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 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:01 am

I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017) 9/10

Extremely funny black comedy taken directly from the tabloids and presented as an exposé of the events and structured like a documentary. Various people give their version of the life and career of redneck skating champion Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) starting with her abusive, chain smoking and profanity spewing mother (the brilliant Allison Janney), who was the stage mother to end all stage mothers. The child through sheer talent grows up to become the only skater to land a triple axel, the most difficult triple jump in the sport. Unfortunately she is undone by the people in her life - she is saddled with an abusive husband (Sebastian Stan) along with her hardened mother - and her class which she proudly accepts but cannot understand why it is held against her. Her final downfall is caused by an attack on an opponent, Nancy Kerrigan (Caitlin Carver), orchestrated by her husband and another man. Just as she makes it to the Olympics team she is banned from the sport for life for her alleged part in the attack. Hysterically funny film, superbly acted, directed and edited, is a biting commentary on fame and it's pitfalls. At one point Harding says, "America, you know, they want someone to love, and they want someone to hate, and they want it easy". It was easy to make this redneck into a villain in contrast to the ice-princess Nancy Kerrigan who came from the right side of the tracks. A story about hope and tragedy and how both can undo a person's life. This is one of the year's best films.

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

Postby Reza » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:00 am

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri (Martin McDonagh, 2017) 8/10

Three billboards outside a small town advertise the incompetence of the town's police chief (Woody Harrelson) in solving the rape and murder of a young girl. The grieving mother (Frances McDormand), who pays for the advertisement, unleashes a chain of events which involve the whole town. A racist cop (Sam Rockwell) reacts with violence, a mysterious stranger in town threatens the woman and hints at the crime and the police station is attacked with fire bombs. The brilliant screenplay takes unexpected turns as it delves into the trauma, grief and guilt of different townfolk including the woman's abusive ex-husband (John Hawkes) and father of the victim. Superbly acted film with McDormand and Rockwell forming a surprising and unlikely alliance just when matters turn from bad to worse. Extremely dark film with flashes of unexpected humour.

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

Postby Reza » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:59 pm

Conspirator (Victor Saville, 1949) 5/10

Absurd melodrama has the unusual teaming of 16 year old Elizabeth Taylor, in her first lead as an adult, playing a naive 18 year old in love with a much older Major (Robert Taylor who was 38 but playing 31). Set in Cold War London and Wales the relationship runs afoul when she discovers he is a communist and tries to kill her. The only thing going for this ridiculous melodrama is MGM's teaming of their two most glamorous stars although most of the excitement took place when the camera was not running. Liz found their teaming most uncomfortable as her co-star made clumsy efforts to seduce her off the set while he had informed the camera technicians to focus above his waist in order to hide his "growing attraction" to her. Artificial and shallow film has an interesting supporting cast - a young Honor Blackman, Robert Flemyng, Wilfred Hyde-White, Marjorie Fielding, Helen Haye, Marie Ney and Thora Hird playing assorted British types.

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

Postby Reza » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:59 pm

Night Without Sleep (Roy Ward Baker, 1952) 2/10

Lifeless mystery about a failed playwright (Gary Merill) who wakes up from a drunken stupor trying to remember which of three women he has murdered - his wife (June Vincent), his mistress (Hildegard Kneff) or a beautiful actress (Linda Darnell) with whom he also had an affair. The film's flashback within a flashback structure is confusing and the main character is so unappealing that one really does not care what went wrong for him or who he killed. A crashing bore that only gets points for Linda Darnell's beauty.

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

Postby Reza » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:58 pm

Zero Hour! (Hall Bartlett, 1957) 7/10

"Our survival hinges on one thing - finding someone who not only can fly this plane, but didn't have fish for dinner". And this line of dialogue sets the tone for this dramatic and suspenseful film which was not only one of the first air disaster films, a percursor to all the "Airport" series (the first of which was based on the book by Arthur Hailey who wrote this screenplay) and was much later hilariously parodied by Jim Abrahams and the Zucker Brothers in "Airplane". A commercial plane flying across Canada faces disaster when some of the passengers and both pilots fall ill due to acute food poisoning. The culprit was the fish. The only person traveling on board who can fly a plane is a former Air Force pilot (Dana Andrews) who hasn't flown in years and blames himself for the death of his squadron members when due to a wrong decision they all crashed. Also on board is his son (also ill) and his estranged wife (Linda Darnell) both of whom find themselves occupying the pilot seats and attempting to fly the plane to safety. Helping them from the ground via radio is his former co-pilot (Sterling Hayden) who hates his guts. There is also a stewardess who flits about offering useless advice unlike Karen Black, who flew the Boeing 747 in "Airport 1975", and who is sorely missed. A lot of the serious dialogue in this film was used word-for-word to hilarious effect in the parody so listening to it here brings back amusing memories of that film. The tense ending as the plane comes into land with a sweating Andrews and a cool Darnell next to him barking instructions on the radio is both exciting and very funny. This high-budget B-movie works remarkably well despite all the more popular imitations that came later. It was after this film that FAA regulations forbade the serving of the same type of meal (fish, meat or fowl) to a pilot and co-pilot to guard against food poisoning.

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

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

So This Is Love (Gordon Douglas, 1953) 3/10

Uninspired and rather bland screen biography of ambitious singer Grace Moore who gradually rises via musical comedies on Broadway to become a major star of the New York Metropolitan Opera. Lots of musical numbers with pretty Kathryn Grayson in fine voice but it's all very dull and by the numbers with no real drama to give the story a kick.

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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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