WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

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feaito

Post by feaito »

Well, today, after almost 10 years I revisited "Elizabeth" (1998), this time on the small screen. It has many similarities with "Elizabeth the Golden Age" (2007), but as Chris said I feel that in the latter more attention was paid to (very) stylized visuals than in the former. On the other hand, I feel that the story was more gripping and suspenseful in the former. There are sequences in the 1998 film that are hard to take (for me). It was really hard to stand unscathed during the burning at the stake sequence of the beginning.

Like most of people violence affects me: films set during WWI/WWII for example. But when the films depict the Religious Wars of the XIVth-XVIIth Centuries, and especially if it showcases the Spanish Inquisition, torture in front of priests or burning of people in "Autos de Fé" (I don't know how to say it in English), I'm extremely disturbed and utterly moved and affected by it. I simply cannot stand them since I was small child.

Coming back to "Elizabeth", I would describe the film as "how a lively young woman becomes a living effigy for the sake of preserving a throne and saving a country". The whole film plays like a lesson of how to restrain your innermost passions. Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush are impressive. I'd have to say that perhaps it's a better movie than "Elizabeth the Golden Age" and that it's more human in a way. Maybe, "Elizabeth the Golden Age" is colder in its approach to its subject, paying more attention to visuals and style. I'm not a critic, but that's what I felt.

Last night I watched "Silk" (2007), a very slow film with magnificent, awesome cinematography, but which I felt had a rather implausible or uneven plot. At the end, the plot did not make much sense. The leading actor, Michael Pitt, gives a somewhat flawed performance. Still, it is a worthwhile movie and beautiful to look at.

I have just watched "Butterfield 8" (1960). Liz Taylor gives a good but not exceptional performance and let me say that I disliked Laurence Harvey a lot. Good supporting cast though, especially Kay Medford, Mildred Dunnock, Carmen Matthews and Betty Field.
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MissGoddess
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Post by MissGoddess »

A friend and I went to see the Preston Sturges comedy Unfaithfully Yours at the Museum of Modern Art. All of us, the entire audience (it was a full house) were laughing hysterically. I do not remember it being THAT funny, but it was, and excruciatingly so!

I don't care what anybody else thinks, I adore Rex Harrison and I find this one of his most amusing roles. His character is such a child. He's completely infantile and yet he has that amazing brain and wit only he can't control the way his emotions cloud his judgement and temper. Wind him up and watch him go. My favorite scene is when he storms into Sweeney's, the Private Dective, office and begins berating the poor tailor eating his lunch. And then when he learns Sweeney's a music lover and he declare's he will elimate his favorite composers from his repertoire, I just lost it. And then he turns around and tosses him two free tickets. He's so mercurical! The fantasies were funny but the clowning really took off when he tried to put his schemes into actual practice. I always admired him as being one of the all time greatest of light comedians, but had no idea he was so good at physical comedy.

I just love his character. He's never a bore.

This movie now moves up with The Palm Beach Story as my favorite Sturges movie. I am most definitely NOT a fan of The Lady Eve as most are, because of the ridiculous character Fonda plays. I much prefer Harrison's wildly emotional baton waver. And he dresses so beautifully, I mean he wears clothing with real elegance and a stylishness that one simply is born with. Did anyone notice how often clothing was featured? We constantly saw Rex changing, Linda changing, Linda getting fitted for dresses, Rex insisting on buying her more dresses (WHERE is this man for me?) and the gloves, the "purple dress with the plumes at the hip"....

As for Linda, I thought she was fine, sweet and lovely but I perfer her persona in A Letter to Three Wives. I agree with Arturo that Barbara Lawrence got the best lines; that couple just cracked me up. Rudy Vallee plays basically the same character in The Palm Beach Story.
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Bogie
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Post by Bogie »

In the early hours today I saw.....

Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995) It was pretty good and a nice relaunch for the Gamera series. The actual human story was pretty good but there were still the silly comedic characters (the police detective and the guy representing the Japanese cabinet) but overall it was well done. I liked the mythological backstory to Gamera in this movie and yes, they went with a Kenny Syndrome thing at the end. The good thing was that the girl who had a bond with Gamera was kinda creepy with her supernatural bond to the creature so while it wasn't subtle it was handled well.

My only complaint was that FLIX chose to play the English dub release of the film. You'd think that by 1995 that english dubs would sound better but it was still hokey as ever. Well let me be kind and say that it was a bit better but it was clearly subpar. I would've preferred reading subtitles.


I don't usually mention documentaries but I also saw the excellent THE LIFE AND TIMES OF HANK GREENBERG (1998) which is a documentary on the first real jewish baseball star. It was a very interesting and illuminating look at the career and more importantly social aspect of Greenberg's life. He was worshiped a great deal and truly was a hero to Jewish kids everywhere. Excellent documentary if you ever get a chance to see it.
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CharlieT
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Post by CharlieT »

I watched The Seventh Seal last Sunday morning on IFC, then got to see The Virgin Spring this morning. This is the first time I've been able to catch these classics and can say that I enjoyed both of them.

I'm sure that this has been touched upon before, but I saw this morning where the main story line for Last House on the Left came from. It's funny how the basic plot can be the same, but the feel of the film changes 180 degrees in it's updated treatment. The original is an intriguing morality play, whereas the modern remake is nothing but a sick gore-fest.

Now I'm wondering what treat will be waiting for me next Sunday morning.
"I'm at my most serious when I'm joking." - Dudley

Don't sweat the petty things - don't pet the sweaty things.
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charliechaplinfan
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Post by charliechaplinfan »

I've watched The Seventh Seal I enjoyed it but I'm not sure I got the full meaning of it. It's a good film.

A friend in America recorded three little gems for me. Two Cagney movies and a Lita Grey Chaplin short.

Blonde Crazy was a delightful precode starring James Cagney and Joan Blondell. Favorite moment is when Jimmy Cagney goes to retrive Joan Blondell's money from her bra. Lovely and saucy, only in a precode. :D

The next was from 1934 called He Was Her Man. This was filmed three years later but as a team James Cagney and Joan Blondell are as fresh as ever. I can't help wondering if the ending would have been different in a precode. James Cagney has to be shown to be reformed in the end.

Seasons Greetings was a strange little short. Massive Chaplin fan as I am, I'd only ever seen stills of Lita. She's no great shakes as an actress, she'd already proved that with Charlie. She has a pleasantish singing voice, I think I'm right in saying that she made a career out of singing on the night club circuit. I know I'm biased but I can't see what Charlie saw.

Sammy Davis Jnr had a small role in it and he was delightful. You could tell it was he, no mistaking. He still looked the same when fully grown :D

The movie itself is an odd little curio. I'm happy to have had chance to see it.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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movieman1957
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Post by movieman1957 »

I watched James Cagney in "The Gallant Hours." He plays Admiral Halsey in the days around the Battle of Guadalcanal. It is directed by Robert Montgomery.

A fairly straightforward (with not much action) telling of Halsey's time around this battle. Nothing at all flashy about the film which carries maybe the most subdued performance in Cagney's work. Narration peppers the introduction of characters in the film. Montogmery himself does the narration of Americans and someone else does the narration over the Japanese parts. The film has a list of character actors you would recognize. A small part as Halsey's aide belongs to Dennis Weaver and what amounts to a cameo to Richard Jaekel. Unusual musical score that uses primarily a male chorus with a smattering of instruments.

Plenty of time spent showing Cagney mulling over decisions. It's ok if a bit long. Montgomery's last big screen effort.
Chris

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jdb1

Post by jdb1 »

Did anyone see The Secret Garden (1949) on TCM over the weekend? This is the second time I've seen it, and I like it even better now. I seems to me to be much truer to the spirit of the book than the later, more treacly versions.

Margaret O'Brien (about 12 years old) is excellent in this; not her sweet little breathless Margaret character, but a real, troubled, and feisty pre-teen -- too bad Hollywood lost interest in her. I could see another Elizabeth Taylor in the making, but I guess they figured there wasn't enough room for two of Liz.
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vallo
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Post by vallo »

>Did anyone see The Secret Garden (1949) on TCM over the weekend?<

Yes and it was the first time I saw it. Loved it, Margaret O'Brien was amazing, also Kudos to Dean Stockwell and Brian Roper as Dickon. Loved the use of color for the garden. Great film.
I also watched that and "Tortilla Flat" (that I taped) Frank Morgan is outstanding as dog lover who buys a candle for St. Francis of Assisi
With both films I was crying like an Old Lady. (I guess it comes with age)

They really don't make'em like they used to.

Bill (vallo)
"We're all forgotten sooner or later. But not films. That's all the memorial we should need or hope for."
-Burt Lancaster
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Bogie
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Post by Bogie »

I saw Grand Hotel last night and I was hooked from (almost) the beginning to the end. What a fantastic movie! I liked how all the characters and their individual stories intertwined. The whole story of Preysing, (Beery) Flaemmchen, (Crawford) Kringelein, (L. Barrymore) and the Baron (J. Barrymore) was constructed beautifully giving each actor the opportunity to have scenes that were all their own while still advancing the plot of the film. I loved the friendship between the two Barrymores in this movie. The way Lionel played his dying character who lived a pretty sheltered life. The happiness exhibited by living the high life with the Baron was captivating.

Of course the Baron wasn't all that he made himself out to be (that's as far as i'll go) but being with Kringelein gave him a conscience. As for Beery playing the mean magnate was interesting. I always thought of him as a scallywag and an oaf but here he actually exhibited some acting chops and buried himself into his role.

Joan Crawford was BEAUTIFUL in her younger days no? She just had a wonderful face and it didn't hurt that she could flat out act! Something I can't say for Ms. Garbo. I dunno, what's the fascination over her? It seemed to me that she came from the Norma Shearer school of acting. Wild gesticulations, her voice rising and falling within the same sentence, running around and making a fool out of herself....I'm sure people thought she was great back then but to me it was hackneyed and puzzling. I also could tell that some scenes were added on just so she wouldn't be upstaged by Crawford which in reality just showed that Crawford was much better.

Anyways I give this movie a 9.5 out of 10
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charliechaplinfan
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Post by charliechaplinfan »

Bogie, I love Grand Hotel I would rate Garbo higher than Crawford as an actress (not much higher) Grand Hotel is not Garbo's movie. I don't know whether it was the part, or her private life but she didn't rise to the acting challenges of the performers around her. Joan Crawford's performance is the best I've ever seen her give.

I agree with you about Wallace Beery too, he gets his chops into the role.

If you never seen it you need to rent Dinner At Eight. It's nearly as good and Wallace Beery and Jean Harlow are better than Wallace Beery and Joan Crawford :) .
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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MissGoddess
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Post by MissGoddess »

I love Grand Hotel, and it's mostly because of 1) John Barrymore and 2) Joan and Lionel. I think Barrymore was Garbo's best and most appropriate leading man and it's a pity this is their only pairing. While this isn't my favorite Garbo role, I don't have any issues with her performance because I believe it's a deliberate choice she made. She's playing a prima ballerina in the most diva-ish sense of the word. You have only to see her other talkies to know that this is not her style, she's a much more subtle actress in general. However, it's only her scenes with John that I enjoy watching because deliberate or not, it's an over-the-top performance that suffers in comparison to her collegues.
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Post by Synnove »

Judging only from Grand Hotel, Grabo did not do so well in talkies. She had improved a great deal by the end of the 30's, though. I still prefer her in silents, that was a great medium for her. Try Flesh and the Devil if you want to see what the fascination with Garbo was all about. Joan Crawford is so much more natural in Grand Hotel, she steals the picture.

I also like that film! It's a great melancholy ensemble piece.

I watched Nototrious yesterday. This is the first real Hitchcock film I've seen. I saw Torn Curtain a few years ago, but I'm not sure if I want to count that. It was pretty good suspense, but nothing special to me. Julie Andrews playing an American didn't quite work.

I thought Notorious was a fascinating film though. To begin with it is just wonderful film making, by someone who could break loose from stiff conformity and manípulate the images to bring out the best emotional effect. The scene where Ingrid Bergman discovers what her husband and his mother have been doing, is brilliant. It's like a nightmare. The final shot is also full of horror, it leaves us to imagine what is going to happen, without actually showing it. While it takes talent and imagination to know how to create effective images, it also takes talent and imagination to know when to withold the images. I'll definitively watch more Hitchcock films in the future. This one is special.

My mother didn't like the film so much. She doesn't like the character Ingrid Bergman plays, she thinks it is so typical. She doesn't like her in Casablanca either.

Quite interesting characterizations in this film in general. The bad guy seems pretty sympathetic, and the good guy, not so much. The "good guy" is very troubled, he has a mean streak and doesn't know how to handle his emotions very well. The seemingly sympathetic bad guy is still schooled in the Nazi way of thought, and has a similar view on human life, as it turns out. These characters are untypical and interesting. I'm glad I saw this film.
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charliechaplinfan
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Post by charliechaplinfan »

Hedvig, this is one of my favorite Hitchcock films. It's multilayered like you say. I feel quite sorry for Claude Rains at the end of the film. It has one of the best love scenes of film too.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
Synnove
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Post by Synnove »

Yes, that was one of the most memorable scenes I have seen.

Cary Grant's character redeemed himself wonderfully in my eyes. I could never resent him for long though.
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movieman1957
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Post by movieman1957 »

Ever sit through a movie and go this may be the weirdest movie I've seen in a while. Let that's what I thought after watching William Wellman's Other Men's Women. Not so over-the-top as the title but about an affair that never really happened.

It was part of Cagney's SOTM showings but he has only about three scenes. One highlight is watching him dance across a hall to get to the floor. Joan Blondell has a bigger role and plays a nice drunk.

Story revolves around life long friends who work the railroad have to live together only to have the roommate and the wife fall in love. The fallout starts. First twenty minutes is fun. After the kiss the whole complexion changes. Mary Astor is fine as the wife. This was long before she became Mary Astor.

Ok if you are after seeing all the Cagney films (like me) or Wellman works. It'll make you scratch your head a little.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."
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