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 7:53 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!!

Reza
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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.

Reza
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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.

Reza
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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.

Reza
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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.

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

Postby Reza » Sat May 05, 2018 7:50 am

The Commuter (Jaume Collet-Serra, 2018) 7/10

Schlock can be fun and sometimes provide the required adrenalin rush. This is the fourth teaming between this Spanish director and Liam Neeson - a once upon a time A-list actor ("Schindler's List") whose life (and career) suddenly took a "turn" after the tragic death of his wife, Natasha Richardson. The result has been a series of action packed films where he plays the average "joe" whose life (and family) is suddenly put in jeopardy and he invariably finds the strength to rise above the situation and come through battered and bruised but not before kicking some serious ass. Here his ex-cop gets conned into finding and killing a witness on a commuter train or else his wife (Elizabeth McGovern) and son get whacked. There's a conspiracy, cops (Patrick Wilson & Sam Neill) may or may not be involved, passengers die mysteriously, there is a spectacular train crash (with an overdose of CGI), a hostage situation takes place before the suspenseful denouement. Neeson has now perfected this part and has the audience rooting for him from the word go. Just sit back and enjoy the roller coaster ride along with the star. It's old fashioned fun and excitement at the movies. Grab the popcorn and enjoy this guilty pleasure.

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

Postby Reza » Sat May 05, 2018 7:50 am

Slander (Roy Rowland, 1957) 7/10

The film was a plea against the rag trade - "Confidential" magazine of yore / "National Inquirer" of today - which exposed "messy" incidents in the past or present lives of celebrities. A budding television star (Van Johnson), on a kid's show, is threatened by the owner (Steve Cochran) of a rag magazine to divulge dirt on an actress or his prison record will be exposed. He tries to get at the tv star through the man's wife (Ann Blyth) which eventually leads to tragedy. Solid little film with the two leads very good although Cochran steals the film as the suave but sleazy publisher with zero scruples who in the end has to contend with his shocked and disappointed mother (the superb Marjorie Rambeau).

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

Postby Reza » Sat May 05, 2018 7:50 am

Belle Starr (Irving Cummings, 1941) 5/10

An outlaw Western which has elements of "Gone With the Wind". Lovely and feisty Gene Tierney loses her southern plantation at the end of the Civil War when her former beau, a Union Major (Dana Andrews), burns it down as punishment for harboring Sam Starr (Randolph Scott) a Confederate guerrilla. She vows vengeance and joins the gang of guerrillas after getting married to Starr. The screenplay is riddled with African-American stereotypes although Louise Beavers is very good playing "Mammy" to Tierney. One of the rare early colour Westerns with the Fox studio trying to cash in the resemblance of star Tierney with Vivien Leigh in a part reminiscent of Scarlet O'Hara.

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

Postby Reza » Sat May 05, 2018 7:49 am

Went the Day Well? (Alberto Cavalcanti, 1942) 8/10

Simplistic but rousing and very effective wartime propaganda film which imagines German paratroopers taking over a quaint little English village as an advance post for the invasion of England. The small close-nit community rallies together and fights back. An interesting cast of British character actors perform as well as expected. An extremely hardhitting and rare film.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Apr 29, 2018 9:45 pm

Charle Countryman (Fredrik Bond, 2013) 6/10

Weird and very wonky road film finds hangdog Charlie (Shia LaBeouf) taking advice from his dead mom (Melissa Leo) and flying to Bucharest. Enroute he gets saddled with another dead body on the plane who advises him to deliver a hat to his daughter (Evan Rachel Wood) whose ex-husband (Mads Mikklesen) happens to be a psychotic killer. Harry Potter's buddy "Ron Weasley" (Rupert Grint) is around popping ecstacy pills, a mouthful of viagra leading to an erection that explodes at the wrong moment resulting in another psychotic hood (Til Schweiger) chasing them all. It's like a bad acid trip with the mean streets of Bucharest adding colour. Charlie falls hard for the kohl-eyed Romanian beauty but will her vicious ex allow them to procreate? Loud and very whacky violent thriller has some interesting moments.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Apr 29, 2018 9:45 pm

Trouble With the Curve (Robert Lorenz, 2012) 5/10

An about to retire baseball scout (Clint Eastwood) goes on one last recruitment trip along with his estranged daughter (Amy Adams). Father and daughter bond and find peace on the road trip. Rather obvious drama which Eastwood easily aces with his irascible wit while Adams manages to stay two steps ahead as both battle it out and create sparks. But it's all pretty stale deja vu.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Apr 29, 2018 9:44 pm

The Score (Frank Oz, 2001) 7/10

Slick heist film has nothing new to say. However, it's the only film around which has both Brando and De Niro interacting - even Godfather Part II cannot claim that. Add to the mix a wily Edward Norton who basically got on board so he could see his name next to Brando's on the film's poster. The plot is in line with better films like "Riffifi" and "Topkapi" but the casting here rocks - Brando looks grotesque but has fun with the part which has shades of Sydney Greenstreet written all over it courtesy of "The Maltese Falcon".

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

Postby Reza » Sun Apr 29, 2018 9:44 pm

Home Before Dark (Mervyn LeRoy, 1958) 8/10

Perceptive drama charting the return home of a wealthy young woman (Jean Simmons) after spending a year in a mental institution. She gradually comes out of her fragile state after realising that it was the conditions at home that resulted in her acute nervous breakdown. Shattering account of a failed marriage - her priggish professor husband (Dan O'Herlihy) never loved her and has instead always been in love with her step-sister (Rhonda Fleming). Gradually she manages to overcome her fragile state with the help of her husband's colleague (Efrem Zimbalist Jr) and starts to take charge of her life. Since it's the 1950s it takes over two hours for the word "divorce" to crop up and when it finally does everything falls into place for her. This plot could have worked even better with Douglas Sirk at the helm. The stark chilly Massachusetts locations compliment Jean Simmon's magnificent performance wavering on the brink of insanity.


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