iconic images lifted straight from "Titanic". Old wine it may be but the fast paced plot manages to keep things moving with a number of spectacular action set pieces. A doctor / scientist (Christoph Waltz) discovers the body of a 300 year old teen cyborg (Rosa Salazar) in a trash dump, brings her to life and names her "Alita" after his own dead daughter. The amnesiac young girl (with an organic human brain) has super strength and a mysterious past which brings her into conflict and danger with assorted villains - cyborg bounty hunters, a Jack the Ripper-like killer on the loose, the doctor's chic ex-wife (Jennifer Connelly), her sinister mogul lover (Maheshala Ali) and an evil force (Edward Norton) housed in a floating metropolis high above the city. There is also a vapid romance with a teenage boy which stops the action dead in its tracks. All the fight sequences are well choreographed by Rodriguez as the teen machine goes into overdrive crunching cyborg skulls and slicing them apart with a sword including a brawl set in a bar straight out of a Western. The last third of the plot is a let down but the cliffhanger ending is obviously geared towards a sequel. I look forward to that just to see what Cameron hopes to do with this endearing teenage badass.

House of Cards (John Guillermin, 1968) 6/10

It's always a hoot to watch Orson Welles make cameo appearances in films because he manages to steal the show from the lead actors just by speaking in that distinct sonorous voice and showing his enormous girth. Here he plays an evil but very elegant megalomaniac involved in a neo-fascist plot to take over the french government. Nonsense that has a number of positives starting with great location work in Paris and Rome - the ending is shot inside the Colosseum and allows you access to areas that today you can go to only with a ticket. The plot involves the kidnapping of a young boy and an American boxer (George Peppard) attempting to foil it while romancing the child's mother (Inger Stevens). Action filled plot involves a number of chase sequences and deaths as bland but heroic Peppard and a stiff Stevens manage to make goo-goo eyes at each other.

Harry in Your Pocket (Bruce Geller, 1973) 5/10

An interesting cast in a film about pickpockets who are a dying breed of professionals with their own codes. The leader (James Coburn), who is in partnership with an old pro (Walter Pidfeon), takes on a young couple (Michael Sarrazin & Trish Van Devere) when he falls for the charms of the young woman. The couple are purely in the racket for a quick buck and the young man has no qualms about sharing his girlfriend. With the cops hot on their trail they try to stay one step ahead of them as they go about stealing. For a film about pickpockets there is very little shown about the actual thefts instead concentrating on the silly love triangle. The film's surprise package is Walter Pidgeon playing a coke snorting gentleman pickpocket who delights in being "pygmalion" to the young thief.

They Might Be Giants (Anthony Harvey, 1971) 8/10

Quirky screwball comedy is an underrated and forgotten comic gem with a charming performance by George C. Scott as a retired judge who thinks he is Sherlock Holmes. His brother who owes gambling debts tries to have him committed and gets a psychiatrist (Joanne Woodward), coincidently called Dr. Watson, to prove he is mad. The doctor finds herself whisked off onto a madcap adventure in New York as she follows Holmes on one of his delusional cases. The screenplay (based on a play by James Goldman) takes the two characters onto New York streets allowing various familiar actors from the NY stage to appear in sharp cameos - Jack Gilford, Lester Rawlins, Rue McClanahan, Theresa Merritt, James Tolkan, Eugene Roche, Kitty Winn, Paul Benedict & F. Murray Abraham. Woodward, as the flaky doctor, has great chemistry with Scott and their romance is sweet, tender and funny. Scott was nominated for a Bafta award.

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

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 1:57 am
by Precious Doll
Pig (2018) Mani Haghighi 4/10
A Paris Education (2018) Jean-Paul Civeyrac 4/10
Mid90s (2018) Jonah Hill 4/10
Making Montgomery Clift (2019) Robert Anderson Clift & Hillary Demmon 4/10
Mapplethorpe (2019) Ondi Timoner 3/10
Castle Rock: Season 1 (2018) Various 6/10
....But Film is My Mistress (2010) Stig Björkman 5/10

Repeat viewings

Twilight's Last Gleaming (1977) Robert Aldrich 7/10
The Night of the Iguana (1964) John Huston 7/10
Kiss of Death (1947) Henry Hathaway 6/10

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

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:51 pm
by Precious Doll
The Hate U Give (2018) George Tillman Jr. 4/10
Pardon Us (1931) James Parrott 6/10
The Front Runner (2018) Jason Reitman 4/10
Faro dukument (1970) Ingmar Bergman 4/10
Faro-dokument 1979 (1979) Ingmar Bergman 4/10
Columbus (2017) Kogonada 7/10
Viva (2016) Paddy Breatnach 4/10
Ben is Back (2018) Peter Hedges 4/10
Snapshots (2018) Melanie Mayron 4/10
1985 (2018) Yen Tan 5/10
What Every Happened to Aunt Alice? (1969) Lee H. Katzin & Bernard Girand 7/10
The Cleaners (2018) Hans Block & Maritz Riesewieck 5/10

Repeat viewing

Air Force (1943) Howard Hawks 7/10

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

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 12:26 pm
by Reza
Sequestro di Persona (Gianfranco Mingozzi, 1968) 5/10
Teenage Rebel (Edmund Goulding, 1956) 4/10
Signs & Wonders (Jonathan Nossiter, 2000) 3/10
Untamed Frontier (Hugo Fregonese, 1952) 6/10
The Man Who Came to Dinner (William Keighley, 1942) 6/10
The Aspern Papers (Julien Landais, 2018) 5/10
A Private War (Matthew Heineman, 2018) 8/10
Bodyguard (John Stickland & Thomas Vincent, 2018) 7/10

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

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 12:23 pm
by Reza
Ballad of a Soldier (Grigoriy Chukhray, 1959) 9/10

Lyrical, highly emotional film with a strong anti-war message. A teenage Russian soldier manages to single handedly destroy two Nazi tanks and is recommended for a medal by his commanding officer. The boy instead requests leave to go see his mother so he can fix the leaking roof of their house. The boy's journey back home becomes a series of vignettes as he is waylaid by people along the way who need his help. Along the way there is also a brief romance and he discovers there is equal chaos away from the battlefield as he watches ordinary people struggling to survive during the war. Chukhray uses wide shots to capture the vastness of the locations - the opening scene on the battlefield as the young soldier is chased across a barren field by a tank - and at the opposite spectrum captures small intimate moments via extreme closeup shots of the soldier with his girlfriend and mother. Despite knowing the outcome about the young soldier the devastating last sequence is played out with quiet grace between the innocent man and his optimistic mother. Hauntingly sad story is also strangely very uplifting. A must-see.

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

Posted: Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:37 am
by Reza
On ne meurt que deux fois / He Died with His Eyes Open (Jacques Deray, 1985) 9/10

This is not quite Roman Polanski's "Chinatown" but it ranks right up there with some of the best detective murder mysteries on film. The plot, based on the novel by Robin Cook, has a number of similarities to Polanski's classic film. A bludgeoned corpse turns up and a jaded but witty cop (Michel Serrault) investigates the case. The murdered man's widow and stepson are hardly perturbed about his death. It appears the man was having an affair and tapes found at his apartment implicate a thug (Xavier Duluc) who had beaten him up at a bar. The cop matches wits with the dead man's enigmatic mistress who proceeds to seduce him. A slinky Charlotte Rampling gives a sexually charged performance as the mysterious femme fatale who jumps in and out of bed with any man who catches her fancy. All the scenes between Serrault and Rampling are superbly played and both actors are at the top of their game. The convoluted plot, with hints of incest, plays out in bedrooms, in the shower and in bars with Rampling absolutely ravishing with and (mostly) without her clothes. Serrault, Rampling and Duluc were all nominated for César awards. A must-see.

Agatha and the Truth of Murder (Terry Loane, 2018) 7/10

During the 1920s Agatha Christie, suffering great emotional distress over her failed marriage, disappeared for 11 days. When she was finally found she claimed no memory of how she came to be staying at a hotel in Harrowgate. This film purposes to solve that mystery by having Christie (Ruth Bradley) approached by an old woman to help solve the mysterious murder of her companion on a train some years before. The set up is straight out of one of Christie's own books with herself playing the role of a detective on the lines of Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot. She gathers together various members of the murdered woman's family at a secluded mansion and proceeds to find who did it. There is a second murder at the mansion, a number of suspicious suspects amongst the guests, a local police officer on the lines of Inspector Battle and the familiar denouement with Christie trapping the murderer to confess. A welcome addition to the Christie oeuvre, this is an elegantly made film with wonderful period flavour and it does solve the mystery of Christie's disappearance even if its done as a work of fiction. I suspect Christie would have enjoyed the idea of her as a detective solving a murder.

Stree (Amar Kaushik, 2018) 8/10

The fantastic screenplay mixes intense horror sequences along with laugh-out-loud comic moments imbedded within a strong lesson for men about the evils of objectifying women. A small town is cursed with the urban legend of an evil spirit, known as "stree", who arrives every year during the local four day holy festival and preys on men at night making them disappear leaving only their clothes behind. When a young man is whisked away his close buddies, led by the town's romantic tailor (Rajkumar Rao) and the local expert on ghosts (Pankaj Tripathy), attempt to discover what the spirit truly wants. Helping them is a mysterious woman (Shraddha Kapoor) with whom the tailor has fallen head over heels in love. Superbly acted and directed film deftly manages to balance both the horror and comic elements of the screenplay often alternating both genres within the same scene. Most importantly it hits home its strong message of showing respect to women and not treating them as sex objects.

Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety (Luv Ranjan, 2018) 8/10

Charming and amusing Rom-Com that celebrates bromance. Titu (Sunny Singh Nijjar) is naive and always falls for girls who take advantage of him. His best friend Sonu (Kartik Aaryan) always comes to his rescue trying to knock sense into him. When Titu falls for gold-digger Sweety (Nushrat Bharucha) it becomes a battle of wits as Sonu tries to break up his best friend's upcoming marriage. The screenplay, like the classic "Hum Aapke Hain Kaun", revolves around the preparation of a wedding in a house full of various family members all of whom are hilariously opinionated. Parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents provide most of the humour with Alok Nath and Virendra Saxena hilarious as two foul mouthed, whiskey swivelling oldies passing wisdom on sex and relationships. A star is born with Kartik Aaryan as the smooth fast-talking Sonu. Not withstanding the misogynist aspect of the screenplay this is a very funny and entertaining film.

Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi (Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi & Kangana Ranaut, 2019) 6/10

Epic historical film on the life of Rani Lakshmibai and her resistance to the British East India Company during the Indian Mutiny of 1857. Kangana Ranaut gives a no holds barred performance as the fiery "Rani of Jhansi" who takes on the British Commander and his troops after her husband, the ruler of Jhansi, is poisoned. Expected to go into seclusion as all widows do by tradition, she instead raises an army and goes into battle. The patriotic screenplay goes into overdrive mixing fact and myths about the warrior Queen as she ferociously rouses the people of Jhansi and in particular women to stand up to the invaders who are planning to usurp their land and wealth. CGI designed battle sequences, full of blood and gore, are the order of the day. Ranaut carries the film with her strong and multifaceted performance but the entire focus is on her alone with most of the other characters getting sidelined. There is also too much of the Bollywood touch - slow motion shots with the heroine's hair flying and her saree trailing behind her and billowing in the wind in perfect synchronicity to the film's music. All the British characters are presented as caricatures speaking hindi with a broad ridiculous accent. Overlong film manages to hold interest thanks to the wonderful Ranaut.