What Was The Last Movie You Watched?

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

  1. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    I watched this one a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed it a lot, though I chose not to mention it in these parts as it's a difficult one to discuss without veering towards the political. Like most sci-fi - which it is after a fashion, I suppose - it is inevitably a social comment on our world as it is. I took it as being an allegory for climate change and the various stripes of reaction to that. Without getting into the politics of what is right and wrong therein, I thought it pretty well skewed all sides, in particular the difficult balance of what is scientifically necessary versus what is politically palatable within a popular narrative, the reaction to 'expertise' in the present era, and how people in general can readily reject or ignore a reality which they do not want to confront. Is it necessary? Well, that probably depends on individual reaction. I suspect it will mostly be hailed by those who agree with its message, and dismissed by those who do not, as was ever the case. IMO, it's biggest problem with reaction has been among critics who have slated it for not being a comedy while seemingly not quite understanding it's a satire.
     
  2. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    I've recently been watching obscured films I've never heard of but featuring big players as they turn up on streaming. Last night was one called The Professor. Starring Johnny Depp, and made in 2018, after his fall from grace in the public eye, and so perhaps one reason it didn't get a lot of attention. In tone, it rather reminded me of Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt, or Sean Connery in Finding Forrester. Depp plays the titular professor, teaching at what appears to be an exclusive, Ivy League university (it's actually filmed at Royal Roads University in Canada). The locations are utterly beautiful - I would dearly love to have a teaching building and office like that; his house is the stuff of crazy dreams, at least on an academic salary here in London... The plot revolves around his discovery that he has six months to live, a self-analysis that he has done nothing of note with his life, and how he copes with that, with a touch of gentle mocking of Dead Poets Society-style "inspirational teacher" stuff. It's not gritty reality per se, but it is believable within the context of the slightly whimsical, yet cynical, world it creates - and there's a bit of dry humour at the expense of the sad commodification of tertiary education in this modern world. It's a nicely put together performance by Depp in particular, wholly believable as a slowly dying man, subtle and shorn of much of the self-caricature of his more well known performances in the last four or five years. This reminds me much more of the Depp of Secret Window than Jack Sparrow. It's a role that at a time I could have seen Dustin Hoffman in, and perhaps suggestive of a new phase in Depp's own performing career should that be revived following the tarnishing of his brand via his well-publicised personal difficulties in recent years.
     
  3. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

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    Edward, writer-director McKay has explicitly said that Don't Look Up is essentially about climate change... "disguised" as a different existential crisis.

    And yeah, this is a difficult film to discuss without getting into politics and current events. But I think it's important to note that the film's criticism isn't really so much of one "side" or the other, but rather about a society (and its all-powerful supporting media-verse) that would rather be entertained to death than try to work together to save itself.

    But I'm still not sure if I even liked it.
     
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  4. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    There was a time when I would have put "Don't Look Up" in the same category as "Idiocracy," as broad caricature, basically the movie equivalent of a political cartoon. But in their critiques of the brainlessness of commercially-driven modern mass culture, and the way in which "leaders," be they political, corporate, or technological, are sold to us like so much breakfast cereal, they're dangerously close to documentaries. It's not so much about "looking up" as it is "looking in the mirror," and that's something that a lot of people just don't want to do. I found the film's politics rather toothless -- give me Boots Riley for that kind of a film -- but I thought the essential satirical point was razor sharp.
     
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  5. Worf

    Worf I'll Lock Up

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    "We don't need fiction to tell us how messed up the present world is... do we?"
    ROTFLMBBAO! Man have you been under a rock lately? Art has replaced News since Murrow and Cronkite died. Still as bad as it is today, it's better than its ever has been. No Mongol hoards over the next hill. Unlike the last world wide pandemic, we've vaccines even if folks don't want to take em. No sanctioned world wide slavery. No World Wars in the last 70 years or so. Stalin, Mao and Adolph are all still dead. For better or worse we've instantaneous world wide communication. Hell I can even ride in the front of the bus. Basically while it might seem that this is "the worst of times" it is indeed... some of "the best of times."

    Worf
     
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  6. Haversack

    Haversack One Too Many

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    No 'officially' sanctioned world-wide slavery. A blind-eye is still to found in place like the Magic Kingdom. Still it is agreed that it has improved from the 1950s when the Royal Navy was still conducting anti-slavery patrols in the Indian Ocean.
     
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  7. Haversack

    Haversack One Too Many

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    Just finished watching The Lady Eve, (1941). A fine Preston Sturges 'romance'. Censor-duping as he could at the height of his powers, Sturges brought Barbara Stanwyck to a happy ending canoodling with a young Henry Fonda. This was a follow-on to last night's viewing of Mr Roberts, (1955). Henry Fonda in both but with Cagney and Wm Powell's last hurrah.
     
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  8. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

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    Worf - You are correct, sir! No argument here, I gotta agree, it's also the best of times.

    It's too easy to focus on the negatives, especially with huge industrial complexes dedicated to exploiting them for profit and persuasion...
     
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  9. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

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    High-Rise (2015), with Tom Hiddleston, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss, Jeremy Irons, etc.

    This is a seriously disturbing film based on a J.G. Ballard novel, set in a retro-future 1970s England. Hiddleston, a doctor, moves into a newly built, Brutalist concrete residential tower that includes so many amenities (supermarket, pool, school, etc.) that people essentially only have to leave the building for work. Like Snowpiercer, it literalizes the class system: the wealthy live in spectacular luxury on the upper levels (the building's architect Irons in a gigantic penthouse that includes a huge outdoor garden), the middle/professional class in the intermediate levels; the poorest tenants on the lowest.

    There are problems with the building - power failures, little/no water, garbage piling up - but they pale compared to the social dysfunction. The wealthy and poor are soon at odds, with rampant sex and violence; Hiddleston experiences it all from the middle. Things go from bad to worse, and it does NOT end well for anyone. This is another film (like The Humans) that's horror-adjacent, using horror tropes, but is not a horror film, per se. It's the tenants themselves and human nature, not any outside monster, that is responsible for the disastrous consequences.

    This is a rough film, but interesting. Only recommended if you know what you're getting into.
     
  10. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    tminfptdn.jpg
    This Man is Mine from 1934 with Irene Dunn, Ralph Bellamy and Constance Cummings.


    Depression-Era America loved its drawing-room dramas about rich people having affairs and being all sophisticated about them. This Man is Mine is a better-than-average entry in the genre where we meet happily married couple Ralph Bellamy and Irene Dunn. It's clear Dunn is the one in this marriage who is head over heels, but all seems good at first.

    Then we learn Bellamy married Dunn on the rebound after being jilted at the altar by Constance Cummings, which explains why insecure Dunn works hard at her marriage. It's an insecurity that is amped up when she learns that a now-divorced Cummings is coming back East for the first time since her husband's very public jilting.

    "Society" is gleefully atwitter about Cummings returning in a "does Bellamy still love the woman who jilted him" way. Dunn, in an aggressive move, arranges for Bellamy to meet Cumming alone; her logic being her husband can be trusted, so get them together and put rumors to rest.

    Well that plan blows up in her face as Cummings, who gets off on "the chase," pursues still-carrying-a-torch-for-her Bellamy. While they don't show them doing the horizontal bop as they would today, still, being a pre-code, it's clear what happened in the five hours Bellamy and Cummings were together when their "car broke down."

    When Dunn learns this, she also sees Cummings for the first time - a woman ten-years younger than she and, honestly, prettier: life isn't fair. Despite being a short, off-the-shelf cheating-husband tale, Dunn's response to her husband's philandering brings gravitas and intrigue to the story of a woman trying to save her marriage.

    Dunn's first move is to tell her husband she'll give him a divorce, no questions asked, but he has to wait six months as she believes the affair will burn itself out. Bellamy, being the idiot that he is, stomps around because he wants a divorce now (!), but Dunn smartly sees that Cummings wants the attention of being pursued, but not the actual marriage itself.

    After a while, though, unable to take the mental abuse and social shame, Dunn, in a freakin' awesome move, tells Bellamy and Cummings that she's filing for divorce. But she's not doing it in the socially acceptable way (going to Reno or staging a fake affair), she's charging Cummings as a correspondent, which "wasn't done" in her set because it will blow up Cummings' standing in society.

    Sure, it will also damage Dunn's standing, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do and Dunn stares down both Bellamy and Cummings who initially think she's bluffing - she isn't. (Spoiler alert) That pressure brings out the worst in Cummings who dumps Bellamy to marry a socially respectable man to save her reputation. That's checkmate; Dunn wins.

    (Spoiler alert, but you knew this was coming) All that's left is to see if Dunn will take now-contrite Bellamy back. You wish she wouldn't, but she does. The message the movie is selling is that these two belong together, but that Bellamy had to scratch his Cummings' itch before he'd truly realize it. Maybe, but you'll probably think Dunn should have found herself a better husband.

    This Man is Mine is a quick, copycat pre-code that punches above its weight owing to Dunn's strong performance highlighted by her full-throttle Mexican standoff strategy where Bellamy and Cummings blink first. As an angry and frustrated Dunn said, "I'm tired of trying to be civilized about it." She wasn't kidding and that makes the movie special.
     
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  11. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer Practically Family

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    Never a Dull Moment (1950) dir. George Marshall, with Irene Dunne and Fred MacMurray. Smash Broadway songwriter Dunne marries cowboy-widower MacMurray after a "whirlwind" romance. The bulk of the story is Dunne attempting to cope with ranch life in an unnamed state. Natalie Wood and Gigi Perreau are MacMurray's kids, who are won over by Dunne. The Missus liked it, and it helped pass a relaxing Friday evening.
     
  12. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    Caught Being The Ricardos after Purdue steam rolled Nebraska; Illinois v Michigan-Illini luck won out;
    and, to relax a bit and put everything into better perspective sat through an action-packed fun filled
    week with Lucy. Production impressive and sufficiently crafted so as to be coherent. Kidman captured
    Lucille Ball like a hand-in-glove, ditto the whole bunch. And the film said some things that needed to
    be said, Kidman portraying a much stronger Lucy than previously imagined. The show's inside baseball
    soiled laundry stuff and those times and the tribulations that came with, all faced and dealt.
    Not perfect to be sure but not bad.:)
     
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  13. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Sinner Takes All from 1936 with Bruce Cabot and (the adorable) Margaret Lindsay.


    Sinner Takes All is a solid B movie in the very-popular 1930s mystery genre. B movies, with their short runtimes, small budgets, action-packed repeatable plots and likable tier-two actors were the TV shows of their day. Like many TV shows from the 1960s through the 1990s, they were visual comfort food: you knew what to expect and you got it.

    Sinner Takes All (a basically meaningless title) is another harmless mystery story where the fun is not the silly, unbelievable plot, but watching likable actors play easy roles. Equally enjoyable is watching the two attractive leads, Bruce Cabot and Margaret Lindsay, fight like they're not going to fall in love, while we, the audience, know all along they will.

    Yes, there is a story here and it's an iteration of many B movie mysteries. A wealthy family's three adult children simultaneously receive anonymous, threatening letters right before one of them is murdered (Depression Era audiences loved movies about wealthy families).

    The family lawyer and his young assistant, Cabot, are called in to work with the police to both protect the remaining two siblings, one being Lindsay, and to solve the murder. Thrown into the mix is the popular-in-movies-back-then news reporter who forces his or her (often a her) way in to help solve the murder and "scoop" the other papers.

    From here, as in many of these 1930s mysteries, there are a bunch of suspects, even more clues, a few additional murders, much running around, several fist and gun fights plus a couple of false arrests, while as noted, the leads argue as they fall in love.

    Playing to the B movie-mystery formula, all the suspects are gathered together at the end, in an elegant salon (think a poor-man's The Thin Man), as the murderer is tricked into revealing himself or herself.

    These B movies, like Sinner Takes All, are fun today in pretty much the same way they were fun in the '30s, as not-challenging entertainment where the real hook is the stars themselves, plus getting to feel "smart" as you figure the mystery out before the cops do. Additionally, for us today, there's wonderful time travel to the 1930s, including the period's cars, clothes, architecture and, in this one, a cool roadside nightclub.
     
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  14. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

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    All Fall Down (1962), a family melodrama directed by John Frankenheimer... and released the same year as two of his best films, Birdman of Alcatraz and The Manchurian Candidate. Wow! (The screenplay was written by William Inge.)

    It's about a very dysfunctional Cleveland family: The father (Karl Malden) is an ineffectual closet boozer, mother (Angela Lansbury – yeah, also a monstrous mother in Manchurian) is controlling and smothering, 16-year-old younger brother (Brandon deWilde) idolizes his much older brother (Warren Beatty)… who’s in jail in the Florida Keys when we first meet him.

    Beatty is a hedonistic drifter who fled the stifling family years earlier, and women are constantly drawn to his good looks and cocky demeanor; he uses and abuses them and moves on to somewhere else. When a family friend, an independent 30-year-old unmarried woman (Eva Marie Saint) comes to visit, deWilde falls deeply in love with her… but of course, she ultimately can’t resist Beatty, and it all gets ugly. It’s a good film, a bit reminiscent of the vaguely realistic “kitchen sink” dramas being made in England at the same time, and everyone in the cast is very good.

    Recommended if you dig dysfunctional family meltdown flicks. It's a classic example.
     
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  15. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    ^Sinner post script note: Recall reading David Niven's autobiog way back whenz titled
    The Moon's A Balloon and there is a Bruce Cabot paragraph or two-apparently Errol Flynn
    kept straphanger-pal Cabot employed as a speak/extra face n figure in his films or telephoned
    a pull string for his buddy whenever. The fall out occurred when a production startup partially
    owned by Flynn folded, cancelled a few low budget affairs before filmed and contracted personnel
    let go w/o pay. Cabot one such one. But Cabot sued Flynn, won award damages, and a collector
    for the court garnished Flynn's pay and said rumor came to the Flynn family house and took
    Christmas gifts meant for Flynn's kids.

    Niven recounts Flynn never looked for Cabot afterwards. Flynn was afraid he'd kill Cabot.
     
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  16. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer Practically Family

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    An intriguing movie entitled Grounds for Marriage (1951), dir. Robert Z. Leonard, with Van Johnson and Kathryn Grayson. Divorced couple Grayson and Johnson bump into each other a couple of years later, she an opera singer about to make her big time debut in NYC, and he a well-known ENT doctor. The thing is, he's engaged to the socialite daughter of successful doctor Lewis Stone, and Grayson wants him back. Sort of a screwball/rom-com hybrid.

    But wait - the movie has some really wacky moments, such as an extended dream sequence, brought on by Johnson' s cold, that does a number on Bizet's Carmen, and we go to Greenwich Village for The Firehouse Five Plus Two putting on a show, which leads to Johnson doing a solo Charleston (watch the wild look on Johnson's face as he busts a move), and we get Guy Rennie who does a turn as a cab driver with a sunny disposition and wisecracks a'plenty.

    And Barry Sullivan is Johnson's toy company magnate brother, who works an angle trying to get Grayson for himself. Sullivan's character can best be described as the parts played by Tony Randall in those comedies of the 50s - 60s.
    The Missus and I watched it all the way through, and actually had to pause it several times because we were laughing and missing the next line.
     
  17. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend

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    Blade Runner - FC

    I will give the 1992 DC's new german synchro a chance.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2022 at 6:56 PM

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