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: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  ( 4644192 )
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« #10275 : March 10, 2012, 10:50:10 AM »

Swamp Water (1941) - 7/10. Putatively Renoir's first American directorial effort (the degree of his involvement is now disputed by scholars, I understand), this is a weird one, filmed partially in the Okefenokee swamp, where it's set. Dana Andrews, against the advice of townspeople and his father (Walter Huston), goes into the swamp to look for his lost dog. The swamp is supposed to be the worst place on earth, full of gators and such-like. Andrews finds the dog, but also Walter Brennan, who's been hiding out ever since he broke jail five years earlier. It seems Brennen was worngfully convicted of murder, and decided that swamp life was preferable to execution. He hasn't wandered too far in, however, as he maintains hope of someday being re-united with his daughter (Anne Baxter), a waif now being exploited back in town by a hypocritical shopkeeper and his wife. Andrews partners up with Brennnan and they begin a lucrative trapping business. Returning to town, Andrews also takes up with Baxter after being jilted by his first sweetheart (Virginia Gilmore). When this woman in turn feels wronged she reports to the sheriff (Eugene Pallette) her suspicions that Andrews is tied up with escaped felon Brennan. This is of interest not only to the law, but to the evil Dorson brothers (Ward Bond, Guinn Williams), the men responsible for the murder Brennan was convicted of. Did I mention that a particularly slimy John Carradine is also in the film? The dialog is full of howl-inducing Hollywood-swampisms ("Thank ya kindly, Miz Hanah. I sure don't never wants to get lost-ed in that there swamp.") But the photography is beautiful, and features some very impressive sets that blend well with the location shots. Watch out for the terrifying death-by-bog featured at the end!
Savant's more exhaustive take is here: http://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/s3818swam.html



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« #10276 : March 10, 2012, 05:50:58 PM »

Luci del varietà (1950) (Variety Lights) Directors: Federico Fellini, Alberto Lattuada, stars Peppino De Filippo, Carla Del Poggio and Giulietta Masina. A young girl Liliana (Poggio) who has won various dancing and talent contests and was crowned a beach beauty joins up with a traveling show and her talents soon prove prodigious to the troupe,  they're  playing to packed houses, and their aging comic leader Checco Dalmonte (Peppino) gets big ideas and he falls in love with Liliana, ditching his girlfriend   Melina Amour (Masina) who wants to marry Checco and they will open up a delicatessen.

Checco believing he can be an impresario, hires other actors that he finds living on the streets of Rome and begins rehearsal for a revue that will star Liliana and himself. But Liliana gets the "variety" lights in her eyes and she's heading for the "BIG TIME" dropping Checco, the last scene has them meeting in the station she's heading for the capitols of Europe he's heading back to the vaudeville circuit.

Fellini's first film co directed by Albert Lauttuada 8/10


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« #10277 : March 11, 2012, 04:35:49 AM »

Polisse 6/10


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« #10278 : March 11, 2012, 06:18:52 AM »

In the Heat of the Night - 7/10 - 2nd viewing. Plotwise fairly routine, with all the expected police procedure cliches and southern sleaziness. It's certainly on the nose with its preaching on tolerance, as most "message" films of its era tend to be. Aside from Scott Wilson the supporting is pretty weak; even Warren Oates comes off badly as a Barney Fife-ish moron. What makes this film work are the leads. It's nice to say Sidney Poitier playing a character a bit tougher and more self-reliant than his usual Magic Negro character; he must have loved the scene where he slaps Larry Gates around. Rod Steiger is a ham but it suits his character. The two play off each other well and make even the weaker moments of the film work. It's definitely a very atmospheric film and Ray Charles' title tune is great, though the balance of the score is very TV-ish.



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« #10279 : March 11, 2012, 10:57:26 AM »

In the Heat of the Night - 7/10 - 2nd viewing. Plotwise fairly routine, with all the expected police procedure cliches and southern sleaziness. It's certainly on the nose with its preaching on tolerance, as most "message" films of its era tend to be. Aside from Scott Wilson the supporting is pretty weak; even Warren Oates comes off badly as a Barney Fife-ish moron. What makes this film work are the leads. It's nice to say Sidney Poitier playing a character a bit tougher and more self-reliant than his usual Magic Negro character; he must have loved the scene where he slaps Larry Gates around. Rod Steiger is a ham but it suits his character. The two play off each other well and make even the weaker moments of the film work. It's definitely a very atmospheric film and Ray Charles' title tune is great, though the balance of the score is very TV-ish.

Steiger and Poitier are both terrific here -- as usual.

btw, I hear they did a sequel called "They Call Me Mister Tibbs," Have you seen it? Is it any good? Are Poitier and/or Steiger in it?


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« #10280 : March 11, 2012, 12:14:03 PM »

Poitier yes, Steiger no. There's a third movie, "Mr. Tibbs Goes to Africa"--no, wait, I'm getting confused here--the third one is called The Organization (1971). I have not seen either of these.



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« #10281 : March 11, 2012, 12:23:51 PM »

Both sequels are only ordinary stuff.

In the Heat of the Night is a good film, but the story is indeed nothing special and yes, the leads are saving the film. 6,5/10


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« #10282 : March 11, 2012, 05:07:16 PM »

Been on a Cagney and Bogart binge lately, and just finished Angels With Dirty Faces (1938).

THIS DISCUSSION CONTAINS SPOILERS



This movie is really good, until the last 20 minutes or so. Religion is generally not something that I wanna watch a movie about, but this one actually works well till the ending.

When the priest (Pat O'Brien) tells Cagney he's gonna take him down, and actually does it day by day, it's not very plausible that Cagney would stand by idly and basically wish the priest good luck; I don't care how close they were. And I'm not much for Redemption themes either. But as discussed in the special features, that stuff was largely done to please the Catholic Legion: After the gangster films of the early 30's, they had started rating films and if they gave it a bad rating, the movie would lose Catholic viewership; so for a few years, they stopped making these gangster movies -- until they realized they could make them with these Catholic themes, rather than as a straight gangster picture, in order to get their approval.(So when criticizing the plot of movies from the "Censorship Era," I am always careful to be mindful of the  rules that they often arose from).

With that said, until those last few minutes, I really enjoyed this movie. Cagney is not a typical tough guy here, he is not playing a very nasty character; there is much more of a twinkle in his eye, and it is one of his best performances that I have seen. Pat O'Brien is really good, as is the lovely Ann Sheridan in a limited role in an early performance. Bogie is good (as always!) as a crooked lawyer in a supporting role (he wouldn't become  a leading man until after High Sierra in 1941).

-- The street scenes in New York look really good here, and do not feel as much on a studio lot as most New York street movies do; these streets are full, and teeming with scenes of urban life.

-- The main theme of this movie is done well IMO -- how the guy who was a step faster becomes the priest, while the guy a step slower gets sent to reform school where he learns how to be a criminal and gets the chair. This really is a social commentary movie. The final line, which is something like "let's go say a prayer for a boy who was a step slower than me," is really effective at getting that point across. (Personally I am a strong believer in personal responsibility and individual free will and that everyone must choose good over evil, so I don't agree with this whole one-step-is-all-the-difference-between-a-gangster-and-a-priest idea. But if you focus on whether the movie does a good job with its message, rather than if you agree with this message, this movie indeed does a good job of delivering it).

-- There are a gang of kids who look up to Cagney and play a big part in this movie, with lots of heavy New York accents and physical stuff, eg. the boys constantly slapping each other up, Cagney slapping the boys up, in a comedic manner. This all may be over the top for some people.

Bottom Line: Though I felt disappointed during the last few minutes, I really enjoyed the first 3/4 of the movie; If you are a Cagney fan and haven't seen it yet, you should definitely watch it; this gets about a 7.5/10



btw, when Cagney is officiating that basketball game: wtf game was that? were the rules of basketball vastly different in 1938? That game bears no resemblance to the game we know today. There is no dribbling, the boys run with the ball, Cagney calls for one free throw on many fouls that were not in the act of shooting etc.; the only way that bears resemblance to the basketball game I know is that there is a ball and a basket.



« : March 12, 2012, 03:33:14 PM drinkanddestroy »

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« #10283 : March 12, 2012, 02:58:29 PM »

I saw this when i was a kid and always liked it, and I agree with you on the ending.


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« #10284 : March 17, 2012, 06:37:50 PM »

In Cold Blood (1967) 9/10

What an amazing movie. My only minor complaint is that Scott Wilson is not very good as one of the leads; Robert Blake is good as the other lead (made all the scarier knowing about what he did later in life... yeah, I know he was acquitted). That murder scene was spellbinding...


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« #10285 : March 17, 2012, 06:38:57 PM »

The Descendants - 7/10 - Good slice-of-life drama without a lot to make it stand out. The main attraction is the very well-drawn characters: good casting (Robert Forster and Beau Bridges feature in supporting roles, and even Matthew Lillard acquits himself well) and a nice script sell most of the drama. George Clooney is excellent, his daughter's a babe and the little kid isn't that annoying. Pretty scenery too. On the other hand, the plot isn't especially interesting and the big scenes are telegraphed well in advance. How many monologues to a comatose character does one movie need? Worth seeing once.

« : March 17, 2012, 07:05:11 PM Groggy »


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« #10286 : March 17, 2012, 06:40:30 PM »

In Cold Blood (1967) 9/10

What an amazing movie. My only minor complaint is that Scott Wilson is not very good as one of the leads; Robert Blake is good as the other lead (made all the scarier knowing about what he did later in life... yeah, I know he was acquitted). That murder scene was spellbinding...

Scott Wilson not good? Daft it is then.

This is just about a perfect film: great photography, wonderful score, good acting (even John Forsyth), everything clicks. My only problem would be the preaching re: the death penalty towards the end, which seems very out of place.



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« #10287 : March 17, 2012, 07:18:09 PM »

Scott Wilson not good? Daft it is then.

This is just about a perfect film: great photography, wonderful score, good acting (even John Forsyth), everything clicks. My only problem would be the preaching re: the death penalty towards the end, which seems very out of place.

I didn't like Wilson in the first half of the movie, but didn't mind him much in the second half. Maybe he grew on me.

I don't think the movie is really very preachy about the death penalty. It focuses on the convicts' existence in the prison, and briefly touches upon the issue of capital punishment, but didn't seem very preachy to me.

Once they are caught, I looked at the timer on my screen and was shocked that there were 45 minutes left! You'd expect that once they are caught, it's over, and wonder what can possibly take another 45 minutes. But it all really worked very well. And again, that murder scene was just insane.

While researching and interviewing the murderers for his book Truman Capote was rumored to have had a sexual relationship with the one portrayed by Blake http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_cold_blood#Capote.27s_research  
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perry_Smith_%28murderer%29#Relationship_with_Truman_Capote

(Personally, I'll reiterate what i said in my previous post on Angels With Dirty Faces, cuz it is relevant again here: I believe in right and wrong and good and evil, and everyone has to choose good and there is never even a  minor justification for doing evil. Idon't like all this bullshit about sympathy for murderers and their complexity and upbringing etc. But sometimes when watching a movie you have to forget your opinions and just watch the movie, and indeed, this movie is very nearly perfect).


« : March 17, 2012, 08:03:56 PM drinkanddestroy »

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« #10288 : March 17, 2012, 08:28:11 PM »

Bigger Than Life (1956)

I just rented the Criterion blu-ray from Netflix.

James Mason plays a schoolteacher who has a physical condition and is prescribed cortisone as a lifesaving wonder drug, but abuses it and it has terrible mental effects on him.

The story seemed very uninteresting to me, and while the acting was all terrific, I found the movie to be just about unbearable. But then I watched one of the special features -- a 27-minute piece with author Jonathan Lethem breaking down the movie wonderfully -- and apparently the entire movie is actually a metaphor/criticism/myth-buster of supposedly idyllic middle class suburbia of the 1950's: where everything is seemingly perfect, but in fact, is far from it and the problems/breakdown are bubbling just beneath the surface. (A couple of many examples: Mason is working part-time as a taxi dispatcher but won't tell his wife; the nice suburban home has a horrible eyesore in the form of an awful hot water tank right in middle of the kitchen). When watching Latham's discussion, the story makes sense, but I still can't say it was very interesting for me; perhaps it would have been if I'd have watched it when released.

What can I say -- perhaps it ain't easy for a big city boy in 2012 to pick up on the busting-of-a-circa-1956 myth. Or I'm just plain stupid. I acknowledge the equal possibility of either interpretation. Or some combination thereof  ;)

« : March 17, 2012, 08:40:07 PM drinkanddestroy »

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« #10289 : March 17, 2012, 09:45:38 PM »

Some stuff ive watched:

McCabe and Mrs. Miller
Wasn't too impressed at first but now that it's sunk in I can't wait to give it another viewing. A clear influence on There Will Be Blood, wonderful anti-western from Altman who's becoming one of my favorite directors.

MASH
Pretty good.

Hugo
Didn't like it as much the 2nd time, but it also wasn't in 3D this time either. The whole movie is decent, but I think the parts involving the mystery/story of Meleis as a director is really, really great. Just wish the whole movie could hold up to that.

Miami Vice
Uhh fuck that.

The Man With a Movie Camera
Cool innovations. Nice shots. Will never watch again.

Take Shelter
Shannon's performance is incredible. Movie's slow pace works as brilliant tension-buildup. Not a huge fan of the ending though.

Shame
Saw it last night. One of 2011's best films. Been thinking about it all day.

The New World
The second time I watched the theatrical cut. Liked it even more. I've only seen the director's cut once but that half hour pushed it over the top.

Days of Heaven
Seen it several times now and it gets better each time, without a doubt the most beautiful film ever made. I still fucking hate the narrator's voice, but I guess it's important to the movie/character. I think the pacing and clarity of what's going on in the first 30-40 minutes is pretty bad. Other than that, one of the greatest romances (or anti-romances?) ever made.

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