Least and Most Favorite Movie of the week

Discussion of programming on TCM.
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LostHorizons
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Re: Least and Most Favorite Movie of the week

Post by LostHorizons »

Diamonds of the Night might be in the running for most boringest movie of all times award. Gives Chantal Akerman a run for her money.
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laffite
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Re: Least and Most Favorite Movie of the week

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CinemaInternational wrote: August 6th, 2023, 7:51 pm
skimpole wrote: July 30th, 2023, 2:35 am Last week I saw five movies. The Thief Who Came to Dinner was probably the least of this, chosen by TCM as part of its seventies actor tribute where it is Warren Oates as the insurance investigator who is the focus of the spotlight, as opposed to Ryan O'Neal playing the title character. One could think of better Warren Oates movies from the seventies to showcase his talents. And the movie itself suffers from the fact that O'Neal is too smug and smarmy a character, and is also not that bright. (You would think someone who knows his next site is under video surveillance would choose a better disguise than just being a priest). It's interesting to compare the movie to the other heist movie of the seventies $ (Dollars) which puts some effort into showing Warren Beatty's skills, and where Goldie Hawn is a more charismatic accomplice than Jacqueline Bisset in Thief.

The other movies are more interesting. Don't Worry Darling, with its Stepford Wives vibe doesn't have the most original plot. And the last third feels like something we have seen before. And yet Florence Pugh does have more energy in the strange early sixties California desert company town than one might expect, and there's certainly more sexual energy from her and Harry Styles than one ordinarily sees in Stepford Manor, and Olivia Wilde does have a certain directorial style. Shockproof combines a Sam Fuller script with early Douglas Sirk direction in the story about a parole officer who falls in love with one of his charges, who in turn can't quite quit the louse who has been using her for his own nefarious ends. Having an actual husband and wife play the leads helps the movie along and adds to the interest. But then the movie starts to turn into They Live By Night, and before it can end like Gun Crazy there's a studio imposed happy ending.

Last Summer is also worth watching. Barbara Hershey does show considerable promise as the attraction of the two male leads as they play on the beach one summer. As it happens, she would have to wait until the eighties to get major movie roles. Certainly this movie about slowly developing sexual tension among the trio, along with another girl they meet, works better than Summer of '42 and the eventual conclusion is both effective and counters the pornographic hopes many viewers may have expected. (Though a crucial early scene, which reveals much of Hershey's character involving her treatment of a seagull, is not quite adequately pulled off). Young and Innocent suffers in comparison to The Thirty-Nine Steps but this story of a good Samaritan finding a body, only to be falsely accused of the crime, doesn't work badly and is worth a rewatch, particularly in a suspenseful scene involving a children's party, and the conclusion involving blackface.
I recall seeing The Thief Who Came to Dinner about a dozen years ago when I had a mad teenage crush on Jacqueline Bisset. It was labeled as a crime comedy that hearkened back to the 30s, but it wasn't very comic, it wasn't 30s style, and it had a pretty nasty edge to some of the latter scenes. The only sparks came from the supporting turns of Jill Clayburgh and Austin Pendleton.
In 1984 I was a temp at Tiffany's and one day Jacqueline Bisset walked in. She caused quite a stir. She didn't do anything, she was just there, quite enough. She made eyes at one of my workmates who was all a-goggle. She was just being playful but my workmate enjoyed an undying reputation. Too bad you weren't there. :smiley_happygroup: Though she was no doubt before your time.
Sabine Azema in Sunday in the Country
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laffite
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Re: Least and Most Favorite Movie of the week

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skimpole wrote: December 17th, 2023, 4:56 am Last week I saw five movies. Let's start with the three disappointing movies from the fifties and sixties. Before Stanley Kramer got fame, and then infamy, for making a series of overly didactic movies from The Defiant Ones to Guess who's Coming to Dinner, he made The Pride and the Passion a historical potboiler where Cary Grant plays a British naval officer who has to help Spaniards Frank Sinatra and Sophia Loren transport a cannon in the war against Napoleon. Some of the shots are impressive, but the movie suffers from Kramer's uncanny ability to suck the life out of his actors. Grant manages to survive, but the other characters are just cliches of passionate peasants. (The final scene, where the otherwise unarmed peasants are able to capture the city of Avila with just one cannon, doesn't help matters.) What's New Pussycat is Woody Allen's film debut, as the third most important actor. He's not bad, and Peter O'Toole is amusing as a womanizer who would like to stop being one. But Peter Sellers, as O'Toole's lecherous psychiatrist, is too broad, and after hit and miss jokes in the first half, the third quarter becomes overly confusing. [emphasis by laffite] Alfie got Michael Caine his first oscar nomination. The idea behind the movie is that if you are going to have movies about compulsive womanizers and lower-class ones at that, you must make their lives as unattractive as possible, with Caine's conquests an unattractive group of drips you could imagine. In a way, the movie's dishonesty is the converse of Love with the Proper Stranger's (Natalie Wood should marry the stranger who got her pregnant in a one night stand who happily looks like Steve McQueen). Here Alfie at the end is the gigolo of Shelly Winters--who cheats on him! (In the same decade Caine was dating Candice Bergen, Nancy Sinatra and Wood). One doesn't have to like womanizing, but it's insulting to pretend that it can't be fun.

The two more recent movies are much better. The Boy and the Heron is in fact the best movie from this year I've seen yet. This is fantasy movie which takes place near the end of the second world war in Japan. Our teenage protagonist is resentful that his maternal aunt is now his stepmother, and about to give birth to a half-sibling. Encounters with the titular heron, and his stepmother's vanishing leads into a strange library world (the best kind!), charming pillow like creatures, and man-eating parakeets and certainly more imagination than animated movies in the past five years combined. Tori and Lakita is the latest of the Dardennes' brothers thrillers about the precariat. The title characters are 12 year old Tori and 17 year old Lakita. They are African refugees trying to live in Belgium. They are pretending to be brother and sister. At the same time, they have to help sell drugs for the unscrupulous restauranteer, while Lakita has to pay the smugglers who got her here, and remit money to her mother back in Cameroon. This is the extremely unpromising situation they are in, and it soon gets much worse. The tension increases, as the relatively short movie (under 90 minutes) comes to a shocking conclusion.
I read somewhere that Woody Allen did not like this movie, or something about it that truly miffed him. I checked the Wiki articled for a mention but no. There is plenty to scour on the Net for such a mention but alas ... not moved to do that for the moment. But it is an interesting item, I remember that much.
Sabine Azema in Sunday in the Country
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