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

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

Postby Reza » Thu Jun 04, 2020 2:24 pm

J'accuse / The Officer and a Spy (Roman Polanski, 2019) 8/10

Solid well-crafted production with a great eye towards period detail. Polanski's film charts the dogged pursuit of justice by newly promoted Chief of Intelligence, Colonel Picquart (Jean Dujardin), to prove the innocence of disgraced and incarcerated officer Alfred Dreyfuss (Louis Garrel) who was thrown out of the army for selling secrets to the German Empire. On trumped up charges he is found guilty and imprisoned on far-off Devil's Island. The story, based on the book by Thomas Harris, was a long gestating project for Polanski who probably saw parallels in his own life with Dreyfuss although the latter fell foul of the system not because of statutory rape (like the director) but because he was a jew. The film exposes the antisemitism of 1890s France. Painstakingly researched film easily ranks right up there with Polanski's best and the subject of racism has never felt more relevant than in these trying times the world is going through. The entire cast, led by the stoic Dujardin, is flawless with special mentions to Garrel as Dreyfuss and Grégory Gadebois as an antagonistic officer reluctant to divulge information towards the investigation. Controversial film won the jury prize at the Venice Film Festival followed by 12 César award nominations. At the ceremony many people walked out when Polanski's name was called. It won awards for Polanski, the screenplay and costume design and nominations for Best Film, Jean Dujardin, Louis Garrel, Grégory Gadebois, Production Design, Cinematography, Editing, Sound and Music Score.

The Saint Strikes Back (John Farrow, 1939) 5/10

Second in the RKO series of B films based on the famous character created by Leslie Charteris. It stars debonair George Sanders in his first outing as the sophisticated detective dressed in top hat and tails. A gang murder in a San Francisco night club involves Simon Templar (George Sanders), alias "The Saint", when he is accused of the killing. He convinces the cops to help them solve the case. He also helps a woman (Wendy Barrie) by trying to prove the innocence of her father, a disgraced cop who killed himself. Fast moving but minor film has a fairly confusing plot but witty Sanders is the whole show as he doggedly pursues justice while passing quips left right and center.

Power Play (Martyn Burke, 1978) 6/10

Rarely seen drama was one of Peter O'Toole's lesser known films when he had just about struck rock bottom due to alcohol related problems. A group of disgruntled professionals and military officers become sick of their civilian government operating under a dictator. A doctor (Barry Morse) persuades his close friend, a retiring Colonel (David Hemmings), to participate in a coup d'état. They also invite a Colonel (Peter O'Toole) of the tank regiment to join their plan. When the sadistic secret police chief (Donald Pleasance) gets wind of the plan it takes every bit of effort to pull the wool over his eyes. Just when the plan reaches it's successful denouement they discover a mole in their group which leads to a surprising and unexpected conclusion. Good cast with Pleasance easily the standout.

Golgotha (Julien Duvivier, 1935) 10/10

Fascinating early french talkie depicts the last days in the life of Jesus Christ (Robert Le Vigan) covering Palm Sunday, the Passion and the Resurrection. Surprisingly there are no scenes of Christ preaching and in fact we get to see very little of him, mostly in longshot with very few closeups, until much later in the film. The film's dramatic opening has Jesus entering Jerusalem with the camera creeping up the high imposing walls of the city. We don't see him but his presence is felt through whispered dialogue between the priests, merchants and the city-dwellers. As Jesus enters the holy temple's vast courtyard, teeming with crowds gathered to greet him, there is a bravura sequence of a single 30-second long take as he zigzags through the stalls and attacks and destroys the moneylenders' tables angering them no end. His presence is a serious threat to the superstitious jewish priests who buy off Judas with thirty silver pieces to betray him. This is followed immediately by the Last Supper where Jesus is shown in a rare close-up as he confronts Judas and tells him to do what he has planned. When the soldiers arrive to arrest him and he identifies himself they fall back which is an incident never shown in any other film although is mentioned in the Bible. The film's centerpiece is the discourse between Pontius Pilate (Jean Gabin) and Christ and a brief interlude with his own wife (Edwige Feuillère) who pleads for Christ's life because she is moved by his saintly aura. There is a stunning moment in between the beatings and the ridiculing - by King Herod (Harry Baur in an acclaimed cameo) - when Pilate gives the jeering public the Nazi salute - the film was released during the rise of Nazism - which becomes a sharp critique of the burgeoning movement. Duvivier throughout insists on avoiding spectacle instead downplaying most of the events though some of the cruelty inflicted on Christ matches a lot, if not in graphic detail, how Mel Gibson presented the events in "The Passion of the Christ". The crucifixion is shown with nails being driven through the wrists and not through the palms as has often been depicted in subsequent films. Le Vigan is very good throughout as Christ and especially moving in his brief encounter with his mother Mary on his harrowing walk with the cross to Golgotha - the hill where he is to be crucified. The irony is that offscreen the actor openly advocated his anti-Semitism, collaborated with the Nazis, was later stripped of his French citizenship, imprisoned and ended his life impoverished and insane in Argentina. This is one of the best films on the life of Christ and one of Duvivier's masterpieces. A must-see.

Defence of the Realm (David Drury, 1986) 9/10

Dense but gripping political thriller involving a massive cover-up by the British government when an American nuclear bomber crashes at a base. An MP (Ian Bannen), who has planned on asking awkward questions about the incident in Parliament, is set up as a spy after he is caught with a tart who is also servicing a KGB agent. A dogged journalist (Gabriel Byrne) exposes the spy story but realizes it was a set up after his colleague (Denholm Elliott), an alcoholic, comes up with incriminating evidence about a massive cover-up. Bleak, cynical story is superbly acted - Greta Scacchi plays the MP's secretary who helps the journalist - with Elliott winning a Bafta award for his striking but brief role. Byrne, with his brooding good looks, became a star after this film.

Evil Under the Sun (Guy Hamilton, 1982) 7/10

The familiar Poirot formula on film, carried over from two previous all-star productions - Murder on the Orient Express (1974) & Death on the Nile (1978) - is replicated here but the film flopped. It is in fact as much fun as the first two and has a wonderful cast camping it up led by Sir Peter Ustinov, in his second outing, as Agatha Christie's Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. A set formula - an exotic location (the book's Devonshire setting is switched here to an island off the Adriatic coast although shot on the Balearic island of Mallorca in Spain), a group of disparate people gathered together who all have axes to grind against one person followed by a murder. The victim here is a glamourous and very bitchy stage actress (Diana Rigg) who arrives at an island resort with her third husband (Dennis Quilley) and sullen step-daughter (Emily Hone). She is in the midst of an affair with a gigolo (Nicholas Clay) who is also a guest at the hotel with his prim wife (Jane Birkin). The hotel is run by a daffy propreitess (Maggie Smith) who once sparred with the actress during their youth as chorus girls. The other guests are a producer (James Mason) and his garrulous wife (Sylvia Miles) who are angry because the actress walked out of a hit play which they had produced, a trashy novelist (Roddy McDowall) who has written a tell-all book on her which she is not allowing him to publish and a millionaire (Colin Blakely) who was jilted by the actress. When she turns up strangled on a remote beach it is upto Poirot to solve the case. Elegantly designed film has a witty script by Anthony Shaffer, outrageous costumes by Anthony Powell, superbly shot by Christopher Challis and has wonderful performances especially by Ustinov, Smith and Rigg. The film's delightful score is by Cole Porter in keeping with the story's 1930s setting.

The Goonies (Richard Donner, 1985) 7/10

Rip-roaring kiddie flick is a tale concocted by Steven Spielberg (screenplay by Chris Columbus) just like one of those old Saturday matinée serials. A group of misfit kids discover an old pirate map in an attic and set forth on a trail looking for buried treasure which leads them to a derelict house on a cliff. Spielberg repeats himself here with slight variances - shades of the Indy Jones franchise - as he puts the kids through a rollercoaster ride through booby-trapped underground tunnels below the house. Adding to the danger are an escaped convict (Robert Davi), his crazy brother (Joe Pantoliano) and their psycho Mom (Anne Ramsey) who are using the old house as a hiding place. Amusing film now seems a tad derivative as it was copied so many times over the decades since but it still holds up thanks to the camaraderie between the bunch of young actors of which Josh Brolin, Sean Astin, Martha Plimpton, Keri Green and Corey Feldman became famous as stars.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat May 30, 2020 8:31 pm

Charlie Victor Romeo (2013) Robert Berger, Patrick Daniels, Karlyn Michelson 4/10
The Lovebirds (2020) Michael Showalter 4/10

Repeat viewings

Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974) Jacques Rivette 10/10
Kissing Jessica Stein (2002) Charles Herman-Wurmfeld 8/10
Manhattan (1979) Woody Allen 10/10
Quartet (1948) Ken Annakin, Arthur Crabtree, Harold French & Ralph Smart 8/10
An Officer and a Gentlemen (1982) Taylor Hackford 7/10
The Rainbow (1989) Ken Russell 10/10
I Married a Monster From Outer Space (1958) Gene Fowler Jr. 8/10
The Duellists (1977) Ridley Scott 7/10
The War of the Worlds (1953) Byron Haskin 7/10
No End (1985) Krzysztof Kieslowski 7/10
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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Tue May 26, 2020 4:57 am

The Hell With Heroes (Joseph Sargent, 1968) 3/10

Claudia Cardinale's extravagant décolletage gives a spectacular performance in and out of Jean Louis' costumes. She plays the mistress of a ruthless smuggler (Harry Guardino) who comes to the aide of an ex-U.S. serviceman (Rod Taylor) and his fellow pilot (Pete Duel) in North Africa just after the end of WWII. Both are trying to make a quick buck to get back home and agree to fly contraband items for the smuggler when they run foul of a U.S. counterintelligence agent (Kevin McCarthy). Badly directed film keeps throwing in brief flashbacks (tinged in red) of both soldiers during the war and the trite screenplay is just an excuse for them to be heroic during lousy action sequences while enjoying the ample charms of lovely Claudia. Trashy film is an absolute waste of time.

Moment to Moment (Mervyn LeRoy, 1965) 6/10

Glossy thriller on the lines of a Ross Hunter production but with a dash of Hitchcock thrown in. Instead of Hunter's usual leading lady, Lana Turner, we instead get lovely Jean Seberg dressed to her teeth in Yves Saint Laurent. She plays the lonely wife of a workaholic doctor (Arthur Hill - just off his great sucess on Broadway in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) who is always away on business. While out with her young son she gives a ride to a young Naval officer (beefy Sean Garrison) and soon they both start spending time together. Realizing that she really loves her husband she calls off their brief affair to which the young man reacts badly by getting drunk. During a skirmish a gun goes off and the man falls down dead. With help from her neighbour (Honor Blackman) she disposes the body and annonymously calls the cops and tells them the location of the dead man. The cops start sniffing around causing a lot of discomfort when they assign an amnesiac man to her husband for treatment. The patient turns out to be her lover who didn't die after all. This was LeRoy's last film and the screenplay follows the path of several similar films of the sixties where the impecably dressed and coiffured leading lady finds herself trapped in a tawdry situation causing much hand wringing. Seberg, returning to Hollywood after many years in France, makes an able substitute for Lana Turner who had all but cornered the market in similar melodramas. She gets excellent support from Honor Blackman (fresh off her success as Pussy Galore in the Bond film "Goldfinger") as her witty (but not quite bitchy) close friend. The lovely South of France locations - shot by Harry Stradling - also add colour to the proceedings and are quite pleasing to the eye.

Dangerous Moonlight / Suicide Squadron (Brian Desmond Hurst, 1941) 8/10

Forgotten film gave the world Richard Addinsell's swooningly romantic "Warsaw Concerto" which became a huge hit and is still played around the world. The original story, by future Bond director Terence Young, set in 1940 charts the story of a catatonic soldier involved in an air crash during the war and sequestered in a hospital watched over by a woman. A flashback to 1939, during the fall of Poland, reveals an American journalist (Sally Gray) running across an Air Force pilot (Anton Walbrook) playing a piano in an abandoned house as bombs fall. While he plays the two connect for a brief moment. They meet again some months later in America and after a short courtship get married. Along with being a pilot he is also a famous concert pianist and performs across the country to great acclaim. With the Nazi menace overtaking the whole of Europe he decides to return and fight them from the air a decision which causes friction with his wife. This British film has a strong Hollywood tone (RKO studios had a hand in it) with the screenplay maintaining a witty repartée between the two leads which was common in many screwball films of the 1930s. The distinguished and very debonair Walbrook and the vivacious Gray make a very romantic couple as their love story goes from a delirious beginning to the highs and lows matching the lilting theme music of the film. The film's air battle scenes were filmed during actual combat over the skies of London as the RAF struck back at the attacking Luftwaffe. Propaganda elements highlight the contribution of the Polish allies while the suave and brilliant musician represented European high culture in danger from the barbaric Nazis.

Night of the Demon (Jacques Tourneur, 1957) 6/10

Tedious cult film is one of Scorsese's favourite exercises in horror. Tourneur goes all out with his atmospheric direction and is helped in great part by the spooky shadow-filled cinematography of Edward Scaife who uses distorted camera angles to great effect. The convoluted plot drags it down although a great cast is game and goes through the motions. An American parapsycholgy professor (Dana Andrews) arrives in London to expose a devil cult leader (Niall MacGinnis) and the two play a cat-and-mouse game by passing each other a parchment which could possibly be a death curse. Peggy Cummins is the niece of a professor who had exposed the cult leader and was killed by a demon. The troubled production of the film involved the director, screenwriter and lead actor siding together against the producer who insisted on inserting shots of a huge monster which appears at the start and end of the film. Tourneur, a master at creating suspense through visual means, was vetoed and the images of the monster were added to the finished product despite the protests by all. The film has a justifiably memorable scene involving Andrews walking at night through the woods as something shaped like a cloud follows him. Tourneur creates terror using the camera and music score. Most of the film involves a lot of talk which bogs it down. Athene Seyler is memorable as the mother of the cult leader.

Green Grass of Wyoming (Louis King, 1948) 7/10

Charming slice of Americana with young Robert Arthur taking over from Roddy McDowall in this second sequel after My Friend Flicka (1943) and Thunderhead: Son of Flicka (1945). When a number of mares go missing from farms it is thought that the white stallion Thunderhead could be behind it. When Ken (Robert Arthur) brings home a new mare, much to the consternation of his dad (Lloyd Nolan), she is "stolen" by the stallion. Based on the series of novels by Mary O'Hara, this sequel continues the adventures of the horse and its young owner. The boy gets to romance the grandaughter (Peggy Cummins) of an irascible neighbour (Charles Coburn) and takes part in a horse trotting race while attempting to bring in his mare and Thunderhead. Shot on location in Utah and Wyoming in technicolor with Charles G. Clarke's stunning Oscar nominated cinematography.

Poison Pen (Paul L. Stein, 1939) 8/10

Lowbudget British film is a precursor to the classic French film "Le Corbeau" by Henri-Georges Clouzot. The idyllic life of a small village in England is shaken to the core when residents start receiving poison pen letters. The annonymous letters accuse them of having affairs leading to a suicide and a murder. A Welsh woman (Catherine Lacey), thought of as a foreigner, is viciously accused by the gossiping women folk and she hangs herself inside a church. An innocent shopkeeper (Edward Chapman) is gunned down by a jealous man (Robert Newton) who has received a letter accusing his wife of having an affair with him. Trying to get at the bottom of the mysterious letters is the Vicar (Reginald Tate), his spinster sister (Flora Robson who is most memorable) and his daughter (Ann Todd) who is also a victim of one of the letters. Gripping melodrama is superbly acted by the entire cast, many of whom would go on to have long careers on stage and in film as character actors - Kenneth Connor, Esma Cannon, Wilfred Hyde-White (the postman), Beatrice Varley, Megs Jenkins (the barmaid) and little Roddy McDowall (as a choir boy). Based on a play by Richard Llewellyn who would go on to publish his most famous writing "How Green Was My Valley".

Beyond the Curtain (Compton Bennett, 1960) 6/10

Old fashioned but exciting Cold War thriller set during the time when there was a dangerous side of Berlin. A commercial airliner goes off course and is forced to land in the Russian zone. The stewardess (Eva Bartok), a refugee from East Germany, is detained and sent back to East Berlin. She is used as a decoy to flush out her brother who is working for the underground movement. Her fiancé (Richard Greene), a British pilot, goes to Berlin in search of her and has to play a cat-and-mouse game with her former friend (Marius Goring) who turned traitor and is working for the secret police. Interesting shots of a ravaged Berlin which was created in the studio in London. Lucie Mannheim, famous German actress, cabaret chanteuse, longtime wife of Marius Goring, who escaped the Nazis and appeared in Hitchcock's "The 39 Steps", plays Bartok's aged mother who makes the ultimate sacrifice for her. Low budget film is a few notches above from being totally shoddy but the interesting cast and a suspenseful plot keeps things moving at a fast pace.

If This Be Sin / That Dangerous Age (Gregory Ratoff, 1949) 5/10

Stiff soap opera has an excellent cast and lovely location views of Capri and Naples. A neglected wife (Myrna Loy), married to a workaholic barrister (Roger Livesey), takes him to Italy after he falls ill and goes partially blind. His idyllic recovery is temporarily halted when he receives a poison pen letter which accuses his wife of having an affair with his young protegé (Richard Greene). She explains that the young man instead is in love with his daughter (Peggy Cummins) and quickly warns the man about the sticky development when he arrives in Capri. When she forces him to woo the young girl, who already has a crush on him, he actually falls in love with her. Matters come to a nasty head when the barrister's drunk sister exposes the affair in front of all his friends during a party. Loy, in her only non-Hollywood film, is stiff throughout but perks up in the scene where she confronts Livesey about their marriage. Greene and Cummins are both very good in this old fashioned story about marital infidelity. The abrupt ending is also a cop out.

The Spider's Web (Godfrey Grayson, 1960) 2/10

Silly farce is based on a frantic play by Agatha Christie. A housewife (Glynis Johns) discovers a body in her house. She thinks her step-daughter may have killed the man so she asks friends (Jack Hulbert & Ronald Howard) to help her hide the body before her husband (John Justin) arrives with an important diplomat guest. The body is hidden in a secret passage and the gardener (Cicely Courteneige) may or may not be involved as well. The police arrive and the inspector (Peter Butterworth) is baffled as the body is discovered but then suddenly disappears. Glynis Johns gives a hysterically energetic performance flitting about and coming up with insane ideas to hide the situation from the police. Strictly forgettable.

Two Tickets to London (Edwin L. Marin, 1943) 3/10

Lovely Michèle Morgan made a handful of films in Hollywood while in exile there during WWII. None were memorable and thankfully she returned to France after the war and continued her distinguished career in films and on stage. A sailor (Alan Curtis), captured and accused of collaborating with the enemy and sinking a submarine, escapes during a train wreck. He saves a woman (Michèle Morgan) on the train and takes her along as a sort of hostage. Dull, slow film has both trying to reach London by walking cross country (she in stilletos) so he can prove his innocence. They predictably fall in love. Dooley Wilson appears at a pivotal moment in a café and sings - shades of "Casablanca" for which Morgan had been considered until Ingrid Bergman was cast instead. One of many films the studios churned out which dealt with wartime experiences. Little Tarquin Olivier (son of Laurence Olivier and Jill Esmond) plays Morgan's son and the supporting cast is peppered by the studio's stable of character actors - Sir C. Aubrey Smith, Barry Fitzgerald, Mary Gordon & Mary Forbes.

Mr Emmanuel (Harold French, 1944) 8/10

A rare lead role for Sir Felix Aylmer is the main attraction here but this little sentimental story is woven through a horrific strand of terror involving the Nazi menace. A jewish British professor goes to Germany to search for the mother of a despondent young boy who is a jewish refugee in England. It is 1938 and Hitler is in full power. As the naive old man starts his investigation he is hauled up by the gestapo, accused of espionage and put in jail. Unbeknownst to him a jewish British chanteuse (Greta Gynt), his old neighbour back home now the mistress of a high-ranking Nazi official, comes to his rescue. She cajoles her lover to use his influence to set the old man free. After months of torture and humiliation while incarcerated in jail he is at last freed but has one last job to do before going back to England. He finds the boy's mother (Ursula Jeans) but gets a rude shock when he meets her. Grim subject is treated in an airy manner though the screenplay manages to hit home about the dire conditions for jews in Germany - one of many films made in Hollywood and Britain as propaganda to show the world what was actually going on in Europe. Aylmer's sweet character is an antidote to all the vile elements at play around him and he gives a quietly moving performance as the determined old codger standing up to the authorities and ensuring he honours his promise to the young boy. 15-year old Jean Simmons plays the daughter of Elspeth March who is the host-mother to the refugee boy. Interesting bit of trivia: Elsbeth March was married at the time to Stewart Granger who would eventually divorce her and six years later get married to Jean Simmons.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat May 23, 2020 10:57 pm

Repeat viewings

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger 9/10
The Outsiders (1983) Francis Ford Coppola 6/10
The Lost Boys (1987) Joel Schumacher 6/10
Angel Heart (1987) Alan Parker 7/10
Carrie (1976) Brian De Palma 10/10
The Children's Hour (1961) William Wyler 10/10
The China Syndrome (1979) James Bridges 8/10
The Strange One (1957) Jack Garfein 8/10
Body Heat (1981) Lawrence Kasdan 8/10
A Kind of Loving (1962) John Schlesinger 7/10
Eternity (2016) Anh Hung Tran 7/10
"I want cement covering every blade of grass in this nation! Don't we taxpayers have a voice anymore?" Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole) in John Waters' Desperate Living (1977)

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

Postby Reza » Sun May 17, 2020 11:52 am

The FBI Story (Mervyn LeRoy, 1959) 3/10

Hollywood's long rambling pat on the back to the FBI is an episodic story backed by J. Edgar Hoover himself (LeRoy and the infamous director of the FBI were pals). Based on the book by journalist Don Whitehead the film depicts various highs in the FBI's investigation using a fictitious agent (James Stewart) as the person who narrates and is involved in all the events. The ultra-conservative patriotism is a time capsule from the Eisenhower era with apple-pie views of the homefront - Vera Miles plays the thankless role of the agent's devoted wife producing babies like clockwork as her brave husband battles various forces down through history. The screenplay takes on various crimes the FBI fought and "solved" - the Ku Klux Klan, the Osage Indian Murders (which is Martin Scorsese's upcoming movie project), battling gangsters (Pretty Boy Floyd, Baby Face Nelson, Dillinger), detailing the Kansas City Massacre, the Japanese internment during WWII, chasing Nazis, secret missions in South America and an espionage case in New York involving a half-dollar with microfilm inside. Stewart is fun to watch but it's all pretty dreary and clean cut (Hoover was one of the film's producers so every frame of the film had to be approved by him) shot in a semi-documentary style and photographed in colour by Joseph Biroc and scored by the great Max Steiner. Informative but dull.

Rough Night in Jericho (Arnold Laven, 1967) 4/10

The Western genre took on a certain artificiality during the 1960s. There was something not quite right about most of these films compared to the ones from the 1950s. The stories were more or less the same, most had huge stars, some new to the genre but many veterans who continued in the genre, but none of the films quite matched the A or B listers from a decade before. A lawman turned outlaw (Dean Martin) holds sway over a town imparting swift justice to folks who move against him. His former lover (Jean Simmons) and her partners in a stagecoach line - an old lawman (John McIntire) and his former deputy turned gambler (George Peppard) stand up to the tyrant. Martin is a lifeless villain and doesn't even bother mustering up the required menace while beating up feisty Simmons - one keeps expecting him to break out in song while slapping her. Peppard is good as the silent hero who takes more beatings than he deserves. The predictable plot has a lot of scenes involving posses giving chase with a final confrontation that is staged in a lackluster manner. Best to stick to the great B films from the past.

Day of the Badman (Harry Keller, 1958) 4/10

An upright judge (Fred MacMurray) who has sentenced a murderer to hang is confronted by his vicious relatives. The entire town, the sheriff (John Ericson) and the woman he loves (Joan Weldon) are held hostage by fear. B-film goes through its predictable tropes with the young woman caught between trying to inform the judge that she is now in love with the young sheriff. Marie Windsor is the town floozie having it off with the condemned prisoner while carrying a torch for the judge. Strictly a programmer.

Chocolat (Lasse Hallström, 2000) 4/10

The only moment that rings absolutely true in this manipulative and treacly film is the rich curmudgeon (Alfred Molina) wallowing in chocolate. He rules the roost in a small provincial French village into which blows in a fair maiden (Juliette Binoche) and her daughter like "a sly wind". She sets up shop and sells different kinds of chocolates which have a strange healing power which the eccentric villagers - the battered wife (Lena Olin), the old landlady (Judi Dench), her bitter daughter (Carrie Ann Moss), a gypsy (Johnny Depp), an old man (John Wood) and his object of desire (Leslie Caron) - all imbibe and which magically changes their lives. Whimsical nonsense was inexplicably nominated for five Oscars - Best Film, Binoche, Dench, screenplay and score.

L'amore / Love (Roberto Rossellini, 1948) 10/10

Two part anthology film is Rossellini's ode to the acting talent of his lover at the time - the great Anna Magnani. The first part, La voce umana (The Human Voice), is a monologue based on "La Voix humaine" by Jean Cocteau and features an unnamed woman (Anna Magnani) begging and pleading with her lover on the phone as she desperately tries to save her relationship with him. The second episode - Il miracolo (The Miracle), story by Federico Fellini, involves a deeply religious woman (Anna Magnani) who tends goats on a hillside high above the Amalfi coast. Coming across a stranger (Federico Fellini) she assumes he is Saint Joseph and excitedly asks him to sit with her as she babbles on while he quietly keeps giving her wine to drink until she passes out. Nine months on she is pregnant, and while the villagers ridicule and pelt her, she thinks she is carrying a miracle child. In heavy labour and about to give birth she drags herself up the hill to an isolated church where she delivers the baby. The last shot of the film has her feeding her baby with milk from her breast. This episode was condemned in New York for being "anti-Catholic" and "sacrilegious" leading to a lawsuit in 1952 when it was ruled that the film was a form of artistic expression protected by the freedom of speech guarantee in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Despite the controversy the film and especially Magnani's raw and highly emotional performance in both episodes was highly praised. A must-see. Ingrid Bergman, Rossellini's lover and wife, also appeared in a tv adaptation of Cocteau's "The Human Voice" in 1966 to great acclaim.

Bad Company (Damian Harris, 1995) 9/10

It is a crime that Hollywood never properly utilized the talents of Ellen "I don't wanna fish. I wanna fuck" Barkin. This elegant and laid back neo-noir is a welcome addition to her two most memorable lead performances in "The Big Easy" and "Sea of Love". This entire film drips elegance. From the carefully stylized performances to the dialogue, the costumes and the eclectic architecture - Fishburne's apartment with its crimson and blue interior and wide open spaces is especially memorable. Even the sex scenes are shot with elegance - fully clothed but with an erotic urgency which the leads wholeheartedly get into. Barkin's stiletto clad feet and sinewy legs wrapped around Fishburne have a scorching effect. A former CIA operative (Frank Langella), running an independent organization involved with blackmail and corporate espionage, gets his hot assistant (Ellen Barkin) to hire another ex-agent (Laurence Fishburne). When the two become lovers she gets him to kill their boss so she can take over the company. Things don't quite work out as planned as the sly screenplay brings on one twist after another. Barkin sizzles as the femme fatale who is not above shedding tears and mourning the dead just minutes after fornicating with wild abandon knowing very well the fate of her sex partner. Fishburne is a cool but cynical foil who doesn't quite know what he has gotten into but manages to hold his own as the twists come flying at him. Underrated film needs a re-evaluation.

Lydia (Julien Duvivier, 1941) 3/10

Duvivier, on one of his numerous sojourns in Hollywood, remade his 1937 french classic "Un carnet de bal" which was produced by Alexander Korda for his wife Merle Oberon. She plays Lydia, a wealthy unmarried woman, who recalls her youth as a silly immature and flirtatious girl who rejected three young men - her butler's physician son (Joseph Cotten), a football player and drunk (George Reeves) and a sea captain (Alan Marshall) - for a fourth man (Hans Yaray) who is blind. She finds him living in squalor as a child who grows up to become a musician who does not love her so she decides she wants to avoid marriage and help blind children instead. Sentimental claptrap has one of Oberon's typical cloying and artificially overwrought performances. Her leading men all get to dance with her - the waltz being a major set-piece from Duvivier's original classic. Tiresome film has flashes of humour courtesy of the great Edna May Oliver, in her last film appearance, as Lydia's haughty grandmother. Horrendous old-age makeup is also very off-putting. Bland remake that should never have been made.

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me (Chiemi Karasawa, 2013) 8/10

Nobody was more delightfully irascible and witty or had bigger balls than Elaine Stritch. This documentary has the camera following her at age 88 and we see her in rehearsal for a one-woman stage act of Sondheim songs (flubbing lyrics but with panache). She reminisces about her past Broadway shows and celebrity friends, meets up with surviving family members, visits her doctor, takes in hospital stints and talks about ageing, diabetes and alcoholism, which she conquered, but has now returned to by allowing herself one drink per day of Bombay Sapphire. Poignant film has humourous and loving comments by present-day colleagues and staff. She truly was a legend. Stritch passed away a few months after this film came out.

The Vampire Bat (Frank R. Strayer, 1933) 8/10

Atmospheric horror film, shot at poverty row studio Majestic Pictures Inc., using leftover sets from Frankenstein (1931) and The Old Dark House (1932). Villagers are convinced that the mysterious deaths occuring are due to vampires. Bodies are discovered with puncture marks on the neck and their blood drained. Trying to solve the mystery are a doctor (Lionel Atwill), his assisstant (Fay Wray) and her lover (Melvyn Douglas), a cop who refuses to believe that vampires are the cause. Terrific low budget film is superbly staged with a great cast with Dwight Frye a standout as the feeble minded bat lover who falls under suspicion of being a vampire. Fascinating colour sequences add to the dread.

Riding Shotgun (Andre De Toth, 1954) 4/10

Low-key Western has an unusual format in that the lead character narrates his inner thoughts at key moments of the plot. A stagecoach guard (Randolph Scott) is suspected of being involved in a stagecoach attack and part of a gang of murderers and bank robbers. Holed up in a saloon he warns the townfolk that the gang will be attacking the town soon but nobody believes him except his sweetheart (Joan Weldon). The plot seems to be inspired by "High Noon" but the slow pacing and several plot holes make it a bit of a slog to sit through. Charles Bronson, in one of his early film appearances, plays one of the gang members.

Saddle Tramp (Hugo Fregonese, 1950) 7/10

A wandering cowboy (Joel McCrea) suddenly finds himself looking after four little boys when their father suddenly dies. Adding to the menagerie is a girl (Wanda Hendrix) who has run away from her incestuous uncle (Ed Begley). Charming little film finds the cowboy working for a couple (John McIntire & Jeannette Nolan), fighting cattle thieves, involved in a feud with a neighboring rancher (Antonio Moreno) and falling in love. McCrea, as the laid back cowpoke, is delightfully understated in this family western.

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood (Matt Tyrnauer, 2017) 6/10

Scotty Bowers, a returning marine from the Pacific during WWII, set up business in Hollywood running a gas station. The business was a front and in fact he provided sexual services to famous Hollywood stars both male and female. He hired good looking men to service stars looking for action in bed. Bowers went by the unofficial title of "pimp to the stars" and this documentary reveals details about many famous names - Walter Pidgeon, Cary Grant, Tyrone Power, Charles Laughton, Cole Porter and even the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. During trysts the Duchess guided the Duke on what to do in bed - he liked watching couples in bed and would then join them. Bowers would separately provide women for the Duchess to frolic with. Rock Hudson started off as a trick at the gas station and became a close friend to Bowers who himself was a victim of child abuse which he claims was not true. In fact he himself started turning tricks with older men at the age of 11. He also claims that he bedded both Lana Turner and Ava Gardner in a ménage à trois. Another revelation is that the famous Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn affair was perpetuated by Hepburn to cover up the fact that they were both gay and Bowers, over a period of many years, "introduced" Hepburn to 150 women while he himself had a sexual relationship going with Tracy. He was also a regular supplier of men to gay director George Cukor for his notorious Sunday lunch parties around his pool. He provided men for Laurence Olivier and for his then wife Vivien Leigh, both of whom chose these partners at Cukor's parties. These seemingly far fetched revelations do have some element of truth as many stories about these stars have been widely reported by others as well. The documentary is a fascinating look at the underbelly of Hollywood during a time when studios kept a tight grip on creating an image of their stars to suit Mid-West America.

Stranger on Horseback (Jacques Tourneur, 1955) 5/10

A judge (Joel McCrea) faces the wrath of a rich cattle baron (John McIntire) when he tries to bring his son (Kevin McCarthy) to trial for murder. Based on a story by Louis L'Amour the plot goes through familiar tropes of the genre held together by McCrea who is memorable even if the film is rather mediocre.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sun May 17, 2020 12:42 am

The Half of It (2020) Alice Wu 5/10
Flowers of Shanghai (1998) Hsiao-Hsien Hou 7/10
Time to Hunt (2020) Sung-hyun Yoon 1/0

Repeat viewings

Reds (1981) Warren Beatty 8/10
A Good Marriage (1981) Eric Rohmer 9/10
Coal Miner's Daughter (1980) Michael Apted 10/10
Shadowlands (1993) Richard Attenborough 9/10
City Girl (1930) F.W. Murnau 10/10
Nights of Cabiria (1957) Federico Fellini 9/10
Romeo is Bleeding (1993) Peter Medak 7/10
The Comfort of Strangers (1990) Paul Schrader 7/10
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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Tue May 12, 2020 10:38 am

mlrg wrote:I was planning to see Feud on HBO but when I realized it’s from the same team behind this I will probably skip it.


Feud is more campy. Something "Hollywood" sadly lacks. The former should be seen if one is interested in watching two great stars (Sarandon & Lange) hamming it up playing two greater stars (Davis & Crawford). Although truth be told both series get tiresome very quickly.

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

Postby HarryGoldfarb » Tue May 12, 2020 10:24 am

Big Magilla wrote:Hollywood is going to have a second season, but like the same team's American Horror Story, it is expected to cast the same actors as different characters in an unrelated story but no one seems to know for sure what they're going to do.


I watched the first episode, but I have no intention of continuing to watch the rest of the series. It is a pity that the story is so little engaging because the technical aspects are first rate. It is unfortunate that those sets and costumes and camera work that looks impeccable has been used for such a messy script. By the time the first episode was over, I was very little interested in the fate of any of the characters introduced and that cannot be a good sign. Maybe the series improves in the following chapters, but from what I read here, I doubt it. Ryan Murphy has become the prototype of the hit & miss director / producer, but he has worked with so many people already in his prolific career that many people definitely love him and he is respected to the point of having a license to do whatever he wants without no one warning him that something may not be the best idea or way to go. Such a wasted opportunity to portrait the real period.

Hopefully, the'll find a better script to work with for next season.
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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Big Magilla » Tue May 12, 2020 7:44 am

Hollywood is going to have a second season, but like the same team's American Horror Story, it is expected to cast the same actors as different characters in an unrelated story but no one seems to know for sure what they're going to do.

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

Postby mlrg » Tue May 12, 2020 7:07 am

I thought Hollywood was a complete train wreck of a show. Everything is just so bad is absolutely embarrassing. One of the worst things I have ever seen.

I was planning to see Feud on HBO but when I realized it’s from the same team behind this I will probably skip it.

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

Postby Big Magilla » Tue May 12, 2020 5:00 am

Hollywood

What They Got Right:

The prostitution ring run out of a gas station on Santa Monica Blvd.

George Cukor's parties

Henry Willson's shenanigans

What They Got Wrong:

Rock Hudson - he was never that naïve. The character more closely resembles Tab Hunter, but he was only 16 in 1947 and didn't hit Hollywood until 1950 so they couldn't make it about him.

Anna May Wong - she was a legendary star in silent films and early talkies. Had they given Oscars for supporting performances prior to 1936, she would almost certainly have won for playing the murdered topless dancer in Piccadilly (1929) and been nominated for Shanghai Express (1932) which she all but stole from Marlene Dietrich. She did not audition for The Good Earth. She had made it clear from 1931 on that she wanted the role, but MGM had already passed on her for the lead in The Son-Daughter in 1932, giving the role to Helen Hayes because in the words of Louis B. Mayer "she was too Chinese to play Chinese." If MGM had considered her for The Good Earth in 1937, which they did not, she would not have needed a screen test. They damn well knew who she was and what she could do. Although she did not make any movies between 1942 and 1949, she had a major comeback in guest appearances on TV in the 1950s.

Hattie McDaniel - her alleged relationship with Tallulah Bankhead has been long disputed, and if it happened at all, it would have long been before 1947, possibly between her second and third of four marriages (her second husband was murdered in 1922, and she did not marry again until 1941). She never whined about having to play maids even after she won an Oscar. Although she was often criticized by others for playing domestics, she always laughed it off, saying she would rather get $700 a week for playing one than $7 a week for being one.

The movie within a movie thing - inter-racial romance would not have been allowed by the Production Code in 1947. Cheapening Pat Entwistle's tragic story by changing her character's name to Meg and having her not jump to her death from the Hollywood sign would not have been anyone's idea of an Oscar caliber film, then or now. The film that actually won the Oscar for 1947 was a genuine game-changer, Gentleman's Agreement, the best-seller about anti-Semitism that none of Hollywood's Jewish producers would touch. It was made by the only non-Jewish studio head in Hollywood, 20th Century-Fox's Daryl F. Zanuck.

And, of course, no one at the 1947 Oscars said "and the Oscar goes to...", something they didn't come up with until the 1987 Oscars, forty years later.

That said, it will probably get a slew of Emmy nominations - Dylan McDermott being the most likely among the actors, but Holland Taylor and Joe Mantello are also strong possibilities. Jim Parsons and Queen Latifah are long shots. Patti LuPone and the largely unknown young leads are less likely. The actresses playing Vivien Leigh and Tallulah Bankhead, on the other hand, should be up for Razzies or whatever the TV equivalent of Movie Worsts is called.

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

Postby Reza » Mon May 11, 2020 7:57 pm

Hollywood (Janet Mock, Michael Uppendahl, Daniel Minahan, Ryan Murphy & Jessica Yu, 2020) 6/10

Ryan Murphy's revisionist look at post-war Hollywood calls out the inherent racism and hypocricy in the industry and country and says a big f**k you to it. The plot weaves the story of a bunch of young men and women eager to make their mark in the movies and intertwines them with actual movie personalities. The men get their start courtesy of a pimp (Dylan McDermott) - based on Scotty Bowers - who ran a gas station which was a place where famous men and women could pick up hustlers for a night of sex. The screenplay, a mix of fan magazine sensibility of the 1940s and sexually graphic innuendos found in star biographies of today, is absolutely trashy and often completely over-the-top. The in-your-face sexual moments seem forced with many coming off as pure camp - the studio head's wife (Patti LuPone) having doggy-style sex on her GWTW-style staircase as the camera captures this cringy moment peeking between two Oscars. The dialogue is often risible with famous quotes being mouthed by the actual stars - Tallulah Bankhead gets to mouth two or three of those bon mots while ensconsed in an affair with Hattie McDaniel (Queen Latifah). Everyone gets a trashy look-in from Vivien Leigh to Anna May Wong to director George Cukor and his notorious gay pool parties. A hick (and very dumb) Rock Hudson is seen getting his early start in Hollywood courtesy of his agent, the notorious Henry Willson, who collected beefcake, gave them blowjobs and groomed them into becoming stars. Like Tarantino's recent revisionist twist to the Manson murders the screenplay here takes on plot points that Murphy wishes could (and should) have happened - a black actress playing the lead role in a mainstream Hollywood film written by a black writer (sexually involved with an out-of-the-closet Rock Hudson), directed by a Filipino-American which wins her an Oscar in the lead category. Unfair biases across gender, race and sexuality, which still remain a problem for many across the world, is examined here under the assumption of lifted barriers.

The Stranger Wore a Gun (André de Toth, 1953) 3/10

Randolph Scott starts off as a villain - a spy for Quantrill's raiders killing innocent people - and changes his tune after seeing one too many murders. He takes on his former ally (George Macready) and his two henchmen (Lee Marvin & Ernest Borgnine) as the plot devolves into assorted shootouts. Claire Trevor is the saloon floozie who loves him. Boring film meanders along. Filmed in lovely colour and 3-D.

Serpent of the Nile (William Castle, 1953) 2/10

Low budget shenanigans between Cleopatra (Rhonda Fleming), Mark Antony (Raymond Burr) and his aide, the two-faced Lucilius (William Lundigan), who also makes a play for the Egyptian queen. Fake sets and painted backdrops make this version of the saga painful to sit through. Fleming, decked out in alluring Jean Louis costumes and jewels, makes a valiant try at being seductive but her two leading men are such limp drips that its all a very one-sided affair. Julie Newmarr, painted from head to foot in gold, appears as a maiden offered as a gift to Antony who ignores her and makes a beeline instead for the gold coins she is standing on. Sadly the film also lacks camp and the lousy screenplay doesn't do justice to two of history's most charismatic characters. The film's saving grace is the lovely technicolor cinematography.

Night Passage (James Neilson, 1957) 5/10

Stewart's gritty, tough performance here is in keeping with the series of westerns he made for director Anthony Mann during the 1950s. The director and star parted ways on this project as Mann did not like the script. A disgraced railroad man (James Stewart) is re-hired to incognito carry a payroll on a train. When the train is attacked by outlaws, headed by his younger brother (Audie Murphy), the money is slipped into a box being carried by a kid (Brandon De Wilde). After a skirmish and a chase the brothers face off against each other and another outlaw (Dan Duryea in fine form). Filmed on spectacular Colorado locations with wonderful shots on a moving train - the great William Daniels is on camera - this rather routine film chugs along in predictable fashion.

Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind (Laurent Bouzereau, 2020) 7/10

Nothing new really but the documentary purpots to put to rest all the hysterical accounts about Natalie's death by drowning. A loving tribute to her mother by Natasha Gregson Wagner as she chats with close colleagues and friends of the star (Robert Redford, Mia Farrow, Richard Benjamin). She also "talks" to Robert Wagner, Wood's husband, who was on the boat with her that fateful night and he discusses the night of the tragedy. The film covers her life as an icon and star of many memorable movies as well as her life as a daughter and mother. If there is a slight tinge of trying to shut up all the conspiracy theorists out there one can't blame the family who never got any closure as the case kept getting flogged over and over by the media. As a tribute to a great star the film shines bright. Better to leave all the negativity behind if that's what the imnediate family want and enjoy what the star left behind. Her movies which are her legacy.

December Flower (Stephen Frears, 1984) 8/10

A recently widowed woman (Jean Simmons) visits her ailing aunt (Mona Washbourne) and is horrified to find her living in squalor cared for by a careless housekeeper (Pat Heywood) and visited once a week by her indifferent son (Bryan Forbes) and his hostile wife (June Ritchie). The two ladies bond and while discussinv old family feuds the feisty old woman comes out of her listless state. Funny heartwarming film about abuse of the elderly which ends on a triumphant note. Superbly acted (Washbourne is a delight as the wily and humorous old lady), directed and scripted.

A Bullet is Waiting (John Farrow, 1954) 6/10

A sheriff (Stephen McNally) and his prisoner (Rory Calhoun) survive a plane crash and end up at an isolated sheep farm in the wilderness owned by an old professor (Brian Aherne) and his tomboy daughter (Jean Simmons). Predictable drama is basically a talkfest as the two men bicker, the girl almost gets raped and then falls in love with her attacker, the scowling prisoner, and the old man pontificates about life and philosophy. Rarely seen Simmons vehicle is strictly B material but she gives a feisty performance full of wounded vulnerability. Colour cinematography by Franz Planer and the score by Dimitri Tiomkin.

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

Postby HarryGoldfarb » Mon May 11, 2020 6:38 pm

Molly's Game (Aaron Sorkin, 2017), 9/10

I can not understand how Jessica Chastain was not nominated for Best Actress at the Oscar. Best Picture, film editing and even Supporting Actor (Idris Elba) would have been deserved nominations as well. A very very pleasant surprise out of what I've seen lately. I know that year Supporting Actor was an impossible category, a year in which five slots are very few. The weak entry out of the actual nominees for me is still Richard Jenkins, but even removing him I would have included Armie Hammer. What I mean is that, even if it was almost impossible for Elba to nominate, I find it strange that he wasn't even in the conversation that year, specially considering his unexpected snub a couple of years earlier.

Yesterday (Darrell Roodt, 2014), 8/10

A powerful movie, with superb performances and a script that I think should be shown in drama classes. Its Oscar nomination for Foreign Film is very deserved and had I been a voter, even considering how much I liked The Sea Inside, I think I would have voted for this movie.

Your Son (Miguel Ángel Vivas, 2018), 5/10

After his son is badly beaten by a group of strangers, a surgeon begins a search that leads him to find the culprits, in a downward spiral that ends up with some unexpected revelations. The film is anchored by the performance of the Spanish actor José Coronado, who received a Goya nomination for Best Actor. But the film becomes sordidly heavy and goes into gimmicky terrain that does little good to the human story that it was supposed to be. The final twist, interesting, poignant and even surprising, puts the viewer in a somehow uncomfortable situation, but it is not enough to compensate for the heavy burden the film imposes on viewers. Maybe I wasn't in the right mood.

Daddy's Home 2 (Sean Anders, 2017), 4,5/10

Perfectly capable sequel, now with Wahlberg and Farrell accompanied by Mel Gibson and John Lithgow as their respective parents. A very all over the place script that demonstrates the poor work of its authors, but I had not seen a comedy for a while that actually made me laugh a few times. Jokes don't always work, and it's unfortunate to see Lithgow, whose comedic timing strikes me as great, lost and underused in this underdevolped and absurd story. If the movie left me something, it was the desire to see more Lithgow doing comedy and to see Third Rock from the Sun again.

Journey to the Center of the Earth (Henry Levin, 1959), 7,5/10

My current demands are limited to how much I enjoy a movie, and boy, I really enjoyed this one! The cast (especially Mason who commands each scene with a weird seriousness as if it were a Shakespeare work), the rhythm, the naive humor that did not always work, the production design, the songs that do not fit the film (I understand that they were a Pat Boone's demand), and the visual effects, made the film run smoothly for me. Something that really caught my attention was the excessive amount of sexual hints and innuendos throughout the film up to the final scene, not to mention that I felt that much of the film was an excuse to show the bodies of Boone and Peter Ronson. The songs are not particularly bad. Were they successful? Could any of those songs have been nominated for an Oscar? With the film managing to get three nominations, it was obviously seen and admired.

Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee, 2005), 9/10

I had not seen this movie again since its year of release, and did not recall how atmospheric and hypnotic the first act of this movie is. Ang Lee's delicate directing work deserved and deserves that Oscar he won only for those first 20 or 25 minutes of film. Great performances, the film holds up very well 15 years after its premiere. Seeing it again, I confirm that in addition to the three Academy Awards the film received, it should also have won Best Film and even Cinematography. Rodrigo Prieto's work is wonderful. Checking some facts about the film on internet I have learned that most of the sheep are digital, product of the work of the visual effects artists. Impressive...

War of the Worlds (Steven Spielberg, 2005), 6/10

Rewatch. Once again, a great first act, but in this case, the movie strays too far heading to the end. After the eldest son separated from the group (what an insufferable character, btw), and especially with that endless scene with Tim Robbins, I no longer wanted to continue watching the movie. Good to great effects, it could have been a worthy winner for visual effects (especially considering the King Kong dinosaurs). Strange that it could not even win sound editing.

Extraction (Sam Hargrave, 2020), 5/10

A Russo Brothers production: a mercenary accepts a mission to rescue the son of an Indian drug lord kidnapped in Bangladesh. Action and more action sequences that reminds more of a video game than a movie. I think that is its charm. Lots of violence, formulaic arches for the characters and a great technical display. By the way, is this eligible for Oscars? I ask because of the technical categories, in which this could have some chance, especially if the year ends up being as poor as it looks. The Russo Brothers produce.

The Lady in the Van (Nicholas Hytner, 2015), 7,5/10

A lovely movie, with a wonderful performance by Maggie Smith. After the Golden Globe and Bafta nominations, I would have loved to see Smith getting an Oscar nomination because she simply deserved it, especially when the final lineup included the likes of Jennifer Lawrence for Joy. It
is also a pity that George Fenton's score was overlooked, although I think maybe it was because it is somehow diluted among the classic compositions, but all in all It is a beautiful score. I highly recommend this one.

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (Nick Park & Steve Box, 2005), 8/10

I loved this movie. It took me way too long to finally see it. Incredible humor, one of the best I've seen in animated movies.
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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Sun May 10, 2020 3:40 am

Out of Africa (Sydney Pollack, 1985) 5/10

Exquistely crafted film is not really very good. Long rambling memory piece about Danish writer Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep), her marriage of convenience to her lover's brother Baron Bror Blixen (Klaus Maria Brandauer), their move to Kenya as owners of a coffee plantation and her passionate affair with the great white hunter Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford). Pollack films, what is basically an intimate story about three people, as an epic on the lines of David Lean with the movie as large scale as the continent it is set on. David Watkin's spectacular cinematography captures the vast beautiful landscape, the flaura and fauna, accompanied by John Barry's swooningly romantic score to which Redford makes love to Streep - the scene with both airborne in a plane is especially memorable. Their incredible screen chemistry makes their scenes together stand out and very special which unfortunately are few and far between. Most of the film is a travelogue which the camera deliriously captures but is quite a slog to sit through. The film, Pollack, the screenplay, sound design, cinematography, score and production design all won Oscars while Streep, Brandauer, the editing and the costume design were nominated. A film to be seen about a time, place and colonial lifestyle in history that no longer exists and one to be seen on the biggest screen possible to truly appreciate Pollack's vision and the film's misplaced grandiose sensibilty.

Station West (Sidney Lanfield, 1948) 5/10

The studios were not very imaginative with their stories taking actors famous in film noir and putting them into a noir-like plot set in the Western genre. A private investigator (Dick Powell) rides incognito into town to investigate two murders. The town, rife with free-wheeling crime, is run by a femme fatale (Jane Greer). Boring story at least has interesting characters all of whom are cynical and sadistic but the relentlessly talky script makes it such a slow slog to sit through. Great supporting cast - Agnes Moorehead, Raymond Burr, Regis Toomey and an unbilled Burl Ives (he was blacklisted over that "Red" nonsense) who sings three songs.

The Burglar (Paul Wendkos, 1957) 7/10

Nifty little B-noir has shifty Dan Duryea getting partner Jayne Mansfield to stake a fake spiritualist followed by robbing her safe with his gang. A cop on their trail proves to be even more crooked when he seduces the girl in order to get the stolen jewels. Snappy direction, a great score, artsy camerawork and the sexy Mansfield all add up to create a perfect little gem in the noir genre. Remade twice - Truffaut's "Tirez sur le pianiste" (1960) and Henri Verneuil's "The Burglars" (1971).

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Vincente Minnelli, 1962) 8/10

Minnelli's aesthetic sense of style is evident all over this film and is in keeping with the kind of projects, dipped in melodrama, that became his forté after the frothy and light musicals at MGM during the 1940s for which he had received his initial acclaim. Loosely based on the novel by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez it first came to the screen as a silent film in 1921 which made Rudolph Valentino into a huge star. This opulent, star laden and bloated remake at MGM was a resounding flop but there is a lot that actually holds up pretty well. The story was updated from WWI to WWII. This is old fashioned cinema filmed on a grand scale and the likes of which we shall never see again. An Argentine patriarch (Lee J. Cobb, hamming it up as usual) holds sway over his large family on a cattle ranch. One daughter is married to a Frenchman (Charles Boyer) and the other to a German (Paul Lukas). When his German grandson (Karl Boehm) announces he has joined the Nazi party the old man has a coronary and drops dead. The story shifts to Paris in 1938 with both families having moved there and the plot involves the lives of the grandchildren as the Nazis come to power and occupy Paris after WWII breaks out. The French grandson (Glenn Ford) is a playboy involved in a passionate affair with the young wife (Ingrid Thulin, dubbed by Angela Lansbury) of his father's close journalist friend (Paul Henreid) while his sister (Yvette Mimieux) joins the resistance and becomes a martyr to their cause when she is caught, tortured and killed by the Nazis. The dramatic story moves from elegant homes and restaurants - Minnelli uses the dominating color red in the production design - to the battlefield where the French and German cousins eventually arrive at opposite spectrums of the war and bitterly and tragically clash. Notwithstanding the film's disastrous reception it greatly influenced the look of Visconti's "The Damned" (1969),
Bertolucci's "The Conformist" and De Sica's
"The Garden of the Finzi-Continis" (1970). Ford is totally miscast (he was thrust onto Minnelli by MGM who wanted Alain Delon in the part) but he manages to use his charm to get by - both he and Ingrid Thulin were also too old for their parts. Thankfully the electrifying tango that Valentino danced in the silent version was not replicated here. That famous moment alone should be an incentive for all movie lovers to watch that version too as not only is that scene one of the many highlights of the silent film but it is also a better adaptation of the story in which the four titular men of the apocalypse represent Conquest, War, Pestilence, and Death.

The Tall Target (Anthony Mann, 1951) 7/10

Fairly engrossing thriller set on a moving train about the alleged Baltimore Plot. In early 1861 there was a conspiracy to assassinate President-elect Abraham Lincoln enroute to his inauguration. A police sergeant (Dick Powell) overhears a plot but his superiors disregard his claims about an assassination attempt. He boards a train in New York heading to Baltimore where the killer is supposed to strike when the train stops at the station there before going on to Washington D.C. The train passengers are an assortment of suspects and the cop finds himself continuously thwarted as he is shoved off the train only to get back on. Mann tautly directs this tension packed film with a number of familiar faces among the supporting cast - Adolph Menjou as a jovial but scheming Army Colonel, Ruby Dee as a slave and Florence Bates in another one of her indelible cameos as an outspoken abolitionist. The scenes set on the various train stations along the way are superbly shot in shadows and the action scenes involving a fight to the death and of a man getting thrown off the train are harrowingly intense. The small running time keeps things moving at break-neck pace to its suspensful and surprising conclusion.

North West Frontier (J. Lee Thompson, 1959) 7/10

Old fashioned adventure film, adapted from an original story by Patrick Ford (director John Ford's son), so the plot, although set in India, runs just like Ford's 1939 classic Western "Stagecoach". Instead of Indians chasing a stagecoach carrying a group of disparate individuals we have here a group on a train being chased by a different breed of Indians - Pathans of the North West Frontier (now in Pakistan) being the marauding "savages". When Muslim rebels hope to kill a 6-year old Hindu prince to end his family line a British captain (Kenneth More) escapes with the child on a train. Also accompanying them are the child's feisty American governess (Lauren Bacall), an arms merchant (Eugene Deckers), a cynical reporter (Herbert Lom), two upper class Britons (Wilfred Hyde-White & Ursula Jeans) and the train's talkative engineer (I. S. Johar). The journey is fraught with danger as they come across destroyed trains with massacred passengers and tribesmen attacking their moving train. All the train sequences were shot in Spain along with a few scenes shot in Jaipur at Amber Fort. Slick fast-moving film adds realism by actually shooting on a moving train with no fake backdrops. Geoffrey Unsworth's spectacular cinemascope cinematography captures the wide open spaces through which the train moves. Thompson's exemplary direction of this very underrated action film was rewarded by producer Carl Foreman who allowed him to helm "The Guns of Navarone" to great acclaim and boxoffice success.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sun May 10, 2020 12:51 am

A Secret Love (2020) Chris Bolan 7/10
Hoa-Binh (1970) Raoul Coutarcy 6/10
Like a Boss (2020) Miguel Arteta 2/10

Repeat viewings

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Stanley Kubrick 10/10
Atlantic City (1980) Louis Malle 10/10
American Gigolo (1980) Paul Schrader 8/10
The Accidental Tourist (1988) Lawrence Kasdan 8/10
Thelma and Louise (1991) Ridley Scott 8/10
Sunday Blood Sunday (1971) John Schlesinger 10/10
Courted (2015) Christian Vincent 8/10
Plenty (1985) Fred Schepisi 9/10
Heaven Can Wait (1943) Ernst Lubitsch 7/10
Quiz Show (1994) Robert Redford 9/10
"I want cement covering every blade of grass in this nation! Don't we taxpayers have a voice anymore?" Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole) in John Waters' Desperate Living (1977)


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