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

Posted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:13 am
by Reza
The ABC Murders (Alex Gabassi, 2018) 8/10

Fans have been up in arms with the casting of American actor John Malkovich as Agatha Christie's famous detective Hercule Poirot. Yes, Malkovich is totally wrong for the part - he is bald, has a goatee and his french accent is absurd as it comes and often goes as he slips into a Brit accent alternating with an American one - but the actor grows into the role as this 3-part BBC remake swiftly moves along. It's not so much this actor's presence but more Christie's riveting plot that makes this version such a successful adaptation. The story is set in England during the 1930s with fascism on the rise and rampant racism and distrust against all foreigners which makes Poirot, a Belgian, an easy target while also making this plot point an obvious reference to modern-day Brexit. The main plot of the book is faithfully followed but with some glaring changes, one of which involves Poirot's past and the reason why he turned detective in pursuit of murderers. A cat-and-mouse game ensues when Poirot receives mysterious typed letters in which the writer indicates that there will be murders. Each victim and place of murder will be according to the alphabet with the murderer signing himself off as ABC. The murder victims are - Alice bludgeoned in a tobacco shop in Andover, Betty a flirtatious waitress strangled by a stocking in Brexhill and Sir Carmichael hit on the head and beheaded by a spade in Churston. Next to each victim is found an ABC railway guide. Poirot's old companion Inspector Jap is dead and the new cop (Rupert Grint - one of the kids from the Harry Potter movies now all grown up) does not trust the old detective. The screenplay points an obvious finger at a stocking salesman who happened to have visited each of the victims but this is Christie after all so there is a strong chance that a number of other characters could well be the murderer too. The film has loads of atmosphere - superbly shot in hues of browns and yellows - with superb production design depicting a dreary pre-war foreboding backdrop. There is nothing quaint here about the english countryside or small towns. Graphic violence and sexual situations also turned off many fans of Christie but it all adds colour hitting home the fact that murder is not pretty to look at. The Poirot we see here is not the familiar fussy detective as portrayed on screen in the past by the likes of Albert Finney, Peter Ustinov, David Suchet or Kenneth Branagh. The detective we get instead is guilt ridden, depressed and angsty with a tragic past which is revealed in horrific detail. Malkovich is quite spectacular as the dour detective wrestling with his inner demons. An interesting interpretation and a compelling murder-mystery well worth a watch.

The Whole Town's Talking (John Ford, 1935) 9/10

Edward G. Robinson is very funny spoofing his own typecast image as a gangster. The deft screenplay and Ford's playful direction makes perfect use of the actor's menacing screen persona giving us two distinct personalities for the price of one and in turn shows us his untapped comic talent. A meek clerk (Edward G. Robinson), secretly in love with his vivacious colleague (Jean Arthur), goes about his daily business at work. He is horrified to discover that he resembles a vicious gangster who is on the lam with the police on the lookout for him. When the gangster (also played by Robinson) turns up in his apartment pandemonium ensues as the mixup results in farcical situations. Robinson takes both roles and runs with it easily providing the contrast in the two distinct characters. Delicious-voiced Jean Arthur matches him every step of the way as the hard boiled, sarcastic dame who is amused by the turn of events and finds herself enjoying the meek man's attentions. The film was instrumental in getting Robinson out of his career doldrums and helped re-establishing him as one of Hollywood's top stars. A great cast of supporting actors (both Donald Meek and Etienne Girardot are standouts) seem like refugees from a Frank Capra film. Great fun.

Proof of Life (Taylor Hackford, 2000) 5/10

Kidnapping drama set in an exotic locale - the film was shot in Equador which passes off for a fictional Latin American country. The film is now more famous for the off-screen liaison that started between the two leads during the shoot. Hackford cut a graphic sex scene from the final print either to downplay the fact which eventually resulted in Meg Ryan's divorce, a year later, from Dennis Quaid or because the two stars totally lack screen chemistry. More likely the latter. An engineer (David Morse), working on a dam, is kidnapped by revolutionaries who hold him for ransom. His wife (Meg Ryan), who is nursing their troubled marriage, is helped by a mercenary (Russell Crowe), who with the help of a comrade (David Caruso) tries to retrieve the kidnapped man. The film cross cuts between the mercenary and his methods, the wife's guilt and emotional confusion and the husband holding up to the horrors of dealing with his captors. The Crowe-Ryan romance ambles along with suppressed emotions - a look here, a kiss there - showing in their body language but luckily it doesn't come in the way of the thriller aspects of which unfortunately there are few until the action-packed finale. Coming off better are Pamela Reed as the outspoken sister of the victim and Gottfried John as another prisoner who feigns being a crazy missionary.

On the Basis of Sex (Mimi Leder, 2018) 7/10

Interesting film from the historic perspective. Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Felicity Jones) - woman, jewish wife, mother and hard headed lawyer worked towards advancing gender equality and women's rights. From the start she faced an uphill battle dealing with rampant discrimination at Harvard Law School (where she was one of nine women in a class of 500) during the 1950s and all the way upto the 1970s and beyond. Winning five out of six gender discrimination cases she charted a strategic course in her plan to gradually get the courts to end inequality in many areas of the law. She is supported by her astoundingly modern egalitarian husband, Martin Ginsburg (Armie Hammer), at home. He later became a taxation law expert but while at Harvard, a year ahead in class to his wife, is diagnosed with testicular cancer and while he is home recovering and looking after their infant daughter she attends his lectures along with her own in order to keep his education going. Ginsburg eventually went on to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court but this film focuses on two key elements - her relationship with her husband and the one case they argued together which proved to be a landmark in outlawing discrimination "on the basis of sex". The word "sex" was substituted with "gender" so as not to ruffle male judges in court. Sam Waterston is testy as the sexist Harvard dean who encounters her later again when the case goes to trial. A story about a remarkable woman who brought a distinct change in the law allowing women many rights long denied to them.

From Here to Eternity (Fred Zinnemann, 1953) 9/10

James Jones' mammoth 860 page novel, set in Hawaii on the eve of the WWII Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, was brought to the screen sanitized due to censorship (the screenplay downplays the bawdy vulgarity, the anti semitism and the indictment of army brass depicted in the book) but is held together by an all-star cast enveloped in a plot screaming of soap opera. The melodrama plays at full throttle and is given life by the superb actors, of whom the two leading ladies were cast against type to great effect. The screenplay focuses on a group of dysfunctional characters on an army base who during off-duty hours manage to generate heat by taking their testosterone levels sky high with physical "activities" of the rough and sexual in bars, on the street, in the stockade, at the local brothel and in the surf - the film's most celebrated sequence that still packs a punch as two lovers are seen in an erotic embrace lying on a beach as the waves crash over their entwined bodies. The story revolves around two major characters whose lives, caught up in ecstacy, pain and anguish, drastically change by the time the Japanese attack takes place. A tough sergeant (Burt Lancaster) gets involved in an affair with the unhappy nymphomaniac wife (Deborah Kerr) of his incompetent base commander and finds himself miserable not only because he realises that the forbidden romance is doomed but also because it comes in the way of his army career. The other protagonist is a boxing-champ-cum-bugle-player (Montgomery Clift) who refuses to box for the Company and is cruelly ragged mercilessly by his fellow officers. He finds solace in a tender romantic relationship with a prostitute (Donna Reed) who is biding time before returning to the mainland to settle down with a rich husband she hopes to catch. His only other friend is the hot headed, hard drinking but lovable private - the scrawny "wop" (Frank Sinatra) who gets into a major conflict with the vicious sergeant (Ernest Borgnine) in charge of the stockade. The film is capped by a superb staging of the attack on the base at Pearl Harbour. Both Sinatra (making a spectacular comeback after being washed up as an actor/singer - the story of how he got the role has become part of Hollywood lore) and the heartbreaking Reed won well deserved Oscars as did the film, the screenplay, Burnett Guffey's cinematography, the sound design and editing. Lancaster, Clift, Kerr, the film's costumes and score were all nominated. Superb old fashioned cinema that still packs a punch

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

Posted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:25 am
by Precious Doll
Dumbo (2019) Tim Burton 4/10
Never Steady, Never Still (2018) Kathleen Hepburn 4/10
Bumblebee (2018) Travis Knight 5/10
The Aftermath (2019) James Kent 4/10
Edgar G. Ulmer: The Man Off-Screen (2004) Michael Palm 6/10
Naples in Veils (2017) Farzan Ozpetek 7/10
Piercing (2019) Nicolas Pesce 1/10
White Boy Rick (2018) Yann Demange 4/10

Repeat viewings

Advise and Consent (1962) Otto Preminger 8/10
Coming Home (1978) Hal Ashby 10/10
Crime and Punishment (1935) Josef von Sterberg 6/10
Shampoo (1975) Hal Ashby 8/10
Detour (1945) Edgar G. Ulmer 10/10
Once Upon a Time in America (1984) Sergio Leone 6/10

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

Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 2:33 am
by Precious Doll
Reza wrote:Advise and Consent (Otto Preminger, 1962) 8/10

Riveting political film based on the Pulitzer prize winning potboiler by Alan Drury. Preminger overcomes the stagy premise by shooting the film in widescreen (shot in crisp black and white by Sam Leavitt) and uses extraordinary mise-en-scene for dramatic effect. The film is acted to perfection by a superb cast of big stars. The political machination at the heart of the story has a universal sting and is still relevant today which the witty screenplay puts forth with a savage thrust. The ailing President (Franchot Tone) of the United States nominates a liberal academic (Henry Fonda) to become Secretary of State. This sets off a fiery reaction with Senators taking sides and using people as pawns for their own gain. The candidate has skeletons in his closet but the President insists he remain. Going after him tooth and nail is a curmudgeonly Senator from the South (Charles Laughton who is superbly slimy in his last film role) while strongly siding with the candidate is the President's right-hand man (Walter Pidgeon) whose job it is to push his agenda through Congress. The amazing supporting cast each get their moment to shine - Burgess Meredith as a dim-witted witness against the candidate, Lew Ayres as the ignored Vice President, George Grizzard as an ambitious right-winger who goes tooth and nail after a junior senator (Don Murray) involving blackmail which ends in tragedy, Peter Lawford as a JFK-like womanizer who is disgusted by the hypocricy in play and the welcome return of elegant Gene Tierney who was lured out of retirement by Preminger to play a socialite. Some of the plot points (the Red-Scare trappings and the gay subtext) seem rather quaint but seeing it from the perspective of that period it comes off as potent melodrama and this remains one of the best films about Washington. Frank Sinatra is heard singing on the juke box in the brief sequence set in a gay bar which was a first in an American film and raised eyebrows at the time.

Funnily enough I rewatched Advise and Consent for the first time in years on Sunday night. Goodness it holds up so well.

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

Posted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 4:58 am
by Reza
Salam - The First ****** Nobel Laureate (Anand Kamalakar & Zakir Thavar, 2018) 9/10

Tragic story about a man who spent his life being loyal to his country but was time and again reviled, used, rejected and labeled a heretic by the very country he was born and grew up in. Mohammad Abdus Salam was a Pakistani theoretical physicist who shared the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contribution to the electroweak unification theory. He was the first Pakistani to receive a Nobel Prize in science and the second from an Islamic country to receive any Nobel prize. The documentary showcases this genius who came from a humble background in Jhang in Pakistan from where he rose in the field of academia to reach Cambridge University on full scholarship where he studied mathematics and physics. Later he worked for the government and was influential in playing a significant role in Pakistan's development in nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. The film is also about a man whose life journey involved two distinct worlds which he managed to keep apart with ease - "one of science and religion, modernity and tradition and obscurity and celebrity". What proved his downfall was the draconian laws made in Pakistan against the "Muslims" from the Ahmadiya faith to which he belonged. Persecution and violence against this religious sect drove him away from Pakistan. He visited a few times but came back for good after he died and was buried in his beloved country which had rejected him for most of his life. Today this great man is all but forgotten in a country that should be celebrating one of its true heroes. Instead due to ignorance, extremism and religious intolerance the country has decided to sacrifice the existence of a man who celebrated knowledge and achieved what few ever can. Highly emotional film raises questions on the sad state of affairs in the world where intolerance continues unbated and humans violently pit themselves one against the other in a bid to prove superior through sheer malice and ignorance.

Man on a Tightrope (Elia Kazan, 1953) 8/10

Rarely revived film by Kazan which was a further paeen to his detestable role as an informer to the HUAC the year before. A blatant anticommunist propaganda piece has far too many potholes in the script but also has many fascinating moments. The clown-manager (Fredric March) of a Czech circus is way in over his head with assorted crises in his life. His angry and flighty daughter (Terry Moore) is in love with the untrustworthy lion tamer (Cameron Mitchell), his much younger wife (Gloria Grahame) is unhappy, thinks he is a coward and threatening to leave him, the Czech secret police head (Adolphe Menjou) is upset with him for not introducing communist credo into his clown act, a rival circus owner (Robert Beatty) is gunning for him and there is a spy amongst his troupers. The film's exciting climax involves the entire circus defecting into Austria in broad daylight. The film's highlight is the expressionistic lighting throughout giving the film a strong european flavour despite its Hollywood trappings. Kazan superbly shoots a sensuous love scene between Mitchell and Moore as they drift down a flowing river, bodies entwined and lips locked in a passionate embrace. Sadly sultry Gloria Grahame is wasted in a shockingly underwritten part which is very strange considering she was coming off a string of hits including an Oscar win the year before. The film is based on real life events in 1950 when the Brumbach Circus escaped from East to West Germany.

Advise and Consent (Otto Preminger, 1962) 8/10

Riveting political film based on the Pulitzer prize winning potboiler by Alan Drury. Preminger overcomes the stagy premise by shooting the film in widescreen (shot in crisp black and white by Sam Leavitt) and uses extraordinary mise-en-scene for dramatic effect. The film is acted to perfection by a superb cast of big stars. The political machination at the heart of the story has a universal sting and is still relevant today which the witty screenplay puts forth with a savage thrust. The ailing President (Franchot Tone) of the United States nominates a liberal academic (Henry Fonda) to become Secretary of State. This sets off a fiery reaction with Senators taking sides and using people as pawns for their own gain. The candidate has skeletons in his closet but the President insists he remain. Going after him tooth and nail is a curmudgeonly Senator from the South (Charles Laughton who is superbly slimy in his last film role) while strongly siding with the candidate is the President's right-hand man (Walter Pidgeon) whose job it is to push his agenda through Congress. The amazing supporting cast each get their moment to shine - Burgess Meredith as a dim-witted witness against the candidate, Lew Ayres as the ignored Vice President, George Grizzard as an ambitious right-winger who goes tooth and nail after a junior senator (Don Murray) involving blackmail which ends in tragedy, Peter Lawford as a JFK-like womanizer who is disgusted by the hypocricy in play and the welcome return of elegant Gene Tierney who was lured out of retirement by Preminger to play a socialite. Some of the plot points (the Red-Scare trappings and the gay subtext) seem rather quaint but seeing it from the perspective of that period it comes off as potent melodrama and this remains one of the best films about Washington. Frank Sinatra is heard singing on the juke box in the brief sequence set in a gay bar which was a first in an American film and raised eyebrows at the time.

Last Train From Bombay (Fred F. Sears, 1952) 3/10

Shoddy, low budget grade-C adventure potboiler set in India although filmed on the backlot in Hollywood. An American diplomat (Jon Hall) gets in over his head by trying to stop terrorists from blowing up a train which is carrying a Maharaja and his daughter and thus preventing a civil war from breaking out. The inconsistent screenplay, full of potholes, is an excuse for Hall to get involved in one skirmish after another as he is beaten up relentlessly along the way but manages to get away from the police who think he is a murderer. Stiffly acted film is an amateur mess.

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

Posted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 4:58 am
by Reza
Isn't it Romantic (Todd Strauss-Schulson, 2019) 1/10

EXTREMELY flimsy and unfunny comedy makes fun of the well known tropes of romantic comedies. It also allows the "large" Australian comic actress, Rain Wilson, an opportunity to play a leading lady. Hating the unnatural world of cinematic rom-coms she, after getting hit in the head, suddenly finds herself "trapped in a f*****g PG-13 romantic comedy" full of clichés. A hunk (Liam Hemsworth) falls for her, she gets to wear Julia Roberts' sexy red dress from "Pretty Woman", her adoring mousey colleague (frequent co-star Adam Devine) is poached on by a sexy vamp (Priyanka Chopra) and her testy neighbour (Brandon Scott Jones) turns up as her gay BFF - the actor is in full offensive mode overdoing the mincing act. There are endless scenes of karaoke, doves flying, a clean New York that does not smell of shit and bushels of flowers and cupcakes. Poor Wilson tries and tries but can't muster up even a weak giggle in response to her antics. Instead of this mess I would rather sit through an actual rom-com starring Priyanka Chopra. Skip this lousy film.

Insurance Investigator (George Blair, 1951) 4/10

Low budget Republic Studio film noir. An insurance investigator (Richard Denning) suspects that the death of a businessman, who has taken out a double indemnity policy, may have been murder. With the help of the man's daughter (Audrey Long) he plans to expose the mystery that involves gambling debts, a double cross, murder, kidnapping and also romance. Strictly a B-feature with stoic Denning giving it a go.

Under the Gun (Ted Tetzlaff, 1951) 5/10

Rather boring prison-noir, is somewhat redeemed by Richard Conte playing once again a dispicable crook. A mobster (Richard Conte) kills a man in cold blood and his girlfriend (Audrey Totter), a torch singer, collapses on the witness stand and implicates him. Sentenced to a 20-year jail term at a Florida prison farm, he immediately starts planning his escape leading to a deadly conclusion. Most of the film is set at the farm and comes to a standstill despite introducing some interesting characters played memorably by a great supporting cast - the relentless sheriff (John McIntire), the sleazy defence attorney (Shepperd Strudwick), a guard (Royal Dano) an old convict (Sam Jaffe). Conte's presence and performance remain memorable right to the end.

Cry of the City (Robert Siodmak, 1948) 9/10

Siodmak's hard-boiled noir uses expressionistic lighting, is short on sarcastic witticisms in the Raymond Chandler mode, moves along at a measured pace with lengthy conversations between characters but has wonderful gritty atmosphere and a strong sense of time and place. Superb New York location work along with an emphasis on vivid characters make this one of the most underrated film noirs. A notorious crook (Richard Conte) shot up with bullets after killing a cop is at death's door in a hospital. The cop (Victor Mature) on the case is his childhood friend and urges him to confess to a jewellery robbery which the prisoner denies having committed. When he escapes from the hospital the police give chase searching for a mysterious woman (Debra Pagett) who had briefly visited him at the hospital and questioning his family, friends and other suspects - a disappointed mother, a proud cocky younger brother, a crooked lawyer, a former flame (Shelley Winters), a doctor who helped him and a tough woman (a superb Hope Emerson) who may be involved in the case. There are two superb set pieces which Siodmak directs with great skill - the suspenseful escape from the hospital and a brutal shoot-out and stabbing. The Italian-American characters in this film are just as memorably drawn as the ones in the films of both Scorsese and Coppola which is amazing considering Siodmak was a German emigré unlike the other two who grew up with such characters around them.

Hollywood Story (William Castle, 1951) 8/10

Loosely based on the 1922 unsolved murder case of silent film director William Desmond Taylor and Hollywood's renewed interest in silent films and stars after Billy Wilder's hit "Sunset Boulevard" the previous year. A New York based film producer (Richard Conte) arrives in Hollywood to make his first film. By chance he comes across the story of an unsolved murder case of a film director who was mysteriously shot dead in 1929. This is a straight forward whodunnit as assorted people suddenly emerge from the past intent on trying to disuade the project from being made - the dead man's former leading lady whose daughter (Julia Adams) arrives insisting that the project will open up the scandal again and ruin her mother, a shifty producer (Fred Clark), a screenwriter (Henry Hull), the cop (Richard Egan) on the case and a former leading man (Paul Kavanagh) who guards a secret. This superb film has great atmosphere as it revists the silent era via shooting on the lot that was Charlie Chaplin's studio, cameo appearances by former silent stars (Francis X. Bushman, William Farnum, Betty Blythe, Helen Gibson, Elmo Lincoln, Joel McCrea) and striking old memorabilia. Conte, always an interesting and tough actor, holds the story together with pretty Adams providing good support as the love interest.

The Girl From Missouri (Jack Conway & Sam Wood, 1934) 6/10

Due to the sudden enforcement of the production code with strict censorship on all things sexual the Harlow character here gets a bit of a twist. Instead of playing the usual man-hungry floozie she plays here the same character but with an interesting twist. She is now still a man-hungry gold digger but one who is saving her virginity in exchange for the conjugal ring. She goes after a rich dirty old man (Lionel Barrymore) but attracts the attention of his debonair son (Feanchot Tone) who falls in love with her. She battles it out with him refusing diamonds and his relentless efforts to get into her pants. Harlow is great fun - her buddy Patsy Kelly, who makes no bones about bedding any and all men, is even better - managing to take on both father and son with a few tricks up her sleeves as she suffers going to jail on false charges drummed up by the old man. Typical 1930s fluff with snappy dialogue to boot.

The Money Trap (Burt Kennedy, 1965) 8/10

Gritty neo-noir with an excellent cast that was unfortunately relegated on double bills when it first came out. It was also the last of five screen teamings between Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth albeit for the first time she is billed below him. A cop (Glenn Ford) and his partner (Ricardo Montalban) turn crooked when a break-in robbery attempt is made at the house of a rich doctor (Joseph Cotten) who kills the intruder. The case is closed when the doctor says that the safe that was being robbed was empty and nothing was stolen. The dead man's wife (Rita Hayworth), a former beauty but now a ravaged alcoholic waitress, turns out to be the cop's former flame. Discovering that his rich socialite wife (Elke Sommer), off whom he has been living the good life, no longer has more money the cop decides to investigate the doctor and the attempted robbery further. The outcome turns deadly for all concerned in true noir fashion. The film's highlight are the brief scenes with Hayworth, who at 47, looks much older than her co-star - the results of a rough life and alcohol. She is riveting and gives possibly her best dramatic performance. In contrast Ford underacts, Montalban overacts and sexy Elke Sommer is merely around as lush scenery. Former blacklisted writer Walter Bernstein wrote the screenplay for this twisted tale about greed and it's fatal repercussions.

The Glass Wall (Maxwell Shane, 1953) 8/10

Unusual shots of Manhattan streets and its glimmering neon sign boards along with Joseph Biroc's moody noir-like cinematography keep this chase film moving along at a brisk pace. A Hungarian concentration camp escapee (Vittorio Gassman in his Hollywood debut) is refused entry at the port in New York after he stows away on a shipload of displaced persons. The law won't allow him to disembark unless he can get someone to vouch for him. His only contact is a clarinet player whom he saved during the war in Europe but he has no clue about his surname or address. In desperation he jumps ship and goes in search of him through the clubs of New York with the police giving chase. He is helped by a down-on-her-luck petty thief (Gloria Grahame). The film's amazing climax is set during the early hours of the morning inside the empty United Nations building with its facade of windows making it seem like a glass wall - the first and only time a film crew was allowed to shoot inside until 52 years later in 2005 when the shoot of Sydney Pollack's "The Interpreter" (with Sean Penn & Nicole Kidman) was allowed access inside. Vittorio Gassman, with his matinée idol looks, is superb as the hapless but determined fugitive and is given able support by Gloria Grahame as the sympathetic sultry blonde.

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

Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:59 pm
by Precious Doll
Hal (2018) Amy Scott 7/10
Who You Think I Am (2019) Safy Nebbou 7/10
Juanita (2019) Clark Johnson 4/10
High Life (2019) Claire Denis 4/10

Repeat viewings

The Life of Emile Zola (1937) William Dieterle 7/10
The Turning Point (1977) Herbert Ross 6/10
Harold and Maude (1971) Hal Ashby 7/10
Japon (2002) Carlos Reygadas 9/10
Wanda (1971) Barbara Loden 7/10
Being There (1979) Hal Ashby 10/10

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

Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2019 1:06 pm
by Reza
Mrs Wilson (Richard Laxton, 2018) 8/10

Powerful, intricately paced 3-part BBC drama is a jigsaw puzzle that slowly reveals the life of a man (Ian Glenn) who has led a life of mystery shrouded in lies. When he dies his grieving widow (Ruth Wilson) is confronted by another woman claiming to be his wife. The disbelieving widow starts retracing their life from the time they first met during the war when they both worked for MI6. The hunt for the truth offers more shocks when a second woman (Keeley Hawes) is discovered to have been in a relationship with her husband. Disturbing revelations by her husband's two handlers during the war, one in London (Fiona Shaw) and another (Anupam Kher) in Lahore, India offer an insight into the man which involved betrayal at the hands of the Secret Service, lies and skeletons in his closet which are of epic proportions. What is fascinating about the story is that it is based on fact and the actress Ruth Wilson plays her real-life grandmother in the film. Sumptuous production covers, in flashbacks, the war years in London during the blitz and the 1960s during the present. Wilson is superb as the wife and mother who begins to question the past 20-years of her life as each new discovery about the man she loved keeps getting more and more bizzare. It is a touching performance of great sadness. The film's last moments prove that sometimes good can even come from lies with its strong message about the importance of not losing hope.

The Happy Ending (Richard Brooks, 1969) 6/10

Old fashioned women's film straight out of the 1940s & 1950s. A dissatisfied woman (Jean Simmons) takes to drink, attempts suicide and decides to run out on her husband (John Forsythe) and daughter by taking a trip to the Bahamas to sort out her mind. Plodding but incisive drama which Richard Brooks wrote for his then wife, Jean Simmons, and was based on their own faltering marriage highlighting his wife's problems with alcohol. The screenplay also touches on issues of aging, plastic surgery and the need to be thin and attractive to hold on to a man. The film is replete with clichés including dreamy 1960s style suffering as the leading character is shown in montages of walking or sitting in a bar as a hit tune (“What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?”) plays in the background. Simmons looks lovely and is photographed by the great Conrad Hall. For her performance she was nominated for an Oscar. Also very good are Nanette Fabray as her sympathetic maid/companion, Teresa Wright as her mother and Shirley Jones (who shockingly has a near nude scene) as a college friend who has spent her life being a mistress to various men the latest one (Lloyd Bridges) who may actually propose. Coming at a revolutionary time in cinema history the film and its subject seem archaic and completely out of place but as a film that deals specifically about issues related to women it was rare as such films were no longer being made - television would jump on this bandwagon during the next decade. Worth watching to see Jean Simmons in one of her last leading roles of some substance.

A Dog's Way Home (Charles Martin Smith, 2019) 7/10

There is nothing new here as the film basically recycles the main plot of the old MGM classic "Lassie Come Home" and adds a variation or two. However, any film about a dog has to have heart and this film has plenty of it as it wrings tears through its moments of drama and comedy. In Denver a stray pit bull pup (voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard) is taken in by a young man (Jonah Hauer-King) and his mom (Ashley Judd) but are forced to send the dog to New Mexico to abide by their city rule which says that this particular breed is not allowed in the city limits. The screenplay throws in every canine movie cliché during the dog's arduous journey back to its master. Chased by a pack of coyotes, getting buried under an avalanche, surviving two snowy winters in the mountains, befriending a CGI cougar, finding temporary shelter with a gay couple and a homeless man (Edward James Olmos) the dog's highly improbable journey is melodramatic like a Bollywood film. For all doggy lovers a must watch.

Driftwood (Allan Dwan, 1947) 6/10

A cute orphan (Natalie Wood), a Bible spouting preacher (H.B. Warner), a collie dog that survives a plane crash and a tick virus epidemic in danger of infecting a small town are the main ingredients of this melodramatic screenplay. The town doctor (Dean Jagger) and his fiancée (Ruth Warrick) try to race against time to save the life of the child not knowing that the dog holds a secret. Low budget Republic studio film has drama, comedy (courtesy of tart-tongued Charlotte Greenwood and Margaret Hamilton) and a fine cast including Walter Brennan as a grumbling and bumbling old coot. Wood, an absolute scene stealer, gives a remarkably assured performance and there are enough bizzare moments - the collie is taken to court and is accused by the town creep (Jerome Cowan) of having bitten his son who is the town bully. The film is superbly shot by the great John Alton just before he worked on a slew of magnificent B-noirs.

Overlord (Julius Avery, 2018) 8/10

Sometimes schlock that gets scathing reviews can turn out to be a real crowd pleaser. A hybrid WWII flick laced with Nazisploitation shtick surrounded by lashings of zombie tropes. On the eve of the Allied invasion of France a small group of American paratroopers are assigned to reach a small french village and destroy a Nazi radio tower on top of a church. When their plane is hit in the air the five surviving members of the group manage to reach the village. Aided by a local french woman they discover the Nazis maintain an experimental lab inside their compound which creates super humans from dead bodies. It becomes a race against time to destroy the tower and the lab while fending off the soldiers and their evil Nazi commander who has turned into an invincible zombie. The film has scenes of bone crunching violence - shootings, stabbings, decapitations, torn apart limbs - all in gory detail. Extremely entertaining film with suspense and horror entwined to create an unusual war film where you root for the soldiers to get the Nazi bastards at any cost and preferably with as much violence as it takes.

Zombieland (Ruben Fleischer, 2009) 5/10

Corny fitfully amusing zombie flick plays strictly for laughs. Zombies have taken over America and a nerdy survivor (Jesse Eisenberg) is trying to go from Texas to Ohio in order to reach his parents. He runs across a redneck yahoo cowboy (Woody Harrelson) in a SUV and the two decide to travel together. Enroute they are conned by two seemingly helpless sisters (Emma Stone & Abigail Breslin) who take off with the vehicle but later the four join up again on a road trip to L.A. The nerd gets the hots for the older sister, the cowboy is searching for Hostess Twinkies and the girls want to go visit an amusement park. Along the way they encounter an unfunny Bill Murray making a cameo appearance while the four shoot up hordes of dumb zombies. This silly film comes alive thanks to the hilarious Harrelson who has a hoot of a time bashing up zombies, cracking corny jokes and getting high on weed. Shallow film surprisingly got good reviews and was a success at the boxoffice courtesy of the young popcorn crowd that rule the roost at cinemas today. The four actors will soon appear in a sequel which promises more of the same lowbrow comedy keeping the cash registers ringing during another summer at the movies.

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

Posted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 11:22 pm
by Precious Doll
Captain Marvel (2019) Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck 4/10
Blaze (2018) Ethan Hawke 2/10
Triple Frontier (2019) J. C. Chandor 3/10
Us (2019) Jordan Peele 2/10
An Elephant Sitting Still (2018) Bo Hu 6/10

Repeat viewings

The Razor's Edge (1946) Edmund Goulding 5/10
Ragtime (1981) Milos Forman 8/10
A Matter of Life and Death (1946) Michaell Powell & Emeric Pressburger 8/10
A Letter to Three Wives (1949) Joseph L. Mankiewicz 6/10
United States of Love (2016) Tomasz Wasilewski 8/10
Earthquake (1974) Mark Robson 4/10
Pinky (1949) Elia Kazan 6/10

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

Posted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:50 am
by Reza
Condor (Andrew McCarthy, Lawrence Trilling, Kari Skogland & Jason Smilovic, 2018) 8/10

"The War on Islam" gets recycled as the basis for the main plot with Hajj as the backdrop in this ten-part series based on the classic 1975 political thriller by Sydney Pollack, "Three Days of the Condor", starring Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway. That film's basic premise is used here while weaving into it the world's current "bad guys" du jour - Muslim terrorists. Hollywood likes to throw in villains depending on who scares the United States the most at any given point in time. Once upon a time Red China and the Russians were the go-to for star villains. Today it's muslims who need to be put down as recent world events testify to that absurd, vulgar and downright demeaning naivety that exists about Muslims and Islam. Putting aside that thought this is still a riveting series full of old fashioned suspense keeping you on the edge of your seat as it unfolds. An analyst (Max Irons) with a conscience - he is the "good guy" because he does not believe all Muslims are terrorists :lol: , and working for the CIA creates a logarithm that can identify possible terrorists. When the covert department he works for is attacked and his 11 colleagues murdered he goes on the run trying to discover who the killers are and tries to prevent a diabolical plan that would annihilate the world using the plague virus (although it's a bacteria that causes the plague). An eclectic and superb cast play assorted people helping and abetting the young analyst - William Hurt as his boss, the return of Brendan Fraser, cast against type, as a disturbed bad guy, Mira Sorvino as a tart tongued CIA agent in charge of the operation to bring in the analyst, Leem Lubany as a cold blooded nymphomaniac assassin and Katherine Cunningham in the Faye Dunaway part of the love interest/hostage. Max Irons - son of Jeremy Irons & Sinead Cusack - is a rather bland leading man but as the series progresses he comes into his own. The dense plot does a terrific job of slowly unspooling things you need to know before it gets intense. Worth a watch.

The Widow (Oliver Blackburn & Samuel Donovan, 2019) 8/10

Kate Beckinsale finally rises above most of the crap she has appeared in and gives an excellent performance in this 8-part miniseries. Although someone needs to tell this actor that she has ruined her beautiful face through unnecessary botox. Three years after her husband is killed in a plane crash a grieving widow suddenly sees an image of a man on tv who she is convinced is the deceased man. So begins this mystery-thriller that never lets up right to the end. Using flashbacks the story covers the lives of all the main characters who are interlinked to the mystery surrounding the crash of a plane in the Congo. Links to an NGO, the Military, a mine in the heart of the jungle are all part of a mystery that lead to exposure of deep secrets and hidden truths which end in violence and death. The superb location work gives the film added depth with scenes shot in Wales, Rotterdam and South Africa (which substituted for the Congo).

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

Posted: Sun Mar 24, 2019 2:02 am
by Precious Doll
Hotel Mumbai (2019) Anthony Maras 6/10
Family Photo (2018) Cecilia Rouaud 4/10
Guy (2018) Alex Lutz 6/10
The Owl's Legacy (1990) Chris Marker 5/10
The House That Jack Built (2018) Lars von Trier 7/10
The Night Eats the World (2018) Dominique Rocher 2/10
Rose (2019) Rod McCall 2/10
Destroyer (2018) Karyn Kusama 2/10
An Impossible Love (2018) Catherine Corsini 5/10

Repeat viewings

The Day After (1983) Nicholas Meyer 6/10
The Favourite (2018) Yorgos Lanthimos 9/10
The Truth (1960) Henri-Georges Clouzot 7/10
Tyrannosaur (2011) Paddy Considine 7/10
Larceny, Inc. (1942) Lloyd Bacon 6/10

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

Posted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:43 am
by Reza
Kursk (Thomas Vinterberg, 2018) 6/10

The Kursk was a Russian submarine that on a routine Naval exercise sank in the Barents Sea in August 2000 after an explosion on board killed all 118 crew members. This formulaic but heartbreaking disaster recreation focuses on the 23 crew who survived in a compartment away from the main area of devastation where a faulty torpedo exploded causing a massive fire which set off a further chain of explosions which sank the huge submarine. Scenes of the survivors, led by one officer (Matthias Schoenaerts), are interpolated by the frantic efforts of his pregnant wife (Léa Seydoux) and other spouses to get some information along with the British Navy (led by Colin Firth) trying unsucessfully to offer assistance. The Russians refused help trying to save face and the bureaucratic nightmare, courtesy of the old guard (Max von Sydow prominent), and the delays caused the survivors to die after a tragic error by an inexperienced officer on board. By-the-numbers film does not have enough suspense to carry the film although there is one sequence of two sailors swimming underwater trying to reach life saving cartridges that is tense. And there is an emotional moment as one of the sailor's mother (Pernilla August) lashes out in fury at the Naval officers for lying to the families and concealing the truth. Anthony Dodd Mantle's superb widescreen cinematography is a major plus but it's all pretty static as drama.

Wildlife (Paul Dano, 2018) 7/10

Remarkably assured directorial debut by actor Paul Dano as he adapts Richard Ford's book into a film with stunning images of small town America shot by Diego García in the vast and bleak outfields of Montana and Oklahoma. Set in 1960 the story charts the breakup of a marriage as seen through the eyes of an impressionable 14-year old (Ed Oxenbold). His frustrated father (Jake Gyllenhaal) can't hold a job and disappears to fight wildfires while his complicated and disappointed mother (Carey Mulligan) represses her rage and decides to forget and make a go on her own which includes a fling with an older man (Bill Camp). Emotionally distant story has an intense frosty feel in its depiction of the corrosion of the idyllic nuclear family of the 1950s. Superbly acted film has a lovely score.

Stan & Ollie (Jon S. Baird, 2018) 7/10

Stan Laurel (Steve Coogan) and Oliver Hardy (John C. Reilly), at the twilight of their once great career, find themselves on a theatrical tour of Britain during the 1950s. Tatty almost empty theatres are their bane as they go through their tired routines that once brought them their fame. The film celebrates the two geniuses via the marvelous performances of both Coogan and Reilly who perfectly capture their comraderie yet also delves into suppressed animosity and grudges that crop up after years of being together. Wives may come and go but the duo remain side by side as age takes over and health issues take center stage. A charming homage to brilliant and iconic comedians.

The Fundamentals of Caring (Rob Burnett, 2016) 5/10

The actors here are all better than the material. A road movie that resolves everyone's miserable life and brings on a semblance of cathartic redemption. A man (Paul Rudd), nursing a tragedy in his past, takes a job as a caregiver. The obnoxious patient (Craig Roberts) with daddy issues - among a list of them - also has a fatal disease and is wheelchair bound. The journey is full of incidents that seem to have crawled out of 50 similar movies from the past. They pick up a runaway hitchiker (Selena Gomez) for whom the patient has the hots and a pregnant woman who decides to give birth at a most inopportune time. And also surprise the boy's father who took off when he was three and proves to be the asshole everyone suspected. They all disband and return back to their lives having learnt the meaning of friendship and caring. Corny manipulative mush has occasional sharp dialogue and an endearing Rudd who manages to carry the film through sheer boyish charm.

Collateral (S.J. Clarkson, 2018) 7/10

The murder of a Syrian pizza deliveryman starts off a chain of circumstances involving various people across a cross section of British society. A pregnant detective (Carey Mulligan) calmly but relentlessly pursues clues leading to the murdered man's two sisters who are living illegally in the country, an MP and his doped up ex-wife who was the last person to see the deliveryman, a lesbian cleric in love with an Asian who witnessed the crime, a disgruntled female army captain, the suspicious manager of the pizza joint, a sarcastic MI5 agent and another deliveryman who is being pursued by thugs. David Hare, who wrote the screenplay for this four-part miniseries, gradually reveals the involvement of this diverse group of people in post-Brexit U.K. covering a broad spectrum of politics of which the subject of immigration runs deep. Mulligan is a lovely presence as she assuredly
manoeuvres her way through the labyrinth of suspects and is the heart and soul of this superbly shot film.

The Mule (Clint Eastwood, 2018) 7/10

Eastwood is a mesmerizing presence as a selfish man who has spent his entire life living for himself and his interests - he is an avid horticulturist and spent his time on the road - alienating his wife (Dianne Wiest) and daughter (Alison Eastwood). The septuagenarian unexpectedly finds a chance at redemption when he unknowingly becomes a mule for a mexican drug cartel headed by an elegant hood (Andy Garcia). He uses his beat up truck to transport cocaine for them. Staying one step ahead of the FBI (Lawrence Fishburne & Bradley Cooper) he becomes a Robin Hood figure helping friends and family with the money he earns. Unbelievable story is based on a New York Times article about a true incident with a lot of the man's motivations not making sense. Eastwood easily carries the film with his immense charm and twinkle in his eye.

Law Abiding Citizen (F. Gary Gray, 2009) 4/10

Man (Gerard Butler) witnesses the murder of his wife and daughter and goes on a killing spree after the DA (Jamie Foxx) agrees to a plea bargain which does not bring proper justice. The standard vigilante plotline goes for a different slant as the avenger kills off his victims while in solitary confinement in prison. Gruesome violence is the order of the day as people are hacked, decapitated, limbs torn apart, shot and blown up as revenge takes on the wrath of biblical proportions in an attempt to destroy the whole corrupt system. Absurd thriller.

Under Ten Flags / Sotto dieci bandiere (Duilio Coletti, 1960) 6/10

Rare Italian production - courtesy of Dino De Laurentiis - with an international cast and based on true events in 1940-41 during WWII. A Nazi raider ship under the guise of a freighter bearing different flags destroys passenger and British Naval ships in the Atlantic. The British admiral (Charles Laughton) and his forces try their best to find this "ghost" ship while the humane German captain (Van Heflin) plays a game of cat and mouse with them destroying every ship that comes their way. Matters take a turn when a passenger ship shoots at them and is destroyed in return. The humane captain takes on board all survivors - allowing a host of stars (Mylène Demongeot, Gian Maria Volonté, Eleonora Rossi Drago) to appear in cameos. Laughton, as the frustrated but wily admiral, is superb and plays him with a Churchillian flavour while Heflin, abhoring Hitler and the Nazi party's views, shows his german character to be human. Interesting film from the historic perspective.

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

Posted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:26 pm
by Reza
Vox Lux (Brady Corbet, 2018)
The Smiling Lieutenant (Ernst Lubitsch, 1931) 6/10
Times Square Lady (George B. Seitz, 1935) 2/10
The Line King: The Al Hirschfeld Story (Susan Warms Dryfoos, 1996) 7/10

Belle de Jour (Luis Buñuel, 1967) 10/10

Catherine Deneuve is perfectly cast in Buñuel's wicked sexual fantasy which weaves a magical spell bringing the director's penchant for erotic fetishism out in the open. Deneuve's ice cool-blonde and refined exterior hides a frigid interior. The film came out over 50 years ago but has not dated even a bit. A lot of it has to do with the classic Yves Saint Laurent outfits and shoes Deneuve wears giving the film a remarkable contemporary feel. The sex scenes, once thought shocking, manage to retain a sense of surprise due to Bunuel's camera which shows just enough to titillate the mind without going the graphic route. A young woman (Catherine Deneuve), stuck in a staid marriage to a doctor (Jean Sorel), secretly longs to be degraded which Buñuel shoots as fantasy sequences with great delight as the actress gets her clothes ripped off, tied, whipped and ravished. A chance conversation about prostitution allows her to explore a brothel run by a stylish madam (lovely Genevieve Page) and soon she is spending her afternoons sexually servicing men under the guise of "Belle de jour". The men demand kinky sex involving whips, coffins and role playing. Her sex life with her husband improves after she comes into contact with a crook (Pierre Clémenti) with steel teeth and a rough manner in bed. Matters come to a head after a violent act allowing the young couple to finally come together. The film would not have worked without Deneuve's oozing sexuality which Buñuel slyly reveals by stripping it out of her gradually. The superb screenplay (written by Buñuel and Jean-Claude Carrière and based on a book) has a macabre sense of humour allowing the director to freely channel his obsessions with sex, death, anti-clericalism and hypocrisy which are laid bare for everyone to relish. A masterpiece.

Hotel Paradiso (Peter Glenville, 1966) 6/10

The classic bedroom farce gets a sporadically funny once over in this adaptation of a play by
Georges Feydeau and
Maurice Desvallière. The sparkling cast get around the silly plot and once they start running in and out of bedrooms, banging doors and hiding their identities from each other there are a few side splittingly funny moments. A henpecked man (Alec Guinness), married to a fat shrew (Peggy Mount), decides to have a fling with the sexy neighbor (Gina Lollobrigida) next door whose architect husband (Robert Morley) is going to be away for the night. The assignation point is a tatty hotel run by a Russian (Akim Tamiroff) where they all end up converging including a stammering friend, his four daughters, the maid and a nephew. When the police raid the place pandemonium ensues with everyone running around like headless chickens. Guinness returns to his delightful Ealing persona with his sly voice, expressive face and manic movements and while he lacks chemistry with his co-star she is a sight to behold in all her lovely period outfits. As the put upon spouses both Peggy Mount and the incomparable Robert Morley are hilarious. A film that starts off slow but ends up as a highly charged funny romp.

Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (Paul McGuigan, 2017) 6/10

May-December romance between has-been former Oscar-winning Hollywood star, Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening), and young British wannabee actor Peter Turner (Jamie Bell) from working class Liverpool where she is acting on stage. The former sultry beauty with the sexy pout and Betty Boop-like voice is at the tail end of her life in 1981, seriously ill with breast cancer, and requests that she move into the house of his parents (Kenneth Cranham & Julie Walters). The story flashes back to 1980 Los Angeles when the 55-year old actress introduced her 28-year old lover to her mother (Vanessa Redgrave) and bitter sister (Frances Barber) who brings up her fourth marriage to the son of her second husband (director Nicholas Ray). Bell and Bening are very good as the star-crossed lovers and this is an affectionate, moving and humourous memoir about love and friendship. The film's best scene has the two stars dancing to "Boogie Oogie Oogie" by A Taste of Honey which perfectly captures the character of Grahame, a free bird full of vinegar and sass.

Flame of the Islands (Edward Ludwig, 1956) 4/10

Campy film which the stars appear to have taken on as a project simply to shoot it in the Bahamas. The screenplay has enough plot to cover five melodramatic films but this is a Republic studio production so it is all crammed into 90 minutes of screen time. A secretary (Yvonne De Carlo) is given a 100 grand by the wife (Frieda Inescourt) of her client with whom she assumes the woman had an affair. She takes the money and invests it in a casino in the Bahamas but is not aware that her partner (Kurt Kaszner) has also taken in money from the mob. Three men love her - an old pal (Zachary Scott), a fisherman (James Arness) and the love of her life (Howard Duff) who seduced her when she was 15 resulting in a still birth. Returning back into her life he has his nasty mother (Barbara O'Neill) in tow who makes it clear to her that she wants her son all to herself. This lady also turns out to be the dead client's mistress. A real mish mash of a plot and unevenly acted with De Carlo performing two cabaret numbers ridiculously gyrating her enormous hips which seem to titillate all the men around her. The garish cinematography adds to all the hysteria on display.

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

Posted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:19 pm
by Reza
Footnote (Joseph Cedar, 2011) 7/10

Amusing comedy with Ealing overtones has simmering familial tensions running below the surface. It's almost a flip view of Bergman's "Autumn Sonata" - which was about the clash between a world famous concert pianist and her meek daughter who looks up to her famous mother but is also deeply resentful for being neglected as a child. The father-son duo in this Israeli film (nominated for the foreign film Oscar) are rival professors in Talmudic studies. The old man has spent his lifetime in research without any recognition except getting a footnote mention in an esteemed scholar's book. His flippant son, on the other hand, is a best selling author, is widely heard on the talk circuit and recipient of many awards for his work which his father deplores but deep down covets too. Matters come to a head between the father and son in a serio-comic way when the prestigious Israel Prize is announced leading to deeply hidden resentments in both men rising to the surface. The film also touches on how destructive it can be on wives and children to live with self centered men who are oblivious to small gestures of understanding in their pursuit of work.

Son of Saul (László Nemes, 2015) 6/10

Historically fascinating document about the Sonderkommando who were the special work units made up of German Nazi death camp prisoners, usually jews, who were forced, on threat of their own deaths, to aid with the disposal of gas chamber victims at the concentration camps during the Holocaust. The film chronicles a day-and-a-half in the life of Hungarian-Jew, Saul Ausländer (Géza Röhrig), in October 1944 at Auschwitz. He was part of that work unit clearing dead bodies from the gas chambers and cleaning and disinfecting the room before the next load of jews were exterminated in the showers. When he discovers a young boy still alive he becomes obsessed with giving him a jewish burial after a german doctor suffocates him to death. His relentless desire to find a rabbi amongst the condemned prisoners to perform the last rites coincide with a planned uprising against the Nazis by members of the Sonderkommando. The director shoots the entire film from this man's perspective keeping the camera in extreme close-up either on his face or on his back and shoulders so we only get to see and hear bits of the chaos around him with people in front and around him often out of focus. I found this shallow focus view point extremely jarring as the harrowing events surrounding the protagonist are totally diminished. I also did not find the character's drive to bury the boy (who may or may not be his son) very interesting as the main plot point - the desensitized man hopes to redeem himself by the act as a counter to his intense guilt for "collaborating" with the Nazi menace. This was the film debut for both the director and the lead actor and won an Oscar for Hungary as the year's best foreign film.

Invitation to the Waltz (Paul Merzbach, 1935) 6/10

London-born German star Lilian Harvey's only film shot in Britain is light fluff with a very busy plot. An English ballerina (Lilian Harvey) is persuaded by her government to become the mistress of a German duke in order to make him sign a treaty with England. Instead she falls in love with his aide (Carl Esmond) but also manages to accomplish the deed. However, before she can escape Napoleon invades and she is forced to perform during a command performance for him. Harvey is charming throughout and the film's highlight is her dance performance at the end with the great British ballet star Anton Dolin to the title song.

The Truth About Youth (William A. Seiter, 1930) 4/10

Static stage bound drama with romantic pairings of the odd kind. Flashy Myrna Loy runs off with the film playing a tarty golddigging showgirl with whom a young man (David Manners) is infatuated although he is engaged to his maid's prim daughter (Loretta Young). When his guardian (Conway Tearle) tries to buy off the worldly tart he doesn't realise that along with getting the young man weaned off her he will himself find love in a very unexpected place. Loy is great fun and has a great scene throwing a hissy fit when she realises that the man she is married to is penniless. A very pretty Young, playing the lead, comes off very bland compared to Loy. The film, ripe with clichés, is pre-code so flaunts sex at every step including a may-december pairing that would raise eyebrows in Hollywood today even though there is a touch of sophistication in that surprise reveal.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (Stanley Kramer, 1967) 8/10

Notwithstanding the mawkish and manipulative screenplay, this film's subject remains shockingly very relevant even today. The more people change the more they sadly remain the same. Inter-racial marriages may have made many a stride in the West but in many parts of the world this film's message - substitute race for religion or within sects in the same religion - speaks out loud and clear in today's world where hatred and unacceptance still rules supreme. A young white girl (Katharine Houghton) in love with a prominent black doctor (Sidney Poitier) breaks the news to her affluent and broadminded parents (Spencer Tracy & Katharine Hepburn) causing much consternation all around especially with his middle-class parents (Roy Glenn & Beah Richards) arriving for dinner. The voice of reason and doom respectively are a family friend and Monsignor (Cecil Kellaway) and the black family maid (Isabel Sanford). The simplistic but well meaning screenplay sets up the actors in twos and threes as it gets them to discuss the issue with a lot of dramatic dialogue. The superb cast knew they were making a film on an important and very relevant subject - it was 1967 USA with the Civil Rights Movement at its height with "change" in the air - too bad things haven't QUITE changed in the USA all that much although that's a subject for another time. It was also Tracy's last film - he was very ill - and his last teaming on screen with Hepburn and he gets a great monologue at the end which was also a reflection on his own offscreen 25-year relationship with Hepburn. Nominated for ten Oscars it won two - for Hepburn (her third) and the screenplay. The film, Kramer, Tracy, Kellaway, Richards, the music score, art direction and editing were all nominated. Extremely moving film.

Death Race (Paul W.S. Anderson, 2008) 6/10

A remake of the cult film from the 1970s this version is lifted by Jason Statham's quiet but simmering performance. It's the future and prisons are controlled by private corporations. Into one such location an Ex-con (Jason Stathman) finds himself incarcerated on trumped up charges of murdering his wife. The place is run by a vicious warden (Joan Allen) who blackmails him into participating in a deadly car race involving inmates who drive souped up vehicles fitted by all sorts of weapons to use on each other. Spectacular stunts and extreme violence are the order of the day as it becomes a race against time trying not only to survive but also figure out who was responsible for his wife's murder and his imprisonment. Helping him is a wise old inmate and a mechanic (Ian McShane). Joan Allen, cast against type, has a field day playing a vicious bitch from hell and is great fun to watch as she places obstacles in the way of the drivers. This relentlessly grim, humorless and formulaic film is hypnotic like a video game but helped by the performances it emerges as a winner.

The Steel Trap (Andrew Stone, 1952) 7/10

Simplistic but effective suspense story about a robbery that leads to a conscience stricken dilemma. A bank officer (Joseph Cotten) finds a loophole in the extradition treaty with Brazil and decides to steal a million dollars from the bank vault on a Friday evening and fly out of the country. Every step of the plan works but is full of hurdles along the way as the man and his unsuspecting wife (Teresa Wright) have to face delays related to their passports, assorted flight snafus, suspicious airport officials leading up to his wife discovering the truth about all the cash in his suitcase. Gripping suspense, a constant feeling of dread and superb cinematography by Ernest Laszlo makes this a film well worth catching. Joseph Cotten gives an excellent performance as a staid man who suddenly gets an illicit urge to steal and will do anything to reach his destination. The implausible screenplay keeps the momentum going right through to the end as the situation comes full circle for the man and his wife and just in the nick of time.

Hers to Hold (Frank Ryan, 1943) 6/10

Pleasant fluff with lashings of wartime propaganda and a steady mix of songs by the once child star finally stepping into the shoes of a leading lady. Romance between a rich girl (Deanna Durbin) and a pilot (Joseph Cotten) about to fly off overseas. Durbin is in great voice singing an aria from "Carmen", Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine" and the Oscar nominated wartime anthem "Say a Prayer for the Boys Over There". The romantic scenes are appropriately endearing (even though Cotten was 16-years older than Durbin) and the comedy is amusing courtesy of Charles Winninger as the relentlessly befuddled old dad who manages to mouth off a patriotic speech contrary to his character's image to appease the WWII audiences. Also interesting to see the scenes set inside an aircraft manufacturing plant where Durbin works as a riveter.

Crime By Night (William Clemens, 1944) 6/10

After years of playing second leads and in B-films Jane Wyman, with this film, was finally one film away from becoming a huge star. Snappy murder mystery is a pleasant variation of "The Thin Man" as a bourbon-soused private detective (Jerome Cowan) is asked by his friend to solve the murder of his father-in-law. The man is estranged from his wife (Eleanor Parker) and fighting for custody of his daughter. Helping the detective is his wisecracking secretary (Jane Wyman) as they dodge the local incompetent cops while looking for clues. Despite an erratic script the film is fast paced with Wyman coming off best.

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

Posted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:20 am
by Precious Doll
Mademoiselle de Jancquieres (2018) Emmanuel Mouret 5/10
The Summer House (2019) Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi 7/10
Girls of the Sun (2018) Eva Husson 4/10
One Nation, One King (2018) Pierre Schoeller 4/10
The Sisters Brothers (2018) Jacques Audiard 7/10
Non-Fiction (2018) Olivier Assayas 7/10
The Trouble with You (2018) Pierre Salvaderi 4/10
Claire Darling (2019) Julie Bertucceili 4/10
A Faithful Man (2018) Louis Garrel 5/10
Sink or Swim (2018) Gilles Lellouche 4/10
Amanda (2018) Mikhael Hars 7/10

Repeat viewings

Normal Life (1996) John McNaughton 6/10
Edward II (1991) Derek Jarman 10/10
Last Year at Marienbad (1961) Alain Resnais 9/10
The Pyjama Girl Case (1978) Flavio Mogherini 7/10
Anna Christie (1930) Clarence Brown 7/10

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

Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:48 am
by Reza
Lean on Pete (Andrew Haigh, 2018) 6/10

Relentlessly downbeat film has an intensely raw internalized performance by Charlie Plummer who begins to (literally) run each time life brings a blow. A lonely teenager, living with his jovial but neer-do-well dad, finds a job looking after the race horses of an irascible trainer (Steve Buscemi) bonding closely with one called "Lean on Pete". After a tragedy and discovering that the trainer is about to sell the horse he takes off with him cross country to search for his aunt (Alison Elliott). British director Haigh goes from very homegrown surroundings of his previous films to the vast American outback with beautifully shot scenes on the wide Western plains. The journey across has various encounters with very different people drowning in social ills allowing the young boy to grow stronger through each experience. There is a quietly lived-in feeling about this story which is more about the feeling of helplessness the boy experiences within life's cruelty. Buscemi, as always, is superb.

Lady in the Iron Mask (Ralph Murphy, 1952) 5/10

Rather tired version of the Alexander Dumas story gets a gender flip with the 3 Musketeers, led by D'Artagnan (Louis Hayward - who played the man in the iron mask in 1939), trying to save the life of the princess (Patricia Medina) kept in a dungeon while her twin rules. The plot goes through the usual horse chase sequences, sword and fist fights but is rather lifeless. Ernest Laszlo's cinematography and Dimitri Tiomkin's zesty score are plus factors.

The Looming Tower (Craig Zisk, John Dahl, Ali Selim, Michael Slovis & Alex Gibney, 2018) 8/10

Fascinating ten-part miniseries based on the Pulitzer prize winning book by Lawrence Wright about the events leading up to 9/11 and the frantic pursuit of Al-Qaeda that began when the American embassy in Nairobi was bombed in 1998. The chase to get to the roots of Al-Qaeeda was massively bungled due to the powerplay between the FBI and the CIA - the latter failed to share vital information about Saudi terrorist operatives who it was later discovered had entered the United States in early 2000 and who were on the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center Twin Towers and the Pentagon. The riveting screenplay follows the head of New York’s FBI Counter-Terrorism unit, John O’Neill (Jeff Daniels) who, helped by agent Ali Soufan (Tahar Rahim), relentlessly pursues leads on Al Qaeeda which results in a clash with CIA analyst, Martin Schmidt (Peter Sarsgaard), and his team who at the behest of the CIA head (Alec Baldwin) holds back vital information from the FBI which inadvertently leads to the 9/11 tragedy. Superbly acted film has nail biting suspense despite knowing the outcome which led to so much death and destruction. And the irony befalling John O'Neill after he is forcibly asked to resign is especially sad. A must-see.

Mortal Engines (Christian Rivers, 2018) 6/10

Extremely loud, CGI ridden, fantasy film that takes its cue from Mad Max and the Star Wars franchise. It's our world, post apocalypse, far off into the future with London town traveling on wheels devouring smaller towns to sustain itself. The city, with the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral resting on top like a crown, is steered by a megalomaniac (Hugo Weaving) who is upto some mischief inside the bowels of the church. A mysterious young woman holds the key to stop the madman who years before killed her mother. Helping her along the way are an outcast from London and a slinky outlaw as she is chased by a zombie machine who was once her friend. Like most fantasy films today the plot is absolutely absurd but makes up with non-stop action as the cast of mostly unknown young actors run askew through a world created via outstanding production design.

Mascara (Patrick Conrad, 1987) 7/10

The deranged world of 80's Eurotrash culture is the backdrop of this fascinating film which could easily pass off as one of the early films of John Waters or Pedro Almodovar. A chic and androgynous Charlotte Rampling is surrounded by an eclectic group of characters - an opera designer lover (Derek de Lint) who is hated by her brother (Michael Sarrazin), a Police Superintendent who adores opera, has a fetish for white female dresses and an obsessive and incestuous eye for his sister. The film's main plot involves the murders of two transvestite performers being investigated by the police and set mainly inside the bowels of a large theater club called "Mister Butterfly" which is a blend of cabaret, new wave and opera. Sleazy and bizzare film has elegant appearances by transgender star, Romy Haag, as the madame-manager presiding over the club and her brood of lip syncing drag queens (one of the outrageous concert sequences involve a drag queen impersonating Tina Turner singing while dressed up in her Mad Max garb). Eva Robins, the famous Italian transgendered star of tv, music, fashion and film, has a prominent role and has the film's most famous scene which predated a similar moment that gained more notoriety five years later in "The Crying Game". This is a rare campy cult film that deserves to be seen more widely not only for its audacious yet disturbing excesses but also to see just how eclectic and interesting Charlotte Rampling's career choices have been.

Free Solo (Jimmy Chin & Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, 2018) 4/10

Rock mountain climbing with or without ropes is a world totally alien to an acrophobe like me. I mean why would someone want to endanger their life by climbing a sheer rock wall? I guess everone is entiltled to whatever gives them a high. This Oscar winning documentary is about Alex Honnold who became the first person to free solo climb Yosemite's 3,000 foot high El Capitain rock. One can't deny the passion of this person but the film quickly gets repetitive with friends and colleagues fawning over the climber's accomplishments. Sitting through endless shots of climbing sequences are akin to watching slow games like golf or cricket or watching paint dry on a wall. A great achievement for Honnold is a boring time for me at the movies.

Look Away (Assaf Bernstein, 2019) 4/10

Pretty but put-upon high school teenager (India Eisley) discovers her evil twin inside the mirror, swaps places with her and wreaks vengeance on everyone who did her wrong or made fun of her. A variation on the "Carrie" theme keeps getting more and more unpleasant as it evolves into a silly slasher flick. Is she psychotic? Is there really a twin or is she using that in her mind to seek vengeance. India Eisley, daughter of Olivia Hussey, is good and an interesting addition to the new faces in Hollywood but this vehicle is too formulaic for her to make any sort of positive mark. Jason Isaacs as her womanizing dad and Mira Sorvino as her mentally depressed and neglected mom are both wasted. Flat and uninvolving film.