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 » Sun Jan 06, 2019 3:11 am

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.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Jan 06, 2019 3:08 am

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.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:34 am

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
“Those Koreans. They’re so suspicious, you know, ever since Hiroshima.” Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) from American Horror Story: Season One

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

Postby Reza » Tue Jan 01, 2019 6:29 pm

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.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Dec 29, 2018 11:01 pm

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
“Those Koreans. They’re so suspicious, you know, ever since Hiroshima.” Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) from American Horror Story: Season One

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

Postby Reza » Mon Dec 24, 2018 1:21 pm

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.

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

Postby flipp525 » Mon Dec 24, 2018 8:59 am

Reza, you’re not using the word “diaspora” correctly in your post about Sharp Objects. Maybe you’re thinking of “millieu” or something.
"The mantle of spinsterhood was definitely in her shoulders. She was twenty five and looked it."

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

Postby Reza » Mon Dec 24, 2018 3:12 am

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
Last edited by Reza on Mon Dec 24, 2018 1:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:39 pm

Dumplin' (2018) Anne Fletcher 4/10
Divines (2016) Houda Benyamina 4/10
Lizzie (2018) Craig William Macneill 7/10
Extinction (2018) Ben Young 1/10
Colette (2018) Wash Westmoreland 5/10
The Bleeding Edge (2018) Kirby Dick 6/10
Psychokinesis (2018) Sang-ho Yeon 1/10
Bird Box (2018) Susanne Bier 3/10

Repeat viewings

The More the Merrier (1943) George Stevens 6/10
The Talk of the Town (1942) George Stevens 6/10
Rio Grande (1950) John Ford 6/10
“Those Koreans. They’re so suspicious, you know, ever since Hiroshima.” Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) from American Horror Story: Season One

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

Postby Reza » Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:48 pm

Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018) 10/10

Cuarón's vivid memory piece is set during the early 1970s in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City and is dedicated to his childhood nanny. This mesmerizing film - shot in widescreen and in stark black and white - is a series of vignettes during a year in the lives of a middle class family as seen through the eyes of their dedicated maid. The household consists of the patriarch who is going through a mid-life crisis, a harried mother, four boistrous kids, an old grandmother and a frisky dog. Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), the indigenous Mexican maid, is beloved by the children and is very much part of the family. Cuaron shoots the film in a languid style using long takes depicting daily moments in their life which are in turns mundane, funny, edgy, tragic and hopeful. This is the director's love letter to his own life as the story is clearly semi-autobiographical, capturing moments of his childhood with trips to the market, to the countryside, to the movies (where the kids watch "Marooned" set in space and which Cuaron would return to with the epic "Gravity"), a new year party, a life defining moment at the beach along with scenes of historical turmoil seen in the background - the Corpus Christi massacre where students protesting on the street turns into a riot as the police resorts to violence and we become a spectator to that along with the characters on screen viewing the scenes of death and chaos through an upstairs store window. The camera becomes our eyes as we go along for the ride into the lives of this family. The film is clearly influenced by past masters - the humanism of De Sica and Rossellini, the social criticism of Fellini and Antonioni while using Ozu's tracking camera style helped by the art directors who created moveable walls in the house to help the camera in its constant movement. Nostalgic and deeply moving film has a magnificent central performance by Yalitza Aparicio, who although not an actor, has great camera presence and vital energy which in turn profoundly captures the family's dynamics. The film also has a strong message of hope - no matter what crisis life brings there is always hope at the end. A great film not to be missed.

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

Postby Reza » Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:15 am

King Lear (Richard Eyre, 2018) 8/10

Shakespeare's tragic and iconic "King Lear" gets a stylish retread with the setting changed to a dystopian England with the king a military dictator. The plot moves towards tragedy at the outset as the volcanic and tyrannical King Lear (Sir Anthony Hopkins) decides to divide his kingdom between his three daughters - the eldest Goneril (Emma Thompson), the middle Regan (Emily Watson) and the youngest and favourite Cordelia (Florence Pugh). The vain ruler demands to know how much they love him. The two elder daughters flatter him but the youngest refuses to fall in line with them and is banished along with the faithful Earl of Kent (Jim Carter) who sides with her. Now at the mercy of his two scheming daughters the old man is reduced to a life of penury and madness. The parallel plot about the Duke of Goucester (Jim Broadbent) runs on similar lines with his power hungry bastard son, Edmund (John MacMillan), framing his brother Edgar (Andrew Scott) for conspiracy and his father for treason. It ends badly for all with the two vicious sisters soon at each other's throats, Regan gouging out Gloucester's eyes with her nails, Lear roaming near a derelict shopping mall in a state of madness, Edgar left in a state of hysteria, the evil Edmund getting his comeuppance and Cordelia heading the french army to unsuccessfully try and save her father. The modern setting with the men in army uniforms using guns and Range Rovers in place of horses is an inspired choice giving the familiar story a fresh outlook. The casting is also dramatic. Apart from the main stars a number of characters are now played by black actors in particular the riveting MacMillan. Edmund is called "half blood" to his face, a slur that takes on a number of meanings refering not only to his illegitimacy but also his inferior social status and colour using racism to bring the plot into the modern world. Hopkins is magnificent as the wretched old king brought down to his knees while Thompson and Watson play pure evil with great relish and elegance. Already the next step of change for this play has an actress enacting the part of Lear with Glenda Jackson bringing her acclaimed London stage performance to Broadway next year. Hopefully we will get to see her performance on film as well in a medium this great actress has been away from for over 25 years.

A Simple Favor (Paul Feig, 2018) 5/10

Slick thriller goes the "Les diaboliques" route only to take a few twists in another direction. A single mother (Anna Kendrick) befriends a rich married, Martini guzzling, upper-class woman (Blake Liveley) when she agrees to a play date for their sons. When the sultry woman disappears her friend all but moves into her house and gets close to her husband (Henry Golding). The plot involves an insurance scam, a dead body and double and triple twists which come fast and furious between the potholes in the plot. Kendrick does her usual annoying perky persona and Lively goes completely over-the-top. Catchy french song score on the soundtrack is the only major plus.

Only When I Laugh (Glenn A. Jordan, 1981) 5/10

Neil Simon no longer seems fresh. His once funny screenplays with their rapid fire one-liners now seem like stale sitcoms although this film falls into the dramedy category. Based on his play "The Gingerbread Lady", which won a Tony for Maureen Stapleton, is revamped to create "juicy" material for his wife Marsha Mason. However, the material is so full of clichés that the cast merely flounder. An alcoholic stage actress (Marsha Mason) returns from a rehab stint to banter with her two best friends - an aging beauty (Joan Hackett) and a gay struggling actor (James Coco) - who are her life support system each time she screws up. When her teenage daughter (Kristy McNicol) decides to move in with her and her ex-boyfriend (David Dukes) asks her to star in a play he has written about their relationship she begins to lose the plot and goes off the wagon causing problems for all. The screenplay is a series of confrontations between the characters as they hysterically shout at each other trying to come to terms with their own personal issues as well as with each other. Simon provides Mason with a lot of big scenes to emote - crying jags, acting drunk, a big moment on the telephone as she tries to reach her doctor, a nasty tussle with another drunk and getting a solid dressing down from her disappointed but loving daughter. Mason, Coco and Hackett were all nominated for Oscars but its McNicol who actually comes up with a great performance as the wise daughter who has more maturity than the three whining superficial characters surrounding her.

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

Postby Reza » Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:36 pm

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey & Rodney Rothman, 2018) 8/10

Call it age but it took me awhile trying to figure out what was going on. This is the first Marvel film that actually feels like you are reading and immersed inside a comic book. What a relief after most of the lackluster live-action Marvel adaptations as this is one of the best films of the year. With "diversity" a hot topic blowing across the United States this film has Hollywood trying hard to show the world how the country really means business. At the end of the day it is a fantasy film after all with Spider-Man refreshingly going the "Motown" route as Miles (Shameik Moore),
a cute black (well, he's half-Latino so that makes him doubly diverse) high school kid gets bitten by a radioactive spider and turns, with fits and starts, into the Superhero. The original Peter Parker aka Spider-Man dies during an encounter with Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) whose machine unleashes from various dimensions a whole slate of Spider-Men - the original, now older, with a paunch, a Spider-Noir (Nicolas Cage who does a voice impersonation of Bogart) in black and white from the 1930s, a Spider-Ham who is a tiny pig, the female Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld) and one who looks like an escapee from Japanese anime. Trying to overcome his self doubt and guilt our young hero, along with his allies, needs to defeat the villain and ensure all the visitors get back safely to their own dimensions. Fast paced exhilarating film, with equal amounts of comedy and tragedy, never lets up as it takes you on a pop culture roller coaster ride. The frenetic animation style is an amalgamation of various different forms which gives the film a fresh and unique look. A must-see.

Front Page Story (Gordon Parry, 1954) 6/10

A workaholic newspaper editor (John Hawkins) faces numerous trials and tribulations during the day. He has to decide which of the many news items to place as a headline, his neglected wife (Elizabeth Allan) decides to divorce him and one of his colleagues (Derek Farr), who has had an affair with his wife, threatens to take over his job. Multifaceted story is well acted by the harrassed Hawkins who also discovers that the plane his wife has taken has crashed. Everything and the kitchen sink.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (David Yates, 2018) 5/10

Long, tedious and very boring sequel is terribly confusing in its attempt to build this new "Harry Potter" prequel franchise. The main plot - Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) joins Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) to bring down evil Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) - introduces so many different characters with their own mini dramas taking place on the sidelines that it gets hard to follow. The story this time moves towards a darker tone with some glorious visuals. And were Dumbledore and Gindelwald lovers once upon a time? If only one could decipher what the hell was going on I may have enjoyed this more. The synopses on google confused me even further.

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

Postby Reza » Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:35 pm

Venom (Ruben Fleischer, 2018) 2/10

A group of alien parasites arrive on earth using the bodies of astronauts as host. An evil scientist (Riz Ahmed) plans on using them for his own nefarious means. Typically over-the-top Marvel nonsense has a tough reporter (Tom Hardy) bantering with the good parasite - "Venom" the parasite speaks in a sonorous voice like James Earl Jones - which enters his body while an evil parasite who is using the body of the scientist has to be defeated. The alien creature / parasite keeps changing shape from an elegant eel-like amoeba with huge gnashing teeth to a giant sized beast resembling a cross between the "Predator" and the "Alien". Michelle Williams plays Hardy's lawyer-girlfriend looking very awkward to be stuck in this crappy film. And the post-credit sequence with Woody Harrelson doing a drag queen impersonation of Hannibal Lecter is not only absurd but sadly signals that there could be a sequel to this messy and extremely boring film.

Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan (2007) 7/10

Epic film that proposes to restore the reputation of Temudgin by painting him as a benevolent hero. The screenplay here captures his childhood and the equally strife ridden early years of his life leading up to the time when he would become the mighty Genghis Khan known and feared by millions. An interesting mix – part love story and part action adventure - as it charts the early life of an enigmatic warrior and merciless conqueror who would unite various nomadic tribes of Central Asia and eventually go on to rule over one-fifth of the Earth’s land mass. The film's world-view feels very raw in its authenticity as the characters move across beautiful vistas. The director shot the film in Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan with stunningly shot action scenes filmed on the vast steppes. The first Mongolian film to be nominated for an Oscar in the foreign film category.

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (Andy Serkis, 2018) 7/10

An intriguing and serious adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book" is a far cry from the animated musical version which here is a mixture of live action and animation. Mowgli (Rohan Chand) is played by a human actor and surrounded by CG motion-capture animals voiced by famous Hollywood stars. The familiar story - a baby boy is left all alone in the jungle after the evil tiger, Shere Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch), kills his parents and he is brought up by a pack of wolves led by their leader, Akela (Peter Mullan), and his wife Nisha (Naomie Harris), who become his surrogate parents. Also providing protection, training and spiritual guidance respectively are Bagheera (Christian Bale) the black panther, Baloo the bear (Andy Serkis) and Kaa the hissing and sinister giant python who in this version of the story has had a sex change to accommodate the sexy intonations of Cate Blanchett. The tone of the story is decidedly persistent in showing the cruelty and horror of the jungle making it a realistic ride, closer to Kipling's roots, which is a far cry from previous Disney versions - Warner Bros. took on this ambitious project which made its debut on Netflix. The scenes set in the man-village where Mowgli is given shelter by a hunter (Matthew Rhys) and his loving wife (Frieda Pinto) take on yet new horrors which the boy discovers. The special effects are mostly spectacular with a few clumsily drawn wolves but this is a welcome and different take to the familiar story helped in great part by the painstaking genius of Andy Serkis who created all the animals giving them a distinct look resembling all the famous stars who voiced them. The young actor playing Mowgli gives an incredible physical performance as he gets mauled, beaten, battered and bruised and emerges as the true heart of this film.

The Passage (J. Lee Thompson, 1979) 6/10

Thompson returns to the war genre like his classic "The Guns of Navarone" although with much diminished results. Old fashioned film has an attractive cast of stars going through the motions in a plot with clichés galore. The french resistance hires a Basque shepherd (Anthony Quinn playing yet another peasant) to help an American scientist (James Mason) escape the germans. There are two big problems which the Basque discovers to his horror. The man has a family in tow - an ailing wife (Patricia Neal), a son and a daughter (Kay Lenz) - all of whom he has to guide over the snow-capped Pyrenees into Spain. Snapping at their heels is a sadistic SS officer (Malcolm McDowell) who plays cat and mouse with them in between periodic explosions, hair breath escapes and action set pieces that even involve an avalanche. The film comes hilariously to life each time McDowell appears who plays his character completely over-the-top, hissing and preening in a campy manner, taking great delight in torturing two victims both played by former Bond villains. One (Michael Lonsdale) he straps to a table, dons an apron and a chef's hat and chops up cilantro while cooking goulash and whispering "chop chop" cuts off his fingers. The other, a gypsy (Christopher Lee), who has sheltered the family, gets doused with fuel and burnt alive. The film's funniest moment comes during a rape scene when he strips to reveal a jockstrap with a large swastika across his crotch. All the violence is in extremely bad taste and the film got scathing reviews and flopped but there remains a delicious element of guilty pleasure watching in particular McDowell who creates yet another of his numerous psychotic parts which started with "A Clockwork Orange" and would go on to include this, "Caligula" and "Cat People" among many more. Great fun.

Kedarnath (Abhishek Kapoor, 2018) 7/10

This done-to-death love story harks back to Bollywood films of the 1960s and 1970s when the mountains and valleys of Kashmir as a location played an equally integral part of the story helping to enhance the romance or tragedy on screen. The stunning location used in this film - the mountains in the State of Uttarakhand surrounding the Hindu temple of Kedarnath - is simply jaw dropping in its beauty and majesty. The screenplay weaves into the plot the devastating floods of 2013 which destroyed houses, hotels and shops surrounding the temple which was inundated by water and mud but miraculously remained undamaged due to a huge boulder which lodged itself against a wall deflecting most of the watery onslaught. The main plot revolves around the inter-faith romance between a wealthy Hindu girl (Sara Ali Khan), daughter of a Pandit, and a humble Muslim boy (Sushant Singh Rajput) who is a "pithoo" (porter) who transports pilgrims on his back up the 11 mile trek to the temple of Kedernath. Predictably the romance between the two hits an immediate snag due to their religious and class differences with her parents aghast and fiancé livid. His widowed mother is also perturbed as tension rises between the Hindu-Muslim communities which all comes to a head as the massive flood hits causing death and destruction. The film's charm rests on the shoulders of the two young leads. The luminous Sara Ali Khan, in her film debut, gives a remarkably assured performance as the fiercely confident and rebellious girl. Sushant Singh Rajput underplays throughout as the sensitive young man who at first is amused by the brash girl but gradually gets swept off his feet with her forceful nature. The film soars during all their romantic scenes but falters through the predictably melodramatic sequences involving the over heated reactions of their families and friends. Old fashioned film gets marks for the sweet romance, the spectacular performance by Sara Ali Khan, the stunning cinematography and the dramatic denouement when the flood hits.

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

Postby Reza » Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:32 pm

Pinky Memsaab: A Dubai Story (Shazia Ali Khan, 2018) 9/10

Shazia Ali Khan's spectacularly assured directorial debut comes in the wake of other equally cutting edge independent films in Pakistan like "Mor", "Manto" and "Cake", all of which have dared to experiment far away from commercial fare exercising instead a much needed creative voice in the revival of this country's cinema. The perceptive screenplay, co-written by the director and Babar Ali, is a series of vignettes about life viewed through the eyes of a few characters. It is also a scathing indictment of Dubai as a city that holds much promise in its glow yet deep down is extremely hollow. From posh Jumeirah to the seedy dance bars of Deira it is a city that sucks you into its rat race which can have amazing highs but can also suddenly fling you down with life becoming a lonely struggle for survival. The plot revolves around a group of expatriates from the subcontinent from different social strata who work, reside and socialize together. Pinky (Hajira Yamin), a poor divorced woman from the village of Shah Allah Ditta in Pakistan, goes to work as a maid for an affluent Pakistani couple in Dubai. Hasan (Adnan Jaffar) is an investment banker who spends long working hours followed by socializing at night in order to make business contacts. His wife, Mehr (Kiran Malik), simmering with repressed anger at a failed career in writing, feels neglected by her husband, is estranged from her father back home and spends most of her time socializing with catty friends who are career and status conscious. The couple have one son who is neglected by both parents. Into their lives comes Pinky, eager to learn and please in order to earn money to send to her poor family back home. She soon fits into the household as a cook, friend to Santosh (Sunny Hinduja), the driver from Bihar, nanny to the child and as a companion for Mehr who, in her loneliness, responds by teaching Pinky how to read and speak in english and transforms her into a "memsaab" through her attire. During a party at their house a misunderstanding results in the couple's separation with Hasan taking custody of their son and Mehr moving back to Islamabad and reconnecting with her father (Khalid Ahmad) and stepmother (Shamim Hilaly). Pinky moves out of the house and finds another job. Life moves on changing them all forever. The film's last iconic image is of the skyline of nightime Dubai with its deceptive golden lights which not only signify that "all that glitters is not gold", a reflection of what has happened to the characters in the story, but it also signals the birth of a new beginning with ever-changing life taking on new directions for all. This sensitive and extremely moving film is superbly acted and beautifully shot with great attention to detail in its production design and in its contemporary costumes and accessories designed and chosen by Maryam Ali Khan, who helps to visually balance the scenes in the film through texture and colour using different motifs for each character. Abbas Ali Khan provides an excellent background score. For something different at the cinema which allows you to think about life this is just the film to watch and also feel proud as a Pakistani that we have talent like Shazia Ali Khan to help our cinema reach new heights.

Robin Hood (Otto Bathurst, 2018) 5/10

What do you get when you mix together the Christopher Nolan Batman films with "John Wick", "Ben-Hur", "Black Hawk Down" and "Saving Private Ryan"? What you don't get is the classic tale of Robin Hood made famous by Errol Flynn. Instead you get a revisionist version of the story complete with modern sensibility and dialogue, hip custom-made leather jackets amidst period costumes and CGI galore all aimed squarely at the eyes and hearts of today's youth who make the bulk of the cinema going public. We have here a Maid Marian (Eve Hewson) who is dating Will Scarlett (Jamie Dornan) - granted she was told that Robin (Taron Egerton) had died while fighting during the Crusade. The scenes set during the fight to spread Christianity in the East comes off best with a number of Indy Jones-like action sequences involving the bow and arrow. You would be forgiven if you thought you were in the midst of a battle in Iraq as shown constantly in the recent past on CNN although in place of tanks and helicopters you have horses and Arab snipers using gadgets to fire arrows instead of bullets. Back in "ye old merrie" England it's strictly a return to basics with Robin trying to bring down the evil Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn) and a slimy Cardinal (F. Murray Abraham) as he plans to steal gold from their coffers and give back to the poor who have been heavily taxed to pay for the crusades. Helping Robin along the way is a Saracen he picked up in the East - where good white man had saved enemy black man - and is promptly dubbed Little John (Jamie Foxx). Loud noisy film goes through the motions with nary a forest in sight let alone Sherwood. The only thing going for this film is the youthful exuberance of Taron Egerton in sharp contrast to the glum expression on the faces of filmdom's last two "hoods" played by Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe.

Colette (Wash Westmoreland, 2018) 6/10

Colette (Keira Knightley), a girl from the country, falls for the charms of the much older "Willy" (Dominic West), a writer and publisher. Encouraged to write she produces the scandalous "Claudine", a thinly veiled memoir, for which her husband takes credit and the couple become the toast of Paris. This conventional screen biography reveals the writer's frustrations - denied the authorship to a successful series of books that bring adulation to her libertine husband - and paints an enticing portrait of a sexually liberated marriage involving shared lovers with her husband who also encourages her to carry on affairs with other women. West is superb as the selfish, preening and demanding husband - at one point he locks her in a room and demands that she write - while Knightley is a vision in period clothing, whether dressed in frills or manly attire which she carries off with erotic elan. The film's highlight is the exquisite look of its production design and the sexually liberated lifestyle of Colette which makes her unique during an era when women lived suppressed lives. Knightley shines during the second half when she breaks free from her husband's hold and crosses sexual boundaries via affairs with women, a trans man and appearing on stage in a modern dance interpretation. The film covers only a portion of this fascinating woman's life concentrating only on the dramatic business arrangement of her first marriage. She would go on to a second marriage, have a child and continue her writing career becoming one of the most celebrated female authors in the history of french literature but this time under her own name when among many books and short stories she wrote "Gigi" which became a success not only on page but on stage as well for which the writer herself chose a young Audrey Hepburn to play the part. This is a winning but slight look at a woman who lived a full life.

A Star is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018) 6/10

My second go-round brought about an appreciation of Lady Gaga's talent as an actor. She nails the part of a rising singer discovered by a famous rock star (Bradley Cooper) whose career plummets due to a drug and alcohol problem with jealousy and resentment causing a rift in the couple's relationship. This is the fourth version of the story - the first two were set in the world of cinema while this, like its predecessor, is about rock stars. Also surprised to see that Jon Peters produced this film as he did the previous version starring his former girlfriend Barbra Streisand. Both films have in common a leading lady already an established superstar in the world of music. Another common theme running through both films is the leading lady's nose where both singers are repeatedly photographed in profile which sort of becomes a running gag. Well acted film has Cooper in great form both in front and behind the camera. The film's best songs are "The Shallow", sung as a duet by the two stars, and "I'll Never Love Again" which Lady Gaga sings during the emotional finale. I still feel there was no need for yet another remake but understand that there is always a new audience which Hollywood likes to tap into for a buck.

Apple Tree Yard (Jessica Hobbs, 2017) 7/10

A middleaged woman (Emily Watson) - a scientist, wife and a mother of two grown up kids - on the spur of a reckless moment ends up in a sexual tryst with a charismatic but mysterious stranger, Mr X (Ben Chaplin), in a broom closet in the House of Commons. It is followed later by another passionate sexual encounter with him in the loo of a restaurant. And it continues later not only in bed but in an alley at Apple Tree Yard in St. James' Place. This gripping beginning soon turns into a nightmare for both when a harrowing rape leads to murder and they both find themselves in jail on trial for their lives. Riveting film, based on the book by Louise Doughty, has a number of potholes in the plot but is held together in a vice-like grip by Watson giving a performance of great depth as she goes through various conflicting emotions. The entire story is told through her eyes with the other characters - lover, the loyal husband (superbly played by Mike Bonnar), pregnant daughter, son and a close female friend - merely reacting to her predicament.

The Ritual (David Bruckner, 2017) 5/10

Lizzie (Craig William Macneill, 2018) 5/10

Operation Finale (Chris Weitz, 2018) 4/10

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Dec 15, 2018 10:59 pm

The Other Side of the Wind (2018) Orson Welles 5/10
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) Marielle Heller 6/10
They'll Love Me When I'm Dead (2018) Morgan Neville 6/10
The Land of Steady Habits (2018) Nicole Holofcener 3/10
Hold the Dark (2018) Jeremy Saulnier 1/10
Tallulah (2016) Sian Heder 4/10
Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey & Rodney Rothman 4/10
Black '47 (2018) Lance Daly 7/10
I Don't Feel at Home Anymore (2017) Macon Blair 5/10
Shut-ins: Britain's Fattest People (2015) Storm Theunissen 5/10
We the Animals (2018) Jeremiah Zagar 7/10
Mute (2018) Duncan Jones 2/10

Repeat viewings

Badlands (1973) Terrence Malick 10/10
The Seventh Victim (1943) Mark Robson 8/10
Detective Story (1951) William Wyler 6/10
“Those Koreans. They’re so suspicious, you know, ever since Hiroshima.” Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) from American Horror Story: Season One


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