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

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

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:15 am

Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham, 2018) 8/10

The screenplay perfectly captures, in an almost cinéma vérité manner, teenage angst with all it's fears, uncertainty, self-loathing awkwardness, annoyances and doubts. The plot puts a shy, plump, pimple-faced, introverted 13-year old (Elsie Fisher) through the grind during the pressure-filled last week of eighth grade as it captures her hapless interactions with other girls (mostly mean or indifferent towards her), a boy she has a silent crush on, the class geek, her dad (Josh Hamilton) who she constantly pushes away and her obsessive need to be on social media 24/7. She comes into her own in the privacy of her bedroom while making self-help videos for YouTube. Compassionate coming-of-age film manages to sharply put the viewer in the young girl's shoes bringing back many of the similar nightmarish memories from one's past as it wades through the overwhelming emotional insecurities of a typical teen. The film is also a walking talking advertisement for Facebook (one girl says "no one uses Facebook anymore - yeah right), Tumblr, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and Buzzfeed. The film ends on a warm note as father and daughter come to terms with each other over a fireside téte-â-téte. Sharply written film is alternately sad and joyful with an outstanding "real" performance by young Elsie Fisher.

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

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:14 am

A Taste For Death (John Davies, 1988) 7/10

Police Commander Adam Dalgliesh (Roy Marsden) investigates a number of deaths - a Minister of the Crown and a tramp are both found with their throats slashed in a church and a woman drowns mysteriously. The deceased Minister's wife (Fiona Fullerton) is having an affair with their family doctor (Simon Ward), his sharp old mother (Dame Wendy Hiller in fine form) is evasive, his daughter was estranged from him, his cook and chauffeur act suspiciously while a maid who had a crush on him is found to have had an abortion and then later commits suicide. P.D. James (like Agatha Christie) creates a marvelous group of characters - her mystery was nominated for the Booker prize - and a dogged but reserved detective (minus the eccentricities of Christie's Poirot) who sniffs out and solves the mystery.

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

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:14 am

Histoire immortelle / The Immortal Story (Orson Welles, 1968) 8/10

Baroque adaptation of an Isak Dinesen story is one of Orson Welles' last finished projects. It was his first film in colour, which he reluctantly agreed to, even though Willy Kurant does an admirable job with his offbeat camera placements and lush lensing which enhance the surroundings - both indoor and outdoor - disguising the film's small budget. The story is set in Macao but filmed on location in Spain with all of the interior scenes filmed inside the villa of Welles in Madrid using staff from a nearby chinese restaurant as extras. This little melodrama (barely an hour long) is an ode to the beauty of Jeanne Moreau who, dressed by Pierre Cardin, plays a bitter prostitute hired by a rich old merchant (Orson Welles) to recreate the story of a sailor who is paid to impregnate a man's wife. The prostitute refuses because the old man, through ruthless business dealings, ruined her father many years ago and took over their house. Later she agrees for a hefty price and so does a derelict Danish sailor for a small sum. Both have their own reasons for going through the ruse while the old man, since he has no heir, hopes to leave his wealth to the child he hopes will be conceived. An emotionally rich film, beautifully shot, edited and acted with the sonorous voice of Welles on the soundtrack creating a mesmerizing and menacing mood.

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

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:13 am

De Palma (Noah Baumbach & Jake Paltrow, 2015). 9/10

Fascinating documentary about Brian De Palma's career which is just as exciting as his movies. The camera stares at him throughout as he discusses with immense detail (and good humour) every film he has made interspersed with memorable moments from his films along with glimpses into his personal life, flashes of which appear as moments or characters in his films. Many interesting anecdotes about the off-camera moments are highlighted which help us to understand the images in his films a lot of which, of course, stem from his obsessive interest in Alfred Hitchcock. Many motifs from his previous films find room once again in most of his subsequent films. He mentions that George Lucas and he were both casting for their movies simultaneously - for "Star Wars" and "Carrie" - and that's how he managed to get both Amy Irving and William Katt for his film when they were both rejected for the parts of Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker. He liked to work with the same actors many of whom became part of his stock company acting for him in more than one film - Robert De Niro, Jennifer Salt, John Lithgow, Nancy Allen, Amy Irving, Keith Gordon, Kirk Douglas, Al Pacino, Melanie Griffith, Sean Penn. His disagreements with Tom Cruise over the screenplay and ending of "Mission Impossible" is discussed along with the failure of "The Bonfire of the vanities" which veered off into a different sphere once the studio insisted on the casting of Tom Hanks as the lead. His constant battles with the censors over violence and blood (Sissy Spacek drenched in red in "Carrie", Piper Laurie impaled Christ-like with knives in the same film, Angie Dickinson and her bloody encounter with a blade in an elevator in "Dressed to Kill", Al Pacino and the infamous chainsaw in "Scarface", Deborah Shelton and an enormous safe-cracking drill in "Body Double") and the treatment of women in his films which created an uproar, his friendships with fellow directors (Coppola, Scorsese, Lucas, Spielberg and Schrader), his dislike of actor Cliff Robertson who behaved unprofessionally on "Obsession" when he realised the film was being stolen by co-star Genevieve Bujold, his working relationship with great technicians like Bernard Herrmann, Pino Donnagio and Ennio Morriconi who scored his films and his use of the steadicam with his trademark long takes of scenes involving one character following another. De Palma is one of the great directors with a very distinct style recognised not only by film geeks but also by the general public who follow his career as a means to re-live the cinema of the great Alfred Hitchcock.

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

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:13 am

Driftwood (Ronan O'Leary, 1997) 4/10

A cross between "Misery", "The Collector" and "Psycho" borrowing choice moments from all three. A man (James Spader) with amnesia and a broken leg is washed up ashore and rescued by a woman (Anne Brochet) who lies to him that they are on an uninhabited island. She has abandonment issues, talks to her dead mother (Anna Massey) and gradually begins to lose her mind when the man tries to get off the island. Silly film with a miscast Brochet.

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

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:12 am

The Square (Ruben Östlund, 2017). 5/10

Disjointed film uses black humour to show the alienation of modern society. The plot darts around all over the place - a curator (Claes Bang) has his phone and wallet stolen and he uses elaborate means to get them back, has a one night stand with an American tv personality (Elisabeth Moss) after which they argue what to do with the used condom, he later alienates a young kid, a video goes viral putting his job on the line and the film's major set piece is set at a swanky dinner attended by the Swedish elite who are in turns embarrassed, fascinated and horrified at the evening's performance act - a man acting like a primate who carries the act too far and viciously attacks a woman causing the men in the room to kill him. Forced social satire that just goes on and on. The film was nominated for an Oscar and inexplicably won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes film festival.

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

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:12 am

Disobedience (Sebastián Lelio, 2018) 8/10

Moving and beautifully nuanced drama about the conflict between the life one wants to live versus a rigid life, bound by religion, that we are born into. The screenplay handles the issue in a delicate but sexually explicit manner involving the lives of three characters who come together and find a balance with surprising maturity. A woman (Rachel Weisz), estranged from her much respected jewish orthodox rabbi father, returns for his funeral much to the consternation of her family and community. Years ago she had escaped from the stifling rigidity of her father after her affair with a childhood friend was discovered. She returns to find her friend (Rachel McAdams) now married to another childhood friend (Alessandro Nivola) who was her father's protege and now expected be the deceased man's religious successor at the synagogue. Old passions are reignited when the rabbi's wife makes a play for her old lover which in turn is reciprocated with deep passion. The film scores points on vividly showing small day-to-day details about the jewish community - whether praying at the gravestone or at the dining table, men recoiling from touching an unmarried woman and other small gestures - all of which have a startling similarity to the Muslim culture and religion which is understandable since both religions ultimately follow an Abrahamic origin. Both Weisz and McAdams are heartbreaking and Nivola, playing a difficult character who has to balance religious rigidity and compassion for his wife who wants a free will to live life on her own terms, is equally superb. Thought provoking film with many layers.

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

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:11 am

Destination Wedding (Victor Levin, 2018) 3/10

Two miserable wedding guests find themselves at a destination wedding. His (Keanu Reeves) brother and her (Winona Ryder) ex-boyfriend is the groom whom they both hate. They also hate their lives, their jobs, everyone around them and themselves. They meet cute (at the airport), quickly hate each other and to their disgust are thrown together eventually developing a mutual interest. Boring talk-fest with the film's apparent novelty being that only the two lead characters have dialogue while every other person around them remains silent. This makes for one hell of a chore to sit through as both Reeves and Ryder are saddled with such unpleasant characters to play who spend all their time together whining. The only redeeming factor is the film's stunning location of San Luis Obispo in California which looks exactly like Tuscany with it's sun-drenched golden fields. Skip this dull film.

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

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:11 am

Jane Fonda in Five Acts (Susan Lacy, 2018) 8/10

Fascinating look at a remarkable life full of conflict of the inner soul. This informative documentary provides an insight into many issues that are common to everyone around - prickly issues that involve relationships, career, health and especially the need for self preservation which many fail to achieve in their quest for perfection and the need to please others. As Fonda says, "Trying to be perfect is a toxic journey …Good enough is good enough". Her story is covered in five acts - the first four deal with the complicated men in her life, her father (Henry Fonda) and her three husbands (Roger Vadim, Tom Hayden, Ted Turner) and the last act is about her own self preservation where she comes full circle (as an actress, feminist, activist) but with the added realization that living a life is not complete until you also live it for yourself as well.

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

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:11 am

Jezebel (William Wyler, 1938) 7/10

This is clearly a second rate Southern potboiler which the studio took on based on a play meant for Talullah Bankhead but played instead on stage by Miriam Hopkins who was later pissed off for not getting to star in the film version. The project was especially adapted for Bette Davis who had won a poll by the public to star on screen in "Gone With the Wind" but was never seriously considered by producer David O'Selznick for the role of Scarlett O'Hara. So in compensation she was cast instead as another spoiled southern belle who's tantrums cost her the love of her life much to the dismay of her sympathetic aunt (Fay Bainter who won an Oscar). The film is mainly remembered today for its famous set-piece where a strong-willed belle (Bette Davis) attends a ball with her beau (Henry Fonda) wearing a bright red gown when white was considered to be an appropriate dress for young maidens. She is further disgraced when her angry lover forces her to dance with him in full view of everyone. To add insult to injury he breaks off their engagement (she gets to slap his face), leaves town and returns a year later with a wife (Margaret Lindsay) in tow. To spite him she goads another admirer (George Brent) to fight a duel with him, a plan that backfires when his younger brother (Richard Cromwell) accepts the duel and in turn shoots dead the admirer. The plot then veers off into melodrama with an outbreak of yellow fever which he catches and she decides to sacrifice herself and accompany him in quarantine to an island. This sudden redemption is unconvincing as Davis goes from being a spitfire to simpering nobility in a flash. Davis won her second Oscar and cemented her leading lady status at the studio but her performance is erratic and overblown. All the "tics" she is remembered for (which later became heady material for drag queens to copy) are on full display - the flashing eyes, her fast speech and the rapid hand movements (minus the usual cigarette here). The film does have many things going in its favour - outstanding production design, Orry Kelly's superb costumes, Max Steiner's score, Ernest Haller's cinematography (bathing the cast in shadows while keeping the ballroom scene fully lit) and of course Wyler's direction who started an affair offset with his leading lady which would last through filming of two more famous projects.

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

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:10 am

Johnny English Strikes Again (David Kerr, 2018) 4/10

Silly return of "Mr Bean" in this third installment of spoofing the Bond movies. When a dastardly villain exposes all the active British agents the Government is forced to recall retired agents. Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson), working now as a school teacher, jumps at the chance especially after the trio of geriatric agents (Charles Dance, Michael Gambon, Edward Fox) also in line for the job are "disposed" off inadvertently by the bumbling agent. It's off to exotic places where he burns down a restaurant, flirts and tussles with a Russian agent (Olga Kurylenko) and gets on the nerves of the exasperated Prime Minister (Emma Thompson in fine form rattling off spiky one-liners). The big budget allows a fairly accurate impersonation of the Bond world although the humour is strictly juvenile. Atkinson, doing his usual schtick, has the jokes coming at breakneck speed most of which fall flat. A film for young kids who will find this nonsense amusing.

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

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:10 am

Alfred the Great (Clive Donner, 1969) 3/10

The screenplay distorts history for dramatic impact. Alfred (David Hemmings) gives up the priesthood to become King of Wessex in 849 AD after the death of his brother. Most of the film depicts his battles with the Danish Viking invaders and the kidnapping of his pregnant Queen (Prunella Ransome) by the Viking leader (Michael York). Alfred initially spurns his Queen on their wedding night due to guilt over turning the Church down. Later he rapes her and when she is kidnapped she more than recipocrates the affections of her captor later giving birth to Alfred's son. Unevenly acted film has rousing battle scenes and good production values. The film's best performance is by Ian McKellan in one of his very early film appearances as the leader of a group of bandits who provide shelter to the King. In actuality Alfred never approached the Church to become a priest nor was his Queen kidnapped by the Vikings. These events were added to make the story more dramatic.

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

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:07 am

First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018) 7/10

Schrader here proves that Muslims aren't the only nutjobs who go beserk with an overdose of religion. There are a number of equally fanatic, confused, tortured and self doubting clerics in the American Church as well who can be like a time bomb just waiting to blow up. A somber look at a self doubting Protestant minister (Ethan Hawke) undergoing a spiritual and psychological breakdown. Already suffering anguish over the death of his son, collapse of his marriage, a brief past affair, alcohol issues and in pain from cancer of the stomach, he gets involved in the life of a pregnant woman (Amanda Seyfried) whose husband commits suicide. The dead man was an environmentalist deeply depressed about living life in a world being abused by mankind. Yet another cause that pricks at the brain of the tortured man who heads a historical church in a small town with few flock to provide his sermons to - the main flock instead congregates at another nearby more popular church. Schrader is clearly chaneling the films of Ingmar Bergman, Andrei Tarkovsky, Carl Theodore Dryer and in particular Robert Bresson's "Diary of a Country Priest" with the minister using a diary here to speak his thoughts. The film's camera - moving slowly but often at a standstill - stares out at the colonial architecture of the church standing under a gray sky providing a glimpse into classic European cinema featuring religion. The film ends on an hysterical but euphoric note which the director intentionally leaves to the imagination of the audience. An emaciated Hawke, dressed in a stark black ankle-length cassock, gives a riveting and extremely moving performance adding to his screen resumé yet another film that shows the risks this actor is willing to take.

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

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:07 am

Blow Out (Brian De Palma, 1981) 9/10

De Palma pays hommage to Antonioni's "Blow-Up" by way of Coppola's "The Conversation" in this paranoid conspiracy thriller which also incorporates elements of Chappaquiddick. A movie sound man (John Travolta), out in the wilds trying to record sounds at night, suddenly hears a car screeching and sees it fall down into a creek. He jumps into the water and rescues a woman (Nancy Allen) from the submerged car while a man inside drowns. Matters get suspicious when it is revealed that the dead man was a Presidential candidate and he discovers through that night's sound recording that a bullet went off just before the car crashed. When nobody believes him he enlists the aid of the woman who he discovers is a hooker who was involved with a sleazy photographer (Dennis Franz) in a blackmail set-up of the dead man. Chasing them is an assassin (John Lithgow) with an expertise in garotting and synchronised stabbing. Flashy thriller that allows the audience to witness the world of movie magic through the use of sound and editing as De Palma brilliantly incorporates both mediums into the suspenseful plot. The film is superbly shot by Vilmos Zsigmond with a wonderful edgy performance by Travolta. One of De Palma's best films complete with a number of his trademark Hitchcock touches one of which is played completely for laughs. Not to be missed.

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

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:06 am

The Black Dahlia (Brian De Palma, 2006) 3/10

Hideously convoluted, overstuffed and sluggish adaptation of James Ellroy's novel about the 1947 brutal murder of a would-be actress/prostitute in Los Angeles where the girl's body was found cut in half, drained of blood and her mouth slit wide into an exaggerated smile. The actual case still remains unsolved but Ellroy, in his book, comes up with a far fetched denouement which De Palma brings to the screen in a deathly dull manner. He stocks up the film with the right "look" - Oscar nominated sepia toned cinematography by the great Vilmos Zsigmond, opulent sets by Dante Ferreti and costumes by Jenny Beavan. Too bad he failed in one crucial element - in the film's casting. The main leads look askew playing these period characters as if kids are playing dress up at a costume party. The film is less about Elizabeth Short (Mia Kirshner), the murder victim who is glimpsed throughout in an audition film, and instead focuses on two antagonistic cops - Josh Hartnet who is meant to be hard boiled but comes off more wooden than a plank of wood and his partner the fiery and anguished Aaron Eckhart whose character is underwritten (or maybe his role was slashed after the studio pared the film down from the original 3-hour director's cut). Both men are in love with a blonde bombshell (a vapid Scarlett Johansson). The film works too hard trying to create a noir-like atmosphere (this is not "Chinatown" or "L.A. Confidential" for that matter) as the screenplay meanders all over the place with countless subplots adding to an already confusing plot. The story enters into camp territory with the introduction of a rich family (suspiciously reeking of the one in Raymond Chandler's "The Big Sleep") - a tycoon (John Kavanagh), his inebriated wife (Fiona Shaw in a performance so over-the-top that she comes off looking grotesque) and their nymphomaniac daughter (a badly miscast Hilary Swank as a femme fatale who looks instead like an ugly drag queen) who is one of the murder suspects. Another campy sequence is set in a lesbian nightclub with slinky dancers gyrating and lip-locking on the floor (Cate Blanchett cameos as one of the dancers) as an elegantly butch K.D. Lang croons "Love For Sale". Surprisingly with the sleaze quotient so high in the plot the film is shockingly prudish when it comes to the sex scenes - we just get to view the before and after along with a few kisses between women in a stag film. The film recovers during one brief operatic sequence which De Palma shoots with great style - a struggle between two men on a balcony which involves a garoting just as a third figure slides up wielding a glinting knife (De Palma's signature take on Hitchcock) that slashes a throat followed by both men taking a slow-motion tumble down to a foyer many floors below with their bodies crashing alongside a fountain as the water turns red with their blood. The climax is a complete mess with an absurd explanation of the murder with the actors behaving as if they are on heat. De Palma falters badly with this film which can be blamed on the silly plot and the badly miscast actors who either emote stiffly or camp it up. Skip this film.


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