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Old May 24 2011, 03:15 AM   #466
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


60. Hamlet (A)
61. All the King's Men (A-)
62. Roman Holiday (A+)
63. Rebecca (A-)
64. Notorious (A)

Another 1940s Hitchcock film, in this case starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman, as well as Bergman's Casablanca costar Claude Raines (once again meeting up with her in an exotic foreign capital with Nazi-related activities afoot).

Slimmer and more focused than Rebecca, it's a quite excellent thriller. The relationship between Grant and Bergman's characters initially seems a little odd, but it becomes clear that that's intentional. Per the time, there's way more emphasis on Bergman sleeping with the enemy than would probably be put on it today. Mme. Konstantine as Raines' fearsome mother is another great performance (Hitchcock seems to have a bit of a fixation on domineering mother figures; I guess it'd have been even more of a surprise to audiences that Mrs. Bates didn't in fact show up at the end of Psycho, given this recurring element in earlier Hitchcock films). Bergman, particularly in the opening scenes, gives a much less glamourous portrayal than you'd normally see. There's some great camera work.
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Old May 24 2011, 04:41 PM   #467
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


44. Priest: D+
45. The Fourth Kind: B+
46. POTC: On Stranger Tides: B-
47. Turtles Forever: A-
48. Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story: B+

Really good movie. I've never been a huge Bruce Lee fan. I thought he was a great martial artist but never really watched his cataloge of work. I am currently watching The Green Hornet 60's show and a friend thought I should watch this movie.

I will say I'm impressed with the obstacles he overcame and how his determination was to be admired. We always are reminded of the racial issues of blacks/whites in an era like the 60's but it brings it home in this movie that the Asain prejudices were just as strong and Bruce Lee overcame those. And he shrugged off the "orders" of the Asian(triad) leaders in his community.

I always thought he died on set. The film stops before anything tragic, just after Enter the Dragon stops filming, and then says Lee entered into a coma most surprisingly and died mysteriously.
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Old May 24 2011, 04:52 PM   #468
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

I've seen that movie, but I seriously didn't remember that. I should probably watch it again. It's been years and years.

I seem to remember there was a really bad video game based on that film, too.
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Old May 27 2011, 10:51 PM   #469
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

Batman: The Movie (1966)

I've always had a fondness for the 60's Batman television series. I used to catch the show when it was on both TV Land and Nick at Nite. That said, I didn't know there was a film until recently and the library happened to have a copy. Like the series, the movie is completely upsurd but in a fun way. The leaps in logic Batman and Robin make in advancing the plot are funnily astounding, case in point when the Riddler sends them a clue in the form of two riddles:

Batman: One, what has yellow skin and writes?
Robin: A ballpoint banana!
Batman: Right, two. What people are always in a hurry?
Robin: Rushing people... Russians!
Batman: Right again. Now what would you say they mean?
Robin: Banana, Russian. I've got it! Some one Russian is goin to slip on a banana peel and break thier neck!
Batman: Precisely Robin! The only possible meaning.

My favorite scene in the film however is the one where Batman constantly finds obstacles in his way while he tries to get rid of a bomb. He sums it up perfectly:

"Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb!"
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Old May 28 2011, 02:03 AM   #470
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


60. Hamlet (A)
61. All the King's Men (A-)
62. Roman Holiday (A+)
63. Rebecca (A-)
64. Notorious (A)
65. American Madness (B+)

Six black-and-white films straight, and I've got another five lying in wait (plus a few colour ones I've had for months and never seem to get around to).

This was one of five films in a Frank Capra DVD collection I got for $30; the other four are all well-known (two won Best Picture), but this one is not. It was made in 1932, which makes it possibly the earliest film I've ever watched; it's also the first collaboration between Capra and screenwriter Robert Riskin, who wrote three of the other four films on this set (Mr. Smith Goes To Washington being the odd man out). Among other things, the movie predates the formation of the Screen Actors Guild (1933), and there are only eight credited actors, leaving about two dozen smaller speaking parts uncredited.

American Madness could succinctly be described as if Capra had decided to make a whole film about the 1929 bank scene in It's A Wonderful Life. Walter Huston plays an improbably idealistic banker whose institution is threatened with collapse over a two-day period due to a robbery and the subsequent rumours of instability. There's a lot of speeches similar to those in IAWL, particularly about people sticking together and the need to support businesses rather than hoard money for capitalists (not wrong, economically speaking). This film came out pre-FDR, so there's no FDIC or anything like that; it's a very different banking world. Huston is good as the lead, whose arc is a lot like George Bailey's (minus the angel stuff), and the other performances are generally strong.

I also liked that, when one bank teller is falsely implicated in the robbery, the cops are allowed to solve the case themselves rather than his girlfriend or employer conducting their own investigation. Some of the plot mechanics are a bit contrived (this is one of those stories where everything would be okay if a few people would just take five minutes to explain themselves; a guy almost gets himself arrested for murder because he's too noble to give his alibi as investigating whether his boss's wife was cheating), but I quite liked it overall. Even early on, you can see Capra's mastery of the camera. Feels far more natural than many of the films of the era that I've seen. Also of note, the film is only 76 minutes long, which wouldn't be long enough for a theatrical release these days.
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Old May 28 2011, 04:11 PM   #471
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


45. The Fourth Kind: B+
46. POTC: On Stranger Tides: B-
47. Turtles Forever: A-
48. Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story: B+
49. Easy A: A

This Emma Stone comedy about a teenage girl who allows the rumors or her false sexual escapades to build and build. Well done on all fronts and has a great supporting cast.
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Old May 29 2011, 01:46 AM   #472
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


60. Hamlet (A)
61. All the King's Men (A-)
62. Roman Holiday (A+)
63. Rebecca (A-)
64. Notorious (A)
65. American Madness (B+)
66. It Happened One Night (A-)

The grandfather of the screwball comedy, jumpstarted numerous comedy tropes still in use today, and the first of only three films to win the Oscar Grand Slam. Won Capra the first of three Best Director Oscars (which ties him with William Wyler for second place behind John Ford; I kind of think Steven Spielberg might yet make that a three-way tie).

Though, as I said, a lot of the tropes have become familiar, there's a certain freshness to the production because they weren't familiar to the people making it at the time, and there's a certain energy to that. Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert are both strong as the leads. There's a creakiness to some of the plotting; the whole "on the run from dad" plot is just strange (Colbert even tells her father that she can legally do whatever she wants, but he proceeds to quite publicly sic the goon squad on her and nobody seems to think this is flagrantly illegal), and dad abruptly reverses course completely in order for the finale to work. Also notably, this early in the history of the rom-com, the film doesn't bother to come up with a reason for us to dislike the preexisting fiancee; he's just kind of there.
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Old May 29 2011, 01:48 AM   #473
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

CaptainCanada wrote: View Post
It was made in 1932, which makes it possibly the earliest film I've ever watched
Wait, really?

I haven't seen a lot of films earlier than that, but you should at least see some of the silent comedy of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, as well as films like Metropolis and The Passion of Joan of Ark.

74. The Roaring Twenties (B)
75. Easy A (B-)


The Roaring Twenties: I don't have much to say about this Warner Bros. gangster film. It features solid performances, especially from Bogie and Cagney (and no George Raft!), but I can't say I have much to say about it. If you're interested in a good if unexceptional gangster movie from the late 1930s, it is worth seeing. Otherwise, there are better ways to spend your time.

Easy A: I was surprised by how funny this turned out to be, and with little exception it was the result of shouldering much of the comedy on older actors (most of all Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci, who shine brilliantly as her quirky parents). Not to knock Emma Stone, but as a lead she doesn't do much to distinguish herself. I didn't hate her in the role, but much of the movie is spent waiting for the next ageing actor (including Malcolm McDowell, Thomas Hayden Church, Fred Armisen, and surely others that I'm forgetting) to appear and do something absolutely hilarious.
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Old May 29 2011, 01:58 AM   #474
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

Harvey wrote: View Post
Wait, really?

I haven't seen a lot of films earlier than that, but you should at least see some of the silent comedy of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, as well as films like Metropolis and The Passion of Joan of Ark.
Actually, now that you mention it, I have seen The Passion of Joan of Arc and City Lights. Silent films don't do a lot for me, I find; artistically I find you can tell a strong story without dialogue if you so choose, but those guys weren't really choosing to, it was an enforced limitation, hence things like title cards, which just don't work at all (also, the lack of a score). Plus, I just generally prefer verbal humour to physical humour.
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Old May 29 2011, 02:50 AM   #475
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In that case, I'll recommend The Smiling Lieutenant, a pre-code musical from 1931. Fritz Lang's M was also made in 1931, and although I haven't seen all of it, I really don't have a good excuse why not. Hitchcock's first sound film, Blackmail, was made in 1929 (actually a silent-sound hybrid). It's not his finest work, but worth seeing (and in both versions, which are different enough from each other to warrant seeing both).

Several of the Marx Brothers films are from the very early sound era, although their best film, Duck Soup, comes from 1933 and I assume you've seen it (plenty of verbal humor there).

And I totally understand how you've reacted to silent cinema. I know a lot of classmates who feel differently (even some who specialize in silent cinema), but for the most part it does nothing for me. Still, as a sf touchstone, Metropolis is a must see!

76. Dr. Strangelove (A)

I've seen this Kubrick comedy many times, although this is the first time seeing it on Blu-Ray (the transfer was quite good, if not outstanding, due to the grainy cinematography). Not much to say about the film at this point except that it is still hilarious, and I'm still dumbfounded how a filmmaker as coldly clinical as Kubrick could make a movie so funny. The performances are great (it's easy to point out Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, and Slim Pickens, although everyone is spot on--there's no odd man out with an over-the-top performance like there is in, say, A Clockwork Orange) and, like everything Kubrick directed, it's so well-made that it's impossible to find any technical fault with the film.
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Old May 29 2011, 04:00 AM   #476
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

I've not seen anything by the Marx Brothers, actually; I've only recently started getting into 30s/40s cinema in any depth, and those types of comedies haven't been high on my list so far.
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Old May 29 2011, 04:04 AM   #477
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In that case, I can't recommend Duck Soup highly enough. Their comedies are hit or miss, but Duck Soup is brilliant.
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Old May 30 2011, 03:59 AM   #478
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


60. Hamlet (A)
61. All the King's Men (A-)
62. Roman Holiday (A+)
63. Rebecca (A-)
64. Notorious (A)
65. American Madness (B+)
66. It Happened One Night (A-)
67. Mr. Deeds Goes To Town (C-)

It's been a while since I liked a movie a lot less than I was expecting to.

This is one of Capra's more famous movies, and was remade starring Adam Sandler the better part of a decade ago (Gary Cooper, Adam Sandler; what's the difference?). Sandler's version is a pretty standard Sandler comedy (so, determinedly mediocre at best), but this one is in some ways more disappointing, because the talent both in front of and behind the camera suggests it could have been a lot better. It hums along reasonably well for the first hour and a half, but then it spectacularly derails. The villains decide to have Deeds declared legally insane in order to take control of his fortune. The evidence for this is absurdly thin; there is palpably no jeopardy, except that Deeds, apparently so depressed by the Big Horrible City and his love interest's deception, decides not to contest it. Yes, he's so sad he'll let his enemies send him to an insane asylum. Capra's done the martyred noble man both before and since, and magnificently, but this guy is no George Bailey; every moment where we're supposed to feel sorry for poor Longfellow I was thinking what a fucking moron he is.

Moreover, Capra, in a rare miscalculation, gets the tone all wrong. Deeds, from what we see, is looking into ways to do good with his money, but it depressed by the people he encounters. Then he's accosted by an impoverished farmer who berates him for abandoning the common man...which he really hasn't done at all, but Deeds seems to think he has. Thus he decides to give all his money away to help people buy farms. Then the villain's plot springs into action, and the depressed Deeds doesn't contest it. But this whole setup just works against the idea of Deeds being worn down, because he in fact already found a purpose: helping the decent common man. And these guys turn out in droves to support him, they pack the courthouse and surround the building, showing their support...and Deeds just sulks. He wasn't abandoning the common man before, but he sure is now, supposedly after his wakeup call.
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Old May 31 2011, 02:52 AM   #479
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)

The 2nd in John Ford's cavalry trilogy. Like in most of his westerns, Ford makes excellent use of monument valley with only a couple of matte shots and sets added into the mix. John Wayne gives a good performance as a cavalry officer on his last patrol and I liked the character's interaction with his subordinates.

"Sergeant, I'm ordering you to volunteer."

My only criticism of the film comes from the fact that it has multiple endings, each of which would have worked.
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Old May 31 2011, 03:43 AM   #480
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

The Roaring Twenties: I don't have much to say about this Warner Bros. gangster film. It features solid performances, especially from Bogie and Cagney (and no George Raft!), but I can't say I have much to say about it. If you're interested in a good if unexceptional gangster movie from the late 1930s, it is worth seeing. Otherwise, there are better ways to spend your time.
Wow. I just saw this recently too and I think you're really selling it short. I expected a rather run-of-the-mill gangster movie as you describe it, but thought it was a lot more than that. It is a good gangster movie with the usual stuff you'd expect in those like shootouts, backstabbing, threatening, and bickering between gangsters (done well), but that's not all it is.

I think there's some interesting stuff going on psychologically with Cagney, because in addition to being a movie about gangsters, it's also a classic example of a story that gains emotional resonance from focusing on a character who is tortured by his desire for an unattainable woman for all of his life (like "The Great Gatsby"). Cagney's character desires this woman who doesn't want him when he's a young, successful big shot gangster, and no matter how prosperous he becomes, she still isn't attracted to him, and they both feel bad about it.

Then at the end, when he's old, broken down, and ruined by how the post-Great Depression changing conditions in America put him out of business, it haunts him even worse. This isn't just a story of gangsters and their fighting/drama. It also has value for its historical insights about America and its psychological depth.

I was really surprised by how moving the ending was with the Cagney character still unable to get over the girl he could never get and unable to keep up with the times. In the end, the movie felt surprisingly poignant and tragic. The only thing that was mildly disappointing was how one-dimensional and easily subdued Humphrey Bogart's character was, but that was unavoidable since at this point he wasn't so famous and only on the verge of his big breakout roles.

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