Rate The Last Movie You Saw

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Wait. Are you being sarcastic? I mean, I really like that movie. Great cast. Peter Falk slays it. And Truman Capote is hilarious when he's talking through a moose head.

Oh and in case you don't read my edited post: Sally Field is a perfectly fine actress.
No, why would I be being sarcastic? It's a charming movie. I've seen it several times over the last 3 or 4 decades. The cast is downright ridiculous. Dame Maggie Smith? Sir Alec Guinness? Peter Sellers, Elsa Lanchester (!), literally Truman ****ing Capote?!!!
It's utterly silly but that's all it was ever trying to be.




Well, this was a pretty enjoyable movie for a while but then it bogs down in the pointless romance the movie is sold on. The story of Sonny Steele and his theft of a $12M racehorse, as seen by ambitious reporter Hallie Martin is a good one but once the script turns toward a romance between these two it loses any momentum it has and just sort of seems to stall. I mean, the movie is actually holding together pretty well until they inevitably have this romance that literally lasts like two days and then the script actually sort of seems to lose its way and you just sort of wonder what went wrong. Up until that point, the horse is a really obvious allegory for Sonny himself and Mattie is really there just to take us along on his journey but, one wonders if Mattie's character was really necessary at all except for someone to have Redford, at his Redfordest, say things too. Then it's just a forced romance and it's over. And you can see from the poster that the marketing was very much about this romance between them but the movie isn't really about that until they shoe-horn it in and then it kills the movie.
Not at all sorry I rewatched it, it's been more than 30 years since I'd seen it, but it just ends up not being all that.
A few notes:
Willie Nelson was a better actor than I ever realized.
Wilford Brimley makes everything better.
John Saxon was always a good actor and it's a shame he didn't have a bigger career.
Robert Redford plays the same person in every film except that he might have a country twang or chew gum or something, yet he's magnetic as hell and makes his character likable.
Jane Fonda plays the same person in every film... well, that's it.
I liked the horse.



Oh, one other thing. I really love watching movies from the 1970s. That is all.



Youíre the disease, and Iím the cure.
American Pie (1999):
A hilarious comedy which is iconic. I think many people including myself crushed on Nadia.
9/10
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Madness In The Method (2019):
Okay comedy, enjoyed the cameos, Jason Mewes is not bad for a first-time director (he did direct the ice scene on Clerks II). Appreciated the nods to real life as well.
6/10



American Pie (1999):
A hilarious comedy which is iconic. I think many people including myself crushed on Nadia.
9/10
The only crush-worthy girl in that film (for me) is Michelle. I had a major celebrity crush on Alyson Hannigan at one point due to her character in Buffy
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The only crush-worthy girl in that film (for me) is Michelle. I had a major celebrity crush on Alyson Hannigan at one point due to her character in Buffy
It's an interesting point. Nadia is supposed to be the obvious choice but, I dunno. And then Mena Suvari and Tara Reid are dangled out there but were just kinda lacking to me. Hannigan ends up being kinda the obvious choice (though I did not know her from Buffy as I had never seen it when AP came out), but, honestly, I found myself kinda wondering what Natasha Lyonne was doing later.
Unless Jennifer Coolidge was free.



The Girl with All the Gifts - Rewatched this since I enjoyed M. R. Carey's novel so much. It doesn't follow it note for note but at least 90% of the book finds it's way onscreen. When I first ran across the movie I was surprised to find out that it had already been adapted. Solid casting with Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine, Glenn Close and newcomer Sennia Nanua as the title character Melanie. Zombies being a well worn plot device this still manages to shake things up and introduce a new wrinkle or two. One thing that should be considered different is the ending.
WARNING: spoilers below
I thought it was bleak as f*ck even though it's couched in terms of a metamorphic rebirth of sorts.
85/100





BRIAN'S SONG (1971)

Haven't seen this one in about 30 years at least. It wasn't quite the sob-fest I'd remembered from childhood, but still a solid made-for-TV drama. It's the true story of Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers, two rookie running backs for the Chicago Bears in 1965. Not sure if this part is true, but the film presents them as the NFL's first interracial roommates. Despite their differences and the fact that they're competing for the same job they form a bond, but then Piccolo is diagnosed with cancer. The film's reputation as a tearjerker for bros should give you an idea where the story goes from there.

I'm giving it four stars but a predilection for 70s TV Movies is suggested. If you were born after 1985 or so you can probably deduct a star. The film manages to stay just on the right side of good taste, never really sinking too deep into mawkishness. It's fun to see a pre-Lando BD Williams as Sayers, and for vintage football fans, the football action is all actual NFL Films footage of Piccolo and Sayers.

Directed by Buzz Kulik, who was also responsible for one of my favorite TV movies of all time, Bad Ronald. More on that one later.



ps-- this can be streamed for free on Pluto TV
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Soul - 2020

Fun little movie. Pixar usually comes through with the quality. Always love Pixar because they don't treat children like idiots. Having said that this one asks some pretty deep questions that might hit the adults watching it more ha. I appreciate it's ambition. It felt a little tedious during the middle act and the world they set up was meh. Lot of explaining. Wasn't super crazy about the ending either. However it was entertaining and got me in my feels towards the end. Plus it's absolutely visually stunning, amazing animation. I wouldn't put it with the elite Pixar flicks but I wouldn't put it in the average ones either. It's some where in between elite and average. Definitely worth a gander.



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101 Favorite Movies (2019)





Ghost, 1990

(Note: You know what doesn't play all that well at the end of 2020, beginning of 2021? The opening scene of this film in which the main character and his friend "prank" a crowded elevator by coughing over and over and talking about having a contagious disease.)

Sam (Patrick Swayze) works in finance and lives with his girlfriend Molly (Demi Moore). One night Sam is killed in a violent mugging, but his spirit lingers in the world. As he begins to understand that his death was more than a matter of chance. Sam enlists phony (or not so phony) psychic Oda Mae (Whoopi Goldberg), the only person who can hear him, to aid him in his quest to keep Molly safe.

For me. hands down, the best thing about this film was Goldberg and her exasperated psychic/hustler. Her line delivery is incredibly on point, and she easily anchors the broader comedy aspect of the film.

Moore and Swayze are both fine in their roles. I found that the romance between them felt a little overly scripted. And despite the memorable and playful sex scene that is one of the film's most iconic moments, I never 100% bought the romantic attraction between them. On the other hand, they are only genuinely together for about 15 or 20 minutes of run time.

I can't pin this down specifically, but the film felt a bit too long for me. At one point I thought, "So this must be about the end," and then somehow there were 40 more minutes!

I did enjoy Tony Goldwyn as Sam's two-faced friend, Carl. Carl's attempted seduction of Molly ("Oops! I spilled coffee on myself! Better just . . . take this off.") was in equal parts funny and tense.

I'm not heartbroken that it took me so long to get around to this film. It had some good moments and I felt that Whoopi Goldberg really carried a lot of the film's momentum.

one of the good movies
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Given the last paragraph, I'm going to take it that you don't pay particular attention to conservative politics in America nor the impact combining America's quintessential conservative filmmaker with a conservative icon like Chris Kyle has on the box office, as they CERTAINLY pushed and championed the film for it's depiction of the man.

Justifying the Iraq War with 9/11 makes the film about as far from anti-war as possible (that films like Paths of Glory exist and you make that statement also makes me want to ask how much you've delved into the genre).

A "pro-war" film doesn't have to depict it as a fun, cool, great time. Your biggest War Hawks understand that atrocities and tragedies will occur. What makes it a pro-war film is it's decision to depict the life of Chris Kyle (I would advise you to familiarize yourself with the man and his propensity for self aggrandizement and bragging about events that at best didn't happen and at worst make him a War criminal. He even lost a libel lawsuit from Jesse Ventura after making up a fight they had) in a manner that has you discussing him in terms of nobility and sacrifice.*In fact, it humanizes Kyle's performance more than his own writings ever did.

You're only engaging the film within its own narrative and if it were purely fiction, it wouldn't be a particularly questionable film.

Unfortunately, the film doesn't exist in a vacuum and has the misfortune of being attached to a heavily flawed, real life individual and a modern, documented and unending war that it helps perpetuate.

Is it propaganda on the level of Battleship Potemkin or Triumph of Will? No. But its camouflage is part of what makes its propaganda so effective.

Lastly, Selma had being the first MLK biopic, released in MLK day with Oprah's presence and backing. To basically flop against the competition of a film that aggrandizes a man that bragged about shooting any man on the streets, a violation of Geneva, is definitely a statement on the condition of the country. The ability to draw top notch talent, gain wide release, and dominate the box office definitely informs about the type of film we want to consume.
Iím not a philosopher of war movies and I had no idea who Chris Kyle was or that this movie was about him, Iím British and many in a Britain would have no idea who he was either. Do I have to be aware of those things before and even after, is it some sort of sacrilege that I wasnít? I watch a movie and for the most part rate it on what I see in the runtime of said feature. Seems like youíre trying to convince me itís Pro-war when from my perspective it was well balanced.

He was training to become a Navy Seal before 9/11 and then was deployed shortly after, this is what happened itís not justifying the situation, Kyle wasnít running round saying destroy the states of Islam in fact he never said anything even close to that effect or remotely political from my recollection. The majority of the movie was him using his sniper in difficult situations made clear from the title of the movie, I found this fascinating the control and discipline it takes to be a sniper. It seems like your real life disdain for Kyle has had a major impact on how you viewed this film and thatís fine completely your own prerogative.

Your last paragraph is nonsense, he never bragged during the movie about killing anyone, whatever may or may not have done in real life is a separate debate, my view is solely what I saw on screen. Those that did glorify his kills all died and he was shot by one of his own. If this was supposed to be a pro war movie Eastwood did not do a very good job because it certainly never made me want to up sticks, grab a gun and enter a war zone.
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Snooze factor = Zzz



[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



Iím not a philosopher of war movies and I had no idea who Chris Kyle was or that this movie was about him, Iím British and many in a Britain would have no idea who he was either. Do I have to be aware of those things before and even after, is it some sort of sacrilege that I wasnít? I watch a movie and for the most part rate it on what I see in the runtime of said feature. Seems like youíre trying to convince me itís Pro-war when from my perspective it was well balanced.

He was training to become a Navy Seal before 9/11 and then was deployed shortly after, this is what happened itís not justifying the situation, Kyle wasnít running round saying destroy the states of Islam in fact he never said anything even close to that effect or remotely political from my recollection. The majority of the movie was him using his sniper in difficult situations made clear from the title of the movie, I found this fascinating the control and discipline it takes to be a sniper. It seems like your real life disdain for Kyle has had a major impact on how you viewed this film and thatís fine completely your own prerogative.

Your last paragraph is nonsense, he never bragged during the movie about killing anyone, whatever may or may not have done in real life is a separate debate, my view is solely what I saw on screen. Those that did glorify his kills all died and he was shot by one of his own. If this was supposed to be a pro war movie Eastwood did not do a very good job because it certainly never made me want to up sticks, grab a gun and enter a war zone.
My last paragraph is why you donít know what youíre talking about.

To take it to the nazi extreme, if someone made a biopic about Hitler, cut out everything related to the Holocaust, humanized him and had him say ďI think this war was my greatest mistakeĒ before shooting himself, and portraying that death as a tragedy, how would you view the politics of that film?

Choosing a subject is important when making a film and they chose Chris Kyle, someone youíre admittedly ignorant of. They then chose to alter this manís life into something admirable and noble. Thatís another choice. All of these are in service of the usual conservative war machine justification that exists rampantly in America, a country from which you are not from nor intimately familiar with the political spheres. That would be fine if you didnít argue to stay ignorant of the impact that this is going to have on the American reading or AMERICAN Sniper.

Films exist in a societal context and some of them carry abhorrent ideas in that context. This film is among them.



Tenet

Itís like any American Hollywood action movie. Caricature Russian villain. Tough guy CIA lead. Pretty blonde damsel in distress. Smooth talking, well dressed British spy who says blimey all the time. The plot twists are extremely predictable. More effort was spent on special effects than the story.

Not at all what I expected of a Christopher Nolan Movie. Itís the kind of movie Michael Bay or someone like that would make.

6/10





God's Own Country, 2017

Johnny (Josh O'Connor) lives on a farm with his parents, where ever since his father, Martin (Ian Hart), had a stroke he has been the main worker taking care of the sheep and cattle. Johnny is miserable--hiding the fact that he is gay from his parents and indulging in too much drinking and one-off sexual encounters--and barely pulls his weight. With the work on the farm piling up, Johnny's parents hire Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu), a Romanian immigrant, to help out. Sparks fly between Johnny and Gheorghe, but will Johnny's self-destructive habits get in the way of their romance?

A lot of films about gay romance center on the fraught nature of such relationships--whether that comes from internalized homophobia or the threat of violence from their families and communities. (And don't get me wrong--these are important stories to tell). I really enjoyed seeing a film that had a different point of view and approach to a gay romance. The focus in this film isn't on whether or not the relationship will work because it is a gay relationship, but whether or not Johnny can figure himself out in time to preserve the good thing that he and Gheorghe have going.

The thing that I loved about this movie was the way that it showed how a person can change the dynamic of those around them. Sex and attraction isn't what Johnny has been missing. What he has been missing is love and affection and intimacy. Gheorghe is both patient and instant. He won't accept Johnny refusing to touch his face or look at him. In one really excellent sequence, Gheorghe reaches out a single finger to touch Johnny's hand as they wait in the hospital cafeteria. Moments later, the lingering impact of this touch leads Johnny to reach out and take his sick father's hand. Gheorghe's gentle insistence transforms different locations around the farm--the hillside, the dinner table, the bathtub--into places where Johnny can connect with himself and his loved ones. Weirdly, it made me think of the quote from the article I read about Dirty Dancing and the power of acting with decency to inspire others to act with decency. Gheorghe's decency has a positive impact on all those around him.

John O'Connor and Alec Secareanu have great, easy chemisty with each other, and Secareanu is incredibly charismatic. Gheorge could have come across as almost too saintly, but instead he comes across as someone who simply knows what he wants and calmly pursues it. He won't let Johnny use slurs against him, he won't tolerate harassment from a local, and he won't put up with Johnny's behavior. The love scenes between the two characters--and especially the first sequence--are appropriately sexy and exciting, but they are also excellently realized extensions of the character arc that Johnny is on. With a few moments of choreography and exchanged glances, you can see that Gheorghe is helping Johnny redefine his relationship with his own sexuality.

Ian Hart and Gemma Jones are also very strong as Johnny's parents. The sequences in the last act of the film in which Johnny and his father reconnect with each other and finally speak their feelings are really excellent.

The style of the film was also something that I enjoyed. The landscape is absolutely gorgrous, but at the same time isolating. Writer/director Francis Lee uses the setting to maximum effect--you can understand why Johnny and his parents feel so strongly about keeping the farm, but at the same time you can understand how a young man--and especially a young gay man--would feel completely alone and stifled by it. I also enjoyed a very simple trick of using warm colors and light in scene with Gheorghe. It gives the sense of a comforting aura around him, helping us to understand not only Johnny's sexual attraction to him, but also the love and comfort he finds in him.

I would warn anyone who is squeamish about animal suffering that the film does take place on the farm and there are several unsimulated sequences. For example, we see a calf that has died from a breach birth. We see a character skin a dead lamb (I fast-forwarded this sequence). The characters themselves are not being cruel to the animals, but it's the kind of thing you might want to be prepared to see. The ending may have also been
WARNING: spoilers below
a bit optimistic in terms of how the parents would react to their son being gay and living in their home with a romantic partner
.

All in all I thought that this film was really strong and I thought that the development of the relationship between the main characters was particularly strong.

EDIT: Just realized that I know Secareanu from Amulet, the flawed-but-interesting horror I watched a short while back. Dude is talented.




Possessor


Brendan Cronenbergís debt to his father is felt throughout the film, emulating his propensity for body horror that merged psychology and technology into a phantasmagoric soup. However, the director I found myself thinking of most often was Steven Soderbergh; the mise-en-scene, the use of color, the handheld camera work and the Martinez-esque score that would matched that auteurís minimalist approach to the material.

While this doesnít speak to BC coming off as a particularly unique filmmaker, he is formally accomplished and seems to approach his odd material in a gratifying, intelligent and affecting manner.

Itís very good, low budget sci-fi. It never quite pushes its concept to its full potential but Iíll happily pick it up on 4K UHD when the price drops it.

Itís currently a $1 rental on Apple TV.



The Battle of Algiers - I immediately researched the background on this 1966 war movie ("war movie" sorely lacking as descriptors go) It does deal with the Algerian War of Independence and in particular the events that occurred in the capital city of Algiers between 1954 and 1957. But it's so much more than that. The director, Gillo Pontecorvo, uses a neorealist documentary style to such great effect that I was left repeatedly wondering if he was using actual eyewitness recordings.
WARNING: spoilers below
Take the numerous bombings for instance. There was one moment where an explosion went off at a racetrack that I would have sworn was actual footage.
Pontecorvo also uses non-professional actors to great effect, with many of them actually having played a role in the real life events depicted. With the use of title cards ticking down the pertinent dates of the incidents he shows how the tit for tat atrocities steadily escalated between French paratroopers and the National Liberation Front. Itís only towards the very end of the film that Pontecorvo sheds light on the methods of torture and interrogation the colonial government employed. Even though the viewer is pretty much shell shocked by that time theyíre still harrowing images and I think that may have been the directorís intent. He presents them without much buildup and in an offhand, almost clinical way yet they lose none of their effectiveness. This is almost a tutorial on how to build and display an effectively compelling historical narrative. Itís certainly influenced several filmmakers over the years. Great movie. 95/100
That's an all-time favorite of mine and also a top 5 war film. I didn't give it nearly enough credit when I first watched it, but it grew on me a whole lot. I agree with all of your points, especially how closely it resembles a documentary.



To bang my Richard Brooks recommendation drum once more, I think fans of BATTLE OF ALGIERS should check out his adaptation of SOMETHING OF VALUE, a Robert Ruark novel about the Mau Mau uprising. It predates Pontecorvoís film by nearly a decade and while its a little more Hollywood in its messaging and casting (Rock Hudson and Sydney Poitier star), I was stunned by how revolutionary its politics and style seemed compared to its contemporaries. Itís certainly trying to evoke reality and criticize the nature of colonialism on a level that wouldnít seem commonplace until the 60s.

Also, Poitier is incredible in it.



To bang my Richard Brooks recommendation drum once more, I think fans of BATTLE OF ALGIERS should check out his adaptation of SOMETHING OF VALUE, a Robert Ruark novel about the Mau Mau uprising. It predates Pontecorvoís film by nearly a decade and while its a little more Hollywood in its messaging and casting (Rock Hudson and Sydney Poitier star), I was stunned by how revolutionary its politics and style seemed compared to its contemporaries. Itís certainly trying to evoke reality and criticize the nature of colonialism on a level that wouldnít seem commonplace until the 60s.

Also, Poitier is incredible in it.
I'll check it out.