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gromit
Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 1:15 am Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8857 Location: Shanghai
Mars Attacks has some battle scenes inside the Capitol (or WH?) and the two kids who grew up on video games are naturals at zapping invaders.

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I just rewatched The Desert Fox with James Mason as Rommel.
And instead of the straight war film one expects there are a few odd turns with the second half of the film dealing with the plot to assassinate Hitler which nearly succeeded. So there's a good deal of coup plotting and wondering who can be trusted and crisis of conscience over duty, etc.

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bartist
Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 2:39 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6683 Location: Black Hills
No, I knew why you suggested it for my list. Was just smiling at how it made the list less serious and more fun. Haven't seen it since it was in a theater, so might check it out.

[hr]

Anyone seen the Queen's Gambit miniseries? Wow. In case you thought chess movies were dull, let Anya Taylor-Joy disabuse you. So much more than a chess movie, in any case, with a fascinating character arc. Based on the book by Walter Tevis, best known for The Man who Fell to Earth and The Hustler and The Color of Money. (died in his 50s, so that hits list might have been longer) As for Ms. TJ's perf, I might need a thesaurus.... compelling, captivating, luminous, spellbinding...no, best leave it on the shelf.

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billyweeds
Posted: Sun Jan 17, 2021 4:37 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 20579 Location: New York City
Agree about "The Queen's Gambit" and Anya Taylor-Joy. Fantastic.

Meanwhile, "Psycho Ape!" is getting tons of great reviews on line and awards too. Tell your wife to get on board! Smile
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gromit
Posted: Thu Jan 21, 2021 12:20 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8857 Location: Shanghai
Back to back night double feature: The Upside of Anger & Take This Waltz.

Anger just feels very assured, so you find yourself believing that the family has 4 teenage daughters and the youngest is called Popeye. the scripting, pacing, casting, acting all work really well. Joan Allen is terrific, but I found myself wanting a but more of most of the daughters (which i think is usually a good strategy for a film, leaving you wanting more from minor characters. I'm not really sure why the gay boyfriend subplot is there, but it's handled well, and I suppose makes the point that things are not always as they seem. I think this was my 3rd viewing. Just a very solid film, with everything tying together. Well-written, well-acted.

Then there's Waltz which is for me the complete opposite. Everything felt phony and false. The coincidences felt contrived. Everything felt like a scene with an obvious purpose, so that the mediocre acting appears as acting. The Sarah Silverman subplot seemed perfunctory and barely sketched in, despite getting a decent amount of time. Michelle Williams leaves her husband for a rickshaw boy who seems exceedingly bland, but also somehow well off. Maybe I just tuned out and missed how that was explained.

About the only thing I liked was there were few good line readings from Seth Rogen, an actor I usually don't care much for. And there's one brief scene where Rogen pretends to still be asleep and Michelle Williams guiltily and sadly climbs back in bed and lies down next to him. It seemed like that brief moment was what the film was aiming for or when it finally realized something successfully. Otherwise I really disliked the whole thing.

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bartist
Posted: Thu Jan 21, 2021 1:42 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6683 Location: Black Hills
from Dec. 2012....

gromit wrote:
About every 30 minutes of Take This Waltz I considered shutting it off. Just didn't find any of it believable. It just all seemed so contrived and every scene felt to me like a scene. I kept noticing all of the lighting choices, the distracting early camera movements, the hair, the dialogue. Felt like I was part of the crew.

The last 30 or 45 minutes seemed like a clumsy TV show and kind of embarrassing, imo. About the only thing I liked was seeing Sarah Silverman naked and I was also impressed with how many different ways they could style Michelle Williams short hair. This film really didn't work for me at all. Yuck.


You're a glutton for punishment! (am I too enamored of the Search function?)

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gromit
Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 12:13 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8857 Location: Shanghai
I remembered not liking Take This Waltz, but couldn't recall anything about it, so I thought I'd give it another try.

But you're right I probably should have done a quick search, read my scathing review -- I like the line: I felt like I was part of the crew -- and skipped it.

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gromit
Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 12:53 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8857 Location: Shanghai
Overall, most here liked Take This Waltz. Marc and I really didn't.
I commented a bunch on Williams many hairdos, which I did notice again this time, but it wasn't too distracting.

From my 2012 postings:
Quote:
I thought there was a lot of clumsy scripting, dialogue far too on the nose, and a bunch of fake intimate stuff that didn't work for me.


I felt the same way, especially the "fake intimate stuff"

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Syd
Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2021 11:12 am Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 12668 Location: Norman, Oklahoma
Jazz on a Summer's Day is a concert film of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival featuring Mahalia Jackson, Louis Armstrong, Dinah Washington, Anita O'Day, Thelonious Monk, Chuck Berry (must have been trying to attract some rock fans) and many others. This took place during the America's Cup, so you get to see some yachting with a jazz soundtrack, and views of Newport, Rhode Island. Wonderful bit of history as well as great music. This has been in the National Film Registry since 1999 because that's why we have a National Film Registry.

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bartist
Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2021 10:02 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6683 Location: Black Hills
Watched a couple of films which can both be categorized as post-apocalyptic romances. "Io" was the less successful one, a listless narrative with plot and acting so minimalist that I was torn between the urge to fall asleep and the urge to yell at the characters to fecking get on with it. A complete waste of Anthony Mackie and Margaret Qualley (who was so good in Once... in Hwood), ridden with silly apocalyptic cliches and an endless dripfeed of moody music.

"Only" was better, carried on the strong shoulders of Freida Pinto and Leslie Odom, as a couple holed up against a comet-borne pathogen that has killed off most of Earth's female population. With a nod to Handmaids Tale, surviving women are hunted down and rounded up for a desperate last-ditch breeding program, so Pinto (when they are forced to flee their hideout) must conceal her loveliness. And shapeliness. This task, as I was able to predict, fails, resulting in a clumsy and cliched encounter with hillbillies who hadn't found porcine bliss with Ned Beatty in Deliverance. Still, compared with the brain-annihilating "Io, " quite watchable and with a tender and satisfying ending.


Last edited by bartist on Wed Feb 03, 2021 12:48 pm; edited 1 time in total

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carrobin
Posted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 5:05 am Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 7762 Location: NYC
A couple of nights ago I was clicking around during a Rachel Maddow commercial and encountered "The Swarm" on TCM. There stood Michael Caine looking glamorous and heroic, arguing with Richard Widmark. I was hooked--especially when Henry Fonda showed up, and Fred McMurray appeared. And then Katharine Ross, and then Richard Chamberlain...every time the scene changed, there was another big-name star, worrying about killer bees. Slim Pickens, Lee Grant, Patty Duke... But until the credits came up, I didn't realize the schoolmistress was Olivia de Havilland.

When Alan Bates made "Doctor M," someone asked him why, and he replied "To pay my sons' school fees." I have a feeling "Swarm" was a haven for everyone who needed a retirement fund.
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billyweeds
Posted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 11:08 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 20579 Location: New York City
carrobin wrote:
I didn't realize the schoolmistress was Olivia de Havilland.



She wasn't. De Havilland owned the flower shop.
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carrobin
Posted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 11:55 am Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 7762 Location: NYC
If you say so--I wasn't watching it very closely (back and forth during commercial breaks). But then why were the guys always giving her flowers? Well, I'm not going to look it up to watch again!
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bartist
Posted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 12:47 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6683 Location: Black Hills
carrobin wrote:

When Alan Bates made "Doctor M," someone asked him why, and he replied "To pay my sons' school fees." I have a feeling "Swarm" was a haven for everyone who needed a retirement fund.


It's considered one of the "great" Bad B Movies, like "Plan 9" but with higher production values and A listers. It was such a commercial failure that I'd guess the royalties didn't go far with anyone's retirement fund, but I suspect you're right that this was the driving motive to sign on.

I've heard it's cheesy B- movie fun. (would it be wrong to say "Killer B movie"?) Will give it a go. Good to hear from you, C.

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billyweeds
Posted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 1:04 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 20579 Location: New York City
carrobin wrote:
If you say so--I wasn't watching it very closely (back and forth during commercial breaks). But then why were the guys always giving her flowers? Well, I'm not going to look it up to watch again!


I was mistaken, apparently. She seemed to be in charge of flowers. Hardly matters. The movie was awful (in an entertaining way).

It was part of TCM's all-evening tribute to the "Golden Turkeys," and was followed by the even worse, even funnier "The Conqueror," with John Wayne as Genghis Khan, possibly the worst casting in the history of screen, stage, television, or Greek forum.
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knox
Posted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 1:25 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 18 Mar 2010 Posts: 1222 Location: St. Louis
A bit off the current track here, but I liked the rather nerdy "Professor and the Madman," about the founding editor of the Oxford English Dictionary and his monumental undertaking. Mel Gibson plays Murray the editor, and Sean Penn plays the resident of Broadmoor Asylum who provides him considerable assistance (he is a PTSD Civil War vet, doctor, murderer and linguist, it seems). It's not a great movie, by any means, but it's an interesting enough idea to carry things along and perhaps introduce you to some history you're unfamiliar with. Murray is a Scot, so Mel gets a chance to dust off his Braveheart brogue. There's also some enjoyable wordplay, if you like that sort of thing.
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