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Citizen Rules...Cinemaesque Chat-n-Review

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I like films like Donnie Darko, it leaves open ended questions so that the viewer is left pondering the film. I should watch again too. There's a longer Director's cut that I would recommend.



South Pacific (1958). Based on the wildly successful Rodgers & Hammerstein stage play of the same name. This set a record for a newly released movie, playing contentiously at the same theater in London for 4 1/2 years.
I think we've discussed this before, but you like this film a lot more than I do. Enjoyed reading your review though.



The Electric Horseman(Sydney Pollack, 1979)

Synopsis: Sonny Steele (Robert Redford) was a one time rodeo champion, who sold out to corporate America and now spends his days promoting a breakfast cereal called, Ranch Breakfast. He's more drunk than sober and it takes his buddy (Willie Nelson) to get Sonny to the next big promotion...and the next big promotion is for Sonny to ride a thoroughbred horse onto a Las Vegas Stage, while wearing a purple rodeo suit, covered in light bulbs!



My thoughts: This was Robert Redford's comeback movie. He had taken a three year leave of acting and spent most of his time hold-up at his Utah ranch. With the promise of shooting the film in Utah near his home and doing horse riding, Redford agreed to make the film.

This is the most relaxed and at ease that I've seen Redford. Probably because he was involved with horses, which is a passion of his and the role called for a character much like Redford, (a horseman who's an outsider and prefers the outdoors to the glitz of showbiz.)

Basically the film is: Redford, a horse and Jane Fonda...and in that order! What those three do, makes for a good film. Halley (Jane Fonda) is the pushy news reporter who manages to find Sonny after he's rode off with a million dollar horse. Sonny just wants to be alone but Halley won't let him be.



The first act plays out like a social commentary on celebrity endorsed advertising, sort of like Nashville. In the second act we get more of a personal story and lots of beautiful outdoor shoots in Utah. I could have done without the tacked on police car chase, ala Smokey and the Bandit. But if you overlook that one indulgence you'll see a movie that's well crafted to Robert Redford's style of acting....low keyed.

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I like films like Donnie Darko, it leaves open ended questions so that the viewer is left pondering the film. I should watch again too. There's a longer Director's cut that I would recommend.
I've mentioned this before in other places, but there's a weird piece of trivia in Donnie Darko that I've never really seen addressed anywhere.

The movie uses the exact same type of retro-time paradox (for lack of a better term) near the end as was used in the last act of The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and, there's a scene in Donnie Darko where a movie marquee is visible and the movie on the marquee is "The Last Temptation of Christ."

That is just too bizarre to be coincidental - using the same plot device and then referencing the movie where the plot device was originally used HAD to be intentional.

Looks like I'll have to make another visit to IMDB's Donnie Darko trivia section!




Joy(2016)
Director: David O.Russell
Writers: David O. Russell(screenplay), Annie Mumolo (story)
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper
Genre
: Biography, Comedy, Drama


What a hack job, writer-director David O. Russell did with this movie! He takes a decent cast of actors and puts them in a pseudo bio-pic that's more aptly described as bio-waste. Joy is a waste of time and talent.

Everything about this film screams formulated Hollywood money maker! Russell takes his hit cast from Silver Linings Playbook and plops them into a contrived and unimaginative movie. Then he populates his film with zany characters who neither contribute to the story or have a sub story of their own.

Almost half of the film is wasted on go-nowhere, adds-nothing scenes...like the mom who's stuck in bed watching daytime soaps, only to have Joy attempt to fix the leaky plumbing by bashing a hole in the floor. So why is this done? So another zany character, a Haitian plumber can appear and for some reason strike up a relation with the crazy mom, who then with the plumber tries to serve everyone soap...Why not just tell the story of Joy instead all the add-on crap.



The film only gets interesting when Joy makes it backstage to the QVC shopping network and has screen time with Bradley Cooper who runs the QVC show. That was interesting...But then we get some formulated character tropes, when Joy has her patent designs for a mop stolen and then confronts the bad guys alone. Movie type bad guys abound in this film!



Don't even start me with the scene about the people who shoot guns behind her fathers shop. Why are they in the movie? I knew why and sure enough, David O. Russell included a scene of Joy looking bad ass shooting a gun, just so it can be used in the trailer. Oh and don't expect any Christmas type themes from this move either. No bad ass gun play, no cutesy Christmas stuff. That's all PR crap that was cooked up to sell tickets.

My advice for J Law...run, run as fast as you can away from David O Russell.




Storm Center (1956)
Director: Daniel Taradash
Writers: Daniel Taradash, Elick Moll
Cast: Bette Davis, Brian Keith, Kim Hunter
Genre: Drama, Social Commentary
Length: 1h 25min

What's it about:
A small town librarian (Bette Davis) who loves helping children discover the joy of reading...is offered funding to build the children's wing in the library that she has longed for. There's only one catch, in return the city council wants her to remove from the library, one book that they find objectionable. She refuses on principal and is branded a communist. She's black listed by her friends and neighbors who can't understand why she won't give in to the council demands.

My thoughts: Wow, what a gutsy movie! During the height of black listing and McCarthyism this film dared to make a bold statement against über patriotism and commie hunting. The stars and producers of this film came under scrutiny for the films subject matter. And several well known actresses refused to take on the lead role of an elderly librarian who defends a book on communism that's on the library shelves....Only one actress would have the guts to play this role, Bette Davis! Who else!



Storm Center: Was the first film to directly criticize the McCarthy black listing and book banning. Which was a dangerous thing to do at the time.The movie is a small budget film, so don't expect big Hollywood gloss here. The movie is not cinematic perfect. The child actor has little screen presences and the scenes with him don't always work well. So what? This is a film about ideas and in that this film succeeds brilliantly. Brian Keith and Kim Hunter turn in fine performances as does Bette Davis.

A little known film that should be well known.

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I liked Storm Center, but not quite as much as you did. I watched it a while back so my memory of it isn't as good as it should be, but I remember thinking that it was a good movie, but just a one-time watch for me.
__________________
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If I answer a game thread correctly, just skip my turn and continue with the game.
OPEN FLOOR.



The Electric Horseman(Sydney Pollack, 1979)

Synopsis: Sonny Steele (Robert Redford) was a one time rodeo champion, who sold out to corporate America and now spends his days promoting a breakfast cereal called, Ranch Breakfast. He's more drunk than sober and it takes his buddy (Willie Nelson) to get Sonny to the next big promotion...and the next big promotion is for Sonny to ride a thoroughbred horse onto a Las Vegas Stage, while wearing a purple rodeo suit, covered in light bulbs!



My thoughts: This was Robert Redford's comeback movie. He had taken a three year leave of acting and spent most of his time hold-up at his Utah ranch. With the promise of shooting the film in Utah near his home and doing horse riding, Redford agreed to make the film.

This is the most relaxed and at ease that I've seen Redford. Probably because he was involved with horses, which is a passion of his and the role called for a character much like Redford, (a horseman who's an outsider and prefers the outdoors to the glitz of showbiz.)

Basically the film is: Redford, a horse and Jane Fonda...and in that order! What those three do, makes for a good film. Halley (Jane Fonda) is the pushy news reporter who manages to find Sonny after he's rode off with a million dollar horse. Sonny just wants to be alone but Halley won't let him be.



The first act plays out like a social commentary on celebrity endorsed advertising, sort of like Nashville. In the second act we get more of a personal story and lots of beautiful outdoor shoots in Utah. I could have done without the tacked on police car chase, ala Smokey and the Bandit. But if you overlook that one indulgence you'll see a movie that's well crafted to Robert Redford's style of acting....low keyed.

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I'm glad you liked The Electric Horseman. It's one of my favorite movies, and IMO, one of Redford's best movies. I love the ending.




JOY (2016)
Director: David O. Russell
Writers: David O. Russell(screenplay), Annie Mumolo (story)
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper
Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama


What a hack job writer-director David O. Russell did with this movie! He takes a decent cast of actors and puts them in a pseudo bio-pic that's more aptly described as bio-waste. Joy is a waste of time and talent.

Everything about this film screams formulated Hollywood money maker! Russell takes his hit cast from Silver Linings Playbook and plops them down in a contrived and unimaginative movie. Then he populates his film with zany characters who neither contribute to the story or have a sub story of their own. Almost half of the film is wasted on go nowhere, adds nothing scenes...like the mom who's stuck in bed watching daytime soaps, only to have Joy attempt to fix the leaky plumbing by bashing a hole in the floor. So why is this done? So another zany character, a Haitian plumber can appear and for some reason strike up a relation with the crazy mom, who then with the plumber tries to serve everyone soap...Why not just tell the story of Joy instead all the add on crap.



The film only gets interesting when Joy makes it backstage to the QVC shopping network and has time with Bradley Cooper who runs the QVC show, that was interest...But then we get some formulated character tropes, when Joy has her patent designs for a mop stolen and then confronts the bad guys alone. Movie type bad guys!



Don't even start me with the scene about the people who shoot guns behind her fathers shop. Why are they in the movie? so David O. Russell can include a scene of Joy looking bad ass shooting a gun. Oh and don't expect any Christmas type themes from this move either. No bad ass gun play, no cutesy Christmas stuff. That's all PR crap that was cooked up to sell tickets.

My advice for J Law, run, run as fast as you can away from David O Russell.




I think your review of Joy sums it up just about right. It's a very disappointing movie. They took a subject that could have been interesting, and made it one of the most boring movies ever.



Hey GBG, thanks for the recommendation of The Electric Horseman. Both me and my wife enjoyed it and I had never seen it before. I suppose I will watch more Robert Redford films...one of these days. I like to see The Sting.



Hey GBG, thanks for the recommendation of The Electric Horseman. Both me and my wife enjoyed it and I had never seen it before. I suppose I will watch more Robert Redford films...one of these days. I like to see The Sting.
You're welcome. I'm glad you both enjoyed it.

I think you'll like The Sting too. It's not my favorite Redford movie, but it's definitely up near the top of the list. It has a great cast, and it's a lot of fun.



Joy never looked good to me, but I was still interested in trying it just because I like the director. Maybe not though, you make it sound awful.



Joy never looked good to me, but I was still interested in trying it just because I like the director. Maybe not though, you make it sound awful.
Hey Cricket...usually I'm the odd man out, hating on films people love...but if you search the reviews of Joy here at MoFo, all the reviewers had a similar reaction. I think Iros hated it more than I did.

Joy reviews on MoFo



one of these days. I like to see The Sting.
Excellent movie...not really sure it deserved the Oscar for Best Picture over The Exorcist but it's an excellent movie, I think you'd like it Citizen, Paul Newman is divine.



I've seen The Sting before, but it's been a very long time....Funny thing, every time I mention not liking an actor or director, I then end up watching a lot of their films. Go figure




The Four Feathers (Zoltan Korda,1939)
Director: Zoltan Korda
Writers: A.E.W. Mason(novel), R.C. Sherriff(screen play)
Cast: John Clements, June Duprez, Ralph Richardson, C. Aubrey Smith
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Romance


Synopsis spoiler free: In the late 19th century a young pacifist boy grows up in a wealthy, aristocratic family. All the men in the family have in the past joined the British Royal Army. Concerned that he will not be able to fight...the boy, now a grown man resigns his officer's commission on the very eve that his military unit is to be sent to Egypt to put down a rebellion.

Three of his former friends then send him white feathers, the mark of a coward. To redeem his honor the young man makes a bold move and disguises himself as an Arab and secretly travels to Egypt to assistant his friends. Thus earning his honor back.


Background: Based on the well known 1902 novel The Four Feathers, this is one of six movies that bear this name. Three earlier silent films, then three more in 1939, 1977, 2002.

This one, the 1939 version is ground breaking as it did much of it's filming on location in Northern Africa where the actual battles took place. The viewer is treated to scenes of authentic built ships being rope towed through the 5th cataract on the Nile. The amount of extras used as troops and weaponry was impressive. All this with stunning cinematography in full technicolor to boot...and this was done in 1939!


Thoughts: Heavy on rich scenery and adventure scenes, the film wows the eyes
. I enjoyed seeing in technicolor, the scenes from the actual historic battle fields. I particular like the casting of all the major roles, the actors chosen fit their characters like a glove. I liked the insight into the world of upper British crust aristocracy in the 1890s too. Mostly I enjoyed the broken romance between the dishonored solider and his fiancee... and the quest for personal redemption.

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A Farewell to Arms (Charles Vidor,1957)

Director: Charles Vidor
Writers: Ben Hecht(screenplay), Ernest Hemingway(novel)
Cast: Rock Hudson, Jennifer Jones
Genre: Literary Based: Drama,War-Action,Romance
Length: 2hours 32minutes
Studio: Selznick Studios

"A Farewell To Arms (1957), the movie that destroyed a producer."

Synopsis (spoiler free): During World War I in Italy, an English nurse meets and falls in love with an American who's enlisted in the Italian army as an ambulance driver. As the war unfolds the horrors of battle confronts the couples strength in their unwavering love for each other.

Review: A Farewell To Arms (1957) stars Rock Hudson as the American writer who joins the Italian army to get a first hand look at the war. His character is based of the real life experiences of writer Ernest Hemingway. Rock passed up a plum role in the huge hit Ben-Hur (1959) to make this movie, that turned out to be a critical and financial flop for the Selznick Studio and marks the last film that legendary producer David O. Selznick made.



Most all of the filming was done on location in Italy, and that includes massively expensive shots of 1000s of extra actors as Italian army troops marching up the Alps. It's a beautiful filmed. At over 4.5 million dollars this was a very expensive film. But what did it in was the lengthy run time of 2.5 hours and the dismally dark subject matter.



Jennifer Jones plays the English nurse. In reality she was the wife of the producer, David O. Selznick. Ernest Hemigway thought she was too old at 38 to play the part...but I though she was fantastic as a woman totally in love and desperate to be loved. I thought Rock Hudson turned in a good performance too. Especially the end scene which had to be emotionally hard for any actor to do.

Closing thoughts: A Farewell To Arms is well worth watching for any cinephile. I couldn't help but notice that this film was unlike any other American made film I've seen. It looked and felt like an Italian made film...in both the dialogue and the way it was filmed. Perhaps that was seen as a negative in 1957, but I seen it as a plus...as it makes for a unique film. I liked it.


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I thought I saw A Farewell to Arms, but it doesn't sound familiar from your review. I'm not sure what movie I saw that I thought was this one, but I'm sure it was something with Rock Hudson. I'll have to watch it before I submit my 1950's list.



I thought I saw A Farewell to Arms, but it doesn't sound familiar from your review. I'm not sure what movie I saw that I thought was this one, but I'm sure it was something with Rock Hudson. I'll have to watch it before I submit my 1950's list.
I would hope other MoFos would watch A Farewell to Arms, for the upcoming 1950s countdown list. It's a serious made film, not Hollywood entertainment.



Basically the film is: Redford, a horse and Jane Fonda...and in that order! What those three do, makes for a good film. Halley (Jane Fonda) is the pushy news reporter who manages to find Sonny after he's rode off with a million dollar horse. Sonny just wants to be alone but Halley won't let him be.
It was really interesting reading your review of this film...the film certainly has star power and the film is very "Redford", but, I don't know, it always struck me as a little substance-challenged, but I might give it a rewatch out of respect for you, Citizen.