Author Topic: Respond to the last movie you watched (2013-2016)  (Read 961890 times)

1SO

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2270 on: July 02, 2014, 11:26:05 PM »
"Look, here, my friend, we are making a motion picure here."
"That's a matter of opinion..."
Hellzapoppin'
* * 1/2

I had no idea what this movie was about before I started it, which is kind of like agreeing to skydive without a parachute without knowing what that means. Hellzapoppin' does everything it can to... well it actually just does everything it can.

It's a comedy, something akin to Airplane or The Marx Brothers, but Airplane has a story and The Marx Brothers have a predictability to the brothers actions. You don't know what they're going to do, but each practices their anarchy in a disciplined way. With Hellzapoppin', for a while I didn't know what I was watching and in the end I can't really tell you what I saw.

Is it any good? Well, it sure does try awfully hard to entertain. Too hard by far, and yet I admire its spirit. It's far more charming than obnoxious, which is amazing considering how loud and aggressive the humor is. And random. It's a film where Shemp Howard and Martha Raye give a pair of their most low-key performances compared to their surroundings. It was better than a lot of the Studio Variety films I watched for Merry Music of May, but I think most people will say "I get it" and walk away before the film is over.

oldkid

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2271 on: July 03, 2014, 10:16:58 AM »
I really enjoyed Hellzapoppin'.  For a vaudeville- style show, it strives hard to be innovative and though there isn't much to hold it together, I think it was really entertaining.  But I really like Marx Bros. comedy, and this is similar to that, but even more zany.  It also feels like a precursor to the Road comedies.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2272 on: July 03, 2014, 12:01:30 PM »
Foreign Correspondent (1940)



Full disclosure: I've only seen one Hitchcock film prior to this - Psycho. I adore that picture, and I've wanted to catch his renowned American flicks for ages - particularly Vertigo and Rear Window. Criterion released a few of his British films before unleashing his second U.S. film, Foreign Correspondent this year. Availing myself of the Barnes and Noble Criterion sale, I purchased this, as it seems to have generated more talk (i.e., there are more scholarly write-ups and retrospectives produced on this flick) than any of his British films. So, this would be my second ever Hitchcock flick and perhaps a buffer to the rest of his work.

I wasn't enamored with this. The suspense sequences were wonderfully executed (the umbrella chase, the coat in the gears scene, Jones's scaling the hotel, and the finale), and I adore the humor and lightening-fast dialogue. Nevertheless, this was an oddly paced film that came in at a bloated two hours. The best thrillers are lean and taut, yet the first half hour or so is nothing but romantic comedy fat. As leading men go, McCrea leaves much to be desired. He deftly handles the quick dialogue, but he had a very unenthused, detached delivery and never conveys the right amount of leading man charisma to anchor the movie. Oddly enough, he's barely present for the lead-in to the climax, either, which goes back to the pacing problem. According to the essay in the booklet accompanying the blu ray, Hitchcock wanted Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck for the leads, but A-listers often looked down on thrillers, so he settled for McCrea and Laraine Day (the latter was also quite hollow). George Sanders was the only truly arresting presence in the flick, and his charm and effortless cool stole the show.

It's so transparently a propaganda film (which isn't a mark against it); Hitchcock has the paper's E.I.C. dress down an economist for not being a relatable newsman and brings in a rabble rousing, self-professed "jackass" who knows nothing of the situation in Europe to be their new foreign correspondent. He chooses a guy who doesn't "know anything that ends in an 'ism'" to be the proxy for "Wise-cracking U.S. male" who could be any of us - the us who needs to advocate for an end to isolationism. The ending - added after post-production in response to the Luftwaffe dropping bombs in France and Britain in spring/summer '40 - was harrowing because of that piece of trivia, but it otherwise feels oddly disjointed. The heightened urgency of the film and its stakes are at odds with the smaller thriller it starts off as. The MacGuffin of "Clause 27" never really makes sense or is explained. If anything, it's a distraction that serves only to give us a reason for a traitor to exist.

I was mildly entertained throughout, but I have absolutely no desire to ever see this again.

MartinTeller

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2273 on: July 03, 2014, 12:10:01 PM »
Hellzapoppin' is just so bonkers you have to respect it.  Parts of it are absolutely terrible, but other parts are surprisingly delightful.

SO, I feel much the same way about Foreign Correspondent.  It's a fun watch but it doesn't stick with you nearly as much as most of Hitchcock.

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2274 on: July 03, 2014, 12:15:56 PM »
  but it doesn't stick with you nearly as much as most of Hitchcock.

I'm glad to hear that, being a Hitchcock novice. I was hoping this isn't indicative of the rest of this body of work.

verbALs

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2275 on: July 03, 2014, 12:39:10 PM »
SO, I feel much the same way about Foreign Correspondent.  It's a fun watch but it doesn't stick with you nearly as much as most of Hitchcock.
Except the image used is one of the most iconic in Hitchcock's canon at a time when he was at his most expressionist (see Saboteur). Admit it, that's a beautiful shot- that's what I'd have on my walls if I had any. The windmills! Come on.

I'm glad to hear that, being a Hitchcock novice. I was hoping this isn't indicative of the rest of this body of work.
It's certainly an unusual place to start. I'm sure you know which are the more universally acclaimed of his films. FC is more a hidden gem in comparison. Laraine Day is great in it, I'm defending the poor love. She's a real woman being highlighted for her intelligence first and her looks further down the list.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2014, 12:43:58 PM by verbALs »
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1SO

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2276 on: July 03, 2014, 12:42:08 PM »
Super Quickies

Edge of Tomorrow
* * *

The first half was a lot of fun. Then it gets bogged down and becomes a routine action film. I think I wrote the same words for the first Hellboy.

Beauty & The Beast: Still Top 100, but I don't think it would do well in a Chapter by Chapter analysis. Lots of small flaws.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Still * * * * * despite some technical flaws and obvious bits of direction. I think it would hold up well to a Chapter-by-Chapter analysis.


[NOTE: I am not planning another Chapter by Chapter Marathon.]

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2277 on: July 03, 2014, 03:26:08 PM »
  but it doesn't stick with you nearly as much as most of Hitchcock.

I'm glad to hear that, being a Hitchcock novice. I was hoping this isn't indicative of the rest of this body of work.
Nope. It's just one of his most bland films.

JakeIsntFake

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2278 on: July 03, 2014, 04:28:05 PM »
Finally finished Benji, and ended up enjoying it more than I expected. I was able to get behind the style, minus the animations, but it was still a little short on basketball. I enjoyed the sincerity and acknowledgement of Benji's unfortuantely symbolic cessation. B
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MartinTeller

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2279 on: July 03, 2014, 10:57:02 PM »

The Lego Movie - Well, what do you know... this actually lives up to the hype.  It's a little hard to get past the fact that it's a feature-length toy commercial, and there's quite a bit of formula to it, and the action sometimes gets a little too manic for my tastes.  But for the most part, it's really fun.  Enjoyable characters and voice acting, impressive art design (although occcasionally it looks too computer-generated to the point where it stops being believable as a Lego universe) and pop culture references that are actually clever and playful and not just "Hey, here's that thing you know about!"  There were lots of laughs to be had, few of them cheap laughs.  And I gotta give bonus points for taking the piss out of "serious Batman".  I am not a fan of serious Batman.

Although the ending is a bit sentimental, I appreciate that they had the guts to abruptly turn away from the big action set piece and let themselves have a quiet moment.  In an age when children's movies always seem to culminate with an elaborate non-stop frenetic crescendo -- the money shot, if you will -- it was a welcome change of pace.  And it maintains the humor, too.  I thought the film's thoughts on creativity were nice... not terribly profound, but not entirely simple, either. 

It also didn't hurt that "Wyldstyle" looks a whole lot like my fiancée.  Rating: Very Good (84)

 

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