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: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  ( 3411009 )
dave jenkins
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« #19365 : October 23, 2020, 06:45:09 PM »

The Mechanic (1972) - 9/10. I was about half way through (enjoying the very nice transfer TT put out a few years ago), when Mrs. Jenkins walked into the room and stopped dead. "Jan Michael Vincent!" she screamed. Huh, show her an image of Bogart, or Cary Grant, or Jimmy Stewart and I'll invariably get, "Who he?" But Jan Michael Vincent she knows. Maybe from Big Wednesday, maybe from whiskey commercials on Japanese TV back in the day. Anyway, I gather she's a fan, because she made me start the whole film over so that she wouldn't miss a frame of her idol. I didn't have a problem with that, though, because it meant I'd get to watch again the opening set piece, Bronson setting up a hit to look like an accident, 15 minutes of activity without a single word of dialog. [I had to caution Mrs. Jenkins that JMV wouldn't come in until later. She was a model of stoic reserve as she waited.] This is a Michael Winner film? It must have been made when he was still young and hungry, because the whole thing ticks along without a single dud scene. Keenan Wynn was never more annoying. Telling and retelling that one stupid joke and then laughing idiotically really makes his following appearance--where Bronson throttles him--very satisfying. And the scene with Jill Ireland is pretty good. For one thing, it is only one scene, must be some kind of record for a Bronson film. And the gag at the end makes it pretty funny. Then the funeral scene is great, followed by the Red Screen transition that leads to the party scene. It was here that I started to note the use of the color red in the film: Bronson's PJs, the car, and eventually that special vino at the end. I'd just rewatched Red Desert recently: had that sensitized me to Winner's motif here? [We may never know.] The suicide-watch scene could have been a disaster, but it cooks. The dialogs between Bronson and JMV could have been awful, bringing all forward momentum to a halt--they aren't, and they don't. In fact, they lead to a very satisfying pay-off in the film's penultimate scene. Maybe the motorcycle chase goes on a little too long: I forgive it because the resolution of that sequence is so spectacular. Certainly all the stuff in Naples is great. And the film's ending is (heh heh) to die for [see what I did there?]. Bronson is Bronson, but what takes everything up a notch is JMV. Man, he's good. He's the very picture--and voice--of disaffected Youth. And it's such a pleasure to hear him spouting that early 70s lingo: bread for money; hairy for intense; What's your action? for Make your agenda known. Afterwards Mrs. Jenkins wanted to talk about character motivations--why does Bronson decide to mentor JMV? When does JMV decide to kill Bronson? Wasn't JMV the prototype for Brad Pitt?--but I said, "Honey, relax, it's only a movie. Here, let's go on YouTube now and watch an episode of Kent Survival. That's a good girl."

« : October 23, 2020, 06:48:29 PM dave jenkins »


Ya measly skunk! A-campin’ on my trail and lettin’ me do the work an’ then shootin’ me in the back. IN THE BACK!
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« #19366 : October 23, 2020, 10:25:43 PM »

Maps to the Stars (2014) - 9/10. Forget Hollywood Babylon. Welcome to Hollywood Abaddon. David Cronenberg is our Virgil, introducing us to a Child Star From Hell (Evan Bird), a Has-Been Actress From Hell (Julianne Moore), a Psychologist/ Motivational  Speaker From Hell (John Cusack), and, in a cameo, a Carrie Fisher (playing herself) Who Just Looks Like Hell. And moving amongst them all is Mia Wasikowska, a burn-victim PA with a frightening agenda. They all see dead people, or most of them do . . . could it be because they are , you know, from Hell (or going there soon?).  This is satire with real bite. Warning: children and dogs die in this film.
Yup, 9/10, definitely.



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« #19367 : October 25, 2020, 09:06:47 PM »

Vanya on 42nd Street (1994) - 10/10. Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory, together again for the first time: it's My Dinner with Anton [Chekhov]. No costumes, no sets, barely any plot, just characters chatting. Having just enjoyed Julianne Moore's incredible performance in Maps To The Stars, and wanting more Julianne, I put this on. Ms. Moore was indeed very good in this (along with everyone else), but the real star was the David Mamet translation of Uncle Vanya. Could Chekhov have had the American theater in mind when he wrote his play? Sure seems like it. And kudos to Louis Malle for knowing how to stay out of the way.



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« #19368 : November 02, 2020, 03:30:48 AM »

Opera (Dario Argento, 1987) 6.5/10
First Argento movie for me. Amazing, innovative and fun visuals/atmosphere/set design, some great horror ideas, stupid plot. The soundtrack is good, but not Morricone good, and the hard rock parts aged poorly. I'll definitely watch some of his other films. Also, I'm now among the group of people convinced he was the one behind the hanging scene in OUATITW.

Anomalisa (Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson, 2015) 7/10
I saw that one in theater but I had no memory of it. This is an example of a movie that was probably written and produced because of a single idea for a single scene. And damn, that idea is great and powerful. There is one other great scene. The rest of the movie is ok. Mostly Kaufman doing Kaufman: if you like Charlie's work, you'll like this one, if you don't, you won't.

« : November 02, 2020, 03:36:45 AM noodles_leone »

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« #19369 : November 02, 2020, 04:52:01 AM »

Also, I'm now among the group of people convinced he was the one behind the hanging scene in OUATITW.
?



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« #19370 : November 02, 2020, 05:19:54 AM »

Halloween Weekend yields the following, all repeats for me.

The Beast with Five Fingers (1946). 7/10. Nobody does psychotic like Peter Lorre. Possibly his best performance (in English, anyway). The acting by the hand playing The Hand is very good too.

Onibaba (1964) - 5/10. Too ponderous, too didactic. In other words, it takes a long time delivering its moral, and it's a moral not worth having. Some nice b&w photography, though (in scope), and a good score with some great drumming.

The Uninvited (1944) - 6/10. Mrs. Jenkins watched this one with me and commented: "This plot is too complicated. A ghost story should be simple." When she's right, she's right. And she's right.

« : November 02, 2020, 04:10:58 PM dave jenkins »


Ya measly skunk! A-campin’ on my trail and lettin’ me do the work an’ then shootin’ me in the back. IN THE BACK!
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« #19371 : November 02, 2020, 10:50:42 AM »

?

More precisely, the fact that the brother is on his little brother?s shoulder. That kind of creative cruelty feels a lot like what I?ve seen in Opera. So I think it was Argento?s idea.


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« #19372 : November 02, 2020, 08:51:00 PM »

Laura (1944) - 4/10. Final viewing of a very stoooopid film. Yes, Clifton Webb is amusing--until he isn't. Yes, Gene Tierney is beautiful--except when she's wearing those silly hats. And Preminger might have been the last director able to move the camera without it calling attention to itself--but that's just not enough. The story is dreadful, and I don't give a rat's ass about "the score" (just the same theme repeated endlessly). When I need a Tierney fix in the future, I'll find it in better pictures.



Ya measly skunk! A-campin’ on my trail and lettin’ me do the work an’ then shootin’ me in the back. IN THE BACK!
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« #19373 : November 02, 2020, 11:52:16 PM »

More precisely, the fact that the brother is on his little brother?s shoulder. That kind of creative cruelty feels a lot like what I?ve seen in Opera. So I think it was Argento?s idea.

Did Leone need Argento for creative cruelty? what about in GBU, when the soldier in "The carriage of the spirits" unable to say the name on the grave because his throat is so parched?


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« #19374 : November 03, 2020, 01:06:43 AM »

Did Leone need Argento for creative cruelty? what about in GBU, when the soldier in "The carriage of the spirits" unable to say the name on the grave because his throat is so parched?

I remember reading what I said (that Argento was probably behind this idea) decades ago somewhere and thinking ?that guy just says so because Argento is an horror flick filmmaker?. But once again, I find that that particular idea looks a lot like the kind of stuff I saw in Opera. Much more than what I saw in other Leone movies.

I still cannot prove anything but yes, I would bet some money on it if there was a way to know for sure.

Now, I?m also sure Leone and Argento found a nice common ground on these issues and probably liked to talk about cruel ideas together.


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« #19375 : November 03, 2020, 01:37:12 AM »

If I remember that correctly there exists one pretty unknown early Spaggie, which features a similar scene.

 


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« #19376 : November 03, 2020, 02:15:50 AM »

If I remember that correctly there exists one pretty unknown early Spaggie, which features a similar scene.

That would be interesting to know. If there is a true SW fan in the room, now is the time to speak up.


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« #19377 : November 04, 2020, 10:03:21 PM »

Quote
Mysteries of Lisbon (2010) - 10/10. Raul Ruiz's four-and-a-half hour HD adaptation of a famous 19th Century Portuguese novel. The decision to go digital must have been economically motivated (Ruiz shot it very quickly for Portuguese television), and the results, while generally appealing, reveal the shortcomings of the technology (especially on quick tracks and pans, where backgrounds tend not to read correctly). Nonetheless, there are a number of painting-like tableaux in the "film" that are the equal of anything in The Leopard or Barry Lyndon (but with much paler hues). The plot consists of not one but several interlocking tales about ill-fated love and abandoned children, and each is told in flashback. Structurally the movie resembles The Saragossa Manuscript, though with less whimsy and without recourse to supernatural explanations. Memory is the story's great theme. Of course, Ruiz has done an adaptation of Proust, but there were times during my viewing that I was reminded of that other masterwork on the subject, Once Upon a Time in America (especially when the camera lingers on clocks or the numerous doors). Even so, I was thunderstruck at the end when Ruiz, reaching for some kind of meta-literary statement to cap his work, virtually lifted the entire ending from Leone's film. Well, you should always steal from the best, so I can't really fault him for that. Ruiz soon died after making this, but went on to release several other films. The guy just can't stop!
After nearly a decade, another viewing. Maybe I now rate it only a "9".



Ya measly skunk! A-campin’ on my trail and lettin’ me do the work an’ then shootin’ me in the back. IN THE BACK!
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« #19378 : November 06, 2020, 06:50:10 PM »


Un maledetto imbroglio / The Facts of Murder (1959) - 7/10. A whodunit with a lot of laughs, with the film's director playing the lead detective. As the plot is rather complicated, I defer to the IMDb synopsis: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053039/ Lots of red herrings, which obscure--for a time--what turns out to be an obvious and not-very-satisfying solution. Great seeing another screen appearance of La Cardinale, of course.
Watched this again because I remembered I'd seen it but could not remember anything about it. Now I know why: not a memorable film. Maybe I'll now remember not to bother with it a third time.



Ya measly skunk! A-campin’ on my trail and lettin’ me do the work an’ then shootin’ me in the back. IN THE BACK!
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« #19379 : November 07, 2020, 09:18:11 AM »

Philadelphia (1993) 8/10
Great one. I'm way more impressed by Demme's know how here than in Silence of the Lambs. Looks a lot like a Spielberg trial movie, but way more handheld.

A Bittersweet Life (2005) 6.5/10
Nice gangster movie. Nothing groundbreaking, a lot of fun genre ideas, classy camerawork, good fistfight and gunfight scenes (it's rare a movie can do both).


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