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 » Sat May 05, 2018 7:56 am

Danger Signal (Robert Florey, 1945) 7/10

Odd mixture of noir, suspense and psychotherapy (Rosemary DeCamp plays a psychiatrist with theories) along with a hokey homespun romance. A serial killer (Zachary Scott) - who marries women for their money and then kills them - on the run from cops turns up in Los Angeles pretending to be a wounded war veteran and moves into a house as a boader. He charms the old lady in the house and romances her two daughters - the older one (Faye Emerson) who eventually gets suspicious of him and the younger one (Mona Freeman) who falls in love with him. Talky melodrama is superbly photographed by the great James Wong Howe who creates shadows as in all noirs. Scott was always an interesting actor on screen - nobody played sleazeballs as well as him - and all his scenes opposite the equally interesting Emerson create sparks. The film coasts on the cottails of better films from the past - Hitchcock's "Suspicion", "Shadow of a Doubt" and "Spellbound" but manages to hold interest within it's strictly B niche.

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

Postby Reza » Sat May 05, 2018 7:56 am

The Devil Wears Prada (David Frankel, 2006) 7/10

A recent graduate discovers that a job at a magazine can be full of anxiety, pain and back-stabbing "fun" while working for Miranda Priestley (Meryl Streep) - bitch-from-hell and editor-in-chief of Runaway fashion magazine. She is sophisticated, powerful, ruthless and a workaholic and makes life hell for her team - the stylist (Stanley Tucci), her first assistant (Emily Blunt) and the newly appointed second assistant (Anne Hathaway) who actually wants to be a journalist but decides to try her luck at the magazine for a year. During that year she quickly learns the tricks of the trade by keeping one step ahead of her boss, supplants the first assistant but loses her boyfriend in the process. At a critical junction she realises what all she has lost and decides to turn her life around. The film's amusing premise relies on the over-the-top central character of the editor (based on Dame Anna Wintour - editor in chief of Vogue) who Streep plays as a sort of Cruella de Ville sporting a chic white hairdo, dressed in Chanel and Prada, sporting Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo stilettos with a perpetually pained expression on her face as she rolls her eyes at everything and everyone around her. Both Blunt and Hathaway, in their first important roles, are very good as the hapless assistants who try to survive the onslaught of their demanding boss. Streep was nominated for an Oscar for her hilarious but one-note performance.

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

Postby Reza » Sat May 05, 2018 7:55 am

Miracle of the White Stallions (Arthur Hiller, 1963) 7/10

Walt Disney glorifies the famous Lipizzaner horses - purebred snow-white horses with centuries of tradition - from the Spanish Riding School in Vienna in this true story of their evacuation during WWII. The Germans took all the mares and sent them to Czechoslovakia leaving behind only the stallions which Alois Podhajsky (Robert Taylor), head of the School, and his wife (Lili Palmer) manage to evacuate with the help of a sympathetic german General (Curt Jürgens) to the countryside. The film was shot at actual locations in Vienna particularly at the spectacular castle, Hermesvilla, the summer retreat built by Emperor Franz Josef for his wife the Empress Elisabeth. Once the stallions are safe here it becomes a necessity to ensure the return of the mares as well. For this the school puts on a show for visiting American General Patton in the hope he will help retreive the mares. Lovely little film that brings to life the magic of these performing horses amidst an important history lesson that saved not only these magnificent animals but kept alive a centuries old cultural tradition.

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

Postby Reza » Sat May 05, 2018 7:55 am

Den of Thieves (Christian Gudegast, 2018) 7/10

Gritty Los Angeles bank heist saga has a strong whiff of Michael Mann's "Heat" although less pretentious and so a much better film. A grizzled and corrupt cop (Gerald Butler), from the elite LA county Sheriff's department, gets into a cat-and-mouse game with the state's most accomplished bank robber (Pablo Schreiber) and his team. Stuck in the middle of the two men is a bartender (O'Shea Jackson Jr. - son of rapper Ice Cube) who the crook needs as a getaway driver while the cop has him beat up to use as an informant. Director Gudegast seems to have done his homework well as he pieces together his film from various heist flicks and manages to make all the action sequences seem very fresh - the slow buildup to the heist, the robbery itself followed by a twist that leads upto a shootout. Luckily the film's excessive length does not drag the film down - the domestic dramas involving the protagonists adds to their characters with Butler particularly good as the boozy, raspy voiced cop with marital woes. The film is no masterpiece but it delivers enough action, suspense and bravado to include it amongst the best heist movies.

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

Postby Reza » Sat May 05, 2018 7:54 am

A Quiet Place (John Krasinski, 2018) 9/10

One of the best and creepiest monster movies of all times. Expertly directed film which takes the audience on a roller coaster ride of horror and doing it by showing minimum blood and gore. Instead the film uses the actors' facial expressions and exceptional sound design to create a mood of abject terror. The screenplay plunges the audience into a harrowing post-apocalyptic world where any loud sound immediately attracts monsters which kill with ferocious intensity. A family tries to survive this hellish life - Dad (John Krasinski), Mom (Emily Blunt) and their three kids, a deaf older daughter and two younger sons. The film picks up a year after a tragedy occurs finding the family still tiptoeing in silence, speaking to each other in sign language and walking barefoot on self created sandy paths scrounging for food in desolate stores and abandoned homes. The sight of Mom, now pregnant, creates a horrific image of what that entails and what is to come. This is an edge of the seat thriller which carefully orchestrates silence and noise to create moments of intense dread. In fact sound becomes a distinct character in itself. Superbly acted film - Blunt brings back memories of Ripley from the "Alien" series as she battles for survival trying to save her children from the large saliva dripping monster. Extremely entertaining and crowd pleasing film and a must-see.

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

Postby Reza » Sat May 05, 2018 7:54 am

You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2017) 9/10

Brutal and heartrending glimpse into a disturbed man's hellish life pushed past the edge of sanity (shades of "Taxi Driver"). A burly gentle son who looks after his old mother and the war veteran who takes on jobs for cash finding kidnapped underage girls. Joaquin Phoenix plays this bull-like man with a mission, his brain fighting past memories of a traumatic childhood fraught with physical abuse and later followed by the brutality of war as a soldier. Ramsey films his story using fast cuts, sudden flashbacks and a pounding score by Jonny Greenwood all of which give the film a dream-like distorted feel mirroring the mind of this man. A new job involves rescuing a senator's young daughter from a child sex trafficking ring. All goes smoothly as he walks into the high class brothel brandishing a hammer and walks out with the child leaving a lot of blood and dead bodies behind. But they are stalked, there are gunshots, more graphic violence, the child is taken and it appears men in high places are involved. Despite the outrageous bone crunching violence on display director Ramsey manages to find beauty amidst the mayhem - a scene of a body being buried deep inside the waters of a lake is both eerie and serene. There are flashes of gentle humour - Phoenix lying on the floor next to a dying assassin and both singing a song playing on the radio. The film is full of vivid images, disturbing sound design and an outstanding performance by Phoenix who completely disappears into the role. Wearing a heavy beard, long hair, shapeless clothes on a body bulked up in muscle and weight he is simply astonishing playing this man who is clearly very disturbed and seems to be in physical pain. The director and star appear to be totally in sync creating a world full of madness with a beast trapped in its merciless spiral of violence. Phoenix won the best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival and Ramsey won for her screenplay. This is an instant cult film and a must-see though not for the faint of heart.

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

Postby Reza » Sat May 05, 2018 7:54 am

Cake (Asim Abbasi, 2018) 7/10

Many reviewers have mentioned that this film reeks of a television film. I don't agree. This is an intimate little drama focusing on the dynamics between members of a family. Who says a subject like this is only reserved for the small screen? We, here in Pakistan, are tuned to the Bollywood style of movie making - intimate dramatic family moments enveloped within a concoction of spectacular production numbers involving a chorus of gyrating dancers, an item number or two allowing an A-list female star to show her voluptuous scantily clad figure as she dances to a hit song which becomes the film's "paisa vasool" moment along with either raucous comedy or intense dramatic scenes played to the gallery. "Cake" (signifying the many layers in relationships) is very much a big screen film more in line with Hollywood's independent cinema - small meaningful films which show the "average joe" in society with a screenplay that covers "life" and it's issues as it exists in families by and large across the globe. The film gets full marks for coming up with something different as far as our local cinema is concerned. The film begins and ends with an image of a cigarette butt being flushed down a toilet by the main character - at the start it defies the flush and continues to bob in the water while at the end the butt, wrapped in tissue, gets flushed out. The smoker is a woman (Aamina Sheikh) and it immediately becomes evident that she is jittery and disturbed. She is in full control of her household which consists of her ailing parents - the father (Mohammad Siraj) is a heart patient, frail but jovial and married to a viper tongued flamboyant bewigged-lady (Beo Raana Zafar) prone to loud tantrums. They have a very loving and playful marriage - you can sense the sexual undertones between this elderly couple - which the screenplay effortlessly shows through witty dialogue and delightfully knowing glances between the two. When the old man's health takes a turn for the worst the younger daughter (Sanam Saeed) visits from London. It immediately becomes apparent that there is a history of resentment between the two sisters. The elder hinting at the sacrifice she had to make for being the only sibling to stay behind for not only looking after the parents but also handling their ancestral land and property in the village. The younger sister has unresolved feelings for a former boyfriend and blames her older sibling for hiding certain facts. An elder brother and his wife appear later when their mother falls ill. Adding to the drama is the male nurse (Adnan Malik), a childhood pal of the siblings, who is "involved" with the older sister. The young man is a Christian and from a different class - the screenplay weakly hints at the issue of religion but sadly does not carry it through. The family's internal bickering comes to a head and the "elephant in the room" loudly explodes during the elderly couple's 50th wedding anniversary celebration at a gathering in the village where the "truth" is revealed. The film's major flaw is the excessive running time of over two hours - the film drags throughout and should have been drastically edited to 90 minutes. The film has outstanding cinematography - all the scenes set in the village and the surrounding countryside have a burnished quality straight out of some renaissance painting. It was also a good idea using Sindi folk songs on the soundtrack The acting is by and large good - Aamina Shaikh carries the film with a strongly grounded performance as the "life force" of the family who has a deeply vulnerable side to her personality, Sanam Saeed is equally good as the calmer sibling whose reserve collapses during the intense scenes at the climax, Beo Raana Zafar is the comic relief and in her brief moments on screen - unfortunately the screenplay puts her into a coma - she creates a vivid impression of a witty, acerbic woman in love with her husband played superbly by Mohammad Siraj - he gets minimum dialogue but uses his facial expressions to create depth of character as a loving father and husband. Adnan Malik is saddled with a rather vacuous and lifeless character to play - the screenplay fails to provide him any depth - and he comes across like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car. Life is full of issues and resistance (the cigarette butt that refuses to be flushed) but with communication, understanding and gentle maneuvering most problems can be resolved (the tissue covered butt gets flushed finally). This film is a positive effort and a good addition to the recent on-going revival of Pakistani cinema.

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

Postby Reza » Sat May 05, 2018 7:53 am

The Lady in Question (Charles Vidor, 1940) 6/10

Silly and charming little frou frou about a murder trial that causes a household to go into a tizzy. Father (Brian Aherne) is a bourgeois shopkeeper and overbearing patriarch of a Parisienne family - Mother (Irene Rich) is stern but loving, Daughter (Evelyn Keyes) is naive and a hopeless romantic in love with a pretentious dance instructor and the Son (Glenn Ford) is a studious sort. When Father is called to be a juror in a murder trial - a woman (Rita Hayworth) of questionable repute is accused of murdering her lover - he manages to browbeat the jury into acquitting her. Feeling sorry for her he gives her a job in his shop and a room in the house to live in. Complications ensue when the son suspects his father of having an affair with the young girl yet falls in love with her himself. Stagy comedy-drama of the raucous variety is an excuse for the studio to showcase the beautiful Rita Hayworth. And she makes a huge impact as she gets all the closeups while throwing back her hair and pouting at Glenn Ford - it was the first of five films the duo made together. Remake of Marc Allégret's "Gribouille" (1937) with Raimu and Michèle Morgan.

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

Postby Reza » Sat May 05, 2018 7:53 am

Secret Superstar (Advait Chandan, 2017) 9/10

Heartbreaking and inspirational story of a 15-year old girl, Insia (Zaira Wasim), who dreams of becoming a singer and a superstar. Typical Bollywood fantasy that wrings tears, laughter, horror and joy under an umbrella of important messages about life - a celebration of motherhood, the importance of having dreams and a strong plea against domestic abuse. Insia lives with her mother (Meher Vij), kid brother and abusive father (Raj Arjun) under great tension. He habitually abuses his illiterate wife and ridicules his daughter's music aspirations. In secret the mother sells her jewellery and buys a laptop for the young girl so she can pursue her dream of a singing career. Insia makes music videos and uploads them onto YouTube wearing a burka becoming a sensation as the "Secret Superstar". She gets help from a sleazy Bombay music producer (Aamir Khan) to record a song gaining further acclaim. It all comes crashing down when the father decides to take a job in Saudi Arabia, move the family there and get the young girl married off to his partner's son. Life for the girl appears to mirror her mother's sad life. The film's best scenes depict the fraught relationship between the mother and daughter - the former coming across as naive and scared although holding onto a secret that later reveals her to be strong while the daughter shows maturity and resents her mother for staying in an abusive relationship endangering them all. The fantasy aspect of the screenplay kicks in just when things start to look grim with a crowd pleasing moment where the father gets his comeuppance leading up to the finale at an awards show where the "Secret Superstar" has been nominated for her song. The entire cast is superb - Zaira Wasim, in only her second film, acts with an unusual maturity capturing the character's anguish, joy in her music and the discovery of first love (in superbly played scenes with a classmate). Meher Vij is heartbreaking as the mother who endures physical abuse but continues to love and provide support to her children. Raj Arjun is very scary as the father, a ticking time bomb who explodes at the drop of a hat - it is to the screenplay's credit that most of the scenes of abuse are witnessed in the aftermath but all these scenes hit home in depicting the horror of such a situation in a household. The film's actual superstar and producer of the film - Aamir Khan - takes on the role of the comic relief. He is very funny as the smooth talking high roller and the only adult around whom young Insia is absolutely safe offering her hope. The film is pure melodrama but depicts an inspirational journey of a daughter and a mother and once again proves the genius of Aamir Khan who with each new film not only reinvents himself through his changing avatars but manages to provide good cinema with an important message. The film won richly deserved Filmfare awards for Zaira Wasim, Meher Vij and playback singer Meghna Mishra who sings the rousing song, "Nachdi Phira". A must-see!!

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

Postby Reza » Sat May 05, 2018 7:52 am

Rumba (Marion Gering, 1935) 5/10

Bored socialite (Carole Lombard) tangles with Cuban dancer (George Raft) as they love, spar and dance. Lombard is her usual snappy (and lovely) self but has zero chemistry with a stiff Raft even though off-screen both stars had quite a sexual tangle - Lombard dallied with Raft in between her marriages to William Powell and Clark Gable.

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

Postby Reza » Sat May 05, 2018 7:52 am

Bodyguard (Richard Fleischer, 1948) 7/10

Nifty little B-noir (story by Robert Altman - his first screen credit) with strong jawed and hot-headed Lawrence Tierney getting kicked out of the L.A. police force for insubordination and taking on a job as a bodyguard to a rich old lady heading a meat packing company. Then he is framed for a murder and goes on the lam trying to solve the mystery helped by his lady love (lovely Priscilla Lane in her last film). This brutal and dark side of post-war Los Angeles has sharp photography by Robert de Grasse and deft editing by Elmo Williams. The film was shot on authentic L.A. street locations which adds to the urgency of the plot.

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

Postby Reza » Sat May 05, 2018 7:52 am

The House of the Seven Hawks (Richard Thorpe, 1959) 6/10

The plot has elements of both "The Maltese Falcon" and "To Have and Have Not" but Robert Taylor is no Bogart although he manages to comfortably sail through on his own star power. Sunken treasure has a host of characters - the American captain (Robert Taylor) of a small boat, his passenger who has a map but ends up dead on the boat, a woman (Linda Christian) pretending to be the dead man's daughter, the actual daughter (Nicole Maurey), assorted criminals (David Kossoff, Eric Pohlmann) and a Dutch cop (Donald Wolfit) - trying to get their hands on the diamonds left on a sunken boat by the germans during WWII. The atmospheric dutch locations are a major plus in what is basically a rather routine mystery helped along by an interesting cast.

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

Postby Reza » Sat May 05, 2018 7:51 am

The Night Digger / The Road Builder (Alaistair Reid, 1971) 7/10

A blind old woman (Pamela Brown) lives with her bitter adopted spinster daughter (Patricia Neal) in a dilapitated country mansion. Into their lives comes a young man (Nicholas Clay) who is hired as a handyman. Matters come to a head when the young man turns out to be a serial killer of women and the spinster falls in love with him. Well acted psychological thriller. Screenplay by Roald Dahl which has the spinster character a patient of a brain aneurysm - which Patricia Neal actually had and lived to survive a series of strokes while she was married to Dahl.

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

Postby Reza » Sat May 05, 2018 7:51 am

Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2017) 10/10

Perceptive look at a controlling genius (Daniel Day-Lewis) - a brilliant and fastidious dress designer living a life of almost solitary existence along with his silently manipulative sister (Lesley Manville). Into their lives comes a young girl (Vicky Krieps) who refuses to bow down to the duo and in her gentle but strong way resists their control. Day-Lewis is magnificent as the selfish man always used to getting his way who gradually discovers that the woman he married is a strong force to reckon with. The director has a perfect understanding of the characters and their "battle for control" is depicted in a perfect dance of subtle movements which flicker across the faces of the three actors. It is all played out in a 1950s stiff upper lip British setting complimented by outstanding production design, lovely costumes and a wonderful music score. A must-see.

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

Postby Reza » Sat May 05, 2018 7:51 am

Syriana (Steven Gaghan, 2005) 7/10

America's intense desire and greed to control oil rights in the Middle East (only Iran has the guts to show them the finger) is the backdrop for this atmospheric but extremely convoluted film. The screenplay zigzags between four different plots and it takes an effort to figure out the characters and what is happening on the screen. A U.S. oil giant finds itself losing control in the Middle East when the son of the ruling Emir (Alexander Siddig) gives rights for gas drilling to the Chinese. To compensate for their now decreased production capacity the Americans make a shady deal with a small oil company in Kazhakistan which is brokered by a Washington D.C based hotshot lawyer (Christopher Plummer). An energy analyst (Matt Damon) based out of Switzerland gets a contract from the Emir's son after his young son dies in an accident on the Arab's property. CIA officer (George Clooney who won an Oscar) is handed the task of assassinating the Emir's progressive son as the U.S. would prefer the Arab country to remain less progressive and stay in their pocket. Meanwhile at the opposite end of the spectrum is the story of a poor Pakistani migrant worker who is laid off by the oil company and who eventually falls prey into taking revenge by being brainwashed by Islamic fundamentalists into becoming a terrorist. Thought provoking film exposes America's continuing selfish machination around the world without any care for the collateral damage they leave in their despicable need to win at any cost.


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