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: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  ( 2270717 )
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« #10260 : March 01, 2012, 04:16:16 AM »

The Virgin Queen (1955) - 6/10 - Bette Davis plays Elizabeth again, much more broadly than in Elizabeth & Essex. The movie is a pretty trifling costume drama with pretty photography and a weak story. Other than Davis the cast is pretty weak, even Joan Collins, but Bette has lots of fun hamming it up.



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« #10261 : March 03, 2012, 07:48:55 PM »

The French Connection - 7/10 - 2nd viewing. Good cast, exciting action scenes, gritty authenticity and an interesting score; nothing really wrong with it. I especially liked the dialogue-less cat-and-mouse games between Hackman and the frogs. Why just a seven? Perhaps I just don't find anything outstanding about it: everything is done well, but nothing really remarkable for its genre. I didn't find it as authentic-seeming as Zodiac, as grim as The Onion Field, as gritty as Serpico or as exciting as The Taking of Pelham of 123.

« : March 03, 2012, 07:56:05 PM Groggy »


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« #10262 : March 04, 2012, 06:56:55 AM »

The Private Life of Henry VIII - 7/10 - 2nd viewing. Portrays Henry VIII's reign as a farcical comedy, an approach which works surprisingly well. Charles Laughton is appropriately outsized and most of his wives are equally memorable, especially Elsa Lanchester as a very strange Anne of Cleves. What doesn't work is the soppy Katharine Howard-Thomas Culpepper romance, whose tragic tone doesn't mesh with the rest of the film.



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« #10263 : March 04, 2012, 10:36:47 AM »

I begin to sense a trend in your latest viewing choices, Grogs.



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« #10264 : March 04, 2012, 11:03:33 AM »

Just as I've finished with them. Good timing.



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« #10265 : March 04, 2012, 02:34:44 PM »

Little Big Man (1970) - 3/10. First Blu-ray viewing. I'd forgotten how silly this film is. Maybe Penn and his collaborators were trying to out-Strangelove Strangelove? Or trying to pre-empt the Mad Magazine parody by doing their own version first? In any case, it doesn't work. It's one thing to recast all the characters (some historical, most fictional) as caracitures who speak in a late 1960s idiom for whatever laughs can be had (very few, in fact). But having burlesqued history, it just isn't possible to then try to make serious points about real history, The Battle of the Little Bighorn in particular or 19th Century Indian-Whites relations in general. Still, I always enjoy watching Chief Dan George work, and he gets a lot of scenes in this. The one laugh I gave up this time was when he intoned, "I've never been invisible before!"



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« #10266 : March 05, 2012, 01:37:10 AM »

The Petrified Forest (1936) 5.5/10

With Leslie Howard, Bette Davis, and Humphrey Bogart in a breakout supporting role. Though he wouldn't become a leading man for another 5 years, this role established Bogie as a movie star.


What makes this film somewhat watchable are A) the acting; and B) you don't realize till close to the end of the movie how dumb it really is; the first 2/3 of the movie are pretty enjoyable and seem to have potential as a solid film, but the last 20 minutes or so are absolutely ridiculous. The script for the Howard character is beyond ridiculous. One of the most absurd premises I have ever seen in any movie. (Also, this is one of those screenplays that was originally a stage play, in which virtually the entire movie takes place on a single set -- in this case, a gas station -- which I find annoying).


An interesting moment occurs right near the very end, when Davis says, "What's the first thing you see when you get to France?" And Howard replies, "The fields and forests of Normandy." "And then?" "And then, Paris." Who knew we'd all find that out, 8 years later...


« : March 05, 2012, 06:41:13 AM drinkanddestroy »

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« #10267 : March 05, 2012, 02:24:32 AM »

Little Big Man (1970) - 3/10. First Blu-ray viewing. I'd forgotten how silly this film is. Maybe Penn and his collaborators were trying to out-Strangelove Strangelove? Or trying to pre-empt the Mad Magazine parody by doing their own version first? In any case, it doesn't work. It's one thing to recast all the characters (some historical, most fictional) as caracitures who speak in a late 1960s idiom for whatever laughs can be had (very few, in fact). But having burlesqued history, it just isn't possible to then try to make serious points about real history, The Battle of the Little Bighorn in particular or 19th Century Indian-Whites relations in general. Still, I always enjoy watching Chief Dan George work, and he gets a lot of scenes in this. The one laugh I gave up this time was when he intoned, "I've never been invisible before!"

Really?

I still think this is one of the 10 best westerns ever. And far from being silly.


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« #10268 : March 06, 2012, 12:56:28 PM »

The Panic in Needle Park (1971) 8.5/10

Incredible performances by Al Pacino (in his first leading role) and Kitty Winn (who won Best Actress at Cannes).

This movie is so good, and so dirty, bringing you deep inside the desperate world of heroin addicts: using, dealing, withdrawal, poverty, petty theft, prostitution, etc.

(For 3 years, I went to school and lived half a mile from that area, passed by it all the time; it's a beautiful neighborhood, and I'd never heard of "Needle Park" before watching this movie; I guess that's cuz I grew up in the post-Giuliani New York  ;) .)

That scene where Winn takes that young boy's virginity is really funny.

« : December 04, 2013, 03:48:39 AM drinkanddestroy »

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« #10269 : March 07, 2012, 04:37:00 AM »

Little Big Man (1970) - 3/10. First Blu-ray viewing. I'd forgotten how silly this film is. Maybe Penn and his collaborators were trying to out-Strangelove Strangelove? Or trying to pre-empt the Mad Magazine parody by doing their own version first? In any case, it doesn't work. It's one thing to recast all the characters (some historical, most fictional) as caracitures who speak in a late 1960s idiom for whatever laughs can be had (very few, in fact). But having burlesqued history, it just isn't possible to then try to make serious points about real history, The Battle of the Little Bighorn in particular or 19th Century Indian-Whites relations in general. Still, I always enjoy watching Chief Dan George work, and he gets a lot of scenes in this. The one laugh I gave up this time was when he intoned, "I've never been invisible before!"

Harsh.



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« #10270 : March 07, 2012, 09:06:51 AM »

Really?

I still think this is one of the 10 best westerns ever. And far from being silly.

Aha! i'm not the only one on this board!



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« #10271 : March 07, 2012, 11:11:06 AM »

Swamp Water (1941) - 7/10. Putatively Renoir's first American directorial effort (the degree of his involvement is now disputed by scholars, I understand), this is a weird one, filmed partially in the Okefenokee swamp, where it's set. Dana Andrews, against the advice of townspeople and his father (Walter Huston), goes into the swamp to look for his lost dog. The swamp is supposed to be the worst place on earth, full of gators and such-like. Andrews finds the dog, but also Walter Brennan, who's been hiding out ever since he broke jail five years earlier. It seems Brennen was worngfully convicted of murder, and decided that swamp life was preferable to execution. He hasn't wandered too far in, however, as he maintains hope of someday being re-united with his daughter (Anne Baxter), a waif now being exploited back in town by a hypocritical shopkeeper and his wife. Andrews partners up with Brennnan and they begin a lucrative trapping business. Returning to town, Andrews also takes up with Baxter after being jilted by his first sweetheart (Virginia Gilmore). When this woman in turn feels wronged she reports to the sheriff (Eugene Pallette) her suspicions that Andrews is tied up with escaped felon Brennan. This is of interest not only to the law, but to the evil Dorson brothers (Ward Bond, Guinn Williams), the men responsible for the murder Brennan was convicted of. Did I mention that a particularly slimy John Carradine is also in the film? The dialog is full of howl-inducing Hollywood-swampisms ("Thank ya kindly, Miz Hanah. I sure don't never wants to get lost-ed in that there swamp.") But the photography is beautiful, and features some very impressive sets that blend well with the location shots. Watch out for the terrifying death-by-bog featured at the end!

« : March 07, 2012, 12:55:36 PM dave jenkins »


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« #10272 : March 08, 2012, 06:57:12 AM »

My Name is Julia Ross (1945) - 4/10. A woman-in-peril picture. An unattached, single, impoverished woman (Nina Foch) hires out as a live-in secretary to a sweet old lady (Dame May Whitty) and her psycho son (George Macready). However, she soon discovers that lady and son are setting her up for an impersonation-and-death. This is a rather dull B-picture with little to recommend it. The worst thing is the bargain-basement plot. Interest could have been generated by withholding information and gradually revealing it, but everything is made plain from the beginning. Worse, the audience is always party to the bad guys' plans, which means we always know more than the heroine (except at the very end). No suspense is generated in this picture whatsoever. This has been included in the recent Columbia Noir set, but it really isn't film noir. It's film snore.



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« #10273 : March 08, 2012, 07:44:35 AM »

My Name is Julia Ross (1945) - 4/10. A woman-in-peril picture. An unattached, single, impoverished woman (Nina Foch) hires out as a live-in secretary to a sweet old lady (Dame May Whitty) and her psycho son (George Macready). However, she soon discovers that lady and son are setting her up for an impersonation-and-death. This is a rather dull B-picture with little to recommend it. The worst thing is the bargain-basement plot. Interest could have been generated by withholding information and gradually revealing it, but everything is made plain from the beginning. Worse, the audience is always party to the bad guys' plans, which means we always know more than the heroine (except at the very end). No suspense is generated in this picture whatsoever. This has been included in the recent Columbia Noir set, but it really isn't film noir. It's film snore.

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« #10274 : March 09, 2012, 05:07:01 AM »

Slightly Scarlet (1956) - 6/10. If Douglas Sirk had made a Technicolor gangster picture, it would look like this. Instead, Alan Dwan gets the credit for adapting a James M. Caine novel (Love's Lovely Counterfeit) and populating it with Rhonda Fleming, Arlene Dahl, John Payne, and, as the local crime boss, Ted de Corsia. Payne wants de Corsia's action, so he maneuvers the boss out of the picture and tries to take over. Meanwhile, Fleming just wants to be loved, but should she accept the new mayor's offer of marriage, or continue to hang with badboy Payne? Then Dahl shows up--supposedly Fleming's klepto-and-nympho sister--and sets her sights on Payne. Girls, start clutching your handbags! Some have tried to claim this film for noir-dom, but I say nah. John Alton's color work, here and elsewhere, is very different from what he did in b&w. Besides, the story is just too campy to be taken seriously.



That's what you get, Drink, for not appreciating the genius of When You Read This Letter.
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