What Was The Last Movie You Watched?

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

  1. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer Practically Family

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    Last night, per the Missus' wishes, The Adventures of Tintin (2011) dir by Steven Spielberg, with an unmistakable assist from Peter Jackson. Surprising to think of it as nearly ten years old, seeing as how the motion capture animation is stunning. We had seen it years ago, and I remember dismissing it as trying too hard, but upon rewatching it - now that I'm older and wiser - we both really enjoyed it.
     
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  2. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    The Rising of the Moon from 1957 narrated by Tyrone Power

    It's a short movie (eighty minutes) composed of three twenty-ish minute vignettes (based on three short stories) about life and times in "old" Ireland each with an introduction by narrator Tyrone Power who, as is the skill of actors, appears to be casually talking to you as he leans against a doorframe in an old Irish cottage.

    The real joy in this film today is, as Power notes, the view of "old" Ireland (the stories seem set in the early part of the 1900s) as all three segments were filmed on location using local actors and people from the towns and villages as extras. From stone-walled-thatched-roofed cottages and rickety-wheeled carts, to long dusty roads and wide open fields, the scenery aligns with the popular image of "old" Ireland - as do the people.

    With enough classic wool to make a Brooklynite Hipster swoon, the clothes and quirky personalities of the locals also align to the popular image. And it is those locals who form the cornerstone of the stories. The first two vignettes, in particular, are character studies in the picaresque Irish personalities and off-beat social customs of that world.

    In the first, a respected local farmer - seemingly an informal "mayor" of the village - is to be arrested for refusing to pay a fine because he punched a man who accused him of dishonesty. The police inspector sent to arrest him, a friend and old acquaintance, hates that he as to do it and starts by having tea with the farmer. As neighbors come and go, everyone seems to know what is happening, but are too embarrassed for themselves or for the farmer to mention it.

    After this long dance and right when the inspector is about to make his arrest, the man who was punched comes by to pay the fine for the farmer (even he doesn't want the farmer to go to jail), which prompts the farmer to show he has the money to pay the fine but won't on principal as he was only defending his honor. It wraps up with the inspector and farmer agreeing on a mutually convenient day for the farmer to turn himself in, which he does, on the settled-on day, by walking through the village with his head held high as the villagers look on with respect.

    Keeping the quirkiness going, in the second vignette, a local train stops at a small village station with the loudly announced warning that the train will be leaving "in one minute!" Uh-huh. Immediately, almost everyone piles off the train to stretch their legs or to buy beer at the quickly overcrowded single-attendant station bar - clearly, this train is not leaving "in one minute."

    For the next several hours, the train conductor repeatedly attempts to get the passengers to board and the train on its way, but each time, it is held up for some reasons or another: a football team is coming, the local farmer needs to get his goat to the next stop (this is a passenger train; hence, hard to find space for a goat), an important dignitary called ahead to hold the train and on and on....

    The joy is the happy insouciance with which the passengers (and, even, the train crew) endure or cause all the pleasant chaos and delays. You feel that the train ride - and long station stop - is an adventure for most of them with the hiccups and holdups just part of the fun. Who knows if "old" Ireland was every really this affable and good spirited, but it's nice to think so.

    The final vignette is more serious as it takes place on a day the British are to execute a much-beloved-by-the-Irish-people fighter for Irish independence. Despite the grave circumstances, the quirkiness of the Irish are still on display as a wife brings her Irish policeman husband his lunch, despite berating him for being a traitor to his country for guarding the prisoner.

    Avoiding spoiler alerts, the plot centers around an escape attempt - with all the usual Irish (let's call it as it is presented her) wacky aplomb - and efforts to get the prisoner out of Ireland. Sure, you care about the fate of the prisoner, and, even to this day, you can feel the passionate politics at play in that long conflict, but it really is the Irish people of that time (1921 for this segment) and their mindset that life is hard, but is also to be endured and enjoyed that sets the tone.

    You'll have to watch it to learn the fate of the prisoner; however, the closing scene is not about the prisoner, but shows the same policeman and his wife from earlier, both bickering and expressing a deep love for each other as they walk home grumbling and laughing.

    The entire movie is an oddball effort that works, if you're in the mood for this type of oddball effort.

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  3. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

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    A Ghost Story, a film from a couple of years ago with Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck.

    My daughter and I have lately been catching up on recent horror and horror-adjacent films together - Us, The VVitch, The Babadook, Midsommar, etc. - and this one was a snap decision when we ran across it. I had vaguely recalled reading some good things about it.

    It is NOT a horror film: there are no jump scares or gross-outs, and no overwhelming sense of dread. It's an art film: a meditation on life, death, place, and time. Made on a tiny budget (shot on digital, but made to look like desaturated 16mm film with very shallow depth of field), and with very little dialog and even less action, it's a distinctly unconventional film. And it is SLOW - mostly long takes and shots that are held disturbingly long. Though it's not a long movie, it takes a while to get going. But we definitely found it worthwhile.

    Give it a try if you're curious to see a very odd, interesting film... but be prepared to sit back and let it wash over you at its own languid pace.

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  4. Worf

    Worf I'll Lock Up

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    Saw it years ago with Puddin' we loved it. Thought the way he solved his problems with the note was novel at the very least. I recommend it as well if you're looking for something "different".

    Worf
     
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  5. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    ⇧ And my favorite ghost "costume" ever in a movie.
     
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  6. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Couldn't get to sleep last night so I turned on TCM just in time to see "The Taking Of Pelham 123," perhaps the most New York of New York movies ever made -- the story of a subway car full of random people hijacked by extortionists. I think I last saw this 25 years ago, and I'd forgotten how funny it was, combined with real suspense and emotional tension. Maybe Walter Matthau's best performance, and Robert Shaw is outstanding as the cold-blooded leader of the hijack gang. Ignore the remakes -- settle only for the 1974 original, which captures the gritty sleaziness of the time in the way that only an urban-set mid-seventies movie can.
     
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  7. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    My inclination after about 10 minutes was to shut it down but my more intelligent wife and a friend convinced me to hang in there. Thank goodness. This is a brilliant film. At one point I found myself fighting back the tears and I thought...…"Here I am watching an actor, covered in a white bed sheet, impact me in a most touching heartfelt manner....what is up with that?".
     
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  8. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

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    I was also annoyed by the film's very slow start and held-too-long shots, but once the ghost appeared I was hooked. As my daughter observed, the long takes and held shots make the film seem longer than its short runtime.

    Also, as a lifelong old-school photographer and onetime filmmaker, I was initially very distracted by the film's use of the old aspect ratio and extremely shallow depth of field. But that's my own thing: whenever film technique calls attention to itself, it pulls me right out of the story (I'm looking at you, one-very-long-shot Dunkirk sequence in Atonement that seems like it wandered in from a different movie!)
     
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  9. Touchofevil

    Touchofevil

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    Saw that one as well, it is much better than Crime Wave. A few years back I became a Sterling Hayden fan and hence a fan of Asphalt Jungle and Crime Wave. :D
     
  10. Touchofevil

    Touchofevil

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    The Set-Up on TCM. Another gritty flick with nice exterior footage of life circa 1948. It stars Robert Ryan and Audrey Trotter. Like Hayden, I wasn’t a big fan of Ryan when I was a youngster, but now if he is in it, I give it a chance.
    :D
     
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  11. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    My wife recorded the, made for TV, movie, Jack the Ripper, with Michael Caine as Inspector Frederick George Abberline. It's fair to say that the sight of horse manure on London's streets doesn't make for easy viewing, but the streets in this version were beyond pristine.

    Hollywood had a similar take on it too. You see about four thousand steers, eyes bulging, stampeding down the town's main street, and when the dust settles, not one single turd.
     
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  12. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Millions Like Us from 1943 with Patricia Roc, Gordon Jackson and Anne Crawford

    There are better WWII propaganda movies, like Mortal Storm and Mrs. Miniver, as they, overall, hide their propagandaness better, but there's something to be said for full-throttled propaganda -- especially from a country in the middle of the war where its civilians were on the frontline as arial bombing brought the conflict directly to England's cities and towns.

    Millions Like Us follows a successful formula by opening with pre-WWII England enjoying its life as families pleasantly bicker and go to the seaside on vacation while their teenage boys and girls chase each other and parents complain about the cost of everything even knowing secretly that they can kinda, sorta afford it. Then war hits and everything, literally everything, changes.

    The family in this movie did all the pre-war stuff above and, then, serves as an example of what everyone is expected to do after. The father joins the home guard, the son goes off to fight and the late-teenage sisters argue as a way to hide their fear as the outgoing one becomes an army mechanic and the shy one - after being disabused of her dream of saving the world and meeting handsome flyboys as a WAC or WAVE (realism is not part of dreaming) - is all but drafted into factory work.

    And here the propaganda ramps up even more. From the bus conga line sweeping up the girls and depositing them at the factory dormitory (a mix of a YMCA and women-only hotel), the spirit is all "we can do this" with the girls' fears and hesitations seen as normal, but manageable; after all, there's a war to be won.

    While most of the girls are working/middle class, tossed into the group is a toff (wonderful British slang for upper class) who somehow found herself in this mix and only modestly hides her general disdain for it all. And when the girls hit the factory, intentionally or not, feminism is given a tremendous boost as all those jobs that "only men can do" are now explained as perfectly within a woman's capabilities - and they are, and the women do, while getting scuffed and dirtied-up while producing the the military equipment that England needs to win the war.

    Along the way, a few fall in and out of love, some get married (to flyboys with potentially short lifespans) and some, like our toff and her no-nonsense male working-class manager, go from mutual hate, to tolerance, to respect, to maybe more in the most-interesting and realistic relationship of the movie. Yes, not only were gender roles broken open by the war, but class distinction was also dealt a body blow as our toff and section manager show.

    The blatant propaganda is less a problem for the movie than is the indecision of the directors to go with a documentary style or a classic-story style as it jarringly pings back and forth. That said, during the documentary-like segments, the film footage of the factories is incredible as it shows us how England managed to hold its own against the Luftwaffe's onslaught. And the personal stories, while by the numbers, do humanize the trauma and highlight the courage of the average Brit.

    Since this is '43, it's surprising that the directors, Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder, fumbled their attempt at a rousing patriotic-music scene set to the genuinely inspiring Colonel Bogey March, as they had the nonpareil of rousing patriotic-music scenes to study: '42's Casablanca's La Marseillaise clip.

    But still, Millions Like Us is a fun and interesting propaganda curio. Also, the buses used in the aforementioned conga line are the same ones that almost every WWII-period TV show or movie set in England (Foyle's War or Jam Busters, for example) use to show WWII-era authenticity. It's cool to see them as regular buses before they became period icons.

    And heck, who would've thought that this ⇩ "toff" would have made a good factory worker?
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  13. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

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    Partly "Das Boot" TV-cut on Youtube. ;)
     
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  14. Worf

    Worf I'll Lock Up

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    "Lone Wolf and Cub" or "Baby Cart" Series - God I LOVE TCM! Way back when almost 3 decades ago I first became aware of the Lone Wolf and Cub manga and film series. However given its violence and nudity only one was released here in the U.S. the second film in the series over the next month. I was cruising through the TCM app last night and lo and behold they're showing EVERY film of the series! I watched the first two last night and had a grand old time. The "High Executioner" for the Tokugawa Shogunate is framed by a rival clan, his home destroyed, his wife murdered. Him and his 2 year old son decide that, rather than submit and commit Seppuku, as demanded by the Shogun... they would walk the road of blood a misery working as assassins till they can gain vengeance on their enemies. Not exactly Citizen Kane but it's a fun ride. Not for everyone though, limbs a lopped off liberally, female and child nudity abound, rape torture and murder occur by the minute... But if Samurai vengeance is your thing... this series is the one to watch!

    Worf
     
  15. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

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    Rewatching First Contact DVD, right now on my CRT-TV.

    Now, THIS is always the SOUNDFESTIVAL! :)

    And when the Borg speech over the audio channel starts, WOOHOO! :D

    German synchro:
     
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  16. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    The Jurassic Games. The RunningMan meets The Hunger Games. With dinosaurs. Tremendous fun.
     
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  17. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Biography of a Bachelor Girl from 1935 staring Ann Harding, Robert Montgomery and Edward Everett Horton

    Many stories are basically a version of boy-meets-girl-and-then-something-happens with the "something happens" quite often being that they dislike each other, but are also strongly attracted to each other. Another quite-common story is whether or not someone will sell the intimate details of his or her life (and hurt many people) for money, basically, a tame version of the soul-devil thing.

    Here, we have a 1935 version of both stories entwined that, while a bit flat in the first half of the movie, does pick up as it moves along (in part because it isn't overly addled by the enforcement of the movie production code). Quietly-beautiful-in-a-not-Hollywood-way, Ann Harding plays an early version of a person famous for being famous - she's a "from-the-right-family, bit-bohemian second-rate artist" who moves in first-rate social circles while having casual affairs with notable men.

    Harding, just returning from a romp around Europe (painting portraits, partying and canoodling) encounters newspaper-man Montgomery (up from poverty, tilting commie, angry at the rich and idle, full of ideas and ideals -you get it, there were many of him in the '30s) who wants to sign her to a biography book deal as he knows her titillating stories will sell.

    If Harding was a self-absorbed "artist" snob, the story wouldn't work. But she's a seemingly decent, sensitive, albeit somewhat unaware, nice young women who enjoys life without judging others (that part feels very campus modern). To add to the mix, despite appearances, she is all but broke. When mad-at-the-world's-injustices Montgomery meets her, he's a bit taken back as he really wants to hate her, but, one, she doesn't fit his assumptions about her, two, she is cute as heck and, three, he wants to sign her to a book deal (his ideals somehow include his making money selling her story). He lands on taking an exaggeratedly angry attitude toward her which she all but ignores as they agree to work together on her biography.

    From here, the story moves through a reasonably predictable arc. He gets more angry at her as she doesn't fully commit to the biography because she's concerned it will hurt the people she will have to write about. She is seemingly agnostic to his anger, but you feel her developing some interest in him while his passion builds for her under the surface pose of anger. Also, stirring the pot, old boyfriends and girlfriends for both come and go; business and financial pressures mount; misunderstandings abound as it all climaxes with Harding still deciding whether to finish the book (what Montgomery wants) or not (again, she needs the money but doesn't want to sell out her friends). Simultaneously, Montgomery has to decide if he'll put his class-warrior pose aside and admit his love for Harding.

    It's 1935 and the goody-two-shoes code was being enforced, so you can guess the ending. But the ending doesn't matter as the real fun in this one is Harding. Her acting is nuanced - she's definitely from the less-is-more school - and impressive as she carries the movie on her back while Montgomery never gets into a groove (he overplays his anger and then stumbles on his "conversion" moment).

    To close and summarize: boy meets girl and they immediately dislike - but are simultaneously attracted to - each other. A conflict of conscience about money and principals provides grist for their relationship mill and must be resolved for the couple to find their way. It's a good version of two stories that have been told over and over again and, at eighty-two minutes, is enjoyably free of much of the ballyhoo that Hollywood puts in these tales today. Plus, Ann Harding is subtly stunning to look at and offers us a view of an extremely talented actress at the top of her game powering a movie forward almost by herself.

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  18. JC225

    JC225 One of the Regulars

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    I just finished watching "Gangster Squad" and it had a pretty good lineup in it! Well worth the time!
     
  19. MisterCairo

    MisterCairo I'll Lock Up

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    Late to report, but I watched, for the (officially***) 100th time, Bruce Robinson's classic Withnail and I. I had not watched it for six years, hoping to have a bottle of '53 Margaux on hand (best of the century) for the event. Alas, expense and time got the better of me.

    Watched it for the first time on blu-ray which I had bought years ago. Good quality and sound, but no features to speak of. Watched the tenth anniversary interview doc from my Criterion Collection dvd.

    *** I have likely seen it about 108 times or so. However, on occasion, I would think "was that 55 or 56 times"? So I would err on the side of caution and go with the lower figure.

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  20. JC225

    JC225 One of the Regulars

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    Ok, so I probably shouldn't say this and take the chance of being ran out of the lounge on a rail but ...............I have never seen the Maltese Falcon! Hold on.........just when you thought it couldn't get any worse it does....... I also was an acting major! Sooooooo with that in mind and not a single excuse good enough to justify never seeing it, I think I am going to sit down this evening and watch it.
     
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