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 » Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:43 am

The Happy Prince (Rupert Everett, 2018). 8/10

The last destitute years of Oscar Wilde's life are presented with heartbreaking grimness along with flashes of his former life when he ruled London via the stage with his witty plays. His infatuation and affair with Alfred "Bosie" Douglas (Colin Morgan) followed by being accused of sodomy by his lover's angry father, the Marquise of Queensberry, results in a public trial and imprisonment. Class transgression was his downfall. Although it was still a crime to frolic with low class rent boys who could be bought off and paid but it was altogether an unforgiving offence if the upper classes were involved. After two years of hard labour he is released and exiled to France. He loses his shattered wife (Emily Watson), his sons and his country. The screenplay goes back and forth through different phases of his life as the decrepit old man hallucinates about his past life while on his deathbed in a seedy Paris hovel which passes for his room - his humiliation with a prison sentence and hard labour, his exile in France, support by two close friends (Colin Firth & Edwin Thomas), being spat upon and humiliated by British expats, the return of the duplicitous "Bosie" in his life followed by his wife's termination of his tiny allowance and final rejection of him after he attempts a reconciliation. The end is a lonely and painful death. Everett was born to play the part having honed his skills via starring in two film adaptations of the writer's plays ("An Ideal Husband" & "The Importance of Being Earnest") followed later by playing Wilde on stage in David Hare's "The Judas Cage". With his face covered in prosthetics and his body bloated up the actor brings to life one of the great literary giants showing him in the depths of despair but also manages to show flashes of the witty and charming man he once was. Superb film, photographed in burnished hues with a stately score by Gabriel Yared, is a fitting tribute to a genius by an actor-director who also manages to touch on points that strike an important chord in 2018.

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

Postby Reza » Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:43 am

Nowhere to Go (Seth Holt & Basil Dearden, 1958) 9/10

Bleak but stylish film noir from Ealing Studios is more in line with similar films from France (early Jules Dassin and the films of Jean-Pierre Melville come to mind) than with its American counterparts. The convoluted plot, co-written by Holt and film critic Kenneth Tynan (based on a novel by Donald MacKenzie), begins with a superbly shot prison break-out in silence using only natural sounds on the soundtrack. The escapee, a suave con-man (George Nader), recalls his past while in a bathtub after his escape. He charms an old widow (silent screen star Bessie Love) and steals her husband's coin collection, sells it and hides the money in a bank safe. Thinking he will get a minor prison term he gives himself up but the judge sentences him to a 10 year term thus forcing him to escape. Hiding out at an apartment arranged by his accomplice (Bernard Lee before he played "M" in the Bond films), he meets and befriends a lonely woman (Maggie Smith in her film debut). Things go from bad to worse when his accomplice double crosses him and later ends up dead with the police convinced he is the murderer. Refused help by the underworld he turns to the girl for help who hides him at her family home in Wales. Paranoia takes over when he thinks the girl has betrayed him leading to the film's climax on the icy heath. Shot mostly on location - damp London streets, dark alleys, derelict train stations, snow covered countryside, smoky clubs. The brilliant camerawork of Paul Beeson, using low angles and shadows, creates a sense of claustrophobic entrapment which the protagonist feels throughout. The memorable jazz score by Dizzy Reece adds to the atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion. Superbly acted by Nader, Smith and Lee, this forgotten masterpiece of British cinema easily holds its own with the best noirs out there. A must-see.

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

Postby Reza » Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:42 am

The Insult (Ziad Doueiri, 2017) 8/10

Powerful if heavy handed film, inspired by the Lebanese Civil War, speaks a universal truth about humans who, in the absence of a sense of closure, are unable to control their political hatred and prejudice which continues to grow and fester in their souls. The story, set in Beirut, could apply to any neighborhood of the globe dealing with prejudice and hatred. A minor altercation between two men - a Christian and a Palestinian refugee - escalates gradually from a single slur (the "insult") to a physical assault to more heated words involving racial prejudice which result in two heated court sessions. The matter then moves from physical skirmishes between people attending the trial to outright riots in the streets of Beirut. The high profile trial becomes less about the insult and bodily injury and more about a nation in the grip of a deep rooted morass gestating within like a festering wound which erupts time and again with violence. The film's pat ending may be too simplistic which implores to move on and find a way to make mutually respectable peace and not allow wounds to fester but it still manages to provide good drama and an important message nonetheless. The film also shows the positive and modern emergence of empowered womanhood in the mainly patriarchal Middle East. The film was nominated for an Oscar, the first from Lebanon.

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

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:17 am

Blood Money (Rowland Brown, 1933) 8/10

Fast moving Pre-Code that was deemed a lost film until found 40 years later. Highly racy in content the screenplay thumbs a nose at all propriety and celebrates crime, under-age sexual assault, nymphomania, kleptomania and masochism. Imagine the uproar a film like this would cause today. A slick bail bondsman (George Bancroft) works for a mob boss (Chick Chandler) whose sister (Judith Anderson) is his mistress and owner of a sleazy nightclub with a butch attendant in a top hat. He falls for a society dame (Frances Dee) who blatantly tells him, "What I need is someone to give me a good thrashing. I’d follow him around like a dog on a leash", and at the end when she finds that he has returned to his mistress she eagerly goes to meet a man who has sexually assaulted another woman. The audacity of the screenplay is hilarious with Dee cast against type as the masochistic nymphomaniac who is also a kleptomaniac on the side. The equally superb Anderson makes her film debut and slinks across the screen passing cynical comments alluringly dressed in a series of very revealing gowns - she would disappear from the screen immediately after this one re-emerging 7-years later as Mrs Danvers in Hitchcock's "Rebecca" which immediately jump started her career as a much in demand character star. This film is not to be missed despite a ho-hum main plot.

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

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:17 am

Cargo (Ben Howling & Yolanda Ramke, 2018) 6/10

In post-apocalyptic Australia a man (Martin Freeman) struggles to keep alive after he has been bitten by his zombie wife. With only 48 hours left before he also becomes one he needs to find a safe haven for his infant daughter. Helping him along the way is a young independent Aboriginal girl who is trying to save her father. Both find themselves allies with a common goal. The film is a celebration of the vast Australian outback along with the important theme of the strong bond between parent and child and the sacrifices one makes for a loved one. Freeman gives a moving performance as the kind loving man who has to make tough decisions all of which go against his gentle nature.

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

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:17 am

1408 (Mikael Håfström, 2007) 6/10

John Cusack is good as a cynical writer bent on debunking paranormal activity in this adaptation of a Stephen King short story. As with most such films the set-up proves far more interesting than the visual effects which take over most of the story as the character is assaulted body and soul. A writer checks into room 1408 of the Dolphin Hotel, a room that has seen various suicides and gruesome deaths in the past. The hotel manager (Samuel L. Jackson in a kick-ass cameo) discourages the writer but gives him the key. Gradually things start to go bump in the night as the room and its ghosts try to kill the new occupant. Cusack is alone on screen through most of the film and does an admirable job as the hapless man finding himself in over his head with the terrifying assaults to his senses. Are these things actually happening to him or is it all in his mind and he is slowly going mad? He does have a sad family history behind him as his daughter died and his marriage collapsed. King basically rehashes "The Shining" - old wine in a new bottle - with paranoia and guilt thrown into the mix. Ok as a horror film but nothing really new here.

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

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:16 am

Devices and Desires (John Davies, 1991) 4/10

Dull P.D. James mystery with Commander Adam Dalgliesh (Roy Marsden) visiting Norfolk where he gets embroiled in a series of murders as various women are found strangled by a serial killer. The screenplay goes off in a number of directions - the dangers and benefits of a nuclear power plant (which is in the vicinity) and the loss of a mother on her family. Meanwhile more and more murders occur along with a suicide and a drowning. When the serial killer is found dead by suicide he leaves a note insisting he did not kill one of the women. This puts suspicion on someone amongst the townfolk, all of whom are interacting with each other - having affairs, lying to the police to create an alibi and holding onto long hidden secrets involving child molestation and murder in the past. Lifeless pacing (the film is in 6 parts) has Dalgliesh merely an observer providing occasional views on the case to the police. Susannah York, Gemma Jones, James Faulkner guest star as the suspects in town.

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

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:16 am

Se7en (David Fincher, 1995). 9/10

Riveting thriller that takes a perverse delight in its grisly images. A serial killer, using the seven deadly sins (pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth) of the Biblical faith, gruesomely murders his victims baffling the police. The detectives assigned to the case are a well read extremely articulate veteran (Morgan Freeman) about to retire and a brash young rookie (Brad Pitt) who has just moved to New York with his beautiful but unhappy wife (a stunningly beautiful Gwyneth Paltrow who provides the film's only light during her brief appearance). The murder victims are shown in graphic detail adding to the film's overall bleak atmosphere which Fincher brilliantly creates using the stunning imagery of Darius Khondji's camerawork - all in muted palettes of beige and browns - constant rain falling which adds to the simmering dread, foreboding production design of the buildings and rooms where the bodies are found and Howard Shore's pulsating score (using Bach and songs by David Bowie and Nine Inch Nails) which add a sense of urgency. Both Freeman and Pitt give memorable performances. John Doe the serial killer, making a sudden appearance towards the end of the film, is played by a once-great actor and star (winner of two Oscars) who has now been made to stand "in the corner" by Hollywood and labelled a "very naughty and despicable boy". The actor is absolutely brilliant giving a performance of great wit and evil. His monologue at the end proves very ironic knowing now the reason for his recent disgrace. Superb film has an extremely disturbing twist ending which fits completely into the scheme of the plot and gives the film it's true gravitas.

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

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

Twenty Feet From Stardom (Morgan Neville, 2013). 7/10

Oscar winning documentary celebrates the unsung heroines on stage - the coloured backup singers seen harmonising behind famous rock, pop and soul superstars like Mick Jagger, Donna Summer, Ray Charles, David Bowie, Tom Jones, Bette Midler and countless others. Fascinating interviews reflect their joys, sorrows and hard work creating impressions very integral to the main act right in front of them. With their powerful voices, dance moves, costumes and often stunning coiffures these integral ladies in the back managed to enhance the performance of the lead singers without whom the act would not have had the right impact. Very few managed to attain stardom by going solo while some (Darlene Love) had to face the indignity of seeing their songs given by producers to other singers who lip synced them on to success. What is lovely to see here is the ladies reminisce about the past with good humour, with happy memories of time spent in the spotlight even if it was twenty feet behind the spot where they deserved to be.

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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.

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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.

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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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