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

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

Postby Reza » Sun Apr 05, 2020 3:34 pm

House of Bamboo (Samuel Fuller, 1955) 7/10
Underworld U.S.A. (Samuel Fuller, 1961) 6/10
Shadow (Zhang Yimou, 2018) 9/10
Hard Boiled (John Woo, 1992) 8/10

Comes a Horseman (Alan J. Pakula, 1978) 7/10

Pakula's offbeat and revisionist western is set during the waning years of WWII. Deliberately paced film gently recalls classic westerns of the past with familiar tropes of the genre. A land baron (Jason Robards) with delusions of past grandeur takes on two neighbours, a woman and a war veteran, by trying to browbeat both into giving up their land to him. The feisty woman (Jane Fonda), helped by her devoted aging hand (Richard Farnsworth), and the laid back veteran (James Caan) stand their ground against strong-armed tactics by the baron's goons and attacks on their land and cattle. There are additional problems for all the ranchers as they owe big debts to the bank allowing a close friend (George Grizzard) of the baron to manipulate the bank into giving his land to him so he can drill for oil. The evil baron takes matters into his own hands against everyone leading to a fiery finalé. Fonda's presence recalls her dad Henry Fonda, a veteran of classic westerns from Hollywood's golden era while Farnsworth, a veteran stuntman in numerous westerns (including for Henry Fonda), makes his acting debut after numerous unbilled or bit parts (since 1937) as the grizzled old cowpoke (shades of a gentler Walter Brennan) and was rewarded with an Oscar nomination for his sympathetic performance. Both Caan and Fonda have great chemistry as they gently warm up to each other. The spectacular location - Wet Mountain Valley in Colarado, all rolling hills and vast meadows - is captured in all its glory by the superb widescreen cinematography by Gordon Willis.

Onna ga kaidan wo agaru toki / When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (Mikio Naruse, 1960) 10/10

Naruse never got the same adulation as his contemporary Japanese directors - Yasujirô Ozo, Kenji Mizoguchi and Akira Kurosawa. This was mainly due to a certain lack of style in comparison although his films show a remarkable sensitivity in depicting the female psyche. Like Ingmar Bergman and Woody Allen (in his dramas), Naruse depicts his female characters in a bleak and pessimistic light but shows great sensitivity in exploring their position in a working class milieu. Mama (Hideko Takamine), a 30-something widow always strapped for cash, works as a bar hostess in the Ginza district of Tokyo. At home she is constantly pestered by her aged mother and good-for-nothing brother for money which she provides out of guilt. At work she maintains a conservative and traditional outlook. She dresses in a prim kimono unlike the other girls who wear western attire and while she welcomes and entertains men at the bar she politely refuses to sleep with them. At the bar rumour has it that she made a vow to her dead husband that she would never ever love another man which greatly endears her to the bar manager/pimp (Tatsuya Nakadai). The sharply drawn, almost brutal, screenplay follows the dead-end life of this woman as she struggles to maintain her independance and honour in a society that stinks of the madonna-or-whore paradox dominated by male-centric views of women. Desperate because of her advancing age she has options of either branching out with her own bar for which money is needed or getting married to an eligible man. After three disastrous attempts with men - one proposes but turns out to be a liar and fraud, another with whom she falls in love is married and won't give up his family for her and she rejects her manager who has silently been in love with her. The film ends on a positive note as totally dejected she puts on a brave face and ascends the stairs to the bar to start yet another day at work. Shattering film is exquisitely acted by Hideko Takamine who worked extensively with Naruse in a dozen films throughout the 1950s and early 1960s becoming a top star in Japan playing strong-willed, poverty-stricken women held down by the traditional family system.

Late Autumn (Yasujirô Ozu, 1960) 8/10

Wistful but thoroughly charming comedy-drama is almost a reversal of Ozu's Late Spring (1949). However, instead of a widower trying to get his daughter married in the former film here the young girl has a widowed mother who wishes her daughter would settle down. The leading lady in both films is the luminous
Setsuko Hara who played the young daughter in the previous film and here plays the widowed mother. Concerned that her daughter (Yôko Tsukasa) needs to settle down she takes up the offer from her late husband's three friends (Shin Saburi, Chishû Ryû, Nubuo Nakamura) in finding a suitable husband for the young girl. The film takes on the mantle of a gentle farce - with a jaunty score straight out of an Italian romantic comedy - as the three friends go about suggesting candidates which the girl keeps rejecting. It transpires that she does not want to leave her mother alone. So the three bumbling men decide to take matters further into their own hands to find a suitor for the mother - the candidate being one of them who just happens to be a widower. Needless to say this causes a misunderstanding between the daughter and her mother which happily is resolved by the end. The film has a number of Ozu's signature traits - scenes with impressive spatial compositions, the camera placed at the floor level viewing characters as they sit still and the director's familiar theme of showing post-war changes in the attitudes of the modern young which he contrasts with the traditional older generation. The film is shot in stunning colour with outstanding production design often viewed by the still camera capturing static shots of bedroom interiors, dining areas, hallways and restaurants. The film also glorifies Japanese cuisine making the film a gastronomical delight.

The Greatest Story Ever Told (George Stevens, 1965) 5/10

A repeat viewing after many years. Found out an interesting bit of trivia unknown to me before - the opening sequence between Herod the Great (Claude Rains in his last screen appearance) and Herod Antipas (José Ferrer) was directed by David Lean as a favour to Stevens. This is a long (clocked in at almost 3.5 hrs although the original cut was over 4 hrs), rambling and often boring epic about the life of Christ. Max von Sydow was chosen to play Christ because his face was unfamiliar to Western audiences despite being a star for years in the films of Ingmar Bergman. He brings a strong sense of nobility and dignity in his portrayal and is surrounded by an all-star cast of familiar Hollywood faces, many in tiny wordless cameos, playing assorted characters. Critics at the time found all these faces a distraction but they actually seamlessly fit into the story in a subtle manner. What I found distracting was Stevens' choice of location for the film. Arizona, Nevada and Utah were chosen for most of the outdoor shoot with Christ posing against the grandeur of the Grand Canyon as a backdrop along with familiar Monument Valley from all the John Ford westerns. Out of all the stars the only one who comes off totally unconvincing is John Wayne as a centurion watching the crucifixion and drawling in his familiar voice the hokey dialogue "Truly, this man was the son of God”. Other prominent actors (some in blink-and-you-miss-them parts) appear as John the Baptist (Charlton Heston wearing a hideous wig) whose beheading is not shown, The Virgin Mary (Dorothy McGuire, a great star playing an important role, but who is shockingly just a silent and mostly weepy observer), Barabbas (Richard Conte), Pontius Pilate (Telly Savalas who shaved his head for the role and remained shaven till the end of his career), Satan (Donald Pleasence), Angel at the Tomb (Pat Boone), various jewish priests and Roman guards (Martin Landau, Victor Buono, Michael Ansara), the disciples - Judas (David McCallum who jumps into fire instead of hanging himself), Matthew (Roddy McDowall), Simon (Robert Blake) - Herodias (Marian Seldes), assorted people who were either healed by Jesus or who helped him (Shelley Winters, Ed Wynn, Van Heflin, Carroll Baker, Ina Balin, Angela Lansbury (must have blinked or was on one of my many, many loo trips because I never saw her), Janet Margolin, Sal Mineo, Joseph Schildkraut) and Simon of Cyrene (Sidney Poitier) who helps Jesus carry the cross to his crucifixion. The film's production design, cinematography, costumes, special effects and score received Oscar nominations. The definitive screen version about the life of Christ remains Franco Zeffirelli's all-star television movie.

Downhill (Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, 2020) 1/10

There was really no need for Hollywood to remake the Scandanavian "Force Majeure". It's just an excuse to cast two comedians - Will Ferrell and Julia-Louise Drefuss - in a drama that feels very forced. It also does not help that both play rather unappealing characters stuck in a marriage that appears to be wavering. A family skiing holiday (with two sons in tow) in the Austrian Tirol proves fatal when an avalanche scare becomes the catalyst of doom for their relationship. When danger of being crushed by the moving snow becomes inevitable he makes a run for it leaving behind his terrified wife and sons. So begins their nightmarish holiday with wifey in full snarling mode at guilty hubby. Everyone is miserable and moody throughout despite the spectacular location and even the crude humour of one character falls totally flat. Skip this crappy film.

Au Hasard Balthazar (Robert Bresson, 1966) 4/10

Quoting Jodie Foster - "Cruelty might be very human, and it might be very cultural, but it's not acceptable". And this is especially true towards animals. Bresson's cruel film charts the life of a donkey from birth to death. A life that starts as a pet to a young girl whose father works on a large estate. The life of the girl runs parallel to the donkey and involves physical violence directed at her. She is loved by the owner's son but they move away after his mother dies. The girl remains at the estate as her father is put in charge to look after it in the absence of the owners. The donkey is given away and as the years pass it is used as a beast of burden for different owners all of whom treat the animal with intense cruelty. Escaping from an owner it finds its way back to the estate and the now grown-up girl. The boy who loved her returns but she now prefers the baker's son, a cruel and insensitive youth given to creating havoc with his buddies. When the donkey is sold to the baker it faces more cruelty at the hands of this young man who lights its tail with fire. It just goes on and on, the cruelty, and in a relentlessly deadpan way by which Bresson appears to be making (maybe?) a spiritual parable to Christ. Life's a bitch and then you die. Which the donkey finally does in a field surrounded by sheep. The only moment of relief this film brings. While the donkey goes through life in a totally passive way, seemingly accepting its fate, all the human characters behave without logic. Pretentious film is frustrating and an ordeal to sit through and its only plus point is the superb cinematography by Ghislain Cloquet.

I Am (Onir, 2010) 6/10

Four short stories about subjects that were more or less taboo in Indian films at the time as characters fight to hold onto their dignity in a world that is cruel and unsympathetic. A woman (Nandita Das) dumped by her boyfriend decides to have a baby through artificial insemination. Her friend (Juhi Chawla), who argues against the procedure, has problems of her own. She, a Kashmiri Pandit who along with her family was driven away from Kashmir, needs to return after 20 years to sell off the family home. The visit brings back bitter memories as she visits the home of her childhood muslim friend (Manisha Koirala) and her family. The two discover that both families have suffered - one through displacement and the other through vicious treatment of the Indian military. This sequence is fascinating as we get to see Srinagar as a complete military zone under heavy barricades as the two characters walk the streets - the director's camera captures the beautiful Dal lake in all its glory showing "paradise" under lockdown. The third sequence involves the hedonistic lifestyle of a documentarian (Sanjay Suri) which is revealed to be related to sexual abuse during his childhood at the hands of his step-father (Anurag Kashyap). The last sequence deals with the dreaded Section 377 of the Indian penal code and how the police misuse it in order to browbeat victims into paying bribes - a gay Mumbai-based executive (Rahul Bose) is caught in a compromising position with a student. Well acted film with meaningful subjects is awkwardly linked to each other through common characters.

The Night Fighters / A Terrible Beauty (Tay Garnett, 1960) 6/10

Simplistic but atmospheric film set in a small village in Ireland in 1941. War is raging in Europe with Britain engaged with Germany. Nazis smuggle in ammunition for the locals to rise up against the english on their home turf to coincide with their plan of invading Britain. A local IRA outfit, headed by an unstable patriot (Dan O'Herlihy), enlists local boys including the tough but happy-go-lucky Dermott O'Neill (Robert Mitchum). During a raid on an ammunition dump he gets separated from the group and with a wounded colleague (Richard Harris) goes on the run. Later realizing the outfit's rabid and dicey plans do not make sense he decides to get out of the IRA causing the wrath of the group who capture him. Will he reunite with his girlfriend (Anne Heywood), escape and depart for England? Mitchum and a fine cast of Irish character actors - Cyril Cusack, Niall MacGinnis, Marie Kean - make this an interesting watch. Mitchum would go on to play an Irishman again to much acclaim 10-years later in David Lean's "Ryan's Daughter".

The Cakemaker (Ofir Raul Graizer, 2017) 8/10

Sensitive intelligent and well-crafted story moves like a novel with characters that not only feel real but display emotions that seem familiar. The perceptive screenplay uses a gentle tone that neatly explains subtle cultural differences which although seemingly outdated and outrageous to a modern mind are the product of orthodox religious beliefs. I was very surprised to see the similarity between jewish and muslim customs not only about kosher/halaal food but the orthodox rules towards people of different religions which even Hindus display via their caste system. A german pastry chef (Tim Kalkhof) in Berlin starts up a relationship with a married Israeli engineer who periodically visits the city for brief meetings. After a year when there is suddenly no response from his lover in Israel he is told that the man suddenly died in a car accident. Utterly bereft he turns up in Jerusalem and takes up a job at a cafe run by his dead lover's widow (Sarah Adler). Soon her business increases as he introduces cookies and exotic cakes on the menu and also finds himself bonding with her son and other family members. Before the relationship with the widow takes on an expected turn something unexpected also happens which the screenplay neatly concludes without much fanfare but is pleasing nevertheless. The film's exploration of friendship, love, grief and food is packaged without delving deep into the darker recesses of grief or sexuality. It may be a rather simplistic approach but it is sweetly presented with much feeling.

Rob Roy (Michael Caton-Jones, 1995) 8/10

The romance between outlaw and folk hero Rob Roy (Liam Neeson) and his wife Mary (Jessica Lange) is completely dwarfed by the spectacular scenery of the Scottish Highlands where their story is set. As with any story about a power struggle there has to be a good adversary for the gallant hero to fight against. This film has three memorable ones - a sniveling coward (Brian Cox), the Marquess of Montrose (John Hurt) who drips sarcasm with every line of dialogue and the viciously despicable fop played by Tim Roth who was given carte blanche by the director to make the character as over-the-top as he wished. Roth goes beyond expectations and runs off with the film mincing about with a sneer on his face murdering, impregnating and raping his way through the film. His deliciously evil performance won the actor a well deserved Oscar nomination. No swashbuckler is complete without a wink and a wave at Errol Flynn and the movie ends with a great sword fight between Neeson and Roth. Old fashioned story is given new life by director Caton-Jones and his marvelous team of technicians behind the camera - the production and costume designers, the lovely score by Carter Burrell and the breathtaking vistas captured by the camera of Karl Walter Lindenlaub. Great fun.

Firaaq (Nandita Das, 2009) 8/10

Heartrending film chronicles the aftermath of the 2002 Gujrat "sectarian riots" in India which left 900 muslims and 300 hindus dead while hundreds of thousands on both sides were rendered homeless. Rookie director Nandita Das, who also wrote the perceptive screenplay, more than once hints the terror was state devised as a means towards ethnic cleansing. That muslim genocide resonates even more today when the current situation in India more than testifies to this fact as senior government officials openly talk in contempt about their muslim population. The screenplay captures a microcosm of the population left defenceless and petrified as they go about rebuilding their lives after the carnage. A young muslim couple (Nawazuddin Siddiqui & Shahana Goswami) return to find their home burnt and destroyed. An elderly classical vocalist (Naseeruddin Shah) lives in a reverie of the past oblivious to the death and destruction. A wealthy inter-religious couple (Sanjay Suri & Tisca Chopra) plan to leave strife ridden Gujrat and move to Delhi because the husband, who is a muslim, feels insecure. A middle-aged hindu woman (Deepti Naval) is guilt ridden for not having saved the life of a muslim woman banging on her door during the riots while her crooked husband (Paresh Rawal) is trying to bribe the cops to save his brother who was involved in a gang rape. Each vignette is superbly intercut with the pace and tone increasing in dramatic intensity. Das does not spare the audience and presents moments that are sad and horrific but ends each story with a light of hope. Disturbing, thought-provoking and disturbing film.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sun Apr 05, 2020 8:57 am

mlrg wrote:
Precious Doll wrote:The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) Lewis Gilbert 6/10
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) Peter Hunt 8/10


I’m a huge James Bond fan since I was a kid and this two films, alongside Skyfall, are my all time favorites.

Had On Her Majesty’s Secret Service stared another actor rather than the lame George Lazenby, the movie would be pitch perfect. A trivia note: big parts of this movie were shot in Lisbon and surrounding areas (beach sequence, the final wedding and even the jewelry story Bond enters to buy the wedding ring which still exists).


They are my three favourite Bond films too.

George Lazenby works for me only because he is so off kilter as is the film, however his accent in the film is dreadful moving between Australian and English. On Her Majesty's Secret Service also has the most moving ending (and scene for that matter) in any Bond film and Diana Rigg was terrific (she is included in my 1969 Oscar Shoudhavebeen supporting actress line-uo).

I noticed at the end of the film that some of it was shot in Portugal and I'd never have guessed that. Another bit of trivia relating to The Spy Who Loved Me is that at the very end of the credits it is revealed that For Your Eyes Only will be the next Bond adventure. Funny because it didn't turn out that way as Moonraker (1979) turned out to be the next Bond film and For You Eyes Only (1981) after that.

I suspect that may have happened because of the success of Star Wars and the sci-fi crazy it generated that Moonraker may have felt like an even more promising commercial project that For Your Eyes Only. Alas, Moonraker is one of the weaker Bond films.
"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 mlrg » Sun Apr 05, 2020 5:57 am

Precious Doll wrote:The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) Lewis Gilbert 6/10
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) Peter Hunt 8/10


I’m a huge James Bond fan since I was a kid and this two films, alongside Skyfall, are my all time favorites.

Had On Her Majesty’s Secret Service stared another actor rather than the lame George Lazenby, the movie would be pitch perfect. A trivia note: big parts of this movie were shot in Lisbon and surrounding areas (beach sequence, the final wedding and even the jewelry story Bond enters to buy the wedding ring which still exists).

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Apr 04, 2020 10:41 pm

The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) Joe Talbot 5/10
Tell It to the Bees (2019) Annabel Jankel 2/10
Halston (2019) Frederic Tcheng 6/10
Clemency (2019) Chinonye Chukwu 7/10

Repeat viewings

Tess (1979) Roman Polanski 8/10
Possessed (1947) Curtis Bernhardt 8/10
Heart of Glass (1976) Werner Herzog 6/10
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) Anthony 8/10
Return to the Ashes (1965) J. Lee Thompson 7/10
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) Lewis Gilbert 6/10
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) Peter Hunt 8/10
"I want cement covering every blade of grass in this nation! Don't we taxpayers have a voice anymore?" Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole) in John Waters' Desperate Living (1977)

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

Postby Reza » Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:37 pm

Georgetown (C. Waltz, 2020) 6/10

When a 91-year old Washington DC socialite (Vanessa Redgrave) is found dead with head injuries her much younger husband (Christoph Waltz) is arrested for her murder. True story is brought to the screen by Waltz who is perfect casting as the ambitious social climbing liar who charms his way into the life of an elderly widow and through her into the political circle of the capital for whom he hosts soirees. Waltz has a natural built-in sleazy demeanor about him which he has used particularly well in films playing oily but often charming characters and winning two Oscars along the way. He again uses charm and outrageous lies - claiming to be a high rank officer in the Iraqi army - to fool everyone around him except his wife's daughter (Annette Bening) who sees through him. The character is so delusional that he becomes almost a caricature. Waltz plays him like a petulant school boy with a violent streak - when he resorts to bursts of violence against his aged wife the scenes are scary but Vanessa Redgrave, in a rare lead role, is sublime one minute like a school girl and the next feisty giving back as much as she gets in this story which uses flashbacks to establish their weird relationship. Bening is good as the concerned and suspicious daughter but her role is underwritten and remains on the periphery of the plot.

A Hidden Life (Terence Malick, 2019) 7/10

Long rambling true story about the life of Franz Jägerstätter (August Diehl), an Austrian peasant farmer, who refused to fight for the Nazis during WWII. Exquisitely shot with the first part of the film focusing on his family - his wife (Valerie Parchner) and three daughters and their idyllic life in a tight-knit rural community as they farm the land. The film's stunning Austrian scenery is breathtaking as the camera captures in detail the beautiful countryside with its rolling green meadows and towering snow capped mountains. As the war carries on all the men are called up to register as soldiers which he openly defies causing him and his family to be ostracised by the community. When he finally leaves to join but refuses to take up an oath of allegiance to Hitler he is imprisoned. The story moves back and forth between the couple as they write letters to each other - she telling him about the farm and their daughters while he describes life in prison and about other prisoners worse off than him. After a long time they finally meet in a prison in Berlin where he has been moved. Facing constant brutality by guards he remains steadfast in his belief and despite an offer of non-combatant work if he signs the oath he is sentenced to death at his trial and executed. He was later declared a martyr and beatified by the Catholic Church. A lyrical film about love, faith and strong convictions which Malick shoots as a structured narrative unlike his last few experimental films which jumped all over the place using flashy editing and weird timelines. In addition to the moving performances by the two lead actors the film also benefits from a haunting score by James Newton Howard and the lush cinematography by Jörg Widmer a former camera operator to Emmanuelle Lubezki who shot most of Malick's previous films. The film is a spiritual experience told in a simplistic manner without delving deep into the man's soul or exactly making clear what made him tick.

Spenser Confidential (Peter Berg, 2020) 4/10

Rather tired buddy action-comedy with a plot that was already beginning to seem stale during the late 1980s. An ex-cop (Mark Wahlberg), just out of prison, teams up with an amateur boxer to chase corrupt cops who brutally murdered two of his former colleagues. Wahlberg is always fun to watch but the material here is just too repetitive and dull. Skip this.

Curtiz (Tamas Yvan Topolanszk, 2019) 8/10

Fascinating highly evocative Hungarian film about the making of the iconic Hollywood classic, "Casablanca". The film is inspired by actual events and seen totally from the perspective of the autocratic director Michael Curtiz. A Hungarian jew and immigrant who, after a prolific career in Europe, arrived in Hollywood and became a star director at Warner Brothers studio. He is under great pressure from Jack Warner, the studio head, to make a hit film revolving around the events unfolding in Europe at the time. Unfortunately the production is chaotic, the screenplay keeps changing on a daily basis and the film starts running over budget. Along with these problems the skirt-chasing Curtiz (Ferenc Lengyel) has to deal with assorted lovers, the unexpected arrival of his estranged daughter (Evelin Dobos) and his attempt to help his sister and her family escape the Nazis in Europe. The novelty of the film is showing Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, the two stars of the film, in total silhouette which puts the entire focus of the film on the background of the actual filming. Stunningly shot in black and white (by Zoltán Dévényi) which provides an atmospheric noir touch. Above all it is a portrait of Curtiz with the screenplay capturing the womanizer and his casting-couch escapades, coarse attitude toward peers and his irascible personality. It also provides a vivid look at film making during the studio years.

Desire in the Dust (William F. Claxton, 1960) 6/10

Tawdry overwrought melodrama set in the South where all men have sweat marks on their shirts while the women are blonde, sexually hot and seemingly cool as a cumcumber. A convict (Ken Scott) returns to his hometown after spending 6 years in the clink for a crime he did not commit. He took the rap for his sexually instatiable girlfriend (Martha Hyer), at the insistence of her rich plantation-owner politician dad (Raymond Burr), when she accidently killed her brother in a car accident. Her elegant mother (Joan Bennett) lost her mind and flits about celebrating her dead son's birthday at the graveyard bringing him toys. The young man's return creates ripples in town as he is not only hell bent on revenge but resumes his torrid affair with the woman who is now married to the town doctor (Brett Halsey - who won a Golden Globe award for best newcomer). Pulpy trash has a good cast, a fascinating if very familiar premise and Lucien Ballard's widescreen cinematography all of which lend it weight. The story takes its cue from the steamy Tennessee Williams' dramas, then in much vogue, with incest and nymphomania as its major plot points.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Mar 28, 2020 8:25 pm

The Mustang (2019) Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre 2/10
Luce (2019) Julius Onah 1/10

Repeat viewings

Spartacus (1960) Stanley Kubrick 9/10
The Private Life of a Cat (1946) Alexander Hammind & Maya Deren 9/10
The Decameron (1971) Pier Paolo Pasolini 9/10
The Canterbury Tales (1972) Pier Paolo Pasolini 9/10
Arabian Knights (1974) Pier Paolo Pasolini 9/10
I, Claudius (1976) Herbert Wise 10/10
No Way to Treat a Lady (1968) Jack Smight 8/10
"I want cement covering every blade of grass in this nation! Don't we taxpayers have a voice anymore?" Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole) in John Waters' Desperate Living (1977)

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

Postby Reza » Tue Mar 24, 2020 4:06 pm

L'humanité (Bruno Dumont, 1999) 5/10

There are some films not to everyone's taste. This is certainly one of them. It's not that I didn't appreciate what the director was trying to say but he could have easily done it without boring the audience. I mean why have almost every shot go on and on with the camera focused on characters who are static while they either stare at the distance, potter around the garden or eat an apple. After a while you feel like kicking the director to make him move onto another scene. The main plot device is the rape and murder of an 11-year old girl whose body is discovered in a field by a cop (Emmanuel Schotté). The film opens with the first of about four shocking scenes - the camera focuses on the exposed mutilated genitals of the dead child while ants roam across her bare legs. The cop, who lost his wife and daughter - it's never explained if they died or if they left him - is almost a dimwit, a contemplative sort who barely speaks. The film focuses more on him as a type than on the murder investigation which also carries on but in a vague sort of way. There is also a suspicion in the air that he could be the murderer. He lives in a dead end town in Northern France with inhabitants who act as if they are in a haze of mental malaise. The cop is close friends with a neighbour (Séverine Caneele) who works in a factory and spends most of her time indulging in sex with her bus driver boyfriend. There are three graphic sex scenes where the two fornicate like hungry animals with the sex act played out without an iota of tenderness. This is followed by a gratuitous moment where the camera endlessly stares in close-up at the exposed moist vagina of the woman. Does the director include these scenes for their shock value or is there a reason for it? The film ends in a shocking and ambiguous manner leaving it up to the audience to decide its meaning. The film was awarded three prizes at the Cannes film festival with two going controversially to both the lead actors. Well made film is otherwise quite a head scratcher.

Gate of Hell (Teinosuke Kinugasa, 1953) 10/10

During a rebellion in 12th century Japan a samurai (Kazuo Hasegawa) falls in love with a lady-in-waiting (Machiko Kyō) who turns out to be married. A story about desire, obsession and unrequited love as the samurai relentlessly pursues the woman and in his anger is willing to kill her, himself and her husband in order to win her hand which she rightfully thinks is utter madness. Exquisitely crafted production was the first Japanese film to be shot in Eastman Colour and the result is specatcular with each frame resembling a painting. The deliberate pace enhances each scene as the camera moves in and out of palaces and characters, dressed in resplendent costumes, act with strict formality as per ancient Japanese custom. Never before has tension and anguish been performed with such subtlety. The film was awarded the grand prize at the Cannes film festival and won Oscars in the categories of costume design and foreign film. A must-see.

I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale (Richard Shepard, 2009) 8/10

Loving tribute to an actor who made only five films but which were easily the most memorable and remembered films of all time. A stage actor and chameleon with quirky looks who had the ability to draw the audience towards him even though he was surrounded by a bunch of spectacular actors in the same frame. His little moments and gestures stand out on screen along with his hang dog expression. This short documentary celebrates John Cazale the actor with friends and colleagues paying tribute to his craft. Al Pacino speaks about their collaboration playing brothers in "The Godfather" & "The Godfather II" - the title of this documentary is taken from Pacino's devastating dialogue from the latter film, "I knew it was you, Fredo". Also providing insights on Cazale are his co-stars Gene Hackman (The Conversation), Robert De Niro & Meryl Streep (The Deer Hunter) and directors Francis Coppola (who directed him in 3 films) and Sidney Lumet (Dog Day Afternoon). Streep, who was his friend, co-star and lover provides rare personal insights about the man she loved and took care of right to the end when he died at age 42 of lung cancer.

The Invisible Man (Leigh Whannell, 2020) 3/10

Prepostrous film takes the plot of "Sleeping With the Enemy" (also cloned thrice by Bollywood as "Yaraana", "Agni Sakshi" & "Daraar") and mixes the main element from H. G. Wells' classic story and comes up with this #metoo nightmare. A woman (Elisabeth Moss) escapes the clutches of her psychotic scientist boyfriend and hides out with her sister's ex-husband - a cop (Aldis Hodge). When it is revealed that her boyfriend has committed suicide she can't help feeling that something is amiss feeling his "invisible" presence around her. The film initially manages to maintain a creepy feeling of dread with a number of jump scares but then keeps getting more and more absurd with many glaring coincidences and potholes in the screenplay. Not sure if the writer's main intent was to make points about toxic male syndrome or was it meant to be a take on female vigilantism as a means to even the score. The science fiction aspect whipped in from the novel never rings true and seems to merely give the old Julia Roberts chestnut an extra padding in an attempt to make it seem something new and different but fails miserably. Even Moss, usually a good actress, flounders around giving a one-note performance.

Seberg (Benedict Andrews, 2019) 6/10

Kristin Stewart is compelling and poignant as American actress Jean Seberg who was hounded by the FBI for supporting the Black Panther movement and for her brief affair with its leader Hakim Jamal (Anthony Mackie). The toast of the New Wave film "Breathless", Jean Seberg (Kristin Stewart), has a flourishing film career in France with occasional forays into Hollywood, has an open happy marriage with famous french author Romain Gary (Yvan Attal) and a son. On a flight to America she meets by chance an activist in the black civil rights movement and shows him sympathy as he is being poorly treated due to race issues. She later makes contact with him, helps his cause by donating money and they also have a brief affair. As he is already under surveillance by the FBI she gets targeted as well. Her house is bugged, she is constantly followed and her pregnancy is falsely outed in gossip columns as being the result of her affair with the black activist. The child, a daughter who is white - fathered by her husband - is born but dies after two days. It becomes the start of her nervous psychotic condition leading to nervous breakdowns and suicide attempts at each subsequent death anniversay of the child. As the years pass the FBI continues to undermine her career and her personal life. In 1979 the actress suddenly disappeared and nine days later her decomposing body was found wrapped in a blanket in the back seat of her Renault, parked close to her Paris apartment. Next to her body was a bottle of barbiturates, an empty mineral water bottle and a note written in French from Seberg addressed to her son. It read, in part, "Forgive me. I can no longer live with my nerves." Police stated that Seberg had such a high amount of alcohol in her system at the time of her death, that it would have rendered her comatose and unable to get into her car without assistance. Police noted there was no alcohol in the car where Seberg's body was found. Police theorized that someone was present at the time of her death and failed to get her medical care. Jean Seberg lost her battle against the FBI against very suspicious circumstances. The film fails to address why Seberg's political belief's were so important to her and appears to waft through the various sad moments in her life. Stewart, dressed in chic Chanel, gives a superb performance and the film's outstanding production design goes a long way to invoke that period in history.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Mar 22, 2020 2:37 am

India Song (Marguerite Duras, 1975) 9/10

Haunting dream-like film has no dialogue with only a narrator providing feedback on what the camera is capturing on the screen. In 1930s Calcutta the bored french ambassador's wife (Delphine Seyrig) has a series of affairs while her husband shows tolerance towards her behaviour. The Vice Consul of Lahore (Michel Lonsdale) attempts an affair with her but fails. Fascinating film with its concentration on sound and imagery - characters appear standing stationary, walking gently towards or away from the camera and one fantastic shot has Seyrig fully dressed lying on the ground with her breast glaringly exposed as she stares at the ceiling while two lovers beside her stare at her face. Although set in India the entire film was shot at the Palais Rothschild in Boulogne - a splendid villa through which the camera snakes capturing its rooms, artifacts, an abandoned tennis court and gardens. Duras' screenplay makes pointed jibes at the decaying French Empire as seen through the actions of the promiscuous woman - the closeups capture her tousled hair, tangled jewellery, dishevelled gown and the general disarray of her life as she flits between different men. Dazzling, stylistic and hypnotic film has lovely Delphine Seyrig as its central and most memorable vision - never more beautiful than in her maroon coloured dress silently dancing the waltz or standing in front of a large mirror which covers a huge green wall in the large mansion. Seyrig was nominated for a Cesar award for her performance of silent posturing.

Devi (Priyanka Banerjee, 2020) 9/10

Hardhitting short film, running just 13 minutes, takes on the form of a mystery which is gradually revealed through dialogue. Nine women are seen conversing and doing chores in a room. A news reporter is heard on the television stating that yet another crime has been committed. The women represent different social strata and ages - two elderly Maharashtrian women (Sandhya Mhatre & Rama Jishi), an old Mausi (Neena Kulkarni), a medical student (Shivani Raghuvansi), an anglecized career woman (Neha Dhupia), a party girl (Shruti Haasan), a deaf and mute maid (Yashaswani Dayam), a Burka-clad lady (Mukta Barve) waxing her legs and a sensible and God-fearing young Maharashtrian housewife (Kajol). When the doorbell rings the ladies are all alarmed. Only the housewife wants to let the person in while all the others say it is already too crowded inside. They all talk of the dangers outside and each reveals how they were all raped describing their attackers. Gradually it is revealed that they are all dead and when the person desperately ringing the doorbell is allowed inside it is revealed to be a little child - the latest victim. The film graphically describes the trauma and struggles of rape victims and emphasizing that this crime does not depend on age, class, education, religion or appearance. It is in fact a crime against humanity.

Tanhaji: The Unsung Hero (Om Raut, 2020) 3/10

"Unsung" is the right word as Bollywood apes the nationalistic jingoistic fervour in the country and has started dredging up historical "heroes". Anyone who tried to stand up to the might of the Mughal rulers during their long and successful reign over India is now termed a hero while the Emperor of the country and his allies are portrayed as villains. During the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb the Mughal army takes over the Maratha fort at Kondhana in South India. The film depicts the battle fought between the Maratha army under the leadership of warrior Tanhaji Malusare (Ajay Devgan) and the Rajput Udaybhan (Saif Ali Khan) appointed by the Emperor to defend the fort using a large canon called "Naagin". The film lacks bite in its dialogue, the production design looks fake and the characters are underdeveloped. Saif Ali Khan plays the campy "villain" - a dark bearded savage - taking his cue from Ranveer Singh's portrayal of Khilji in "Padmaavat". Ajay Devgan, dressed in white, gives a stiff performance intoning his lines in a monotone. The second half of the story has the battle scenes shot using a great deal of CGI. Kajol, as Tanhaji's wife, is totally wasted and seems to be around just for decoration. Shockingly bad film.

The Durrells - Season 1 (Steve Barron and Roger Grimbo, 2016) 8/10

Charming series based on autobiographical novels by explorer and writer Gerald Durrell about his family's move from Bournemouth to Corfu in 1935. His mother (Keeley Hawes), in severe financial straits since the death of her husband, decides to sell their house, payoff their debts and move to Corfu in Greece with her brood of unruly kids. The eldest son Lawrence (Josh O'Connor), an aspiring writer, second son Lesley (Callum Woodhouse) who is fond of guns and girls, daughter Margo (Daisy Waterstone) and the youngest son Gerald (Milo Parker) who is fond of animals. The first season sees them settle in a house on the island, make new friends and soak in the almost primitive lifestyle on the island. This light series is held together by the charming Keeley Hawes as the vivacious widow and the gorgeous location seen in all its sun-dappled splendor.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1997) 8/10

There are so many little moments (the action choreography) from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in this sequel which Spielberg uses to wring maximum thrills from an already tried and tested formula - dinosaurs on the rampage - which he introduced in the classic "Jurassic Park". After the last film's havoc the owner of the park, Hammond (Sir Richard Attenborough), sends in a research team to another island where the creatures were initially bred in order to study them as they roam free in their habitat. The team consists of a scientist (Jeff Goldblum - survivor from the last film), his stowaway young daughter (Vanessa Lee Chester), his paleontologist girlfriend (Julianne Moore) and a documentarian (Vince Vaughn). Unbeknownst to the old entrepreneur and his research team his nephew (Arliss Howard) and an army of mercenaries, led by a crazy gung-ho game hunter (Pete Postlethwaite), descend on the island to capture the creatures for transportation to a theme park in San Diego. From the word go it's absolutely clear in this sequel that Spielberg's eye was purely on the film's boxoffice - the first film's sense of awe is completely missing and which is actually quite fine - because he goes straight for the jugular creating astounding set pieces each topping off the one that came before. The dinosaurs are all back starting with the giant plant eating ones to set the scene followed in quick succession with scenes involving the ferocious T-Rex - a stomach churning sequence involving two pushing a trailor off a cliff with cast members dangling from a rope high above a terrifying drop - the cute but deadly tiny carnivourous Compsognathus, the cunning Velociraptors and the final set piece which is an homage to "King Kong". Don't look for proper character arcs, ignore the potholes in the screenplay and just belt yourself in for a rollercoaster ride of excitement through a film packed with action and adventure.

The Killer That Stalked New York (Earl McEvoy, 1950) 6/10

By coincidence came across this film with a plot that scarily mirrors what is going on all around the world. A woman (Evelyn Keyes) arrives in New York from Cuba. She has smuggled in a cache of diamonds, is being followed by a detective and is very ill. After a brief visit to a clinic where she comes in contact with a little girl she meets up with her husband (Charles Korwin) who is having an affair with her sister (Lola Albright). Meanwhile it is discovered that the little girl has come down with small pox. It becomes a race against time to get everyone vaccinated and find the person who is carrying the virus and spreading it to everyone she is coming into contact with in New York. Tense, briskly paced drama is shot like a noir with Keyes very good as the ill woman who realizes she is married to a louse and wants revenge for being betrayed.

St. Elmo's Fire (Joel Schumacher, 1985) 7/10

Coming-of-age story is one of the seminal films from the 1980s with the Brat Pack in full force playing friends just out of college and floundering in the real world. Don't look for any emotional resonance in any of the snug and obnoxious characters. Just enjoy the location (Washington DC), the hideous hair and fashion of the period, the tinkling piano theme music by David Foster, the #1 hit song "Man in Motion" sung by John Parr and most of all the ensemble cast - actors who were just coming into their own and some who would go onto become huge stars working in a number of familiar films of the decade. The characters are intertwined in love and friendship as some form into couples - the sweet but frumpy social worker (Mare Winningham) in love with the married sax-playing fuck up (Rob Lowe), the would-be lawyer (Emilio Estevez) infatuated by an older woman (Andie MacDowell), the smug yuppie politician (Judd Nelson) dating but eventually rejected by the architect (Ally Sheedy) who is secretly loved by the sullen journalist (Andrew McCarthy) and the banker and coke-snorting party girl (Demi Moore) whose life is unraveling. They all gather at St. Elmo's fire, a jazz club, where their angst ridden, self absorbed problems get a slight break while they drink, gossip, fight and listen to music. This is one of those so bad it's good kind of films which bring back happy memories of the time this film first came out. Winningham, Sheedy and Moore come off best while Rob Lowe won a Razzie award for the worst supporting actor of the year.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:05 pm

Farewell to the Night (2019) Andre Techine 5/10
Queen and Slim (2019) Melina Matsoukas 5/10
The Translators (2019) Regis Roinsard 4/10
In the Name of the Land (2019) Edouard Bergeon 5/10
Someone, Somewhere (2019) Cedric Klapisch 4/10
Only the Animals (2019) Dominik Moll 8/10
Edmond (2019) Alexis Michalik 4/10
The Lost Prince (2020) Michel Hazanavicius 1/10
How to Be a Good Wife (2020) Martin Provost 7/10
Raining in the Mountain (1979) King Hu 7/10

Repeat viewings

Scandal (1989) Michael Caton-Jones 9/10
King of Hearts (1966) Philippe de Broca 7/10
Julius Caesar (1950) David Bradley 8/10
The Mark (1961) Guy Green 7/10
"I want cement covering every blade of grass in this nation! Don't we taxpayers have a voice anymore?" Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole) in John Waters' Desperate Living (1977)

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

Postby Reza » Sun Mar 15, 2020 11:43 pm

Mister Tee wrote:
Reza wrote:High Season (Claire Peplo, 1987) 7/10

Can you tell me where you found this? I've been looking to watch it for many years, and have never been able to track it down.


Please check your inbox. Have messaged you.

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

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Mar 15, 2020 7:21 pm

Reza wrote:High Season (Claire Peplo, 1987) 7/10

Can you tell me where you found this? I've been looking to watch it for many years, and have never been able to track it down.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Mar 15, 2020 5:31 am

SOS Pacific (Guy Green, 1959) 7/10

Thrilling but little known B-film with a great cast in a percursor to all the disaster films so in vogue decades later. A typically contrived plot - group of diverse passengers fight for survival after their plane crashes into the sea - is given an interesting twist. The stock list of passengers are all very flashy with interesting character arcs - the alcoholic pilot (John Gregson) in love with the stoic stewardess (Pier Angeli), a handcuffed prisoner (Eddie Constantine), a shifty sniveling louse (Richard Attenborough), a prostitute (Eva Bartok), a prim spinster (Jean Anderson), a cop and a german physicist. The bickering survivors manage to make it to an island after the crash only to discover they are on an A-bomb testing site with a short time before the island will be decimated. The only chance for survival is to disable the detonator which is on another island 2 miles away. Can it be done by swimming through shark infested waters? Not withstanding the low budget - the crash effects are laughable - this is a solid suspenser with a wonderful cast who at the time just went through the motions working on what they thought was a "potboiler" but which actually turned out quite fine.

The Weapon (Val Guest & Hal E. Chester, 1956) 6/10

Post-War London streets are the setting for this chase film. A young boy (Jon Whiteley) playing in the ruins of a bombed out building discovers a gun and during a skirmish with his chums inadvertently shoots one of them when the gun goes off. Scared he goes on the run as his frantic mother (Lizabeth Scott), a US army officer (Steve Cochran) and the local police chief (Herbert Marshall) search for him. It appears the same gun was used in a murder ten years before and the murderer is also on the lookout for the boy to retrieve the weapon. Solid little susepenser is well cast and acted particularly by Nicole Maurey as a hooker who knows a little too much about the murderer.

The Hollow Crown - Henry IV: Part 2 (Richard Eyre, 2012) 6/10

The third part of Shakespeare's tetralogy is an extension of Henry IV Part 1 placing more emphasis on the wheeling dealings of the Knight Falstaff (Simon Russell Beale). King Henry IV (Jeremy Irons) is aging and still critical of his son and heir Prince Hal (Tom Hiddelston) whose great friendship with Falstaff falters as they go their separate ways. After the King's death Hal comes to the throne as King Henry V. He is approached at the coronation by Falstaff who thinks his old friendship with the Prince will get him great rewards only to find himself totally rejected and his thieving lowlife friends imprisoned. The story suffers from too much forced comedy in the scenes between Falstaff and his rowdy friends at the tavern - Mistress Quickley (Julie Walters) and the prostitute Dolly Tearsheet (Maxine Peake). Irons and Hiddelston superbly play off each other in the scene where the King who is assumed to be dead suddenly awakens to find Hal putting the crown on his own head. They reconcile and the old man crowns his son before dying. The saga continues with Shakespeare's next play about Henry V.

Chariots of Fire (Hugh Hudson, 1981) 9/10

Exhilarating film about the 1924 Paris Olympics focusing on two runners from Britain - Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), a devout Scottish Christian who runs for the glory of God, and Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross), an English Jew who runs to overcome prejudice. When they first run against each other Liddle beats Abrahams who takes it poorly but later uses the help of professional trainer Sam Mussabini (Ian Holm) to improve his technique. This brings on criticism from his Cambridge college masters (Lindsay Anderson & Sir John Gielgud) who consider it ungentlemanly for an amateur to hire professional help - the perceptive screenplay takes sharp digs at the anti-Semitic and class based prejudices prevalent at Cambridge. The film's highlight is the recreation of the Paris Olympics where the two star runners and their team mates, Lord Andrew Lindsay (Nigel Havers), Henry Stallard (Daniel Gerroll) and Aubrey Montague (Nicholas Farrell), all run and return home triumphant. Sharply edited film is helped greatly by the iconic music score by Vangelis. A huge boxoffice hit, the film received a surprise Best Picture Oscar along with awards for original screenplay, music score and costume design. Hugh Hudson, Ian Holm and the film's editing were all nominated. Impeccable production is an incredibly moving and inspirational cinematic experience.

Cinderella Man (Ron Howard, 2005) 7/10

Biographical film inspired by the life of world heavyweight boxing champion James J. Braddock (Russell Crowe). Formerly a light heavyweight contender he is forced to give up boxing when he breaks his hand in the ring. Lack of jobs during the depression, no money, a sick son and a constantly sniveling and worried wife (Renée Zellweger) bring him to the breaking point. His faithful manager and friend (Paul Giamati) manages to get him one fight opposite the number-two contender of the world which proves to be a turning point for him when he beats the champion. To his wife's dismay he returns full time to the boxing ring this time with continuous success and wins against John Henry Lewis and Art Lasky. His rags to riches story inspires the sportswriter Damon Runyon to nickname him "Cinderella Man", and he becomes a hope for many Americans struggling through the depression. His next fight has him confront the heavyweight champion Max Baer (Craig Bierko), portrayed here in full vicious mocking mode, which proves to be a historical fight. Crowe gives a remarkable physical performance and his interactions with the hammy Giamati (who was nominated for an Oscar) are funny and moving. Howard bathes the film in sepia tones capturing the poverty and despair during the Great Depression and also making very clear how ugly boxing can be as a sport.

The Missing (Tom Shankland, 2014) 8/10

Harrowing 8-part tv film deals with the abduction of a child and its aftermath. The story jumps back and forth between two time periods - the abduction and the police investigation in 2006 which comes up with no evidence despite clues leading up to a pedophile and a gang of vicious criminals who may be involved with sex trafficking. Eight years later the frantic father (James Nesbitt) obsessively still pursues clues while his wife (Frances O'Connor) has left him and moved in with a detective (Jason Flemyng) who was on the case as a liaison to the french investigative team led by a Parisian cop Tchéky Karyo). Fresh clues revealed help to re-open the case bringing the retired detective back on track while also reuniting the estranged couple on their endless pursuit for answers. Hard-hitting drama moves like a suspenseful detective novel throwing in vague clues that raise hope only to dash everything to bits followed by a cliffhanger at the end of each episode.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sun Mar 15, 2020 12:25 am

Honey Boy (2019) Alma Har'el 5/10
Of Love and Lies (2019) Julien Rappeneau 4/10
Two of Us (2020) Filippo Meneghetti 7/10
The Extraordinary (2019) Olivier Nakache & Eric Toledano 4/10
Alice and the Mayor (2019) Nicolas Pariser 7/10
Sibyl (2019) Justine Triet 8/10
Room 212 (2019) Christophe Honroe 7/10
Mathias & Maxime (2019) Xavier Dolan 7/10
The Queen's Corgi (2019) Vincent Kesteloot & Ben Stassen 4/10

Repeat viewings

The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988) Philip Kaufman 10/10
Shame (1968) Ingmar Bergman 10/10
The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) Vincente Minnelli 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 » Tue Mar 10, 2020 3:24 pm

Convoy (Pen Tennyson, 1940) 5/10
L'avenir / Things to Come (Mia Hansen-Løve, 2016) 4/10

The Hollow Crown: Richard II (Rupert Goold, 2012) 8/10

Superbly filmed series of Shakespeare's second historical tetralogy, the Henriad with this episode covering the last two years in the life of King Richard II (Ben Wishaw). Indecisive, fey, almost Christ-like - Wishaw plays the role with great confidence and with an air of effeminacy - the King clashes with his cousin Henry Bolingbroke (Rory Kinnear), banishes him, usurps his property after the death of his father (Patrick Stewart) and uses that wealth to finance a war with Ireland which he loses. While the king is away the nobles help Bolingbroke return to England to claim his usurped land and the throne. Richard is imprisoned and Bolingbroke is crowned King Henry IV. A plot to overthrow the new king is averted by the Duke of York (David Suchet), uncle to both the new and old king, whose own son (Tom Hughes) is involved but is saved by his mother (Lindsay Duncan) who begs the king for her son's life. The King forgives his young cousin who then murders the imprisoned former King Richard and drags the body in a coffin to present to Henry VI who repudiates the murderer and vows to go to Jerusalem to cleanse himself of the death of Richard. The dense plot flows remarkably well and with ease as the production ensures to often incorporate scenes that are filmed on outdoor locations thus breathing life into what is basically a talky play. The cast is superb across the board with Wishaw, by turns foolish and moving as the tragic king, giving a remarkable performance winning a well deserved Bafta award.

The Hollow Crown: Henry IV Part 1 (Richard Eyre, 2012) 9/10

Second part of Shakespeare's historical tetrology has King Henry IV (Jeremy Irons) having an unquiet reign. Guilty for having usurped the throne from his cousin King Richard II he is further troubled by the Percy family - the Earl of Northumberland (Alun Armstrong), his son Hotspur (Joe Armstrong) and brother the Earl of Worcester (David Hayman) - who helped him to the throne but are now brewing treason. The King is also disappointed with his son, Prince Hal (Tom Hiddelston), who spends his time thieving and whoring in low taverns with his fat corrupt but charismatic friend Falstaff (Simon Russell Beale). However, the prodigal son returns to the fold taking on his father's enemies with the help of foot soldiers led by Falstaff (who is after all a knight) on the battlefield and the future king in single combat kills Hotspur. The first part of the play ends with victory at the Battle of Shrewsbury but there are yet more enemies to deal with. Grand drama is superbly staged with every cast member at the top of their game with even small roles perfectly cast - Julie Walters as Mistress Quickly owner of the debauched Boar's Head tavern and Michelle Dockery as Hotspur's spirited wife. Irons and Hiddelston are superb in the scene where the king confronts his wayward son giving him a dressing down and slapping his face. Simon Russell Beale won a Bafta award for his funny performance as the fleshy, lying and debauched Falstaff one of Shakespeare's most memorable characters. Wonderful adaptation of the Bard and a must see.

Along the Great Divide (Raoul Walsh, 1951) 7/10

Solid Western with noir overtones. A lawman (Kirk Douglas) rescues an old man (Walter Brennan) from getting lynched by a rancher who claims he shot his son. Wanting him to stand trial the lawman and his deputy (John Agar) decide to take him to the nearest town which lies across a desert. They are joined on the dangerous journey by the suspect's feisty daughter (Virgina Mayo) and chased by the rancher and his men. This has typical characteristics of the director's films - hard men with complex psychological issues braving a hostile environment and battling both the elements and themselves. Douglas, in his first Western, fits into the genre perfectly and creates sparks with lovely Virginia Mayo a most underrated actress who never got her proper due in Hollywood.

Ajami (Scandar Copti & Yaron Shani, 2009) 9/10

Riveting Israeli-Arabic drama is set in the multi-ethnic Ajami neighborhood of Jaffa in Israel where the religiously mixed community of Arabs, Palestinians, Jews and Christians reside together under extremely tense conditions. The film has a cinema verité feel about it bringing to mind such highly explosive films like Alejandro G. Iñárritu's "Amores Perros" and Fernando Meirelles' "City of God". The screenplay covers a group of disparate citizens all living under threat of death. A young muslim is gunned down mistakenly by two assailants on a motorbike. The hit was instead meant for a 19-year old boy whose uncle shot a criminal - the boy is innocent but automatically becomes the target for revenge because he happens to be the only male member of his household. The boy's employer (whose Christian daughter he is secretly in love with) tries to broker a peace deal between the clans - a hilarious scene where a huge amount is demanded at first but is brokered down by a court of elders with discounts pleaded in the name of Allah and the Prophet. Other story arcs involve a Palestinian illegally in Jaffa to raise money for his mother's surgery and a distraught Jewish policeman who is desperately searching for his brother who has disappeared without a trace. Innocent people caught up in a myriad of problems - poverty, drugs, violence - while living in an area ticking like a time bomb. The film's different story lines occur out of chronological order often overlapping, so we see incidents from various points of view and have information gradually filled in at strategic points. This structure gives the film an unsettling feeling which the two co-directors, an Israeli and a Palestinian, manage to maintain right to the end. Superbly acted by a cast of non professionals the film was nominated for an Oscar in the foreign language category.

Ha-Bayit Berechov Chelouche / The House on Chelouche Street (Moshé Mizrahi, 1973) 8/10

Soap opera about Egyptian Jewish immigrants from Alexandria settled in 1947 Tel Aviv is a semi-autobiographical film by the director. The screenplay alternates between parallel stories of a mother and her eldest son. A 33-year old widow (Gila Almagor), with four kids, struggles with social pressure to get remarried and is relentlessly pursued by a neighbour. Her eldest son goes from being a shy boy to a working man who falls in love with a Russian immigrant librarian (Michael Bat Adam) and joins the resistance movement against the British as the country erupts into a potpourri of violence between the Jewish settlers and the Arab Palestinians. Appealing coming-of-age story with the awakening of a young boy as he grows up during a turbulent period of Israeli history. Almagor, highly acclaimed Isreali star of stage and screen, is very moving as the mother. The film was nominated for an Oscar

Gli ultimi cinque minuti / The Last Five Minutes / It Happened in Roma (Giuseppe Amato, 1955) 8/10

Charming froth takes its cue from the romantic Hollywood comedies of the 1940s invoking Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant in a battle of the sexes. Renata (Linda Darnell) and Carlo (Vittorio De Sica) covet the same apartment and both intend to rent it for themselves. A truce is reached through an unusual agreement. They will get married, live as husband and wife together in the apartment with the option that if she falls in love with another man she is free to leave the marriage. Witty romp flows delightfully on the great chemistry between dashing De Sica and ravishing Darnell. Putting a spanner between the couple is suave Rossano Brazzi who catches Darnell's eye causing complications. Adding to the fun are Peppino De Filippo and Nadia Gray as a battling couple who are close friends of the couple.

Queen and Slim (Melina Matsoukas, 2019) 9/10

An ode to the blaxploitation flicks of the 1970s which also channels crime road movies like Spielberg's "The Sugarland Express" and "Dirty Mary Crazy Larry". The couple on the run, called the "black Bonnie and Clyde", meet up on a blind date. She (Jodie Turner-Smith) is a lawyer - tall, slim and sexy. He (Daniel Kaluuya) is short, a noisy eater and out of her class. A minor traffic incident results in an altercation with a trigger happy cop who winds up dead. So they are forced to go on the run and drive on south from Ohio finding brief refuge with her uncle (a funny Bokeem Woodbine) who is a pimp. Along the way they bicker and get to know each. There is a lovely moment of respite on the dance floor at a bar. The screenplay, although thin and familiar, makes pointed comments about police racism, the revival of African-American activism and folk heroes born of violence. What helps the film most is the crackling chemistry between the two leads and an eclectic mixture of songs heard on the various car radios during the journey.

Motherless Brooklyn (Edward Norton, 2019) 7/10

A passion project for Norton who sets this contemporary story, based on the novel by Jonathan Lethem, in 1959 which automatically makes things very atmospheric taking it into neo-noir territory. The plot involves a detective agency and the mysterious death of its owner (Bruce Willis) followed by a dogged investigation by the man's quirky - he suffers from Tourette Syndrome - protegé (Edward Norton). The case is complicated and involves a tough property developer (Alec Baldwin) who is using strong arm tactics to buy out black, latino and jewish neighborhoods, demolishing them, kicking out the residents and constructing freeways and bridges where they once stood. At the center of it all is a young black woman (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who seems to hold an important key to the puzzle and an architect (Willem Dafoe) who also seems somehow involved. The detective pursues the case through black jazz clubs in Harlem while getting viciously knocked about by goons. The story has a strong whiff of a Phillip Marlowe mystery ("The Big Sleep" and "Farewell, My Lovely" both come immediately to mind) and in fact invokes most of all Polanski's classic L.A. based "Chinatown" - the detective in a fedora, cheap hoods beating up on him, a powerful financier involved in corrupt local government deals, a damsel who seems to be in distress but could be hiding the truth and especially the languid pace of the story with a music score that sharply brings to mind Jerry Goldsmith's iconic score. Stylish film is overlong but is well acted by the star cast who worked for free on this project as a favour to Norton.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Mar 07, 2020 11:49 pm

Reza wrote:
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.


I look forward to it.

Motherless Brooklyn (2019) Edward Norton 5/10
Horse Girl (2020) Jeff Baena 2/10
Meeting Gorbachev (2019) Werner Herzog & Andre Singer 7/10
Dark Waters (2019) Todd Haynes 5/10
Chained For Life (2019) Aaron Schimberg 8/10
Go Down Death (2014) Aaron Schumberg 3/10
Suzi Q (2019) Liam Firmager 6/10

Repeat viewings

My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) Stephen Frears 8/10
Some Like It Hot (1959) Billy Wilder 10/10
Heat and Dust (1983) James Ivory 7/10
The Pillow Book (1996) Peter Greenaway 8/10
The Lady Eve (1941) Preston Sturges 10/10
A Room with a View (1986) James Ivory 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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