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Discussion in 'The Moving Picture' started by Amy Jeanne, Aug 5, 2007.
I also watched Outlaw King a while ago. I agree with you guys: underwhelming.
Watched "Genius" last night and really liked it. Not a big fan of Jude Law but thought he did good work here... the character almost demanded an over the top performance and while Law skirted the boundary I thought he did not cross over into characiture. The rest of the cast was solid.
Act of Violence on TCM’s Sunday evening programing called L.A. Noir. I have seen both of tonight’s movies a few times and would definitely consider them to be a major upgrade over last night’s viewings.
Obvious Child 2014
There are a lot of movies and TV shows out there, like this one, about the life of a young adult, who seems to have a pretty good life - caring parents, a good job or a career opportunity, decent friends, etc. - but they are miserable and self destructive because of a bad event growing up, a current breakup / setback or just an inability to resist bad instincts / make, what most would consider, good choices
You are left to decide if these are just spoiled kids who should "buck up" and "lean in" or if they are damaged in a heartbreaking way
One thing these movies aren't is uplifting as there is no bigger issue at play / the protagonists have no great moral purpose or goal / they simply are struggling with life in a Chekhovian way, "...it's the day to day living that wears you out."
Waterloo Bridge 1940
Completely by chance, this movie proved an interesting contrast to Obvious Child as the female protagonist (the you've-got-to-be-kidding-me-she-can't-be-this-beautiful Vivien Leigh) is about the same age as Obvious Child's protagonist and is equally struggling to deal with life, but she's making the right decisions, she's trying at work and in her personal life to make things better even as life keeps throwing one after another big boulder in her way
While the backdrop is WWI, it's really a personal story of how Leigh's character deals with a career setback, no money and the potential loss of a fiancee to war; hence, her really-up-against-it decision to turn to the oldest profession in the world is understandable, but forces her to make a brutally hard decision later when the war is over and her fiancee surprisingly reappears
In case you haven't seen it, I'll leave it there, but whether you agree with Leigh's decisions or not, you feel this woman - who is far from perfect - has more grit, more moral character and more emotional strength in one finger than the woman from Obvious Child has in her entire body
Wicked as They Come (1956)
Woman with insatiable appetites climbs through a succession of progressively wealthier and gullible men.
Almost campy plotting leading to typical '50s-style comeuppance which is marred by a clumsy quasi-redemptive ending. Still, fun and solidly produced.
I guess Joan Crawford was too old for the role by this time as it reads like a 1940s' Crawford movie plot.
Watched "Love in the Time of Cholera" last night on Netflix". Not a fan of the movie. Found it really clunky and none of the characters drew me into caring about them in spite of the story. Javiar Bardem's character exuded no pathos whatsoever, he was just a weird guy, really weird. And as the movie covered over 50 years of his life could not get passed...."Oh, there is Javiar play acting at being an old man." He went to the actor's guild school of how to shuffle like an old man and at all points looked like he was 'thinking' about how to shuffle correctly.
Two mindless Amy Schumer movies (I was sick, so didn't need anything depressing).
I Feel Pretty and Trainwreck. Both were underwhelming.
Normally I would rave about some swell movie I watched, but this time I bear bad tidings: Extinction with Michael Pena, and Io with two people I've never seen before. Both through the Vidangel filter service. I made myself watch both to the end thinking there must be something big to wind it up.
Tully, a recent film with Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, and Ron Livingston. About a mega-exhausted mother of three (Theron reportedly gained 50 pounds for the role!) who gets a "night nanny" to assist her through her newborn's infancy. Weird flick with a third-act surprise I won't reveal. It's okay, but definitely not essential viewing.
We had that one last summer, and there are heads here still shaking about it.
Night Must Fall 1937 starring Robert Montgomery, Rosalind Russell and Dame May Whitty
Solid story and wonderful actors, but it only adds up to a good, not great, movie, why? The movie needed Hitchcock to direct.
In a quiet English countryside, a woman is murdered adjacent to the cottage of a wealthy old woman who rules tyrannically over her staff, which includes a hired-as-an-aid niece and, as the movie starts, a young man just hired as handyman and companion. There's no mystery here as, in the opening scene, we see the young man - played with manic enthusiasm by Montgomery - burying the dead-woman's body.
After that, the next two hours are spent, mainly, in the claustrophobic cottage with the badgering old aunt, Whitty, oblivious to the risk and her young niece, Russell, aware but still intrigued by Montgomery's psychotic but engaging personality as the police slowly bring the investigation closer to the cottage and Montgomery.
It's Hitchcockian without Hitchcock's touch. You don't viscerally feel the police slowly closing in and increasing the panic in Montgomery's character. The aunt is boringly mean and two dimensional while never having a real moment of doubt or reflection. Only Russell brings some Hitchcockian nuance as, even though she becomes increasingly aware of Montgomery's pathology, she can't fully deny her attraction to him. Finally, Hitchcock would have made the climatic murder-and-capture scene gripping and emotionally purging; whereas, here it's plodding.
Good movie that needed Hitchcock.
A TCM offering...."Rachel, rachel" with Joanne Woodward, directed by her hubby. Right off the bat I have to say I am a big Woodward fan, I have never seen her in a subpar performance so I come with a bias. I really liked this film. Found it sweet and touching. Newman did a stellar job on the direction as well. This is a film that has aged well.
Pre-screeened a 35mm print of "The Searchers" to be shown Saturday as part of a statewide John Ford film festival, Ford being a Maine boy and all.
I don't particularly like westerns, and I'm not a fan of Mr. Wayne at all, so let's get that right out first. This is not a film I would have chosen to screen if it was up to me, because, while the visuals are spectacular -- especially in 35mm as God and the Motion Picture Patents Corporation intended -- it's that the film has absolutely nothing to say to me. If I could have had my choice of Ford films, I'd have picked "Grapes Of Wrath," but it wasn't up to me.
There are scenes in the film that are absolutely wrenching. The shot of the Cavalry riding thru the burning Comanche village herding the survivors like cattle reads less like Manifest Destiny and more like the SS in Warsaw, which I doubt was Ford's authorial intent, but nevertheless there is is. And the casual, dismissive cruelty with which Jeffrey Hunter treats the Comanche woman he has inadvertantly married is repulsive. Women are nonentities in this picture -- they're either prizes to be fought over or props to be tossed aside once their utility has been exhausted. If, as he has said, George Lucas used this film as a template for "Star Wars," it would explain a lot.
But there are some pleasant things here. As noted, the photography, in the short-lived VistaVision process, has a depth and a vigor you'll never find in any kind of a digital presentation -- after five years running DCP, to see real film on a real screen with this kind of visual power was a reminder of why I got into this business in the first place. Leave out the two hours of The Duke throwing racial slurs at Comanches and waving his gweat big -- gun barrel -- around, and just give me a John Ford Technicolor travelogue, and I'd be a lot happier.
Jeffery Hunter was pretty good in his role, although he looks nothing like a teenager. He's a lot thinner and rangier then he ever was in his two best-known roles, Jesus Christ and Captain Pike, and the look suits him -- I'm amazed he never got a starring role in a black-and-white TV western. He could have given Connors and Garner and the rest of that bunch a run for their money. And it was amusing to see Ken Curtis in a pre-Gunsmoke variation on Festus -- less whiskers but just as much "comedy relief." As for Vera Miles, they could have rented a mannequin and just stood her up there for all the acting she got a chance to do.
I know it's Critically Acclaimed and a Landmark Of The Genre and all that, but meh. Now, "Grapes of Wrath," that's a hell of a picture...
I way prefer Once Upon a Time in the West to any John Ford, blasphemous though that may be.
Next time it's on - TCM ran it this past summer - check out "No Down Payment -" Woodward outacts the rest of the cast in that one.
Polar, a movie on Netflix with Mads Mikkelson (probably most famous for being the villain in Casino Royale). It was...different. He plays an assassin who must retire at age 50; but his company boss tries to cut costs (assassins pay into a pension plan for years) by killing them once they hit their 50th birthday. Not for the faint of heart!
Ant-Man and Wasp. I loved this movie (saw it in the theater when it came out) as I think it's one of the less-serious Marvel movie franchises out there.
Caught the tail end of the original 1937 "A Star Is Born" on TCM last night, and was struck again how good Frederic March is as Norman Maine (or Alfred Henkel, as the case may be), and how Janet Gaynor manages to make her part work despite being about ten years too old for the character she's playing. It's a pity this film has been so badly abused by distributors over the years, because what you can see of the original Technicolor design underneath all the grain and speckles makes you wish a really pristine version exisited. The color is subtle and really does contribute to the story, as opposed to the gaudy daubing that Natalie Kalmus would be dishing out a few years later.
Incidentally, why is Ben Mankiewicz gradually turning into Joe Flynn? When they do the "McHale's Navy" reboot, he's a cinch.
Finally got around to Batman v Superman. Only seen half of it so far, but I quite like it. The brooding, took-itself-too-seriously tone that ruined Justice League (even moreso than the rubbish script and awful, unlikeable take on the Flash) works quite well here, and I enjoyed the idea of a flawed, more "human" Superman being called to account for his mistakes, and his fce-off with Batman. I liked Affleck as the Batman, actually - especially this take which again emphasised his vigilante / rough justice nature.
TBH, this sounds like most celebrated French 'thrillers' I've ever encountered. La Haine bored me to tears.
I think the crowd have been a little harsh on Outlaw King. I quite liked it as a bit of campy entertainment; not the best film ever, though certainly vastly superior in its representation of history to Braveheart (the latter bearing less of a relationship to actual Scottish history than Lord of the bleedin' Rings). It's biggest flaw, in my mind, is that it totally misses out (bar a glancing almost-reference that anyone not looking for it would miss) the one thing the Bruce is most famous for: regaining his nerve / drive while watching a spider repeatedly trying to spin its web in the cave in which he was hiding. At least they didn't put him in woad and a kilt, though.... I did do a belly laugh of disbelief at the caption that appeared at the end, though - the one about how Scotland was an independent nation for several hundred years, and then a Scottish King took rule over all of Britain. Yeah..... that's one way of looking at it..... (Nobody say "Culloden"!).
Is the former as questionable viz gender politics as the trailer made it look?
I too enjoyed Batman vs. Superman moreso than most. I also enjoyed it more than that which I have seen of the Justice League film. I have yet to be able sit through all of it. I am not a big fan of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. I do like Henry Cavill as Superman and Ben Affleck as Batman.