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

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:43 am
by Reza
Vice (Adam McKay, 2018) 3/10

The rise and rise of former Vice President Dick Cheney, the power behind the throne of President George W. Bush. Christian Bale, wearing heavy facial prosthetics, does a grotesque caricature of the toad-like and very bland Cheney with Amy Adams as his dumpy Lady Macbeth-like wife Lynne - in one scene of this quirky screen biography the couple speak to each other in Shakespearean sonnets. It's all very hit and miss and since this couple did not hold my interest I found it all rather silly with director McKay channeling "Saturday Night Live" in tone. The film purposes to explain how a two-time Yale dropout and loser makes the jump to being a machiavellian string puller which he manages to wrangle from President Bush while the latter was airborne during the 9/11 attack. As someone says, post 9/11, "we have to fuck someone up" so the United States decided to bomb Iraq. We know the serious repercussions of Cheyney's actions but the screenplay intentionally takes an outrageously comic route like a mock documentary which I personally found jarring. Other stars appear briefly - Sam Rockwell as the buffoonish Bush, Steve Carrel as Donald Rumsfeld and Tyler Perry as Colin Powell. Shallow film about a bunch of shallow and boring people.

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

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:55 pm
by Precious Doll
3 Generations (2016) Gaby Dellal 3/10
Scarred Hearts (2016) Radu Jude 7/10
Voyage of Time (2016) Terrence Malick 4/10
Mandy (2018) Panos Cosmatos 2/10
Nappily Ever After (2018) Haifaa Al-Massour 4/10
In Between (2016) Maysaloun Hamoud 6/10
Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood (2018) Matt Tyrnauer 6/10
Nancy (2018) Christina Choe 4/10
Loro (2018) Paolo Sorrentino 5/10
Crisis (1946) Ingmar Bergman 4/10
The Discovery (2017) Charlie McDowell 3/10
Hitler's Hollywood (2017) Rüdiger Suchsland 6/10

Repeat viewings

I Remember Mama (1948) George Stevens 6/10
Wild Boys of the Road (1933) William A. Wellman 9/10
Les Parents Terribles (1948) Jean Cocteau 8/10

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

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:26 pm
by Reza
Boy Erased (Joel Edgerton, 2018) 7/10

I kept thinking of Nazi death camps as this film progressed. The humiliation and shame forced on young men and women makes this true story extremely uncomfortable to watch. Gay conversion therapy is apparently a norm in 36 states in the United States. And it's legal and acceptable. And to think the West reacts in horror over fundamental religious nutjobs who brain wash young kids to commit terrorist acts. Yes maybe not an apt comparison but the idea is almost the same - browbeat, shame, humiliate and scare young people using God, religion and the fear of the afterlife to try and brainwash them into doing something which they would not do otherwise. The son (Lucas Hedges) of a Baptist Minister (Russell Crowe) is put in a therapy group run by a tightly wound up "therapist" (Joel Edgerton) after the young boy is outed to his parents even though nothing really happened. The father seeks advice and enrolls the son in a 12-day conversion therapy group. His Mom (Nicole Kidman) goes along with the plan and accompanies her son staying at a nearby hotel while the son attends classes. The "therapy" involves getting the gay participants to blame some family member for their "sexual problem", retrain them by increasing their masculinity via rigorous exercise, humiliation and by shaming them to believe that their urges are learned rather than part of their genetic makeup. Things get out of control when a participant who refuses to bend is beaten (with a Bible) by the therapists and his family members while being relentlessly shamed. Trying to get away from the almost prison-like building the young teenager manages to get his mother to rescue him. Hedges is very good as the teen struggling with his feelings and with his strained relationship with a father who refuses to accept or understand him. Crowe is barely in the film and remains a passive presence providing expressionless reactions to his son and the proceedings but Kidman is strong as a loving mother with her own sense of beliefs who realises the immense wrong she as a parent has done to her son. There is a lovely scene where she apologises to her son. The entire film is presented in a very bland way. Even most of the dramatic moments are filmed in a straight forward but static manner which makes the horror of it all seem very real and traumatic but it is also very obvious that the screenplay is catering towards a wider straight audience to gently "educate" them into maybe understanding what goes through the minds of people who are trying to discover themselves or come out with their sexuality. Thought provoking film raises many questions with the main one trying to fathom how such conversion centers are even allowed to operate in the United States. Scary!!

Mulk (Anubhav Sinha, 2018) 5/10

Overwrought hysterical courtroom drama has good intentions in proving that not all Muslims are terrorists but while doing so it tends to get too preachy. Also the prosecuting attorney (Ashutosh Rana) and the cop (Rajat Kapoor) seem to be operating out of a 1980s Bollywood flick with villainy written all over their faces. A Muslim family living in Benaras is shocked to discover that their young son (Prateik Babbar) has blown up a bus and killed many people. Caught on camera he is exposed, trapped and killed by the police. The wrath of the law and the Hindu community falls on the terrorist's Muslim family as they are beseiged by the media, taunted by their old friends in the neighborhood and the boy's old father is put in jail under suspicion of also being involved. The family patriarch (Rishi Kapoor), a respected lawyer, comes to the defence of his brother in court but finds himself also suspected by the court of helping his nephew. Their young daughter-in-law (Tapsee Pannu), a Hindu and (conveniently) a lawyer, comes to the rescue in court making a passionate speech on behalf of Muslims. All rather unconvincing and melodramatic though the main message is a plea for communal harmony in India, a subject which in reality has been rather thorny through the ages. Tapsee Pannu is totally out of her depth as the young lawyer making grand gestures and fiery speeches in court. She is too young to be convincing. The film's heart and soul belongs to Rishi Kapoor. A huge romantic star in Bollywood for almost 25 years has suddenly become one of the best character actors, one who still manages to get important lead roles and is not afraid to experiment in offbeat roles with new younger directors. He is superb here as the open-minded Muslim, steadfast in his religious beliefs, a much respected neighbour, good family man and a wise lawyer who is forced to prove his nationalism because of his religion. Hard hitting subject here is in much need of restrain.

Manmarziyaan (Anurag Kashyap, 2018) 6/10

Kashyap takes a slight U-turn from his usual dark hard-hitting films and comes up with a romantic film although his three characters are all deeply troubled and obsessed. The love triangle involves free spirited Rumi (Tapsee Pannu) in love with wacky and committment phobe Vicky (Vicky Kaushal). He is a wannabee VJ, has an intensely sexual relationship with Rumi and runs whenever the "M" word is brought up. Fed up with his non-commital and immature attitude she decides to get married out of spite to Robbie (Abhishek Bachchan) who is a banker from London and who secretly knows about her obsessive previous relationship. Post- marriage the two former lovers continue to meet while the patient husband watches and waits for his wife to make up her mind between the two men. The second part of this film is lifted straight from Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam" with Aishwarya Rai married to Ajay Devgan while pining for former lover Salman Khan who continues to stalk her while she is on her honeymoon. But the three characters in both films are completely different. Abhishek Bachchan does some of his best work here playing his character with a quiet stillness with his expressive eyes doing all the emoting. In complete contrast is Vicky Kaushal as the wild and sexually charged lover who loves with all his heart but wants no responsibility of a permanent relationship. Tapsee Pannu has the vivacity of a young Kajol and gives an intensely charged performance juggling her feelings for both men. The film has an outstanding soundtrack with the appearance of the twin hip-hop dancers Poonam & Priyanka who threaten to steal the whole movie whenever they appear. Quirky film has a lot of highs but Kashyap needs to stick to the dark side of cinema he revels in.

Love After Death / The Marriage Fool (Charles Matthau, 1998) 7/10

Charming romantic comedy has two iconic actors effortlessly doing what they did on screen for over 50 years. A lonely widower (Walter Matthau) gingerly decides to step out and finds unexpected romance with a flamboyant widow (Carol Burnett) much to the consternation of his three sons. Old fashioned film relies totally on the great chemistry of the two leads who create sparks and get good support from John Stamos as the committment phobe eldest son who is involved with his co-worker (Teri Polo). Matthau is extremely moving and droll at the same time and has an obvious screen comfort with Burnett in this their third teaming on screen. Matthau's son directs.

Happy Anniversary (David Miller, 1959) 5/10

Silly sex comedy involving a wedding anniversary that explodes when a couple (David Niven & Mitzi Gaynor) reveal to her parents they had premarital sex. The inlaws are appalled, their snotty kids act like shrinks, television sets get smashed and the marriage is on the verge of divorce. Frantic farce is loud like a sitcom with television getting the brunt of Hollywood's kicks as the screenplay relentlessly runs down the medium. Niven gives it a go and has good chemistry with perky Gaynor. The film depicts a new sort of family life emerging during the late 1950s with kids in the know - a funny moment as the family watches on tv an advertisement for a wonder brassiere - couples openly acting sexual which was different to the previous old fashioned family life depicted on screen. Little Patty Duke plays the couple's precocious daughter who announces on live tv that her parents had sex before marriage causing the network to go into a tizzy. Carl Reiner plays Niven's randy business partner.

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

Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:06 pm
by Reza
Beautiful Boy (Felix van Groeningen, 2018) 6/10

Haunting highly-personal story about a teenage boy's drug addiction and the trauma his family goes through as they helplessly watch him spiral out of control. Based on a pair of memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff, the film is formulaic but presented in an intriguing time-jumping manner as the story unfolds. David Sheff (Steve Carell) is horrified to discover his seemingly normal and happy-go-lucky teenage son Nic (Timothée Chalamet) is addicted to a mixture of alcohol and assorted drugs. He lives with his father, step-mother (Maura Tierney) and two step siblings and is to all appearances happy, a budding writer and on the verge of going to college. The boy's life is described through the eyes of the father as we continuously move backwards to his childhood and forward to the present. There are no easy answers as to why the boy starts taking drugs but the screenplay hints at the child's fears of abandonment after his parents' divorce and a need for love even though his parents try their best. Drug addiction is never easy on the patient nor on the immediate family as they try to come to grips with the situation with self blame the most obvious reaction. Nic goes in and out of rehab, goes to college for a bit, moves in with his mother (Amy Ryan) but each time has a relapse which is the way addiction works. The film goes on too long as it charts a relentless cycle of relapses but it's strength lies in the relationship between father and son. Carell is very good during the quieter moments spent alone in reflection with his eyes showing the huge sense of parental responsibility but tends to get shrill during the more animated hysterical scenes. The film belongs to Chalamet who is fantastic as he goes through a gamut of emotions - vulnerabilty, fear, aggression, desperation - pretending to enjoy daily life during moments of sobriety and lying when under the influence of crystal meth which twists his personality. The screenplay does not shy away from scenes showing the addict shooting up followed by harrowing moments while under the influence. Far from perfect the film still manages to convey the terrible way substance abuse can destroy lives.

The Best of Everything (Jean Negulesco, 1959) 5/10

Campy Madison Avenue shenanigans 1950s style where all the men are lechers and the female secretaries are lovelorn and waiting to be pounced upon. A trio of women (Hope Lange, Diane Baker, Suzy Parker) not only have to deal with a bitchy editor (Joan Crawford) but also fall prey to difficult relationships with assorted men in and out of the office - a brooding drunk (Stephen Boyd), a two-timing womanizer (Robert Evans) and a nasty stage director (Louis Jourdan). The editor-in-chief (Brian Aherne) is a dirty old man prone to pinching the bottoms of the office girls and comes on to a fellow executive (Martha Hyer), an unwed mother, who rejects his advances. Based on Rona Jaffe's trashy bestseller the all star cast mostly fumbles through all the melodrama. Crawford stands out with her portrayal of an ambitious woman who has achieved everything in life yet is lonely without any love in her life. Negulesco shoots this glossy soap opera in cinemascope with brightly lit scenes but the screenplay is hopelessly dated with its message to women that its better to avoid the work world and stick to marriage and raising kids in the suburbs. The film was nominated for two Oscars - the theme song sung by Johnny Mathis and for the slick costumes worn by all the female cast.

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

Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:01 am
by Precious Doll
Mindhunter (2017) Various 10/10
The Wild Boys (2017) Bertrand Mandico 7/10
Postcards From London (2018) Steve McLean 6/10
Ray Meets Helen (2018) Alan Rudolph 4/10
The Tale (2018) Jennifer Fox 6/10
A Kid Like Jake (2018) Silas Howard 6/10
Assassination Nation (2018) Sam Levinson 6/10
Juliet, Naked (2018) Jesse Peretz 4/10

Repeat viewings

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) Mervyn LeRoy 8/10
The Young Lions (1958) Edward Dmytryk 5/10

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

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 12:31 pm
by Reza
Mary Poppins Returns (Rob Marshall, 2018) 5/10

I never took to this character or the original film. While I was very familiar (and loved) the Sherman Brothers' score as a kid I never actually saw the film until I was well into my twenties. Thought it was rather tedious but found Julie Andrews amusing enough in her iconic part. I raised both my kids on a good staple of Disney fare throughout their childhood so they had a very special fondness for the classic original having watched the film on video probably a hundred times - last week both apparently got bleary-eyed watching Mary descend again from the sky in this sequel which has taken Hollywood 54 years to make. No doubt it's a welcome return so new generations can enjoy P.L. Travers' iconic and delightful character. The film is charming but absolutely inconsequential with more than a passing resemblance to situations and secondary characters from the original film so it almost seems like a reboot instead of a sequel. The screenplay takes up several decades after the first film with both kids now grown up. Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) is a recent widower with three kids and still lives in his late father's old house with the family cook (Julie Walters). His sister Jane (Emily Mortimer), like her mother, is an activist. The plot revolves around the family under threat of getting their house repossessed by the bank - Colin Firth is appropriately droll as the token Disney villain. To the rescue comes Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) descending from the sky holding her umbrella as nanny and saviour. Helping her is cockney street lamplighter Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda), clearly a tribute to the original's chimney sweep played by Dick Van Dyke who also makes an appearance here as an old banker in a brief song and dance turn. The film infuses animated sequences with Poppins and Jack taking the kids on a magical journey under the ocean and inside a Royal Doulton bowl. There is a visit to Poppins' flame haired eccentric cousin (Meryl Streep in a hideous cameo speaking and singing one song in a strong Russian accent) where the room moves upside down with everyone sitting on the ceiling which is now beneath their feet. This sequence harks back to the tea party on the ceiling at Ed Wynn's house in the original film. Angela Lansbury makes a cameo appearance as an old balloon seller who reminds of the old lady with the pigeons in the original played by Jane Darwell. Blunt does a delightful impersonation of Julie Andrews but the screenplay relegates her totally in the background during the film's second half. The score is merely passable with one huge production number involving Miranda (and a bunch of guys all in silhouette) who gives an energetic performance. The film scores with its outstanding production design, costumes and visual effects but too bad the screenplay kept looking towards the original film for inspiration instead of following one of Travers' many books about Poppins. Let's hope the next installment is better and gives Blunt more to do as Mary Poppins.

White Boy Rick (Yann Demange, 2018) 5/10

The American dream Detroit-style. True story is fascinating as a period piece - the look of the film, the costumes - but the relentlessly depressing lives of the people entrenched in the drug culture is very downbeat. 14-year old Rick (Richie Merritt) lives with his ne'er-do-well daddy (Matthew McConaughy) who deals in selling illegal guns. His sister (Beth Powley) is a junkie and has run off with her drug dealer boyfriend. Mom has run off and grandparents (Bruce Dern & Piper Laurie) are senile. Fed up with poverty the young boy spends the next few years hanging out with black drug dealers, becomes an informant for the cops and the FBI (Jennifer Jason Leigh & Brian Tyree Henry), gets shot and survives, fathers a child, starts dealing drugs and gets rich. It all comes crashing down and a prison sentence all before he comes of age. Well acted film moves too fast covering the events in the lives of this family.

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

Posted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 3:12 am
by Reza
Bird Box (Susanne Bier, 2018) 6/10

One of the most distracting sights in any film is if the leading lady has had her face stretched rendering her face immobile. That is the case with Sandra Bullock in this nerve wracking film which has scenes that require a certain amount of facial movement to register fear, anger, anguish and pain. Bullock's face sadly no longer has the capacity to do that. Bier's film has a number of similarities to "A Quiet Place" with a few variations in reverse. Some unseen monster or force unleashes itself on the world causing an apocalypse - humans start committing suicide once their eyes are exposed to the invisible creature. Those who manage to shield their eyes survive. A group of disparate survivors manage to band together and try to figure out what to do. One by one the force starts killing them off. It becomes a race against time for a mother (Sandra Bullock) and her two kids to reach a safe haven via a treacherous river with deadly rapids while wearing blindfolds. Tautly directed film manages to create a menacing atmosphere with a gritty Bullock going through every imaginable hurdle - a car accident, giving birth, dodging assorted maniacs - while keeping her kids under strict orders and rules as she helps them in a desperate bid for survival. The story is also the maternal journey of this woman who goes from being uncertain about wanting her unborn child to being forced to look after two children who are deprived of childhood pleasures and are instead mentally trained to be like tiny warriors. John Malkovich is a hoot as one of the good guys with a foul mouth and psychotic persona while Trevante Rhodes makes an appropriate saviour for Bullock.

The Old Man & the Gun (David Lowery, 2018) 7/10

Laconic old man (Robert Redford), a compulsive bank robber who has spent his entire life in a spiral of escapes and arrests, heads a gang of three for yet more robberies. Redford claimed this was going to be his farewell film performance but he later retracted. Lowery's film is an ode to the charisma of not only the grizzled and charming bank robber but also very much an ode to Redford's long career where he played numerous bank robbers. The film is a series of cat-and-mouse robbery montages as the old man, along with his two equally old accomplices (Danny Glover & Tom Waits), manage to calmly stake out banks and get away after robbing them. Along the way there is a sweet romance with a widow (Sissy Spacek) and attempts to stay one step ahead of the local cop (Casey Affleck) who is on his trail. Redford's face is now riddled with lines but beneath all of that his good old boy charm is gloriously visible which he uses to great effect in a performance that is extremely low key yet manages to easily dominate the film but in a good way. The incredible chemistry with Spacek is also one of the film's major delights in this their first teaming on screen. Lowery's inspired unobtrusive direction allows each member of the cast to shine in a film that is a heart-warming and old fashioned delight.

The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2018) 8/10

Wicked and zany power tangle set during the early eighteenth century reign of Queen Anne of Great Britain. Lanthimos brings his own quirky style to the story completely dispensing with the usual stuffy and pompous rendering which has been the forte of such historical dramas in the past. Helping him greatly is a deliciously savage screenplay playing fast and loose with historical fact, the gorgeous candle-lit cinematography of Robbie Ryan who often shoots at off-kilter angles using a fisheye lens which causes visual distortion and claustrophobia, witty costumes by Sandy Powell which help to accentuate the three main characters and a bombastic score consisting of classical and modern pieces. At the centre of the film are three superb actresses who swagger to dangerous proportions playing the historical characters of this story. Lady Sarah Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz) and her poor cousin Abaigail (Emma Stone) fight tooth and nail for the favours and affection of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) in and out of bed. The monarch is in a sad state after 17 pregnancies that failed to provide her an heir and has been reduced to acting like an impetuous, whiny and jealous child which the two women try to use to their advantage. Sarah is blunt and goes into an attack like a coiled viper while Abigail uses cunning calm as her weapon of flattery. All three actresses give memorable performances with Colman the clear standout as the tragi-comic queen who in even her most vulnerable moments manages to show what makes her a true monarch.

Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018) 8/10

Predictable crowd pleaser is a humourous road movie with a message. Despite many funny moments this little film is terribly sad. Farrelly brings his quirky touch to this true story about two very different men who get to spend time together and end up not only friends but along the way learn from each other too. Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), a burly Italian bouncer from the Bronx, takes up a job as chauffeur to Dr Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), a multi-lingual black musician and piano virtuoso. They drive way down South for a series of concerts which sets up various scenes amongst rabid white racists. The act of segregation in history is always a jarring scene to witness. The wonderfully perceptive screenplay consists of constant banter between the two men and both actors are wonderful. Mortensen playing a dumb caricature manages to infuse great warmth and feeling into his character using the accent and a gained girth to get into his skin. Ali is his complete opposite as the refined, dignified and very articulate musician who remains outwardly calm through all the indignities thrown at him yet is quietly seething with repressed fury beneath the facade. The film superbly evokes the period - 1962 - via outstanding set design, costumes and music on the soundtrack. This is strictly old fashioned schmaltz from a bygone era which is given oomph by two talented actors at the top of their game.

Julia, du bist zauberhaft / Adorable Julia (Albert Weidenmann, 1962) 6/10

Frothy comedy based on the story, "Theatre", by Somerset Maugham. Julia (Lili Palmer), a famous stage actress and married to an understanding director (Charles Boyer), on an impulse embarks on an affair with a young fan (Jean Sorel) who flatters her. Disillusioned with her career and seeking passion missing in her marriage the affair puts spark back into her life. But things don't go according to plan when she discovers her young lover has ulterior motives of his own. She gets her revenge on stage where she shows nobody can hoodwink her out of being the great star she is. Palmer, dressed by Pierre Balmain, looks very elegant and sophisticated and has great fun with the part passing acidic quips in the form of voice overs while expressing her inner thoughts about the characters around her. This fluffy material was remade years later in Hollywood as "Being Julia" with Annette Bening who received an Oscar nomination.

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

Posted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 3:11 am
by Reza
Miami Exposé (Fred F. Sears, 1956) 5/10

Aquaman (James Wan, 2018) 8/10

After "Black Panther", earlier this year, this DC comic book film also celebrates a different culture along with diversity. And just like its predecessor this film has rousing action scenes, an eye-opening underwater world teeming with strange creatures and between the familiar tropes of such films also manages to deliver a strong ecological message about man's continual destruction of the environment. A half-breed boy is born to a lighthouse keeper and the Queen of Atlantis (Nicole Kidman) after he saves her life and they fall in love. When she is forced to return to her kingdom to get married she entrusts the care and training of her human son to a loyal advisor (Willem Dafoe). Arthur (Jason Momoa) grows up on land but is forced to go beneath the sea when his jealous half-brother, Orm (Patrick Wilson), threatens war. When a pirate (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) attacks Atlantis, Orm uses that as a pretext to launch war on humans and also to kill Arthur. He is helped along the way by Princess Mera (Amber Heard), daughter of King Nereus (Dolph Lundgren) of Xebel, who has pledged allegience to the evil Orb. The plot hinges on Arthur retrieving the lost golden trident of the first King of Atlantis in order to unite the seven kingdoms under the sea and prove himself the rightful ruler. The film is beautifully shot by Don Burgess and its spectacular production design, costumes and visual effects play a large part in creating this unique world. Kidman makes a lovely regal Queen and Mamoa brings the right touch of physicality and devil-may-care attitude to the part. In hindsight this is all incredibly cheesy, populated by silly characters with outlandish action set pieces but this long film is never boring and makes for one hell of a rollercoaster ride in the vein of "Raiders of the Lost Ark".

Simmba (Rohit Shetty, 2018) 9/10

Bollywood has always had its own version of the Marvel & DC comic book hero and it has always been the proverbial cop. Every major star has played this "hero" on film at one time or another to much acclaim. The character doesn't have too many shades - either he is noble, crooked or a combination of the two. Shetty brings to this project, which is a Telugu remake, the colours and ambience of South Indian cinema along with the sensibility of its Northern counterpart. The film's success rests on the shoulders of Ranveer Singh who brings to the part his own sense of quirky humour, bravado and pathos which basically translates to being completely over-the-top. Simmba (Ranveer Singh), an orphan who was raised on the streets, vows to become a cop because he is impressed by the corruption in the police force. He revels in this avatar of being on the take and unabashadly flaunts himself. Posted as the Head Constable at a police station in Goa he falls in love with a young girl (Sara Ali Khan) and protects the local goon (the superb Sonu Sood) and his two brothers by turning a blind eye at their activities which involve using young kids as drug couriers. It takes the gang rape and murder of a young teacher to swiftly change Simmba's entire perception about his own crooked life. Shetty infuses the film with non-stop banter - Singh's hilarious accented Hindi is an inspired choice - and slow-motion action punctuated by the sound design going into overdrive as the cop takes on hordes of the villain's sidekicks. Singh gives a spectacular performance playing to the gallery knowing exactly when to provide laughs and when to wring tears from the audience. All his scenes opposite Sonu Sood are intense as they both circle each other while he is at his most vulnerable opposite the great Ashutosh Rana who plays his conscientious subordinate. He shows the shy quality of his personality around Sara Ali khan whom he woos via three catchy musical numbers. No Shetty film would be complete without his mascot, star actor Ajay Devgan, who has appeared in all his films save one (where Mrs Devgan (Kajol) played the lead) who makes a late entrance in the guise of senior police officer Singham making this film a spin-off from Shetty's previous police franchise. The film is total paisa vasool and an absolute crowd pleaser as director Shetty takes on the mantle of the late Manmohan Desai. The film also conveys a serious message about rape, its repercussions and the need for the law to bring justice to the victims. A must-see film which holds yet another surprise at the end as another famous star makes an appearance in the guise of yet another cop which promises to provide yet more entertainment in the form of a film next year.

Raid (Raj Kumar Gupta, 2018) 7/10

An honest and fearless IRS officer (Ajay Devgan) and his team raid a powerful politician (Saurabh Shukla) who is suspected of evading taxation. Gripping story based on an actual event in Lucknow during 1981 is treated like a thriller in this film. Devgan gives a typically intense yet charming performance who has been transferred 49 times in his career as an income tax officer simply because he is honest and does not bow down to pressure. His wife (Ileana D'Cruz) stands by him despite living a life of being constantly on the move. Interjecting songs into the premise is a minor distraction along with moments of melodrama and a tendency towards preaching towards the end for boxoffice consumption but the powerful story resonates and deals with an important subject that troubles many countries where tax evasion is a major menace.

Ben-Hur (William Wyler, 1959) 9/10

Old fashioned film is a mixture of religiosity - set during the time of Christ - and a boys own adventure filmed by Wyler on an epic scale. A remake of the 1925 silent classic this film has spectacle and many justifiably famous set pieces that still manage to hold up. Based on the classic novel by General Lew Wallace and a screenplay that has an underlying subtle homo-erotic current running through the main plot about a friendship between two boyhood friends, the jewish Prince Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston in an Oscar winning performance) and Mesala (Stephen Boyd), a Roman tribune, which turns irrevocably sour. Refusing to betray his people, Ben-Hur is arrested on trumped up charges by Mesala and condemned to a life as a galley slave and his mother (Martha Scott) and sister (Cathy O'Donnell) imprisoned. During a sea battle he saves the life of the Roman Consul (Jack Hawkins) who adopts him as his son. Discovering that his mother and sister have become lepers he seeks revenge which culminates in a "battle" between the two former friends during an 11 minute chariot race in the Roman arena. This almost four-hour film also involves romance with the daughter (Haya Harareet) of his former slave (Sam Jaffe), befriending an Arab sheik (Hugh Griffith who inexplicably also won an Oscar) whose horses he rides during the chariot race and two highly reflective but chance encounters with Christ which culminates with his cruxification and a miracle. The film is superbly shot by Robert Surtees, has a memorable score by Miklos Rosza, huge sets and outstanding costumes. They truly don't make films like this anymore and contrary to it's reputation today as an over-bloated corny melodrama the film is incredibly accomplished with many deeply moving moments directed splendidly by the great William Wyler.

Orphan (Jaume Collet-Serra, 2009) 5/10

"Spare the rod and spoil the child", is a proverb that proves rather fatal for a family when they adopt a 9-year old Russian girl and bring her into their home. The couple (Peter Sarsgaard & Vera Farmiga), already parents of a son and a deaf daughter, are nursing a troubled marriage. The death of a new born baby earlier led to the wife's alcoholism and a stint at a clinic. The adopted child soon starts a deadly spree - pushing a school mate off a tree house, threatening to cut off her brother's genitals, murdering a nun who suspects her and turning her parents against each other. Things really start getting weird when the child dresses up like a hooker and tries to seduce her father holding a knife as big as the one held by Tony Perkins in "Psycho". Nasty little horror film, with a perverse twist at the end, is "The Omen" for a new generation but the violence towards children is in extremely bad taste and there are one too many false endings as the film keeps going on and on. Isabelle Furhman is appropriately creepy as the deranged child.

The Pelican Brief (Alan J. Pakulla, 1993) 6/10

The bloom of youth was clearly on Julia Roberts' face back when she made this film. That big hair, large mouth and flashing teeth which all came together to create her dazzling star persona. She joins Pakulla who returns to Washington for another paranoid political thriller this time fiction based on John Grisham's bestseller which he wrote with Roberts in mind as his lead character. This slick story has her playing a law student involved with her alcoholic professor (Sam Shepherd). When two important judges (one of whom is played in very old age makeup by Hume Cronyn) are murdered she comes up with the theory - the "Pelican Brief" which she writes as a paper - that a Florida based oil tycoon was behind the killings because the judges gave a judgement against a case he was involved in dealing with the environment or some such mumbo jumbo. The reason is not important in such plots. It's what happens in reaction to the paper that holds more interest as it involves death, car explosions, being on the run with her life in danger at every step of her way. Impressed by her theory the professor passes on the paper to his friend (John Heard) in the FBI who passes it on further resulting in a bomb explosion meant to kill the student but bumps off her lover instead. On the run wearing a series of disguises in which she still looks like herself she contacts a reporter (Denzel Washington) who comes to her help. Dodging an assassin (Stanley Tucci) who gets killed instead, being chased by cars and people with guns and knives she manages to open up a real pandora's box as the tycoon is directly linked to the White House - he provided huge campaign funds - where the dumb President (Robert Culp) and his aide (Tony Goldwyn) shit bricks knowing they are all caught under a tight net. Pakulla films this solid but unspectacular story in an efficient but dull manner. However he is helped in great part by the cinematography of Stephen Goldblatt - all shimmery golden hues - and a melancholic score by James Horner. Roberts and Washington have great screen chemistry and there is a brusque cameo by John Lithgow as the editor of a newspaper for which Washington is covering the story. Like all potboilers the film holds interest while it lasts but is forgotten the minute it ends.

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

Posted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 3:08 am
by Reza
Homecoming (Sam Esmail, 2018): Season One - 6/10

Paranoid psychological thriller revolves around a therapist (Julia Roberts) who works at "Homecoming" a facility that helps returning soldiers adjust to civilian life. Years later she is working as a waitress and approached by the Department of Defence who ask her why she left her previous job and she has no recollection of her time spent there. The story reveals the mystery in stages showing the past and present aspects of her job simultaneously in each 26 minute episodes raising serious ethical and political issues related to PTSD and the U.S. government's involvement. Roberts, in her first tv serial, looking old and haggard and wearing a hideous wig, seems to be sleep walking through the part but she is supported by a fine cast of actors - Bobby Cannavale as her boss, Stephen James as the soldier assigned to her, Dermot Mulroney as her boyfriend and Sissy Spacek who is funny as her addled mother. The series is stretched to 10 episodes and often moves very slowly.

Badhaai Ho (Amit Ravindernath Sharma, 2018) 8/10

A family drama that takes the unusual step of making the supporting cast the main focus of the story and the lead actors taking on smaller roles. This refreshing and very funny story centers on a middle-aged couple (Gajraj Rao & Neena Gupta) who to their shock and surprise discover that they are to become parents again. Sharma superbly creates a lower-middle class Delhi milieu recalling the films of Hrishekesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee where ordinary people find themselves in an extraordinary situation. The humour is derived from the reactions of the family and friends. The older son (Ayushman Khurana), who works in an advertising firm, is horrified and embarrassed and skips going to office or meeting his girlfriend (Sanya Malhotra). The younger son is teased mercilessly at school while the old grandmother (Surekha Sikri) is appalled that her son and daughter-in-law still have sex. Soon everyone finds out with neighbors and other family members reacting with amusement, jealousy or envy. The perceptive screenplay is remarkably observant catching small details and gestures in the sharply drawn characters. The film takes a serious turn during the second half as characters reveal hidden depth and in typical melodramatic fashion there are feisty outbursts, tears are shed, apologies are made and characters in conflict reconcile. The actors are all superb - Rao as the bewildered and romantic father-to-be, Gupta as the strong and proud wife who takes a firm decision not to have an abortion as advised and instead go through with the pregnancy, the hilarious and crabby Sikri who has a sharp and bitter tongue but at just the appropriate moments shows great compassion and warmth and Khurana as the upset son who takes time reconciling his confused feelings but finally accepting the situation which results in the film's most moving scene when he confronts his mother putting his hand on her stomach and embracing her. No Bollywood film is completely successful until it wrings tears out of you. This film has three such moments along with many laughs along the way. A must-see.

Andhadhun (Sriram Raghavan, 2018) 8/10

Neo-noir black comedy has a screenplay with twists, turns, more twists and further turns. Raghavan is in perfect sync handling the twisted characters all of whom have something to hide and none appear to be who they are. A blind musician (Ayushmann Khurrana) "sees" the dead body of a former screen actor (Anil Dhawan) while in his apartment playing piano for his wife (Tabu) as her cop lover (Manav Vij) hovers in the background. The two lovers dispose the body and the musician finds himself in a quandry as the plot takes a fiendish turn involving another murder, an attempt at organ trafficking, a kidnapping and blackmail with a rickshaw driver and lottery ticket seller getting into the act. The entire cast is game playing these depraved characters with relish in particular Tabu as the ambitious trophy wife who is charming yet chilling and the source of the film's dark humour. Khurrana, who specializes in playing the likeable "everyman", is spot on as a man who inadvertently gets way in over his head yet manages to keep one step ahead of each dire circumstance he is thrust into. The film's superb sound design punctuates every shocking moment and the score, using songs from old films of Anil Dhawan, adds to the macabre humour.

Raton Pass (Edwin L. Marin, 1951) 6/10

B-Western, set in New Mexico, has the great Patricia Neal playing a scheming vixen in the Barbara Stanwyck mode. She comes in between two families involved in a feud over land rights. She entices the son (Dennis Morgan) of the owner of a huge ranch, marries him and then proceeds to seduce another rich man to buy the ranch and land for her. She hires a nasty gunslinger (Steve Cochran) to be her partner when her husband and townfolk come after her. Oddball Western has good action sequences and Morgan even gets to sing a song. But it's Neal who creates a ripple with her great performance as the bad woman with no redeeming qualities.

Charge of the Lancers (William Castle, 1954) 2/10

A British officer (Jean-Pierre Aumont) has an affair with a gypsy as the Crimean War rages around them with the Allies attempting to take the Russian naval base at Sebastopol. Cruddy action film loses all credibility the minute leading man Aumont, as the Brit soldier, opens his mouth and speaks with a french accent. Goddard at the end of her film career looks lovely but this film is an abomination despite trying its best to throw in a pathetically staged action sequence every ten minutes. Castle would go on to make a number of camp-classic horror films with Vincent Price.

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

Posted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:34 am
by Precious Doll
Vice (2018) Adam McKay 2/10
Arms and the Man (1958) Franz Peter Wirth 4/10
Mary Poppins Returns (2018) Rob Marshall 4/10
Paix Sur Les Camps (1970) Jacques Boigelot 4/10
A Twelve Year Night (2018) Alvaro Brechner 4/10
The Debut (1970) Gleb Panfilov 4/10
Calibre (2018) Matt Palmer 2/10
The River Fuefuki (1960) Keisuka Kimoshita 6/10
A Sense of Loss (1972) Marcel Ophuls 4/10
The Handmaiden's Tale - Season 2 (2018) Various 8/10

Repeat viewing

The Miracle Worker (1962) Arthur Penn 7/10

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

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 6:29 pm
by Reza
Los Tarantos (Francisco Rovira Beleta, 1963) 9/10

Raw vibrant film which transports Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" to the gypsy slums of Barcelona. A boy and girl fall passionately in love but their families do not approve due to a long standing feud between them. This oft-told tragedy is given a fresh outlook by setting their love story in the world of flamenco with everyone passionately moving and singing to the music with a feverish intensity as arms are raised above their heads, bare feet tapping and hands clapping with fury. The great flamenco performance artist, Carmen Amaya, plays the headstrong mother of the young boy. This was her last film before she died and she moves like a person possessed not only while dancing but also in her performance as she rails at the world when her son is struck down. Superb adaptation glorifies gypsy folklore capturing in vivid detail the lives of these ethnic people in Spain. The film was nominated for an Academy award.

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

Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 11:01 pm
by Precious Doll
Newness (2017) Drake Doremus 4/10
American Circumcision (2018) Brendon Marotta 6/10
Manto (2018) Nandita Das 6/10
Apostle (2018) Gareth Evans 1/10
The Favourite (2018) Yorgos Lanthimos 8/10

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

Posted: Mon Dec 24, 2018 1:21 pm
by Reza
flipp525 wrote:Reza, you’re not using the word “diaspora” correctly in your post about Sharp Objects. Maybe you’re thinking of “millieu” or something.

You're absolutely right. It felt wrong when I was writing it. Will correct. Thanks for pointing it out.

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

Posted: Mon Dec 24, 2018 8:59 am
by flipp525
Reza, you’re not using the word “diaspora” correctly in your post about Sharp Objects. Maybe you’re thinking of “millieu” or something.

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

Posted: Mon Dec 24, 2018 3:12 am
by Reza
Sharp Objects (Jean-Marc Vallée, 2018) 8/10

This is a slow burn, eight part tv miniseries, based on the novel by Gillian Flynn that really gets under your skin. Vallée superbly captures the menacing atmosphere of a small town in the grips of a tragedy. A psychologically scarred journalist (Amy Adams), nursing assorted demons from her past, is asked by her editor to cover a story in her home town in Missouri. A young girl has been found dead and another has disappeared. Dreading the assignment she goes reluctantly to face her past demons most of which have been caused by her over bearing socialite mother (Patricia Clarkson). The investigation causes major ripples in the community especially when the second girl's mutilated body turns up with all her teeth ripped out of her mouth. The small town environment consists of matrons led by the town gossip (Elizabeth Perkins), over sexed teenagers including her step-sister (Eliza Scanlin), bitchy high school mates and old boy friends from the journalist's past who may or may not have raped her. Amy Adams gives a harrowing performance as she goes through the investigation guzzling vodka, hiding her self mutilated body, dealing with her hinged step-sister and neurotic mother all the while having brief memory flashes to the distant past as each part of the town and her daily encounters with her unforgiving mother make her recall images of death and hysteria from her childhood. Clarkson is a hoot as the mother-from-hell, outwardly the personification of gentle civility but inwardly seething with repressed rage. The story takes its time resolving the mystery with very little action but scores points on atmosphere leading to a riveting conclusion.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2017) 7/10

Quirky and intriguing psychological thriller has the entire cast in perfect rhythm to the absurdist humour of Lanthimos. Deadpan expressions with dialogue delivery in a monotone is the order of the day in a plot that can only be described as humour of the very black kind. A cardiothoracic surgeon (Colin Farrell) is blackmailed by a disturbed teenager (Barry Keoghan) after he accuses the doctor of botching up his father's surgery while under the influence of booze. He asks the doctor to kill one of his family members - wife (Nicole Kidman), daughter (Raffey Cassidy) or son (Sunny Suljic) - or they will all die, one by one, of a mysterious illness involving four stages (paralyses, loss of appetite, eyes bleeding and death). When the children suddenly fall ill the doctor and his wife are forced to face reality and quickly decide what to do. Lanthimos reaches back to classical Greek tragedy (using the play Iphigenia at Aulis by Euripides) for inspiration and puts his own wicked spin to it. The terrific screenplay, which won an award at the Cannes film festival, is full of innocuous and banal conversations. The film is shot by Thimios Bakatakis using smooth camera zooms as characters are seen walking through long empty hospital corridors yet seem to be very still. Also adding to the film's unsettling and bizzare tone are the sex scenes performed in a highly mechanical manner and a bombastic score that underlines every moment of dread like a wailing banshee. Hypnotic and very unsettling film is not for all tastes.

Always in My Heart (Jo Graham, 1942) 4/10

A Kay Francis vehicle at the fag end of her career has Warners promoting the young soprano, Gloria Warren, into the next Deanna Durbin. They did not succeed with this sentimental mishmash although Walter Huston emerges unscathed giving a superb performance. He plays the imprisoned patriarch who is suddenly released after many years and arrives to find his ex-wife (Kay Francis) about to get re-married and both his grownup kids not too happy with this new arrangement. The kids also think their father was dead so it takes the melodrama of a stabbing and an almost-drowning for everything to work itself out. Huston is very good - the natural comfort and chemistry with Francis (it was their fourth film together), singing with Warren (the title song, nominated for an Oscar, is repeatedly heard throughout) and the heroic action scenes at the end. The noisy supporting cast is an abomination including Una O'Connor as the hysterical maid.

The Sisters Brothers (Jacques Audiard, 2018) 5/10