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Topics - dave jenkins

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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly / Fun with ChatGPT
« on: May 14, 2024, 06:06:06 AM »
Been messing around (along with everyone else) with ChatGPT, and I decided to see what I could do with Leone-like material. What follows is my prompt, and ChatGPT's almost instantaneous response.

Write a 1000 word treatment for a sequel to the film The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, a spaghetti western from 1966. It will be called GBU 2: Tuco's Revenge. After Blondie rides away from Sad Hill Cemetery with his half of the gold coins, Tuco vows revenge: he will hunt Blondie down, kill him, and take the gold. Tuco does not believe Blondie is entitled to his half of the gold; from Tuco's point of view, Blondie has stolen that gold from him. Meanwhile, Angel Eye's twin brother decides to get revenge on Blondie for the death of Angel Eyes. The race is on to see who will get to Blondie first, Tuco, or Angel Eye's twin.
Title: GBU 2: Tuco's Revenge

In the scorching deserts of the American Southwest, a tale of betrayal, revenge, and redemption unfolds as the infamous trio from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" returns in an epic sequel that will leave audiences on the edge of their seats.

Following the events at Sad Hill Cemetery, where Blondie rode off into the sunset with his share of the gold coins, Tuco, the volatile and cunning bandit, vows to track down his former partner and exact his revenge. In Tuco's eyes, Blondie has betrayed him by taking what he believes is rightfully his, and he will stop at nothing to settle the score.

But Tuco is not the only one with a score to settle. Angel Eyes' twin brother, a formidable gunslinger in his own right, has sworn vengeance upon Blondie for the death of his brother. With a steely determination and a thirst for blood, he sets out on a collision course with Blondie, eager to avenge his sibling's untimely demise.

As Tuco and Angel Eyes' twin race across the unforgiving landscape, their paths intertwine in a deadly game of cat and mouse. Along the way, they encounter a cast of colorful characters, from ruthless outlaws to weary travelers, each with their own agenda and their own secrets to keep.

Meanwhile, Blondie, ever the opportunist, finds himself embroiled in a series of perilous situations as he seeks to protect his newfound wealth and evade capture by his pursuers. With danger lurking around every corner, Blondie must rely on his quick wits and sharpshooting skills to outsmart his adversaries and stay one step ahead of the game.

As the tension mounts and the stakes grow higher, alliances will be tested, loyalties will be questioned, and bullets will fly in a final showdown that will determine the fate of our antiheroes once and for all.

In "GBU 2: Tuco's Revenge," director Sergio Leone delivers another masterful blend of action, drama, and suspense, capturing the gritty realism and moral ambiguity of the Wild West with his trademark style and flair. With stunning cinematography, pulse-pounding action sequences, and a gripping storyline that keeps audiences guessing until the very end, "GBU 2" is a worthy successor to the classic original and a thrilling ride from start to finish.

Get ready to saddle up and ride into the sunset once again as "GBU 2: Tuco's Revenge" takes you on an unforgettable journey through the untamed frontier, where justice is a bullet and redemption is a fleeting dream.

Hmm, not bad, although ChatGPT shouldn't have been so quick to assume Leone himself would be directing. I do like the line "where justice is a bullet and redemption is a fleeting dream." I wonder where it stole that from?

Off-Topic Discussion / The Long Strange Trips of Wojciech Jerzy Has
« on: March 20, 2024, 07:25:53 PM »
The Long Strange Trips of Wojciech Jerzy Has
Lincoln Center has a retro with all 14 features and all the shorts.

You could spend a fortune on tickets, or you could stay home and stream all the same transfers for free. In place of an opening night visit, watch this instead:

Friday, March 22
How to be Loved (1962) - 10/10. A Polish The Last Metro. Even if this film had not preceded Truffaut's by 18 years, this would still be the better of the two. It's so much weightier. With a fantastic performance by Barbara Krafftowna, playing opposite Zbigniew Cybulski. 102 minutes of solid meat.

I'm sure everyone on this board has seen this, but if you're looking for a re-watch:

Saturday, March 23
The Saragossa Manuscript (1964) - 11/10. The greatest Polish film ever made, starring Zbigniew Cybulski, available in 2 parts here: and here: 

They have a fantastic program for Sunday, March 24. Four films, all winners. (You're the big winner when you skip the cost of four admissions and watch the films at home.)

Farewells/ Pozegnania
(1958) - 8/10. In Poland, pre-WW2, a young aristocrat and a taxi dancer meet and fall in love. Except neither can express himself/herself to the other. They go their separate ways. After four years of war, they meet again. Their world has completely changed, but they haven't. They pick up exactly where they left off . . . unable to communicate. A film without sentimentality and one where nothing happens as you'd expect. Stars Tadeusz Janczar, the Polish Dirk Bogarde.

Lalka/ The Doll (1968) - 10/10. In 1870s Warsaw, a rich merchant courts the daughter of an aristocrat. He succeeds all too well. An excellent adaptation of the novel that, I understand, every Polish high school student is required to read. With careful attention to all the social proprieties, tons of plot, and a camera prone to wander. Has's first color feature.

Goodbye to the Past (1960) - 8/10.  An actress returns to her hometown for her grandfather's funeral, meets some people, has a one-night stand, then leaves for good. A little sentimental, but not too bad, and the female lead is a charmer. Zbigniew Cybulski has a hilarious cameo that only he could bring off. Directed with verve.

One Room Tenants / Roommates / Wspolny pokoj
(1959) - 9/10. "An adaptation of Zbigniew Unilkowski's 1932 novel describing members of the literary group Kwadryga" who room together in Warsaw's Old Town.  The progression from cynicism to nihilism is breathtaking.

By the time you've seen all these, you've seen the best, and there's no reason to go any further. Still, if you are a completist, you can visit and see the others.

Off-Topic Discussion / Maestro (2023)
« on: January 23, 2024, 05:16:34 PM »

Maestro (2023) - 9/10. A very, very well-made film, with state-of-the-art photography (in both b&w and color), inspired framings, great set designs and costumes, editing excellence, fantastic performances (Bradley Cooper's prosthetic nose should get an Oscar nom), and, of course, tons of wonderful music.

Unhappily, all this excellent craftsmanship seems to have been put in service for a not very interesting subject, the music teacher/conductor/composer Leonard Bernstein. Lenny was obviously talented. He had an impressive career (you could say "careers") with many projects performed concurrently. He was so busy, in fact, you have to wonder if he had any kind of an inner life at all. The film wants to suggest he did by concentrating on his relationship with his wife (played by Carey Mulligan).

The exploration of that relationship is both the movie's strength and weakness. Although Mrs. Bernstein seems to have had a humanizing effect on her husband, the marriage might just as well have been another of Bernstein's performances. He was a gay man who, the film shows, had male partners before, during, and after his marriage. The filmmakers want us to believe that the relationship with his wife was the one that really counted, but I was not persuaded. (Btw, why isn't the title of this film "The Maestro and the Mrs."? The focus is clearly on the couple, and when Mulligan leaves the story, the film is over.)

To my mind, It's another (though unintentional) Kane-type tale: a man who appears so impressive in public is in fact a nullity in his private life. But Bernstein did write a lot of music.  And the film introduces many of his compositions; Bernstein's legacy as an artist must, after all, count for something. Even here, though, the filmmakers undercut the case by mixing in performances of Mahler and Beethoven. Indeed, the highlight of the film is a 6-minute tracking shot of Cooper conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in a performance of a part of Mahler's Second. It's hard for any composer to compete with that.

Still, the walk out music is all Bernstein's, and it's worth staying for. The wife and I did, and enjoyed hearing what the Jacob Burn's sound system could do with it. I pity the shlubs streaming this from Netflix, listening to it on their crappy home audio or their lousy PC earbuds.



Off-Topic Discussion / Drink Got Hitched: 1/15/2024
« on: January 16, 2024, 09:11:51 AM »
I was there. I saw the whole thing. In IMAX.

I guess this means that Miss Baltimore is the last of the misses. At least, the last that we'll be hearing about.

The ceremony, conducted in another language I do not know, was mysterious. But something much stranger came afterwards: the dancing. It was all men dancing with men, even young boys. Sure, it looked like fun, but I had a lot of driving to do later, so I begged off. The music was catchy. There was even a bit of Metallica at the beginning.

One of the men at my table mentioned Fiddler On the Roof as an analog. I agreed, although what really came to mind was Kawalerowicz's Austeria (which that lazy Drink still has not seen). I didn't mention that title though, as my tablemates were not fully film literate.

There were three with me, colleagues of Drink's, representing various newsgathering establishments: The Huffington Post, Politico, Newsday. Politico and Newsday wanted only to know who was going to win this year's Best Picture Oscar, but Huffington Post (I'll call him "Huffy", although he was anything but) not only knew who Sergio Leone was, but could name all of the Dollars films--and even knew the group was referred to that way. He was a little shaky on the order in which they were produced, but he redeemed himself by bringing up Morricone without prompting. He even tried to teach his buddies the GBU theme. What a guy!

Anyway, I'm sure Drink and his bride are now on their way to Atlantic City. Or some other film.

Enjoy the snow, guys! Drink, it was great knowing you, have a wonderful life together.

(My male friends get married, and then I never see them again.)

I feel like the old guy at the end of Late Spring. I'll just sit here now, and peel an orange.

Off-Topic Discussion / Janusz Majewski (1931-2024)
« on: January 12, 2024, 12:54:12 PM »
He passed on Wednesday.

Here is a documentary about him:

Here are some of his feature films:

I've seen only one of these, The Criminal Who Stole a Crime, but thought it was pretty good.

N.B. The site is Polish and English friendly. It can be accessed by people living in the U.S. If it is blocked where you are, use your VPN to give you an IP on a US server. No reason why we can't all stream region-free these days.

Ennio Morricone / Retro @ MoMA
« on: December 04, 2023, 09:06:18 PM »

In collaboration with Cinecittà, MoMA celebrates Ennio Morricone (1928?2020), one of the greatest movie composers of all time, with a retrospective of more than 35 films spanning his nearly 60-year career. With more than 17 new digital restorations as well as 35mm archival prints, the exhibition presents a rich selection of films featuring Morricone?s most renowned scores (including Sergio Leone?s Man with No Name trilogy and Once Upon a Time in the West, John Carpenter?s The Thing, Roland Joffe?s The Mission, Bernard Bertolucci?s 1900 and Giuseppe Tornatore?s Cinema Paradiso) alongside more unsung titles (Sergio Corbucci?s Navajo Joe and The Great Silence, Sergio Solima?s The Big Countdown and Revolver, Mario Bava?s Danger:Diabolik, and Mikhail Kalatozov?s The Red Tent among them).

A rare German television program from 1967 features Morricone himself performing as part of Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza (?The Group?), the radically experimental collective of composer-musicians who banded together in Rome in 1964 in a utopian spirit of nonhierarchical improvisation. Morricone?s ingenious forging of classical instrumentation with new electronic technologies, musique concr?te and jazz, and seriality and noise carried over into his film scoring. His self-conscious use of mouth harps, pan pipes, bells, twanging guitars, cantering drums and?ever and always?the human voice and whistle revolutionized the music of popular genre moviemaking, from Westerns and horror to operatic comedy and melodrama, and continues to influence contemporary composers and musicians as far ranging as Hans Zimmer, Angelo Badalamenti, Radiohead, John Zorn, Mica Levi, Jay-Z, and Metallica.

I believe everything is on DCPs. The European Theatrical Cut of OUATIA will also be screened.

Off-Topic Discussion / Brannigan (1975)
« on: August 02, 2023, 04:56:51 AM »
John Wayne is
A film by Douglas Hickox

BFI Blu-ray release on 21 August 2023

Boasting incredible stunts, powerful punch-ups, dry dialogue and panoramic views of 1970s London shot by cinematographer Gerry Fisher (The Go-Between, Highlander), as well as a superb supporting cast including Judy Geeson and Mel Ferrer, Douglas Hickox?s 1975 feature BRANNIGAN still stands tall as an explosive, action-packed, highly entertaining and peculiarly British excursion for the legendary John Wayne.

Veteran Chicago detective Jim Brannigan (John Wayne, The Searchers) is dispatched to London to bring back notorious gangster Ben Larkin (John Vernon, Dirty Harry), and is assured that the whole operation will run smoothly. However, when things don?t go to plan, Brannigan finds himself in the crosshairs of Larkin?s thugs. Reluctantly teaming up with by-the-book Commander Swann of Scotland Yard (Richard Attenborough, The Great Escape), but determined to recapture Larkin no matter what, Brannigan tears through London, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake.

Special features
? Presented in High Definition
? Audio commentary by Steve Mitchell and critic Nathaniel Thompson (2017)
? A Duke Out of Water (2023, 37 mins): reminiscences from the people who made Brannigan
? Frank Henson on Brannigan (2021, 4 mins): the veteran stuntman looks back on doubling the Duke
? Take It to the Bridge (1905-1956, 23 mins): historical glimpses of the Thames, Tower Bridge and other Brannigan locations
? A Policeman?s Lot (1896-1973, 35 mins): a copper?s clutch of films concerning crimefighters and crooks, proceeding from the very earliest days of cinema towards the Brannigan era
? The Guardian Interview: Richard Attenborough (1983, 88 mins, audio only): the award-winning actor and director, and John Wayne?s Brannigan co-star, reflects upon his illustrious career
? An extensive selection of location photographs, featuring cast and crew
? Original trailer
? ***First pressing only*** illustrated booklet with a new essay by Johnny Mains, a John Wayne biography by John Oliver, notes on the special features and film credits

Product details
RRP: ?19.99 / Cat. no. BFIB1494 / 15
USA, UK / 1975 / colour / 111 minutes / English language with optional descriptive subtitles / original aspect ratio 2.35:1 // BD50: 1080p, 24fps, LPCM 2.0 mono audio (48kHz/24-bit)

Off-Topic Discussion / Drive-Away Dolls (2023)
« on: June 28, 2023, 06:37:31 PM »
Looks really, really, really unfunny:

This was originally titled "Drive-Away Dykes" but marketing dictated a name change. When a movie from a Coen has to pussy-out from the get-go, you know things are bad.

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