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drinkanddestroy
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« Reply #12405 on: August 18, 2013, 01:28:30 PM »

The Wire: Season 4 - 8.5/10
Best one yet, better than S3 by a slight margin. This is where the show truly expands past being a 'cop show' and begins a show about society.


one of my law professors mentioned The Wire every chance he could. never discussed it in any detail, but used every opportunity he could to say that it is the best tv show. I don't think a single Sentencing Law & Policy class went by that he didn't mention The Wire at least once. He was one of my favorite professors. This guy http://law.fordham.edu/faculty/johnpfaff.htm

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« Reply #12406 on: August 18, 2013, 11:24:39 PM »

Ma Saison Preferee aka My Favorite Season (1993)

What this movie basically comes down to is, do you believe in all these family problems the movie is depicting? Is this stuff believable, or just movie-manufactured drama? I have not yet reached middle age and I am not sure hoe realistic this all is. if you buy into it, then I think this is done very well (even though I generally don't like chapter headings). But if you don't buy into these family problems, if this sounds like movie-contrived drama, if the whole premise of the movie is not believable, then there isn't much left. And I am not certain how I feel about it. I don't know. All I can say is, I was never bored and the movie was acted well. Beyond that, I am not sure how I feel about the problems the movie presents.  So I can't give a firm rating.
I mean, the creepy way that the middle-aged brother feels about his sister, I suppose there may be SOME weird people in the world like that. Real creeps. And maybe they could even be otherwise-successful, like that brother is a doctor. see below for more on that *


There are a couple of scenes that are clearly fantasy, which I didn't like. The scene where Deneuve has the flashback to her parents telling her that she will have a brother. Clearly a fantasy scene, not really a flashback cuz you see Deneuve in the present day, not as a little girl.
And later in the same scene, where she has that sexual encounter with that young doctor on the park bench, IMO that is a fantasy scene, not real, and I just don't think that scene is appropriate in a movie that as I recall, has no other fantasy scenes, and it doesn't add much to the movie (except maybe to tell you that she wasn't happy to be getting a brother. whoopdy do. it could have told us that some other way.



* reminds me of how once, in law school, I arranged a debate on the economy that featured a professor at Columbia who has a PhD in Political Economy from Stanford, and an AB in Applied Mathematics from Harvard. This guy http://www.academicroom.com/users/david-epstein
well, a little while later, this seemingly prestigious dude not the sort of person you'd typically expect to wind up on Jerry Springer got arrested for having a consensual relationship with his 24-year old daughter http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/21/david-epstein-pleads-guil_n_881639.html


(btw, if you wanna see that debate, it's available on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zM23TZxzOw8 Epstein got his ass kicked by his opponent, Peter Schiff, an investor who frequently appears on tv discussing the economy, and became famous for predicting the upcoming housing market collapse and economic crisis as far back as 2005).

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« Reply #12407 on: August 19, 2013, 12:17:51 AM »

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956) 6.5/10

This post contains spoilers.

-- I think quite a bit of the movie could have been cut; the point that being just a plain old family man making ends meet and working 9-5 is  honorable and even enviable could have been made just as well without some big chunks of unnecessary stuff:
Specifically, I'd say that the whole part about the old man trying to steal the house is totally unnecessary. Does nothing for the movie. Heck, the whole part about the grandma's house and the inheritance could have been cut in its entirety; they could have spent the whole movie in their original house, with no mention of any inheritance whatsoever, and it wouldn't have taken anything at all away from the movie.
They also probably could have cut the entire part of the war that takes place in the Pacific, that battle where Peck accidentally kills his own buddy.  There's really no reason to show that at all. Jennifer Jones keeps telling Peck that he changed since the war, but you really don't see how (maybe cuz you don't see him before the war). I didn't see Peck having any lingering mental problems. Maybe he has grown older and more conservative financially, but you don't see any reason how the war specifically changed him. (Also, the movie takes place in 1956, over a decade after the war ended. Has Jones been harassing him all this time about the war having changed him; or did she just start now, ten years after the war ended?) So I think the war flashbacks could have ended with Peck leaving Europe and going directly to America.


-- Lots of the movie takes place in cars and trains, which means a shitload of awful process shots, but what can you expect from 1956, that is IMO one of the very awful things about movies during the "Golden Age."

-- Are we supposed to believe that Peck is heroic and wonderful when he refuses to actually be a father to his Italian son? He is supposed to be so noble cuz he arranges to send money to his baby mama when he specifically says he wants no contact with them? I understand that he (and his wife, of course) doesn't want contact with the mother, but he has a son and that son deserves to have a father; if he was really noble, he would have offered to bring them to America so his son can have a father and live well, rather than just sending some money so they could live more decently in post-war Italy (in what perhaps would still be conditions that an American would not have considered acceptable). He should have offered to bring the son and mother to America and help them get set up; that way, his son could have an opportunity to actually have a father.
I don't know, maybe that was just the mentality of 1956; that it was a given that a "respectable" family man couldn't have the son born out of wedlock around, and all his neighbors/friends know about them; and the fact that he is merely acknowledging and supporting him makes him special. But if you ask me, he's only special if he actually reaches out to them and offers to bring the son and mother to America so he can really be a father to his son.

-- Finally, I reject the implication that life comes down to a choice of being a family man and making ends meet, or being a millionaire and not having a decent family life. It may well be that there are big executives who neglect their families in pursuit of money, but I reject the movie's implied preaching that it's one extreme or the other.

-- Having said all the above, the movie generally doesn't bore you; the Cinemascope/De Luxe color is pretty enough besides for the awful process shots (I believe there is not a single closeup in the entire movie, which I guess is one result of the widescreen).

I give it a 6.5/10

And as a special treat for Leone fans, the movie features Keenan Wynn in a small but important role. I would never have recognized that he was the sheriff of Flagstone if I hadn't have seen his name on the credits  Smiley

IMO, the movie is generally acted well, but for Jennifer Jones, who does not give a very good performance.



« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 12:31:42 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #12408 on: August 19, 2013, 03:19:06 PM »

one of my law professors mentioned The Wire every chance he could. never discussed it in any detail, but used every opportunity he could to say that it is the best tv show. I don't think a single Sentencing Law & Policy class went by that he didn't mention The Wire at least once. He was one of my favorite professors. This guy http://law.fordham.edu/faculty/johnpfaff.htm
Sounds like a Wire fan to me. The show does NOT deserve that much praise IMO, but those who love it... love it.

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« Reply #12409 on: August 19, 2013, 03:24:52 PM »

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956) 6.5/10

This post contains spoilers.

-- I think quite a bit of the movie could have been cut; the point that being just a plain old family man making ends meet and working 9-5 is  honorable and even enviable could have been made just as well without some big chunks of unnecessary stuff:
Specifically, I'd say that the whole part about the old man trying to steal the house is totally unnecessary. Does nothing for the movie. Heck, the whole part about the grandma's house and the inheritance could have been cut in its entirety; they could have spent the whole movie in their original house, with no mention of any inheritance whatsoever, and it wouldn't have taken anything at all away from the movie.
They also probably could have cut the entire part of the war that takes place in the Pacific, that battle where Peck accidentally kills his own buddy.  There's really no reason to show that at all. Jennifer Jones keeps telling Peck that he changed since the war, but you really don't see how (maybe cuz you don't see him before the war). I didn't see Peck having any lingering mental problems. Maybe he has grown older and more conservative financially, but you don't see any reason how the war specifically changed him. (Also, the movie takes place in 1956, over a decade after the war ended. Has Jones been harassing him all this time about the war having changed him; or did she just start now, ten years after the war ended?) So I think the war flashbacks could have ended with Peck leaving Europe and going directly to America.


-- Lots of the movie takes place in cars and trains, which means a shitload of awful process shots, but what can you expect from 1956, that is IMO one of the very awful things about movies during the "Golden Age."

-- Are we supposed to believe that Peck is heroic and wonderful when he refuses to actually be a father to his Italian son? He is supposed to be so noble cuz he arranges to send money to his baby mama when he specifically says he wants no contact with them? I understand that he (and his wife, of course) doesn't want contact with the mother, but he has a son and that son deserves to have a father; if he was really noble, he would have offered to bring them to America so his son can have a father and live well, rather than just sending some money so they could live more decently in post-war Italy (in what perhaps would still be conditions that an American would not have considered acceptable). He should have offered to bring the son and mother to America and help them get set up; that way, his son could have an opportunity to actually have a father.
I don't know, maybe that was just the mentality of 1956; that it was a given that a "respectable" family man couldn't have the son born out of wedlock around, and all his neighbors/friends know about them; and the fact that he is merely acknowledging and supporting him makes him special. But if you ask me, he's only special if he actually reaches out to them and offers to bring the son and mother to America so he can really be a father to his son.

-- Finally, I reject the implication that life comes down to a choice of being a family man and making ends meet, or being a millionaire and not having a decent family life. It may well be that there are big executives who neglect their families in pursuit of money, but I reject the movie's implied preaching that it's one extreme or the other.

-- Having said all the above, the movie generally doesn't bore you; the Cinemascope/De Luxe color is pretty enough besides for the awful process shots (I believe there is not a single closeup in the entire movie, which I guess is one result of the widescreen).

I give it a 6.5/10

And as a special treat for Leone fans, the movie features Keenan Wynn in a small but important role. I would never have recognized that he was the sheriff of Flagstone if I hadn't have seen his name on the credits  Smiley

IMO, the movie is generally acted well, but for Jennifer Jones, who does not give a very good performance.
I smell a Turner viewer.

I really get annoyed with films about "war heroes" played by a draft dodger like Peck. Yeah, sure, I know all about the "spinal injury" story he supposedly got from a "college rowing match"--that injury didn't keep him off horses in several westerns, did it? Peck owes his whole career to the fact he arrived in Hollywood when all the male actors were away. I don't object to him having a career as such--just that it's an insult to those who served with honor when he portrays soldiers or veterans.

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« Reply #12410 on: August 19, 2013, 04:49:01 PM »

I smell a Turner viewer.

I really get annoyed with films about "war heroes" played by a draft dodger like Peck. Yeah, sure, I know all about the "spinal injury" story he supposedly got from a "college rowing match"--that injury didn't keep him off horses in several westerns, did it? Peck owes his whole career to the fact he arrived in Hollywood when all the male actors were away. I don't object to him having a career as such--just that it's an insult to those who served with honor when he portrays soldiers or veterans.

in that case, what about John Wayne? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wayne#Early_career_and_breakthrough

I'm libertarian; I don't worry about that stuff. IMO, if a man wants to fight he can, but nobody should be able to tell anyone else what he should or shouldn't do.

And btw, many of those people you may consider heroes for fighting only did so because they had no choice. There was a draft (which is not much different than slavery). Not every one of them was banging down the doors to enlist after Pearl Harbor. I say a man can do whatever he wants to. Sure, it's honorable to voluntarily enlist cuz you wanna help defend the country, but I'd never look at someone negatively because he didn't do so.

yes, my dvr is constantly recording movies on TCM that I think look interesting.

Speaking of which, today is Randolph Scott day on Summer Under the Stars, so basically the entire day is Westerns; over the next few days, I'm gonna see all the Boetticher/Scott Westerns. (I've seen each one once previously).

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« Reply #12411 on: August 20, 2013, 06:46:18 AM »

Trail Street (1947) nothing special, farmers & Bat Masterson against free rangers 6/10

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« Reply #12412 on: August 20, 2013, 12:03:37 PM »

Trail Street (1947) nothing special, farmers & Bat Masterson against free rangers 6/10

haha I was wondering why the post first wound up in titoli's thread  Grin

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« Reply #12413 on: August 20, 2013, 10:30:03 PM »

Comanche Station, The Tall T, Ride Lonesome

all get between 7.5-8/10

further discussion here http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=5927.msg166952#msg166952

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« Reply #12414 on: August 21, 2013, 03:47:29 PM »

Blue Jasmine - 8/10
Classic Woody Allen. A lot like Another Woman, but with some humor and maybe even less sympathetic for the protagonist.

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« Reply #12415 on: August 23, 2013, 12:07:12 PM »

The Proposal - 5/10
Standard Rom-com chick flick that manages not to be awful.

The Grandmaster - 7.5/10
The original cut. A unique biopic that meshes melodrama and martial arts together with rapid editing. Lots of OUATIA moments and homages in the last act (OUATIA music along with an original [or so I think?] Morricone-esque score. Also very similarly shot opium sequence, dream-liked transitions, and an image reminiscent of an aging Noodles in the mirror). It can be overly stylized and difficult to follow, but definitely warrants a viewing. I'll be watching this again because it has potential to be a truly great film on repeat viewings. Not WKW's worst though not his best either.

Ain't Them Bodies Saints - 7/10
Nothin' special.

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« Reply #12416 on: August 23, 2013, 11:30:29 PM »

8 1/2 - 9/10 - Funny, heartfelt and incisive. I doubt I could add much to the mountain of praise.

The Witches (1967) - 6/10 - In this anthology, Dino De Laurentiis gathers five top-notch directors to celebrate his wife Silvana Mangano. Not surprisingly, the chapters vary greatly in quality. The best is Pasolini's The Earth as Seen from the Moon, an inspired slapstick piece starring Toto. De Sica's chapter gets the most attention for featuring Clint Eastwood as a boring businessman; this bizarre sequence (think Brief Encounter meets Fellini) works up to a point, but drags on too long. Visconti's segment is boring and tedious; the two shorter sketches just sit there. Mangano acquits herself well in a quintuple role. There's some neat Terry Gilliam-esque animation and a jazzy Morricone score.

Teoroma - 6/10 - Pier Paolo Pasolini's inscrutable epic embodies every conceivable stereotype of art cinema. It really has no message beyond sex equaling spiritual awakening, whatever the bizarre editing, strained symbolism and Mozart music. It's interesting in its way, but after characters randomly fuck, levitate and teleport to the desert, you grow numb.

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« Reply #12417 on: August 26, 2013, 09:36:06 PM »

Slander (1957) 5.5/10 [TCM]


Preachy movie about the evils of the celebrity gossip magazines.

With Van Johnson, Ann Blyth (under what looks like ten pounds of makeup), Steve Cochran, Richard Eyer, Harold J. Stone, and Marjorie Rambeau.
Eyer a child actor, playing a little boy of about ten, is really good.

The movie issues a direct challenge to the viewer: These magazines will only stop ruining people's lives, when you stop buying them. The way I figure it, maybe MGM had some problems with its stars' lives being uncovered by these mags, so they decided to make a movie to beg the viewer to stop buying 'em  Grin

IMDB says the movie's proper aspect ratio is 1.66:1, but TCM showed it in 4:3. But I figure that means I probably saw more on top and bottom, rather than less on the sides? (The movie is not currently available on dvd).

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« Reply #12418 on: August 27, 2013, 08:40:28 PM »

The Wire: Season 5 - 8.5/10
Often considered the worst season of the show, I see it as one of the best (about just as good as 3 & 4). I can see where the criticism comes in, as the plot itself compromises the standards of realism the show has set for itself - but not much worse than the 'Hamsterdam' scenario of Season 3. It's also more character-based than previous seasons which I like (particularly for the characters of McNulty and Bubbles). The feature-length finale is a TV masterpiece - almost as good as peak episodes of Breaking Bad.

But when it comes to the ongoing internet/TV nerd battle of two VERY unrelated shows (Breaking Bad vs. The Wire), BB still comes on top by a laaarge margin. Unless the ending sucks and ruins the whole show for me. We'll find out in 1 month.

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« Reply #12419 on: August 28, 2013, 12:02:39 AM »

TCM honored the lovely and talented Jeanne Crain on Summer Under the Stars:


1. Pinky (1949) 7/10

Jeanne Crain as a black girl - even a light-skinned one? Come on. It's no more believable than Susan Kohner as a black girl in Imitation of Life. It could have been believable if she was playing a mulatto, but I guess that in the 40's and 50's, miscegenation was too unthinkable; so instead they took a girl who looks as white as white can be, and try to have us believe she can be a light-skinned black. Nobody that's 100% black can be that light-skinned.
(On a completely unrelated note, I just saw that Kohner's mother, the Mexican actress Lupita Tovar, is still alive, at 103 years old).

The story didn't interest me all that much maybe because I am living in New York in 2013 rather than Alabama in 1949 (and Thank God for that), but the acting is terrific all around. All three females lead actress Jenna Craine, and supporting actresses Ethel Barrymore and Ethel Waters were Oscar-nominated.


2. Twenty Plus Two (1961) 7.5/10

The story is kinda ridiculous, far-fetched, full of lucky coincidences, etc. but I enjoyed myself. If you forget about the plausibility of it all, it's actually a fun movie. I had a good time watching it.
The acting is all very good, lead actor is David Janssen, and supporting actors are Brad dexter, Robert Strauss, and Jacques Aubuchon. On the female side, there is of course the lovely Jeanne Crain, the beautiful Dina Merrill (still with us at 90 years old), and Agnes Moorehead, who is absolutely amazing in her one scene.

A few interesting things I read about Dina Merrill (on wikipedia, imdb, and others ites): She is daughter of banker E.F. Hutton and Marjorie Merriweather Post, heiress to the Post cereal fortune, and worth $5 billion. Her father was strongly opposed to her pursuing an acting career, so in order to spite him, she took the last name Merrill, because the man whom her father hated most in the world was Charlie Merrill, founder of Wall Street competitor Merrill Lynch.


3. The Fastest Gun Alive (1956) 8/10

Further discussion in that film's thread here http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=4362.msg167035#msg167035
(but don't read it if you haven't seen the movie; my post contains spoilers).

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