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

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

Postby Reza » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:57 pm

All I Desire (Douglas Sirk, 1953) 7/10

Sirk strips bare small-town America's bourgeois life and it's dull ideas of morality - a theme he would perfect in a series of subsequent films during the decade. A second rate vaudeville actress (Barbara Stanwyck) receives a letter from her daughter inviting her to a performance of her highschool play. Ten years before she abandoned her school teacher husband (Richard Carlson) and three children and had run off from their small town after having an affair with a local store keeper (Lyle Bettger). Her dramatic return causes heads to turn - the store keeper wants to resume their affair - and tongues to wag. Her husband and one daughter are hostile, the elder daughter (Lori Nelson) is thrilled as she idolizes her mother and the young son is confused. Also incredulous, but charmed by her, is the husband's colleague (Maureen O'Sullivan) who is in love with him. Sirk's camera turns a microscopic view on these characters and takes great delight in stripping bare their repressions, fears and desires. Producer Ross Hunter insisted on the ending which somewhat rings false but is in keeping with 1950s mores in upkeeping family values. Stanwyck takes charge of the part and runs with it using her breathy voice to great effect. This was Sirk's first in a series of melodramatic films set in small provincial towns and he would go on to use dramatic colour and the staging of camera movements which would take this genre to great heights.

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

Postby Reza » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:56 pm

Broken Lullaby (Ernst Lubitsch, 1932) 9/10

This film marked a complete but brief u-turn in the career of the great Ernst Lubitsch who until then had made a name for himself as a director of saucy operettas and sparkling sophisticated comedies bearing his famous "touch". In sharp contrast this film, based on the 1930 Maurice Rostand play L’homme que j’ai tué, is full of despair, guilt and sorrow in the face of horror. A frenchman (Phillips Holmes) kills a young german during the waning years of WWI. He suffers terrible remorse and decides to visit the dead man's family to reconcile with them in order to put to rest the terrible guilt. However, upon meeting the family - the old father (Lionel Barrymore) who hates the french, the devastated mother (Louise Carter) and the pretty fiancé (Nancy Carroll) - he is unable to confess and is mistakenly thought to be their son's friend and welcomed with open arms. He is looked upon by intense suspicion by the men and women of the small town who spread vicious gossip. The old man confronts his friends and puts a stop to all the hatred making a speech denouncing the war which took the lives of sons in both France and Germany. The film's anti-war message is loud and clear and Lubitsch superbly uses the medium of sound and his constantly moving camera to briefly depict the horror of war through a montage of marching boots and the sound of gunfire. His "touch" is very evident in the scene depicting the gossiping women as they pass words from window to window in the village which has almost a musical rhythm. The performances are in perfect pitch to the melodramatic material with Barrymore in great form who, for a change, keeps the ham in check. Holmes comes off rather theatrical with his body language but is moving nevertheless. This film needs to be rediscovered and held in the same esteem as the director's other classic films which are continuously revived. The story was remade as "Frantz" in 2016 by François Ozon.

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

Postby mlrg » Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:57 pm

Lady Bird (2017) - 6/10

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:17 pm

Just to Be Sure (2017) Carine Tardieu 4/10
Downsizing (2017) Alexander Payne 7/10
The Little Hours (2017) Jeff Baena 5/10
Culloden (1964) Peter Watkins 8/10

Repeat viewings

Baby Face (1933) Alfred E. Green 8/10
The Fallen Idol (1948) Carol Reed 8/10
The Man in the Moon (1991) Robert Mulligan 7/10
Exhibition (1975) Jean-Francois Davy 6/10
St. Martin's Lane (1938) Tim Whelan 6/10
The Whales of August (1987) Lindsay Anderson 7/10
Cinderella Liberty (1973) Mark Rydell 6/10
"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.

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

Postby mlrg » Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:50 am

Get Out (2017) - 7/10

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

Postby Reza » Mon Dec 25, 2017 3:03 am

Call Me By Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017) 10/10

Guadagnino's extraordinary film seeths in a European sensibility which glorifies food, wine and architecture along with a sense of free spirited sexual longing and passion. The extremely literate screenplay by James Ivory, who at 90 years old, manages to invigorate this cautiously conducted coming-of-age story of a precocious 17 year old boy (Timothée Chalamet) and his attraction for a young American (Armie Hammer) who arrives at the 17th century home of his parents as a research assistant to his father (Michael Stuhlbarg). The film, based on the acclaimed novel by André Aciman, is a set of dreamy vignettes as the family eats, drinks, play music, entertain friends from the village while the two young men form a growing attraction. The screenplay glorifies culture which is reflected in the characters and is an ode to the heady intoxication of youthful love full of flirtation and sexual desire with the painful realization by both parties that their summer romance is finite. The extraordinary Timothée Chalamet is on screen throughout with the camera catching in closeup every flickering emotion on his face as we get to see the story mainly filtered through his young eyes. Arnie Hammer is equally good as the object of desire, confident and sensitively perceptive to the young boy's insecurities as they converse and circle each other. The film's sun drenched images intoxify the senses as we roam (alongside the characters) through the beautiful Italian countryside as the camera saunters through villages with its cobbled streets, old buildings that reek of history, cycling jaunts through fields, dips in ponds and lakes and treks up mountains. Intelligent and extremely poetic this is also one of the year's best and most moving films.

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

Postby Reza » Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:57 am

The Easiest Way (Jack Conway, 1931) 5/10

Depression era problems faced by a poor girl (Constance Bennett) who leaves her job as a low paid clerk to become a model, catches the eye of a rich man (Adolphe Menjou) and becomes his mistress in order to send money for her parents. She is rejected by her sister (Anita Page) and her husband (a young Clark Gable) for the life she is leading but falls in love with a reporter (Robert Montgomery) and promises to leave her sugar daddy. But can she? One of many similarly plotted films at the time that showed the extent to which people could go to in order to alleviate a life of abject poverty. Blandly directed film has an appealing performance by Bennett. Due to censorship this adaptation of the 1909 play had its central character changed from a prostitute to a clerk. This was Gable's second film.

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

Postby Reza » Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:57 am

Shanghai Express (Josef von Sternberg, 1932) 10/10

Stylized classic film by the great von Sternberg has one of Marlene Dietrich's signature roles where she early on describes herself by saying, "It took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily". The entire film is set on a train traveling between Peking and Shanghai as a group of diverse passengers are being evacuated. The film is uniquely shot so that all the dialogue and action simulate the train's rhythm. At the center of the plot is the emotionally charged romance between the notorious woman who has lived a scandalous life and driven many men insane with desire and an army captain (Clive Brook) who was once the love of her life. The passengers on board are more horrified with Lily's presence on board than with the danger of the civil war raging in China. The passengers - a snooty lady (Louise Closser Hale), an opium smuggler (Gustave von Seyffertitz), a gambler (Eugene Pallette) and Lily's equally exotic companion (Anna May Wong) - are forced to band together when a fellow passenger, an embittered Eurasian businessman (Warner Oland), turns out to be the head of the revolutionaries and holds the captain hostage. When he threatens to blind the prisoner Lily offers herself to him in exchange for her lover's life. The film hasn't aged a bit and remains as fresh today as it was 85 years ago. The superb screenplay, the shimmering oscar winning cinematography by Lee Garmes, the sets, the exotic costumes by Travis Banton and especially the mesmerizing performance by Dietrich perfectly mesh together to create this bizarre and exciting classic. Both the film and von Sternberg won richly deserved Oscar nominations and it is a shame that Dietrich was overlooked. A must-see.

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

Postby Reza » Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:56 am

Night Song (John Cromwell, 1947) 4/10

Overheated melodrama about a rich socialite (Merle Oberon) falling for a blind and embittered piano player (Dana Andrews) who has lost all interest in finishing the great symphony he has started. When he spurns her she feigns blindness and secretly funds his eye operation so he can go onto triumph at Carnegie Hall. Once his eyesight is restored and he gets to conduct his symphony (with offscreen help from the great Arthur Rubinstein) he promptly forgets the "blind" friend who supported him. Both stars overact and come off rather silly through all this heavy breathing nonsense. Oberon looks lovely throughout photographed by her husband Lucien Ballard and dressed to her teeth in chic Orry Kelly gowns.

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

Postby Reza » Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:56 am

Battle of the Sexes (Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris, 2017) 5/10

The "historic" 1973 tennis match between former champ and hustler, Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell), and the world number one female champ, Billie Jean King (Emma Stone). Along with their personal rivalry on the field the film covers their personal and more complex issues. He faces a gambling addiction and a loyal wife (Elisabeth Shue) who is fast getting fed up. While she struggles to come to terms with her sexuality in her close relationship with Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough) who would become her partner. Well acted but bland film which is strictly like a television film from the 1970s making points about male chauvenism and female emancipation.

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

Postby Reza » Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:56 am

This Love of Ours (William Dieterle, 1945) 5/10

Sappy soap opera with the plot manipulated by an obnoxious and spoiled child causing grief for her parents - with a little discipline and a tight smack across her face this child would certainly prove less annoying. But then there would be no melodrama and tears. A young girl (Sue England), living with her adoring but dull doctor father (Charles Korvin), creates a shrine to the memory of her mother who disappeared from their lives. Enter a grim piano player (Merle Oberon) who comes into the life of the doctor who marries her and much to their dismay find the young girl on a hatred campaign for the stepmother. After a lot of hand wringing and stiff upper lips quivering things get sorted out. The film comes alive with the appearance of Merle Oberon who plays her character as brittle and jaded which is a far cry from her usual artificial performances. Matching her every step of the way is Claude Rains as her entertainer partner who lifts the dull plot each time he appears.

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

Postby Reza » Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:55 am

Christmas Holiday (Robert Siodmak, 1944) 8/10

Extremely bizarre noir with two rather dubious but fascinating casting choices - Deanna Durbin as a singing prostitute - the star wanted a change of pace in her career but refused to play a floozie so she plays what here is termed as a "lounge singer" - and Gene Kelly as a mother fixated (aka homosexual) pathological murderer. The film has a fantastic pedigree - director Siodmak, a European emigrée known for his dark films, a screenplay by Herman J. Mankiewicz (who won an Oscar for "Citizen Kane") and based on a book by Somerset Maugham with the original setting changed from Britain to New Orleans. The main plot - good girl (Deanna Durbin) meets and marries a seemingly clean-cut guy (Gene Kelly) who lives with his adoring mother (Gale Sondergaarde) and turns out to be a gambling addict who ends up doffing a bookie and ends up in jail - is a long flashback. Bookending the main plot is a lieutenant (Dean Harens) who, by chance, meets the lounge singer at a brothel run by a snappy but good hearted madame (Gladys George) and discovers the girl's sad life who now tortures herself through guilt by living her new life as a prostitute but still in love with her husband. Absurd beyond belief this film gets full marks for atmosphere courtesy of the moody cinematography by Elwood Bredell (who would be the dp on subsequent Durbin films but made his mark on two fantastic noirs, "Phantom Lady" and "The Killers") with his sweeping tracking and crane shots and the over powering baroque sets (scenes set in a massive cathedral during a Christmas mass, at a concert theatre and the expansive lobbies at a hotel and the brothel). Both stars are very good but the film is stolen by the edgy Sondergaard as the doting mother who harbors her son's secrets. Lurid psychological melodrama which despite a slow start ends up with breathtaking set pieces.

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

Postby Reza » Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:54 am

What Happened to Monday (Tommy Wirkola, 2017) 6/10

In a dystopian future to offset the dangerous level of over population and famine governments force their people to abide by a one-child policy. A man (Willem Dafoe) hides and raises his identical septuplet grand daughters who grow up and live a life of "one" in subterfuge. Each named after the days of the week they get to live on the outside one at a time on the day they were named after. What this does is allow the star of the film - Noomi Rapace - to play seven identical sisters each with a different personality and look. The Child Allocation Bureau, run by a fierce director (Glenn Close hamming it up dreadfully), catches onto the ruse and their detectives (men-in-black) go after the sisters who try to defend themselves to the death. A great premise, bordering on camp, allows Rapace some kick-ass action sequences when one sister mysteriously goes missing and the other six attempt to find what happened to her. Rapace is great fun to watch either squabbling with herself (in the guise of different sisters) or stabbing, kicking, shooting, garotting assorted goons on their trail. This is strictly B-movie trash and very familiar - after all Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland did a variation of this way back in the 1940s - but Rapace makes it a compelling if rather absurd ride.

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

Postby Reza » Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:54 am

Becoming Cary Grant (Mark Kidel, 2017) 8/10

Archibald Leach rises from poverty struck ashes in Bristol to reinvent himself as Hollywood star Cary Grant. Fascinating, informative yet veiled look at a great star - the story of his life is spoken in his own words via an unpublished autobiography and voiced by Jonathan Pryce. The documentary is interspersed with scenes from his films as his psyche is analyzed - his intense mistrust of women (he married five times) after being "abandoned" by his mother who he later found out had been put into an asylum by his father on a flimsy pretext which set the tone for his life leading to a phase of indulging in LSD when in his fifties he tried to sort out his mind. The film touches on his relationship and teaming with Hitchcock on three films - both were working class men who reinvented themselves. The film avoids delving into his sexuality and his lifelong "romantic" relationship with actor Randolph Scott with whom he lived during their early years as young actors breaking into Hollywood. This is a fine tribute to a great legend who comes off as a very human individual.

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

Postby Reza » Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:53 am

Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow, 2017) 10/10

Every white person in America should be forcibly made to watch this film. It took a white female director to highlight this "small" but very shocking episode that took place during civil strife that turned into violent riots in the city of Detroit during the summer of 1967. After establishing how the riots started the screenplay focuses on a horrific incident that took place at a motel where a group of black youngsters (and two white females), who were partying and having fun, were caught in a night of terror. A toy gun is fired by one of the boys in jest which results in the hotel being beseiged by the local cops and the National Guard in search of a sniper. The kids are repeatedly and viciously interrogated, tortured and abused and before the night is over three of the young men are shot dead in cold blood by the racist cops - the National Guard leave the premises letting the cops handle the situation. Later the three cops involved in the shootings are let off by a white jury when the case comes to trial. This historical incident from 50 years ago has sadly repeated with variations in the United States with alarming regularity as the issue of racist violence against black people continues unbated even today. The film puts the audience smack down into the relentless horror and Bigelow makes a great choice by intentionally not focusing on any one individual character - they all have their own small arcs (the racist cops, the two girls, the young boys and a black cop (John Boyega) who is witness to the incident and tries to help the victims - within this story. The sharp editing and the hand held camera brilliantly creates a sense of chaos. This is one of the year's best films, got great reviews but sadly flopped at the boxoffice - probably proved too intense as a cinema going experience. Not to be missed and a must-see.


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