What was the last movie you saw?

HYSTERIA 1965 --This came out just before Mirage 1965 and has a similar plot (man with amnesia who goes to a private investigator). Jimmy Sangster thriller films all have a similar structure in the twists. It is a Hitchcockian concept and if it was in colour and had a Hermann score it would be better remembered.
 
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017): the mother of a murdered woman puts up three billboards challenging the authorities to solve the crime, which leads to a spiral of violence in a small town.

This is an odd, slightly unsatisfying film with some good jokes, good performances from the lead actors and a fair amount of violence. It feels like the film equivalent of a "literary" novel, in that there are no very likeable characters and very little crime-solving actually goes on. The closest equivalent I can think of is a more arty version of Fargo, but it's too brutal to be quirky. It's definitely a good film, but its strangeness makes it hard to recommend outright.
 
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017): the mother of a murdered woman puts up three billboards challenging the authorities to solve the crime, which leads to a spiral of violence in a small town.

This is an odd, slightly unsatisfying film with some good jokes, good performances from the lead actors and a fair amount of violence. It feels like the film equivalent of a "literary" novel, in that there are no very likeable characters and very little crime-solving actually goes on. The closest equivalent I can think of is a more arty version of Fargo, but it's too brutal to be quirky. It's definitely a good film, but its strangeness makes it hard to recommend outright.
I thought this one was excellent from the get-go. The crime is a MacGuffin used to crack open the characters and see what makes them tick; it's all about the characters, and there's a good chance the crime, like so many crimes, never gets satisfactorily solved.
 
I thought this one was excellent from the get-go. The crime is a MacGuffin used to crack open the characters and see what makes them tick; it's all about the characters, and there's a good chance the crime, like so many crimes, never gets satisfactorily solved.


Me too. I thought it was a great movie. It's slightly jarring when you realise that there really isn't going to be any kind of resolution, but this is in part because Hollywood has conditioned us into believing that all films must have a beginning, middle and end.
 
Kill Boksoon (Korean, 2023) 7.5/10

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I'd say it has a good plot and is relaxing for a Sunday afternoon. For those who like the John Wick style, it's a must-see.
 
The Search (1948) In the aftermath of WWII, there are organizations seeking to reunite children with their parents. One boy, Karel Malik (Ivan Jandl) who had been liberated from a concentration camp, has been so ?? that he refuses to speak. He and one other boy, frightened by the uniforms and the ambulance, run away. The other boy drowns, and Malik is assumed to have also drowned. His mother Hanna (Jarmila Novotná) refuses to believe he is dead, and continues searching for him.

Meanwhile, Karel meets a U.S. Army Engineer, Ralph Stevenson (Montgomery Clift) the boy, who eyes his lunch with a ravenous face, Stevenson gives the boy his sandwich, and eventually earns his trust. Hoping to adopt him, Stevenson faces a never-ending barrier of red tape, and also, the fact that he is scheduled to return to America in just a few weeks.

By sheer chance, the mother and child are reunited at the last minute.

Very touching film 8/10.
 
The Wonderful Country (1959) Western. An American, Martin Brady (Robert Mitchum) living in Mexico becomes caught between two brothers, one the governor of a an area in Mexico, and the other, the General of that Government's army. Neither trusts the other, and each intends to kill the other. Moreover, the American Army wants cooperation in a war against the Indians. So, Brady has nowhere to turn for safety. On top of that, he was charged with protecting a shipment of weapons from the USA to this particular Mexican govt., and his explanation for failure is not likely going to satisfy his employer.

Not the typical Western; 8/10.
 
SPACEFLIGHT IC-1 1965 -Short (an hour) movie about a space mission to Earth 2 in the year 2015 (undertaken by the World Government although there is a Deep State inside it that is rather sinister (isn't it always?). The commander is a grouchy American who learns he is sterile and takes it out on the other people--refusing to turn the ship back to save a sick crew member. When he refuses her request to have a child on the ship due to the rigid eugenics rules, she kills herself--causing her husband doctor to mutiny. There's a Dr. Garth on the ship who was a normal man before he had his head chopped off and attached to a box in order to serve as a kind of Hal-9000. Talk about being devoted to the space program. They eat algae which also gives them air--and they have a holographic toy for the children called Ho Ho The Clown. It is cheap but I was held in interest by the story.
 
I thought this one was excellent from the get-go. The crime is a MacGuffin used to crack open the characters and see what makes them tick; it's all about the characters, and there's a good chance the crime, like so many crimes, never gets satisfactorily solved.

I've got no problem with that: it's about the people rather than the solving, I agree. I found the balance of comedy and violence to be a bit awkward, and there was one scene that really puzzled me, where a man threatens the heroine in her gift shop, then leaves when he's interrupted. Nobody ever mentions it again and it doesn't affect the rest of the film at all, which makes me wonder if a subplot was cut here.

And is all of small-town America really wacky and vaguely dangerous?
 
From Beyond (1986) Pretty decent Lovecraftian horror starring ace scream queen Barbara Crampton. The special effects might look a bit clunky nowadays but they were good for the time. Any horror fan should enjoy this one.
 
12.12: The Day AKA Spring in Seoul. An account of South Korea’s military coup.

The highest grossing South Korean movie of 2023, domestically. It’s very well-directed. It keeps the tension high at all times.
 
Blood (1973)

Another ultra-cheap Gothic horror film from Andy Milligan. The son of the Wolf Man and the daughter of Dracula are married. With the help of three oddball servants, they raise people-eating plants that somehow produce a serum that keeps Dracula's daughter alive. Most of the movie is people shouting at each other. Characters show up and get killed. Pretends to be set in Victorian times, but takes place mostly in what is clearly a modern home. (The pseudo-19th century setting also makes nonsense of the connection to the Universal horror classics, which were set in contemporary times.) The version on YouTube is less than an hour long, but apparently there exists a version that is seventy-odd minutes in duration. Shorter is better (or less bad) in this case.
 
Terror in the Wax Museum (1973)

Old-fashioned chiller with lots of old-time stars. John Carradine runs a House of Horrors with wax statues of murderers. He's got a hunchbacked, deaf, mute, one-eyed assistant with a withered arm and a badly deformed face (poor makeup.) He's about to sell the place to Broderick Crawford. Carradine gets killed by the wax figure of Jack the Ripper come to life -- or is it? Carradine's associate Ray Milland takes over running the place. Meanwhile, Carradine's pretty young niece and her guardian (Elsa Lanchester) show up. It seems the niece is set to inherit the place. She also becomes the love interest of the handsome young police sergeant on the case. (Maurice Evans is the police inspector.) A couple of more murders follow.

It screams "made for TV" in every way, from the opening credits to the closing credits, but was actually shown in theaters. Very mild, slow-moving stuff. The old-timers are fun to watch, anyway. Not the worst wax museum horror film I've seen (that would be Nightmare in Wax) but pretty bland.
 
Four Boys and a Gun (1957)

The four "boys" (actually men) pull a heist on a boxing arena. Naturally, this goes badly. They kill a cop and get caught. Flashbacks tells us why they decided to pull this job at the last minute. (One guy loses his job when he finds out his girlfriend is fooling around with the boss. Another guy foolishly took money from the gangster for whom he works as a numbers runner. A third guy is married and his wife needs an expensive Caesarian operation. The fourth guy doesn't have so specific a motive, but he's a nerdy little fellow who hangs around with the others.) Either they all get the death penalty, or one of them takes the rap for the murder and the rest get a life sentence but with the possibility of parole. Not a bad little B crime movie, nicely filmed and acted.
 
Amanda and the Alien (1995)

Based on the short story of the same name by Robert Silverberg. I hope they paid him a lot of money.

The first half hour or so actually follows the story pretty closely, including a lot of the dialogue. Read it here:

Amanda and the Alien

In the story, a teenage girl (Amanda) realizes that a supposedly human woman is actually a shapeshifting/body snatching alien on the run from human authorities. She teaches she/it how to do stuff like take a shower. She/it gets high on oregano. Amanda convinces she/it to take over the body of her cheating boyfriend. She then has sex with him/it, decides it wasn't that great, and turns him/it into the authorities.

Not a great story, to be honest. Kind of a silly dark comedy.

Differences in the movie:

Amanda is a young woman instead of a teenage girl. The alien gets high on paprika instead of oregano. Instead of turning in the alien, Amanda falls in love with him/it and goes on the run with him/it, filling up the rest of the film.

Making a sex comedy/romantic comedy version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers may not have been the greatest idea in the world. Even given that handicap, the film makers botch the job.

But hey, Robert Silverberg himself has a nonspeaking cameo role!

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SAVAGES 1974 - Excellent generation gap tv-movie with Andy Griffith as a folksy lawyer psycho who torments an eccentric young man after the former accidentally kills a man during a hunting trip. Lots of good exchanges, the most memorable being Griffith's response when his quarry calls him crazy: "I'm often called that by those I've defeated."

VIOLENT ROME - 1975 - Lives up to its title as Maurizio Merli (the Italian Dirty Harry) kills a few thugs and gets fired--and then recruited by Richard Conte', a lawyer representing a group of citizens who have been victims of crime. Merli then helps them catch criminals.
 
Rock, Pretty Baby (1956)

Surprisingly, this isn't one of those rocksploitation films of the time in which various groups lip-synch to their hits, occasionally interrupted by a plot of some sort. All the songs in this one (and a lot of them aren't rock 'n' roll by any stretch of the imagination) are lip-synched by the actors. Hot-headed teenager John Saxon wants to play guitar with his band rather than become a doctor like his dad (Ed Platt, the Chief on Get Smart). He manages to raise enough money to get an electric guitar. Eventually, his band is set to participate in a big contest that would mean a record deal.

Meanwhile, he has an on and off romance with a girl that leads to him getting into a big fight with a rival that wrecks the house during a party, as well as putting him into a blue funk so he refuses to go to the contest. Good old Dad comes to rescue by bringing the two lovebirds back together and getting his son to the contest barely on time.

Also present are Sal Mineo as the drummer, Rod McKeown as one of the group, King Kong's leading lady Fay Wray as Mom, our hero's little wisecracking brother, and his thirteen-year-old sister who is thrilled to put on her first pair of high heels and first brassiere.

Not a great film, but professionally filmed and acted.
 
Where Has Poor Mickey Gone?

One of the great pities of modern cinema is the demise of the B feature. A chance for up-and-coming actors and/or directors to get a shot on the big screen. It was also an opportunity to try somehing a bit different without breaking the bank and risking going bust.

This is such a B movie from 1964 that I happened upon on Talking Pictures. It's interesting and unusual, and whilst it has its faults, the story keeps you glued to your screen.

It plays out like an extended 'Tales of the Unexpected', and really doesn't need to be 60 minutes long, as the first half hour or so is superfluous to the story being told.

But if you're looking for something a bit eerie and unsettling, then there are much worse alternatives out there.

I also think that this is the best movie representation of 'macabre' that I can remember watching.
 
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The Talisman (1966)

Interesting low budget Western. Indian warrior and white woman are the only survivors of a battle. At first, he tries to kill her, but lightning and a hawk hovering overhead convince him this is an omen, so he spares her. (Mind you, this is all communicated visually, as there is no dialogue yet. The Indian never speaks a word of English, so there is minimal dialogue throughout.) They become traveling companions. He fights Indians from another tribe (thus gaining a horse and rifle), protects her from a bear, etc.

Eventually, they encounter five white men, and she goes with them. Four of them rape her (the one who objects to this gets shot) and stake her to the ground, leaving her in a catatonic state. They draw cards to see who has the task of killing her. The Indian shows up to prevent this, then tracks down each man and kills him in a particularly unpleasant way.

Obviously made on a tiny budget, but with some nice black-and-white cinematography and a haunting mood. There's a hint of the supernatural at the end. Worth a look.
 

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