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 » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:23 am

The World Moves On (John Ford, 1934) 6/10

Epic film spanning several generations in the lives of a Louisiana family of cotton traders. At the center of the story are the two lovers - Franchot Tone & Madeleine Carroll - who are kept apart via circumstances. The business branches out to the United Kingdom, France and Germany and when WWI breaks out family members find themselves fighting each other although trying to keep business integrity intact. Too much plot and very little time makes it all a very rushed affair with scenes set in the French Foreign Legion and actiin scenes of ships and submarines being bombed. This is a rare Ford non-western which he was forced to make by the studio and which he was not happy with. The two stars and the soap opera plot keeps it moving along although the embarrassing scenes with Stepin Fetchit and his offensive shtick (set in Paris of all places) halt the film everytime he appears. The film also manages to prophesize the rise of fascism and WWII although filmed much before the troubles began. This story would have been more appropriate as a tv mini-series.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:23 am

The Lady of Scandal (Sidney Franklin, 1930) 8/10

Amusing early talkie about class difference. A stage actress (Ruth Chatterton) is engaged to an aristocrat (Ralph Forbes) but his family opposes the match. In the hope that the girl might change her mind the family decides to allow the marriage after six months provided she lives with them in order to experience their staid ways. She agrees and within three weeks she falls in love with her fiancé's cousin (Basil Rathbone) who in turn is involved with a married woman. Frederick Lonsdale's stage play - a drawing room comedy - gets a sparkling adaptation with the stars in top form particularly Chatterton who despite her "common" background moves through this fluff with an air of light sophistication showing great comic timing. Suave Rathbone makes a delightful companion for her in what is basically a very early example of a screwball comedy. Great fun.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:23 am

The Great Raid (John Dahl, 2005) 2/10

It took the Weinstein Company three years to release this film. Why? Trouble at Disney but basically because they probably realised the film was a crashing bore. True historical events about WWII - in 1945 towards the end of the War the United States made a daring rescue of American soldiers trapped in a POW camp in the Philippines. These 500 soldiers were the last survivors of the crushing defeat at Bataan and the subsequent Bataan death march to the camp. Sixty years ago this story would have starred Richard Widmark or Robert Mitchum and would have been a rousing action packed film. Here we have the dull Benjamin Bratt and James Franco leading the raid. Joseph Fiennes is the emaciated (due to malaria) American comnander of the troops in the camp who gets a silly love story with a nurse (Connie Nielsen), working with the Filipino underground, who smuggles medical supplies into the camp. Flatly directed with a screenplay that fails to show any human interest angle in the plot. A celebrated event in American history is presented as a bag full of dull clichés.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:22 am

Sergeant Rutledge (John Ford, 1960) 8/10

Shot on location in Monument Valley and on obvious fake sets, this is a rare Ford western in which the main protagonist is a black cavalry soldier (Woody Strode) caught and held on charges of alleged murder and miscegenatory rape. An army trial ensues wherein the white witnesses are out for his blood although he is defended by an officer (Jeffrey Hunter) and a woman (Constance Towers) who the accused saved from marauding Apaches. The story - racial tension - reflects the period in American history when the film was made (the Civil Rights tension) with Ford seemingly trying to atone for all the racist elements in most of his previous westerns. The testimony of the witnesses in court - among them a german doctor and the dotty wife (the insufferable Billie Burke) of the presiding officer - lead to flashbacks which piece together the movements of the accused. Ford fails to bring any tension during the court scenes and the ending throws one too many twists. Strode is a standout and for his performance and strong presence - silent, dignified, muscular, imposing - this becomes an important film highlighting race relations.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:22 am

Crooked House (Gilles Pacquet-Brenner, 2017) 4/10

Has all the ingredients of the best Agatha Christie mysteries - a mysterious murder of the patriarch of a distinguished family, a bunch of suspects all related to the deceased - his sister (Glenn Close), the second much younger sexy wife (Christina Hendricks), his sons (Julian Sands & Christian McKay), their spouses (Gillian Anderson & Amanda Abbington) and assorted grandchildren. A former spy (Max Irons) turned detective is lured by his lover (Stefanie Martini) to try and find her grandfather's murderer. The amateur detective is joined by Scotland Yard's assistant commissioner (Terence Stamp) to try and investigate but it's an uphill struggle as more murders take place. Christie's favourite of all her books gets a rather indifferent adaptation (the usually reliable Julian Fellowes wrote the screenplay) - none of the characters are particularly interesting and the story meanders - but the film has a superb cast, wonderful production values, moody lighting and great atmosphere. Too bad the film is such a bore.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:21 am

What a Woman! (Irving Cummings, 1943) 3/10

Typical Roz Russell farce - a battle of the sexes between a literary agent (Rosalind Russell) promoting a college professor as lead in the movie version of his book as a smug magazine writer (Brian Aherne) covers the story. Unfortunately the laughs are too forced with highstrung Roz and an indifferent Aherne showing zero chemistry as a screen pair - for some reason the studios paired them in four films with varying results. Silly nonsense.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:21 am

Tokyo Monogatari / Tokyo Story (Yasujiro Ozu, 1953) 10/10

Taking a cue from a Japanese proverb, ‘’Take care of your parents while they are alive. You cannot help them from beyond the grave’’, the director, Yasujiro Ozu, takes this theme and creates a heartfelt and very moving drama contrasting the old traditional views practiced by the older generation with that of the modern westernized life in Tokyo. The story may be set in Japan during post-WWII 1950s but it’s devastating theme resonates even today and can be seen all around us everywhere and in many countries of the world. The film deals with the failed relations between parents and their grown-up children, caught up in an American-influenced, get-ahead mentality, symbolized by life in Tokyo. An elderly couple make the long train journey from their small fishing village to Tokyo to visit their children. During their stay they are treated politely but with a certain distraction; life moves quickly in the big city, and there is not always time for parents and their old fashioned provincial ways. The children dump them with the couple’s widowed daughter-in-law who provides them support, time and comfort which their own blood cannot be bothered to provide.
It is a simple story where nothing much happens but everything is so real that you feel part of the family and relate to the unforgettable characters as if they were perhaps your family, friends or neighbors. You are drawn to their mundane everyday lives, subtle gestures of kindness and daily rituals. The camera quietly observes the characters in a unique manner made famous by Ozu. He would place his camera three feet off the ground with very little or no movement at all capturing his characters from the perspective of a person seated on the ground allowing the audience to observe what’s occurring beneath the surface of the drama. Here he sketches the parents’ cool yet somehow touching relationship with each other, their disappointment in their offspring’s selfishness and the sense of their own ageing. Ozu discovers the pathos of everyday existence. There are no grand gestures or impassioned speeches, just resigned acceptance that things have a tendency to change for the worse rather than the better.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:20 am

Love and Betrayal: The Mia Farrow Story (Karen Arthur, 1995) 5/10

The infamous Mia Farrow - Woody Allen - Soon-Yi Previn love triangle went from the tabloids to this made for television movie covering the story from Farrow's perspective. Mia Farrow (Patsy Kensit) and Woody Allen (Dennis Boutsikaris who is good as the director capturing the mannerisms and speech pattern) meet, fall in love and co-habitate although under different roofs across from each other at opposide ends of Central Park. She lives with her brood of adopted kids while he visits, becomes a part of their life and makes her into his muse directing her in 13 films. After 11 years together they have an acrimonius, tabloid filled breakup when she discovers nude photos of her adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn, in his apartment and she realises he is having an affair with her. She also accuses him of sexually abusing one of their kids. The story, via flashback, also covers Farrow's life growing up in the Hollywood household of the stern and philandering director-father, John Farrow, and actress-mother, Maureen O'Sullivan, who is too busy shooting films to be around. She becomes an actress finding fame on tv in "Peyton Place", gets married to much older Frank Sinatra who, after getting her into his bed says the corny line, "So how does it feel to have it "My Way". She becomes a huge film star after appearing in Roman Polanski's "Rosemary's Baby", gets a divorce from Sinatra, marries a second time to Hollywood musician Andre Previn followed by hooking up with Woody Allen. By-the-numbers screen biography has Farrow coming off as increasingly needy and insecure. Patsy Kensit gives a one note performance going through the motions. In real life the actress had, as a child, played Farrow's daughter in the film version of "The Great Gatsby" so the film makers hoped that would resonate with fans. This is all pretty hokey stuff and can be watched as a history of Hollywood lore even though the screenplay is clearly on the side of the wounded woman. The young actress playing Soon-Yi is quite charming and cute quite unlike the real counterpart who is now married to Woody Allen and the mother of his two adopted children.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:20 am

Bareilly Ki Barfi (Aishwiny Iyer Tiwari, 2017) 6/10

A variation on "Cyrano de Bergerac" set in small town India - Bareilly - with the actors speaking convincingly in the local accent. A free spirited girl (Kriti Sanon) buys a book and discovers the writer has written about a girl just like her and goes about looking for the author (his photo is on the back cover). The book's publisher (Ayushmann Khurrana) tells her the author (Rajkummar Rao) is his friend who left town. In actual fact he is the author of the book himself but put his shy friend's photo on the cover of the book. He falls in love with her and pretends to deliver her letters to the writer while responding himself. Matters get more complicated when he asks his shy friend to return, pretend to be boorish while wooing the girl in order to put her off him. The plan backfires. Not withstanding the ridiculous shenanigans this is a charming little film with the three stars giving earnest performances. Where the film really soars is in it's depiction of the small town, the offbeat quirky characters, the superb production design perfectly capturing the seedy lower middle class homes and costumes. Kirti Sanon who has an off-beat kind of beauty - tall, lanky, big toothy smile - not unlike Julia Roberts - has great screen presence and comes off very raw and real and is a breath of fresh air.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:20 am

Lord of War (Andrew Niccol, 2005) 8/10

Black comedy about an arms dealer (Nicolas Cage) who becomes rich buying and selling weapons - he is not particular who he does business with and deals with communists, fascists, muslims, African warlords, any group who is willing to do business with him. Soon he is rich and very successful and acquires a trophy wife and enemies, both illicit (Ian Holm as a rival arms dealer) and licit (Ethan Hawke as a federal agent on his trail). His partner is his coke-head brother (Jared Leto). When the Cold War ends, the Soviet Union opens up as a haven of arms for sale - "buy 6 tanks get 1 free". Cynical and chilling film incorporates surrealistic humour and action-thriller elements and is held together by the deadpan Cage who is hilarious delivering his lines and providing the narration of his rise up this "corporate" ladder in a stoned voice. At the center of the story is the horrifying reality of what war does and how it is such men who play a role in creating havoc and destruction. Director Niccol's screenplay is a lacerating outcry against gun traffic, exposing how wars are fed and maintained to keep going on.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:19 am

We Were Dancing (Robert Z. Leonard, 1942) 6/10

Silly fluff based on Noël Coward's play - "Tonight at 8.30" - has the delightful pairing of glamorous Norma Shearer and debonair Melvyn Douglas as two impovershed European aristocrats who meet, instantly fall in love, get married and become professional houseguests at various nouveau riche households who take pride in hosting them. One of Shearer's last films (which flopped) at MGM before she retired at the peak of her career - Louis B. Mayer offered her the title role of "Mrs Miniver" during this film's shoot which she refused because at age 40 she did not want to play mother to 24 year old Teresa Wright. Her loss was 38 year old Greer Garson's gain who won an Oscar for the part. Despite the silly material here (played to great success on stage by Noël Coward & Gertrude Lawrence), Shearer shines giving a witty and delightful performance - you can see the MGM machine at work for the studio's former great lady - she gets all the right camera angles, lushly lit closeups and gets to wear chic gowns by Adrian. The tongue-in-cheek interplay between the leads is superbly played. They are supported by a great group of the studio's character actors - Gail Patrick, Reginald Owen, Lee Bowman, Alan Mowbray, hilarious Marjorie Main, Florence Bates, Connie Gilchrist - each of whom provides a strong stamp despite little screen time. The comic and frivolous screwball plot, which was more suited to the 1930s, was rejected due to bad timing of the War years. A fun film.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:19 am

When Tomorrow Comes (John M. Stahl, 1939) 4/10

Corny romance between a married music conductor (Charles Boyer) and a crusading waitress (Irene Dunne) does not hold a candle to the two stars' previous collaboration in the same year's "Love Affair". The film has a memorable hurricane sequence for which it won an Oscar for it's sound design - which is also pretty unbelievable when it's major competition in this category was "Gone With the Wind". The stars have great chemistry but the material is absolute tripe (based on a story by James M. Cain). Barbara O'Neill is outstanding as Boyer's deranged wife.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:18 am

I Met My Love Again (Joshua Logan, Arthur Ripley & George Cukor, 1938) 3/10

Rather tired drama about a feckless woman (Joan Bennett) who dumps her dull childhood sweetheart (Henry Fonda) and runs off with another man (Alan Marshall) who dies and leaves her with a child. Years later she reluctantly returns to see if she can again hook up with her former friend who is about to get married. Boring film took three directors to bring to the screen. Dame May Whitty is delightful as the outspoken aunt who encourages the reunion despite opposition from friends and family. Skip this one.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:18 am

I'll Take Romance (Edward H. Griffith, 1937) 6/10

Charming fluff - a Metropolitan Opera star (Grace Moore) is wooed by an opera manager (Melvyn Douglas) into going to Buenos Aires for a concert instead of keeping her own plans of performing in Paris. Along the way romance ensues along with complications when his deceit is exposed. Moore gets to sing arias from "La Traviata" and "Madame Butterfly" in between scenes of romance and comedic moments courtesy of Helen Westley, Margaret Hamilton and Stuart Erwin. Fun!!

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

Postby Reza » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:18 am

Vanessa, Her Love Story (WilliamnK. Howard, 1935) 6/10

Helen Hayes had two careers in Hollywood. The first part ended right after this film, her tenth as a star, having already won an Oscar for her first. She left MGM for great success on the stage having "failed" as a boxoffice star mainly due to her lack of screen glamour - she would make a huge comeback 35 years later and winning a second Oscar and a new career as a character actress in Disney films. Like most of her films this too was a prestigious MGM production - David O'Selznick personally produced - and as in most of her films she suffered tediously throughout the plot based on the book by Hugh Walpole. Vanessa (Helen Hayes), youngest of the Herries family - the film opens with her grandmother's (May Robson) hundreth birthday. She desparately loves her cousin (Robert Montgomery), the black sheep of the family, but fate keeps them apart. She drives him away after the death of her father (Lewis Stone) as she mistakenly believes his death in a fire was caused by him. When he returns she forgives him but he is already married to a gypsy (and later loses his arm during the war) so she gets married to another cousin (Otto Kruger) who later goes insane. The trajectory of their love affair goes from one tragedy to another as Hayes suffers with stiff upper lip. Old fashioned nonsense is made palatable by the star through sheer star presence although dashing Montgomery is too light as an actor to make their romance believable. The studio's great roster of character actors - Violet Kemble Cooper, Henry Stephenson, Jessie Ralph, Donald Crisp, Ethel Griffies, Mary Gordon - provide the two stars able support. Dated film has romance, tears and lush cinematography by Ray June.


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