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: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  ( 4084521 )
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« #13500 : May 06, 2014, 05:18:50 AM »

Beneath the 12 Mile Reef (1953) 6/10. The rivalry between sponge fisherman on the west coast of Florida intensifies when the son of the leader of the Greek team falls for the daughter of the leader of the Conch team. It's even less interesting than it sounds. But in compensation there is some very nice underwater photography (framed for Cinemascope), and one of Bernard Herrmann's best scores.

Open Range (2003) 7/10. There's one hellacious gunfight in this film, but it takes Costner forever to get to it. And then the aftermath drags on and on. I guess Kevin loved shooting up in Alberta so much he never wanted to stop, and then, because this was a project for TV, he was allowed to cram an hour's worth of material into a two-and-a-half hour cut. Well, it does look very beautiful (although the over-reliance on reflectors becomes annoying). For PQ, the German Blu-ray is the way to go.

« : May 06, 2014, 05:33:34 AM dave jenkins »


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« #13501 : May 06, 2014, 11:22:52 PM »

The Wonderful Country (1959) - 6/10. What a frustrating film! Robert Mitchum is a gunrunner and pistolero working for the Castro family south of the border. While transporting some rifles from the U.S. side Mitchum's horse falls, and Bob has to recuperate in an American town while his leg mends. And then the rifles go missing. Surely, we say to ourselves, watching for the first time, this is where the story will take off--Mitchum will have to run down the missing weapons before his employers get wind of the problem and decide to terminate (with extreme prejudice) Mitchum's contract. Doesn't happen. Then, as Mitchum is still recuperating, he catches the eye of the local military commander's wife (Julie London). Mitchum likes what he sees too, so it would be only natural for a love triangle to develop, with Mitchum and the commander (Gary Merrill) duking it out for the affections of the woman they both love. No, that never really happens either. Mitchum, after recovering, attends a party where a friend of his is killed: Bob responds with an immediate return kill. Mitchum has a credible self-defense plea he could play, but rather than use it, he runs away. Obviously, the posse is gonna go after him and the film will now become a fugitive-from-justice story. Uh, nope. Crossing back into Mexico, Mitchum finds the Castro brothers at each other's throats. The elder brother (Pedro Armendáriz) wants to hire Mitchum to assassinate his rival--ooo, good, good, a blood-for-money plot!--but Bob says no. (Huh?). Pedro doesn't like that answer, so he sends "the boys" out to track Bob down. Okay, the on-the-lam-from-the-padrone story isn't as interesting, but at least we have a plot, no? No. Nothing comes of this. Then there's the sub-plot in which Gary Merrill and the Castros put together a task force to go after those pesky Apaches. It would have been nice if even this had, at some point, become the dominant line, just so we'd finally have a story. Man, this film has so many ideas, but it doesn't adequately use any of them. The location photography in and around Durango is nice: hence the title, The Wonderful Country. What a shame they couldn't have shot The Wonderful Screenplay.

I just saw this movie, I give it a 7.5/10

I think the point of the story  - SPOILER ALERT - is about the character: how he was forced to live life as a gunslinger in Mexico because of an incident earlier in his life, and how, in the end, he is finally able to put down his gun and live a peaceful life in the US of A, which is really what he deep down has wanted all along. And the movie is about how he was finally able to do it, despite all the obstacles.
All these things that may be happening, which you thought would turn into what the story was about – eg. the gun deals, fighting the Apache, the posse after him – are things that potentially could prevent his living the life he wants; but he says "NO" to them because he really does want to settle down and live a peaceful life back in America. (Would he have this same desire if he didn't lose the guns and break his leg? Who knows. But maybe once he decides that he wants to give up his current life, the story is about him doing his best to try to overcome all the obstacles to doing that.) You may find that boring as the storyline of a Western, and I'm not necessarily defending it, I'm just saying the movie does have a story, it's just not the story you think it's gonna be, and you don't realize what the story has really been about until close to the end.

Of course, maybe then you can argue that the title "The Wonderful Country" is inappropriate for such a movie....


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« #13502 : May 07, 2014, 02:27:22 AM »

KILLING THEM SOFTLY - 7/10

Great atmosphere, good characters, very good acting (the worst actor being Brad Pitt, whose only crime is to do a regular job), good dialogues and very tiny script (they obviously focused on dialogues and drew a few parallels with the economic crisis).
Not much to criticise here, except that it's one of the few 7/10 movies that will not bring anything more to the table with rewatches.

3rd viewing. The more I watch it the more it looks like the first film of a brilliant director. As a 3rd film it's a bit disappointing considering the potential (of both the director and the project).


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« #13503 : May 07, 2014, 04:21:13 AM »

I think the point of the story  - SPOILER ALERT - is about the character: how he was forced to live life as a gunslinger in Mexico because of an incident earlier in his life, and how, in the end, he is finally able to put down his gun and live a peaceful life in the US of A, which is really what he deep down has wanted all along. And the movie is about how he was finally able to do it, despite all the obstacles.
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz . . . .
Quote
All these things that may be happening, which you thought would turn into what the story was about – eg. the gun deals, fighting the Apache, the posse after him – are things that potentially could prevent his living the life he wants; but he says "NO" to them because he really does want to settle down and live a peaceful life back in America. (Would he have this same desire if he didn't lose the guns and break his leg? Who knows. But maybe once he decides that he wants to give up his current life, the story is about him doing his best to try to overcome all the obstacles to doing that.) You may find that boring as the storyline of a Western, and I'm not necessarily defending it, I'm just saying the movie does have a story, it's just not the story you think it's gonna be, and you don't realize what the story has really been about until close to the end.
At which point you ask for your money back.



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« #13504 : May 08, 2014, 05:16:58 AM »

Becoming John Ford (2007) - 7/10. The Twilight Time team (Redman and Kirgo) intersperse clips of Ford-at-Fox films with talking heads (Rudy Belmar, Lem Dobbs, et. al.) talking about what else?. A lot of platitudes (and they have to have all the heads in a phony-looking b&w that's rather annoying), but they do a couple things that are interesting. One is having people read from Zanuck's and Ford's published writings, to create a kind of running conversation between the two men. This is more theatrical than informative, though. But every once in a while one of the pundits says something that's kind of interesting. For the first time I think I understand what Zanuck was up to in his cut of Clementine: all the changes he wanted to make were things that had been done in previous Ford films. Zanuck just wanted to give the public what he (probably rightly) imagined they wanted, to make the film more Ford-like (production as if John Ford were Henry Ford!). Ford, post-War, of course, wanted to achieve Ford-ness through other means (i.e. it was time to try to do some things differently). No wonder he soon thereafter left 20th Century Fox.



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« #13505 : May 09, 2014, 07:20:45 AM »

Il Sorpasso (1962) - 7/10. An Italian buddy picture, a road trip film, an unfunny comedy: you can tag this thing with any number of descriptors. But probably the most accurate thing anyone can say about it is that it's the ultimate gay subtext flick. Catherine Spaak gets second billing in this, her name comes before Trintignant's, and yet we wait and wait for her to appear. What the cuss? Then I understood. I wondered if others had picked up on the obvious, so I went to IMDb and looked for relevant comments. They were there:
Quote
count the numerous gay undertones (Bruno – the infinitely narcissistic 40ish mamma's boy -- using the ladies' toilet without a blink; Bruno teaching aunt Lidia how to apply cat-eye make-up; Bruno and Roberto's body contact especially after the night-club fight; Bruno giving up potentially easy conquests, such as the German girls and the waitress; Bruno instantly recognizing Occhio Fino is gay; Bruno jokingly to Roberto: "Well, you know, I don't fancy men but if even if I did you're not my type"; "When we get back to Rome I'll introduce yo to mamma and we can see each other every day" etc).
The car, of course, is the perfect phallic symbol. The men do not speak the love they dare not name, but settle for the throb of the Lancia on their way to--not le petite mort--but his older brother.

« : May 09, 2014, 07:22:00 AM dave jenkins »


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« #13506 : May 10, 2014, 04:07:54 PM »

Girls und Panzer (2012) - 120/120. Twelve perfect episodes of the greatest Japanese anime ever produced. And I say that, hating anime as I do. But what a concept! In the future (or maybe in an alternate universe) students attend high schools on giant aircraft-carrier-like structures that cruise the oceans. Not unexpectedly, these schools are run much like Japanese high schools as we have them now. Except that in addition to all the normal extra-curricular clubs like koto, kendo, tea ceremony, and flower arranging, girls in this world (and it is only for girls) can take part in sensha-do: the way of the tank (or as they have it in the series, the art of "tankery."). In order to build feminine attributes like poise, confidence, etc. girls repair and maintain tanks, train in tanks, and then have tank battles ("matches") with teams from other schools (the carriers from two schools arrive at a given port, off-load their vehicles, then have at it, while spectators watch on giant screens). No one ever gets hurt in these matches. The idea is to put the enemy tanks out of commission and capture the flag tank. This concept is both hilarious (watching teenage girls operating heavy machinery with precision) and exciting (watching teenage girls operating heavy machinery with precision). What really sells the whole thing, though, is the superb CGI renderings of the tanks. When CGI came into anime several years ago, I was excited for the possibilities. But nothing interesting was done with it--until now. The CGI tanks look so good, and operate so realistically (for the most part) that we get some of the greatest tank battles ever committed to film. Meanwhile, the characters are all worried about their relationships with their friends and parents or whether they will get their quota of cute for the day. I laughed my way through this, but I also jumped out of my chair a couple of times at the sight of tanks getting blown away. This series is so well done that it can be taken straight (as I'm sure it's intended) or with a heavy dose of irony (it's high school girls in tanks, for cuss' sakes!). For anime, his will never be bettered.



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« #13507 : May 10, 2014, 09:22:15 PM »

Mother / Okaasan (1952) - 7/10.  For mother's day, Mikio Naruse's paen to our long-suffering female parents (mothers suffer the most, apparently, because everybody else dies or leaves and the women are left to carry on alone). Sentimental as hell, the film is genuinely affecting (and gives a pretty decent snapshot of Japan in the immediate post-War period). The title role is performed with great simplicity by the very, very great Kinuyo Tanaka.



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« #13508 : May 11, 2014, 10:43:35 AM »

La notte (1961) – 8/10. In Milan, a couple (Mastroianni and Moreau) visit a friend who is dying, then go to a book launch party (the husband is an author), then make their separate ways back to their apartment (he by car; she, walking), where they bathe and eat and decide to go out, first to a nightclub, then to a house party. At the party, husband and wife flirt with others but do not follow through on those flirtations. When the sun comes up the pair are together; they make an attempt at rekindling their passion for each other, but what comes of this we are not to know. What are we to make of this film?

Although they are pre-occupied with their feelings, or lack of them, the couple’s concerns are meaningless to the audience. Why should we care about these creatures of privilege?  And yet, we are compelled to watch this pair because they are, after all, movie stars, stars shown to advantage by their director, stars framed in very watchable settings. Actually, Antoniennui’s settings at times appear to overwhelm his stars.  Famously, the director begins the film by juxtaposing human forms with the architecture of Milan, the old as well as the new, but mostly the new. As she walks about the city, for example, Moreau frequently disappears amidst buildings and large geometric designs (anticipating the ending of L’eclisse). Does this provide a statement about modern alienation? Perhaps. Does this give the director a chance to indulge his love of modern architecture? No doubt. But as a strategy for developing interest in a character, it is effective: we keep wondering if and when and where Moreau will again turn up. Unconsciously, we start rooting for her.

In the film’s second part, the meditations on modern architecture give way to an exploration of the human form and face. In a series of neat tricks that abstract the characters for our better examination, the camera reveals our objects of study in surprising ways: reflected on glass surfaces or framed by the architecture of the house in which they mingle.  In other words, composition is used to make the characters beautiful. Soulless as they are, these people command our gaze every bit as much as any of the examples of architecture we’ve seen earlier. Despite ourselves, our interest in these human forms quickens.

At the end the couple has escaped to nature. Not wild nature—they’ve wandered out onto the links of a golf course—but nature, domesticated nature, nonetheless. Two trees, corresponding to the husband and wife, suggest the possibility of new vitality in their relationship. This possibility is never more than that—we don’t actually know what will become of these two. But possibility, the suggestion of what may happen, is the most the film can hope to express. Is it enough? Yes, because the film, so well photographed, is the movie version of what must be the greatest coffee table book ever imagined. If that does not quite represent the triumph of art over nature, it at least suggests the triumph of design.



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« #13509 : May 11, 2014, 05:07:58 PM »

Wow, a lot to catch up on.

Don Jon - 8/10 - Joseph Gordon-Levitt directs, writes and stars as a twenty-something lady killer who finds porn more fulfilling - until he meets Scarlett Johansson's dream girl. Starts out as a crassromantic comedy then becomes a surprisingly funny and thoughtful look at objectifying relationships; romcoms are as debasing as pornography. ScarJo isn't an ideal lover ironing out his rough spots, but a controlling bitch. I could complain about the repetitive porn montages and Julianne Moore's silly character but why? This one pleasantly surprised me. Bonus points for Tony Danza and Glenne Headley as the protagonist's parents.

Amistad - 6/10 - 2nd viewing. Steven Spielberg at his best and worst, simultaneously. Some really great stuff like the Atlantic crossing scenes and Djimon Hounsou's performance; some awful, awful bits like Hounsou screaming "Give us free!" as portentous John Williams music blares on the soundtrack. Monumentally odd casting which follows the Judgment at Nuremberg approach: every character with more than two minutes of screen time is a walking thesis paper. The story collapses with too many characters and subplots which dilute the main drama. This story deserved another hour, or perhaps expansion to a miniseries, to adequately explore all the political and diplomatic finagling depicted herein. As it stands a bloated, frustrating, occasionally powerful show.

The Railway Man - 7/10 - Colin Firth plays a shellshocked WWII veteran who finds a Japanese camp guard alive in modern Thailand, contemplating revenge to exorcise his demons. Based on a true story but feels like a mix of Bridge on the River Kwai and Cotton Hill's war flashbacks. I give it relatively high marks for the acting and the powerful wartime flashbacks; the modern story is clunky and melodramatic. Even a cursory glance at Wikipedia reveals the movie altered much.

A Cry in the Dark - 8/10 - In which a dingo eats Meryl Streep's baby. This is a savage attack on media exploitation of tragedy, overwhelming the central mystery or the courtroom proceedings. Meryl Streep does a good job being unpleasant, though Sam Neill's arguably more impressive.

Walkabout - Watched about an hour and gave up. I haven't been this unpleasantly baffled by a movie since watching Teorema last summer. Was I just in a bad mood and should try it another time, or does the emperor have no clothes? (Certainly Jenny Agutter does not.)



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« #13510 : May 12, 2014, 01:21:15 AM »

Jenny Agutter nude scenes are reason enough to watch it to the end.


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« #13511 : May 12, 2014, 02:20:41 PM »

Hesher (2010)

3/5. I enjoyed it.

Killer Joe (2011)

5/5. Fantastic.

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« #13512 : May 12, 2014, 02:50:11 PM »

Killer Joe (2011)
5/5. Fantastic.

KFC!!!!!!


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« #13513 : May 12, 2014, 02:52:28 PM »

KFC!!!!!!

I had the chance of knowing nothing besides William Friedkin directing it and the cast involved. It works out soooooo much better that way.

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« #13514 : May 12, 2014, 03:01:11 PM »

Same here.

I though a couple scene were cheap/weird (example: the beat up by the bickers) but all in all refreshing and the final scene is one great great scene. I wouldn't go as far as 5/5 but this movie is definitely underrated.


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