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: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  ( 3871571 )
cigar joe
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« #12225 : July 07, 2013, 03:48:16 PM »

The Lone Ranger (2013) - 2/10. The film starts off with an exciting runaway train sequence, followed by a manhunt through the desert. Early on it seems this could be taken for a serious Western, but as things move along it gets progressively sillier, ending up as little more than a cartoon. This is not the worst of its faults.

Unhappily, this  film, pitched at school kids on summer break, is filled with a pernicious message. When we are introduced to the man who will become the Lone Ranger (Armie Hammer) he is reading John Locke. He is a law school grad, concerned with the justice and due process, who has returned to his Texas town to be its DA (huh?). The purpose of everything that then happens is to disabuse him of his notions of right and wrong and provide him with an unsentimental education. Because, as it turns out, everything having to do with the white man’s civilization is evil. The Indians are noble victims; the Chinese coolies who work the white man’s mines are also victims. The railroads, the army, all the institutions of white civilization, however, are corrupt. What then is a good-hearted man to do? He must operate as an outlaw. Hence the mask. In the original radio and TV versions of the Lone Ranger, IIRC, the mask was intended to hide the Ranger’s identity, it was a superhero’s mask. In this movie, the character’s identity is never in doubt. The mask is solely to establish the fact that the wearer lives outside the white man’s law. Tonto (Johnny Depp) keeps telling the hero “Never take off the mask.” Not only the Ranger, but a little kid Tonto is teaching—the audience’s surrogate—learns this “truth” by the end of the film.

The references in this movie to OUATITW include but are not limited to: majestic shots of Monument Valley; evil railroaders; men in dusters waiting for a train; the shadow of a man revealing his presence on the roof of a car; startled birds taking flight as a harbinger of a homestead attack; an Indian boy who suffered a terrible loss returning as a man to exact revenge on those responsible. This last is made even more explicit by having the villain ask, “Who are you?” and receiving in reply a symbol-fraught object that jogs his memory at the point of dying. So keen are the filmmakers to reference Leone’s film that during one scene where men are riding through a canyon one of the walls has a Navajo cliff CGI’d in—it has no function other than to be spotted.  And from time to time faint echoes of Morricone’s score appear on the soundtrack. What is the purpose of all these allusions? Apparently, just to let the audience know how cool the filmmakers are. This is another truth I think I’ll ignore.


What he said... It's silly and all been seen before. It has some nice images scattered throughout, but far and few between that remind you of the Westerns we aint getting. How many pseudo roller coaster images do we need. 


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« #12226 : July 08, 2013, 07:33:29 AM »

Museum Hours (2013) - 10/10. A revolution in cinema. What Wenders was always getting at, but never quite achieving. Jem Cohen has finally done it.



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« #12227 : July 08, 2013, 07:53:53 AM »

The Marriage of Maria Braun - 7/10
An impressive work but not something I was really able to connect with or become engrossed in. I prefer Ali: Fear Eats the Soul.

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« #12228 : July 08, 2013, 08:52:38 AM »

Dick Tracy (1990) picked up a copy for less than $5. Saw it i theater years ago fun flick with some nice unique visuals, cinematography by Vittorio Storaro.
Directed by Warren Beatty. Starring  Beatty, Madona, Charlie Korsmo, Al Pacino, and Glenne Headly with cameos from a huge supporting   cast. 8/10  

« : July 11, 2013, 04:32:31 AM cigar joe »

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« #12229 : July 09, 2013, 07:43:53 AM »

Fontane Effi Briest (1974) - 10/10. My fave Fassbinder, streaming free today and tomorrow: http://www.hulu.com/watch/449581?



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« #12230 : July 10, 2013, 11:38:02 AM »

Tokyo Story / Tokyo monogatari (1953) 9/10. Shochiku Blu-ray, transferred from a new digital restoration. This looks amazing. But don't let anyone tell you this is Ozu's best film; there are 10 others that are at least its equal.

The Life of Oharu (1952) 10/10. Criterion Blu-ray, transferred from a new digital restoration. Don't let anyone tell you that Ugetsu monogatari is Mizoguchi's best film. There are at least 10 others that are its superior; this is one of those.



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« #12231 : July 10, 2013, 12:59:19 PM »

When I first saw an Ozu film I was disappointed by its simplicity. But there was a big retrospective on TV, and I watched them all. After about 4 or 5 films I got used to their style and began to enjoy them.

Kohayagawa-ke no aki (1961) was probably the most fascinating back then.


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« #12232 : July 10, 2013, 02:09:37 PM »

Kohayagawa-ke no aki (1961) was probably the most fascinating back then.
I like the color ones especially, and this one I am particularly fond of because of the vibrant hues (perhaps being made at Toho instead of Shochiku has something to do with that?). Anyway, this is the one color Ozu not yet available on Blu-ray with English subs. I hope that will not long be the case.



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« #12233 : July 11, 2013, 06:18:02 AM »

CONTRABAND (2012)

Caught the last 40minutes or so in TV while eating. Seems to do a regular job, apart from Mark Wahlberg and the shaky cam/quick edit. Anyway, I'm writing about it here because toward the end they use the salt technique from OUATIA. They even try to get the same feeling that is in the Leone scene: they first think it didn't work, then one package reaches the surface, then another, and they build to a climax and a wide shot with everything in it. Then one if the guy falls in the water. It was fun to witness such a rip-off.


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« #12234 : July 11, 2013, 07:01:22 AM »

Oxen (1991) "The Ox" - 8/10
The only feature film solely directed by Sven Nykvist. Late 1860s, a famine plagues Sweden. In order to feed his family, a peasant (played by Stellan Skarsgård) kills one of the two oxen of his neighbor. The story follows him trying to cope with the legal and social consequences but also his own conscience. Filled with regular actors from Ingmar Bergman's films. I wouldn't have minded Nykvist directing a second feature.


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« #12235 : July 11, 2013, 12:04:29 PM »

When I first saw an Ozu film I was disappointed by its simplicity. But there was a big retrospective on TV, and I watched them all. After about 4 or 5 films I got used to their style and began to enjoy them.
Plot for Ozu, at least in his late period, is something of a McGuffin. That is, the plots are necessary for the characters to reveal who they are, but are of little consequence to the audience. That's why Ozu can blithely re-use his plots over and over: Late Spring (1949), Late Autumn (1960), and An Autumn Afternoon (1962), for example, all use the same plot. What distinguishes each of the films (and they're all first-rate) is the characters, who naturally differ. And its the characters who provide the interest. Watching Ozu is like visiting people you know well; you either enjoy their company or you don't.



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« #12236 : July 11, 2013, 12:52:19 PM »

Watching Ozu is like visiting people you know well; you either enjoy their company or you don't.

Well said ...


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« #12237 : July 11, 2013, 03:30:02 PM »

The Reckless Moment (1949) Director: Max Ophüls with James Mason, Joan Bennett, Geraldine Brooks 7/10

Female on the Beach (1955) Director: Joseph Pevney Woman's Noir with Joan Crawford, Jeff Chandler, Jan Sterling, Cecil Kellaway, and Cecil Kellaway noir light 6/10


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« #12238 : July 11, 2013, 04:00:48 PM »

Female on the Beach (1955) Director: Joseph Pevney Woman's Noir with Joan Crawford, Jeff Chandler, Jan Sterling, Cecil Kellaway, and Cecil Kellaway noir light 6/10
I liked this more than a "6." I enjoyed the many sarcastic lines Joan caustically delivers. It's also nice seeing Mrs. Howell before she was Mrs. Howell.



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« #12239 : July 11, 2013, 05:09:59 PM »

Seven Miles from Alcatraz (1942) 7/10

This is one of those movies where someone who says "it's not my war" eventually learns to wave the flag. In this case, it's two escaped prisoners from Alcatraz who take a group of people on a lighthouse hostage - but when they learn that one of them is actually a Nazi spy, they risk their own freedom to try to help save the world. Kinda like Casablanca, right?

Directed by Edward Dmytryk.


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