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: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  ( 2365765 )
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« #8100 : June 21, 2010, 05:27:20 AM »

I vaguely remember seeing Red Scorpion on Sci-Fi many, many years ago. (Don't ask me why it was on that channel.) I didn't much like it even as a kid.



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« #8101 : June 21, 2010, 11:56:59 AM »

Is Paris Burning? - 6-7/10 - Part The Longest Day (bloated, lumbering all-star war epic), part Battle of Algiers (gritty cinema verite depiction of urban warfare). It's a middling film; length isn't a problem so much as the congested plot and awkward, overwritten script. The film suffers, as so many epics do, from too many characters and subplots: the characters are interchangable ciphers, despite being played by a heep of A-list French talent, and attempts to define them with simplistic character traits (the Froggy sergeant with his cigarettes, Anthony Perkins as the GI who wants to see Paris) are cheesy. For this reason it's exceedingly difficult to keep track of the various plot strands until they converge towards the end. The use of archival footage is pretty shoddy though the actual battle scenes are fairly well-done. The American actors (save Orson Welles) are ill-used; Gert Frobe easily dominates the film. On the plus side, the action is well-done, there are some really strong set pieces (the nightime massacre of the students in particular) and the ending is wonderful. Maurice Jarre's score is also among his very best. A mixed bag.



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« #8102 : June 22, 2010, 12:51:37 PM »

Five Graves to Cairo - 8/10 - WWII thriller/propaganda flick by Billy Wilder. Excellent opening scene (a tank full of dead bodies drifting across the desert), followed by a slow forty-five minutes or so. Once the actual plot gets under way it's really good, the Macguffin is exceedingly clever, and some of the big suspense scenes (when the Nazi Lieutenant discovers Franchot Tone's identity) are brilliant. The script is also littered with most of Wilder's usual wit, though there's also a lot of speechmaking about the evils of Fascism/et al. The ending is also a bit underwhelming.

Battleship Potemkin - 7-8/10 - I finally saw this the whole way through. It's got a wonderful sense of dramatic economy, and individual scenes are really striking (especially, of course, the Odessa Steps sequence), but on the whole it isn't nearly as gripping or powerful as Strike.



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« #8103 : June 23, 2010, 11:28:49 AM »

The Grapes of Wrath - 8/10 - John Ford as a conservative film maker? Ha! This movie is about as left-wing as a Hollywood movie gets (exempting stuff like Mission to Moscow), taking little of the edge off the source novel. Very dark, grim, depressing and angry - very much unlike Ford's usual fare. Fine performances (though Fonda is arguably outshined by the supporting cast), excellent cinematography and a powerful sense of indignation makes this a worthwhile (if depressing) watch. Not Ford's best work but among his most interesting and thematically deep.



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« #8104 : June 24, 2010, 10:45:02 AM »

7 Women - 6/10 - John Ford's last movie is an odd one, a distaff "Eastern" set in 1930's China with a mostly-woman cast. Interesting premise, but for those of you (like me) expecting a female Zulu-style film, you'll be sadly mistaken. Ford deserves credit for his cast full of strong, diverse female characters, but the movie never becomes all that dramatically compelling. Worth watching mostly for the great cast, especially Anne Bancroft, although Mike Mazurki and Woody Strode as Mongols is hard to buy. Great ending though, with one of the best last lines in movie history.



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« #8105 : June 25, 2010, 11:35:59 AM »

Can you tell that Groggy's on vacation, or what?



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« #8106 : June 25, 2010, 04:37:03 PM »

The Steel Helmet - 8-9/10 - Another really gritty, intense, down-to-Earth war film, this one by Sam Fuller. I thought most of it was great, but I found the "I'm a Sergeant who's awesome, yo!" speechmaking towards the end a bit tiresome. For a film that was shot in ten days, it's really impressive.

Toy Story 3 - 7/10 - A lot of this film (perhaps too much) depends on good will from the audience. If you liked the first two and are able to empathize with Woody, Buzz and Co., you'll probably enjoy this one on some level. However, I think the movie played too heavily on the sentimentality/emotion angle: there were a lot of funny bits (especially Buzz en Espanol) but the movie's awfully sad and dreary for a kid's movie, and it doesn't have enough of a payoff to make all this dreariness work. Plus the ending is interminable. It's enjoyable on some level, but I'm wondering how someone with no Toy Story experience would take it.

« : June 25, 2010, 04:38:04 PM Groggy »


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« #8107 : June 25, 2010, 05:38:24 PM »


Arlington Road (1999) - 6/10

A 6 only because of the ending, otherwise tasted like a long and uninspired deja vu for the most part.

Enjoyed Jeff Bridges though.




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« #8108 : June 25, 2010, 06:09:22 PM »

Oldboy (2003) entertaining 8/10


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« #8109 : June 25, 2010, 06:31:22 PM »

Shi mian mai fu aka House of Flying Daggers (2004) - (somewhere around a) 6.5/10

The choreography, cinematography and costumes are a true achievement, also the characters are plausible and the twists are formidable (didn't expect any of them), yet the whole picture slowly sinks to no return as the story progresses, and in the end it all seems wasted for nothing. Unique movie nevertheless: (considering what they were aiming at) an entertaining failure, that you can watch again from time to time... ah, those Asians.

« : June 25, 2010, 07:04:22 PM Dust Devil »



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« #8110 : June 26, 2010, 03:46:49 PM »

Toy Story 3 - 7/10 - A lot of this film (perhaps too much) depends on good will from the audience. If you liked the first two and are able to empathize with Woody, Buzz and Co., you'll probably enjoy this one on some level. However, I think the movie played too heavily on the sentimentality/emotion angle: there were a lot of funny bits (especially Buzz en Espanol) but the movie's awfully sad and dreary for a kid's movie, and it doesn't have enough of a payoff to make all this dreariness work. Plus the ending is interminable. It's enjoyable on some level, but I'm wondering how someone with no Toy Story experience would take it.
Excellent points, all, and I don't disagree, although I don't see, given all those caveats, how you could manage such a high score. I will add one other negative: there's fundamental dishonesty going on with the ending which--SPOILER--deals with Andy saying goodbye to his toys. The audience is entitled to some sentimentality over this as those who have followed the series are in effect themselves parting with the continuing characters from the three films. But the audience is waving adieu to characters; the toys never came alive to Andy, so he knows them only as inanimate objects. The filmmakers, I feel, try to pull a fast one by having the sentimentality of the audience imputed to Andy who, if he were really that worked up about toys at his college-bound age, would be a pathetic person. And sentimentality for its own sake is never sufficient justification for a work of "art" anyway.



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« #8111 : June 26, 2010, 04:34:28 PM »

Excellent points, all, and I don't disagree, although I don't see, given all those caveats, how you could manage such a high score. I will add one other negative: there's fundamental dishonesty going on with the ending which--SPOILER--deals with Andy saying goodbye to his toys. The audience is entitled to some sentimentality over this as those who have followed the series are in effect themselves parting with the continuing characters from the three films. But the audience is waving adieu to characters; the toys never came alive to Andy, so he knows them only as inanimate objects. The filmmakers, I feel, try to pull a fast one by having the sentimentality of the audience imputed to Andy who, if he were really that worked up about toys at his college-bound age, would be a pathetic person. And sentimentality for its own sake is never sufficient justification for a work of "art" anyway.

I suppose you have something of a fair point, but on the other hand, one can never discount the power of nostalgia. I still have my old collection of Goosebumps books and read through them from time to time, for a personal example. The film makes a point that he hadn't played with the toys for years before the movie started, so it's not like he was geeking out over them all the time.

Personally, I had more of a problem with the seemingly-endless credit sequence, which served zero purpose. We already knew there was something resembling a happy ending, why beat it into us with a sledgehammer?



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« #8112 : June 26, 2010, 05:56:39 PM »


Born on the Fourth of July (1989) - 7.5/10

Watched it once or twice so far and I never thought this was the greatest Nam movie there is, but then again I can't deny it has some pretty strong points that other movies didn't dare to touch (the scenes in the hospital, for instance).




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« #8113 : June 28, 2010, 11:41:46 AM »

Hangmen Also Die! - 8/10 - 2nd viewing, liked it a bit more this time.



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« #8114 : June 29, 2010, 10:50:57 AM »

Sink the Bismarck! - 8/10 - It's very generic and by-the-numbers in a lot of ways, but it hits all the right war-movie buttons: great battle scenes, excellent story, engrossing plot, and a wonderful sense of urgency, with a chess metaphor that's overstated but well-executed. The only things missing are compelling characters.

« : June 29, 2010, 10:52:29 AM Groggy »


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