What Was The Last Movie You Watched?

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

  1. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

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    Famous story re Across the Pacific: John Huston had to report for his war service in the midst of the production. He purposely put Bogie into a cliffhanger situation with no scripted resolution in the shipboard scenes, leaving it a problem for the director assigned to complete the film!

    Anyway... The Godfather Trilogy: two four-star masterpieces... and a two-star sequel made long afterwards, mainly to get the cast and crew back together for another trip to Italy and rake in more cash. I've watched Part III three or four times over the years, but I don't know it chapter and verse like the first two. It's always seemed more like a curiosity, an unnecessary epilogue, than a significant sequel.

    So this year Coppola released a heavily re-edited version of Part III with the absurd title Mario Puzo's The Godfather: Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone. Reviews said that it was a massive improvement on the unsatisfying Part III, so when it showed up on cable, I had to check it out. Is it really better?

    Yes and no. It is indeed heavily re-edited, with some things removed and others added: much of the story has been streamlined and clarified. Don Altobello is identified as the villain right from the start; Joey Zaza's motivations are clearer; many of the supporting characters are more clearly identified, and there are even more Easter egg-like reflections on things that recur from the first two films. But the things that fell flat before, like the total lack of romantic chemistry between Vincent and Mary (not to mention Michael and Kay), the byzantine Vatican plot, and the exhausting, endless third-act opera sequence, remain problems. And the pacing, particularly in the second half, is choppy - you can tell that compromises were required for rejiggering the story that throw the cross-cutting chronology off.

    So the new version is better, but the film remains completely inessential. As before, it's a pleasant chance to hang out with the Corleones some more, but it remains a mess that doesn't cap the story as intended. And - spoiler alert? - Michael is still sitting in Don Tomasino's garden at the end... ALIVE, which doesn't exactly jibe with the film's title!

    Recommended for Godfather completists only.
     
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  2. I saw The Godfather: Part III with a friend when it was first released, and we both walked out of the theater with what essentially boiled down to a one-word review--pointless. I suppose "unnecessary" would have worked just as well. I've considered giving it another chance with Coppola's re-edit, but it just had SOOOO many problems to overcome that I can think of numerous ways I'd rather spend my time. Your review pretty much confirms my initial assessment--pointless and unnecessary.
     
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  3. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend

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    Superfluous in the Godfather story, absolutely.

    But the super hot Vatican topic, damn! Would they dare such a topic, today??
     
  4. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Macao from 1952 with Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell, William Bendix, Gloria Grahame, Thomas Gomez and Brad Dexter


    Even ten years after its release, you can still feel Casablanca's influence all over this RKO-Howard Hughes effort suffering from too many cooks in the kitchen (several writers, three directors and endless Hughes tinkering).

    While Casablanca was able to overcome its too-many-chefs challenge, Casablanca was a moon shot; in Macao, all you end up with is some good parts of a never-fully-engaging story.

    Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell and William Bendix meet on the boat to Macao carrying, like expats everywhere, aliases, legal issues, baggage and/or chips on their shoulder.

    Once in Macao, all three get mixed up with a shady local nightclub and casino operator, poorly-cast-and-wooden Brad Dexter (he's no Bogie from Casablanca), plus a crooked cop on his payroll, Thomas Gomez, and Dexter's gal factotum, Gloria Grahame (outshining star Russell in the looks department).

    It's a not-complicated story made unnecessarily confusing inorder to add mystery and intrigue. Dexter is wanted by the US authorities, but is openly hiding in Macao, because it doesn't have an extradition treaty with the US.

    Bendix is an undercover cop trying to force Dexter out of Macao. He uses both Mitchum - who is a persona non grata in the US for, maybe, killing a guy who was snaking his girl - and Russell - a nightclub singer who's been knocked around a bit - to help lure Dexter to Hong Kong. The hook is a stolen jewel Dexter is trying to fence in Hong Kong, which unknown to Dexter, the police already have in its possession.

    After a lot of running around Macao (on sets shot against on-location background footage, sigh), some bed hopping, Russell and Mitchum fighting while falling in love, a few murders, plenty of smoking, gambling and head bonking, (spoiler alerts) Dexter gets flushed out of Macao, the US gets its man and Mitchum gets Russell.

    Macao is Casablanca after a turn or two in the food processor: desperate foreigners in an exotic local with corrupt officials, malleable laws, a nightclub/casino, rigged gambling (is there any other kind?), fenced jewelry, plenty of heavies, many cocktails and nobody, rightfully, trusting anybody.

    At eighty minutes in runtime, Macao is serviceable enough entertainment, but it's just too much echoing of Casablanca, without the famous movie's soul, to be anything more. Howard Hughes bought a studio and, then, almost never let his top talent make a picture without him mucking it up. I guess it's an example of "his money, his rules," which is fine from a legal perspective, but not a great formula for filmmaking.


    N.B. A Jane Russell speed round: One, in her, I see the best looking man in drag ever (Howard Hughes and many others, obviously, felt differently, especially about her breasts, which get ample camera time in Macao); two, you can hardly listen to her version of One for My Baby without Sinatra's later and iconic version eclipsing it in your mind and, three, I bet she didn't have to act to show her script-called-for antipathy toward better-looking Gloria Grahame.
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  5. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

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    Currently watching Out of the Past (1947) with Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer. A wonderful, stylish noir.
     
  6. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

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    I quite agree. I left the theater very, very angry. I'm still angry.

    I won't ever watch that movie again.
     
  7. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

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  8. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

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    Really glad you enjoyed it! It's a fantastic film.
     
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  9. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    I watched a chunk of it too. What a wonderful way to slide into the weekend - outstanding movie.
     
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  10. Out of the Past might be my favorite Robert Mitchum movie. He and Jane Greer play well off of each other, and it's fun to see Mitchum and Kirk Douglas going chin dimple to chin dimple.
     
  11. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    It's not an obvious favourite among Bogart's pictures, but there's nothing and no-one in cinema history that to my mind has anything close to the chemistry of Bogart and Bacall in this one. I very much enjoy the humour in a lot of these period noirs, which is an aspect of them I think is far too often overlooked.
     
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  12. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    High Barbaree from 1947 with Van Johnson, June Allyson and Thomas Mitchell


    High Barbaree is a post-WWII movie that sees faith - not necessarily religion, but faith - as a way to survive and, maybe, even take something positive away from the war experience. It's post-war propaganda done with good intent.

    A shot-down navy pilot, Van Johnson, tells his life story to his one surviving crewmate as they pass the days drifting in their lost and floating seaplane. Johnson had a typical childhood (if you accept that an idyllic Midwest childhood, in a nice house, with loving parents, plenty of food, good medical care and a college education was typical of growing up in Depression-era America).

    This early "normal" childhood was spent, Tom-Sawyer like, with his best friend, the girl next door, romping around the countryside and planning their future: he was to become a doctor, she; a nurse. A fun uncle, a sailor, pops in from time to time to tell tales of his adventures and a place called "High Barbaree," a "lost" island of simple paradise.

    But then the girl next door's family moves away and we jump forward to Johnson's early pre-war adult life where he's left medical school, "takes too long for too little reward." Instead, he is now a successful young executive in an airplane manufacturing company owned, not coincidentally, by his fiance's father.

    His childhood friend, June Allyson, who's become a young nurse as planned, re-enters his life, effectively, to remind him of their childhood dreams, including his desire to become a physician. As happens in the magic of movies, a tornado blows in, isolating Johnson and Allyson in the storm-damaged and, now, almost doctor-less community where he uses his aborted medical training to help victims. You can see where this is going, right?

    But before the happy ending, Allyson and Johnson get separated at the start of the war, which brings us back to Johnson and his crewmate floating in the Pacific without water or much hope of rescue.

    While Johnson recounts his above noted life story to his crewmate, they are also trying to sail (with parachutes rigged to catch and direct the wind) their floating plane to "High Barbaree" based on where Johnson's uncle told him it was.

    The island of "High Barbaree" is the idea that keeps them fighting to survive. It's utopia or paradise or heaven or Shangri-La or whatever you call the place of your dreams.

    (Spoiler alerts for the next two paragraphs) When they arrive at "High Barbaree's" location and don't see the island, Johnson's skeptical crewmate gives out - he never really believed - but Johnson, even with his confidence rattled, still has hope as he passes out.

    Just over the horizon is the rescue ship, captained by Johnson's uncle (this movie is unapologetically sentimental), that saves Johnson's life and reunites him with Allyson. Next up, Johnson marries Allyson and resumes his study of medicine.

    High Barbaree is shameless in its idealized portrayal of pre-war America, of it's belief in the power of faith (or dreams, or prayer) and in its arrantly happy ending. What Johnson and all of us learn is "High Barbaree" isn't a physical place, but a state of mind, a belief in a good future that Johnson was only able to find by never truly losing faith through all his struggles in war.

    There are much more realistic post-war movies, like The Best Years of our Lives or Till the End of Time, which show the immense physical and psychological challenges many returning veterans faced. Yet there is also a place for simpler and happier tales of faith and hope. High Barbaree does a respectable job delivering just such faith and hope from its pleasant little corner of post-war-movie propaganda.

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  13. I stumbled across Meet John Doe (1941) on one of the PBS stations, so I'm watching it now. Of the few Gary Cooper movies I've seen, it's my favorite. I particularly enjoy the camaraderie between John Doe (Cooper) and his friend "The Colonel" (Walter Brennan). I don't know how they got on in real life, but they seemed to have fun playing off of each other in their shared scenes.
     
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  14. Samson25

    Samson25 New in Town

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    I guess Danial Craig wanted out, so it was a good time for the franchise to also get woke- which ruined the film.
    Can't see myself ever going to another 007 franchise film.
     
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  15. Edward Reed

    Edward Reed A-List Customer

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  16. Touchofevil

    Touchofevil

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    The Lineup on TCM’s Noir Alley this morning. It was new to me. I liked it. Nice cast and story. It was especially neat to see all of the shots of San Francisco from that time. I came in about fifteen minutes late so I look forward to seeing it again.
    :D
     
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  17. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Werewolves of the Third Reich on Netflix. Very much within the conventions of a particular style of B movie which is all build-up and very little sighting of said werewolves, presumably owing to budget limitations. A definite Inglorious Basterds influence in there as well. Fun for what it is. Not one for big WW2 buffs, as a rule...
     
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  18. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    The Hustler from 1961 with Paul Newman, George C. Scott, Piper Laurie and Jackie Gleason


    This is what a movie should be. Paul Newman is a talented, cocky, young pool hustler who possesses top-tier professional skills, but is still an amateur at the strategy and hustle of the game at that level.

    The Hustler is two wonderful hours of watching Newman get educated in the psychology, the human-versus-human game playing, of both pool and life. Physical skills will only take you so far; the greats play an even better mental game. As Newman learns this, he wrecks one woman and nearly wrecks himself.

    After we see Newman hussle a few good pool players, he chooses to go up against the reigning king of pool, Minnesota Fats, played with wonderful nuance by Jackie Gleason giving not one hint of Ralph Kramden. Their forty-hour match requires skill, endurance and a deep understanding of the game.

    Newman has more skill, less endurance and less understanding of the game of pool than Gleason, who turns a large loss half way through into a large win by wearing Newman down physically, but even more so, mentally.

    When Newman wakes up the next day broke and hungover in his hotel room, he walks out on his longtime manager and wanders into a bus stop to store all his worldly possessions in one locker. In a scene out of an Edward Hopper painting, Newman sits next to the only other customer in the bus stop's large coffee shop in the pre-dawn hours.

    Piper Laurie seems as lost as Newman with her sad eyes, slight limp and, as we quickly learn, drinking problem. After a little "yes-no" back and forth, these two broken and lost people begin an affair with Newman moving into Laurie's dilapidated apartment.

    While they experience some of the joy and fun of new love, the apartment is heavy with each other's emotional baggage and failure. Laurie is fighting the bottle while struggling as a writer; Newman is emotionally shattered from his crushing defeat against Gleason. Yet somehow, these two are good together when their demons don't have them lashing out at each other.

    Newman, in a self-destructive attempt at reviving his pool career, overplays his hand in a game and is beaten up by the players who see they were hustled. With both thumbs now broken, Newman hits rock bottom.

    Enter George C. Scott - gambler, manager, manipulator, mob boss (maybe) - who witnessed Newman's defeat at the hands of Gleason. He offers to manage Newman for a seventy-five percent cut! You pay for a manager that can bring you back from the gutter and get you into the high-stakes games.

    After saying "no," Newman's first thought is always the wrong one, he and Scott, with Laurie in tow, go on the road to begin Newman's rehabilitation. Laurie, while unable to fix her own problems, sees clearly both Newman's shortcomings and Scott venality, but "the men" dismiss her.

    Newman, in his first real outing under Scott and losing, lashes out at the people trying to help him, deeply wounding Laurie and alienating Scott. Back at the hotel with Newman absent, a late-night showdown between Laurie and Scott ends tragically. (Spoiler alert) After Scott seduces a drunk and emotionally spinning Laurie into bed, she kills herself in his bathroom. She needed kindness, but was physically used and mentally abused by both men.

    In the movie's climax (more spoilers), Newman shows up at the poolhall asking for another showdown with Gleason; this time he wins. Yes, the cocky kid has learned how to play all aspects of the game and, maybe, even life, but at the cost of Laurie's life.

    In a final showdown with Scott, he seems to win the battle as he keeps the money he took off of Gleason - no cut for Scott - and is allowed to walk out of the poolhall unharmed, but loses the war as Scott bans him from big-time pool.

    With its grimy and smoke-filled pool halls, shabby tenement apartments and everybody hustling everybody else (except for Laurie, who deserved better), 1960's The Hustler is the pool-hall cognate of 1957's The Sweet Smell of Success. Both are tales of venal people, living in a seedy world, where the few decent human beings get used and discarded.

    The Hustler's director Robert Rossen probably saw The Sweet Smell of Success, but he might not have, as movies reflect their times. By the late 1950s, Hollywood had sussed out that America was ready for an unvarnished look at its darkest corners. A look not presented in a traditional noir package where the bad people eventually get punished, but a much-worse world, where, as in The Hustler, it's the good people who lose.

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  19. MisterCairo

    MisterCairo I'll Lock Up

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    On Netflix, a Dutch film, The Forgotten Battle.

    A very good movie, excellent production values for a war flick with a relatively small budget (15 million euros or thereabouts), and a rather interesting take on, you guessed it, a forgotten battle, big picture the Battle of the Scheldt, micro level the Battle of the Walcheren Causeway.

    Intersection of four main characters, two Dutch resistance members (one dedicated, one thrown into the role), one Dutch volunteer in the Waffen SS, and one British glider pilot.

    Starts off looking at Operation Market Garden, the glider takes damage and crashes in the Scheldt. Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) is one pilot (not the main character).

    Surviving British crew learn the Canadian Army is approaching, and they seek a route to join up. They interact eventually with the Dutch protagonists, and battle ensues.

    Highly recommended. I wish my father was around to see this, it had and lacked what he liked and hated respectively. First, a film that actually recognizes that Canada participated in the war (he was British Army, 1939 - 1946), second, a war movie that did not focus on the Americans AT ALL (no offence intended, but enough, we get it...), and had no stupid love story added!


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Forgotten_Battle

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10521092/
     
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  20. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer Practically Family

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    Shield for Murder (1954) with Edmond O'Brien, John Agar, and Marla English. Co-directed by O'Brien and Howard Koch. No spoiler here to tell you that O'Brien is established as a really bad cop within the first couple of minutes. Earnest young cop Agar can't believe his mentor-buddy would "turn sour" and spends the movie trying to sort out the case. Fun to watch and see 1950s LA at night.
    Background to Danger (1943) with George Raft, Sidney Greenstreet, and Peter Lorre, dir. Raoul Walsh. Raft is tasked with breaking up a scheme by Germany to convince Turkey that Russia is preparing an invasion. With Greenstreet and Lorre onboard, it clearly needs Bogie in the Raft role. Walsh keeps the story moving at a healthy clip.
     
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