What is the last film you watched? (2021)

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boblipton
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by boblipton » Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:19 pm

Kagoya hangan aka The Palanquin Carrier Magistrate (1935): In the Edo period, an old lady is murdered and a hundred ryo are missing. A merchant who had borrowed money from her is suspected, sentenced and executed. In comes the man's son from out of town. This is nothing like his father and he begs the magistrate, Kazuo Hasegawa, to reopen the case and exonerate the dead man. A couple of sedan carriers think they saw a local ronin that evening.

It's a comedy mystery, and Hasegawa plays Ooka Echizen-no-kami Ooka, a real person (1677-1752), about whom many stories were told concerning his clever judgments; it's as if someone were writing a mystery novel about John Marshall. Given the reliance on stereotypes of the era -- cowardly lower classes, hot-tempered ronin, and the deus-ex-machina manner in which the whole thing is settled, I wasn't too impressed.

Bob
The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.
— L.P. Hartley

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by drednm » Fri Apr 30, 2021 7:26 pm

Things Heard & Seen (2021) is an effective if low-key chiller abut a young couple who move out of NYC and go upstate in the Hudson Valley to a small college town where the husband (James Norton) has gotten a teaching job at a small college. The wife (Amanda Seyfried) gives up her job in art restoration to become a housewife and look after the little daughter. The problem is that the country house has a bad past and is probably filled with bad vibes.

The wife is a tad sickly and so shies away from social things but bonds with the kid doing the yard work. The husband goes off to school and seems to be an instant hit with the co-eds and the department chair (F. Murray Abraham). But the house is uneasy and weird things start to happen. The husband also starts an affair with a local girl. Then a female colleague (she teaches weaving!) starts noticing odd things about him and overhears part of a conversation he has with a former teacher at Columbia.

Things start to unravel fast and the house gets jumpin' with apparitions and clues about its past and warnings to the wife. A few familiar faces in the cast: Karen Allen as a realtor, Michael O'Keefe as the sheriff, James Urbaniak as the would-be writer.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Fri Apr 30, 2021 9:19 pm

Where Danger Lives, with Robert Mitchum and Faith Domergue, directed by John Farrow, RKO in 1950—it's gotta be pretty good, right? Well, no, thanks to a plot and script that make Detour look like a sensible story about people you'd like to know. Mitchum is a goody two-shoes doctor engaged to Maureen O"Sullivan, but one day Domergue turns up after a suicide attempt* and Mitchum is smitten. Without giving away its few surprises (including why Claude Rains has one scene for his third billing), she's batty and Mitchum gets knocked on the head and is kind of out of it, and pretty soon that means they're hightailing it to Mexico on a fast slide to doom. As happens to Mitchum in Preminger's Angel Face, but how it happens to his big dope here is preposterous enough that we were both guessing the next surprise aloud (with a pretty high success rate) and cracking a few jokes about how crazy it was along the way. The one person involved who has nothing to feel sheepish about by the end is cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca, who gives it a chiaroscuro-filled shadowy look that is very handsome to look at**. His work deserves a better script. On Criterion Channel, for another hour or two.

* I defy you to name a plausible candidate for the emergency medical procedure that saves her, and is also not so imminent an emergency that they all have time to have a conversation with her before performing it.

** Around the time that they're in a hotel room in a border town and a neon sign keep flashing on and off, I began to suspect that Orson Welles had noted and appreciated Musuraca's work on this picture.
We need to preserve our old movies so that future generations may continue to misinterpret them. —Dave Kehr

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Sat May 01, 2021 2:29 am

Watched a triple-episode of TV's 'Crown Court', THE JOLLY SWAGMEN (1976) about a pair of part-time club comics accused of burglary. Partly written by Peter Terson, who died earlier this month, it was a little confusing, but was an example of the occasional foray in the absurd which this series did, the victim being a cactus collector who also had an interest in erotic magazines!

Peter Jeffrey and T P McKenna give good value as defence and prosecution counsel, and John Barron as the judge gives his usual nice dry delivery. Also in the cast are Bernard Hill as a bemused policeman and Meg Johnson (recently playing 'Pearl' in the long-running soap 'Emmerdale') as a topless barmaid.

One of the comics does a 'Paki'* act which is interestingly seen as humorous to some people, but not to others, and Jeffrey brings in the issue of such comics using sexism and racialism (as it was known then) as part of their acts as being in questionable taste, although one might argue than one problem with comedy of that sort is whether it is subtle / clever or coarse and obvious.

*This reference to Pakistanis was more common in Britain in the 1960s-1980s, although by no means unused now. And of course it can be used insultingly or thoughtlessly (as in the once more common term 'Paki-shop'). My Indian neighbour, who runs a convenience store, has been referred to as such (despite not being Pakistani), so such prejudice has by no means disappeared.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by drednm » Sat May 01, 2021 4:28 am

The Virtuoso (2021) stars Anson Mount as an assassin for hire. It's a deliberately paced film narrated by Mount's character. He explains the process of being hired and shows how his last "case" goes bad when an accident causes some collateral damage. The assassin lives "off the grid" and lives a solo life in which his only purpose for living seems to be his cases. His new case comes from his main contact (Anthony Hopkins) and requires him to go to a small rural town to find "white rivers," a code for his next target.

On a snowy night he rolls into town and heads for Rosie's, a diner where he's told his target will be. But who is it? Inside, there's a local cop, a lone man at the bar, a couple (seemingly) on a date, and the waitress.

The assassin methodically assesses each of the possible targets.

Tense film is well done and offers a few surprises. Mount is excellent as the killer and Hopkins offers a long monologue about his Vietnam experience that is mesmerizing. Others in the cast include David Morse as the cop, Abbie Cornish as the waitress, Eddie Marsan as the loner, and Richard Brake as "Handsome Johnny."
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by boblipton » Sat May 01, 2021 8:16 am

Two Girls And A Sailor (1944): June Allyson and Gloria Dehaven were bon in a trunk, and now they d a sister act. It being wartime, every night after the show, they gather all the servicemen they can find and take them to their apartment for a party, and dream about converting the decrepit warehouse across the alley into a club for boys in uniform. What should happen after they rope in sergeant Tom Drake and sailor Van Johnson -- in his first starring role -- but that they are given the property anonymously.

It's produced by Joe Pasternak, so it's not a Freed unit musical, but a kitchen sink musical, in which all the musical and ariety talent under contract to MGM is gathered up and given starring turns amidst the featherweight plot; the list includes Jimmy Durante, Jose Iturbi, Gracie Allen, Lena Horne, Harry James, Xavier Cugat... a variety show connected by a story, and Pasternak's standard for this period. With direction by Richard Thorpe, the shot must have been efficiently run, and it was apparently another money-spinner for MGM.

Bob
The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.
— L.P. Hartley

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by drednm » Sun May 02, 2021 6:23 am

I'm not sure Steel Magnolias (1989) has aged terribly well. While the humor side of the film still offers some good lines and performances, especially by Shirley MacLaine and Olympia Dukakis, the drama side which centers on the death of the Julia Roberts character, is maudlin (and always was). Sally Field and Dolly Parton are fine.

The problems seem more obvious in today's polarized world. The Daryl Hannah character starts out as a newcomer to town and has a checkered past. She becomes a "born again" and goes around lecturing and bible quoting at everyone. None of these women would likely tolerate this preaching nor is it likely these wealthy matrons would easily accept Parton and Hannah into their social circle. Be that as it may.

The other problem is the men. Parton's husband sits around at home and lives off his wife's beauty parlor. Hannah's husband seems mean. Roberts' husband wants a kid and won't hear of adoption ... even though a pregnancy will endanger her life. Then there's Field's husband who spends the day antagonizing MacLaine (it's supposed to be funny) and shooting off guns and fireworks to get birds out of a tree.

Background characters include a handful of Black people who attend the wedding and other social events, but not one of them gets to speak a line. Other Black people act as servants in the household and at the wedding. They don't speak either. None of these people are spoken to. Along with the gun-toting, drinking and "Dukes of Hazzard" style car driving at least one wedding goer wears a Confederate military cap. Ya, OK, picky.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by boblipton » Sun May 02, 2021 7:09 am

The Fatal Witness (1945): Wealthy Barbara Everest is murdered, and Scotland Yard inspector Richard Fraser knows just who did it: Miss Everest's nephew and heir, rotter George Leigh. The problem is that Leigh ws in a jail cell for being drunk when the murder took place.

There's a decent cast, including Evelyn Ankers, but there's an amazing amount of talking around an unsolvable problem for the first 50 minutes of this movie, and the solution isn't reall solved; there's no offering of how he did it. Lesley Selander take a break from horse operas to direct this this one, and while competent as always, can't bring out anything of interest because I suspect, nothing is there.

Bob
The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.
— L.P. Hartley

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Sun May 02, 2021 7:18 am

Another CFF outing, GO KART GO (1964) has Dennis Waterman as a teenage member of a gang whose hair-raising soapbox antics lead to their constructing a go-kart to race at the local circuit. This results in a bit of a disaster so they decide to borrow a lawnmower engine from one of the parents, although replacing it leads to more havoc, although the mower shows a good deal of intelligence and homing instinct. Of course there is a rival gang who resort to dirty (not to mention dangerous) which surprisingly do not lead to injury or death. Incidentally, their meeting hut seems to be influenced by Dr Wo's 'Tardis' in its internal dimensions.

Amusing at times, with some lively performances and some familiar comedy faces (Graham Stark, Cardew Robinson and Wilfrid Brambell as a junkman even more disreputable than his 'Albert Steptoe'). Oh, and one of the girls* in the gang is called 'Patchy', the same as my cat, so an extra point for that...

*Pauline Challoner made a number of appearances after this one, and her sister Carla apparently played a similar role in the earlier SOAPBOX DERBY.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by Jim Roots » Sun May 02, 2021 8:00 am

Six months ago, in the thread "Confess Your Sins of Omission", I mentioned repeatedly walking by the $5 remainder copies of Schindler's List (1993) in Walmart and observing to my wife that "We really should watch that one." One day she said, "Well, BUY IT ALREADY!" So I did. And then we waited another two months before we finally sat down and watched it. Gotta prove the rebel in me isn't dead yet.

It's well worth watching, and for damn sure it's worth five bucks Canadian.

It's also the only time I have ever been able to identify Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes apart, mostly because they appear together, and Neeson is alarmingly huge physically. In this film, at least, he must be 6'4" and over 225 lbs. He's like King Kong among all the other tiny people in the movie.

Anyway, it's really well-made -- what Spielberg movie isn't? -- and for Spielberg, it's restrained. There are countless film snobs who sneer down their noses at Spielberg, but the man knows how to make good movies, and he does.

Jim

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Sun May 02, 2021 8:35 am

Jim Roots wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 8:00 am
Six months ago, in the thread "Confess Your Sins of Omission", I mentioned repeatedly walking by the $5 remainder copies of Schindler's List (1993) in Walmart and observing to my wife that "We really should watch that one." One day she said, "Well, BUY IT ALREADY!" So I did. And then we waited another two months before we finally sat down and watched it. Gotta prove the rebel in me isn't dead yet.

It's well worth watching, and for damn sure it's worth five bucks Canadian.

It's also the only time I have ever been able to identify Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes apart, mostly because they appear together, and Neeson is alarmingly huge physically. In this film, at least, he must be 6'4" and over 225 lbs. He's like King Kong among all the other tiny people in the movie.

Anyway, it's really well-made -- what Spielberg movie isn't? -- and for Spielberg, it's restrained. There are countless film snobs who sneer down their noses at Spielberg, but the man knows how to make good movies, and he does.

Jim
Never got to see that one as my ex didn't fancy it at the time and have still not caught up with it aside from a segment on TV. However, one does not have to be a film snob not to be partial to Spielberg's brand of moviemaking and I'm of the generation which saw many of his 'hits' when they came out or not long after. It is possible to find some of his films tiresome, overblown and overmanipulative not to mention too damned long... At least his early film (on YT), AMBLIN', clocks in at less than a half-hour...

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by Jim Roots » Sun May 02, 2021 11:03 am

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 8:35 am
Jim Roots wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 8:00 am
Six months ago, in the thread "Confess Your Sins of Omission", I mentioned repeatedly walking by the $5 remainder copies of Schindler's List (1993) in Walmart and observing to my wife that "We really should watch that one." One day she said, "Well, BUY IT ALREADY!" So I did. And then we waited another two months before we finally sat down and watched it. Gotta prove the rebel in me isn't dead yet.

It's well worth watching, and for damn sure it's worth five bucks Canadian.

It's also the only time I have ever been able to identify Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes apart, mostly because they appear together, and Neeson is alarmingly huge physically. In this film, at least, he must be 6'4" and over 225 lbs. He's like King Kong among all the other tiny people in the movie.

Anyway, it's really well-made -- what Spielberg movie isn't? -- and for Spielberg, it's restrained. There are countless film snobs who sneer down their noses at Spielberg, but the man knows how to make good movies, and he does.

Jim
Never got to see that one as my ex didn't fancy it at the time and have still not caught up with it aside from a segment on TV. However, one does not have to be a film snob not to be partial to Spielberg's brand of moviemaking and I'm of the generation which saw many of his 'hits' when they came out or not long after. It is possible to find some of his films tiresome, overblown and overmanipulative not to mention too damned long... At least his early film (on YT), AMBLIN', clocks in at less than a half-hour...
Yeah, I guess I mean that snobs dislike his movies for snob reasons, and I have no problem with non-snobs who dislike them for non-snob reasons such as "too damned long".

I just re-read Pauline Kael's informal comments about it in Afterglow: A Last Conversation with Pauline Kael. She was disappointed with him, saying he had changed from being a very good filmmaker to being a very bad filmmaker, citing Schindler and Saving Private Ryan as examples in comparison to The Sugarland Express. Interestingly, she lamented the casting of Neeson as the biggest mistake in Schindler. The interviewer (Francis Davis) offered the juicy thought of Christopher Walken in the title role instead!

Jim

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Sun May 02, 2021 11:26 am

Jim Roots wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 11:03 am
earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 8:35 am
Jim Roots wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 8:00 am
Six months ago, in the thread "Confess Your Sins of Omission", I mentioned repeatedly walking by the $5 remainder copies of Schindler's List (1993) in Walmart and observing to my wife that "We really should watch that one." One day she said, "Well, BUY IT ALREADY!" So I did. And then we waited another two months before we finally sat down and watched it. Gotta prove the rebel in me isn't dead yet.

It's well worth watching, and for damn sure it's worth five bucks Canadian.

It's also the only time I have ever been able to identify Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes apart, mostly because they appear together, and Neeson is alarmingly huge physically. In this film, at least, he must be 6'4" and over 225 lbs. He's like King Kong among all the other tiny people in the movie.

Anyway, it's really well-made -- what Spielberg movie isn't? -- and for Spielberg, it's restrained. There are countless film snobs who sneer down their noses at Spielberg, but the man knows how to make good movies, and he does.

Jim
Never got to see that one as my ex didn't fancy it at the time and have still not caught up with it aside from a segment on TV. However, one does not have to be a film snob not to be partial to Spielberg's brand of moviemaking and I'm of the generation which saw many of his 'hits' when they came out or not long after. It is possible to find some of his films tiresome, overblown and overmanipulative not to mention too damned long... At least his early film (on YT), AMBLIN', clocks in at less than a half-hour...
Yeah, I guess I mean that snobs dislike his movies for snob reasons, and I have no problem with non-snobs who dislike them for non-snob reasons such as "too damned long".

I just re-read Pauline Kael's informal comments about it in Afterglow: A Last Conversation with Pauline Kael. She was disappointed with him, saying he had changed from being a very good filmmaker to being a very bad filmmaker, citing Schindler and Saving Private Ryan as examples in comparison to The Sugarland Express. Interestingly, she lamented the casting of Neeson as the biggest mistake in Schindler. The interviewer (Francis Davis) offered the juicy thought of Christopher Walken in the title role instead!

Jim
Interesting, as have just been offered a copy of 'Afterglow' from a friend. Looking forward to reading it.... Don't think SUGARLAND EXPRESS got shown much over here, although recall seeing some of it on TV (tuned in late for some reason)... It's possible it had a local showing in one cinema which specialised in revivals and films which had been passed over, but if so, must have missed that one...

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by boblipton » Sun May 02, 2021 7:01 pm

La Horse (1979): When he discovers his grandson, Marx Porel, has two hundred milion francs worth of heroin, Jean Gabin destroys it. When the criminal for whom Porel has been holding it comes and demands the drugs and the man, and threaten his family and farm. Gabin shoots him, hides the body, sinks the crook's car in the swamp and sticks his grandson in the potato cellar. His cattle are stampeded and killed, his barn is burnt. Gabin gives his orders but no explanation to his family and workers, despite the police taking an interest.

This being a Gabin film, I was never in any doubt as to how it would turn out. Indeed, the idea of a multi-billion dollar mob of criminals going against Gabin is soberly funny. Gabin is quite believable as the stiff-necked, autocratic proprietor of a family farm in Calvados, just as he is in everything.

Bob
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by oldposterho » Sun May 02, 2021 8:32 pm

Weirdly I just watched Schindler's List for the first time about a month ago. I had put it off precisely for the reason that I had thought it harbored the potential to manifest the worst in Spielberg's tendencies towards pious mawkishness in some of his films (which I despise) but was immensely pleased at how restrained it actually was. This is one of his good ones for sure and I'm glad I finally invested the 3 hours.
Peter

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Sun May 02, 2021 9:02 pm

More Annals of Movies I Didn't Finish; The Night Comes For Us (2018) is an Indonesian action thriller that has high ratings online for its slam bang, elaborately choreographed action. I can imagine the knuckle draggers who rate it so highly. There's a certain slickness to the filmmaking, bits of slo-mo Michael Mann and neon-lit John Wick, but the purpose is just to do up gruesome mayhem (the first big fight scene take place in a butcher shop with cleavers) which resembles in no way actual humans fighting for their lives or even money, and any scene with dialogue seems like Ed Wood on crank, crossed with a lot of blubbery sub-John Woo stuff about how we're brothers who are here for each other. I didn't buy a second of it and when I suggested that maybe we could watch something, anything else after about 25 minutes, my son agreed and we switched to Harold and Kumar Go To Guantanamo Bay, which had its moments, and in place of slitting throats with a meat cleaver, offers George W. Bush smoking pot with Harold and Kumar.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by drednm » Mon May 03, 2021 4:34 am

Home at Seven (1952) stars Ralph Richardson (he also directs) as a man with a problem. He comes home from work one Monday night and finds his wife (Margaret Leighton) in a tizzy. It seems it's actually Tuesday and he's been missing for more than 24 hours. As the plot unfolds, we also learn that funds from a social club he's in are missing and that the bookkeeper has been killed. Hmmm. Richardson has a memory blackout and cannot account for his actions.

Luckily in 1952, we were a kinder world (at least in the movies) and a kindly physician (Jack Hawkins) patiently helps him remember events. An equally patient and kind police inspector (Campbell Singer) also helps him sift through the facts and clues. Amid all this patience, his neighbor and club president (Michael Shepley) is only too glad to jump to conclusions. But patient wife Leighton remains staunch.

As the mystery is unraveled we find that Richardson is not exactly the man we all thought he was, but that he, like all of us, has a few secrets. Late in the film, Meriel Forbes as Peggy arrives on the doorstep and reveals a few things about Richardson. She also steals the film.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by drednm » Mon May 03, 2021 4:50 am

Stowaway (2021) presents us with a problem. What to do if a 3-person mission to Mars suddenly finds that there are 4 people onboard the craft? That's the quandary in this solid film. Whether the situation is feasible is another topic altogether. Here were get a 3-person crew headed to Mars. Their mission is to introduce algae as a source of natural oxygen to a base there (or something like that) as we are trying to colonize the planet to escape dying Earth.

Toni Collette is the captain, Anna Kendrick is a physician, and Daniel Dae Kim is a scientist. All is fine until they discover a wounded launch crew member who had fallen into a space in the ceiling of the craft. At first they fear the stowaway (Shamier Anderson) has done so on purpose but eventually believe his story. Sadly, in extricating him from the space, they damage the "oxygen interchanger" that produces oxygen for the craft. Not only that, the craft cannot support a 4th person for long.

So the crew is presented with a choice: Do they try to make it to Mars even though all the numbers show they can't do it; or do they get rid of the stowaway?

Good cast and fine FX make this one one to watch.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Mon May 03, 2021 5:31 am

Mike Gebert wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 9:02 pm
More Annals of Movies I Didn't Finish; The Night Comes For Us (2018) is an Indonesian action thriller that has high ratings online for its slam bang, elaborately choreographed action. I can imagine the knuckle draggers who rate it so highly. There's a certain slickness to the filmmaking, bits of slo-mo Michael Mann and neon-lit John Wick, but the purpose is just to do up gruesome mayhem (the first big fight scene take place in a butcher shop with cleavers) which resembles in no way actual humans fighting for their lives or even money, and any scene with dialogue seems like Ed Wood on crank, crossed with a lot of blubbery sub-John Woo stuff about how we're brothers who are here for each other. I didn't buy a second of it and when I suggested that maybe we could watch something, anything else after about 25 minutes, my son agreed and we switched to Harold and Kumar Go To Guantanamo Bay, which had its moments, and in place of slitting throats with a meat cleaver, offers George W. Bush smoking pot with Harold and Kumar.
Pretty sure others have pointed out how artificial some of these 'reviews'* are, although I'm more tempted to use the term 'swizz'. How often does one look up comments on a film which has not only been around since Noah was a lad only to find a handful of writeups, sometimes none at all. One then turns to a 'big name' film to find perhaps a couple of thousand, including dozens of 10/10 ratings. Come off it...

*I use quotation marks since the 'reviews' are often ridiculously short, sometimes down to the bare comment of said work being 'great' or 'crap...

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Mon May 03, 2021 7:15 am

Oh, I can believe that the elaborately choreographed action has its fans, but to me it seems pornographic in its excess and monotony. Besides the distastefulness of so much gore (which reaches levels of Peter Jackson's early Bad Taste, without being in on the joke), it lacks the variety and inventiveness that Jackie Chan's non-lethal kung fu fights have, though it's clearly descended from them. The fact that 25 minutes in, I could not have told you even an outline of the plot or who the characters were didn't help. There is just enough talent here to copy assiduously, not to do anything good with it.
We need to preserve our old movies so that future generations may continue to misinterpret them. —Dave Kehr

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Mon May 03, 2021 7:39 am

"It Couldn't Have Happened (But It Did)" (1936) is a cutesy murder mystery produced by Invincible Pictures and distributed by both Chesterfield and First Division for the States Rights system. All this should be a red flag to be aware and probably stay away. However: it stars Reginald Denny, Evelyn Brent, Inez Courtney, and Jack La Rue! Frankly, it really stars Inez Courtney, and she's a pip! Wonderful pep, wonderful spirit altogether, and beautifully realized part that pulls the entire picture through the gauze of cheap - and I do mean cheap... There are quite literally only four scenes or so in the entire film, and it lasts 70 minutes. It's as though we were on stage and there are four sets on stage where a focus light focuses on one, then another, then another, then back to one, then on to the other, etc. Cheap, cheap, cheap for a film. Directed by Phil Rosen, it begins with some sluggishness, then speeds up like a film coming together after breaking, then zips along at a furious pace, then comes to a denouement: thud, bing, bang, boom!

We begin on stage. Later the two producers are murdered. Looks like Denny could have done it. Yeah, he had a motive, but his heart, mind, and soul just ain't that kind. Brent looks and acts the part. She's tough. So are a couple of others. Oh, and, yeah, La Rue's a laughing - and sometimes laughable - gangster. He's tough enough to do it. Would he? Well, he laughs too much, don't ya think? Who else? Everybody, that's who... A quick 70 minutes that most will enjoy. Some will think, "This is just awful!" Some will moan, "No more!" Some will wonder what hit them. I thought it was well worth the watch. Especially with Denny in it. But Inez Courtney was a blast... Brent seemed tired, frankly; maybe just plain worn out. Oh, by the way, the murder method is about as inventive and just plain out of this world - if not corny - as any you've ever seen! You'll never figure it out. I must admit, too, that by the end, I couldn't really figure out who the murderer was. Yeah, it's told, but I really didn't care. Still, it was worth the watch.

For those old enough to remember him, this is Hugh Marlowe's second film. He looks so young most won't recognize him at first. Then - then you'll think: "Isn't that Ellery Queen from TV in the early 50's? And wasn't he on "Another World" for a thousand years?" Yes.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by boblipton » Mon May 03, 2021 2:26 pm

Mahanagar aka The Big City (1963): With his retired schoolteacher father, his mother, a son, and a sister in school to support, Anil Chatterjee consents to his wife, Madhabi Mukherjee, getting a job. Everyone else hates the idea, but Chatterjee thinks the fighting will end with her first paycheck. That doesn't solve it, so he gets a second job so she can quit.... bu his first job goes under, and now she is the family's sole support.

It would be very easy to say this is another Satyajit Ray masterpiece, but that doesn't tell you anything about the movie, how he fills the space of the cramped apartment with worn furniture to indicate visually the family's poverty, the thoughtful glow of Miss Chatterjee as she realizes she can earn her own way, and the realization that there are things more important than money -- family, and fairness and friends. I hate the word 'empowering', since it has been so overused over the past few decades, but it's a valid description. The variety of characters, the shots on the streets of Calcutta. It's a tremendously dense film, with much to say about the precariousness of life in post-Raj India.

Bob
The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.
— L.P. Hartley

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by Dave Pitts » Mon May 03, 2021 3:32 pm

Sons of the Desert (1933), which I know better than I know the texture patterns on my bedroom ceiling, because I found out some film buff friends of mine had never seen it...and didn't even know its pride of place in the Laurel and Hardy pantheon!! I was amazed. (I should say that they have an aversion to slapstick, which is not a good thing to have if you're going to truly know vintage film -- or, for that matter, if you're going to acquire comprehensive knowledge of Chaplin, Keaton, Fields, etc., etc.) I warmed them up with one of the best L&H shorts, Their First Mistake, which has that scene of Stan and Ollie lolling on the bed, talking about marriage problems, and later, the dialogue where Ollie's lines sound like a spurned woman whose boyfriend has left her with a baby. Beyond classic, indispensable.
Onto, the Desert. I couldn't help myself, I told them they would never forget Mae Busch and her husky laugh ("HA-ha!") and that knife she keeps waving at Ollie. And my favorite line in the film, maybe in any L&H comedy: "Wait 'til you get home, you inflated tadpole!" -- this, yelled by Mae Busch at a movie screen, where she has just seen her supposedly ill husband cavorting in a lodge convention. Not a wasted minute. 65 minutes of utterly the best in 30s comedy. A day after we saw it together, I watched it again, for the laugh, for the knife, the tadpole line, the wax fruit, the interplay between Stan and his controlling wife, the Charley Chase shenanigans....and, rewinding to the beginning, the hilarious lodge scene with the "Exhausted Ruler", as Stan calls him, shot in mysterious shadows, and the song the members sing (and hum to, in faux Egyptian.) The film is so expertly directed (William A. Seiter), photographed (Kenneth Peach) and edited (Bert Jordan) that, even when you know which gag or line is coming up, you can enjoy the concision and skill with which each comic idea is realized.
I couldn't let them get any older without seeing Sons of the Desert, could I?
Last edited by Dave Pitts on Mon May 03, 2021 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by boblipton » Mon May 03, 2021 3:35 pm

No, Dave, but now they can't see it for the first time ever again!

Bob
The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.
— L.P. Hartley

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by boblipton » Mon May 03, 2021 4:48 pm

Day-Time Wife (1939): Sixteen-year-old Linda Darnell has been married to Tyrone Power Jr. for two years and reports are that some of those business dinners he's been stuck on have been tete-a-tetes with his secretary. Wondering what this strange fascination secretaries hold on men is, Miss Darnell goes out and applies for a job as secretary to Warren William. When she admits to playing backgammon, he hires her and tries dating her as a relief from his wife. Of course, Power is trying to get a contract with William, and....

I have speculated that Preston Sturges had blackmail photographs of people high up in the Hays Office. This movie, although not as overt as the scripts Sturges typically got approved, doesn't hide its consideration of subject under as many as seven veils. It plays nicely off Williams' predatory boss characters in Warner Pre-Codes, and has nice small roles for Binnie Barnes, Wendy Barrie and Joan Davis.Power was said to hate roles like this, and I can't blame him. Playing whiny second banana to Miss Darnell can't have done much to satisfy his yearning to be an actor.

Bob
The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.
— L.P. Hartley

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Tue May 04, 2021 3:37 am

In his IMDb review of MADAME RACKETEER (1932), 'boblipton' compared Alison Skipworth to Marie Dressler. I would agree. Although the copy I watched wasn't too good, Skipworth is extremely funny as the conwoman released from jail who promises to go straight before fleecing the warden out of $20! Her trail of fiddles ends at her husband's (Richard Bennett) hotel where she hopes to nab another $1,000. Alas the hotel is doing badly, not helped by Bennett's idea of installing musical boxes in often unsuitable places (as Skipworth comments on soon after) and her daughters are having romance problems. The two girls don't realise that Bennett has said that she went to China as a missionary and has died, which sends her into delightful hysterics.

One of the daughters is keen on a banker's son, despite his wanting the boy to marry into money. This leads to another swindle, despite the old geezer being due to become family. Fast-moving and very funny (the lavatory line is priceless) and well worth one's time. J Farrell MacDonald plays the government man who is always arresting the old girl, George Raft is a shifty type with plans on the other daughter and Robert McWade is the banker and future in-law.

Followed this with a 1927 Vitaphone, HAWAIIAN NIGHTS, which was admittedly a bit stiff in its direction (as the musicians weren't able to move much) but had a couple of fun dances, although the ladies in question may not have been quite so Hawaiian. I may be wrong. Pleasant short, anyway...

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by drednm » Tue May 04, 2021 5:42 am

The Last Right (2019) is a charming dramedy about a NY lawyer going back to Ireland for his mother's funeral. On the plane, an old man in the seat next to him dies. They share the same common surname of Murphy. For an unknown reason, the old man has filled out an airline form with the lawyer listed as his next of kin. Thus sets into motion a road trip with a corpse across Ireland to the island of Rathlin.

The authorities refuse to believe the lawyer that he is not related to the old man and force him to deal with the burial, but the old man was on his way to bury his estranged brother on Rathlin ... which is part of Northern Ireland (Great Britain). The lawyer must also deal with his now orphaned autistic teen-aged brother

Not familiar with any of the main actors in this one, but it's worth a look for an unlikely heartwarmer of a film.

On the opposite end of the spectrum we have The Sniper (1952) a grim and gritty film about a "sex criminal" who randomly kills women in San Francisco because of some deep-rooted compulsion. Arthur Franz plays the killer and he's chased by a shockingly dumpy Adolphe Menjou and his partner Gerald Mohr as a police team. The cop's guess that the victims are not really random selections since they all fit the same general description. It seems Franz feels sexually drawn to them or they've upset him in some way. The two main victims we see are Marie Windsor as a piano player in a cheap bar, whom Franz meets on his dry cleaning delivery route. The other is Marlo Dwyer as a predatory bar fly who spurns him.

Gorgeous B&W photography takes full advantage of the city's hills and backgrounds to give us a sometimes disorienting feel via odd angles. Co-stars include Frank Faylen as the police chief, Richard Kiley as a psychiatrist, Geraldine Carr as Franz' laundry boss, Mabel Paige as the landlady, and Charles Lane as a drunk.

The shooting scenes are quite graphic for the time.
Ed Lorusso
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by boblipton » Tue May 04, 2021 8:21 am

the Fighting Lady (1944): Here's the Academy Award winner for Best Documentary Feature of 1944, about the U.S.S. Yorktown, its crew, and its involvement in a running battle around Guam. Or, as Robert Taylor calls it in the narration, "a two-week turkey shoot." I wonder what Boyer called it in his French-language narration.

It's one of four Oscar wins for co-director William Wyler. Also credited as a director is Edward Steichen, one of two people born in Luxembourg I can name. He was mostly a photographer, in charge of that department at Conde Nast in the early 1930s, and at the Museum of Modern Art from 1947 through 1962. During the World Wars, he was in charge of aerial photography for the A.E.F. and the Navy. Robert Fritch may be credited with the editing, but surely it's Steichen who made the choice of shots, and left it to Wyler to figure out the rest of it. The movie includes some amazing battle shots, including the aerial fights through yellow skies, the ones of crew members trying to relax between battles, and the ones of wrecked planes landing on the Yorktown. Amazing work.

Bob
The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.
— L.P. Hartley

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by boblipton » Tue May 04, 2021 4:09 pm

Mahapurush aka The Holy Man (1965): On a railroad trip back home, a retired lawyer meets holy man Charuprakash Ghosh and falls under his spell. So does his daughter, which worries the young man who loves her. He investigates and soon becomes convinced he is a fraud.

Satyajit Ray's comedy credits an Indian writer as its source, but strikes me as owing a good deal to Moliere's Tartuffe. Ghosh's babbling line includes being friends with all the great holy man of the past, and urging followers to achieve enlightenment by going onto the roof at noon and staring at the son while they recite a prayer 972 times. I don't find this one of his more compelling movies; the nonsensical things he continually says are arrant nonsense..... but that may be a reaction due to the fact that as a westerner, what he says makes no sense and is offensive. The offensiveness is probably deliberate on Ray's part, but makes the whole thing seem trivial.

Bob
The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.
— L.P. Hartley

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2021)

Unread post by boblipton » Tue May 04, 2021 7:29 pm

Isn't It Romantic (2019): Rebel Wilson is a cynical, unregarded architect in her firm, the one who's always assigned to design parking garages, finds herself asked to clean desks and call the people to fix the always broken copy machines. Then she gets mugged in the subway, gets knocked out and finds herself in a version of New York where there are flowers everywhere, her next-door neighbor is campily gay, with a key to her apartment, Liam Hemsworth is in love with her, and constant production numbers. She hates it.

There are some good gags in this deconstructed romantic comedy, and a fine supporting cast, including Adam Devine, and director Todd Strauss-Schulson has a lot of fun with shots stolen from movies like Pretty Woman and Tootsie, but ultimately, despite a strong ending, it goes o a bit too long. Romantic comedies are a longstanding genre, and there's a lot to make fun of.... but the best romantic comedies have always had a heavy dose of self-mockery. Mocking the self-mocking, while it certainly has its opportunities, is a limited target for burlesque.

Still, there are a lot of good gags here. It's certainly worth looking at.

Bob
The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.
— L.P. Hartley

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