What Was The Last Movie You Watched?

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

  1. Touchofevil

    Touchofevil

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    After reading your review, I now wish I had watched The Americanization of Emily. This is not the first time this has happened. Thank you for your reviews!
    :D
     
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  2. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Very much appreciate the kind comments. Keep your eye on TCM as they play it, usually, a few times a year.
     
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  3. Touchofevil

    Touchofevil

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    I have seen it on the schedule a number of times but never paid much attention to it. I really like James Garner and probably would have checked it out if I had realized he was in it. Now I will.
    :D
     
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  4. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    This past Preakness with Rombauer going off at 12-1 and winning...should have seen it.
    I blamed a state of complete exhaustion after the week, but stillshouldasawit, my own damn fault.:)
     
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  5. Edward Reed

    Edward Reed A-List Customer

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    Did a 1941 double feature today.
    I wanna slum with Veronica Lake and have Irish Stew with Paulette Goddard! :p
    It was coincidental that I picked two pictures that were similarly themed.
    Goddard and Stewart are a great pairing here in Pot O' Gold. Lighthearted fun and the musical numbers are typical Hollywood fanfare but with a few funny twists...

    Sight gags and quick-witted jokes are riddled in Sullivan's Travels. Playfully quaint and the whimsey starts to get a little too cute and a bit trite but the plot finally takes a dark turn which it really needed. Plenty of crush worthy-scene stealing moments by Veronica....
    6216d649-e17f-4f8f-8ca4-3ba45c33e75c_1.d0991b6ced871a65f7ac50759814e6ca.jpeg ce2ca3950dd415af37afdd6418eca70a.jpg jimmy-stewart-527.jpg sullivanstravels.jpg Joel-McCrea-Veronica-Lake-Sullivans-Travels-Preston.jpg
     
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  6. Doctor Damage

    Doctor Damage My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    DePalma's "Body Double". There's a good movie in there, but in the third third of the movie he veers off into an unnecessary strip club / sex club / porno scene which interrupts the main story and distracts from the suspense, which means the climax/ending doesn't have the impact it should have. Shame.
     
  7. Touchofevil

    Touchofevil

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    Tony Rome starring Frank Sinatra on FXM. Not bad and not great, it is worth a watch.
    :D
     
  8. Worf

    Worf I'll Lock Up

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    Being 12 to 15 miles from Saratoga, and with the meet on (they ran The Whitney yesterday), you'd think I'd be a rail bird as well but no. I don't bet the nags nor do I gamble at all except Nickle, dime and quarter poker with friends. Still I've been there twice, once this year. My first visit over 20 years ago I found it to be a muddy, run-down mess full of desperate people chasing Sea Biscuits ghost. This year the lack of crowds the last year and a half has allowed the grounds to recover. I was there 2 weeks ago and it looked beautiful. I won 3.50 woo hoo!

    Worf
     
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  9. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    As a professional I second your view that tracks-like all forms gambling-have desperate and lost souls.

    I assume familiarity with The Cincinnati Kid and the dialogue betwixt McQueen and Malden
    when the latter asks, "Playing with amateurs?" And McQueen responds "The only place I could get a game
    where I wasn't holding markers..."
    There is another scene where McQueen-the Kid-is still at his apartment
    before leaving to meet the Man (Edgar G Robinson) for the game. And McQueen is seated, staring at
    a poker percentage chart, moving a card down the list. A professional preparing to meet another professional.
    Thoroughbred graded stakes like stud poker is a strictly pro high stakes betting game.
    And there are percentages at play but also intuitive instinct. Both objective and subjective factors in
    the shuffle, all boil down to brass tack choice and some chance.

    And if you haven't seen The Cincinnati Kid you would love it. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2021
  10. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    55f9bba3bf4efac3f38b56b98b2914eb.jpg
    ...And Justice for All from 1979 with Al Pacino, John Forsythe, Jack Warden, Jeffrey Tambor and Christine Lahti


    The 1970s looked broken, apparently, to those living through them if movies reflect something about how a society views itself. Klute, Saturday Night Fever, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Three Days of the Condor and ...And Justice for All, to name just a few, show a society coming apart at the seams.

    In ironically named ...And Justice for All, broken is the word that most comes to mind: judges - broken; defense attorneys - broken; ethics committees - broken; prosecutors - broken; criminals - broken; prisons - broken; broken, broken, broken, it's all broken.

    Defense attorney Al Pacino knows how to play the system, but even he's breaking. As opposed to most Hollywood tales, Pacino is a regular good guy who bends his morality to fit the system, but tries not to let it break. He's no cardboard hero, just a man trying to do reasonably right in a very wrong system.

    Since this is Hollywood, though, the movie focuses on innocent or not really bad people being falsely arrested or convicted and, then, broken by the system. These are the clients Pacino defends day in and day out.

    A kid gets pulled over for a faulty tail light, his identity is mistaken for a murder suspect and, owing to a series of bureaucratic mistakes and a callous judge, he ends up dead. A cross-dressing man, guilty of a minor crime who should've been given parole, instead, owing to a defense attorney's error, receives a multi-year sentence. He kills himself his first week in prison (it's amazing he made it that long).

    These are horrible stories that break your heart, but in real life, there are stories that pull in the other direction. The only one of those lightly touched on here is quickly and diffidently told. A defense attorney gets a murder suspect off on a technicality, despite knowing his client is guilty. Once freed, his client kills two children.

    Of course, this tale, as opposed to the above stories, is only briefly discussed and not shown, which greatly reduces its emotional impact. It only focuses on the psychological distress it causes the attorney.

    How come we don't see the murdered children happily playing before they are killed or their distraught parents afterwards? That would highlight how there are costs to the innocent when the system becomes too lenient - not a point Hollywood almost ever wants to make.

    Okay, we know Hollywood has its bias as seen in the movie's main story of a (of course) conservative judge, John Forsythe, who hands down harsh sentences while constantly ignoring pleas for leniency. He is arrested on a rape and assault charge and then manipulates the broken system to all but ensure an acquittal for himself.

    In one of those twists that only happens in movies, Judge Forsythe forces Pacino to be his defense attorney. As it is public knowledge that Pacino hates this judge, it serves to make Forsythe look innocent even before the trial begins.

    From here, it's a full-throttled morality tale as Pacino, doing what he is morally obligated to do as a defence attorney, works within the system to build Forsythe's defence, while Forsythe arrogantly admits to Pacino he is guilty. Forsythe, doing an outstanding job in the role, seems to enjoy rubbing his guilt in Pacino's face (there's a 1970s metaphor in there somewhere).

    But of course, a defense attorney's job is to defend his client, so Pacino goes into court, offers an iron-clad defense of Forsythe and then...breaks. In the movie's famous line - you know it even if you haven't seen the movie - a ranting Pacino, being admonished by the judge, screams out, "...this whole court is out of order!"

    In seven words, Pacino delivers the movie's theme, its condemnation of the justice system and a pretty good summary of Hollywood's judgment of America in the 1970s. ...And Justice for all is over-the-top, but still, it's well acted and fun-as-heck entertainment.


    N.B. #1 Who came up with ...And Justice for All's soundtrack, which is more like a cheesy 1970s TV-sitcom soundtrack than one for a major motion picture release?

    N.B. #2 Could there be less chemistry between two actors supposedly in love than Pacino and Christine Lahti? Both are fine actors, but they generate not one spark of real passion the entire movie. Despite their relationship attempting to highlight the moral quandaries good lawyers face - she's on an ethics committee investigating Pacino - the movie would have been better if the entire relationship had been lifted out.
     
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  11. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    ^I asked one of my law profs who taught on the side of his solo general practice about defending
    the guilty; since ironically sometimes the defense counsel does not really know, and he simply replied
    that occasionally he leaves it to God. A more temporal perspective denotes compromise within the system
    at play, for better or worse. I deliberately passed on this one because of its formulaic structure,
    given up on Hollywood to leave the agenda alone for once; also, 12 Angry Men with Fonda nailed the lid
    down for trial flicks. Any redo would only disappoint.
     
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  13. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    Nope. Marisa Tomei does do it for me;) but not enough to sit through Cuz....:cool:
     
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  14. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer Practically Family

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    Kruty 1918 (2019), a Ukrainian film about a group of students who in WWI enlisted in the army and were ordered to defend a train station against Russian troops. More historical background on my part would have been beneficial. The part about the Russian commander in his customized railcar, directing the attack via a periscope, seemed exaggerated, but it could be true. Off of Amazon.
     
  15. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    The-Mortal-Storm-Margaret-Sullavan-James-Stewart-3.jpg
    The Mortal Storm from 1940 with Margaret Sullivan, Frank Morgan, Jimmy Stewart, Robert Young and Robert Stack


    Mrs. Miniver is my favorite upbeat WWII propaganda film. I get that it's propaganda, but for two-hours, England and the Miniver family are my heroes fighting to survive after getting knocked back on their heels by the evil Nazis.

    The Mortal Storm is my favorite downbeat WWII propaganda film. Set in Germany, the half-Jewish, half-Aryan Roth family gets ripped apart by the Nazis, with one-hundred-and-ten-pound daughter Freya Roth, played by Margaret Sullivan, standing up to every Nazi she meets as the fascist state tries to grind her and her family into dust.

    Based on the outstanding book of the same name by Phyllis Bottome (comments here: #7738), The Mortal Storm uses the fictional Roth family to show how a powerful state that puts itself ahead of the individual destroys personal freedom of thought and action leaving only automaton believers and enemies of the state (the remaining free thinkers).

    After the Nazis come to power, Roth family pater and respected Jewish scientist Frank Morgan is arrested when he won't denounce his research on race (talk about being in the wrong field, at the wrong time and in the wrong place). His arrest is a huge embarrassment to his Aryan and party-member stepsons, while it places the rest of the family - his wife, daughter Freya and a younger son - at risk.

    Old family friend and farmer Jimmy Stewart tries to help the Roths and another older Jewish friend, but he is no match for the growing-more-powerful-by-the-day state. All the horrors we now know too well are here in this 1940 movie: late-night arrests, concentration camps, gangs of party members randomly beating up Jewish people and any other "undesirables," citizens trying to leave being arrested or shot and fear permeating every action and relationship.

    This daring-for-the-date effort by MGM mentions Hitler and the Nazis a few times early on, but then elides those names for most of the movie. It also leaves no doubt that it is the Jewish people who are being persecuted, but never actually uses the words Jew or Jewish. Despite these tentative steps, MGM deserves kudos for making a powerful anti-Nazi movie that worked against its German business interests.

    Nothing is perfect as MGM was probably trying to hedge its German-market business risk with those moves, but the movie it made is so poignantly anti-Nazi, MGM movies were banned in Germany afterwards.

    The Mortal Storm is, oddly, a visually beautiful movie (despite being mainly filmed on sets) where a small German town's attractive architecture, set against a pristine snow-covered landscape, serves to highlight the darkness of Nazism descending on this once peaceful village.

    Despite its skillful handling of large themes, The Mortal Storm works so well because it personalizes those issues in characters we care about. Nazi evil and individual liberty are big philosophical ideas, but what really moves you in a film are the people: does tiny-but-fearless Freya, trying to flee across the border, escape the assassin's bullet fired by her once fiance and now Nazi officer Fritz Marberg (played frighteningly well by Robert Young)?

    The Mortal Storm is an impressive, early entry in the anti-Nazi movie oeuvre that deserves more attention today than it receives, for both its timelessness and its influence on the large output of anti-Nazi movies that have riffed on its themes and techniques ever since.
     
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  16. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    The yutes of today, huh?
     
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  17. Bushman

    Bushman My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Stan Winston's Pumpkinhead. Not many movies are made based on a poem, or directed by the leading practical effects wizard in Hollywood, but that's what makes this movie so interesting. This is one of the few movies DIRECTED by Stan Winston, the visionary behind the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park, the Predator, the Terminators, and Edward Scissorhands. In this one, Lance Henriksen, out for revenge against teenagers who accidentally killed his son, makes a deal with a bog witch to unleash the demon of vengeance against them.

    The real magic in this movie lies neither in the story nor the dialogue, but the visuals. The effects are top of the lines, as expected, but it's the characterization of poor farmers living in Dirtville USA, their superstitions clashing with their kinship, that makes this movie great. The visuals and setting of the movie are very strong, and carry the movie all the way throuugh.
     
  18. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    The Case of the Velvet Claws from 1936 with Warren Wiliam, Claire Dodd and Wini Shaw


    The Case of the Velvet Claws is the first Perry Mason novel (comments on the book here: #8591), yet it is the third in the 1930s Warner Bros. Perry Mason movie series. Unfortunately, the series seemed to lose energy and focus by this entry.

    Warren William is back as Mason and having as good a time as ever playing the celebrity lawyer cum sleuth with an exaggerated devil-may-care attitude. He's not the problem, but the Hollywood-altered script is.

    While the crime-mystery plot from the book is pretty much the same in the movie (confusing as heck), for some reason, Warner Bros.' writers decided to marry off Mason and his smart, acerbic secretary Della Street.

    In the book and earlier Mason movies, Della Street is a strong, whip-smart woman who helps Mason with his cases - finding clues, partaking in the investigation and making connections Mason sometimes misses - while calling him out on his BS or when his head gets a bit too swollen.

    It's a wonderful dynamic that, for the day, portrays Della Street as an early independent female role model. Yet here, as a newlywed, she, for the most part, plays a complaining wife as Mason interrupts their honeymoon to solve a case. The real Della Street would have jumped in to help, possibly resulting in a William-Powell-Myrna-Loy type of married-couple dynamic a la The Thin Man Series.

    With the lovely Claire Dodd as Ms. Street all but sidelined in this one (she does get in a few good zingers though), the movie feels flat especially with its too-complex plot and a bit too-much slapstick from the Warner Bros. team.

    The plot itself is a "who killed the mean rich publisher of a salacious tabloid" story. Was it the publisher's young gold-digging wife (Mason's client), his playboy son, his business partner, one of the household staff or, even, Mason himself. It's so confusing, I doubt I'd have followed it if I hadn't already read the book.

    But these movies aren't about solving the crime, they are about enjoying Mason and Street running all over the city, keeping the cops at bay, finding evidence, making up evidence (yup), confronting suspects and outwitting everyone in the end. The fun is the joie de vivre of it all.

    The Case of the Velvet Claws is something modern audiences are familiar with, a movie series running out of energy as it ages. It's still okay, but you'd get more enjoyment reading the novel or watching one of the earlier Warner Bros. Mason movies instead.


    N.B. In addition to Della Street, there is a female judge in this one who is respected by all, including Mason (whose number she clearly has). To be sure, especially during the era of the Motion Picture Production Code, women, sadly, were often shown in traditional roles with the men getting to do all the cool stuff. But as with Della Street and the female judge in this one, even under the code, some smart-and-strong-women roles found their way to the screen.
     
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  19. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    Unfamiliar though I am with either book or film, this Warren William-as opposed the later Raymond Burr-
    Mason is a bit too much the cad than attorney at law Perry Mason. Manufactured evidence is ground
    for disbarment and Burr was always a stickler which is an endearing trait.
    All the more so in criminal law practice.

    And Della Street cannot marry Perry Mason.
    Not even an occasional romp in the hay, one-nite stand, or even a peck on the cheek.
     
  20. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Based on the one Mason book I read (the first one), Mason was of his time (the 1930s) and his code was "I fight for my client anyway I can." Thus, he felt if he had to make up evidence to get an innocent person off, so be it.

    Heroes, overall (there are always exceptions) were different in the 1930s than today as they were more about a personal code and rough justice. By the '50s (Burr's era) heroes were already morphing into social-justice warriors (what our heroes today are).

    Also, 1950s TV was not going to have a lawyer making up evidence as time and standards had already changed. But you see it time and again in the 1930s where the heroes - think "The Thin Man -" were more about a man having a code with it being acceptable for him to break the law to get his client off or to get to the truth (illegal searches almost didn't exist in this world).

    I'm not, at all, saying making up evidence is right, I'm just saying it was a thing that our culture looked at differently back then. Also, Mason didn't mind making a buck; today, almost all our heroes are repelled by making money.

    I like the personal code of honor thing and the not-opposed-to-getting-paid aspect of the '30s heroes versus today's money-is-dirty and the only-good-fight-is-the-social-justice-fight stand of today's heroes, which comes across to me as sanctimonious virtue signaling mixed with our obsessive politics.
     

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