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: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  ( 5171954 )
dave jenkins
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« #21030 : June 18, 2024, 03:00:26 AM »

Kidnapped: The Abduction of Edgardo Mortara (2023) - 2/10. A "true story," as told by a hysteric. And much too long. I have never like Bellocchio, but I thought I'd give him another chance. My mistake. To his many sins as a filmmaker we can now add his rape of the classical repertoire. I was particularly incensed over the way he misused Shostakovich's 8th String Quartet--twice--but every musical cue in the film announces the operation of an infantile mind. And after this film, I am taking the stance: No More Dream Sequences. Ever. Anywhere in cinema.

Firebrand (2023) - 3/10. A "true story," except for all the parts that were made up. I blame Tarantino. Jude Law is the latest to assay the role of Henry VIII--he and his fat suit give quite a performance. Alicia Vikander plays Catherine Parr, Henry's sixth wife (the one who outlived him), not merely a queen, but a Survivor of an Abusive Relationship!! Her role and performance are very similar to those she did as the female android in Ex Machina. That film, though, kept bouncing along. This one feels like it's never going to end. It does, though, finally, and the closing credit sequence must be seen and heard to be believed.



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« #21031 : June 18, 2024, 05:35:23 PM »

Bacurau (2019)  - 7.5/10
Very good brazilian contemporary spaghetti western. it's messy but very enjoyable and keeps reinventing the genre the whole time.

Nice to see this get a mention. I found the first half fascinating. I then had to turn it off and haven't gotten around to watching the rest yet. Your post has reminded me to do just that. I hope the second half is a good as the first half.

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« #21032 : June 20, 2024, 09:46:02 AM »

Boyz in the Hood (1991) - One of the very rare movies that would be much improved if it was a good ~40 minutes longer. With the way the plot was structured, everything feels very melodramatic since the story is so rushed. It's a good movie that is held down by trying to fit so much into such a short runtime -- which was quite jarring after not having seen this in such a long time. It is also not aided by its dated score, the movie's soundtrack should have been entirely comprised of 70's soul and late 80's hip hop. Menace II Society is the better and more honest movie.  B-


Dead Presidents (1995) - It's a token example of a film where you ask yourself, "Is this movie good?". Maybe? I think so? There are definitely some very powerful scenes, but it ultimately would have worked better had it just been a coming of age movie set in late 60's NYC, or a Vietnam movie, or a 70's set heist movie. Instead, we get an entertaining movie that's all over the place with a very fun heist scene near the end. It's one of those movies I was expecting to like more as an adult, but it comes up short, even though there are certainly a lot of great scenes.  C+


Straight Outta Compton (2015) - I normally avoid these modern music bio pics like the plague, but maybe the one that started this ridiculously played-out trend was good...and eh. The first half, while melodramatic, is at least fast paced and entertaining, but the second half (or post N.W.A. breakup) is a total mess with pointless cameos and a total disregard for anything resembling the truth. I will stick to avoiding these formulaic movies regardless if I'm a fan of the music or not.  C


Apocalypto (2006) - Had Gibson not shot this like it was a Bourne Identity movie, this would be a masterpiece and possibly the single best movie of the 21st Century (at least on the short list). However, this movie suffers badly from Paul Greengrass-itis and it also features way too many boring medium close up shots. It is a crime that this wasn't shot in scope and let the action play out more organically. But outside of that gripe, and the movie possibly betraying its realistic tone in the climax, this is a phenomenal movie.  A-



Claudia, we need you to appear in LOST COMMAND. It's gonna revolutionize the war genre..
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« #21033 : June 21, 2024, 12:51:07 PM »

Kingpin (1996) - While I have a soft spot for all of the 90's comedy classics, Kingpin has aged the best because it somehow has the spirit of a 70's style road movie while also succeeding as a non-stop gag fest where 95% of the gags deliver, and the other 5% are at least bold and clever. The Farrelly's also have a great ear, and the soundtrack delivers, and visually, it holds up rather well because it was shot in scope (90's Reno is a great time capsule). You can strip away all of the screwball gags in this movie, and there is still a great movie there in many ways. The three leads are excellent, and Harrelson and Vanessa Angel have such great chemistry where you can believe (at least in movie terms) that they would develop a romance since the movie handles their relationship so delicately and methodically.  A-


White Men Can't Jump (1992) - The first half is excellent, and Harrelson and Snipes have a phenomenal rapport, to the point where you can forgive their questionable basketball skills. Rosie Perez's character will alienate many viewers, but the movie is aided by its very authentic depiction of early 90's LA. While the second half wasn't as good as I remembered (there should have been a mini twist), the movie overall works due to the two leads' chemistry, and the great early 90's atmosphere and a solid soundtrack.  B-



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« #21034 : June 21, 2024, 01:54:34 PM »

Spartacus (1960) (rewatch) - 9/10

This is still a great movie, despite the occasional very obvious studio sets. Excellent actors and characters. One of the few sword-and-sandal movies that holds up well.

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« #21035 : June 21, 2024, 01:57:50 PM »

The Bikeriders (2024) - 8/10. The new Jeff Nichols, so of course I had to run down to the (air conditioned) theater for a day-of-release matinee.  I liked it a lot. It has a very nice Goodfellas vibe and perhaps can be faulted for seeming derivative. Still, hella entertaining. The three leads--Tom Hardy, Austin Butler, and Jodie Comer's accent--really sell this. Hey, Arnon Milchan gets a producer's credit!



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« #21036 : June 21, 2024, 05:08:23 PM »

Mud (2013) - 9/10. Jeff Nichols' follow up to Take Shelter (which I haven't seen). This is how Nichols described the film as they were about to shoot it in the fall of 2011:
Quote
It is a contemporary [story], about two fourteen-year-old boys who find this man hiding out on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River. They help him out. He says he killed a man in Texas and he is on the run, but he's kind of likable so they start to help him get things. Matthew McConaughey is playing the title character Mud, Reese Witherspoon is playing Juniper, his girlfriend. Tye Sheridan [the young lead] from ?Tree of Life," and another, a boy named Jacob Lofland that we just found in Arkansas [also star]. It is going to be a tricky film to make because all of the stunts and effects are practical. Shotgun shootouts, dirt bike scenes, snakes and water and all this craziness.
The film is so well made it astounded me. There's nothing new in the plot--a standard coming-of-age story, what you could find in any current YA novel. But the film is so well-acted, the dialog so well-written, I kept wanting to salute. It also has something you don't get that much of anymore--specificity of location. As the film unspooled, I really believed I was watching life in eastern Arkansas (where people address their elders by either sir or ma'am). Nichols, a native of the region, shot the film from his original story. He seems to be a very talented fellow.
Re-watched this in anticipation of seeing The Bikeriders and found it rather dull. Maybe, because it was so well made, I remembered it too well?



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« #21037 : July 04, 2024, 09:11:54 AM »

Lifeguard (1976) - A pretty damn good character study about the complexities of being an adult that is weighed down by a horrifically dated score and soundtrack. It needed the exuberance of the jukebox movie for this to have made a lasting impact (a soundtrack comprised of early to mid 70's country rock would have been perfect). It's very well directed for something shot in standard with lots of low angle and wide shots. It also breezes in and out of scenes, and said scenes are almost always very interesting. Sam Elliott is great, and I wish he was in more movies like this.  B

« : July 05, 2024, 11:04:15 AM T.H. »


Claudia, we need you to appear in LOST COMMAND. It's gonna revolutionize the war genre..
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« #21038 : Yesterday at 01:24:23 PM »

Full Alert (1997) - One of Ringo Lam's best movies, and possibly the last of his classics. If you can overlook part of the premise, or more specifically, the criminals' plans in the first half, this is a phenomenal cops + robbers movie with a heist element added in -- but it's much less romantic than Heat, which is somewhat surprising for a HK actioner. Then again, Ringo Lam is the (less oddball) Corbucci to John Woo's Leone.   A-


Warning Shot (1967) - This would be the perfect B side on a double bill with Harper (1966). It also has that colorful, 60's pop-art appeal, and the conclusion of Warning Shot is arguably better -- though not as a whole. However, this is VERY 60's television-like, but that doesn't stop it from having value. It feels like the best made for TV movie ever if things like Don Siegel's The Killers never existed. It's odd in that that there is some cinematic value to be found technically, but it can be fleeting. It's a unique movie with a great cast, and a low key pretty fun plot that is somewhat held down by too many courtroom scenes in the early going. But things pick up.  B


Twilight (1998) - Something of an almost classic, but that feels too praiseworthy, though it can be viewed as the unofficial final Harper movie, which others have stated. The cast is phenomenal, and the plot never falls off, and even the score is solid. But it does feel very late 90's like, and not in a good way, so there isn't much there visually. There is also that intangible, hard to describe something missing from keeping this from being great. The plot in acts II & III functions rather well, but the visuals, and a not-so-necessary sidekick (though likeable) hold this back. There are also no great moments, and no nice set pieces. The movie is held together by Newman, and the rest of the terrific cast, and a plot that doesn't fail.  B-



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