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: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  ( 3730673 )
dave jenkins
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« #19620 : March 01, 2021, 07:44:25 AM »

Two films about young men seeking father surrogates, both from 2014. Was there something going around?
The Two Faces of January (2014) - 6/10. 1080p. 1962, Athens. Viggo and Kirsten are a seemingly nice tourist couple who come across Oscar Isaac, an ex-pat American who provides dodgy tour-guide services to visiting suckers. Suddenly the couple are in trouble, and Oscar, smelling the opportunity to lay his hands on a lot of Viggo's money, and maybe even his wife, decides to help. Before long they are three fugitives with a lot of interpersonal issues to work through. The action heads to Crete, then back to Greece, before finally landing in Istanbul (all played by the actual locations, and looking wonderful in the daytime. Nighttime, not so much). This is adapted from a Patricia Highsmith novel, not one of her better ones apparently. I had to roll my eyes when, at one point, a character asks another if he's wearing a wire. In 1962? In Istanbul? I'm guessing Highsmith's book was changed a bit.
This one should have been called The Too Many Faces of Classical Literature: the title alludes to Janus; there's a motif throughout about Theseus and the Minotaur; the central triangle suggests the Oedipus pattern. None of these illuminate the film's central concern, which is something like Parents Always Disappoint Their Children. The movie suggests that after a tremendous struggle, disappointed sons are able to forgive their father surrogates. Yeah, maybe.

Whiplash (2014) - 9/10. Despite some lame plotting, this is an example of bravura filmmaking. Great ending--is "Caravan" a fantastic piece of music or what? The movie suggests that after a tremendous struggle, a son and his father surrogate can achieve rapprochement. Yeah, maybe.



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« #19621 : March 04, 2021, 03:15:54 AM »

Vice Squad (1982) - A great mix of exploitation and neo-noir with a little of the slasher genre thrown in there -- and if this could be considered a slasher, it would probably be my favorite of the decade, though A Nightmare on Elm Street is certainly the more contained or cerebral 80s slasher classic. But what a movie, with such a great villain with such a great name: Ramrod. The acting isn't the best outside of Wings Hauser's bold performance as the maniac cowboy pimp Ramrod, but the cinematography (shot by Kubrick's guy John Alcott) is top notch bringing out all the sleaze of early 80s Hollywood on visceral display. The pace is so on point with such great atmosphere. This is a classic that escaped me for way too long. I normally don't blind buy blurays but I made the right choice grabbing the excellent Shout release. Highly recommended. A

48 Hrs (1982) - For me, this will always be the platinum standard for buddy cop movies, and 48 Hrs becomes more relevant by the day for how raw and unapologetic it handles race relations. I'd argue it does a masterful job. Reggie Hammond and Jack Cates are two of my favorite film characters and Murphy and Nolte's chemistry is otherworldly. The ultimate action comedy that gets better and better on additional views. I can't articulate how much I love Walter Hill. A+

Valley Girl (1983) - It's hard to rate flawed personal favorites, but this is my favorite of any official, or in Valley Girl's case, unofficial Romeo and Juliet adaptations. I'd classify Valley Girl as the Destry Rides Again (1939) of the 80's teen movies in that its first hour is so fantastic, but then the movie just sort of plods and stalls and doesn't know how to wrap up the story in a proper manner. But that first hour is 80s teen movie bliss with some great early 80s Hollywood locales and some very effective scenes like the kiss at the Hollywood club set to the totally underrated Plimsouls new wave classic "A Million Miles Away" and that montage set to " I Melt with You" is so great. A very generous B+ but it's an A+ in my heart.

« : March 06, 2021, 08:43:02 AM T.H. »


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« #19622 : March 04, 2021, 11:48:08 PM »

I just saw, courtesy of TCM, Barry Levinson's Diner (1982) and Avalon (1990). Second time for both.

Both are very good movies. I'd say 8/10 for Diner and 9/10 for Avalon.



I just found this 2012 article from Vanity Fair which credits Diner for being the forerunner for movies/shows from Pulp Fiction to Seinfeld, i.e., not really about anything but just talking, great dialogue. I have no idea if that's true, but it's an enjoyable movie with good performances all around, from then-young actors including Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon, Ellen Barkin, Tim Daly and Paul Reiser.


Avalon is a generational story, about a family chasing the American dream, from about 1945 till around the early 70's. It happens to be a Jewish family in Baltimore, whose older generation arrived from Europe, but as I wrote when I first saw this movie in 2014 http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=7645.msg173678#msg173678 , this movie is not particularly Jewish and not even particularly immigrant; the issues aren't really the struggles to adapt to a new land, but just family issues that could probably be just as relevant to a WASP American family.



Mild spoilers ahead



Avalon may be one of the saddest movies you'll ever see ? with the interesting premise that television is responsible for the breakdown of the family structure  ;D )

« : March 05, 2021, 12:07:15 AM drinkanddestroy »

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« #19623 : March 05, 2021, 01:55:53 AM »

So I've been thinking about PTA a lot lately, and I think I've finally cracked it. Not all of it, but a good chunck. I'll probably talk about it in greater depth in dedicated threads in the next days.

Inherent Vide (2014) 8.5/10
Second watch, and like always with PTA, the movies gets way more powerful. I've been struck by the underlying tension that runs throughout the whole movie (which shouldn't be there in this "The Big Lebowski meets Terrence Malick") and greatly impressed by the (discreet) long takes, especially the way they're used (to build up tension and never releasing it).

Boogie Nights (1997) 7.5/10
Another second watch. I like it but Marky Mark is just too empty for me.

----------------------

Your Honor, season 1 6.5/10
Amazingly powerful and cinematic pilot. Then it slowly goes downhill, despite about one great scene per episode. Also, they don't know how to write subplots (and dialogues) around teenagers. I advise everyone to watch the pilot, even if you don't intend to watch the whole show: it almost works by itself. It's only used to set up the premise of the season. By the way, it works better if you don't know anything about it. I'll just say that it takes place in New Orleans nowadays (literally nowadays, they even have the pandemic mentioned in an episode), and that's a great setting.



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« #19624 : March 05, 2021, 06:27:40 AM »

"The Island On Bird Street" 1997  7/10

From a semi-autobiographical children's book by Israeli author Uri Orlev, which tells the story of a young boy, Alex, and his struggle to survive alone in a ghetto during World War II.  Especially chilling are the first 15 minutes showing the Germans removing people from the ghetto for transport.

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« #19625 : March 05, 2021, 12:30:00 PM »

"The Island On Bird Street" 1997  7/10

From a semi-autobiographical children's book by Israeli author Uri Orlev, which tells the story of a young boy, Alex, and his struggle to survive alone in a ghetto during World War II.  Especially chilling are the first 15 minutes showing the Germans removing people from the ghetto for transport.
Thanks, Cusser. I see it's streaming for free on amazon Prime. I'll check it out.



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« #19626 : March 05, 2021, 02:55:48 PM »

Vice Squad (1982) - A great mix of exploitation and neo-noir with a little of the slasher genre thrown in there -- and if this could be considered a slasher, it would probably be my favorite of the decade, though A Nightmare on Elm Street is certainly the more contained or cerebral 80s slasher classic. But what a movie, with such a great villain with such a great name: Ramrod. The acting isn't the best outside of Wings Hauser's bold performance as the maniac cowboy pimp Ramrod, but the cinematography (shot by Kubrick's guy John Alcott) is top notch bringing out all the sleaze of early 80s Hollywood on visceral display. The pace is so on point with such great atmosphere. This is a classic that escaped me for way too long. I normally don't blind buy blurays but I made the right choice grabbing the excellent Shout release. Highly recommended. A

I liked it a lot also here is my review https://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/11/vice-squad-1982-city-of-angels.html

« : March 05, 2021, 02:58:37 PM cigar joe »

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« #19627 : March 14, 2021, 09:17:35 PM »

Torch Song (1953) - 9/10. This widescreen Technicolor musical features Michael Wilding and Joan Crawford, with Ms. Crawford's singing voice dubbed by India Adams. Crawford is really over the top in this, in full diva mode, in fact, and Wilding plays the blind pianist determined to bring Joan insight. The success of any musical depends on its songs, and this has several good ones. One of the bad ones, though, is called "Two Faced Woman," (cut, I understand, from The Bandwagon) which Joan actually performs late in the film in blackface (WTF?). This film is so good that in an earlier scene we are shown Wilding "rewriting" the piece to improve it. The song has one good moment, a terrific bridge with a nice retard ("I'm like a weathervane/That goes with the breeze . . . "), that Wilding, according to the story, improvises and Joan at first rejects. Of course, without that bridge the song is incredibly annoying, the real songwriters put it in from the get-go to change things up, but, you know, this is a musical about writing a musical. Anyway, the bit where Wilding is trying to sell Crawford on the re-write is very effective, and helps us appreciate the part of the song that works. A better number is "Follow Me," which resembles, and looks forward to, the climax song, "Tenderly." Throughout the film an orchestral version of "Tenderly" has been insinuated into the background, so when it suddenly puts in an appearance late in the day we're ready for it. And happily, it's one of the greatest torch songs ever written (first performed in 1946).
There's a really nice touch near the end when Joan and the actress playing her mother are listening to a recording of "Tenderly", putatively performed by Joan's character but sung in fact by India Adams. Joan's character can't help singing along, and for this scene we actually hear Ms. Crawford's real voice in a kind of duet with Ms. Adams. It's a nice way to play off the convention of dubbing the leading lady with a professional singer's voice.



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« #19628 : March 14, 2021, 11:18:58 PM »

Straight Time (1978)

Saw this on TCM

Dustin Hoffman gets out of prison and tries to navigate the free world. Not easy for an ex-con.

7.5/10

Further discussion here http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=7645.msg185600#msg185600


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« #19629 : March 15, 2021, 01:17:18 PM »

Sergeant York - 7/10 - Vaguely remember seeing this years ago. The early Tennessee scenes are a melodramatic slog, but necessary to establish York's character. Excellent battle scenes. Gary Cooper does nice work, the supporting cast are a colorful assortment of types.
https://scrapsfromtheloft.com/2017/01/09/sergeant-york-making-of/



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« #19630 : March 18, 2021, 01:07:26 PM »

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) - The transfer on that Shout steelbook is fantastic. The soundtrack is so damn inventive, and what a combination of Rio Bravo + Night of the Living Dead. This is one of the better late night or B movies ever made. And probably the first 80s feeling and sounding movie. A+



Straight Time (1978)

Saw this on TCM

Dustin Hoffman gets out of prison and tries to navigate the free world. Not easy for an ex-con.

7.5/10

Further discussion here http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=7645.msg185600#msg185600

We also have a thread for the movie for anyone that wants to read others' takes on it:

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=13643.msg200919#msg200919

It's my favorite Hoffman movie.

« : March 18, 2021, 01:12:04 PM T.H. »


Claudia, we need you to appear in LOST COMMAND. It's gonna revolutionize the war genre..
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« #19631 : March 18, 2021, 01:38:32 PM »

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) - The transfer on that Shout steelbook is fantastic. The soundtrack is so damn inventive, and what a combination of Rio Bravo + Night of the Living Dead. This is one of the better late night or B movies ever made. And probably the first 80s feeling and sounding movie. A+

Yeah yeah yeah, another shitty "Carpenter screwing up a great film" flick.














Just kidding, I like this one.


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« #19632 : March 18, 2021, 08:05:30 PM »

The Father (2021) - 9/10. Anthony Hopkins slowly--and then suddenly--going batty. A few years back, when this was a play on Broadway, Drink and I watched the impressive Frank Langella perform the title role. Hopkins may be better. The play was always cinematic, so this adaptation (directed by Florian Zeller, the man who wrote the play) works well. The story may be even better as a film: in the play we gradually understand that everything we see is a product of the old man's mind. The film on the other hand allows an occasional insight into the minds of the other characters, chiefly that of the old man's daughter. The story seems more complete that way. Still, a bit of a downer. But now with 6 Oscar noms!



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« #19633 : March 19, 2021, 12:07:33 AM »

The Father (2021) - 9/10. Anthony Hopkins slowly--and then suddenly--going batty. A few years back, when this was a play on Broadway, Drink and I watched the impressive Frank Langella perform the title role. Hopkins may be better. The play was always cinematic, so this adaptation (directed by Florian Zeller, the man who wrote the play) works well. The story may be even better as a film: in the play we gradually understand that everything we see is a product of the old man's mind. The film on the other hand allows an occasional insight into the minds of the other characters, chiefly that of the old man's daughter. The story seems more complete that way. Still, a bit of a downer. But now with 6 Oscar noms!

I have not seen the movie. In the play, the acting was very good, but I did not like the story.


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« #19634 : March 19, 2021, 03:59:04 PM »

a combination of Rio Bravo + Night of the Living Dead
That's a great summation, and if it's yours, good work. If you took it from somewhere, then, well spotted.



"McFilms are commodities and, as such, must be QA'd according to industry standards."
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