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Yeah, this film was disappointing. I had some brief commentary on it:

It's perplexing to me that this film had such eye popping action scenes, but was dragged down by such a trite story.

The action and fight scenes were as good as anything in a Bond or Bourne film. But the hackneyed idiotic story made it seem almost a satire. With a better story, this could have been a top action film.

To my surprise Billy Bob Thorton co-starred in the movie, which I hadn't known before we watched it. I'm a big BBT fan, but try as he might he couldn't overcome the worn out writing of his character.

Despite his buffoonish character, Chris Evans got to let it out a bit, whereas Ryan Gosling pretty much mumbled through his part.

If a person has Netflix you might give TGM a watch, but I couldn't have recommended that anyone buy movie tickets to see this one.



[Rock Hudson] I think I've only seen two films of his: this and Winchester 73, where he briefly plays a Native American. I've heard Seconds is pretty good, but I'm not sure if that has to do more with the plot than with his performance.
You've never seen Giant (1956), with James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor? You must watch it this weekend!..



You've never seen Giant (1956), with James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor? You must watch it this weekend!..
That one's been on the watchlist since forever Need to prioritize it.
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The Favourite, 2018

In the early 1700s, Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) suffers from a range of maladies and much of the running of the state actually falls into the hands of her most trusted confidant, Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz). But when an ambitious new servant, Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives at court and makes sure to put herself on Queen Anne's radar, the dynamics between the three women have serious implications on both the personal and political well-being of the individuals and the country.

There's something really spectacular about films where the actors just feel absolutely perfect for the material, and I found this movie to be just such a case.

Though I hadn't seen the movie at the time, I remember that there were discussions about who would be nominated for which Academy Award: the film splits its time almost perfectly between its three lead characters, though with her dominating and unforgettable performance as Queen Anne, it's not surprising that ultimately Colman was given the Best Actress nod.

The story itself is a brilliantly told cautionary tale about the danger of playing games with and for power, making great use of a setting where many people do not see themselves as having a choice whether or not to engage in some of those games. While Stone's Abigail is certainly manipulative, she comes from a background that involved sexual violence and endures physical abuse from her fellow servants. As she articulates in one scene when contemplating an action she admits is immoral, what good will her morality do her if she loses her place in the court and is forced into prostitution? Sarah is likewise easy to dislike, but her position is also easy to understand. Further, she seems to have a genuine love for Anne, even if it expresses itself in a manipulative way.

But looming over it all is Colman's Queen Anne, a woman whose struggles and illnesses make her vulnerable, yet those things combined with her power make her very dangerous. She's a brilliant character--and brilliantly portrayed--because every action that Lady Sarah or Abigail takes has the potential to explode in their face. Every time they do something to amp up Anne's paranoia, or every misstep they make in trying to make themselves appear essential is like laying down a trap for themselves. Queen Anne is like a wounded animal--alone and hurting, but capable of great injury. She is so used to her life of luxury and obedience that it blinds her to the real motivations of those around her.

The look of the film is incredibly strong, with wonderful textures and shapes in the costuming and the set design. There's a neat mix in many of the rooms and outfits between opulence and squalor.

The film also makes great use of the comedic chops of its cast. All three actresses have a different kind of humor, and they are well supported by Nicholas Hoult as a politician who becomes a part of the power games being played. Joe Alwyn also gets quite a few laughs as a lord who is sent by Hoult's character to seduce and dominate Abigail, but ends up under her power. A bemused debrief between the two men after the attempted seduction ("How did it go?" " . . . she bit me.") establishes Abigail's savvy---not disregarding their attentions, but submitting to them on her own terms.

Lastly, shout out to Horatio, the Fastest Duck in the City!




11 Foreign Language movies to go

By Universal Pictures - http://www.allposters.com/-sp/The-Sp..._i5136971_.htm, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36820561

The Spoilers - (1942)

This follows a Hollywood formula religiously, but I can't push The Spoilers aside to be forgotten about because it has moments that stand out, good and bad. One of those includes John Wayne in blackface, sharing a godawful moment with Marietta Canty - one you have to see to believe. On a positive note the final battle between Wayne's Roy Glennister and Randolph Scott's Alex McNamara goes to ridiculous lengths, lasts a long time and ends up with half of the town destroyed. Marlene Dietrich shows up in a see-through blouse, and there is enough sexual double entendre talk to last 17 Mae West films. All of this makes this tale about prospectors being cheated out of their finds by slimy judges and lawmen interesting, and worth watching - especially for fans of Wayne or Dietrich (and was of extra interest for me because Richard Barthelmess features in a rare post-A Modern Hero role.)

6/10


By IMP Awards, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59422414

If Beale Street Could Talk - (2018)

Second time watching this - a window into a world that shouldn't exist as it does. There's some nice visual poetry, which adds to what has been adapted from James Baldwin's novel. I was happy to see that it didn't sell out.

7/10


By The poster art can or could be obtained from the distributor., Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55237222

The Wife - (2017)

My second time watching this as well. I was kind of spellbound by it in it's last stretch - I love Jonathan Pryce and Glenn Close in this, who really managed to snag two great roles and do their best with them. I could see myself watching it yet again in the future - it's just so well written and to the point, while looking and sounding perfect for the story it's telling.

7.5/10
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I think I've only seen two films of his: this and Winchester 73, where he briefly plays a Native American. I've heard Seconds is pretty good, but I'm not sure if that has to do more with the plot than with his performance.
I don't know if you've watched Bend of the River with Jimmy Stewart and Arthur Kennedy. It's an Anthony Mann Western and Hudson has a small but semi-significant role in that as a gambler. He stood out to me as a likable character with a redemptive arc of sorts.



I don't know if you've watched Bend of the River with Jimmy Stewart and Arthur Kennedy. It's an Anthony Mann Western and Hudson has a small but semi-significant role in that as a gambler. He stood out to me as a likable character with a redemptive arc of sorts.
Never seen it, but I'll add it to the watchlist.



That one's been on the watchlist since forever Need to prioritize it.
You should. It's one of those sprawling epics. Only set in Texas and it actually addresses some of the prejudices Hispanics were subject to. Unheard of in a 1956 film and especially one with a big budget and a heavyweight cast. They're all so good in this. Hudson, Taylor, Dean, Dennis Hopper, Carroll Baker, Chill Wills, Sal Mineo, Earl Holliman.



I've heard Seconds is pretty good, but I'm not sure if that has to do more with the plot than with his performance.
I think the movie gains quite a bit from his casting and the fact that he was closeted at the time, which colours the proceedings interesting. His Douglas Sirk films have a similar dynamic, so would suggest checking those out as well.