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Author Topic: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  (Read 1761727 times)
dave jenkins
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« Reply #9420 on: August 20, 2011, 10:45:35 AM »

Mysteries of Lisbon (2010) - 10/10. Raul Ruiz's four-and-a-half hour HD adaptation of a famous 19th Century Portugese novel. The decision to go digital must have been economically motivated (Ruiz shot it very quickly for Portugese 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 still lifes 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 has just died; however, I hear another of his films is on the way. The guy just can't stop!

The Devil's Double (2011) - 8/10. The story of Latif Yahia, the man who was forced to work as Uday Hussein's body double. The film does a good job of walking a fine line: Latif is used as the viewer's surrogate to witness--and recoil at--Uday's monstrous acts, without implicating Latif himself in those acts (the reason that Latif was able to observe so much is explained by Latif himself here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gX33JHoLTZk). Audience sympathies remain with Latif throughout, and things get particularly exciting when he finally makes his bid for freedom. The film was shot mostly in Malta (although LoA fans will note some footage from Jordan) and looks great. My only caveat is that director Lee Tamahori has--no doubt for dramatic reasons--re-ordered history and conflated some very-well-known events. SPOILER: WasLatifreallytheprincipaltriggermanonthe1996assassinationattemptonUday?Ohwell,itmakesforagreatfinalscene.SPOILER END

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« Reply #9421 on: August 20, 2011, 01:03:10 PM »

Germany Year Zero (1948) One of the undisputed masterpieces of italian cinema, Rossellini's most accomplished with Louis XIV.

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« Reply #9422 on: August 20, 2011, 04:42:56 PM »

Germany Year Zero (1948) One of the undisputed masterpieces of italian cinema, Rossellini's most accomplished with Louis XIV.

 Afro

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« Reply #9423 on: August 20, 2011, 04:46:39 PM »

Rise of the Planet of the Apes - 7/10 The good: amazing motion capture/CGI, good handling of the ape characters, Frieda Pinto, modestly clever ties to the original. The bad: lame human characters, questionable plot elements, some cringe-inducing dialogue, banal music. The ugly: the jerk kid from Harry Potter quoting Charlton Heston lines. Verdict: worthwhile.

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« Reply #9424 on: August 21, 2011, 03:59:34 PM »

I caught the last half of The Return of the King by complete chance, and cried even harder than in 2003. I'm quite convinced that I'm conditioned to it.

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« Reply #9425 on: August 22, 2011, 10:11:05 AM »

The Guard (2011) 7/10. An FBI agent goes to the West of Ireland and partners with a local cop to bring down a drug gang. It's Don Cheadle and Brendan Gleeson, together again for the first time. Interestingly, the focus is not on the fish-out-of-water character, but on the local man.  Director John Michael McDonagh--Martin's older brother--commisioned Calexico for the score because he felt he was making a Western, and I guess it works, even with all the ultraviolence, as a kind of parody. Anyway, Laughed My Royal Irish Ass Off (and I'm neither royal, nor Irish. Nor have I ever been an empire). Afterwards, needing more Gleeson, I ran home and watched In Bruges again.

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« Reply #9426 on: August 22, 2011, 11:56:48 AM »

together again for the first time.

Sounds interesting.

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« Reply #9427 on: August 22, 2011, 12:08:48 PM »

An American in Paris (1951) Not a great musical, not even interesting. I don't know if the fame derives from Oscars or by the artsyfartsy (for mass audiences of the '50's) conception. But the best american musicals thrive on rhythm (both narrative and musical), comedy (here courtesy of Oscar Levant) and not taking itself seriously (which is exactly what makes great the 2 best musicals ever: The Band Wagon and Singin' in the Rain). I'll add that Leslie Caron can't be dubbed ugly only because she was very young (I dare not see what she can have become thereafter) but it suffices to compare it to Cyd Charisse in the other two movies to understand the difference. The choreographies are nothing memeorable. Of course there's a couple of great numbers (Stairway to Paradise and the final ballett: which can't compare though to the Girl-Hunt and Gotta Dance of the other two movies). 7\10 is generous and only out of respect to Gershwin.

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« Reply #9428 on: August 22, 2011, 12:37:27 PM »

An American in Paris (1951) Not a great musical, not even interesting. I don't know if the fame derives from Oscars or by the artsyfartsy (for mass audiences of the '50's) conception. But the best american musicals thrive on rhythm (both narrative and musical), comedy (here courtesy of Oscar Levant) and not taking itself seriously (which is exactly what makes great the 2 best musicals ever: The Band Wagon and Singin' in the Rain). I'll add that Leslie Caron can't be dubbed ugly only because she was very young (I dare not see what she can have become thereafter) but it suffices to compare it to Cyd Charisse in the other two movies to understand the difference. The choreographies are nothing memeorable. Of course there's a couple of great numbers (Stairway to Paradise and the final ballett: which can't compare though to the Girl-Hunt and Gotta Dance of the other two movies). 7\10 is generous and only out of respect to Gershwin.
This is a fair summation. However, it should be noted that AAiP preceeded those other, better musicals you mention, and so could be credited for clearing the space that made those successes possible.

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« Reply #9429 on: August 22, 2011, 01:35:00 PM »

This is a fair summation. However, it should be noted that AAiP preceeded those other, better musicals you mention, and so could be credited for clearing the space that made those successes possible.

What was the space that had to be cleared?

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« Reply #9430 on: August 22, 2011, 02:24:18 PM »

For example, the long ballet at the end of AAiP. The fact that audiences were willing to embrace that as a way to end the picture helped establish a precedent. Then filmmakers knew they could finish a musical with something like the "Gotta Dance" number in Singin' In the Rain or the Girl Hunt ballet at the end of The Band Wagon and expect to meet with success. Further, the piece at the end of AAiP was very ambitious--Kelly/Donan knew they would have to top it in subsequent films. Minnelli too had a standard he knew he would need to exceed if he wanted to impress his audience. These creators thus pushed beyond the success of AAiP to produce even greater work.

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« Reply #9431 on: August 23, 2011, 12:05:28 AM »

So the number where you pump more money than required by the rest of the movie needed to be "excused"? Maybe. But not from audiences, rather from Schary.

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« Reply #9432 on: August 24, 2011, 06:33:24 AM »

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

A loose remake of the far superior CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES.I liked the basic plot of the miracle alzeimer curing drug being given to the apes turning them to super intelligent but unfortunately to make up for the lack of a charismatic ape lead to rival Roddy McDowall's Caeser in the original (the rest of the cast are dull too) we are bogged down throughout by a tedious CGI fest.Not to mention the complete absense of the clever satire of the older films.

Not even the odd (mainly crap) reference to the original series saves this from being a very disappointing 3 out of 10.

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« Reply #9433 on: August 24, 2011, 11:56:45 AM »

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

A loose remake of the far superior CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES.I liked the basic plot of the miracle alzeimer curing drug being given to the apes turning them to super intelligent but unfortunately to make up for the lack of a charismatic ape lead to rival Roddy McDowall's Caeser in the original (the rest of the cast are dull too) we are bogged down throughout by a tedious CGI fest.Not to mention the complete absense of the clever satire of the older films.

Not even the odd (mainly crap) reference to the original series saves this from being a very disappointing 3 out of 10.
A bit lower than I pitched it. But I admit I don't feel the need to ever see it again.

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« Reply #9434 on: August 24, 2011, 12:35:35 PM »

the far superior CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES.
And speaking of J. Lee Thompson:

Return From the Ashes (1965) - 7/10. Maxamillian Schell (in Charming Swine mode, as opposed to his other setting, Heartless Nazi Bastard), is married to Ingrid Thulin (lucky), but he's also nailing Samantha Eggar (luckier), his step-step-daughter (give it a think, you'll figure it out). He's essentially a kept man, a position I've been after for decades myself, but Max finally decides to do away with the women so he can have their money and so spend all his time thinking about chess. Say what? Dude, the whole reason for having money is so you can use it to marry Ingrid Thulin and/or nail Samantha Eggar! How much disbelief do they want me to suspend, these film guys? Herbert Lom, also in the picture, stands around and wonders what he's doing there. In spite of this, the suspense is quite good, and the film bounces along at a nice clip. Julius Epstein, of Casablanca fame, supplies the requisite amount of barbed dialog, and everything is beautifully photographed in scope and b&w.

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