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Citizen Rules...Cinemaesque Chat-n-Review

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Breakfast Club...Enjoyed reading your review of this film...it's re-watch appeal is endless. Nice to hear someone address the darkness of Bender and Brian's stories. In my opinion, Anthony Michael Hall delivers the strongest performance in the film.
I think all the actors delivered but I agree Anthony Michael Hall performance was the strongest.

Being There...Very impressed that you saw this, Citizen, doesn't strike me as your type of film. I agree with everything you said and rated it the same you did. BTW, just to clarify, Sellers did receive a Best Actor nomination for the film...he lost to Dustin Hoffman for Kramer VS Kramer.
I like those types of films too. I just don't get around to them that often.

Pretty Baby...I have never had any desire to see this film, despite the presence of Susan Sarandon, who I LOVE, but after reading your review, I'm adding it to my watch list.

Quills
...Another movie I never had any desire to see until reading your review...adding this to my watch list too.
Quills is one of Miss Vicky's favorite films. I think you'd really like it.

Pride...Never heard of this film, but it sounds interesting...will be adding it to my watchlist as well.
It's a true story and heart warming. I think you'd really like it.

Thank you for admitting to being a fan of Owen Wilson. I am too and there aren't too many of us around here. This is a great film and I do agree that it is a tad overlong. I also agree that Will Farrell had me on the floor for the five minutes he was onscreen
I haven't seen many of Owen Wilson's movies I'd like to see more. Have any suggestions?

The Ox-Bow Incident.. I'm trusting your instinct on this one too and will be adding it to my watchlist.
If The Ox-Bow Incident doesn't leave you feeling completely haunted by what happens I'll eat my cowboy hat!



Thank you for admitting to being a fan of Owen Wilson. I am too and there aren't too many of us around here.
I haven't seen many of Owen Wilson's movies I'd like to see more. Have any suggestions?

I'm not a fan of Owen Wilson, but I liked Midnight in Paris (2011).
__________________
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If I answer a game thread correctly, just skip my turn and continue with the game.
OPEN FLOOR.




Meek's Cutoff (2010)
Western
Dir. Kelly Reichardt

In 1845 a small group of immigrants on their way to the Oregon Territory became hopelessly lost in the vast openness of the prairie, after taking a chance on a shortcut....Meek's Cutoff. CR

What struck me about this film is the way it completely embodies an emotion, while capturing a specific moment in time. That emotion is one we all can relate to, the feeling that one has made a horribly wrong turn and now all is hopelessly lost. The moment in time was real, this is based on a story of a group of early pioneers heading to the Oregon Territory in 1845. That's some 30-40 years earlier than the time frame most western films take place. In 1845 these people would have been literally charting new territory. And a wrong turn could spell doom.

It's the underlying emotion of uncertainty as one heads into the unknown, that Meek's Cutoff captures. The film takes us on a journey and comes as close as any film ever has to giving us the experience these early pioneers would've felt.

I loved that image I used, the film uses spacial distances to make one feel the vastness of the journey these people took. Meek's Cutoff is a subtle film, it never spoon feeds it's message with cinematic cues and overly high drama. It allows the viewer to have their own experience...and that is something quite different than the average movie.

+




Dirty Little Billy (Stan Dragoti 1972)

Trapped in the muddy confines of Coffeeville, Billy a kid faced teen, languishes with no direction and zero motivation. He ends up forcibly ejected from his own home by an abusive stepfather and takes up living in a run down shack-of-a-saloon with a crazed pimp and his angelic faced prostitute girlfriend. Thus raw circumstances and a lack of personal hygiene starts the career of one of the old west most notorious outlaws.

I dug this indie style, coming of age film. It reflects the journey that the young adult, baby boomers were taking at the time. With it's psyche of non conformity and un-traditionalism it embodies the hallmark of the counter culture of the late 1960s and early 70s.

Dirty Little Billy is a unique, non-hollywood western that brings much realism into this deep character study of Billy the Kid. I loved the slow paced, deeply introspective style of film making. The film is about the ambiance and the in-between moments that makes up a life. And in between the violent climax of the film where Billy becomes an outlaw, and the bleak start where he's forced out into the world on his own...we have all the lost moments that go to make up the individual that we call Billy the Kid. I thought that was fresh film making and I quite enjoyed it. and the style of the film making reminds me of Meek's Cutoff.





The Grey Fox (Phillip Borsos 1982)

A western of a different flavor...The Grey Fox is an award winning, biographical Canadian film, that's not like the typical western.

The Grey Fox
is an introspective, personal tale of a 'gentleman bandit' who robbed stagecoaches in the 19th century and eventually was caught and set to prison for 33 years. When The Grey Fox (Richard Farnsworth) finally gets out of prison, it's the 20th century and he's now a senior citizen. He faces a world that has changed leaving him a relic of the long gone 'old west'.


The film is done in a subtle manor with leisurely pacing and mostly non violent with the emphasize on the aged outlaw trying to cope with the changing times. I liked the personal tale style of the movie and the more low key approach which fits the filming style of the movie. The filming sites were in British Columbia Canada and in my state of Washington, which I thought was cool and gave the film a much different look and feel than the typical hot, dry and dusty western.

++




The Scalphunters (Sydney Pollack 1968)

Now that's a stunt! The stuntman is actually jumping over the chasm! OMG how crazy is that. And that's what I love about older movies, you get real stunts & real locations.

I liked The Scalphunters. I know I liked it because I never checked the time remaining while watching it. It was good fun, exciting and with stunts galore... I loved the odd looking rock formations in Mexico, I'd never seen anything quite like that before. Watching a movie like this is almost like taking a vacation and seeing the countryside of some exotic locale...and all from the comfort of you home.

The Scalphunters is a comedy-action-western and so it has it's lighter moments at times, which for me was fine.



I thought Burt Lancaster was perfectly suited to an action comedy, his colorful personality made the film go. So did the actor who played the runaway slave, Ossie Davis. He really held his own whenever he and Lancaster had scenes together. I'm not the biggest fan of Telly Savalas and I never did like his TV show Kojak, but he did fine here. Still I wish we could've had someone more colorful to pair with Shelley Winters, say like Strother Martin. And I wish the scalp hunter crew could've had a few choice character actors who got to say a few lines, but overall it was a good movie.

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The Grey Fox (Phillip Borsos 1982)

A western of a different flavor...The Grey Fox is an award winning, biographical Canadian film, that's not like the typical western.

The Grey Fox
is an introspective, personal tale of a 'gentleman bandit' who robbed stagecoaches in the 19th century and eventually was caught and set to prison for 33 years. When The Grey Fox (Richard Farnsworth) finally gets out of prison, it's the 20th century and he's now a senior citizen. He faces a world that has changed leaving him a relic of the long gone 'old west'.


The film is done in a subtle manor with leisurely pacing and mostly non violent with the emphasize on the aged outlaw trying to cope with the changing times. I liked the personal tale style of the movie and the more low key approach which fits the filming style of the movie. The filming sites were in British Columbia Canada and in my state of Washington, which I thought was cool and gave the film a much different look and feel than the typical hot, dry and dusty western.

++
Enjoyed this review...will be adding this one to my watchlist.




Murder, My Sweet (Edward Dmytryk 1944)

The classic period of Film Noir is often considered to be: 1941 to 1958. But even in that 17 year time period, noir changed a lot. Murder, My Sweet hearkens back to the earliest days of noir when it was about character tropes, colorful slang dialogue, twisting-turning mysteries and moody lighting reminiscent of German expressionism of the 1930s.

I loved the vernacular of Murder, My Sweet, so many great lines with such imaginative phrasing, I really got a kick out of it...

"I only took the job because my bank account was trying to crawl under a duck."

What the hell does that mean? You know what, I don't even care because it sounds like something a hard boiled detective would say...and it's authentic and that's something you can't get from a modern movie set in the past. I mean this is 1944, captured on film with all it's mannerisms and styles.

I've never read a Raymond Chandler novel but I feel this movie must have captured the feeling of those novels. And in a way this reminded me of an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, where Captain Picard uses the holodeck to recreate the literary fictional world of Dixon Hill.

Now if I was on a Boogie kick, I might say to myself, Dick Powell? The singer? He's no Boogie. Well Boogie is no Dick Powell, and Bogie can't sing either, ha. I liked Powell because he wasn't always the smartest guy in the room, he wasn't the toughest and he screwed up a lot. And in that way he reminded me of another great film detective, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford-Blade Runner). Powell's Philip Marlowe is no superman and in that way the average person can relate to him. And I liked how he played the jaded detective with just a touch of ironic comedy and always looked like he needed a drink and a shave.

Clarie Trevor is always good. She looked the best at the start of the film in the white dress with the mid drift belly pick-a-boo. She did look a bit to old for that get up, but then again that was the point wasn't it?

Anne Shirley was as cute as a button! Too bad this was her last film. She retired from acting at the ripe old age of 26.

Gosh, I didn't even mention all the cool noir lighting, effects and shadows. Yeah, there's a lot to like here alright. Murder, My Sweet is like stepping into another world where everything is just a bit cooler than real life. Good stuff.







The Stranger (Orson Welles 1946)

I've seen this before and the first time that I watched it I was disappointed and I think I know why. I expected to see one thing, and what was actually on the screen was quite different than what I had imaged...Which lead me to compare my preconceived expectations against what I thought a noir should be. But the term noir wasn't even known at the time of this movie.

On my third watch of The Stranger, I realized that this can't be held to some standard of what a noir is or isn't. That's not what the film was aiming for. If anything The Stranger reminds me of Hitchcock's suspense-thrillers of the 1940s. And when viewed in that light, The Stranger works quiet well.

Orson Welles keen eye for angles and lighting and mastery of the camera is in full play here. There were numerous low angle shots, high angle shots, birds eye view shots, that were the hallmark of Welles' films. Perhaps the most notably shot he does is mid range lens close focused on the subject in the corner foreground while in the opposite background corner is another subject. It's very distinctive as shown in my photo I used.

I know today people might say Nazis, spies & secrets, that's old hat. Well it's an old movie!...and when it was made right after the war, escaped Nazis and the fear that they could be working covertly in small innocuous towns, was quite a real fear.

This time around, I really appreciated spending time with the characters and watching the story unfold and of course taking in the mastery of director Orson Welles. I enjoyed this!





Le Corbeau (Henri-Georges Clouzot 1943)

It was very interesting seeing a film that was made in occupied France under the watchful eye of the Nazis.

As a movie I liked Le Corbeau as it held my interest and the characters and setting was interesting to me. Of course the plot of someone writing 'poison pen' letters in a small town and causing all sorts of mayhem and suspicion, made for lots of tension. I wonder what a director like Hitchcock could've done with this story?

There was a lot of potential here, but the film itself isn't real polished and several key scenes seem to be missing. It must have took until the middle of the film for me to realize that Dr. Germain had a previous love affair with the old doctor's wife, Laura (up to that point I thought it was just rumor). And I was confused when the tart with the limp, Denise, talked about her one night fling with Dr. Germain. Did I miss that scene? I had no idea they were ever together.

So yeah I enjoyed the film and I appreciated it's uniqueness in film history.

Wartime propaganda?
After WWII the free French claimed this film made by a German film company in occupied France was demeaning to the French people and the French resistances....Nah, that's not what the film is doing. It's telling a real event than occurred in a small French Town in 1917. If Le Corbeau had been made immediately after the war it would've been hailed as a homage to the French resistances...and the movie's suspicious & spying town's people akin to the French collaborators who worked with the Germans.

But sometimes a movie is just a movie with no hidden agenda as is the case here with Le Corbeau.





L.A. Confidential (Curtis Hanson 1997)

Loved the opening scene of the movie which gave a historical overview of L.A., that was like manna to me. I love the 1950s in general, its my favorite decade. So anytime a movie is set in the 1950s it scores high points with me.

I loved the first hour of the film in how it introduced us to the corrupt world of the LAPD. All three of the police officers were very interesting and very varied from one another. But what I liked most was the insiders view into the political workings of the Los Angeles police department. I find that sort of stuff fascinating. The first hour of the film was perfect! Culminating in the intense interrogation of the three black suspects. All that felt very real.

But then the tone of the film changed in the second half and it became more of an action buddy-cop film with people dropping like flies. In the first half I was convinced this would be a 5 star film for me. But as the film progressed it got more action packed and changed in tone. That's when I started losing interest.

The end scene was just ridiculous. Guy Pierce and Russell Crowe arrive at the old motel and quickly find out it's a set up, but declare it's too late to get out of there. So they hold up in a motel room and have an old western style shoot out...Why didn't they just get into their cars and leave? Well I guess it's so we can have a big body count with people being shot right and left. I've never been a fan of action type films and sadly that's how this film ended up.







Angel Heart (Alan Parker 1987)

I loved the first hour! Especially the way the director handled the scenes. I noticed on the longer scenes the opening fade-in would be a close-up of an object, something on a table or something small in the foreground. Then the scene would open up to a master shot so we could see the entire scene. The director would then take his time with the camera movements giving us plenty of 'in between time' so that we could soak up the atmosphere and 'be in the scene'. The sets themselves were so realistically dressed with small period piece items that I would pause the film just to get a good look at all the detail that went into those scenes. I'm impressed by this director!

I don't think I've seen many of Mickey Rourke films, but I was blown away by his performance. He covered the range of emotions and did them very believably. He made the perfect film noir detective and embodied the soul of Philip Marlowe.

I can't say the same for Robert DeNiro. IMO he's one of the most overrated actors, at any rate, he made a lousy devil. Even before I knew that's who he was, I could tell he didn't have a handle on his character so his performance felt flat.

Unfortunately the second hour went down the tubes. Charlotte Rampling and Lisa Bonet played intriguing characters and I liked their storylines. I wish they had more screen time as I would've liked the story to unfold in part through scenes with them. As it was their time was all too brief.

The scene in the gumbo house where the older man in a white suit delivers one helluva long monologue explaining the whole movie to the audience, was ridiculous. Though the big reveal with Robert DeNiro confessing to be the devil was even more silly, but not as silly Lisa Bonet's little kid with glowing eyes, OMG what a pathetic ending for a film that started out so damn promising

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L.A. Confidential (Curtis Hanson 1997)





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Surprised you watched this, Citizen, doesn't seem like your kind of movie. Personally, I think it's the best film of 1997.



Surprised you watched this, Citizen, doesn't seem like your kind of movie. Personally, I think it's the best film of 1997.
I made him



Surprised you watched this, Citizen, doesn't seem like your kind of movie. Personally, I think it's the best film of 1997.
Why doesn't it seem like a movie I'd watch? It's not particularly violent or action packed, it's much more a case study of the politics of the L.A.P.D. If it wasn't for the blockbuster style, shoot em up last scene I would've gave it a




Platoon (Oliver Stone 1986)

Wow! This was powerful...and such an emotional watch for me. I felt like I was forgetting to breathe, it was that intense! I'd seen this before too, in fact I reviewed it here and only gave it a 3.5. I don't remember why I wasn't as enthused last time.

I haven't read my old review as I don't want this review to be influenced by my past thoughts...But since I last watched this I also watched an excellent documentary by Ken Burns, The Vietnam War It's 17 hours long in 10 episodes and riveting! It was a real eye opener about the causes and effects of the Vietnam War including interviews with North & South Vietnamese and U.S soldiers...all who lived through that time. I can say that Platoon is pretty well factual and those types of atrocities did actually happen. Not often, but sadly they did happen.

My favorite part of the film is the first act where we get to know the young grunt Chris, (Charlie Sheen) who drops out of college to do his part in the war effort and finds out it's nothing like he had imaged. I like the set up where his voice-over reads his letters to his grandma. Those letters tell us a lot about Chris and Vietnam too. Then we get the attack scene during the jungle patrol, followed by the atrocities at the village. That was so hard for me to watch knowing those events did occur.

This is a near perfect film and I'm picky about what I call a perfect film. The only thing I can nitpick is the second time Oliver Stone appears on screen. The first time was during a lull in the action so it wasn't a big deal and he didn't speak. But the second time is during the final attack (the Tet Offensive by the North) and seeing Stone on screen for me broke the intensity and realism of that final attack. Not a deal breaker and I would rate this at
or maybe even higher.





The King's Speech ( Tom Hopper 2010)

I enjoyed every single minute of this film! And I rarely feel that way about any movie. I'd seen this only once before, back when it first came out on DVD. I remember loving it then. So much so that I told a couple people about it, who then watched it and also loved it, which is pretty amazing in itself.

The King's Speech is right up my alley for movie subjects. It's historical, it's biographical and it's about the British royal family. I've seen a lot of movies about the British monarchy and this tale of King George VI struggles with stuttering, was both illuminating from a historical viewpoint and quite entertaining in a heartfelt way. I actually laughed a number of times, no not at the stuttering, but at the clever witticisms that Lionel (Geoffrey Rush) blurted out to Colin Firth who played King George VI.

Geoffrey Rush was spot on with his role as the unconventional Australian speech therapist. He brought life and energy to the role and made a good film great. And Colin Firth made a good Prince Albert/King George VI too, he brought dignity and frustration. The frustration is what he felt by having the crown thrust upon him when his older brother who had been the King abdicated to marry an American divorcee.

I loved the look of the film, especially the funky room they spent a lot of time in...shown in the screen shot above. Glad to have rewatched this gem of a film.