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Jodorowski's Dune (2014)


One of the best documentaries I ever watched.
I remember seeing this a couple of years ago with friends - a great documentary for film lovers. I recommend it to everyone.
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My movie ratings often go up or down a point or two after more reflection, research and rewatches.




I've actually kinda privately avoided this film for years because I'm one of those people that really hates watching train wrecks.
Well, if you're into great performances, dialogue, and writing, I'd say you need to give it a shot. To be fair, it isn't a "hopeless mess of despair", but I don't want to spoil anything.


As a matter of fact, I would love to ask anyone that has seen it... SPOILERS NOW FOR VIRGINIA WOOLF

WARNING: spoilers below

Do you think Martha and George are better at the end than they were at the start? I mean, taking away all the hurt, the bickering, and the insults, my mind thinks that the climatic moment was necessary to move on. And even though that "breach" in their intimacy from both parts will surely leave a dent, to put it mildly, their final interaction hints at the possibility of them... maybe making it? What does everyone think?
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The Philadelphia Experiment -


A movie that could be described as Back to the Future before Back to the Future - it even has a joke about Ronald Reagan being the president - The Philadelphia Experiment is not the classic that that movie is, but it has enough going for it to make it worth checking out. It is based on a myth about World War II battleship U.S.S. Eldridge, which may or may not have been equipped with experimental radar-deflecting technology. Once activated, crewmen David Herdeg (Michael Parť) and Jim Parker (Bobby Di Cicco) find themselves in 1984. With the help of unwilling accomplice Allison (Nancy Allen), they look for a way to return, all the while dealing with the future shock of everything from television to pop-top cans of Coke.

Much of what makes this movie work and worth watching is Parť's performance. He is very convincing as a man who is out of place, looking for answers and unwilling to become a pawn of scientists and the government, all of whom pursue Jim, Allison, and himself pretty much as soon as he arrives in the future. His bemused reactions to modern conveniences also made me laugh while his more grieved ones, like seeing pictures of himself on a wall in his father's mechanic business, became my own. The special effects are not half bad either, especially the all-consuming vortex in the sky which is an unfortunate byproduct of the Eldridge's failed experiment. The high-contrast lighting that accompanies the time shifts, on the other hand, has not aged well, but it at least gets its purpose across.

What prevents this movie from being a classic time travel story? In spite of its real-life inspirations and relatively unique vehicle, it's a pretty standard entry in this subgenre. It also doesn't help that much of the science, ramifications of going to the future, etc. are sidelined in favor of David and Allison's romance. Despite not totally coming across like a Stockholm Syndrome case as well as Parť and Allen's chemistry and strong acting, I felt that it marginalized a lot of the technical mumbo jumbo, which to me is the "good stuff" that is a perk to movies like this one. Also, while I've praised the effects and some of the acting - Steven Tobolowsky also impresses in an early role as a scientist - it often resembles a TV movie from its era and the general performance is of average quality at best. I still enjoyed it and it scratched my itch for good sci-fi, but if you somehow haven't seen that other time travel movie that came out the following year yet, watch it first.
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Last Great Movie Seen
Black Sunday (Bava, 1960)



Yeah, I've heard that The Post isn't that good, so I've been hesitant to check it out.
It's definitely a watchable film. To my taste the favorites were Bob Odenkirk's and Matthew Rhys' work. Here's a review I made from a few years ago:



The Post (2017)

This is a film which tries to be an important picture, but it suffers from several miscalculations. The first assumption was that if a heavyweight group of movie people are put together into a movie project, then the result would be terrific. The second miscalculation was that dredging up an anachronistic federal scandal, despite what we've witnessed in recent times of several equally shameful governmental scandals (exposed by Snowden, Assange), would be of interest to a younger generation.

Some of the biggest and most bankable names in cinema were on exhibit: Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, John Williams, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, along with a first rate supporting cast of players and craft people.

But the result was workmanlike, almost tired: a very watchable film, but one that seemed to be overly impressed with its subject matter. And therein lies part of the problem. The story focused on
The Washington Post's publisher, Katharine Graham, and to a lesser extent on its executive editor, Ben Bradlee. But yet Graham had only a minor part in the actual historical events. It was simply that it was she who had to make the final decision on whether or not The Washington Post would follow the New York Times' lead and publish more of the "Pentagon Papers".

But the real story was Daniel Ellsberg's theft of the volumes of damning evidence regarding the government's lies to the public about the Vietman war, and the exposure of its cold-blooded sacrifice of many thousands of our soldiers to a cause which the government knew it could not possibly win, but yet was too pig-headed to get out. The real story was the lying and cover-up by government, not Katharine Graham.

The secondary story was that Ellsberg then handed over this trove of damning evidence to the New York Times, who subsequently published it serially until a Federal court injunction caused them to cease. Later
The Washington Post obtained a copy and ran with it, and was quickly followed in suit by other major newspapers. The film leaves the impression that it was The Washington Post who was forging ahead to expose the evil governmental corruption, but yet they were only following up to the rear of the New York Times.

However it's a reasonable bet that Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks would not commit to a project that would not heavily feature them. So in order to fill that accommodation the final script was presumably written with that in mind. Heroes were made of the wrong people. Therefore the story seemed hollow. How much time could be devoted to Graham fretting over, "Should I" or "Should I not" publish these documents? The answer: way too much.

The acting was first rate, and featured fine performances from the supporting cast, most notably Bob Odenkirk's and Matthew Rhys'.

The producers were eager to follow up with the success of
All the President's Men. But with no mystery and intrigue the result was a film with minimal suspense and urgency. It not only did not present anything new, but it reduced a fascinating event in our history into a rather uneven and out of focus misrepresentation.

Spielberg's direction was competent, but boilerplate, almost as if he hadn't given the project his full attention. The opening and closing scenes seemed tacked on, as if to insure the film's relevancy. The opening Vietnam battlefield scenes were presumably intended to both show the horrors of war and also to introduce Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys), as he feverishly rattled away on his portable typewriter in the war zone. The incongruous closing scene showed a view of the Watergate burglary looking from across the street at the 6th floor as the janitor discovered the crime in progress. The footage, which just as easily might have been taken from YouTube, was evidently intended to leave the movie goer with the impression that, although Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson were the major forces in the government's horrific decision to squander thousands of American lives, it was Nixon who was
really
bad, even though it was Nixon who finally got the U.S. out of Vietnam.

Doc's rating: 6/10, mostly for the acting and craft work



Yeah, I've heard that The Post isn't that good, so I've been hesitant to check it out.
I might be in a slight minority, but it's my lowest ranking Spielberg. I thought it was a bore.



I thought The Post was fine.




Hard movie to follow. Flashbacks, forward-flashes, itís all over the place. Cage very good as twin brothers. Not bad. I did finish it, but 2 hours seemed like 3 hours.
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The Cat o’ Nine Tails (1971)

Surprisingly ordinary thriller by Argento. The killer's motive is apparent from the start, but I didn't see any proper build-up to who it eventually was. Not terrible, not great.

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Malignant (2021)

It seems more and more clear that The Conjuring was an accident. This isn't a bad film per se, but it's a soulless and bland mash-up of a gazillion influences ground into a tasteless Hollywood paste. Totally watchable, totally forgettable.
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Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.

Karen (Coke Daniels, 2021)
5/10
Genus Pan (Lav Diaz, 2020)
6/10
She Ball (Nick Cannon, 2020)
5/10
The Professional (Georges Lautner, 1981)
+ 6/10

French spy Jean-Paul Belmondo takes glee in getting revenge on those who had him imprisoned and tortured in Africa.
The Creeper (Jean Yarbrough, 1948)
5.5/10
Introspectum Motel (Marcel Dorian, 2021)
4+/10
The Rocket (Kim Mordaunt, 2013)
6/10
Respect (Liesl Tommy, 2021)
- 6.5/10

Superficial yet entertaining account of Aretha Franklin's recording career paralleling her civil rights awareness.
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions (Adam Robitel, 2021)
6/10
He's All That (Mark Waters, 2021)
+ 5/10
Lay That Rifle Down (Charles Lamont, 1955)
5.5/10
Malignant (James Wan, 2021)
6/10

I guess you could call that thing wasting everybody a shadow, but you'd be missing the point.
The Voyeurs (Michael Mohan, 2021)
5.5/10
Demonia (Lucio Fulci, 1990)
5/10
Heading for Heaven (Lewis D. Collins, 1947)
5.5/10
Gilda Live (Mike Nichols & Lorne Michaels, 1980)
6.5/10

Filmization of Gilda's Live on Broadway concert is heartfelt and funny, with a good assist from Father Guido Sarducci (Don Novello).
JJ+E (Alexis AlmstrŲm, 2021)
5.5/10
Double Trouble (Norman Taurog, 1967)
5/10
Crow Hollow (Michael McCarthy, 1952)
6/10
Terra Nova (Aleksandr Melnik, 2008)
- 6.5/10

Spectacular locations and ultraviolence highlight this story of survival set in the near future. R.I.P. the director
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West Side Story, 1961

In a New York City neighborhood, tensions run high between two rival gangs. The Jets, led by Riff (Russ Tamblyn) repeatedly squabble and rumble with the Sharks, led by Bernardo (George Chakiris). Standing outside it all, yet unavoidably bound to the conflict, are Riff's brother Tony (Richard Beymer) and Bernardo's sister, Maria (Natalie Wood), who fall swiftly in love. But the gang violence threatens to destroy the happiness of the young lovers.

Another film I've been meaning to see forever, that I've only ever known through short snippets and GIFs, and turned out to be a very pleasant surprise.

Musicals can be pretty hit or miss with me. Setting aside whether or not the music itself is good enough to listen to, characters suddenly bursting into song can come across more silly than genuine. Musicals are a genre that tend to push up against the borders of my suspension of disbelief.

In any event, West Side Story circumvents any of those pitfalls through the simple mechanism of being TOTALLY EXTRA. Dancerly, balletic movements punctuate almost all of the scenes. Yes, there are the moments that you're definitely in the middle of a number, but are you every truly out of a number in this movie? I don't think so. At any moment someone might punctuate a strong statement with a kick or a twirl.

And that might sound like I'm poking fun at the film, but it's quite the opposite. The movie happily blurs the line between the allegorical world of dance and the "real" world of the film, which makes the transitions between scenes and sequences far less jarring. It results in a far more immersive experience. It also makes it feel far less absurd that a hardened street gang would twirl around like they're running a few minutes late for a turn in Swan Lake. These street kids will sing and dance their emotional traumas, their fatalistic outlook on life, and their semi-serious attempts to stab each other.

Maria and Tony didn't super grip me as a couple, but that doesn't really matter. It is enough to see the way that the oppressive hate from both sides sabotages something as simple as a teenage crush.

What I think the film conveys best is the way that the hatred between the two groups comes both from bias and from a sense of being unsettled. These are all very angry young people, and they have nowhere to point their anger but at each other. It's interesting to see that neither side will cooperate with the police. But with an inability to do anything about authority figures, they turn on each other.

Which isn't to say that I found them entirely sympathetic. The Jets (with whom we spend the most time) are a veritable study in wounded, impotent masculinity. They bluster about fighting with rocks, knives, and guns, and yet are entirely unprepared for the consequences of such violence. In the scene that feels the most "real", the Jets harass and sexually assault Maria's best friend, Anita (Rita Moreno), seemingly only stopped from committing rape by the timely intervention of an older man. One of the Jets then protests that they didn't choose the way the world works. Right, but um . . . . you do get to choose whether or not you rape someone. I did wonder in that moment how self-aware the film was with that exchange. To me, it indicated young people who, in the face of a degree of helplessness, have assumed a victim mentality that they can't control anything, even their own actions.

From a technical point of view, the choreography and the way that it blends with the camera techniques are pretty aces. At one point I genuinely thought something was very wrong with my TV before realizing it was just a very colorful transition. There are "standalone" dancing sequences in open spaces, and also sequences that take place in more complicated sets. I thought it all looked great. Even the songs that didn't do too much for me still felt very watchable because the dancing and camera looked so good.

To my eye, the only real misstep was the makeup on the actors playing the Puerto Rican characters. Like, wow. After watching, I confirmed what I hadn't understood while watching, which is that Rita Moreno (who is Puerto Rican!) was wearing a bunch of darkening makeup. I guess she had to wear it to match the skin tone that they put on the other (white) actors. Anyway, kind of yikes. It just doesn't look good---it very obviously looks like people wearing a ton of thick makeup.

Despite this, though, a really good watch overall. Deservedly iconic.




Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? follows middle-aged marriage couple George (Richard Burton) and Martha (Elizabeth Taylor), as they invite a young couple at their home after a party. The evening, though, unravels from a constant parade of insults and bickering into a game of bitter fights and tragic revelations. It's important to mention that Burton and Taylor were actually married at the moment, although they would divorce 8 years later... and remarry one year after, and divorce again one year after.

For the first hour or so, I was really enjoying the fast-paced bickering and how quippy the dialogue was. I was laughing, just like their guests were laughing. But as the night progressed, you can see the conversations shift from the regular back and forth of married couples to a more pointed, deliberate, and calculated game of hurt, so to speak. The last hour was a painful and tragic sequence of hurtful decisions and machinations that you wonder if their marriage, or any marriage, could recover.

Both Burton and Taylor were simply excellent on their roles. I think I was more impressed with Burton, but Taylor was great, and she really nailed that key final monologue where the illusion is dropped, and the truth comes out. Also, George Segal and Sandy Dennis were pretty good as the young couple. It's no wonder that all four were nominated for Oscars.
Grade:
When "Woolf" came out, Liz and Dick were at the peak of their popularity, both singly and as a couple. The public could simply not get enough of them.

I agree with your commentary. The movie's 2nd half became very nasty, but still it ended up pretty nicely. Burton was a great actor, and Liz wasn't too shabby either. Segal and Dennis were first rate, but they had the thankless task of being pretty much set decoration in this picture.



[quote=Thief;2237489][center]WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?
(1966, Nichols)
It's no wonder that all four were nominated for Oscars.

Grade:



All four were nominated and Taylor and Dennis won




By IMP Awards, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22441129

Hoffa - (1992)

I've spent nearly 30 years being half-interested in seeing Hoffa - it had a lousy reception when it was released, but hey, there are other films that have had a similar reception which I've been surprised by. Why not Hoffa? Well, I finally did it. It falls into the same trap The Doors did as a biopic - it says nothing about the person it's supposed to be about. We learn nothing personally about the man himself. But taken by themselves, the scenes involving events in Jimmy Hoffa's life are often interesting enough to watch thanks to Jack Nicholson and some great work behind the camera (not to mention the budget to really take us back in time.) I know nothing more about Hoffa than I did before I watched this - and think that Danny DeVito and David Mamet got lost somewhere along the way.

5/10


Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3416901

Shock - (1946)

Dr. Richard Cross has just bludgeoned his wife to death with a candlestick (pretty unusual behaviour from a doctor) - but his actions have been witnessed by another tenant in the hotel he's staying at. When she collapses in shock, Dr. Cross is called on to help her. There begins his efforts to control and drug her lest his murder be discovered - all the while his lover tries to persuade him to kill her. Thanks to a great performance from Vincent Price this 70 minute thriller was quite enjoyable - I even blurted something out aloud towards the ending - something I rarely do when watching a film alone.

6/10



Of Human Bondage - (1934)

What a strange and wonderful story this was - much helped by a very eccentric performance by Bette Davis and a touching one from Leslie Howard. His character, Philip Carey, is a struggling artist who decides his mediocracy in that arena means he should discontinue it and study to become a doctor. While studying, he meets strange waitress Mildred - and falls hopelessly in love with her. Mildred is a cold, somewhat psychologically troubled young lady who delights in torturing poor Philip, who was born with a club foot. When Mildred goes off to marry someone else, a devastated Philip finds someone else. One day Mildred comes back to him, causing more turmoil in his life. The whole cycle repeats itself (in an awful way - Mildred runs off with his best friend) and eventually a sick Mildred (unmarried with a baby onboard) returns again. The amount of turmoil she creates for Philip is nearly unbearable, but his passion is only ever ignited by her.

Bette Davis really can't nail a cockney accent, but by grand fortune this only serves to heighten the psychopathic strangeness of Mildred - a women completely unmolested with a soul. The trauma she causes the one man who truly loves her, and in turn the women who truly love Philip, gives this love story a realistic edge that does great credit to it's source novel. I liked it far more than I thought I would.

7/10



Tonight, it's a new one, Paul Schrader's The Card Counter. I'm mixed on this one. On the one hand, it's well crafted, acting is excellent and tension is constant. On the other hand, it's slow, full of a sort of toxic masculinity that mainly makes for glaring stares, especially in the context of a movie about poker where half of the movie is people staring at each other, tying to not reveal any emotion. Outside the game, they are still concealing their emotions, which threaten to boil over at any moment.

Oscar Issac is "Will Tell", a pro gambler, a guy who wins a lot but not so much as to arouse the attention of authorities in his gambling universe. He's a damaged guy, an ex military torturer with a lot of blood and pain on his hands. In his travels, he finds two other lost souls, Circ, who's father served with Will and killed himself and La Linda (Tiffany Haddish), who recruits guys like Will for higher stakes games that are controlled by shady figures who take part of the winnings. Circ (Tye Sheridan) is on a personal mission to kill a military contractor (Willem Dafoe) who led his father down the torturer road that led to his suicide.

You can probably guess that that between high stakes gambling and PTSD and a lethal grudge, there's not much humor in any of this. I'm relieved to say that nothing about the world of pro gambling or being a military torturer has any appeal to me at all, so I found myself not identifying with anybody in the movie. It's done very well, however, and if you like this sort of thing, it might work for you.










SF = Z



[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



When "Woolf" came out, Liz and Dick were at the peak of their popularity, both singly and as a couple. The public could simply not get enough of them.

I agree with your commentary. The movie's 2nd half became very nasty, but still it ended up pretty nicely. Burton was a great actor, and Liz wasn't too shabby either. Segal and Dennis were first rate, but they had the thankless task of being pretty much set decoration in this picture.
Re: Segal and Dennis, I agree. As good as they were, they were set up against two monster performances.

As for the 2nd half, I loved how just like Nick and Honey, we the audience, are lured into the middle of this bickering couple via laughs and jokes, only to end up not sure where to hide, where to look as things get nastier. It was a great switch.



All four were nominated and Taylor and Dennis won
I haven't seen A Man for All Seasons, so I can't speak to the quality of Scofield's performance. But if it's better than Burton, I'll be damned.