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The Wild Party (1929)
Directed by Dorothy Arzner
Starring: Clara Bow, Fredric March, Marceline Day, Joyce Compton

Well produced pre-code talkie from Paramount, set at an all female college where life is one great fun filled party and studies take second priority. Then one day Professor Gilmore (March), the new professor of anthropology arrives, and causes such a stir that anthropology becomes everyone's favourite new subject. Gilmore is emphatically unmoved by the widespread flirtations levelled towards him, being only dedicated to his academic prowess and rigid discipline. One student however, the most popular and raucously exuberant Stella Ames (Bow), recalls a prior incident where she accidentally shared a bed with him on a train! What could possibly go wrong from here? What follows is a fine mix of comedic goings on and sincere emotional drama. Clara Bow makes all this largely possible with a great and dynamic performance, ranging from mischievous and carefree party girl, to being humbled by her own mistakes and all the trials and passions of true love.

As her first sound picture, apparently she had difficulty adapting to the new microphones on set, being used to the freedom of movement she was accustomed to with silent pictures. It's alleged that when she delivered her first line the mic exploded. With the studio working to correct these problems, it directly led to the first implementation of what is now commonly known as a boom mic. They did a great job with it, and the sound quality comes off just about as good as any decent picture from the 1930's.

And Fredric March never ceases to amaze as an outstanding actor, looking and acting quite mature here as the stoic college professor, versus his very youthful appearance in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde some two years later.

8/10



Cool cool cool.

Hereís a smattering that I canít rank so Iíll vaguely go in chronological order from memory:

Trail of the Broken Blade
Magnificent Trio
One Armed Swordsman
Return of the One Armed Swordsman
Come Drink With Me
Golden Swallow
Blood Brothers
Heroic Ones
Delightful Forest
Shaolin Whip
Have Sword Will Travel
Dragon Inn
Avenging Eagle
Flying Guillotine
Last Hurrah for Chivalry
Martial Arts of Shaolin
The Legend
Once Upon A Time in China 1&2
Tai Chi Master
Iron Monkey
Ashes of Time
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Hero
House of Flying Daggers
The Grandmaster
Shadow
I'm kind of a Wuxia newb, so I can't comment on most of those picks, although Crouching Tiger was the first film that truly became my "favorite movie" when I saw it in theater when I was just 12, I was a pretty big fan of Hero & Flying Daggers, and I remember enjoying John Woo's Last Hurray For Chivalry the one time I saw it a long time ago. So, I haven't seen Come Drink With Me, although I remember Tom Breihan writing that if he started A History Of Violence with any movie earlier than Bullitt, he would've picked it, and while I haven't seen A Touch Of Zen, I've heard some very good things about it, so I'm surprised to see that it didn't make your list.



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Saint Maud (2019)


Had waited a long time to see this one so expectations were high. Its more of a psycho-horror that outight horror, which is in no way a criticism but was a surprise. The acting overweighed the film. It had a great atmosphere throughout but for all the build up and opportunities, it never really delivered. Its a very short runtime, too short, so it did leave me wanting more and for that reason I'll give it another go. Either that or i'm just so desperate to love it!!
Kudos for the cinematography and the performances but overall, quite unfulfilling.


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Had waited a long time to see this one so expectations were high. Its more of a psycho-horror that outight horror, which is in no way a criticism but was a surprise. The acting overweighed the film. It had a great atmosphere throughout but for all the build up and opportunities, it never really delivered. Its a very short runtime, too short, so it did leave me wanting more and for that reason I'll give it another go. Either that or i'm just so desperate to love it!!
Kudos for the cinematography and the performances but overall, quite unfulfilling.


That's a shame, I thought it was great. Ear shattering sound design. Lots of symbols in it too (Halo's over her head at times etc)





A couple criminals go on the run after a drug robbery that left a few people feeling a little dead. Their destination is a small town in Arkansas where Bill Paxton is the goofy Sheriff, Hurricane, who has a little secret past of his own. Accompanied by a couple LA Detectives, Bill sits and waits and shows off his backwoodsiness while waiting for the criminals to arrive. Billy Bob co stars as one of the criminals and it's a pretty one note performance. Just be ugly and dumb. Had a hard time connecting with any characters EXCEPT Cynda Williams as Billy Bob's GF, Fantasia/Lila. She was good and her story is interesting although not as surprising as I think it was intended to be. The other criminal, Pluto, was a decent baddie. A high IQ, college grad with a bit of a nasty streak and a love for knife play. He's the scariest guy in the movie. Skirts the issue of race a little but never gets that deep. Decent movie but was expecting a little more. Felt like a violent made for tv movie.



I'm kind of a Wuxia newb, so I can't comment on most of those picks, although Crouching Tiger was the first film that truly became my "favorite movie" when I saw it in theater when I was just 12, I was a pretty big fan of Hero & Flying Daggers, and I remember enjoying John Woo's Last Hurray For Chivalry the one time I saw it a long time ago. So, I haven't seen Come Drink With Me, although I remember Tom Breihan writing that if he started A History Of Violence with any movie earlier than Bullitt, he would've picked it, and while I haven't seen A Touch Of Zen, I've heard some very good things about it, so I'm surprised to see that it didn't make your list.
Crouching Tiger remains my first and favorite Wuxia film. Itís rare that the most popular entry in a genre would be most clearly my favorite and for so long, but it has. My exploration of HK cinema only further solidified it.

The brilliance of the film relies on Lee's ability to generate nostalgia and romance for a China that only existed in the Peking Opera and Wuxia films. He's gone on the record about how the musical Love Eterne and Come Drink With Me were the most dominant films on his mind when making it and their influence comes through clearly both on that film but also how they molded his mind creatively into his hyper focus on societal repression (felt everywhere throughout from Hulk to Brokeback).

Couple that with Yuen Wo Ping's choreography, which is the greatest despite my particular love for Lau Kar Leung, and it's just a profound masterpiece.

So on that note, you need to check Come Drink With Me and its sequel Golden Swallow out immediately.

As for Touch of Zen, it's my huge blindspots (as are a couple other King Hu movies and Red Cliff). Essentially, martial arts movies are a comfort food for me and part of that, it their easily digestible short run times. ToZ and the others run at 3 hours minimum and that just makes them a perpetual "I'll get to it eventually."

I even bought the Criterion the day it dropped and still haven't popped it on.

Maybe this conversation will trigger it sooner rather than later.



Registered User
I saw "freaks" last night. The sci-fi one, not the 30's circus flick.
Bruce Dern was his amazing, crude self as usual. The child actress did incredibly well.
Although I believe there was a covert political climate agenda behind it which I do not like...
8/10.



Blade Runner 2049



Blade Runner is probably my favorite movie, and somehow I haven't seen this one until now. The most obvious thing I must get out of the way is how gorgeous this thing is. Most sci-fi movies are a boring mess of dumb metal **** and blue light, whereas this movie has some really awesome sets that give each locale a very different feel.

Just like the original (specifically the Final Cut, because that one is clearly the best version), this film can be pretty slow burning at times. There isn't too much crazy action, but I think that's a good thing, since it makes the moments where it does happen that much more meaningful.

To me the most compelling part of both films is the philosophical implications, and this doesn't disappoint. I have my own reservations about sharing and discussing movie interpretations, but you can certainly analyze this one for a while. There's some pretty obvious symbolism in here, and it's abundant with the same sorts of themes the first one presents, while also having some more subtle details that make me want to watch this one some more.

There are a couple of parts in this movie that aren't as gripping as the rest, as well as some non-sensical plot elements, but overall this is a very worthy sequel to a movie that shouldn't of had one in the first place.

Ryan Gosling really does have a knack for playing badass social retards, doesn't he?





Blood and Black Lace (1964, Mario Bava)

I had mixed feelings about this one. Great use of color and overall visual style, with some really effective scenes and shots, but also some bad acting, plus the plot just didn't strike me as all that engrossing. To make things worse, the ending was utterly ruined by all the unnecessary explaining - for God's sake, we're not five-year-olds, we know what just happened.
Style over substance is an apt description, I think, but hey, at least the style was there to hold my attention.



Came across the trailer of Wolfwalkers. I was sufficiently intrigued, and hence decided to give it a watch and it's a decent movie. Has a bit of old school animation feel to it, and in a good way. Wish it had a bit more insight into the old Irish culture.



The reviews for this are off the charts. I've never been so interested in seeing a magic show before.
I feel very out of step on this one. It's pretty good! But I don't feel the absolute raves it's getting from a lot of people. I think it must lose something in translation from stage to screen, just the way the show works (I don't want to say too much). I may just be a curmudgeon, though.



Atlantic City - When I first started watching this 1980 Louis Malle film I thought it might rival Requiem for a Dream in terms of bleakness. But while it does share certain similarities like the Atlantic City/Coney Island settings and the bottom feeder characters it doesn't wallow in it's misery like that one does. Lou Pascal (Burt Lancaster) is an aging former mobster now relegated to being a "kept man" of sorts to his ex bosses widow Grace Pinza (Kate Reid). Lou's next door neighbor in the run down and soon to be torn down apartment building is Sally Matthews (Susan Sarandon). She's a Canadian transplant who works at an oyster bar buffet inside one of AC's seedy hotel casinos. She has aspirations of one day moving to Monte Carlo which is why she is also taking a card dealers certification course. Lou admires her from afar which takes the form of ogling her through her open window as she rubs lemon juice all over her body while listening to opera music. Anyway, they're thrown together when her lowlife ex-husband Dave (Robert Joy) shows up on her doorstep with her little sister Chrissie (Hollis McLaren) in tow. He ran off with her after getting her pregnant and is now in town to try and unload a quantity of drugs he has stolen from some gangsters in Philadelphia. He ropes the hapless Lou into his scheme but when the angry and vicious owners of the drugs show up looking for their property things quickly go South.

I know this might sound like a bit of a downer but Malle somehow manages to keep things light. His characters might all be on the hustle and as shopworn as their surroundings but he never loses sight of the fact that they're basically dreamers. 80/100



The reviews for this are off the charts. I've never been so interested in seeing a magic show before.
I believe that you'll really like it. Its' impossible not to get caught up in it. Magic is a small, but integral, part of the show. DelGaudio is an interesting guy, and quite the performance artist.




Blood and Black Lace (1964, Mario Bava)

I had mixed feelings about this one. Great use of color and overall visual style, with some really effective scenes and shots, but also some bad acting, plus the plot just didn't strike me as all that engrossing. To make things worse, the ending was utterly ruined by all the unnecessary explaining - for God's sake, we're not five-year-olds, we know what just happened.
Style over substance is an apt description, I think, but hey, at least the style was there to hold my attention, hence a mild thumbs up.
A lot of that is due to the dubbing, assuming you saw a dubbed version. If not, regardless, great dialogue is not really what Italian Giallo is known for.
I think of B&BL as a joy and a highly influential picture. I'm not sure I even cared what they were saying.



Atlantic City - When I first started watching this 1980 Louis Malle film I thought it might rival Requiem for a Dream in terms of bleakness. But while it does share certain similarities like the Atlantic City/Coney Island settings and the bottom feeder characters it doesn't wallow in it's misery like that one does. Lou Pascal (Burt Lancaster) is an aging former mobster now relegated to being a "kept man" of sorts to his ex bosses widow Grace Pinza (Kate Reid). Lou's next door neighbor in the run down and soon to be torn down apartment building is Sally Matthews (Susan Sarandon). She's a Canadian transplant who works at an oyster bar buffet inside one of AC's seedy hotel casinos. She has aspirations of one day moving to Monte Carlo which is why she is also taking a card dealers certification course. Lou admires her from afar which takes the form of ogling her through her open window as she rubs lemon juice all over her body while listening to opera music. Anyway, they're thrown together when her lowlife ex-husband Dave (Robert Joy) shows up on her doorstep with her little sister Chrissie (Hollis McLaren) in tow. He ran off with her after getting her pregnant and is now in town to try and unload a quantity of drugs he has stolen from some gangsters in Philadelphia. He ropes the hapless Lou into his scheme but when the angry and vicious owners of the drugs show up looking for their property things quickly go South.

I know this might sound like a bit of a downer but Malle somehow manages to keep things light. His characters might all be on the hustle and as shopworn as their surroundings but he never loses sight of the fact that they're basically dreamers. 80/100
I think you're right on the nose here, Whit.
I saw this movie when I was like 12 or 13 on HBO back in like 1983 or something. And at that age all I should have remembered was the lemon scene. But it's funny that when I thought back on the film a few years ago seeing it was streaming somewhere, all I remembered was the haunting quality of the film and then something that felt good. I mean, that's really all I remembered was that it evoked those feelings.
I watched it again, 30-something years after the last time I'd seen it and I really, really liked it. There's just something about it, it feels like it punches way over its weight even though it doesn't punch very hard if you know what I mean, and it sounds like you do.
Good film.





Jabberwocky, 1977

In a vaguely medieval kingdom, a young man named Dennis (Michael Palin) is brutally disowned by his father. Leaving his indifferent girlfriend behind, Dennis ventures to the center of the kingdom to make his fortune and accidentally ends up in the middle of a quest to slay a voracious dragon who is terrorizing the kingdom.

I am just not the audience for this film. I kind of wonder who is. I almost thought about not writing a review of it, because I just don't feel as if I have much to say.

To me, this film felt like it was trapped between the kind of dark fantasy epic that I would have liked when I was 10 years old (a la Neverending Story or The Dark Crystal), and something that is actually intended for an adult audience. The film is far too "edgy" to be the former, and yet far too simplistic to be the latter.

I really like Michael Palin, but Dennis is a pretty uncompelling lead. He's a doofus who ends up in different scrapes. And there is something a little funny about how often he finds himself in the midst of a misunderstanding, but at a certain point it begins to feel a bit repetitive. None of the other characters feel all that well defined, even those who are meant to be important characters to Dennis. I found myself largely indifferent to the characters and there's a directionless feel to the film that does not help this.

Maybe the most pleasant surprise was some of the dark comedy. I laughed at the visual gag seen in the picture above, whereby a jousting tournament intended to find a worthy champion to slay the dragon just results in the gory deaths of the most promising knights. There's also a funny, bloody joke about an adulterer getting smooshed under a bed. These gleeful bits of over-the-top gore at least liven things up a bit. Other gags, like the princess being seen fully nude in a long shot as she runs toward Dennis or the interactions between Dennis and his boorish girlfriend didn't do much for me and just felt a bit off.

I really wanted to enjoy this film, but not even halfway through I found myself counting the minutes.