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: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  ( 4116888 )
Groggy
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« #13470 : April 24, 2014, 04:09:34 PM »

The Boys from Brazil is pretty wretched.



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« #13471 : April 25, 2014, 04:37:59 AM »

Men in War (1957) - 8/10. Korea, 1950. Lt. Robert Ryan wakes up to discover positions have shifted in the night and his platoon is now behind enemy lines (hmmm, this seems to happen a lot in ground combat). With his vehicle out of commission and his commo down, he's got to get his boys back to battalion ASAP. And then Aldo Ray shows up, and its double the testosterone for the price! Ray has a jeep in which he's hauling Brian Keith's dad, Robert, a nearly comatose colonel. Ryan requisitions both men and materiel, beginning a running conflict with Ray that lasts most of the picture. Meanwhile, the enemy is everywhere, and attrition is taking its toll. Vic Morrow is along, but he's showing battle fatigue most of the time (he is able to snap out of it at the end for the big climax, though (huh?)). L.Q. Jones is there too, and he's great in a very, very small part. Of course, it all goes terribly Hollywood at the end when Ryan decides his boys have one final hill to take. Here, the enemy is being incredibly stupid. Fixed defensive positions, but no LP? And no one patrolling forward of the non-existent LP? Ryan and Co. are able to roll right up to the enemy and smoke 'em (literally, we get footage of some great flamethrower work). And then Robert Keith emerges from his coma just in time to get in on the final action (huh?). Still, as war films go this is pretty good. No big statements, just men doing dangerous jobs with intelligence and aplomb. And not infrequently Anthony Mann provides us with some very impressive cinematographic compositions of Men in War.



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« #13472 : April 25, 2014, 07:08:22 AM »

Duke tribute on TCM continues with THE SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS. I watched about 40 minutes before shutting it off, it wasn't interesting, but I am mentioning it cuz there is beautiful Technicolor in a 1941 film, you may never see a prettier use of color from that date. (Please don't utter the string of 4-letter words known as GONE WITH the WIND.) So, next time TCM plays it, you may wanna take a peek.


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« #13473 : April 25, 2014, 07:25:27 AM »

For you Peckinpah fans, if you have Encore Westerns channel, they'll be showing SAM PECKINPAH'S WEST: LEGACY OF A HOLLYWOOD RENEGADE on Sunday 4-27-14 at 7:05 AM EST


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« #13474 : April 25, 2014, 09:10:34 PM »

Rewatches of Cheyenne Autumn and Sergeant Rutledge and:

Pursued - 8/10 - Robert Mitchum plays a rancher tormented by a past he barely remembers, protected by adoptive mother Judith Anderson (yikes!), hated by his surrogate brother (some loser) and loved by Theresa Wright. The story's a bit silly, with character motivations changing at the drop of a hat and an overly-convenient ending. The main reason to watch is James Wong Howe's master class in cinematography: amazing mood, lighting and depth of field both in-doors (dig that deep focus) and outdoors. The scene where an assassin stalks Mitchum from a mile back is especially remarkable.



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« #13475 : April 26, 2014, 12:33:53 PM »

The Pawnbroker (1964) - 5/10. Rod Steiger gives an impressive performance as the title character, a Jewish concentration camp survivor who, deadened by his experience, lives now only for money. People are constantly reaching out to him, but he always refuses to take their hand (in one scene with a very frumpy Geraldine Fitzgerald, literally). If the film had only been about that it probably could have been one of the greatest films on the subject of survivor's guilt. Instead, the film piles on additional narrative material from, seemingly, other films. It turns out his Manhattan pawnbroking business (Park Ave. and E. 116th/Harlem) is really a front. The shop doesn't actually make any money (!), it's just a way to launder funds for Mr. Big (Brock Peters). Late in the film, Steiger is shocked, shocked to discover that the money he's paid comes from such unsavory activities as prostitution. This is particularly galling because, we discover in flashbacks, the pawnbroker's late wife was prostituted by the Nazis. Steiger then tries to get out from under, but he discovers he's in too deep and, anyway, his will was broken long ago. If that weren't enough, there's also a group of punks who are planning to knock off the pawnshop (huh? Don't they know it's a front? Won't they be bringing down the wrath of Mr. Big on their heads if they succeed?). Then there's the young PR kid who's working as the pawnbroker's assistant. Will he decide to betray his employer in order to get a taste of the good life?  Huh, what happened to our film about a bitter death camp survivor?

As you see, the film (and maybe the underlying source novel) tried to get too much into the story. The focus is constantly shifting, and by the end I wasn't completely sure what the film was about. There are, however, still some very nice things about the film: as previously mentioned, Steiger's performance; beautiful b&w widescreen photography of Manhattan locations circa 1962; those locations themselves, many of which no longer exist. There's an elevated train line running along Park Ave. in front of the pawnbroker's shop, and it had me stumped for a while, but a visit to IMDb provided this explanation:
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At the time this was filmed, the EL was the elevated tracks of the New York Central Railroad over Park ave. with trackage rights granted to the New Haven Railroad for access into Grand Central Station. In 1968 it became Penn Central and in 1976 Conrail. The Line was purchased by the state of NY-MTA on 1/1/1983 and became Metro North Railroad. By the early 1990's the viaduct was in such bad shape the MTA tore down one entire section at a time by Track (4 tracks) and rebuilt the entire stucture. So the EL seen in the this film no longer exists as it did in 1964 having been totaly rebuilt.

That poster seems to know what he's talking about (and, as a frequent Metro North user myself, I found the info particularly interesting). A shame the film isn't better than it is, but Olive's new Blu-ray transfer is so impressive, I probably have to re-watch it several times to experience again the Manhattan of 50 years ago.



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« #13476 : April 26, 2014, 03:31:04 PM »

Masques (1987) - 6/10. One of Chabrol's potboilers. Philippe Noiret is a successful game show host on French TV (a horrible show where old people sing and dance--noodles_leone knows the type). During a brief hiatus, Noiret invites the young journalist writing his biography to his country house where they can work on the book together. The writer has some other agenda, however, or else why would he be carrying a gun? At the house there are a number of people already--Noiret's masseuse and her husband, Noiret's driver, a mysterious "god daughter" who keeps to her room (a pre-Cyrano Anne Brouchet), and a woman attendant (whose incessant smile really starts getting on your nerves after a while). All here is not as it seems, and soon a game of cat-and-mouse begins between Noiret and the young man. This is well done, and the movie is enjoyable for as long as things remain opaque. But once everybody puts their cards on the table the whole thing becomes rather pedestrian. Throughout, however, Noiret plays his part as the affable swine to perfection, and his performance is the reason to watch the film.



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« #13477 : April 26, 2014, 05:19:29 PM »

The Undefeated - 6/10 - Middling John Wayne vehicle teaming him with Confederate officer Rock Hudson for mayhem in Mexico. Modestly entertaining; the story crawls all over the place, but the cast, action and photography make it watchable. By Andy McLaglen standards it's practically a masterpiece.



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« #13478 : April 26, 2014, 06:25:38 PM »

Groggy, what's your opinion of CHEYENNE AUTUMN? I know most people don't like it, but I give it an 8/10 (though I always skip the excruciating "Wyatt Earp" scene. Patrick Wayne is one of the worst actors in movie history, IMO Carroll Baker delivers an amazing performance, I  always love Richard Widmark and Edward G. Robinson (even if the color of his scenes are awful cuz they pieces together scenes frrom two different locations!) People often say, "LIBERTY VALANCE was Ford's last good Western," but I disagree, I think that was his last GREAT one, but CHEYENNE AUTUMN is very good IMO.


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« #13479 : April 26, 2014, 07:42:47 PM »

Beautifully shot, (mostly) good acting and well-intentioned; didactic in its message and dramatically stilted. 6/10 seems fair.



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« #13480 : April 27, 2014, 01:29:52 AM »

6/10 is it in my opinion to.

Drink, what's wrong with the  Wyatt Earp scene (apart from being wrong in this film). It's great fun. Somehow the most remarkable scene of Cheyenne Autumn.


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« #13481 : April 27, 2014, 02:57:05 AM »

Captain America: The Winter Soldier - I'd say about 7/10. It could have focused more on the Winter Soldier and less on the whole SHIELD mess and the CGI explosions. Nick Fury is a total badass, tho. Can't wait for Avengers 2.

I also saw CA: The First Avenger shortly before and it was way better than TWS. Mostly because it's closer to a dark war drama and Red Skull is a very charismatic villain (bring him back!).

I want a HYDRA pin.


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« #13482 : April 27, 2014, 06:00:51 AM »

I remember hating the first Captain America so I've been wary of this one.



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« #13483 : April 27, 2014, 10:19:46 AM »

TWS is more Groggy-friendly than the first film. It's The Avengers meets 3 Days of the Condor.

Riot in Cell Block 11
(1954) - 6/10. The prisoners in Cell Block 11 riot.

This is a Don Siegel film, so it's tightly constructed and moves at a nice pace. However, it's also a message picture, and getting the message out hamstrings the plot at times. And further, the message is: if we'd only spend more on prisons, there'd be fewer of these pesky riots. Well, 60 years later we know money isn't the answer--riots are down, sure, but gang membership is at an all-time high, to say nothing of anal rape. And recidivism, even with generous work-training programs, remains constant.

But Riot paints a happy fantasy for those who wish to partake. The prisoners are all great guys who just need to catch a break. Many of them are veterans. The only purpose for the riot is to secure better conditions and bring the plight of prisoners to the attention of the public. In casting the firebrand for the riot the filmmakers chose Neville Brand, a not surprising choice. What is surprising is the character portrayal Brand provides. You'll never meet a more reasonable, forthright con than Neville. What a guy! Too bad his evil society has decided to lock him up under less-than-ideal conditions.

Most of the filming was done at Folsom Prison, giving the look of the movie great realism. You need that kind of visual authenticity, I guess, to sell fantasy.

« : April 27, 2014, 10:48:28 AM dave jenkins »


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« #13484 : April 27, 2014, 10:58:45 AM »

TWS is more Groggy-friendly than the first film. It's The Avengers meets 3 Days of the Condor.

As good an endorsement as any. O0



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