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I just got back from seeing Cry Macho at Landmark Cinemas. Directed by and starring the legendary Clint Eastwood, this is a lovely and well made film. Eastwood is very good here and the story is told in a charming and effective way. There are some really nice little moments throughout that help elevate the film. Although I wouldn't consider this one of Eastwood's best films, it is still a very worthwhile one. My rating is
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CRY MACHO, THE CARD COUNTER, PRISONERS OF THE GHOSTLAND

Competently shot with quality lead performances that squander their potential with rote, lifeless scripts rife with terrible dialogue that even the most seasoned of actors would have trouble saying. The scripts all seemingly sat on the shelf for far too long and desperately needed a rewrite that they simply didn't get. Add to it that there's virtually no chemistry between the lead and love interest and it adds to the stilted, lifelessness of the ordeal.

Not terrible but far beneath everyone involved. Disappointing.




I don't think I had even heard of this one. Just added it to my watchlist.

EDIT: Oooh, it's from Marc Webb. As a fan of (500) Days of Summer, this piques my interest even more.
It was very sweet and I think you'd really like it.




The Operative (2019)

While mooching around on Netflix, The Operative caught my attention solely based upon Martin Freeman being in the cast. Freeman has been in a few mediocre productions, but heís always displayed first rate talents in any of his characterizations.

This film does show Freemanís skill, but it is the stunning performance by Diane Kruger that makes this film worth watching. Based on a Hebrew novel, The English Teacher (2013), by Yiftach Reicher-Atir, Kruger stars as a British/German Israeli Mossad agent who is tasked with gradually attracting the heir to an Iranian electronics corporation (Cas Anvar) with the aim of gradually recruiting him as a resource for Israeli intelligence purposes. Her front is as an English teacher in Teheran.

The story is alternately shown both in flashback and in current time, which is always a little tricky to keep track of. However the plotís complexity was intelligible, and carefully built tension and suspense. Oftentimes this type of espionage thriller devolves into torture, graphic sexual depictions, and extreme violence. But here, despite those expectations being cultivated, none of this was depicted, nor was it necessary. Instead the focus was on relationships between the 3 main characters, and their fealty to their respective assignments and causes.

Kruger is an actress of very wide and convincing range. Sheís had important roles in National Treasure, and in The Bridge series, but here she is able to display a full palette of emotions, mood, and nuance in an award level performance. This is an uncommonly fresh espionage thriller which avoids triteness, and benefits from a tremendous supporting cast and first rate international production crew.

Docís rating: 8/10



The Intouchables (2011)

Since we got 6 Seth Rogen/James Franco movies and 2 Dwayne Johnson/Kevin Hart films, I wanna see another teaming of these two.

The story of Philippe (Francois Cluzet) and Driss (Omar Sy), on the surface, seems to be another story about how two people from different backgrounds become close friends. But the potent chemistry between the two leads, plenty of charisma from Sy and assured direction from Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano keep it far away from mawkish sentimentality and other problematic areas and squarely on the side of a fun drama.

It doesn't matter that Driss doesn't want the job; Philippe sees something in him that other candidates with years of education and experience lack. Driss is able to give Philippe the spark back he hadn't had since his paragliding accident. And ultimately Philippe causes Driss to think about caring for others.

Assured writing and direction and great chemistry can take a film that would be mediocre in lesser hands and turn it into gold. You'll want to get some Earth, Wind and Fire on the dance floor next time you're stuck at a stodgy party. Upside who?

1/2 out of 5.



Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
Loved this. Great story and acting. Charles Laughton in particular was fantastic.
I like your taste! Both thumbs way up from me for this magnificent film. Heavyweight cast and story. Charles Laughton provides one of his many tour de force performances. Marlene Dietrich wasn't too shabby either...





The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, 1965

During the Cold War, Alec Leamas (Richard Burton) is pulled into an elaborate and dangerous plot. Feigning a dismissal from his post and slide into bitter alcoholism, Leamas navigates himself into a position whereby he is recruited by agents in East Berlin. Leamas must convince a savvy agent (Oskar Werner) that he's legit, but the longer the deception goes on, the more Leamas begins to question his role in the whole pursuit. His ambiguous feelings are only further complicated by his relationship with a Communist librarian (Claire Bloom) that he seduces as part of his plan.

I thought I knew what I was getting into with this film. After all, it's adapted from a novel by John le Carre. I would imagine most people have seen either the miniseries or the film adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (I have seen and enjoyed both). In fact, the character of George Smiley even makes a few appearances.

But while the first half of the film is exactly what I expected (low-key conversations, plotting, crosses, double-crosses, etc), around halfway through the film the story takes an interesting turn. While Leamas starts out just playing a jaded and bitter employee, as the plan progresses some of his cynicism stops being a ruse.

A large part of this shift comes from the conversations he has with Nan, the librarian. While Leamas is incredibly dismissive of her beliefs, she is genuine in her desire to help build a better world. There is an undeniable element of decency to her, a decency that contrasts with the character of the men fighting on Leamas' side. But the other aspect is Leamas slowly realizing just what is at stake. One man is killed so that another man might be free. One man is thrown under the bus so that another might be redeemed. There's something mechanical and borderline useless about it.

In fact, maybe the most interesting thing about the film is the way that it portrays both interesting and engaging spy-craft, and then turns around and de-glamorizes it all. There's a quote from the last act that begs to be highlighted:
What the hell do you think spies are? Moral philosophers measuring everything they do against the word of God or Karl Marx? They're not! They're just a bunch of seedy, squalid bastards like me: little men, drunkards, queers, henpecked husbands, civil servants playing cowboys and Indians to brighten their rotten little lives. Do you think they sit like monks in a cell, balancing right against wrong? Yesterday I would have killed [redacted] because I thought him evil and an enemy. But not today. Today he is evil and my friend. London needs him. They need him so that the great, moronic masses you admire so much can sleep soundly in their flea-bitten beds again. They need him for the safety of ordinary, crummy people like you and me...
It's this second half of the film that really elevates it to something special. The ending in particular is something I found very powerful.








SF = Zzz

Unfortunately I nodded off about 25 minutes in and woke up near the end right at the point where it was revealed who the werewolf was... so that was slightly disappointing.



[Snooze Factor Ratings]:
Z = didn't nod off at all
Zz = nearly nodded off but managed to stay alert
Zzz = nodded off and missed some of the film but went back to watch what I missed
Zzzz = nodded off and missed some of the film but went back to watch what I missed but nodded off again at the same point and therefore needed to go back a number of times before I got through it...
Zzzzz = nodded off and missed some or the rest of the film but was not interested enough to go back over it




By Impawards, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7332407

The Year of Living Dangerously - (1982)

This was an intelligent, thought-provoking film by Peter Weir - his last Australian film before finding international success with Harrison Ford in Witness. It features Mel Gibson, who worked with Weir in Gallipoli and Sigourney Weaver - and is based on a Christopher Koch novel. Gibson portrays Guy Hamilton, an Australian journalist who is on his first overseas assignment in Indonesia, which is on the brink of civil war. He's befriended by a mysterious fellow, Billy Kwan (Linda Hunt, in unusual casting to say the least - she won an Oscar for this role) - a man who spies on his friends, keeps files on everyone and narrates the story in the background. Even though he's telling the story, his motives for doing what he's doing remain vague - but he seems intent on playing matchmaker as regards Hamilton and British Embassy worker Jill Bryant (Weaver) and we're constantly wondering why.

The background is rich and full of intrigue. Set in 1965, Jakarta is filled with poverty, famine and violence. Added to this is the political situation, which involves the PKI (Indonesian Communist Party) importing weapons for the impending revolution and war. Hamilton courts danger constantly - as he's desperate to make a name for himself - and seems set to meet his end in one way or another. His love for Bryant and friendship with Kwan complicate matters greatly as the entire nation lurches towards disaster. When Bryant shares information with him of great significance, he must decide between his love for her and his career. It's the biggest story he's ever likely to get - but if he reports it she might be killed. You don't see many films about the volatile nature of Indonesian society and politics. This reminded me a little of Salvador in it's examination of journalistic ethics in the face of great human misery.

7/10
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My movie ratings often go up or down a point or two after more reflection, research and rewatches.

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Cry Macho (Eastwood 2021)

I'm a big fan of Eastwood as an actor and director, so I wanted to love this last film from Clint. Sorry to say I didn't love it and I don't think it's anything noteworthy, but it's a nice film...sort of a Karate Kid ala Eastwood in Mexico. The weak spot is the script which plays out like a first draft that's been recycled from Eastwood's last movie The Mule, but only up to a point. However there are some smiles here too, in what could be called Eastwood's most family friendly film.







Pretty ok, nothing really stands out. Reminded me a bit of Gone Girl... and Total Recall
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Re-watch. Hugely entertaining. Loved it.
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Left Bank (2008, Pieter Van Hees)

Another one of those films that start off with a compelling mystery but end up failing to resolve it in a satisfying way (well, for me at least).
Solid first half with some good acting and atmosphere, disappointing (and at times kinda ridiculous) second half.
Hit and miss but definitely worth a watch for fans of moody European folklore horror.





La Ceremonie, 1995

Excellent film.





Good Morning, Vietnam, 1987




Man this just popped in my head yesterday!! I thought i had it on dvd and i dont sad moment for me. Love it probably gonna buy it



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.

Best Sellers (Lina Roessler, 2021)
6/10
Demonoid (Alfredo ZacarŪas, 1981)
5/10
Nona (Louis Gonzales, 2021)
6.5/10
Everybody's Talking About Jamie (Jonathan Butterell, 2021)
6/10

Musical about Jamie (Max Harwood) wanting to wear his drag queen clothes at his high school prom but the authorities are not letting him.
Practical Magic (Griffin Dunne, 1998)
6/10
The Tangle (Christopher Soren Kelly, 2019)
+ 5/10
Runners (Charles Sturridge, 1983)
6/10
Why Don't You Just Die! (Kirill Sokolov, 2018)
6.5/10

Russian police captain Vitaliy Khaev destroys his apartment and maybe even most of his family, mostly out of habit at work.
Genesis (Philippe Lesage, 2018)
- 6.5/10
The Unthinkable (Victor Danell, 2018)
6/10
Body Fever (Ray Dennis Steckler, 1969)
5/10
The Stronghold (Cťdric Jimenez, 2020)
6/10

Marseille cop Gilles Lellouche and his men work in the most dangerous part of town and have to bend the rules to survive.
Scenes with Beans (Ottů Foky, 1976)
+ 6.5/10
Tremors (Jayro Bustamante, 2019)
6/10
Blood Shack AKA Tne Chooper (Ray Dennis Steckler, 1971)
4-/10
Barbed Wire (Rowland V. Lee, 1927)
6/10

During WWI, love develops between Frenchwoman Pola Negri and German POW Clive Brook which threatens to have her banished from her town.
Alienated (Darryl Anka, 2021)
6/10
Scotch: A Golden Dream (Andrew Peat, 2018)
- 6.5/10
Jericho AKA Dark Sands (Thornton Freeland, 1937)
6/10
Bloodthirsty (Amelia Moses, 2020)
+ 5/10

Indie singer Lauren Beatty goes with her girlfriend to work on her sophomore album at the secluded studio of record producer Greg Bryk, an acquitted murder suspect, and the blood begins to flow.
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