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Topics - moorman

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Off-Topic Discussion / Superfly (2018)
« on: September 11, 2018, 06:07:51 PM »
I'm a huge fan of the original Superfly that came out in 1972.  The original is about a New York city drug dealer named Youngblood who wants to make one last big score and get out of the game.  The original Superfly was played by Ron O'Neal.  The original is one of the VERY few blaxploitation films that is very critically acclaimed and has a cult following. A standout of the film is the soundtrack by Curtis Mayfield.  The remake follows the plot almost exactly but has some major plot differents.  The setting is moved to Atlanta to give it more of a modern Urban feel.  In this one, Youngblood is played by Trevor Jackson.

Any fans of Urban gangster films will see resemblences to the film " Belly"  (1998) and " Shaft" 2008 which was another remake of a original, starring Samuel Jackson as Shaft.  As far as the film itself, it was better than expected.  The cinematography was gorgeous (Amir Mokri) with a soundtrack by Josh Atchley, which also featured several hip hop songs by the artist " Future".  The plot was pretty good, THOUGH, contrived at times.  The plot built up several subplots to a very good tension, but one of the subplots I felt was rushed to a ending at the end of the film.  Overall, if you have nothing to do, its a kick back GOOD action gangster film that will surprise you.  The 1990s featured a slew of films in the Urban gangster arena, but the genre has kinda been slow during  the 2000s.  This was a welcome return to those types of films.  I rate it a solid 8 out of 10....


Off-Topic Discussion / Le Cercle Rouge (1970)
« on: September 03, 2018, 05:35:22 PM »
I searched high and low for a thread about this.  If one has already been created, my bad.  One more thing.  Why didn't yall tell me that Indio was in a film this good outside of the Leone trilogy? I'm pissed about that, lol...

Another masterpiece by Jean Pierre Melville.   Corey ( Alan Delon) is released from prison early for good behavior.  A corrupt prison guard who knows him tips him off to a big jewel heist he could pull.  Corey is released.  At the same time this is going on another prisoner  named Vogel ( Gian Maria Velonte) is being escorted to prison on a train by Inspector Mattei ( Andre' Bourvil) and escapes enroute.  Vogel, knowing the police will set up roadblocks, coincidentally hides in the trunk of Corey's car at a roadside grill.  Corey sees this happen and drives the car to a open field where he confronts Vogel.  The standoff is intense at first but they decide to work together.  I'm not going further into the plot for those who haven't seen this yet.  Let me tell you though its a masterpiece.  The heist itself is probably the best I've seen yet in film.  I have to think on it but its definitely up there.

One thing I'm noticing about the foreign films in all genres is they tend to be more grittier than their American counterparts.  I first noticed this in the spaghetti western genre when they are played straight.  Is this across the board in the foreign film noir, gangster genres?  I don't know yet.

Melville brought alone Henri Decae to again do cinematography.  The soundtrack is by Eric Demarsan. Again, Decae does fabulous work here.  The soundtrack is pretty good also.  I have a couple of quibbles with the film that holds me back from a perfect 10 to a 9.5  I might revise that on a second watch...  What the heck, this is a perfect film... another 10 out of 10...

Off-Topic Discussion / The Whisperers (1967)
« on: August 24, 2018, 11:27:07 PM »
This film has just enough noir in it to qualify for this subforum.  I ran across this British film on Youtube. ( I've been on a British film screening run).  Edith Evans plays Ms. Ross, a lonely, eccentric elderly lady who spins her time talking to the walls in her apartment.  Decades earlier she had been abandoned by her foul charactered husband.  Her equally foul son makes a appearance after a bank robbery and hides his loot in her apartment.

The film doesn't have a elaborate plot, it instead focuses on the social issues of elderly people like Ms. Ross who is left to tend for herself and the traumatic effect it has on her as she ages.  Its not a film for people who can't or will not take the time to see this side of society. 

Edith Evans was truly believable here. Its a performance that I've rarely seen in film.  From Wiki we find the following awards she won:

Edith Evans was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, and won the BAFTA Award, the Silver Bear for Best Actress award at the 17th Berlin International Film Festival, the National Board of Review award, the New York Film Critics Circle award, and the Golden Globe Award all for Best Actress.

This is a fantastic film. It was directed by Bryan Forbes and shot in Lancashire in northwest England.  The area was in heavy decline and fit the austurity of the times that were portrayed in the film.  Its a great watch and I rate this a 8 out of 10, a good bit higher than the IDMB ratings of 7.2.  Its a must watch...

Off-Topic Discussion / The League of Gentlemen (1960)
« on: August 04, 2018, 11:02:15 PM »
This is another British film that I've been wanting to see for some time.  What sped it up is finding out the director, Basil Dearden, is the same director for Pool of London.  The film stars Jack Hawkins as Lt. Colonel Norman Hyde.  Disgruntled at being forced to retire, he decides to get even by robbing a bank.  He recruits former army officers, each going through a personal problem and has the skills to pull off the bank robbery.  The plot focuses on two main objectives:  Robbing a military arms depot to secure weapons, and the bank heist itself.  The film is billed as a criminal comedy film but the emphasis is more on drama.  There are comedic elements here and there but not enough to take the focus off the serious tone of the film.

The musical score and cinematography is first rate also. Again, Dearden did extensive on location shooting in and around London. Not as good as his work in Pool of London, but nonetheless he gives you enough of the real London to keep you engaged.  This is a fabulous production and is one of the finest British noir, gangster films ever made.  It has a runtime of just under two hours but it doesn't feel like it once the picture takes off.  I rate this a solid 8 out of 10...

Off-Topic Discussion / 10 Rillington Place (1971)
« on: August 04, 2018, 01:37:12 PM »
This is a creepy movie.  It was recommended to me after I saw Richard Attenborough's performance in Brighton Rock.  As most of you know the movie is about a real life serial killer in England who murders several people.  I'm not gonna give much else because the plot is straight forward.  What threw me off in this movie is I expected it to be your typical serial killer movie in which you follow the killer and see him or her off several victims. Instead the focus was on one particular family in this movie.  Richard Attenborough as the killer was creepy as heck in this one.  Again, this is a creepy disturbing movie.  You want to take a bath after seeing this grime.  I almost don't wanna even rate this one.  I will go ahead and give it a 7.5 out of 10 based on Attenborough's performance.   The movie can be streamed on Amazon Prime...

Off-Topic Discussion / Brighton Rock (1948)
« on: August 03, 2018, 12:42:40 PM »
This film is fantastic. Almost a mastepiece.  I've been digging into the British Noirs and this is at the top of that genre.   The plot is simple.  A local gangster is knocked off shortly after a newspaper article is published exposing local gang activity.  Reporter Fred Hale ( Alan Wheatley) who wrote the story will appear in Brighton for one day to promote the story.  Gang leader Pinkie Brown ( Richard Attenborough) learns of this appearance and sets out to have him bumped off.  After chasing Hale with his gang members he catches him at a amusement park and offs him.   The problem is Hale had befriended a local aspiring singer at a pub named Ida Arnold ( Hermione Baddeley) who took a liking to him and tried to find him after he left the pub.   She sensed that something was wrong and got a strong suspicion that Pinkie had offed Hale.   The plot takes off from there. 

Most of the film was shot on location in Brighton and its just gorgeous.  The director filmed the iconic chase scene through Brighton with hidden cameras so that he could catch the local residents acting naturally.  It worked perfectly.  One of the gangs in the film ( Colleoni) was modeled after a real life gang called the Sabini.  One of those gang members became a technical advisor to the film and taught Attenborough how to be Pinkie.  The film was met with resistance in England because of the gang violence.  In the United States the film was embraced.  It was renamed Young Scarface for viewing in the States.

Pinkie has joined the top tier of my Noir villian list. The director put overt examples of narcissism into his character.  Attenborough did a fantastic job here.  I rate this a solid 9 out of 10...

Off-Topic Discussion / Hangover Square 1945
« on: August 01, 2018, 07:40:14 PM »
This is a pretty good noir.  George Bone ( Laird Cregar) plays a music composer who has bouts of amnesia.  During one of his bouts he kills a shopowner.  He stumbles back to his flat at 12 Hangover Square and confesses to his girlfriend that a whole day is missing from his memory.   He decides to go see a doctor at Scotland Yard named Alan Middleton ( George Sanders).  He tells Middleton that when he is overworked or stressed it triggers his amnesia.  Middleton advises him to go out among ordinary people and observe how they work and recreate.   George takes his advice and one day goes to a pub and meets Neta a aspiring singer.  She is very conniving and immediately recognizes that she can take advantage of George because he has connections in the music industry.  The plot gets deeper from there.   

I was somewhat distracted when I viewed this but saw enough to say that this is a darn good noir.  The cinematography is just fantastic here.  What really stood out to me is the musical score of this film.  Bernard Herrmann scored this and it is gorgeous.  I will rewatch this so that I can get a better take on the plot.  Its not a straight noir.  I can't really say how to classify this one just yet.   My initial ranking for this is 7.5 out of 10...

Off-Topic Discussion / Marilyn (1953)
« on: July 31, 2018, 05:47:25 PM »
This is a 1953 British film released in the United States as Roadhouse Girl.   Maxwell Reed ( Tom Price) is a drifter who is hired as a mechanic by Leslie Dwyer ( George Saunders).  Dwyer has a beautiful wife named Marilyn ( Sandra Dorne) who cannot stand him.  On cue she starts up a romance with Reed.  Dwyer finds out about the relationship and confronts Marilyn.  Reed accidently kills him defending himself and Marilyn convinces Reed to cover it up.  Things go downhill from there.  It has a mildly entertaining plot.  It was well shot and looks pretty good.  I rate this a 6 out of 10....

Off-Topic Discussion / Impact (1949)
« on: July 31, 2018, 03:54:20 PM »
This was a pretty good noir.  The plot has enough twists and turns to keep you engaged.  The basic premise is Walter Williams ( Brian Donlevy) is married to Irene ( Helen Walker).  Walter is a millionaire and Irene apparently married him just for the money.  She is has a boyfriend and they plot to kill Walter.  Irene and Walter have a vacation planned at Lake Tahoe and Irene fakes a illness and uses the vacation as a excuse for her husband to give her cousin a ride back home to Denver.  The cousin is really her boyfriend.  The plan is for him to off Walter enroute to Denver and make it look like a accident.   The plan goes wrong and the plot twists start coming.   Its a pretty good noir.  I rate it a 6.5 out of 10...

Off-Topic Discussion / Crime and Punishment (1935)
« on: July 16, 2018, 05:37:01 PM »
Roderick Raskolnikov, Peter Lorre, graduates from a Russian University with honors. He is a hailed as a authority on crime.  His mother and sister come to visit him for his graduation.  When he later learns they are coming to visit him at his apartment he attempts to hide his poverty by pawning a heirloom watch he received at his graduation.  At the pawn shop he meets a poor woman named Sonya (Marian Marsh) attempting to pawn her Bible.  The pawnbroker is a real you know what and agrees to give her 6 rubles for the Bible, then only gives her 1 citing that Sonya owes her for other pawn items.  The pawnbroker then pushes Sonya out of her shop after Sonya accepts the ruble.   Roderick is looking at this with distain for the pawnbroker. He pawns his watch and finds Sonya outside looking for her ruble that she dropped when pushed out of the shop.

From there, the plot takes a turn and keeps you engaged all the way through to the finale. I'm not gonna give anymore about the plot.  The director, Joseph Von Sternberg,  disliked the film and only did it for contractual reasons.  Peter Lorre wanted the film made and it is he who carries this film and makes it actually a pretty good film.   I rank it a solid 7.5 out of 10... Here is a excellent review for the film:

Off-Topic Discussion / The File on Thelma Jordan (1950)
« on: July 13, 2018, 02:40:52 PM »
Let me start off by saying that when Tony went upside Cleve's head and knocked him out, i cheered...this Cleve dude (Wendell Corey) was a sucker...😁 He got a wife and kids at home but think's he is out big balling with Thelma ( Barbara Stanwyck).  Through the WHOLE film, his wife Pamela ( Joan Tetzel) kept wanting him to call her so that they could talk and work on their marriage and he kept flipping her off with " later ".   I was glad Tony went upside that head...

My rant out of the way. This was a pretty good film even though you could smell Thelma coming a mile away. ( everybody but Cleve). In fact, the major suspense here was how far Cleve was gonna dive off into this one. He dove deep.  Unlike Witness for the Prosecution, you knew that Thelma and Tony was up to something. Cleve even knew about Tony and still fell in love with Thelma.  Its a credit to the director and the screenwriter that they made this predictable plot actually work.  Its a good film and worth a look. Barbara did good work here even though the plot wasn't much to work with.  If I had saw this back in 1950 I would give it a 8 out of 10. Adjusted for inflation, I give it a 7.5 out of 10...   Late edit. I didn't know that Robert Siodmark directed this. No wonder the direction was soo good.

Off-Topic Discussion / Gaslight (1940)
« on: July 13, 2018, 12:03:24 PM »
I've had this on my viewing list for a while now.  I'm sure most of you know the plot.   Paul Mallen ( Anton Walbrook) is married to Bella ( Diana Wynyard). They move into this huge mansion formerly occupied by Alice Barlow who is murdered. SPOILER ALERTS:  Detective Rough ( Frank Pettingell) who has been investigating that murder, suspects that Mr. Mallen is the unfound  murderer who has found a way to move back into the house.   The plot reveals that Mr. Mallen IS the original murderer.  In order to keep his wife from finding out about his plot to continue to search for some rubys he was seeking during the original murder, he tries to convince her that the noises he is making in the closed off upper portion of the mansion is her imagination. The plot builds tension and keeps you engaged until the climax of the film.  I saw a bad copy on Youtube and I can tell this is a beautiful film to watch with restoration.

On a side note, I read that MGM, which bought the rights to this British film from British National Films, ordered that all prints of it be destroyed because they ordered a 1944 remake.  This failed as the negative and other copies survived.  This is a excellent film which gave way to the term " Gaslighting ",  a form of abuse in which the perpetrators try and convince their victims that they are crazy when its actually the other way around.  Unlike the film "The Night of the Hunter" which reveals narcissism in very nuanced ways, this film is in your face about its subject matter, narcissism.  I rank this film a solid 8.5 out of 10...

Off-Topic Discussion / Moonrise (1948)
« on: July 12, 2018, 05:20:36 PM »
The recent Republic studio thread screenings reminded me about this Criterion remastered film.  As everyone knows it stars Danny Hawkins as Dane Clark, a bullied kid who grows up and kills one of his tormentors in self defense.  As a adult he suffers from the trauma of what happened to his father and the resulting ridicule by the townsfolk where he grows up.  Dane finds solace out in the swamps with Mose ( Rex Ingram ), a former railroad brakeman who himself lives in the swamp to escape society.  Mose's main hobby is raising coon dogs that he hires out for whoever needs them.  The plot also centers around Dane's relationship with Gilly Johnson.  Its a simple plot of redemption with both Mose and Gilly figuring prominently in Dane's redemption of what he did and what has been tormenting him.

The film itself looks gorgeous. Its one of the better films I've seen that heavily features swamp scenes.  There are long dull moments focusing on Dane and Gilly that drag the film down.  Whenever Dane goes out to visit Mose both he AND the viewer get a welcome reprive from those long dull moments.  The film got going pretty good during the last 1/3rd of it.  The ending was pretty good. Overall, I rate this a 6.5 out of 10...

Off-Topic Discussion / Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
« on: July 11, 2018, 07:36:39 PM »
Charles Laughton is one of my favorite actors so I wanted to see this.  I haven't read any of Agatha Christie's novels so I don't know how true to the book that the screenplay follows.  The film starts off fabulously with Laughton's character inside of a car with his nurse who is doting on him and reminding him of his recent health issue.  This scene came across so genuine that I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Elsa Lanchester ( the nurse) is Laughton's wife in real life.  The chemistry between them through out the film was superb.

 SPOILER ALERTS:  As most of you know the plot centers around  Sir Wilfred Robarts recent health issue and his decision to try one last criminal case.  Tyrone Powers  ( Leonard Voles ) is accused of murdering a elderly woman he befriended that has a lot of money and changed her will and made him the beneficiary.  Powers is married to Christine Vole ( Marlene Dietrich) who the defense wants to use as a witness to confirm her husband's alibi.  She acts strange during her initial interview with Sir Robarts and turns up later as a witness for the prosecution.  The plot was very good and ( major spoiler alert) held your interest all the way through until the RUSHED plot twists at the end.

Here is my problem with the film.  After winning his acquittal from the jury, Mr. Voles leaves the courtroom and his wife is brought back into the courtroom to escape a citizen's mob.  She then reveals that she and Mr. Voles PLAYED Sir Robarts and the court in order to get his acquittal.  Voles comes back into the courtroom after overhearing her confession and confesses to the murder knowing that double jeopardy bars any retrial.  Diana ( Ruta Lee) shows up and gives Voles a kiss and its revealed that she has been seeing him and they plan to run off together with the will money Voles became the benefactor of.  Ms. Voles flips out and stabs Voles killing him.  Ok, I have no problem with any of that. My problem is I felt the film could've use a good 15 minutes more to drag these revelations out in a different way. I felt it was all too rushed into a implausible admittance by the Voles inside the courtroom.  A better scenario would have been for Sir Robarts to find out he had been duped later on and then get the admittance from the Voles.  I have no idea if the screenplay stayed true to the book or if this was some more code shenanigans.

 Overall the plot is simple and tight and gave the director plenty of opportunity to explore scenes outside the courtroom.  Unlike 12 Angry Men you get to enjoy the change of pace of the action taking place in numerous locations.  Laughton always displays a subdued flamboyance that I love in his more serious roles.  Dietrich gave a fine performance and Powers really had me fooled as the film went along.  Even with the ending that I felt was rushed and tacked on the excellent performances by the leading cast still allows me to give this a solid 8.5 out of 10.

Off-Topic Discussion / One Way Street (1950)
« on: July 08, 2018, 04:36:28 PM »
This film was recommended over in the Film Noir DVD thread.  It stars James Mason and Dan Duryea.  The plot is very simple so spoiler alerts.   Mason stars as the private doctor for mobster John Wheeler played by Dan Duryea.  Dr. Matson (Mason) decides to double cross Wheeler and take a suitcase full of his money and his woman and escape down to Mexico.  The film also features a very short cameo by Jack Elam as one of Wheeler's goons.  Back to the plot.  Once in Mexico with Wheeler's woman Mason has a change of heart thats influenced by his interactions with the Mexican villagers that he helps.  The film in fact takes place mainly in this village. I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with Dan Duryea's talents being wasted on a film in which he barely appears in.  A lesser known actor would've been better in that role.  Finally, the code jumped smack up at the end as usual and ruined the film.  What really gets me here is Dr. Mason didn't get away with anything so what the code was looking for i do not know.  Because of the code, I rank this one a 6 out of 10.  If Mason could've got back to Mexico, I would've ranked this one a 7.5 out of 10. Its still worth a view...

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