What Was The Last Movie You Watched?

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

  1. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Breakfast for Two from 1937 with Barbara Stanwyck, Herbert Marshall, Glenda Farrel and Eric Blore
    • This is what happens to a pre-code-like movie idea when it gets mangled by the Motion Picture Production Code
    • Stanwyck plays a smart, young, wealthy woman with a head for business who falls in love with party boy and shipping-heir Marshall whose neglect of his company is destroying it
    • Once Stanwyck sees the full picture, she buys Marshall's company to both save it and to save Marshall by bringing him in as her vice-president as she believes he's "got what it takes" if he just gets a push in the right direction
    • In pre-code land, Stanwyck could have tutored Marshall to become a businessman or, more likely, she'd have realized he was better as a boy toy and she'd have just run the darn company herself and "kept" Marshall, kinda like Kay Francis did with David Manners in 1932's Man Wanted or as Ruth Chatterton did with a series of young, handsome "executives" in 1933's Female
    • But by 1937, the code wouldn't allow a smart women to run a company and keep a silly man around for pleasure, so all sorts of stupid and unbelievable things happen like Stanwyck allowing the company to fail and Marshall, magically now seeing the light, but with no business experience, convincing investors to back him as the man to bring it out of receivership
    • Also in dumb land, Marshal tries to marry his friend Glenda Farrell to spite Stanwyck, even though he obviously loves her, which leads to a bunch of screwball things happening to both thwart that wedding (loud window washers, a long-winded minister) and push Stanwyck and Marshall together (a food fight and a serious of phone-call misunderstandings)
    • A screwball scene or two can occasionally work (see Bringing up Baby), but string several together and you end up with a Three-Stooges routine, which is fine for a Three-Stooges movie, but makes no sense in a reasonably adult romcom
    • Stanwyck is such an enjoyable actress that this one is almost worth it, but the code so brutalized the plot's logic and characters' consistency and maturity that passing is probably the right choice
     
  2. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Completely by chance the other night I discovered CBGB on prime, a 2017 film starring the late Alan Rickman as the late Hilly Crystal. Clearly a posthumous release for both of them (Rickman was among the fallen of 2016). A fantastic little film highlighting the role played by Hilly Crystal in giving so many bands who went on to greater notice the break they needed to play live and get attention to get signed. Lots of beautiful little moments in it, including the Ramones first meeting with Hilly, their audition, their early gigs - Joey's awkwardness, DeeDee's anarchy, Johnny's anger.... Malin Ackerman does an outstanding turn as Debbie Harry in early Blondie; Clem Burke's drum kit falling off the back of the stage... All those who play the various musicians that come and go really nail them (there's even one fictionalised scene where Iggy Pop gets on stage with Blondie for a blistering Now I wanna be your dog. Yeah, - as the credits say "We know Iggy never played CBGB. Deal with it!"). An unexpected amusement is an excellent turn by Potterworld's Rupert Grint as one of the DeadBoys. But the central turn is very much Rickman's Hilly, and rightly so. One of those figures who always deserved more credit than he got, and who was always open to new music. As important a figure to punk rock as John Peel or Terri Hooley. Speaking of Hooley, CBGB would make a cracking double-bill with Good Vibrations.
     
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  3. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Kept Husbands from 1931 with Joel McCrea and Dorothy Mackaill

    It's an early and clunky talkie, in need of a restoration, that feels more like a play than a movie, as many of those first talkies did. But it is an early effort at a theme movies will return to again and again: what happens when a woman has or makes much, much more money than the man in a marriage.

    McCrea plays the young poor man working for a large construction company as a kind of low-level manager who meets Mackaill, the boss' spoiled society daughter. Mackaill then takes a hard run at McCrea seemingly because she wants something other than the society boys she's used to, plus he's handsome as heck.

    In usual movie sloppiness, despite McCrea telling her they'd have to live on his salary, they never really come to an agreement, but marry anyway. From the honeymoon on, her dad spoils them with money, possessions and a cushy executive job for McCrea.

    Mackaill is happy to have her fancy life and her handsome husband whom she plans to make into an acceptable-to-society gentleman. And no, the illogic of marrying someone because he isn't a society gentleman only to, then, go about making him into one is never explored.

    McCrea, in the first throes of love, pretty much goes along with it all even though he doesn't like, effectively, being a kept husband. But it all comes to a climax when McCrea gets an opportunity at work to take on an important project that will require him to go to another city for several weeks.

    While he assumes Mackaill will go with him, when he asks her, she has a temper tantrum haranguing him for disrupting her plans during the "social season" and dismisses his work as unimportant as, in a vicious blow, she tells him her father pays all their bills anyway. Throw into the mix some confusions as to whether Mackaill is having an affair and this aborning marriage is in heavy wobble.

    From here it comes down to the usual questions: will Mackaill see the error of her ways and will McCrea put his ego aside to make room for forgiveness. It's pretty standard fare with few surprises, but it is kinda fun - if you can take the early-talkie bumpiness - to see a poor-boy-rich-girl marriage explored early in Hollywood history.


    N.B., In a scene that could have come right out of an Ayn Rand novel, ten years before Ayn Rand became a household name with the publication of her breakthrough novel "The Fountainhead," McCrea gives a Randian speech about individual, ground-breaking creators having to push their innovative ideas - in this case, a radically new bridge design - past hidebound and unimaginative committees. Howard Roark, Rand's genius and individualist architect, would have been proud.
     
  4. MisterCairo

    MisterCairo I'll Lock Up

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    Leon, aka The Professional. Jean Reno (born Juan Moreno) and a 12 year old or so Natalie Portman starring. My group of friends saw this while we were in law school, and we came out wondering exactly where the line is drawn in near child pornography! Luc Besson really pushed some boundaries with that one! Creepy turn by Gary Oldman as well.
     
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  5. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

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    Great movie, if you imagine it without Natalie Portman! :D

    Stansfield, the devil in person. :)
     
  6. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Lost in Yonkers
    from 1993 with Richard Dreyfuss, Mercedes Ruehl and Irene Worth, written by Neil Simon
    • It starts out as a Woody-Allen-like stylized period movie that gets much darker by the second half
    • In WWII, a widower dad, in order to earn a living to pay off his now-deceased wife's medical bills, has to leave his two young boys with their strict and emotional-distant (think scary) grandmother who owns a small candy shop in Yonkers
    • At home is also the grandmother's mentally challenged adult daughter and, for a time, her other son, a bagman of sorts for the mob
    • Seen through the eyes of the two boys, the crazy of this house forces them to grow up quickly as this is no tough-exterior-heart-of-gold grandmother, but a damaged woman (it is alluded to that she's had great hardship in her life) incapable of showing warmth, but having no issue with petty meanness
    • Additionally, the boys see the excruciatingly heartbreaking challenge the daughter has trying to find love and an adult life with her limitations, while also seeing the downside to their "cool" uncle who, effectively, is now on the run from the mob
    • It's a pretty tough "coming of age" movie that ends without much resolution, as one of its point is that, despite its hardships and challenges, life goes on
    • It's also one of those movies that you respect for what it did (and its beautiful period details), but unless feeling worse about the world is your thing, you might be glad when it is over
     
  7. Touchofevil

    Touchofevil

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    In A Lonely Place, Brother Orchid, and Kiss Me Deadly on TCM. None were great, but all entertaining in their own way. :D
     
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  8. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

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    Rewatching The count of Monte Christo (1975).

    Donald Pleasence always fascinated me!
     
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  9. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    "The Outpost"...a new Netflix war movie set in Afghanistan 2006. A very strong indictment of the stupidity of military leadership and its impact on the grunts. Edge of your seat action scenes and a pretty good movie....much better than expected.
     
  10. Worf

    Worf I'll Lock Up

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    "Black Sunday" - The YouTube channel "Whatculture" pulled my chain on this one. I remember seeing the opening minutes of this 1960's "Spaghetti Horror" film during my youth but was too scared to finish it. Shot in glorious B&W this movie deals with a Lord and Lady sentenced to death in Eastern Europe during the Inquisition. Accused of witchcraft, satanic practices and vampirism the couple have spiked masks driven into their faces on camera. He's buried in unhallowed ground and she's to be burned but not before cursing her brother (who condemned her by the way) and his whole house down through eternity. A sudden rain cancels her emollition and she's buried in the family crypt. Fast forward 200 years and two doctors passing through the area unwittingly revive her by accidentally providing her with a few drops of blood.

    All of this is in the first 10 minutes. Moody, graphic and frightening still this film was a chilling romp through what passed for horror in Italy in the early 1960's. You could do worse, I had some goose pimples.

    Worf
     
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  11. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

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    Ms Portman has some mild reservations about it too these days.

    It remains an astonishing film - stylish, vital and tense. Reno and Portman build remarkably vivid characters and the longer director's cut heads even closer into pederasty country. I always thought however that the film had a slightly inadequate ending.
     
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  12. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    I couldn't shake the feeling that Leon's fate was seen as a moral prerequisite. I did enjoy it overall; Portman's turn is unsettling, though artistically valid, reflective of her damaged upbringing. Sadly her career never equally the promise of that early turn - I can't honestly think of anything else she's done that I would particularly rate. I loved the focus on Leon and his domesticity; a more European take on the "killers are ordinary people too" schtick that Tarantino had already done in a highly stylised way. The Clinton gag was pretty funny too - all the moreso for being quite daring (over a decade later, a speculative, academic piece on UK TV featuring a "what if" looking at what could happen in global politics if a serving US president was assassinated caused significant controversy), though it's probably less obvious a joke now.
     
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  13. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

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    What cut do you got?

    I got the VHS "Director's Cut", running 127 minutes. Probably the cinema release.
     
  14. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

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    How realistic was it, that Mathilda could enter the DEA so easily??
     
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  15. Zombie_61

    Zombie_61 I'll Lock Up

    Oh, good, I'm not the only one. Ms. Portman's performances in Léon: The Professional and Heat are worthy of a far more experienced actor; surprising considering her age. And yet, only a few years later her performance in The Phantom Menace (and everything that followed) is unexpectedly forced and unnatural. I haven't seen anything to confirm this, but I think somewhere along the way someone suggested she attend some acting classes and that contaminated (i.e., ruined) her natural acting abilities.
     
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  16. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Women Wanted from 1935 with Joel McCrea and Maureen O'Sullivan

    Once a movie is successful, Hollywood keeps trying to make the same movie until the public says "enough." With the outsized success of It Happened One Night in 1934, Hollywood spent the following several years making "road-trip" style movies where a not-married couple of two young and good-looking people, usually being chased by the police (but, most of the time, they are innocent), run around (usually the countryside) trying to prove his or her (or both of their) innocence.

    It's not a bad formula at all as, in a day when casual sex was, in theory, a big no-no, you had a not-married couple having to navigate sleeping arrangements while on the lam. Heck, when not-married Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert shared a cabin (with a blanket hung between their twin beds) in It Happened One Night and Gable took off his dress shirt which revealed he wasn't wearing a T-shirt, T-shirt sales declined nationally. These movies were about more than the story.

    Women Wanted is a modest entry in this category. Ridiculously pretty Maureen O'Sullivan is convicted of murder (but we kinda know she's innocent), escapes (almost by accident) and teams up (by accident) with wealthy playboy and lawyer Joel McCrea. As noted, and as can be seen by all the "accidental" stuff that drives the action, the stories in these movies exist to put two attractive people of the opposite sex as close together as possible. And as a related side note, it's a shame Superman hadn't been invented five years earlier as, at this moment in his career, McCrea looks more like Superman than Superman does himself.

    So now we have handsome McCrea - tentatively engaged to a bitchy society woman - and pretty O'Sullivan teamed up and running from the law while trying to prove her innocence. Since O'Sullivan was set up to be the fall guy (girl) for the mob - that's how she was convicted in the first place - not only are the police after her, but the mob is too. What follows is a fun little romp where McCrea and Sullivan run around New York City and parts of its more rural surroundings with cops and mobsters chasing them.

    For these movies to really work, the leads need to have chemistry, which McCrea and O'Sullivan do, but mainly owing to O'Sullivan who owns scene after scene with her verve, super cuteness and perfect comedic timing. She makes it her movie and she propels it forward.

    At one point, when McCrea's uppity fiancé, angry that McCrea has been ignoring her for another woman, sees O'Sullivan, she tells McCrea over the phone, but with O'Sullivan standing next to her that, "if she [O'Sullivan] wasn't so cheaply pretty, you wouldn't [be with her]." O'Sullivan, instead of doing a standard snarl at being insulted, gives a look of, first, surprise and, then, nonchalance that says your putdown meant nothing to me. It made an average moment outstanding.

    Basically, everything that you expect to happen, happens. The mob captures them, but they escape; the police get close, but they escape; they come up empty, at first, trying to find exculpatory evidence, but carry on. And all this happens amidst plenty of gunfights, car and boat chases and general running hither and yon with plenty of opportunities for McCrea and O'Sullivan to get close, kiss and fall asleep on each other. It's a fun-enough effort for a copycat movie made much, much better by O'Sullivan.
     
  17. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Phantom Menace I can sort of forgive her for - nobody knew until too late, I think, what a stinker that was (handing full control to George Lucas was a mistake....). It nearly killed her career, but nothing else she's done since has been good either. She's almost as bad as the inexplicably succesful Keirsa knightley.
     
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  18. Zombie_61

    Zombie_61 I'll Lock Up

    Nearly every actor who has ever worked for/with George Lucas has at some point after the fact stated he (Lucas) doesn't understand actors or the process(es) they go through to create their various characters, so I have to place some of the blame for the performances in the Star Wars movies on him. Also, Phantom Menace was only Miss Portman's seventh movie, so she still had some learning to do and experience to gain. But now she's in the third decade of her acting career and should not only know better, but be turning in better (i.e., more convincing) performances. That being said, the last movie I saw her in was Thor from 2011 so for all I know she has gotten better; somehow I doubt it.

    Keira Knightley, to my mind, has a different problem--she's a "one trick pony". What I mean by that is that every movie I've seen her in (which amounts to three movies in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and Domino, a fake biography of model-turned-bounty-hunter Domino Harvey) she played her characters exactly the same way. That's fine if you've established yourself in the industry and audiences like the on-screen persona you've created for yourself (i.e., John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Sandra Bullock, etc.) but Knightley hasn't earned that right quite yet.
     
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  19. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Oh, she was a stinker in Thor. So lacking in chemistry that they had to big up a romantic subplot with Kat Denning and another character in the second one... Notably, the Third Thor picture ups its game remarkably, part of which is the lack of the Portman character. Alas, I hear she's been recast as the lead in a new Thor where the character she played before becomes a female version of Thor. Surely too good an idea to waste on such a performer, given it pushes such boundaries (for the mainstream, anyhow). I'd hate to see such good source material ruined by a bad casting. but hey, maybe she'll surprise us all... I just fear it could all go a bit Catwoman.
     
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  20. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

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    Das Boot - uncut TV series (282 min nonstop), original german tone 2.0 Stereo.
     
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