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

Tenured Laureate
Posts: 8708
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 11:14 am
Location: Islamabad, Pakistan

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

Postby Reza » Tue May 05, 2020 5:17 am

Lucky Star (Frank Borzage, 1929) 8/10

Third silent film featuring the popular star team of Charles Farrell and Janet Gaynor. The first two, 7th Heaven (1927) and Street Angel (1928), were also directed by Frank Borzage both of which won Gaynor an Oscar at the first ceremony. In between those two films Borzage directed The River (1928), also with Farrell, in which the star appeared nude - the first time a major star appeared in the buff on screen. This gentle little fable is set in an expressionist setting - the country side looks highly theatrical with weird angled architecture giving it a strong european flavour although it is supposed to be somewhere in the United States. A wild young urchin (Janet Gaynor) - she is unkempt, lies and steals - lives on a farm with her mother and befriends two men both of whom go off to Europe when war is declared. When they return the farm boy (Charles Farrell) has lost both his legs and is in a wheelchair while his smooth talking sergeant (Guinn "Big Boy" Williams) makes moves on her but has no plans to marry her. Her mother pushes her towards him thinking marriage will change her fortunes. However, she has eyes only for the paraplegic. Simple story has many sweet moments between the two as they court each other - he washes her hair, gets her to wear clean clothes and she sparkles with all the attention she has never received at home. The fairy tale ending is completely in keeping with the tone of the film. Both Farrell and Gaynor are luminous throughout and would end up making a dozen films together. This film was believed lost until a print was discovered in Netherlands in the vaults of a film museum where it was restored. Originally it had some scenes filmed with sound but this version remains lost with only the silent one surviving.

City Girl (F.W. Marnau, 1930) 10/10

Lyrical silent film is one of only four Hollywood films made by the German expressionist master F. W. Marnau of which one is now lost. This ranks right up there with his other masterpiece "Sunrise" and was the inspiration for Terence Malick's "Days of Heaven". The story shares many themes with "Sunrise" in that it is about love and the struggle between city and rural life. A naive wheat farmer's son (Charles Farrell) from the Mid-West is sent by his tyrannical father (David Torrence) to Chicago to sell their crop for which he gets a lower price than what his father anticipated. He meets and falls in love with a struggling but feisty young waitress (Mary Duncan) in a diner and marries her. Their joyful return is welcomed by his loving mother and kid sister but his father, angry at the low price received for his crop, blames the girl and outright tells her she is not welcome. During an angry skirmish the old man strikes her when she stands up to his bullying and her husband cannot bring himself to stand upto his father. The following day a group of rowdy and leering harvesters arrive and make a play for the girl. One man, sensing the tension in the house, tries to seduce her into running off with him which is witnessed by the old man who tells his son. Heartbroken that her husband does not believe her she leaves a note behind that she loved only him and disappears in the night. Like all silent films the actors work at fever pitch during the emotional moments with Torrence's stern father coming off glaringly as a caricature. Marnau brings his signature look to the film through dramatic lighting shot by Ernest Palmer. The scenes in the city are sharply lit while the interior and night time moments at the farm are bathed in dramatic shadows which emphasise the young woman's sorrow and feeling of entrapment. Like "Sunrise" this too has stunning imagery throughout. Both Farrell and Duncan are superb and one of the most memorable scenes in the film is of the two arriving at the farm and deliriously running through the wheat fields with the camera following them and capturing their joy and love. The overwrought plot may seem rather excessive but it still manages to be extremely moving in a dream-like way. A must-see.

Le soldatesse / The Camp Followers (Valerio Zurlini, 1965) 8/10

Harrowing WWII film set in Axis occupied Greece which depicts the genocide wreaked on the local citizens by the Facists and the Nazis. A disillusioned Italian soldier (Tomas Milian) is ordered to take a truckload of starving greek prostitutes from Athens to Albania to be delivered for entertainment to the troops fighting the partisans. He is joined by a boorish truck driver (Mario Adorf) and an unpleasant senior officer (Aleksander Gavric) along with 12 prostitutes. The journey is fraught with danger as they pass through burning villages littered with dead bodies. Along the way the men bond with the girls - the driver finds comfort with an older pragmatic prostitute (Valeria Moriconi) and the soldier falls for the most forthright woman (Marie Laforêt) who holds strong views and rebuffs him. More forthcoming towards him is the gentle and jovial one (Anna Karina). With great difficulty the survivors manage to trek to safety after partisans attack and destroy their truck. The film ends with the soldier more disillusioned with the death and destruction he has witnessed while the prostitute he loves decides she cannot allow her people to be treated like animals and walks off into the mountains to join the partisans. Zurlini takes on a neo-realist documentary-like approach to the story emphasising the absurdity of transporting prostitutes to brothels against the greater absurdity of the horror surrounding them under Mussolini-era fascism. The wonderful cast (Anna Karina was the big star) all work movingly together as an ensemble.

Shadow Conspiracy (George P. Cosmatos, 1997) 6/10

This film barely got a release and went straight to video getting panned by critics. It's not bad at all as such films go and I have seen far worse. It's on the same lines as Sydney Pollack's classic paranoid thriller "Three Days of the Condor". Take that film's conspiracy theory scenario, remove Redford and Dunaway and add lots and lots of pot holes in the plot along with a similar protagonist who goes on the run. The Special aide (Charlie Sheen) to the President (Sam Waterston) discovers a plot conceived by higher ups in the White House who plan to kill the Chief, take over and form a shadow government. On the run and with a deadly assassin (Stephen Lang) on his ass he gets chased through a river, down a waterfall, through the streets of the capitol and the corridors of the White House. It's all so prepostrous and deliciously silly but manages to create suspense as he gets help from the White House Chief of Staff (Donald Sutherland) and a journalist and former lover (Linda Hamilton). The ending is a doozy and takes the cake for most absurd moment in the film. What actually comes through in this film is that one needn't fear nuclear annihilation or deadly coups. One needs to instead be aware of the surveillance menace which the government has implemented to a scary degree. Big Brother is watching. The excellent cast goes through the motions with Stephen Lang the only standout as the vicious robot-like killer. Ben Gazzara has a thankless few scenes in the background as the Vice President.

Shotgun (Lesley Salander, 1955) 4/10

A deputy sheriff (Sterling Hayden) chases after the gunslinger who kills his mentor and boss. Along the way he meets up with two other crooked souls - a sexy half breed (Yvonne De Carlo) whom he rescues from Indians and a bounty hunter (Zachary Scott). The Apaches do what they always did back then and the plot meanders along flogging the usual tropes of the genre.

Colt. 45 (Edwin L. Marin, 1950) 3/10

Slow dull Western with Randolph Scott getting robbed of his two Colt pistols and the chase to get them back from the crooked coward (Zachary Scott). Ruth Roman plays the feisty wife of Lloyd Bridges but switches her allegience at the end.

5 Steps to Danger (Henry Kesler, 1956) 6/10

After his car breaks down a Man (Sterling Hayden) gets a ride to Mexico from a lady (Ruth Roman) on the higway. Soon he is up to his neck in trouble as she is chased by cops, the CIA, the FBI and assorted other nefarious characters. The Red Scare gets a look-in with the plot getting more and more weird involving secret scientific formulas and the rocket program along with a cloak and dagger flashback to Berlin. Fast paced film holds interest as the two leads banter with and without handcuffs.

Bad Boys For Life (Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah, 2020) 7/10

The boys - Mike (Will Smith) and Marcus (Martin Lawrence) - are back for the third time minus Michael Bay but with the usual kick-ass action and wisecracks in tow. They team up with an elite force of kids to battle with a mother-son drug lord duo who are wreaking havoc in Miami and trying to kill Mike. Who is the killer on wheels hell bent on pumping bullets into Mike? It turns into an intimate family affair with car chases galore, explosions going off, choppers rising and crashing and a mean-ass bitch known as the witch on their case. Mindless fun time at the movies. And it's also very funny. Waiting for the boys to return now.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (Kirk Jones, 2016) 6/10

The entire family returns with some actors looking more pickled than others. Cute, fuzzy, corny movie is more of the same with another big fat Greek wedding in the offing. And clingy Toula (Nia Vardalos) and Ian (John Corbett) are on tenterhooks about their daughter's choice of college - will she stay in Chicago or choose far off New York? The delightful supporting cast - Michael Constantine, Lainie Kazan, Andrea Martin - playing the oddball kooky relatives make this sequel a fun watch.

Thappad (Anubhav Sinha, 2020) 9/10

There is life before. And then there is life after.....a SLAP. Anubhav Sinha's shattering screenplay addresses domestic violence with gut-wrenching force and explores how women are socialized into accepting it under patriarchy's thumb. Deep-seated social conditioning results in women often ignoring occasional indiscretions by men just to keep peace in the house. Men, meanwhile, will just be men. Amrita (Taapsee Pannu) is a homemaker and happily married to an ambitious corporate executive (Pavail Gulati). She lovingly looks after his ailing mother (Tanvi Azmi) who lives with them. Life for her is a happy routine of daily housework, interaction with in-laws, her own parents (Kumud Mishra & Ratna Pathak Shah) and the widow (Dia Mirza) next door to whose daughter she provides dance lessons. When her husband gets a promotion and a posting to London the couple celebrate by inviting family and friends to a party at their home. During the party her husband, disturbed by a phone call from the office, gets into a row with his boss. Amrita tries to separate them when he suddenly swings around and slaps her face. She is stunned and humiliated. As the days go by everyone tells her to move on while her husband feebily blames his misplaced temper and carries on oblivious to his wife's feelings. Nobody around them berates the husband. She decides to take a firm stand and although not financially independent moves in with her own parents which pushes the matter and eventually reaches the divorce court when lawyers get involved. Her firm stand brings about a dramatic change in all the people surrounding her as it forces them to view their own lives. Her own mother gave up her ambitions as a singer, the maid who faces and accepts domestic violence on a daily basis begins to question it and the lawyer who tolerates her own husband's snide remarks and a sex life that hints at marital rape all decide to take steps towards a positive outcome. Superbly acted film is held together by the magnificent central performance by Taapsee Pannu. Her understated demeanor and sad eyes speak volumes about the humiliation she feels and quietly and assuredly she resolves to bring dignity to her life. The perceptive screenplay forces the audience to look within themselves and explore their own relationships with spouses, siblings, parents and close friends. This film is a must-see.

The English Patient (Anthony Minghella, 1996) 10/10

Michael Ondaatje's Booker Prize winning novel is delicately brought to the screen with Minghella's screenplay carefully retaining the story's bit-by-bit revelation, via flashbacks, about a mysterious dying patient. The story follows four dissimilar people brought together at an Italian villa during the waning days of the Italian Campaign of
World War II. A troubled nurse (Juliette Binoche) cares for a dying unrecognizable burnt patient who cannot recall his name. She also meets a Sikh British Army sapper (Naveen Andrews), with whom she has an affair, and a bitter Canadian Intelligence officer (Willem Dafoe) who is looking for revenge against a person who betrayed him to the Germans who tortured and cut off his thumbs. The film maintains a dream-like quality as the patient, who speaks with an English accent, gradually relates his story. He is a Hungarian Count (Ralph Fiennes) and a cartographer who during the late 1930s was part of a Sahara desert exploration party near the Egyptian-Libyan border. The expedition is joined by an Englishwoman (Kristin Scott Thomas) and her husband (Colin Firth) and soon he is involved in an intense affair with her which eventually has devastating repercussions for both. The film takes on an epic structure like the cinema of David Lean with scenes depicting the psychological effects of war on all the characters as they try to hold on to their sanity. There are swooningly romantic moments glimpsed throughout - the playful frolics between the nurse and the sapper and the intensely sexual attraction between the Count and the Englishwoman. Superbly produced film won 9 Oscars - for Best Picture, Juliette Binoche in the supporting category, Mighella's direction, John Seale's dazzling cinematography, Gabriel Yared's romantic score, editing, sound, production design and for the costumes. Both Fiennes and Scott Thomas received nominations for their lead performances as did Minghella's exquisitely crafted screenplay which perfectly captured the complex structure of the novel.

The Sting (George Roy Hill, 1973) 9/10

Hill's charming film about street grifters takes on the tone of a playful homage to old Hollywood gangster films of the 1930s. Set in Chicago the film is shot mostly on sets on the backlot at Universal studios and uses a number of stylistic touches to evoke the cinema of the past - the use of inter-titles, editing wipes and the use of iris shots. Cinematographer Robert Surtees' muted colour scheme and 1930s style lighting along with Edith Head's costumes and the Scott Joplin score all help to create a bygone era. The film's casting coup was the re-teaming on screen of Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Newman took on the challenge of playing comedy after being constantly ridiculed for past attempts on screen. For Redford the year was momentous. He was already a star but after this film and the year's big romantic blockbuster, "The Way We Were" opposite Barbra Streisand, he took on the persona of a major heart throb and superstar. A small-time street grifter (Robert Redford) has to make a run for it after a hit goes wrong and his mentor is killed in retaliation at the orders of a vicious crime boss (Robert Shaw). He makes contact with another grifter (Paul Newman) who teaches him "the big con" which is planned on the crime boss as revenge. The convoluted plot ending with "the sting" moves delightfully at a fast pace with both stars having a ball with their parts. This stylish film was not only a boxoffice smash but won big at the Oscars defeating the horror hit ("The Exorcist") and the critical darling (Ingmar Bergman's "Cries and Whispers"). It won Best Pucture along with awards for Hill, the screenplay, editing, production design, costume design (Edith Head's eighth) and score. Redford was nominated (the only one he received for his acting to date) as was the cinematography and sound design. Old fashioned film is an entertainer with great heart.

The Gentlemen (Guy Richie, 2020) 7/10

Anti-Semitic, racist, homophobic and sexist characters abound in this often wickedly funny film. An American marijuana kingpin (Matthew McConaughey) in England plans to sell off his business to a billionaire (Jeremy Strong) but finds the underboss (Henry Goldman) to a Chinese gangster muscling in on the deal. Also making a nuisance of himself is a blackmailing reporter (Hugh Grant). Fast paced action-comedy crime film has the expected violent Richie moments, witty lines galore and a delightful cast dressed in fancy duds designed by Michael Wilkinson. Tough McConaughey is surrounded by an excellent cast - Charlie Hunnam as his trusted wily aide, Michelle Dockery as his chic cockney wife and especially Grant (speaking in a silly cockney accent - channelling Michael Caine) who is delightful as the crafty, sleazy and campy investigator making full use of his deadpan comic timing. Richie, the Brit version of Tarantino, references various past films and seems to be having a ball with this shallow but very funny film.

Match Point (Woody Allen, 2005) 9/10

Woody goes to London and, whoa, we don't get to see his nebbish persona in any of the characters in the film. However, we do get to visit Theodore Dreiser and Fyodor Dostoevsky from whom he liberally lifts elements for his plot here. Poor and struggling tennis pro (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) marries into a wealthy family, quickly rises up the corporate ladder courtesy of his wife (Emily Mortimer), her brother (Matthew Goode) and especially his business tycoon father-in-law (Brian Cox). Meyers plays a nicer version of Joe Lampton (from "Room at the Top") but gets in over his head, threatening his social position, when he falls in lust with his brother-in-law's former girlfriend, a sexy and neurotic struggling actress (Scarlett Johansson). He needs to choose between a stable steady life with perks - rich wife, good salary, opera, art, theatre, good wines - and a dead end life with a beautiful woman with hysterical tendencies. When she gets pregnant and tries to force him to leave his wife he decides on the most obvious way out - murder. A return to form for Allen after a number of misfires with the London setting forced onto him because he could not get financing for the film in New York. He weaves in themes about greed, lust, chance, fate and guilt which swirl in a heady mix all scored to the arias of different operas sung by Enrico Caruso - the tense murder sequence is scored with almost the whole of the Act II duet between Otello
and Iago from Giuseppe Verdi's "Otello" - giving the film a dream-like feeling. The entire cast is superbly put together including Penelope Wilton, funny and acidic as the mother-in-law, but acting honours easily go to Johansson who creates sexual sparks just staring at the camera. She was cast when first choice Kate Winslet dropped out of the film to spend time with her family. This is apparently Woody's favourite of all his own films and he deservedly received an Oscar nomination for the screenplay.

User avatar
Precious Doll
Posts: 4292
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2003 2:20 am
Location: Sydney

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat May 02, 2020 11:29 pm

Martin Eden (2019) Pietro Marcello 7/10
Onward (2020) Dan Scanlon 4/10
Dino (1957) Thomas Carr 2/10
Prometheus (1998) Tony Harrison 5/10
The Serpent's Kiss (1997) Philippe Rousselot 3/10
Homecoming (2018) Sam Esmail 5/10

Repeat viewings

Prime Cut (1972) Michael Ritchie 7/10
Primary Colours (1998) Mike Nichols 8/10
My Cousin Vinny (1992) Jonathan Lynn 7/10
All That Jazz (1979) Bob Fosse 7/10
Out of the Past (1947) Jacques Tourneur 8/10
The Tin Drum - Director's Cut (1979) Volker Schlöndorff 10/10
Against All Odds (1984) Taylor Hackford 6/10
The Heiress (1949) William Wyler 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)

Tenured Laureate
Posts: 8708
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 11:14 am
Location: Islamabad, Pakistan

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

Postby Reza » Thu Apr 30, 2020 2:14 pm

The Chess Players / Shatranj Ke Khiladi (Satyajit Ray, 1977) 7/10
A Gentleman (Krishna D.K. & Raj Nidimoru, 2017) 5/10

My Son John (Leo McCarey, 1952) 5/10

McCarey, a staunch anti-Communist, part of Hollywood’s right-wing faction and a devout Roman Catholic, came up with this hysterically rabid diatribe against the "Red Scare" which the United States was hilariously mired in at the time. The great Helen Hayes came out of a 17-year retirement to play the tremulous wife of a Bible-thumping war veteran (Dean Jagger) and mother to two strapping sons who both go off to Korea as the story begins. There is a third son (Robert Walker), the eldest who is unathletic and an intellectual (there are strong hints towards his homosexuality), who has a vague government related job in Washington and who retuns with a changed attitude. He scoffs at his religious and patriotic dad and endures creepy mollycoddling from his clingy mother. When the mother is questioned about her son by an FBI agent (Van Heflin) she *gasp" suspects him to have communist affiliations leading to a ridiculously melodramatic finalè. Walker died before the shoot was over so some of his scenes were hastily reconstructed. The overwrought screenplay, clearly blatant propaganda, was nominated for an Oscar. A curiosity from Hollywood's past that is interesting as a historical time capsule.

George Washington Slept Here (William Keighley, 1942) 3/10

Corny slapstick with the jokes centered around a dilapidated house (where Washington once slept) and Jack Benny's wisecracks and pratfalls none of which are funny. Lovely Ann Sheridan is his wife who buys the house after being told they can't live in their city apartment because of their dog. Percy Kilbride is the hick who helps them dig a well, Hattie McDaniel is the flustered cook and Charles Coburn the rich uncle who turns out to be not so rich. Predictable story was based on the Moss Hart-George Kauffman Broadway hit.

Love Wedding Repeat (Dean Craig, 2020) 5/10

We may as well understand one thing right at the beginning. There is only one definitive movie about weddings and that's the one with a stammering Hugh Grant not quite connecting until the end with Andie MacDowell. Well here we are back in wedding territory - in an Italian villa in the countryside - with another stammering bloke (Sam Claflin) whose sister (Eleanor Tomlinson) is the bride who shagged someone other than her hubby-to-be and that psycho fuck arrives uninvited to the wedding. Meanwhile Bro meets cute with a lovely (Olivia Munn) but can't seem to get the right words out and finds himself awkwardly seated next to his nasty ex (Freida Pinto) who is there with a new bloke who happens to be obsessed with penis girth and length. The film tries to repeat the charm of the classic but instead goes on too long. It's not bad at all, has a great mansion location but this movie just proves that old wine in new bottles can turn out to be vinegar. Not sweet but a little sour.

Party (Govind Nihalani, 1984) 8/10

Lacerating film, based on a popular play, is set during a long and eventful evening at a party held in honour of a celebrated playwright (Manohar Singh). The hostess, a society matron (Vijaya Mehta), has problems with her daughter (Deepa Sahi) who has had a child out of wedlock with a promising poet who has disappeared into the wilderness to fight oppression of tribals. The guests are a microcosm of society - journalists, intellects, politicians, actors, poets, teenagers and Marxist social workers - all of whom are wickedly exposed as pretentious middle class frauds. Nihalani takes what appears to be stagy material and makes it fluid as he takes his gliding camera and moves it from room to room capturing either snippets of conversations that reveal the political climate in the country and also focuses memorably on hysterical meltdowns by some of the main characters - the playwright's ageing actress mistress (the superb Rohini Hattangadi) craving his attention and dissolving her sorrow in alcohol as the evening wears on, the defiant daughter who accuses her mother of being a parasite and non-entity trying to show herself as an equal to the crème de la crème of society by inviting them to her soirées, the quietly introspective houseguest (Amrish Puri) who prefers to observe and avoid any confrontation, the poet's friend (Om Puri) who unexpectedly arrives to announce to the guests that the crusader has been attacked and taken into police custody for his protection and then reveals a devastating truth about him shattering everyone's false sense of reverie. The film ends with the poet, Amrit (Naseeruddin Shah), staggering wildly with blood pouring from wounds on his body straight towards the camera. He is the only character with real problems unlike all the grotesque party guests wallowing in self created misery.

Qarib Qarib Single (Tanuja Chandra, 2017) 6/10

Rather flimsy premise has a lonely middle-aged widow (Parvathy Thiruvothu) hook up with a man (Irrfan Khan) via a dating app. He suggests they take a road trip together to go meet the three women he once had affairs with. They are both poles apart in temperament - she is quietly reticent while he is scruffy, boistrous and opinionated. It's pretty obvious where the film is heading - all their misadventures on the journey bring about a drastic change in both. She opens up and stops pining for her late husband while he also puts to rest the past. The two stars have fun playing off each other with Irrfan delightfully droll throughout making this a quietly charming little rom-com.

The Locked Door (George Fitzmaurice, 1929) 4/10

Static melodrama was Barbara Stanwyck's film debut.

The Violent Men (Rudolph Maté, 1955) 8/10

Solid relentless tension between characters was always the sign of a good Western. This is one of many in that genre from the 1950s that were considered fairly routine at the time despite the exceptional A-list cast. It's one of the great films of that decade with one of the most underrated actors in the lead - Glenn Ford - a popular star who appeared in many classic films but never really got the acclaim he deserved. A Union soldier (Glenn Ford) decides to sell his small ranch and move East. When the rich crippled land baron (Edward G. Robinson) uses his brother (Brian Keith) to strong arm him into selling his ranch for a pittance, an all-out range war breaks out when the soldier not only refuses to sell but threatens the two petty brothers. At the center of the drama stands a conniving and vicious woman (Barbara Stanwyck), wife to the cripple and lover of his brother, who goads both men to retaliate by pulling their strings much to the disgust of her daughter (Dianne Foster) who is aware of her mother's philandering ways. The men all act in a subtle way while Stanwyck goes deliciously over-the-top as she did in most of the Westerns she memorably appeared in during the 1950s. The showdown with Ford leading the settlers against the land baron's men is vicious and brutal. Ford's initial quiet and dignified persona makes a dramatic shift as he uses tricks learned during the war to his advantage. Superbly shot in widescreen on Arizona locations this taut film takes on an operatic quality with tragic overtones. Max Steiner's score loudly rises during each violent confrontation.

The Saint in London (John Paddy Carstairs, 1939) 4/10

The first in a series of B-films with George Sanders as "The Saint". The actor makes good use of his aristocratic demeanor and charming urbane wit as Simon Templer, star sleuth from the books of Leslie Charteris, and sort of a precursor to James Bond. The convoluted and rather tiresome plot involves stolen money which Templer, with the help of a daffy society girl (Sally Gray) and his recently recruited fresh-out-of-San Quentin butler (David Burns), manages to recover and get the crooks. As with most B-film series out of Hollywood it is the star who shines bright and Sanders was always one of the absolute best.

L'eau à la bouche (Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, 1960) 6/10

Two cousins (Françoise Brion & Alexandra Stewart) and their boyfriends gather at a baroque chateau in the french countryside for the reading of a will and find themselves falling for each other's partner. The languid mood also carries over to the butler (Michel Galabru) who makes a play for the maid (Bernadette Lafont). New Wave film explores sexuality but despite the shenanigans on view its the magnificent chateau that takes center stage as the characters chase each other through the grand corridors and gardens. The film has memorable cinematography and a lovely score by Serge Gainsbourg (his first).

Windom's Way (Ronald Neame, 1957) 6/10

A British doctor (Peter Finch), working in a small village, gets caught up in the Malayan emergency. Matters come to a head when the communist rebel forces attempt to overthrow the British government by taking many of the villagers prisoners and forcing them to join the cause. In the midst of this the doctor's estranged wife (Mary Ure) arrives wanting to reconcile. Earnest low key performances by the two leads bolster this rather plodding drama. The film, Finch and the screenplay were nominated for Baftas.

Murder at the Gallop (George Pollock, 1963) 7/10

A robust Dame Margaret Rutherford made a series of B-films playing the "tittle-tattling busybody", Miss Marple, based on Agatha Christie's murder-mystery novels. This second film outing is actually an adaptation of Christie's "After the Funeral" which had Hercule Poirot as the detective but changed to incorporate Miss Marple into the plot as an amateur detective. When an old man is discovered dead from an apparent heart attack the police are all ready to close the case but Miss Marple (Margaret Rutherford) suspects murder. During the reading of the will she manages to eavesdrop and hears the dead man's sister also announce that it was murder. With the family members under suspicion the action converges at the hotel where they are all staying. The amateur sleuth not only bakes a tray full of madeleines in this installment but while snooping out the killer manages to also ride side saddle on a horse, stealthily move around the hotel eavesdropping, almost gets gassed to death in her bed and dances the twist during a party sequence. A great supporting cast play some of the suspects - Dame Flora Robson, Robert Morley - while the star's husband, Stringer Davis, gets to play her bumbling assistant. This is certainly not the Miss Marple from the books but an eccentric and delightful interpretation by Rutherford which she made quite her own until decades later Joan Hickson put her own stamp on the part playing the character just as Christie had written her.

Spitfire / The First of the Few (Leslie Howard, 1942) 6/10

R.J. Mitchell, aircraft designer and patriot, designs the Spitfire airplane after a visit to Germany during the 1930s where he senses that seeds of war are being. At the cost of his health - doctors give him only a few months to live - he completes the project and supervises the aircraft's testing. Leslie Howard stars and directs this propaganda film (backed by the RAF in order to inspire the nation) as WWII was raging across Europe. The aircraft proved successful against the German Luftwaffe. Rosamund John plays his wife and David Niven plays his close friend, a composite of various test pilots. The film and Howard's participation has a special significance as a year later Howard was killed when the Lisbon-to-London civilian airliner in which he was travelling was shot down by the Luftwaffe on June 1, 1943. The film came out in the United States a month after Howard's death.

I, Jane Doe (John H. Auer, 1948) 6/10

Melodramatic film flits from event to event - taking in WWII, the Nazis, the French Resistance, a prison in the United States for illegal immigrants and ending with a crime passionnel when a mysterious woman (Vera Ralston), dubbed Jane Doe by the media, shoots dead a man (John Carroll), refuses to speak in her defence and is sentenced to the electric chair. Since the defendent is pregnant she is given a reprieve until after the baby is born. However, the baby dies due to an epidemic and the woman finds herself being defended in court by the wife (Ruth Hussey) of the man she shot. Long flashbacks reveal the true nature of the murder. Hussey is fine in this mystery soap opera from the stable of Republic Studios with a rather lackadaisical performance by Vera Ralston who would soon end up charming the much older (by 40 years) Herbert Yates, the head of the studio, who would leave his family and marry her. One of the better B-films from this studio.

D-Day (Nikhil Advani, 2013) 6/10

Rishi Kapoor plays gangster Iqbal Seth aka Goldman - a composite of Dawood Ibrahim - founder of D-Company the criminal syndicate founded by him in Bombay. He is on India's most wanted list and a plot is hatched by RAW to capture him and brought across from Pakistan. RAW activates a sleeper agent (Irrfan Khan) in Karachi who has spent the last nine years living incognito as a barber with a wife and young son as part of his cover. After hearing that Goldman is coming out of hiding to attend his son's wedding a plan is hatched to capture the gangster. The agent is joined by an ex-Indian Army officer and mercenary (Arjun Rampal) and a RAW explosives expert (Huma Qureshi). When the plan fails the trio find themselves grappling with violence that hits home on a personal front for all - the song "Alvida" is played during the murder sequence of a Pakistani prostitute (Shruti Haasan), the mercenary's lover, and is brilliantly staged with the camera on Rampal as he imagines the attack and is shown watching his lover being savagely killed. It's a brilliantly edited sequence of a man imagining his lover's murder after it has taken place but placing the actor within the same frame while the violence is taking place and she is being beaten and cut. Like snippets from a Tarantino film the trio once again, through chance and a shoot-out, manage to take custody of the gangster and it is a tense standoff between the three whether to take the criminal across the border or hand him back to the Pakistani authorities. Action-packed spy film has the expected jingoistic tone throughout and is yet another Indian screenplay that fails to "get" the Pakistani Muslim persona right. Bollywood script writers really need to come over and stay amongst Pakistanis to get a feel on how they should be correctly portrayed - we are NOT like Muslims from Lucknow. Well acted film with some smartly shot action sequences. Ahmedabad, Gujarat substitutes for Karachi and the dramatic finale is staged in the Rann of Kutch. Filmfare awards for editing and action and nominations for the screenplay, production design, cinematography and score.

Petticoat Fever (George Fitzmaurice, 1936) 4/10

Corny screwball comedy set in icebound Labrador. A telegraph operator (Robert Montgomery) stuck alone at his post for two years suddenly finds his shack crammed with surprise guests. A crashed plane brings in a celebrated aviator (Reginald Owen) and his chic companion (Myrna Loy). She soon becomes the bone of contention between the two men. Matters come further to a head when the operator's girlfriend also arrives. Silly nonsense despite great chemistry between Loy and Montgomery.

User avatar
Precious Doll
Posts: 4292
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2003 2:20 am
Location: Sydney

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Apr 25, 2020 10:48 pm

Kanchenjungha (1962) Satyajit Ray 6/10
The Asthenic Syndrome (1989) Kira Muratova 6/10
Spirit of the Tattoo (1982) Yoichi Takabayashi 4/10
Golden River (1965) Ritwik Ghatak 6/10
Hamlet (1977) Celestino Cornado 5/10
Circus of Books (2020) Rachel Mason 6/10

Repeat viewings

Fearless (1993) Peter Weir 9/10
Milk (2008) Gus Van Sant 8/10
My Darling Clementine (1946) John Ford 10/10
Zelig (1983) Woody Allen 10/10
Yanks (1979) John Schlesinger 10/10
Stranger by the Lake (2013) Alain Guiraudie 8/10
The Cotton Club Encore (1984) Francis Ford Coppola 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)

Tenured Laureate
Posts: 8708
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 11:14 am
Location: Islamabad, Pakistan

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

Postby Reza » Sun Apr 19, 2020 2:19 pm

Return of the Frontiersman (Richard Bare, 1950) 5/10

La vérité / The Truth (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2019) 8/10

Japanese director Kore-eda completely switches gears by working in a different language (french) and a subject far removed from what usually comes out of Japan. In fact the genre chosen is more Hollywood even if it was Ingmar Bergman who perfected that musty plot of a mother-daughter rivalry steeped in recriminations of the heart. Ingrid Bergman as the world famous concert pianist clashes with her meek homemaker daughter Liv Ullmann in the classic Swedish film "Autumn Sonata". Just as Shirley MacLaine as a flamboyant Hollywood star clashes with her struggling actress daughter Meryl Streep in Mike Nichol's "Postcards From the Edge". Kore-eda here looks in on an ageing but still active French diva and movie star (Catherine Deneuve) who has just published a heavily air-brushed autobiography and is undertaking a supporting role in a science fiction film opposite a younger star who reminds her of her late actress friend. It doesn't help the situation that years before the diva snatched away an important part from her friend by sleeping with the director and later went on to win a César for the role. The friend, an alcoholic and caregiver to her daughter, died in an accident. This juicy, if familiar premise, has in fact more juice when the star's script writer daughter (Juliette Binoche) arrives from New York with her B-movie actor husband (Ethan Hawke) and young daughter. Soon sparks are flying as the daughter, with gigantic chips on her shoulder, lets loose at mom when she reads about the lies written about their relationship in the book. Also witness to all the subtle but sharp digs are the diva's current boyfriend and ex-husband who watch with amused if bated breath. None of Deneuve's contemporary actresses from the 1960s are still around in such a prominent manner on screen. The star, quite a bit heavy around the middle now and with a fiddle or three to her face, has managed to maintain her iconic diva status with regular lead roles in french films and looks fabulous just as one would expect an old-time movie star to be. Binoche, devoid of makeup and with a semi-grungy look, holds her own opposite Deneuve as the past is raked up bit by bit and the daughter is astounded to see that her mother holds no regrets about the choices she made along the way - neglecting her daughter and continuously two-timing assorted husbands and boyfriends - all for her craft. Hawke, remaining on the periphery of the two stars, still manages to make a mark as the wannabee actor - his career choices have been commendable as the actor is not afraid to take supporting roles along with strong and very offbeat lead parts in independent films. Koreeda keeps it all moving at a gentle pace - even the flying sparks between the two women come off without loud hysteria. In fact there are many wonderful quiet little moments to cherish throughout the film as in the scenes with the child actor playing the grand daughter. There is a charming scene with the child brushing the diva's hair as they both playfully converse together which surprisingly comes very naturally to the star even though she could never manage that with her own daughter. Beautifully acted quirky little film.

Umberto D. (Vittorio De Sica, 1952) 10/10

This Italian neorealist film is one of many De Sica masterpieces that finds poetry in the simplest of things. Shot with a cast of non-professionals the screenplay (by Cesare Zavattini), is a series of vignettes in the life of an old man, a retired pensioner (Carlo Battisti), possibly at the end of his life. He lives in a rented room in Rome from which he is about to be evicted by the nasty landlady who is demanding rent which hasn't been paid and which the old man does not have. His only friends are the young pregnant maid and his faithful dog Flike. The screenplay, nominated for an Oscar, takes us along on the old man's sad journey as he is hospitalized for tonsilitis, returns to find his dog missing but finds him at the dog pound. Desperate for cash he refuses to beg on the street and tries to unsuccessfully borrow from a friend who turns him down. Finally evicted from his room he contemplates suicide but decides to give his dog away first. At the park he offers the dog to numerous people but is turned down after which in a distraught state tries to kill the dog under a train but the pet runs off. De Sica ends his film on a positive note with the old man and his dog playfully walking down a street although it is clear that life for them is just a step up from a level of shame but well below poverty level. A film about love, dignity and humanity. A must-see.

The Sea (Stephen Brown, 2013 4/10

Dull film based on the Man Booker prize winning novel by John Banville who also wrote the screenplay and changes the complex structure of the book by making it more linear. A morose man (Ciaraán Hinds) goes back to the seaside where he spent his childhood. His wife (Sinéad Cusack), with whom he had a prickly relationship has died of cancer and his visit brings back a load of memories from the past. The story relates three time periods with the past seen via flashbacks. The present scenes at the guest house, which is run by a sympathetic proprietess (Charlotte Rampling), and the recent past with his dying wife are shot through a blue filter bathing the scenes in a cold clinical blue hue. The flashbacks to his childhood at the beach are bathed in a burnished golden hue - a formative time spent in the company of a rich family with an eccentric dad (Rufus Sewell), a lovely mum (Natascha McElhone) and their two obnoxious daughters with him he spends time as the teenager becomes aware of his sexuality. There is also a trauma that took place during his childhood and hints appear throughout the film that it had something to do with the family he spent time with. The extremely downbeat premise makes it all a rather tiresome slog with a climax that turns out to be anti-climactic and making the strong performances by the superb cast seem like such a waste. What could have been a fascinating memory piece turns out to be a limp exercise in lethargy.

Un maledetto imbroglio / The Facts of Murder (Pietro Germi, 1959) 8/10

A frantic police procedural has a determined cop (Pietro Germi) trying to solve two crimes. A robber takes off with valuable jewels from an apartment which is followed by the murder of the neighbour (Eleonora Rossi Drago) across the hall. Are both the crimes related? The police suspect a bunch of individuals - could it be the deceased woman's maid (Claudia Cardinale) and her lover (Nino Castelnuovo), her cousin who is a quack doctor (Franco Fabrizi) who often took money from her or was it her estranged and evasive husband (Claudio Gora) who was out of town and has an alibi? And her will has recently been changed excluding the husband bequeathing everything to most of the other suspects and the Church. The convoluted plot gradually reveals that everyone appears to have a skeleton in their closet. Germi is great fun to watch as the dogged cop who, like Poirot, gets to the root of the mystery. Fast paced film is often very witty in its interactions between the characters while all the outdoor locations are used to good advantage.

The Looters (Abner Biberman, 1955) 6/10

A mountain climber (Rory Calhoun) and his war buddy (Ray Danton) come across a downed plane in the Colorado Rockies. The disparate group of survivors include a sweaty old stockbroker (Thomas Gomez), a pin-up model (Julie Adams) and a Navy officer (Frank Faylin). When a box full of cash is discovered the old man and the climber's buddy hold everyone hostage relying on the expert to lead them all down. The plot was obviously ripped off years later for the Sylvester Stallone actioner "Cliffhanger". Calhoun, usually the villain, makes an energetic hero, Danton a vicious villain and Adams is delectable eye-candy. Danton and Adams met on this movie and got married - they divorced in 1978. The film has a spectacular finalé.

I Vitelloni (Federico Fellini, 1953) 10/10

Fellini's first successful film is not only autobiographical but a perceptive look at small-town life on the bleak Adriatic coast and how it affects five single friends. Leading aimless carefree lives they all wish to leave town but cannot muster up enough courage to do so. The screenplay, nominated for an Oscar, presents their story through a series of vignettes with a couple of vivid set pieces - the opening scene set during a beauty pageant and a later sequence set during a carnival reverie - which clearly show the director's touch which he would later improve upon in subsequent films. The five men are all a bunch of losers. Fausto, the skirt-chaser (Franco Fabrizi), is forced by his father into a shotgun marriage with his girlfriend after she faints and is suspected of being pregnant. His womanizing ways continue as he makes a play for his boss' wife (Lída Baarová - the great Czech-Austrian star and former mistress of Joseph Goebbels) and is fired from his job. Moraldo (Franco Interlenghi) dreams of escaping the town while watching Fausto in quiet disgust as he continues to cheat on his wife who happens to be his sister. Riccardo (Riccardo Fellini) dreams of becoming a singer, the effeminate and daydreaming Alberto (Alberto Sordi) clowns around and is looked after by his sister and mother and Leopoldo (Leopoldo Trieste) writes a play wishing to be a dramatist. Extremely bitter yet poetic film is shot in a very simple and straightforward manner without any surreal touches that would become Fellini's trademark in most of his subsequent films. The great score by Nino Rota compliments the superb images on screen.

Les Grandes Manœuvres (René Clair, 1955) 7/10

Sumptuously filmed comedy of manners with an ironic ending. This was Clair's first film in colour and he uses pastel shades throughout except a garish red which is the colour of the soldiers' trousers. And he shoots in mostly medium and long shots with very few closeups emphasizing the costumes and production design. The story is set in a French provincial town just on the eve of WWI. A garrison of soldiers are billeted in town and the story revolves around the notorious sexual escapades of a young lieutenant (Gérard Philipe) in the cavalry. As a lark he takes on a wager to seduce a lady whose name is to be secretly pulled out of a lot. The target turns out to be a single, divorced milliner (Michèle Morgan) who is also being pursued by a respected nobleman (Jean Desailly). Just as the soldier falls in love with his target she finds out about the wager. Witty film expertly balances comedy, drama and tragedy. A sub-plot involves the soldier's best friend (Yves Robert) pursuing his own lady (a very young Brigitte Bardot seen here before she exposed her own personal wares to the world). Philipe and Morgan make a very handsome pair of lovers.

The Black Knight (Tay Garnett, 1954) 4/10

B-movie intrigues during the time of King Arthur. Humble sword maker (Alan Ladd), in love with the fair maiden (Patricia Medina) at the castle, comes to her rescue while donning a disguise as the Black Knight. Peter Cushing is the hissable Saracen villain who has gotten himself into the good graces of the King in order to overthrow him. Ladd sleepwalks through the film in a bored daze and is shot throughout - unseen on screen of course - standing on a box to disguise his short stature. In addition Ladd's double did most of the star's scenes in long and medium shots.

User avatar
Precious Doll
Posts: 4292
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2003 2:20 am
Location: Sydney

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Apr 18, 2020 10:24 pm

The Platform (2019) Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia 4/10
Love Wedding Repeat (2020) Dean Craig 1/10
The 47 Ronin (1941) Kenki Mizoguchi 5/10

Repeat viewings

The Miracle Woman (1931) Frank Capra 8/10
Boogie Nights (1997) Paul Thomas Anderson 10/10
Hotel Du Nord (1938) Marcel Carne 7/10
White God (2014) Kornél Mundruczó 9/10
Shock Corridor (1963) Samuel Fuller 8/10
The Ice Storm (1997) Ang Lee 8/10
Brokeback Mountain (2004) Ang Lee 9/10
Dark Victory (1939) Edmund Goulding 8/10
Worzeck (1979) Werner Herzog 5/10
The Women (1939) George Cukor 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)

Tenured Laureate
Posts: 8708
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 11:14 am
Location: Islamabad, Pakistan

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

Postby Reza » Fri Apr 17, 2020 4:15 pm

Uphaar (Sudhendu Roy, 1971) 6/10
Big Night (Campbell Scott & Stanley Tucci, 1996) 7/10
The Brothers Rico (Phil Karlson, 1975) 6/10
The Magnet (Charles Frend, 1950) 4/10
Peeper (Peter Hyams, 1975) 5/10
Man in the Middle / The Winston Affair (Guy Hamilton, 1964) 3/10
One Shoe Makes It Murder (William Hale, 1982) 4/10
Buchanan Rides Alone (Budd Boetticher, 1958) 4/10

Ride Lonesome (Budd Boetticher, 1959) 8/10

Classic Boetticher western with his favourite star Randolph Scott who in his later years played silent grizzled cowboys in a series of B-films for the director. A vicious bounty hunter (Randolph Scott) captures a young killer (James Best) and on his way to collect the bounty comes across a disparate group of stranded individuals - an outlaw (Pernell Roberts), his aide (James Coburn) and a young frontierswoman (Karen Steele). They are all forced to come together when a band of Indians show up wanting to carry off the woman. Unusual western as all the "good" guys are vicious and greedy killers with the worst of them - the prisoner's brother (Lee Van Cleef) - making an appearance at the end to face off with the bounty hunter who has been waiting to flush him out. The Boetticher westerns were all set in the same world as John Ford's films but had characters more real to life making these films edgy and provocative. This is one of Martin Scorsese's favourite westerns and Sergio Leone was greatly inspired by the westerns of Boetticher.

The Bridge at Remagen (John Guillermin, 1969) 5/10

Old fashioned war film set during early 1945 about the 9th Armored Division approaching
Remagen and capturing
Ludendorff Bridge which was a critical remaining bridge across the river Rhine in Germany. Realistc heroics with an interesting cast of actors - George Segal, Ben Gazzara, Robert Vaughn - some who would go on to become major stars during the 1970s. The film was shot in Czechoslovakia during a difficult time just as the Russians marched in. The film has outstanding widescreen cinematography by Stanley Cortez and a rousing Elmer Bernstein score.

The White Tower (Ted Tetzlaff, 1950) 6/10

As mountain climbing films go this does not hold a candle to the modern-day effects which help make this genre today so real and exciting. This 1950 production, based on the novel by James Ramsey Ullmann, holds its own quite well thanks to the two visual stylists on the crew - the director Tetzlaff, an acclaimed former cinematographer, and Ray Rennahen who shoots the film in stunning colour mostly on location. The stock characters are portrayed by an eclectic cast - the anxious woman (Alida Valli) wanting to climb the mountain for her late father who died attempting it, an alcoholic failed writer (Claude Rains) wanting to redeem himself, an elderly geologist (Sir Cedric Hardwicke), an unreformed Nazi (Lloyd Bridges) wanting to prove that he is the best, the peasant guide (Oscar Homolka) and the former bomber-pilot / tourist (Glenn Ford) who takes on the challenge as a means to follow the woman for whom he has the hots. Everyone has a deep-rooted chip on their shoulder and the difficult climb leads them to either salvation or to their doom. The actual climb is well shot with the actors and the stuntmen seamlessly integrated with many suspenseful moments along the way.

A Death in the Gunj (Konkona Sen Sharma, 2017) 8/10

Atmospheric film is set in an old Anglo-Indian town, McCluskieganj, where a boistrous Bengali family gather at the colonial bungalow of an elderly retired couple, the Bakshis (Om Puri & Tanuja) over new years in 1978-79. The film's dramatic opening has two men trying to load a dead body into a car and then Sharma, in this dazzling directorial debut, flashes back a week as we see events unfold. As in most family gatherings there are temper and ego flareups, fun and games, drinking, sexual escapades as secrets unravel and different temperaments collide as the guests all gather under one roof - the hosts' son (Gulshan Deviah) and his wife (Tilotama Shome), her sexually liberated friend (Kalki Koechlin) getting drunk and having it off with her now married former boyfriend (Ranvir Shorey) who relentlessly teases the young introverted Bakshi cousin (Vikrant Massy) who appears to be troubled as he silently observes everyone interacting. The ensemble cast give pitch perfect performances - the dialogue has a natural rhythm with the cast frequently jumping from Hindi to English to Bengali. Sharma uses sound and the camera to maintain a sense of eerie dread throughout leading up to the tragedy which was hinted at during the film's opening sequence. The period is marvelously but subtly evoked through costumes and props but at its center the film is a sensitive and moving portrait of an angst ridden young man derailed by lack of empathy in a world that harshly moves on by.

Siamo donne / We, the Women (Alfredo Guarini, Gianni Franciolini, Roberto Rossellini, Luigi Zampa, Luchino Visconti, 1953) 4/10

Tiresome Italian portmanteau film divided into five segments. The first one is the best about a casting call for a film at Rome's Cinecitta studio with hundreds of young girls showing up for the audition. Fascinating process of how the field is narrowed down with the chosen few getting to make a screen test. The other segments have four great stars seen in supposed events from their own lives. A bored Alida Valli decides to attend the engagement party of her masseuse where all the guests fawn over her making her feel like a freak in a circus. Rossellini directs the silliest episode with his wife Ingrid Bergman trying to chase away her neighbor's chicken which has destroyed her rose garden. A huge film star (Isa Miranda) has fame, awards, looks and wealth but no children and through a chance encounter helps a young boy and his siblings while their mother is out of the house. Visconti directs Anna Magnani in the last segment which involves her in a silly argument with a taxi driver over paying an extra lira for the pet dog on her lap. Boring movie is strictly bearable because of the four leading ladies.

Red Beard (Akira Kurosawa, 1965) 6/10

Long rambling film is notorious for having caused a rift between Kurosawa and his star Toshiro Mifune. After collaborating on 16 films the duo never worked together again. An arrogant young doctor (Yūzō Kayama), trained at a Dutch clinic in Nagasaki, is assigned to a rural clinic for his post-graduate training. He immediately clashes with the strict but humane doctor (Toshiro Mifune) who runs the clinic and is afectionately called "Red Beard". Gradually the young man gets involved with the poor patients and learns a valuable lesson in humanity - lives of patients are more important than wealth or status. Superbly produced film has many moving vignettes involving different patients but the 3-hour running time is rather excessive.

Photograph (Ritesh Batra, 2019) 6/10

A master of the understatement, Batra's films speak volumes about human relationships as his protagonists quietly meet, form a bond and through mostly silence evoke the flutter of love. A lonely photographer (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who takes pictures of tourists for a living convinces a girl (Sanya Malhotra) passing "India Gate" to pose for him. She leaves without paying for the photograph. Later when his old grandmother browbeats him into settling down with a girl he lies and tells her that he has already found a girl. Seeking out the girl in the photograph he convinces her to play along to appease the old woman. As they continue meeting the extreme differences in their backgrounds seems to vanish as they connect as two persons. Frankly its only in movies that such couples manage to not only meet but connect as well. And even their connection is in a catatonic way with hardly any dialogue and just furtive glances which seem to be doing all the talking. Slow moving film is well acted by the two leads.

37 Days (Justin Hardy, 2014) 7/10

Archduke Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian empire was assassinated on June 28, 1914. Exactly 37 days later on August 4 Britain declared war on Germany. This 3-part miniseries is a mixture of drama and documentary and looks at events during those 37 days as desperate diplomatic negotiations took place between the British Foreign Office and the German Chancellery with active roles also played by Kaiser Wilhelm II, Czar Nicholas II, Franz Joseph I.

Ek Ladki Ko Dekha toh Aisa Lagaa (Shelly Chopra Dar, 2019) 1/10

Sometimes a good intention backfires miserably as it does with this dismal film. The story about Sweety (Sonam Kapoor) growing up a closeted lesbian and coming out to her middle class Punjabi milieu - which includes the entire town in addition to her shocked dad (Anil Kapoor). How do we try and break the taboo of homosexuality? Preach in broad strokes to the masses and in particular the "aam middle-class jantaa". So set the story of poor little Sweety in a small-town Punjabi milieu peppered by characters with silly names like Babloo and Chatro and make everyone really loud and obnoxious from the maid to the grandmother to the angry brother. Keep the comic quotient at fever pitch throughout before springing the surprise of Sweety's sexuality via a staged "naatak" in front of the whole town. Unfortunately nothing works starting with the two lead actors. Anil Kapoor is totally miscast and does not convince as a middle class punjabi and the less said about Sonam Kapoor who appears to have the acting chops of a gnat. Juhi Chawla does her tired punjabi comic shtick as a sort of love interest for Anil and if anyone survives this mess its Rajkumar Rao as the guy being mistakenly pushed as Sweety's love interest and author of the "naatak". This trite film not only does diservice to an important subject but also trashes the legacy of the classic song by R.D. Burman by using it as the title to this film.

Sonchiriya (Abhishek Chaubey, 2019) 9/10

Riveting dacoit drama is set in the dry river ravines of Chambal valley. This once popular Bollywood genre last came to the screen 25 years ago when Shekhar Kapur's "Bandit Queen" won critical raves. Chaubey's gritty and relentlessly violent and profane film surpasses that classic. A gang of dacoits, led by Dadda (Manoj Bajpayee), make a bold daylight raid on a village wedding hoping to steal the gold dowry. Unaware that it is a trap by the police a horrific shootout takes place, Dadda is killed and the remaining bandits go on the run with the police Inspector (Ashutosh Rana) in hot pursuit. The gang comes across a local woman (Bhumi Pednakar) on the run from her family carrying a young girl who is a rape victim in need of a hospital. The gang splits as Lakhna (Sushant Singh Rajput) wants to help the woman and surrender to the police while the hotheaded Vakil Singh (Ranvir Shorey) wants to continue Dadda's legacy. Things don't quite go according to plan for both men as the woman's family and the police continue their pursuit leading to more violent showdowns. The brilliant screenplay weaves layers upon layers touching on the dacoits' strong code of honour mixed with superstition and caste segregation. The film is almost like a spaghetti western shot in wide screen capturing the stunning location in all its splendour. Haunting film took the Filmfare Critics prize and won the award for its costume design. Pednekar, Shorey, the story, screenplay, dialogue, cinematography, production design, sound and action were all nominated. The film's dialogues are entirely in the Bundeli dialect. A must-see.

Sharktopus (Declan O'Brien, 2010) 2/10

Hilariously trashy Jaws ripoff has a shady military project - they've built a half shark-half octopus as a mean killing machine - that goes awry with the giant monster on the loose scrounging the Mexican resort beaches for fresh boobs - every victim gets a dramatic slicing and a swallow. Eric Roberts is the inventor of the beast and up to shady stuff and gets to have an encounter with the pet he created. The nastier the character on screen the more gruesome the death. It's fun watching bodies in swim suits getting torn apart.

Tam Lin (Roddy McDowall, 1970) 8/10

A beautiful aging matron (Ava Gardner) holds sway over a group of young and beautiful men and women all living in her country mansion. When her boy-toy lover (Ian McShane) falls in love with the vicar's daughter (Stephanie Beacham) and demands to leave the older woman the old adage - "hell hath no fury as a woman scorned" - comes true. McDowall's only film as director came about because of his desire to work with close friend Ava Gardner and the studio all but massacred it. Surprisingly effective film (much later restored with Scorsese's help) is beautifully shot by Billy Williams in Scotland with snazzy flourishes provided by McDowall in keeping with the drug-fueled 1960s. Based on an ancient Scottish ballad about a witch having her revenge on a lover who escapes her clutches. Gardner, dressed in Pierre Balmain and still very beautiful at 48, has a field day with the part seductively rolling around in bed with a nude McShane, drinking, smoking (in her usual erotic style) and basically having a ball on camera. Unjustly neglected film is full of macabre moments with Gardner basking in the company of young people in order to preserve her own vitality. A number of familiar faces appear in small parts - Joanna Lumley, Sinéad Cusack, Madeline Smith - who would go on to make a mark during the following decade

Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (Vasan Bala, 2019) 7/10

Quirky film with extremely quirky characters. A young man (Abhimanyu Dassani), born with a rare disorder called Congenital insensitivity to pain, grows up being mentored by his eccentric grandfather (Mahesh Manjrekar) and becomes obsessed by martial arts films. Since he cannot feel pain he is forced to lead a very sheltered life befriending a girl in his building who has an abusive father. The film manages to toe a very thin line between ridiculous farce - the slow-mo fight sequences - and serious issues dealing with having to live in an abusive home. The latter part of the story involves the now grown up girl (Radhika Madan), vulnerable but defiant, who joins up with her childhood friend to fight a cocky thug with the help of the hood's one-legged twin brother and karate champ. The far fetched plot keeps getting stranger and stranger but the entire cast is game and is a real crowd pleaser - something on the lines of "Deadpool". Dassani, making his film debut, is fantastic as the zany young man who relishes being an action hero in his neighborhood - the actor, son of yester-year superstar Padmini Kolhapure, won a well deserved Filmfare award for his debut. Radhika Madan, also making her debut, is sensational as the kick-ass girl with a chip on her shoulder who nurses deep wounds under her boistrous facade. A joyful film that entertains through its broad humour and zany sensibility.

Pataakha (Vishal Bhardwaj, 2019) 7/10

A story about two sisters growing up in a small village in Rajasthan who have an extremely volatile relationship. The story charts their ups and downs taking a close look at village life along the way. The two leads - Radhika Madan & Sanya Malhotra - are sensational totally immersing themselves in their parts. Both actresses moved into an actual village to live their roles before acting in front of the camera. Vijay Raaz is also very good as the girls' exasperated father. The film goes on too long as the plot - including two elopments and two psychosomatic illnesses - could easily have been trimmed. Malika Arora appears in the "Hello Hello" item number and is a welcome surprise.

Meri Pyaari Bindu (Akshay Roy, 2017) 8/10

Bittersweet romantic love story seen through the eyes of a pulp horror-romance novelist (Ayushman Khurrana). Best friends since childhood they keep drifting towards and away from each other as vivacious Bindu (Parineeti Chopra), a rock star wannabee, cannot decide what she wants from life. The story, set in a Bengali milieu in Calcutta, resonates with song, laughter, heartbreak and joy - not necessarily in that order - as the two friends revel in each other's company with "love" hovering at the brink of their relationship. Bindu is a character seen solely through the love struck eyes of the writer so she comes across as this tremulous free spirit in slow motion with hair flying in constant motion - the ultimate romantic vision. The story shifts back and forth in time catching the two at different moments in their lives which never seem to connect and gradually we come to see that Bindu has a different agenda in life far removed from the idealized romantic view of the writer. Holding on to dreams can be heartbreaking and is the lesson that gently unfolds. Sad but uplifting film is steeped in reality despite the "filmy" tropes. It all comes together due to the exceptional screen chemistry between Khurrana and Chopra and the superb actors surrounding them. The film proves that old wine in new bottles can actually work as the romance at the center bends the rules of the genre. Great score with Parineeti Chopra making her singing debut with the song "Mana Ke Hum Yaar Nahin".

The Gay Falcon (Irving Reis, 1941) 4/10

First in the long running Falcon series of B-films with George Sanders as suave detective with more than a roving eye. Here he gets involved in a series of murders with jewel thieves at the center of the crimes. Interesting to see Dame Gladys Cooper in a glamourous role not requiring her to be "old". Boring film gets by on Sanders' charming persona. And the Falcon is not "gay" - Gay Laurence is his name.

Yours Truly (Sanjoy Nag, 2019) 8/10

A lonely single woman (Soni Razdan) in her late fifties goes through life in a haze of regrets. A mundane government job in Calcutta to which she daily commutes via train is her only activity. Wistfully longing for a man in her life she imagines having sex at night but is often disturbed by the loud sexual activity going on next door courtesy of her dim religious neighbour (Pankaj Tripathy) who likes to have noisy sex. On her daily train commutes she forms an association with the announcer talking on the speaker at Howrah station by writing to him expressing her love. She imagines he responds to her via the loudspeaker. Based on a short story by Annie Zaidi this moving little film delves into the character of a woman who holds on to the past - she refuses to sell the dilapidated family home which her younger pragmatic sister advises. Soni Razdan - wife of Mahesh and mother of Alia Bhatt - superbly conveys the longings of this woman and the film ends on a poignant note with a brief scene involving Mahesh Bhatt. Not since Aparna Sen's "36 Chowringhee Lane" has a film captured the state of human loneliness with such an acute eye.

Aiyaary (Neeraj Pandey, 2018) 6/10

Political thriller that implicates the Indian army and politicians in corruption although it swerves at the end by exonerating the forces of any wrong doing. There is, however, an interesting bit of dialogue about Kashmir where a question is raised about the "problem" and why it can't be resolved - and the response is that the matter can easily be resolved except the powers that be greatly "benefit" from keeping it occupied in a state of terror. The convoluted plot involves an agent (Siddharth Malhotra) belonging to a secret intelligence unit who goes rogue after eavesdropping on a conversation where the Army chief is being bribed. His mentor (Manoj Bajpayee), and leader of the unit, starts searching for him scared that he may be selling secrets to the enemy. The action moves from Bombay to Cairo to Kashmir and on to London as various double agents, arms dealers, hackers, terrorists, journalists and opportunistic politicians become part of the game being played. The screenplay takes on too many characters and it becomes a chore trying to figure out who is doing what to whom although there are enough thrilling moments to keep you hanging on. Om Puri and Naseeruddin Shah have small but pivotal roles and along with Bajpayee are regulars in the films of the director.

Baby (Neeraj Pandey, 2015) 5/10

A massive hit at the boxoffice - it was banned in Pakistan because the chief terrorist is a maulana (based on the nutjob-mastermind of the Bombay blasts). A covert government intelligence unit, created to find and eliminate terrorists, is run by a group of highly trained agents. Akshay Kumar is the Bond-like spy who nimbly chases and beats up suspects with help from Om Puri, Taapsee Panu and Rana Daggubati. Overlong film just goes on and on and could have easily been trimmed by an hour. Pandey seems to be stuck in terrorist mode and regurgitates the same theme in all his films.

1971 (Amrit Sagar, 2007) 6/10

Indian POWs held captive in Pakistani jails since 1971 are shifted to a secret camp in the mountains when the Red Cross arrive to check. It is 1977 and General Zia has taken over and declared Martial Law. Six prisoners plan an escape from the camp and head towards Muzaffarabad. The film describes their plight while on the run chased by the Pakistani army over mountaneous terrain. There is a hilarious scene of a female Pakistani lawyer - "Sabeena Jahangir" (obviously based on Asma) - berating a senior army official demanding to know why the army has still kept Indians as prisoners with both shouting at each other. One by one the prisoners die and even though two manage to reach the LOC one (Manoj Bajpayee) is shot from the back just as he crosses the border and the other (Deepak Dobrial) recaptured and returned to jail in Multan. The fact that none manages to make it back to India alive makes one wonder if the story is just Indian propaganda. The film ends with a note that there are 54 Indian prisoners from 1971 still languishing in Pakistani jails and were last seen there in 1988.

Panga (Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, 2020) 6/10

A wife and mother (Kangana Ranaut), at the urging of her young son, decides to return to the field of Kabaddi. She excelled at the sport before her son was born and was a world champion. The seven year gap makes it difficult for her but her family's support helps her take the "panga" and she makes a comeback. The predictable plot and its outcome is brought to life by Ranaut who doesn't miss a beat adding this to an already long list of memorable film performances. She gets fine support from Jassi Gill as her husband, Richa Chadda as her best friend and Neena Gupta has her mother. Feel-good film about sports, unconditional love and the true meaning of family.

Hope Gap (William Nicholson, 2019) 7/10

Angst-filled drama appears to be like a stuffy filmed play - it is based partly on Nicholson's own play "The Retreat From Moscow" - but instead using the spectacular location of Seaford, East Sussex with its dramatic white cliffs to open it up from its stage origin was an inspired choice. At it's center is an intimate heartfelt drama which the author said was "a midpoint between 'Brief Encounter' and 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?'". A young man (Josh O'Connor), on a weekend visit to his family home, is suddenly confronted with the shocking news that his parents' 29-year marriage is over. His mild mannered father (Bill Nighy) calmly announces that he is walking out of his stifling marriage, has been having an affair with his student's mother for over a year and admits that his marriage was a big mistake as he was never compatible with his wife. If the news comes as a big shock to the son it comes as a bigger one to his incredulous wife (Annette Bening) who at first refuses to accept the fact. An opinionated brittle woman with a sarcastic nature she retaliates with bitter anguish wanting to discuss details while her meek husband just wants to slip away. Caught in-between the two is the son who refuses to take sides and gently tries to bring some semblance of peace and resolution to the matter. Shooting many of the scenes in the outdoors - on the beach and at the edge of the towering cliffs - gives the drama an exciting edge and does not let what is basically a talk-fest to dissolve into abject claustrophobia. Nighy's confession also results in the son examining his own solitary life spent in not being able to make solid connections with anyone. Superbly acted film examines the importance of making a connection with a spouse or partner which is often missing or is suppressed in many relationships.

Journal of a Crime (William Keighley, 1934) 7/10

Ruth Chatterton, like Norma Shearer and Ann Harding, was a huge star during the 1930s but is like them all but forgotten today. Stardom lasted from the late silents through to the early talkies and into the 1930s and then virtually ended with that decade. This was one of the last pre-code films so murder and adultery went unpunished at the end. The wife (Ruth Chatterton) of a successful playwright (Adolph Menjou) shoots and kills his mistress (Claire Dodd) the star of his latest show. By coincidence a bank robber hides out in the theater where the actress is shot and is taken by the cops and charged with the crime. The wife goes scott free although her husband discovers her gun in a bucket at the theater and knows she is the murderer. When he confronts her she refuses to give herself up and continues with her life. Distraught and disgusted by her he says she will eventually die of guilt. The silly plot with more than a few coincidences as well as an absurd ending is not the reason for watching these old films - although many have a certain camp factor that makes them memorable. The actual fun is in watching these great stars who manage to make absurd plots believable through their performances. This was Chatterton's last film at Warners - she was one of the most expensive stars at the studio and her contract was not renewed. She was well past 40 which was a death knell for actresses in Hollywood. A great stage star before the movies she gives an expert performance as the deluded woman who thinks she can win back the love of her husband by murdering his mistress. She gets many camera closeups throughout acting mostly with her face as this psychological study of a woman unfolds although being a famous clothes horse she also gets to wear many dramatic Orry-Kelly gowns. What is galling to see is how the suave Menjou is allowed (via the script) to taunt his wife after the murder without feeling even an ounce of guilt about his own infidelity. The almost spiritual ending involving amnesia is absurd but allows the wife to get what she wanted all along.

Moby Dick (Lloyd Bacon, 1930) 8/10

First sound adaptation of Herman Melville's classic novel actually diverts from the book by adding on an imagined prequel and a sequel with Captain Ahab (John Barrymore) getting involved in a love triangle. Both he and his brother (Lloyd Huges) fall in love with the daughter of a minister (Joan Bennett). The film is actually a sound remake of Barrymore's silent film The Sea Beast (1926). The central portion follows the novel as Ahab comes across the white whale, grapples with it and loses his leg in the process - the scene where the crew cauterize his leg after the whale has bitten it off is horrific. He becomes obsessed with killing the great beast and his subsequent voyage involves a mutiny by his crew and a tremendous chase followed by confronting Moby Dick for the final time. Barrymore, dispensing with his romantic image, proves to be a great action hero performing acrobats on the ship's mast and heroics on the open sea as he gives chase. Bennett, in one of her early talkies, was at the start of her memorable screen career and makes a good on-screen couple with the great Barrymore even if she is almost thirty years younger. The action scenes with the whale on the ocean are quite spectacular for a film made in 1930.

The Man in the Sky (Charles Crichton, 1957) 6/10

The perils of being a test pilot and one (Jack Hawkins) who takes far too many chances with bringing a plane down despite being urged to bail out. This causes problems on the domestic front when his wife (Elizabeth Sellars) realizes the unnecessary risks he is taking with his life. An ordinary man facing an extraordinary life moment - a theme in many of the films from Ealing studio of which this was one of the last films to come out of there before it shut down.

The Bold and the Brave (Lewis R. Foster, 1956) 7/10

Perceptive screenplay makes points about good vs evil and how that religious concept can often screw up a person. The story is set during WWII - the 1944 Italian campaign - and takes a glance at three American soldiers. There is the idealist (Wendell Corey) who does not belive in killing. The zealot (Don Taylor) who has no qualms about killing the enemy but his religious beliefs about good vs evil have his brain twisted into knots - on a layoff he meets a young woman (Nicole Maurey) in a village and falls in love all ready to marry her until he suddenly discovers she is a prostitute. The third soldier (Mickey Rooney) is the raucous "class clown" always coming up with ways to make a quick buck especially through crap games. Low budget B-film is old fashioned but thoughtfully plotted focusing more on human character rather than the actual war the soldiers are part of. Rooney was nominated for an Oscar for his energetic comedic performance as was the film's screenplay.

User avatar
Precious Doll
Posts: 4292
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2003 2:20 am
Location: Sydney

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Apr 11, 2020 9:03 pm

Citizen K (2019) Alex Gibney 5/10
Out of Blue (2019) Carol Morley 4/10
Just Mercy (2019) Destining Daniel Cretton 4/10

Repeat viewings

Long Days Journey Into Night (1962) Sidney Lumet 8/10
Burden of Dreams (1982) Les Blank 6/10
The Two of Us (1967) Claude Berri 7/10
Fitzcarraldo (1982) Werner Herzog 5/10
The Treasure of Sierra Madre (1948) John Huston 10/10
Nosferatu: The Vampyre (1979) Werner Herzog 7/10
Ullee's Gold (1997) Victor Nunez 9/10
My Favourite Year (1982) Richard Benjamin 7/10
McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971) Robert Altman 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)

Tenured Laureate
Posts: 8708
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 11:14 am
Location: Islamabad, Pakistan

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.

User avatar
Precious Doll
Posts: 4292
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2003 2:20 am
Location: Sydney

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)

Posts: 1225
Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Lisbon, Portugal

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).

User avatar
Precious Doll
Posts: 4292
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2003 2:20 am
Location: Sydney

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)

Tenured Laureate
Posts: 8708
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 11:14 am
Location: Islamabad, Pakistan

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.

User avatar
Precious Doll
Posts: 4292
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2003 2:20 am
Location: Sydney

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)

Tenured Laureate
Posts: 8708
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 11:14 am
Location: Islamabad, Pakistan

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.

Return to “Other Film Discussions”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests