What Was The Last Movie You Watched?

Discussion in 'The Moving Picture' started by Amy Jeanne, Aug 5, 2007.

  1. Zombie_61

    Zombie_61 I'll Lock Up

    Sharp observations. The movie script was based on the 1927 Broadway play in which Bela Lugosi also starred as Dracula, not on Bram Stoker's novel. Also, it's reported that director Tod Browning was still distraught over the death of his friend Lon Chaney Sr. (who would have starred in the movie if he hadn't died in August of 1930) during filming and, during drunken bouts, would haphazardly tear pages out of the script that he thought were redundant or unnecessary. And Carl Laemmle Sr. (President of Universal Studios at the time) ordered the movie to be re-edited to remove scenes that "gave him the heebie-jeebies" after viewing Browning's initial version. It's a wonder the movie is as coherent as it is, and these (and other production problems/decisions) very much give the movie the feeling that it is what it is--a filmed version of the stage production with bits and pieces missing. For that, and other reasons, it's probably my least favorite of the Universal "horror legacy" movies.
     
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  2. MisterCairo

    MisterCairo I'll Lock Up

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    Sing Street, cute Irish film about teens starting a band. Apparently the leads can listen to a song, and immediately copy the sound and feel, everyone from Hall and Oates to The Cure. I impressed my daughters by digging out my copy of the LP Head on the Door and playing In Between Days...
     
  3. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

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    Isle of Dogs. Ugh. What the hell happened to Wes Anderson? I was really impressed with his first few films (Rushmore, The Royal Tennenbaums), but he's retreated so far into his own universe of preciousness in the last decade that his movies are hermetically sealed dispatches from a dreamland of one-dimensional characters and overwrought production design.

    But I had to try it, because Fantastic Mr. Fox was pretty much the last one of his films that I liked, and I'm a hardcore animation fan. Alas, I hated it even more than his recent live-action features.
     
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  4. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    To say nothing of his rampant anti-cat propaganda. Offensive.
     
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  5. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    14,617
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    New York City
    A Patch of Blue from 1965 with Sidney Poitier, Elizabeth Hartman and Shelly Winters

    Is it contrived, manipulative and 1960's silly idealism - yes, but I love it anyway. A blind, white eighteen-year-old girl (Hartman), living in a tenement with an abusive mother (Winters), accidentally meets a college-educated young black businessman (Poitier) in the park one day and develops a relationship that opens up Hartman's meanly circumscribed world while pushing Poitier - whose initial intent is simply to help this wounded bird of a young girl - into the, for the time, dangerous world of a possible mixed-race relationship.

    The movie pushes and pulls your emotions as your heart breaks for the anguish of this abused young woman - treated as a servant and smacked around by her mother (who, of course, accidentally caused her daughter's blindness in a drunken rage when the child was five) - to the hope and optimism that, somehow, she has managed to keep in her heart and that Poitier's concern and kindness begins to bring out.

    Running alongside that storyline are the racial tensions of the '60s where Poitier and Hartman elicit some disparaging looks and words from those who see them together, but whose narrow-mindedness and ugliness is exposed by the innocence of Hartman's character who can't see Poitier's "blackness," but falls in love with his decency and tenderness.

    Those two threads, her growth as a blind woman - the opportunity to overcome her handicap - and the era's crude racism, below and, sometimes, above the surface, weave in and out as the movie moves to its climax of whether or not Poitier gives in to his heart and commits to a relationship with Hartman and, regardless, how will he and she get her out of the clutches of her mother.

    It is blatantly reverse-engineered to simplistically confront 1960s' (and, to some extent, today's) audiences' prejudices and assumptions about handicaps and race relations while evoking an idealism-approved response. Even knowing that, as noted, it still works if you just go with it as both an interesting 1960s time capsule and a movie that shamelessly and transparently asks you to be a better person.
     
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  6. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    14,617
    Location:
    New York City
    Washington Story from 1952 with Patricia Neal, Van Johnson and Louis Calhern
    • A whitewashed version of "inside" Washington that places a Senator (Johnson) in a moral conundrum over a Congressional bill while being shadowed by a looking-for-a-story journalist (Neal) and guided by an "old pro" senator (Calhern)
      • Neal's boss - a powerful newspaper editor - wants her to find "dirt" on the senator and so does Neal, initially, but as she learns more about how our Republic works - how a senator connects to his constituency and the balance he must strike between the good of his state and the good of the country - she begins to question her early motives and assumptions
    • If this movie was made ten years later, when movies like "The Best Man" or "Advise and Consent" where being made, it would be gritty and cynical, but this movie is pleasant (Washington's uplifting architecture is an uncredited co-star) and positive with the one negative - Neal's boss - being portrayed as a one-off that can't soil the basic goodness of Washington - this is no "Sweet Smell of Success" journalism story
    • Adding a romantic element, Neal and Johnson, pretty obviously from the start, are falling for each other throughout, despite their initial antagonism
    • Despite its two-dimensional story, it works okay as time travel to early '50s Washington, a positive legislation-happens-this-way tale, a straight-forward love story and, for movie buffs, a small hint at the type of political movies that would be made a decade later
     
  7. 2jakes

    2jakes I'll Lock Up

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    Liked music, graphics, costumes, and background scenes best!
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
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  8. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer Practically Family

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    641
    The Magnificent Seven, the one from 1960, with Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, et al. One of my all-the favorites.
     
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  9. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    14,617
    Location:
    New York City
    "Asphalt Jungle" 1950 with Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Sam Jaffe, James Whitmore and a very young Marilyn Monroe

    It's an outstanding film-noir heist movie with a solid script that's also perfectly directed, cast and paced. I enjoy it more each time I see it as I no longer have to pay attention to the plot and can, instead, just appreciate the strong acting and noir atmosphere.

    While no actor mails it in, it is Jaffe's film, IMHO, as his portrayal of the thinking-man's criminal - the brains behind the heist in question - creates a complex, atypical character in "Doc" that leaves you wanting more. Here's a crazy classic-movie mashup: how much would you like to see Edward G. Robinson's insurance inspector character, Keyes, from "Double Indemnity" match wits with Doc?

    And since it, like almost every great movie, is really about the people, what hardship - what brutality in her past - broke "Doll" to the point that she is so desperate for a man, or so warped in her choice of men, that Dix - a surface-quiet psychopath brilliantly played by Sterling Hayden - is her obsession? Anyone whose humanity meter isn't completely smashed would know to run from Dix under any circumstance.

    Adding in the urbane sleaze factor is Louis Calhern - who plays aristocratic scumbags better than almost anyone - who agrees to fund the heist (but really doesn't and plans to double cross everyone by fencing the stolen jewels and keeping the proceeds all for himself) to bailout his extravagant lifestyle including a mistress played with pitch-perfect dumbness and cupidity by pre-stardom Marilyn Monroe.

    And there's so much more - the diner scene denouement of Doc, Dix's pathologic Homer-like odyssey back to his childhood farm to avenge his father's humiliation, Whitmore's just-barely-controlled antipathy for the police and the window into the street-level rackets that were truly part of Golden Era America. Just writing about it makes me want to see it again (and I've already got a search on for the "right" copy of the book as I want to learn more about the characters).
     
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  10. 2jakes

    2jakes I'll Lock Up

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    Location:
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    ^^^^
    Wow...feel like I saw the movie again!
    Now you got me looking for the book! :)
     
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  11. 2jakes

    2jakes I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Alamo Heights ☀️ Texas
    As a cameraman, I went with sports
    reporter who interviewed Jake Lamotta when
    he came to San Antonio around the time
    Raging Bull was playing in theaters.
    He was a soft spoken man who at
    the time did not liked his portrayal
    in the film,said that he was not like that, but the scars on his face said otherwise, I read that later he admitted he was as portrayed in
    the film. I'm not a boxing fan.
    Curious, I went to see the film...

    And he was the "Raging Bull".

     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
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  12. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    14,617
    Location:
    New York City
    Libeled Lady from 1936 with Myrna Loy, William Powell, Spencer Tracy and Jean Harlow

    It gets 4 stars from TCM and a 7.8 (out of 10) rating on IMBD, but still, even after several tries over many years, I'm just meh on it. I want to like it - I really do - as I love each of the stars and I love 1930s newspaper movies, but the enforcement of the code just mangles the plot too much for me.

    What starts out as a classic '30s movie about a upper, upper-class guy (played by the '30s go-to upper, upper-class guy Walter Connolly) suing a major newspaper for slander - the paper printed a salacious, false story about his daughter (Loy) - quickly descends into another silly '30s movie with false marriages, races to Justices of the Peace, attempts to "catch" someone in an affair, etc., all making adults say and do stupid things.

    Powell's character, a specialist in getting people to drop their liable suits, is hired by the paper's editor, Tracy, to seduce Loy and have her "caught" as the "other" woman, thus, forcing Loy to drop her liable suit in return for the paper hushing up the "other" woman event. To make the plot work, though, Powell has to be married, so, (here comes the super stupidity) at Tracy's request, Harlow - Tracy's long-suffering (and shrill) fiancee, whom Tracy has stood up at the alter several times - agrees to marry Powell, in name only, to help save Tracy and the paper. Uh-huh.

    It's just all so stupid that you either run with it (I've tried, it's hard) or you kinda endure it to see the actors. Everyone, but Tracy, is on his or her game in this one. Loy plays the wealthy daughter put upon by the press and treasure hunters with humility and humanity while Powell convincing shifts from her paid seducer to a man truly in love with her (which wouldn't be that hard).

    Harlow plays Harlow - a loud, brassy woman who yells her way through scenes (as it's called for here), but who, just when you think she's a one-note actress, settles down and convinces you there's depth of feeling underneath the screeching shell as when she begins to fall in love with her "fake" husband, Powell.

    Only Tracy struggles a bit in this one as he can't seem to decide whether to play it seriously or lightly (lightly would have been the right choice), so his character and performance comes off a bit uneven. And that is basically the movie in a nutshell - uneven to the point of unconvincing even as the stars do a herculean job trying to hold its code-addled plot above water.


    N.B., What the heck did 1934-and-on (when the code was enforced) audiences think happened to the pre-code-movie world when all of a sudden movies went from reflecting real life - affairs, smart and independent woman, rape, swindlers keeping their ill-gotten gains, plenty of sex out of wedlock, abortions, drug addictions, i.e., real, gut-level life - to a world where serious adults hardly kiss until they get a marriage license and women don't do much, period, other than marry men? It's as if, tomorrow, all our movies were suddenly made without graphic sex, gratuitous violence or soul-crushing snark - we'd be stunned / were 1934 audiences equally stunned when their movies suddenly changed?
     
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  13. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    A sweet and entertaining little movie....we enjoyed it.
     
  14. The one from the North

    The one from the North New in Town

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    Latest movie that I watched. These old documentaries make me really feel that I was born way too late...
    JiiHaa
     
  15. 2jakes

    2jakes I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    9,680
    Location:
    Alamo Heights ☀️ Texas
    Libeled Lady.
    Powell's trying/studying to be a fisherman plus the scenes at the lake makes this a
    favorite so much that I don't mind the
    rest of the silly plot.
     
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  16. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,907
    Location:
    Hudson Valley, NY
    Captain Marvel. Though a typically well done Marvel Cinematic Universe film, it's kind of meh. I can't quite put my finger on why it's unsatisfying, because the actors are good, the action is good, it's got the spectacle, it's got the humor, it's got the links to other MCU projects... but I was underwhelmed. Though it's a big cosmic story, it feels closer to the modest Ant-Man films than the spacefaring Guardians or Thor films.

    On the plus side, we get much more time with Nick Fury here than all of his other appearances combined (but the other reappearances by existing characters are kind of pointless), and Brie Larson handles the complicated title character well. The 1995 setting is good for a few laughs. And Ben Mendelsohn plays the best Marvel villain in years. But it somehow didn't satisfy me.

    As is often the case with the MCU, much of what you think you know about the Kree and Skrulls, other Captain Marvels, and Carol Danvers from the comics (and Agents of SHIELD) isn't the case here. There are surprises.

    Very vague spoilers: I found the most moving thing in the film to be the very beginning. Instead of using the current Marvel Studios logo with its shots of drawn and live-action Marvel characters, the logo sequence consists entirely of shots of Stan Lee's various MCU cameos, and ends with the words Thanks, Stan. Oh, geez.

    There's also a new Lee cameo in the film, one that's different from all the others... for a reason I won't reveal.

    And yeah, there's a brief end-credits sequence that connects to The Avengers, and a more significant mid-credits sequence that connects to Avengers: Endgame.
     
  17. bluesmandan

    bluesmandan A-List Customer

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    United States
    Deathwish. The new Bruce Willis version. It was okay.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  18. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Location:
    New York City
    Twilight of Honor from 1963 with Richard Chamberlain, Claude Rains, James Gregory (with his gravely baritone voice) and Joey Heatherton

    It's a solid courtroom drama that could have been better if it had been less obvious. All the elements of railroading an unpopular defendant are in place: 1. a small town in New Mexico is ready to bypass legal niceties, like an honest trial, to convict an outsider of murdering one of its leading citizens, 2. the police, city government and (maybe) the judiciary all seem in on the "fix," 3. an inexperienced young lawyer is assigned to the defendant and 4. the jury is picked from the enraged citizenry.

    Chamberlain, as the young defense lawyer, is a bit wooden, especially in scenes with old-pro Rains playing his legal mentor and conscience, while Gregory, as the prosecutor, over-acts a bit, but they still provide some gripping courtroom back and forth. Told in flashbacks during the trial, we learn that the "leading citizen" picked up a young hitchhiking couple (which includes the, not my opinion but clearly stated, wanton Joey Heatherton and her weak and jealous husband) leading to his death at the hands of the husband. The trial pivots not on who did it (the husband acknowledges his guilt), but on motive as the law in this state seemingly allows a man to murder another man if that man is committing adultery with his wife (hey, I'm just telling what I saw and heard).

    The story - which pings back and forth amongst the dirty setup in the courtroom, Chamberlain's struggle each night to commit again to defending a man he, initially, believes is guilty and the actual events told, as noted, in flashbacks - is interesting, but undone because "the gun is hung too obviously on the wall" several times. To wit, every pivot, every clue, every meaningful moment is all but stamped with the label, "This Is Important, Pay Attention."

    Definitely worth a watch, but a shame that all it needed was some subtlety to have been a great movie.

    N.B., If you want to see a pre-dancing-provocatively-on-a-bunch-of-live-TV-shows Joey Heatherton, you can see her here dancing provocatively in a movie. Say what you want about Hollywood, it knows when it has something people want to see.
     
  19. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
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    Location:
    London, UK
    Browning's masterpiece remains - of course - Freaks.

    As I recall, the cinematographer on this version of Dracula (the first lawful screen adapatation, following Florence Stoker's absolute ass-whooping of Murnau over Nosferatu in the German courts. Murnau made the first Dracula picture, but he breached copyright donig it - even though, when refused the rights, he thought he could et away with just changing the names and some minor details...) also worked with Murnau on Nosferatu before fleeing Germany as the Nazis rose to power. This too would have had a hand in the staginess of it all, given the norms of German expressionist cinema (which were very influential on Universal's monster features as well as other apsects of Hollywood as refugees from the German cinema industry ended up there by the 30s).


    Sounds a little like my experience of Black Panther. I enjoyed the film well enough, but it was definitely more "important" than necessarily a great film. Oddly, Ant Man was one of my favourites of the MCU, largely because - much like Spiderman-Homecoming after all the Universe threatening / changing stuff, it was refreshing to see an old-school, 'small-scale' hero picture.
     
  20. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    The unfortunate thing is that film criticism was just as heavily censored as the pictures themselves -- the editor/publisher of the leading fan publication of the time, Photoplay magazine's Kathryn Dougherty, was a wholly-owned mouthpiece for the Breen Office, and all the other fan publications followed her lead -- for fear that the studios would cut off their access if they got out of line. So the only commentary fans were allowed to read were comments and letters to the effect of how much better pictures were now that smut was off the screen and that Hollywood was again showing its public-spiritedness by cleaning up its own house. Not just the screen itself, but mainstream film criticism was under the control of an ultraconservative faction of the Roman Catholic Church, and contrary opinions were thoroughly stifled in the mainstream press.

    There were many contrary voices heard in the radical left-wing press -- the Daily Worker's film critic routinely mocked the repressed superficiality of American films -- but, alas, Joe and Sally Flannelbutt going out twice a week to play Screeno at the Bijou weren't getting their film criticism from there, or from "New Masses" or "New Theatre." You would probably find, though, that Joe and Sally might have become quite a bit more cynical about they saw on the screen by the end of the thirties. "Aw, that's just in the movies!" was not an uncommonly-heard phrase.

    Interestingly, nationwide box office dropped significantly over the second half of the thirties, to the point where, by 1938, the industry was going into something of a panic over it. It was during this period that the craze for Screeno, Dish Night, and other such promotions overwhelmed the neighborhood houses to the point where patrons were more interested in how much was in the jackpot than in what picture was showing. Exhibitors were extremely critical of the product they were given, but chose to focus on certain high-priced stars as "Box Office Poison" rather than thinking deeper about what was really going on -- yes, those specific "box office poison" stars were tanking, but it's very interesting to note that every one of those stars -- most of whom were female -- were performers who had become established in the pre-Code era, and who were associated with a certain type of "sophisticated" film that could no longer be made. The conclusion seems obvious, but it's one even the exhibitors were afraid to draw in public.
     

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