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 » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:22 pm

Sabin wrote:
Reza wrote
Hustlers (Lorene Scafaria, 2019) 6/10

The year's best screen moment has Jennifer Lopez writhing on the floor in an orgasmic frenzy fondling cash thrown at her by excited men in a bar.

:roll:


But it WAS dude. I mean can't one even do some old fashioned oogling anymore? Or is that also politically incorrect now?

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

Postby Sabin » Wed Jan 08, 2020 9:23 pm

Reza wrote
Hustlers (Lorene Scafaria, 2019) 6/10

The year's best screen moment has Jennifer Lopez writhing on the floor in an orgasmic frenzy fondling cash thrown at her by excited men in a bar.

:roll:
"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 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:24 pm

Capricorn One (Peter Hyams, 1978) 5/10

One of numerous paranoid conspiracy theory films from the 1970s. The plot here is based on the director/writer Peter Hyam's suspicion and observation about the Apollo 11 moon landing about which he said, "That was one event of really enormous importance that had almost no witnesses. And the only verification we have . . . came from a TV camera". Taking this as his cue he constructed his screenplay around a fake NASA Mars mission with three pilots (James Brolin, Sam Waterston, O.J. Simpson) coerced into faking their drop onto Mars in a giant hangar after an empty rocket takes off watched by millions on tv. The hoax, perpetuated by the project leader (Hal Holbrook), comes about because the government realises that the mission is doomed from the start so to save face in front of the world (and to continue getting funds for the space project) NASA decides to create the landing followed by saying the astronauts all perished when the rocket exploded upon re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The shit hits the fan when the three astronauts escape and make a run for it. Stranded in the desert the government ruthlessly tracks them down. Meanwhile a suspicious reporter (Elliott Gould), helped by a colleague (Karen Black), attempts to get to the truth. The plot is full of potholes and the initial sense of dread suddenly gives way to humour in the scenes involving Gould and his disbelieving boss (David Doyle). The film ends on a spectacular note with a dizzying chase sequence in the air as two government helicopters give chase to a small plane flown by a foul mouthed pilot (Telly Savalas) who has as his passengers the reporter and one rescued astronaut. In a brief role Brenda Vaccaro is memorable as the chief astronaut's wife. The film takes a tongue-in-cheek approach but falters because it does not maintain enough of a tangible threat. A treat though to see so many stars in one film even if most appear very briefly.

Smuggler's Island (Edward Ludwig, 1951) 2/10

Silly B-movie set in Macao has a lot of scenes with tacky back projection. A diver (Jeff Chandler) is hired by a mysterious woman (Evelyn Keyes) to hunt for sunken treasure which turns out to be a boxload of stolen gold. Her oily husband (Phillip Friend) turns up wanting a share in the loot, there is a climactic chase sequence to Hong Kong across the bay followed by exploding fireworks on the boat. Lifeless film with the actors merely going through the motions.

Mr. Soft Touch (Gordon Douglas & Henry Levin, 1949) 8/10

Underrated Christmas classic starts off in frantic noir mode but devolves into a charming Runyonesque fable with a soft heart. A returning war hero (Glenn Ford) and former nightclub owner is swindled by the mob. He manages to rob them and holes up with the money in a settlement house in San Francisco run by a prim social worker (Evelyn Keyes). He ends up igniting a simmering fire in the lady but not before he imparts a few life lessons to the orphans, provides a Christmas tree and a new piano and helps decorate their gymnasium. Fast paced film has a lot of heart with an added dose of romance, comedy and menace in the mix. Ford, one of the most underrated great stars from Hollywood's golden era, is superb and gets to show his versatility as his character shifts mood according to the nuances in the screenplay. The superb supporting cast - Beulah Bondi, Clara Blandick, John Ireland (as a sinister newspaper crusader), Percy Kilbride, Ted de Corsia - bring their familiar personas to the film enhancing this heartwarming story.

Hustlers (Lorene Scafaria, 2019) 6/10

The year's best screen moment has Jennifer Lopez writhing on the floor in an orgasmic frenzy fondling cash thrown at her by excited men in a bar. The scene appears to be an homage to Ann-Margret's sexy moment covered in baked beans and tomato sauce in Ken Russell's "Tommy". The film, based on a New York magazine article, has a group of former strippers and pole dancers banding together to drug and rob their Wall Street clients. A shout out to female empowerment as sexist men get shafted. Walking through this Scorsese-like exposé is Lopez in all her movie goddess glory. The camera loves her and she knows it. More than a performance its the effect she has on screen dressed in 6-inch stilletos under a fur coat or pole dancing wearing a thong as she bounces her ass towards leering spectators. She easily steals the show from all her co-stars all of whom are very good too. The main plot is bookended by an interview between a journalist (Julia Stiles) and a former stripper (Constance Wu) about her relationship with her former friend and mentor (Jennifer Lopez) who led the con and made them rich. They may be con artists but they treat it just like any job going about their lives - some as single mothers raising kids - and making a living. The story gets repetitive but Lopez makes it worth sitting through.

Cousin cousine (Jean-Charles Tacchella, 1975) 6/10

Charming wisp of a film has the same dreamy quality as the classic "A Man and a Woman" by Claude Lelouche and also seems to have inspired Mike Newell's "Four Weddings and a Funeral" which came almost 20 years later. There are weddings and a funeral in this film too with love taking center stage. At a family wedding a man (Guy Marchand) and a woman (Marie-France Pisier) sneak off from the celebrations for a quickie in the flower beds. Meanwhile back at the wedding their spouses (Victor Lanoux & Marie-Christine Barrault) meet, dance, become friends and fall in love. The affair is conducted amidst the lives of their extended family members - uncles, cousins, siblings, children - whose chaotic lives we see during assorted celebrations and a funeral. Both Lanoux and Barrault are luminous as the lovers stuck with mismatched spouses but determined to make hay come rain or shine. A surprise boxoffice hit the film was nominated for 3 Oscars - best foreign film, screenplay and Barrault for best actress. The Hollywood remake ("Cousins") with Isabella Rossellini and Ted Danson was even better.

Profondo rosso / Deep Red (Dario Argento, 1975) 9/10

Argento's stylish thriller is far from the usual gialo schlock. Visually stunning film takes its cue from Antonioni's "Blow-Up" and the director's masterstroke here is in using the protagonist of that film to play the lead here. A British pianist (David Hemmings), working in Rome (although the film is mostly shot on the streets of Turin), witnesses the gruesome murder of a psychic and soon finds himself trying to stay one step ahead of the murderer as various people end up being killed. Helping him along the way is a wisecracking journalist (Daria Nicolodi). With Argento at the helm the victims die in terribly painful and inventive ways - burnt by scalding water, heads being bashed against corners of tables or fireplaces, necks slashed, heads chopped off. It is all played out in an operatic fashion with each murder punctuated by loud piercing music. Argento also uses sound in inventive ways to create dread as the camera moves sinuously through interiors of large buildings tracking characters who are either searching for someone or are being followed through shadows. Argento even throws in an homage to Edward Hopper in a scene where Hemmings walks past a bar exactly like the one in the artist's famous painting "Nighthawks". Riveting film has a hallucinatory quality with many unforgetable stark setpieces and surreal images. One of the all-time great horror films and a must-see.

The Lighthouse (Robert Eggers, 2019) 5/10

The film scores high points for its tableau of striking images shot in exquisite black and white by Jarin Blaschke. Scenes of crashing angry waves on a desolate windswept rocky island, wild seagulls flapping in the sky around a tall gothic lighthouse inside which a dull hysterical drama plays out between two men as they slowly descend into madness. This two-hander plays like an absurdist play. Two lighthouse keepers, a grumpy old geezer (Willem Dafoe) and a rookie (Robert Pattinson), get severe isolation blues when they find themselves trapped on an island due to a severe storm causing them to get drunk, hallucinate and finally attack each other. Both actors have a field day playing their parts at fever pitch as every cliché of the genre hurls across the screen with unbridled glee. Arty pretentious film quickly loses steam as the relentless shouting between both characters begins to grate on the nerves.

Casino Royale (Martin Campbell, 2006) 6/10

Overrated Bond film was Daniel Craig's introduction as James Bond. He brings to the part great charm and the character's nasty streak, a trait which was straight from the novels of Ian Fleming and long missing in the films since the era of Sean Connery. This reboot turns Bond into a human being again and it is refreshing to see the plot totally dispense with high-tech gimmicks - the opening chase on foot is breathtaking and inventive. Unfortunately the plot is too convoluted and does not flow, the villain - Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) - too dour and Bond's chemistry with Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) is almost non existent. Gone is Bond's sexist attitude which plays to the modern sensibility of political correctness but dispensing with the Bond girl's curves is a sacrilege from which the film fails to recover. All the women in the film are beautiful but totally sexless. Luckily "M" keeps popping up to liven up the proceedings helped in great part by the tart-tongued playing of Dame Judi Dench. The screenplay retains the memorable torture scene from the novel where a naked Bond gets his testicles whacked by Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre but it was a major disappointment that they dispensed with the iconic Bond theme which really set the tone for the series.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:49 pm

The Truth (2019) Hirokazu Koreeda 5/10
Jojo Rabbit (2019) Taika Waititi 3/10
Cats (2019) Tom Hooper 4/10
Dumped (2018) Eloise Lang 4/10
Unplanned (2019) Chuck Konzelman & Cary Solomon 1/10
Little Women (2019) Greta Gerwig 6/10
Long Days Journey Into Night (2018) Gan Bi 6/10
Too Late to Die Young (2019) Dominga Sotomayor Castillo 5/10
Wrestle (2019) Suzannah Herbert & Lauren Belfter 6/10
The Demons (2015) Philippe Lesage 6/10

Repeat viewings

A Sunday in the Country (1984) Bertrand Tavernier 7/10
A Tale of Winter (1992) Eric Rohmer 7/10
"I want cement covering every blade of grass in this nation! Don't we taxpayers have a voice anymore?" Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole) in John Waters' Desperate Living (1977)

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

Postby Reza » Sun Dec 29, 2019 12:34 pm

Good Boys (Gene Stupnitsky, 2019) 3/10

Coming-of-age tale starts off sweet and amusing but quickly devolves into a scatalogically risqué tale of three adorable 6th graders who get involved in a chase involving drugs, sex and rock n roll. I'm obviously out of touch with how young children interact today but I found it a tad disturbing to hear the language coming out of the mouths of these youngsters. The F-word rattles off their tongues with such rapidity that it appears to have broken the record set by Al Pacino in "Scarface". The screenplay doesn't seem to know when to stop or which way to go settling in for cringeworthy crude jokes that repeat ad nauseum most of which fall flat.

6 Underground (Michael Bay, 2019) 2/10

Incoherent plot with confusing editing is just an excuse to smash up expensive cars, shoot bullets and kill as many humans possible using inventive ways to do it. Netflix used up a huge budget to come up with a film that is absolute rubbish. Five individuals, with just numbers for names, are brought together by a billionaire known as "One" (Ryan Reynolds) to act as mercenaries and bring positive change to the world by getting rid of bad elements. Too bad they don't seem to realize the havoc they create while doing good. The cheesy plot has them going after a cruel Middle Eastern dictator to remove him and replace him with his good brother who has been imprisoned in the penthouse suite of a tall building in Hong Kong. Globe trotting chase film moves from Florence to Hong Kong and finally concludes in Abu Dhabi whuch stands in for the fictional Middle Eastern country. Along the way we get spectacular stunts, car chases and gruesome violence often played for laughs. The film plays like a loud and obnoxious two-hour cartoon with extremely boring non-stop banter between the characters as they proceed to annihilate everything and anyone in their way. Tiresome humourless crap which should be avoided like the plague.

The Two Popes (Fernando Meirelles, 2019) 6/10

Glossy talkfest with two seasoned actors playing real-life Popes matching wits with each other. The screenplay imagines private meetings between conservative Pope Benedict XVI (Sir Anthony Hopkins) and the Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) which starts off with the latter wishing to retire and thus summoned to the Vatican by the Pope. They clash over their views - celibacy, homosexuality, sexual abuse and paedophilia all subjects which are touched on briefly but never followed through - as the Pope tries to disuade the Cardinal from resigning. Later when the Pope himself wants to resign due to old age the Cardinal tries to convince him to stay on. The film is amusing and fairly riveting during the scenes between the two stars but loses steam each time there is a flashback to the early life of the Cardinal in Argentina tracing his journey into the priesthood and his guilt at not speaking against the ruling junta's excesses. His religious calling and career would eventually end up as successor to the Pope. The screenplay conveniently omits the Pope's own youthful dalliance as a Hitler youth. The film ends with the Cardinal being voted in as Pope Francis the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere, and the first pope from outside Europe since the Syrian Gregory III, who reigned in the 8th century. Both actors are very good with Pryce quietly understated and Hopkins playing his part with piercing hauteur and a touch of ham. The film has outstanding production design and memorably vivid costumes.

Murder Mystery (Kyle Newacheck, 2019) 6/10

Charming old fashioned comedy-mystery reunites Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston after their previous teaming in the execreble rom-com "Just Go With It". A couple - he's a NY cop pretending to be a detective (Adam Sandler) and she's a hairdresser (Jennifer Aniston) - go on a belated honeymoon to Europe. When they are invited by a suave rich man (Luke Evans) to stay on his uncle's boat they find themselves neck deep in murder when their old host (Terence Stamp) turns up stabbed to death. Lovely European locations, a murder-mystery in the vein of Agatha Christie and amusing situations keep the plot moving swiftly. As the body count rises the daffy couple become the chief murder suspects forcing them to turn sleuths to solve the mystery. Breezy fun.

Violette Nozière (Claude Chabrol, 1978) 8/10

A sullen 18-year old (Isabelle Huppert), living in a cramped apartment with her working-class parents (Jean Carmet & Stéphane Audran), is a school girl during the day and with red painted lips and slinky black outfits is a whore for hire at night. When her parents discover she has syphilis she convinces them it is hereditary and makes them drink medicine as a cure. Instead she poisons them both. Her father dies but her mother survives and she is imprisoned and put on trial for murder. She admits to the deed and claims she killed her father because he was forcing her to have sex with him since she was 13. Chabrol's favourite theme of bourgeois repression takes center stage as he examines the psychology of murder in this true story set during the 1930s. Disorienting flashbacks emphasise the dual nature and possible mental instability of Violette. Scenes from her past also hint at the incest which could be true but at the same time appear as if the girl is twisting facts to justify the murder. Huppert's brashly assured performance holds the film together and she is matched every step of the way by Audran as her strict, loving but overly indulgent mother who realises too late that she raised a vicious viper. Huppert won a prize at the Cannes film festival and Audran won a well deserved Cesar award.

Swan Song (Kenneth Branagh, 1992) 6/10

An aging actor (Sir John Gielgud) contemplates the ups and downs of his long career on an empty stage. Branagh's short film, based on a play by Anton Chekov, was nominated for an Oscar. It is a fitting tribute to the legendary actor whose performance as the old actor could almost be about his own career as Gielgud recites passages from Shakespeare.

Uncut Gems (Benny & Josh Safdie, 2019) 8/10

New York jeweller (Adam Sandler) faces complete degradation in this extremely downbeat film by the Safdie brothers who bring their signature frenzied approach to the material. Overlapping rapidfire dialogue (shades of an Altman film) and an obtrusive score compliment the harried jeweller who is a gambling addict, a hustler facing a health scare, a wife who hates him and wants a divorce, a pretty mistress who keeps getting in the way of other serious shit in his life. Ruthless creditors are after him so he desperately tries to sell an Ethiopian uncut opal stone to pay them back. Meanwhile he lends the stone to a basketball player in exchange for his championship ring as collateral which he then pawns in order to place a large bet on the game. Things quickly spiral out of control as he is beaten, stripped naked, thrown into a fountain and hung upside down outside a window from a high rise building. Just when he hits rock bottom there is a positive windfall ending with a nasty twist as the camera zooms into an extreme closeup of his face. Sandler goes on this intense rollercoaster ride and comes up with a remarkable performance the likes of which we have never seen. After two decades of mostly execreble comedies he finally comes up with a winning film for which he has the Safdie brothers to thank for. Tense character study which the directors present as an exhilarating thriller.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Dec 28, 2019 11:01 pm

We Believed (2018) Mario Martone 5/10
Birgit Haas Must Be Killed (1981) Laurent Heynemann 4/0
Only Cloud Knows (2019) Xiaogang Feng 4/10

Repeat viewings

Belle de Jour (1967) Luis Bunuel 10/10
Smooth Talk (1985) Joyce Chopra 7/10
The Boys Next Door (1985) Penelope Spheeris 9/10
Moulin Rouge (1952) John Huston 9/10
My Left Foot (1989) Jim Sheridan 7/10
Until the End of the World - Director's Cut (1991) Wim Wenders 6/10
Easy Rider (1969) Dennis Hopper 6/10
"I want cement covering every blade of grass in this nation! Don't we taxpayers have a voice anymore?" Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole) in John Waters' Desperate Living (1977)

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

Postby Reza » Wed Dec 25, 2019 1:12 pm

Portrait de la jeune fille en feu / Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Céline Sciamma, 2019) 10/10

Languorous but passionate story set in the late 18th century involving "forbidden love" between two women. Vividly feminist, the screenplay explores the female psyche in an environment bereft of men who are shown very briefly at the start and then at the tail end of the film. The story begins as a mystery which gradually evolves into an erotic affair with an ending that is by turns bitersweet and highly emotional. An Italian noblewoman (Valeria Golino) commissions a portrait of her convent-returned daughter (Adèle Haenel) to be sent to the man she is betrothed to in Milan. The man was to previously marry the girl's sister who committed suicide. Since the subject refuses to sit for the portrait the painting is planned under a shroud of subterfuge. The hired painter (Noémie Merlant) is to be a companion to the girl, accompany her on walks across the Brittany countryside and through memory paint her later at night in the privacy of her room. Not willing to betray her trust the painter confesses about the secret portrait which is callously rejected by the subject who surprisingly agrees to sit for a proper one. When the mother leaves for a visit to Italy the two bond together, help the maid get an abortion and visit other women at a gathering where they sing and dance. Their closeness leads to love and a passionate affair which is cut short by the mother's return which inevitably causes them to part. The director Céline Sciamma, who was in an actual relationship with Adèle Haenel, brings a delicate yet erotic touch to the relationship. The film lacks a music score using instead natural sounds which bring an urgency to the developing relationship. The spectacular cinematography by Claire Mathon captures breathtaking views of the Brittany countryside as the two characters walk across rolling hills and fields which end just short of an imposing drop into the ocean where angry waves lash against jagged cliffs. Superbly acted by the two leads this ravishing film is one of the year's best and a must-see.

Elizabeth is Missing (Aisling Walsh, 2019) 9/10

Glenda Jackson returns to the screen after 27 years playing an irascible old lady fighting the onslaught of dementia. The story, based on the book by Emma Healey, revolves around a double mystery. An old lady goes missing and her best friend (Glenda Jackson), living with Alzheimer's disease, attempts to search for her keeping notes to jog her fading memory. Her family thinks she is making things up with her memory playing tricks. Her past keeps cropping up as well with the mystery of the disappearance of her elder sister 70 years before. Sad traumatic look at an illness acted to perfection by Jackson who superbly captures the bewilderment and frustration caused by the disease. The film also has the extremely rare distinction of having a female actor, aged 83, playing the lead role. Jackson deserves a Bafta and an Emmy.

Mrs Lowry & Son (Adrian Noble, 2019) 5/10

This two hander chamber piece is like eavesdropping into the claustrophobic life of painter L. S. Lowry (Timothy Spall) who lived with and cared for his aged bedridden mother (Vanessa Redgrave). The irritable and nervous old woman, brought up to expect high standards by her stern father, is controlling and intolerant of failure. She takes out her frustrations on her son constantly putting him down and his attempts at painting. Lowry used the industrial town of Pendlebury in Lancashire, with its textile mills and factory chimneys, as inspiration for his paintings. His distinctive style included human figures which were referred to as "matchstick men". This unusual work initially found no favour by critics whose scathing reviews are read out loud to him by his acerbic mother who, harbouring her own failed artistic ambitions, repeatedly lashes out at her son's chosen vocation. Redgrave plays all her scenes sitting or lying in bed using her illness as a ploy to dominate her meek son. Both actors are very good but this low key, rather dreary, drama does no justice to both nor do the screenplay (based on a play) or direction provide much needed fireworks to uplift the film.

La montagna del dio cannibale / Mountain of the Cannibal God (Sergio Martino, 1978) 7/10

The film's "highlights" - gratuitously violent acts against animals (many actually staged like a monkey's head getting crushed in the mouth of a python as it's sad eyes blink in despair), the steamy vibrant locations of New Guinea (shot in Sri Lanka), exotic views of flora and fauna, scary cannibals including one rather despicable midget, scenes involving castration and masturbation, the magnificent nude breasts of Ursula Andress smeared with red jelly-like liquid and a frenzied sex scene involving a boar. Italian exploitation film follows the familiar plot of a jungle expedition in search of a missing man - a woman (Ursula Andress) and her brother arrive in New Guinea in search of her missing anthropologist husband. Managing to find a guide (Stacy Keach) they trek to an island with a mountain which the locals believe is cursed. One by one the searchers die as they get eaten up either by animals or by the cannibals while it transpires that the remaining all have hidden agendas about the expedition with no love lost for the missing man. They also come across another explorer (Claudio Cassinelli) who proves helpful when the shit hits the fan with the rampaging cannibals. Handsomely produced schlock has stunning cinematography by Giancarlo Ferrando and is a cut above similar trashy films helped by the two relatively famous lead actors who thankfully avoid campy histrionics. Like all jungle adventure films there are remarkable shots of alligators, tarantulas, monitor lizards, anacondas and various poisonous snakes. The death scenes involving assorted vicious traps, beheadings and animals look fake but the gruesome factor is feverishly maintained throughout. A film like this would rightfully never be attempted today due to its butchery against animals for entertainment purposes and imperialist attitudes towards indigenous populations. But as an old fashioned jungle adventure it is great fun as it maintains a steadily increasing tension throughout.

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

Postby Reza » Tue Dec 24, 2019 10:08 pm

Precious Doll wrote:
Reza wrote:Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (J.J. Abrams, 2019) 5/10

And lest there is an outcry by the American gay community we get to glimpse a lesbian couple locked in an embrace and kiss. All very correct and cosy but rather obvious.

/quote]

Seems audiences in Singapore won't get the opportunity to be outraged:

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/d ... -singapore

It was such a blink and you miss it moment - my partner didn't see it. Must admit the most disturbing thing I found in the film was a man embracing a slug like creature. Now that is the stuff of nightmares!


It was a blink and miss moment. The censors here missed it :lol:

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

Postby Precious Doll » Tue Dec 24, 2019 7:17 pm

[quote="Reza"]Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (J.J. Abrams, 2019) 5/10

And lest there is an outcry by the American gay community we get to glimpse a lesbian couple locked in an embrace and kiss. All very correct and cosy but rather obvious.

/quote]

Seems audiences in Singapore won't get the opportunity to be outraged:

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/d ... -singapore

It was such a blink and you miss it moment - my partner didn't see it. Must admit the most disturbing thing I found in the film was a man embracing a slug like creature. Now that is the stuff of nightmares!
"I want cement covering every blade of grass in this nation! Don't we taxpayers have a voice anymore?" Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole) in John Waters' Desperate Living (1977)

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

Postby Reza » Sun Dec 22, 2019 1:29 am

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (J.J. Abrams, 2019) 5/10

George Lucas' epic Sci-fi saga finally concludes with episode IX. It's been a long journey of 42 years for many of us who experienced all 9 films in real time - from 1977 to 2019. The middle section of the saga, filmed first, was the most grounded in terms of plot and characters of which the three most memorable were Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), his twin sister Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and the man she spars and falls in love with, Han Solo (Harrison Ford). It is thus fitting that all three actors make brief appearances here even though Solo died in the last episode and actress Carrie Fisher died in 2016. The plot continues with good and evil battling for supremacy as Kylo Ren (a glum Adam Driver) - grandson of Darth Vader and son of Solo and Leia - tries to lure the young Jedi - Rey (Daisy Ridley) - over to the dark side. The film's big revelation is Rey's ancestory and the return of a villain who was thought to be dead. The screenplay blandly goes through the motions with various chase sequences and a couple of spectacular set pieces (courtesy of CGI) all of which fail to excite. It's not a bad film per se. Just rather dull. It's as if everyone grew tired with the franchise, couldn't think of anything new so decided to conclude the story by playing it extremely safe in tying up all the loose ends with assorted goodbyes. And it wouldn't be a modern Hollywood film without a cast that is politically correct in its ethnicity. Black actors get their day in the sun with important roles - Billy Dee Williams' Lando Calrissian also makes a comeback - and we get to glimpse some Asian-Americans and Indian faces as well amongst the cast. And lest there is an outcry by the American gay community we get to glimpse a lesbian couple locked in an embrace and kiss. All very correct and cosy but rather obvious. Can't remember now if there were any jewish characters - oh yes, since it's science fiction religion gets no mention so the only jews around were part of the huge production team behind the cameras. So Disney has managed to please everyone except probably the fan boy contingent who appear to be up in arms in disappointment over this concluding episode. Daisy Ridley is a standout amongst the large cast as her character gets a complete arc and she is delightfully feisty throughout. A close second is Richard E. Grant's evil General Pryde - it's a small part but the actor manages to make every scene count with his witty performance. And now we wait and see which direction the franchise moves with planned spinoffs in the pipeline.

La donna del fiume / The River Girl (Mario Soldati, 1954) 8/10

Producer Dino De Laurentiis, who created a sensation by launching his wife Silvana Mangano in "Bitter Rice", goes for the same formula teaming up with Carlo Ponti to present Sophia Loren as a similar bombshell. This melodrama has it all - the Po Valley location, colour cinematography by Otello Martelli with his strategically placed camera focusing on the leading lady's famous attributes as she seduces the audience while dancing the Mambo or walking in thigh deep water harvesting cane. Catching the eye of a ne'er-do-well smuggler (Rik Battaglia) she falls for him and becomes his mistress while rejecting a local cop (Gerard Oury) who is in love with her. He callously dumps her when she tells him she is pregnant forcing her to take revenge which leads to a tragic conclusion. One of many early Italian films that reveal Sophia as not only a sensual delight but also a great dramatic actress. Based on a story by Alberto Moravia the screenplay has Pier Paolo Pasolini as one of the writers. Sophia sings the catchy number "Mambo Bacan" over the film's opening credits.

Dust (Marion Hänsel, 1985) 6/10

Slow, intense look at isolation and madness on a desolate South African farm. A neglected spinster (Jane Birkin) lives with her widowed old father (Trevor Howard) on a farm run by their black foreman. Craving her father's love and on the verge of a mental breakdown she starts hallucinating. When the old man rapes the foreman's young wife the horrified spinster shoots him. Hastily burying her father she is at the mercy of the foreman who then taunts and openly flirts with her. When she refuses to pay his salary he attacks and rapes her which she, in her catatonic state, imagines them making love. When the servants run off she frees all the sheep from the pen and finally finds serenity as madness fully descends on her. The film's last image is of hope even though it springs from within her twisted mind. Birkin's tour-de-force performance won her an acting prize at the Venice film festival. The film's bleak desert setting - Spain substituting for South Africa - goes a long way in creating the sense of impending doom and tragedy.

Section 375 (Ajay Bahl, 2019) 6/10

Tense and detailed police procedural courtroom drama centered around a victim of rape showing how the #metoo movement can be used to win a case which may not entail proper justice in the end. A Bollywood director (Rahul Bhatt) is accused of rape by a female member of the costume department (Meera Chopra). As the defence (Akshaye Khanna) and prosecuting (Richa Chadha) attorneys battle out in court the truth comes to light showing the fine line between the law and actual justice. The screenplay takes great pains to explain the different perspectives of the law - Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code which deals with rape.

Colewell (Tom Quinn, 2019) 6/10

Understated film has a superb central performance by Karen Allen who once upon a time accompanied Indiana Jones on his adventures. A small-town post master (Karen Allen) is told by the USPS that her office (which for years has been run from her house) is to be shut down and is given an option of moving to a bigger town to continue - a sure-fire sign of being forced to resign. She tries to protest, refusing to move and instead begs to stay at the old location. The screenplay, while making points about economic threats to Americans, is actually a deeply felt character study and a sad look at retirement, old age and the fears of being put out to pasture. Allen is absolutely sublime, acting with her expressive eyes, her body movements and interactions with the townfolk gradually revealing bits and pieces of her past life.

Papa Hemingway in Cuba (Bob Yari, 2015) 6/10

Fascinating look into the life of writer Ernest Hemingway during his Cuban period. Irascible, an alcoholic and bipolar, the writer is viewed through his friendship with a young journalist - Denne Bart Petitclerc (here called Ed Myers and played with wide-eyed puppy charm by Giovanni Ribisi). The film was actually shot in Hemingway's own house in Havana (now a museum) and around the city giving the film a strong feeling of authenticity. The Florida based journalist writes a fan letter to Hemingway (Adrian Sparks who is superb) and is invited to come stay with him and go fishing. Around them the Cuban revolution is in full swing with street killings by rebels allied with Fidel Castro. The journalist closely observes and absorbs, reporting not only the revolution for his newspaper but also forming a close association with the famous writer and his fourth wife Mary Hemingway (Joely Richardson who is extremely charming) - the toxcity in their marriage is presented as a constant mixture of love and battle as the long suffering woman tries to cajole her suicidal depressive husband. There is a wonderful moment as she gathers a group of his favorite cronies for a surprise birthday party while dressed up herself as Marlene Dietrich (singing "Lili Marleen") who was one of Papa's closest pals. Hounding by the FBI (for income tax evasion) and "higher ups" in the American government also add to the writer's problems. Episodic film is an exercise in the writer's downward spiral in bathetic sentimentality which seems like a contradiction to the virility on display in his books but is in keeping with the self destructive persona of an ill mind. It is also the first American film since 1959 to have been shot in Cuba.

The Man From Morocco (Mutz Greenbaum, 1945) 5/10

Studio-bound but atmospheric war film set during the Spanish Civil War. With the defeat of the Republicans a group of freedom fighters try to escape into France. Enroute the intrepid leader (Anton Walbrook) meets a local woman (Margaretta Scott) when the soldiers take refuge in a bombed out church. The group reach France to find it occupied by the Nazis and find themselves interned in a camp where the two lovers are eventually reunited. A sadistic french Captain, sympathetic to the Nazis, destroys his release papers and has him shipped off to Morocco. The rest of the film becomes a quest for revenge on the frenchman who is interested in the woman as well. Slow film has a tendency towards melodrama as most of the cast overacts.

Maskerade / Masquerade in Vienna (Willi Forst, 1934) 10/10

Forst's outstanding film about morality and love is set in Austria during the early twentieth century. The delightful plot involves a scandalous painting of a lady (Hilde Von Stolz) in which she has posed wearing a mask and just a handwarmer. The painting gets revealed to the public causing consternation for the famous painter (Anton Walbrook) as various men suspect their own wives and mistresses - (Von Stolz, Olga Tschechowa) - of being the nude subject. To appease the angry men the painter quickly makes up a fake name for the mysterious woman. When an actual person (Paula Wessely in her film debut) by that name turns up it causes even more problems as jealousy rears its ugly head. The film's real star is Franz Planer as he uses his gliding camera, weaving it around the cast during the elaborately staged waltz sequences. Superb production values and a wonderful cast make this one of the great classics of the silver screen and a must-see.

Night Was Our Friend (Michael Anderson, 1951) 3/10

Overwrought melodrama about a woman (Elizabeth Sellars) on trial for the murder of her husband (Michael Gough). While her husband was away for two years and presumed dead in a plane crash she falls in love with a doctor friend (John Howard). When he suddenly returns he has bouts of depression and moments of violence. When he is found dead by his mother (Marie Ney) of an overdose of prescription medication she suspects her daughter-in-law and reports her to the police. Gough overacts playing to the gallery but both Sellars and Ney are very good but cannot save this very silly murder mystery.

The Face Behind the Mask (Robert Florey, 1941) 6/10

A rare film with a lead role for the always superb Peter Lorre whose distinct voice made all his characters so memorable. This is one of his best parts playing an upbeat Hungarian immigrant in New York who, through a twist of fate, gets his face scarred by fire. Destitute depressed and bitter he is disuaded from suicide by a small-town crook and eventually rises to become the head of a gang of thieves. The love of a blind girl (Evelyn Keyes) brings him to his senses and he opts out from his life of crime. But his recent past catches up with him and following a tragedy he meticulously plans revenge. Early noir film is an extremely cynical and bleak look at the promise of the "American Dream". Low budget film - Lorre's scarred face is very briefly glimpsed after which he is seen wearing a mask - is elevated by the star's great performance as he goes through various moods from earnest and charming to chilling ruthlessness. Franz Planer's cinematography is memorable.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Dec 21, 2019 11:43 pm

Children of the Sea (2019) Ayumu Watanabe 4/10
Capri-Revolution (2018) Mario Martone 4/10
Them That Follow (2019) Britt Poulton & Dan Madison Savage 1/10
Game Night (2018) John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein 6/10
The Dozens (1981) Christine Dall & Randall Concrad 5/10
The Dark at the End of the Street (1981) Jan Egleson 5/10
Anna (2019) Luc Besson 5/10
Hannah (2018) Andrea Pallaoro 4/10
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) J. J. Abrams 5/10
The Art of Racing in the Rain (2019) Simon Curtis 7/10
Slow Dancing in the Big City (1978) John G. Avildsen 2/10
The Two Popes (2019) Fernando Meirelles 1/10
Bride For Sale (1949) William D. Russell 4/10
A Very Curious Girl (1969) Nelly Kaplan 7/10

Repeat viewings

The Seventh Victim (1943) Mark Robson 8/10
Danton (1983) Andrzej Wajda 7/10
A Tale of Springtime (1990) Eric Rohmer 8/10
Inside Moves (1980) Richard Donner 7/10
"I want cement covering every blade of grass in this nation! Don't we taxpayers have a voice anymore?" Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole) in John Waters' Desperate Living (1977)

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

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Dec 15, 2019 4:56 am

I thought that The Story of Temple Drake was the most famous pre-Code film aside from the notorious Letty Lynton that had never been released on home video. We may finally see that one after the copyright on the play it was ruled to have stolen from (Dishonored Lady) expires in 2025.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sun Dec 15, 2019 2:33 am

Big Magilla wrote:
Precious Doll wrote:The Story of Drake Temple (1933) Stephen Roberts 7/10


Hmmm. Is that about a temple they had built to honor Temple Drake? :P


Haha. My bad. Funnily I'd never heard of the film until Criterion released it. Hopefully they will release some more pre-code gems.
"I want cement covering every blade of grass in this nation! Don't we taxpayers have a voice anymore?" Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole) in John Waters' Desperate Living (1977)

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

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Dec 15, 2019 1:10 am

Precious Doll wrote:The Story of Drake Temple (1933) Stephen Roberts 7/10


Hmmm. Is that about a temple they had built to honor Temple Drake? :P

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:13 pm

Stockholm (2019 Robert Budreau 2/10
Kairos (2019) Paul Barakat 5/10
Where's My Rob Cohn? (2019) Matt Tyrnauer 7/10
Aga (2018) Milko Lazarov 5/10
The Hamdmaid's Tale - Season 3 (2019) Various 6/10
The Kitchen (2019) Andrea Berloff 3/10
Coincoin and the Extra-Humans (2018) Bruno Dumont 6/10
The Story of Drake Temple (1933) Stephen Roberts 7/10
Santiago, Italia (2019) Nanni Moretti 6/10

Repeat viewings

The President's Lady (1953) Henry Levin 7/10
Spetters (1980) Paul Verhoeven 7/10
"I want cement covering every blade of grass in this nation! Don't we taxpayers have a voice anymore?" Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole) in John Waters' Desperate Living (1977)


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