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Posted: August 26th, 2008, 4:05 pm
by jdb1
Over the weekend, I saw the Swedish film Faithless. I missed the beginning, and thought to myself as I watched it that it seemed so very like an Ingmar Bergman film, but something about it wasn't quite right. It's a story of a writer who imagines a woman telling him the circumstances of her adulterous affair, which is shown in flashbacks.

As it turns out, it was at least in part a Bergman film, Bergman having written the screenplay, but it was directed by Liv Ullmann. Perhaps the production responsibilities would have been better the other way around. I was really surprised at how much I disliked this movie and its characters.

There was an uncharacteristic (for Bergman) element of the whinings of the spoiled rich and privileged, something I'd associate more with Woody Allen's Bergmanesque movies, than with Bergman's. Something about this movie missed the mark - there was none of the universality of a Bergman work to this one. It was a story of some very annoying and arrogant people who didn't even have the saving grace of good old-fashioned hubris. To me they were simply emotionally and behaviorally dishonest failures.

Advisory: there is quite a bit of full frontal nudity in this movie, but not one bit of it is in any way erotic, which I took to be on purpose, since one of the failures of the Big Affair is that these people never really connect emotionally.

I do believe that in Bergman's directorial hands (and perhaps with Ullmann playing the part of the imaginary woman) this could have been a far better film.

Posted: August 26th, 2008, 4:24 pm
by charliechaplinfan
Last night I sat and watched La Dolce Vita for me it's a film that improves on second viewing. I think it's because it's the first Italian film I tried, my mind was perhaps set more for American/British movies. It didn't move much on first viewing. It's stayed with me though and as I've become a bigger fan of Marcello Mastroianni and more acquainted with Fellini I thought I'd revisit it.

The story revolves around Marcello who is a journalist and a pleasure seeker. It's about his disatisafaction with his job, his ambition to be a writer and his encounters with women. It's much more than that too. Fellini seems to have captured a style and captured the start of the sixties with his fashions, photography and view of the party people .

Intermingled are the stories Marcello covers one concerns some children who claim to have seen the Madonna, probably concocted. The Vatican was never going to like this film.

The film will be remembered for some for the famous scene in the Trevi fountain, Anita Ekberg looks so glamourous, like a blonde Rita Hayworth. The scene just before this when they are dancing and Marcello tells her in Italian that she is everything, mother, sister, lover etc. It's a beautiful scene.

It's quite a long film about three hours but doesn't seem it at all.

This is the film that is used so wonderfully in Divorce Italian Style when the priest tells the townsfolk that they have not to see the film when it plays in their town and of course the cinema is packed and it's standing room only.

panda fun

Posted: August 27th, 2008, 11:26 am
by inglis
I took my kids yesterday to see Kung Fu Panda. My kids loved it I loved it . .Great movie for adults and kids just the comedy between the animated characters is so funny.I felt like I was looking at Jack Black as a Panda .He weaves his own comedy style right in with this character and makes it so believable. Dustin Hoffman was the master who teaches Po(Jack Black) Kung Fu and to believe in himself .From beginning to end very entertaining and a great cast of voices. :D

Posted: August 27th, 2008, 12:05 pm
by Bogie
Just a future note:

I bought the two volume Mr. Moto set and should get it in a couple or so weeks. I plan to run by each movie chronologically in a separate thread.

Posted: August 27th, 2008, 12:53 pm
by MikeBSG
I just caught up with two movies from the Nineties on DVD.

Trevor Nunn's "Twelfth Night" was wonderful. I hadn't read the play since high school, but I enjoyed the movie tremendously. Interesting to be reminded of Helena Bonham Carter's sweet and innocent phase. The comic roles -- Sir Toby Belch, Sir Andrew Augincheek and Malvolio -- were all splendidly played. Imogen Stubbs was perfect as the heroine. I understand this movie flopped at the box office, but I thought it was terrific.

"Benny and Joon" would have been unwatchable if not for Johnny Depp. He did fine physical comedy here, a Chaplinesque dance with rolls, a scene in the park that reminded me of Max Linder, and he climbed a building like Harold Lloyd. The rest of the movie was too mawky for me, but Depp cut through it like a breath of fresh air.

Posted: August 27th, 2008, 3:20 pm
by charliechaplinfan
I watched the British version of Gaslight today. I loved Anton Walbrook's portrayal. He's really twisted and I like the atomoshpere in this version. I prefer Ingrid Bergman's portrayal in the lead in the remake. I just like Ingrid, she's like a breath of fresh air on screen. Each version has different things that recommend them. I'm glad I've seen both.

Posted: August 28th, 2008, 11:35 pm
by movieman1957
I saw Ford's "Seas Beneath." Early sound movies never looked so good but came out so weird. The story involves a US Navy schooner type ship that, while towing a submarine, hunts Germany's most famous sub.

It takes nearly an hour to get going and when it does it is a little hard to believe. An AWOL American sailor hides on a small German boat managing to inflict a little damage. He is shot to death by the German captain. Then they put a life jacket on the body and send him out to sea with a hearty salute from the crew he just tried to kill. Stretches of the imagination like that and in the meeting along the way of the American and German crews in the Canary Islands and the main female lead and her dual role make this one tough to take.

Good things going for it are that it is mostly filmed on the boats and real ones at that. No miniatures or models. Probably 75% of the film is shot out doors and on the decks. Scenes with Germans are shot in German. Sparse title cards for translation are bothersome as you can only guess what the Germans are saying.

Bad part is neither boat could hit the other if their life depended on it. That may be more a matter of not tearing anything up. Dialogue is a bit rough. Not many Ford touches. Interesting only as a curiosity.

Posted: August 29th, 2008, 1:55 pm
by charliechaplinfan
I got chance to see two Barbara Stanwyck movies.

The first Clash By Night was one of Fritz Lang's later films. It's interesting because it features Marilyn Monroe in a very early role and she is very good, very natural. Barbara Stanwyck is great as the woman who settles down, despote knowing she hasn't got what it takes to make a contented wife and has an affair with Robert Ryan's character Earl. I particularly liked the ending of this movie. It's so grownup.

I dug this out because of Lisa's visit to the forum, I felt I should become more acquainted with him. I thought he gave a great 'dangerous' performance and had great chemistry with Barbara.

Last night I saw Jeopardy, this is a film I hadn't even heard of, gosh it's good. It has you on the edge of your seat and you don't move until the end. Another wonderful performance by Barbara Stanwyck, a great supporting performance give by Barry Sullivan and Ralph Meeker.

Dare I say this film could easily be remade today, with a different cast, a good story would translate just as well, it's funny this one hasn't been considered for an updated remake.

Posted: August 30th, 2008, 2:23 am
by Bogie
charliechaplinfan wrote:I got chance to see two Barbara Stanwyck movies.

The first Clash By Night was one of Fritz Lang's later films. It's interesting because it features Marilyn Monroe in a very early role and she is very good, very natural. Barbara Stanwyck is great as the woman who settles down, despote knowing she hasn't got what it takes to make a contented wife and has an affair with Robert Ryan's character Earl. I particularly liked the ending of this movie. It's so grownup.

I dug this out because of Lisa's visit to the forum, I felt I should become more acquainted with him. I thought he gave a great 'dangerous' performance and had great chemistry with Barbara.
Great film! It's one of my favourite of Stanwyck's more noirish works. Paul Douglas can come off badly in some of his movies but he's really great here especially when he finds out that Stanwyck has left him near the end of the film.

This well yesterday morning I watched the 1998 thriller The Negotiator starring Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey. This was a pretty good film in which there's more plot then action involved. That's not to say there's no action at all but what there is, is actually believable for the most part. Basically Jackson is a police negotiator who's framed and it looks like he's going to the slammer. He takes hostage a guy who he believes has a huge role in the frame up and can clear his name. Unfortunately other people also become his hostages. Jackson won't deal with his fellow co-workers and demands that they bring in an outside negotiator in Spacey as he'll use Spacey to help get information and to stall the others from barging in and killing him.

The story gets a bit convoluted but the ending is quite satisfactory as the main baddie is someone you totally don't expect it to be. This movie could've been made in the '50s with a little less action and slight reworking of the story so it's a pretty timeless kind of film. I'd recommend it. Just beware there's a fair amount of coarse language.

Posted: August 31st, 2008, 4:28 pm
by charliechaplinfan
Thanks to Ollie I'm carrying on my foray into film noir.

Tonight I watched Detour, it's not very long but has a great story. Tom Neal and Ann Savage are actors I'm going to have to look out for. It didn't carry a big budget but it did carry a good story. I was impressed.

A couple of nights ago I watched They Live By Night, one of my favorite noirs so far. Perhaps it as the mix of the characters, or the hopelessness of their situation, the touching quality of their love for one anothre, the tawdry wedding. It had some great performances, I haven't seen Cathy O'Donnell in anything else, perhaps someone can help me there? I don't think she is an actress I would forget.

I've been a fan of all the Nicholas Ray films I've seen so far.

Posted: September 1st, 2008, 12:40 pm
by jdb1
Hi, All. It's a beautiful Labor Day in NYC, but hay fever is keeping indoors until this evening.

In between various household tasks I've just finished watching Time Limit (1957) on TCM. Did anyone else see it?

This is a post-Korean War drama of an investigation into the possible court-martial of a traitor, and if this movie doesn't bring to mind The Manchurian Candidate, nothing will. It's even got some of the same exteriors, although most of the action takes place on Governors Island in the NYC harbor.

The film stars Richard Widmark and Richard Basehart, a young and beautiful Rip Torn, and was directed by Karl Malden. I thought it was terrific. It raises questions of heroism, betrayal, adherence to strict rules, and gradations of truth. Because it is so similar in tone to Manchurian Candidate, even to the point that the North Korean commandant/brain washer is played by Khigh Dhiegh, the same villain from Candidate, you will probably think you've solved the mystery -- but no -- it's not what you think.

A very nice surprise in this film is the performance of June Lockhart as Basehart's wife (Basehart is the accused traitor, Widmark is the JAG attorney investigating the charges). I don't think I ever saw such a good performance from Lockhart, but then she rarely got a chance to get parts that showed what she could do.

Time Limit ("There should be a time limit on heroism.") was a play on Broadway in 1956, with Arthur Kennedy as the JAG colonel, and Richard Kiley in the Basehart part. I wonder what that was like. I frankly can't see Kiley achieving the same sort of intensity and evoking the same sympathy that Basehart did in this film. And I'll take Widmark over Kennedy any day. I was very impressed by the acting in this film and the by Malden's direction, which kept as very small sphere of action moving along nicely. Highly recommended.

Posted: September 1st, 2008, 1:11 pm
by traceyk
Not a classic in the TCM sense, but I watched The Bank Job Friday night and would like to recommend it for any fans of heist films out there. The movie is well paced and the tension is kept at a high level, once things get going. At one point I found myself talking to the TV--"Get out you idiots! Don;t just stand there! " LOL
It's supposedly based on a real event, about a group of amateur theives who rob Lloyd's bank in London. The hero (if you can call a petty criminal a hero) is lured in by a beautiful, deceiving woman (shades of noir) and he thinks it's a straight forward robbery. But there's more to the story than meets the eye, of course.

They pull off the job, but it isn't long before the gang have not only the police after them, but MI5 ("or 6--never could tell the difference" a quote from one of the characters), half the Parliment (because of compromising pics taken at a local brothel) the porn king of London and a pimp/drug dealer/very bad man called Michael X, who has most people (including John Lennon) fooled into thinking he's the next Malcolm X, are out to get them too.
They manage to not only outwit all their pursuers, but get to keep the money as well.

diamonds crime drama

Posted: September 1st, 2008, 8:40 pm
by inglis
We rented this movie called Flawless. Very good .Had not heard anything about it but read the back cover and decided it would be worth a peek.MichaelCaine, Demi Moore crime drama set in 1960's London . Very intriguing realtionships weaved throughout this one .

Posted: September 2nd, 2008, 3:57 am
by Bogie
I spent the night watching Dirty Harry. AMC is playing all 5 of the Dirty Harry movies this week remastered and such in conjunction with the recent DVD set release. I've never seen any of the movies though i've tried watching the first one before.

I must say after watching the first DH movie that it was a pretty dark film....literally. Half the time the movie was in near complete darkness which made it quite hard for me to tell what's going on. The plot was "ripped from the headlines" as it dealt with a crazy sniper in San Fran who called himself the Scorpio. The movie itself went through too much set up and not enough story for my liking but I can see why it led to a sequel as the Dirty Harry character was living out the though processes of those, especially in San Fran who wanted to get the Zodiac.

I liked the foreshadowing done with one of DH's catch phrases in the movie. I won't give it away but it's basically the "are you feeling lucky punk" spiel. Dirty Harry was in some ways a modern send up of his "man with no name" as he really didn't talk all that much and had his own way of dispensing justice. It's also neat to see the whole "tough/nearly corrupt cop" character type in its birth pangs with this movie.

I can't quite say I recommend it as it drags at points but it does get ** stars and a recommendation on historical purposes alone. I plan to watch the rest of the movies this week. So expect my thoughts on them in this space.

Posted: September 2nd, 2008, 9:42 am
by movieman1957

I saw "Time Limit" a few years ago. I was impressed by it knowing Malden directed it. I was really surprised when I figured out Rip Torn was in it especially in the light of his roles in the last ten years or so. Who else has changed so much? I would second your recommendation.

I also saw the remastered version of "How The West Was Won" on the Westerns channel. Very clean. They even managed to get rid of the screen lines most of the time. There should be some more showings coming up.