Citizen Rules...Cinemaesque Chat-n-Review

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Payback (1999)
Director: Brian Helgeland
Cast: Mel Gibson, Gregg Henry, Maria Bello
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama

I LOVE this movie...one of my guilty pleasures, though I do have a slight issue with something you've mentioned here...Your review implies that Porter is a little crazy or mentally unbalanced and I have never gotten that impression from the character. I think Porter is very clever and very focused on what he wants...he wants his $70.000 and nothing more and I don't think someone who was mentally unbalanced could have worked his way through various levels of "the outfit" the way he did, right to the top, without complete possession of mental faculties. JMO.



I love that photo of Mel, he looks so intense...OK, so my review was a bit of a tongue-in-cheek take on both the Mad Max character and Mel's real life drunken outburst woes, hence the line 'Mad Mel'. Now I really like Mel, warts and all. So anyway back to his character Porter in Payback. I thought he was unhinged, I mean he goes through all that to get back his $70,000 that was stolen from him...but he stole that money himself, so it was never his. So yeah I think he's nuts...a fun kind of nuts, but crackers for sure.



"I smell sex and candy here" - Marcy Playground
In this role, he reminds me of Rutger Hauer from The Hitcher (1986), especially how he's so casual and careless about pain that is inflicted on him. Wacko, for sure.
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In this role, he reminds me of Rutger Hauer from The Hitcher (1986), especially how he's so casual and careless about pain that is inflicted on him. Wacko, for sure.
I guess I'm alone on this one because I have never felt that Porter was nuts, just a guy who was left for dead after committing a crime who wants his half of the bootie back and will do whatever it takes to get it back.



I guess I'm alone on this one because I have never felt that Porter was nuts, just a guy who was left for dead after committing a crime who wants his half of the bootie back and will do whatever it takes to get it back.
I wouldn't say he was clinically insane or anything, he was sane but bonkers.

Is that really from Payback? He looks older.
I thought it was as it came up in a search for (Payback Mel) but I think you're right he looks much older.



I wouldn't say he was clinically insane or anything, he was sane but bonkers.

I thought it was as it came up in a search for (Payback Mel) but I think you're right he looks much older.

I have to concur here...I don't think that photo is from Payback either.



No it's not from Payback, I thought it was originally, like I said, as it came up in a search, but it's from a latter film. I might change it, but I do like it.




Diary of a Lost Girl (1929)

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Cast: Louise Brooks, Josef Rovenský, Fritz Rasp
Silent Film

About: Thymiane (Louise Brooks) is a happy charming girl who lives with her family above a pharmacy shop. When she becomes pregnant and refuses to marry the father of the baby. Her baby is take from her and she is disowned by her family and sent to a reform school. There she finds life is very hard and unfair.

Review: Louise Brooks is the big draw here. She certainly can pack a lot of emotion into a scene just with the look on her face. She was fascinating to watch as she seemed so very real and sometimes characters in silent drama films come off as caricatures, but not here. The story concept was brilliant and allowed maximum emotional response from the audience. It was film beautiful too and never felt static, though I wish the pacing was a bit faster as some of the camera shots were held for past the point of interest. Luckily that didn't happen to much and isn't a deal breaker.



I also watched another Louise Brooks film, a comedy, talkie short called Windy Riley Goes Hollywood (1931), it was interesting to here Louise's voice, though she only had a bit part and you would never know the range of acting she was capable of from this short film. If Louise had never went to Germany to make films, we wouldn't even know her name today.

Diary of a Lost Girl
is a must see for not only silent film fans but movie buffs too.










Payback - There were some great noir-comedy lines in there. My favorite was "$70,000? My suits are worth $70,000!"




Wings (William Wellman, 1927)

Director: William A. Wellman
Cast: Charles 'Buddy' Rogers, Richard Arlen, Clara Bow
Genre: War Drama Action Romance
Silent Film

About: Two friends who both love the same woman and go off to become fighter pilots in World War I.

Review: I watched the official, restored DVD of Wings. The first thing I see is that the tint is a light yellow and I'm thinking what is going on? On my last viewing the film was black and white. I knew that some old silent films were monochrome tinted. But I didn't think Wings was one of them. Then I watched the DVD extras and learned Wings had premiered as a Road show release. Road show releases were special limited viewing engagements, where the movie was shown at only a handful of premier theaters in large cities. These Road show pictures often came with little extras and in the case of Wings the extras were single color tinting and hand drawn in animated flames and machine gun fire, along with an intermission during the movie.

I believe that photo of the old movie theater is from a Road show of Wings as the theater is decked out for the occasion. If you watch Wings on the restored DVD you'll have two choices for soundtrack:

A pipe organ score by Gaylord Carter, and a new orchestration of the film’s original score by JS Zamecnik. The fact that the Zamecnik score incorporates the sound effects of the airplanes and gun fire helps remind us that Wings was made at the very tail-end of the silent era, just as the art was reaching its apotheosis.
Watch Wings with the orchestral score!

My favorite sequence is the Paris bistro scene, that's the one with the 'bubbles' and the infamous and topless scene with Clara Bow, blink and you'll miss it.



I love this gif of the opening tracking shot of the Paris bistro 'bubbles' scene. Both the technical side of this opening shot, and the story each of the couples tell at the 5 tables in the foreground is amazing.




My gawd! it's the silent era and William Wellman the director actually shows us a real view of what it would be like to fly a plane into enemy territory strafing enemy soldiers. All of the battle scenes are huge! There's no way anything like this would be made today, unless is was CG

I don't know if you guys know this but William Wellman was a fighter pilot in World War I and the first American to join the French Lafayette Flying Corps, just like the two friends in Wings were.

I love this film! Buddy Rogers the dark haired pilot is amazing in this, he seems so personable which makes this film seem so real. Of course I liked the other pilot Richard Arlene and there last scene together is very touching...And I liked Clara Bow in this and there's even a brief camo by Gary Cooper, this is the film that launched his career.



But mostly it's 'Wild Bill' William Wellman the director who I admire most of all. In his films and in his life he goes all out and lives life on the edge and his films reflect that gusto for life.





Orphans of the Storm (D.W. Griffith 1921)

Director: D.W. Griffith
Cast: Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Joseph Schildkraut
Genre: Drama, History, Romance
Silent Film


About
: A tragic tale of two orphaned little girls one is blind and are separated as young woman by the French Revolution and unscrupulous people.

Review: Despite this being a classic by one of the great directors, I didn't care for this one. This was the first D.W. Griffith film I've seen and geez I had a hard time watching this, it was so slow and plodding. D.W. Griffith is in love with the spectacle of film, as that's what this film delivers...an unbridled spectacle of the French Revolution. Griffith is undeniably the king of costume pictures.

Orson Welles gave an introduction to Orphans of the Storm as part of a PBS TV series from 1971 and that was included on the DVD. I wish I could find the video of it, it's interesting. Orson said of this movie, 'that it was old fashioned even when it was first shown at the theater and it harked back to the stage days of the 19th century' He also said the film 'tasted of old dusty velour'.

Some 2 1/2 hours latter after watching the film, I knew what Orson had meant. The film to me seemed like some of the shorts Thomas Edison had made years earlier. The sets and costumes were fantastic but it was overkill with too much superfluous stuff happening, with little soul. I was just glad when the movie was finally over.



On the other hand the scale of the French Revolutionary period sets are massive! The costumes and set decorations look amazing and must have cost a small fortune. This is an impressive looking film.



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The Gumball Rally (1976)
Director: Charles Bail (as Chuck Bail)
Cast: Michael Sarrazin, Tim McIntire, Raul Julia
Genre: Action Drama Comedy

About: A group of hard core racers, take to the street in a high speed, illegal cross country road race called The Gumball Rally.

Review: I actually seen this movie as a kid at the theater during it's first run. My dad liked car movies so I got to see on the big screen some of the great ones: Gone in Sixty Seconds, American Graffiti and this forgotten film, The Gumball Rally. There's not much story here, it's all about the race and the cars!

OMG! there are so many awesome cars in this movie that a car nut could blow a piston. The two main rivals are Michael Sarrazin and actor who was popular in the 70s. He gets to drive the infamous Ford Cobra 427 roadster...that's the blue car for you uncar people! His life long buddy and competitor is Tim McIntire who once played the brother of Kwai Chang Caine (David Caridine) in the TV series Kung Fu. He gets to drive a very fast 1974 Ferrari Daytona, the red car!



In today's prices those two cars would be worth over 1.5 million dollars!

By far the coolest thing is the racing, the cars and the fact that the actors did all of their own driving...and yes it is high speed driving on real roads. A film like this could never be made today, unless it was a CG crap pile film

There's a team or pretty girls in a 974 Porsche 911 Targa and more pretty girls along the way. Oh and did I mention some of the crazy driving stunts they do...like pulling into a moving semi by a ramp. That was done for real as was the two wheeled driving of the yellow 1970 1/2 Chevrolet Camaro Z28, yes I know, not a cool thing to do to a classic muscle car!



Of all the actors it's the talented Raul Julia who steals the show as a red blooded Italian car driver. I really enjoyed visiting this film again.





I've never seen The Gumball Rally, but it sounds kind of like The Cannonball Run. Which would you say is the better of the two movies?
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The Gumball Rally (1976)
Director: Charles Bail (as Chuck Bail)
Cast: Michael Sarrazin, Tim McIntire, Raul Julia
Genre: Action Drama Comedy


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So great to see some love for his movie and I totally agree with you, Raul Julia walks away with it.



I've never seen The Gumball Rally, but it sounds kind of like The Cannonball Run. Which would you say is the better of the two movies?
Good question, I haven't seen The Cannonball Run in decades, but I picked up the DVD and will be watching it this weekend. So I will let you know Of course I will do a review and I'm on a movie car kick right now. A few weeks ago I watched and reviewed Grand Theft Auto with a younger Ron Howard. Latter I will watch Smoky and the Bandit.

So great to see some love for his movie and I totally agree with you, Raul Julia walks away with it.
Raul was a special talent and almost always lightens up any movie he was in.




The Big Parade (King Vidor,1925)
Director: King Vidor
Cast: John Gilbert, Renée Adorée
Genre: Drama, Romance, War
Silent Film


I loved this film it was truly a treat to watch. Not only a great silent film but a great film period. The romance in the French village was so charming and so special that I could feel the love developing between James (John Gilbert) and Melisande (Renee Adoree). I found Renee Adoree to be captivating on the screen, she was so naturalistic in the emotions that she expresses, that she was utterly charming.

From the time the Dough Boys arrive in the French village until they went off to war, that was my favorite part. Though all of the film is special.



I loved how the film spent enough time showing the first meeting of James and Melisande and their developing romance. The barrel carrying scene was fun! and I could feel the joy in their hearts. Rarely does a film connect with me like The Big Parade did.

Another scene that was special is by the river, when he keeps touching her arm playfully and she keeps pushing him away... with a glimmer in her eyes for him.






And this is cute, I rarely say 'cute' but it is cute!

And I equally loved the night time rendezvous scene, with the gum chewing. I could really feel the love developing there it was magic.

All of this leads up to the heartbreaking scene when she finds the photo of his old girlfriend. Finally the romance that has built up cumulates in a heart wrenching scene as James is marching off to war with Melisande fearing she will never see him again.



Wow! That's a powerful scene. The movie could have ended here and I would still give it a 5/5...But we get even more! The war scenes were equally powerful and well done, especially as they were scored so well which made the war so somber and hopeless looking. The director really made the point that war is hell!..but love triumphs all!





The car chase movies and car race movies of the 70's were the best. I remember watching The Gumball Rally on TV whenever it was on.
Do you have any more titles for me from the 70s-80s? I'm on the car race kick. So far I've seen:

Grand Theft Auto
The Gumball Rally
Death Race 2000
and will be watching
The Cannonball Run
Smokey and the Bandit
Gone in Sixty Seconds
(the original not the gawd awful remake)