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

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

Postby HarryGoldfarb » Wed Oct 16, 2019 5:18 pm

- Knock (Lorraine Lévy, 2017): 2/10
- Edmond (Alexis Michalik, 2019): 8/10
- The Dark Crystal (Jim Henson and Frank Oz, 1982): 7/10
- Perfect Strangers (Álex de la Iglesia, 2017): 7/10
- The Adjustment Bureau (George Nolfi, 2011): 6/10
- Jackie (Pablo Larraín, 2016): 6/10
- Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross, 2016): 7/10
- School of Rock (Richard Linklater, 2003): 8/10
- Sully (Clint Eastwood, 2016): 8/10
- Allied (Robert Zemeckis, 2016): 6/10
- Isn't It Romantic? (Todd Strauss-Schulson, 2019): 2/10
- The Good Dinosaur (Peter Sohn, 2015): 6/10
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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Wed Oct 16, 2019 5:28 am

Il viaggio / The Voyage (Vittorio De Sica, 1974) 3/10

De Sica's last film is set amongst the wealthy classes in Sicily during the turn of the century, is sumptuously shot on lovely Italian location but is absolute trite. A soap opera involving a seamstress (Sophia Loen) in love with a wealthy playboy nobleman (Richard Burton) but through a cruel twist of fate gets married to his younger ineffectual brother (Ian Bannen) instead. Like a soap opera the plot thickens - husband (conveniently) dies leaving the lovers to ponder if the impending scandal of their desired marriage plans is worth going through but then another twist of fate intervenes. Burton, bereft of his magnificent voice thanks to terrible Italian dubbing, and the lovely Loren make a listless couple. He is too stiff throughout while she looks too mature to be acting tremulous like a silly teenager. The film's only redeeming views are of the lovely period costumes and the interiors of homes and hotels. Skip this silly film.

Gun Glory (Roy Rowland, 1957) 5/10

Gunslinger (Stewart Granger) who deserted his family returns home and finds his wife dead and a resentful son. Conflict with cattlemen, a quietly simmering romance with the housekeeper (Rhonda Fleming) and the son's acceptance of his father form the basis of what is rather a bland B-Western from MGM. Granger, despite an American accent that comes and goes, is good playing his part in an understated manner while lovely Rhonda Fleming is always a welcome presence.

La Romana / Woman of Rome (Luigi Zampa, 1954) 8/10

Character study of a woman during the facist era is equal parts romantic melodrama and a noir-like look at the glitter and cynicism of Rome under Mussolini. An impoverished young woman (Gina Lollobrigida), daughter of a seamstress and former prostitute, dreams of becoming a wife and mother. Her mother wants her to grab a rich man and settle down but she is in love with and engaged to a poor chauffeur (Franco Fabrizi). When she discovers he is already married she turns to prostitution and enjoys the freedom it brings her as she earns money using her beauty and sex to attract men. She falls in love with an anti-fascist political militant (Daniel Gélin) who refuses to admit his love for her and also dates a fascist police officer who is obsessed with her. Life takes on a dark turn when a stolen jewellery box leads to her meeting with the brutal friend (Renato Tonti) of the chauffeur which leads to murder. Based on the acclaimed novel by Alberto Moravia the film showcases the sensual delights of the ravishing Lollobrigida who is not only at her most beautiful but gives a superb performance as well. The film is strikingly shot on the rain swept streets of Rome by Enzo Serafin.

Pane, amore e fantasia / Bread, Love and Dreams (Luigi Comencini, 1954) 3/10

Loud shrill romantic comedy with everyone shouting their dialogue and gesticulating wildly. It may be the Italian way but the silly plot is unbearably unfunny with two great stars wasted. The film made Gina Lollobrigida into a huge star, was a massive hit and even produced a sequel. I can understand the many reasons why Lollobrigida became a star - her heaving décolletage bound in tight dresses for one - but for the life of me I don't know why the film was such a success. Even the film's story was nominated for an Oscar. The slight premise involves a new police chief (Vittorio De Sica doing his usual shtick) being appointed in a small village. This lewd and lascivious man immediately sets his eyes on two women - the middle-aged local midwife (Marisa Merlini) and a sexy young woman (Gina Lollobrigida) the villagers playfully refer to as "frisky" as they think she is of easy virtue. The latter is loved by all the men in the village but loathed by all the women. Matters get complicated when the young woman is smitten by a handsome young man who works for the old police chief who in turn pursues her with a vengeance. Like most Italian films from that period this too benefits from its natural rural settings and a cast that actually feels authentic in their roles. Too bad the plot is so silly.

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

Postby HarryGoldfarb » Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:07 pm

Parasite (Bong Joon-ho, 2019): 9/10
Shoplifters (Hirokazy Kore-eda, 2018): 9/10
I, Daniel Blake (Ken Loach, 2016): 9/10
A Ghost Story (David Lowery, 2017): 6/10
The Baader Meinhof Complex (Uli Edel, 2008): 8/10
Avengers: Endgame (Anthony Russo & Joe Russo): 7/10
Pain and Glory (Perdo Almodóvar, 2019): 8/10
The Post (Steven Spielberg, 2017): 7/10
Life of the Party (Ben Falcone, 2018): 6/10
Closely Watched Trains (Jiří Menzel, 1966): 8/10
Through a Glass Darkly (Ingmar Bergman, 1961): 10/10
The Stranger (Orson Welles, 1946): 6/10
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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:23 pm

Joker (2019) Todd Phillips 7/10
Bigger (2018) George Gallo 4/10
The Living Koheiji (1982) Nobuo Nakagawa 6/10
Amin (2018) Philippe Faucon 5/10

Repeat viewings

Van Gogh (1991) Maurice Pialat 8/10
Lust for Life (1956) Vincente Minnelli 7/10
Young Torless (1966) Volker Schlöndorff 7/10
Paperhouse (1988) Bernard Rose 7/10
The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967) Jacques Demy 7/10
High and Low (1963) Akira Kurosawa 10/10
Risky Business (1967) Andre Cayatte 8/10
Diamantino (2018) Gabriel Abrantes & Daniel Schmidt 8/10
The Major and the Minor (1942) Billy Wilder 7/10
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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sat Oct 12, 2019 4:02 pm

La bella mugnaia / The Miller's Beautiful Wife (Mario Camerini, 1955) 6/10

Rather silly farce has a number of endearing qualities going in its favour - handsome production values, a vivid sense of time and place set during 17th century Naples (occupied then by Spain) amongst the peasant lot, the frantic mugging of Vittoria De Sica, the ravishing beauty of Sophia Loren in one of her early teamings with the young and very handsome Marcello Mastroianni. The lusty and hardhearted Governor of Naples (Vittorio De Sica) keeps increases taxes on the poor peasants and has lascivious designs on other men's wives. When he attempts to seduce the boistrous and sexy wife (Sophia Loren) of the local miller (Marcello Mastroianni) all hell breaks loose as male honour is hurt and revenge becomes the order of the day. Typical Italian sex farce has the camera oogling the female anatomy with its titillating focus on legs and ample bosoms. An "attitude" considered pretty tame in Europe resulted in the Catholic Legion of Decency condemning the film in prudish United States. The cast clearly appear to be having a ball with the animated proceedings. Special mention to the lovely Greek actress Yvonne Sanson as the Governor's neglected but regal and clever wife.

Catherine the Great (Philip Martin, 2019) 7/10

Did Catherine the Great die while fornicating with a stallion? An urban legend claimed she was crushed to death when the harness holding the horse above her snapped. She actually died the old fashioned way in bed of a stroke which struck her while on the loo. Many rumours have run rife about the flamboyant and very powerful Empress Catherine II of Russia who was instrumental in modernizing the Empire and winning major wars - the Turks were massacred amongst other military victories. Her interest in erotic art - a notorious cabinet with penises for legs and carvings of vulvas and penises on it - were mere rumours and never substantiated. She did have an insatiable desire for sex with 22 lovers on record (including the King of Poland) who benefitted by the "association" with her and many of these lovers were much younger. Her long and very eventful reign deserved a longer mini-series instead of the four short parts we get here. Also Dame Helen Mirren, at 75, is far too old to play the 43-year old Empress when the story begins. It's to her credit that this great actress manages to carry off the role barking orders dripping with sarcasm and parrying with great humour with the Countess Proskovya (Gina Mckee) who was her official "tester of male capacity"; every potential lover was to spend a night with the Countess before he was admitted into Catherine's personal apartments. Mirren "gets" the regal bit down pat (she earlier played both Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II to great acclaim) dressed to her teeth in silk brocades and dripping in jewels. The screenplay jumps right to the period when she took over the throne after a coup and the murder of Emperor Peter III, her nasty ill-tempered husband. She has to contend with a weak but ambitious son who wants the throne (this idiot, when he finally came to the throne for a short while, ordered that henceforth no woman would be allowed to rule Russia. None ever did), serfs who are beginning to rebel, wars in the South and the Far Eastern Frontier and the nobility who are forever plotting. By her side is the great love of her life - the great military commander Grigory Potemkin - who rumour had it was her secret husband. Potemkin is spoken of as this gorgeous hunk all women are crazy about but its quite problematic to see the portly and very fleshy Jason Clarke take on the role. He too overcomes this historical inaccuracy by delivering a performance that is forceful, amusing and eccentric capturing a man who loved his Country and Empress with full fervour. The film does not skimp on opulence and like the two stars delivers a full scale scenery-chewing drama shot in and around glorious but gaudy palaces. Finally the film's success rests on the shoulders of the actress who also produced the mini-series and she comes up a winner ensuring she is in full DAME HELEN MIRREN mode making her character steely and saucy by turn. A fun look at Russian history.

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

Postby Reza » Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:11 pm

Le mura di Malapaga / Au-delà des grilles / The Walls of Malapaga (René Clément, 1949) 10/10

Italian-French co-production, which won an Oscar, is one of the great doomed romances but sadly forgotten today. The two films that similarly won Oscars in the foreign film category right before and after this one were by De Sica ("Bicycle Thieves") and Kurosawa ("Rashomon") which are both fondly remembered and revived. Yet this masterpiece remains forgotten. It revived the career of star Gabin after the War years. It's a return to his familiar pre-war screen persona of the tough but doomed fugitive. A middle-aged drifter (Jean Gabin) escapes the authorities in Paris after murdering his twenty-two year old girlfriend, because she told him that he was too old for her. Escaping on a ship he is forced to disembark in Genoa because of a toothache. After getting mugged and having his tooth removed he decides to turn himself in at a police station. However, he sees an attractive woman (Isa Miranda) and follows her to a trattoria where she works and charms her into providing him a free meal after which he confesses his previous crime. Already intrigued by him she is grateful when he later comes to her rescue as she is being physically threatened by her ex-husband who keeps trying to kidnap their precocious teenage daughter. Soon both women fall under his spell as mother and daughter vye for his attention, each jealous of the other, leading to the stark and sudden downbeat ending which was de rigueur for such doomed romances. The film is in the style of French poetic realism but with strong overtones of Italian neo-realism (Cesare Zavattini was one of the writers) with scenes shot on location in bombed-out Genoa. Gabin is superb in his usual understated manner while the lovely Miranda, resembling the mature Garbo, provides a passionate portrait of a sad woman who lights up as love enters her life however briefly. Clément maintains a hauntingly melancholy mood throughout as the two lonely souls, caught in the undertow of life, play out their seemingly hopeful but ultimately doomed relationship. Both Clément and Miranda won richly deserved prizes at the Cannes film festival.

Stuber (Michael Bowse, 2019) 6/10

Two polar opposites meet under trying circumstances and on a long day's journey into night become buddies. A huge cop (David Bautista), just out of eye surgery and almost blind, goes after a seedy drugpin who killed his partner. Getting into an Uber taxi he involves the hapless driver (Kumail Nanjiani) into a nightmare of stakeouts and shootings. Slapstick pratfalls and a couple of laugh-out-loud moments intermingle with scenes of excessive violence. It's nothing we haven't seen before in countless similar films - "48 Hours" & " Lethal Weapon" were two of the best - but the two leads go through their paces milking their antagonistic chemistry for all its worth. And hey, we now have our own Oscar nominated Pakistani boy - Nanjiani - playing lead roles in Hollywood.

Les adieux à la reine / Farewell, My Queen (Benoît Jacquot, 2012) 6/10

Lavish production set during the last three days in the life of Marie Antoinette (Diane Kruger) in July 1789. The French Revolution rumbles on in Paris but the Royal family and courtiers continue life as usual at the Château de Versailles. Mild irritation turns to panic after the Bastille is stormed and a list is circulated with the Queen's name at the top as the first to be beheaded. Very unpopular with the Parisienne aristocrats and the common people, all of whom gossip about her indulgence in same sex proclivities and wild orgies - during the later hysteria at her trial she was also accused of incest with her son. Rumours are rampant about the Queen's sexual involvement with the Duchess of Polignac (Virginie Ledoyen), a longtime trusted companion, also hated by the Court. The screenplay covers these events from the perspective of a wide-eyed servant girl (Léa Seydoux) who is also the Queen's reader and in whom she puts her trust to carry out a special assignment related to her lover. The maid, smitten by the beautiful Queen, is more than thrilled to serve her every wish. The director presents all this court intrigue in an obscure manner with little fanfare as we see it all play out through the eyes and ears of the maid who is not a privileged witness to history, but she is clever and resourceful in using her palace friends to ferret out bits and pieces of information about the goings on around her. Unfortunately this muted manner in which the drama unfolds works against it. The extravagant and oversized characters are unfortunately held at arm's length when they should have been over-the-top. One keeps expecting camp of the highest order along with lashings of sex but sadly it's not to be. The entire film is shot inside the Palace at Versailles giving it a feeling of immediacy. The camera wanders through each opulent gold-tinted room, with mirrored walls and ceilings, capturing the place in all its garish splendor. The film won richly deserved César awards for the rich cinematography, costumes and production design. The film, Jacquot, Seydoux, its screenplay, editing and sound design were all nominated.

Brief Encounter (Alan Bridges, 1974) 6/10

Remake of the classic David Lean film which is based on Nöel Coward's play, "Still Life". This version has been moved from the War years to contemporary times and since it's a Carlo Ponti production the role of the quintessential British wife now becomes Italian and played by Mrs Ponti herself. A married social worker (Sophia Loren) by chance meets a married doctor (Richard Burton) at a railway station. It's a very brief encounter as he helps remove grit from her eye. They meet again by chance and this time talk and get to know each other. When he insists she agrees to see him yet again although she feels guilty. The relationship is platonic but gradually love begins to creep in forcing them both to come to terms with their feelings and deciding on a direction to take. Lean's version hangs ominously over this one but the two stars manage to easily keep the simple story afloat. Burton, who is quietly understated and heartbreaking, was a last minute addition to the cast after Robert Shaw jumped ship for a bigger paycheck from Steven Spielberg for a role in "Jaws" instead. It is unfair to compare Burton and Loren to the sublime Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson in the original. Both manage to subdue their huge star personas here and convincingly portray these two very "ordinary" characters. This was their second film appearance together and their great chemistry is clearly visible on screen.

La moglie più bella / The Most Beautiful Wife (Damiano Damiani, 1970) 6/10

In Sicily a Don's arrogant young nephew first courts and then rapes a fifteen-year old peasant (Ornella Muti) girl and later offers his hand in marriage. To his intense surprise she refuses and decides to teach him a lesson much to his annoyance. After openly going against this old custom, where victims relent and marry their attackers, she is made an outcast by the villagers and her parents. With the help of a cop she agrees to stand up to the Mafia despite still harbouring love for the man who had assaulted her and who continues to ridicule and insult her. Shocking scenario, true to the culture where it exists, is carried by the strong but deadpan screen presence of the very beautiful Ornella Muti (with those mesmerizing blue eyes) who at age 15 made her screen debut with this film.

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

Postby Reza » Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:56 am

Giordano Bruno (Giuliano Montaldo, 1973) 8/10

This lavish Carlo Ponti production, dazzlingly photographed in burnt yellow hues by the great Vittorio Storraro, superb production design, costumes (Enrico Sabbatini) and score (Ennio Morricone), covers the last few years in the life of Giordano Bruno played by the intense Gian Maria Volontè. A Dominican friar in Italy during the 16th century, he was born during a period that proved fatal to a man of his intellect and strong views. A renaissance philosopher, mathematician, poet, cosmological theorist, and Hermetic occultist, he was tried for heresy by the Roman Inquisition on charges of denial of several core Catholic doctrines which included eternal damnation, the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the virginity of Mary and transubstantiation (the Catholic belief that the bread and wine offered as sacrifice during mass becomes the body of Jesus Christ). His strong beliefs were a clash between religion and science and became a recipe for disaster for him in an era when the Catholic Church sought to consolidate it's power over a changing world and persecuted many like Bruno, Copernicus and Galileo for their advanced and free thinking ideas. Religious hysteria and superstition of the illiterate public also played a part in his final undoing. The screenplay plays out his final years after having escaped Italy and several years spent teaching and talking about his scientific, philosophical and religious views across Europe. Returning to Venice he is fêted by rich households. Charlotte Rampling plays the sensual mistress of a rich man who is fascinated by Bruno's command of the occult and has a memorable and fairly graphic nude moment as he fondles her breast while she writhes and moans in ecstacy as he appears to have full mental control over her. He is betrayed to the Church and is brought to trial and put in prison where he repents. To save face and scandal he is sent to Rome and the Vatican where he is again tried inconclusively after he defends himself against the hyped up charges and condemned to be burnt at the stake by Pope Clement VIII after spending six years in prison. The film has memorable scenes set inside spectacular homes and buildings in Venice and the Vatican with their elaborate frescos on walls and ceilings and exquisitely designed marble floors. Volontè is superb in an understated way portraying this passionate man with all his brilliance and flaws.

The Hours (Stephen Daldry, 2002) 7/10

Moving adaptation (by David Hare) of the Pulitzer prize winning novel by Michael Cunningham. Three different generation of women are deeply affected by "Mrs. Dalloway", the novel by Virginia Woolf, as each deal with suicide in their lives. Daldry uses staccato editing to bridge the three different periods using short scenes and flitting from one to the other. This forces the viewer to stay alert to the nuances of the dialogue and the actor's movements which often blend into one another. The film opens in 1941 with the suicide of British writer Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) who drowns herself in a river near her Richmond home. A flashback to 1923 shows a deeply disturbed Woolf, a patient of bipolar disorder with suicidal tendencies, living a tenuous life with her patient but worried husband (Stephen Dillane) who keeps a close watch over her. She has just started writing the novel "Mrs. Dalloway" and is visited by her sister (Miranda Richardson) and her rowdy kids. In 1951 a pregnant Los Angeles housewife (Julianne Moore) with a young son and jolly husband (John C. Reilly) feels stifled in her marriage and contemplates suicide but decides against it at the last minute and instead makes a calculated but drastic decision that will have disturbing consequences with her son. In 2001 a bisexual woman (Meryl Streep), with a daughter (Claire Danes) and lover (Allison Janney), lives in Manhattan and cares for her former lover (Ed Harris) who suffers from AIDS. She plans an elaborate party for her dying friend, who has been awarded a prize for his poetry, but he resists the attention saying he wants to die in peace. A traumatic event has the author's old mother arrive who admits that she had abandoned her family years before as she chose to live instead of die while stuck in her happy marriage. The struggle for a life of consequence runs through all three stories and is superbly acted by a fine cast. Kidman, wearing a prosthetic nose to resemble Woolf, won an Oscar while the film, Daldry, Harris, Moore, the literate screenplay, editing, score (by Phillip Glass) and costumes were all nominated.

Batman Begins (Christopher Nolan, 2005) 6/10

Batman gets a reboot with Christopher Nolan providing a more serious and expressionistic take on this comic book hero. Christian Bale plays the character in total pissed-off mode (apparently he hated every moment wearing the tight bat suit) which actually helps his performance. The screenplay covers the familiar trope of his childhood days and of his parents getting gunned down followed by intense guilt as he grows up. Trained by two offbeat characters (Liam Neeson & Ken Watanabe) he returns to crime-ridden Gotham City to try and bring order. He is helped in this quest by his butler, Alfred (Sir Michael Caine - playing a more jovial version of the man-servant played by Sir John Gielgud in "Arthur", although the amusing and biting sarcasm remains), a childhood friend (Katie Holmes), a professor (Morgan Freeman) and Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman). The film has wonderful scenes as we see Batman get his act together - the underground cavern below his mansion, the introduction of his batsuit and batmobile. Unfortunately the film then delves into familiar territory as he battles two villains, a local Don (Tom Wilkinson) and the Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy), with a lot of noisy action. Just when you hope the movie is going to end there is a final twist and the action carries on and on. The excessive length just kills it. Nolan would go on to make two further films, both critically acclaimed, which I found terribly overrated, excessively long and unbearable to sit through although his dark vision and fantastic production values were absolutely perfect giving the trilogy an aura of importance.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:17 am

Buoyancy (2019) Rodd Rathjen 5/10
The Dead Don't Die (2019) Jim Jarmusch 4/10
Half a House (1975) Brice Mack 4/10
Jigoki (Hell) (1960) Nobuo Nakagawa 8/10
Hot Tomorrows (1977) Martin Brest 6/10
Chernobyl (2019) Johan Renck 8/10
The Bride from Hades (1968) Satsuo Yamamoto 6/10
Monster Party (2018) Chris von Hoffmann 4/10

Repeat viewings

Death in a French Garden (1985) Michel Deville 8/10
Police (1985) Maurice Pialat 7/10
Chilly Scenes of Winter (1979) Joan Micklin Silver 6/10
Quartet (1981) James Ivory 4/10
Under Satan's Sun (1987) Maurice Pialat 7/10
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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sat Oct 05, 2019 3:20 pm

Joker (Todd Phillips, 2019) 10/10

The first thing that hits you squarely in the eye is the city itself. Gotham City by way of New York City. It is not the city of Woody Allen but has the foul stench, squalor and urban chaos of Martin Scorsese's vision of hell in his classic "Taxi Driver". Todd Phillips not only pays homage to this film but also to the same director's "King of Comedy" and Sidney Lumet's "Network", films about anger, loneliness and mental illness, which he channels into creating a disturbing yet emotionally gratifying re-imagining of the iconic DC comic book villain "Joker". The smart screenplay incorporates elements from "Batman" but comes across more as a character study of a pathetically disenfranchised young man living in a fiercely divided city. Arthur (Joaquin Phoenix) has a history of mental illness and a medical condition that prompts him to laugh uncontrollably often at awkward moments. He lives in a squalid apartment with his invalid mother (Frances Conroy). He works as a clown for hire with dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian and appearing on a popular talk show starring a smug host (Robert De Niro). His sad life consists of trying to survive in a city full of vicious people the brunt of which he faces during a brutal beating at the hands of a bunch of rowdy teen hoodlums. Trying to remain positive - he likes to paint his face with a joker's smile - he often resorts to delusional fantasies where he imagines being befriended by a neighbor (Zazie Beetz) and being invited on to the talk show. When a work colleague gives him a gun his life moves into a different direction. The vigilante killing of three yuppies on a train, an encounter with the rich man running for mayor who he believes to be his father and the final betrayal involving his mother pushes him completely over the edge. He now completely transforms into the Joker with great relish. Phoenix, who lost a great deal of weight for the role, shows off his almost reptilian body, contorting it in constant balletic motion. This is a great physical performance and the actor compliments it by using his expressive eyes and the grotesque make-up to create a unique and highly original version of the comic book character. Phillips superbly stages the violent set pieces each of which is played out accompanied by songs on the soundtrack by Gary Glitter, Cream and Sinatra which are used in a sly and ironic way. The film's gritty look is achieved through the combined talents of a number of technicians - the remarkable camerawork of Lawrence Sher, who bathes his images using deep hues, the production design which mixes recent shots of the city along with streets that hark back to the filth strewn pre-Mayor Giuliani New York with its flourishing porn theaters and a thundering orchestral score by Hildur Gudnadóttir. There is also a glaring message about the link between mental illness and the almost regular mass shootings in the United States where lone gunmen spray bullets inside schools, cinemas and restaurants. But in the end the film belongs to Phoenix who does not make any false step. It is a deeply emotional performance and the actor walks a dangerous tightrope while managing to keep his character loathsome yet sympathetic at the same time. It is a performance for the ages and deserves to finally win him the Oscar.

Wagon Master (John Ford, 1950) 7/10

Elgiac film was director Ford's personal favourite of all his films. A much travelled Western situation - a dangerous cross-country journey - is presented in a highly poetic style helped in great part by the striking black and white cinematography by Bert Glennon which makes many of the scenes look like paintings - no film of Ford is complete without Monument Valley figuring prominently. A group of mormons, led by their blustery head (Ward Bond), hope to reach the promised land of San Juan Valley in Utah. Two drifters (Ben Johnson and Harry Catey Jr.) act as their wagon masters on the journey. Along the way they pick up several colorful characters - a fake medicine man (Alan Mowbray), a prostitute (Joanne Dru) and a gang of outlaws - and also encounter Navajo Indians. The film's strong pacifist theme and a reverance for mormons was unusual in a Western at the time which helps this film to stand out. This is not a typical Ford film (John Wayne is nowhere to be seen and there is no charge by rampaging Indians) and the story's episodic nature made it a natural for television where it saw great success adapted as the series "Wagon Train", which ran for eight years.

Cronache di poveri amanti / Chronicle of Poor Lovers (Carlo Lazzani, 1954) 7/10

Fascinating to see Florence before the hordes of tourists took over the streets of which one plays an important part in this story. The film, based on an acclaimed novel by Vasco Pratolini, charts the inhabitants of one narrow Florentine street - the Via del Corno - during the 1920s which houses a disparate group of working class people living in cramped apartments above. The fascists have started to put a tight grip on society and cause consternation with their violent ways. Everyone on the street knows each other and take great delight acting as voyeurs to the sexual and political shenanigans in play. The plot follows the love lives of three young girls - Anna Maria Ferrero, Cosetta Greco, Antonella Lualdi - who are entwined in love and betrayal. A young lodger (Gabriele Tinti) loves and leaves his girlfriend for a married woman while the neighborhood lothario (Marcello Mastroianni) is having it off with his landlord's wife. Overseeing them all from her bed is a grotesque old loanshark (Wanda Capodaglio who is hilarious - the character in the book was a lesbian which for the film was changed due to the censors). Violence at the hands of the fascists change lives forever. Most of the film is shot at night by the great Gianni Di Venanzo as his camera weaves through the narrow cobbled streets. Interesting film with a cast of actors who would go on to become big stars.

Suspicion - Fraction of a Second (John Brahm, 1958) 6/10

An episode from "Suspicion", an anthalogy tv series, and based on a short story by Daphne du Maurier. A woman (Bette Davis) steps out of her house to send off her young daughter to school. On her return back home she narrowly escapes being hit by a vehicle and discovers three strangers living inside the house who claim they are all boarders at a rooming house. The police also confirm that it is not her house but take her to meet a woman who has the same name as her daughter. Insisting she is right and everyone is trying to confuse her she discovers that the young woman went to the same school as her daughter but twenty years before. She also says that she looks like her mother who died in an accident twenty years ago. Is the woman delusional or is she an escaped mental patient? Or a ghost? One of many tv appearances during the 1950s by Bette Davis and photographed by Ernest Haller who shot many of her films at Warner Brothers when she was at the peak of her stardom. Spooky and sad story very similar to an episode of the "Twillight Zone".

Bello onesto emigrato Australia sposerebbe compaesana illibata / Handsome honest emigrant in Australia would marry chaste fellow-countrywoman / A Woman in Australia (Luigi Zampa, 1971) 5/10

The incredibly long Italian title basically provides the entire plot of this rather silly film. It is also a road movie as two lonely souls, looking for companionship and a better life, come together under strange circumstnces and under false pretenses. An Italian immigrant (Alberto Sordi), long a resident of Australia, is a shy and middle-aged bachelor with old fashioned values who is desperate to get married. He wants to marry a virgin from back home and often sends his photo through a lonely hearts column in a newspaper back in Italy only to get rejected each time. When he sees a photo of a peasant girl he decides to send a photo of his better looking friend in order to get her to accept his marriage proposal. The woman is actually a prostitute who wants to get away from her pimp and pretends to be a factory worker in order to land a husband in Australia. He picks her up at the airport and they take a long and antagonistic drive to the outback where surprises are in store for both when each discovers the truth about each other. Frantic, loud comedy is about mistaken identities, culture clash and an excuse for two great stars to have a romp together while filming on exotic Australian locations. Lovely Cardinale won a David award but Sordi, with his hang-dog expression, is equally good. The film is no classic but is a charming entertainer that brings on frequent smiles.

Il giorno della civetta / The Day of the Owl / Mafia (Damiano Damiani, 1968) 9/10

Riveting film shows the Mafia's hold on Sicilian life with the police, judiciary, the Catholic Church and senior government officials powerless to do anything because they are all on this powerful organization's payroll. The screenplay (based on a novel by Leonardo Sciascia), a poliziesco, revolves around the new police chief (Franco Nero) in a small town in Sicily who comes up against powerful forces which he hopes to break. A man witnesses a hit on a truck driver and disappears. The police question the man's wife (Claudia Cardinale) who is scared but says she knows nothing. They witness her walk across the street to the house of the local Don (Lee J. Cobb) who gifts her some food and asks her to leave. The investigation is slow and cumbersome as nobody wishes to speak up in fear of the Don who is surrounded by his goons. It soon becomes a battle of wits between the crook and the relentless cop who is hell bent on trying to find proof against the suspect. When an informant (Serge Regianni) provides a clue the cops browbeat one of the Don's men (Nehemiah Petsoff) into signing a false confession. Using this as a means to intimidate the Don they arrest him. The film's final twist added realism to a situation sadly prevalent in that part of Italy. Superbly filmed on location in Palermo with Tonino Delli Colli's widescreen camera capturing the vast countryside. Both Nero and the gorgeous Cardinale are superb and won awards for their intense performances. A dubbed Lee J. Cobb is also very good as the arrogant rich man who controls the small town very sure of himself that he is above the law. This was the first of Damiani's similar crime-based thrillers and his rich and layered work focuses on plot and character development.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Sep 28, 2019 3:23 pm

Yesterday (Danny Boyle, 2019) 5/10

The impact of the Beatles song catalogue gets an amusing twist in this trifle of a film by the usually intense Danny Boyle who here goes for a wacky feel courtesy of the cutesy screenplay by Richard Curtis. The film asks the question what if the world suddenly has no clue about the Beatles but only one person remembers them and their songs and who uses them as original material presented for the first time. A failed musician (Himesh Patel) struggles to make a niche for himself. He is totally ignored except by his childhood buddy (she secretly loves him) and "manager" (Lily Collins) who encourages him. When he is hit by a bus and simultaneously there is a worldwide electrical power cut he discovers that nobody remembers the Beatles and their songs (along with Coca Cola as people now only know about Pepsi). So he decides to sing the famous duo's songs passing them off as his own. As in all fairytales things move fast - he is discovered by Ed Sheeran, goes on tour with his band, is discovered by a shark-like L.A. based agent and whisked off to La La Land to become a star complete with a proposed image makeover. Silly premise somehow works thanks to a charming performance by Patel, a Brit of Indian descent who grew up on the telly on Eastenders, and especially the iconic songs which the actor sings karaoke style on the soundtrack himself. The film also makes funny digs at the music industry itself. The film tries too hard in asking the audience to celebrate and worship the music of the iconic band. Instead it comes off as a minor rom-com packaged with hit songs around it. I also kept getting the strong feeling that in reality most of these songs would not have the same resonance they had when they first came out. Far too much has changed in the world including music.

When Time Ran Out... (James Goldstone, 1980) 2/10

There is a perverse delight in seeing an all-star cast in danger and then die one-by-one as disaster strikes. This Irwin Allen "disaster film" was such an actual disaster at the boxoffice that it put the final nail in the coffin for this genre of cinema which had a highly profitable run during the 1970s. The screenplay, full of clichés, is a greatest hits version of many of the previous films in the cycle ("The Poseidon Adventure", "Earthquake", "The Towering Inferno", the "Airport" franchise, "The Swarm"). Many situations, some of the dialogue and cast are repeated here. A modern hotel resort is about to open on a beautiful island in Hawaii and the owner (William Holden who was drunk throughout the shoot) arrives with his current mistress (Jacqueline Bisset at her loveliest) to inaugurate it. She has rejected his marriage proposal and hopes to hook up again with her previous boyfriend (Paul Newman, who did the film strictly for the paycheck), an oil rig supervisor, who has just struck oil but is suspicious about the underground pressure equating it with the volcano on the island which puts him at odds with the disbelieving hotel manager (James Franciscus) who is married to the owner's god daughter (Veronica Hamel) but having an affair with a hotel employee (Barbara Carrera) who cancel's her wedding plans to her lover's half brother (Edward Albert). And so the relationship dots are connected covering most of the cast. In addition we have an elderly couple - retired circus tight rope walkers (Burgess Meredith who is truly heroic & Valentina Cortese who barely gets to emote in a bit part) - a cop (Ernest Borgnine who spends most of the film with a bandage covering his entire face) in pursuit of a crook (Red Buttons) and a brothel madam (Sheila Allen, the producer's fat wife dressed in a mumu) and her husband (Pat Morita before he mentored the "Karate Kid"). The film's tacky special effects and awful matte shots prove its undoing as the volcano erupts, the ground shakes, a tidal wave hits, there is a helicopter rescue followed by a crash and the impending stream of lava causes a group of the main cast to flee the hotel. The film's climax is set on a rickety bridge over a river of exploding lava which the remaining cast members try to cross. The film's costumes were inexplicably nominated for an Oscar. Was it for the mumu? Because apart from that piece of clothing everyone is seen wearing normal everyday clothes which are totally undistinguished. Trashy film with a memorable cast.

Kabir Singh (Sandeep Reddy Vanga, 2019) 1/10

This film celebrates toxic masculinity and has achieved the distinction of being the highest grossing Bollywood film of the year so far. Regressive cinema at it's worst. Kabir Singh (Shahid Kapoor), a brilliant surgeon, has serious anger management issues. He's always had issues ever since his medical college days. Viciously beating up other students at school, body shaming girls and showing consistent aggression. Then he suddenly comes across a demure first year student (Kiara Advani) and falls head over heels in love. He threatens everyone at school to keep away from her saying she's his "woman". The girl silently follows him around as his "property" and in total acceptance of his behaviour as do all the students around him who are petrified of him. The college ignores his antics because he is a brilliant student. When her father refuses to let him marry her he completely loses the plot, slaps and shames her, takes to drink and hard drugs and becomes a sex addict forcing sycophant friends to procure women for him. His best friend offers his own sister to him in consolation for losing the woman he loves. He forces an actress to strip at knife point who then inexplicably falls in love with him. The absurd screenplay - a remake of the hit Telugu film "Arjun Reddy", also by the same director - makes a hero out of this misogynist character and presents him as a model of manhood. There are no shadings provided to any of the other characters including the love interest as Advani plays her as a complete non entity. She willingly allows him to kiss her, has sex with him and likes to brush her teeth with his toothbrush while he says "I love to see you breathe". He moves her into the men's hostel and straight into his room while all the other guys give them space without batting an eyelid. The shocking success of the film with male audiences cheering on this flawed character during every violent moment speaks volumes for the kind of entertainment that the public enjoys - the director has defended the film's protagonist as a flawed human being who loves intensely like a violent version of "Devdas". Kapoor is all swagger no nuance without any introspection or redemption while playing this one-note character. The film's only grace is the brief appearance of Kamini Kaushal, a leading lady and star from the classic age of 1940s Indian cinema, as Kabir's feisty grandmother who has a wonderful scene with Kapoor trying to knock some sense into him. Had to sit through this long and endless film just to see lovely Kaushal back on screen.

De De Pyaar De (Akiv Ali, 2019) 4/10

This is Ajay Devgn's return to the romance genre after many years but unfortunately this regressive, misogynistic and corny film has a strong whiff of Bollywood circa 1995. The first half carries the romance - the opening scene is especially cringeworthy dripping with sexist jokes. A 50-year old rich swinger (Ajay Devgn) romances a 26-year old bombshell bartender (Rakul Preet Singh - a big star down South in Tollywood) and both decide to get married after the obligatory songs where she tosses her hair, flashes her teeth and wraps her legs around him during song and dance sequences set in England. But before tying the knot he needs to inform his son and daughter - yup he's married but separated and hasn't seen his family, back in India, in 15 years. And so the comic half of the film begins with a number of usually reliable character actors playing family and neighbors who all seem to have forgotten the art of acting and insist on playing to the gallery. Descending on them unannounced he is confronted by his shrill daughter who wants him to leave because her fiancé is about to arrive with his father and she has told them that he died a long time ago. Showing remarkable restraint is his wife (Tabu) who resolves the situation by pretending to be the sister of her husband. Matters don't go according to plan - they never do - both women clash and compete for their man, the son gets the hots for his girlfriend, the daughter continues to be a loud brat and older relatives also join in the fray. There was protest over the casting of good old Alok Nath who, after the film was in the can, got outed as a lecher during the #metoo fracas. Through all the misunderstandings at play Tabu suddenly rises to the occasion with an intense monologue about divorce, broken relationships, woman power and other juicy tidbits putting to rest the tense situation. As with most of Bollywood cinema from the 1990s this too has its share of good moments but you have to sift a lot of sand to get to the meat. Pity even the meat turns out to be pretty rotten here. Both Devgn and Tabu underplay throughout - after so many movies together there is still great chemistry between the two and in one brief scene they rib themselves silly during a few notes from the hit song, "Raah Mein Unse Mulaqat Ho Gayi" from their 1994 film "Vijaypath". Crass film with bits that shine.

The Search (Fred Zinnemann, 1948) 8/10

Moving account of displaced children across Europe at the end of WWII. The story's focus is on a Czech boy (Ivan Jandl), separated from his desperate mother (Jarmila Novotna) at Auschwitz, who is brought by the Red Cross along with hundreds of other similar children to Berlin. When the boy escapes from the camp he comes across an American G.I. (Montgomery Clift) who befriends him and gradually gains his trust. Once totally in shock and silent the boy begins to speak and the soldier teaches him words in english. Meanwhile the mother does not give up hope and keeps on searching and finally with the aid of a Red Cross worker (Aline MacMahon) she is reunited with her child. Zinnemann shoots the story almost like a documentary on bombed out streets and among destroyed buildings on actual German locations. It was the first Hollywood production to shoot in post-war Germany. Clift, in his screen debut, is good playing the bland soldier but his character does not have an arc. He is just there as a spring board for the boy to wile time before he is reunited with his mother. However, the actor made a major impact that year - his second release the same year was Howard Hawks' classic western "Red River" which was actually filmed first but was released after this one. The film's story and little Ivan Jandl (in his only screen appearance) won Oscars while Zinnemann, Clift and the screenplay were all nominated.

Irresistible (Ann Turner, 2006) 2/10

They dragged out that old chestnut, "Gaslight", from the mothballs and gave it a modern makeover. Super Mom (Susan Sarandon), an award winning book illustrator and mother of two, suddenly finds odd incidents taking place - a dress goes missing from her cupboard, she starts forgetting things, imagines there is someone in the house, wakes up from scary nightmares involving a baby, gets attacked by wasps and assorted toys and photos go missing. She is stressed out over a work related deadline and is depressed over her mother's recent death. Her archtiect husband (Sam Neill) is understanding and patient with her but when his new female colleague (Emily Blunt) walks into their house wearing the missing dress she suspects the woman is having an affair with her husband. Sarandon is just as annoying as the Oscar winning Ingrid Bergman was in the original - a wife who thinks she may be losing her mind. So she ends up investigating and breaks into the other woman's house, gets caught and reprimanded by the court. The screenplay keeps going in absurd directions with characters motivations not making sense then suddenly completely diverts from the plot of "Gaslight" which proves to be a red herring. The lack of proper continuity makes it seem as if they were making up the story as they went along throwing in one twist after another. Good cast is wasted with Neill merely reacting to each crazy incident while Blunt switches from being caring to sexy to being creepy then morphing into complete psychosis. A waste of everyone's talent.

The Raven (Lew Landers, 1935) 8/10

The only time Boris Karloff ever played second-string to Bela Lugosi in their careers but still managed to get top billing much to the latter's frustration. This completely over-the-top horror film references the famous poem by Edgar Allan Poe with Lugosi perfectly cast as a megalomaniac surgeon in love with a woman he has restored to health but cannot have. So he imprisons her and a bunch of others in his dungeon tormenting them with torture while laughing maniacally between bursts of sinister organ-playing. Lugosi takes hamming to another level and appears to be having a ball playing this mad character. Karloff, in a small role, plays it straight as a gangster who is turned into a disfigured and subservient monster who wants revenge.

The Man Who Lived Again (Robert Stevenson, 1936) 6/10

A brilliant but unstable old scientist (Boris Karloff) invents a machine that can transport the human mind. Helping him is a young doctor (Anna Lee) who is in love with the son (John Loder) of the old man's benefactor who is providing him with funds for the experiment. When the patron withdraws the funds the scientist becomes vengeful leading to murder and a twisted plot whereby he hopes to pin the murder on the young man by altering his mind. Prepostrous mumbo jumbo plot has Karloff in "mad scientist" mode and incredibly manages to make this evil character appear sympathetic. Providing wonderful support is Donald Calthrop in a sharply written role as the invalid caretaker whose sharp tongue pokes wicked barbs at the old scientist and who lives to regret it. Low budget, little known film works wonders within its short running time. As with most of Karloff's horror films he remains the focal point playing yet another of his eccentric but memorable characters.

Isle of the Dead (Mark Robson, 1945) 7/10

During the Balkan war a group of people on a lonely Greek island band together while in quarantine for the plague. A general (Boris Karloff) tries to hold the group together but as one by one they start dying he notices that one woman (Ellen Drew) is not effected and he suspects she may be a vampire-like creature called vorvolakas. One of producer Val Lewton's series of horror films during the 1940s has great atmosphere and a feeling of dread which the screenplay milks using the claustrophobic setting, shadowy cinematography, music and sound. At the center is a superb performance by the great Boris Karloff who, minus his usual horrific make-up, uses his mellifluous voice to great effect.

The Ghoul (T. Hayes Hunter, 1933) 9/10

Britain's first sound horror film was an attempt by Gaumont studios (with Michael Balcon as producer) to replicate the great success of Hollywood's Universal studio horror films. The studio enticed Boris Karloff to return to Britain after 25 years abroad. The actor had toiled in Hollywood for years in bit parts but suddenly became a huge star after the enormous success of "Frankenstein" after which he enjoyed further acclaim in other horror films like "The Old Dark House", "The Mummy" and "The Mask of Fu Manchu". Here he plays a dying Professor of Egyptology who has purchased a precious jewel which he thinks will give him eternal life after it is buried with him as a sacrifice to the Egyptian gods. When the jewel is stolen by his faithful club-footed butler (Ernest Thesiger) things begin to move in the night as the old man rises as a ghoul during the full moon. Also wanting the jewel are an assortment of shady characters - the shifty Egyptian who had sold him the gem, his crooked lawyer (Cedric Hardwicke) and a fake pastor (Ralph Richardson in his film debut). Adding the requisite screams when the ghoul returns from the dead are his niece (lovely Dorothy Hyson), her friend (the hilarious Kathleen Harrison) with his nephew (Anthony Bushell) coming to the rescue during an exciting fiery finale. Adding greatly to the sinister atmosphere is production designer, Alfred Junge, whose dark and foreboding sets play a huge part as the characters move from room to room in the spooky old house. Helping create further dread is the cinematography of Günter Kramf, a leading exponent of expressionism. Both these German artists had worked with F. W. Murnau, Robert Weine and other leading directors of the Weimer period creating an intense mood. The film was thought lost until a print was found in a closed vault at a British studio in England during the 1980s and finally restored. A must-see.

The Public Eye / Follow Me (Sir Carol Reed, 1971) 6/10

Sir Peter Shaffer's hit play first appeared in the West End and on Broadway in 1962 and made stars of Maggie Smith and Kenneth Williams. It was about the turbulent changing attitudes to love in the 60s though a brilliant combination of comedy, pathos and drama. A stuffy banker (Michael Jayston), suspecting his daffy American wife (Mia Farrow) of infidelity, hires a private detective (Topol) to follow her. She has started disappearing, spending alone time watching sunsets and dolphins at the park and frequenting bars in the East End of London. Or so she says, although his jealousy makes him believe otherwise. The detective spends a number of days following her. At first she is suspicious of the man following her in the white raincoat but gradually she treats it like a game as they together discover London although they never ever speak to each other. She feels liberated and flattered at the attention, something she had found lacking lately in her marriage to her husband bringing to fore the divide in their social backgrounds. She confesses her happy feelings to her husband after a showdown and he automatically assumes she may be in love with the detective who, in turn, goes on to provide him the solution to his woes in order to win back his wife. Rather dated and silly material surprisingly works despite the film's oddball casting. Mia Farrow, just off her Indian-hippy sojourn and dressed in Indian embroidered kurtas and other garish '70s clothes, is her usual stiff whiny self but gets better as the film moves along. The role of the flamboyant detective was given to Israeli actor Topol who was the new star on the block courtesy of "Fiddler on the Roof" and he plays him loud and cute like "Zorba". Compared to these two offbeat characters the prissy role of the stuffed-shirt husband comes off very annoying and Michael Jayston plays him too one-note throwing the love triangle into a loop. Silly premise has the added disadvantage of being stuck in the 1970s time zone throwing off whatever comedic value the play had a decade before. And Mia Farrow is certainly not Maggie Smith. However, there is something loopy and endearing about the plot as we follow the two leads across London in their magical quest for love and liberation. This was the last film in the distinguished career of Carol Reed and he does not go out with a bang. More like a flutter which, however, does manage to bring on a few smiles.

The Prize (Mark Robson, 1963) 7/10

One of many Hitchcock imitations that were made in homage to the Master. This one is based on the book by Irving Wallace and a screenplay by Ernest Lehman who wrote the last Hitchcock spy thriller "North By North West". The film mixes comedy and drama, the requisite icy blonde, lovely Swedish locations and a fast paced plot. A grumpy, womanizing alcoholic author (Paul Newman), suffering from writer's block, arrives in Stockholm to accept the Nobel prize for literature. He is soon up to his neck in a kidnapping plot with attempts on his life while nobody believes him. The Nobel laureate for Physics (Edward G. Robinson) is kidnapped and an imposter placed in his place. The man's niece (Diane Baker), who comes on to the author, may or may not be involved. Also adding to the sex quotient is the sexy Biology laureate (Micheline Presle) who shamelessly flirts with him to make her husband jealous while a cool blonde (Elke Sommer) has been assigned by the government to keep him in line and away from booze. Newman is no Cary Grant but, playing once again a cynical and wayward character, is an absolute delight as he berates the press, dodges assassins and unsuccessfully tries to convince the police that he is in danger. It is all played out to the accompaniment of a superb score by Jerry Goldsmith and stunning views of Stockholm shot by the great William Daniels.

Le ragazze di Piazza di Spagna / 3 Girls From Rome (Luciano Emmer, 1952) 8/10

Charming fluff follows the joys and heartbreaks of three working class girls who like taking their lunch break from work sitting in the sun on the Spanish Steps discussing their very active love lives. They work as seamstresses at one of the fashionable dress houses near the Piazza de Spagna in Rome. Marisa (Lucia Bosé) is the pretty one who lives with her brood of siblings in a crowded tenement and in love with a young truck driver (Renato Salvatori). Elena (Cosetta Greco) lives with her widowed mother and is in love with an opportunist who is two timing her with his rich manager's daughter. Lucia (Liliana Bonfatti) is loved by a short jockey but she prefers dating different tall men every night. Charming old fashioned film would be termed a "chick flick" today but is much more than that as it astutely captures striking nuances of the city itself making it very much a character in the story. The witty screenplay encompasses many attitudes considered politically incorrect today yet still seem fresh and very funny as they are familiar to so many cultures around the world. Along with the three stars there are superb bits by the great Eduardo De Filippo as a suitor to the widow and a very young Marcello Mastroianni (dubbed by Nino Manfredi) as a taxi driver who ends up with one of the girls. Great fun.

A ciascuno il suo / We Still Kill the Old Way (Elio Petrie, 1967) 8/10

Petrie's film celebrates the beauty of Sicily with the camera in constant motion taking sweeping shots of the countryside with the vast blue sea visible in the background. Almost every shot between the actors is filmed with the ocean glimpsed in the backdrop or objects d'art or potted plants obscuring the characters. All this beauty is in sharp contrast to the ugly goings on in the small town. A doctor and a pharmacist are gunned down in cold blood on the imposing cliffs where they were hunting birds. The pharmacist had been receiving annonymous letters with death threats. Long married to a very ugly woman he was having an affair with a local 15-year old peasant girl, so suspicion of the killings fall on her father and brothers. The townfolk are indifferent to the deaths - contempt for the philanderer, who they feel deserved old-fashioned justice for dallying with another woman, and pity for the doctor who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Petrie dissects the townfolk via a witty scene at the funeral as the camera captures important men and women of the town from afar as the gossipy voices of two men are heard describing each person. A Professor and former communist (Gian Maria Volonté) suspects that the hit was actually meant for the doctor as he may have uncovered corruption by the Church, the government or the mafia. While investigating his suspicions he comes into contact with the doctor's cousin (Gabrielle Ferzetti), a lawyer, and the beautiful widow (Irene Papas) to whom he feels attracted. Predictable story concludes with a shocking ending but mainly comes alive due to the extraordinary performances - Volonté captures the academic's naivety and awkward personality while Papas, dressed throughout in stark black widow's weeds, speaks volumes with her expressive eyes. This was the start of the amazing collaboration between Petrie and Volonté who went on to make a series of hard-hitting classic films of a political nature.

Dark Phoenix (Simon Kinberg, 2019) 4/10

The conclusion of the X-Men prequels has aliens (Jessica Chastain is the white-blonde leader) from outer space arriving on earth to seek the "power" that destroyed their planet. It now resides inside Jean Grey aka "Phoenix" (Sophie Turner) who inadvertently acquired it while saving a space shuttle along with the other X-Men. Confused with the enormous power inside her she leashes it on her fellow mutants killing Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) by mistake. The X-Men - Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and others - decide to go after her while their mentor, Xavier (James McAvoy), holds back a secret concerning the past of the "infected" mutant. This film is just an excuse to get the team back together, involve them in a skirmish so that CGI rules supreme in a battle on board a train. It is all such a rushed job proving that decent scripts are no longer a need in Hollywood just as long as yet another comic book adaptation reaches the screen to make money at the boxoffice.

Tolkien (Dome Karukoski, 2019) 6/10

Exquisitely produced film biography is shot on stunning locations across England - in and around Oxford, Lancashire, Manchester, Liverpool and Rochdale. The film covers the early life of English professor J. R. R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings as well as other notable academic works. Tolkien (Nicholas Hoult) recalls his impoversished childhood, schooling (his creation of a language with strange drawings of a magical world of mythical creatures) and study (at Exeter College, Oxford), friendships (the formation of a secret society with three chums) and girlfriend (Lily Collins), from the trenches of WWI. After surviving the war he gets married and starts writing "The Hobbit". Hoult is good in the lead role and the director uses a number of spectacular imagery to convey what would become part of the author's writings. As a treatise about love, friendship and a celebration of art, literature and music the story resonates strongly. As a straight forward biography the film takes no chances and the story plods along via lovely drawing rooms and horrific battlefields.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Sep 28, 2019 8:08 am

Benjamin (2019) Simon Amstell 5/10
Ad Astra (2019) James Gray 4/10
Good Boys (2019) Gene Stupnitsky 4/10
Dafne (2019) Federico Bondi 4/10
Unchained (1955) Hall Bartlett 4/10
If Only (2019) Ginevra Elkann 6/10
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) Andre Ovredal 4/10
The Goldfinch (2019) John Crowley 2/10
In the Shadow of the Moon (2019) Jim Mickle 1/10

Repeat viewings

The Man with Two Brains (1983) Carl Reiner 7/10
The Witches (1990) Nicolas Roeg 10/10
Get Out Your Handkerchiefs (1978) Bertrand Blier 8/10
Moonfleet (1955) Fritz Lang 10/10
"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 Precious Doll » Sat Sep 21, 2019 11:30 pm

Greener Grass (2019) Jocelyn DeBoer & Dawn Luebbe 6/10
Animals (2019) Sophie Hyde 4/10
It: Chapter Two (2019) Andy Muschietti 1/10
Ma (2019) Tate Taylor 7/10
Nevrland (2019) Gregor Schmindger 2/10
End of the Century (2019) Lucio Castro 4/10
Killing Patient Zero (2019) Laurie Lynd 7/10
You Don't Nomi (2019) Jeffrey McHale 6/10

Repeat viewings

Cavalcade (1933) Frank Lloyd 6/10
The Naked Kiss (1964) Samuel Fuller 8/10
Secrets and Lies (1996) Mike Leigh 10/10
Kiss Me Deadly (1955) Robert Aldrich 10/10
Walkabout (1971) Nicolas Roeg 10/10
Le Corbeau (1943) Henri-Georges Clouzot 8/10
"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 » Sat Sep 21, 2019 4:31 am

Ad Astra (James Gray, 2019) 5/10

If a woman feels her hubby is a workaholic, ignores her and has serious unresolved "daddy issues", she needs to send him on a mission to the planet Neptune and he will return back much wiser and straight back into her arms. Or so this film's screenplay seemingly suggests. Gray's film channels Coppola's "Apocalypse, Now" by way of Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" while plagiarizing a number of moments from Alfonso Cuarón's "Gravity". A brilliant young astronaut (Brad Pitt) is given the highly classified task of trying to contact his father (Tommy Lee Jones), a pioneering astronaut, who 26-years before disappeared with his crew while on a space mission to Neptune. Having believed all his life that his father was a hero he suppresses his feelings of abandonment (by him) and takes on the mission. The film's best and most exciting moments are during the journey from Earth to Neptune with tense stopovers on the Moon (a chase sequence on the desolate surface) and Mars. Each time the story delves into the man's psychological issues the film loses track - his thoughts about his father (by way of his voiceovers) and his marital status (by way of brief flashbacks). Poor Liv Tyler has the dubious task of playing the wife who walks out on Pitt and the director shoots all her scenes where her face is completely out of focus. Both Donald Sutherland and Ruth Negga are wasted in small roles while Tommy Lee Jones, as the "Captain Kurtz" of this piece, is quietly wide-eyed and crazed. It is up to Pitt to carry this film and he effortlessly does so in an understated way but not without quietly flashing his star aura. Pitt's acting, in his middle age, has matured like fine wine. Too bad he is stuck in a project that smells of deja vu and a story with almost as many potholes as on the moon. The film has outstanding cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytema which captures the eerie silence of outer space, the barren dune-like surface of the Moon and the magnificent rings around Neptune through which Pitt enters during one stunning sequence. Disappointing film is at least a return to form for Pitt's magnetic screen presence and, along with his recent Tarantino outing, proves that he is one of the best actors in Hollywood today.

Anna (Luc Besson, 2019) 6/10

Anna (Sasha Luss), a tall Russian willowy blonde, is a top Parisienne model which is a cover for her real job as a deadly assassin for the KGB. She is made to realise she cannot leave and is a slave to them. So when an opportunity arises - she is caught by the CIA during an assassination attempt - she makes a deal with an operative (Cillian Murphy) to carry out their bidding, in return for "retirement" in Hawaii, which is to kill the KGB head who years earlier rubbed out a number of CIA agents. Besson retreads his own "La Femme Nikita" along with familiar tropes from many similar films to come up with this stale but nevertheless exciting spy thriller. As with all of Besson's films there are slick action set pieces leaving a lot of dead and mangled humans. There are sharp supporting turns by Luke Evans as a KGB agent in love with Anna and Helen Mirren who has a high time playing the cynical but deadly KGB operative. She is made up to look almost like the witch in Hansel & Gretel minus the warts on her face. Mirren, an Oscar winner and a Dame no less, not only has a wicked sense of fun while choosing her roles but makes them hilariously memorable. The final confrontation takes place between the CIA and KGB.....or does it? Besson keeps things moving with twists upon twists making this into a greatest hits version of his own filmography.

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

Postby Reza » Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:35 am

Ta kokkina fanaria / The Red Lanterns (Vasilis Georgiadis, 1963) 9/10

Stylized and set bound - the story is based on a play - runs counterpoint to Jules Dassin's classic film about prostitutes, "Never On Sunday", where joyous hooker (Melina Mercouri) works hard for her money but rests on Sunday. Here the profession is shown as it is - heartbreaking, sad and miserable. Set in a brothel called "The Red Lanterns" in the seedy port district of Piraeus in Athens the story revolves around the poignant lives of five prostitutes and explores their personal stories. The kindhearted Eleni (Tzeni Karezi) is in love with a man (Dimitris Papamichael) who is unaware of her profession, Anna (Alexandra Ladikou) is in love with a sailor (Manos Katrakis) and unknown to him she has had their child, the eldest masculine looking Mary (Mary Chronopoulou) has a young man (Phaedon Georgitsis) fall in love with her and Marina (Katerina Helmy) a village girl is in love with her pimp. The tough but jolly Madam Pari (Despo Diamantidou) runs the brothel with the help of the menacing pimp Michalis (George Foundas) who is in love with Eleni who hates him. He also pursues the teenage Myrsine (Eleni Anousaki) who spurns him too. For some life does not go as planned as they face tragic circumstances while some find happiness as the brothel is forcibly shutdown. Superbly acted film has a memorable score by Stavros Xarhakos and striking cinematography by Nikos Gardelis. The film was nominated for an Oscar in the foreign film category.

Wall of Noise (Richard Wilson, 1963) 2/10

The race track at Hollywood Park is the backdrop for the dull soap opera plot about marital infidelity where the horses have more life than the humans. A horse trainer (Ty Hardin) wishes to be his own man raising race horses but finds life tough working for nasty rich men. It does not help when the bored wife (Suzanne Pleshette) of his boss (a crass Ralph Meeker) comes onto him and they indulge in an affair that has less heat than the bucking horses around them. Hardin is stiff as a log although that's no help during the anemic grappling with Pleshette who comes on like a bored barracuda. There is no chemistry between the two leads with the supporting cast - Dorothy Provine & Simon Oakland - coming off more interesting. Lucien Ballard's widescreen camerawork is the only plus in this lousy film.

Late Night (Nisha Ganatra, 2019) 6/10

Fitfully amusing look into the world of late night talk shows provides a return to form for Emma Thompson . She plays the demonic and cynical star host who is on the way out. Her show has been going down in ratings for over a decade and she is fired and the network plans to bring in her replacement the following season. Shocked out of her complacency, though refusing to lower her bitch mode attitude, she decides to change things around. A female writer (Mindy Kaling - perky and extremely annoying) is hired to join her old gang of male writers and the plan is to spruce up the show. The newcomer, who previously worked in a chemical plant, has no experience of television but is sweet, fragile but endearing and gets on the star's nerves. Kaling wrote the screenplay and the part specifically for Thompson which is partly a buddy comedy but also a critique of talk shows and the function of women at the workplace with an emphasis on diversity and sexism. It is also a rom-com between two women as they both circle each other jostling to create change. Thompson is at her brittle best using her tart British personality and diction to razor sharp effect. She does not suffer fools and stamps out mediocrity. John Lithgow is her long suffering but supportive spouse. Predictable film is witty if not laugh-out-loud funny.

Reza
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Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 11:14 am
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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:58 pm

Precious Doll wrote:Reza,

I'm glad to see you are starting to get through all those DVD's of Oscar nominated foreign language films. They certainly are a very mixed bag.


Not on DVDs but mainly through links to the films online.


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