Recently Seen

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Macrology
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Tue Mar 10, 2020 7:06 pm

Wild Dog Dingo

A Soviet film from 1962 with a rather misleading title. I wonder if anyone here has seen it - I'd never heard about it before. I happened to catch it at a local screening, a couple who shows pretty esoteric films on a semi-regular basis in their backyard. There's a scarcity of information about it online, but it really deserves more attention.

It's a coming of age film made at the height of Khrushchev's Thaw, so it has virtually none of the propaganda flavor one expects in Soviet films. The film is admittedly uneven, with several scenes that feel pretty stilted, and it is very resolutely Russian (including recitations of Lermontov and scenes from Chekhov - made more disorienting by the fact that whoever did the subtitles on the copy we watched refused to translate quotations). But it's also one of the most earnest and fragile films I've seen on the subject of early adolescence, with a multitude of moments that ring so achingly, awkwardly true, and it has that peculiarly Slavic gift for evoking the poetics of quotidian life. Most movingly, it captures the female protagonist's delicate, conflicted relationships with the men in her life, namely her estranged father, his adopted foster son (also her first crush), and her childhood friend, a Mongolian boy who begins falling for her as she falls for the other boy.

In fact, even the parts of the film that felt stiff and forced came across as touching, as if they were part of a deliberate design. The film itself is like the experience of adolescence, with its growing pains, its mix of awkwardness, fading childhood purity, and emotional turmoil.

I don't usually post screen grabs or video clips when I talk about films, but this film is so underseen and so worthy, I feel like it's necessary to give some idea of what it's about, so I scrounged a few glimpses from a Google search. In spoilers below.
Image

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And some blessed soul uploaded one of my favorite scenes, which conveys the quiet poetry of the film:
Ma`crol´o`gy
n. 1. Long and tedious talk without much substance; superfluity of words.
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Patrick McGroin
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Thu Mar 12, 2020 7:33 pm

Ride the Pink Horse - 9/10 - If you've never heard of this, don't let the title faze you. This is a 1947 film noir directed by and starring Robert Montgomery . More importantly it's adapted from a Dorothy Hughes novel and co-written by Ben Hecht and Charles Lederer with an unaccredited assist by producer Joan Harrison, who had a unique affinity for these kinds of dark thrillers. Montgomery plays Gagin, an ex WWII GI who shows up in the small New Mexico border town of San Pablo. He's there with revenge in mind but also to blackmail a rich gangster named Frank Hugo. He's in possession of a check that incriminates Hugo in illicit wartime activities. He meets numerous players including FBI agent Bill Retz, who's also there looking for answers after the death of Gagin's wartime friend Shorty. There are also locals involved including Pancho (Thomas Gomez), who runs a ramshackle carousel and befriends Gagin after a night of heavy drinking. And Pila (Wanda Hendrix) a young girl who somehow senses that Gagin is in imminent danger of dying and sets out to look after him.

This is an especially solid example of a noirish thriller with great characters and impressive dialogue and Montgomery sets up numerous scenes with a discerning eye.The dangers and potential costs to the dour hero are casually laid out with no fanfare or melodrama. I really ended up liking this and highly recommend it.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Torgo » Thu Mar 12, 2020 7:52 pm

The Bone Collector is a fine addition to the '90s dark police thriller genre that Seven practically invented. It does have a clever, quasi-virtual reality concept, but it's not the most original member of its genre. If you've seen at least one movie like it, you'll probably determine the killer's identity pretty quickly. Even so, the atmospheric direction and musical score, not to mention some genuine scares, kept me engaged despite its predictability. Not to mention, even though he is confined to a bed for most of the runtime, Denzel gives one of his best and most memorable performances, and in addition to Angelina, the cast is rounded out by veteran character actors who are always a pleasure to watch like Luis Guzman and Michael Rooker. Finally, if you're as much of a geek as I am, there's the added joy of seeing how much technology has advanced since 1999.
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ThatDarnMKS
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Thu Mar 12, 2020 8:28 pm

Ride the Pink Horse is dope as hell. Watched it last year for Noirvember. I loved the use of the Mexican setting and that almost all of the criminal element was ported over from the States, rather than villifying or stereotyping the population. Plus, I'm always a fan of films that relish in the vulnerability of their protagonist.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Thu Mar 12, 2020 10:02 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 8:28 pm
Ride the Pink Horse is dope as hell. Watched it last year for Noirvember. I loved the use of the Mexican setting and that almost all of the criminal element was ported over from the States, rather than villifying or stereotyping the population. Plus, I'm always a fan of films that relish in the vulnerability of their protagonist.
Those are both solid reasons to watch this. The way they used the locale and the locals and especially Montgomery's character being revealed as clearly over his head despite his tough guy, no nonsense persona. Without giving too much away, his encounter (and especially the aftermath) on the darkened patio of the Tip Top Cafe surprised me and really added a welcome layer to Gagin's narrative. I hope anyone and everyone who loves noir gets a chance to check this particular one out.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Thu Mar 12, 2020 10:21 pm

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 10:02 pm
Those are both solid reasons to watch this. The way they used the locale and the locals and especially Montgomery's character being revealed as clearly over his head despite his tough guy, no nonsense persona. Without giving too much away, his encounter (and especially the aftermath) on the darkened patio of the Tip Top Cafe surprised me and really added a welcome layer to Gagin's narrative. I hope anyone and everyone who loves noir gets a chance to check this particular one out.
That sequence on the patio is exactly what I was thinking of. It's rare for a film to so thoroughly exploit it's protagonist's weakness and hubris so long before the climax/ending. Usually such a revelation is saved for the ending irony but here it is, in pure brutal honesty.

Among my favorite first noir watches last year.
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Patrick McGroin
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Fri Mar 13, 2020 9:59 pm

Ten Little Indians - 7/10 - 1965 B&W adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel. I haven't seen all that many other versions but this one was decent enough. Ten people are called to a remote mountaintop mansion where the host U.N. Owen (Unknown) never shows but provides a recording explaining that all 10 are guilty of past crimes and are there to be judged and punished. One by one they start dying off according to a children's rhyme posted in each of their rooms. This plot has been heavily borrowed by countless movies over the years so it would be next to impossible to not have some inkling of how this plays out. I was able to figure out the double twist ending fairly easily. It was still enjoyable enough due to the cinematography and the director being George Pollock, who directed all four of the Christie Miss Marple mysteries starring Margaret Rutherford.
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Takoma1
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Mar 13, 2020 10:05 pm

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 9:59 pm
Ten Little Indians - 7/10 - 1965 B&W adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel. I haven't seen all that many other versions but this one was decent enough. Ten people are called to a remote mountaintop mansion where the host U.N. Owen (Unknown) never shows but provides a recording explaining that all 10 are guilty of past crimes and are there to be judged and punished. One by one they start dying off according to a children's rhyme posted in each of their rooms. This plot has been heavily borrowed by countless movies over the years so it would be next to impossible to not have some inkling of how this plays out. I was able to figure out the double twist ending fairly easily. It was still enjoyable enough due to the cinematography and the director being George Pollock, who directed all four of the Christie Miss Marple mysteries starring Margaret Rutherford.
I really like both the 1945 version-- And Then There Were None--(which takes more liberties with the novel but it pretty funny and fun) and the more recent 2015 miniseries (also called And Then There Were None) which is more faithful to the original story.

I'd highly recommend both.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Thief » Sat Mar 14, 2020 2:02 pm

Torgo wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 7:52 pm
The Bone Collector is a fine addition to the '90s dark police thriller genre that Seven practically invented. It does have a clever, quasi-virtual reality concept, but it's not the most original member of its genre. If you've seen at least one movie like it, you'll probably determine the killer's identity pretty quickly. Even so, the atmospheric direction and musical score, not to mention some genuine scares, kept me engaged despite its predictability. Not to mention, even though he is confined to a bed for most of the runtime, Denzel gives one of his best and most memorable performances, and in addition to Angelina, the cast is rounded out by veteran character actors who are always a pleasure to watch like Luis Guzman and Michael Rooker. Finally, if you're as much of a geek as I am, there's the added joy of seeing how much technology has advanced since 1999.
I remember seeing this back in the day and being somewhat annoyed by what I perceived to be a "lack of effort" to distance from similar thrillers. Sure, the fact that Denzel is confined to a bed does bring some amount of originality, but I didn't think much else was surprising. The reveal of the killer was also supremely underwhelming for me. Then again, I haven't seen it since 1999, so there's that.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Sat Mar 14, 2020 6:07 pm

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 9:59 pm
Ten Little Indians - 7/10 - 1965 B&W adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel. I haven't seen all that many other versions but this one was decent enough. Ten people are called to a remote mountaintop mansion where the host U.N. Owen (Unknown) never shows but provides a recording explaining that all 10 are guilty of past crimes and are there to be judged and punished. One by one they start dying off according to a children's rhyme posted in each of their rooms. This plot has been heavily borrowed by countless movies over the years so it would be next to impossible to not have some inkling of how this plays out. I was able to figure out the double twist ending fairly easily. It was still enjoyable enough due to the cinematography and the director being George Pollock, who directed all four of the Christie Miss Marple mysteries starring Margaret Rutherford.
Big Agatha Christie fan here, actually reading The Mirror Crack'd From Side To Side right now, I been meaning to watch both the '45 and '65 versions for a while.
The book is excellent.

(Sad aside, I saw The Mirror Crack'd with Angela Lansbury, Elizabeth Taylor, and Tony Curtis when I was about 10 years old, and the ONLY thing I remember about it... is who the fucking killer is! Makes it a little hard to enjoy the book as, the way Christie's Ms. Marple novels are structured, it's always obvious once you know who the killer is. So reading the book is like, "Oh yeah, so that will fit in like that, and oh yeah, that's obviously the killer's motivation", etc. Takes a lot of the air out.)
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Sat Mar 14, 2020 8:04 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 10:05 pm
I really like both the 1945 version-- And Then There Were None--(which takes more liberties with the novel but it pretty funny and fun) and the more recent 2015 miniseries (also called And Then There Were None) which is more faithful to the original story.

I'd highly recommend both.
That '45 version sounds interesting. I'll have to see if I can find it. I tried watching a '65 version on Amazon Prime with Nina Foch and Barry Jones but the quality was just so dismal that I just quit after a few minutes. And the 2015 version sounds ideal to me but you have to try an Acorn TV trial and I'd have to make sure I had the time to watch it.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Mar 14, 2020 8:32 pm

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 8:04 pm
That '45 version sounds interesting. I'll have to see if I can find it. I tried watching a '65 version on Amazon Prime with Nina Foch and Barry Jones but the quality was just so dismal that I just quit after a few minutes. And the 2015 version sounds ideal to me but you have to try an Acorn TV trial and I'd have to make sure I had the time to watch it.
I watch the '45 version quite frequently. It's a nice mix of thriller and silliness. "You can shove that key . . . under the door, sir."

The 2015 version is less "fun," but still a really solid adaptation. When I wrote my original reply to you I checked to see if either was streaming for free and was disappointed to see that neither is. I did rent the 2015 version from Amazon and I felt it was worth the $4.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Sat Mar 14, 2020 9:31 pm

Wooley wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 6:07 pm
(Sad aside, I saw The Mirror Crack'd with Angela Lansbury, Elizabeth Taylor, and Tony Curtis when I was about 10 years old, and the ONLY thing I remember about it... is who the fucking killer is! Makes it a little hard to enjoy the book as, the way Christie's Ms. Marple novels are structured, it's always obvious once you know who the killer is. So reading the book is like, "Oh yeah, so that will fit in like that, and oh yeah, that's obviously the killer's motivation", etc. Takes a lot of the air out.)
I think the reason I sussed out the twist ending with TLI was because I may have seen it previously. I can't remember though. But, like you, I was on the lookout for clues and the poem or rhyme sort of gives it away with it's mention of "red herring". I do like Christie adaptations though. I've seen both versions of her Murder on the Orient Express and all four Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple movies. Also a couple based on her life or works like Crooked House and Agatha and The Truth of Murder.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Sat Mar 14, 2020 9:36 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 8:32 pm
When I wrote my original reply to you I checked to see if either was streaming for free and was disappointed to see that neither is. I did rent the 2015 version from Amazon and I felt it was worth the $4.
I spent part of a frustrating night trying to find a decent and free Christie offering on Prime but kept running into roadblocks. They were either listed but unavailable or a rental or simply poor quality. I'll keep an eye out as always, especially for that '45 version.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Sat Mar 14, 2020 9:51 pm

Midnight In Paris - 8/10 - I really liked this. Rewatched it after a couple of years and it was still as charming and entertaining as I remembered. Owen Wilson makes for a very apt proxy for Woody Allen and the rest of the cast is matchless. Maybe it was the setting but the movie and director Allen seem to bring out the best in the cast with Wilson and Marion Cotillard turning in appealing performances. Great contributions from everyone else.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Mar 14, 2020 10:02 pm

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 9:36 pm
I spent part of a frustrating night trying to find a decent and free Christie offering on Prime but kept running into roadblocks. They were either listed but unavailable or a rental or simply poor quality. I'll keep an eye out as always, especially for that '45 version.
It was briefly on Prime, but no longer. Fortunately it's one that I own.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Torgo » Sun Mar 15, 2020 5:13 pm

Thief wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 2:02 pm
I remember seeing this back in the day and being somewhat annoyed by what I perceived to be a "lack of effort" to distance from similar thrillers. Sure, the fact that Denzel is confined to a bed does bring some amount of originality, but I didn't think much else was surprising. The reveal of the killer was also supremely underwhelming for me. Then again, I haven't seen it since 1999, so there's that.
My positive reaction could stem from watching the relatively inferior Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector miniseries first. My wife and I lasted a few minutes until we decided to put the movie on. It's the kind of entertainment that makes you wish Apu were real so he could deliver his anti-Billy and the Cloneasaurus rant to its creators. I mean, no wonder network TV is losing to streaming: they're just doing the same stuff that's already been done and making it worse! In short, not recommended.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Torgo » Sun Mar 15, 2020 11:53 pm

Doctor Str...ahem, Mordrid is good fun. It's a classic tale of a warlock who uses his powers to stop crime on a global scale (Mordrid), his doppelganger, who uses his powers for conquest and destruction (Kabal) and a police officer and occult expert who assists our hero (Samantha Hunt). What it lacks in funding, it makes up for in creativity and ingenuity - I mean, animatronic dinosaur skeletons fight each other - and what more can be said about how Jeffrey Combs elevates everything he's in? There are some eyebrow-raising coincidences - what are the odds that perfect pair Mordrid and Hunt live in the same building in a city like New York, for instance - and with its short running time, it seems more like a pilot for a TV series than a movie (but what a great series that could have been). Even so, I may have enjoyed this more than what Marvel gave us in 2016.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Mon Mar 16, 2020 2:28 am

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 9:31 pm
I think the reason I sussed out the twist ending with TLI was because I may have seen it previously. I can't remember though. But, like you, I was on the lookout for clues and the poem or rhyme sort of gives it away with it's mention of "red herring". I do like Christie adaptations though. I've seen both versions of her Murder on the Orient Express and all four Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple movies. Also a couple based on her life or works like Crooked House and Agatha and The Truth of Murder.
It is harder in the book. I remember being pretty baffled until the reveal. Usually in her novels I have a short list of credible murderers and one of my theories is the right one, but in that one I was completely flummoxed. Even the "red herring" is handled cleverly so it gets read the wrong way.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Mon Mar 16, 2020 2:45 am

I'm not done with it yet, but I think that The Truth About Emanuel has maybe the worst (not intentionally bad) writing in it's opening voice over.

My name is Emanuel. I'm seventeen years old and I killed my mother. I had her sliced open, like a goat for the slaughter, to get me pulled out. As she bled, the doctor pushed air into my lungs, and pressed his hands repeatedly onto my chest, with the same rhythmic, repetitive motion that he used to jerk himself off that very morning. It worked. He came and I came... Back to life.

The fact that my mother lost her life for this, for me, is probably just a side note. The cost of doing business. But it's me who pays. It's on my tab. And it accumulates interest with every passing year. My point is, there's no place for me. Because I'm not supposed to be here. Maybe if I was some sort of Olympic athlete, or a genius scientist, but I'm not. I'm not any of those things. I'm just a girl. A murderer without a motive. So I serve my time, waiting for my sentence to be up.


Now, I admit that I'm no expert. But if your masturbation looks exactly like how you perform infant CPR, I'm thinking that you're doing one of those things very wrong.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Mon Mar 16, 2020 6:28 pm

When Worlds Collide - 7/10 - This is a 1951 science fiction flick about the discovery of two planets headed on a collision course for earth. Only one will hit earth with the first passing dangerously close. It's almost a year away so it gives the scientists time to try and build an ark of sorts to carry a small number of people to the first planet, the one that buzzes the earth. The cast is nondescript but the film itself is in Technicolor and it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography and did win the Oscar for best special effects. The budget was limited so the last shot is so jarring that you keep expecting Roger Rabbit to come bounding out of the brush. But it was produced by the great George Pal and it also directly influenced later movies like Deep Impact.
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DaMU
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:36 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 2:45 am
My name is Emanuel. I'm seventeen years old and I killed my mother. I had her sliced open, like a goat for the slaughter, to get me pulled out. As she bled, the doctor pushed air into my lungs, and pressed his hands repeatedly onto my chest, with the same rhythmic, repetitive motion that he used to jerk himself off that very morning. It worked. He came and I came... Back to life.
Woof.

This reminds me of that Douglas Adams line where he says that the spaceships hung in the sky the same way bricks don't.
NOTE:
The above-written is wholly and solely the perspective of DaMU and should not be taken as an effort to rile, malign, or diminish you, dummo.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:42 am

DaMU wrote:
Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:36 am
Woof.

This reminds me of that Douglas Adams line where he says that the spaceships hung in the sky the same way bricks don't.
It wants to be edgy or something, but it makes ZERO sense. It's just gross (mixing babies and sex) but nonsensically.

What's weird is that the film itself is decent (about a teen girl developing a strange relationship with the new mom next door), but the voice-over is intrusive and poorly written. I initially thought that it was intentionally mocking the over-the-top nature of how teens sometimes think about their own lives, but I think it's actually meant to be serious.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:06 am

DaMU wrote:
Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:36 am
This reminds me of that Douglas Adams line where he says that the spaceships hung in the sky the same way bricks don't.
Literally my favorite line he ever wrote.
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Wooley
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:06 am

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 6:28 pm
When Worlds Collide - 7/10 - This is a 1951 science fiction flick about the discovery of two planets headed on a collision course for earth. Only one will hit earth with the first passing dangerously close. It's almost a year away so it gives the scientists time to try and build an ark of sorts to carry a small number of people to the first planet, the one that buzzes the earth. The cast is nondescript but the film itself is in Technicolor and it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography and did win the Oscar for best special effects. The budget was limited so the last shot is so jarring that you keep expecting Roger Rabbit to come bounding out of the brush. But it was produced by the great George Pal and it also directly influenced later movies like Deep Impact.
Yeah, I was a little underwhelmed by this one.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Tue Mar 17, 2020 4:42 pm

Wooley wrote:
Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:06 am
Literally my favorite line he ever wrote.
Same.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Tue Mar 17, 2020 7:26 pm

Wooley wrote:
Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:06 am
Yeah, I was a little underwhelmed by this one.
Yeah, it's only 83 minutes or so long but not a whole lot happens.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Mar 18, 2020 3:49 am

Had a movie night hangout, made pasta from scratch, watched Knives Out and it was exactly the movie I needed right now.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Thu Mar 19, 2020 2:47 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 3:49 am
Had a movie night hangout, made pasta from scratch, watched <i>Knives Out</i> and it was exactly the movie I needed right now.
Yeah, I enjoyed that.
In a simpler time, it was exactly the movie I needed too.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Thu Mar 19, 2020 2:47 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Tue Mar 17, 2020 4:42 pm
Same.
Cheers.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu Mar 19, 2020 7:50 pm

Imitation of Life (1959) - 7/10

Torn between the prominence which the dynamic between Annie and Sarah Jane receives throughout most of the film and how it often threatens to overwhelm the conflict between Lora and Susie (which feels less interesting and more preachy by comparison). However, I still can't deny the emotional power of the former dynamic. Regardless of how much you sympathize with Annie, the film still makes it so that you can understand Sarah Jane's perspective given how people of her race were often treated in the time period, with all of this leading up to a powerful conclusion. Topped with some social commentary on how their struggles are emblematic of the racial tensions of the times, this sub-plot stuck out to me the most about this film. Topped with a number of well-framed shots which serve to represent the emotional distance between certain characters, I really enjoyed this one, even though I wouldn't call it great.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Thu Mar 19, 2020 11:13 pm

Spider Baby, or the Maddest Story Ever Told - 8/10 - This low budget 1968 B&W horror movie was directed by Jack Hill, who also directed Switchblade Sisters, Coffy and Foxy Brown among others. It was also released as both Cannibal Orgy and The Liver Eaters which must have been confusing because there isn't much mention or showing of either. But it's not a bad movie. It's certainly a B movie but unlike so many of those, everyone seems to be having a good time making it. There are plenty of cheesy moments but it's all intentional and in good fun. The star is Lon Chaney Jr. who plays Bruno, the family chauffeur and caretaker for the last three descendants of the Merrye family. The two sisters and brothers are the guileless Elizabeth (Beverly Washburn), Virginia (Jill Banner) and Ralph (Sid Haig). The childlike siblings suffer from the same genetic malady that claimed the lives of most of their forebears. There's some convoluted exposition attempted as to the spider aspects of the disease but it's best not to fixate on it and simply enjoy the proceedings. The arrival of two greedy relatives and their pint sized lawyer provokes the expected reaction from the homicidal siblings. There's also a lot of 60's style cheesecake with one woman running through the woods in a merry widow and peignoir and one of the sisters grinding on her cousin. It's 84 minutes of pleasantly diverting fun.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu Mar 19, 2020 11:44 pm

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Thu Mar 19, 2020 11:13 pm
Spider Baby, or the Maddest Story Ever Told - 8/10 - This low budget 1968 B&W horror movie was directed by Jack Hill, who also directed Switchblade Sisters, Coffy and Foxy Brown among others. It was also released as both Cannibal Orgy and The Liver Eaters which must have been confusing because there isn't much mention or showing of either. But it's not a bad movie. It's certainly a B movie but unlike so many of those, everyone seems to be having a good time making it. There are plenty of cheesy moments but it's all intentional and in good fun. The star is Lon Chaney Jr. who plays Bruno, the family chauffeur and caretaker for the last three descendants of the Merrye family. The two sisters and brothers are the guileless Elizabeth (Beverly Washburn), Virginia (Jill Banner) and Ralph (Sid Haig). The childlike siblings suffer from the same genetic malady that claimed the lives of most of their forebears. There's some convoluted exposition attempted as to the spider aspects of the disease but it's best not to fixate on it and simply enjoy the proceedings. The arrival of two greedy relatives and their pint sized lawyer provokes the expected reaction from the homicidal siblings. There's also a lot of 60's style cheesecake with one woman running through the woods in a merry widow and peignoir and one of the sisters grinding on her cousin. It's 84 minutes of pleasantly diverting fun.
I watched that one for one of the Class Trip threads a while back, and I also enjoyed it quite a bit.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Mar 20, 2020 3:11 am

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Thu Mar 19, 2020 11:13 pm
Spider Baby, or the Maddest Story Ever Told - 8/10 - It's certainly a B movie but unlike so many of those, everyone seems to be having a good time making it. There are plenty of cheesy moments but it's all intentional and in good fun.
.
.
.
It's 84 minutes of pleasantly diverting fun.
Yeah, Spider Baby is really fun. It knows exactly what it is and embraces that in the best possible way.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Fri Mar 20, 2020 7:32 am

I feel like Siegel's The Lineup is supremely underrated. I never hear people talk about it, but it's a great flick. Slow to start, but it builds momentum beautifully. Eli Wallach is tops as half of a bizarre criminal duo, the plot is tight yet teeters joyously on the edge of not making sense, and it features the best San Francisco location shooting this side of Vertigo.

I also finally made it all the way through Arrow's box set of the Taviani Brothers (also underrated). Padre Padrone is probably the most unique and fascinating of the bunch, but Kaos was my favorite - something sublime in that one. Night of the Shooting Stars is also quite good, though it feels more self-conscious and less organic than the other two.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Fri Mar 20, 2020 8:34 am

I did a quarantine Studio Ghibli binge. I watched:

Porco Rosso- dang solid
Castle in the Sky- dang great
Kiki's Delivery Service- dang charming
Nausicaa- Dang imaginative
Tales from Earthsea- Dang unfairly maligned
Pom Poko- dang audacious
Grace of Fireflies- dang depressing
Whispers of the Heart- dang heartfelt

Got only The Wind Rises left from my collection. I think I need to nab a few more Isao Takahata because he's seeking like my third favorite anime director (after Miyazaki and Kon)
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by wichares » Fri Mar 20, 2020 12:03 pm

My quarantine prompts a 1968 blindspot kick:

If... - Its allegorical power stands stronger now as the title has turned towards when... over the years, along with the surreal touches that slowly but surely encroaches on the film's observational realism (culminating in that ambivalently shocking climax), and McDowell's galvanizing, magnetic lead turn. 7.5/10

Orson Welles' The Immortal Story is more interesting when seen as a seed for F For Fake's full-blown slipperiness of narratives than on its own, but even with a short, minor O. Henry-ish framework, Welles manages to elevate it with rich auteur musings and absolutely gorgeous filmmaking. That scene where Roger Coggio follows Jeanne Moreau (MVP) to where she sits down in town square, amidst rolling fog, is casually such a visual stunner. 7/10

Hospital - Wiseman paints a great miniature of a country in transition -- on social norms, generational divide, politics, race -- captured through little observational moments and pointed juxtaposition (cutting from a scene of teacher polling her students about if they want to join a social club with black people in it, right down to how many percentage would be OK for them, to another class with a prominent black student speaking is especially savage). Would make for a great time capsule double feature with if... 8.5/10

The Party - The brownface is nauseating, and I mean this not (only) about its racism context, but in that the way the make-up looks smeared on Peter Sellers and magnified through 60s Technicolor is so visually unpleasant. It's opposite from another Edwards film (oh Blake boy) Breakfast at Tiffany's in that the yellowface "looks" better but is nauseating through its portrayal instead (that I still really like the latter is because Mr. Yunioshi is thankfully far from a main character), whereas Sellers' here keeps any unavoidable and still troublesome caricature aspects not as mocking points but more as reflections on some other guests' prejudice. The way Sellers modulates the latter aspect makes this a great comedic performance in a rather unfortunate context.

That big second elephant in the room asides, and some early musty cringe humor to go through first, Edwards engineers the chaos comedy of this party splendidly, with so many great sustained set-pieces. The big anything-go one at the end is of course wild and memorable, but I'm also taken with how that dinner ramps up as it goes on. A lot of long passages of this are right out of classic silent comedy, whether the business with the shoe, or the chicken and hairpiece. Edwards accumulates this into an intoxicating, very recognizable atmosphere of how a night can slowly, but surely and not unpleasurably, spirals out of control. Best of all, he sneaks in a little lovely rapport between Sellers and another guest (Claudine Longet) that keeps this wild night with a humane core that leaves a grounded, bittersweet aftertaste. 8/10
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Charles » Fri Mar 20, 2020 12:50 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Fri Mar 20, 2020 8:34 am
Nausicaa- Dang imaginative
Did you read the manga? It's an experience.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Torgo » Fri Mar 20, 2020 3:29 pm

Fallen is a pretty good entry in the "'90s dark police thriller" subgenre that I give credit for defying and exceeding my expectations. At first, I feared that the villain - a demon that shifts between the hosts it possesses via touch - would be too gimmicky, but thankfully, the movie leverages this idea to tell a thoughtful story about the persistence and elusiveness of evil. I like the movie's atmospheric and appropriately somber tone, and while I enjoy seeing Denzel Washington play characters who are virtuous and unflappable - after all, he’s so good at it - it was a welcome change of pace to see him play a more vulnerable and imperfect one. As the villain zeroes in on him more and more, he does a great job of expressing one of evil's worst consequences: the doubt and paranoia its seeming invulnerability instills in the best of us. The movie is a tad overlong, and for the most part, it’s unstylish and ordinary-looking. It does, however, make up for this by being an actor's movie through and through - besides Washington, James Gandolfini, John Goodman and Elias Koteas in particular do impressive and mature work - and when the story calls for moments where a little style is welcome, i.e. the twists and scares, I did feel genuinely surprised and frightened. Overall, it doesn't reach the heights of the movies that popularized this subgenre like Seven, but it's still one of its stronger entries.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Fri Mar 20, 2020 3:55 pm

Torgo wrote:
Fri Mar 20, 2020 3:29 pm
Fallen is a pretty good entry in the "'90s dark police thriller" subgenre that I give credit for defying and exceeding my expectations. At first, I feared that the villain - a demon that shifts between the hosts it possesses via touch - would be too gimmicky, but thankfully, the movie leverages it to tell a thoughtful story about the persistence and elusiveness of evil. I like the movie's atmospheric and appropriately somber tone, and while I enjoy seeing Denzel Washington play characters who are virtuous and unflappable - after all, he’s so good at it - it was a welcome change of pace to see him play a more vulnerable and imperfect one. As the villain zeroes in on him more and more, he does a great job of expressing one of evil's worst consequences: the doubt and paranoia its seeming invulnerability instills in the best of us. The movie is a tad overlong, and for the most part, it’s unstylish and ordinary-looking. It does, however, make up for this by being an actor's movie through and through - besides Washington, James Gandolfini, John Goodman and Elias Koteas in particular do impressive and mature work - and when the story calls for moments where a little style is welcome, i.e. the twists and scares, I did feel genuinely surprised and frightened. Overall, it doesn't reach the heights of the movies that popularized this subgenre like Seven, but it's still one of its stronger entries.
Nice. I don't love it either, but like you say, it's a good piece for actors. I group it less with Seven (although it shares that film's "urban hell" attitude) and more with polished religious-horror thrillers like The Prophecy (also with Koteas) and The Devil's Advocate and maybe even The Rapture.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Thief » Fri Mar 20, 2020 4:41 pm

DaMU wrote:
Fri Mar 20, 2020 3:55 pm
Nice. I don't love it either, but like you say, it's a good piece for actors. I group it less with Seven (although it shares that film's "urban hell" attitude) and more with polished religious-horror thrillers like The Prophecy (also with Koteas) and The Devil's Advocate and maybe even The Rapture.
I agree.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Sat Mar 21, 2020 3:03 pm

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Thu Mar 19, 2020 11:13 pm
Spider Baby, or the Maddest Story Ever Told - 8/10 - This low budget 1968 B&W horror movie was directed by Jack Hill, who also directed Switchblade Sisters, Coffy and Foxy Brown among others. It was also released as both Cannibal Orgy and The Liver Eaters which must have been confusing because there isn't much mention or showing of either. But it's not a bad movie. It's certainly a B movie but unlike so many of those, everyone seems to be having a good time making it. There are plenty of cheesy moments but it's all intentional and in good fun. The star is Lon Chaney Jr. who plays Bruno, the family chauffeur and caretaker for the last three descendants of the Merrye family. The two sisters and brothers are the guileless Elizabeth (Beverly Washburn), Virginia (Jill Banner) and Ralph (Sid Haig). The childlike siblings suffer from the same genetic malady that claimed the lives of most of their forebears. There's some convoluted exposition attempted as to the spider aspects of the disease but it's best not to fixate on it and simply enjoy the proceedings. The arrival of two greedy relatives and their pint sized lawyer provokes the expected reaction from the homicidal siblings. There's also a lot of 60's style cheesecake with one woman running through the woods in a merry widow and peignoir and one of the sisters grinding on her cousin. It's 84 minutes of pleasantly diverting fun.
So great. Loved this movie.
I did a pretty long write-up in my horrorthon, you can read it on this page if you like (it's the last review on the page, I don't know how to link to just one post on this site):

https://corrierino.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=890
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Slentert » Sat Mar 21, 2020 6:02 pm

Spider-Baby is so much fun. Creepy and disturbing in a light-hearted way. Cheesy, yes, but in a non-annoying, rather amusing fashion.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Sat Mar 21, 2020 7:28 pm

I remember we watched it for a class trip and I wondered if I had become too pretentious to enjoy those types of B-movies. [shrug]
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Sat Mar 21, 2020 9:53 pm

I had read recently that (to paraphrase) "No one every understood Shakespeare like Laurence Olivier. It was like a first language to him. He acted it as though he were simply breathing."
After watching his version of Hamlet (Director, Screenplay, star), I know exactly what they meant. I've never seen anyone do it quite like that. Just as they say, It was seems like his first language. And he understand so well what Shakespeare seemed to be doing with every line of dialogue. His performance is effortless and flawless.
Frankly, the other actors are no slouches either, I was particularly fond of both Ophelia and Gertrude.
Really impressive, honestly.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Sun Mar 22, 2020 2:31 am

Wooley wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 3:03 pm
So great. Loved this movie.
I did a pretty long write-up in my horrorthon, you can read it on this page if you like (it's the last review on the page, I don't know how to link to just one post on this site):

https://corrierino.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=890
Great review. And a really solid endorsement. If I had been aware of that way back in October I would have made a point of tracking down the movie. I really liked it too. Chaney's spoken word, Vincent-Price-in-Thriller-mode theme song. Carol Ohmart's inexplicable decision to model the lingerie just in time to get chased through the woods. And then her waking up and calling out Ralph's name after apparently being ravished by him. This was all around big goofy fun.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Sun Mar 22, 2020 2:57 am

Sneakers (1992) - B-

Boilerplate in the opening act, overwrought in the final 20, but the middle cooks with the pleasure of watching misfits interact, seeing how their skills will come in at the right moment to help (except for River Phoenix, who's maybe there to appeal to younger demographics)... and enjoying the breezy charm of the Hawksian premise. There's even the single solitary dame who gives as good as the boys. Hell, this might've been better as a hangout procedural show. Bittersweet: the heroes are terrified at the prospect of government surveilling whoever they'd like. Can you imagine. How terrifying. O brave new world. Et cetera.

Blue Crush (2002) - B-

Lot of B-'s lately, but hey. This flick's a tiny but genuine pleasure, a look at the surfer life that has the terminology correct and admirably focuses on three women (four including a younger sister) who can't get enough of those juicy blue peaks. Guest appearances like Keala Kennelly further boost its bona fides. Its late-film detour into a makeover for the heroine makes a not-unfair point about balancing her surfing ambitions with the rest of her life, but it also plays into some Pretty Woman cliches. Better than I expected.

The Education of Charlie Banks (2007) - C+

I knew a lot of bullies growing up, and I'm not terribly fascinated by narratives that romanticize them as Byronic, doomed, oh-what-could-have-been tragic boys. I don't buy the characterization and think it excuses them into a sort of archetypal murk. [Some bullies act out of trauma and baggage, but, in my experience, most are assholes who enjoy being assholes.] That said, Jason Ritter nails the shithead element of his character. He's the type of guy where any given smile could precede a punch to the nuts or a slap to the face and maybe a passive-aggressive "joke." And if director Fred Durst (!) fails in making the drama build plausibly (Gatsby themes get underlined en route to a soap opera climax), he mostly avoids my-first-movie theatrics of aesthetic technique.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Rock » Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:55 pm

DaMU wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 2:57 am
The Education of Charlie Banks (2007) - C+

I knew a lot of bullies growing up, and I'm not terribly fascinated by narratives that romanticize them as Byronic, doomed, oh-what-could-have-been tragic boys. I don't buy the characterization and think it excuses them into a sort of archetypal murk. [Some bullies act out of trauma and baggage, but, in my experience, most are assholes who enjoy being assholes.] That said, Jason Ritter nails the shithead element of his character. He's the type of guy where any given smile could precede a punch to the nuts or a slap to the face and maybe a passive-aggressive "joke." And if director Fred Durst (!) fails in making the drama build plausibly (Gatsby themes get underlined en route to a soap opera climax), he mostly avoids my-first-movie theatrics of aesthetic technique.
You were busy watching this when you could have watched the true Durst masterpiece, The Fanatic.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:04 pm

Also, ever since it came out, I assumed Sneakers was titled after some sort of codename or specific detail.

Nope. It is called "Sneakers" because they are people who "sneak." Insane. Absolute madmen.
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