Citizen Rules...Cinemaesque Chat-n-Review

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I havenít actually seen About Time. Romantic films and I just do not click... maybe Iíll give it a go.
For what it's worth, I really enjoyed About Time.

In my opinion, the heart of it isn't the romance so much as the implications of the main character's ability to manipulate time. The first third does lean strongly into the romance (ie the main character wooing the woman he loves), but from there it expands its scope quite broadly.

It takes a sci-fi/fantasy premise to explore what it means to think about the choices that we make and how that might impact our lives. It also explored how our priorities change as we get older, and what it means to live a life "in the moment". I thought it was a very sweet film and the main performances are really, really strong. I clicked with it emotionally.



Those look good. I see Mr. Jones has Vanessa Kirby who was in the first two seasons of The Crown as Princess Margret. Did you watch The Crown?
Watched Mr. Jones last night. IMO it's a case where the story is at least, if not more, compelling than the movie. It was a well done production with creditable acting by James Norton, Venessa Kirby, and Peter Sarsgaard. The story itself is horrific: the purposeful starvation of millions of Ukrainians, which was purposely covered up to the West by New York Times reporter Walter Duranty. A whistleblower, Gareth Jones, reported the truth, and was eventually murdered for his efforts.

I also enjoyed About Time, which is my kind of gentle Sci-Fi. I'm a big fan of Bill Nighy's, so I'll watch anything he's in.

~Doc




I also enjoyed About Time, which is my kind of gentle Sci-Fi. I'm a big fan of Bill Nighy's, so I'll watch anything he's in.

~Doc
Just watched this. Didnít expect to like it, but itís pretty good.



I'm back, like a seasonal beer You should watch American Beauty again, at least for me I related more to it the second time around as I was older.

American Beauty improves with each re-watch



I havenít actually seen About Time. Romantic films and I just do not click... maybe Iíll give it a go.
Just a warning about About Time (if you're looking for sci-fi): IMDB doesn't even classify it as sci-fi, but as romantic comedy / fantasy. And that's because there are no sci-fi elements except time travel. Now one might say time travel is a major sci-fi element and that would be true if it's accomplished via technology - but in About Time there is no "time machine" -
WARNING: "plot element spoiler" spoilers below
it's just an inherited skill passed down through generations in one family.



Just a warning about About Time (if you're looking for sci-fi): IMDB doesn't even classify it as sci-fi, but as romantic comedy / fantasy. And that's because there are no sci-fi elements except time travel. Now one might say time travel is a major sci-fi element and that would be true if it's accomplished via technology - but in About Time there is no "time machine" -
WARNING: "plot element spoiler" spoilers below
it's just an inherited skill passed down through generations in one family.
Watched it today, incidentally. Itís a sweet little thing. A bit too sentimental for my liking, but it had a few great moments. I think my favourite aspect was the dilemma the protagonist faced between being able to spend time with his father or his third child. Mind-blowing in that particular moment. Itís definitely super-soft sci-fi. But Iím glad I watched it.




Paper Moon
(Peter Bogdanovich, 1973)


Paper Moon is my kind of movie! I'm a big fan of Peter Bogdanovich, who himself was a big fan of Orson Welles...and well, Welles was big!..and Orson Welles was a mentor to Bogdanovich and gave him a few tips during shooting of Paper Moon. So how cool is that! It was Orson who suggested shooting in black & white, which wasn't unfamiliar to Bogdanovich having done The Last Picture Show (1971) in b&w. I love the choice of b&w for Paper Moon as it makes every scene seem like it was shot back in the 1930s depression era.

I love to watch the background and the set pieces while watching the characters too. The small midwest town shooting locations looked straight out of the 1930s...so much so that I felt I had traveled back in time. I'm impressed that the pre-shooting location scouting turned up sections of town that looked unchanged from the 1930s, that's a huge plus.

And I loved that the story in this comedy-drama was not overly silly or over the top. The script strikes a good balance between drama, comedy and light heartiness, while still having serious tension. The film stays focused on the 'love-hate' relationship between Addy (Tatum O'Neal) and Mosses (Ryan O'Neal). Of course it's well known that Tatum is Ryan's daughter in real life and that Tatum won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress at the ripe old age of 10, the youngest Oscar winner ever.

Bogdanovich doesn't leave a lot of loose strings in film making, no wonder he had so many critical acclaimed and popular movies to his credit. Happy to have watched this!





Chinatown
(1974)

Director: Roman Polanski
Genre: Neo Noir


I enjoyed the film, but to be honest I was underwhelmed. I don't think it's a case of too high of expectations as I was expecting this to be middle of the road for me. I've seen a couple of post-noirs made in the 1970s and they've seemed like a lesser copy of the greatness that was American film noir in the 1940s-1950s. So I think it's near impossible to duplicate that film noir feeling that came out of the post war era.

Luckily for film noir buffs, the 1980s & 1990s brought a new fresh style to film noir that no longer was emulating what had been done before. A good example of those proto-noirs are some of the fine works by the Coen Brothers.

Anyway back to Chinatown, which btw, I was disappointed that as a plot device it was an empty promise as we don't really get anything about Chinatown....I did however like the movie and thought Jack Nicholson was perfectly cast as a 1940s hard boiled detective. I'm not a huge Nicholson fan but he was well suited to the role.

I can't say the same for Faye Dunaway, she was lacking. She never really connected to her role and gave the film a needed oomph! I didn't find her dangerously sexy, or icy cold, or cunning or manipulative. I didn't have much of a reaction to her at all. She's not bad, but she's a pale femme fatale compared to the greats of past noirs.

What I loved most was the utter perfection in the set details. I looked in the corners of the scene, I checked behind the actors to see what was on the wall or in the cupboard. I watched with a peripheral vision as Nicholson drove his sleek convertible down the roads of southern California. And in all that snooping I never spotted anything that did not look like the 1940s to me. They got the period down pat.

What I really disliked was the rushed ending that felt like a writer's conceit, where everybody is on the same street corner at the same time...then someone says the cops are on the take. Really? there was no story line about the police covertly hindering Nicholson's investigation. The end scene was way too brief with little pathos and not much emotional pay off. John Huston's reaction to being shot almost made me laugh...and that made the ending of our femme fatale seem not all that import to me. Afterwards I read that the director Roman Polanski wrote the last scene.

It sounds like I hate Chinatown, well I don't.





Mulholland Drive
(David Lynch 2001
)

Well...I kinda, sorta, liked it...I guess. Then again, I'm not really sure. I guess it's closer to the truth to say there was stuff I liked about it and other stuff that I thought should've been left on the editing room floor.

Soon as the movie was over (and it seemed to go on and on and on)...I thought, 'I so needed to be the executive producer of this film, so I could edit out a bunch of non-related scenes and shorten the film down to 2 hours.'

It was all those 'nonsensical' scenes (that's what I call them anyway) that got in the way of an otherwise really well told story. Did we really need the boogie man behind Denny's restaurant scaring the guy to death? Did we need that scene in the Spanish theater? Same with the cowboy and the old man behind the glass wall. I'd like to cut all that right out of the picture. But apparently Lynch fans eat that stuff for breakfast...then they create their own fan theories as to what it was all about. But I don't view stories like this as 'real'. I think of it more from a production standpoint so then the movie becomes a collection of decisions.

But there's lots to like in Mulholland Drive too. Naomi Watts scored points with me. My favorite scene in the movie was her auditioning for a movie role in a crowded room. I've heard actors talk about doing cold auditions like that. Geez that would be very intimidating. I loved how when she read her lines with Chad Everett the scene was one long continuous take, no edits until they were done reading their lines. Very impressive acting from her. Chad Everett wasn't bad either. I liked the guy who played the director as he looked and acted like a director.

I liked how Mulholland Drive focused on the two women (the aforementioned Naoma Watts and the lovely Laura Harring). The camera shots usually flattered the pair to the nth degree, almost like they were on David Lynch's personal pedestal which visually worked wonders for the cinematic quality of the film.

I can't say I'm a fan, but glad to have watched it.





The Muppet Movie (1979)

Director: James Frawley
Genre: Family entertainment


I really thought Miss Piggy was going to show her leg off in a nod to the famous Claudette Colbert scene in It Happened One Night, during that above scene, but nope it didn't happen.


Jim Henson's muppet puppets come to life, well sort of...I believed they had some sort of muppet soul in their fuzzy little bodies and that's saying a lot. Here's why I mostly liked this.

  • Nostalgia, I use to watch the Muppet Show way back when and always liked it, so this was a neat trip backwards to see all those wacky different muppet characters in a feature length movie.
  • Road trip movie, I always love those as they appeal to the adventure of seeing what's around the next bend in the road. I love road trips too! And that's exactly what we get here, Kermit the frog is on a road trip with his pal Fozzy Bear.
  • Cameos of famous stars, so cool seeing all these great actors and actresses in one movie. I do wish they had been given just a little bit more screen time. Even an extra line that made their presences a part of the story would've been welcomed. As it was, the stars pop in out of nowhere, deliver a short throw away line, then are gone. Only Steve Martin and Mel Brooks had a bit longer cameos.
  • Orson Welles! any film with an Orson tie in gets bonus points from me. I loved that desk that he was seated at, that's a recreation of the office set from the James Bond spoof Casino Royale (1967)
Jim Henson made magic with his furry little muppet critters, the TV show was a smash hit and it works here too in a full length movie.








Convert to letterboxd for reviews my friend then I will see them!

Muppet Movie is ok for me.

I never really could "figure out" Mulholland Drive even after multiple rewatches. I just figure by now that that's exactly what Lynch wanted.

Loved Chinatown but I believe I've only seen once, maybe twice. Could get nominated in a Hall of Fame someday.



[quote=Citizen Rules;2116997]

Chinatown
(1974)

Director: Roman Polanski
Genre: Neo Noir






[/QUOTE

I liked this film a lot more than you did, but I respect your opinion for the most part. Where we have to agree to disagree is Faye Dunaway...I think it's the best performance of her career.



Paper Moon
(Peter Bogdanovich, 1973)


Paper Moon is my kind of movie! I'm a big fan of Peter Bogdanovich, who himself was a big fan of Orson Welles...and well, Welles was big!..and Orson Welles was a mentor to Bogdanovich and gave him a few tips during shooting of Paper Moon. So how cool is that! It was Orson who suggested shooting in black & white, which wasn't unfamiliar to Bogdanovich having done The Last Picture Show (1971) in b&w. I love the choice of b&w for Paper Moon as it makes every scene seem like it was shot back in the 1930s depression era.

I love to watch the background and the set pieces while watching the characters too. The small midwest town shooting locations looked straight out of the 1930s...so much so that I felt I had traveled back in time. I'm impressed that the pre-shooting location scouting turned up sections of town that looked unchanged from the 1930s, that's a huge plus.

And I loved that the story in this comedy-drama was not overly silly or over the top. The script strikes a good balance between drama, comedy and light heartiness, while still having serious tension. The film stays focused on the 'love-hate' relationship between Addy (Tatum O'Neal) and Mosses (Ryan O'Neal). Of course it's well known that Tatum is Ryan's daughter in real life and that Tatum won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress at the ripe old age of 10, the youngest Oscar winner ever.

Bogdanovich doesn't leave a lot of loose strings in film making, no wonder he had so many critical acclaimed and popular movies to his credit. Happy to have watched this!
A true treasure of a film!! Everyone was "on" in this production. Tatum of course was precious, and Ryan O. did a great job of letting her shine. The story, the settings, the photography-- what a gem.

And you know I was knocked out by Madeline Kahn as "Trixie Delight". It was only her second big role after having done beautifully in What's Up, Doc? the year before.

I saw the movie in the theater in '73, and simply fell in love with it. I even learned the words to the theme song! I've only seen it once or twice since then, but I bet it still holds up.

Did you ever listen to those great free podcasts from TCM called "The Plot Thickens"? The first season of 7 eps is an interview of Bogdanovich. You can download them and listen to them on any device. There are even two bonus podcasts: one of Howard Hawks and the other of Orson Welles. Great stuff. Still waiting for the second season...

~Doc



....Did you ever listen to those great free podcasts from TCM called "The Plot Thickens"? The first season of 7 eps is an interview of Bogdanovich. You can download them and listen to them on any device. There are even two bonus podcasts: one of Howard Hawks and the other of Orson Welles. Great stuff. Still waiting for the second season...

~Doc
No I haven't listed to those pod cast. I'm so busy with work I hardly have time for MoFo these days, but interviews with Bogdanovich, Howard Hawks and Orson Wellles...sounds pretty dam cool!



No I haven't listed to those pod cast. I'm so busy with work I hardly have time for MoFo these days, but interviews with Bogdanovich, Howard Hawks and Orson Wellles...sounds pretty dam cool!
Yeah, you'll like them for sure:

https://theplotthickens.tcm.com/

I downloaded them to a Kindle Fire and listened to them on the way to work. Hope season 2 comes out soon.




The 39 Steps (1935)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writers: John Buchan (novel), Charles Bennett (screenplay)
Cast: Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Lucie Mannheim
Genre: Proto Noir / Thriller
My reaction: Enthusiastic


I've seen a lot of Hitchcock's films. I've seen most all of his American made films except for: Under Capricorn & Saboteur. On the other hand I haven't seen many of Hitch's earlier sound films made in England, only:
Jamaica Inn, The Lady Vanishes & The Man Who Knew Too Much, and now I can say I've seen The 39 Steps and liked it too!

The 39 Steps
is steeped in Hitch's hallmark style of palatable tension. The film starts with a jolt that propels the protagonist, and the viewer, into a riveting world of secrets, spys and danger that lurks around every corner. Here in Hitch's early British film career we can see his familiar story structure of the everyday, innocent man being framed and/or being caught up in a world of turmoil that is beyond his control. That then makes for high tension as the audience can easily relate to a seemly simple character who's in over his head and must use every ounce of his brain power and determination just to survive the events that Hitch has in store for him.


At only 90 minutes The 39 Steps zips along. The leads were OK, not the greatest but they worked fine. Besides being entertained, we also get to see an early form of a airplane helicopter and a 1930s bra too. Who knew that women's lingerie would look so similar to today's style, well not the corsets! Those look like a medieval torture device, which is fitting for a Hitch film.


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Diabolique (1955)
Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot
Cast: Simone Signoret, Vťra Clouzot, Paul Meurisse
Genre: Suspense, Drama
Language: French


"The wife and mistress of a loathed school principal plan to murder him with what they believe is the perfect alibi."

Diabolique, it's a good one! I was intently interested in the premise with it's tight focusing on the two women who are employed at an all boys school in France. The old, run down school buildings were effective for this kind of film. The setting lends ambiance and foreboding just by the sheer look of the place. The story is tightly focused on two women who are romantically linked to the abusive head school master...and you can guess what happens to him!

I like films that spend time on character development and especially films where the characters then determine the story line. And Diabolique did just that.

The casting choice of the two women worked well as they were diametrical diverse with the blonde being physical larger and more aggressive (I guess that's why she smoked all the time)...whilst the brunette was petite, quiet, more passive...and had a fragile heart (it's probably a good thing she didn't smoke.) And her weak heart is one of the aspects that contribute to the story, but I bet you already guessed that.


No need for captions, that screen shot speaks volumes.

I'm not sure why it's tagged horror at IMDB. I thought it might be like The Uninvited or The Haunting but it wasn't, it's more like a Hitchcock film. That's why I tagged it as suspense drama.


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Nice review! I find this to be a really effective slow-burner. I think this movie works so well because it's slow and drawn out. It makes it feel like Christina is stuck in a never ending nightmare. I felt her distress throughout the picture, and this constant slow-burning tension is what makes the climax so terrifying and unexpected.

Regarding Clouzot, have you seen The Wages of Fear? I watched it a month ago, and I also loved it.
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