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A movie about an alcoholic man is not my fave scenario, but I did get through this. Two hours, but felt longer. Both leads very good.




Good movie. Unusual storyline that I haven’t seen before. Lead actress is excellent: I believe she could do any rôle
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I think I'm inclined to agree with you on all counts. Which is to say that I started to take exception with the notion that it didn't belong at the top but the more I thought about it, the more I thought, wellll... and then you mentioned the soundtrack and I'm like, "Oh yeah, I forgot, that dated the hell out of it."
But when I went back and watched this a few years ago (having first seen it once or twice int theater and then maybe another dozen times on HBO when I was a kid), I have to say I thought it held up a lot better than I expected. Not as juvenile as I was expecting. It's a shame Rutger Hauer wasn't a bigger star on my side of the pond, he was a really compelling actor. And I think you're right, Pfeiffer, and the way the director and cinematographer handle her, creates a haunting yet luminescent presence.
All in all, I thought it was a well put-together fantasy. Which is one of my favorite genres.
Speaking of misremembering movies, I thought Tangerine Dream did the soundtrack, which was one of my motivations for seeing it, but I guess they only did Legend. I can see what composer Andrew Powell was going for since the music could be described as fanciful, light and romantic, which fits the movie's tone, but it sounds more like video poker music. At least he redeemed himself with his work with the Alan Parsons Project, huh? I'm attempting to do a sci-fi/fantasy September, so reviews of more such movies are on their way.

Oh, and I'm gonna need the title of that shocking '91 flick.
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Last Great Movie Seen
Black Sunday (Bava, 1960)






1st Re-watch...If the truth be told, this is a film I never thought I would have the stomach to re-watch, but I did. Darren Aronofsky's cinematic nightmare is the most seamless combination of frightening realism and over the top hallucinations I have ever seen in a single film that, despite its sledgehammer approach to the subject, drives home the danger of addiction unlike any film I have ever seen. What happens to Ellen Burstyn's Sara Goldfarb stretches credibility to the nth degree, but it makes for a powerful message that had me turning my head away from the screen at times. Incredibly, Burstyn's performance earned the film its only Oscar nomination and she should have won. Personally I think Aronofsky's endlessly stylish, imaginative, and in your face direction, Jay Rabinowitz' film editing, and Clint Mansell's music deserved nominations as well. It's one of cinema's most difficult watches, but if you're up for it...






1st Re-watch...If the truth be told, this is a film I never thought I would have the stomach to re-watch, but I did. Darren Aronofsky's cinematic nightmare is the most seamless combination of frightening realism and over the top hallucinations I have ever seen in a single film that, despite its sledgehammer approach to the subject, drives home the danger of addiction unlike any film I have ever seen. What happens to Ellen Burstyn's Sara Goldfarb stretches credibility to the nth degree, but it makes for a powerful message that had me turning my head away from the screen at times. Incredibly, Burstyn's performance earned the film its only Oscar nomination and she should have won. Personally I think Aronofsky's endlessly stylish, imaginative, and in your face direction, Jay Rabinowitz' film editing, and Clint Mansell's music deserved nominations as well. It's one of cinema's most difficult watches, but if you're up for it...
Great film.



Speaking of misremembering movies, I thought Tangerine Dream did the soundtrack, which was one of my motivations for seeing it, but I guess they only did Legend. I can see what composer Andrew Powell was going for since the music could be described as fanciful, light and romantic, which fits the movie's tone, but it sounds more like video poker music. At least he redeemed himself with his work with the Alan Parsons Project, huh? I'm attempting to do a sci-fi/fantasy September, so reviews of more such movies are on their way.

Oh, and I'm gonna need the title of that shocking '91 flick.
That's funny. I can understand why you thought that. For what it's worth, and I'm sure you already know this, but their (TD) score for Thief is amazing.
I'd really like to see a list of what you're thinking for September sci-fi/fantasy is my (close) second-favorite genre and I'd love to discuss.



That's funny. I can understand why you thought that. For what it's worth, and I'm sure you already know this, but their (TD) score for Thief is amazing.
I'd really like to see a list of what you're thinking for September sci-fi/fantasy is my (close) second-favorite genre and I'd love to discuss.
Same goes for their Near Dark soundtrack.
I'm sort of flying by the seat of my pants here since I may have seen all of the good ones and I'm not sure if I want to rewatch ones I've already seen, but I'll let you know ones that I have in mind.







Pulp - I'm of the opinion that there's a lot to like here. #1 for me is that, even though it may have rung a faint bell, I had never actually heard of it so it qualifies as one of those hidden treasures. #2 is that it was director Mike Hodges' followup to his gritty British gangster film Get Carter and he brought along Michael Caine to star in this as well. #3 is the rest of the cast. Along with Caine you've got Mickey Rooney playing both with and against type as a washed up Hollywood star with unclear connections to organized crime. There's also veteran character actor Lionel Stander and erstwhile femme fatale Lizabeth Scott who came out of a 15 year retirement to do this. Al Lettieri, best known for playing hoods and tough guys is also along for the ride, playing a transvestite hitman. Reason #4 is the actual plot. Even though it does sort of lose it's way a bit, it's still filled with enough flourishes, peripheral farce and touches of originality that it will keep your interest from flagging. #5 is the setting and locales. Filmed on location on the island of Malta, its's unique enough to add another layer of the fanciful to the proceedings.

Caine plays the scruffy Mickey King, a writer of cheap paperback pulp novels who is hired by the agent of reclusive ex-movie star Preston Gilbert (Rooney) to ghost write his autobiography. Gilbert is rumored to have had numerous dealings with assorted gangsters and, since he intends to name names in his book, that in turn precipitates the hiring of a contract killer. This all plays out under the sunbaked Maltese landscape and I don't know why but it reminded me of the film Catch 22. Hodges' also likes to fill the screen with little asides and background silliness and that put me in mind of Richard Lester's fondness for juxtaposing horseplay in relation to the primary action.

This is part noir, part farce and peopled with a whole lot of eccentric personalities indulging in questionable and quixotic behavior in a sunlit, exotic locale. Which is enough for me.






Dial M for Murder - This isn't tip top shelf Hitchcock but it's right up there and still very watchable. The featured blonde this time is Grace Kelly and she plays Margot Wendice, a rich socialite type married to ex-pro tennis player Tony (Ray Milland). He's quit touring and found a 9 to 5 job in London in hopes of saving his troubled marriage. Margot has had a past affair with crime fiction writer Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings) and one of their love letters has been stolen amd used to blackmail Margot. The letter plays a pivotal role in the customary Hitchcock intrigue with the usual duplicitous behavior and murderous intent on display. The small cast is exemplary with Kelly as the victimized and vulnerable Margot and Milland as another Hitchcock staple, the dissolute sociopath hiding behind a veneer of refinement. Plus there's also cagey Scotland Yard Detective Chief Inspector Hubbard (John Williams) as the cat (I'm assuming) in the cat and mouse equation.

It's all very sordid and sophisticated and compelling.

I agree with your commentary. It's a well put together mystery/thriller, which gets very confusing about plot surrounding the latch key. Here are some remarks I made when we had a discussion about the picture in April, '17:

I watched this great little film last night again, not having seen it in years. I was struck by how stiff the dialogue and acting were, which tends to be the case in British style stage thrillers. Granted, the plot mechanics were complex and confusing, but some of the dialogue was reeled off, almost as if it was being read-- like at a rehearsal run-through. The exchanges were too perfect-- not natural. I felt the same way watching Rope. Milland and Williams were the standout actors, with Kelly and Cummings being the weaker of the four.

I read that Hitchcock had wanted to do this film as a breather, after previously more involved films, on location and otherwise. In "Dial M", he never had to leave the studio. He reportedly spent much of the off screen time introducing the concept of "Rear Window" to Grace Kelly, who he wanted for the upcoming production.

There are some wonderful Hitchcockian devices showcased in this one. He loved to explain to the audience what was about to happen in order to let them in on it, then gradually let it unfold, all the while building up the suspense and tension. The shot of Swann lurking behind Kelly, poised with the scarf ready to kill her, is a classic. Also Hitch's use of the slow closeup to focus the viewer's attention to an object or plot device.

As discussed previously, the lock on the door was an automatic one. The door always locked when closed (unless the lever was engaged). The round dial was to manually open the lock from the inside. Swann used the key left under the star carpet to get in. After he'd committed the murder he was supposed to put the key back where he'd retrieved it. After her death Tony would have taken the key and placed it back in his wife's purse.

As it was, Tony removed a key from the corpse and placed back in his wife's purse. But it was Swann's house key. What confused me was that later, the detective realized that the key in Margot's purse was Swann's house key, so he reasoned that Swann had put the key back under the stair carpet after he initially unlocked the door. But I don't believe that was shown. And if Swann hadn't put the key back, why was it not found on his body post mortem? So evidently Swann DID replace the key after unlocking.

Margot never knew about the key under the stair carpet. When she returned from the police station, and, finding that the key didn't work, she walked around and entered through the french doors.

But these inconsistencies and unexplained plot points are not uncommon in Hitchcock's films. Recall in Vertigo where Jimmy Stewart is left dangling high up over an alley, with no apparent way to be saved. How was he saved? And later after Novak had entered the McKittrick Hotel and we saw her at the upstairs window, Stewart came in looking for her but was told she hadn't been seen by the counter lady, and her car was not there. How did that happen? Where did Novak go? Evidently Hitchcock believed that the audience would not notice these errors because they would be so caught up in the plot. And I think he was probably right...



The JFK Assassination: The Jim Garrison Tapes - 10/10

Lucky for you, the entire thing is on YouTube, right on the channel of John Barbour
An excellent documentary! Garrison was the only one to ever bring anyone at all to trial surrounding the assassination of JFK. And he was absolutely right as far as he went. But of course there was far more to it than that. Just about every legal entity: Fed, State and local had a hand in sabotaging Garrison's investigation. Garrison had tremendous courage, and he was a hero.





The Tall Stranger, 1957

Returning home after the Civil War, a Union soldier named Bannon (Joel McCrea) gets caught up in a dispute between a group of Confederate settlers, and his hard-headed half brother (Barry Kelley), who wants to drive the settlers from his land. Complicating matters, Bannon develops feelings for a single mother named Ellen (Virginia Mayo) who is part of the settlement group.

Despite some strengths and some sequences that I enjoyed, I overall just didn't feel this one.

On the positive side, McCrea is plenty solid as the world-weary soldier who has had enough of just about everyone's nonsense. Mayo also holds her own as a woman with a past that seems to follow her wherever she goes. Mayo has her own "don't give a hoot" vibe, and it's kind of interesting to see how their two personalities play off of each other.

There's also a fine overall message, in the sense that both the settlers and Bannon's half brother are so set in their way and their biases that they cannot help but walk themselves into confrontations. In fact, willingness to believe the worse about both sides allows truly bad actors to take advantage of the situation.

But while I did like some aspects, there were quite a few things that brought it down a bit. The print that I watched---and this is no fault of the film itself--just did not look good. Maybe there was solid direction or interesting editing in there, but the slightly muddy print wasn't doing the film any favors.

Yet even if I set aside the look of the film--which, again, is not the film's fault--there were still some issues with pacing. The settlers are all pretty one-note. And the men who seek to manipulate the settlers are also caricatures. Would you be surprised to learn that the villains are Mexicans? And murderers? And also that one of them tries to rape Ellen (so that Bannon can save her, of course)? In a film that is partly about the harm of bias and assumption, the laziness of the rapist Mexican (who is played, interestingly enough, by a Syrian actor) stands out like a sore thumb.

All in all not a bad film, but certainly one that suffers from a lack of smooth pacing and too much time spent with under-developed characters.




Guy who likes movies
I just finished watching Overcomer (2019). Directed by Alex Kendrick, the film stars Kendrick as a high school basketball coach who coaches a teen in long distance running. I enjoyed this a lot. It's a feel good and inspiring story. Aryn Wright-Thompson is very likeable and charming in her film debut as the teen runner. My rating is an



Psycho 2 (C+)

Tad bit overrated.




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The Chairman - (1969)

The Chairman is one of those films where you can sense frantic attempts in the editing room to try and save it. Gregory Peck is the James Bond of professors - Dr. John Hathaway - and he's sent into Communist China to try and extract the formula for an enzyme that allows crops to survive harsh environments. He's given an implant, into his head, that allows the intelligence people who sent him to hear everything that happens - and unknown to him it also has an explosive charge in it which can be detonated any time. It's all great on paper, but sluggish on film, and Conrad Yama's Mao Zedong looks and sounds a little ridiculous - but the 'walking bomb' subplot is interesting. Directed by The Guns of Navarone's J. Lee Thompson - his fourth and final outing with Gregory Peck.

A very kind 5/10


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Dune - (1984)

I watched the 180 minute version that was re-edited for television and which includes a narrated prologue which outlines the plot of nearly the entire film. Regardless, I was somewhat surprised by just how easy it was to follow the story - David Lynch's Dune is known for being nearly unintelligible, but that may be due to Dino De Laurentiis and his goons' frantic editing in an attempt to make this film more commercially palatable. This longer version was dismissed by Lynch so it bears the unfortunate Alan Smithee moniker - one that makes most of us recoil in horror.

I was also surprised by just how good this film looks - for the most part. I was put off a little by the use of hazmat suits as costumes for some of militaristic henchmen, and by the continual reuse of the same worm footage. Other than that there are some great sets, makeup and costumes. The impressive cast was also a big positive - especially the likes of Patrick Stewart, Max von Sydow, Brad Dourif and even Sting who understandably has little screen time. There are too many other actors of note in this to list - and they all seem invested in the movie.

I can't comment as to how it departs from it's source as I've never read Frank Herbert's Dune - but I never worry too much about a film doing that, as it must always stand on it's own two feet in the end. In that respect I thought Dune was a very respectable science-fiction film that doesn't deserve all of the flack it's got over the years - but if I saw the original theatrical cut I might understand more fully why people reacted to it the way they did.

7/10
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I thought that the way that it portrayed both a crisis of self and a crisis of purpose was pretty compelling. But at nearly three hours long, if you aren't vibing with it, I can see not liking it that much. I thought that the visuals and the performances made up for most of the deficits in the writing.

And maybe most importantly, I liked that it didn't ruin anything about the original. The way that they extended the stories of all the original characters felt correct to me.
In all seriousness though, despite my earlier nit-pick at K's fate, and some lingering issues I still have with its occasionally alienating tone, Niander's characterization, or its length/pacing (cutting about 15 minutes off would've done a lot to tighten it up, IMO), I do basically agree with you on the overall quality of 2049; I mean, it's an amazing sensory experience on just a pure audio/visual level, even when rewatched on a ten-inch tablet screen, and I cared a lot more about its characters than I did Deckard/Rachel in the original, but most importantly, like Arrival, it's a big, genuinely ambitious work of Science-Fiction, bursting at its seams with fascinating visuals and ideas (like that digital "three-way", anyone?), and it did a strong job of both honoring the legacy of the original film, while also finding ways to expand upon with its own experience, instead of just repeating everything Scott did (which is why I was surprised when @Corax recently criticized it for failing to "cut its own trail"; geez, if he feels that way, I'd hate to see how he'd react to The Force Awakens...).




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An excellent documentary! Garrison was the only one to ever bring anyone at all to trial surrounding the assassination of JFK. And he was absolutely right as far as he went. But of course there was far more to it than that. Just about every legal entity: Fed, State and local had a hand in sabotaging Garrison's investigation. Garrison had tremendous courage, and he was a hero.

Yeah, this was great, and he was great. I saw this about 20 years ago, but wanted to revisit it just to see if I missed anything. It's from John Barbour's personal YouTube channel. Some good stuff on there. I just got his book, and he tells a story of how Mort Sahl went nuts on him at home when he thought he would be the only one contributing liner notes to Barbour's "It's Tough To Be White", only to find it would be next to Dick Gregory. "The Black Mort Sahl? There's only one Mort Sahl -- ME!".. They're both still alive, but haven't talked in 65 years. Good book so far, "Your Mother Is Not A Virgin"



26th Hall of Fame (REWATCH)

All the President's Men (1976) -


I'm not the biggest fan of biopics. While they may be elevated by some strong acting or some decent camerawork, they often have little else on their minds other than championing whoever is at the heart of their stories or offering a straightforward retelling of whatever noteworthy thing the subject did. While my impression of them is generally "I'd rather just research the person in the film rather than watch a movie about them", this film is an exception to this criticism as it's as much about the process of how the Watergate scandal was uncovered as it is about the scandal itself. Regardless of where you stand politically, this film is a must-see.

This films wraps you up in its story so well with a series of revelations about various people's involvements to the scandal and significant pieces of information coming to light that it keeps you on board with the investigation from beginning to end, even though the outcome of it is already known. As a cherry to all this, certain characters and events (Deep Throat, most of the witnesses being afraid to speak up, members of the CREEP potentially being in danger) add an extra layer of spice to the film and help to ensure that you won't grow bored while watching it. This film also feels relevant today given the various discussions and trials on impeachments/cover-ups/scandals which have permeated the news in the U.S. in the last few years or so.

Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman did a good job in this film and played their parts of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, two Washington Post reporters with different levels of experience, pretty well. Woodward didn't have as much experience at his job as Bernstein did and often showed a reluctance to push the various witnesses they ran into for interviews when they were reluctant to talk, while Bernstein was more demanding with the people he interviewed and didn't accept no for an answer. As the scandal kept growing more and more widespread throughout their investigation and as the importance of solving it eventually dawned on Woodward though, he eventually assisted Bernstein in these endeavors. While Redford and Hoffman are good though, Jason Robards gives the best performance in the film. Even though I've only seen him in four or five films, he's blown me away in every single one of them, as he did in this film. With maybe the exception of Once Upon a Time in the West, I've only seen him in supporting roles, but he plays his part in this film quite phenomenally and proves magnetic whenever he's onscreen. His character has more experience than both Woodward and Bernstein and has to be really careful that the two of them have enough evidence before publishing it. After all, a slip up could potentially bring a bad name to their paper.

Overall, I liked this film about as much as I did the last time I watched it and I'm glad it was nominated for this thread.



THE DOUBLE LIFE OF VÉRONIQUE
(1991, Kieślowski)
A film from the 1990s



"Not long ago, I had a strange sensation. I felt that I was alone. All of a sudden. Yet nothing had changed."

The Double Life of Véronique follows two identical women: Weronika and Véronique (both played by Irène Jacob) who have a mysterious connection, despite living separate lives in different cities. They've never met each other or known about the other's existence, and yet, there is something that binds them.

The interesting thing is that Kiéslowski is not very interested in the the why, but rather in how that connection affects them. As the film moves through the life of both women, we see a wide array of "connective tissue" that goes from their love of music to little things like a transparent ball that both of them play with. At one point, Véronique even dreams of a "tall, slender church", which we see is close to Weronika's home.

The thing is that the slightest hint of this connection gives both characters feelings of joy when it's felt, and loneliness when it's broken. For Weronika, seeing that "other person" in the distance instills her with a sense of belonging. For Véronique, who hasn't seen Weronika, although the connection is not clear and her feelings are more confused, it is still a source of anxiety and question.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot and the PR HOF4
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