Jump to content

The last film you saw -- and what would you grade it


Recommended Posts

  • 4 months later...
  • Replies 406
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty   A   I am pretty sure I love this movie. Ben Stiller's best work, imo.

Heavy Metal. Watched under the influence. I give it 9,001 cartoon nipples.  

Zero Dark Thirty   C+   An intriguing romantic comedy that's short on laughs but long on heart. Jessica Chastain stars as a beautiful young overachiever with a razor sharp tongue on a desperate quest

Phantom Thread

A? A+? No, It's An A For Me But Could Be An A+ To Others, Who Can Say For Sure

 

There's a line in this, one of Reynolds', where he says something like about how other people's observation and expectations are the cause of heartache --- I think this line is sort of the key to the film --- proving him wrong about this is what the film is about about. It's what the film is about, I mean. Anyway, good movie, who would have expected in this The Year Of Your Lord 2018 that Paul Thomas Anderson would make an erotic thriller, of all things, complete with like poison and ghosts and twists and stuff? That's not a rhetorical question, BTW, I am interested in seeing how this ties into his other work, it feels of a piece with Punch-Drunk Love (2002) to me, I really liked this film; this film may be the first film I've ever fallen asleep during that I liked even more because of that, BTW, that's not an exaggeration or a commentary on the film's pacing or something, I capital-L Literally fell asleep in the theatre and it added to my experience of this dream-y picture in a way that was entirely unexpected and I find to be difficult (absent effort) to explain. Vicky Krups (sp?) oh no, it's Vicky Krieps (who I've seen before in A Most Wanted Man (2012) yet did not recognize) was robbed of an Oscar nom, I think, the fuzzy down of her cheeks alone deserves an Oscar nom, she's like some sort of tightlipped Teutonic Julia Roberts who lights up the screen with the un-luminous blackhole of her stellar presence.

 

 

Call Me By Your Name

B+

 

Armie Hammer maintaining his Jon Hamm impression from The Social Network (2010) in the beginning and then dropping it entirely in intimate moments while occasionally allowing it to re-emerge in public or guarded scenes is a choice that was well chosen, I think. Speaking of "chosen" , this is a choice Chosen People movie, in a way that feels a lil' off. What I'm about to type is far more of a received opinion than anything which emerges organically out of my own head (yuck) but, here it goes, why does Hollywood seem to only offer acclaim to Gaaaaay Movies when they portray the Gaaaaay Identity as coterminous with heterosexuality itself and some other semi-to-fully subaltern form? Gay people are gay, Hollywood, you don't have to leaven the Gayness with period-piece cowboyness or poor blackness or foreign Jewishness or, yeah, have your main Gaaaaays be all more than a little bit Straight (Straaaaaight?) too. And, how about another received opinion well here goes nothing, invert the genders of one or both of the Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet characters and I think the plot feels unavoidably predatory and creepy in a way that the film, taken as it is, makes a point of emphasizing that it's not. And, for a third trick, well, for a movie that is v. much this for the main character he sure does mistreat the girl in it! He has more regard for that peach than her! Does her heartbreak matter at all? Does her handshake have the same weight as the one he and Armie have on the beach with the statue thing-y? I think the answer to those two questions is yes, BTW, and I think this element of the film is absolutely intentional (hah hah, but what isn't when it comes to films) but, whatever, still felt off to me --- I think perhaps the way to quote unquote understand how this film sees women is probably best encapsulated in the scene where Armie Hammer dances at night in the street to Psychedelic Furs' Love My Way and also in the lie Michael Stuhlbarg offers to his son about his mother maybe not knowing.

 

 

The Post

C

 

Tom Hanks return to comedy along with an ensemble cast of modern major-to-minor comic greats like the Mr. Show team, Michael Cyril Creighton, Pat Healy, Alison Brie, Zach Woods, Jesse Plemons (actually, looking over the ImdB pages for a lot of these they aren't mostly comic actors, it's an illusion created by the presence of Bob & David and the handful of overly mannered accents that makes their remembered comic handiwork loom larger than their dramatic roles) etcetera. What even was this movie? Why is what feels like everybody either growling or talking like old-time-y people? I don't know. S. Spielberg can still shoot a p. good picture, though, and M. Streep and C. Coons both brought a lump to my throat at the end. Shouldhavemaybe skipped this, just like War Horse (2007? hah hah, 2011, feels like it came out even longer ago). (P.S. There's a tiny bit where a day player does the Mario Savio / Chief Tyrol speech and I liked that tiny bit a lot.)

 

 

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

B+

The Sam Rockwell character has just about the strangest mismatch between his taste in comics (and music!) and his general vibe of who he is and how he seems, but, other than that, this is yet another good entry in the McDonaghvelt, the McDonaghverse, the McDonaghetto, the McDonaghibelline.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Thor Ragnarok: B+ really enjoyed it, though it was absolutely ridiculous as well. Probably gets the highest mark a superhero film can get from me. Recognised a lot of New Zealand faces in the film. Humour was very well executed!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Currently I am watching some Russian cop drama on Netflix that is pretty good called The Method. While it is all subtitles and there is some poetic license I really kind of like this serial killer formula show from Russia. Check it OUT!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...
  • 9 months later...

Captain Marvel (2019)

C+? B-?

 

 

 

There are four movies a'bipping and a'bopping around here and they don't ever really all intertwine together in a way that feels right. It's a little like that logic problem with the hen and the fox and the bag of feed and you're in a rowboat and you've gotta get all three across to the other side of the river but instead of it being, like, barnyard creatures and grain it's more, like, the exact same kinda movie they've been making now for years and years and instead of it being, like, you, it's a team of practiced professionals all of whom earn a minimum of a six-figure salary doing this kind of thing for a living. So who's to blame? I don't know. I paid for my ticket (well, actually, I saw this'n for free : thanks, Scene card!) so it's not my fault.

 

Movie 1 is cosmic outerspace adventure transitioning into fish'out'of'water comedy of errors / superspy shenanigans. It's good!

 

Movie 2 is just a full on 'The Magician's Nephew' style explainasaurus. It's a different dinosaur entirely from Movies 1, 3, and 4. This movie is functioning as a prequel to other movies you may or may not have seen, or may or may or not have retained details of in your memory sufficient enough to understand why they're being referenced in the movie before you, and is also working as a sequel to other movies you may or may or may not have seen and/or likewise may no longer quite remember, and is teasing an upcoming movie you or may not have decided regarding whether or not you're going to see (me? I'm out. I have internal organs, I, uh, can't go three hours sitting in one seat - movie theatres in general bring out a lot of anxieties in me, I can't even watch movies on a plane for related reasons, really). I don't know if this movie is good or not any more. I used to love this kind of movie! Maybe if this movie came w/freezeframes and lil' asterisked panels stating "Hey, true believers, sweating through your skulls trying to cognify where you heard that cognomen before? No worries, Sesquiecentenarian Stan has your back from beyond the icy cold grip of death! Who could it be but none other than Ol' Blueblooded Ronan the Accuser that your pal (and mine!) Jodhpurred Jude is referring to? See the pulse-pounding showstopping conclusion to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 from way back in '14 for more, more, more! Buy it now for friends or family so, I, Stanley Lieber can rest easy in this undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns!" like in the comics, maybe then I'd like it more.

 

Movie 3 is kind of a sweet little semi-AAish near-metaphor in which a traumatized soldier confronts those who she's hurt, those whose she's left behind, her sins of the past, gains true knowledge of herself and commits to a course of action that will be better for all in the future. She unleashes her inner light upon her true enemy, the foes she once believed were her friends (even as the people she once thought were just out to get her, the guys she assumed were just awful frauds, are revealed to be more like her and more likeable than she had assumed : that which was once alien to her is now seen to be close and all that she once held dear is revealed as a lie), confronts her false beliefs about work, family, and God, you know, etcetera. Also, a new black friend helps her be less racist! It's kind of heavy stuff sometimes, actually, and probably the last time the, uh, cough, spit, Marvel Cinematic Universe, yuck, tried to tackle this kind of thing was maybe Iron Man III and that had equally splitting results on the end product. I usually hate the jokes in these things, but, who knows, maybe the jokes do more than I thought. Maybe this could have done with more jokes. Maybe Jude Law was wrong, like I was wrong, maybe the humour isn't a distraction.

 

Movie 4 is a full-on literalized commercial for flying a death machine for the largest air force in all of recorded human history, or, in a pinch, why not settle for the second-largest air force in all of recorded human history? YVAN EHT NIOJ, children!

 

Don't get me wrong. So much of this movie works. Brie Larson works (when the Skrull roars "raaargh" at her and she just roars back!! Yes!). Samuel L. Jackson's pixelated face works (Clark Gregg's doesn't though!? Why is that? I know what Samuel L. Jackson looked like in the early nineties and I don't know what Clark Gregg looked like then and yet, and still, despite all that, I believed the Fauxmuel CGI. Fakeson's performance and didn't believe Agent Coulson's one bitty bit). Annette Bening, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, they all work, each in their turn, for both of their respective role(s) in the story. Each one among them has to alternate between being a good guy and a bad guy and each one of them accomplishes this with aplomb! This is even a superhero movie w/out a love interest, something that seems real scarce on the ground and I thought was once a near-impossibility for the genre (quick, name one ongoing superhero narrative where that's the case - I can only think of maybe one at most and that's Joe Casey and Tom Scioli's GØDLAND), but this movie does that!

 

But every time I settled down in Movie 1 groove Movie 2 or Movie 4 would intrude, and any time Movie 3 would get going Movies 1, 2, & 4 would gang-up on it and beat it with claw hammers. Stop! Enough of this violence! Can't you see, Skrull or Kree or C-53, you are all the saaaaaaame!???

 

 

Captain Marvel! (2019)

B-? C+?

 

 

Well, I had a not too bad time. It feels like they rushed the CGI a bit on this'n (appropriately enough, I think; I'm not sure it would have benefited from an extra sheen of realism - the goofy tone helped sell a lot of the deficits of the greenscreening and whatnot - still, one does wonder what it might have been like if they'd kept it on the shelf until Christmas and fixed it up proper in the interim) and the script is sloppy (Billy Batson goes to the Rock of Eternity for his first time but it's the audience's third time so we don't feel what he feels; I think we end up going to the Rock of Eternity like five times throughout, something like what feels up to half the movie is spent there and only once or twice does it really hit home for me - there's a sequence where the kids are opening doors to goofy eldritch horrors that was très bien but nearly everything else there was a snoozefest) and for a kids' movie it felt super sweary.

 

Still, okay. Enough of the gags landed. Unsettling to watch a nearly completely undisguised Toronto substitute for an American city but these days that's kind of par for the course.

 

Just to clarify, this is the recently released superhero movie featuring Captain Marvel in the title role and Djimon Hounsou as a supporting character - you know, the one that

(1) hearkens backs to an earlier era

(2) has an alien monster in it disguised as a common everyday creature familiar to children

(3) features mysterious glowing objects of supranormal power & references in the names of characters to a mixture of Greek and Roman mythology

(4) co-stars a balding British actor playing a villain whose character is initially introduced to the audience in a way that makes us believe he may be heroic

(5) has a cameo appearance from an actor who slummed a little in Yoga Hosers (2016)

(6) cuts to final credits w/a tone-breaking reference to another superhero narrative

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 7 months later...

The Lighthouse

C+

 

 

Saw this twice, initially with a sparse audience and second time over w/a packed house. I'll be mean and say I liked it way more a couple years ago, when Ben Wheatley did it first (either that, or both films are riffing on the same underlying material : in any case, well, this'n and A Field In England are black'and'white period piece horror flicks featuring a limited cast of mostly men in isolated circumstances facing the occult and/or each other, where the narrative is delineated to the viewer in a deliberately disorientating fashion interspersed w/hallucinatory tableaus, and the most shocking scene in each involves one among the tale's players leashed and subservient). Pattinson's wildly undulating accents & affect may be well suited to the part of a man w/a past succumbing to drink and then trying and failing to keep who he is and what he's done under wraps, but, well, in the face of Willem Dafoe's unrelenting Captain Haddock routine all those shifts and shimmying just kind of come up short.

 

 

Parasite

A

 

 

Amazing! I give it four-and-a-half peach emojis out of five!

 

 

Terminator : Dark Fate

D+

 

 

This is one of the bad ones! So this one is a bad one, the last one was a bad one, the one before that was a bad one, the TV show was kind of good but it was TV so who cares, the one before that was a bad one, the sequel was good and the first one was good. Oh, and a handful of good comics, too.

 

I don't understand why this iteration of the franchise can be so committed to giving Linda Hamilton and Arnold such pride of place but not bother to really smash it down with the theme. The theme is the best part (after the killer robots, natch), you gotta make sure to go heavy w/ the DUNNA DUNNNA DUNNN. I don't want to hear Altekakker Arnold cracking jokes, I don't want to hear Linda Hamilton being insensitive to a robot version of herself in the second one or a Mexican version of herself in the first one, I want to hear The Terminator theme song while a Terminator is on screen and I want to hear that a lot a lot. Was that too much to ask? Apparently, yes.

 

Mackenzie Davis is good in this'n but her character shouldn't have wanted to become an augment, shouldn't have felt a need to try and explain away her tattoo (weird tattoos are in-built to the fictional universe, and, anyways, what if she'd died protecting Dani but before she could tell Dani about the Laredo location, that way Dani could have known after-the-fact about it, there's really no need to point out how she's half-robot and should be able to easily retain a string of coordinates; the things this movie chose to over-explain and the things it chose to under-explain made no sense to me, in general), and she should have said or heard "Future ****" once before in order to make that moment really land, really pop. Also, considering how many times people said the F word in this'n, well, not to be crass, but, uh, show us her titties! We saw Robert Patrick's balls in the second one! What kind of R-rated movie is this with a naked robot lady but not even one titty? What kind of movie did they think they were making? Did they know?

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had myself a little noirvember.

 

Act of Violence (1949)

A

 

Great stuff! Best bits : Janet Leigh getting it all onloaded onto her first from Robert Ryan and then from her husband Van Heflin (that whole second scene is really great, all the way from her entering the builders convention into her saying 'Whatever you did, you must have had reasons' until the turn at the end where it becomes clear he sold out his men just so he could eat); Robert Ryan considering suicide-by-train; the skies while Robert Ryan stalks Van Heflin during his fishing trip; the taut opening; when the gun falls out of Janet Leigh's purse during her confrontation w/Phyllis Thaxter, Mary Astor trying to get Robert Ryan to open up to the underworld shyster by saying 'They got all kinds of laws. They got laws to help people too.', the way the wind whips Van Heflin's tie at the final confrontation but Ryan's got his coat buckled up against the cold; the way that this movie is on the one hand super obviously about these two guys but on the other hand is kind of more about these three women : one established, one fallen, and one rising.

 

 

Mystery Street (1950)

D

 

Unengaging. That being said, well, upon further consideration, having Benedict Cumberbatch play a role originated by Ricardo Montalban wasn't entirely w/o merit.

 

rI4BGvd.jpg

 

Eg7kBFo.png

 

(Miscellaneous good bits : Ralph Dumke plays a tattooed sailor who makes a mermaid on his flesh dance; the line 'I thought Shakespeare actors used spears'; there's a neat mini-scene where Montalban plays handball in a huge room; there's a bit where they superimpose photos of skulls onto photos of faces that's a li'l neat; Elsa Lanchester as the evil landlady)

 

 

The Blue Dahlia (1946)

D

 

 

Dire stuff. The dialogue has the occasional characteristic Chandler pop but the leads lack chemistry (haven't seen This Gun for Hire, The Glass Key, or Saigon --- maybe it's just this'n that's the odd one out) and it's pretty much all staged, shot, and lit like a play. There's two neat bits, tho : (1) where Doris Dowling is eyeing the gun on the chair and then the wind blows the door open, which startles her into dropping her drink and (2) George lighting the match w/the bullet.

 

 

 

Border Incident (1949)

B+

 

 

A scrupulously ethical story (Montalban chooses to face the greatest dangers and is thus suitably rewarded whereas nearly all those associated w/ corruption [even in standing opposed to it!] receive gruesome death) told w/ sturdy albeit generally unimpressive filmmaking. A few stand-out minor moments, tho : the way the glass of the table mirrors the participants in the conference scene; the glow of the tears in Teresa Celi's eyes during the church scene; the harsh shadows painting the conversation between Montalban & Murphy.

 

 

 

City That Never Sleeps (1953)

B+

 

 

Good enough! The whole thing feels kinda strung together w/baling wire plot-wise but it looks neat enough on the whole, everyone's giving it their all, there's a not-entirely-unwelcome sentimental streak throughout that I actually enjoyed (this a noir film where, uh, God exists (?) and everyone has a little cry when appropriate) and Mala Powers is hot, hot, hot.

 

 

Crime Wave (1953)

A

 

 

Topnotch. Just about every frame looks great (I have some small slight allergy to the detectable use of rear projection in car scenes, actually no, that's understating the case, I hate it, I hate it with my life, every time I see it when there's no just cause for it to be there I want to hurl something at the screen, stop it, I am not a technical man, just make it look like they are really driving, somehow, please, still this'n came out in '53 so it can't be helped, nevertheless), the story is so taut it's little more than a knock knock joke (Who's there? Your old friends from prison! Your old friends from prison who? Who're gonna force you to do a heist!), strong performances from everyone (especially Phyllis Kirk & a young Charles Bronson), crackling yet efficient dialogue, even a surprising (but non-twist-y) ending! This'n has the goods.

 

 

 

Decoy (1946)

C+? B-?

 

 

Not half bad? An extremely strong central performance from Jean Gillie. Everything else good about the picture gets marred by the film's structure, inadequately distributed narration, overbearing music (there's a scene where she's monologuing to the doctor that's just outright ruined by it), and shaggy dog ending. There's a neat bit w/these two orderlies that I really liked, tho.

 

 

 

Moonrise (1948)

D

 

 

Starts out great at the beginning but everything ebbs away quickly and the ending is, like, atrocious. Oh, and there's a great little scene between the protagonist and the sheriff in the soda shop but that's about it. Inert love story. Basically just a film about a guy who commits manslaughter, crashes a car, browbeats a woman into loving him, assaults a retard, falls out of a Ferris wheel, and is moralized at by A Magical Negro stereotype and His Grandma until he gives up. Did, like, the Comics Code Authority re-write this movie? Did they watch about the first fifteen minutes of it (which are tops - Dane Clark's character is haunted by his past as the son of a murderer and lashes out because of it; this is presented to the audience in what may have been an extraordinary fashion for '48) and decide crime must never ever pay?

 

 

 

His Kind of Woman (1951)

A

 

 

Great! Jane Russell pulls a disappearing act for most of the finale, then gets locked in the closet for the rest of it --- but don't get me wrong, this is a great picture! Kind of the greatest! But, well, speaking of the closet : the bad guys strip Mitchum to the waist, whip him with a belt, and then try to inject his heaving bicep fulla Nazi poison w/a phallic needle; I mean, what's the deal, 1951? What was that about? Was it about what I thought it was about!? All signs point to yes. (Not to mention Vincent Price being extremely Vincent Price, as he always is.) Never and nonetheless (or possibly because of it, who's to say), His Kind of Woman has the most moment-by-moment entertainment offered by n-n-n-noirvember so far --- equal parts screwball comedy to hardboiled noir, this story of a quasi-reformed degenerate gambler and his moxie'd maybe-millionaire maybe-moll on the make is 69 nice and a 23 skidoo! See it!

 

 

 

The Phenix City Story (1955)

B+? A-? These Letter Grades Can Get Kinda Arbitrary & Inconsistent, I Assume That's Understood But Nevertheless

 

 

The violence in this is so grim and gruesome! Good crowd scenes. There's a burlesque act in this'n where the gal only takes off a grand total of one (1) of her gloves that's v. well done. The madam has a modernishe look that seems vaguely out of keeping with the period, she looks like she could be dropped into one of those Real Housewife shows w/o really changing up her style --- a situation that'd be somewhat apropos, for despite the film's credentials as a docu-drama even a cursory investigation on that there ImdB shows some of the most shocking elements of it were manufactured wholesale. And would ImdB ever lie or be untrue to me in any way, shape, or form? Heaven forefend!

 

 

 

Dial 1119 (1950)

B

 

 

Although not technically adept enough to approach perfection the whole is really quite good. The 'television' in the joint is utterly unconvincing, that's not a television, no sir, I guess this movie just suffers from the fifties version of whatever malady afflicted desktop computer interfaces in every nineties movie that gave them all such a deeply unreal sheen. A character has a conversation w/her mother kept entirely offscreen, something that I guess just used to happen a lot in movies (twice so far this n-n-n-n-oirvember) prior to '60. And the twist of the finale seems like the sort of thing done much more to spare the martial honour of the military on the audience's behalf (in a film that otherwise has a deeply cynical approach to society's pillars; the mutual disdain between cops & the press in this is great!) than what's needed for the story itself to function. Despite that, well, I liked it!

 

Every performance is strong but not excessive, the sense of doom & gloom is all-pervading, the picture is kind of noir at its best in that it proffers a world of casual cruelty in which lives may exit & enter but no escape is truly possible and no profit is ever ---- well, this is all getting a touch too Vimeo-film-critic, it should suffice to say that I liked it and think others may like it too.

 

 

 

Pitfall (1948)

D+? C-?

 

 

Starts out engaging enough but peters out quick and finishes flatly. Something of a disappointment, actually, there's a thick streak of sentimentality throughout the picture which makes the fairly happy ending (I mean, for the genre : a guy gets killed, a guy gets shot, the dame goes to jail, the precocious kid's going to need therapy once he's grown) less of a relief and more just the likeliest anticipatable outcome. There's a couple of good bits in this : when Jane Wyatt, in her dark coat, confronts Lizabeth Scott, in her sparkling white car; Scott & Barr conversing in prison; Dick Powell numbly walking through black streets.

 

 

 

Private Hell 36 (1954)

B-

 

 

Good enough! The ending feels a little forced, a little rushed, and a little unsatisfactory in retrospect but was genuinely surprising to me as it occurred. The Ida Lupino / Steve Cochran pairing works great for about 3/4ths into it until he starts slapping and roughing her up, it never really recovers from that point on and the way it ends between them feels fairly suboptimal (shouldn't she have been present at the final shoot out?). Actually, on the whole, the movie goes off the rails for the characters and in terms of quality about when they actually find the money - everything up until then is crackerjack. Steve Cochran's sense of disgust in himself and his partner for their corruption is the best part of the movie's second half, that really plays, well, that and how great everything looks, in general, really good looking film.

 

 

 

Road House (1948)

D-, But I Was Maybe Just In A Bad Mood Or Something

 

 

I wasn't really feeling it. Shut it off about forty minutes in (in the midst of a brawl where the titular setting's just getting wrecked) but came back after a nap. Richard Widmark has a lot of Walton Goggins energy, or, really, the other way 'round.

 

 

 

The Street With No Name (1948)

D+

 

 

Richard Widmark is so good in this'n too that I guess I gotta add Kiss of Death to n-n-n-n-noirvember. Very little dames in this'n, basically just the one dame, Barbara Lawrence, getting slapped around by Widmark when he thinks her character is the one who ratted them out to the Feds; needed either way more dames or no dames at all. Gotta get the dame-to-mook ratio right in these things! I'm not sure if I'd recommend this'n, actually, it's so head o'er heels in love with the FBI and the science of forensics that broad swathes of the beginning are corny & boring but even amidst that it can occasionally serve up the correct mixture of dumb and good : there's a scene, f'rinstance, @ the Quantico firing range that's really dumb and really good. There's a scene where Mark Stevens and his partner signal each other w/lit matches across the street from each other that's got that correct mixture of dumb and good, too. I'm not sure that's really a rare commodity in movies, like, plenty (most? all?) of them are dumb and good at the same time. The movie kind of loses track of the dumb once Richard Widmark shows up and just goes full good for the rest of the movie, I mean, if you can ignore how it's basically just personal agitprop for J. Edgar Hoover (to the point that it almost loops around to something like the truth, by displaying the intertwined co-production of crime of both criminal forces and the cops charged w/policing them, basically, because the FBI is good in this'n the local police are crooked) then it may be worth a watch.

 

 

 

The Narrow Margin (1952)

B+/A-

 

 

It's great. The ending's marred by the twist - I don't like it, don't think the movie needed it, don't think it makes much in the way of sense (even for locally accepted values of 'sense'), don't think it's well executed, and I agree with HaRav William Friedkin (whose commentary on this'n is worth a listen) that the movie needed to end w/McGraw seeing Windsor's corpse come off the train - but a movie is not just its ending! It is its start and its middle, too. And this movie starts great and maintains that greatness nearly all the way to the finish line. Marie Windsor is great in this, her voice, especially, the odd little tinge she puts on words like 'pleasure' and 'pusher' is so great; there's a bit where she's running through the corridor in the train that's so great ... well, whenever I experience a work of art that I actually enjoy, gawrsh, my ability to then cogently praise it tends to undergo a sort of instantaneous atrophy reducing me to just spouting the superlative 'great' 'great' 'great' over and over. I suppose this effect could be overcome with discipline & practice, rigor & vigour, yes, but do you really want to live in a world where I go on and on about redcaps and Crime Alley and Peter Brocco's cameo and the fight scene with a moustachioed David Clarke and a match cut for the ages and Marie Windsor's character's death scene and half a dozen other things? Or do you want to live in this world?

 

 

 

They Live By Night (1948)

A

 

 

Well, I have a new favourite Christmas movie!

 

 

 

Side Street (1950)

:shrug:

 

 

?????. Maybe watching ~20 of these in a row wasn't the best way to understand, absorb, & retain one's impression of works of art because for the life of me I can't pin down exactly what happened in this'n (absent effort, natch). I watched it last night, didn't write up a few sentences about it, and am now struggling to recall what I thought of it : mostly that Farley Granger has a ridiculous necktie (same as he did in 'They Live By Night') and that Jean Hagen shows up late in it and comes out hot and strong and drunk.

 

 

 

Try And Get Me! (1950)

B-? B?

 

 

The ending is extraordinary - nearly apocalyptic (and the sense of resignation on behalf of the sheriff and the newspapermen at what they've unleashed!), and far better than everything leading up to it. There's a bit in this where Renzo Cesana just straight up spouts the moral of the story to Richard Carlson - and to make sure you didn't miss the beat a line from it is repeated in voiceover before the credits. There's a bit in this where Frank Lovejoy, feeling guilt over the murder, comes to see Lloyd Bridges in a restaurant and he's force-fed. That's the bit w/the waitress, it's kind of the whole movie in microcosm.

 

 

 

City for Conquest (1940)

B

 

 

Much more of a proto-noir, at best, than noir proper. A relic of the days when dancing & live performed music, separately rather than together, were seen as inherently entertaining & novel, worthy in and of themselves of a good chunk of a movie's time even in movies that strictly speaking were not musicals --- those days ought to come again, actually, more movies should just take a breather and have a dancing contest or end with a symphony orchestra putting on a performance for a film's climax. R' Elia Kazan shows up in this'n, shoots someone and gets shot in turn.

 

 

 

Kiss of Death (1947)

A

 

 

Great! Was surprised that both Victor Mature & Richard Widmark's characters lived @ the end, figured them each for goners. More than half convinced Coleen Gray's character, Nettie, the narrator, killed the wife and framed it as a suicide --- (so convinced, in fact, that I was sure it wasn't my own original thought : went on Google Books to see if I was getting this from David Thomson's Suspects, nope). There's lots of great bits in this : when the crew has robbed the jeweller and they're shoved into an elevator waiting to make their getaway, Widmark's introduction (actually, in general, he's so great in this - when he throws that li'l ol' lady down the stairs, when he slaps that waiter, when he emerges out of darkness in his club, every time he laughs), Mature in the orphanage, the conversation between Mature & Gray about how he can't go on the run, the pan up (dolly? - I didn't go to film school; the camera maybe moves from where it is to somewhere it wasn't, okay) from the gun on the table to Mature sitting pensively in a chair w/a cigarette, actually, that whole scene w/Mature in the empty house and the D.A. showing up (and then he coldcocks him!). A great picture.

 

 

 

On Dangerous Ground (1951)

B-

 

 

So, folks, in the end, the real 'dangerous' 'ground' the whole time was both radical empathy and emotional intimacy and Robert Ryan just had to learn to be 'on' it! Yuk yuk.

 

I, uh, don't see how the two of them have much of a future.. He killed her simp of a brother, she's about to indebt herself for a risky operation to restore her sight : what can they look forward to but life in isolation as his old flaws resurface and she has to confront the fact that she's devout but he sure ain't? The movie should have ended w/him going back to the city and her joining him there. If it needed to end happily, that feels half-plausible, not w/him returning to her afterwards.

 

The best bits of the film are weighted towards the beginning, in the city, I mean, Ida Lupino does what she can but it's kind of a bad part. There's a scene, when Robert Ryan is chasing a guy down in an alleyway, where the lighting renders figures in hats into completely shadowed faces, that's such a great scene! Lot of the expected rat-a-tat dialogue in the beginning, too. There's a drunken newspaper salesman who is, like, a Phantom Menace level racial stereotype in this'n - is he supposed to be Italian? Jewish? Something of a wingless Watto, for sure. The film's opening imagery is done in probably the strongest noir fashion of any film seen in n-n-n-n-oirvember so far : a gun, strapped by a girl onto her man.

 

 

 

The Set-Up (1949)

A+

 

 

In-cray-ablé! Best bits : the newsboys, the manager not trusting the bribe to be up to the count, David Clarke's tiny part in this, the scenes of Audrey Totter isolated as she wanders about the streets before and during the match, the way the crowd is introduced and elaborated upon and rendered nightmarishly absent in the movie's final minutes, what feels like long stretches of the film (which aren't, naturally, because the film is less than an hour and a quarter in its entirety) where language all but disappears and the whole thing is dialogued by just meaty thuds & cheers, the conversations between the fighters in the locker room; ummm ... basically, w/only mild exaggeration, among the best films ever made? Certainly the best film of n-n-n-n-noirvember.

 

 

 

T-Men (1947)

C+? B-? B?

 

 

Good enough? The stentorian over-the-top narration is unevenly distributed. As these films go it's just a bit of classic cops'n'robbers, really, except it's much more feds'n'counterfeiters and seems somewhat unfairly prejudiced against Italians, Chinamen, Turks, the people of Detroit, the fairer sex, the heavyset, the elderly, polydactyls, the curly-haired, the mentally ill, and a half-dozen others to boot. Charles McGraw and Jane Randolph are both really good in it and it's a beautiful looking picture.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please just let me continue to resurrect this stupid thread every couple of months/years. Thanks!

 

...

 

Hustlers (2019)
C+/B-

~20-30 minutes before the end of a movie is simultaneously too late and too early to change up the established language of a movie. Unless I missed something(s) earlier and they were already doing stuff like what they did, y'know, bleeping the guy's last name, cutting out the sound when the recorder turns off, or giving over the audio in wiretap form --- that has to start either earlier or come in once the film is already much closer to all the way over, not just nearing the finale. Other than that, though, good flick! V. excited to see Jon Glaser be very Jon Glaser-y in this, Steven Boyer (Dwayne Reed from Trial & Error!) as the sadsack mark from whom theft is supposed to seem unjustified, Usher as Usher (wait, was Usher redhot famous in '08? I know, I know, ridiculous, of course he was! But everything that has happened in the last twenty years has blurred and stretched to the point where it can be tough for me to pin down when exactly anyone was anything, the other week I thought something that happened in June was, like, a year and a half ago - also, is Usher a quasi stand-in for Obama in this movie? Is he representative of America's 44th president in this narrative - as a figure of rescue and renewal for a shaken but as of yet unbroken system whose appearance will then be seen in retrospect as nothing more than a mere highlight of a now vanished golden age?), and, well, re: the movie's main cast, certain comments must be left to the decent obscurity of a learned language : :drool::eek::yes::blush::o:hail:.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I liked The Irishman a lot. I'd give it a B+.

I felt like that ending was on par for other Scorsese movies. He really isn't in the business of going out of his way to summarize things or try to sell some morale or message. It's not like everything was tied up nicely in a bow for something like The Departed or The Aviator.

The thing I took away was that Frank died sad and alone as a result of his actions. He was on top of the world at one point, but everything he did cost him a horrific twilight devoid of any family or friends.

 

 

I also thought the de-aging effects were awesome. There were maybe only two or three shots that I even remembered that it was a thing and didn't believe those guys weren't playing younger versions of themselves.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually really liked the movie. The only issue I really noticed with the de-aging effects, were when Robert and Pesci first met and they were working on the truck. Robert looked a little off. Great movie, a little sick to my stomach that movie cost $250mil, and I hope Pesci and DeNiro get some awards recognition because of it.

 

I also really enjoyed Ray Romano. Wish there was more of him in there. The comedian guy (dont remember his name) that played the gangster Joey was pretty great too.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ford v Ferrari
C-

 

Vroom vroom vroom! Mostly just a commercial for cars, booze, and Wonder Bread ®. Ray McKinnon (the preacher from Deadwood, y'know, 'I no longer feel Christ's love as I once did' 'WELL, WELCOME TO THE CLUB OF ****ing MOST OF US!', that's paraphrased, natch, not an exact quote) puts in a great softspoken performance in this (the scene where he talks w/the kid! Great!). I dunnaknow. James Mangold made a bad superhero movie slavishly imitating bad movies, then made a good superhero movie slavishly imitating good movies, and has now made a bad racing picture which doesn't quite know who the heroes are (Lee Iacocca is a hero for half the movie and then just nearly disappears for the second half, did Jon Bernthal get drunk during that part of the shoot and had to have his scenes/w/dialogue cut out or what), doesn't quite know who the villains are (if it's the marketing exec guy, if he's the only cut-and-dried villain in the picture, why is Christian Bale's eventual acquiescence to his way of thinking in any way laudable?), doesn't quite know what relationship the heroes have to the villains (why is Matt Damon tweaking the Ferrari team w/pranks? He wasn't there during the scene when they insulted the Ford people - we saw that, he didn't, and anyway if he's against them why should he acknowledge the grudging respect of Mr. Ferrari as a formidable opponent w/the hat, the thing where he tipped the hat? Wait, was that him or Bale on the other end of the hat-tipping?), doesn't quite understand the relationship the heroes have to each other (is Christian Bale the version of Matt Damon that can't accept the faulty valve in the heart, that has to keep on going no matter what, the guy who won't get out of the car - oh wait, I think I've argued myself into thinking that the relationship between the two leads is actually a good one, scratch that, it's solid, and probably the best thing about the flick, actually, all in all, as a pairing the two actors work well together) and most of this can probably be chalked up to it being based on stuff that, like, actually happened. Oh, one of the things I actually loved is there was no attempt to really explain to the audience any of the specialized language these professionals used, it was just taken as a given that we would understand and appreciate it through their understanding of it, to the point that there's even a minor laugh in how the bad executive misuses it during a press conference ("We have total control of everything - even the RPMs"); this was probably my favourite aspect of the movie and the part of it that most impressed me - it gives the audience credit, assumes we'll be able to handle this, lots and lots of movies just will not do this.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Irishman

 

F ****ing minus. Going to make me sit through a 3 hour and 28 minute movie and give me a bull**** ending like that? go **** yourself, Scorsese.

What kind of ending were you expecting? We all die sad and alone if time is our eventual killer.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It was sarcasm more than anything. it's a scorsese film. i expected it. i remember before even sitting down and watching it, thinking 'a 3.5 hour long movie? wonder what kind of bs ending i'm going to get from scorsese this time?'

I generally enjoy his films. Gangs of New York is probably my favorite Scorsese flick. Hugo is one of me and my son's go to movies we watch around christmas time. (just feels like a christmas movie) But i can also not like everything he does. Great film, Pesci deserves an Oscar nom.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Richard Jewell

A+

 

 

America's greatest living[1] reactionary cinematic artiste does it again! There's an absence of panache in his work that's just so thrilling to me, it's kind of Joe Dante-ish, he just wants to have his cake and eat it too. I love it! Every performance in this'n really hits hard (it helps that it's top-shelf talent all around, of course) - not just the titular role, I mean, Paul Walter Hauser, my god, yes, but Sam Rockwell (who I think may have ... slimmed down for the part after his initial introduction? Or maybe he just had the flu during most of the shoot?), Jon Hamm (reuniting with the man who gave him an early big break in 2000's Space Cowboys), Olivia Wilde (who plays someone scripted as simultaneously loathsome and sympathetic - I mean, that's nearly everyone on screen for this flick but she's especially evil and especially worthy of our pity in ways that are deliberately invented, contradictory to the reality of what went down in '96, the film luxuriates in committing the very sins it accuses others of to show that we're all vulnerable to this, we're all both sinned against and sinning in Clint's weltanschauung), Kathy Bates (her character's inability to reconcile a pure and simple admiration for, like, Tom Brokaw with how he treats her son!), Ian Gomez (when he eats that fry!), Nina Arianda (doing a Natasha Badenov accent, wait, Google is telling me that it's Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale, I thought they were married, did she maybe keep her maiden name? Good for her! --- she delivers the film's moral, something like "In my country, if they say you're guilty, then you're the innocent one." a line which, again, indicts the film itself), even like little bit parts are so great here, Wayne Duvall (the mean cop from the first season of The Leftovers and he's the polygraph expert in this'n). And it's all brought to you by the good people of Snickers, Budweiser, and Coca Cola - buy their products now & buy them often!

 

I think this movie is kind of, well, of a piece with Sully because it's also about a guy who did what was right and yet still feels enormous guilt for not having done more (it's obviously way more of a big deal in Sully but cf. the dream sequence in this'n). The big difference is that Sully in Sully is shown as an unambiguous hero and this'n wants us to confront the fact that heroes aren't heroes, heroes are people, and so the main character's flaws and foibles are front and centre. You don't get to pick your heroes, America, and you shouldn't let the FBI and the press tear them down when they were just trying to follow the rules and save your lives (uh, there might be something here about how every ultra-conservative piece of propaganda actually ends up making the case for its ideological opponents - what I mean is this movie functions as an unintended allegory (hence, an anagogy) for one of the contestants of a recent election and it's not who you might think on first glance) but shouldn't is the operative modal auxillary verb here, it's not like it's something any of us can control, the movie makes the audience absent from itself, the people the press & FBI are acting on the behalf of are just not part of what goes wrong because they're not the ones exerting agency. That might be the key to all of it, actually, as much as there might be some strange mixture of contempt & admiration in this movie for heroes, victims, lawyers, the government, and the press it reserves its unmatched insult for the crowd - we're nothing more than the Macarena, fleeing bodies, and then we basically disappear as those who act on our behalf (but not at our explicit behest) come to the forefront and receive the movie's full measure of scorn but we're not even worthy of that, let alone the attendant ambiguities, we kind of cease to exist. This movie kind of hates ordinary people so much that it just chucks them out of the narrative the moment they're done running for their lives. Even the people on the street who compliment Richard are literally wearing their Olympic medallions; the celebrity he initially experiences is conveyed to us entirely in terms of how now people who are quote unquote better than him are taking an interest. I love this movie but (and maybe because???) it hates me, and you too!

 

I may be slightly overvaluing this movie's quality just because the experience of seeing it (I figured it'd be too crowded to comfortably see a Star War last night so I decided to knock this one out now) was so great, it was a onefer, just me and no one else in the theatre, which certainly doesn't speak well to the commercial prospects of any putative Eastwood features in our semi-uncertain future but is surely a real fun way to see a flick, yes sir.

 

[1] Whoops, nope, second greatest. Mea culpa! John Milius still breathes --- so I guess once he dies (if? ביז הונדערט און צוואַנציק , John!) it'll be up to Clint and Mel to duke it out for the title!

 

 

 

The Two Popes

B

 

 

V. zeisse! Yet, however, absurdly flattering to the film's eponymous characters --- and the focus on Bergoglio's past (he's the only one who gets flashbacks!) to the exclusion of Ratzinger's seems like an odd choice to me - (oh wait, I went to alt.usenet.netflix.cheat.codes and it seems like the way to fix that and so much else is to press shift and ~ at the same time to bring up the console, then put in any of the following commands :

 

npc_spawn youngratz - [gives you the younger version of Anthony Hopkins]

 

devmap switchroles - [Jonathan Pryce plays the previous Pope and Hopkins plays the current Pope]

 

devmap bothrolesratz - [kind of what it says on the tin, Anthony Hopkins is both Popes, you can also do 'devmap allrolesratz' to replace each and every character instance w/Hopkins, not including the footage of the real Bernard Ratzinger which isn't properly wiremapped; same deal w/'bothrolesfrank' and 'allrolesfrank', I checked and there is no 'npc_spawn youngfrank', you can't get any more of the younger version of him than the game already has, I guess it's baked into the code from the start]

 

noclip - [lets you take the Popes out of Gandolfo and St. Peter's Basilica, v. useful!]

 

give all - [kind of crashes the game early, more of a bug than a cheat code, basically what happens is the Catholic Church takes the findings of the 1356-page 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury Report 1 Interim - Redacted which details in stomach-churning detail the decades long campaign of irrevocable and intimate harm to the State of Pennsylvania's most vulnerable citizens, they take it, read every page, make restitution to the victims as much as is humanly possible, and then they push for every commonweal and polity on the face of God's earth to initiate similar investigations of its conduct, concurrently reducing all unclaimable Church assets & properties to fungible currency and giving that unto the world's poor; you can only do it once and then from then on the entire 'The Two Popes' game is just the peaceful vista that comes in after the end credits, you have to uninstall and reinstall the entire Netflix platform to get the game back, weird])

 

All jokes aside, kinda liked it! An old chasid and an old yekke sitting down for a tish together. Brought to you by Fanta ®! Gonna go see a Star War now!

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The de-aging worked much much better on Pesci and Pacino than on DeNiro. It just never looked right on him.

Is it just me or did Pacino feel short or look short? I can't put in words but he's definitely smaller in stature than I remember.

Ford v Ferrari

C-

 

Vroom vroom vroom! Mostly just a commercial for cars, booze, and Wonder Bread ®. Ray McKinnon (the preacher from Deadwood, y'know, 'I no longer feel Christ's love as I once did' 'WELL, WELCOME TO THE CLUB OF ****ing MOST OF US!', that's paraphrased, natch, not an exact quote) puts in a great softspoken performance in this (the scene where he talks w/the kid! Great!). I dunnaknow. James Mangold made a bad superhero movie slavishly imitating bad movies, then made a good superhero movie slavishly imitating good movies, and has now made a bad racing picture which doesn't quite know who the heroes are (Lee Iacocca is a hero for half the movie and then just nearly disappears for the second half, did Jon Bernthal get drunk during that part of the shoot and had to have his scenes/w/dialogue cut out or what), doesn't quite know who the villains are (if it's the marketing exec guy, if he's the only cut-and-dried villain in the picture, why is Christian Bale's eventual acquiescence to his way of thinking in any way laudable?), doesn't quite know what relationship the heroes have to the villains (why is Matt Damon tweaking the Ferrari team w/pranks? He wasn't there during the scene when they insulted the Ford people - we saw that, he didn't, and anyway if he's against them why should he acknowledge the grudging respect of Mr. Ferrari as a formidable opponent w/the hat, the thing where he tipped the hat? Wait, was that him or Bale on the other end of the hat-tipping?), doesn't quite understand the relationship the heroes have to each other (is Christian Bale the version of Matt Damon that can't accept the faulty valve in the heart, that has to keep on going no matter what, the guy who won't get out of the car - oh wait, I think I've argued myself into thinking that the relationship between the two leads is actually a good one, scratch that, it's solid, and probably the best thing about the flick, actually, all in all, as a pairing the two actors work well together) and most of this can probably be chalked up to it being based on stuff that, like, actually happened. Oh, one of the things I actually loved is there was no attempt to really explain to the audience any of the specialized language these professionals used, it was just taken as a given that we would understand and appreciate it through their understanding of it, to the point that there's even a minor laugh in how the bad executive misuses it during a press conference ("We have total control of everything - even the RPMs"); this was probably my favourite aspect of the movie and the part of it that most impressed me - it gives the audience credit, assumes we'll be able to handle this, lots and lots of movies just will not do this.

 

NOOOOOO. I was really really looking forward to this.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You still can! I'm not sure the way I process and evaluate entertainment tracks v. well w/the way everybody else does; there's obviously a great deal of overlap but things about stories that ruin or elevate them for me will either go unnoticed or have inverted valences for others. As always, and apropos enough for this particular flick, your mileage may vary!

 

Jojo Rabbit
F

 

 

Terrible! Like, nearly Roberto Benigni level bad! I didn't go into it willing to extend the flick a great deal of credit ("is Taika Waititi capable of making Nazism truly funny to me?" was not a question I was actually in much doubt about re: the answer) but it underperformed my lowest expectations. Nearly every single character is in a different kind of thing! Rosie (ScarJo) is in a Dharma & Greg sitcom episode up until she dies (her death is so badly handled!), the imaginary Hitler is like something out of a goddamn Seth MacFarlane show, Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell) is in something that's exactly the right tone for the movie to function - it's an open question what manner of man he is, Fraulein Rohm (Rebel Wilson) is too, like, Mel Brooks for the serious bits to land, Captain Deertz (Stephen Merchant) is also too sketch comedy up until we see him disheveled and at gunpoint @ the end, the leads are like something out of a Hallmark Channel adaptation of When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit; there's no consistent tone to this thing at all. So nothing's funny that's meant to be funny, nothing's sad that's meant to be sad, it's just one hour and forty-five minutes of Taika Waititi thinking there's something inherently comic about the rote phraseology associated w/recent history's greatest crimes (and there can be! you just gotta figure out how to dole it out right; - think of Elaine May's A New Leaf and the line "Are you by any chance related to the Boston Hitlers?" - or the incredible incredible bit Norm MacDonald has where he skims Hitler's wikipedia page - "Oh, he's dead. I didn't even know he was sick." *scrolls down* "He didn't like Jews.") and elbowing me in the stomach in a futile attempt to get me to laugh or cry.

 

Why in the hell does Sam Rockwell, in referring to ScarJo's character to this ten-year-old-kid, call her by her first name, rather than "your mom"? How does Yorki know that Jojo has a girlfriend - did I miss something or did he never tell him a thing about it? What was up w/the dad - this is a children's movie about the importance of learning to think and feel for yourself that leaves open the possibility that a strong and much awaited father is just kinda gonna come back home and make everything okay; a movie mocking the superficial allure of martial glory that ends w/cool as hell American soldiers driving by in their fast car (and motorcycle!), Old Glory whipping in the wind!? Why did this movie, an insult to both the living (think of it, Jojo is ten years old in 1945, he'd be, what, eighty-four now? Elsa would be in her early nineties? There are people alive and relatively well who went through something akin to what these fictional characters went through!) and dead (many more of these characters should have died; Yorki should have died, Jojo should have died, Elsa should have died, Hitler can not merely be cursed away and kicked out a window and that's the end of him, he should have been dabbing over the corpse of the child whose brain he inhabited, Rod Serling understood this fifty-six years ago so I don't know what excuse Taika Waititi has for constructing this saccharine fantasy about the triumph of imagination in the context of wholesale death & destruction) cost fourteen million dollars?

 

 

 

A Hidden Life
A

 

 

Folks, it's a cinema! When her hands futilely grasp at the very dirt in which her and her husband's fingers once idly and lovingly caressed each other so many years ago, well, that's a cinema! When she bangs the same hands against the fence moments later in rage, pointless rage, at what the world has taken from her : that's a cinema! When the fellow condemned man gently kisses him on the cheek and he returns the kiss in turn, fellahs, that's a cinema! When he gets judged by a tribunal headed by Bruno Ganz, and then they have a lil' conversation w/each other, and I literally gasped out loud in the darkness once I recognized it was Bruno Ganz, dead but brought back to life before my very eyes, well, that's a cinema! Every time we see "SPRACHEN VERBOTEN" on the wall, and it caused me to reflect upon how so little of this film features actual conversation, it's mostly just one person talking to another, and the other barely responds, well, that too is a cinema! When it rains, when there is fog in the distant mountains, when we see cows, ox (and when the ox is gone, and her and her sister must till the soil themselves!), sheep, dog, pig, geese, chickens, a caterpillar crawling across documents (!), well, that's a cinema. More cinema per capita than all the other cinemas!

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...