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Topics - T.H.

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Shadow of a Doubt (1943) Humphrey Bogart: Maybe my go-to example of how much casting can hurt or elevate a movie. I don't care for this movie too much due to Cotten, who wasn't much of an actor and who thinks being charismatic means to have a dumb smirk on your face. I almost always find Cotten terrible, but he sort of can function in an ensemble cast at times. But here, he's exposed. Bogie would have been perfect and would give the movie rewatchability.

Shane (1953) Robert Mitchum: Shane is one of my favorite 10-15 movies but what Ladd has to try really hard to do, Mitchum does effortlessly. Re-cast the annoying kid too.

The Wild Bunch (1969) Robert Mitchum: Holden's performance is more than fine, but having Mitchum alongside Ryan would have meant much more since they were such staples in crime and western movies 10-20 years prior.

Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973) Jeff Bridges: Kristofferson was too old for the part and Bridges would have been perfect. He could have the right balance of romantic youthfulness + cold-bloodedness.

Bull Durham (1988) Kurt Russell & Charlie Sheen: Ron Shelton wrote the movie for Kurt Russell but apparently backed down to the suits that wanted Costner, which was a huge mistake. Costner is perfect for the role he played in the mediocre and flawed
For Love Of The Game (1999) as a first ballot HOF pitcher. But for the role of a failed minor leaguer, Russell played in the minors and Sheen threw 85 mph. Both naturally inherit the traits of the characters whereas Tim Robbins throws like a girl and Costner looks too much like a HOF player and not a guy that never made it.

Zodiac (2007) Liev Schreiber (Ruffalo), Philip Seymour Hoffman (RDJ), Sam Rockwell (Gyllenhaal): Schreiber and Rockwell would have had to gain weight and PSH would have had to drop 20-30, and that cast would have been infinitely better. I usually like RDJ and Gyllenhaal but there was clearly a disconnect between Fincher and the main cast in this movie. The three leads come off as playing dress-up (or in Gylenhaal's case, not even bothering to have a 70s haircut) and it's the big flaw in the movie, but it's still the best movie of the 21st Century. James Ellroy said it way better than I ever could.

Other Films / Showdown at Boot Hill (1958)
« on: May 16, 2020, 01:01:18 PM »
A bounty hunter kills a wanted criminal but can't collect the reward because townspeople refuse to identify the victim.

Probably best known as Bronson's first starring role, but this is pretty entertaining and shot in scope with good B&W visuals. It can veer too much into melodrama and romance for most people's tastes, but this one is a lean, mean B movie that looks like an A picture. For what it's worth, Joe Dante is a big fan of this movie and I can see why. A generous B-

Off-Topic Discussion / Prime Cut (1972)
« on: May 07, 2019, 03:59:23 PM »
A vicious Kansas City slaughterhouse owner and his hick family are having a bloody "beef" with the Chicago crime syndicate over profits from their joint illegal operations. Top enforcer Nick Devlin is sent to straighten things out.

If The Outfit (1973) is a full step below Eddie Coyle, Dirty Harry and Charley Varrick, then Prime Cut is a full step below The Outfit in terms of 70s crime movies. To its credit, it's a notch above stuff like The Nickel Ride (1974).

The photography can be very good in spots but director Michael Ritchie's docudrama style can be ineffective at times - it definitely works better in something like The Candidate (1972) than a crime movie. Friedkin masters that style in The French Connection where it calls less attention to itself.

For a Hackman and Marvin starring vehicle, you're left wanting a little more (especially concerning Hackman's character) but it's a worthy movie with a very entertaining chase scene involving a harvester. The rest of the action can be a little incoherent and messy at times, I'm sure Paul Greengrass was influenced by Ritchie's style.

7.5/10. 7 feels too low, 8 feels a little high. The first act is pretty damn good but the final hour is a little spotty.

Kino released this on bluray a few years back, it could be something I'd buy on sale and revisit at a later time. I recently watched this on youtube with burned in Portuguese subs, I'm assuming the Kino release would make for a better viewing experience.

Other Films / The Night of the Grizzly (1966)
« on: July 03, 2018, 09:51:36 AM »
This is an odd movie in many ways. It was dated the day it was released, it was a 50's movie released in 1966. It's a family movie of sorts but also has some solid action involving a great working bear that would have had to frighten kids 50 years ago. And strangest of all, this movie is the rare film that gets better in each act. The first 20 mins or so is pretty rough, but the movie really picks up and keeps building momentum.

I might be alone in my admiration for this movie, it's very hokey, it's something of a family movie with some odd attempts at comedy like turning a character's face green when she unknowingly drinks whiskey to name one.

With that said, it has some soul and some really good landscapes. And you get a kind Jack Elam - maybe that's not something that was ever in demand though.


Other Films / Bandido! (1956)
« on: February 06, 2018, 09:25:39 PM »
An American arms dealer, Wilson (Robert Mitchum), journeys south of the border during the Mexican Revolution and immediately sparks trouble when he provokes federal troops. His actions impress the revolutionaries, whom he joins forces with, and Wilson convinces his new allies to go after a rival arms dealer named Kennedy (Zachary Scott). When Wilson falls for Kennedy's wife, Lisa (Ursula Thiess), and the revolutionaries eventually turn on him, the gunrunner finds himself in the line of fire.

I first saw this year's ago and thought it was passable, but it stuck around in my head, which most mediocre movies don't do. On an additional view, this is really an interesting and entertaining movie. It feels more modern than a lot of westerns of its time, or more 60's than 50's. It was beautifully directed by Richard Fleischer, who is one of my favorite directors when it comes to efficient long takes. He was among the very best, and his style was never showy while being impressive at the same time.

The locations in this movie are phenomenal, and while you can nitpick (or have legitimate gripes with) the plot at a few points, this is something I'd like to own on bluray and something I'll revisit.

This would make for a good double bill with Run for the Sun of the same year. That's another really fun adventure with fantastic locations.

Off-Topic Discussion / Violent Saturday (1955)
« on: January 03, 2018, 04:52:42 PM »
Watching this on bluray was like seeing a completely different movie. This is one of the better directed movies I've ever seen in scope, there are so many efficiently beautiful longtakes that had to influence Spielberg. As for the TT bluray, it's a gorgeous transfer. It at least deserves an honorable mention on any best looking HD transfers from the classic era list. The lighting, direction, editing in this movie is phenomenal as well.  

The third act might not quite deliver like the way you want it to, but the set up to the heist was executed so well that it doesn't matter all that much. The minutes fly by here. I really can't say enough good things about this movie. This would make a great double bill with Bad Day at Black Rock with a "Not quite noir/not quite western movies from 1955" theme.

I highly recommend the TT bluray. It has been on sale for as little as 9.99 a few months back.

A- or 9/10

Here's DJ's much more coherent review:

Violent Saturday (1955) 9/10. Stephen McNally arrives by bus in “Bradenville” (played by Bisbee, AZ). Unwisely crossing the street in front of the parked bus, he’s almost hit by a sleek sports car driven by the town’s leading adulteress, Mrs. Boyd Fairchild (Margaret Hayes). Rearranging the golf bag in the front seat before putting her car back in gear, Mrs. Fairchild shoots McNally a murderous look –the irony!—and drives on. Their paths won’t cross again until Saturday, Violent Saturday. McNally finally makes it to the other side of the street, and there stands the bank he’s come to rob. But it isn’t yet Saturday (a Saturday which will be violent!), so he turns and walks past. As he goes, the bank manager (Tommy Noonan) raises the blinds of a picture window and looks out—he too has a date with Violent Saturday. McNally arrives at his hotel, and, checking in, spies Linda (Virginia Leith), the object to every man’s desire. A nurse at the local hospital, she forms a skein in Fate’s Tapestry as well (Fate’s Violent Tapestry!). Meanwhile McNally’s two henchmen, J. Carrol Naish and Lee Marvin (with a sinus condition), are on a train, Bradenville bound. Naish notices some Amish children in their car and gives them candy. We will learn that Naish often gives children candy. Marvin, by contrast, won’t pass up an opportunity later to step on a child’s fingers. Back in Bradenville, McNally is studying the lay of the land, on the relief map in the town library. Miss Braden (Sylvia Sydney), the librarian and, presumably, a descendant of the city’s founder, has fallen on hard times and is tempted to steal from a patron. McNally observes her with cynical relish, then steps outside to witness a fight between schoolboys. The father of one of the boys arrives—it’s Victor Mature!—and questions his son, then has to get back to work. He’s a vice-president at Fairchild Copper, Bradenville’s only industry. The other vice-president is Boyd Fairchild (Richard Egan), drunk in his office and sick about his wandering wife. He has his secretary put in a call for her at the country club—and CUT, there she is, golfing with her current squeeze, Brad Dexter. And so it goes, Rififi meeting La Ronde. When Naish and Marvin hit town, their paths too begin interweaving with those of the townsfolk. A final thread is supplied by an Amish farmer played by Ernest Borgnine in a funny beard (“I thank thee, neighbor.”). Borgnine enters the picture carrying a pitchfork, and seasoned theatergoers know that Chekhov has a rule about that: if you show a character in Act One carrying a loaded pitchfork, that pitchfork must go off by Act Three. And Act Three here is Saturday, Violent Saturday, the place where all paths converge . . . . . violently.

At one point Lee Marvin comments that Virginia Leith’s Linda is built like a Swiss watch, but the same could be said of Richard Fleischer’s film and its precision-instrument plot. Never have scenes been more artfully joined; never have Cinemascope frames been better composed; never have movements within those frames been more persuasively motivated or performed with such economy.

Twilight Time brought the movie out on DVD a while ago, using elements they claimed weren’t good enough for an HD transfer. But Carlotta in France has since produced this stunning Blu-ray from other elements. The transfer is mind-bogglingly great, a 10/10 (It makes“Color by De Luxe” actually mean something). I doubt the film looked this good even when projected in 1955.

There are two supplements, one in French without subtitles, but one in English, an insightful appreciation of the movie by William Friedkin [one has to wonder if the film didn’t influence Mr. Friedkin’s own Sorcerer]. The disc is region-coded “B”.

Off-Topic Discussion / Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954)
« on: May 26, 2017, 10:54:33 AM »
This might be the most Don Siegel movie ever, and I obviously say that as a compliment. If you can ignore the message and just focus on the action, this one is a winner with its beautiful photography and great location (Folsom). The cast have the faces of criminals and a danger to them where it's believable that they would be locked up. While this movie's clear Kramer like intention is to draw attention to the issues plaguing the penal system (I guess the producer served time for shooting his unfaithful wife's lover), it has a rawness about it and most of the inmates are capable of committing violent acts.

A solid B.

As I'm sure everyone knows, Criterion released this a while back and I recommend it to anyone who hasn't got around to seeing this yet.

Off-Topic Discussion / 711 Ocean Drive (1950)
« on: May 16, 2017, 11:23:23 AM »
Directed by Joseph M. Newman and starring Edmond O'Brien and Joanne Dru.

It's about the rise and (possible) fall of O'Brien's character who starts off as a schlub working for a telephone company and then quickly rises in the gambling world using the tech knowledge he gained working for the phone company. The character's Mal Granger (A+ noir name) tech savviness gives the story some added flavor due to some of the tricks he pulls.

As for said story, the first half, while worthy, suffers a bit from wonky pacing because there is so much that happens and any character driven story that is remotely epic in scale was usually botched to some degree by old Hollywood, but this is one of the better ones.

The second half settles into more of a traditional noir kind of story but this a daytime noir, and it actually doesn't suffer any because of it. The Palm Springs, Los Angeles and Vegas locations were handled exceptionally well, though I would have liked to see a little more Vegas stuff - I wonder what was the first movie to film on location there.

The ending is set in the Hoover Dam and it delivers, the unique location one-ups most of the 'guy running in tunnels' third acts that weren't gorgeously filmed.


James Ellroy on 711 Ocean Drive:

...a really under appreciated film noir with Edmond O' Brien at his sweaty, desperate anxious-to-make-it best as a guy in the race wire service racket. These businessmen are impressed with his technical skills and persuade him to create a wire service that connects the racing results from all the tracks on the West Coast. It all goes to his head. It's a wonderful rise and fall story and it's only an hour and forty minutes long. Los Angeles locations, Palm Springs locations, Las Vegas locations, Edmond O'Brien...

Other Films / Western Heritage (1948)
« on: October 21, 2015, 01:10:15 PM »
A 60 min oater dealing with a land swindle plot that is more interesting than good. There are the typical trappings of this type of low grade B movie but there are some interesting GBU connections (or coincidences). There is a Mexican character named Chito Jose Gonzalez Bustamante Rafferty that is the comedic sidekick. This character has appeared in many B westerns, but more importantly there is a scene where a character gets shot and lands in a dug out grave and the movie also starts where the main character (Tim Holt) is given pertinent information from a dying character that is the inciting incident or gets things going, so to speak. I'm wondering if Leone, Vincenzoni, Donati, whoever, had this movie in mind when writing the screenplay.

While I can't necessarily recommend the movie, I think it may be worth a view just on the connections alone, especially with its short running time. If anyone else has seen this, I'd like to hear your thoughts.

Off-Topic Discussion / Post the movies you'd rate 10/10
« on: July 30, 2014, 03:10:33 PM »
...if it's not too big of a pain in the ass. I can't be the only curious person here.

I copied this list from rateyourmusic:

Stagecoach (1939)
Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Citizen Kane (1941)
Casablanca (1942)
Double Indemnity (1944)
Detour (1945)
Leave Her to Heaven (1945)
The Big Sleep (1946)
The Killers (1946)
Decoy (1946)
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
My Darling Clementine (1946)
Out of the Past (1947)
Red River (1948)
Yellow Sky (1948)
In a Lonely Place (1950)
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Ace in the Hole (1951)

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
On Dangerous Ground (1952)
The Lusty Men (1952)
The Naked Spur (1953)
Shane (1953)
The War of the Worlds (1953)
Touchez pas au grisbi [Hands Off the Loot] (1954)
Johnny Guitar (1954)
Rear Window (1954)
Crime Wave [The City Is Dark] (1954)
Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
The Man From Laramie (1955)
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

All That Heaven Allows (1955)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
The Searchers (1956)
Forbidden Planet (1956)
Jubal (1956)
The Killing (1956)
Bigger Than Life (1956)
Seven Men From Now (1956)
Bob le flambeur [Bob the Gambler] (1956)
Written on the Wind (1956)
Nightfall (1957)
The Tall T (1957)
Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
Run of the Arrow (1957)
3:10 to Yuma (1957)
Forty Guns (1957)

Paths of Glory (1957)
Cowboy (1958)
Vertigo (1958)
巨人と玩具 [Giants and Toys] (1958)
Man of the West (1958)

Day of the Outlaw (1959)
Ride Lonesome (1959)
Rio Bravo (1959)
North by Northwest (1959)
The Magnificent Seven (1960)
La ragazza con la valigia [Girl With a Suitcase] (1961)
Ercole al centro della Terra [Hercules at the Center of the Earth] (1961)
Il Gattopardo [The Leopard] (1963)
野獣の青春 [Youth of the Beast] (1963)
Jason and the Argonauts (1963)
乾いた花 [Pale Flower] (1964)
Per qualche dollaro in più [For a Few Dollars More] (1965)
東京流れ者 [Tokyo Drifter] (1966)
他人の顔 [The Face of Another] (1966)
Seconds (1966)
Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo. [The Good, the Bad and the Ugly] (1966)
殺しの烙印 [Branded to Kill] (1967)
獨臂刀 [The One-Armed Swordsman] (1967)
Point Blank (1967)
Le samouraï [The Godson] (1967)
Faccia a faccia [Face to Face] (1967)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Il grande silenzio [The Great Silence] (1968)
C'era una volta il West [Once Upon a Time in the West] (1968)
盲獣 [Blind Beast] (1969)
The Wild Bunch (1969)
The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)
Le cercle rouge [The Red Circle] (1970)
博徒外人部隊 [Sympathy for the Underdog] (1971)
The French Connection (1971)
Giù la testa [Duck, You Sucker] (1971)
Dirty Harry (1971)
The Godfather (1972)
The Long Goodbye (1973)
The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)
American Graffiti (1973)
Charley Varrick (1973)
Mean Streets (1973)
修羅雪姫 [Lady Snowblood] (1973)
The Conversation (1974)
0課の女 赤い手錠 [Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs] (1974)
Chinatown (1974)
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)

The Godfather: Part II (1974)
Profondo rosso [Deep Red] (1975)
Jaws (1975)
Farewell, My Lovely (1975)
Taxi Driver (1976)
やくざの墓場 くちなしの花 [Yakuza Graveyard] (1976)
Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

Suspiria (1977)
Star Wars (1977)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
The Driver (1978)
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
The Silent Partner (1978)
The Warriors (1979)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Alien (1979)
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Raging Bull (1980)
Thief (1981)
Escape From New York (1981)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Blow Out (1981)
Blade Runner (1982)
The Thing (1982)
48 Hrs. (1982)
Videodrome (1983)
Rumble Fish (1983)
Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
Repo Man (1984)
Paris, Texas (1984)
Blood Simple (1984)
The Terminator (1984)
Back to the Future (1985)
Fright Night (1985)

To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Aliens (1986)
Blue Velvet (1986)
Night of the Creeps (1986)
Der Himmel über Berlin [Wings of Desire] (1987)

Predator (1987)
RoboCop (1987)
The Lost Boys (1987)
Near Dark (1987)
Die Hard (1988)
AKIRA (1988)
喋血雙雄 [The Killer] (1989)
Total Recall (1990)
GoodFellas (1990)
JFK (1991)
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
辣手神探 [Hard Boiled] (1992)

俠盜高飛 [Full Contact] (1992)
Dazed and Confused (1993)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Ed Wood (1994)
Se7en (1995)
Casino (1995)
Heat (1995)
Lost Highway (1997)
The Game (1997)
L.A. Confidential (1997)
Boogie Nights (1997)
Starship Troopers (1997)
Jackie Brown (1997)
Dark City (1998)

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

The Insider (1999)

Magnolia (1999)
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
Zodiac (2007)

Off-Topic Discussion / Criterion Sale going on at amazon
« on: June 06, 2013, 09:44:34 AM »

Just a heads up.

I picked up 3:10, Repo Man, Two Lane Blacktop and Badlands.

Off-Topic Discussion / 100 Favorite Westerns list
« on: August 01, 2011, 12:36:18 PM »

I made it a while back, might as well post it here.

I'd really appreciate recommendations, especially spags.

Off-Topic Discussion / That criterion sale started
« on: July 13, 2011, 06:55:44 PM »

The list of stuff I'll be getting, begrudgingly. Even with the sale, I'm spending 20 on each bluray. That still sort of sucks.

Paris, Texas
Pale Flower
Robinson Crusoe on Mars
Kiss Me Deadly
Days of Heaven
Bigger Than Life
Something Wild

Off-Topic Discussion / 80s Horror Thread
« on: May 08, 2011, 11:59:38 AM »
I'll just post mini reviews here since I seem to watch so many 80s horror movies nowadays.

Here are my favorites

The Thing
Night of the Creeps
Fright Night
Dressed to Kill (it counts right)
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Near Dark
The Lost Boys
The Hidden (more sci fi I guess)
The Return of the Living Dead
Night of the Comet
Day of the Dead
Friday the 13th Part 3
Evil Dead Trap
The New Kids
From Beyond
Friday the 13th Part 4
Dead and Buried

Is this okay titoli?

Off-Topic Discussion / Favorite westerns (and movies).
« on: March 12, 2011, 10:58:35 AM »
I'm just really curious to be honest. I've been posting here almost 5 years and I don't know what this board favorites are.

Could be a top 5, doesn't matter.

Favorite Westerns

25 Forty Guns
24 The Man From Laramie
23 Duck You Sucker
22 Ride Lonesome
21 Man of the West
20 Yellow Sky
19 Jubal
18 Buchanan Rides Alone
17 A Fistful of Dollars
16 Stagecoach
15 The Bravados
14 The Violent Men
13 McCabe and Mrs. Miller
12 The Tall T
11 Seven Men From Now
10 My Darling Clementine
09 Shane
08 Johnny Guitar
07 For a Few Dollars More
06 The Wild Bunch
05 The Searchers
04 Rio Bravo
03 The Ballad of Cable Hogue
02 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
01 Once Upon a Time in the West

Fav Movies

40 L.A. Confidential
39 North By Northwest
38 Night of the Creeps
37 Blow Out
36 Dark City (1998)
35 Vertigo
34 Double Indemnity
33 Youth of the Beast
32 Chungking Express
31 Pulp Fiction
30 Taxi Driver
29 The Face of Another
28 Rumble Fish
27 The Leopard
26 Blind Beast
25 The Thin Red Line
24 Out of the Past
23 Paris, Texas
22 The Lusty Men
21 Written on the Wind
20 Point Blank
19 The Best Years of Our Lives
18 Johnny Guitar
17 For a Few Dollars More
16 Branded to Kill
15 The Wild Bunch
14 The Long Goodbye
13 The Killer
12 The Searchers
11 Forbidden Planet
10 Rebel Without a Cause
09 Rio Bravo
08 Blade Runner
07 Back to the Future
06 The Ballad of Cable Hogue
05 Girl With a Suitcase
04 In a Lonely Place
03 Once Upon a Time in America
02 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
01 Once Upon a Time in the West

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