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Author Topic: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  (Read 1770394 times)
drinkanddestroy
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« Reply #10500 on: May 16, 2012, 08:57:22 AM »

Saw two dramas that were written and directed by Andrew Stone, on TCM:

1. Cry Terror! (1958) 7.5/10

This crime thriller has a terrific cast: Rod Steiger, James Mason, Inger Stevens, Jack Klugman, Angie Dickinson (as a bad girl!) and Neville Brand.

Steiger and his gang -- Dickinson, Klugman, and Brand -- kidnap Mason, Stevens, and their little daughter in a hostage/terrorist scheme. The gang demonstrates their ability to blow up a plane if they so wish, and then blackmail an airline into paying $500,000 ransom: failure to do so will result in the blowing up of one of their airliners and the death of the family.

-- One bit of sloppy work here, as pointed out in this review from Film Fanatic: http://filmfanatic.org/reviews/?p=2961
During one very tense scene involving Stevens, we suddenly, for the first time, get some voice-over narration by her. And toward the end of the movie, in scenes involving Mason, we get some out of the blue voice-over narration from him. At no prior point were we aware that this movie is supposed to be a first-person account from either of them; and after that one lengthy scene that each of them has with narration, we never hear a word of narration from them again. That is very sloppy work by Stone.

-- If a little girl's life were in serious danger, yes, her mom would be hysterical. But it's not something that is ever fun in seeing much of in movies. The hysterical scenes with Stevens make you crazy.

-- Oh, and in the scenes with Brand and Steiger in the house in Riverdale: I'd close my window shades if I was holding a hostage in the front room of a house on a city street.

But a cast as this as this one makes the movie fun to watch.

2. The Steel Trap (1952) 8.5/10

Joseph Cotten plays a bank manager living a typical 50's suburban life: he's been working at the same bank for 11 years, during which time he has steadily been promoted; nice wife (played by a terrific Teresa Wright) and daughter. But then one day, a casual remark by a teller gets Cotten thinking about how easy it would be for him to get into that safe. He does some research and finds out that Brazil has no extradition treaty (the Marisa Tomei and Philip Seymour Hoffman charactersin Before the Devil Knows You're Dead must have seen this movie  Wink). So, steal the money at closing on Friday, be on a plane out of town that night, and connecting flights will get you to Rio by the time the bank realizes the theft on Monday morning. Easy enough, right? Not in noir world, where you'll probably hit every red light on the way outta town...  Wink

This movie has every characteristic of a noir, including voice-over narration by the Cotten character... except the visuals. I really do not recall seeing any shadows, almost the whole thing takes place during the day, few tight areas, etc. But it really feels like a noir with the situation, the tension involved in the plot, and the narration.


This one definitely had an influence on the ending of The Killing, but I won't spoil anything  Wink


« Last Edit: June 25, 2014, 04:16:24 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #10501 on: May 16, 2012, 12:30:09 PM »

Niagara 9/10 (1953)

What an amazing experience watching this movie is.

This movie showcases two beautiful forces of nature: Niagara Falls and Marilyn Monroe. (No, that's not my line. But it's a great line  Smiley )

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« Reply #10502 on: May 16, 2012, 07:17:22 PM »

Equus - 8/10 - Peter Shaffer's very strange play makes for Sidney Lumet's very strange movie. Its main detriment is its staginess, Lumet engaging in overtly theatrical devices (Richard Burton's long monologues to the camera) that aren't very cinematic. For me at least though, the story and especially the acting are enough to overcome these faults, and the denouement is uniquely horrific.

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« Reply #10503 on: May 20, 2012, 04:40:14 PM »

Flame and Chitron - 7/10 - Another tale of WWII Resistance, this one out of Denmark. This entry delves a bit more into its protagonists' private lives than, say, Black Book or Army of Crime, but the brutal killings, double-crosses and dubious wartime morality are still front and center. This appears to be based on a true story albeit not one I'm familiar with, so I'll give the film some leeway with credibility issues. Certainly it doesn't whitewash its protagonists like Army of Crime, a major plus.

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« Reply #10504 on: May 22, 2012, 07:13:21 AM »

The Odessa File (1974) 7/10. Wow, this looks great on Blu. And it's only 10 bucks! Forsyth, Voight, Nazis, Hamburg's Elbe Tunnel: what's not to like? (Okay, so it's not as good as Day of the Jackal--but it's something to watch after Jackal is over and you're jonesing for more).

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« Reply #10505 on: May 22, 2012, 08:59:54 AM »

The Odessa File (1974) 7/10. Wow, this looks great on Blu. And it's only 10 bucks! Forsyth, Voight, Nazis, Hamburg's Elbe Tunnel: what's not to like? (Okay, so it's not as good as Day of the Jackal--but it's something to watch after Jackal is over and you're jonesing for more).

The convoluted, meandering story? The poorly drawn characters? As someone who's read the novel there are a few changes that irked me, especially the addition of certain action scenes. That's not even mentioning the terrible score.

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« Reply #10506 on: May 22, 2012, 01:58:35 PM »

What a grouch!

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« Reply #10507 on: May 23, 2012, 12:02:46 PM »

Advise and Consent (1962) 8.5/10

Terrific political drama from Otto Preminger, about the confirmation battle of a nominee for Secretary of State.


The acting is great all around, (though it was kind of odd to see Henry Fonda in the role of the nominee, who is basically only in a few scenes). Two particularly spectacular performances are Walter Pidgeon as the Majority Leader, and Charles Laughton as Senator Cooley. (Though they are billed 4th and 5th respectively, they are probably the two main characters in the movie).  I loved the camerawork here: there are many times where long bits of dialogue are held in a single shot, the camera may move, but there is no cutting. I really like that, by holding those single shots for long dialogue sequences in the confirmation hearings and on the Senate floor, it really makes you feel like it's real, like you are actually watching a confirmation battle in the Senate. Using frequent cuts and other camera tricks would make it seem too much like a movie; Preminger wisely uses a more documentary-like style for some scenes, and it works very well.... And Preminger's famous disregard for the Production Code is evident as ever in this movie.

It seems like they had terrific access to the Senate floor in the making of this movie, and while I am sure that some other interiors were shot on soundstages, using at least the real Senate floor and possibly other real interiors (or at least building really good sets?!) gives you a real feel that you are right there in the Capitol.

There are a few minor political things that I noticed that I think they got wrong: firstly, though the Vice President is the President of the Senate, he rarely actually shows up there to conduct the proceedings; there is almost always a Senator there in his place; only when there is a vote that may be tied, requiring his tiebreaking vote, will he show up. So in the early scenes on the Senate floor, he wouldn't have been there.  Also, the debate scenes on the Senate floor are actually not very realistic; though the Senate likes to think of itself as the "world's greatest deliberative body," the truth is that except when they gather for an actual floor vote, you will rarely find many senators on the floor at a time, actually debating.  Watch C-Span, or actually visit the gallery, and yo will rarely see more than 3 or 4 Senators there at a time; usually, they are delivering speeches to a chamber that is just about empty. Anyway, that's how things are now; I don't know if it was different in 1962. Besides, these are things that most people, who really don't follow politics that closely, would notice. And the scenes on the Senate floor are pretty damn funny. So I don't really mind  Wink


Good times  Smiley

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« Reply #10508 on: May 24, 2012, 01:02:11 AM »

Rear Window (1954) 9/10

What a fun movie. Jimmy Stewart is great. Grace Kelley's is, well, Grace Kelly!

On the dvd's special features, there is a really good 55-minute documentary about this movie; the last 10 minutes or so discuss the movie's very difficult restoration, and the issue of film restoration in general. It is a very interesting piece. It seems that this, along with many other great Hitchcock films, were in just awful condition before being rescued and undergoing a very difficult and painstaking, but ultimately successful restoration (in this case, by the team at Universal). I am very thankful for dvd's and digital technology and the people who really care about film preservation/restoration. (Which reminds me, aren't there some scenes in some movie called Once Upon a Time in America that need to be restored?)

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« Reply #10509 on: May 24, 2012, 05:34:52 AM »

Rear Window (1954) 9/10

What a fun movie.
Here's a fun Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/37120554

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« Reply #10510 on: May 26, 2012, 03:30:52 PM »

Midnight Cowboy - 8/10 - A gay version of Breakfast at Tiffany's (the movie of course) without the stupid cutesy humor. There's plenty of pondering over the death of American masculinity ("Was John Wayne a fag?") for those inclined to dissect the movie. It's most interesting though for its striking imagery and Hugh A. Robertson's excellent montage work, with remarkable blends of flashback, fantasy and nightmares. Jon Voight's performance is excellent but Dustin Hoffman's schtick grows tiresome.

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« Reply #10511 on: May 26, 2012, 03:52:46 PM »

Midnight Cowboy - 8/10 - A gay version of Breakfast at Tiffany's (the movie of course) without the stupid cutesy humor.
Plenty of cutesy irony, though (eg. the party scene with Brenda Vaccaro). Schlesinger no doubt thought himself a satirist (Billy Liar, Darling), but his social comments are always lacking in subtlety. He did better when he was playing things straight (Far From the Madding Crowd).

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« Reply #10512 on: May 26, 2012, 05:15:52 PM »

I don't see Billy Liar as a "satire" of anything in particular; it's more of a comic character study.

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« Reply #10513 on: May 27, 2012, 02:08:40 PM »

Zodiac - 9/10 - 2nd viewing. I'm willing to bump my rating up. I found the third act a bit slow going on my first viewing but was thoroughly absorbed this time around.

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« Reply #10514 on: May 28, 2012, 08:14:49 AM »

Moonrise Kingdom (2012) 6/10. Standard Wes Anderson whimsy, this time about a pre-adolescent couple who run away from the world the grown ups have made so that they, the children, can act more like . . . grown ups. (The adults of course are the real children). It's Summer With Monika without the sex and with jokes--exceedingly precious ones--instead. A pleasant enough way to wile away two hours, though, in the end, none of it amounts to much. The patented Anderson visuals are laid on thickly.

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