Rate The Last Movie You Saw

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Virus (1980)
aka Hell of the Living Dead, Night of the Zombies

I think I've seen three movies by Bruno Mattei, and they all suck balls. One of the worst zombie films I know. At times it's hilariously bad (like the weapon handling and tactics of the special ops guys), but it drags on and on (an effect that's massively amplified by the padding of 30 minutes of stock material of natives and nature). How the hell did this guy direct over 50 movies?
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Virus (1980)
aka Hell of the Living Dead, Night of the Zombies

I think I've seen three movies by Bruno Mattei, and they all suck balls. One of the worst zombie films I know. At times it's hilariously bad (like the weapon handling and tactics of the special ops guys), but it drags on and on (an effect that's massively amplified by the padding of 30 minutes of stock material of natives and nature). How the hell did this guy direct over 50 movies?
I had to look this up. At first, I thought you were referring to Virus from Kinji Fukasaku, which was a sci fi film made that same year.
Spoilers: it isn’t.



He Ran All the Way - 1951 noir or "film gris" which is the term sometimes used for movies released between 1947 and 1951 when the HUAC investigations into communist sympathizers in the Hollywood community were getting underway. The wide ranging investigations ensnared a bunch of people including this film's director John Berry, its screenwriter Dalton Trumbo and the star of the film John Garfield. He refused the committees demands to "name names" and was promptly blacklisted which basically ended his career. The weight of all this combined with an ongoing heart condition led to his death from a heart attack in 1952 at the age of 39.

This did turn out to be Garfield's final film and he definitely goes out on a triumphant note. He plays Nick Robey, a brutish thug living with his mother who happens to hate his guts. His only friend is Al Molin (Norman Lloyd) who, when the film opens, has planned a payroll robbery. The pair's luck turns bad and Al is shot by a policeman whom Nick, in turn, shoots and kills. On the run and desperate he takes refuge in a public swimming pool where he meets Peggy Dobbs (Shelley Winters) a lonely young woman that he immediately latches on to as cover from the army of cops hunting for him. He manipulates the naive Peggy into inviting him inside the apartment she shares with her parents and little brother. It isn't long before he takes the family hostage. The rest of the film belongs to Garfield and his portrayal of the desperate and volatile Robey. Winters does a commendable job as well in a role with which she was well acquainted. That of a mousy sort of woman being taken advantage of by an unfeeling lout. The B&W cinematography is crisp and the action clearly delineated with Berry making full use of the claustrophobic surroundings amidst a sweltering Los Angeles heat wave. This is a must see not only for noir fans but also for any admirers of John Garfield's body of work. 90/100





Late Spring, 1949

A woman in her late 20s, Noriko (Setsuko Hara) lives with her widowed father, Shukichi (Chishu Ryu). Having recently recovered from an illness, Noriko and her father begin to get pressure from friends and family members to marry her off. But Noriko wishes to remain with her father, and the question of her marriage (and his possible remarriage) begins to come between them.

There is something so . . . easy about Ozu's films. The way that they capture the rhythms and sensations of the lives of real people. This might be a weird connection to make, but it almost makes me think of Jane Austen or George Eliot and the skill of portraying moments of transition in the way that they are both big and small at once. There are no big, grand gestures here. Just conversations over tea, a trip to the theater, and a walk along the water. But it is in these small moments that big decisions are made.

The way that the film is shot is absolutely gorgeous. Every frame is bursting with life and the vibrancy of the characters. Noriko and Shukichi are incredibly likable characters and the film doesn't rush any of their encounters with each other or the other characters.

Something that I struggled with during the film relates simply to a cultural difference across both time and society. The conflict that Noriko is presented with is never seen as anything other than a binary choice: stay with her father or get married. That's it. Noriko is a bright, charismatic woman, and yet the only future the film or the people around her can imagine is that of a dutiful wife. Nowhere was this more depressing than in the "pep talk" Shukichi gives her to convince her to get married. Sure, she might be miserable for a few years. Yes, he used to find his own wife crying alone in the kitchen, but if you really work at it, you can forge a strong relationship. The emotional core of the film is about Shukichi unselfishly pushing Noriko out of the nest, even if it means his own loneliness. And I never doubted that he cared for her and wanted what was best for her. But yeesh!! To me it all falls a little flat when what Noriko is being pushed into doesn't sound at all appealing. Especially in the final act, I just kept thinking that Noriko deserved a lot more.

I can definitely see why this film is so beloved, and Ozu's skill as a director is on full display. But some of the dated, sexist aspects of the story kept me from fully engaging with the narrative arc.




I think that those dated aspects where part of what made the film so interesting to me. Yes, it's a snapshot of life at this moment in time, but it's also a snapshot of traditional gender roles in many patriarchal societies, even to this day. Noriko is being married off because at her age, it's expected of her to do so... and her father goes through all of this for the same reason. Not necessarily because he wants her to leave, but because it's what's expected. The final scene shows us that despite his "scheming", there might be some regret in his decision because ultimately, it wasn't *his* decision, maybe. It was society's.

Same can be said about Noriko, whose struggle through the film is highlighted by two opposing points of view: her traditional aunt and her more progressive best friend. I saw both as representations of changes (or the lack of) in the culture of a post-war Japan. Through the film, we see her change from a vivacious, happy, and confident woman to a more somber and unsure one because of the pressures put unto her by "society". In the end, she succumbs" to tradition and "vanishes" in the last scenes; perhaps a metaphor of how women lose their identity after marriage.
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Virus (1980)
aka Hell of the Living Dead, Night of the Zombies

I think I've seen three movies by Bruno Mattei, and they all suck balls. One of the worst zombie films I know. At times it's hilariously bad (like the weapon handling and tactics of the special ops guys), but it drags on and on (an effect that's massively amplified by the padding of 30 minutes of stock material of natives and nature). How the hell did this guy direct over 50 movies?
Yeah, this one is quite bad. I'd bailed on it halfway years ago and decided to finish the job last year, only to realize I'd made the right call initially. The pizza-faced zombie still makes me laugh, though.



I can't speak to anywhere close to his entire filmography, but I did get some enjoyment out of Shocking Dark (a Terminator ripoff that ends up being an Aliens ripoff) and The Other Hell (a nunsploitation flick with a Goblin soundtrack).



I think that those dated aspects where part of what made the film so interesting to me. Yes, it's a snapshot of life at this moment in time, but it's also a snapshot of traditional gender roles in many patriarchal societies, even to this day. Noriko is being married off because at her age, it's expected of her to do so... and her father goes through all of this for the same reason. Not necessarily because he wants her to leave, but because it's what's expected. The final scene shows us that despite his "scheming", there might be some regret in his decision because ultimately, it wasn't *his* decision, maybe. It was society's.

Same can be said about Noriko, whose struggle through the film is highlighted by two opposing points of view: her traditional aunt and her more progressive best friend. I saw both as representations of changes (or the lack of) in the culture of a post-war Japan. Through the film, we see her change from a vivacious, happy, and confident woman to a more somber and unsure one because of the pressures put unto her by "society". In the end, she succumbs" to tradition and "vanishes" in the last scenes; perhaps a metaphor of how women lose their identity after marriage.
I agree. But the final scene with the conversation in the bar/restaurant puts the emphasis on how unselfish it was of her father to convince her to leave, even though it means he will be alone. It was just all kind of . . . bleak. Especially after the whole sequence where she is about to get married and looks absolutely miserable.

I think it gets a little muddled because of the way that the film gives time to the question of widowers remarrying and whether that's okay or not. A huge part of the film is about Noriko coming to terms with the idea that her father might remarry and essentially replace her, but then it turns out that
WARNING: spoilers below
he was just manipulating her to drive her out of the house. So the perceived shift in their relationship wasn't even a real thing. I had very mixed feelings about that reveal.


I just don't know enough about post-war Japan to say if it's reasonable that she could have been thinking about college or a career.

Like you say, as a study in the way that society forces peoples' hands, I think that the film is really successful. But something in the way that intrudes and plays against the relationship between Noriko and her father just felt a little off to me.



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.

Falling (Viggo Mortensen, 2020)
6/10
All My Friends Are Dead (Jan Belcl, 2020)
5/10
Little Big Women (Joseph Chen-Chieh Hsu, 2020)
6/10
Dear Comrades (Andrey Konchalovskiy, 2020)
7/10

In 1962, Communist Party activist Yuliya Vysotskaya becomes horrified when her daughter goes missing after a state-sponsered massacre.
Palmer (Fisher Stevens, 2021)
6/10
PVT CHAT (Ben Hozie, 2020)
5/10
Lapsis (Noah Hutton, 2021)
6/10
Judas and the Black Messiah (Shaka King, 2021)
- 6.5/10

Illinois Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) has a fateful run-in with FBI informant Bill O'Neal (LaKeith Stanfield).
I'll Meet You There (Iram Parveen Bilal, 2020)
5.5/10
Angels in the Dust (Louise Hogarth, 2007)
6.5/10
Red Dot (Alain Darborg, 2021)
5.5/10
Pressure Cooker (Mark Becker & Jennifer Grausman, 2008)
6.5/10

Philadelphia high school students who study Culinary Arts have a good chance of obtaining huge scholarships.
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things (Ian Samuels, 2021)
+ 6/10
The Assignment (Walter Hill, 2016)
5/10
Dead Pigs (Cathy Yan, 2018)
6/10
Dark Star: H.R. Giger's World (Belinda Sallin, 2014)
6.5/10

Giger talks about his art and participates in some activities before his death.
Music (Sia, 2021)
5/10
Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (Josh Greenbaum, 2021)
+ 6/10
Cowboys (Anna Kerrigan, 2020)
5/10
Willy's Wonderland (Kevin Lewis, 2021)
5.5/10

Young badass Emily Tosta and silent Nic Cage are too cool for school and some audio animatronic killers at a faux Chuck E. Cheese.
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Ex Machina


Honestly, this one is particularly hard to rate. I watched it for the first time last night, and all I can say is that as far as movies go, I'll give it a 5 out of 10. Kyoko gets a resounding 10 fingers out of 10 for being an exquisitely beautiful Japanese girl.



The soundtrack blends perfectly with the scenes, the sets are believable for some multi-billionaire recluse, and Eva did an admirable job. If I could just leave it there, it would be a 7. The problem comes with the two male actors. They are horrendous! GTA V strippers have more personality and better dialogue than they do.



One last problem is that it simply tries so hard that it's pretentious, and pretentious is something that no movie can afford to be.





Pixote, 1981

A boy named Pixote (Fernando Ramas da Silva) is arrested in a general round up of children living in the streets. Taken to an institution that is somewhere between a jail and a childrens' home, Pixote immediately encounters the brutal realities of abuse, assault, and neglect--things perpetrated by both his fellow inmates and the adults running the place. When Pixote and some other boys make a run for it, their lives only become more complicated.

Brutal, brutal, brutal. There is just no other way to describe this film. The real miracle of it is that despite basically consisting of two full hours of horrifying images and sequences, the film never films exploitative--always staying rooted in a degree of sympathy for its characters.

The film has an incredible knack for communicating with terrifying efficiency just how hellish the situation is for the boys in the institution. On Pixote's first night, he witnesses the horrific rape of one of the boys by some older teenagers. When the main supervisor finds the boy dead(?) the next morning, he admonishes the boys that their actions make him look bad. The boys are never treated as human. They are regarded by their caretakers as inconveniences, and their brutalized, unconscious bodies are frequently lugged around by staff as if they were bags of trash.

Another aspect of the film that is very moving and well-realized is the nature of the relationships between the different boys. These relationships are both tenuous and essential for survival. Pixote eventually mainly falls in with an inmate named Lilica (Jorge Juliao) who seems to be a transwoman; a teenage boy named Dito (Gilberto Moura), and a boy named Chico (Edilson Lino). While the boys band together out of necessity, they are just as capable of doing harm to each other, and their desperation often puts them in precarious positions. I found Lilica's character especially interesting---her femininity at once an advantage and a vulnerability.

This is the kind of film that really forces me to wrestle with my sense of morality/ethics when it comes to what is put on screen using actual child actors. There is a lot of nudity in this film that involves children who look to be as young as 11-13 years old, some of it including sexual situations or sexual violence. The choice to put the bodies of these boys on display is clearly a choice intended to drive home the dehumanizing conditions in which they live. A sequence where a frustrated caretaker throws the nude body of a boy over his shoulder hits much harder than if the boy were clothed. At the same time, the use of children in such scenes always gives me pause. Does a 13 or 14 year old child really have the emotional and mental development to make the choice to put their body on display in such a way? To grant the permission for the perpetual existence of images of their childhood bodies? Again, I never felt that the use of the children was meant to be exploitative, but several scenes gave me pause.

I would also be remiss in not mentioning the fate of the actor who played Pixote. Six years after playing this lead role, he was shot dead by the police. The writer/director of the film, Hector Babenco, deliberately cast many boys who had been in similar situations as their characters. The death of da Silva (who, from what I read, was possibly shot in the back while laying on the ground, unarmed) is a bleak, heart-breaking "post-film" coda to the whole affair. Within the film you see the systemic failure of a society to protect and nurture its vulnerable children. Da Silva's death eerily echoes this failure in real life.

This movie made me think a lot of Come and See. Tragedy upon tragedy, and yet you can't look away.




I agree. But the final scene with the conversation in the bar/restaurant puts the emphasis on how unselfish it was of her father to convince her to leave, even though it means he will be alone. It was just all kind of . . . bleak. Especially after the whole sequence where she is about to get married and looks absolutely miserable.

I think it gets a little muddled because of the way that the film gives time to the question of widowers remarrying and whether that's okay or not. A huge part of the film is about Noriko coming to terms with the idea that her father might remarry and essentially replace her, but then it turns out that
WARNING: spoilers below
he was just manipulating her to drive her out of the house. So the perceived shift in their relationship wasn't even a real thing. I had very mixed feelings about that reveal.


I just don't know enough about post-war Japan to say if it's reasonable that she could have been thinking about college or a career.

Like you say, as a study in the way that society forces peoples' hands, I think that the film is really successful. But something in the way that intrudes and plays against the relationship between Noriko and her father just felt a little off to me.
An interesting element to look at is that Ozu was an eternal bachelor that remained the caretaker of his mother until his dying day. This story being told from that lens carries an interesting degree of resonance. Perhaps this is a wish fulfillment and recognition of the only means he could've willingly left such an entanglement?

Just a bit of trivia that makes all of his films make a bit more sense and significantly sadder.



An interesting element to look at is that Ozu was an eternal bachelor that remained the caretaker of his mother until his dying day. This story being told from that lens carries an interesting degree of resonance. Perhaps this is a wish fulfillment and recognition of the only means he could've willingly left such an entanglement?

Just a bit of trivia that makes all of his films make a bit more sense and significantly sadder.
Part of what I found confusing, actually, is that across many cultures there are children who never marry and end up living with and/or caring for their parents. And not in some weird "I never grew up and I'm still mommy/daddy's kid", but like, as a companionable relationship.

I guess it just seemed to me that both Noriko and her father came across as more independent thinkers, so it was strange to see them bow to that external pressure.



Registered User
I just don't know enough about post-war Japan to say if it's reasonable that she could have been thinking about college or a career.

Women weren't allowed to get a university degree until about 1945. This is also when women got the right to vote.



Still, this doesn't change the situation for Noriko. She's 27 years old and unmarried, which is the meaning behind the title of the film. She's no longer a spring chicken, and even considered to be a bit of an old maid. The love she has for her father is appreciated, but her father loves her as well, and he knows that she will be far happier with a family of her own.



In other words, both are willing to sacrifice their future happiness for the other.



Furthermore, even if she had wanted to go to college, it would have meant not getting married because Japanese men at the time would never marry a woman with a university education. As the daughter of a university professor, she could possibly, if the guy was willing to overlook her old age, marry an educator or politician. To marry beneath her family's class simply would not do!





The King and the Mockingbird, 1980

In a strange fantasy/futuristic/medieval kingdom, a cruel king, Charles, rules over his subjects in a way mostly intended to bolster his own ego. The king is constantly pestered by the Mockingbird, a bird whose wife was killed by the king. One strange night, a portrait of the king comes to life and displaces the real king, setting out to capture a painting of a shepherdess he wishes to marry. The Mockingbird swoops in to help the shepherdess and the chimney sweep who loves her.

Despite the 1980 date, this film was actually originally created in the 1950s. The animation style is very distinct and it is very interesting. The mash-up of eras creates a very engaging visual world. Dressed in old fashioned clothing, the king rides in a futuristic elevator. Later in the movie, a large robot appears. And yet there are also many fantasy elements. A squad of police officers who fly using bat-like wings. An underground society of people who have never seen the sun.

After Pixote I needed something light, and this definitely fit the bill! The visuals are a lot of fun, and the story is whimsical and enjoyable. While there are some slightly dated elements in the film (the shepherdess has . . . no personality), none of it is prominent enough to be a problem. The film really does feel like 85% is just delightful world-building, with a narrative mostly serving to create an excuse for a tour through the world that the animators have created.

This film has been on my radar for a long while and has been frustratingly unavailable. I was really happy to see it pop up on the Criterion Channel.




The love she has for her father is appreciated, but her father loves her as well, and he knows that she will be far happier with a family of her own.
He thinks she will be happier with a family of her own.

And, hey, he might be right that staying single will not serve her well in the long term.

Again, I acknowledge that this is a gap in time and culture between me and the world of the film. For me, personally, the bleakness of the outcome puts a bit of a ding on what it seems you are supposed to feel about the father's behavior.



is thouroughly embarrassed of this old username.
Ok look I really didn't want it to be this way but...

Casino Royale (Martin Campbell, 2006)
So the previous film in the franchise Die Another Day was objectively bad but didn't waste my time. This film is objectively good but is 100% wasting my time and I was pretty checked out by the time we were out of the titular casino. Still there's stuff to like here for sure. The action scenes are solid for the most part (excluding the last one) even though I'm not in love with how they're cut and it looks fine for the most parts minus a few scenes where the frame rate is out of whack. I think the strongest aspect of the film is just the simplified approach to Bond's spy work and the scenes where he's just following someone are probably the best in the whole film. There's some fairly hefty downsides though; as I alluded to earlier, the runtime is very bloated and I had a hard time giving a **** about anything in the last like 40 minutes and definitely didn't appreciate the numerous fake-out endings. The other big issue is just how consistently cringe all the dialog is, be it Bond and his girl obnoxiously psychoanalyzing each other the whole film or characters just bluntly telling you, the audience, what's happening. It's still not bad I guess just really, really overstays its welcome.


and for a more agreeable take:

Quantum of Solace
(Marc Forster, 2008)
Boy this is a great looking action film. Tons of interesting, dynamic shots and then they went and cut the thing with a paper shredder it seems. This is nauseating to watch most of the time and its such a shame because again, so many cool individual shots in the action scenes that are just cut into utter nonsense. It does calm down a bit by the end thankfully and I actually kind of like the last action set piece but even in the tame scenes there isn't a natural feeling edit to be found. Like, its almost avant-garde at points. With a proper edit there would be some real winners in the action scenes but it wouldn't save the film from still managing to drag pretty severely at points despite being the shortest Bond film in like three decades. Also don't really like the on-going narrative connecting (I'm guessing) all these films together as its just bloating the films pointlessly as you could cut all that stuff and I bet the films would stand fine on their own. Despite all that there's still some action bits that work and I wasn't ever mad at it. Confused and a bit sick perhaps, but not mad.



Current Bond rankings:
01. From Russia with Love
02. Thunderball
03. The Spy Who Loved Me
04. Diamonds are Forever
05. Moonraker
06. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
07. Licence to Kill
08. Tomorrow Never Dies
09. The World Is Not Enough
10. Dr. No
11. The Man with the Golden Gun
12. Octopussy
13. A View to a Kill
14. For Your Eyes Only
15. Die Another Day
16. Live and Let Die
17. You Only Live Twice
18. Casino Royale
19. The Living Daylights
20. Quantum of Solace
21. Goldfinger
22. GoldenEye



Ang
Registered User
9/10 Quiet Night (on youtube)



Re: Late Spring, there are many moments I really enjoy from the film, one of them being the Noh performance where Noriko realizes the "other woman" is there. The performance from Setsuko Hara is soooo good as we see her face, body language, and demeanor go from carefree happiness to deep-rooted sadness, all in a couple of shots, as she realizes her whole life is set to change, that nothing will probably be the same.

But I found one of the final conversations between Noriko and Shukichi, the one when they are folding their clothes, to be the most impactful because both of them make compelling cases for their reasoning to leave things as they are or to continue with this marriage. From her plea to "stay as [they] are" because she is "content with this life" to his assertion that his "life is nearing its end" and that at the end of the day, he "plays no part" in her future.

Her acknowledgment that she doesn't need to be married, that it's not something she looks forward is quite empowering for a woman in this time and era, but on the other hand, he thinks he's preparing her for a better future by "letting her go", rather than staying together. "That's the order of human life and history".



Re: Late Spring, there are many moments I really enjoy from the film, one of them being the Noh performance where Noriko realizes the "other woman" is there. The performance from Setsuko Hara is soooo good as we see her face, body language, and demeanor go from carefree happiness to deep-rooted sadness, all in a couple of shots, as she realizes her whole life is set to change, that nothing will probably be the same.
Yes, it is a great sequence. And I love how long Ozu allows it to unfold.

But I found one of the final conversations between Noriko and Shukichi, the one when they are folding their clothes, to be the most impactful because both of them make compelling cases for their reasoning to leave things as they are or to continue with this marriage. From her plea to "stay as [they] are" because she is "content with this life" to his assertion that his "life is nearing its end" and that at the end of the day, he "plays no part" in her future.

Her acknowledgment that she doesn't need to be married, that it's not something she looks forward is quite empowering for a woman in this time and era, but on the other hand, he thinks he's preparing her for a better future by "letting her go", rather than staying together. "That's the order of human life and history".
Part of what I'm pondering about the film is whether the intent is for us as the audience to believe that the father has done the right thing or not. There are hints both ways (such as how utterly miserable Noriko looks on the morning of the wedding), and I simply wasn't sure how I felt about it.

Maybe I'm looking for commentary where there was only meant to be observation. But Shikichi lying to Noriko and manipulating her feels so out of line with the rest of their relationship, which we see to be open and honest.