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WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

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RedRiver
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby RedRiver » January 28th, 2012, 3:30 pm

To be fair to the producers, some of them did have good story sense.

I agree, King Rat. We like to praise The Artiste and denounce the system. But two heads are better than one. IF...you have the right heads! I don't watch the fashionable "Director's Cut" of anything. Partly for the reason just stated. Also, I'm interested in film history. Better or worse, it's the theatrical release that goes on the record. At least, so far. Once we started carrying computers in our pockets, I pretty much lost track of technology's impact on culture!

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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby kingrat » January 28th, 2012, 4:28 pm

Are Maven and I the only two who have seen War Horse? We saw it last night. My other half said it was the biggest roller coaster ride of emotion he'd seen in a long time. Agreed.

War Horse is a tearjerker, a male weepie, with subjects that make it acceptable for a man if he feels his eyes getting moist--and in this film, that's likely. Boy meets horse, boy loses horse, will boy and horse find each other again? Although World War I is crucial to the story, and the re-creation of the trenches and No Man's Land is done well, this is not a war film, but a sentimental fable. Expect big coincidences and strains on plausibility. It's a fable, a children's book for older children. There's even an equine bromance. Spielberg opts not to show much overt violence. He uses a turning windmill at a crucial moment, for instance, just as a director of the classic era would, so that we see only the aftermath of a violent act.

Spielberg and his cinematographer find some moments of true visual beauty: boy approaching horse on a hillside, with a peaceful river behind and below them; horses leaping over machine guns. The colors of the last scene, however, could scarcely be more garish and vulgar, which is not to say that the scene doesn't tug at the heartstrings. Interior scenes, such as barns, have a diffused unnatural white light from the outside, and Joey, the horse, almost has a halo of light around him when he tries to save his horse buddy. Spielberg also borrows famous shots from Witness and Gone With the Wind, and the goose is right out of Friendly Persuasion.

If you want subtlety and restraint, you'll need to see another film. Spielberg doesn't hold back from any of the (melo)dramatic possibilities. However, most of the filmmaking is very well done, and the horses are great. Take Kleenex.

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CineMaven
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby CineMaven » January 28th, 2012, 8:52 pm

"THE MISFITS"

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She...breaks...my...heart.
"You build my gallows high, baby."

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feaito

Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby feaito » January 29th, 2012, 8:50 am

I have seen three very different but engrossing films:

- Firstly a film I saw when I was a kid which impressed me greatly back in the '70s: "Sssssss" (1973) in which Strother Martin plays a scientific expert in snakes who's experimenting trying to create a superior "being"...he's playing God and he gives a very good performance, because he's not the typical mad, megalomaniac scientist, but a nice man who truly believes in his quest. A very young Dirk Benedict (Face of "The A Team") is the rather naive student who works for him and Heather Menzies (Mrs. Robert Urich) the scientific's young daughter who falls in love with her father's aid. In spite of the fact that I had watched this film as a boy it did not let me down after 30sth years. I think it's well done, the scenes involving different types of snakes ar very well handled; in fact the actors were really brave to face these scenes and the special effects are fantastic (sans CGI or photoshop, thank God`). In all a very fine film!

- "Third Finger, Left Hand" (1940): A very engaging comedy with Myrna Loy as a career woman pretending to be married in order to succeed as such. Melvyn Douglas is cast opposite her, for a change, although he shares some traits with Bill Powell (one of my favorite comedians). Lee Bowman plays the other man. Very well done by Robert Z. Leonard (it makes one wonder about his true talents -or was it MGM's expert staff achivement?). Two things of note: Myrna Loy has a brilliant scene pretending to be a vulgar woman with a heavy Brooklyn accent to the dismay of Douglas' and some of his acquaintances, in a scene reminiscent of Irene Dunne's impersonation of Cary Grant's low-class sister in "The Awful Truth" and Ernest Whitman plays a dignified black character -for a change in an American film of that Era-; he's studied law by correspondence and aids Douglas with legal advice in his negotiations with Lee Bowman. Very worthwhile.

feaito

Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby feaito » January 29th, 2012, 8:53 am

The third film I saw is a masterpiece and an absolutely amazing work of art directed by -perhaps- Chile's greatest all-time director: "Mysteries of Lisbon Parts I and II" (2010) directed by Raúl (aka Raoul) Ruiz. The whole film runs over 4 hours and from what I read it was edited from a longer running miniseries. Where to start? The film does not star any internationally acclaimed actor, mostly Portuguese performers who are excellent in their roles. The film is mainly spoken in Portuguese, and also in French and Italian. The art direction, the sets, the costumes, the attention to period detail, the landscapes, the masterful camera work, etcetera, etcetera, are amazing. The film does not drag a bit and it keeps your attention & interest during its whole length and is instilled with that sentiment perfectly described by that Portuguese word (remember April?) "Saudade". EXCELLENT, SUPERB, BRAVO!!

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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby MichiganJ » January 29th, 2012, 10:14 am

feaito wrote: Firstly a film I saw when I was a kid which impressed me greatly back in the '70s: "Sssssss" (1973)

Ssssss was the first movie my brother and I saw without our parents. We said we were going to see some Disney flick, but I convinced my brother that we had to see Sssss instead. My mother couldn't understand how a Johnny Whitaker film gave us both nightmares.
"Let's be independent together." Dr. Hermey DDS

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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby charliechaplinfan » January 29th, 2012, 10:59 am

kingrat wrote:Are Maven and I the only two who have seen War Horse? We saw it last night. My other half said it was the biggest roller coaster ride of emotion he'd seen in a long time. Agreed.

War Horse is a tearjerker, a male weepie, with subjects that make it acceptable for a man if he feels his eyes getting moist--and in this film, that's likely. Boy meets horse, boy loses horse, will boy and horse find each other again? Although World War I is crucial to the story, and the re-creation of the trenches and No Man's Land is done well, this is not a war film, but a sentimental fable. Expect big coincidences and strains on plausibility. It's a fable, a children's book for older children. There's even an equine bromance. Spielberg opts not to show much overt violence. He uses a turning windmill at a crucial moment, for instance, just as a director of the classic era would, so that we see only the aftermath of a violent act.

Spielberg and his cinematographer find some moments of true visual beauty: boy approaching horse on a hillside, with a peaceful river behind and below them; horses leaping over machine guns. The colors of the last scene, however, could scarcely be more garish and vulgar, which is not to say that the scene doesn't tug at the heartstrings. Interior scenes, such as barns, have a diffused unnatural white light from the outside, and Joey, the horse, almost has a halo of light around him when he tries to save his horse buddy. Spielberg also borrows famous shots from Witness and Gone With the Wind, and the goose is right out of Friendly Persuasion.

If you want subtlety and restraint, you'll need to see another film. Spielberg doesn't hold back from any of the (melo)dramatic possibilities. However, most of the filmmaking is very well done, and the horses are great. Take Kleenex.


Is it OK for a 9 and 6 year old? My daughter has the book but I'm a but nervous, she's a massive animal lover. The history would appeal to her but I'm wary. Reading and seeing are two different things, you can put a book down much more easily than walking out of a movie.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

feaito

Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby feaito » January 29th, 2012, 12:33 pm

MichiganJ wrote:
feaito wrote: Firstly a film I saw when I was a kid which impressed me greatly back in the '70s: "Sssssss" (1973)

Ssssss was the first movie my brother and I saw without our parents. We said we were going to see some Disney flick, but I convinced my brother that we had to see Sssss instead. My mother couldn't understand how a Johnny Whitaker film gave us both nightmares.


Kevin, the same happaned to me with "Don't Be afraid of the dark" (1973); I understand that the remake produced by Guillermo del Toro is not good.

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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby MikeBSG » January 29th, 2012, 2:11 pm

Yesterday, I watched "Boom Town" (1940) directed by Jack Conway.

I thought the first 40 minutes or so of the film were wonderful, when we were actually in the boom town and saw Gable and Tracy becoming partners and putting up an oil well.

Then the rest of the film covered the next twenty years, and the movie got further and further away from the good stuff. Heddy Lamarr looked lovely, but she belonged in another film completely.

Two little things struck me. First, in the trial, Gable is accused (by the snooty Federal attorney) of being "an economic royalist and a Bourbon." This is a direct quote from FDR, and it surprised me to find it given to such an unlikeable character. (Clearly, this was not a Warner Brothers movie.)

Second, Gable and the other wildcat oil workers go around shouting "Wahoo!" and this reminded me of Yukon Cornelius in the Christmas special "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." Clearly, they got the idea from "Boom Town." ("Rudolph" also has a quote from "That Fatal Glass of Beer.")

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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby RedRiver » January 29th, 2012, 3:46 pm

I can't help but like BOOM TOWN. It's a bit overblown. Wastes a little time. But it's old time drama, larger than life. Not bad. I initiated a newcomer to classic crime drama last night. After much deliberation, I chose MALTESE FALCON and ASPHALT JUNGLE. Mostly because the library has new copies! Still, can you beat these two treasures?

My friend made it through "Falcon." Fell asleep halfway through "Asphalt." I never should have attempted a double feature!

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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby Lzcutter » January 29th, 2012, 4:09 pm

I saw The Exile last night (tivo'd as part of TCM's salute to Max Ophuls) and was blown away by it. Douglas Fairbank,Jr is wonderful as the exiled Charles Stuart who must hide in Holland to avoid being killed by the followers of Oliver Cromwell. Taking a page from his father's big-screen persona, Fairbanks proves himself quite agile and believable in the role. In addition, he wrote and produced the film. Maria Montez was only on the screen for about ten minutes despite her star billing. According to Robert O, her contract with Universal required that she get star billing despite the length of her time on screen. But, she was terrific.

I really enjoyed it and as a bonus, TCM should the ending that European audiences saw.
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"Film is history. With every foot of film lost, we lose a link to our culture, to the world around us, to each other and to ourselves."

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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby Lzcutter » January 29th, 2012, 4:48 pm

Last Saturday, Marco and I braved the wicked streets of the Castro district. With the Noir City festival at the beloved Castro theater, patrons (other than us) were dressed to the nines in fabulous vintage wear (Suex2 would have been right at home). All that was missing was the legendary fog that the city is famous for (but the warm weather we've been having nixed the fog). What brought us to this caldron of femme fatales and gumshoes? To see a double bill (double shot) of Lee Marvin. The added bonus, Angie Dickinson (who co-starred in both films being shown,) would be doing a Q&A with Eddie Mueller, the head of the Film Noir Foundation and the producer of the Festival.

Up first was Don Siegel's version of The Killers starring Lee, Angie, John Cassavettes, Clu Gulager, Claude Akins and Ronald Reagan. This update of the Ernest Hemingway story that was first brought to the screen by Robert Siodmak with Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner, provided Clu Gulager with his best role as Lee's sidekick. Their camaraderie is really at the heart of this film. They begin a cross country trek to learn the reason why Cassavettes didn't run when they showed up at his workplace, a school for the blind, to kill him. Their trek takes them to the south where they find Claude Akins who runs a racing shop to get the back story. There they learn that Cassavettes, a hot shot race car driver with a bright future, met and fell hard for Angie. But despite Angie's declarations of love, she belonged to a hard edged gangster played by Reagan. Their next stop after leaving Akins in tears over the demise of Cassavettes is to Norman Fell, who they integrate while he is taking a steam. From Fell, they learn that Angie and Reagan are living in Los Angeles.

The final showdown between the four includes the great line (by Lee, of course), "Lady, I haven't got the time."
The Q&A with Angie followed a short intermission. For 81 (one year older than Debbie Reynolds), she looks great. Eddie chided her for not wearing a dress but she said she had to give them up. She talked about her career from being discovered by Howard Hawks' wife (shades of Lauren Bacall) and cast in Rio Bravo. She really enjoyed working with Wayne, Martin and Walter Brennan. She was under personal contract to Hawks and thought she would be making more films with him. He, however, sold her contract to Warners, without her knowledge. She showed up on the Warners lot for what she thought was fittings in the wardrobe department and the guard gave her a permanent parking pass. That's how she discovered that Hawks had sold her contract.

She "loves people who love the movies" and had the audience eating out of her hand. During the making of The Killers, JFK was assassinated. She spoke a bit about the entire Kennedy clan and how she knew Jackie, Ethel, Rose and old Joe. She evaded Mueller's questions regarding JFK.

She was in London with Burt Bacharach, whom she was dating at the time, when her agent called with the offer for her to co-star with Marlon Brando in The Chase. She hesitated because it meant leaving Bacharach. She asked what the story was about and her agent replied, "Angie, you'd be playing Marlon's wife, who cares what it's about." She took the role.

She couldn't talk much about the making of Point Blank as that was the next film we were to see and she didn't want to give too much away.

Point Blank is one of my favorites and it was great to see it on the big screen again. Filmed in SF and Los Angeles, my heart sang at the mid-century locales in my beloved City of Angels.

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!

I've long believed that everything that happens after Walker gets shot twice in the chest at Alcatraz is his revenge fantasy as he lay dying, " a dream, a dream."

The movie, at least for me, very subtly plays that way. As he walks through the corridor at LAX (love the color scheme on the wall by the way), all you hear are Walker's footsteps. People pass him but we don't hear their footsteps or snippets of their conversation, there is no sound of the intercom voice announcing arrivals and departures, there are no sounds at all of a real life interior airport, only the sounds of Walker's footsteps.

Characters are surprised to see Walker alive and say as much in various scenes. "I heard you were dead." "I thought you were dead." Chris also tells him straight out, "You died at Alcatrez."

Walker never has blood on his hands. That is left for others. Walker witnesses scenes rather than directly influencing them. He is the avenging angel who only wants what is rightfully his.. He disappears into the darkness as you point out in an homage to Chain Gang. I've always taken that moment as Walker taking his final breath before fading to black for eternity. The movie ends, if I recall correctly, with a shot of Alcatraz, where inside Walker, his revenge fantasy played out, finally dies off-camera.

But how exactly did Lynne die? We see her with Walker after Alcatrez in her house. He sits on the sofa while she apologizes for betraying him, tells him that she can't sleep and how see messed up going with Mal (John Vernon in his introductory role). He never comments on her rambling soliloquy. He checks on her later in the night and she has overdosed and died. But then, when he wakes up in the morning the house is completely empty, no furniture, no sign of Walker having plugged her mattress with a round of slugs. No body. Just a bathtub of perfumes running together which Walker had knocked off their shelves while looking for Mal.

The one thing that always gets me with that scene is that it reminds me of Walker still on Alcatraz bleeding out. There is one other scene that also recalls the bleeding out imagery over Walker's face.

It's a really great movie and Boorman and Marvin formed a friendship that lasted the rest of Lee's life. If you haven't seen the documentary that Boorman did on Lee, I highly recommend it.

After the film, neither Marco or his friends that were with us had seen the film before and the question they had, "did Marvin get his money?" It was great fun explaining the above to them.

All in all, a terrific night of Lee and Angie and two great modern film noirs.
Lynn in Lake Balboa

"Film is history. With every foot of film lost, we lose a link to our culture, to the world around us, to each other and to ourselves."

"For me, John Wayne has only become more impressive over time." Marty Scorsese

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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby charliechaplinfan » January 30th, 2012, 7:26 am

I watched Remember The Night and was completely charmed by it. I like Mitchell Leisen as a director, Preston Sturges as a writer and Barbara Stanwyck but Fred MacMurray is neither one thing or the other for me, however here he shook off my preconceptions and was brilliant as the DA who is prosecuting the very guilty Barbara Stanwyck who has taken a very nice shiny wristwatch from a jewellers. Not only does he get her out of jail by paying her bond he takes her with him back to Indiana, sees her horrible mother than takes her on to meet his family. His mother played by one of my favourites, Beulah Bondi is so charming to Barbara's thief even though she knows the truth. Some lovely touches like gifting her last year's Christmas present to the girl her son brought home, baking popovers, rummage sales. Showing the unloved Barbara just how a loving family is a welcoming her into the heart of it. My feeling is Babs fell for the family just as much as the man. A detour through Canada where Babs could jump ship should she choose to but she chooses to come home, plead guilty, wipe her slate clean and marry Fred once she's paid her debt to society.

I loved the scene in the meadow with the cow and the subsequent one with the judge. The film is part screwball but mainly a good old romantic drama.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

feaito

Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby feaito » January 30th, 2012, 1:19 pm

Remember the Night is superb, glad you enjoyed it Alison. Have you seen Fred MacMurray in "Hands Across the Table" (1935), "The Princess Comes Across" (1936), "True Confession "(1937) and "Swing High, Swing Low" (1937) opposite Lombard and "The Gilded Lily", "The Bride Comes Home" (both 1935) and "No Time for Love" (1943), all opposite Colbert ? Those are other good films with fine peformances by Fred and his leading ladies.

As for dramas Fred is great in Sirk's "There's Always Tomorrow" (1956) with Stanwyck and Joan Bennett and, of course, in Wilder's "Double Indemnity" (1944).

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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby charliechaplinfan » January 30th, 2012, 1:54 pm

I haven't seen the comedies with Fred in apart from Hands Across the Table, I'm not sure whether it's because I knew him first from Double Indemnity and The Apartment, for many years in fact before I realised he'd once been better known as a comedy actor. Perhaps it's this that has made me shy away from his films, they are both undesirable characters and his performance in Double Indemnity is brilliant, his descent to murder is so powerful, it must have been a real kick in the pants for Hollywood who had him pegged as a light comedy actor, a bit like Dick Powell turning to Raymond Chandler. It didn't occur to me either that these are the leads from Double Indemnity, oh my, thinking about it in this way it's unbelievable.

For years I had only seen Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity and I couldn't see that she had any charm, that blonde wig and ankle bracelet really take away from Barbara's attractiveness. I never understood why they made her look so hard, it makes her character in DI more obvious, of course she's out and out bad. Otherwise I love DI. Thankfully I took a look at Barbara's other films and loved them.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin


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