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« #18420 : July 05, 2019, 10:12:32 AM »

It's All Bergman, All the Time! (Who can guess what Jenkins bought in the B&N Criterion sale?)

Waiting Women (1952) - 7/10. Waiting women wait together, and while they wait they talk about (what else?) their relationships with their husbands. And each woman has a story to tell. Yes, it's Sweden's answer to Letter to Three Wives. It pretty much follows the formula as laid down in Mank's earlier film: two very serious stories are followed by a third comic one. The first is about a woman who cheats on her husband and immediately comes clean and lives with the consequences. The second is about a woman giving birth whose relationship to the child's father in in doubt. The third is about a middle-aged couple stuck in an elevator. The middle story went on a little long, but the other two were pleasantly spare.

The Touch (1971) - 7/10. Karin (Bibi Andersson) is married to Andreas (Max von Sydow), a doctor, and they live together with their two children in a provincial Swedish town (maybe Gothenburg?). Into their lives comes David (Elliot Gould--Elliot Gould?), a foreign archeologist helping excavate a local church. Karin and David begin an affair. Neither seems to get much pleasure from the relationship, but each becomes emotionally dependent on the other. After 115 minutes (that is, the length of the film) it's over. This is an unusual film for Bergman. Although shot in Sweden, the dialog is mostly in English (I guess Gould isn't good with languages). It's weird seeing Gould in a Bergman film, but it kind of works (he charts the progress of the affair with his facial hair--full-on beard at the beginning; clean shaven in the middle; a shorter, neater beard at the end). Interestingly, some of the elements of Waiting Women (infidelity, childbirth) are revisited here, but put to different uses. Both films, though, agree on the idea that there are (at least some) women who think about their romantic partners as if they were children who needed looking after. Bergman believes deeply, it appears, in the primacy of maternal instincts.



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« #18421 : July 06, 2019, 05:53:25 AM »

Bergman month continues with:

Dreams (1955) - 8/10. Two women go on location to do some fashion shooting, and each has an encounter with a man that is by turns sweet and then bitter. The first story has Harriet Andersson meeting Gunnar Bjornstrand, playing a potential sugar daddy. The pair enjoy an enchanted afternoon until Bjornstrand's daughter appears and breaks the spell. Next Eva Dahlbeck gets together with an old flame and they begin making plans . . . then the guy's wife shows up. The interesting thing is the way Bergman starts off playing scenes one way and then quickly pulls the rug out from under everything; he plays this trick twice, and brings it off both times. This has some really great scenes, including bits by actors who give great one-offs. Now that I know about this film I will be watching it repeatedly.

A Lesson in Love (1954) - 7/10. The teaming of Gunnar Bjornstrand and Eva Dahlbeck is a marriage made in comedy heaven. I loved their by-play in Smiles of a Summer Night, but I hadn't realized Bergman had used them together in other things until I started going through all the films. They are wonderful in the elevator sequence in Waiting Women, and they are great here as the long-married couple on the verge of a break-up. This is a funny movie that perhaps doesn't end as quickly as it should.



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« #18422 : July 08, 2019, 10:08:11 AM »

Miracle Mile (1988) - A tonal mess and flawed with some rough writing and acting at times, but it's also a visually interesting movie that builds suspenseful momentum and features a Tangerine Dream soundtrack - the best kind. It starts off as an amateurish sort of romance tale and then turns into an 80s horror comedy type campy flick - then the switch gets flipped again into something much darker.

The good (Tangerine Dream + beautiful night time photography) outweighs the aforementioned bad. Admittedly, it may be more interesting than flat out good but I'm a sucker for this type of movie. It would have been a hell of a lot better had the tone remained consistent whether it was something like Night of the Comet or Fail Safe (this movie's tone goes from the former to the latter), but there's more than enough good to own this on bluray and revisit it every now and again.

Also, it's a great time capsule for late 80s LA. There should really be a rebuttal to Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003) that features a lot of the genre films that the pompous asshole Thom Andersen ignored - never trust any 'Tom' that spells their name "Thom".

8/10

« : July 08, 2019, 01:12:15 PM T.H. »


Claudia, we need you to appear in LOST COMMAND. It's gonna revolutionize the war genre..
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« #18423 : July 08, 2019, 01:14:15 PM »

Miracle Mile (1988) - A tonal mess and flawed with some rough writing and acting at times, but it's also a visually interesting movie that builds suspenseful momentum and features a Tangerine Dream soundtrack - the best kind. It starts off as an amateurish sort of romance tale and then turns into an 80s horror comedy type campy flick - then the switch gets flipped again into something much darker.

The good (Tangerine Dream + beautiful night time photography) outweighs the aforementioned bad. Admittedly, it may be more interesting than flat out good but I'm a sucker for this type of movie. It would have been a hell of a lot better had the tone remained consistent whether it was something like Night of the Comet or Fail Safe (this movie's tone goes from the former to the latter), but there's more than enough good to own this on bluray and revisit it every now and again.

Also, it's a great time capsule for late 80s LA. There should really be a rebuttal to Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003) that features a lot of the genre films that the pompous asshole Thom Andersen ignored - never trust any 'Tom' that spells their name "Thom".

8/10
Love this one, I wouldn’t call it a tonal mess though. The tone shifts a lot for sure but I believe it was fully intentional, and works in a really unique way. Reminds me a lot of Something Wild in that sense.

Might have to watch again soon, I bought the blu a while back

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« #18424 : July 08, 2019, 01:46:09 PM »

Love this one, I wouldn’t call it a tonal mess though. The tone shifts a lot for sure but I believe it was fully intentional, and works in a really unique way. Reminds me a lot of Something Wild in that sense.

Might have to watch again soon, I bought the blu a while back
I can't say if it was intentional on the writer/director's part, but Something Wild definitely handles its change of tone with much more grace. The seeds are planted once Liotta's character shows up on screen - it's more apparent on repeated views. In this movie, you have a group of comedy sideshow characters that are right out of 80s dark comedy horror movies, which I'm a fan of, but it doesn't really work here. There's no real payoff going from an over the top dark comedy to something more subdued and doomed. It's sort of a cheap way to swerve the audience.

With that said, I do enjoy this movie and it will be something I revisit.

« : July 08, 2019, 01:49:04 PM T.H. »


Claudia, we need you to appear in LOST COMMAND. It's gonna revolutionize the war genre..
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« #18425 : July 09, 2019, 08:54:43 AM »

After the Rehearsal (1984) – 7/10. Something like a one-act play for TV, with a very soft image. Erland Josephson plays a theater director very like Ingmar Bergman, and one day after a rehearsal of Strindberg’s Dream Play, Anna (Lena Olin), an actress, stays behind to talk to her director. Although this is the first time they’ve worked together, director and actress share a connection: Anna’s mother, now dead, was for many years the director’s leading lady and lover. There is a kind of theatrical flashback and suddenly Anna’s mother is on stage conversing with the director. We get the usual recriminations and what not, but there is also a harrowing meta-theatrical aspect to the exchange. The woman is played by Ingrid Thulin, and if the credits had not indentified her, I would not have recognized her. She looks absolutely terrible, not at all the way I remember her from her 60s films. Anna’s mom died of alcohol poisoning; looking at Ingrid Thulin’s puffy face, one wonders if she too had had trouble with booze. What happened to her, anyway? The character starts asking the director if it’s too late for her to make a comeback or if she has damaged her “instrument” (i.e. her body) too greatly to be any good. It’s a really creepy moment where I couldn’t help wondering if Anna’s mom is speaking or Ingrid herself. The flashback finishes and Erland goes back to talking to Lena Olin. Then comes the highlight of the piece: the director narrates the arc of their future professional/personal association, start to finish; at one point Erland and Lena actually act out a scene from their future together; then Erland goes back to narrating, with the occasional assist from Lena. The whole thing ends with Erland’s voice-over. It’s theater. It’s cinema.

Shame
(1968) This is so bad I couldn’t finish it. Bergman tries to do a war film and it isn’t the least bit convincing. Planes fly overhead, bombs drop, we see explosions—but never any bomb craters. And why the island of Faro could be strategically significant to anyone is never explained. There is vagueness in everything (who is fighting whom, for example; what are the issues, etc.) Obviously Bergman wants to comment on the effects of war on a civilian couple (Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann), but since he can’t be bothered to depict a single true thing about combat the whole project comes off as a bad faith effort. The title is the only correct thing about the film, but an even more apt one might have been: Embarassment.



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« #18426 : July 09, 2019, 08:58:02 AM »

En passion/The Passion of Anna (1969)
[Max von Sydow—again? And Liv Ullmann as the title character of course, and then Erland and Bibi as the other couple, Elis and Eva. All the usual suspects, right? Together again for the first time. And they’re still on that same damned island!]

We begin with Andreas Winkelman, the Max von Sydow character, mending the roof of his house while a narrator talks about him. We see shots of his POV. Farmland and Eastmancolor have never looked better. Andreas climbs down to use the john or something and a bucket he’s left on the roof comes crashing down after him. The mortar or inside falls out. Andreas rights the bucket and leaves it and again it falls over. Symbolism or presentiment? Or just a trivial, meaningless detail? [We may never know]. Andreas gets on his bike to go to the post office. On the way he meets Johan, pulling his cart. They chat briefly.

Next day. Liv Ullmann arrives, limping and using a crutch. She introduces herself—the two have never before met [now that’s acting!] She wants to use the phone. Andreas eavesdrops. She drives off. Andreas sits and smokes his pipe.

“Interlude. Von Sydow. Take four.” The clapperboard comes down and an interview with the actor begins. Max talks about the character he’s playing: “I think he’s very difficult in a way, because he has for so long tried to hide from his surroundings. His failed marriage and his legal troubles have forced him into a corner, where he’s simply trying to hide his identity. And he’s trying to destroy his means of expression. And his hiding place, perhaps without him being aware of it, has been transformed into his own prison. The difficulty for me as an actor is to try and express his lack of expression.” Bergman has gone all meta-cinematic on us! How postmodern. Each of the principal actors gets an interview over the course of the film. No EPK required, the film has it all built in.

Andreas finds that Anna has left her purse behind. He goes through it [what a guy!]. He finds a letter and reads it. It’s to Anna from her dead husband (also called Andreas) telling her he wants them to split up [I guess they did—just not in the way he imagined]. In close up we see select sentences from the letter, scanned as if they were being typed at that very moment. There is even a carriage return. Andreas puts the letter back and then takes the purse to the home of Elis and Eva Vergerus, where Anna lives.

Andreas, while hunting for pine cones, finds a puppy struggling in a noose; he frees it and takes it home. He feeds it. Fade to black. Out walking around, Andreas sees a parked car and, looking inside, notices Eva sleeping on the front seat. [Bibi Andersson looks really good here. Her hair is longer, she doesn’t have the crappy imitation Mia Farrow look she used in most late-60s Bergmans].  Fearing something wrong, Andreas wakes her. No, she explains, she has problems sleeping at night so she catnaps sometimes in the daytime. She goes on her way. This leads, we learn in voice-over, to a dinner invitation.

Cut to dinner at the Vergerus’ home, with Elis, Eva, Anna, Andreas. They enjoy each other’s company. Eva studies Andreas’s beard. She talks about a book she read as a child that showed God wearing a beard. Elis talks about a commission he has (he is an architect) that he doesn’t believe in. This triggers Anna—she thinks people should only do things they believe in. Then she gives a speech about truth and her marriage. Andreas is persuaded to spend the night. In the night he hears someone call his name. No, the reference is probably to Anna’s first husband. Someone is having a nightmare.

Next morning, Elis and Andreas are out walking. Elis asks Andreas if he heard anything the night before. Andreas is diplomatic, and Elis explains that Anna had been having a nightmare “about the accident.” They go inside a windmill Elis owns where he keeps statues, magazines, old photo albums and used books. He also has boxes of photographs stored there; he’s an amateur photographer. Elis asks Andreas if he can photograph him sometime and Andreas consents. Elis then shows a photo of Anna seven years before the accident and claims it was from a time when she was happy. Only Anna doesn’t look happy, she looks frantic. Andreas asks for photos of the husband and Elis supplies them [ . . . of another Bergman actor—what’s his name again?]. Elis offers Andreas a drink. Andreas, who it is now clear has a drinking problem, doesn’t wait for a toast and downs his whiskey quickly. He accepts a second glass. Elis admits that Eva was the first Andreas’s lover for a year. He also says that Eva and Anna are now “inseparable.”

Back home, Andreas puts away a lot of gin. He gets on his bike and goes for a ride. He sticks his head through a doorway of someplace we can’t identify. He says,“Can anything be heard?” He starts wandering around outside in the snow. He leans against a tree, then slides down into a sitting position and passes out. Johan with the cart comes by and tries to get him to wake up. Andreas is not easily roused, and when he comes to he wants to fight the man. Johan finally loads him into his cart and takes him home. Andreas collapses on the floor of his house and the puppy comes and licks his face.

We see Liv Ullmann as herself wearing a red hat. She describes Anna to an invisible interviewer.
(CONT.)



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« #18427 : July 09, 2019, 08:59:24 AM »

The story resumes: Andreas is outside burning wood and Eva comes by. She says that Elis is away and she’s bored. She asks Andreas to show her around his house. While they do the rounds he tells the story of how Anna lost her family. She asks Andreas about his wife and confirms that she has left him. Later, under a red filter, they put on some music and Eva dances as she drinks. She talks about her relationship with her husband while rubbing up against Andreas. [Yo, bitch, did you come here to fuck or to yammer?] The wine makes her sleepy so Andreas offers her his bed to nap in.  Andreas plays the good host with pillows and blankets. He gives her the puppy to snuggle with.

It’s dark. Andreas lights his pipe in silhouette. He puts on his glasses, then moves to the lamp on a table and pours himself a drink. Eva wakes up and realizes she’s slept a long time and asks to borrow the phone: she wants to call her husband. Andreas asks if Eva needs privacy and she says no. She gives Elis a report on her doings including meeting Andreas but insists she is now alone. After the call she explains that Elis would get jealous if he knew she was with Andreas. Eva goes to a mirror and fixes her hair by candlelight. She blows out the candle then crosses to Andreas and kisses him, the pair both silhouetted. Eva talks about feeling meaningless [I would have kicked this whiny broad out hours ago]. The couple kiss again and then slip out of frame. The phone rings. It’s Elis. He can’t reach his wife by phone and he wants Andreas to walk over to the house and check on her. Elis expects Andreas to call back and report. Elis hangs up. We see Eva in close up, obviously in a clinch with Andreas. She talks about her pregnancy and how she lost her baby. She and Elis cried together at that time, she says. She has not been pregnant since. She falls silent and the camera lingers on her face.

Morning. Eva tells Andreas she has to go. It is unclear if this is the morning after or at some later point after a period of unspecified time. She has to hurry, she says, so she won’t miss the ferry. Apparently she is off to join her husband. Andreas gives her the puppy as a gift. Eva kisses Andreas goodbye, gets in her car, then steps back out of the car twice to kiss him goodbye again. Andreas walks around his empty house, the very picture of loneliness. He lies down on the bed. Fade to black.

We see a dead black sheep on the ground with blood around it. We then see the carcass from different angles, possibly to suggest that there is more than one, until finally we see another image of two dead sheep together. We are told that there is a madman on the island killing animals. One farmer, Olsson, had 8 of his sheep killed and mutilated. Andreas is on the scene with the police inspecting the damage. A long tracking shot shows the police at work, taking photographs and speaking to the farmer. The police give permission to bury the animals and leave. Andreas helps Olsson throw the carcasses into a pit. Those sheep don’t look like they’re acting, either. [I can respect a film that requires the shedding of blood for its making.]

Elis is photographing Andreas while Elis talks about the animal killings and about who the chief suspect is. Elis shows pictures of the suspect. It is Johan. Elis talks about loaning Andreas money and the process by which he will pay it back. Elis drinks and smokes. “It’s all nonsense. Plays, poems.” [Unsympathetic Character alert! Unsympathetic Character alert!] Eva comes in with the mail. Elis leaves and asks Eva to keep Andreas company. Alone, Eva tells Andreas she knows about his new relationship with Anna and how it doesn’t bother her. She caresses his face and then warns Andreas about Anna’s fragility. Elis returns, Eva leaves, Elis asks Andreas about his prison term. Andreas explains that he was convicted of forgery. Elis wonders if he can trust him. Andreas says he’ll have to wait and see.

We see Anna and Andreas out in a boat doing some activity, perhaps dropping crab pots. The two have been living together for a few months, the narrator tells us. Then in a close up Anna monologues about her marriage to the first Andreas. She mentions the one time her husband was unfaithful to her and the one time he left her and how after each occasion he returned to her and their relationship became stronger. She recounts the details of the accident that killed her husband and her son. We again see the words of the letter from the first Andreas to Anna, with an emphasis on “Physical and psychological violence”. Fade to black.

Johan’s cart is stuck in the mud and Andreas and Anna come along and help him push it free. The couple go back to Johan’s place and he reads them a threatening note he’s received. Andreas says he’ll talk to the police about it but Johan says not to bother. Anna suggests he move away but he says he has nowhere to go. Anna and Andreas return home and watch footage of an execution in Vietnam. They hear a noise outside and Andreas guesses a bird has hit the house. They go outside with a flashlight and find that Andreas was right. [Shades of Hitchcock!] They bury the dead bird and then wash their hands. They play chess. Anna interrogates Andreas about the relationship he had with Eva during the period Elis was away. Andreas denies that there was any relationship.

Bibi Andersson is being interviewed about her character: “Eva is a woman who can no longer cope.”



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« #18428 : July 09, 2019, 09:00:40 AM »

 We return to the principal couple and Andreas tells Anna “I only exist here as a formality.” Anna laughs and kisses him. The lamp in their room goes out and they snog in the gloom. Anna relates a dream, shown in black and white. She is wandering around the island by herself. She encounters people and situations like those in the movie Shame (outtakes, perhaps?). Indeed, because of Bergman’s use of meta-cinematic strategies we realize that the whole Shame movie could be Anna’s dream. [More proto-Lynchean tomfoolery!] Anna, still in her dream, finds an old woman in distress. Anna kneels in front of the woman and asks her forgiveness. The woman beats her. Anna runs away and the dream fades to black.

The police come to the house. They have a letter from the dead Johan addressed to Andreas. They want Andreas to open and read it and then give it to them as it might be necessary for their investigation. Andreas opens the letter and reads it aloud. The letter describes in detail what has occurred to cause the man to commit suicide: he was severely beaten and humiliated by a gang of men who blamed him for the animal killings. Andreas is greatly affected as he reads the letter. He gives the letter to the police and asks them to return it when they are through with their investigation. He sees the men out then goes back inside. He can’t find Anna. He finally finds her in the pottery barn. He asks her what she is doing. She says she’s praying for Johan. He looks at her. She tells him to leave. Andreas accuses Anna of indulging in theatrics. He goes to Johan’s house where the man’s body is lying. Two female relatives are on hand and are divvying up the dead man’s possessions. Andreas contemplates the dead man who has a handkerchief covering his face. He touches his hand and leaves.
 
Andreas and Anna, we are told, have lived together now for a year. Anna has a job translating, Andreas works for Elis. Both work from home. Suddenly we see an actress we’ve never seen before: there is a sex scene, and then the woman dons an air hostess uniform. We understand that this is the visual equivalent of what Anna is translating as we return to Anna at her typewriter. Anna stops to ask Andreas what he’s doing in the other room. Andreas answers that he’s looking at a photo. Andreas asks Anna what she is thinking of. Anna says she is thinking of nothing. She goes to the fridge and gets a large bowl of milk. She carries it half way across the kitchen and drops it, either intentionally or by accident, we can’t say which. The bowl shatters. Andreas rushes to her and they embrace.

 In close-ups and high contrast lighting, the pair talk about travel and its impossibility. They seem to be conversing, but there is never a two-shot, only close ups.  Andreas speaks of the difficulty of making a connection at this point in his life. Anna says she understands what he means. Andreas speaks of humiliation. While he speaks we see an insert of the scapegoat character, Johan. Andreas speaks again and then we cut to an interview with Erland Josephson.

Elis’s character is explained by the actor.

We see Anna and Andreas sharing a meal in their home. Anna reads while she eats. They ask each other about their plans for the day. Andreas goes outside and starts chopping logs. Anna comes out wearing a red scarf on her head. She tells Andreas that their relationship is over. Andreas goes on chopping. She demands a response. Andreas says he won’t say anything until he hears her reasons. Anna says that everything he claims about himself—his marriage, his divorce—are lies. She begins to rant [Psycho bitch alert! Psycho bitch alert!]. Andreas listens for a while then gets angry, hits Anna several times and knocks her down. The attack seems violent but it doesn’t raise a single bruise. The characters leave frame. The red scarf is left behind in the snow, maybe a symbol, maybe not [We may never know!]. They go back inside and Anna gets into bed. Andreas broods. He hears the sounds of fire engines rushing past his place. He calls to Anna but she does not respond. He leaves.

At the fire a man tells Andreas someone went into the stables with a can of gasoline. He locked the door and took the key. No one could get in to save the horse. We see the horse being hauled into a truck. [That horse is either very dead or very drunk.] Anna appears: she has driven over to pick Andreas up. On the way back Andreas talks but Anna says nothing. He says he would like his solitude back and that they must break up. Anna still says nothing. He says he read the letter her husband wrote her before he died. She is driving very fast. We remember that she was driving the day the first Andreas was killed. Andreas #2 remembers this as well. [We also remember Hitchcock’s Suspicion—how could we not?]

Andreas tries to grab the wheel. They fight over it and the car runs off the road but no one is hurt.  Andreas asks Anna why she came to pick him up. She says, “I came to ask for forgiveness.” Andreas steps out of the car. Anna reverses the car and gets it back on the road. Then she drives of. In long shot we see Andreas pacing up and down the road. Gradually the image is enlarged: Andreas and his surroundings begin to lose definition and the image comes to resemble something abstract. The voice-over says, “This time he was called Andreas Winkelman.” Fade to black. “The End.”

N.B. The preceding synopsis contains spoilers.



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« #18429 : July 14, 2019, 06:31:48 AM »

Yesterday we saw "Yesterday" about an occurrence after which the Beatles never existed, but a British 2-bit musician remembers them and their songs.  VERY good.

Kate McKinnon is terrific as the music agent.

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« #18430 : July 16, 2019, 06:51:20 AM »

Rip Torn passed away recently, so I thought I'd revisit one of his best starring roles:

Tropic of Cancer (1970) - Down and out and getting laid in Paris. Joseph Strick, having adapted Joyce's Ulysses, decided (I guess) to take on yet another literary challenge. It was a deft stroke to get Rip Torn for the part of Henry Miller. Torn usually does a lot of his acting with his eyes, but here a considerable amount of the performance has to be credited to his teeth. Was that makeup, or were his choppers really that ugly? There's a lot of female nudity in this film. An uncredited Ellen Burstyn shows up at the beginning and goes full frontal. It's not a bad as you might think--in fact, Ellen in 1969/1970 looked pretty good without clothes. She only turned dumpy later.



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« #18431 : July 17, 2019, 04:24:21 AM »

The Blue Lamp (1950) Directed by Basil Deardon with Jack Warner, Jimmy Hanley, Dirk Bogarde, Robert Flemyng, Bernard Lee, and Peggy Evans. A good British police procedural about a rookie bobbie (Jimmy Hanley) and his veteran partner (Jack Warner) on their daily beats.

Two hoods Tom (Dirk Bogarde) and Spud (Patric Doonan) commit a series of robberies with Tom's girlfriend Diana (Peggy Evans) a runaway teen acting as the insider. When Warner is shot during one of the robberies, the entire city's police force is after them. The film features an abondanza of gritty London locations. The restored Bluray is very nice with a few interesting London then and now features. 7/10 Source StudioCanal Bluray

Gunn (1967) Directed by Blake Edwards, starring Craig Stevens reprising his roll as Peter Gunn from the Peter Gunn
(1958-1961) TV series. It's a decent effort. Stevens and the classic theme by Mancini are the only returnees from the series but the film is quite noir-ish and (then) up to date "hip." Ed Asner takes over the Herschel Bernardi role in the role of the police detective. The action all looks moved to Southern California or Florida (glimpses of palm trees in the darkness). Mother's is now a beach bar. You can see the influence of the demise of the M.P.P.C. and James Bond films in Stevens' interaction with Sherry Jackson as a sexy babe who turns up naked in Gunn's bed and quite a few bloody action sequences. Gunn's chanteuse gal pal Edie is played by Laura Devon. Carol Wayne makes a cameo. This could use a decent release. 7/10 Source online streamer.

« : July 17, 2019, 07:30:57 AM cigar joe »

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« #18432 : July 17, 2019, 06:53:39 AM »

Hollywood Man (1976) – 6/10. Here’s the IMDb thumbnail description. “Hollywood action film star Rafe Stoker [William Smith] has sunk $130,000 of his own money into his own production [of a biker flick], but can't find legitimate financing to complete the film. His mob-connected investor demands an exorbitant amount of collateral and a guarantee that Rafe hand over a commercially acceptable film in 4 weeks, then hires a gang of psycho bikers to sabotage the picture to ensure he collects Stoker's collateral [as well as the rights to the finished film].” Great premise, spottily executed (using TV production values). I had never heard of this film until I listened to the recent New Beverley podcast with QT, but it sounded like it was worth a try. I watched it on a DVD of what appears to be a port of a VHS tape. I only realized this morning that I could have seen it for free in slightly better quality on amazon prime. Anyway, I can understand why Tarantino likes it: it’s a movie about making a movie where the characters involved are totally committed. Includes a hilarious title song.

« : July 17, 2019, 06:55:31 AM dave jenkins »


Ya measly skunk! A-campin’ on my trail and lettin’ me do the work an’ then shootin’ me in the back. IN THE BACK!
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« #18433 : July 17, 2019, 08:01:46 PM »

Rush (1991) -- SPOILERS -- It's a lot like The Hot Spot (1990) in that it's a cowboy noir that is awkwardly paced but doesn't resemble the early 90s in any way - which is not a bad thing at all. This one is an undercover cops turned junkies love story set in the mid 70s Texas starring the great Jennifer Jason Leigh and the good Jason Patric.

This one is lean on plot and ranges from an incredibly effective character study to silly melodrama at times - Clapton's guitar driven score works very well in spots but makes some cliche junkie scenes look like late night cinemax doing after school specials. Still, it's an interesting movie and something that will probably grow on you, like the aforementioned Hot Spot.

What this movie deserves credit for is having cops that are competent but are ultimately unsuccessful. The main villain, played by Gregg Allman, is one of the smarter bad guys in movies. The cops never get to close to him, he never trusts the undercover cops, they never become friends and he suspects that there's something fishy about them. While this sounds pretty damn interesting on paper, at least to me, the movie doesn't execute this clever idea in a satisfying way and it becomes too much of a junkie lovers movie instead of an undercover cop movie with a very smart target.

Unfortunately, Rush can easily lose 25-30 mins and the ending is terribly executed. Still, the ride there is generally pretty good and this is pretty well made from a technical standpoint - it contains a nice long take in the opening scene and it doesn't resemble the early 90s in any way, making it more interesting and a little charming in hindsight. 7/10

« : July 18, 2019, 06:24:24 PM T.H. »


Claudia, we need you to appear in LOST COMMAND. It's gonna revolutionize the war genre..
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« #18434 : July 18, 2019, 06:37:11 PM »

Cohen and Tate (1988) - When a little boy witnesses a mob hit, he is kidnapped by two professional assassins who are not what they seem..

Written and directed by Eric Red, the writer of The Hitcher and Near Dark, two of my favorite 80s B movies. This one doesn't reach those heights but the plotting and atmosphere should be appreciated. This is a hostage movie made worse by the victim being a little kid. I'm not one for watching kids in peril movies - Shane Black, if you're reading this, please make a gritty crime movie without an annoying kid - but this movie doesn't exploit the kid in danger cheap gimmick too badly, though the kid is way too smart. But that's forgiven because the movie is well plotted in spite of potential logic issues.

The dark night atmosphere, Roy Scheider and the plotting make this a medium priority watch for any 80s genre/B movie fans. 7.5/10



Claudia, we need you to appear in LOST COMMAND. It's gonna revolutionize the war genre..
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