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Author Topic: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  (Read 1804801 times)
dave jenkins
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« Reply #13785 on: July 31, 2014, 12:12:51 PM »

Ellen Drew.
An absolute stone fox.

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« Reply #13786 on: August 02, 2014, 11:07:50 AM »

Das merkwürdige Kätzchen/Strange Little Cat (2013) - 7/10. A German family (who have a cat and dog) spend the day preparing a supper for relatives. The film eschews melodrama in order to accurately present quotidian reality. Traditional plotting is jettisoned. Set ups are simple: the camera is always locked down and characters enter and leave frames (or just remain stationary). There are no bullshit camera movements: ridiculous tracking shots, ostentatious pans. Beautiful still-lifes--of those there are plenty.

Man in the Dark (1953) - 3D DCP - 6/10. Edmond O'Brien in 3-D! (Probably the reason for the format's demise). O'Brien is a prisoner who volunteers for a brain operation to remove his criminal tendencies (and for which he will get early parole). After the op he remembers nothing of his former life. This is vexing to his known associates, who want him to tell them where he stashed the $130,000 from their last job together. There's an insurance investigator who is interested in the question also. And then there's Audrey Totter, miffed that O'Brien doesn't even remember his old flame. Will O'Brien relearn how to kiss her? And will he lead everyone to the loot before the boys lose patience and beat him to death? And does the fact that the crook's hideout overlooks an amusement pier with a massive rollercoaster mean that there will be an exciting 3-D climax on that very location? Gee, I wouldn't want to give anything away.

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« Reply #13787 on: August 03, 2014, 09:12:07 PM »

Eight Men Out (1988) 8/10

I liked the cinematography, nice-looking colors!
The cast was mostly very good. Particularly the actor who played Shoeless Joe Jackson. Read this interesting article a year ago about the supposed signed confessions that were later stolen:

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324136204578641990501023144


Hunting Shoeless Joe's Holy Grail

Collectors Have Renewed Their Quest for the Ultimate Artifact of the 1919 Black Sox Scandal—If It Even Exists

By Ben Cohen

Aug. 1, 2013


It is one of the most enduring mysteries in sports: What happened to the long-lost signed confession of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson?

The question has persisted since Jackson and seven other Chicago White Sox players were indicted on charges of fixing the 1919 World Series. The "Black Sox" were acquitted of those criminal charges, but became baseball's most famous outlaws when they were banished from the sport by Major League Baseball's first commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

Now, almost a century later, the quest to find the most captivating piece of evidence in the case has intensified, luring collectors and fans alike to this week's National Sports Collectors Convention, which is being held in Chicago.


Last month, in the lead up to the convention, a prominent auction house posted a $1 million bounty for Jackson's confession, the city's holy grail of sports memorabilia. "I wouldn't offer $1 million if I didn't think it was worth more than that," said Josh Evans, founder of the New York auction house Lelands.com, who called himself a "treasure hunter."

But as troves of newly discovered documents have forced experts to reconsider the entire scandal, leading Black Sox researchers are in consensus about Jackson's missing confession: It's a myth. It doesn't exist and, in fact, never did.

"There are no signed confessions," said Jacob Pomrenke, chairman of the Society for American Baseball Research's Black Sox committee.

The confession represents a coveted treasure for serious collectors of sports memorabilia, in part because the Black Sox loom so large in the nation's sports psyche, having committed perhaps the gravest sin in the history of American sports. But it is equally prized for its mysterious absence, since the alleged disappearance of the document has long served as a crucial plot point in popular stories about the scandal.

According to the legend, Jackson's signed acknowledgment that he agreed to take a $20,000 bribe to throw the World Series was stolen before his 1921 criminal trial, possibly by the mob figure Arnold Rothstein, who figures prominently in the story of the 1919 World Series. As the tale goes, the theft scuttled the prosecution's case, leading a Chicago jury to acquit the Black Sox on charges of defrauding the public.

The evidence has been sought ever since. This week in Chicago, Evans hopes that his seven-figure offer will smoke out what he calls the "Dead Sea scrolls" of baseball.

The importance of the documents traces back, in large part, to "Eight Men Out," Eliot Asinof's 1963 book about the scandal, and John Sayles's 1988 film of the same name. In the book, the confessions play a role not only in the Black Sox criminal trial, but also in a lawsuit that Jackson filed in 1924 seeking back pay from White Sox owner Charles Comiskey. As Comiskey's attorney, George Hudnall, was presenting his defense, something remarkable happened, according to Asinof.

"Incredibly, the stolen confessions, missing since the winter of 1920, suddenly reappeared in Hudnall's brief case!" Asinof wrote.

The film version of "Eight Men Out" relies on the confessions for even more drama. In a pivotal scene, a witness in the Black Sox criminal trial mentions Jackson's confession, prompting a defense attorney to ask that the prosecution present it to the court. The judge agrees, demanding that the document be brought forward. "We don't have them, your honor," the prosecutor says. "They've been stolen."

Onto the screen flashes the front page of a fictional newspaper: "CONFESSIONS DISAPPEAR." Not long afterward, an acquittal has the defendants partying in the courtroom.

What actually happened, Black Sox scholars say, wasn't so cinematic. Information recently unearthed, particularly a 2007 auction of Black Sox papers won by the Chicago History Museum, has convinced some experts that the signed confession is a fabrication—even though the evidence that would debunk it has existed all along. Jackson's signed confession, these Black Sox researchers say, was nothing more than his testimony before a Cook County, Ill., grand jury on Sept. 28, 1920. The whereabouts of that transcript are well known: A copy was given to the Chicago Historical Society by the former law offices of Comiskey's attorney in 1988. In that testimony, Jackson admitted to agreeing to throw the 1919 World Series for $20,000, but said he pocketed only $5,000 in denominations of $50 and $100 bills.

Legal procedure wouldn't have called for Jackson to sign his so-called confession—much less with the famously scrawled "X" that fans of "Eight Men Out" remember—said Bill Lamb, the author of "Black Sox in the Courtroom," an account of the judicial proceedings published in March.

Thus, the scholars predict, the auction house's reward will go unpaid. "I believe their million dollars will remain in their bank account," said Mike Nola, founder of the Shoeless Joe Jackson Virtual Hall of Fame.

Like all good myths, of course, this one is rooted in some truth. Before the criminal trial, the original copy of Jackson's grand-jury testimony did go missing, resulting in wide and sensational press coverage. There was even public speculation that it was stolen by Rothstein. But the testimony was quickly reproduced on a typewriter from the grand-jury stenographer's notes and admitted as evidence in the 1921 trial. The state's attorneys even read the transcripts aloud in the sweltering courtroom.

As it turned out, jurors could make little sense of the transcript, in part because it was redacted "to the point of near unintelligibility," writes Lamb. In the grand-jury transcript, Black Sox players like Eddie Cicotte and Lefty Williams became "Mr. Blank" and "Mr. Blank," he says.

The legal keepsake that Black Sox historians are certain Jackson did sign was his waiver of immunity before giving his grand-jury testimony. But even that testimony, along with its brief disappearance, was irrelevant to Jackson and his teammates being found not guilty. "It's a big misnomer," said David Fletcher, the founder of the Chicago Baseball Museum, who is writing a revision of "Eight Men Out."

Evans isn't buying their skepticism. Should his million-dollar offer produce results this week—and it hadn't as of Thursday—he said he will have his checkbook ready and cash stored in a nearby safe. "I think they exist," Evans said. "I believe that signed confessions were done and they're out there."

As for those who disagree, he added: "They could be right. They could be wrong. It doesn't matter. I'm looking for great things, and this is one of them."

Write to Ben Cohen at ben.cohen@wsj.com

« Last Edit: August 04, 2014, 02:51:31 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #13788 on: August 04, 2014, 02:52:05 AM »

The Shopworn Angel (1938) 6.5/10

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« Reply #13789 on: August 04, 2014, 05:29:53 AM »

Nice article Drink. Eight Men Out is one of my favorite sports movies.

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« Reply #13790 on: August 04, 2014, 07:48:18 AM »

Law and Order (1969) - 6.5./10
Frederick Wiseman's documentary about street level police work. Some memorable scenes, and some not so memorable. I wouldn't be surprised if this was an influence on shows like NYPD Blue and The Wire.

High School (1968) - 8.5/10
"Documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman takes us inside Northeast High School as a fly on the wall to observe the teachers and how they interact with the students." Very insightful in historical context but also in its exploration of a hierarchic social system or community. An up-to-date film about the same subject matter wouldn't hurt, though.

Marathon Man (1976) - 6.5/10
"In New York City, the brother of an infamous Nazi war criminal is killed in a head on collision car accident. Shortly thereafter, members of a covert US government group called "The Division" begin to be murdered one by one. When the brother to one Division member sees his brother knifed to death, it is revealed that former SS dentist Szell, "the White Angel" of Auschwitz, is wrapping up loose ends to smuggle priceless diamonds from the United States." The first half or so is very suspenseful and promising but towards the end it just turns into a run-of-the-mill thriller.

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« Reply #13791 on: August 04, 2014, 10:38:53 AM »


Marathon Man (1976) - 6.5/10
"In New York City, the brother of an infamous Nazi war criminal is killed in a head on collision car accident. Shortly thereafter, members of a covert US government group called "The Division" begin to be murdered one by one. When the brother to one Division member sees his brother knifed to death, it is revealed that former SS dentist Szell, "the White Angel" of Auschwitz, is wrapping up loose ends to smuggle priceless diamonds from the United States." The first half or so is very suspenseful and promising but towards the end it just turns into a run-of-the-mill thriller.

The first half is good and unique enough to me to keep the movie above 7/10 (I think I rate it 7.5) but I agree with you. I have not read the book but from what I understand, most of the film's flaws are due to a the production trying to remove everything that wasn't hollywoodian enough. For example, the brother in the book is a much more violent character: he goes into a revenge rampage after his stay in Paris and kills over 20 people. The actor agreed todo the part because of these scenes, but they were not even filmed (they make the character less likable).

SPOILER ALERT

Another huge change is that in the book, The Marathon Man kills the nazi (who's just standing in front of him, doing nothing dangerous) while in the movie the bad guys kills himself out of his own evilness. Even Dustin Hoffman criticizes the change in the bonus of the DVD.

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« Reply #13792 on: August 04, 2014, 12:33:07 PM »

The Marathon Man was the stuff (especially with that cast) for a masterpiece. It's a good film though, but somehow still very, very wasted. 6/10


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« Reply #13793 on: August 05, 2014, 04:13:27 AM »

The Tall Target  (1951) Director: Anthony Mann, Stars: Dick Powell, Paula Raymond, Adolphe Menjou, Will Geer, Marshall Thompson, and Ruby Dee. A New York City detective, traveling by train between New York and Baltimore, tries to foil an on-board plot to assassinate President-elect Abraham Lincoln when he reaches Baltimore to give a major pre-Inauguration speech in 1861. A great noir-ish detective on a train yarn. The Warner made on demand DVD is bare bones but they sprung at least for a poster cover 8/10




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« Reply #13794 on: August 05, 2014, 05:35:35 AM »

The Marathon Man was the stuff (especially with that cast) for a masterpiece. It's a good film though, but somehow still very, very wasted. 6/10



The directing is amazing too. I think the production who supervised the script (not even the writer) is accountable for the waste.

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« Reply #13795 on: August 05, 2014, 10:50:19 AM »

The Quiller Memorandum (1966) - 8/10. Does for the espionage thriller what The Long Goodbye would later do for the PI film. The new Blu-ray from Network (Region B) seems a good transfer, but the print it's sourced from is quite faded. A pity, but we're unlikely to ever see this film restored. Happily, Harold Pinter's amusing dialog is in no way affected. George Segal, Alec Guinness, Max Von Sydow, Senta Berger, Berlin '66: great cast and setting.

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« Reply #13796 on: August 05, 2014, 12:15:05 PM »

The directing is amazing too.

Really? 

I don't remember it to be special, I remember that Schlesinger doesn't make much of some scenes which should inspire a director. But I haven't watched it for a zillion years. Maybe I would spot now things i did not care for then, or wasn't able to see.

If the script has a problem the director has to be blamed anyway, cause he is responsible for the screenplay, no matter who wrote it.
But here Goldman wrote it after his own novel. As an experienced screenwriter he should have known what his story needs for a film adaptation. But I also just read that (as usual) some parts were changed, including the ending.

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« Reply #13797 on: August 05, 2014, 02:41:00 PM »

Really?  

I don't remember it to be special, I remember that Schlesinger doesn't make much of some scenes which should inspire a director. But I haven't watched it for a zillion years. Maybe I would spot now things i did not care for then, or wasn't able to see.
I think the whole first half of the film is well directed. Great building of suspense. SPOILER But it goes down the drain around Hoffman's first escape from the Nazi.

EDIT: Sure, it's nothing flashy, but it's very precise and effective.

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« Reply #13798 on: August 06, 2014, 12:37:14 AM »

The torture scene is still the only example (I'm talking about the directing) that beats Reservoir Dog's cut ear. The car race at the beginning is among the greatest opening I have seen. The standoff at the house has a great western feel to it. The seduction scenes are very simply shot but it's very, very effective. The scenes between Hoffman and his brother are getting a little old (especially the last one) but were great at the time. Etc.

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« Reply #13799 on: August 07, 2014, 07:34:08 AM »

Drink and I attended an atrocious performance of Jean Genet's The Maids last night. Afterwards I had to get it out of my head, so I went home and watched this:

The Maids (1975) - 6/10. Two women, Solange (Glenda Jackson) and Claire (Susannah York), work for a third (Vivienne Merchant), whom they despise. While their mistress is away, the two maids do some bizarre role playing, Claire taking the part of the absent woman, and Solange keeping to the role of a servant. The role playing consists largely of hurling abuse at each other. Solange, presumably, says everything she's ever wanted to say to her employer, and Claire, presumably, voices what she takes to be the woman's true attitude toward her subordinates.  The volleying back and forth of invective soon becomes tiring, but then the mistress comes home and there's a brief respite (it turns out her actual invective is cloaked in false pleasantries and backhanded compliments). Then the woman leaves again and the two maids go back to their role playing, which by now is hysterical and rather boring. The play is flawed but in this production the performances--especially the one by Ms. Jackson--are very good. [Drink, you can actually understand all the dialog in this.] AmazonPrime members can stream the film free here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009SGFN4A/

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