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Author Topic: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  (Read 1770671 times)
drinkanddestroy
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« Reply #12420 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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« Reply #12421 on: August 28, 2013, 03:08:26 PM »

Back from vacation, I'm going through the pile of Blu-rays that accumulated in my absence:

Runaway Train (1985) - Eric Roberts and Jon Voight both received Acadamy Award noms for their roles in this--and both deserved to win. Neither did (Voight did, however, win a Golden Globe that year). Voight's performance is probably the best of his career. What really impresses today, though, is the technical excellence with which the film was made. I guess it helps to have had the DP who shot several of the Roger Moore Bond films. Anyway, this is a masterpiece of practical effects married seamlessly to rear projection (I defy anyone--including D&D--to watch the movie and spot the tricks). The lighting, which is incredibly natural, is well served on the Blu-ray disc from Arrow (Region B). Film: 8/10. Image: 10/10.

Shane (1953) - A man who has something to do with death stumbles into the middle of a range war (in Jackson Hole, WY). He takes a side. Despite the annoying little kid, this film is a classic, and the new Blu makes it look astounding. Film: 9/10. Image: 10/10.

Charulata (1964) - a neglected wife almost gets into trouble. It's a Bengali Brief Encounter, played in chambers. Well done, but it all goes on a little too long. The new Criterion Blu is hard to believe--most early Satyajit Rays look beat to hell, but the image here makes it seem the film was made yesterday. Film: 9/10. Image: 10/10.

Death Hunt (1981) - Charlie and Lee, together again for the first time. The film's simple premise--an illustration of the inevitable tensions between liberty and justice--is adequately supported by the performances of the two leads. And there is plenty of nice scenery to admire. Unhappily, all the nighttime scenes use unmotivated sources of illumination--a real peeve of mine. And the Blu-ray transfer, when compared to the standards now being set, is somewhat lacking--some scenes are soft, and quite frequently skin tones are way, way too red. Film: 8/10. Image: 8/10.

Les soeurs Brontë / The Brontë Sisters (1979). A French-language account of the famous sisters (and their not-so-famous brother). For the record, the sisters are Emily (Isabelle Adjani), Charlotte (Marie-France Pisier), and Anne (Isabelle Huppert)--brother Branwell was played by then-newcomer Pascal Greggory. The strength of this adaptation--besides the location work on real British heaths--is that it almost completely ignores the writing in favor of depictions of the Bronte's daily life (which, as it happens, was largely about dying). Also, relatively little dramatic license was taken with the facts as we know them. Photography and costumes are exquisite. Andre Techine's attention to detail is impressive: torches rather than lanterns outside an opera house; a corpse with a mouth that won't stay closed. And almost no unmotivated lighting issues (yay!). Film: 10/10. Image: 10/10.

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« Reply #12422 on: August 28, 2013, 09:04:53 PM »

Inferno (1953) a lot of fun Robert Ryan is great 10/10 in 2D

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« Reply #12423 on: August 30, 2013, 03:17:46 PM »

Closed Circuit (2013) 6/10. A kind of British Three Days of the Condor. Very TV-like.

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« Reply #12424 on: August 30, 2013, 07:57:46 PM »

Persona (1966) 4/10. Pretentious nonsense, artfully photographed by Mr. Sven Nykvist.

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« Reply #12425 on: August 31, 2013, 06:56:19 AM »

I made it through about ten minutes of Persona then shut it off.

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« Reply #12426 on: August 31, 2013, 07:41:01 AM »

There are some good Bergman films in the 50s (Smiles of a Summer Night, The Magician), but he lost his way in the 60s.

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« Reply #12427 on: August 31, 2013, 09:04:58 AM »

Persona (1966) 4/10. Pretentious nonsense, artfully photographed by Mr. Sven Nykvist.
Thank you. I've yet to see a Bergman movie I liked. Seventh Seal is the only tolerable one.

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« Reply #12428 on: August 31, 2013, 12:06:15 PM »

I remember Persona as one of his best. On the other hand I don't like The 7th Seal that much, which is for me partly pretentious, especially for some of the dialogues. Some strong ideas though.

After Persona Bergman made then his most fascinating film. The Hour of the Wolf is one of the most fascinating films ever. An entertainment classic for me. And a visual delight.

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« Reply #12429 on: August 31, 2013, 04:35:34 PM »

In addition to The 7th Seal and Persona, to me at least Wild Strawberries, Through a Glass Darkly, Whispers and Cries, Fanny and Alexander and Scenes from a Marriage are good films. I need to rewatch Winter Light.

The Dead (1987) - 9/10
"Gabriel Conroy and wife Greta attend a Christmas dinner with friends at the home of his spinster aunts, an evening which results in an epiphany for both of them." John Huston directed his final film at the brink of his death, based on James Joyce's novella of the same name. A true revelation - in content and form. I haven't been moved like this by a film for a long time. I need to check out the source material as soon as I can.

Behind the Candelabra (2013) - 7/10
Michael Douglas is wonderful and Matt Damon isn't bad either. Most of the time I was interested in the story but not often moved by it.

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« Reply #12430 on: September 01, 2013, 07:23:19 AM »

Time Limit (1957) 7.5/10

 Karl Malden's direction is terrific, the acting is absolutely superb up and down the cast, led by Richard Widmark, one of my all time favorite actors.


SPOILERS

The way the movie has it, the only way Basehart could have exonerated himself is by condemning his men by telling the whole story, but I see no reason why he couldn't have simply said, "The commandant threatened to kill all my men if he didn't cooperate," without mentioning the rest of the story – how the men had killed the stool pigeon.

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« Reply #12431 on: September 01, 2013, 07:42:15 AM »

I've fallen a bit behind, so...

L'Avventura - 8/10 - Much less grating than Blow-Up. Relatively straightforward: the "nothing happens" label lobbed at this movie is ignorant, since it's a well-crafted melodrama. The central mystery just happens to be one of those things. Nice to see Gabriele Ferzetti before he fell into character roles.

The Wild Geese - 7/10 - Andrew McLaglen makes a decent movie!?! Somehow it happened. It has all of his usual flaws: hackish direction, cliched storytelling, slumming stars on autopilot (Richard Burton looks monumentally bored). But it's well-crafted and entertaining to hold your interest. With this kind of movie all that matters is if everything blows up good, and Geese certainly has that in spades.

Viva Zapata! - 7/10 - Very stylish direction with a solid cast. The main problem is that the film can't decide if it's a laudatory biopic or a subversive political drama. Elements hint at a more subversive intent than what ends up on screen: Zapata and his message come off rather garbled.

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« Reply #12432 on: September 02, 2013, 06:16:23 AM »

Conflict (1945) Bogart & Greenstreet (in a non villainous roll) with Alexis Smith 6-7/10.

The Drowning Pool (1975) great cast, Paul Newman (reprising his Lew Harper roll from Harper), Joanne Woodward, Anthony Franciosa, Murray Hamilton, Gail Strickland, Melanie Griffith, Linda Haynes, Richard Jaeckel, Paul Koslo, and Andy Robinson.  A good PI flick, that follows in the tradition of some of the classics, where the mere presents of the "detective" starts events rolling out of control. New Orleans setting is a nice touch. 8.5/10

This go round I really picked up on the soundtrack, particularly the various arrangements of "Killing Me Softly with His Song" composed by Charles Fox which is used as a leitmotif for Iris & Lew's past relationship. Too bad its a bit too muted, its a beautiful composition in this form and should have been given a bit more prominence. I don't find a soundtrack release anywhere with an online search.

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« Reply #12433 on: September 02, 2013, 08:31:07 PM »

Yellow Sky - 8/10 - Skimmed through the pertinent thread and I'll agree with the prevailing sentiment. Starts out excellent and gets more cliched and familiar as it goes along. Still one of the most strikingly-photographed Westerns around, with Gregory Peck doing an uncharacteristically nasty turn.

Local Hero - 7/10 - Another tale of greedy materialists finding solace in an isolated small town. Charming enough in its low key fashion. Amusing to see Peter Capaldi young, handsome and not calling everyone in sight a fucking cunt.

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« Reply #12434 on: September 03, 2013, 04:23:02 AM »

Saw Joseph Losey's Stranger On The Prowl (1952) sort of a Italian Neo Realist Noir (Its listed in Selby) with Paul Muni, Joan Lorring, and Vittorio Manunta. It was a poor print but was still entertaining enough. 6.5/10

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