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 7:23 am

Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974) 10/10

This is not only one of the greatest and most intricately plotted detective stories but also one of the most gorgeously shot films superbly recreating the atmosphere of 1940s Los Angeles. Robert Towne's brilliant screenplay is now considered to be one of the most perfect screenplays ever written as it deliriously weaves a story about greed, deception, incest and murder. The film transports you into Raymond Chandler noir territory - Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson), a quick-witted cynical private detective, is hired by a woman to find proof of her husband's infidelity. As he delves deep into the case not only does he find the man - the city water commissioner - seemingly involved with a young woman but to his dismay discovers that he was duped by the woman who hired him when the man's actual wife (Faye Dunaway) appears and threatens to sue him for libel. When the water commissioner turns up dead the plot turns dark. The detective is attacked by a hoodlum (Roman Polanski) who slices his nose, he begins to fall in love with the enigmatic widow who turns extremely neurotic, there is a jigsaw of clues leading to the woman's father (John Huston) who appears to be behind a plot to divert the city's water supply for his own gain. The film's brutal and shocking finale takes place in Chinatown where the plot winds down delving deep into the exploration of the dark side of humanity. The film is painstakingly created by a superb team of technicians - John A. Alonzo's lush cinematography shot in muted tones, Jerry Goldsmith's memorable score, Richard Sylbert's outstanding production design and Anthea Sylbert's elegant costumes. The film is held together by Jack Nicholson in one of his signature roles. He is witty, tough, caring and likeable. Faye Dunaway makes a formidable femme fatale seemingly cold and tough but hiding a fragile vulnerability underneath the facade - her look and manner instantly evokes the glamour of Hollywood's golden age. It was a terrific coup by Polanski to cast director John Huston as the evil Noah Cross. His fragile old body masks a man of intense evil who will not let anything come in his way even if it means sacrificing someone close to him. This is Roman Polanski's masterpiece and easily stands shoulder to shoulder with Hollywood's finest classic films. Nominated for 11 Oscars it sadly only won for it's superb screenplay coming up against The Godfather Part II which took most of the awards. 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 7:14 am

An Audience With Kenneth Williams (Alaisdair Macmillan, 1983) 9/10

Williams wit and humour shines in this one-man stage performance where he runs through his life in front of a live audience of friends, strangers and co-workers. Charming and often very funny anecdotes pepper his incredible monologue where he takes us through his career from his days as an entertainer in the army in Singapore during the War onto his career in the theatre (hilarious impersonations of Sir Nöel Coward and Dame Edith Evans), revue (memories of Dame Maggie Smith), on radio, tv (antics on set with Orson Welles) and film (funny bits about the "Carry On" movies and a touching tribute to his frequent co-star Hattie Jacques). He also recalls humourous moments between Sinatra, Phil Silvers and the Pope. A very amusing actor whose flamboyant personality and quick comic timing is on display during this tour de force performance.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:09 am

Sylvia (Gordon Douglas, 1965) 6/10

Contrived exposé about the life of the mysterious, enigmatic and much downtrodden Sylvia (Carroll Baker). A rich suitor (Peter Lawford) hires a private investigator (George Maharis) to check up on the life of the woman he hopes to marry. The story is a series of flashbacks as the detective meets with people who knew Sylvia along her tawdry and sordid life from her poor beginnings to her present life as a rich and successful writer. The film comes alive with its supporting cast - Aldo Ray, Joanne Dru, Edmond O'Brien, Viveca Lindfors, Ann Southern, Lloyd Bochner - playing characters who hindered and helped her in life that involved rape, prostitution, assault, blackmail and eventual hard earned respectability. The subject, once thought shocking, is merely mild soap opera today. Baker has two expressions throughout - one of anguish and the other coquettish - and gives a bored lifeless performance although is a sexy presence throughout. Maharis is equally stiff coming off of his success as a tv star on "Route 66". The film is superbly photographed by Joseph Ruttenberg and Edith Head's modern costumes for the female cast are incredibly chic. Not a bad film if one enjoys mild kink.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:08 am

Beirut (Brad Anderson, 2018) 7/10

Low budget but intelligent film uses Morocco as the location to superbly recreate war torn Beirut of the early 1980s. A retired American diplomat (Jon Hamm), who suffered a personal tragedy during his posting in Beirut during the early 1970s, is brought back in ten years later to negotiate the release of a former colleague who has been kidnapped. Reluctantly the alcoholic man accepts the assignment returning to a city which is now strife ridden due to different divided political factions trying to assert their power. The complex (and confusing) politics hovers over the story which decides to focus instead on the diplomat's redemption as he tries to stay one step ahead of the kidnappers while keeping a close eye on his double crossing American colleagues (the CIA and the embassy). Aiding him is an officer (Rosamund Pike) assigned to assist him. The screenplay successfully channels the story like a spy thriller straight out of a John Le Carré book. Hamm is very good but Pike is unfortunately stuck with a terribly underwritten role.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:08 am

Ocean's 8 (Gary Ross, 2018) 6/10

Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is dead and his sister Debbie (Sandra Bullock), just released from a prison stint, plans on pulling a fool-proof jewel robbery with the help of her partner-in-crime (Cate Blanchett). Five specialists are hired - the film gets a gender switch this time around - a computer hacker (Rihanna), an emotionally fragile fashion designer (Helena Bonham Carter), a jeweler (Mindy Kaling), a pick-pocket (Awkwafina) and an old partner (Sarah Paulson). Their target is a movie star (Anne Hathaway) who is persuaded to wear a Cartier diamond necklace to the Met Ball which they plan to steal. The film is strictly formulaic and plods along picking up some momentum during the heist sequence with the cast of female stars clearly enjoying themselves. Bullock looks like a waxwork - her face immobile thanks to a terrible facelift - Blanchett has an underwritten role, Carter does her usual eccentric bit full of annoying tics but Hathaway steals the film from her co-stars. She is sexy, witty, extremely funny and looks fabulous appropriately dressed to her teeth for the Gala with a spectacular diamond necklace around her neck. Sadly the screenplay does not have the playfullness and comraderie of Steven Soderberg's original with Clooney, Pitt, Damon and their gang - Elliott Gould and Shaobo King are the only leftovers from the original trilogy - although many famous (albeit second-rate) names appear in cameos (as guests at the Met) of which the most delightful are Elizabeth Ashley, Marlo Thomas, Dana Ivey and Mary Louise Wilson as four old ladies who help out the gang at a crucial juncture. Pity the film is a missed opportunity and hope the sequel comes up with more surprises.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:08 am

Sunday Dinner for a Soldier (Lloyd Bacon, 1944) 8/10

Absolutely corny, old fashioned but utterly charming and sentimental homespun Americana with heavy doses of wartime patriotism. A poor family living on a beach in a derelict boat house invite a soldier to Sunday dinner in order to do their bit for the war effort. The soldier doesn't arrive till the end of the film and the screenplay is a series of vignettes about the family - an old man (Charles Winninger) bickering with a smart mouthed spinster (Anne Revere), his exasperated eldest grandaughter (Anne Baxter) trying to meet ends meet, the antics of her precocious siblings (Bobby Driscoll & Connie Marshall) and the soldier (John Hodiak) who finally arrives for dinner after an initial mixup. Baxter and Hodiak make a luminous couple who fell in love while shooting this film and married. The film's message of hope and love in times of adversity went down well with the public and it still manages to bring a happy smile to one's face.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:07 am

Malta Story (Brian Desmond Hurst, 1953) 6/10

During WWII Malta is repeatedly bombed by the Italians and Germans while the British offer a strong defence. Low budget film has a documentary feel to it with actual war-time archive footage interspersed. The human angle revolves around two dull romantic sub plots between an aerial reconnaissance specialist (Alec Guinness) and a local girl (Muriel Pavlow), whose mother (Flora Robson) and brother (Nigel Stock) figure prominently, and an RAF officer (Anthony Steel) and a wren (Renée Asherson). Jack Hawkins is around posturing stiffly as the resident air force CO. Superbly photographed by Robert Krasker on location highlighting the plight of the residents of Malta.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:56 am

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (J.A. Bayona, 2018) 7/10

The series gets more and more prepostrous but that does not stop it from being any less exciting - humans being chased by the T-Rex or the Raptor is an image that will always remain pretty scary. This installment has the duo (Chris Pratt & Bryce Dallas Howard) from the previous one trying to save the dinosaurs on that island from being killed by an active volcano. Abetting the plan is a nefarious animal trafficker (Rafe Spall) and his gang (Toby Jones, B.D. Wong & Ted Levine) with the plot converging at a gothic mansion in California - home to the surviving scientist (James Cromwell) who discovered the dinosaur dna - where he lives with his grandaughter and her Mrs Danvers-like governess (Geraldine Chaplin). The plot throws in the kid to provide obvious tension when the giant reptiles cut loose and rampage through the house. The screenplay involves cloning of not only a new specie of dinosaur but also delves into human cloning. Pratt and Howard (there is a witty closeup of her notorious stiletto heels) make an engaging couple and the beasts go through the usual motion of creating havoc. The ensuing rollercoaster ride of terror may seem old hat and repetitious but it still manages to keep the audience on the edge of the seat. It will be interesting to see where the plot goes in the next sequel since the beasts have now been brought out in the open becoming "a world problem" as predicted by the scientist (Jeff Goldblum) on Capital Hill. Enjoyable summer flick if you allow yourself the luxury of suspending all the disbelief on view.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:55 am

Whiplash (Lewis Seiler, 1948) 5/10

Atmospheric but rather slow romantic melodrama with noir overtones. A failed painter (Dane Clark) takes up boxing to be near the mysterious woman (Alexis Smith) he loves. She is unhappily married to the manipulative crippled boxing promoter (Zachary Scott) who holds her in his cruel grip. Clark is good and easily passes off as a John Garfield clone, Smith is sexy but morose throughout while Scott does his usual sleazy bit. Coming off best are Eve Arden as a wisecracking pal and charming S.Z. Sakall as a romantic bartender.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:54 am

The Woman in White (Peter Godfrey, 1948) 7/10

A painter (Gig Young) arrives at a country estate to find an odd group of eccentrics living together in a perpetual state of morose tension and terror - his pupil the pretty heiress (Eleanor Parker), her hysterical doppleganger and "woman in white" (also played by Parker) whom he meets in the forest, the girls' cousin (Alexis Smith), their hypochondriac invalid uncle (John Abbott), the seemingly charming but diabolical guest (Sydney Greenstreet) plotting to get the heiress (and her sister) killed and his wife (Agnes Moorehead) who holds the key to the mystery . Overwrought gothic melodrama moves at a lightning pace creating an eerie atmosphere through wonderfully moody photography. Sleazy Greenstreet steals the film with his maniacal plotting and Parker creates two sexy characters although with subtle shadings between the two. Sadly Alexis Smith is wasted in an underwritten role.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:54 am

When Strangers Marry (William Castle 1944) 7/10

Studio bound vision of New York seen through the eyes of a naive war bride (Kim Hunter) who arrives in search of her husband (Dean Jagger) and gradually realises he may be the stocking killer on the loose. Castle directs this minor film with imagination (although there is a direct lift from Hitchcock's "39 Steps" during one scene) as every nook and shadowy corner seemingly houses something sinister often using odd camera angles to effectively create suspense. The girl is helped along the way by an old friend (Robert Mitchum) leading up to a twist ending. Hunter is very good, Jagger an odd choice as a leading man and Mitchum is deadpan throughout.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:53 am

Highway 301 (Andrew L. Stone, 1950) 8/10

Tough B-noir is a newsreel-like thriller that follows the crime spree of a gang of bank robbers led by a vicious criminal (Steve Cochran) who has no qualms about shooting people who come in his way. The story is narrated by a cop and the exciting film closely follows the gang (Richard Egan, Robert Webber, Edward Norris) and their molls (a snappy Virginia Grey, Gaby André, Aline Towne) as they rob, kill, bicker and hide as the cops snap at their heels. The films violent ending has a strong (if preachy) message that crime does not pay. Cochran, sadly very underrated in Hollywood, is brilliant as the cold blooded murderer.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:53 am

Dangerous Mission! (Louis King, 1954) 5/10

A woman (Piper Laurie) witnesses a mob killing in New York and hides out in Glacier National Park in Montana. At a hotel she befriends two men (Victor Mature & Vincent Price) and unbeknownst to her one of them is a hit man out to get her. Action adventure film has a number of set pieces - an avalanche, a forest fire and a dangerous trek across a glacier. The three attractive stars go through the paces but its all rather stale. Routine B film.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:52 am

Madame Butterfly (Marion Gering, 1932) 7/10

Puccini's famous opera gets a work out in early Hollywood minus the arias. High born Cho Cho San (Sylvia Sidney) - who can speak english with a "very high class Brooklyn accent" - is sold by her family to a geisha house which in turn makes plans to get her married to a rich bidder. Along comes an American Navy sailor (Cary Grant) who is charmed by her beauty and decides to get married to her despite a fiancé back home. After he leaves, his wife waits for three years along with his son, but when he returns he brings along his American wife leading to tragedy. Sidney is heart breaking as the demure geisha while Grant, in one of his early lead roles, is handsome and dashing. The famous music from the opera is heard in the background and despite typically creaky moments from old Hollywood this is an effective adaptation with good production values.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:52 am

I Confess (Alfred Hitchcock, 1953) 8/10

Somber broody thriller about Catholic guilt. A murderer confesses his crime to a priest (Montgomery Clift) who refuses to divulge his identity to the investigating cop (Karl Malden). When the priest becomes the prime suspect his former lover (Anne Baxter), now married to a politician, comes to his rescue providing herself as his alibi. The matter is exploited in court by the prosecuting attorney (Brian Aherne) leading to much hand wringing for the two lovers. Despite the melodrama this is a beautifully acted film shot starkly by Robert Burks on location in Quebec City. Clift and Baxter make an intense and swooningly romantic couple. One of Hitchcock's least celebrated films - the murderer is revealed at the start hence there is no suspense and the director's macabre sense of humour is totally missing - but there are enough captivating elements in the plot to make this one of his most intriguing films.


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