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I usually don't like films with nail biting level of suspense, not if it's the entire length of the film as it wears me out.

I just read this about Le Cercle Rouge To me that sounds promising.
Yeah, it's not, like, action packed or thrilling per se. It operates more on the level of, say, Jef attempting to escape from the detectives tailing him in Le Samourai.
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Secrets & Lies (Mike Leigh 1996)

Reaction: hmm

See that screenshot? That's my reaction to the film.

Now, don't get my wrong, I loved the subject matter which was right up my alley. In fact I expected to like this. The two lead actresses were good too.

I hate to describe a film as boring but I was bored with Secret & Lies and that's the truth. Everything felt so artificial, so much like a daytime TV soap opera. There was barely 90 minutes of relevant story here, which leaves an additional 50 minutes of added padding. Hence part of the reason I was bored.

I felt like each character was doing their own little monologue and wasn't really connected to the film's universe. It was like each actor got a bit of 'me time' to do their own personal, emotional breakdown scene. One after another they all delivered their little scenes at the birthday party and I didn't but any of it. Eventually I ended up laughing out loud at these people, really I did! Only it wasn't suppose to be funny....After the movie I read on IMDB that the director let the actors improvise a lot of their own dialogue, I'm not surprised either. I've found that when actors get to go off and improv the script it usually doesn't improve a film.

I can't say I like Mike Leigh's films, at least the ones I've seen. Twice in the past I was perusing the shelves of my local library when I came across a DVD that starred Sally Hawkins. I really like Sally Hawkins and the movie sounded good, so I borrowed it and watched it...then after 10 minutes of inane, fake sounding dialogue I shut it off, it was Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky. I can't stand his movie Naked either with the same chatter driven, faux characters. His Mr Turner (2014) was OK, so maybe there's hope.




I've seen four Altmans: The Long Goodbye, 3 Women, Images and The Player, the latter of which is the only one I gave a five-star rating to. My faorite movie of 1992. Of course, the ending raises a question:

WARNING: spoilers below
If "The Player" was the movie instead of "the true story," did TIm Robbins really get the girl?





Zodiac (David Fincher 2007)

For me, watching innocent victims being tied up and stabbed to death is way too violent to enjoy the movie especially when the scene is so brutally realistic and depicts an actual murder...I just don't need that image burned into my brain. I think that many movie watchers are desensitized to violence by the movies that they watch, so that they don't view brutal killings as shown in Zodiac as much of a big deal. But I don't watch slasher horror films, etc and so the killings were horrible to watch.

As an aside, I don't think showing the killings are necessary or even helpful to the movie's story, they could've been done off screen. The stories focus is that the Zodiac is a conundrum, a puzzling mystery to all. By showing the audience the actual crimes it takes away from the feeling of being in the cops shoes and feeling completely baffled by the mystery, as it makes us privy to what actual happened.

Even without the disturbing killings, this was a poorly directed movie. Both Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr. blew in this. Downey was the same off the wall, nutsy druggie/drunk character that he's played in so many other films. He's like a caricature, good in a comedy-drama but silly in such a serious film.

Gyllenhaal is just a boring actor. I've never really liked him. He had no handle on how to be the odd, cartoonist guy. I was painful aware of his attempts at doing a 'character' and he failed as his acting was too visible. It was only towards the end of the film when he became obsessed with finding the identity of the Zodiac that his performance rang true.

Mark Ruffalo and his cop partner were both good in this and I did like whoever played Melvin Belli too.

The story itself was lagging, did this really need to be 2 hours and 45 minutes? Zodiac has the same lack luster quality as another disappointing news investigative movie, The Post.

A really good investigative, true crime movie was Spotlight...about child abuse by pedophile Catholic priest...and that film didn't need to show children being horribly abused for shock value. BTW I didn't care for The Social Network and I don't like David Fincher style of direction.




I've seen four Altmans: The Long Goodbye, 3 Women, Images and The Player, the latter of which is the only one I gave a five-star rating to. My faorite movie of 1992. Of course, the ending raises a question:

WARNING: spoilers below
If "The Player" was the movie instead of "the true story," did TIm Robbins really get the girl?
I really liked 3 Women (and The Player of course, also liked The Long Goodbye). I feel Altman is a director that needs to grow on someone, at least the more I know of his films the more I generally like them.



Maybe. But The Player was the first Altman I ever saw, and I loved it then and there. I typically have one concern or more involving each Altman besides The Player. I think it was really the density of the movie. It was much thicker than The Long Goodbye and 3 Women. And Images was very well-directed, but a little predictable and lacking character depth.



Maybe. But The Player was the first Altman I ever saw, and I loved it then and there. I typically have one concern or more involving each Altman besides The Player. I think it was really the density of the movie. It was much thicker than The Long Goodbye and 3 Women. And Images was very well-directed, but a little predictable and lacking character depth.
Me too, I loved The Player on the very first watch. I even loved it in the first few minutes, it hooked me. I haven't seen Images yet, I suppose I should.



Me too, I loved The Player on the very first watch. I even loved it in the first few minutes, it hooked me. I haven't seen Images yet, I suppose I should.
It;s considered an inferior film during his heyday, but maybe I;m a sucker for psycho thrillers and horrors.



Me too, I loved The Player on the very first watch. I even loved it in the first few minutes, it hooked me. I haven't seen Images yet, I suppose I should.
I re-watched The Player just last week. I just wanted to see all the cameos (had no memory that it was a murder mystery). It was very satirical.




Bullitt (Peter Yates 1968)

Reaction: Positive

"Robert Vaughn received the script and didn't like it. He felt that there was no plot, nor a sensible story line."

...and that's why I liked this film! It's straight up police investigation, stylishly done but without the Hollywood trappings of hero vs villain or any of the typical trappings that a Hollywood film usually goes for.

Had this film been made in the last 30 years it would've been a ramped up, edge of your seat, adrenaline ride...and I would've hated it! I appreciate how this 1968 classic stayed low keyed and realistic...If one of my favorite directors, Kelly Reichardt directed a stakeout, crime cop movie, it would look like Bullitt.

I don't have any complaints here, in fact I'm amazed at how artistically creative this film was made. Oh sure I LOVED the car chase. I've owned different 1960s Mustangs myself, so the car chase was aces! OMG that Bullitt Mustang is worth a small fortune today.

I respect the way the film respected the intelligence of the audience, to me that's the real highlight.

+

Did you count how many hubcaps came off the Charger during the chase scene?

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If I answer a game thread correctly, just skip my turn and continue with the game.
OPEN FLOOR.



I re-watched The Player just last week. I just wanted to see all the cameos (had no memory that it was a murder mystery). It was very satirical.
Did you like it?

Did you count how many hubcaps came off the Charger during the chase scene?
Nope But I bet a lot did. I use to drive a Mustang convertible that had hubcaps and when I speed around sharp corners like Speed Racer (in my younger days!) the hubcaps would fly off and I'd have to park the car along side the road and go retrieve them. One time I lost a hubcap on a curvy road in the country. The hubcap went into the woods. It's probably still there after 40 years!



That's a shame, I love Mike Leigh. Naked All or Nothing and Secrets and Lies are near masterpieces of British cinema.
A lot of people love him, I know a lot of MoFos do. So yes he does hit the right marks for many. But not my jam.



Yes, it was entertaining. I'd always remembered the movie pitches (this movie MEETS this movie), yet they weren't quite as plentiful in the film as I remembered them - guess I exaggerated them in my memory.

One funny thing - I recently re-watched Annie Hall (1977)... both movies have Hollywood party scenes... and Jeff Goldblum is a guest at both parties (albeit, in Annie Hall, he was just an unknown guy making a phone call, since he wasn't quite famous yet).




See No Evil, Hear No Evil (Arthur Hiller 1989)

My high expectations for liking this, See No Evil, Hear No Evil crushed it. I was really expecting to love Gene Wilder & Richard Pryor in this comedy vehicle as the pair made several successfully comedies together...and I find both funny and both are likable with lots of screen presences. But not in See No Evil, Hear No Evil. I do get bored by some movies, well this is one of them. I started checking the time remaining at the 45 minute mark and I kept checking until it was finally over. That's never a good sign.

Basically this is one of those 1980s buddy cop/crime movies that were so popular back in the day....Think Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, only this time it's a comedy with Wilder and Pryor...I didn't laugh at much, maybe a couple of chuckles ant that's it.

I will say Gene Wilder was good here, he's always good. Wilder never over sells his deaf character and indeed I could buy that he was indeed deaf. Pryor on the other had did this way silly, over the top, blind guy bit that I just didn't buy and it ended up being annoying. Interestingly enough the bad guy Anthony Zerba is also suppose to be blind and does pull that off quite well.

No cool cars this time, but there was one hot chick!





Victor Victoria (1982)
Dir. Blake Edwards

I liked it. I loved Robert Preston in it, he was good! Preston inhabited his role just like he did in The Music Man. I often talk about actors who can own their role without over selling it and that's what Preston does here. The other aspect of film making that I gushed over are the sets. I loved the richness of the art deco sets here...Oh and sometimes I'm impressed by refrigerators. Alas, no refrigerators in Victor Victoria.

The first 45 minutes when the characters are getting established and the story is set up was my favorite part. I'd give the first third of the film a 5/5. I liked the rest of the movie too, but I've never been a fan of Blake Edward films in general. Blake both directed and wrote Victor Victoria and after the transformation of Victoria into the female impersonator stage star Victor...the film's story lost steam. It was like the next 90 minutes had no focus but instead delivered musical stage numbers. Luckily for me I like Julie Andrews singing and the choreography of the stage numbers was tops. I especially liked the two different renditions of The Shady Dame of Seville.

I did laugh a few times at Robert Preston's witty observations in the first part movie. But I wasn't onboard for the huge tonal shift of Blake Edward's comedy gags which came later. The lighting strike of the umbrella made me roll my eyes. I wish they would've cut the gag of the man out on the apartment ledge in a snowstorm, such old shtick. And I wish the comedy had came from the inherently unusual (for 1934) situation of a straight man (and a gangster too) falling for a man who's actually a woman. A sharp writer could've worked that idea for many a clever insightful laugh, instead Blake Edwards goes for the Inspector Clouseau style gags. At one point it seems his fellow gangsters are going to make his life really, really tough, but then nothing comes of it.

I didn't find much humor in this. I'm a tough cookie I guess





Waitress (Adrienne Shelly 2007)

How could a PG-13 movie about a waitress who likes to bake pies not be fun! So what I'm trying to say is, it wasn't!...Now I'm sorry as I have some harsh things to say about this movie.

What the hell? Is this suppose to be a comedy? Oh gee, I guess a husband who physically assaults his wife, controls who she sees and where she goes and also stalks her...is suppose to be funny? The actor who played the husband role was so violent and so creepy-controlling that he made the husband in Dolores Claiborne look like a nice guy. I mean sure if this was a dark comedy then anything could go for humor. But the tonal shifts are so extreme that the film goes from a fun, cutesy Bridgette Jone's Diary type movie to the aforementioned Dolores Claiborne. I really liked the pie jokes but the husband who's a psycho, not so much. In fact he's played so intense that it ruined any chance of this film have a humorous impact on me.

I don't blame the actor who played the husband, I blame the director who also wrote and co-stars in this film, Adrienne Shelly. I don't know what she was thinking except I guess to show men as controlling jerks...because the husband isn't the only one. There's also this dweeb loser who might have been funny, only he clearly states that he's going to stock the other waitress (played by the director) until she agrees to marry her. She says he's called her 30 times in a day even though she asked him to go away. Then there's the handsome, nice guy doctor who seduces his pregnant patient right in the office and he's married too. And that all is suppose to be funny? Not.





Bugsy Malone (Alan Parker 1976)

I liked those cars! They actually worked too. They were pedaled by the driver and had bicycle tires and working steering. Good detailing on those cars. It was funny when the kid gangsters drove them around, ha!...I liked the dreaded Sprulge guns too and how they shot custard mini-pies at the other gangsters that then 'rubbed them out'. Except in the big gun battle at the end when everyone was shot with creamy goo pies and no one was rubbed out. But oh well, it's a movie meant to be enjoyed.

Scott Baio stars, he later went on to play Fonzie's cousin Chachi Arcola in Happy Days and later had his own TV spin off Joanie Loves Chachi. I've seen ever episode of both of those too so I wasn't surprised that Baio was the standout actor here. He's good in this.

I chuckled a few times and the movie concept is amusing. It sort of reminded me of the all midget cowboy movie The Terror of Tiny Town (1938)

The musical numbers didn't work for me here. I didn't like the arrangement of the songs. Something about mid 1970s music just didn't jive with me. Either did the kids who 'sing' but are actually dubbed by adult singers....Geez just let the little tykes sing for themselves, that would've been funner.

Glad I finally seen this.





Beetlejuice (Tim Burton 1988)

I like Winona Ryder so I used a screenshot of her instead of Michael Keaton who I'm ambivalent about in this. I just thought he went way over the top with his improv. He's an actor who needs a director that keeps him reeled in and focused on the written script... Oh I like Geena Davis too I mean what's not to like about her...

I thought I'd love this as I've liked most all of Tim Burton's films with Ed Wood and Mars Attacks! as two favorites of mine for my comedy countdown ballot. The only film of his I didn't care for was the live action Dumbo remake, good grief that was bad.

Michael Keaton himself was decent here. But I don't think he has the right type of comedy chops to pull of the freeform improv style of character comedy he was shooting for. Jim Carey (i.e. The Mask) would've been my first choice. Or just reel Keaton in a bit, I don't think he was the major attraction of the movie though the was the biggest star at the time.

Was that nice married guy really Alec Baldwin? I'm so use to him playing the self centered sleazy types. Baldwin paired well with Geena Davis and I liked their part of the story best, I'd be amiss if I didn't mention my appreciation for Catherine O'Hara, always liked her. What I really wanted was more of the afterlife as imagined by Tim Burton.

Burton really knows how to stack his films with lots of interesting stuff. My favorite here was the afterlife waiting room with Sylvia Sydey. Creative stuff!





Knives Out (Rian Johnson2019)

Cast:
Daniel Craig
Chris Evans
Ana de Armas
Jamie Lee Curtis
Michael Shannon
Don Johnson
Toni Collette
LaKeith Stanfield
Christopher Plummer


With an ecliptic cast of talented actors and a set-up reminiscent of Clue (1985)...I expected to love Knives Out as I spent time with a misfit argumentative family. Sounded fun anyway...but turns out that for me this was just OK. Knives Out is nothing that hasn't been done many times before and not nearly as funny as that poster would seem to suggest. What's funny is that the movie referenced Clue, which is a wildly funny who-done-it mystery movie, to bad this movie falls way short of that board game to movie classic.

Knives Out has this cool collection of knives arranged in a circular pattern on a grid that makes for a interesting backdrop, but with 2 hours 10 minutes the characters themselves didn't get to shine and aren't all that interesting. Oh and their bizarre tendencies were eluded too but never delved into deep enough to satisfy. Instead maximum script time is spent on the mysterious death of a famous, ready for this, mystery writer. The film could've been shortened by 20-30 minutes as the murder mystery itself ran out of steam, thus evoking padding so that the magic 2 hour+ runtime could be achieved. And Daniel Craig's southern accent, ugh very distracting.

No real complaints here, just not all that interesting and I'm not sure I seen anything that could be described as funny.