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Author Topic: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  (Read 1843463 times)
Groggy
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« Reply #11940 on: May 04, 2013, 08:53:05 PM »

The Alamo - 7/10 - My first viewing of the "short" 167 minute cut. Can't say I missed too much of the excised 40+ minutes; it's still bloated, flawed but entertaining.

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« Reply #11941 on: May 05, 2013, 02:45:03 AM »

Three Strangers (1946) 8/10

further discussion here   http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=11654.0


The Verdict (1956) 7.5/10

further discussion here http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=11678.0

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« Reply #11942 on: May 05, 2013, 04:44:32 AM »

While I generally think that films before 1960 are less interesting and less good than films after 1960, there are of course exceptions. One of the most remarkable was Ernst Lubitsch. And his Trouble in Paradise is surely a masterpiece. Extremely well written, acted and directed. If the word elegance had not been invited then, Lubitsch would have invited it.
Brilliant. 10/10

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« Reply #11943 on: May 05, 2013, 07:26:41 AM »

Collateral - 6/10 - LA cabbie Jamie Foxx picks up hitman Tom Cruise and the shit hits the fan. Michael Mann's thriller starts out entertaining but grows less plausible and more outlandish as it goes along. I lost any real interest when Cruise kills a half-dozen gang bangers in a crowded nightclub and rejoins Foxx, as if his whole scheme to frame Foxx hasn't just been horrendously blown. By the time of the Wait Until Dark ripoff finale I was snoozing. Well-shot and edited, with generally good acting; too bad the story doesn't hold up.

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« Reply #11944 on: May 06, 2013, 06:06:39 AM »

My True Crime Films weekend continues with:

The Iceman (2013) 8/10. Michael Shannon—Hollywood’s flavor of the month, apparently (he’s also Baddie Numero Uno in the upcoming Man Of Steel)—plays Richard Kuklinski, who, from the 60s to the 80s, was: 1) a mob contract-killer; but also 2) a loving husband and father. Things finally fell apart when the wall separating the two roles collapsed (incredibly, no one in Kuklinski’s family knew what he did for a living). Kuklinski, after a career in which he wacked over 100 people, went to prison to serve two consecutive life sentences. Asked in the film by an off-screen interlocutor if he has any regrets, Shannon-as-Kuklinski moons over the fact he disappointed his family. The film reminded me a lot of Goodfellas--Ray Liotta’s presence as a gangster clinched that, but also the Scorsesean technique of using pop songs to locate events in time. The picture is engrossing but seems to have little point. Killing people for money is wrong, even if you use the money to support a family? Thanks for the tip! Shannon is very, very good, though. (OK, I know Groggy’s been waiting for this, so:  Dat Shannon, he’s one helluva Ice guy!)

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« Reply #11945 on: May 06, 2013, 06:14:43 AM »

Overlord - 8/10 - Art house WWII movie, more interesting for its editing than story.

Darling - 7/10 - Julie Christie won an Oscar playing Diana, a spoiled model/actress who seeks constant stimulation but never finds it. John Schlesinger satirizes the crass materialism of the Swinging Sixties, with mixed results. The first hour or so is just about perfect: Diane is an unrepentant sybarite who has no problem running around with pretty boys Dirk Bogarde and Laurence Harvey even while married. The central dramedy structure works until the second half; Schlesinger consciously apes European art cinema in later scenes, dragging things to a halt.

The Americanization of Emily - 6/10 - Paddy Chayefsky penned this caustic WWII satire, with Navy staff officer James Garner wooing English widow Julie Andrews while planning a propaganda movie. Too mean-spirited to be funny, too broad to take its pacifist message seriously. Chayefsky's dramatic choices are highly questionable: what's achieved by having Garner's smug SOB disillusion a scatterbrained widow? The film works, to the extent it does, because of the cast: Andrews is charming and James Coburn gets most of the laughs.

Heat and Dust - 5/10 - Merchant-Ivory production about forbidden love and racial tension in India, past and present. Beautifully shot, impeccably acted, and incurably dull.

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« Reply #11946 on: May 07, 2013, 10:26:50 AM »

Apres Mai /Something In The Air (2012) 10/10. This French coming-of-age tale from Olivier Assayas tracks the lives of a group of 17 and 18 year olds as they prepare to leave school in 1971. Political agitation is all the rage, and these kids are keen to do their part, covering their lycée at night with posters and graffiti, and even hurling Molotav Cocktails at the after-hours security men who are on hand to prevent such vandalism. After injuring a guard, however, the group decides to lie low during their summer vacation. Gilles (Clément Métayer) is in love with Laure (Carole Combes), but she heads off to London, so he takes up with Christine (Lola Créton, very cute). They and Alain (Felix Armand) go to Italy, meet up with a French communist film collective touring there, and tag along. Alain also meets an American diplomat’s brat, Leslie (India Menuez), and they become an item. There’s lots of talk about revolution, and lots of drugs, sex, and rock and roll. But soon Real Life--jobs, academic commitments--bears down and the kids head home to go their separate ways.

The film is beautiful. Hand-held shots and 21st Century cutting gives away the production year, but the colors achieved here are spot-on early 70s Eastmancolor. This is the way the 70s looked—at least, on film. The setting is further suggested by music of the period, and not the usual crap either. The soundtrack includes Barrett’s “Terrapin,” a Dr. Strangely Strange cut (!) Beefheart’s “Abba Zaba”, a song by The Incredible String Band, The Soft Machine’s “Why Are We Sleeping” and Tangerine Dream’s “Sunrise of the Third System” (yeah,  baby!). Assayas has curated the greatest pop/rock soundtrack of all time. [Full disclosure: I’m big into All Things 70s. I spent 10 years of my life there, and I return frequently for visits. This is my kind of music.]

Gilles, something of the director’s surrogate (they share some biographical elements and, in fact, Assayas has a memoir also called Apres Mai) leaves revolution behind for work. For a while he helps his dad (who adapts Simenon novels for TV) but then gravitates toward the film industry. Late in the film Gilles goes to London for a job, and we see him arriving at Pinewood to work as an assistant for a film about a U-boat and a lost world with dinosaurs. Watching this I suddenly realized that Assayas had gone to great expense to recreate the set of AIP’s The Land That Time Forgot (1975). Genius move (except the guy they've got playing Doug McClure doesn't quite cut it). [Oops! Should I have added a SPOILER tag here?]

Two things make this film truly great. First, events unfold without fanfare. It often seems like not much is happening, but, in retrospect, profound changes in the lives of the characters are occurring all the time (they way they do in real life). Second, Assayas resists commenting on his scenes. He treats the early youth-protest scenes just as dispassionately as the later Pinewood Studio scenes. It’s up to the viewer to interpret events for himself: if you want to see the early material as youthful folly and the later scenes as an indicator of growing maturity, you are free to do so; conversely, if you want to imagine that the early part of the film is a testament to youthful idealism, and the later scenes proof of selling out, that’s also your call to make. This film is further evidence that the man behind Irma Vep, Les destinées sentimentales, Summer Hours, and Carlos—we’ll forget about Demon Lover—is our second greatest living filmmaker.

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« Reply #11947 on: May 08, 2013, 06:49:47 PM »

The Red and the White - 8/10 - Miklos Jancso's plotless epic of the Russian Civil War. Since the movie's merely a collection of incidents (episodic doesn't cover it), the appeal is Jancso's remarkable photography: all long takes, handheld shots and depth of field Gregg Toland and Freddie Young could only dream about. The suicide attack in the final reels is especially affecting. I liked it.

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« Reply #11948 on: May 09, 2013, 12:09:17 AM »

Iron Man 3 - 7/10

The plot was predictable. They could have pulled a Richard Brook with the Mandarin thing, but naaah. 7 only for the special effects.

Much more interested in Thor 2*, can't wait.


*especially Loki

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« Reply #11949 on: May 09, 2013, 05:39:26 AM »

Much more interested in Thor 2*, can't wait.


*especially Loki
Not Malekith?

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« Reply #11950 on: May 09, 2013, 09:31:17 AM »

The Red and the White - 8/10 - Miklos Jancso's plotless epic of the Russian Civil War. Since the movie's merely a collection of incidents (episodic doesn't cover it), the appeal is Jancso's remarkable photography: all long takes, handheld shots and depth of field Gregg Toland and Freddie Young could only dream about. The suicide attack in the final reels is especially affecting. I liked it.
Been meaning to catch this one. OK, I'll view it tonight.

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« Reply #11951 on: May 09, 2013, 05:39:36 PM »

I'm curious how you'll be seeing it. Every DVD I'm aware of has lousy picture quality.

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« Reply #11952 on: May 10, 2013, 12:05:32 AM »

Term of Trial (1962) 8/10


In a movie with  Laurence Olivier, Simone Signoret, and Terence Stamp,  IMO the most brilliant performance comes from Sarah Miles (this was the very first movie for Miles and for Stamp).
But I just read on wikipedia that Miles drinks a cup of her own piss every day, so her, nobody is perfect http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Miles#Personal_life_and_family


I didn't like some of the writing in the movie. The most glaring problem for me was in the Signoret character: we're supposed to believe that she loves her husband very deeply, yet is constantly nagging him about how he makes no money and is such a conservative guy. Isn't the nagging/unhappy wife who constantly insults her husband at being broke supposed to also hate him and not have a normal marriage? We keep switching back and forth from Signoret making fun of Olivier and saying how unhappy she is and  complaining about his job, to her expressing such deep affection for him. It just feels weird, and you can never quite get a handle on what's going on with her.

Also, there are a couple of plot/character points that seem to go nowhere. Firstly, we are told that Olivier has a drinking problem; a couple of times, after he leaves school for the day, we see him go to a pub and throw back a few, and Signoret mentions it a couple of times, but that's all. It doesn't play into the story at all, has no effect whatsoever on any of the plot development, and seems to be just a useless bit thrown in by the screenwriters that wasn't properly developed.

Also, the piece with that kid who wants to be a good student but has a terrible situation at home with his mom and her boyfriend, that also seems to go nowhere. So the kid wants to make something of his life but is living in unfortunate circumstances, and nothing really comes of that either. I suppose the movie is trying to draw a distinction between that kid and the Miles character -- that kid really wanted to be good, and could have actually flourished with Olivier's help; while the student Olivier chose to help, Miles, just turned out to be no good, and all the time and devotion he gave to her only backfired. But the resolution with that kid is unsatisfactory... I am not that upset that the kid was in the movie cuz his scenes are very enjoyable (though it seems pretty obvious that for some reason, his scenes are dubbed), but that part is not written well.


Olivier is really good at playing this pathetic loser; he's so good, there are times it's hard to watch, you just wince watching him.

Again, I can't emphasize enough how unbelievable Sarah Miles was here, in her first screen role.


Spoiler alert till end of post

 TCM's Robert Osborne pointed out that these days, we hear so much about teacher-student sexual affairs, it's on the news all the time, so the subject matter of this movie may seem like no big deal.  But in 1962, this stuff was never ever on the news -- whether or not it was happening as frequently as today, the fact is that it was never spoken about -- so this subject matter was very shocking. Not like the usual "shocking subject matter for a movie," but shocking subject matter to be mentioned, period.


That make sense, because if a movie like this would be released today, you would say of the Olivier character: "He deserves to go to prison just for being an idiot! How can he put himself in that situation? A teacher has to avoid any appearance of impropriety; he shouldn't ever be alone with a student like that, which gives her the opportunity to say something happened." But there was much more innocence or naivete back then; which these days, is gone. Teachers and coaches of youth sports teams have to bend over backwards to make sure there is no appearance of impropriety, and no moment when they are alone with a student/athlete that could even give them a chance to say that something happened. I was reading an article by a coach of some youth basketball team and said that even on a cold, dark night, he refuses to give the kids on his team a ride home in his car, because these days, you can never be too careful about what a student might say happened when he/she was alone with his coach. (and these days, you can't even make a distinction between boys and girls).
You can argue over whether it's a sad world we live in, or a more enlightened world we live in; does sexual abuse really happen more often these days, or is it just that these days, victims feel freer to speak about it, rather than suffering in silence. So although there's a drawback that teachers/coaches are super-careful not to ever be alone or show too much benign affection for any student/athlete, maybe it's entirely a good thing that teachers/coaches are smarter, and that things like this are spoken about today and dealt with more openly rather than swept under the rug.

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« Reply #11953 on: May 10, 2013, 05:04:53 AM »

Miles has bigger problems than drinking urine. I wouldn't ask her about David Whiting, for a start.

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« Reply #11954 on: May 10, 2013, 05:19:40 AM »

Admiral - 7/10 - Russian national epic centered around the premise that Admiral Kolchak, tinpot Tsarist strongman during Russia's Civil War, was a really swell guy. With its romantic focus it's basically That Hamilton Woman meets Doctor Zhivago, with lots of flag-waving thrown in. Entertaining enough, with some impressive battle scenes, if you don't mind elevating such a shabby figure to hero status. Me, I'm eagerly awaiting the laudatory biopic of Baron Ungern Sternberg.

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