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: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  ( 5043209 )
dave jenkins
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« #20970 : February 12, 2024, 02:26:18 PM »

The Gentlemen (2019) - 8/10. Guy Ritchie is back! And with a very funny Tarantino knock-off. I LMRIAO (OK, I'm not royal, not Irish, but I do have an ass). It's not up there with Wrath of Man (which is rock-solid serious), but it sure is fun. Great song selection, too: a Dave Rawlins tune, Can's "Vitamin C", The Jam's "That's Entertainment" to finish. Yeah, that's entertainment, all right (which is probably why n_L doesn't like it). Glad I've got the blu so I can spin it again and again.
Apparently, this has been reimagined as a TV series. https://www.standard.co.uk/culture/tvfilm/guy-ritchie-the-gentlemen-netflix-b1138671.html

Too bad I don't have Netflix. Oh well, it's not like there aren't already too many other things to watch . . . .

« : February 12, 2024, 02:27:37 PM dave jenkins »


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« #20971 : February 12, 2024, 02:46:29 PM »

Sexy Beast (2001) 7/10. TT Blu-ray. Ray Winstone, hahahaha. Ben Kingsley, hahahaha. Ian McShane, hahahaha. James Fox, stiff as ever. I very much like having the choice of aspect ratios on the BD. Great trend, hope it continues.
Huh, there's a bunch of these it seems: https://www.standard.co.uk/culture/tvfilm/sexy-beast-review-paramount-b1132344.html

Can't TV do anything original at all?



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« #20972 : February 13, 2024, 03:09:44 PM »

Le petit soldat 8/10 - Filmed mostly in Geneva! Very well done and ages well. Good story and actors. Michel Subor as usual is great!
This is the one where Michel Subor goes to Geneva pretending to be a journalist when actually he's a right-wing spy. His handlers want him to assassinate a rival and he doesn't want to do it. The whole movie is about stalling. It's a thriller that isn't a thriller.

So, we know what it isn't. What it is, though, is a love letter to Anna Karina, always photographed to her advantage, as she and Godard work together for the first time. It's also, perhaps, a bit of autobiography (Geneva was home ground for Godard). He has three cameos in the film: one as a passerby in the street, one as a man giving AK a mechanical dog, and one as the man who electrocutes Subor during the torture scene (a banal and yet disturbing scene; disturbing, maybe, because it's banal). So Godard is physically present throughout the film.

What about his intellectual presence? It seems to me, Subor acts as Godard's surrogate. Everything is presented from Subor's character's point of view, frequently accompanied by an interior commentary supplied in V.O. Subor also has an extended monologue late in the film. I direct your attention to the moment when Subor and AK are alone together in her apartment.

This is the scene that occurs between the torture scene and the kidnapping of Karina. Subor and AK are talking. Karina is working for the Algerians and defends them because, she says, they have an ideal and the French do not. Subor's lengthy reply follows:

Quote
Funny how everyone hates the French today. I'm very proud to be French. But I'm also against nationalism. One defends ideas, not territories. I love France because I love Joachim du Bellay and Louis Aragon. I love Germany because I love Beethoven. I don't love Barcelona because of Spain, I love Spain because a city a city like Barcelona exists. And I love America because I love American cars. I don't like Arabs because I don't like the desert or Col. Lawrence. And I like the Mediterranean and Albert Camus even less. No, I like Britany and I hate the south. The light in Britany is very soft, not like in the south. Besides, the Arabs are lazy. But I have nothing against them. Or the Chinese. No, I'd just like to ignore them. But it's terrible today. If you calmly do nothing, you get hell precisely for doing nothing. So we do things without conviction. And it's a pity to wage war without conviction. Why is the Vatican anti-communist? Funny guy, the pope. They believe the same thing, All men are brothers. I'm not the brother of a streetcar driver in Peking or San Francisco. I couldn't care less about him. Maybe one day I'll want to know how he's doing. But he's not automatically my brother or my friend just because he has eyes and ears like me. And vice versa. Look at certain objects. Some you like, some you don't. Or colors. For example, I hate dark red. It's the same with people. You can't be forced to love them all. Or else, as Sasha Guitry said, "You don't know where to commit your heart."

V.O.: She looked at me. In my opinion, women should never pass 25.

Men grow more attractive as they age, but not women. I think it's extraordinarily unfair for a woman to age. And I've noticed something strange. When women commit suicide, they always leap somewhere--under a train or out a window. They're so afraid they'll get cold feet that they hurl themselves forward. That way there's no turning back. Men never do that. Men rarely throw themselves under the subway. Women rarely slit their wrists. I find it brave of them but cowardly too. I don't know. Life sides with women but death sides with men. Death is what's important. Van Gough said we'll ride upon death to reach another star. There's something more important than having an ideal. But what? Something more important than not being defeated. I'd like to know exactly what it is.

In school I used to admire the word "pathos." Now I despise it. "Taciturn." There's a beautiful word, like "Guillaume." I'm lost unless I pretend to be lost. Because I feel everyone has an ideal so there's something more important that everyone's missing. I'm sure God doesn't have an ideal. There's a very beautiful quote, who said it? I think it was Lenin. "Ethics are the aesthetics of the future." I think that's very beautiful and very moving. It reconciles the right and the left. What do people on the right and left think? What's the point of revolution today? The right wins and then applies leftist policies, and the other way round. I win or I lose, but I fight alone. Around 1930, young people had a revolution. For example, Malraux, Drieu La Rochelle, Aragon. Now we have nothing. They had the Spanish Civil War. We don't even have our own war. Apart from ourselves, our own faces and voices, we have nothing. But maybe that's the important thing, to come to recognize the sound of your own voice, and the shape of your own face. From inside, it's like this
[facing a mirror, he raises his hands in front of his face].
 
But when I look at it, it's like this
[turns to the camera, lowers his hands, addresses the viewers directly].

So people look at me but don't know what I'm thinking . . . and they'll never know. Right this moment: a forest in Germany. A bicycle ride. That's gone now. Now . . . the terrace of a cafe in Barcelona. Now . . . that's gone. I try to trap my own thoughts. And speech--where does speech come from? Maybe people talk on and on like gold prospectors . . . to find the truth. But instead of dredging in a river, they dredge among their own thoughts. They eliminate all the words of no value and end up finding just one. But a single word by itself is already silence.
Sounds like someone waiting for '68, no?



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« #20973 : February 15, 2024, 08:37:17 PM »

Impossible Object (1973) - 3/10. Impossible film. Somewhere in the territory of The Romantic Englishwoman and Resnais's Providence, but without any of the charm of those two gems. Alan Bates constantly overacts, and Dominique Sanda always looks like she's pissed off. Michel Auclair and Lea Massari put in appearances, but they are wasted. Both the screenplay and underlying novel were penned by Nicholas Mosley, the author of Accident, but the story here is unconvincing. John Frankenheimer directed this turkey.



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« #20974 : February 16, 2024, 10:25:38 AM »

'Round Midnight (1986) - 8/10. The sets look like sets, the lighting is 1985 industry standard, but the soundtrack (standards plus Herbie Hancock's original compositions) is what makes this. Interestingly, the film is paced to match. And Dexter Gordon was a one-of-a-kind find.



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« #20975 : February 16, 2024, 09:32:03 PM »

The Taste of Things/ The Pot Au Feu/ La passion de Dodin Bouffant (2023) - 8/10. Sort of a cross between Love Story and Babette's Feast. Lots of cooking--the film opens with a 20-minute sequence detailing the preparation and consumption of a gourmet meal. Generally this appealed to me, but I wasn't happy with a lot of the digital cinematography--some frames looked like they'd been copied on an old color Xerox machine--and I thought the ending was weak. Also, director Anh Hung Tran occasionally showed his vulgar side: in one match cut, he went from an image a caramelized pear to Juliet Binoche's torso and ass. Yeah, man, how arty.



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« #20976 : February 21, 2024, 08:16:54 PM »

Manon (1949) - 7/10. H-G Clouzot's updating of Manon Lescaut. I've not read the source novel, but it would appear the change of period and locale works wonderfully well. The recent Arrow blu-ray edition comes with an interview of Clouzot from 1970. In that he reveals the genesis of the project, an uncomfortable train ride he took at the end of WWII: it caused him to imagine a scene about a woman trying to find a man by searching impassible train corridors. That became the scene in the middle of the film, a film that he had then to develop. It was only as he constructed the screenplay (with his writing partner Jean Ferry) that he discovered they were adapting Prevost's 1731 novel.

I'm making progress here. The only Clouzot features I have now yet to see are Miquette (1950) and The Spies (1963).



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« #20977 : February 22, 2024, 10:07:08 AM »

The Late Shift (1996) - A reasonably entertaining and briskly paced account of the Leno & Letterman drama surrounding the Tonight Show. It feels more like a bunch of fragmented scenes jumbled together than an actual movie, and it has nothing of value from a cinematic or technical standpoint. It's fine, but it's very, very TV. C



Claudia, we need you to appear in LOST COMMAND. It's gonna revolutionize the war genre..
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« #20978 : February 22, 2024, 08:10:00 PM »

The Great Ziegfeld (1936) - 10/10.  When you get William Powell as your lead, you're nine tenths of the way home. And since MGM was never going to stint on production values for a project about a great entertainer, this was a shoo-in for the Best Picture Oscar for the year of its production. There are, of course, lots of stage performances, the most spectacular being the one coming just before the intermission (the film is 3-hrs long). "A Beautiful Girl is Like a Melody" is presented in an 8-minute sequence that has only 5 cuts (but almost seems uncut). More than 100 performers appear on a rotating stage; much of the stage is hidden behind curtains initially; as the turntable rotates the curtains rise, gradually revealing a spiral-stair structure; the camera also rises, until the pinnacle (a beautiful girl, natch) is achieved; then the camera pulls back to show that the spiral structure resembles a giant wedding cake. All the while, the basic tune has been enhanced with quotations from the classical repertoire: Dvorak's Humoresque; Liebestraum No. 3; Madame Butterfly; Pagliacci; The Blue Danube Waltz; Rhapsody in Blue. That's entertainment.

My only regret is that nothing in the film was shot in color.



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« #20979 : February 23, 2024, 02:47:00 AM »

Martin Eden (Pietro Marcello, 2019) - 8/10
Quite an interesting take on the novel. The movie changes time and location: post war Italy. With a much greater focus on Eden's politics than on his litterature. It's also highly elliptic, which can cause some understanding issues but also densifies and adds poetry to a book that, however good it is, suffers from being too explicit and talkative. The most interesting parti pris here is the use of old stock footage everywhere in the film without clear notice (the original footage was shot in 16mm), effectively blending the borders between fiction, documentary but also the time periods (of the novel and the film). That visual language adds a lot of poetry (once again, to a book which lacks this sort of things). Apart from that I'm not crazy of the very rough 16mm aesthetics and the lack of budget is sometimes distracting, but rarely. I feel like that's also what lead to the overall chopiness, which I like a lot, so i nthe end it's probably a better film thanks to the budget constraints.


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« #20980 : February 28, 2024, 10:23:16 AM »


From the Life of the Marionettes (1980) - 9/10. First viewing. Bergman's only German-language film, made for German TV. In some ways this could be seen as his response to Hitchcock's Psycho, with the psychiatrist's explanation at the end providing a more credible explanation of matters. The film begins with a man murdering a prostitute. This is presented in color, and then the rest of the film (until the ending) is done in black and white as the film investigates the motives for the crime. Basically the explanation is that the guy had anger issues with women (he hated his wife, he had a domineering mother) and that the prostitute did something that triggered him to finally act out that anger. If that's all you want to know you can skip from the beginning of the film to the final chapter and save yourself a lot of time. However, that’s not the most interesting aspect of the film (insane people are actually pretty boring). The film is composed of scenes between actors (which take place both before and after the killing) and direct-to-camera interviews of the characters. Ostensibly, we are trying to find out about the killer by hearing from those who knew him, but more interestingly, as these people talk about the man the speakers actually reveal much more about themselves. And these characters are very, very well written. I was amazed at Bergman's script and the performances he got from his actors. The most interesting character is the murderer's wife, and she gets the most screen time. She is played by Christine Buchegger, an actress I have never seen before, and someone who, in 1980 anyway, I would have loved to dig my teeth into. Man, what a good-looking broad (a check on IMDb reveals that most of her career was on German television, which explains why I don't know her). She really nails her role. Of nearly equal note is the performance by Walter Schmidinger, playing a gay man in the fashion industry. There is an extended scene between him and Christine before the crime, and this is immediately followed by a police interview given afterwards. Never before have I seen such a convincing portrayal of a homosexual on film. The really amazing thing is that the actor doesn't disappear into a lot of mannerisms but emerges as a complete human being. This character has very little to do with solving the crime and could have been left out entirely, but as he spoke, I kept thinking how glad I was he was in the film. I was further gratified to find that the victim was not forgotten. She is ignored for most of the film, then gets introduced (or re-introduced) at the end, and, lo and behold, she too is a fully formed, complex individual. Bravo, Mr. Bergman.
Second viewing: An amazing piece of cinema/TV. Now I'm thinking it's a 10/10, cinematic values fusing perfectly with those of the theater.

The Serpent's Egg (1977) - 0/10. Worst film ever made? Well, it's certainly a contender.



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« #20981 : February 29, 2024, 01:00:37 AM »

The Serpent's Egg (1977) - 0/10. Worst film ever made? Well, it's certainly a contender.

You haven't watched Marty's Last Temptation in a long time, have you?


dave jenkins
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« #20982 : February 29, 2024, 06:42:29 AM »

That's true. Shall we have 'em slug it out to see who wins?



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« #20983 : March 01, 2024, 12:35:02 AM »

I've seen Last Temptation in 2024, believe me you don't want to awaken that monster. Let it win.


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« #20984 : March 05, 2024, 12:53:22 PM »


A Tale of Springtime
(1989) - 8/10. "A newly formed friendship between two girls is put to the test when one suspects the other of some mischievous matchmaking." Specifically, one of the friends seems to be trying to set her girlfriend up with her dad. Oh, those crazy French! Plenty of entertaining chat, though, and some nice scenes of the French countryside. Where the hell is Fontainbleu?
The interesting thing about this film is the fact that there's so little plot, and it really takes a long time for things to get going. The friends actually only meet for the first time at the beginning of the film, and the story is really just the way their friendship develops. Late in the picture they weather a crisis, and then reconfirm their friendship following what could be interpreted as an act of grace (or if you prefer, one of chance). Perhaps the ending is a little too neat. Still, the film is one of Rohmer's best. It really deserves a 9 or 10.



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