Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Reza
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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:12 am

The Square (Ruben Östlund, 2017). 5/10

Disjointed film uses black humour to show the alienation of modern society. The plot darts around all over the place - a curator (Claes Bang) has his phone and wallet stolen and he uses elaborate means to get them back, has a one night stand with an American tv personality (Elisabeth Moss) after which they argue what to do with the used condom, he later alienates a young kid, a video goes viral putting his job on the line and the film's major set piece is set at a swanky dinner attended by the Swedish elite who are in turns embarrassed, fascinated and horrified at the evening's performance act - a man acting like a primate who carries the act too far and viciously attacks a woman causing the men in the room to kill him. Forced social satire that just goes on and on. The film was nominated for an Oscar and inexplicably won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes film festival.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:12 am

Disobedience (Sebastián Lelio, 2018) 8/10

Moving and beautifully nuanced drama about the conflict between the life one wants to live versus a rigid life, bound by religion, that we are born into. The screenplay handles the issue in a delicate but sexually explicit manner involving the lives of three characters who come together and find a balance with surprising maturity. A woman (Rachel Weisz), estranged from her much respected jewish orthodox rabbi father, returns for his funeral much to the consternation of her family and community. Years ago she had escaped from the stifling rigidity of her father after her affair with a childhood friend was discovered. She returns to find her friend (Rachel McAdams) now married to another childhood friend (Alessandro Nivola) who was her father's protege and now expected be the deceased man's religious successor at the synagogue. Old passions are reignited when the rabbi's wife makes a play for her old lover which in turn is reciprocated with deep passion. The film scores points on vividly showing small day-to-day details about the jewish community - whether praying at the gravestone or at the dining table, men recoiling from touching an unmarried woman and other small gestures - all of which have a startling similarity to the Muslim culture and religion which is understandable since both religions ultimately follow an Abrahamic origin. Both Weisz and McAdams are heartbreaking and Nivola, playing a difficult character who has to balance religious rigidity and compassion for his wife who wants a free will to live life on her own terms, is equally superb. Thought provoking film with many layers.

Reza
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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:11 am

Destination Wedding (Victor Levin, 2018) 3/10

Two miserable wedding guests find themselves at a destination wedding. His (Keanu Reeves) brother and her (Winona Ryder) ex-boyfriend is the groom whom they both hate. They also hate their lives, their jobs, everyone around them and themselves. They meet cute (at the airport), quickly hate each other and to their disgust are thrown together eventually developing a mutual interest. Boring talk-fest with the film's apparent novelty being that only the two lead characters have dialogue while every other person around them remains silent. This makes for one hell of a chore to sit through as both Reeves and Ryder are saddled with such unpleasant characters to play who spend all their time together whining. The only redeeming factor is the film's stunning location of San Luis Obispo in California which looks exactly like Tuscany with it's sun-drenched golden fields. Skip this dull film.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:11 am

Jane Fonda in Five Acts (Susan Lacy, 2018) 8/10

Fascinating look at a remarkable life full of conflict of the inner soul. This informative documentary provides an insight into many issues that are common to everyone around - prickly issues that involve relationships, career, health and especially the need for self preservation which many fail to achieve in their quest for perfection and the need to please others. As Fonda says, "Trying to be perfect is a toxic journey …Good enough is good enough". Her story is covered in five acts - the first four deal with the complicated men in her life, her father (Henry Fonda) and her three husbands (Roger Vadim, Tom Hayden, Ted Turner) and the last act is about her own self preservation where she comes full circle (as an actress, feminist, activist) but with the added realization that living a life is not complete until you also live it for yourself as well.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:11 am

Jezebel (William Wyler, 1938) 7/10

This is clearly a second rate Southern potboiler which the studio took on based on a play meant for Talullah Bankhead but played instead on stage by Miriam Hopkins who was later pissed off for not getting to star in the film version. The project was especially adapted for Bette Davis who had won a poll by the public to star on screen in "Gone With the Wind" but was never seriously considered by producer David O'Selznick for the role of Scarlett O'Hara. So in compensation she was cast instead as another spoiled southern belle who's tantrums cost her the love of her life much to the dismay of her sympathetic aunt (Fay Bainter who won an Oscar). The film is mainly remembered today for its famous set-piece where a strong-willed belle (Bette Davis) attends a ball with her beau (Henry Fonda) wearing a bright red gown when white was considered to be an appropriate dress for young maidens. She is further disgraced when her angry lover forces her to dance with him in full view of everyone. To add insult to injury he breaks off their engagement (she gets to slap his face), leaves town and returns a year later with a wife (Margaret Lindsay) in tow. To spite him she goads another admirer (George Brent) to fight a duel with him, a plan that backfires when his younger brother (Richard Cromwell) accepts the duel and in turn shoots dead the admirer. The plot then veers off into melodrama with an outbreak of yellow fever which he catches and she decides to sacrifice herself and accompany him in quarantine to an island. This sudden redemption is unconvincing as Davis goes from being a spitfire to simpering nobility in a flash. Davis won her second Oscar and cemented her leading lady status at the studio but her performance is erratic and overblown. All the "tics" she is remembered for (which later became heady material for drag queens to copy) are on full display - the flashing eyes, her fast speech and the rapid hand movements (minus the usual cigarette here). The film does have many things going in its favour - outstanding production design, Orry Kelly's superb costumes, Max Steiner's score, Ernest Haller's cinematography (bathing the cast in shadows while keeping the ballroom scene fully lit) and of course Wyler's direction who started an affair offset with his leading lady which would last through filming of two more famous projects.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:10 am

Johnny English Strikes Again (David Kerr, 2018) 4/10

Silly return of "Mr Bean" in this third installment of spoofing the Bond movies. When a dastardly villain exposes all the active British agents the Government is forced to recall retired agents. Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson), working now as a school teacher, jumps at the chance especially after the trio of geriatric agents (Charles Dance, Michael Gambon, Edward Fox) also in line for the job are "disposed" off inadvertently by the bumbling agent. It's off to exotic places where he burns down a restaurant, flirts and tussles with a Russian agent (Olga Kurylenko) and gets on the nerves of the exasperated Prime Minister (Emma Thompson in fine form rattling off spiky one-liners). The big budget allows a fairly accurate impersonation of the Bond world although the humour is strictly juvenile. Atkinson, doing his usual schtick, has the jokes coming at breakneck speed most of which fall flat. A film for young kids who will find this nonsense amusing.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:10 am

Alfred the Great (Clive Donner, 1969) 3/10

The screenplay distorts history for dramatic impact. Alfred (David Hemmings) gives up the priesthood to become King of Wessex in 849 AD after the death of his brother. Most of the film depicts his battles with the Danish Viking invaders and the kidnapping of his pregnant Queen (Prunella Ransome) by the Viking leader (Michael York). Alfred initially spurns his Queen on their wedding night due to guilt over turning the Church down. Later he rapes her and when she is kidnapped she more than recipocrates the affections of her captor later giving birth to Alfred's son. Unevenly acted film has rousing battle scenes and good production values. The film's best performance is by Ian McKellan in one of his very early film appearances as the leader of a group of bandits who provide shelter to the King. In actuality Alfred never approached the Church to become a priest nor was his Queen kidnapped by the Vikings. These events were added to make the story more dramatic.

Reza
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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:07 am

First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018) 7/10

Schrader here proves that Muslims aren't the only nutjobs who go beserk with an overdose of religion. There are a number of equally fanatic, confused, tortured and self doubting clerics in the American Church as well who can be like a time bomb just waiting to blow up. A somber look at a self doubting Protestant minister (Ethan Hawke) undergoing a spiritual and psychological breakdown. Already suffering anguish over the death of his son, collapse of his marriage, a brief past affair, alcohol issues and in pain from cancer of the stomach, he gets involved in the life of a pregnant woman (Amanda Seyfried) whose husband commits suicide. The dead man was an environmentalist deeply depressed about living life in a world being abused by mankind. Yet another cause that pricks at the brain of the tortured man who heads a historical church in a small town with few flock to provide his sermons to - the main flock instead congregates at another nearby more popular church. Schrader is clearly chaneling the films of Ingmar Bergman, Andrei Tarkovsky, Carl Theodore Dryer and in particular Robert Bresson's "Diary of a Country Priest" with the minister using a diary here to speak his thoughts. The film's camera - moving slowly but often at a standstill - stares out at the colonial architecture of the church standing under a gray sky providing a glimpse into classic European cinema featuring religion. The film ends on an hysterical but euphoric note which the director intentionally leaves to the imagination of the audience. An emaciated Hawke, dressed in a stark black ankle-length cassock, gives a riveting and extremely moving performance adding to his screen resumé yet another film that shows the risks this actor is willing to take.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:07 am

Blow Out (Brian De Palma, 1981) 9/10

De Palma pays hommage to Antonioni's "Blow-Up" by way of Coppola's "The Conversation" in this paranoid conspiracy thriller which also incorporates elements of Chappaquiddick. A movie sound man (John Travolta), out in the wilds trying to record sounds at night, suddenly hears a car screeching and sees it fall down into a creek. He jumps into the water and rescues a woman (Nancy Allen) from the submerged car while a man inside drowns. Matters get suspicious when it is revealed that the dead man was a Presidential candidate and he discovers through that night's sound recording that a bullet went off just before the car crashed. When nobody believes him he enlists the aid of the woman who he discovers is a hooker who was involved with a sleazy photographer (Dennis Franz) in a blackmail set-up of the dead man. Chasing them is an assassin (John Lithgow) with an expertise in garotting and synchronised stabbing. Flashy thriller that allows the audience to witness the world of movie magic through the use of sound and editing as De Palma brilliantly incorporates both mediums into the suspenseful plot. The film is superbly shot by Vilmos Zsigmond with a wonderful edgy performance by Travolta. One of De Palma's best films complete with a number of his trademark Hitchcock touches one of which is played completely for laughs. Not to be missed.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:06 am

The Black Dahlia (Brian De Palma, 2006) 3/10

Hideously convoluted, overstuffed and sluggish adaptation of James Ellroy's novel about the 1947 brutal murder of a would-be actress/prostitute in Los Angeles where the girl's body was found cut in half, drained of blood and her mouth slit wide into an exaggerated smile. The actual case still remains unsolved but Ellroy, in his book, comes up with a far fetched denouement which De Palma brings to the screen in a deathly dull manner. He stocks up the film with the right "look" - Oscar nominated sepia toned cinematography by the great Vilmos Zsigmond, opulent sets by Dante Ferreti and costumes by Jenny Beavan. Too bad he failed in one crucial element - in the film's casting. The main leads look askew playing these period characters as if kids are playing dress up at a costume party. The film is less about Elizabeth Short (Mia Kirshner), the murder victim who is glimpsed throughout in an audition film, and instead focuses on two antagonistic cops - Josh Hartnet who is meant to be hard boiled but comes off more wooden than a plank of wood and his partner the fiery and anguished Aaron Eckhart whose character is underwritten (or maybe his role was slashed after the studio pared the film down from the original 3-hour director's cut). Both men are in love with a blonde bombshell (a vapid Scarlett Johansson). The film works too hard trying to create a noir-like atmosphere (this is not "Chinatown" or "L.A. Confidential" for that matter) as the screenplay meanders all over the place with countless subplots adding to an already confusing plot. The story enters into camp territory with the introduction of a rich family (suspiciously reeking of the one in Raymond Chandler's "The Big Sleep") - a tycoon (John Kavanagh), his inebriated wife (Fiona Shaw in a performance so over-the-top that she comes off looking grotesque) and their nymphomaniac daughter (a badly miscast Hilary Swank as a femme fatale who looks instead like an ugly drag queen) who is one of the murder suspects. Another campy sequence is set in a lesbian nightclub with slinky dancers gyrating and lip-locking on the floor (Cate Blanchett cameos as one of the dancers) as an elegantly butch K.D. Lang croons "Love For Sale". Surprisingly with the sleaze quotient so high in the plot the film is shockingly prudish when it comes to the sex scenes - we just get to view the before and after along with a few kisses between women in a stag film. The film recovers during one brief operatic sequence which De Palma shoots with great style - a struggle between two men on a balcony which involves a garoting just as a third figure slides up wielding a glinting knife (De Palma's signature take on Hitchcock) that slashes a throat followed by both men taking a slow-motion tumble down to a foyer many floors below with their bodies crashing alongside a fountain as the water turns red with their blood. The climax is a complete mess with an absurd explanation of the murder with the actors behaving as if they are on heat. De Palma falters badly with this film which can be blamed on the silly plot and the badly miscast actors who either emote stiffly or camp it up. Skip this film.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:06 am

Noah's Ark (Michael Curtiz & Darryl F. Zanuck, 1929) 9/10

Spectacular silent / part-talkie film is a parable about greed through the ages - from the time of Prophet Noah to WWI when God, in his wrath, caused a flood and later death and destruction during war to teach mankind a lesson. Simplistic, corny but riveting spectacle is a feast for the senses with outstanding set pieces all filmed with jaw dropping panache. The screenplay first covers WWI with a handsome man (George O'Brien) falling in love with a beautiful German girl (pretty Dolores Costello - grandmother of Drew Barrymore) when he rescues her during a train crash, his enlistment as a soldier and her capture by an evil Russian agent (Noah Beery) who leads her to a firing squad. The second part is set during the time of the Prophet Noah. His son (George O'Brien) loves a pretty shepherdess (Dolores Costello) who is captured by the evil King (Noah Beery) to be sacrificed at the altar to appease an angry God who rains down a flood in response while he commands his Prophet to build an ark to house animals and his family. The primitive but astonishing special effects in the film involve a spectacular train crash and the destruction of an ancient temple as the flood pours in (a number of extras drowned and were trampled to death during the filming of this sequence). Superb film has everything an audience would want - melodrama, romance, action and spectacle - although the film surprisingly flopped at the boxoffice probably because it was a pastiche of many other successful silent films that came before - you can catch a glimpse of the imagery of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921) and the shimmery romanticism of Seventh Heaven (1927). Today it stands as a superb monument to the classic age of Hollywood cinema with its sharp editing and cinematography along with incredible sets by Anton Grot. Good old fashioned cinema that needs to be seen on a big screen to properly capture Curtiz's outsized vision.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:06 am

Living on Velvet (Frank Borzage, 1935) 3/10

Borzage in slumming mode. Trite screenplay - a man (George Brent) survives a plane crash but loses his family so acts recklessly feeling a void in his life which his wife (Kay Francis) even cannot fill. The stars are better than the material. Fun to see Francis dressed to her teeth in gowns most inappropriate to the occasions at hand.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:05 am

Sentimental Journey (Walter Lang, 1946) 7/10

Old fashioned sentimental tearjerker was a boxoffice smash for the Fox studio. A dying Broadway actress (Maureen O'Hara) adopts a young girl so that her self centered workaholic director husband (John Payne) will have someone to be with after she is gone. The child lives in a dream world and after the actress dies the bereft husband totally ignores her. Nobody on screen has died looking as perfect or beautiful as O'Hara who slips away conveniently propped up on a chaise lounge with the camera zooming in on her lovely face with not a hair out of place. She later keeps popping up as a ghostly presence to lend moral support to the confused kid gently advising her to not give up on Payne who is in a catatonic state. Despite the mawkish plot it all somehow manages to work thanks to the superb performances by O'Hara, Payne and sad-eyed Connie Marshall who plays the orphan. William Bendix is the comic relief as a close friend. One of Hollywood's neglected classics.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:47 am

Traitement de choc / Shock Treatment (Alain Jessua, 1973) 8/10

Fast moving mystery-thriller which clearly seems to have been the inspiration behind author Robin Cook's "Coma". The film, probably considered science fiction when it first came out, eerily mirrors much of what goes on today in the field of medicine as humans, in their quest to desperately hold on to their youth, try to rejuvinate their bodies using any nefarious means. A woman (Annie Girardot), suffering from a mid-life crisis, checks into a secluded clinic in a coastal town - the film's stunning location is set on the coast of Brittany - run by a charming doctor (Alain Delon). All the patients are extremely happy with their "cure" which entails daily sea-water baths, meals made of seaweed, nude frolics on the beach and injections of sheep blood. It all seems too good to be true until a friend commits suicide and she notices that the foreign immigrant boys who work at the clinic mysteriously fall sick and disappear. Turning detective she discovers the charming doctor, who has also been having sex with all the female patients (including with her) has been using a secret ingredient in his treatments. The film's exciting climax is a shocker. The film has a bright and sunny disposition with every scene brightly lit masking all that is dark and evil. An ominous score of tribal music underlines the story's theme of predators preying on the weak. Girardot and Delon are very good and the film seems very contemporary in its sympathetic treatment of a gay character and in its use of full frontal nudity of which the cast seems very comfortable in all the scenes depicting free love.

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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:47 am

The Loves of Joanna Godden (Charles Frend & Robert Hamer, 1947) 6/10

At the turn of the century a stubborn woman (Googie Withers) inherits a sheep-farm on Romney Marsh on the border of Kent and Sussex, spurns the love of a fellow-farmer (John McCallum), flirts with a farmhand (Chips Rafferty), gets married to a rich farmer's son (Deren Bond) who drowns, watches her former love marry her selfish younger sister (Jean Kent) and eventually comes around to an alliance at the film's rather hasty conclusion. Based on the novel by Sheila Kaye Smith (screenplay by H.E. Bates), the story is clearly inspired by Thomas Hardy's " Far From the Madding Crowd" and was one of the author's many tales about rural life in England. Superbly shot on location by Douglas Slocombe this soap opera moves at a brisk pace helped by the great chemistry between Withers and McCallum which culminated in marriage that lasted 63 years.


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