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

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

Postby Precious Doll » Mon Nov 18, 2019 1:27 am

dws1982 wrote:
Precious Doll wrote:American Factory (2019) Steven Bognar & Julia Riechert 4/10

Casualties of War (1989) Brian De Palma 9/10

Sad to see a low rating for the Bognar and Reichert documentary; I haven't watched it yet, but their A Lion in the House was easily a top five film of the 2000's, in my opinion.

Love Casualties of War; haven't seen it in year, but it may be my top Vietnam film, and maybe my top film of 1989, period.


I was pretty underwhelmed by American Factory. It didn't expose me to anything I already wasn't well aware of and it didn't even anger me because with more than 20 years of workers conditions being systemically eroded across virtually all industries globally its become so normalised that I can't muster up any more emotions about the issue only disdain and shaking of the head. That the filmmakers chose a Chinese owned factory made me a little uncomfortable because during the last couple years of my working life I had to deal with a lot of anti-Chinese sentiment in the workplace and it became rather wearing. I do not believe that was the filmmakers intention and the article on the film in the Sep/Oct edition of Film Comment may clarify their intentions.

Casualties of War feels so much more relevant today that it did 30 years ago. I think that may be because the film was made 20 years after the events and in the following 30 years there have been so many more similar cases of barbaric behaviour in the armed services reported. I was also struck at just how great Michael J. Fox was in the film. I think at the time he was primarily known for light weight comedies and his appearance in this may have been jarring at the time but 30 years on he feels so right in the role - a truely great performance of sustained horror and helplessness. I'd never counted this film amongst top tier De Palma but this second viewing has upped my appreciation of the film to include this as one of his very best works.

Funnily enough I was partly prompted to revisit it as it was featured in the recent documentary What She Said about Pauline Kael. I've been wanting to watch it again for sometime but the Kael documentary gave me the shove I needed. Mean Streets is another film featured in the documentary that I have been meaning to get to again for ages now.
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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby dws1982 » Sun Nov 17, 2019 4:10 pm

[quote="Precious Doll"
American Factory (2019) Steven Bognar & Julia Riechert 4/10

Casualties of War (1989) Brian De Palma 9/10[/quote]
Sad to see a low rating for the Bognar and Reichert documentary; I haven't watched it yet, but their A Lion in the House was easily a top five film of the 2000's, in my opinion.

Love Casualties of War; haven't seen it in year, but it may be my top Vietnam film, and maybe my top film of 1989, period.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Nov 16, 2019 10:28 pm

Trial by Fire (2019) Edward Zwick 2/10
The Art of Self-Defense (2019) Riley Stearns 4/10
Friendly Enimes (1942) Allan Dwan 4/10
American Factory (2019) Steven Bognar & Julia Riechert 4/10
Disorder (1986) Olivier Assayas 5/10

Repeat viewings

Peyton Place (1957) Mark Robson 10/10
Through the Olive Trees (1994) Abbas Kiarostami 7/10
Matewan (1987) John Sayles 8/10
The Officer's Ward (2001) Francois Dupeyron 8/10
Claire's Knee (1970) Eric Rohmer 10/10
The River (1951) Jean Renoir 9/10
Polyester (1981) John Waters 8/10
Casualties of War (1989) Brian De Palma 9/10
"I want cement covering every blade of grass in this nation! Don't we taxpayers have a voice anymore?" Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole) in John Waters' Desperate Living (1977)

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

Postby Reza » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:10 am

Lucrèce Borgia (Christian-Jaque, 1953) 6/10

The Borgia family in Italy during the Renaissance as Lucrèce (Martine Carol) and her vile brother César (Pedro Armendàriz) go through their lives in an orgy of sex and violence. Lavish french production is shot in stunning colour by the great Christian Matras. The screenplay focuses on the love life of Lucrèce, her marriage of convenience and romance with a Spaniard (Massimo Serrato) and a lover (Christian Marquand) who is murdered by her brother who in turn nurses simmering incestuous feelings for his own sister. A merry-go-round of sex with scenes of nudity performed by Martine Carol who was the reigning sex symbol of french cinema until dethroned by Bardot. Stylish film with Carol too old to be playing the title character even though she gives it her valiant best despite a general white washing of the actual events due to censorship. The recent tv series on the Borgias was probably more true to form with its graphic sex and sinister court intrigues.

They Gave Him a Gun (W.S. Van Dyke II, 1937) 5/10

This film mixes a number of different genres - war, romance, gangster, noir and social. Two very different men - a boistrous carnival barker (Spencer Tracy) and an introverted hayseed (Franchot Tone) become close friends while drafted into the army during WWI. In Europe a romantic triangle forms when both men fall in love with a nurse (Gladys George). She loves the loudmouth but ends up getting married to his friend when the former is mistakenly declared dead. Upon his return from the "dead" he sacrifices his love when he sees that his friend, now a war hero and wounded in battle, is desperately in love with the nurse. Back home their lives intertwine when the barker discovers his former meek friend is in the racket business and upto no good which leads to an obvious conclusion. The social message of the film is a plea to the goverment to provide the means for proper assimilation of soldiers once they return from the battlefield - they are given guns to fight the enemy during wartime but if on their return there are no jobs available then its just as easy to pick up guns leading to unintended consequences.

Wuthering Heights (Peter Kosinsky, 1992) 7/10

Emily Bronte's book is very difficult to adapt because the plot hinges on the intense passion between the two main characters (Heathcliff & Cathy) and so far in every film version the actor playing Heathcliff ends up dominating. The films have never managed to capture Cathy's wild passion and selfish nature. Laurence Olivier, Timothy Dalton, Dilip Kumar (in the hindi version) and now Ralph Fiennes (with an intense scowl, piercing blue eyes and long hair) have all shined playing the brooding, passionate but cruel Heathcliff. This version is more complete as it follows the story to the end including the dramatic events in the lives of the children of the two main characters. French actress Juliette Binoche is an odd choice as Cathy but the Yorkshire moors of Bronte's novel are vividly brought to the screen with an interesting supporting cast - Janet McTeer, Sophie Ward, Jeremy Northam and Simon Ward.

The Skeleton Key (Iain Softley, 2005) 5/10

Gothic horror film set amongst the bayou backwoods. A nurse (Kate Hudson) takes a job at a spooky mansion to care for the stroke-felled owner (John Hurt) of a spooky mansion. The man's dotty old wife (Gena Rowlands) runs the house which includes an attic with a mysterious door leading into a secret room. Things keep going bump in the night leading to the discovery of ghosts and an old curse by way of hoodoo practitioners. Its all quite nonsense although Hudson gives it a go as the plucky damsel who wants to get to the bottom of the mystery about the house, its past and present occupants and the family lawyer (Peter Sarsgaard) who is eager to help her. Atmospheric film relies on cheap scares and gets derailed by far too many absurd skeletons in the screenplay.

Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019) 4/10

Visually stunning film is hardly original in its conception as it takes its cue from any number of teen horror-slasher films - the "kids" here are university students - giving the proceedings an ominous cult touch straight out of "The Wicker Man" by way of Agatha Christie"s "And Then There Were None". An emotionally needy woman (Florence Pugh), suffering from a recent family tragedy, insinuates herself onto a summer trip to Sweden with her boyfriend (Jack Reynor) and his college buddies - one of whom is hosting the group at his ancestral home. None of the boys want her along and the ancestral "home" turns out to be a commune that quickly begins to resemble a hippie-like cult. The film gets points for flashy disorienting camera angles, the subtle visual effects which depict the mind-bending hallucinogens the group imbibe and the sun-kissed location (actually shot in Hungary). Once the film's horror quotient gets into overdrive the plot gets more and more absurd borrowing copiously and shamelessly from far superior films as it depicts lashings of blood (the skin flaying body from "The Silence of the Lambs") and sex (the copulation from "Rosemary's Baby" gets a retread as naked old women with sagging breasts chant and goad on a "fertility fuck" courtesy of Reynor who also gets to run around in flagrante delicto flapping his organ in uncharacteristic style for an American film as usually such scenes are strictly the titillating bane of the female actor). Just like Aster's previous film, "Hereditary", this too lacks originality or surprise. How can it be when his creations are mere "greatest hits" scenes taken from far superior films and stitched onto plots that are bizzare and unintentionally funny and absurd. And this one just goes on much too long making it very tedious to sit through.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Nov 09, 2019 11:17 pm

What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael (2019) Rob Garver 8/10
Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019) Paul Downs Colaizzo 4/10
Happy New Year, Colin Burstead (2018) ben Wheatley 5/10
The Memory of Justice (1976) Marcel Ophuls 10/10
Honeyland (2019) Tamara Koetevska & Ljubomir Stefanov 4/10
Those Who Remained (2019) Barnabas Toth 6/10
The Fate of Lee Khan (1973) King Hu 7/10
The Purple Taxi (1977) Yves Boisset 4/10
Birds Do It, Bees Do It (1974) Nicolas Nixon & Irwin Rosten 5/10
Where Is the Friend's House? (1987) Abbas Kiarostami 6/10
An Average Little Man (1977) Mario Monicelli 8/10

Repeat viewings

My Winnipeg (2008) Guy Maddin 10/10
La Collectionneuse (1967) Eric Rohmer 6/10
And Life Goes On (1992) Abbas Kiarostami 8/10
Last edited by Precious Doll on Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Last Seen Movie - The Latest Movie You Have Seen; ratings

Postby Reza » Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:11 am

Judy (Rupert Gould, 2019) 6/10

This sketchy screen biography is based on Peter Quilter's play, "End of the Rainbow, charting the last year in the life of the tired and tragic Judy Garland. In the role, making a screen comeback, is Renée Zellweger who spent the last few years facing sharp criticism from the public, press and the industry, who questioned her facial features after she went through a series of face lifts. It was exactly the sort of criticism Judy Garland, the child actor, faced at the start of her career as the studio and its head, Louis B. Mayer, took control of her life and put her on a regular regime of diet and sleeping pills. The film covers her dark early career via flashbacks as her life eventually spiralled out of control and 30-years later she found herself broke, a pill and alcohol addict battling her ex-husband, Sid Luft (Rufus Sewell), for custody of her two kids as nobody would hire her. Finally getting a gig in London, the star takes to the stage performing her repertory of songs - "Get Happy", "The Trolley Song", "You Made Me Love You", "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", "The Man That Got Away" and of course "Over the Rainbow". Zellweger, who sings all the songs herself, does not resemble or sound like the iconic star but still manages to get completely under her skin capturing her spirit and bringing her to life. Looking emaciated, just like Garland was in 1969, Zellweger goes through harrowing scenes bringing to life the star's unreliability and uncertainty who could be brilliant on stage during one performance while being literally poured into her dress and pushed on to the stage by assistants the following night as she battled stage fright while in an alcoholic stupor. Her seesaw life continued right to the end although she found some measure of happiness with Mickey Dean (Finn Wittrock) who would become her fifth and final husband. This film is very much a one-woman show just like Garland's stage performances were and Zellweger overcomes the superficiality of the project with her commanding presence giving what is easily her best screen performance.

The Chaperone (Simon West, 2019) 4/10

Exquisite production is such a damp squib. Julian Fellowes adapted the screenplay and the film has a whiff of "Downton Abbey" which deals with an early episode in the life of Louise Brooks (Hayley Lu Richardson) who would go on to become a dancer and silent-movie star during the 1920s and 1930s. Accepted at a prestigious dance school in New York she leaves her hometown of Wichita, Kansas and is chaperoned by a local matron (Elizabeth McGovern), who has her hands full keeping an eye on the sassy girl. The older woman has an agenda of her own for making the trip. Estranged from her husband (Campbell Scott) - a flashback reveals the reason for her marriage unravelling - she hopes to find her birth mother who left her in an orphanage when she was a child. She is disappointed when her mother (Blythe Danner), now married into money, wants nothing to do with her although is pleased to see her. Brooks' character is the backbone of this coming-of-age drama but apart from the familiar bob, which would go on to become her trademark "look", she seems like just any other horny teenager wanting to chase men for sex and attention. McGovern comes off better as the prissy woman who gets exasperated at the young girl's antics but recognizes her talent and also finds romance with a much younger jewish janitor (Géza Röhrig). The screenplay plays it safe avoiding issues of race, sex and resists anything provocative which makes the film a dull viewing experience.

Chance at Heaven (William A. Seiter, 1933) 2/10

Corny depression era drama involving a love triangle. Good natured garage owner (Joel McCrea), engaged to his childhood sweetheart (Ginger Rogers), falls head over heels in love with a dizzy rich blonde (Marian Nixon) from New York. The girl's mother breaks up the marriage and the lady waiting in the wings moves back in. Rogers and McCrea make a cute couple but this silly and implausable film is just a waste of time.

The Mysterious Doctor (Benjamin Stoloff, 1943) 5/10

Studio-bound horror film set in a small village in Cornwall during WWII. A headless ghost, assorted murders, a simple minded villager, a mysteriously abandoned tin mine, suspected Nazis, a feisty heroine (Eleanor Parker) and the local Baron (John Loder) are part of the formulaic but atmospheric plot.

Twenty Million Sweethearts (Ray Enright, 1934) 5/10

Cute musical was Ginger Rogers' first star-role. She gets to sing, romance a singing waiter (Dick Powell) who becomes a huge radio star helped by an unscrupulous agent (Pat O'Brien). Their marriage stumbles when he is romanced by "twenty million sweethearts" who fall in love with the crooner while listening to his songs on the radio. Powell, who is clearly the star here, introduces the hit number "I'll String Along With You". Despite Rogers getting her lead break she iss relegated to the sidelines. O'Brien does his usual obnoxious shtick. Remade loosely 15-years later as the Doris Day musical "My Dream Is Yours".

Ran (Akira Kurosawa, 1985) 10/10

Kurosawa's adaptation of Shakespeare's "King Lear" is a brilliant retelling which mixes Japanese history, Shakespeare's plot and his own feelings about loyalty. Set in medieval Japan, an aging ruler - Lord Hidetora (Tatsuya Nakadi) - decides to bequeath his kingdom equally to his three sons with the eldest having overall control. The two older sons shower him with words of love and appreciation while the younger son opposes their father's move calling him mad and a fool for thinking the brothers will stay united. Outraged by his son's audacity he banishes him and tells his other sons that he will retain an entourage of 30 warriors and live out his old age visiting both in turn. The younger son's prophecy comes true and the old man finds both his sons turning against him - first the eldest who, goaded on by his wife, Lady Kaedo (Mieko Harada), turns him out of the castle. She had waited all these years to take revenge on the old man for slaughtering her family and she now ruthlessly sets her plans in motion. The second son also turns his back on the old man and the two brothers go into battle against each other with the eldest getting slain and their father going mad and wandering the heath with only the company of a loyal bodyguard and his ever-faithful court Fool. His life now in ruins he turns to his banished son, is forgiven by him but the final outcome has tragic results. This magnificent epic, after a return to form with "Kagemusha" in 1980 which was his last critically acclaimed film, consolidated his position as one of the world's greatest film directors. It was indeed bitersweet as this re-emergence came after facing years of disapproval from critics and the public, failing health and a suicide attempt. There are many memorable sequences in the film starting with the opening boar hunt with galloping horses against a vast barren background, a brutal battle sequence shot in complete silence except for a soaring score as soldiers are brutally killed by arrows and swords, a gentle scene of the old mad man sitting in a field of flowers and every scene involving the cold, ruthless and sexually charged Lady Kaedo. Kurosawa, the production design and the film's breathtaking cinematography were all nominated for Oscars. It took over two years for the stunning costumes to be painstakingly created which are highlighted in the film with Kurosawa often directing the actors against bland coloured backgrounds allowing the green, orange, red and yellow costumes to jump out of the screen in all their splendor. The costume designers won a richly deserved Oscar. One of the great classics of the screen and a must-see.

Chernobyl (Johan Renck, 2018) 10/10

In April 1986, an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics becomes one of the world’s worst man-made catastrophes. Superbly made 5-part miniseries recreates the events of that night with riveting intensity and follows through with its aftermath with edge-of-the seat suspense and horror. A wonderful cast - Emily Watson, Jessie Buckley, Stellan Skarsgård - is anchored by Jared Harris in the lead as Valery Legasov who was the chief of the commission investigating the disaster. Thoughtful, frightening story makes you think, especially with a nuclear reactor literally in Islamabad's back yard. Won 10 Emmy awards with Harris, Skarsgård and Watson all nominated for their performances.

Bande à part / Band of Outsiders (Jean-Luc Godard, 1964) 10/10

Exciting early Godard when his films had a raw and very breezy quality. Everything looks natural on screen - the actors and their seemingly unrehearsed antics (although he did rehearse them) have a natural spontaneity which in his later films became overly self conscious and arty. Two friends (Sami Frey & Claude Brasseur), both movie buffs, spend their time wandering aimlessly through Paris looking for excitement. They find "her" in an english class, a bubbly but naive young girl (Anna Karina), with whom both fall in love forming a doomed love triangle while modeling themselves on popular American culture and getting up to crazy antics - dancing spontaneously, observing a minute's silence, running through the Louvre and carrying out a robbery. Godard's fascination with Hollywood style gangsters and guns is never far away from his plots. They decide to rob money stashed at her aunt's house on a whim and out of boredom while playing out their fantasies. Like all Godard films the snappy editing, crisp (b/w) cinematography (Raoul Coutard) and a jazzy score (Michel Legrand) play their part in creating cinema magic. Great fun and Karina - Godard's muse then - is an absolute delight.

Fabiola (Alessandro Blasetti, 1949) 8/10

Blasetti's film was the first large-scale sword-and-sandal epic made after the war and had a lot in common with MGM's lavish colour production of "Quo Vadis?" which came out two years later. Loosely based on the novel by Nicholas Patrick Wiseman, the film covers Roman politics during the 4th century reign of Emperor Constantine who was fast becoming partial to Christianity. At the center of the conflict between the Romans and Christians is the romance between Fabiola (Michèle Morgan), daughter of a senator (Michel Simon), and a gladiator (Henri Vidal) who is secretly a spy for the Emperor and believer of the new faith. The senator's radical acceptance of the Christian faith and of freeing slaves puts him at odds with Roman aristocracy and he is murdered and the Christians are accused. It all ends grimly in the arena with persecuted Christians condemned to die as both lovers find themselves fighting for their lives and watched by the blood thirsty population. Massimo Giroti plays the gentle Saint Sebastian who is martyred. The original 3-hour version of the film was dubbed and drastically cut by an hour for english speaking countries. It loses much of its impact in this truncated version but manages to retain a lot of the spectacle in this handsome production. Morgan and Vidal began their ill-fated relationship during the film's shoot leading to an unhappy marriage (caused by his drug addiction) which ended with his death a decade later.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:37 am

Sedotta e abbandonata / Seduced and Abandoned (Pietro Germi, 1964) 10/10

Germi's grotesque and hilarious comedy takes scornful digs at the hypocricies committed in the name of honour and justice. The savage screenplay, a misogynistic nightmare, takes a comic route in its dissection of Sicilian customs at the time - the crime of a minor's rape getting absolved in the eyes of the law if the perpetrator agrees to marry his victim. After a lunch party and during the afternoon siesta a young man (Aldo Puglisi), fiancé of his host's elder daughter, seduces the 15-year old younger daughter (Stefania Sandrelli). All hell breaks loose when the girl's father (Saro Urzì) discovers the girl's secret with matters bordering on mass hysteria when she is discovered to be pregnant. The angry and hapless father not only has to contend with his daughter's sullied honour but also has to face the villagers all of whom are following the scenario with glee. A deal is struck with the man's family - the elder daughter will break her engagement to their son, get engaged to an impoverished baron followed by the man getting married to the pregnant younger daughter. Matters instead go from bad to worse when the man, on second thought, insists on a wife who is a virgin and refuses to marry the girl who he seduced. A frantic plan is hatched, courtesy of a family lawyer, to get the cowardly brother of the girl to shoot her rapist so her honour is defended. Pandemonium ensues when the attempt is bungled and the police get involved. This serious subject is presented as an outright farce with Carlo Rustichelli's jaunty score and the frantic often over-the-top performances keeping things light. The film is stolen by the blustery Saro Urzì who gives an inspired comic performance as the old patriarch at his wit's end over the shenanigans of his brood of daughters. He deservedly won an acting prize at the Cannes film festival. Germi's inspired direction and the witty screenplay give even the most minor character a life arc as each stands out in a familiar and very funny way. Classic film is a must-see.

The Art of Racing in the Rain (Simon Curtis, 2019) 6/10

I hate it when a doggy dies in a film. It's the easiest way to wring tears from an audience. Actually it's a given that any story that revolves around a canine is going to be sentimental gush. This one allows a lead role to the tv star Milo Ventimiglia who plays a race car driver. Early on in the plot arrives the canine as he is picked up on a whim as a pup. The Golden Retriever is appropriately named Enzo - as in "Ferrari" - by his master and the film is narrated by the dog by way of gruff voiced Kevin Costner. The inbred oath of love, obedience and loyalty go hand in hand as he is witness to the ups and downs in the life of his master. Into their lives comes a girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried) and marriage followed by a daughter. Then tragedy strikes followed by a custody battle leading to a happy ending for the humans as well as the dog who doesn't go to heaven but according to Mongolian belief returns in human form. The philosophical thoughts by the dog threaten to get corny but if you are a dog lover its easy to forgive and wallow in all the goo on screen. Needless to say the dog is beautiful and a delight to watch.

A Dog's Journey (Gail Mancuso, 2019) 7/10

Why do these bastards always kill the dog? But in this sequel to "A Dog's Purpose", also based on the book by W. Bruce Cameron, the dog keeps getting reincarnated which is some consolation even if the death scenes bring on tears. Bailey, an elderly St. Bernard/Australian Shepherd mix, lives with his owner (Dennis Quaid) and his wife (Marg Helgenberger) on their Michigan farm. Also living with them is their late son's widow and baby daughter "CJ" (Emma Volk). The child's incompetent mother hates dogs, does not like her in-laws, dreams of being a singer and after an altercation moves out with her baby. Bailey is discovered to have cancer and while dying is told to look after baby "CJ". This sets up the reincarnation plot as the child grows up lonely and ignored by her mother with only different dogs in her life to keep her company. So Molly (a female Beagle), Big Dog (a male English Mastiff) and Max (a Biewer Terrier) come into her life and keep an eye on her as she goes through life aspiring to be a singer, reuniting with a childhood buddy with whom she finds love and returning back to her grandparents' home on the farm. Life comes around full circle for "CJ" and the dog Bailey. Sentimental story gets a boost with the presence of the delightful presence of different breeds of dogs (all voiced by Josh Gad). Joyful and heartwarming film strictly for dog lovers.

The Farewell (Lulu Wang, 2019) 6/10

This film seems to have touched a nerve considering its surprise boxoffice success especially in the United States. A gentle and often touching comedy-drama about Asian families with themes pretty much universal to almost all Asian countries. A Chinese family uses the excuse of a family wedding to get together in China after the matriarch (Shuzen Zhao) of the family is diagnosed with terminal cancer. They have collectively decided not to tell her about the seriousness of her illness so that her last few months are spent without worry. Her two sons, one living in Tokyo (who's son is getting married) and the other in New York, both arrive with their spouses. The only family member who opposes the idea of keeping the old lady in the dark is her grand daughter (Awkwafina) from New York. Raised in the United States she is at odds over her lifestyle with her conservative parents who have faced difficulty as immigrants adjusting between tradition and modernity. Awkwafina here is in sharp contrast to her previous role in "Crazy Rich Asians" - in fact I did not recognise her during the first half of the film - playing her part with a glum expression throughout getting the bulk of the film's rave reviews. I found her too one-note throughout and with a bad posture to boot, making her look like a hunchback. The film is stolen by the delightful Shuzen Zhao as the bossy old lady who is thrilled to have her family in her fold as she dispenses wise advice and despite her illness has a strong zest for life. A rather slight film which seems to have received an overrated positive reaction but which surprisingly avoids being overly sentimental and closes with a neat touch of positivity.

JoJo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019) 3/10

As if we already didn't have to contend with the likes of Wes Anderson's hipster films, we get this one from Waititi where he apes Anderson with characters straight out of Hanna-Barbera cartoons. A satire of WWII, critics are going gaga calling it "a twisted piece of grandly entertaining provocation", and "a feel-good movie" with "belly laughs". Maybe I watched a different film because I found this to be a self indulgent mess with every joke not only repetitious but falling completely flat - the repeated "Heil Hitler" salutes grate badly. The best sequence is during the opening credits with the Beatles singing the german version of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" as newsreels of germans saluting Hitler flash on screen. The film takes a downward trajectory right afterwards and continues on that path all the way to the end. A 10-year old boy desperately wants to be the best possible Nazi, a murderer of jews, defender of the motherland and has as his imaginary best friend Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi - horribly grotesque and unfunny doing a mincing take of Michael Palin during his Monty Python sketch). The child fails his Nazi military training at a youth camp, is branded a coward and gets scarred and injured when a grenade explodes - Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson and Alfie Allen play the goofy and psychotic officers in charge of the kids and are NOT funny doing their exaggerated shtick. Back home he is horrified to discover that his activist mother (a droll Scarlett Johansson taking a welcome break from the Marvel universe) has hidden a young jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) inside their house. He is surprised to find her quite normal and unlike the image in his mind of jews having horns and tails. The screenplay goes through great pains to repeatedly paint a picture of jews presented as racist stereotypes which the child has always throught to be the truth and which he later discovers to be untrue and a myth after interacting with the girl in hiding. I'm not sure who this whole idea was aimed at and if it was Waititi's jewish ancestry making him rebuke old common-held but nonsensical beliefs held throughout history about the jewish race. Nobody today even remotely believes that silly view although it may have been more apt to compare Israeli jews to Nazis - what Nazis did to the jews during the War, the jews have done the same to the Palestinians today. Now THAT might have been something worth exploring. Instead we get an overdose of absurdity posing as comic satire. Best stick to Mel Brooks' "The Producers" instead where it was really "Springtime for Hitler" bringing on genuine laughs.

La notte brava / The Big Night (Mauro Bolognini, 1959) 10/10

The wasted existence and moral decay of modern youth is the subject of Pier Paolo Pasolini's sex charged screenplay based on his own novel. The film covers the escapades over one day and night in the lives of three aimless small-time crooks (Laurent Terzieff, Jean-Claude Brialy, Franco Interlenghi) who have stolen a few guns and hope to fence them to make a quick buck. As decoys they pick up two prostitutes (Antonella Lualdi, Elsa Martinelli) who they find in the midst of a catfight and take them along. After unsuccessful attempts to get rid of the guns the girls take them to a person who pays them off. Picking up another prostitute (Anna Maria Ferrero) the three men plan on having sex with the girls and dumping them in the countryside. Instead the girls turn the tables on them and run off with their money. Not finding them they get involved in a fight with another gang, pick up three homosexuals and end up at a party - clearly implying the aftermath of an orgy as the men are seen casually reclining on sofas and the floor - where one of them steals the wallet of their gay host (Tomas Milian) and another falls in love with the host's sister (Mylène Demongeot who has a great scene lying asleep in bed (shades of Marilyn Monroe) as the sheet covering her is removed revealing her naked back down to her brief panties). One of the men escapes with the stolen wallet and goes to the house of his girlfriend (Rosanna Schiaffino) while the others continue their aimless wanderings leading to the dawn of another day. The fantastic cast, helped by the raw dialogue, bring a very modern touch to the proceedings. Pasolini would go on to explore similar alienated youth in his own films except he would keep away from glamorous stars hiring non professionals instead which brought a strong sense of realism to his plots. This is one of Bolognini's least known works but easily one of his best. Superbly scored and photographed on actual outdoor locations the film comes alive due to the exceptional cast including the bevy of beauties - Lualdi, Martinelli, Ferrero, Demongeot and Schiaffino - all of whom made Italian cinema exciting with their talent and presence during the 1960s.

Gli indifferenti / Time of Indifference (Francesco Maselli, 1964) 8/10

Crumbling aristocracy, during the Italian fascist period, is the subject of this film adapted from Alberto Moravia's first novel. The plot revolves around five characters as they claw at each other to hold on to a lifestyle as the world changes around them. An old woman (Paulette Goddard) tries to evade bailiffs who are threatening to auction off her villa after she has failed to pay her mortgage. She lives in the house with her daughter (Claudia Cardinale), son (Tomas Milian) and best friend (Shelley Winters). Her predatory ex-lover (Rod Steiger), and supposed family friend and father-like fivure to her children pretends to come to her recue. In reality he is hoping to purchase the villa at a throwaway price. Having also had an affair with the old widow's best friend he now makes his move hoping to marry the daughter to ensure an aristocrat breed. Both the son and daughter are indolent refusing to give up their rich lifestyle with the brother even pimping for his sister. She decides to accept a loveless marriage to the parasite to maintain her lifestyle while her brother contemplates getting a job but finds it easier to live off his mother's rich older friend instead. Both prefer a life condemned to prostitution rather than forsake their class stature. Sumptuously produced film has sets and costumes resembling a film by Visconti with moody photography by the great Gainni Di Venanzo who lit many of the films by Fellini and Antonioni.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Nov 02, 2019 10:07 pm

Dear Son (2018) Mohamed Ben Attia 6/10
Blinded by the Light (2019) Gurinder Chadha 4/10
Judy (2019) Rupert Goold 4/10
Harvest (1937) Marcel Pagnol 6/10
Gaza (2019) Garry Keane & Andrew McConnell 6/10
Dolemite Is My Name (2019) Craig Brewer 7/10
The Truce (1974) Sergio Renan 6/10
Sorry We Missed You (2019) Ken Loach 7/10
Lionheart (2019) Genevieve Nnaji 2/10
The Chambermaid (2019) Lila Aviles 6/10
My Son, My Son (1940) Charles Vidor 4/10
Adam (2019) Maryam Touzani 6/10
Like a Turtle on it's Back (1978) Luc Beraud 5/10
Another Day of Life (2018) Raul de la Fuente & Damian Nenow 6/10
The King (2019) David Michod 2/10

Repeat viewings

My Night at Mauds (1969) Eric Rohmer 9/10
Birdy (1984) Alan Parker 9/10
"I want cement covering every blade of grass in this nation! Don't we taxpayers have a voice anymore?" Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole) in John Waters' Desperate Living (1977)

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

Postby Reza » Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:36 am

Smart Woman (Gregory La Cava, 1931) 7/10

One of many delightful performances by the great Mary Astor who was usually stuck in subpar material forced onto her by the studios. Here she livens up an adaptation of a stage play as a woman who returns from a lengthy European holiday to find her husband (Robert Ames) has run off with another woman. Devastated at first she quickly devises a plan to win him back starting by inviting the "other woman" and her greedy mother to come stay for the weekend. Helping her with the charade is an admirer (John Halliday),whom she passes off as her lover, and a bumbling relative (Edward Everett Horton) who is also on her side. The ending is obvious, the screenplay witty and the cast appear to be having fun with their parts. La Cava brings his usual light sophisticated touch to the proceedings. Only Ames is terribly bland and one is left wondering why Astor is so desperate to win him back. It was the actor's last film as he died soon after of severe alcohol poisoning. The film has the MGM sheen all over it.

Those We Love (Robert Florey, 1931) 3/10

Sappy and boring story about a couple who meet cute during Armistice Day as WWI ends - he (Kenneth MacKenna) is a young author who has written his first book and she (Mary Astor) happens to pick up the first copy. They date, get married, have a child, years pass and then a vamp (Lilyan Tashman) makes a pass at him which he rebuffs. When he tells his wife her suspicious nature almost ends the marriage. Shoddy production is based on a play by George Abbott. Story starts pleasantly enough but disolves into soap opera. Astor disappears for long periods of time and the bland MacKenna just does not have any charisma to hold the story together. Fortunately Tashman is very good, dressed to her teeth mainly in butch attire which she carries off with great aplomb. Skip this one.

L'oro di Napoli / The Gold of Naples (Vittoria De Sica, 1954) 10/10

The film's most memorable scene has a tall and very slim Sophia Loren walking down a street in pouring rain as De Sica mischievously shoots her from the front as the camera focuses feverishly on her bouncing bra-less breasts followed by glimpses from the back looking on at her swaying sexy hips. A great star was thus born. It seems that De Sica took his cue from the film "Niagra", which came out a year before, in which Marilyn Monroe created her sexy walk across the screen to great acclaim. De Sica's film is an anthology of six short stories set in Naples and each is memorable in its own way. He uses the atmospheric and raw Neapolitan locations to create humourous, chaotic, sad and poignant vignettes acted to great perfection by a superb cast. A downtrodden family man (Totò), who works as a clown, lives in constant harrassment by his lodger - a hoodlum. Finally gathering strength he rebels against him and throws him out of the apartment. A pizza baker's sexy wife (Sophia Loren) loses her wedding ring during a sexual tryst with her lover and frantically searches for it with her cuckolded husband following her as they visit various households including that of a neighbour (Paolo Stoppa) who is utterly bereft and suicidal over the death of his wife. A heartbroken mother accompanies the coffin of her child to the cemetary as she is followed by a group of children unaware of the tragedy and only interested in getting candy. An impoverished nobleman and gambler (Vittorio De Sica) is reduced to playing cards with his doorman's young son. A prostitute (Silvana Mangano) is tricked into marriage by a rich man as he makes amends for the suicide of his real love. A bullying professor (Eduardo De Filippo) gets his comeuppance at the hands of his tenents. Despite the major stars in the film there is a strong touch of neo-realism (Cesare Zavattini had a hand in the screenplay) about the film with its natural settings away from the sound stages of a studio. The film was jointly produced by Dino De Laurentiis (married then to superstar Mangano) and Carlo Ponti (who would go on to marry the future superstar Loren). A classic of Italian cinema and a must-see.

Anna (Alberto Lattuada, 1951) 9/10

Anna, a nurse and a nun (Silvana Mangano), tends to patients at a hospital. When a man (Raf Vallone), critically injured in a car accident, is brought to the hospital she gets a shock when she recognizes him. The screenplay by Franco Brusati & Dino Risi - both would become acclaimed directors in the future - uses a flashback structure to examine the nun's former decadent life as a singer, dancer and sinner. Mangano gives a heartfelt performance as the nightclub samba dancer and torch singer sexually involved with a handsome and sleazy waiter (Vittorio Gassman) working at the club with her even though she is in love with another man whom she eventually marries. The former violent relationship intrudes into her married life resulting in murder which causes her to turn towards the Church. The film has two memorable hit songs - the catchy samba number, "El Negro Zumbòn" and the torch song, "Non Dimenticar", both enormous hits - which Mangano performs (dubbed by popular post-WWII Italian singer Flo Sandon's). Sophia Loren can be glimpsed in one of her very early wordless appearances during the nightclub sequence. Vallone and Gassman are both superb as the two very different men in love with Mangano and Gaby Morlay makes a strong impression as the stern but understanding Mother Superior. The film has a memorable score by Nino Rota, moody cinematography by Otello Martelli and was produced by Dino De Laurentiis and Carlo Ponti.

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

Postby Reza » Tue Oct 29, 2019 10:52 pm

La vena d'oro / Golden Vein (Mauro Bolognini, 1955) 9/10

Bolognini's romantic drama about an oedipal relationship is brought to the screen in sumptuous style delicately acted by a superb cast. A 16-year old boy (Terence Hill who still went by his original name here, Mario Girotti, years before he would find fame as "Trinity") lives with and dotes on his widowed mother (Märta Torén) who lavishes love in return. There is a playful intimacy between the two as she indulges her wide-eyed impressionable son. Into their cloistered life, also consisting of an old bossy maid, a flashy Contessa, who likes to chase after young men, and his childhood sweetheart, arrives a Professor of Archaeology (Richard Basehart) whom the boy idealizes and introduces to his mother. Jealousy rears its ugly head when his teacher and mother fall in love and the boy runs away. The film has a strong romantic current running through it which is capped during a magnificently staged new years eve celebration sequence set in a huge ballroom where the two adults deliriously dance staring into each other's eyes followed by a passionate kiss watched from a distance by the young boy quietly seething in anger. One of many period-set films masterfully directed with his usual sensitive touch by Bolognini.

I'll Get You For This (Joseph M. Newman, 1951) 6/10

British thriller, adapted from the pulp novel by James Hadley Chase, changes the book's Las Vegas location for Northern Italy giving the film an exotic touch. The lead character's profession however remains. A famous gambler (George Raft) is welcomed at a hotel on the Italian coast and provided red carpet treatment in the hope that his presence will attract a lot of gamblers at the casino. He meets up with a young woman (Coleen Gray) who has lost all her money at the table and while in his room both are drugged. When they awake there is a dead man in his room and he realises he has been framed for the murder. Going on the lam with the girl he tries to prove his innocence. Raft's strong presence and the rugged location (shot in San Remo) overcomes the clichés in the plot in what is a fairly atmospheric film.

Anna di Brooklyn / Fast and Sexy (Carlo Lastricati, 1958) 2/10

Corny comedy has Gina play a sexy (well duh!!) rich widow from Brooklyn who returns to her native village in Italy to hunt for a man to settle down with. The choice of men in town are the local cinema owner (Amadeo Nazzari), a randy old blueblood (Peppino De Filippo) and a dour blacksmith (Dale Roberyson). Obvious jokes fly fast and furious with none of them funny. She does get to take a bath in the garden while singing and then steps out from behind the makeshift curtain wrapped in a towel. It's always a thrill to watch this leading lady heaving her ample bosom as she struts about in tight outfits but the screenplay is too silly. The film's direction was "supervised" by Vittorio de Sica who plays the village priest. A complete waste of everyone's talent.

La provinciale / The Wayward Wife (Mario Soldati, 1953) 9/10

Solid melodrama with a superb central performance by Gina Lollobrigida. Based on the novel by Alberto Moravia the story has strong echoes of Émile Zola's "Nana" and Gustave Flaubert's "Madame Bovary". Moravia's stories were typically about the inability of the middle-classes to find happiness in traditional ways such as love and marriage. A young impressionable girl (Gina Lollobrigida) detests her hypocritical provincial life and falls in love with a childhood friend (Franco Interlenghi). However, she is forced by his rich father to stay away from him. The reason is not the obvious one she assumes and is shocked to discover the truth from her mother who had kept buried a shameful secret from her own past. Angry and dejected she gets married to a university professor (Gabriele Ferzetti) who rents a room in her mother's apartment. She finds marriage to be a bore as her husband spends most of his time buried in books. A friendship with a self-styled Romanian Contessa (Alda Mangini who is superbly slimy) introduces her to the "delights" of prostitution which she embraces at first with great relish as she flits from man to man as a means to escape her boredom. When the grasping woman starts blackmailing her she responds by attacking her with a knife. The screenplay begins with this episode and then a long flashback explains why she stabs her friend as a number of characters, through voiceovers, comment on the proceedings and relate the story. Soldati's film evokes the romanticism and sense of doom found in the cinema of Max Ophuls and Jean Renoir with the feisty Lollobrigida giving a remarkable performance as the naive young woman who quickly matures as she tries to keep afloat through the ups and downs of life.

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

Postby Reza » Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:09 am

Gisaengchung / Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019) 10/10

Savage black comedy runs extremely close to home especially in households where the "master-servant" dynamics are very much the norm. Bong Joon-Ho's satire is not set during the era of "Downton Abbey" where that structure was fixed solid in a tight grip with nobody "crossing the line" between the class structures. It is of course different today and while that structure still exists in many countries there is an obvious undercurrent of danger simmering just below the surface. The brilliant screenplay goes on to present a situation where the line between classes gets crossed and does so in a scene that is almost farcical but ends with a horrific sadness at its core. A poor family elk out a dismal existence making cardboard boxes while living in a sub-basement hovel. Yet they are upbeat and enterprising and always on the lookout for a break. They get it in a big way when the son gets a job as tutor to the daughter in a rich household. He soon manages to get his sister employed there as art teacher to the young eccentic child of the rich couple. After first getting the driver dismissed, and later the housekeeper too, the two poor kids manage to get their father and mother employed there as well all pretending to be strangers to each other. At first all seems to be going well for both families - the rich masters and their four employees - but simmering just below the surface there is resentment about the social inequality on both sides as it surfaces gradually through conversations and small actions. When it finally explodes the initial exhilaration ends in devastation. The film is almost like an absurdist play - it can easily be adapted into one - where the director uses the magnificent modern house as his stage on which his characters can be seen interacting. In fact many scenes are shot from the backyard garden looking in through the large windows as we view the characters moving through this tragicomedy. Superbly directed - the film marvelously balances different tones (farce, horror, tragedy) and is acted to perfection by the entire cast, this is one of the best - if not the best - film of the year. It won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes film festival and is South Korea's submission at the Oscars where it deserves not only to win in the foreign language category but also the top prize. A must-see.

The Catcher Was a Spy (Ben Lewin, 2018) 6/10

Old-school spy thriller, based on a true story, is set during WWII in Europe. Moe Berg (Paul Rudd), a major league baseball player with the Boston Red Sox, leads a double life working for the OSS (a precursor to the CIA). A Princeton graduate, proficient in seven languages, he is recruited after photographing key naval dockyards in Tokyo while on a baseball jamboree with his team just before the war. His assignment is to seek out a German physicist - Werner Heisenberg (Mark Strong) - thought to be working on the atom bomb project just like the Manhattan Project back home, and assassinate him. The screenplay touches on his private life hinting at his homosexuality - he keeps his girlfriend (Sienna Miller) emotionally at a distance - but does not develop it any further despite it being brought up numerous times. To get to a contact in Europe he accompanies the 5th Army, along with a soldier (Guy Pearce) and another physicist (Paul Giamatti), during their move to liberate Italy which involves them in the thick of battle finally making contact with a scientist (Giancarlo Giannini) who happens to be in touch with the target. The film has a great supporting cast - Jeff Daniels, Connie Nielsen, Ben Miles, Tom Wilkinson - playing small but pivotal roles. The best part of the film is the glowing cinematography - shot in yellow hues by Andrij Parekh - beautiful buildings, cobbled streets and churches in which many of the scenes are set. Enjoyable and entertaining.

Eagle Eye (D.J. Caruso, 2008) 5/10

The concept of "Big Brother" watching every move is taken to an absolute extreme in this highly prepostrous plot which is certainly not without fun. It's a slapdash, extremely manic and absurd action packed film with lashings of Hitchcock ("Rear Window" and "North By Northwest" get a strong look-in) borrowed quite freely. Two ordinary Chicagoans are suddenly thrust together and go on a rollercoaster ride literally to hell and back with the FBI (Billy Bob Thornton) and the Air Force (Rosario Dawson) in strong pursuit. He (Shia LaBeouf ) is a non-conformist layabout and she is a divorced mother (Michelle Monaghan) of a little boy. Both receive a mysterious phone call and are forced to go on the run receiving instructions as they go along. They are surrounded by watchful eyes as cameras, cell phones, computers and every kind of technology closely follows their every move. As in all such plots there is a deep rooted conspiracy involving higher ups in the government and a mother computer â la "Hal" (from the old Kubrick film) which seems to be in total control and seems to be in terrorist mode. The action set-pieces involve a lot of CGI, car crashes, assorted chase sequences and on top of it all we get to see LaBeouf's disgusting habit of drooling spit which bathes his lower lip in disgusting close-ups. It all leads to the Pentagon where the woman's son is part of a school choir with the sound of his trumpet a catalyst for destruction (shades of Hitchcock again - "The Man Who Knew Too Much"). Just put your brain in quarter mode, buy a tub of popcorn, sit back and go along on this ludicrous ride.

Cult of the Cobra (Francis D. Lyon, 1955) 6/10

This takes its cue from the Val Newton horror films of the 1940s ("Cat People") and Maria Montez's "Cobra Woman" and comes up with a fairly exciting B-film. In actuality it's almost a remake of the two classic Indian films, both called "Nagin", where the female snake (played in human form by Vyjayanthimala in the 1954 version and Reena Roy in the 1976 version) takes revenge on a group of men who have killed her lover. Here the snake-woman is played by Faith Domergue who goes after six American GIs. While on a sojourn in Burma and about to head home after the war, the six close buddies manage to secretly attend a cult religious ceremony and see a cobra transform into a woman. Discovered they manage to run away but not before the High Priest puts a curse on them, promising that the Snake Goddess will kill all of them. The six actors playing the GIs all later became famous in hit tv series - Richard Long ("The Big Valley"), Marshall Thompson ("Daktari"), William Reynolds ("The F.B.I."), Jack Kelly ("Maverick"), David Janssen ("The Fugitive") and James Dobson ("Boots and Saddles"). The plot thereafter takes on an Agatha Christie turn as one by one the cobra strikes while falling in love with one of her proposed victims. Domergue plays the snake-woman with a deep sense of vulnerability, hidden beneath a sexual and exotic exterior, which adds interesting shades to the character. Campy fun despite a slow middle section.

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

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Oct 26, 2019 10:47 pm

Wounds (2019) Babak Anuari 2/10
Emitai (1971) Ousmane Sembene 6/10
Hagbard and Signe (1967) Gabriel Axel 4/10
The Tomorrow Man (2019) Noble Jones 3/10
The Empty Canvas (1963) Damiano Damiani 6/10
Foreign Body (2017) Raja Amari 4/10
The Mover (2018) Davis Simanis Jr. 4/10

Repeat viewings

Bell Book and Candle (1958) Richard Quine 6/10
The Bedroom Window (1987) Curtis Hanson 7/10
The Killing of Sister George (1968) Robert Aldrich 10/10
Pauline at the Beach (1983) Eric Rohmer 9/10
Invincible (2001) Werner Herzog 7/10
"I want cement covering every blade of grass in this nation! Don't we taxpayers have a voice anymore?" Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole) in John Waters' Desperate Living (1977)

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

Postby Reza » Thu Oct 24, 2019 1:45 pm

Les noces rouges / Wedding in Blood (Claude Chabrol, 1973) 8/10

Chabrol's story about adultery and murder, based on a true scandal, led to the film being banned in France. We are in James M. Cain territory with a pair of fornicating lovers, trapped in passionless marriages to others, who desperately grapple every chance they get. The sex scenes take on an almost animalistic frenzy as the couple paw at each other like beasts aiming for a kill. A leftist politician and deputy mayor (Michel Piccoli), married to a frigid and sickly woman, takes up with the wife (Stéphane Audran) of the town's conservative but corrupt mayor (Claude Piéplu). When the sick woman dies suddenly the town gossips think it's suicide but there is more to it than that. It is soon followed by the mayor's discovery of his wife's affair which leads to further complications for the lovers. Chabrol alternates the frenzied sex with scenes of numbing dullness as the characters go about their daily lives interacting with each other at the dining table or watching television. The film is a scathing and very funny indictment of provincial France, a theme common to most of the director's films, as he reveals the suffocating courtly existence of the rural bourgeoisie as forbidden passions simmer just below the surface ready to erupt in the most unexpected ways.

Sommarlek / Summer Interlude (Ingmar Bergman, 1951) 8/10

The film that finally brought an upward shift in Bergman's career. It was his tenth film, vaguely autobiographical and based on a summer affair he had with a woman years before. The film takes on the tone of a lyrical memory piece. A successful but jaded and depressed ballerina (Maj-Britt Nilsson), at 28-years of age, feels that her life is missing something concrete. When she receives an old diary it jogs her memory of the time spent years before at an old summer home. Frolics on and around the lake and a romance with a handsome student form the basis of the plot. It is to the credit of Nilsson's charming performance, full of youthful exhuberance, that enhances what is essentially a rather simple story about loss of innocence, returning to the realities of present life and moving forward despite the odds. She plays the part as very dour during the scenes set in the present but is full of energy during the flashback as Bergman shoots his film on lovely locations. This was in sharp contrast to his set-bound previous films as locations would play a stark and important part in almost all his films to come. He also uses dramatic close-ups of faces. The ballerina's face appears at the beginning with the camera a few inches away from her face reflecting the depth of her anguish. Such shots would become his trademark as the female face, body and form would be observed at extremely close quarters displaying the slightest of emotions which would magnify on the big screen creating many dramatic moments. The film's dream-like past is joyfully filmed with the actor's framed and making love against the backdrop of magnificent lakes, hilly greenery and the seashore. There is also a sense of foreboding at its center - a creepy older male relative, strange bird-like sounds and jagged rocks - foreshadowing a tragedy to come which forms the inner turmoil of the ballerina. This is a lovely little film full of themes and directorial touches which Bergman would improve on during the decade and beyond.

La truite / The Trout (Joseph Losey, 1982) 7/10

Losey again explores the theme of power struggle between the classes using sex as a tool, a theme he also used with ferocious intensity in "The Servant" and "The Damned". A trout breeder's daughter (Isabelle Huppert) learns very early on in life, closely observing her own father, that men are pigs and decides to use sexual allure to get what she wants and move out of her grimy environment. At the local bowling alley she and her gay husband con a rich businessman (Jean-Pierre Cassel) much to the annoyance of his wife (Jeanne Moreau) who sees through the girl her husband is so smitten by. Both he and his business partner are instantly attracted to her and she takes off to Japan with the younger of the two but keeps him at arm's length while also attracting the attentions of an elderly Japanese man and a rich American woman (Alexis Smith). When her husband falls ill she returns home and gets involved with the rich old man while trying to destroy his marriage. Losey, using flashbacks and a constantly moving camera (the great Henri Alekan shot the film), shows us this woman as a young girl who quickly learns the ropes of manipulation which she uses with guileless frigidity as she toys with people's emotions during the present. Losey had planned this film during the 1960s with Brigitte Bardot who seems more in keeping with the character. It's hard to believe why so many men are attracted to Huppert at first - one can much easily picture someone like Bardot in the part instead - but the actress manages to brilliantly inhabit this intensely flawed character getting into her skin completely. She remains detached from the men she is seducing while retaining her innocence. Well acted film with a great cast of veteran actors supporting Huppert.

Mission Mangal (Jagan Shakti, 2019) 3/10

"Mangalyaan", the Mars Orbiter Mission, is the space probe orbiting Mars. Launched by the Indian Space Research Organization in 2013 it was the country's first interplanetary mission which created two records. It made India the first Asian nation to reach Martian orbit and the first nation to get there on its maiden attempt. Bollywood, in its usual patriotic fervour, has taken on this eventful national episode and has come up with a typical masala potpourri with lashings of sentiment aimed squarely at the common man on the street. If you are expecting something like "Gravity" or "The Martian", please look elsewhere. The star-producer, Akshay Kumar, is on a roll with his films - made toilets and feminine hygeine products fashionable in India courtesy of two previous hit films. Now he brings space exploration to the masses with an underlying political whiff very much in tune with PM Modi's putrid ethnic cleansing rant. There are not too subtle digs at Islam when a young Hindu boy wishes to explore an alternate religion - reads the Quran, prays, praises the Urdu language and writes Sufi songs only to be constantly ridiculed by his father. This is supposedly played for laughs but the message is quite obvious and these moments just come off as pathetic, trite and cringeworthy. Kumar, as a senior space scientist, surrounds himself with a bevy of female co-stars who play saree-clad space scientists as his rookie team on the project - the project manager / homemaker (Vidya Balan) with a whining husband (Sanjay Kapoor) at odds with his teenage son who is exploring Islam - the recently married (Nithya Menen) under pressure from her in-laws to get pregnant (which she does), a modern woman (Sonakshi Sinha) - she smokes and is first seen in bed with a man (although she is fully clothed - hey, this is a "family film") who wants to work for NASA, an Army officer's wife (Taapsee Pannu) struggling to pass a driving test, a divorced muslim (Kriti Kulhari) discriminated against by landlords. The two men on the team are an old man wondering why his son ignores him and another (Sharman Joshi) who is still a virgin and the butt of the women's jokes. When a rocket launch goes awry the leader of the project (Akshay Kumar) is shunted aside and given the impossible Mars mission to work on. Funds assigned are low, his team consists of mainly women and the building assigned to them is decrepit (allowing the women to spruce it up while singing and dancing to the song "Dil Mein Mars Hai" - a corny WTF moment). The screenplay's simplistic approach avoids scientific jargon and explains momentum, thrusts and other complicated technical rocket movements using cooking techniques as examples. Only Vidya Balan's character gets a complete arc - with scenes at home with her family and as the obsessed scientist at work who comes up with all kinds of solutions mainly from her experiences at the kitchen stove. All the other stars are totally wasted playing underdeveloped characters including Akshay Kumar who flits about barking orders, saluting the rocket, passing wisecracks or getting drunk (a funny sequence on the subway has him drunk and acosted by male passengers and all his female colleagues beat the shit out of the attacker with their handbags - a scene written strictly for and played to the gallery). Oh yes, the Mars mission is a success against all odds but getting to it you have to wade through a lot of sentimental rubbish and pariotic breast thumping. The film has been a massive success at the boxoffice. Films like this actually make me happy that our government has banned Indian films at the cinema.

Padre padrone (Vittorio & Paolo Taviani, 1977) 8/10

Harrowing story of Gavino Ledda (Fabrizio Forte / Saverio Marconi), son of a Sardinian shepherd (Omero Antonutti, who grew up to become a famous linguist. At age 6 the child is taken out of school by his father and made to work on their farm. The child is repeatedly beaten by his harsh father as the Taviani brothers frame these two characters amongst the vast Italian landscape taking on a scathing look at the ignorance and brutality of a patriarchal rural life. The screenplay focuses on the young boy's life of loneliness and alienation - he talks to the sheep and they talk back - as he struggles to make sense of his life finally finding an outlet in language as he learns to read and write despite fierce opposition from his father. There are other boys around him similarly mistreated by their fathers and this appears to be the way of forcing sons into subjugation to carry on their family business. Army life becomes an escape when he comes of age where he learns to read and write. A confrontation with the father results in his absolution and escape to University, freedom and his final coming of age as a famous linguist. The film is strongly influenced by the neo-realism movement - the directors decided to make films after seeing "Paisan" as teenagers and it was the director of this classic neo-realist drama - Roberto Rossellini - who was on the Cannes film festival jury which voted this film the Palme d'Or.

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

Postby Sabin » Tue Oct 22, 2019 2:25 am

/Green Book/ (Peter Farrelly) - 3.5/10

Not entirely sure why I rewatched this film. But here we are.

My assessment of the film after a first viewing was that it had some charm but narratively and message-wise it was a mess. Watching it now, the charm is reduced and the problems are pronounced. Just too damn much of this film is miscalculated down to its bones. Tony might not be a Klan member at the start of the film but he's truly racist, to the point where the film goes out of its way to depict like power games he plays with POC at the start of the film. The film is telling us that he has a character flaw that needs to be fixed by the journey of the film -- and it doesn't. Not only does it fail to teach Tony anything, it does one of the most baffling 180's I've seen in a while. The film decides almost halfway through the film that Tony is healed (despite eating no crow or put through any trials). Not only that, but in the scene where Tony is completely tolerant of homosexuality, it is telling us "There is more to Tony that meets the eye." It paints this racist as enlightened in a way that absolutely does not line up with the character we've seen. From there on out, the film is about how Shirley needs to change and the film is just not equipped to deal with his character and the message goes entirely flat. For starters, the meaning behind the tour is quite unexplained. There is mention that Shirley is doing this tour to confront racism yet every spark of racism seems to catch him completely off-guard. He's truly baffled by it at every turn. This choice makes him look foolish. The film paints Shirley as simultaneously elevated and tragically pessimistic. In this sense, Mahershala Ali's Oscar was not undeserved in how he makes the character make any kind of sense.

I will say this: I want Green Book to work as a film. I don't necessarily want it to ever win Best Picture but I am not against movies like this existing. They just need to be better... Actually, screw that. They need to be competent. Green Book is not. It is painfully confused. The most charitable reading of the film is that it's a bunch of stuff that happened that was written into a script and plays out with bafflingly off-kilter results, occasionally making great use of its beautiful cast, but just as often making them look foolish. Extra points bc Peter Farrelly is just too good at making road movies.

To sum up, Green Book avoids being a White Savior Film and a Magical Negro Film and ends up being nothing.
"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough." ~ FDR

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

Postby Reza » Mon Oct 21, 2019 2:14 pm

Les Maudits / The Damned (René Clément, 1947) 9/10

Memorable film is shot on a remarkable set depicting the interior of a U-boat with cinematographer Henri Alekan's extraordinary tracking shots through the length of the cramped and claustrophobic submarine. On the eve of Germany's defeat during WWII a number of wealthy individuals board a U-boat in Oslo which is bound for South America. During a depth charge attack a woman (Florence Marley), wife of an Italian fascist nobleman (Fosco Giachetti) and lover of a Nazi general, is seriously injured. A french doctor (Henri Vidal) is kidnapped from shore and taken on board. The passengers also include a sadistic Nazi (Jo Dest), in a homosexual relationship with his traveling soldier companion (Michel Auclair), a french journalist (Marcel Dalio), a Swedish businessman and his teenaged daughter. When news arrives on the radio of the German army's defeat and Hitler's death it sets off a chain of reactions - disbelief by the Nazis who think it is a hoax, panic amongst the sympathizers who either attempt suicide or try to escape. The french doctor, in constant danger, also tries to escape or face certain death at the hands of the Nazis. The gradual psychological collapse of this group depicts the disintegration of the Nazi empire which is viewed through the eyes of the doctor who is also the film's narrator. Gritty war film mixes elements of noir with suspense as Clément keeps the action moving at a fast pace inside and above the submarine while providing a probing look at each individual character and their dynamics with each other. The film won a special prize at the Cannes film festival.

Une Vie / Una Vita / One Life (Alexandre Astruc, 1958) 8/10

Guy de Maupassant's celebrated first novel comes to the screen in a truncated version. Like William Wyler's adaptation of Emily Brontë's "Wuthering Heights", only the first part of the novel is filmed. Both stories revolve around tragic heroines born during a time when women were mere pawns in the hands of men to do with as they pleased. The great Maria Schell was born to play tragic roles. Her doe-like trusting eyes spoke volumes of the hurt her characters kept hidden deep inside. A waif-like idealistic woman of means (Maria Schell), just out of a convent and gifted a farm by her wealthy parents, falls madly in love with a self loathing young neighbour (Christian Marquand) who is a compulsive womanizer. Soon after they are married he begins to treat her like dirt taking up with his wife's best friend (Pascale Petit) and getting her pregnant. He follows that by having an affair with the wife (Antonella Lualdi) of his newly-married best friend (Ivan Desny). The cuckold's revenge is one of the film's highlights along with the beautiful Normandy locations shot in stunning colour by the great Claude Renoir. Every image - in dramatic reds, greens and yellows - is like an impressionistic painting as these tragic characters move through life accompanied by a lilting score by Roman Vlad. The equally tragic second half of the story, involving the woman's son, is not filmed which is almost a relief considering the relentless downbeat life of this woman which is shown in such painful detail.


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