Citizen Rules...Cinemaesque Chat-n-Review

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story is mighty interesting, but the execution is lifeless. At least for me. IT was like filmmakers having too aggressive deadlines.
Agreed, the execution was mostly lifeless with some terse moments, even though the story of the real couple is very compelling. That's what I was trying to say in my review. I blame the script, which was written by the director.

One of my all-time favorite TV movies is from the mid-90's. It stars Timothy Hutton and it is called Mr. and Mrs. Loving. It is this same story. And because I liked that one so much, I didn't have much interest in watching the version of that story that was out last year.

If you can find a way, you should see if you can obtain Mr. and Mrs. Loving, give it a watch, and tell me what you think about it. I may watch the theatrical film at some time, but I don't think I will like it as much as the TV movie.
I wondered if their story had been told before..Thanks for mentioning it, I would like to see that. I just checked and it's not at my library, but I can probably find it. I know there's a documentary, The Loving Story (2011) which my library has and so I'll watch that.




Cherry 2000[/color][/size][/size] (1987)

Director: Steve De Jarnatt[font=Arial]
Cast: David Andrews, Pamela Gidley, Melanie Griffith


I watched this again. I liked it better this time, but I think it could’ve been so much cooler. It was a little too ‘light’ IMO for a PA movie. Like they took really violent and mature content and almost tried to make a kids movie out of it.

I definitely appreciated the world of it though. Up my alley. The locations are all interesting and diverse. I didn’t really care about the main plot, I just wanted them to constantly keep exploring more weird locations with eccentric characters. Adventure is definitely the movie’s forte.

I’d give it about a
. I appreciated your thoughts on it, and I am glad that they inspired me to give it another go.

BTW, if you haven’t seen it, I think you’d like Six String Samurai.



@re93animator

Very cool that you rewatched Cherry 2000 based on my review Thanks for posting back too! Yeah, it's not too violent, so I could see that being a drawback for some, but for me that's a plus. I don't like real violent movies.

Adventure is definitely the movie’s forte.
I like that, well said!

Thanks for telling me about, Six String Samurai, I'd never heard of it so glad you recommended it. I will watch it sometime too. I was actually looking for more post-apocalyptic sci fi films, and that one sounds pretty cool.





(1976)
Director: Sidney Lumet
Writer: Paddy Chayefsky
Cast: Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch
Genre: Drama


Network
starts off with a bang, when a major network news anchorman is fired and given his two weeks notice. The reason?..Because he's grown old and the station manager wants to boast their dismal ratings. I loved how this seemed almost semi documentary style...and we're given an insider's view into the sleazy world of network executives and corporate profits. Interesting stuff!

The first hour was powerful, as we see how giant corporations gobble up networks and the proceed to turn respectable news stations, into infotainment. This movie is certainly ahead of it's time!


An iconic scene from Network as actor Peter Finch vents his anger on live TV..."I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

It was fascinating seeing how the network executives make programing decisions that effect ratings and profits. I loved the way the fictitious forth network (this is before cable TV) named UBS is at the bottom of the heap and losing money fast. When they fire their aging news anchor, he shocks the hell out of everyone by threatening to blow his brains out on live TV!...This movie at that point, caught my attention!

What follows is a cascading effect where the network executives take on even more provocative 'news' shows to boast their sagging profits. I swear this movie is way ahead of it's time, foretelling not only news as entertainment, but foretelling the coming of reality based TV shows.

As much as I liked the subject matter, I was mixed on the acting, some of it was flat and hammy. The only stand out actors to me, were Robert Duvall & Peter Finch. William Holden and Faye Dunaway at times sounded like they were acting in a bad TV soap opera. Very cliched, long monologues that didn't resemble real speach or real people. Their romance scene, was like something out of a soap opera and felt tacked on. It's probably not their fault, as the dialogue was cheesy in the scrips. But who cares I thought, this was still a pretty great movie....


The program manager, Faye Dunaway is like Mary Tyler Moore on steroids. Much to my surprise the movie actually references the Mary Tyler Moore show.


In what has got to be one of the more kooky scenes, a reality based TV info-news show is created with a psychic as one of the host.

However the movie goes to hell in the second hour, when it becomes farcical and attempts satire. We get one really lame plot turn, when the executives hire members of a radical political group who rob banks, the Ecumenical Liberation Army. That was the start of dumbing down the movie.

Worse is when we see a bunch of high paid network executives in some dingy hide out, signing contracts with the ELA bank robbers. Ridiculous. If this was done for comedy, it wasn't funny. And as the rest of the movie wasn't comical, it took away from the power of the story. And as satire it took away the realistic documentary feel of the movie and diluted the message.

But that's what director Sidney Lumet does, he delivers his social messages with a sledge hammer. Apparently Sidney thinks the audience is stupid and won't get his point unless he makes it painful obvious. I hate movies that dumb it down for the audience, and despite the totally prophetic and important message of the movie, I can't overlook the sloppy execution by the director.

-

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Fences
(2016)

Director: Denzel Washington
Writer: August Wilson (screenplay & original stage play)
Cast: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson
Genre: Drama

About
: In a poor section of Pittsburgh during the late 1950's, a working class black man, Troy (Denzel Washington) who's lived a hard life and so becomes a 'hard man'....tries to do his best, for his family.



Review: Fences is not an easy watch, it annoyed me, it angered me...and it challenged me to look beyond the usual formulaic movie making process and reevaluate what movies making means.

Based on the successful stage play Fences, written by August Wilson, Wilson also wrote the screenplay for this 2016 movie directed by and starring veteran actor Denzel Washington.

If you've ever seen a Tennessee Williams play or a movie based on one of his plays, you'll know what to expect. Like a Tennessee Williams play, this is wordy, very wordy...With long diatribes from Troy mostly aimed at the white people who he's encountered and blames for his life's failures. His biggest failure, according to him is that he was denied a chance at playing big league baseball because he was black.

In a way Denzel Washinton's character is like TV's Archie Bunker a bitter man who has deep seated bigotry, that not only hurts himself, but hurts those around him, mainly his family. He spends most of his screen time venting his anger not only at whites but at blacks as well. He's a negative bitter man, who says the 'n word' numerous times, even degrading his own son with that word. He's full of rage and conflict and not at all likable...just like a lead in a Tennessee William's play.

My challenge was to realize that unlike most other movies, Fences dares to annoy the viewer, but with an artistic intent. It's not a fun film, the disgruntled bully of a father/husband doesn't redeem himself and become a saint, like so many other films would have done. This movie is much more intelligent than that. It doesn't cut the audience any slack and I respect that.

Like real life, Troy is complex. He's neither evil, nor good. He tries to do the best he can, but he's been deeply wounded by all of his life's experiences, once again like a character out of a Tennessee Williams play, he's deeply flawed and his flaws drive the story.



Denzel Washington gives the role his all. He never stoops to soft pedaling his character to the audience. And he never dumbs down his performance by making Troy a man we love to hate. Denzel plays this straight up, with a refreshing, brutal frankness. Troy does many questionable things, but his actions come from a base inside him that is portrayed very honestly. Kudos to Denzel as a director for taking his film in this direction.



Viola Davis, is my favorite in the film, and that's mostly because we care about her, we feel her pain, we wish things could be better for her. Viola won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress and it's easy to see why...she's very good here.

I have to give a nod to the people responsible for dressing the sets. I'm probably the only reviewer in the world who will mention this:

At the start of the film (during the late 50's) we see a 1940's era refrigerator in the kitchen. Which is appropriate as the family has little spare money and the father is tight with his hard earned cash. Outside on the back porch is an old discarded refrigerator with a top mounted condenser, from the 1930s. A nice touch, as it says something about the family and their economy state. The camera never focuses on the fridge, it's just in the background, but it relays an extra depth to the story.

Flash forward towards the end of the film and it's 6 years later and the family now has a newer style refrigerator in the kitchen, presumably the old fridge broke.

To my amazement, I then noticed on the back porch that the 1930s refrigerator was gone and in place was the exact 40's refrigerator from the first part of the movie. That deserves and Oscar for set design! What a nice touch to this special film.

Fences packs a lot of negative emotions into the film and really set me on edge. It's not the kind of film I can love but it's film making I can respect.

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Save the Texas Prairie Chicken
Isn't this finally your first Denzel Washington film? You did say that you hadn't seen one with him before, right?

I have this requested from the library. I, for one, am not a big Viola Davis fan. I think she overacts sometimes. So we will see how I feel about this one. But I was interested in this story since I first saw a bit of the revival on the Tony Awards (Denzel won a Tony for his performance and so did Viola Davis for hers). This is my kind of movie. I am looking forward to watching it.
__________________
I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity - Edgar Allan Poe



Isn't this finally your first Denzel Washington film? You did say that you hadn't seen one with him before, right?
That does sound like something I would say And yeah basically it's true, though I just realized I had seen him in Crimson Tide (1995)

I have this requested from the library. I, for one, am not a big Viola Davis fan. I think she overacts sometimes. So we will see how I feel about this one.
I think she underplayed it, (which I like)as her character was more of a put-upon character. She did have the snot-coming-out her nose scene, I don't know if that's overacting, as she probably couldn't help that But I really liked her in this.

But I was interested in this story since I first saw a bit of the revival on the Tony Awards (Denzel won a Tony for his performance and so did Viola Davis for hers). This is my kind of movie. I am looking forward to watching it.
I love to hear your thoughts on this.



cricket's Avatar
Registered User
I wasn't interested in Fences anyway, but I didn't realize it was based on a play. I usually don't like movies based on plays, although there have been exceptions.




Fences
(2016)

Director: Denzel Washington
Writer: August Wilson (screenplay & original stage play)
Cast: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson
Loved your review of this film, Citizen and agree with just about everything you've said...I like the comparison to Tennessee Williams, I never thought of that but the story and dialogue do have a very Tennessee Williams quality. I agree that Denzel does not shy away from the negative aspects of the character and that Viola Davis was the best thing about the movie...her supporting actress Oscar was the only sure thing Oscar night since she was clearly a lead...she has more screentime than Denzel.



I understand Fences was your first look at Denzel in a minute...there are a couple of other Denzel performances I would recommend:

Glory
Malcolm X
John Q



Please Quote/Tag Or I'll Miss Your Responses

Fences
(2016)

Director: Denzel Washington
Writer: August Wilson (screenplay & original stage play)
Cast: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson
Genre: Drama

About
: In a poor section of Pittsburgh during the late 1950's, a working class black man, Troy (Denzel Washington) who's lived a hard life and so becomes a 'hard man'....tries to do his best, for his family.



Review: Fences is not an easy watch, it annoyed me, it angered me...and it challenged me to look beyond the usual formulaic movie making process and reevaluate what movies making means.

Based on the successful stage play Fences, written by August Wilson, Wilson also wrote the screenplay for this 2016 movie directed by and starring veteran actor Denzel Washington.

If you've ever seen a Tennessee Williams play or a movie based on one of his plays, you'll know what to expect. Like a Tennessee Williams play, this is wordy, very wordy...With long diatribes from Troy mostly aimed at the white people who he's encountered and blames for his life's failures. His biggest failure, according to him is that he was denied a chance at playing big league baseball because he was black.

In a way Denzel Washinton's character is like TV's Archie Bunker a bitter man who has deep seated bigotry, that not only hurts himself, but hurts those around him, mainly his family. He spends most of his screen time venting his anger not only at whites but at blacks as well. He's a negative bitter man, who says the 'n word' numerous times, even degrading his own son with that word. He's full of rage and conflict and not at all likable...just like a lead in a Tennessee William's play.

My challenge was to realize that unlike most other movies, Fences dares to annoy the viewer, but with an artistic intent. It's not a fun film, the disgruntled bully of a father/husband doesn't redeem himself and become a saint, like so many other films would have done. This movie is much more intelligent than that. It doesn't cut the audience any slack and I respect that.

Like real life, Troy is complex. He's neither evil, nor good. He tries to do the best he can, but he's been deeply wounded by all of his life's experiences, once again like a character out of a Tennessee Williams play, he's deeply flawed and his flaws drive the story.



Denzel Washington gives the role his all. He never stoops to soft pedaling his character to the audience. And he never dumbs down his performance by making Troy a man we love to hate. Denzel plays this straight up, with a refreshing, brutal frankness. Troy does many questionable things, but his actions come from a base inside him that is portrayed very honestly. Kudos to Denzel as a director for taking his film in this direction.



Viola Davis, is my favorite in the film, and that's mostly because we care about her, we feel her pain, we wish things could be better for her. Viola won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress and it's easy to see why...she's very good here.

I have to give a nod to the people responsible for dressing the sets. I'm probably the only reviewer in the world who will mention this:

At the start of the film (during the late 50's) we see a 1940's era refrigerator in the kitchen. Which is appropriate as the family has little spare money and the father is tight with his hard earned cash. Outside on the back porch is an old discarded refrigerator with a top mounted condenser, from the 1930s. A nice touch, as it says something about the family and their economy state. The camera never focuses on the fridge, it's just in the background, but it relays an extra depth to the story.

Flash forward towards the end of the film and it's 6 years later and the family now has a newer style refrigerator in the kitchen, presumably the old fridge broke.

To my amazement, I then noticed on the back porch that the 1930s refrigerator was gone and in place was the exact 40's refrigerator from the first part of the movie. That deserves and Oscar for set design! What a nice touch to this special film.

I might check this out tomorrow. I didn't wanna read too much of the review, but it looks good.





(1976)
[font=Georgia][size=3]Director: Sidney Lumet
Writer: Paddy Chayefsky
Cast: Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch
I was so excited to see that you had reviewed this, Citizen, because this is one of my favorite films and, for my money, the best movie of 1976, featuring one of the five best screenplays ever written, but you know I respect your opinion Citizen, I was just thrilled to see that you watched it because it doesn't strike me as your kind of movie.



I wasn't interested in Fences anyway, but I didn't realize it was based on a play. I usually don't like movies based on plays, although there have been exceptions.
It's very stagey, as they say, but I often like that, as it allows maximum time for dialogue and character development. I liked that there was no flashbacks and I liked that the story was told in one time frame only, as opposed to different overlapping time periods (intercut) as is often the trend. Mostly the movie takes place in the small backyard, in the living room and kitchen. It's pretty confined like that, though there are a few scenes out on the streets.

But I think you might actually like it, as it packs a lot of negative emotions into the film and really set me on edge. It's not the kind of film I can love but it's film making I can respect.

Loved your review of this film, Citizen and agree with just about everything you've said...I like the comparison to Tennessee Williams, I never thought of that but the story and dialogue do have a very Tennessee Williams quality. I agree that Denzel does not shy away from the negative aspects of the character and that Viola Davis was the best thing about the movie...her supporting actress Oscar was the only sure thing Oscar night since she was clearly a lead...she has more screen time than Denzel.
Thank you Gideon, that means a lot to me. I think both the director and screenplay writer help make Fences memorable.



Network...I was so excited to see that you had reviewed this, Citizen, because this is one of my favorite films and, for my money, the best movie of 1976, featuring one of the five best screenplays ever written, but you know I respect your opinion Citizen, I was just thrilled to see that you watched it because it doesn't strike me as your kind of movie.
If I rated the first hour I would have given it a
but the second hour just didn't work for me. Oh well at least I seen it, and did love the MTM reference.



Please Quote/Tag Or I'll Miss Your Responses


(1976)
Director: Sidney Lumet
Writer: Paddy Chayefsky
Cast: Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch
Genre: Drama


Network
starts off with a bang, when a major network news anchorman is fired and given his two weeks notice. The reason?..Because he's grown old and the station manager wants to boast their dismal ratings. I loved how this seemed almost semi documentary style...and we're given an insider's view into the sleazy world of network executives and corporate profits. Interesting stuff!

The first hour was powerful, as we see how giant corporations gobble up networks and the proceed to turn respectable news stations, into infotainment. This movie is certainly ahead of it's time!


An iconic scene from Network as actor Peter Finch vents his anger on live TV..."I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

It was fascinating seeing how the network executives make programing decisions that effect ratings and profits. I loved the way the fictitious forth network (this is before cable TV) named UBS is at the bottom of the heap and losing money fast. When they fire their aging news anchor, he shocks the hell out of everyone by threatening to blow his brains out on live TV!...This movie at that point, caught my attention!

What follows is a cascading effect where the network executives take on even more provocative 'news' shows to boast their sagging profits. I swear this movie is way ahead of it's time, foretelling not only news as entertainment, but foretelling the coming of reality based TV shows.

As much as I liked the subject matter, I was mixed on the acting, some of it was flat and hammy. The only stand out actors to me, were Robert Duvall & Peter Finch. William Holden and Faye Dunaway at times sounded like they were acting in a bad TV soap opera. Very cliched, long monologues that didn't resemble real speach or real people. Their romance scene, was like something out of a soap opera and felt tacked on. It's probably not their fault, as the dialogue was cheesy in the scrips. But who cares I thought, this was still a pretty great movie....


The program manager, Faye Dunaway is like Mary Tyler Moore on steroids. Much to my surprise the movie actually references the Mary Tyler Moore show.


In what has got to be one of the more kooky scenes, a reality based TV info-news show is created with a psychic as one of the host.

However the movie goes to hell in the second hour, when it becomes farcical and attempts satire. We get one really lame plot turn, when the executives hire members of a radical political group who rob banks, the Ecumenical Liberation Army. That was the start of dumbing down the movie.

Worse is when we see a bunch of high paid network executives in some dingy hide out, signing contracts with the ELA bank robbers. Ridiculous. If this was done for comedy, it wasn't funny. And as the rest of the movie wasn't comical, it took away from the power of the story. And as satire it took away the realistic documentary feel of the movie and diluted the message.

But that's what director Sidney Lumet does, he delivers his social messages with a sledge hammer. Apparently Sidney thinks the audience is stupid and won't get his point unless he makes it painful obvious. I hate movies that dumb it down for the audience, and despite the totally prophetic and important message of the movie, I can't overlook the sloppy execution by the director.

-

.
Was that your first viewing? This is my #6 all-time

I also didn't care for the scene (gun-shot especially), but it's showing how low they'd go... I really loved how William Holden says "In my day, it was considered simple human decency" and how she's grown up on television. It's the ONLY way she can get off.. She doesn't love anything, she just wants to see how many views a show can get. After all, she was raised on Bugs Bunny. It's also a dilemma to do what feels right (momentary distraction, perhaps making Holden feel young again) or doing what's right, and not to leave his wife, especially when he's expected to be a grandpa.

Only a couple of years later did CNN come out. Now look at it.... The news divisions always lost money, now it's "entertainment" an makes a ton of money.



Was that your first viewing? This is my #6 all-time
First time actually, I have a big hole in my 70s movie résumé...and I'm trying to watch more of them when I can. BTW I have the DVD for Harold and Maude and will watch that probably within a week.
... I really loved how William Holden says "In my day, it was considered simple human decency" and how she's grown up on television. It's the ONLY way she can get off.. She doesn't love anything, she just wants to see how many views a show can get. After all, she was raised on Bugs Bunny.
I loved that too. In fact it sounded like something I would have said about the MTV/video gamer generation I really did admire all of the film, except when it went to satire/farce.

Only a couple of years later did CNN come out. Now look at it.... The news divisions always lost money, now it's "entertainment" an makes a ton of money.
Totally agree! and I can see how you would love this for it's prophetic warning of corporate greed and the bastardization of hard news into CNN style info-tainment. It really nails that and I'd give it a 10/10 for that.




Rope (Hitchcock 1948)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writers: Hume Cronyn (adapted by), Patrick Hamilton (play)
Cast: James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller


Based on
the real life Leopold murder case...Two young intellectual college men decide to murder their classmate, who they consider to be inferior...just to prove that the perfect murder can indeed be committed. The pair of murderers then decide to hide the body in their apartment to 'show off their perfect crime' by inviting friends and family of the victim over for a dinner party.



Review: This was my second viewing of Rope. I feel it's a good movie but middle of the road for Hitch. I never got that sense of tension and desperation that Hitch was so famous for. I think that's because of two choices that Hitch made: The 'continual take' and his choice of actors.

'Continual take'...The movie looks like it was made in one long camera take. It wasn't of course and if you keep your eyes open you can see where one take ends and another starts...usually from a closeup of the back of someone's jacket or some solid object. Though there are direct cuts...at the start of the party there's an edit from Brandon to Ropert's face.

I 'continual take' technique was interesting, BUT it has the side effect of not being able to show events taking place elsewhere. And it might have been more effective to start with an opening shot that's set in the college classroom where the
murderers learn of the idea that murder can be an elite form of art from their teacher. That would have then shown the two men's impetus for murder, giving us more of a background...which would have built tension by foreshadowing future events. But there's no flashbacks with a 'continual take'. Even Hitch would later call his continual take just a stunt.




Casting:
Hitch was known for making superb casting choices, most of the time. Originally Montgomery Clift was intended to play Brandon Shaw, the
dominant murderer. Clift would have been awesome in this, but I think the actor who played Brandon (John Dall) was truly excellent as a narcissistic, sociopath intellectual. Though his sidekick Philip (Farley Granger) didn't bring much to the role. I would have loved to see Montgomery Clift play Philip.

The maid was a gem, as was the aunt. I really liked Joan Chandler as the girlfriend of the murder victim too. BUT as much as I like James Stewart, he was all wrong for the role. He's suppose to be a haughty, smug, intellectual professor who feels murder can be justified as art...but doesn't have the guts to carry out his own views.

Jimmy Steward is the antithesis of this, he's down to earth, he's friendly, and he's very trust worthy, everyone likes Stewart! He's just the wrong fit for the role. He thought so himself too:

This was the only movie James Stewart made with Alfred Hitchcock that he did not like. Stewart later admitted he felt he was miscast as the professor.
It's funny because during the movie they talk about actors of the day, Errol Flynn, Cary Grant, James Mason. Cary Grant was the first choice to play Rupert...But it's James Mason would have made an excellent Rupert. So would've Walter Pidgeon or even James Massey.

Overall a fun Hitch movie, more than a masterpiece.






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28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
I really liked Rope and the concept. I wouldn't mind seeing a remake of sorts to this one either.
__________________
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