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WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

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MikeBSG
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby MikeBSG » July 30th, 2012, 4:52 pm

The Gotham City police are aware that the bad guys have taken over a construction company and are doing something in the sewers and subways of Gotham. So they send 3000 cops into the underground. (The number is repeated a couple of times.) However, this is just a trap by Bane, the movie's bad guy. Bane is from Uzbekistan, and he is determined to destroy Gotham City. Once the cops are underground, he blows up the sewers and subways, effectively entombing them.

At this point, "The Dark Knight Rises" began seeming like a 9/11 movie for me. Substitute Afghanistan for Uzbekistan and Osama bin-Laden for Bane, and the first responders being sent to their deaths (and the mayor of Gotham City looking a bit like Rudi Guiliani) and I began feeling a 9/11 vibe that only got stronger as the movie showed pillars of smoke rising up over the Gotham City skyline. (Which looked a bit like Manhattan.)

Bane then takes over Gotham and imposes a Cultural Revolution, in which the upper classes are condemned in circus-like courts, with those who opt for exile being marched onto the thin winter ice until they break through and drown in the waters.

Then Batman comes back and saves the day, and life returns to normal.

And I'm sitting there in my seat, my emotions regarding 9/11, the Cultural Revolution and the Siege of Leningrad having been churned up for the sake of a crummy Batman movie. And I just thought "The Dark Knight Rises" was a despicable movie.

kingrat
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby kingrat » July 30th, 2012, 5:43 pm

Mike, thanks for writing about the new Batman film. It sounds despicable for all the reasons you mention.

A surprisingly interesting film was THE YOUNG DON'T CRY, the last film directed by the fairly obscure B-movie director Alfred L. Werker (co-director of HE WALKED BY NIGHT, director of THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (1939), among many other films). Filmed on location in Georgia, THE YOUNG DON'T CRY stars Sal Mineo (then 17) as a boy coming of age in an orphanage. When he beats up a bully, he shows that he is a "big fellow," but what kind should he be, caring for others or out only for himself? The part of the film which deals with life in the orphanage is good enough, but the really interesting part concerns the chain gang which works near the school. James Whitmore plays a convict who saves Sal from a rattlesnake; Leigh Whipper plays the old African-American convict Doosy who is Whitmore's friend. Both seem likable, though both are in prison for killing other men. J. Carrol Naish is Mr. Plug, the head of the prison; Victor Throley, whose only film this is, plays Whittaker, the main guard watching the chain gang; and Stefan Gierasch is the none-too-bright guard Billy Boy. Ruth Attaway plays Philomena, an African-American woman who lives alone near the school, fishing for her livelihood. All of these performances are outstanding. Usually the prison guard roles are cliches, but here we have three memorable individuals. Though none of the guards is sympathetic, the belief of Mr. Plug and Whittaker than the cons can't be trusted is proven all too correct.

Sal's Southern accent is better than you might think; Whitmore isn't supposed to be Southern; and the others in this group nail the accent. Top marks for the dialect coach. The ending of the film doesn't have quite the punch it might have, but this is very much worth seeing for some great acting.

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moira finnie
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby moira finnie » July 30th, 2012, 6:30 pm

MikeBSG wrote:Then Batman comes back and saves the day, and life returns to normal.

And I'm sitting there in my seat, my emotions regarding 9/11, the Cultural Revolution and the Siege of Leningrad having been churned up for the sake of a crummy Batman movie. And I just thought "The Dark Knight Rises" was a despicable movie.

And the talking heads continue to maintain that there is no certified connection between movie violence and that in the real world. Thanks for describing this so well, Mike. I had no intention of seeing this, since the previews were horrendously violent, at least for me, anyway. And that was before the Aurora massacre.

How did you get to see The Young Don't Cry, king? Was it on TCM? I am a Leigh Whipper fan from way back, mostly because of his acting in Of Mice and Men and The Ox-Bow Incident. Despite being born only 11 years after the Civil War, he was one of the few African-American actors of his generation in mainstream American films who let anger show through his characterizations and he lived to age 99, just long enough to see tremendous changes in his own lifetime. Thanks for your review.
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JackFavell
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby JackFavell » July 30th, 2012, 6:54 pm

I've seen The Young Don't Cry on TCM before, sometime last year I think. kingrat really nails it in his review.

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MichiganJ
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby MichiganJ » July 31st, 2012, 9:02 am

For what it's worth, the way I think of the politics in The Dark Knight Rises is that, in this post 9/11 world, Bane fools the 99 percent of Gotham into condemning the one percent. The Occupy movement is further referenced in that Selina only steals from the ultra-rich. But Wayne himself, is part of the one percent, which is what allows him to become Batman in the first place; yet (slight spoiler) he essentially joins the 99 percent when his losses his wealth. Contradictory message? Batman has always been a character full of complications and contradictions, and The Dark Knight Rises continues to reflect that.

Batman is a vigilante and often works outside of the law by means which are justified because he catches the bad guy. (Like the many ways, post 9/11, we've justified tactics in the war against terror?)
Batman is against the use of guns. (Pro gun control?)
Batman is all about surveillance. (Big brother or necessary security?)
Wayne is mega-rich, which allows him to become Batman, the person the citizens of Gotham depend on because the city's Gov't workers (aka: the police) can't. (The government is ineffectual? Better to depend on the affluent?)

Batman is part conservative and part liberal, constantly suffers from self-doubt, has no discernible "super power," except , perhaps, his humanity (and money), all of which (and more) makes him one of the most interesting, complicated and relatable comic book heroes. At least to me.
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kingrat
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby kingrat » July 31st, 2012, 11:33 am

Moira, THE YOUNG DON'T CRY was shown as part of the Teen Idol salute in June, and I'm just now getting around to watching it. You would really enjoy Leigh Whipper's performance, which has enormous authority. The moral center of the film is the African-American woman played by Ruth Attaway (her credits extend to CONRACK and BEING THERE, according to imdb). To have two characters like this--complex, multidimensional, not stereotyped--in a 1950s film is quite remarkable.

Fans of J. Carrol Naish will appreciate that he's just as believable a Southerner as he is, well, just about every other regional or ethnic character.

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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby RedRiver » July 31st, 2012, 1:24 pm

I think I saw a portion of THE YOUNG DON'T CRY once and liked it. There's a prison break? Do they wind up in a rowboat? I've been a James Whitmore fan all my life. Ever since THE LAW AND MR. JONES!

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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby kingrat » July 31st, 2012, 2:45 pm

Yes, Red, that's the one.

MikeBSG
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby MikeBSG » July 31st, 2012, 8:16 pm

Today I watched "The Longest Yard" (1974) directed by Robert Aldrich, for the first time.

I guess I put off watching this one because I had heard one joke from the movie ("I think he broke his neck") so many times when I was a kid that it burned me out on the film before I could see it.

Well, it is a terrifically entertaining film. What a great cast! Burt Reynolds has an easy charm, and it is nice to see a male action star who doesn't have to prove he's an action star by waving a gun around. Eddie Arnold is great as the bad guy, and I loved the fact that this one guy was Arnold's shadow who was in every scene with him but never said anything until the end of the movie. I loved seeing the team of inmates come together, and the football game was terrific (and I can't stand football.) The ending was terrific. No wonder this was one of Aldrich's most popular films.

So "The Freshman," "Horsefeathers," "M*A*S*H" and "The Longest Yard" -- a quartet of funny football movies.

RedRiver
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby RedRiver » August 1st, 2012, 1:34 pm

Eddie Arnold, the singer? I've heard this is a good movie. I, also, have never gotten around to it.

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movieman1957
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby movieman1957 » August 1st, 2012, 1:47 pm

Eddie Albert. "Green Acres" to the state prison. It is a fun film. Burt's easy going style and his own natural athletic ability make it a pretty good trip.
Chris

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MikeBSG
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby MikeBSG » August 1st, 2012, 9:16 pm

Today I watched "Sink the Bismarck" (1960) directed by Lewis Gilbert.

It was okay. Maybe too many scenes of guys (and gals) moving markers around a map. The sinking of the Bismarck was marvelously done and, perhaps, drew attention to the energy lacking elsewhere in the film. An okay film. Good but not great.

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Rita Hayworth
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby Rita Hayworth » August 1st, 2012, 10:47 pm

MikeBSG wrote:Today I watched "Sink the Bismarck" (1960) directed by Lewis Gilbert.

It was okay. Maybe too many scenes of guys (and gals) moving markers around a map. The sinking of the Bismarck was marvelously done and, perhaps, drew attention to the energy lacking elsewhere in the film. An okay film. Good but not great.


It's another of my favorites ... I watched that movie last week ... and I can see where you are coming from here.

RedRiver
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby RedRiver » August 2nd, 2012, 3:03 pm

It's been so incredibly long since I've seen this movie, I can't remember exactly how I felt about it. Love the song, though!

MikeBSG
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby MikeBSG » August 3rd, 2012, 12:24 pm

Today I watched "She" (1935) directed by Irving Pichel.

It is an important film, but I can't say that I really enjoyed myself. I found it mostly slow and too talky. It was as if the movie crew had landed on Skull Island (in "King Kong") been captured and spent the rest of the film in captivity before escaping at the very end.

Basically, this version of "She" was trapped in the shadow of other films: "King Kong" and "Lost Horizon" came to my mind most strongly. In one scene, the evil queen's costume here clearly inspired the evil queen's costume in "Snow White". The evil queen's death scene reminded me a bit of the Witch's death in "Wizard of Oz."

While Nigel Bruce and Helen Mack were good in their roles, I was less impressed with Randolph Scott and Helen Gahagan. As I watched, my thoughts kept going back to "The Mummy" (1932) and "Dracula's Daughter," two films with a somewhat similiar human/supernatural being love story angle. Those two Universal films captivated me. I believed them, and I believed them because of the performances. (I'm sorry Helen Gahagan became a victim of Richard Nixon's red-baiting, but don't say that her performance here is especially compelling.)


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