Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:46 pm

Anatomy of Murder (1959)

Lovely freeform film about a trial that pits wily defense attorney Jimmy Stewart as he attempts to exonerate an Army Lieutenant (Ben Gazzara) from murdering a man who raped his wife (Lee Remick). But the prosecuting attorney has a few tricks up his sleeve including the state's attorney general (George C. Scott) who attempt to put the soldier away for life (or death row).

This film works on several levels. On the surface, it plays like a championship bout with the title being the life and future prospects of a man. Dive deeper and you get glimpses of Murder One or Law and Order as we get to see both sides of the trial as they react to various things that happened.

Well acted (of course it is) all the way down to Eve Arden as the long-suffering secretary of Stewart's attorney. Jazz score places the cherry on top of this delectable sundae.

There are a few questions (legal or otherwise) that bothered me at times. Such as the lack of a JAG in the trial involving a soldier.

But frankly, this is definitely 100 percent worth the hype. A-

Next: What it says on the tin.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Wooley » Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:40 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:46 pm
Anatomy of Murder (1959)

Lovely freeform film about a trial that pits wily defense attorney Jimmy Stewart as he attempts to exonerate an Army Lieutenant (Ben Gazzara) from murdering a man who raped his wife (Lee Remick). But the prosecuting attorney has a few tricks up his sleeve including the state's attorney general (George C. Scott) who attempt to put the soldier away for life (or death row).

This film works on several levels. On the surface, it plays like a championship bout with the title being the life and future prospects of a man. Dive deeper and you get glimpses of Murder One or Law and Order as we get to see both sides of the trial as they react to various things that happened.

Well acted (of course it is) all the way down to Eve Arden as the long-suffering secretary of Stewart's attorney. Jazz score places the cherry on top of this delectable sundae.

There are a few questions (legal or otherwise) that bothered me at times. Such as the lack of a JAG in the trial involving a soldier.

But frankly, this is definitely 100 percent worth the hype. A-

Next: What it says on the tin.
I also thought this was really good.
In answer to your question: "When a violation of the UCMJ occurs, the matter is handled by the command of the service member. When a violation of a federal or state law occurs, the matter may be handled by local, state, or federal authorities." JAGs apparently only act as prosecutors or defense-attorneys in cases of Military Law (UCMJ, Uniform Code of Military Justice) infractions.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:12 pm

The Great Train Robbery (1903)

Not much story in this 12 minute short that covers a train robbery and the pursuit of the thieves by police.

But what it is about pales in comparison to the techniques used in this film that have made impact in the film industry. Stuff like location shooting and moving the camera frequently hadn't been done very much prior to this film...of course, both are second nature by now over a century later. The final shot of the film was considered an early influence of the James Bond movies where Bond shoots at the camera.

As a history lesson to early cinema, it's fascinating. As a film itself, it's not bad.

Next: When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Thief » Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:15 pm

I really enjoyed that one, for the reasons you mention. It's pretty cool to see how they implemented those things back then.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Sun Jul 05, 2020 1:50 am

Return of the Hero (2018)

Captain Neuville (Jean Dujardin) is wooing Pauline (Noemie Merlant) as the film opens. He learns that he's going to war in Austria just after proposing to her. So off he goes.

Pauline gets down when he breaks his promise to write her and keep her informed of what's going on. So sister Elisabeth (Melanie Laurent) decides to take pen and paper and forge letters of various thrilling happenings while continuing to woo his lover.

All good and the spirits head up. But in any film involving lying, one lie quickly grows to about 20 getting more and more elaborate as they go. Culminating in him facing overwhelming odds in a siege. Supposedly to write him off.

Problem is the Captain is back in town and he don't look so good. War and alcohol didn't agree with him and he wants to continue the marriage plans with the sister. She tries getting him to leave town, he's unwilling. Although Elisabeth has a lot of contempt for him, she reluctantly agrees to help him be convincing.

Of course, considering she thought he died, Pauline is now spoken for by another man (Christophe Montenez). And what of those sparks between the Captain and Liz? Is it just contempt at work here?

The primary drawback here is predictability. You can see from a mile away what's going to happen.

But there are multiple benefits. The two leads do have some nice chemistry together. There are amusing moments (it may not rise to hilarious, but I did leave with a smile on my face). And there's a certain amount of charm. Such as when Dujardin spends a couple of minutes playing around with a gun prior to a duel. Or when the Captain adds something to the story which surprises Elisabeth.

I liked this one. You can see this on Tubi TV.

Aside: The DVD we were watching in Murray got stuck as we were watching it. Despite several people trying to fix it and multiple attempts, I think we finally found a streaming solution that allowed us to finish this.

Next: There's a reason this took over a month to finnish.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Jul 06, 2020 2:09 am

A Moment in the Reeds (2018)

Proof that not even shocking sex scenes can make a film interesting.

Leevi (Janne Puustinen) is a college student in France who returns to Finland for the summer to help his father fix up his place. Only he's not very eager to help his father. Until handyman Tareq (Boodi Kabbani) shows up. He speaks no French which is a problem with his father, but he proves to be handy with the tools.

When father is called away on business, Leevi and Tareq get to know each other. And before you know it, one thing leads to another.

What killed this film for me was its script. According to the director, he let the actors deliver their dialogue naturally. Which was a big mistake because every line of dialogue hits like a load of bricks. They spend minutes asking each other the most rudimentary questions that better films would have gladly sliced off to the cutting room floor. And after a long boredom, it turns into something out of Logo. Or what might be a cross between Logo and late night Cinemax.

Maybe you can enjoy those scenes with the sound off. Or maybe you can enjoy the budding romance on a surface level.

Either way, I think I have the worst luck picking LGBTQ films. Outside of Last Summer.

Next: I was a captive audience for this one. Not that I complained much.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Wed Jul 08, 2020 5:17 pm

Z-O-M-B-I-E-S (2018)

Basically the premise is revealed early. Thanks to a power plant meltdown, half of a small town are zombies and half are not. The half that are wear these fitness watch devices to keep them from attacking humans. But because of their nature, they're basically placed in a detention like facility while the normal kids are sent to a tony high school.

But today, the zombies get the basement of the good high school. And while that's problematic for some of the normies, cheerleader Addison (Meg Donnelly seems to be OK with this. She starts a relationship with Zed (Milo Manheim), a zombie who wants to play on the football team. Thanks to the hacking efforts of a zombie geek, he's able to use super strength to make the squad. But head cheerleader Bucky (Trevor Tordjman) does his best to stop the relationship from going any further.

Basically imagine High School Musical meets Shaun of the Dead or West Side Story with the Jets as Zombies and you get the drift. Some of the songs are kinda fun to watch. The efforts to equate what the zombies are doing with civil rights feels a bit awkward.

But there's fun to be had. And this is basically a harmless time filler.

Next: EDIT: My first shot at a Fred Astaire film. Will it work better than the Gene Kelly one?
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Thief » Wed Jul 08, 2020 5:26 pm

I typically enjoy zombie films, so I can keep that in mind.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:33 pm

Thief wrote:
Wed Jul 08, 2020 5:26 pm
I typically enjoy zombie films, so I can keep that in mind.
It's definitely family friendly, though. There's a good reason I compared it to High School Musical. Maybe it can work as an intro to the genre?

The Band Wagon (1953)

Um, this wasn't a Gene Kelly musical. This was a Fred Astaire one. :oops:

Anyway, Tony Hunter (Astaire) is an actor on the downslope of his career. He returns to New York where some good friends (Oscar Levant, Nannette Fabray) have come up with the perfect script for his comeback: a light musical comedy. Their efforts draw the attention of famed stage director Jeffrey Cordova (Jack Buchanan) who sees the material as a Faustian darker dramedy. Opposite Tony, Jeffrey is able to acquire the services of star ballerina Gaby Gerard (Cyd Charisse) who takes an instant dislike to Tony. Is Jeffrey correct that everything is going to come up roses? And what happens if they don't?

It's very predictable what will happen here. But what also happens is entertaining to say the least. Fred showcases his moves in the early going in a number that just floored me. Charisse proves to be a capable dancer in her own right. And that showstopping finale which recalls Mike Hammer is elaborate yet well done. And Vincent Minnelli is able to keep things moving showcasing different songs while giving us just enough to show us what's going on.

Solidly entertaining.

Next: It's not based on Edgar Allan Poe.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Jul 13, 2020 12:10 am

Le Corbeau (aka The Raven) (1943)

In a small French town, a doctor becomes the victim of a whisper campaign being delivered by notes to various people in town. These notes accuse him of committing abortions and of having an affair with the wife of an elderly psychologist. The one thing these letters have in common is that they're all signed by Le Corbeau. This stirs up a hornet's nest in the town and things take some unexpected turns.

After coming home from work, deciding to watch one of these films from Cinema International is always a bit of a challenge. I will be honest and admit that I might have closed my eyes for a second or two. But having looked at the summary on Wikipedia, I didn't miss anything.

It was a bit predictable who was the person behind them, but between the detective work to get to that point and the sometimes unusual locations where the letters would end up (church, funeral wagon), it was interesting at times.

I just wish the story was more interesting than the story behind the film.

Next: A western based on faith?
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Thief » Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:03 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:33 pm
It's definitely family friendly, though. There's a good reason I compared it to High School Musical. Maybe it can work as an intro to the genre?
Perhaps on a slightly similar vibe, have you seen Anna and the Apocalypse?
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:35 pm

Thief wrote:
Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:03 pm
Perhaps on a slightly similar vibe, have you seen Anna and the Apocalypse?
No, I have not. Although I have heard good things about that one.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Thief » Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:51 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:35 pm
No, I have not. Although I have heard good things about that one.
It's not great, but it's fun.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Tue Jul 14, 2020 2:20 am

Thief wrote:
Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:51 pm
It's not great, but it's fun.
Fun sounds good to me.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Slentert » Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:38 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:33 pm
It's definitely family friendly, though. There's a good reason I compared it to High School Musical. Maybe it can work as an intro to the genre?

The Band Wagon (1953)

Um, this wasn't a Gene Kelly musical. This was a Fred Astaire one. :oops:

Anyway, Tony Hunter (Astaire) is an actor on the downslope of his career. He returns to New York where some good friends (Oscar Levant, Nannette Fabray) have come up with the perfect script for his comeback: a light musical comedy. Their efforts draw the attention of famed stage director Jeffrey Cordova (Jack Buchanan) who sees the material as a Faustian darker dramedy. Opposite Tony, Jeffrey is able to acquire the services of star ballerina Gaby Gerard (Cyd Charisse) who takes an instant dislike to Tony. Is Jeffrey correct that everything is going to come up roses? And what happens if they don't?

It's very predictable what will happen here. But what also happens is entertaining to say the least. Fred showcases his moves in the early going in a number that just floored me. Charisse proves to be a capable dancer in her own right. And that showstopping finale which recalls Mike Hammer is elaborate yet well done. And Vincent Minnelli is able to keep things moving showcasing different songs while giving us just enough to show us what's going on.

Solidly entertaining.

Next: It's not based on Edgar Allan Poe.
One of my absolute favorite movies. The plot is standard and indeed predictable, but as a musical it is phenomenal. A beautiful celebration of life and performing.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Jul 20, 2020 1:27 pm

Hell's Hinges (1916)

Reverend Bob (Jack Standing) finally gets his own congregation but it's at a notorious western town. Along with his sister Faith (Clara Williams), he tries to win over new followers to his church but he's thwarted by saloon owner Silk (Alfred Hollingsworth) and his associates who sense business will slow down if he is successful. Silk hires dangerous gunman Blaze (William Hart) to run him off. But things take a turn when Blaze starts to fall for Faith.

For a 1916 film to have a narrative that lasts a feature length is an impressive feat which goes way beyond what The Great Train Robbery managed 13 years before. Hart sells his character with aplomb as he goes from nefarious to noble in the course of the film. Standing does fine playing weak willed. The film generally manages to balance a faith film in its western roots well enough, with a fairly nuanced take on the subject. There's some solid set pieces including a memorable climax involving fire. The subtitle cards do a good job of keeping the story moving along. And the camerawork is pretty well done considering its age.

Subtlety isn't one of its strong points as it only takes a drink or two for the good reverend to go from upstanding to crazed. It almost plays out similarly to Reefer Madness in that way. Similarly, the transformation of the gunman from lethal to law-abiding feels a bit abrupt. So he kind of takes a liking to this one girl and then he starts believing? Um, OK, film. And the film dives headfirst into melodrama at times.

Still, this classic western drama is pretty well done considering it's been around for over 100 years. Two six shooters and a torch up.

Next: A love story involving art and sacrifice.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Fri Aug 21, 2020 10:52 am

Yes, I do plan on catching up on this.

But I interrupt this with an announcement on Cinema International for Fall 2020 (if it happens due to the pandemic).

Here's a list of films that are happening with brief plot descriptions:

The Mustang (2019)---Documentary about how a convict is healed through the power of horses; with Matthias Schoenaerts.
The Return (2012)---Anthony returns to Costa Rica after spending 10 years in New York.
The Island Inside (2010)---Three siblings are forced to reflect on their lives in the Canary Islands after their father suddenly dies; with Geraldine Chaplin.
On the Roof (2017)---Offbeat romantic comedy set in modern Cuba.
The Invisible Hand (2016)---Eleven actors apply their craft in front of an audience in an industrial warehouse.
Don't Call Me Son (2016)---Young man is rattled by the truth involving his family.
Tokyo Fiancee (2014)---Young Belgian woman falls for a Francophile Japanese student in this lighthearted romantic dramedy.
Girls of the Sun (2018)---French reporter covers the efforts of a Kurdistan battalion
The Cave (2019)---Humanitarian doctor and her team provide medical support for a Syrian city while risking their lives.
All About Me (2018)---9 year old uses his comic talents to heal himself and make others feel better.
Tazzeka (2018)---Convenience store worker in Morocco dreams of being a chef in Paris.

Thoughts? Have you seen any of these?
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Sun Aug 30, 2020 3:52 pm

Cutie and the Boxer (2013)

Documentary focuses on the long term marriage between Ushio and Noriko Shinohara. Ushio is an artist best known for his paintings with sponge covered boxing gloves that he punches to get color on the canvas and oversized cardboard sculptures of motorcycles. He makes enough to keep the lights on and food on the table, but just so. Noriko was an artist, but she put those dreams aside to support her husband and raise her son Alex. But she continues to draw using her life to create a comic book character named Cutie who falls for an older artist named Bullie in New York. Things take a turn when people start noticing Noriko's art.

Solid film focuses on the art and the ups and downs of a relationship between two artists. Both main characters are intriguing people and keep you going through the slow patches (and underdeveloped story about their son). It also raises and drops a question about the age difference between the artists, which gives the beginning of the relationship a bit of a downer note. But the evolution of the marriage as they start to deal with the new reality of Noriko's artistic endeavors keeps you going.

It's definitely a worthy documentary.

Next: This is now gonna take on a new poignancy.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:44 am

An update for those wanting to know about my YouTube whereabouts: I got a new camera a few months ago and just got a microphone today. Will start on that venture next weekend.

As for these catchup reviews, I'll get back going tomorrow with Black Panther (2018)
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Stu » Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:10 am

Yay, it's back!
Yes, I'm a mod; let me know if you need anything.

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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Wooley » Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:17 pm

Nice. I'll be waiting.
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