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

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

Postby Reza » Sat Mar 07, 2020 12:26 pm

Portrait From Life (Terence Fisher, 1949) 7/10
Angels One Five (George More O'Ferrall, 1952) 5/10
A Yank on the Burma Road (George B. Seitz, 1942) 3/10
The Seagull (Michael Mayer, 2018) 6/10
Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler, 2013) 7/10
Bombay Talkies (Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar & Anurag Kashyap, 2013) 6/10


Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977) 10/10

The film holds up perfectly 40 plus years on. The plot is basically Woody doing his stand-up comedy routine into which he incorporates a romantic love story. Diane Keaton is superb as the ditsy title character and richly deserved the Oscar she won. All the non-stop one liners - "Hey, don't knock masturbation. It's sex with someone I love" - are now part of movie lore. Touching and hilarious the film is a must-see even for folks who are not hardcore Woody fans.

Bitka na Neretvi / The Battle of Neretva (Veljko Bulajic, 1969) 6/10

The spectacular WWII battle around the Neretva river between Yugoslav partisans and the Axis forces during the German occupation in 1943. The outnumbered partisans provide a heroic resistance in trying to save themselves and thousands of refugees as they attempt to cross the only bridge standing over the river Neretva and into neutral territory. Epic film is seen through the eyes of various characters - a demolition expert (Yul Brynner), a defecting Italian captain (Franco Nero) who is against fascism and joins hands with an artillery officer (Sergei Bonderchuk) among the partisans, a proud Italian general (Anthony Dawson) captured by the partisans, a brave Yugoslav female (Sylva Koscina) caught in a stranghold by Chetniks being led by a senator (Orson Welles), a vicious Nazi officer (Curd Jürgens) determined to annihilate the partisans and a German colonel (Hardy Kruger) who realizes the partisans are a formidable force. Unlike many war films during the 1960s with all-star casts the stars here play characters with complete arcs and have not been added to the film merely for boxoffice appeal. Unfortunately there are many versions of this film and the original 3 hour version is very hard to find. The film was sponsored by the State under President Tito and was nominated for an Oscar in the foreign film category. It was one of only two films for which Pablo Picasso designed the movie poster (in exchange for a case of Yugoslavia's best wines).

Panipat (Ashutosh Gowarikar, 2019) 5/10

The Third Battle of Panipat was fought in 1761 between the Maratha Empire and the invading Afghan army of the King of Afghans, Ahmad Shah Abdali who was supported by three Indian allies — the Rohilla Najib-ud-daulah, Afghans of the Doab region, and Shuja-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Awadh. Gowarikar's ambitious epic is yet another in an increasing spate of attempts by Bollywood to align itself with India's ruling Bharatiya Janata
Party, a Hindu nationalist party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In a series of recent historical films - "Bajirao Mastani", "Padmaavat", "Manikarnika", "Kesari" and "Tanhaji" - history is given a scrubbing via jingoistic fervour where we get to see "sophisticated" and brave Hindus take on "debauched" Muslims who are often presented as cunning and cruel. The Marathas were severely defeated by Abdali (Sanjay Dutt) and the local Indian Muslim armies - the largest being of the Nawab of Oudh (Kunal Kapoor) - during a pitched battle fought on the field at Panipat. The Marathas are led by the brave young general Sadashivrao Bhau (Arjun Kapoor), the nephew of Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao (Mohnish Bahl), and the convoluted screenplay goes through great pains to take in all the characters involved on both sides. The obvious testosterone elements of the story are counter-balanced by showing prominent female characters as well - the Peshwa's duplicitous wife (Padmini Kolhapure) constantly sowing seeds of doubt against her husband's nephew and his plucky lower-class young wife (Kriti Sanon) who accompanies her husband to the battlefield, the old loving grandmother (Suhasini Mulay) and Sakina Begum (Zeenat Aman) who plays a crucial part in the battle when the Peshwas turned to her kingdom for help. While it is fascinating to see the period recreation on screen - gorgeous sets and costumes - the film's inordinate length works to its disadvantage along with an erratic screenplay that fails to rouse dramatic emotions. Both Arjun Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt give lifeless performances - the role seems to be totally beyond Kapoor's acting abilities while Dutt strictly relies on his "wild look" and impassioned grunts to play his part. While Kriti Sanon is a charming presence she looks too modern in the part. The detailed final battle scenes are thrilling but go on and on with some pretty shoddy CJI - the angry swirling waves on the River Yumuna, in particular, appear very fake. This is Gowariker's second turkey after "Mohenjodaro" and either needs to change tracks drastically or take lessons in making epic films from Sanjay Leela Bhansali. At least the latter's films are entertaining even if in a vulgar way with old fashioned emotions at fever pitch with an ear for dramatic and stinging dialogue along with spectacular songs and dances which are also presented in a shockingly dull manner in this film.

The Last Full Measure (Todd Robinson, 2019) 6/10

True account of William H. Pitsenbarger (Jeremy Irvine), a United States Air Force
Pararescueman, who died saving the lives of 60 soldiers after he was lowered down from a helicopter straight into a raging battle known as Operation Abilene during the Vietnam War in 1966.
He was initially posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross, which was later upgraded to the Medal of Honor. The screenplay moves like a thriller and attempts to show the reasons why he was recommended for the honour by survivors of the offensive and why it took the government 34 years to bestow it. In doing so the film also shows the toll taken on veterans who survived the war but remain badly scarred reliving its trauma on a daily basis. A Pentagon staffer (Sebastian Stan) is assigned the task to investigate a Medal of Honor request by the deceased man's best friend and partner (William Hurt) on that mission. He gets to meet the hero's aged parents (Christopher Plummer & Diane Ladd) and survivors of that battle (played movingly by Ed Harris, Samuel L. Jackson, John Savage and Peter Fonda in his last film appearance) who provide their insight about that fateful night in the jungle. All the battle scenes are shown in spurts throughout the film as the relentless investigation reveals a high-level conspiracy behind the decades long denial of the medal. Well acted film was a labour of love for the director taking him 20 years to bring this moving story to the screen. All the big name stars (including Amy Madigan, Linus Roache, Bradley Whitford) are memorable despite limited time on screen.

Color Out of Space (Richard Stanley, 2019) 6/10

H. P. Lovecraft's 1927 short horror story set in the 1880s is brought into the present and given the full Hollywood CGI treatment. A small meteor crashes into the front yard of a farm and all hell breaks loose. The family living there already have enough troubles - Dad (Nicolas Cage) is eccentric and has moved his family to a farm to raise alpacas for their milk, Mom (Joely Richardson) is a financial advisor and cancer survivor, the older son likes to smoke pot, the nubile daughter chants and performs rituals and the younger son is withdrawn and interacts only with the family dog. A strange pink light emitted by the meteor causes havoc. Water gets contaminated, veggies grow fast and large, strange insects emerge as the power gradually starts picking off the characters, including a hydrologist and the local sheriff, one by one. Blood and gore flies across the screen with fingers chopped off, self mutilation, the pink light fusing two human bodies into a single deranged and screaming mess, animals turning into giant monsters and Nicolas Cage in his usual odd-ball mode. Despite the cheesy effects and the hideously loud score the film has enough creepy moments to keep fans satisfied on this wild ride of horror.

Notting Hill (Roger Michel, 1999) 9/10

A quirky bookshop owner (Hugh Grant) meets by chance a famous Hollywood actress (Julia Roberts) and they fall in love in what is basically only a slight variation of the plot from "Roman Holiday". Memorable romantic comedy has Grant again doing his charming "4 Weddings" shtick as he creates sparks with Roberts and her ever dazzling smile. Witty, moving film has a hilarious turn by Rhys Ifans as Grant's scruffy flat mate but it's the two stars - both basically playing themselves - who lift up this very frothy comedy.

About a Boy (Chris & Paul Weitz, 2002) 5/10

Cynical, selfish layabout (Hugh Grant) has his life gradually change after a chance encounter with a 12-year old boy (Nicholas Hoult). His days of conning single mothers into his bed comes to an end when he unexpectedly finds himself rushing a woman (Toni Collette) to hospital after she has tried to kill herself. The depressed woman's lonely son latches onto him hoping to match him up with his mother. Instead he ends up helping the man find his maturity. Rather maudlin film despite a winning performance by Grant who dispenses with his usual mannerisms but still manages to make this cad charming. Rachel Weisz is around in a brief role as one of Grant's numerous conquests.

Still of the Night (Robert Benton, 1982) 4/10

Benton and Streep team up again after the huge success of "Kramer Vs Kramer" with this lackluster thriller which attempts to pay homage to Hitchcock. The screenplay goes through great pains to reference a number of the Master's films as we catch glimpses of "Spellbound" (the main character here too is a psychiatrist and there is a long eerie dream sequence), "Rear Window" (voyeuristic peak at a naked woman through a window in a building across), "Vertigo" (the fall from a bell tower is recreated using a drop down an ocean cliff onto rocks below), "North By Northwest" (scene set in an auction room), a sudden startling look at a screeching bird (shades of "Psycho" & "The Birds") and the presence of Jessica Tandy (who was in "The Birds") playing a domineering mother, a character often found in Hitchcock's films. However, the most effective touch is the trademark blonde heroine. When a man is found viciously murdered his psychiatrist (Roy Scheider) not only comes under suspicion for holding back information to the police but also falls in love with the image of the dead man's mistress (Meryl Streep in a blonde wig) who was described to him in great detail by his patient. When the cool blonde suddenly appears in his office his obsession with her clouds his judgement as he foolishly tries to search for the murderer on his own while studying his private notes about the dead patient and his affair with his blonde co-worker. Streep surprisingly fails at being enigmatic which is what her character is meant to personify while Scheider makes a lifeless amateur detective. The film's highlight is the moody cinematography by Nestor Almendros who shoots using muted colour hues of grey, brown, black and blue. Also going against the thriller genre is the film's almost total lack of action until the last frame making it a very dull slog to sit through. The film's best performance is by Josef Sommer in the flashback sequences as the murdered lothario.

Love Actually (Richard Curtis, 2003) 8/10

Richard Curtis was really on a roll with his romantic screenplays starring a group of British actors who appeared in his films over and over again. This one is over-loaded by couples - eight - and all in the throes of romantic complications set in London during a month leading up to Christmas. The delightful ensemble cast all shine with special mentions going to - Hugh Grant as the PM who dances to the Pointer Sisters' "Jump", all but shows his middle finger to the sleazy US President (Billy Bob Thornton) and finds unexpected sweet love in the bargain; grieving widower (Liam Neeson) finds the will to go on while encouraging his step-son (Thomas Brodie-Sangster - who would go on to play Jojen Reed on GOT) to declare his love for the girl of his dreams; Colin Firth finding love with his Portugese maid; a long married couple (Alan Rickman & Emma Thompson) facing issues of infidelity; a man (Andrew Lincoln) secretly in love with the wife (Keira Knightley) of his best friend (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and the aging rock star (Bill Nighy) making a comeback through a cover recording of the Troggs' "Love is All Around". The film has far too many characters and intertwined plots but the cast is game with charm overflowing throughout. Special mention to Richard Curtis' longtime association with Rowan Atkinson who here appears in two delightful cameos as a store clerk wrapping a gift and as a passenger at the airport who provides a crucial diversion in the nick of time. The film's fantastic soundtrack of hit songs also helps to digest the bloat and often cloying sentimentality which thankfully is devoid of cynicism and allows the viewer to wallow in this mush. It's like diving head first into a syrupy Christmas pudding. Delicious fun.

L'Atlantide (Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 1932) 5/10

Slow stilted exotica is almost like a silent movie. Pabst's adventure film about the discovery of the lost city of Atlantis - it's under the sands of the Southern Sahara desert - has two french legionnaires, both close friends, trying to solve the mysterious disappearance of various soldiers in the desert. They eventually stumble upon the lost city after they are ambushed and carried off unconcious. The city is in catacombs under a small derelict village deep in mountainous terrain and consists of assorted rooms connected by corridors with arches - the city seems to be rather sparse, no doubt due to the film's meagre budget or maybe Pabst's intention was to show grubby authenticity, although astonishingly the entertainment in town involves nubile women lifting their skirts high while dancing the Can-Can. The friends find themselves separated and held prisoners of the goddess Antinea (Brigitte Helm) who falls in love with one of the men, is rejected by him and then convinces the other to kill his friend who spurned her. In a drug induced stupor he does what she asks and then tries to kill her after realizing what he has done. He manages to escape with help from a local woman who loves him. The events are presented in a dream-like haze and despite the short running time the film is deathly slow as too much time is taken by the characters stumbling through underground corridors in search for the mysterious goddess who likes to play chess with her victims. Helm plays her with a glacial impassivity, reclining on a divan dressed in a skimpy outfit - later one of the men will fondle her breasts as a prelude to sex - with her neck and arms adorned by native jewellery. She has slaves around her and a growling cheetah at her side. The plot has more than a passing resemblance to H. Rider Haggard's "She" although it was based on the novel by Pierre Benôit which was subsequently adapted various times for the screen with the exotic "Antinea" played by such diverse actresses as the Dominican Maria Montez, Israeli Haya Harareet, Russian Ludmilla Tchérina and New Yorker Victoria Mahoney all of whom followed in the part created by German Brigitte Helm.

The Deep (Peter Yates, 1977) 6/10

The film's major highlight is lovely Jacqueline Bisset in a black bikini bottom topped by a wet see-through T-Shirt, an image which later became an iconic poster and launched her as a Hollywood sex symbol resulting in huge boxoffice receipts for the film. Otherwise surprisingly this is a lackluster film about a couple (Nick Nolte & Jacqueline Bisset) on holiday in Bermuda who find a cache of ampules on a buried WWII ship while scuba diving. They are menaced by local crooks led by Louis Gossett Jr and encounter voodoo, a gruff Robert Shaw and a deadly Moray eel which was the new monster concocted by Peter Benchley who adapted his own bestseller following the huge success of "Jaws". The film's memorable score is by John Barry with the theme song "Down Deep Inside" sung by Donna Summer.

High Season (Claire Peplo, 1987) 7/10

Quirky film about a bunch of eccentric characters who converge on the small town of Lindos on the Greek island of Rhodes. The stunning beauty of the island is perfectly captured through the lens of Chris Menges. An expatriate English photographer (Jacqueline Bisset) lives a life of genteel poverty with her teenage daughter on a house high up on a cliff in Lindos while her estranged sculptor husband (James Fox) also lives in close proximity. Peplo's screenplay appears to be a gentle tirade about the intrusion of tourism and how it can transform virgin towns into a commercial mess. Desperately in need of money to maintain her house she hopes to sell an antique vase given to her by an elderly art historian (Sebastian Shaw) who arrives for a visit and a deal is struck with a wealthy Greek-American (Robert Stephens) to purchase it. Her close friend, a local widow (Irene Papas), is dead against the tourist trade while her son wants prosperity for the island through visitors. The arrival of a young British government official (Kenneth Branagh) and his wife (Lesley Manville) triggers various romantic complications along with secrets that are exposed. Charming film has a laid back quality and its mesmerizing location lulls you into a state of euphoria which the delightful cast are clearly enjoying as well.

The Unknown (Henry Levin, 1946) 6/10

Effective horror-mystery with a plot that has become a cliche of the genre. A young woman (Jeff Donnell) returns to her decaying family mansion for the reading of her late grandmother's will and finds her mother (Karen Morley) mentally unbalanced and her own life in peril. Hostile relatives, the memory of a domineering matriarch, creaky stairs, strange wailing sounds in the night, a secret passage leading into the house from the family crypt, something buried inside the fireplace and a will that goes missing. Fast-paced B-film has suspense and moody atmosphere in keeping with the macabre plot.

Hanover Street (Peter Hyams, 1979) 6/10

Throwback to all the WWII romantic Hollywood films of the 1940s like "Waterloo Bridge" and "This Above All". In place of Robert Taylor and Tyrone Power we get an earnest but dull Harrison Ford - this was shot in between the first two "Star Wars" films. And in place of Vivien Leigh and Joan Fontaine we get the equally ravishing Lesley-Anne Down. Yank bomber pilot (Harrison Ford) meets cute with lovely english rose nurse (Lesley-Anne Down) during a terrifically staged air raid on Hanover Street during the Blitz. They fall instantly in love as is wont in all deliriously romantic stories. A swooning John Barry score and lush cinematography by David Watkins helps the situation although there is the proverbial catch in their romance. She is married to a senior intelligence officer (Christopher Plummer) and they have an angelic and precocious (also rather annoying) daughter (child actor Patsy Kensit who would go on to be an adult star). Their furtive romance seems doomed when the pilot finds himself on a mission with her husband over occupied France and their plane goes down. Old fashioned heroics full of coincidences and romantic dialogue that sounds pretty trite are the order of the day. Down's beauty and an exceptional performance by Plummer who lends elegance, humor and vulnerability to his characterization are the film's saving graces. Interesting trivia - original B-25 Mitchell bombers were flown all the way to England from the United States especially for this production. The film was originally cast with Sarah Miles who dropped out followed by Genevieve Bujold who also left the project when singer-actor Kris Kristofferson decided to go on a concert tour instead.

Good Newwz (Raj Mehta, 2019) 6/10

Farce involves a mix-up of sperm when two couples undergo invitro-fertilization at a clinic. After being married for many years Varun Batra (Akshay Kumar) is under great pressure to impregnate his anxious wife (Kareena Kapoor). When repeated sex fails they are advised to try the invitro method. The procedure is a success but they, along with another couple (Diljit Dosanjh & Kiara Advani), are hastily summoned back to the clinic and informed of a goof-up.
The surname of both men is Batra and the doctor inadvertently switched their sperm so each woman is carrying a baby fertilized by the other's husband. This silly set-up is milked for laughs with both leads in fine form playing off each other with great comic timing. Dosanjh is over-the-top as a loud Sikh while pretty Advani tries to keep pace as his equally gregarious wife. Funny dialogue, a Bhangra soundtrack and the comic twists in the screenplay make this an amusing watch. Both Kareena Kapoor and Diljit Dosanjh were nominated for Filmfare awards.

The Body (Jeethu Joseph, 2019) 5/10

Bollywood remake of Oriol Paulo's Spanish film "El cuerpo". A rich businesswoman's body disappears from the morgue and a cop (Rishi Kapoor) suspects foul play when her husband (Emraan Hashmi) acts suspicious. The entire film is set during one long night inside a creepy hospital with flashbacks showing the relationship of the man with his wife and mistress. As the night progresses the man gets the feeling that his late wife is alive and is trying to haunt him. The suspense is carried out almost to the end when suddenly the plot goes off into an overwrought tangent that is not only ridiculous but absurd. Throwing in four songs into the mix also seems foolish as it hampers the suspense. The scenes between both actors are tense as they play cat and mouse with each other. Good premise is sadly marred by its conclusion.

Saturday Night Fever (John Badhan, 1977) 9/10

Early on in the film when Tony Manero (John Travolta), a Brooklyn teenager, is advised to save and build for the future his response is "Oh fuck the future!". Tony works all week in a hardware store for a thankless paycheck but lives for every Saturday night when he comes alive on the dance floor at the 2001 Odyssey disco. He and his gang of buddies are a cynical bunch living aimlessly, enjoy raising hell, drinking and chasing girls for a quickie in backseats of cars. Tony is their leader, the most confident, the best dressed and the best dancer but his life is just as screwed up as the rest. Spunky Annette (Donna Pescow) loves him but he tolerates her because she is a good dancer. He longs for a better life and wants to escape Brooklyn and go to Manhattan. He sees his chance in local girl Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney) who has made it in Manhattan and takes her for his partner in a $500 dance contest at the disco. Dazzling but extremely dark film hasn't lost a bit of its incredible power and made Travolta, already huge on tv, into a mega movie star and a household name. The iconic soundtrack of hit songs by the Bee Gees helped define the disco boom during the 1970s. The film has many memorable moments starting with the snappy opening credits sequence as we see Tony walk to the beat of "Staying Alive", his interaction with his Italian family at the dinner table, dressing for the disco, shouting "Al Pacino" while dressed in briefs and startling his old grandmother, the various skirmishes with his friends, dancing the "Hustle" in a group and his electric solo performance to "You Should Be Dancing". This is one of the seminal films of the 1970s with hypnotic dance sequences dazzlingly shot by Ralf D. Bode. Incredibly the film did not receive any Oscar nominations for its music or songs although Travolta was awarded a nomination for his energetic and deeply nuanced performance. A classic film and a must see.

Garm Hava / Scorching Winds (M. S. Sathyu, 1974) 9/10

In 1947, just after Partition, a prosperous Muslim shoe manufacturer (Balraj Sahni) decides to keep his family in India instead of fleeing to Pakistan. His daughter (Gita Siddharth), in love with her cousin who has migrated, is devastated when he returns for her but gets deported before they can be married. Later she finds love with another cousin who also decides to migrate leaving her inconsolable. Her brother (Farooq Shaikh) cannot find work as employers are hesitant to hire Muslims. Banks and even moneylenders refuse to give loans to Muslims and eventually their shoe factory loses business and the family is faced with losing their home. The film chronicles the shattering effects of Partition in 1947 on a Muslim family who choose to stay in Agra instead of migrating to the newly formed Muslim country of Pakistan. Based on a short story by Ismat Chughtai, it shows how this catastrophic event in history broke up families with some members choosing to migrate while others decided to continue living in their home towns. The story sharply recalls the current "troubles" in India as Muslims face persecution at the hands of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party which is a political wing of RSS the Hindu nationalist organisation.

Parinda (Vidhu Vinod Chopra, 1989) 10/10

The gangster milieu in Hindi cinema got a spectacular makeover with this film. The campy over-the-top theatrics in films of the 1970s and 1980s was nowhere to be seen. Chopra brings a gritty sense of realism to the genre shooting the film in and around popular tourist locations of Bombay and presenting them as places of terror and death. A cop (Anupam Kher), on the trail of a crook (Nana Patekar), is shot dead by henchmen. He dies in the arms of his best friend (Anil Kapoor) whose older brother (Jackie Shroff) is the crook's right-hand man. The story pits the two brothers against the gangster who wants the younger brother dead as he wants to avenge the cop's death. Riveting, highly influential film, creates a sense of dread through its use of sound design, sharp editing and dazzling images (the repeated scenes of flying pigeons is especially memorable). Most of the film is shot at night or in shadows with the camera capturing scenes from unusual angles. The cinematography was inspired by Gordon Willis' lighting in "The Godfather". The entire cast is superb with actors even in small roles making a strong impression - Suresh Oberoi as a flute-playing assassin, Tom Alter as a rival gangster and Madhuri Dixit as the dead cop's sister. This is Jackie Shroff's best performance in a long career of memorable roles but the film's most striking performance is by Nana Patekar as the psychotic gangster with a serious flaw - he is petrified of fire ever since burning alive his wife and baby son. Sanjay Leela Bhansali shot all the songs including the hit "Tum Se Milke" which uses the melody from Leo Sayer's "When I Need You" and is filmed on Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit who would go on to become one of Hindi cinema's most memorable star couples on screen during the following decade - one of the film's great set pieces is their wedding night which is shot in complete darkness with just a blue strobe light outlining their naked bodies, a scene which ends with a shocking twist never seen in Hindi cinema before. It won Filmfare awards for Best Director (Chopra), Best Actor (Shroff), Supporting Actor (Patekar), Screenplay and Editing, losing Best Picture to "Maine Pyar Kiya".

Faces in the Dark (David Eady, 1960) 7/10

Taut little British noir with a nasty streak. Hard driving businessman (John Gregson) is blinded in a freak accident at his factory and begins to think he is losing his mind. Or is he being driven mad by the combined efforts of his loving wife (Mai Zetterling), his business partner (Michael Denison), his ne'er-do-well brother (John Ireland), the ex-convict chauffeur (Tony Wright) and the new maid (Nanette Newman)? Gregson who is cast against type - a major departure from his usual forte of frothy comedies - is superb as the harsh and bossy man suddenly finding himself at the mercy of various individuals who may or may not be trying to kill him. The amazing camera work uses shadows and dizzying angles to portray the blind man's sense of confusion as he stumbles around inside a house which may not even be his own.

Mr Morgan's Last Love (Sandra Nettelbeck, 2013) 6/10

Routine but effective May-December romance between two lonely souls. A retired Philosophy professor (Michael Caine), living in Paris after the death of his wife (Jane Alexander, in flashbacks), meets a young dance instructor (Clémence Poésy) on a bus and they form an attachment. She is in her thirties and he is in his eighties and both harbour regrets - he was too absorbed with his wife and neglected his children and she longs for a family. When he tries to commit suicide she looks after him in hospital until his son (Justin Kirk) and daughter (Gillian Anderson) suddenly arrive and show resentment towards her. A film about loss, friendship and family and the awful things people do to each other while competing for love. It's nice to see Caine still creating sparks on screen although his American accent is horrendous. He gets to play fiery scenes opposite Kirk as father and son discuss long simmering resentments and his scenes opposite Poésy are full of small poignant moments. The film moves at a snail's pace but has great shots of Paris.

Phantom (Kabir Khan, 2015) 4/10

When a Bollywood film regurgitates jingoistic Indian patriotism it gets banned by Pakistan.....just as this one was following a petition by Islamic militant Hafiz Saeed, co-founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba. So the film totally fell under the radar for me until I discovered it now on Netflix. The prepostrous plot not only redeems the tarnished reputation of its protagonist but he also manages to avenge the 26/11 terrorist attacks on the Taj Hotel and its environs in Mumbai. A wrongfully disgraced Indian Army Officer (a grim Saif Ali Khan), known as the "Phantom", is coerced by RAW agents to go after the four masterminds of the terrorist attacks. Katrina Kaif is around to not only add eye-candy to the proceedings, as an ex-RAW agent, but from time-to-time also conveniently turns up to offer help. With great precision two of the terrorists are killed off in London and Chicago. The latter half of the film is his attempts to enter Pakistan - the sequence that was instrumental in the film's ban - which he manages by making contact with "Lashkar" goons during a battle in Syria (streets of Beirut being the location) allowing the two leads to dodge a load of bullets. Once they enter Lahore the plot thickens as the film (based on the book "Mumbai Avengers" by Hussain Zaidi) dares to throw some unsettling questions, one of them being, are Pakistani locals supportive of the militant outfits in their country? It even shows the ISI as hand in glove with the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba as they go all out to protect the two alleged terrorists. After much cloak and dagger the two terrorists are despatched and it is followed by an even more absurd sequence which hilariously apes the ending of "Titanic" after which an Indian submarine appears to the rescue. Glossy over-simplified thriller is merely a fantasy of wishful thinking since the actual masterminds behind the Mumbai attacks still remain at large. When all is said and done the film unfortunately does raise a number of alarming questions which need to be answered.

Quicksand (John Mackenzie, 2003) 4/10

Uneven suspense thriller takes tips from Hitchcock's "North By Northwest" but keeps stumbling as it moves along. A compliance officer (Michael Keaton) goes to the South of France to investigate a suspicion of money laundering by a french movie production house - a front for prostitution, gambling and human trafficking - being run by the Russian mob. After refusing a bribe to back off he is framed for the murder of the police chief and goes on the run to prove his innocence. Chased by the mob's goons and corrupt cops his only allies are the film company's production assistant (Judith Godreche) and the washed by actor (Michael Caine) who is playing the lead in the film being supposedly made. Matters go from bad to worse when his daughter is kidnapped by the mob and used as bait to get him. The plot is full of holes and silly coincidences but Keaton valiantly makes a go with the part. The film even manages to make the South of France look dull.

Enigma (Michael Apted, 2001) 5/10

Handsomely produced film is a rather dull apaptation (by Tom Stoppard) of the Thomas Harris book. A fictional suspense thriller based on the Enigma codebreakers of Bletchley Park during WWII. A brilliant codebreaker (Dougray Scott) - the character is the fictionalised Alan Turin who was the subject of the later film "The Imitation Game" - is hastily summoned back to Bletchley Park after suffering a nervous breakdown over a failed affair with a co-worker (Saffron Burroughs). He is needed to break the code again as the Nazi U-boats have changed one of their code reference books. Meanwhile the girl has mysteriously disappeared, there appears to be a mole in the Park and an MI5 agent (Jeremy Northam) is sniffing at his heels. With help from the girl's roommate (Kate Winslet) he sets out to break the code, solve his lover's disappearence and get the mole. The fascinating aspect of the film is seeing that actual espionage during the war was a far cry from the glamorous lifestyle of "James Bond" and was actually handled by nerdy men and dumpy women. Winslet looks like a frump dressed throughout in grey tweeds wearing round glasses and with disheveled hair - she was pregnant throughout the shoot which added to the authenticity of her "look". The lovely locations are captured in breathtaking detail by the camera of Seamus McGarvey.

Maqbool (Vishal Bhardwaj, 2003) 7/10

Bhardwaj's first film in his trilogy of Shakespeare adaptations sets the story of "Macbeth" in the backdrop of the Mumbai underworld. Ambitious Maqbool (Irrfan Khan) is the right-hand man of the much feared underworld Don Jahangir Khan (a superb Pankaj Kapur) popularly known as "Abbaji". He is secretly having an affair with the don's young mistress Nimmi (Tabu) who slyly urges him to kill the old man and take over his operations. The screenplay seamlessly incorporates the Bard's tragedy with most of the play's memorable moments brought to life under this fresh avatar. Abbaji is brutally murdered with his blood splattering across Nimmi's face as she lies beside him. Taking over the old man's "business" he does not find peace as his own gang suspects him of the murder while rival gangs snap at his heels. Intense guilt results in Nimmi imagining blood on her hands and face as she slowly begins to lose her mind. Shakespeare's famous three witches in the play get re-booted as two corrupt cops (Naseeruddin Shah & Om Puri) who predict Maqbool's rise and appear sporadically to provide black comic relief with their comments on the proceedings. Extremely dark film with obvious tragic overtones is acted to perfection by the wonderful cast with special mention for the brilliant Pankaj Kapur who won a well deserved Filmfare award as the vicious Don.

Love in the Time of Cholera (Mike Newell, 2007) 2/10

Gabriel García Márquez's acclaimed sprawling philosophical novel about a love that spans 50 years is brought to the screen in plodding fashion with not an iota of feeling. Love, pain and passion as described on the written page not always translates well to the screen. The story revolves around a love triangle between Fermina Daza (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) and her two suitors - Florentino Ariza (Javier Bardem) with whom she has a brief but passionate relationship which consists of written correspondence until she is forbidden by her father to meet him and whom she later rejects and instead gets married to the upright Doctor Juvenal Urbino (Benjamin Bratt) who hopes to eradicate cholera. 50 years pass with Florentino vowing to stay celibate but succumbing to a life of fornication and recording each tryst - there are 600 of them starting with a willing widow his own mother (Fernanda Montenegro) sends to him as a starting point as she can't bear to see her inconsolable son moping around. He finds that constant sex numbs his pain and is a better cure than opium. It takes him a lifetime's work as a lowly clerk to reach the status of the doctor who has his own cross to bear in his outwardly perfect marriage. He confesses an affair to his wife sealing their marital fate. When he dies the waiting is over for Florentino who comes and proposes to Fermina whose initial anger gives way and they finally resume a life together that was thwarted 50 years before. Sumptuously produced film fails to capture the emotions on display. The nude Bardem accosting various women using assorted sexual positions quickly becomes a joke. It's as if he is going through the Kama Sutra chapter by chapter. And despite a white wig lovely Mezzogiorno looks younger than her grown up children. Lifeless film should be avoided and was a mistake to bring it to the screen. Stick to the book instead.

Tully (Jason Reitman, 2018) 7/10

The trials and tribulations of an overstressed mom (Charlize Theron) of three - one child is autistic and another is newly born - and a useless and demanding husband who offers no help in the house. As her life becomes more and more chaotic she gives in and summons for help offered through her brother for a nanny. Tully (Mackenzie Davis) proves to be a godsend as she takes charge of the baby, the other kids, the housework and proves to also be a close confidante. After a night out Tully informs her that she wants to quit and move on with her life which leads to a sudden life-changing experience and an eventual revelation that the perceptive screenplay signals is a case of serious post-natal psychosis. Theron, who gained 50 pounds to play the pregnant mom, gives a sharply nuanced performance and gets excellent support from Mackenzie as the too good to be true nanny. The film smartly balances comedy and unchartered dark material as it provides an insight into a woman's deteriorating mental state.

Bridget Jones's Diary (Sharon Maguire, 2001) 8/10

Bridget (Renée Zellweger) is 32, single and fat. She has resigned herself to a life of being the butt of jokes at the office and at family functions. Just when all seems lost she is not only pursued by her sleazy boss (Hugh Grant) but also meets the arrogant barrister Darcy (Colin Firth) with whom its hate at first sight. The amusing screenplay by Richard Curtis (based on Helen Fielding's bestselling book which has more than a passing resemblance to Jane Austin's "Pride and Prejudice") keeps things moving at a fast pace as Bridget juggles her love life with the two men, feels mortified by her pretentious mother (a delightful Gemma Jones) and knocks about with her close chums. Zellweger, a Texan, performs a neat balancing act between scenes of mortifying slapstick and pathos while easily taking on and maintaing a posh British accent throughout as the often clumsy but lovable character. Fans of the book were outraged when Zellweger was cast but she managed to make the part a great success and was nominated for an Oscar. As with all the British romantic comedies written by Richard Curtis this too has a great soundtrack of hit songs.

Guilty Bystander (Joseph Lerner, 1950) 7/10

An ex-cop (Zachary Scott), an alcoholic with a permanent thirst, works as a house detective in a sleazy run-down hotel. When his ex-wife (Faye Emerson) arrives with the bad news that their infant son has been kidnapped he has to rise above his alcoholic stupor and descend into the seedy underbelly of New York City in search for the child. He ends up beaten, shot, drugged, jailed and pathetically drunk but remains persistent in his quest. Extremely convoluted but atmospheric film noir has a great performance by Scott who spent most of his career in similar films. Also outstanding is the great Mary Boland, a far cry from her usual comic ditsy roles, as the blowsy and tough owner of the hotel where Scott resides.

Raise the Titanic (Jerry Jameson, 1980) 2/10

Lifeless adaptation of one of Clive Cussler's "Dirk Pitt" series of adventure books. A dead American miner is discovered buried on Russian soil along with the remains of an extremely rare mineral called byzanium. This sets off a chain of events and a disclosure by a survivor (Alec Guinness) of the Titanic to divulge that the mineral had been loaded on to the ship. The mineral in question is needed to fuel a powerful new defence system, codenamed "the Sicilian Project". To get to the mineral a search is conducted for the sunk ship after which it is decided to raise it to the surface. Dull film has no action except for the spectacular sequence where the ship is raised and brought into New York harbour. Interesting to see that the Titanic in Cussler's book and this film is intact in one piece which was in reality later discovered to have broken into two when it sank and which was confirmed when the ship was finally found. A good cast - Jason Robards, Richard Jordan, Anne Archer - are wasted as they stand around pontificating. The film's only saving grace is the brief appearance of Guinness and the scenes of the ship rising to the surface. It was a huge boxoffice failure.

Shadow Run (Geoffrey Reeve, 1998) 1/10

Disjointed trashy flick has a gangster (Michael Caine) rounding up a group of men to pull a heist on a bank van at the behest of his aristocratic boss (James Fox). Convoluted plot makes no sense and also involves a young school kid who has witnessed the crooks in action. I hope the two leads got a huge paycheck because this film is the absolute pits and went straight to video.

Patsy and Loretta (Callie Khouri, 2019) 5/10

By-the-numbers tv film about country legend Patsy Cline (Megan Hilty - Tony nominated Broadway star) and her friendship with the up and coming country singer Loretta Lynn (Jessie Mueller - Tony winning Broadway star). Strong and opinionated Patsy grooms naive Loretta, the girls sit around discussing their abusive husbands and brood of kids. Their extremely close friendship lasted from the time Cline was in a terrible car crash in 1961 to the time when she was killed in a plane crash in 1963. The film soars during the concert sequences as we get to hear Cline's “Crazy,” “I Fall to Pieces,” “Walkin’ After Midnight” and Loretta's "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels", "I'm a Honky Tonk Girl", "The Girl That I Am Now" and "This Haunted House". Both actresses sing the famous songs bringing their own singing experience to the songs without trying to emulate Cline and Lynn.

The Bad and the Beautiful (Vincente Minnelli, 1952) 10/10

Kirk Douglas became a huge star playing a ruthless louse in a string of hit films - Champion (1949), Young Man With a Horn (1950), Detective Story (1951), Ace in the Hole (1951) and this John Houseman production which was a sharp exposé of Hollywood. Egomaniac Hollywood producer (Kirk Douglas) ruthlessly claws his way up the ladder using immense charm but along the way betrays his close friends who were instrumental in his success - a writer (Dick Powell), a director (Barry Sullivan) and an actress (Lana Turner). Years later, while down and out in Paris, he pitches an idea for a film to a producer (Walter Pidgeon) provided his three former friends join him on the project. Douglas is the personification of male ego on a rampage and is superb as the vile and selfish man with no scruples. Minnelli's sharp satire has the three friends recall, via flashbacks, how they were used, betrayed and cast aside. The film gets the full MGM treatment with dazzling production values - the sets, costumes (by Helen Rose), the stunning noir-like cinematography (by Robert Surtees), the incisive screenplay and Gloria Grahame (as Powell's shallow but ambitious Southern belle wife who runs off with a suave actor (Gilbert Roland) all won Oscars. Douglas was nominated as best actor but shockingly the film, Minnelli, the bittersweet score by David Raksin and Lana Turner were not. This is easily Turner's best performance on film playing the alcoholic starlet who is groomed to become a huge star, falls in love with the producer who then callously dumps her. The film's highlight is the beautifully shot scene in medium to tight close-up of Turner driving a car in full hysteria as the camera captures her sobbing anguish followed by a frenzy of screaming and flailing arms as the car careens down a busy highway through pouring rain. Turner did this difficult sequence in one shot. Minnelli brilliantly captures this moment of great human despair in a film with many such moments where characters are shown at the mercy of ruthless Hollywood. This is, along with Billy Wilder's equally cynical "Sunset Blvd", a bitter look at the Hollywood machine and how it functioned during the Studio era. Classic film not to be missed.

Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1993) 8/10

This still remains an adrenalin-pumping ride all these years later. The genetically engineered dinosaurs are truly a triumph of special effects although one can see Spielberg repeat certain set-pieces from past films which he does in inventive new ways. A paleontologist (Sam Neill), a paleobotanist (Laura Dern) and a mathematician (Jeff Goldblum) are invited by an eccentric mogul (Sir Richard Attenborough) to visit his island animal theme park where he has created dinosaurs. Also visiting the island are the old man's young grandchildren. When the park's electrical system malfunctions the group finds themselves at the mercy of the giant beasts in particular the ferocious Tyrannosaurus rex and a trio of cunning and equally deadly Velociraptors. The screenplay mixes humour with chilling suspense and like all of Spielberg's adventure films this too is basically a wide-screen video game and a throwback to the old movie serials with built in cliffhangers at short intervals. The scientific explanation behind the dinosaurs' creation comes in short bursts of dialogue which we are expected to believe in order to experience the expected mayhem in store for the characters - and us the audience. Eye-popping film is great fun.

Guilty (Ruchi Narain, 2020) 6/10

Bollywood is the first to jump on the #metoo movement with this fairly graphic film. The film is in english with dialogue replete with four letter expletives never heard before in Indian cinema. A young woman (Akansha Ranjan Kapoor) accuses her college mate (Akansha Ranjan), the campus stud (Gurfateh Pirzada), of rape. This impacts all their close friends, including the man's girlfriend (Kiara Advani), as they all, along with the teachers and lawyers, try to figure out if the incident actually happened. Has the accusation been made up by the small-town woman with an axe to grind with her upper-class "English medium" college mates like the accused and his girlfriend? Also going against the accuser is that she was seen sexually coming onto the drunk man the night of the incident. The screenplay, like the classic Japanese film "Rashomon", has various characters recall the night of the alleged rape when all the students were at a concert drinking and taking drugs. Advani, the star of the film, plays the film's most complex character who is used as the mouthpiece to condemn rape and bring to light how society accepts and takes for granted certain male behaviours. The film is unfortunately marred by a melodramatic, unrealistic and in-your-face ending which nevertheless rams home a very important message.

Diary of a Mad Housewife (Frank Perry, 1970) 9/10

Eleanor Perry's lacerating screenplay, based on the bestselling novel by Sue Kaufman, dissects the bored life of a housewife (Carrie Snodgress). Married to a smug, ambitious and verbally abusive lawyer (Richard Benjamin) she decides to gamble on an affair with a narcissistic writer (Frank Langella) only to discover that relationship is equally distasteful. Hilarious film takes jibes at the American dream and how a seemingly perfect outward appearance in a marriage houses contempt, bitterness and boredom. All three actors, at the beginning of their careers, are superb. Benjamin is very funny as an over-the-top, revolting, name-dropping husband who can't stop nagging his wife or praising himself. Langella, harbouring a secret and bitter about his failing writing career, is very good as the sexy lover who turns out just as wretched as the husband. The film belongs to Snodgress who, although appears scarily passive, manages to convey great depths of emotion through subtle facial movements and the flicker of her sad eyes. She was nominated for an Oscar, received a fan letter from singer Neil Young and all but gave up her career when she stopped working and moved in with him. Her comeback years later consisted only of small roles sadly followed soon after by death of cancer. A film that speaks volumes about the sense of isolation humans often find themselves in even when surrounded by friends and family. A forgotten gem.

Mean Streets (Martin Scorsese, 1973) 10/10

The film that first put Scorsese on the map with his familiar milieu of gangsters and the streets of New York which would go on to be regular staples in his films. It was also his first collaboration with Robert De Niro who is dazzling as a crazed small-time hood. The nephew (Harvey Keitel) of a Mafia kingpin works the streets for him as a "debt" collector, undergoes Catholic guilt and secretly dates the epileptic cousin of his street smart buddy (Robert De Niro) who is in big trouble with loan sharks. Scorsese sets the story on the streets where he grew up and around familiar characters which he later honed to far greater perfection in "GoodFellas". The film was shot mostly with a hand-held camera on a tiny budget so has a raw quality that lends it authenticity. He stages some great set pieces - the fight in the pool room, the shooting in the bar and the end where honour ends up in betrayal and a sacrifice. The film has a great choice of hit songs on the soundtrack all used by Scorsese from his personal collection.

Bang the Drum Slowly (John D. Hancock, 1973) 7/10

Touching heart-warming story set in the world of baseball is more about male bonding and the importance of friendship. A star pitcher (Michael Moriarty) forms a close relationship with the team's catcher who is diagnosed with a terminal disease. The drama revolves around the pitcher refusing to sign a fresh contract holding out for more money and then making a bargain with the team owner of continuing only if the catcher is not let go as planned. The team nor their gruff manager (Vincent Gardenia who was nominated for an Oscar) are aware of the catcher's fatal illness but once revealed it brings the team together and they start playing better. The film along with "Mean Streets", which came out a few months later, brought De Niro great acclaim with
diametrically opposite
performances in both. And for a film about an impending death the screenplay thankfully avoids a maudlin tone and instead concentrates on the relationship of the two friends and the humourous banter between the players.

Aashiqui 2 (Mohit Suri, 2013) 6/10

Bollywood's second adaptation of "A Star is Born" comes 47 years after the first, the classic "Abhimaan". Alcoholic rockstar (Aditya Roy Kapoor) on the way down meets a young singer (Shraddha Kapoor) in a bar and promotes her. When she becomes a huge singing sensation he realizes that his erratic behaviour and drunken binges are creating chaos for her which leads to the inevitable conclusion. Like the previous version this too was a huge boxoffice hit with memorable songs - "Tum Hi Ho" & "Sunn Raha Hai" - on the soundtrack. Both actors became huge stars with Shraddha Kapoor recieving the bulk of the praise and a nomination for the Filmfare award.

Guzaarish (Sanjay Leela Bhansali, 2010) 8/10

The star of this film is the stunning production design of the gothic mansion inside which most of the story is set and which Bhansali enhances via beautifully framed shots using light and shadow. Most of the interior shots are dark but punctuated by dramatic bright colours on the walls. The colour scheme also extends to the choice of costumes for Aishwarya Rai - always dressed in stark black but with flowing red scarves and scarlet lips giving her drab character an underlying sexual tension. Bhansali's film, inspired by Alejandro Amenábar's "Mar adentro", is set in Goa glimpses of which we see through the remarkable camerawork of Sudeep Chatterjee. A once great magician (Hrithik Roshan) has been bedridden for the past 14-years after suffering an accident that made him a paraplegic and at the mercy of the tender care provided by a prim nurse (Aishwarya Rai). He has spent the years writing books and hosting a popular radio show from his bed. When he is informed that his internal organs are beginning to fail he requests his best friend and lawyer (Shernaz Patel) to file a petition in court for euthanasia causing great consternation for those close to him - the nurse, his mother (Nafisa Ali) and his protege (Aditya Roy Kapoor). Roshan, known for his on-screen dancing and lithe body always in constant motion, is strictly confined to a bed or a wheelchair in the film with just movements of his head. There are brief flashbacks to the past showing the magician on stage and the gut-wrenching sequence of the accident. Despite the story's dark subject matter the film celebrates life and has humour, song and dance - an impromptu number that allows Aishwariya, also a great dancer, to perform a Spanish number. Underrated film failed at the boxoffice but won Filmfare nominations for Bhansali's inspired direction and for the performances by Hrithik and Aishwariya.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Mar 07, 2020 12:16 pm

Precious Doll wrote:Reza,

Could you post your review on Jennifer Kent's The Nightingale?

I'd loved to read your thoughts on the film.


Never managed to write a review for it :lol: but will soon. I liked the film. Franciosi is very good.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Feb 29, 2020 11:12 pm

The Lodge (2020) Severina Fiala & Veronica Fanz) 5/10
Zombi Child (2019) Bertrand Bonello 5/10
The Last Thing He Wanted (2020) Dee Rees 1/10
The Invisible Man (2020) Leigh Whannell 5/10
What You Gonna Do When the Worlds on Fire? (2018) Roberto Minevini 5/10

Repeat viewings

The Right Stuff (1983) Philip Kaufman 10/10
Je t'aime moni non plus (1977) Serge Gainsbourg 7/10
A Little Romance (1979) George Roy Hill 7/10
The World According to Garp (1982) 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 Precious Doll » Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:08 pm

Richard Jewell (2019) Clint Eastwood 6/10
La Flor (2018) Mariano Llinas 5/10
It Comes (2018) Tetsuya Nakashima 4/10

Repeat viewings

Amour Fou (2014) Jessica Hausner 9/10
The Innocent (1961) Jack Clayton 9/10
Intimacy (2001) Patrice Chereau 8/10
Rendevous in Paris (1995) Erich Rohmer 6/10
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976) John Cassavetes 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 Precious Doll » Thu Feb 20, 2020 8:24 am

Reza,

Could you post your review on Jennifer Kent's The Nightingale?

I'd loved to read your thoughts on the film.
"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 Feb 16, 2020 4:41 am

Little Monsters (Abe Forsythe, 2019) 8/10

Lupita Nyong'o appears to have taken on the mantle of "Zombie Queen" with this second film on the horror genre in the same year right after "Us". This time she plays the teacher/saviour of a group of kindergarten school kids out on a field trip in this horror/comedy when a sudden epidemic of zombies strike. Along for the ride is a washed up singer (Alexander England) and a happy-go-lucky kids show personality (Josh Gad) who in reality hates children and has a foul mouth. A fun ride with an equal measure of horror and comedy. Nyong'o is the heart and soul of the film. And lovely to see Neil Diamond is still appreciated.

Crank (Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor, 2006) 6/10

The old poison-in-the-blood stream plot has professional hitman Jason Stathman (injected with a lethal serum by an opponent) running around in a cartoonish frenzy trying to keep his heart rate up. Flashy film with disorienting camera zooms and close-ups, outlandish stunts and Stathman running around L.A. in a hospital frock. Along the way there are dismembered bodies, point blank shootings, sex in public, a fantastic car chase through a shopping mall and a plot with little logic. In other words this is a typical Jason Stathman actioner.

Revolver (Guy Ritchie, 2005) 1/10

Convoluted story attempts at being cool with tough guys snarling and shooting each other as Ritchie feverishly edits flashbacks within flashbacks making this very messy film a monumental bore. A calm and collected con man (Jason Stathman) and a constantly frothing-at-the-mouth gambler (Ray Liotta) go at each other hammer and tongs. Ritchie repeatedly throws across the screen assorted quotes from Julius Caesar and Machiavelli - apparently connected to the Kabbalah belief Richie was practicing along with his then wife Madonna - and scenes suddenly go into animated mode adding to the confusion on screen. Both Stathman and Mark Strong (as a nasty hitman) come off best with both in deadpan mode. Confusing trash.

Do Dooni Chaar (Habib Faisal, 2010) 5/10

Highly acclaimed film is actually quite a drag. A middle-class school teacher (Rishi Kapoor) is faced by the prospect of buying a car as his family - his frazzled wife (Neetu Singh) and two snotty teenage kids - are on his case to get rid of his long held scooter. In addition the kids want cable tv and an iPod all of which he cannot afford on his salary. Shrill comedy where the entire cast shout out their dialogue as things get more and more hysterical as the teacher considers taking a huge bribe from a failing student in order to finance the car. The novelty is in seeing both Kapoor and Singh back on the screen together as leads after twenty years. Kapoor won a Filmfare award for his manic performance.

Sui Dhaaga: Made in India (Sharat Khatariya, 2018) 8/10

The film superbly creates a middle class milieu through sharply etched characters and authentic mise en scène. A happy-go-lucky young man (Varun Dhawan) works as an errand boy in a small-town shop that sells sewing machines. Despite being constantly ridiculed by his boss he remains good natured. At home he lives with his overworked wife (a deglamorized Anushka Sharma), overly critical father (Raghubir Yadav) and ailing mother (Yamini Das). Encouraged by his wife to use his skills in making clothes with a sewing machine he quits his job and sets up shop on the open roadside. Life is not easy as the couple go through various tribulations before seeing the rainbow at the end of the road. A tale of the common man, the struggles in trying to achieve a life of respectibility while trying to survive on small jobs. The perceptive screenplay also highlights the plight of weavers and artisans who’ve left their traditional skills because of insufficient remuneration. All the actors fit perfectly into their roles playing very distinct character types. Like real life there is drama, humour and emotion in the story. Both Anushka Sharma and Yamini Das won well deserved Filmfare award nominations.

Super 30 (Vikas Bahl, 2019) 7/10

Crowd pleasing inspirational true story - with typical Bollywood embellishments - about Anand Kumar (Hrithik Roshan) a lower-class genius mathematician from Patna who set up a free tuition center for poor kids who were desperate for education but could not afford to pay the school fee. The son of a postmaster his life takes a turn when he finds a solution to a difficult math problem and is invited to join Cambridge University. When he fails to find enough money to go he joins instead a tuition center where his name attracts a lot of rich kids making the owner of the institution very rich. Life changes for him as money rolls in but when he notices that the institution turns away poor kids who cannot afford the fee he decides to open his own tuition center in a dilapidated building to provide free education to 30 destitute children so they can enter the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT). He is attacked and almost killed by the goons of his rich ex-boss and a corrupt politician (Pankaj Tripathy) but he urges the children to use their knowledge to defeat the goons. Roshan, a matinée idol known for his incredible looks and superb dancing skills, plays this character part with bronze makeup and gives an impassioned performance speaking with a local accent. As in all his films there is a memorable musical/ dance sequence set during Holi but its the children who carry the performance as they defiantly dance to the exuberant song "Basanti No Dance" while the star basks in their excitement on the sidelines. The film carries the important message that education should not only be the privilege of the rich but, if given the level field others too can shine equally. Super 30 has been hailed as one of the 4 most innovative schools in the world and was called the best institute of India by President Obama's special envoy. Star Hrithik Roshan was nominated for the Filmfare award for this performance.

Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas (Sunny Deol, 2019) 2/10

Highly anticipated film has classic screen star Dharmendra's grandson getting a Bollywood launch in the family's home production directed by former superstar Sunny Deol who happens to be the young man's dad. The project reeks of nepotism but that has always been a staple of Bollywood. The film's title is taken from the iconic song from grandpa's 1973 film Blackmail in which he memorably romanced Raakhee. A romantic plot was built around two young actors making their film debuts. A shy orphan (Karan Deol), a mountaneer and guide, meets a feisty video blogger (Sahher Bambba) at a camp site on a mountain top in Manali. During an arduous trek, which is an advertisement for the stunning landscape of Manali, the two fall in love. Unfortunately the film comes to a grinding halt the minute the film's star appears. Karan Deol cannot act or deliver dialogue convincingly, has a perpetual goofy smile, is a clumsy dancer and totally lacks charisma which is the bane of any Bollywood male lead. His fellow debutant - Sahher Bambba - comes off better but she is not served well by the stilted direction and outdated 1980s style screenplay with its corny situations - a former boyfriend threatens to video shame her in revenge for getting dumped followed by melodramatic scenes set in a hospital where families converge wringing their hands after an almost fatal accident takes place. This film is a disaster of epic proportions saved only from the shit-pile due to the first half that celebrates the beauty of Manali. The location takes over from strife-ridden Kashmir where grandpa and dad once upon a time made some of their best films. Too bad they come a cropper with this turd of a film for their progeny.

Mardaani 2 (Gopi Puthran, 2019) 7/10

Superbly played cat-and-mouse game between a young psychotic blue-eyed killer (Vishal Jethwa) and the green-eyed DSP Shivani Shivaji Roy (Rani Mukerji). Tautly paced sequel to the 2014 cop thriller has the officer investigating the brutal rape and murder of a girl. The killer is an asthmatic angelic looking teenager who tortures, beats and kills women and, in an inspired touch, often breaks the fourth wall speaking directly to the audiences explaining with a wicked smirk how he can easily manipulate his prey. Vishal Jethwa is absolutely chilling as the repugnant monster who finds his match in the relentless cop played by the superb Rani Mukerji. The protracted ending, where the women get back at the villain, is played to the gallery which sends a not unsubtle message to rapists while a long speech by Mukerji seems a tad overplayed where she vociferously berates a tv interviewer about how men subjugate women, force them into distinct roles and then hold them responsible for instigating men to attack them. Such scenes may seem excessive but are the "paisa vasool" moments often obligatory in most Bollywood films. The film comes to life in all the chase sequences as two great actors go at each other with hammer and tongs. Both Mukerji and Jethwa were nominated for Filmfare awards.

Saaho (Sujeeth, 2019) 0/10

Excruciating 3-hour Tamil mega bomb. This epic bore apes the action genre from the 1970s with Bollywood's cheesy take on the villains from the Bond franchise, a hero/crook who talks like a robot - Tamil superstar, Prabhas of "Baahubali" fame, unsucessfully attempts the dialogue in Hindi - and a heroine/cop (Shraddha Kapoor) who is irritatingly incompetent and always dressed in sexy cocktail dresses or skintight jeans with hair blowing as if in a shampoo advertisement. The plot is a complete mess and just an excuse for the stiff one-note leading man to perform stunts and pose. The noisy erratic action sequences ape "Batman", "The Avengers" and "Mad Max" but with lousy VFX. The villains, played by Bollywood actors Jackie Shroff, Mahesh Manjrekar, Tinnu Anand, Arun Vijay and Neil Nitin Mukesh, all chew the scenery. And there is an item number performed by Jacqueline Fernandez in a tiny mini skirt on the beach. This film is absolute shit.

Hair Love (Matthew A. Cherry, Everett Downing Jr. & Bruce W. Smith, 2019) 7/10

Oscar winning short film is a celebration about fathers and daughters and in particular a positive representation of African-American fathers. It also shows with humour the angst that black females have to go through with unruly hair. A young girl wants her huge mane of hair styled a certain way. There is only her dad in the house who tries to comb her hair into place and failing with each try. However, he perseveres and gets it right finally. The poignant ending shows how special the day was for the little girl as she and her dad arrive at a hospital where her mom is a patient. The film's central conflict is a means to celebrate love, family and bonding between a child and parent.

Eyewitness (Peter Yates, 1981) 5/10

Good cast - the two leads look great together at the start of their careers - in a rather contrived thriller. A janitor (William Hurt) discovers a dead body in the building where he works and pretends to know who killed the man in order to get to know the reporter (Sigourney Weaver) who is covering the story. The film's other premise has her boyfriend, an Israeli agent (Christopher Plummer), involved in a scheme to smuggle Jews out of the Soviet Union and both plots eventually converge making the screenplay seem like a real hodge podge. Steve Tesich had actually written two different screenplays which at Yates' insistence were merged to form this film. James Woods is good as Hurt's short-fused pal who is suspected by a cop (Morgan Freeman) of being the murderer. Twenty years later the film was unoffically remade by Bollywood - "Hum To Mohabat Karega" - with Bobby Deol and Karisma Kapoor starring.

The Decks Ran Red (Andrew L. Stone, 1958) 5/10

A derelict American cargo ship gets a new captain (James Mason) after the previous one dies under suspicious circumstances. He also inherits a hostile crew, demoralized officers, a new cook and his sexy wife (Dorothy Dandridge). Two of the crewmen (Broderick Crawford & Stuart Whitman) start killing off the crew one by one hoping to eventually claim the ship's salvage fee. A cat and mouse game ensues as the captain tries to desperately save the lives of his crew and the ship. Absurd potholes in the screenplay along with death defying heroics on part of the captain make it all rather implausible but the cast is game and Mason and Crawford make good adversaries while Whitman shines as a preening lothario in one of his early roles. Dandridge gives an amateurish performance and is around merely for eye candy dressed in a torn blouse. The film has a surprising number of violent scenes. This is strictly a B-film despite the strong cast.

Frantic (Roman Polanski, 1988) 6/10

Polanski's understated Parisienne thriller has a number of familiar set pieces straight out of Hitchcock's "To Catch a Thief" and "Vertigo" with the Everyman protagonist of the story here also familiar as the one embodied by Cary Grant in the Master's "North By Northwest". A doctor (Harrison Ford) arrives with his wife (Betty Buckley) to attend a medical conference in Paris. There is a mixup with a suitcase at the airport and a little while after checking into their hotel the wife disappears. Everyone seems almost blasé about the disappearance - the hotel staff, the police and the American embassy officials. A phone number on a matchbox is the catalyst which leads to a corpse and to a young drug courier (Emmanuelle Siegner) who becomes an important ally as they dodge shady Arabs, Israelis and Americans who are all after a mysterious object which was smuggled from the United States in a suitcase. Polanski keeps the pace slow, building suspense in stages with flashes of unexpected comic moments also a signature of Hitchcock. Unfortunately Ford is no Cary Grant and his character is frightfully boring. The film's better moments all involve the feisty Siegner - there is a marvelous scene in a disco as both dance to a song by Grace Jones. This is far from Polanski's best work even though his stylish touch is evident throughout and is accompanied by a lovely score by Ennio Morricone and evocative camerawork by Witold Sobocinski that bathes Paris in an etherial light.

When the Whales Came (Clive Rees, 1989) 7/10

Lowkey charming children's film with a strong ecological message and set on one of the windswept desolate Scilly islands off the coast ofvCornwall at the time of WWI. A small community lives an impoverished existence with the war causing additional hardships and suffering as the men are drafted. The story, based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, centers on an old curse that brought grief to the islanders when they massacred beached whales for food. Two children befriend an old deaf hermit (Paul Scofield) and discover his secret as he enjoys their company and relates a horrific story from his past. When whales once again beach themselves and the villagers scrounge to kill them it becomes a fight for their survival when the old man and the two children try to help the whales back into the ocean to save them. A superb supporting cast - Helen Mirren, Jeremy Kemp, David Threlfall, Dexter Fletcher, Barbara Jefford, David Suchet - the glorious locations, a lovely score and an important message makes this a quirky but compelling film.

East of Elephant Rock (Don Boyd, 1978) 5/10

Set in a South East Asian unnamed British Colony the story is based on a murder that caused a scandal amongst British colonial society in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The story also echoes Somerset Maugham's play "The Letter". During a period of great unrest amongst the local population wanting independence from the British the Governor General is assassinated but that still does not stop the colonists from exploiting the natives. The weather is appropriately hot and humid, emotions run high and the spoiled neglected wife (Judi Bowker) of a plantation owner (Christopher Cazenove) forms an alliance with an embassy official (John Hurt) who in turn has a native mistress. It all ends in murder with the wife on trial and the colonists closing rank to protect her. Low budget film has an overheated plot but an interesting cast with superb performances by Hurt as the cynical diplomat fighting racial injustice and especially Jeremy Kemp as a bigoted plantation owner. The film was shot in Sri Lanka but strangely enough the local language heard is urdu which is incorrect. For a better (and campier) colonial murder-mystery check out Michael Radford's "White Mischief" which is set in Kenya.

The Odessa File (Ronald Neame, 1974) 6/10

An old man's suicide, the discovery of his diary describing his life inside a concentration camp and his encounter with a deadly SS officer, a secret society called Odessa and its attempts to create rockets to fire at important sites in Israel. The past and the present merge and become very personal for a reporter (Jon Voight) who investigates the old man's diary and the accounts in it about the deadly butcher who assassinated thousands of inncocent jews. Fast paced thriller, based on the Frederick Forsythe novel, has an intense performance by Jon Voight and a great confrontation scene with Maximillian Schell who plays the wily SS officer. Maria Schell has a brief part as Voight's mother and this was the only time in their long and distinguished careers that both she and her brother Maximillian Schell appeared in the same film although they have no scenes together.

Great Moments in Aviation / Shades of Fear (Beeban Kidron, 1995) 7/10

Almost a fairy tale with quirky characters in a tale set on a steamship bound for England in 1957. A young woman (Rakie Ayola) from Grenada dreams of becoming an aviator like her grandfather who flew off and mysteriously never came back. She boards a ship for England where she hopes to learn how to fly a plane and join her husband. Fate has different things in store for her when she is mistakenly forced to share a room with a mysterious painter (Jonathan Pryce) who is accused on board by a Professor (John Hurt) of being the forger who stole his wife and murdered her. Falling in love with her roommate she is forced to confront him about his past and the truth. Adding comic moments are two old retired missionaries (Vanessa Redgrave & Dorothy Tutin), returning home after 32-years, who suddenly discover their longtime companionship has now turned to love. Low budget film (Harvey Weinstein provided a quarter of the funds) barely got a release and went straight to television and video but is a delightful story about compassion, understanding and love. The film has a burnished glow courtesy of Remi Adefarisin's camerawork and a romantic score by Rachel Portman.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sun Feb 16, 2020 1:07 am

Seberg (2019) Benedict Andrews 4/10
The Lighthouse (2019) Robert Eggers 5/10

Repeat viewings

Queen of Hearts (2019) May el-Toukhy 9/10
In a Year of 13 Moons (1978) Rainer Werner Fassbinder 9/10
All About My Mother (1999) Pedro Almodovar 10/10
Breaking the Waves (1996) Lars on Trier 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 » Sun Feb 09, 2020 1:07 am

The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) Tyler Nilson & Michael Schwartz 6/10
Othello (1956) Sergei Yutkevich 4/10
Bait (2019) Mark Jenkins 8/10
Man in an Orange Shirt (2017) Michael Samuels 6/10
Daniel Isn't Real (2019) Adam Egypt Mortimer 2/10
Slam (2019) Partlo Sen-Gupta 4/10

Repeat viewings

Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964) Bryan Forbes 10/10
Ordet (1955) Carl Theodor Dreyer 10/10
Pain and Glory (2019) Pedo Almodovar 8/10
Parasite (2019) Bong Joon Ho 10/10
Winter Kills (1979) William Richert 9/10
"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 » Thu Feb 06, 2020 5:55 am

Just Mercy (Destin Daniel Cretton, 2019) 5/10

Legal drama is based on a true story and even though it covers familiar ground that sadly shows no sign of changing in the United States it remains an important subject to be repeated on screen. The law leaning towards injustice via bigotry is a subject that Hollywood has portrayed on film numerous times. I was actually surprised that the case depicted here took place as recent as 1989 and shocked that there are still vicious human beasts in states like Alabama who still "gnash their teeth" in unacceptance towards colored people. A rookie Harvard lawyer (Michael B. Jordan) moves to his home state of Alabama to help the underprivleged. He takes on the case of an African-American pulpwood worker (Jamie Foxx) who has been sentenced to death for the murder of a white girl. Discovering that the poor man has been convicted on false evidence and testimony he decides to prove this in court in order to free him. By-the-numbers plot has the underdog succeeding after going through hell with the law and especially after facing serious threats from the bigoted townfolk. Well acted film lacks the punch to make it rise above the ordinary and on to something great.

Cats (Tom Hooper, 2019) 1/10

Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage musical, based on poetry by T. S. Eliot, ran for 21 years in London and for 18 years on Broadway and needless to say made big bucks all around the world. But WHY? I didn't get it at all. Were audiences fascinated by actors prancing on stage dressed as cats? Were little children the main audience? The score did nothing for me. Yes, there's the memorable "Memory", the big hit song subsequently covered by many famous singers - Streisand's version was the best. So we get dancing cats (and cockroaches during one musical number) on the streets and inside homes of London as they - the tribe of cats called Jellicles - come together at the annual Jellicle ball to decide which of them will ascend to Heaviside Layer (the cat's version of heaven) to be reborn into a new life. I personally found the entire project to be a chore to sit through but I'm surprised why this film bombed at the boxoffice. Why didn't all those millions of people who watched it on stage come to watch it in the cinema? Surely it is no different to what appeared on stage - the actors' faces are digitally placed on furry bodies - although there are often jarring moments where the cats' proportions are all wrong with respect to their surrounding environment. Sometimes they go from appearing tiny to giant-size within the same scene. Plotless film is more like a revue of thinly connected boring musical numbers. An eclectic cast gives it a shot - James Corden, Rebel Wilson, Idris Elba, Ray Winstone, Taylor Swift (who sings an original Lloyd Webber song), Sir Ian McKellen, Dame Judi Dench and Jennifer Hudson who sings "Memory" and totally massacres it. So the one moment I was looking forward to was also fucked up. Terrible film that should have just remained a memory on stage.

Mark of the Renegade (Hugo Fregonese, 1951) 7/10

Old fashioned swashbuckler allows dashing Montalban to bare his chest in one of his early lead roles in Hollywood. After three previous teamings with lovely Cyd Charisse as second leads performing electrifying dance duets in musicals they finally get to co-star as leads. A renegade Mexican (Ricardo Montalban) is blackmailed by a scoundrel (Gilbert Roland) to help usurp his rival (Antonio Moreno) for the seat of power in 19th century California. Slapdash action with comedic asides (courtesy of J. Carroll Naish & George Tobias) has Montalban a worthy sword fencing successor to the likes of John Barrymore, Ramon Novarro, Errol Flynn and Tyrone Power as he fights for a cause and romances lovely Cyd Charisse. Their erotic dance together is the film's highliflght. Great fun.

The Mandalorian (Deborah Chow, Rick Famuyiwa, Dave Filoni, Bryce Dallas Howard & Taika Waititi, 2019) Season 1 6/10

"Star Wars" will never die as George Lucas' epic franchise gets another push with this 8-part series set in-between the fall of the Empire and the rise of the First Order. Despite all the Sci-fi paraphernalia on display - hurtling spaceships, alien creatures, vicious beasts - the story channels any number of old fashioned Westerns. A bounty hunter, known as the Mangalorian, is asked to bring in a bounty which turns out to be a tiny baby - 50-year old Yoda. When he realises that the baby is going to be put through scientific experiments he rescues it and runs off chased by assorted nefarious types. Each episode has the hunter facing off different predators while keeping baby Yoda safe. Slick series is yet another means to milk yet more money through facelifting old wine and serving it in new bottles for the young generation and of course the contingent of old fan boys out there.

Wild Rose (Tom Harper, 2019) 6/10

The contrived plot - abrasive young woman, a recently paroled convict, dreams of becoming a Country singer - gets a massive boost by talented newcomer Jessica Buckley who gives an assured complex performance. In addition the film's Glaswegian setting makes it a quirky delight giving the story a fresh outlook. Rose (Jessie Buckley) is a foul-mouthed, free spirited working class girl with two young kids looked after by her sensible but exasperated mother (the wonderful Julie Walters) with whom she constantly clashes over her dreams of becoming a Country singer in Nashville. The fairy tale does not quite come true although her life-journey involves a lot of soul searching along with convenient help from the lady (Sophie Okonedo) at whose house she works as a maid. The fantastic soundtrack of country songs (sung by Buckley) give the film a special lift.

Missing (Mukul Abhyanker, 2018) 3/10

The premise of the film is good - a couple (Manoj Bajpayee & Tabu) and their unwell 3-year old daughter check into a beach resort in Mauritius. The following morning the child disappears from their room leaving the distraught parents running from pillar to post trying to look for her. What is shocking about the film is that the two leads, both known for their award winning performances and being the best part of every film during their long and distinguished careers, are so awful here. Bajpayee is especially a disgrace giving an amateurish performance. They are both not helped by the terrible screenplay and cheesy dialogue which is often unintentionally funny. The direction seems virtually non-existent as both actors flounder unconvincingly as the plot keeps changing direction every 15-minutes or so with the actors seemingly making up the plot as they go along. The silly red herrings scattered throughout become more and more absurd followed by at least four twists in the plot each more ridiculous than the one that came before. The supporting cast - playing hotel staff, guests and assorted cops - are just as bad if not worse, than the two leads.

Dolor y gloria / Pain and Glory (Pedro Almodóvar, 2019) 8/10

An elegiac look at the past with moving vignette's forming glimpses into the life of Almodóvar. The film takes on a restrained template compared to the director's previous films and is acted to perfection by his usual stable of actors. It is fitting that his muse, Antonio Banderas, gets to participate in what proves to be the director's most personal films as he delves philosophically into several important relationships. A once famous director (Antonio Banderas), now in decline and suffering from pill and heroin addiction along with various other medical issues, wrestles with the past as his mind wanders. His poverty stricken childhood with a strong and loving mother (Penelope Cruz) who encouraged him to read and write, his childhood sexual awakening, a reunion with an actor and close friend he hasn't spoken to in 30-years, a poignant encounter with a former lover full of wistful flirtation, visits to the doctor with his worried assistant (Cecilia Roth) and his last few moments with his dying mother (Julieta Serrano) where they both attempt to make peace over life's unfulfilled expectations. This is Banderas' finest hour on screen as the actor found the role cathartic coming soon after a serious health scare. Almodóvar has claimed most of his early life depicted here along with the drug fueled moments are fictional but his screenplay touches on various emotions that cannot help to be more than mere fiction. Banderas won an acting prize at the Cannes film festival and was nominated for an Oscar as was the film itself. Deeply felt film is one of the year's best.

The Divorcée (Robert Z. Leonard, 1930) 5/10

Early pre-code talkie, based on the scandalous bestseller "Ex-Wife", was then considered revolutionary with its frank views on female sexuality and the sexual double standard amongst the "in-crowd" of New York high society. A happily married woman (Norma Shearer) discovers on her third wedding anniversary that her husband (Chester Morris) has cheated on her. When she confronts him he admits to the affair but is blase about it saying it didn't mean anything to him. So she decides to also have a fling and takes up with her husband's close friend (Robert Montgomery). Upon discovering his wife's infidelity he divorces her. She finds temporary solace with another friend (Conrad Nagel) who has always loved her but she can't forget her husband.
The role changed the screen image of Norma Shearer who was one of the top stars at MGM and married to the boss producer Irving Thalberg. The film's success (and help from her husband) allowed her to follow with a string of very high profile projects on screen through most of the 1930s. Sadly she is totally forgotten today but the film is a reminder of her vivacious if rather artificial on-screen personality, her great beauty and her memorable speaking voice which helped her make a smooth transition from silent films. As in most early talkies the camera is totally static with the actors moving as little as possible in order to remain within range of the sound microphones. Historically important film seems terribly dated now but was a huge hit for the studio, won an Oscar for Shearer and nominations for the film, the director and the screenplay.

Harriet (Kasi Lemmons, 2019) 6/10

Formulaic, sentimental but interesting film from the historical perspective with the title character seemingly straight out of the pages of the Bible - she has visions, speaks to God and miracles seem to happen as she goes along on her ferociously driven duty of helping slaves escape. In 1840s Maryland a slave called Minty (Cynthia Erivo) makes a run from her cruel masters and walks 100 miles to her freedom in Philadelphia. Ever since she was hit in the head by an object during childhood she has "spells" during which she gets visions and talks to God. It puts her in good stead when she decides to become an abolishionist (calling herself Harriet Tubman) and keeps returning to her homestead to systematically help other slaves to escape. This soon brings financial ruin to many once prosperous white farms compelling white men to capture the mysterious "Moses", the name given to the person who is helping the slaves. English singer and songwriter Cynthia Erivo gives a strong performance as the driven woman who makes it her mission in life to help as many black people she can. She gets a lot of help from the gorgeous camerawork of John Toll and the symphonic score by Terence Blanchard as she runs across picturesque fields falling into and wading across rivers. The simplistic but effective screenplay gives the story the sense of an action thriller combined with elements of the Bible and of the Western genre. It is all held together by Erivo's impassioned performance who brings this historical black character to life. The Academy, in it's now annual bid for diversity (and to look good of course), nominated her for an Oscar.

How to Train Your Dragon (Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders, 2010) 7/10

A Viking village is beset with hordes of dragons the villagers have to battle in order to save their livestock. The Viking Chief's hapless clumsy son manages to shoot down the mysterious Night Flight dragon and befriends it. Realising that the dragons are only attacking to feed a giant monster it becomes a battle of wits for the boy and his new-found friend to save the village and all the dragons from the vile fire-breathing giant beast (since this is a DreamWorks production the giant dragon resembles a flying T-Rex). Charming film has humour and exhilarating flying sequences as the dragon swoops through the air with the boy riding on its back. Nominated for two Oscars - best animated film and the music score by John Powell.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:28 pm

The Birds, the Bees and the Italians (1967) Pietro Germi 7/10
Museum (2018) Alonso Ruizpalocios 6/10
A Hidden Life (2019) Terrence Malick 4/10
The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (2019) Xavier Dolan 5/10
The Golden Glove (2019) Fatih Akin 5/10
Uncut Gems (2019) Benny Safdie & Josh Safdie 7/10

Repeat viewings

Quintet (1979) Robert Altman 7/10
Contagion (2011) Steven Soderbergh 8/10
The Rose (1979) Mary Rydell 8/10
La Jetée (1962) Chris Marker 9/10
Sunless (1983) Chris Marker 9/10
Full Moon in Paris (1984) Eric Rohmer 9/10
"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 Jan 25, 2020 11:57 pm

1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019) 8/10

The film's simple premise is presented via a bravura technique whereby cinematographer Roger Deakins and editor Lee Smith use very long takes to have the entire film appear as one continuous shot. The "gimmick" allows the audience to experience the action on the battlefield just like the characters on screen. During WWI two young British soldiers are sent on a suicidal mission across German lines to stop a British military unit from attacking and walking straight into a trap set for them by the enemy. Time is of the essence and the journey is fraught with danger. Mendes never lets up as he creates spectacular set pieces through which the two young men blindly stumble through fully aware that they could be picked off at anytime by the enemy snipers. Both actors - George MacKay & Dean-Charles Chapman - as the young soldiers give moving performances with their eyes betraying fear at every step trudging through trenches and bunkers, avoiding huge craters filled with filthy water and dead bodies of soldiers, walking fully exposed across vast fields and through bombed out towns and through a raging river. The film's outstanding production design - the terrain of trenches, burning towns - is created with exceptional detail and enhanced by the camerawork of Roger Deakins. The film easily ranks with some of the best war films of all time and provides a rare glimpse into the kind of warfare that no longer exists. Mendes shoots the film like a thriller providing a fresh gravitas to the age-old war formula. Having two unknown actors was an inspired choice as star power does not come in the way of the mission at hand as the two characters blend into the action which is the foremost element of the plot. There are small but vivid parts for Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong and Richard Madden playing senior officers. My only quibble with the film is that it begins to drag during the middle - the sequence with the woman and baby could have been omitted - but overall it is an audacious undertaking by a director who should make films more often. Nominated for 10 Oscars it is the frontrunner to win the top prize unless there is a last minute upset by the Tarantino film or the even more audacious South Korean nominee. The film is a must-see.

Black Narcissus (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1947) 10/10

The specatcular Himalayan location, Sabu as an Indian prince, a ravishing 18-year old Jean Simmons as a saucy Indian wench with a nose ring, an old batty ayah, five Anglo-Catholic nuns and David Faraar dressed in tiny shorts exposing his legs combine to form the plot of this delirious tale about simmering sexual tension. A young Sister Superior (Deborah Kerr) is given the daunting task of accompanying four nuns from Calcutta to set up a school and infirmary in a ramshackle old building on the edge of a cliff in the far-off Himalayas. The heady mountain atmosphere, the forbidding foreign culture, the past history of their new convent having once been a harem and the arrival of the local General's British agent (David Faraar) put the nuns on edge challenging their religious vows. The presence of the virile man and his conversations, dripping with sexual innuendo, greatly flusters the nuns. While it brings back unwanted memories of a failed affair for the Sister Superior it has a violent effect on Sister Ruth (the superb Kathleen Byron) who goes into a sexual frenzy as if possessed, ripping off her habit, wildly smearing lipstick, coming on to the visiting Agent and feeling extreme jealousy towards her Superior. The film earns its place as a landmark Technicolor production with Jack Cardiff's stunning cinematography rightfully earning raves and an Oscar. This is one of the most beautiful films ever made with each shot dazzling as it captures through exquisite lighting one stunning image after another of the exotic location where the story is set. What is even more amazing is that director Powell shot the entire film in the studio in England using matte effects and model work to create the sets. Deborah Kerr's magnificent performance was the breakout which helped her become a star in Hollywood. Along with an Oscar for its cinematography the film also won for its production design. Stunning film should be seen on the big screen.

Manto (Nandita Das, 2018) 6/10

Atmospheric film covers the tortured, poverty stricken and alcohol-ridden life of writer Sadat Hassan Manto from his early days in India to his life in Pakistan after migration. The short story writer spent most of his short life (he lived only 42 years) fighting obscenity charges against his works (among many bold subjects he also tackled rape and lesbianism) which had the unique ability to hold a mirror to the society which made people highly uncomfortable. This troubled artist is brought hauntingly to life by Nawazuddin Siddiqui who gets totally immersed in the character. Unfortunately the screenplay fails to explore any of the important characters surrounding Manto and comes up short against the Pakistani film version (also called "Manto") made by Sarmad Sultan Khoosat in 2015. That version managed to provide a well rounded view about his life and interspersed it with moments from most of his memorable short stories.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:50 pm

Bombshell (2019) Jay Roach 5/10
The Mend (2014) John Magary 4/10
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) Joachim Rønning 2/10
A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood (2019) Marielle Heller 4/10

Repeat viewings

Short Cuts (1993) Robert Altman 9/10
Senso (1954) Luchino Visconti 8/10
Victor/Victoria (1982) Blake Edwards 8/10
Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) Werner Herzog 7/10
The Keep (1983) Michael Mann 8/10
Jesse James (1939) Henry King 7/10
My Girlfriend's Boyfriend (1987) Eric Rohmer 8/10
Next Stop Greenwich Village (1976) Paul Mazursky 7/10
The Return of Frank James (1940) Fritz Lang 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 » Fri Jan 24, 2020 11:17 am

Bombshell (Jay Roach, 2019) 6/10

The Fox News girls - senior anchors Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) and Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) - blow the whistle on Roger Ailes (John Lithgow), the chairman and CEO of Fox News and Fox Television Stations, calling him out on sexual harassment charges. They were joined by numerous other women who all came out against Ailes forcing Rupert Murdoch (Malcolm McDowell), co-creator of Fox, to fire him. The film comes on the heels of the tv version about the case - " The Loudest Whisper" - with Russell Crowe as Ailes, and is one of the first major films out of Hollywood that deal with the #metoo movement that started after producer Harvey Feinstein was called out by numerous actresses and charged with rape and harassment. The performances get a great deal of help from lots of makeup - prosthetics are used on Theron's face to resemble Kelly while Lithgow is completely transformed to look like the grotequely fat Ailes. Margot Robbie, playing composite character Kayla Pospisil, gives the film's best performance especially during two dramatic scenes - the humiliating and cringeworthy moment where Ailes demands she lift her skirt bit by bit until her panties are exposed and later during a scene talking to her friend on a telephone where she breaks down while confessing she had sex with Ailes in return for an anchor spot. The latter moment rivals the famous "telephone scene" that brought Luise Rainer her first Oscar in 1936 for "The Great Ziegfeld". The screenplay flits restlessly from character to character without letting any one get enough screen time although Theron, as the film's lead, gets more of an arc. Both Theron and Robbie received Oscar nominations as did the film's makeup.

Dark Waters (Todd Haynes, 2019) 7/10

Factual docudrama, shot like a thriller isn't just an attack on corporate greed but is also a frightning exposé of environmental pollution. The story has strong echoes of such films from the past like "Z", "All the President's Men", "Norma Rae", "Silkwood" and "Erin Brockovich" wherein underdogs take on the government or large corporations and expose cover-ups that have resulted in harm to the public. The screenplay, based on the New York Times Magazine article "The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare”, has a corporate lawyer (Mark Ruffalo) take on the most powerful American chemical company after a farmer from his hometown shows him the result of the company dumping chemicals in a stream near his farm - 180 cows dead from tumors. Despite DuPont being his law firm's biggest client he decides to investigate and sues them on behalf of the effected local residents who are shown to be suffering from various diseases including cancer. Ruffalo is joined by a superb group of actors - Anne Hathaway as his supportive but worried wife, Tim Robbins as his smooth boss, Victor Garber as the reptilian chief executive at DuPont and Bill Camp as the hapless old farmer. The scary part is that "Teflon" - a man-made chemical used as a non-reactive, nonstick surface on frying pans and as a coating on wires - is now in the bloodstream of 99% of life on earth and there are still thousands of chemicals which are still unregulated and in continuous use all over the world.

Last Christmas (Paul Feig, 2019) 1/10

A romantic comedy set in a tinsel covered London that has not an iota of romance or comedy. However, what it does have is a lousy screenplay (courtesy of Emma Thompson & Greg Wise) with unappealing characters shouting out their lines. Slovenly Kate (Emilia Clarke), wannabee singer and total fuck-up, works as an elf in a store stuffed with Christmas themed trinkets owned by a grouchy old lady (Michelle Yeoh) who has a heart of gold. Thrown out of numerous friends' homes she has nowhere to go except her immigrant parents' home. Mom (Emma Thompson) is overbearing and speaks with a Slavic accent, Dad is depressed and downtrodden and Sister is a shrill-voiced closeted lesbian. Into her life comes the mysterious and dapper Tom (Henry Golding) who shows empathy for the disaster prone girl although nothing much happens between the two. The film, peppered with songs on the soundtrack by George Michael, has all the ingredients for a perfect rom-com but nothing works. It all seems forced with every scene falling flat. None of the jokes raise a laugh and the chemistry between the lead actors is non-existent. Even the twist at the end seems contrived. A missed opportunity. Henry Goulding, so good in "Crazy Rich Asians", deserves better.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:23 am

Little Women (Greta Gerwig, 2019) 8/10

Sumptuous adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's novel was a passion project for Greta Gerwig who also adapted it for the screen. For the first time this oft filmed story is told out of sequence as Gerwig's astute screenplay uses the flashback device going continuously back and forth from the present to the past. The story has always been front and center about Jo March (Saoirse Ronan), aspiring writer and spirited tomboy, but Gerwig here ensures that the other three March sisters are also captured on camera with a complete arc - sensible older sister Meg (Emma Watson) who gets married, selfish and spoilt Amy (Florence Pugh), jealous and constantly at odds with Jo and tragic Beth (Eliza Scanlen) the youngest. The girls live with their mother - Marmee (Laura Dern) - while their father is away with the army during the Civil War. Gerwig's detailed screenplay covers all the memorable moments from the novel as the girls interact with their rich and formidable Aunt March (Meryl Streep), Laurie (Timothée Chalamet), the boy next door, his grandfather (Chris Cooper), a tutor (James Norton) and a Professor (Louis Garrel). All these characters pivot around Jo whose coming-of-age as a woman and writer is the main crux of the story. This deeply felt film celebrates the strong bond of family with an emphasis on love and empathy. It is also an inspired choice to film many scenes outdoors using different Massachusetts locations. Superbly acted film with standout performances by Ronan, Chalamet and especially Pugh. Nominated for 6 Oscars - Best film, Ronan, Pugh, Gerwig's screenplay and the film's score and costume design.

Little Women (Gillian Armstrong, 1994) 6/10

The third big-screen adaptation of the classic Louisa May Alcott novel is the first to be directed by a woman - Gillian Armstrong - who brings a feminist spin to the story. The film, as in the novel, is narrated by Jo March (Winona Ryder) who lovingly describes growing up in post-Civil War America with her three siblings - older sister Meg (Trini Alvarado) and two younger sisters Beth (Claire Danes) and Amy (Kirsten Dunst/Samantha Mathis). While their father is away in the army the girls live with their beloved feminist mother (Susan Sarandon) who encourages her daughters to develop their intellect, humor and moral courage. Armstrong shows via glowing moments the family's trials and tribulations - friendship with the rich boy (Christian Bale) next door which results in pangs of unrequited love, Meg's marriage to an impoverished tutor (Eric Stoltz), Jo's attempts at being a budding writer and move to New York and her acquaintance with a German Professor (Gabriel Byrne), Beth's interest in music and her tragic illness, spoilt Amy's petty jealousies and her life away from home with their bossy, opinionated and rich Aunt March (Mary Wickes) in the hope of finding a rich husband in Paris. The story is a series of vignettes about their hopes, their beliefs and their dreams which don't quite fall into place as planned. The screenplay raises the question of women negotiating society's idea of marriage and their own desire for something more personal and fulfilling. Both Susan Sarandon and a winsome Winona Ryder stand out in the large cast. The film won Oscar nominations for Ryder, Thomas Newman's lovely music score and for the costume design.

Little Women (Mervyn LeRoy, 1949) 5/10

Glossy MGM version of the Louisa May Alcott novel with the character of feisty Jo March front and center and her sisters almost relegated to the sidelines. June Allyson is too old at 31 for the part of 15-year old Jo March but as star at the studio she got the plumb part in this remake. The studio's up and coming starlets get to play sensible older sister Meg (Janet Leigh who was 10 years younger than Allyson) and pretentious Amy (a blonde very mature looking Elizabeth Taylor at age 17) while timid Beth is played by child-star Margaret O'Brien. Straightforward adaptation briskly runs through the book's memorable moments as the four March sisters find their place in the world. The story is an ode to family life on the homefront during the Civil War as the four sisters, living with their mother (Mary Astor who was only 11-years older than Allyson) - dad (Leon Ames) is away fighting the war - experience life's pleasures (love & friendship) and difficulties (petty jealousies and tragedy). MGM went all out with the film's supporting cast from its stable of stars old and new - Lucille Watson as rich and shrill Aunt March, Sir C. Aubrey Smith as a wealthy neighbor, Peter Lawford as Laurie the story's main love interest, Rosanno Brazzi (in his Hollywood debut) as Jo's professor friend, Connie Gilchrist, Elizabeth Patterson, Harry Davenport and Ellen Corby. The film, a huge hit for MGM, won an Oscar for Art Direction and a nomination for its colour cinematography.

Little Women (George Cukor, 1933) 9/10

This classic adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's novel was long considered to be the definitive screen version until the recent one by Greta Gerwig. It also has Katharine Hepburn's celebrated interpretation of Jo March right at the start of her long and illustrious career - she won an Oscar that year but strangely it was for a lesser film - "Morning Glory". Cukor does a fine job bringing to the screen the lives of the four March sisters - sensible Meg (Frances Dee), tomboy Jo (Katharine Hepburn), shy Beth (Jean Parker) and selfish and vain Amy (Joan Bennett) - who live in reduced circumstances with their beloved Marmee (Spring Byington) during the Civil War. The plot covers their hopes, joys and tragedies with Alcott's alter-ego - Jo March - presented with a strong feminist bent, one who shuns marriage and earns money for the family by writing short stories. All the book's memorable characters are brought vividly to life - haughty Aunt March (Edna May Oliver), the rich neighbor Mr Lawrence (Henry Stephenson), his grandson Laurie (Douglas Montgomery) who catches the eye of two March sisters, the tutor Brooke (John Lodge) who marries Meg and the German Professor Bhaer (Paul Lukas) who forms a friendship with Jo. The film is evocative in its New England reconstruction with a moving screenplay perfectly capturing the Victorian strengths of Alcott's novel. It was nominated for 3 Oscars - Best Picture, for Cukor's direction and for the screenplay, which it won.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sun Jan 19, 2020 2:19 am

Reza wrote:
Precious Doll wrote:1917 (2029) Sam Mendes 5/10
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) Dean DeBlois 4/10
Missing Link (2019) Christ Butler 4/10
Klaus (2019) Sergio Pablos & Carlos Martinez Lopez 4/10


:lol:


A very tiresome process. I was looking forward to 1917 and apart from the technical marvel there was so little so it.

And though I can't say that any of those Oscar nominated animated films above impressed me they were easier to sit through than Avengers: Endgame which I watched the week before given that it was without a doubt going to get at least one or more technical nominations.

On Tuesday Maleficent: Mistress of Evil 'drops' so I have that to look forward to :lol:
"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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