WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

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feaito

Post by feaito »

Happy belated birthday Anne!! :D

I haven't seen much this weekend; bits & pieces of Christian Nyby's "The Thing from Another World" (1951) -I fell asleep during most of it, because I began watching right after lunch and I always get sleepy after eating...

Last night I went to the avant-premiere of "Love in the Time of Cholera" (2007) an interesting but flawed film based upon Gabriel García Márquez book. In my opinion one of the flaws was its multinational cast, which gave performances of uneven quality; actors from Brazil, USA, Italy, Spain, Puerto Rico, Colombia et al. Besides, there's something in the way the story is told and/or the pacing of the film that does not quite work either. What was interesting for me was that the film was projected in the open, literally "under the stars" and it was quite a thrilling experience. I had never expericenced something of the kind. And I hadn't gone to the cinema in months!

Today I watched Mitchell Leisen's "No Time For Love" (1943) a quite compelling sexy comedy starring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray. Fred plays a very different kind of guy here: a no-nonsense Irish macho man over whom the sophisticated photographer deliciously (as always) portrayed by Madame Colbert, goes absolutely ga-ga, head over heels. There's a very interesting oneiric sequence in which Claudette dreams Fred's a kind of Superman who rescues her. Noteworthy performances by Ilka Chase as Claudette's sister and Richard Haydn, as one of her co-workers. Claudette looks specially pretty in this one. I liked it more than "The Egg & I", because it's more a-typical.
feaito

Post by feaito »

I watched "The Last of Mrs. Cheyney" (1929) a stagey, quite stiff early talkie starring Norma Shearer, but nevertheless interesting. It has its moments, in spite of the fact that it has not aged well at all. Miss Shearer plays a woman turned into jewel thief by life's circumstances, who poses as society widow, and George Barraud impersonates the mastermind behind her.

Basil Rathbone is an English Lord infatuated by Shearer's charms. To see Mr. Rathbone as a romantic lead is quite a change -one's used to see him play the heavy or the villain (save for Sherlock Holmes). Norma sometimes tends to overact, but at some moments is quite good. George Barraud was a surprise for me, in my opinion he gives the best, most "natural" performance of the film. Lots of very affected English accents. The character played by Herbert Bunston is unbelievably ponderous and ambiguous.
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movieman1957
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Post by movieman1957 »

How's this for a rarity? "Circus World" with John Wayne and Rita Hayworth. This sure is a strange film. Kind of a complicated story involving Wayne raising Claudia Cardinale as his daughter when she is really Hayworth's abandoned daughter. Hayworth left after her husband died in a circus accident.

Richard Conte has a small part. Lloyd Nolan is Wayne's assistant. Duke seems to have some fun. Claudia is busy playing the teenager who just discovered she's a woman. Rita shows up late and looking every bit her age but has managed to keep her figure.

Two action pieces are pretty well done but seem to come from nowhere.

The sound on the DVD was awful. Kept sounding like an echo in a windstorm. Pretty much only for those who want to see everything Duke or Rita did. Only fair.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."
MikeBSG
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Post by MikeBSG »

I just watched the French film, "City of Lost Children." So-so at best. I loved "Delicatessen," which held together wonderfully. "City of Lost Children" seemed to wander all over the place, and I eventually lost track of who was trying to do what to whom. Still, it has a look like no other film.
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Post by benwhowell »

It took a few years, but I finally acquired a taste for "Sugar Cookies."
This 1970 kinky dark comedy/"sex film" melodrama was directed by Ted Gershundy (who has a cameo in a "sex film" within the "sex film" and was married to star Mary Woronov at the time,) co-written and executive produced by Lloyd pre-"Troma Team" Kaufman and co-associate produced by Oliver pre-"JFK" Stone.
In addition to Mary Woronov, the cast also includes "underground stars" Ondine and (the fabulous!) Monique Van Vooren-always the "epitome" of sadistic Euro-trash.
Great NYC location shooting-including a groovy fashion boutique (which looked like it was designed by Robert Indiana) montage using the song, "Sally Go Round The Roses."
Kaufman made this remake(?) to "Vertigo-"with a lesbian twist-fresh out of Yale.
Not for everyone, needless to say. If you liked Paul Bartel's "Private Parts," you'll like this...although "PP" is a much more structured movie and better homage to Hitchcock.
Handsome Johnny Eck
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Ann Harding
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Post by Ann Harding »

Yesterday, I went to see Nick Ray's Born To Be Bad (1950) with Joan Fontaine, Robert Ryan & Zachary Scott. I had not seen the film for 20 years. This is certainly not a major Ray picture, but, nevertheless, it offers an interesting view of a 50s gold digger. Christabel Caine (J. Fontaine) looks like innocence incarnate, but in actual fact, she is a conniving and calculating person. A young painter (M. Ferrer) describes her as a cross between Peg O'My Heart and Lucrecia Borgia! :lol:
She very quickly sets her eyes on millionaire Curtis (Z. Scott) and manages to eliminate his fiancee while entertaining a very sensual affair with a young penniless writer (R. Ryan).
It's interesting that both Robert Ryan and Fontaine play against type. He usually plays heavies and she is usually a 'victim'. In 1949, Ryan was in Max Ophüls' Caught where he played a paranoid millionaire (in the Howard Hughes mold) who tortures his young bride. Here the situation is reversed. The millionaire is the gold digger's victim.
Overall, Nicholas Ray really makes really the best out of the script. I was particularly pleased by Robert Ryan's performance as the sensitive young writer caught in Fontaine's net. The cinematography is by Nicholas Musuraca who did some splendid work in some great pictures such as Out Of The Past.
feaito

Post by feaito »

Ann Harding wrote:Yesterday, I went to see Nick Ray's Born To Be Bad (1950) with Joan Fontaine, Robert Ryan & Zachary Scott. I had not seen the film for 20 years. This is certainly not a major Ray picture, but, nevertheless, it offers an interesting view of a 50s gold digger. Christabel Caine (J. Fontaine) looks like innocence incarnate, but in actual fact, she is a conniving and calculating person. A young painter (M. Ferrer) describes her as a cross between Peg O'My Heart and Lucrecia Borgia! :lol:
She very quickly sets her eyes on millionaire Curtis (Z. Scott) and manages to eliminate his fiancee while entertaining a very sensual affair with a young penniless writer (R. Ryan).
It's interesting that both Robert Ryan and Fontaine play against type. He usually plays heavies and she is usually a 'victim'. In 1949, Ryan was in Max Ophüls' Caught where he played a paranoid millionaire (in the Howard Hughes mold) who tortures his young bride. Here the situation is reversed. The millionaire is the gold digger's victim.
Overall, Nicholas Ray really makes really the best out of the script. I was particularly pleased by Robert Ryan's performance as the sensitive young writer caught in Fontaine's net. The cinematography is by Nicholas Musuraca who did some splendid work in some great pictures such as Out Of The Past.
It sounds like a very interesting picture Christine. I have only seen Miss Fontaine playing an "evil" character in the "Ivy", which I loved.
jdb1

Post by jdb1 »

Over the weekend, I saw on cable the sweet little movie Driving Lessons, with Rupert Grint and Julie Walters, both late of the Harry Potter franchise. I missed the beginning of this film, but I liked whatever else I saw.

This movie has been called a comedy, and has been likened to Harold and Maude. Well, it wasn't exactly a ha-ha-ha kind of movie, although it had some whimsical touches, and it certainly wasn't anything like Harold and Maude, save for the fact that the protagonists are a 17 year old boy and an elderly woman (Walters, who played Grint's mother in the Harry Potter movies, here plays a much older woman, complete with dowager's hump).

Grint plays a shy and inexperienced teen who goes to work as the assistant of an eccentric, elderly former actress. The writer/director, Jeremy Brock, based the film on his experiences working as a gofer for Dame Peggy Ashcroft. The actress, of course, shows him how to "live." Grint's mother, played by Laura Linney with an English accent, is the wife of a minister, who overprotects her son and tries to instill her own overbearing "righteousness" in him, which he resists. The movie is very gentle, nothing over the top happens (save for the boy having a very discreet one night stand with a girl he meets in Scotland while accompanying his employer), but the acting is fine and the story moves along very entertainingly.

I liked young Grint, although he may have overdone the male ingenue a bit in the beginning. However, as he comes out of himself, the character shows signs of the makings of a forceful young man inside the boy. Grint is a very attractive screen presence, nice- and interesting-looking without being beautiful, and shows, I think, some real potential as an actor. He held his own very well in the company of such seasoned players. I'd like to see this one again from the beginning.
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Post by sandykaypax »

Thanks for that review, Judith. I've not heard of this film before. I do love Julie Walters and I am a Harry Potter fan, so I am interested to see what other projects the young stars of those films will do. I am going to seek this one out.

Sandy K
jdb1

Post by jdb1 »

sandykaypax wrote:Thanks for that review, Judith. I've not heard of this film before. I do love Julie Walters and I am a Harry Potter fan, so I am interested to see what other projects the young stars of those films will do. I am going to seek this one out.

Sandy K
It had a very brief run in NYC, and when I started watching it on TV, I remembered that I had read a review of it in the NY Times, which had said that young Rupert was good in it. I think he reminded me a bit of the young Michael Crawford, maybe mixed in with a tad of Bob Denver, only not as goofy. He might fill the Hugh Grant niche, but I'd hope he'd behave better in real life. I saw him on one of those MTV request show things not too long ago, and he seemed a nice, unpretentious young man (but who knows?).
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Ann Harding
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Post by Ann Harding »

Yesterday I watched a DVD of a French comedy: Un Mauvais Garçon (1936) with Danielle Darrieux and Henri Garat. I am a huge fan of Darrieux and I feel she is the only French actress who came close to the best American screwball actresses. In this film (while only 19), she plays a young woman who just graduated in law. Her 'bourgeois' father wants her to get married ASAP while she wants to become a lawyer. They settle on a trial period of 18 months when she will be allowed to try to build a career. But times are hard, she cannot get any client... Until, she is commissioned to defend a 'tough guy' who is in prison. She will fall in love with the guy....
The film is not hugely inventive in terms of direction. But, it has a nice pacing and dialogue. The cinematography is really lovely, though I couldn't find anywhere the name of the cinematographer, not even on the film's credits.... I feel that comedy give a very good idea of the social mores of a time. This one is no exception: Darrieux was allowed to study, but as soon as she graduated she had to become a housewife! Worse, her husband has to be selected by her father: good family with means....
The film includes several songs like a lot of contemporary comedies of the time. Darrieux is very good light singer.
A real pleasure. :D
feaito

Post by feaito »

Thanks to JohnM's info. I watched "Don't be Afraid of the Dark" (1973) on youtube (it's divided in 8 clips) and I loved it all over again.

I was afraid that since I had seen it as kid (only once), it wouldn't have the same effect on me as an adult. I was wrong! It was like a deja-vu and living it all over again. At barely seventy-something minutes, the movie is really very scary, gripping and suspenseful. I wish it was available on a decent DVD edition, because the one that's being offered at Amazon & other sites is a bootleg; a rip-off of the official VHS and not of very good quality as I have read.

The tiny evil characters must be one of the most nightmarish, mysterious monsters I have ever seen... They really gave me the shivers!
feaito

Post by feaito »

On saturday I watched "Stardust" (2007). An amusing fantasy with some nice special effects. Strictly a fairy-tale with a good performance by Michelle Pfeiffer as an evil witch.

On sunday I watched two classics:

Carol Reed's "The Fallen Idol" (1948). A truly wonderful movie set in London, that tells the story of a foreign ambassador's small son (top-notch performance by Bobby Henrey) who gets involved in his beloved and admired butler's (Baines-deftly played by Sir Ralph Richardson) extramarital affair with a lovely French lady (Julie-sensitively portrayed by the beautiful Michèle Morgan) who works as a stenographer in the Embassy. Beautifully photographed an directed, with a first rate cast that includes Denis O'Dea, Jack Hawkins, Torin Thatcher, Bernard Lee and Sonia Dresdel as the nasty Mrs. Baines (who reminded me of the unpleasant characters played by Judith Anderson in "Rebecca" (1940), Gale Sondergaard in "Anthony Adverse" (1936) or Mary Nash in "Heidi" (1938)).

A magic film about the loss of innocence told mainly from the little boy's point of view.

The print included in the Criterion DVD Edition is very good.

"Evelyn Prentice" (1934). I was pleasantly surprised by this highly enjoyable film, because when I bought the Powell-Loy DVD Collection I had that idea that this film was by far the weakest of the bunch, thanks maily to Maltin's lackluster review. I found it to be a rather brilliant drama superbly played by all involved, especially the two leads. There's no sophisticated comedy at all here; no perfect wife or husband; just a married couple of a lawyer absorbed by his work and a wife who feels neglected by him. The film has also some fine honest, even domestic, situations perfectly played by the two stars.

Director William K. Howard manages to keep the story at a good pace and to keep the suspense until the very end. The superb supporting cast includes Una Merkel, as the couple's fast-talking and wisecracking friend; Isabel Jewell, as woman desperately in love with a no-good man, who lives on women (well played by Harvey Stephens), who won't stop at nothing to get what he wants; Jessie Ralph as a funny lady who witnessed the escape of a presumed murderer; Edward Brophy as one of Bill Powell's "aides".

It's also Rosalind Russell's first film; she plays a woman who's acquitted on trial with the help of Bill Powell and has an affair with him.

The film is the proof the Powell and Loy, as a team, excelled in drama as well. I loved it.
feaito

Post by feaito »

The other day I watched "Six of a Kind" (1934) a good comedy with Mary Boland, Charlie Ruggles, W.C. Fields, Alison Skipworth, Gracie Allen and George Burns. I enjoyed very much Mary Boland and Charlie Ruggles interplaying as a married couple. Gracie Allen's persona is kind of tiresome (too silly for my taste) and got a little bit on my nerves. Zany humor but not outstanding.
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Post by MissGoddess »

feaito wrote:Today I watched Mitchell Leisen's "No Time For Love" (1943) a quite compelling sexy comedy starring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray. Fred plays a very different kind of guy here: a no-nonsense Irish macho man over whom the sophisticated photographer deliciously (as always) portrayed by Madame Colbert, goes absolutely ga-ga, head over heels. There's a very interesting oneiric sequence in which Claudette dreams Fred's a kind of Superman who rescues her. Noteworthy performances by Ilka Chase as Claudette's sister and Richard Haydn, as one of her co-workers. Claudette looks specially pretty in this one. I liked it more than "The Egg & I", because it's more a-typical.
Hi Feo! How fortunate you are! I have been looking for No Time for Love for ages---I love this movie and it's one of my favorites with Claudette and Fred. I can't get over how good he looks in it---if I were Claudette I would have flipped for him, too. He's very sexy.
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