Author Topic: Respond to the last movie you watched (Jan 2011 - Nov 2013)  (Read 1354036 times)

1SO

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #13910 on: July 08, 2012, 12:04:34 AM »
Did you just watch it or is that an old rating?

Old rating. I saw Demolition Man on Friday night when it opened and I used to own the laserdisc.
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1SO

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #13911 on: July 08, 2012, 01:16:10 AM »
The Barefoot Contessa
* * * 1/2

Everybody at some point watches All About Eve, but so few people even talk about Joseph L. Mankiewicz's companion piece, The Barefoot Contessa, which shares a similar love for tearing down the romance of celebrity as well an intense love for the spoken word. This is one talky film, yet it never feels dull. Even one someone starts with "when I was a little girl..." the dialogue plays in your ear like a beautiful melody. This is the inversion/subversion of a Cinderella story, told at the Contessa's funeral by the three people who thought they knew her best. (Only one of whom actually does.) The three-headed narrator also reminded me of The Bad and The Beautiful, but while that was an attack on the main character this is done to honor her, looking back with a heavy romantic sigh. Dreams now buried in the dirt.

The story is such an incredible journey, I don't want to get into too many details. What appears at first to be a straight-ahead Hollywood satire, develops into something much more dense and complex. In the final third, it's like we're in a different film, with Hollywood just a faded memory. The film is a banquet with platefuls of comedy, drama and melodrama. How many films begin like exceptional Billy Wilder and end like exceptional Douglas Sirk? Through it all is trust in the intelligence of the audience and that great dialogue. I will leave you with this introduction between Gardner and Bogart.

Harry: Do you know who Mr. Kirk Edwards is?
Maria: I have heard of him. He is the owner of Texas.
Harry: That is correct. Recently, however, Mr. Edwards decided to produce motion pictures. So for that purpose, he's just bought California too.
Maria: And now he wants to buy me.
Harry: Not exactly. Mr. Kirk Edwards is looking for somebody like you to play in his first production. He wants to talk to you about it.
Maria: Who are you?
Harry: I'm not important. I'm writing the film, and I'll direct it. My name is Harry Dawes.
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sdedalus

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #13912 on: July 08, 2012, 02:05:41 AM »
What's the Spanish word for "Cinderella"?
The End of Cinema

Seattle Screen Scene

"He was some kind of a man. What does it matter what you say about people?"

MartinTeller

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #13913 on: July 08, 2012, 03:09:33 AM »
The Barefoot Contessa
* * * 1/2


it never feels dull

I quite disagree.
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MartinTeller

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #13914 on: July 08, 2012, 03:37:11 AM »

The Lineup (rewatch) - A movie doesnít have to be perfect to be great.  The Lineup is not a perfect noir.  Taking place entirely in the daytime, it lacks the rich chiaroscuro lighting associated with the genre.  Thereís no femme fatale.  It utterly lacks moral ambiguity, with absolutely clear demarcations between the good guys and the bad guys, the guilty and the innocent.  And the heroin smuggling scheme these guys have concocted is absurd.

Itís not a perfect noir.  But it is a great one.  Largely because of the filmís two primary villains.  On the one hand, you have Dancer (Eli Wallach), a sociopathic, psychotic fella who can charm his way into any situation and shoot his way out.  And then thereís Julian (Robert Keith), the older veteran with words of wisdom, a cool head in the middle of a crisis, and a little notebook where he records victimsí last words.  These guys have a riveting, nutty dynamic.  Julian serves as Dancerís mentor, and when theyíre not in the process of collecting junk from unsuspecting mules, theyíre sharpening Dancerís grammar.  Julianís a father figureÖ but what he doesnít realize is that when the heat is really on, Dancerís daddy issues come to the fore in a big way.

Even the routine police procedural stuff at the beginning of the film (itís about 20 minutes before we meet Dancer and Julian) is reasonably entertaining, with enjoyable cop performances by Marshall Reed and especially Emile Meyer.  Sure, the film only really gets cooking when Wallach and Keith are onscreen, but the policework is compelling enough to keep things chugging along.  And the use of San Francisco locations is dynamite.  The evil lurks among the innocent pleasures of an aquarium or a skating rink.  It seeps into majestic opera houses.  It careens through the city streets in one of the great cinematic car chases.  If the movie lacks the characteristic high-contrast photography, it still looks beautifully composed against the cityís locations, and it also contains some impressive tracking shots.

The filmís acts of violence are unique, intense, shocking and gripping.  The first couple of minutes catch your attention, a burst of sudden vehicular manslaughter right out the gate.  I wonít spoil the others.  Of course, it ends as all noirs must, with the bad guys getting their due.  Few get it in such spectacular fashion.  The time Iíve spent with these nasties has been so enjoyably twisted, it makes me immediately want to watch the whole thing again.  Rating: Masterpiece (96)
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Lobby

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #13915 on: July 08, 2012, 05:59:42 AM »
Woody Allen - A Documentary (Theatrical cut) (Robert B. Weide, US, 2012)


Behind the scenes of Woody Allen Ė the light version
 
Do you enjoy taking a peak behind the scenes? I do and whenever I have the opportunity, Iíll dive as deep as my time schedule allows me into the extras that come with DVD editions of movies. Well, apart from the trailers then; those Iíll skip. At the best theyíre pointless, at worst theyíre annoying, misleading, spoiling and whatnot. But thatís a story for another day.
 
My favourite among about-films were those that came with LOTR. Those who made it seem to have been given absolutely free hands to do whatever they wanted for how long they wanted. There was no time limit at all; the floodgates were open. The more there was of it, the merrier. This meant that they could expand on every little detail and aspect of filmmaking without ever having to apologize or compromise. Nothing was too little and narrow to be covered in depth. The sword smith, who at the most would get a single line in a normal about-film, had an entire little film dedicated to this topic only. I loved it; as a matter of fact I wonder if I didnít love the extras even a little more than I loved the movies (which I still thought were good.)
 
Cut into pieces
Most about-films arenít like that. There is an unexplainable tradition in this genre to cut every interview into fragments, one line at a time, run them through a mixer and then glue them together again with some inserted clips from the movie. A document destructing machine couldnít have made a better job.
 
Since nothing is allowed to be discussed properly, what you get are superficial, empty one-liners that are spoken by a bunch of celebrities, but probably are written by the PR department. When youíve watched them youíve learned nothing new about the making of the film that you didnít know already. I still keep watching them, always in the hope that someone will cross the line of the expected and say something meaningful and remarkable. And besides I can never get enough of seeing the craft of movie making. Film sets, make-up, editing, costume making Ė I just enjoy seeing those people at work, as much as I can enjoy watching a professional chef cooking a delicious restaurant meal. I always hope to get a glimpse of that between all the talking heads.
 
Popular in Sweden
Considering my life-long love for Woody Allenís movies and my eagerness to learn more about the making of movies, I was excited and delighted when the theatrical Woody Allen: A Documentary opened in my city.

It doesn't happen too often that a documentary about a director comes up on a big screen in a multiplex, but then Woody Allen is very popular in Sweden. Or at least I always thought he was; I ended up as the only person in the audience, so maybe his reputation as a Swedish darling is exaggerated.

So what did I get from this one-to-one date with one of my favourite directors? Well, while my real life experience of dating to be honest is very limited, I imagine that I got pretty much the same as what you get on your first date: I got a conversation aimed to please and possibly tease, but never getting into uncomfortable places.

He presented me the story of his life in the same way as you would if you were flipping through a photo-album.

He did as you do when you talk with strangers, keeping it to the job and not so much about the private life, always making sure that the small talk remained in a safe zone. Nothing offensive. Nothing that hurts or burns.

The scandal when Allen left Mia Farrow for her daughter is mentioned, but only briefly and with a respectful distance. I don't say this is the wrong choice, but it reinforces the impression that this film mostly is a harmless celebration in the standard format that Hollywood loves to use. It's not an independent documentary with the ambition to say something new, something that makes me feel and think about Woody Allen, life and myself in a new way.

Our second date
Don't get me wrong: I enjoyed our date well enough and had no regrets going to it. Yes, there are those talking heads, and no, they're never allowed to say more than a line or two, but for an Allen lover like me, it's still a good watch.

I loved to learn how Allen writes his scripts, using an old manual typewriter, cutting out the pieces he likes and then putting them together with staples. I thought the clip where he fought a kangaroo in a boxing ring was hilarious. I was captured by the story about how he decided to be the director and have everything under control after he had seen his script for What's New Pussycat being massacred in the final film.

But for my second date with Allen, the one where get a bit further in our relationship, I think I'd rather go back to his vast production and revisit some of my favourites from all those years. They would bring us much closer than this documentary does.

Perhaps it's about time that I make a Woody Allen marathon? I'm chewing on the idea. I've never done any marathon, but if I'd do one, he would be a good candidate.

My rating: 4/5
« Last Edit: July 08, 2012, 06:03:53 AM by Lobby »
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Antares

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #13916 on: July 08, 2012, 08:03:38 AM »
The Barefoot Contessa

I've watched this once, and really liked it, but I've been apprehensive about watching it again, as I'm afraid I won't like it as much as my original viewing.

tjwells

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #13917 on: July 08, 2012, 10:01:21 AM »
The Amazing Spider-Man (Marc Webb, 2012)
B+

http://nursingshorelines.com/2012/07/08/the-amazing-spider-man-marc-webb-2012/



(note: Iím not a comic book reader. If I get something wrong, just let me know.)

Iíll probably upset quite a few people with this statement, but I donít care, since itíll only stand for the next twelve days or so. The Amazing Spider-Man is the best superhero film Iíve seen in 2012. Donít take this to mean that I donít enjoy The Avengers. I did. Quite a bit, in fact. But, ironically, where much of that film seemed like just a pastiche of stuff Iíd seen from all the films that came before, Spider-Man feels incredibly fresh. It manages to take a story weíve seen before, and quite recently, and really come at it from an entirely different angle. It doesnít hurt that Andrew Garfield is a better Peter Parker than Tobey Maguire could ever hope to be.

The plot (obviously) follows Peterís transformation into Spider-Man, hitting all the main points of the origin story that it needs to; the death of Peterís parents, the death of Uncle Ben, the bite by the radioactive spider, the fall into the boxing gym. But where the initial film focused on the budding romance with Mary Jane Watson and the menace of Dr. Norman Osborn aka ďGreen GoblinĒ, this reboot focuses on Peterís budding romance with Gwen Stacy and the menace of Dr. Curt Connors aka ďThe Lizard.Ē This is why I donít read comics.

Rather than going with an established name in what was certainly a quite risky (and arguably dumb and unnecessary) venture of rebooting a series not even ten years old, Columbia made the risky move of going with Marc Webb, best known for the indie romantic dramedy (500) Days of Summer, rather than a more established director. Fortunately, that choice pays off in spades, and I really think Webb has already created a more interesting and realistic universe than Raimi could have ever hoped to. Where that world was VERY comic book-y, with many of the supporting characters being nothing more than caricatures, everyone in this reboot feels like a real human being, someone I wouldnít be surprised to run into on the street.

Another aspect of the film that is so much more involving than the original film is the love story between Peter and Gwen. Say what you want, but I never really felt any chemistry between Maguire and Dunst; aside from that upside down kiss scene (which doesnít really count), they always just felt like two actors forcing a romance. With Garfield and Stone, the fact that they started dating is as clear as day from their first extended (adorable) scene together; an awkward conversation in the hallway. Itís all giggles, awkward glances and stuttered words, thankfully wrapped up by a stupid joke from Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen). But itís in moments like that you see the vital romantic chemistry that is so often missing from superhero films (Downey/Paltrow excluded).

Webb also deserves some credit for playing up the romantic nature of the film. Obviously Raimi was more concerned with the superhero aspect in his original, and thatís fine. Heís always been more of a visual director than an emotional one. But Webb sparked his career with a beautiful film about relationships, so itís not a surprise that he focuses so heavily on that here. I was also surprised at how much leeway the studio seems to have given him with certain shots; any fans of his previous film will notice some similar techniques.

(Side note; during the first scene when we see Connors in the sewers, and he takes a corner, the heavy shadow is a clear homage to Nosferatu, yes?)

The film isnít perfect. In fact, as Iím writing this review, more flaws are coming to mind. James Hornerís score, while serviceable, is sometimes too whimsical and, for lack of a better word twee, for its own good. The security flaws at Oscorp, ostensibly the most advanced science lab in the world this side of Massive Dynamic, are glaring. And Marvel flirts with the possibility of a beautifully sad ending before taking the Hollywood way out. But for a film that had so much potential to go terribly wrong, itís surprising how well it works. Now that Webb has the basics out-of-the-way, Iím excited to see where he goes from here. Doing  a quick Google search has shown me the less-than-pleasant results for the Gwen Stacy character, so I know we could be in for a truly great (and heartbreaking) franchise.

1SO

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #13918 on: July 08, 2012, 11:03:38 AM »
The Barefoot Contessa

I've watched this once, and really liked it, but I've been apprehensive about watching it again, as I'm afraid I won't like it as much as my original viewing.

This was my 2nd viewing. I first watched it back in 1998 and found it to be a sad, forgotten gem. Back then, if I were a Hollywood Producer I'd buy up the remake rights and get Jennifer Lopez on the line. (Remember, this was 1998 Jennifer Lopez.) The rewatch was because I finally remembered to show it to Mrs. 1SO. I was equally apprehensive about it holding up, but that same Cinderella sadness came through. As for the wife, she also liked it a lot, but thought that Bogart disappears for an awfully long time in the middle, and found the final section a bit confusing because they dance around a particular revelation for an unusual amount of time.


The Lineup (rewatch)

Rating: Masterpiece (96)

Rereading my review shows how far I've come in my noir education. The things I pick out to talk about I now accept as genre conventions. While there's something missing that keeps me from also rating it so highly, it remains one of my favorites from my Noir Marathon. One of the most memorable (I saw it last November!) and one that I'm very likely to rewatch and dictate to others.
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Lobby

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #13919 on: July 08, 2012, 11:11:15 AM »
Humpday (Lynn Shelton, US, 2009)

How far can you pull a bromance?

Ben and Andrew are old friends, but have drifted apart over the last few years. While Andrew still spends his time travelling the world, engaging with artists, women and drugs, Ben has married, bought a house and is planning to become a father.

One late night Andrew turns up unexpectedly at Ben's place. This is the beginning of a revival of their old bromance. This relationship is brought to a new place when they under the influence of too much booze come up with the idea to make a film where they're having sex with each other - despite the fact that they're both straight. This film would be their contribution to a local amateur art film festival with porn theme.

This is the setup of Humpday, a little lowbudget mumblecore indie style comedy, which I recently watched.

I was a little bit suspicious as I studied the cover. The plot as well as the image, showing two half naked men staring awkwardly at each other, suggested to me that I could expect something rather homophobic, containing a ton of sex jokes that would make me roll my eyes rather than laugh. I probably wouldn't have considered watching it if it wasn't for the mentioning of the Sundance festival and the fact that I had a vague recollection of it being mentioned in a positive way in the Filmspotting podcast.

For once I'm not going to keep you on a hold, but head straight for the verdict. This was a funny movie, the funniest film I've seen for a very long time. My daughter threw questioning glances at me as I watched the film, wondering what could bring me to that point. Everyone close to me knows how hard it is to bring me to laugh at a comedy. I don't lack humor completely, but I'm very picky. Hearing me laughing at loud at a movie is a very rare thing, but here I was, doing exactly this.

A serious comedy
I loved Humpday for the way it explored male homophobia and friendship without becoming homophobic in itself for a second. I loved it for its fantastic conversation, which sounds believable and natural all the way through. I loved it because while irresistibly funny, it's so much more than just a comedy.

Beneath all the awkwardness and absurd situations that made me laugh so hard, there is also a serious story that is told. This is a film about the nature of bonding and about finding balance and your own identity as you're making the transition from young adult to adult. It could so easily have fallen into a sickening overdose of political correctness or - more likely - into a predicable soup of worn-out clichťs. But it never does, not for a second.

It's a tricky thing to recommend comedies to someone else, since humor is such a personal thing. What's hilarious for one person is just annoying for someone else.

But speaking for myself I fell in love with this and I can't wait to see Lynn Shelton's next film.

 My rating: 4,5/5
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