What was the last movie you saw?

  1. Victoria Silverwolf

    Victoria Silverwolf Vegetarian Werewolf

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    Weird Woman (1944)

    Directed by Reginald Le Borg; written by Scott Darling and Brenda Weisberg, from the novel Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber, Jr.

    This is one of half a dozen "Inner Sanctum Mysteries" starring Lon Chaney, Jr., made during the 1940's. They're all low budget and run only about an hour. This one was of interest to me because it's based on the classic novel Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber, Jr., published only the year before. (The book was later adapted into the very good film Night of the Eagle AKA Burn, Witch, Burn [1962] as well as a 1960 television production and the 1980 comedy Witches' Brew, neither of which I have seen.)

    Chaney is a professor (of cultural anthropology, it would seem) who goes to an island in the South Seas to study the local customs. He meets the daughter of a deceased colleague, who has been raised by the local high priestess. Back in the States they marry, despite Chaney's hardheaded rationalism and his new bride's superstitious clinging to primitive rituals. On hand is his old flame, now bitterly jealous over his new love. After Chaney forces his wife to destroy all her magical objects, things go from bad to worse. A colleague kills himself when his plagiarism of a former student's work is threatened to be exposed. A co-ed with a schoolgirl crush on Chaney does some heavy flirting with him and is rejected, leading to an accusation of improper behavior on his part and an attempt on his life by a jealous boyfriend. Although he survives, it leads to further tragedy. His wife receives telephone calls playing recordings of a death chant. Will they be able to escape their doom?

    Although not anywhere near as good as the 1962 film, and not at all up to the excellent novel, this is an entertaining little movie. Possibly because one of the screenwriters was female, and probably because of the themes found in Leiber's novels, this is very much a film dominated by women. The male characters are naive and powerless in comparison to them, from the sweet and innocent but witch-like young wife, to the vengeful jilted ex, to the ambitious wife of the plagiarist, to the seductive student, to the wise and benign dean of women. Fans of old scare flicks will recognize many of the Scream Queens in these roles, particularly Evelyn Ankers in a rare villainous role and Elizabeth Russell, a remarkably striking actress who was memorable in Val Lewton chillers.

    Although the novel is unambiguously fantastic, the movie only offers one small hint at the very end that something supernatural might actually be going on. The book also has nothing to do with the South Seas, and simply establishes the fact that many women are witches, unknown to the men whose lives they control for good or evil.
     
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  2. Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    Just an observation: there is quite a bit of historical research at Oxford University department of social history, into the depiction by men, of strong and feisty women as witches, in all kinds of media and arts, for centuries. (Women were put on this Earth to be controlled by men, and women who control men, or even just argue, must therefore be witches.) So, while it may seem like only a small hint, it is something that is a part of a much broader subconscious discrimination that all understand. It continues today, you only need to look at images Tweeted during the last few elections.
     
  3. AE35Unit

    AE35Unit ]==[]===O °

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    X Men: Days of Future Past
     
  4. Randy M.

    Randy M. Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. I hope to get a chance to catch this sometime. Like you, I thought Night of the Eagle was very good.

    Just a side note: One of many things that fascinates me about Hollywood in its formative years was the depiction of women and sex. The formation of the Hayes commission reined in sexuality drastically after about 1934, but some of the movies from earlier were nearly as provocative as those appearing in the late '60s, after the commission was de-fanged. On a social level, and what was considered a woman's place at the time, the tough, smart and smart-mouthed broads of the '30s (Jean Harlow, Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwick, among others), became the strong, authoritative women of the '40s upholding our values while holding up the home-front with their men away at war (Stanwick, Davis, Joan Crawford, etc.), became the house-bound wives and mothers of the late '40s, early '50s. You kind of see this in the characters played decade by decade by Stanwick, Myrna Loy, Joan Bennett and others.

    Anyway, onward ...


    Ladybug Ladybug (1963), dir. Frank Perry; screenwriter, Eleanor Perry, with story by Lois Dickert.

    I don't recall hearing of this until last weekend, though I've certainly heard of other films by the Perrys: The Swimmer, David and Lisa, and Diary of a Mad Housewife. A rural school alarm goes off, a "yellow" alert meaning imminent nuclear attack. In the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis a lot of movies focused on the possibility of nuclear war, but this one does it from the perspective of people outside the circles of power and influence, mainly children. Later we learn that the alarm may have been caused by a short-circuit, but the children the movie follows don't know this and aren't told by the school's principal (William Daniels; must be my week for Daniels since he as also in Marlowe) or their teacher (Nancy Marchand, of Lou Grant and The Sopranos fame) that they are not treating this as a drill because they just don't know. As Marchand walks them home along country roads, they suss out for themselves that bombs may be coming. This leads to some moments of grace but also to an act of fear and cowardice, all perfectly reasonable extrapolated behaviors given the premise.

    A black and white film, something about it -- maybe the focus on children -- reminds me of To Kill a Mockingbird but also episodes of The Twilight Zone. There is a feel to it of intimacy with the characters that I associate with films of that time. I take it there is some controversy about how to "read" the final scene in which one of the boys, looking up, watchs something streaking across the sky leaving a vapor trail and screams "Stop" over and over, cut to black. Some see it as confirmation of nuclear attack; some see a plane and read the boy's reaction as the logical outcome of nuclear paranoia and a warning against the fear we were instilling in our children. I incline to the latter reading.


    Randy M.
     
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  5. J Riff

    J Riff The Ants are my friends..

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    Lots of 40s movies surprise people. But, I watched Shade - a poker movie, and Stallone was in it, which I dint know till he showed up - and everyone cons heck out of each other, trying to set up levels and levels of set-up n' subterfuge, and some rich guy, maybe two, get taken to the cleaners but by then I'm not sure who's conning who, maybe the moviemakers, conning me into watching all the poker movies out there, for no discernable sane reason other'n I've run out of SFF. Back to yoTube and the forties we go..*
     
  6. Victoria Silverwolf

    Victoria Silverwolf Vegetarian Werewolf

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    Out of Sight (1966)

    Some time ago I subjected myself to The Fat Spy (also 1966), which was a beach movie pretending to be a spy spoof. This one is a spy spoof pretending to be a beach movie.

    Our hero is the inept American butler of British "special agent" John Stamp. (This is apparently supposed to be a joke on James Bond.) He gets mistaken for the spy and winds up involved in a plot by Russian-accented bad guy Big D and his ineffectual henchmen Mousie (the little one) and Huh! (the big one, and, yes, his name has an exclamation point) to blow up a rock 'n' roll concert. In between lots of mid-Sixties pop music (Gary Lewis and the Playboys, the Turtles, Freddy and the Dreamers, etc.), teenagers dancing, and Saturday morning cartoon chase scenes, we get an attempt by three gorgeous female assassins with odd names to kill the hero. There's Scuba, a skin diver who assaults him with a speargun; Wipeout, a surfer who attacks him with karate (and who is played by one of "Mudd's Women" from Star Trek; the dark-haired one, to be specific); and Tuff Bod, who is so powerful that she has to be literally kept behind glass which is only broken open during an emergency. (Disappointingly, her only secret weapon is being a sexy redhead.) Along for the ride are Marvin, a boy-crazy young woman (and who is just as attractive as any other beach bunny in this thing, but who wears glasses and reads a lot), and a couple of antagonists unrelated to the main plot and who are only credited as "The Man From F.L.U.S.H." (a midget) and "The Girl From F.L.U.S.H." (not a midget) who ride around on a motorcycle which is just as goofy as the hero's dune buggy. An enjoyably terrible movie.
     
  7. J Riff

    J Riff The Ants are my friends..

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    Yes, Outa Site man! A chance to hear Gary Lewis n the Playboys play something other'n This Diamond Ring. AND the Astronauts twang it up. Kooky!
     
  8. Victoria Silverwolf

    Victoria Silverwolf Vegetarian Werewolf

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    Dark Intruder (1965)

    Failed television pilot released to theaters, supposedly because it was too scary for TV. Leslie Nielsen stars as a flippant playboy in 1890 San Francisco who is in reality an expert on the occult. With the help of disguises, a secret laboratory, and his midget butler he is consulted by the police when things get weird. A series of murders have left the victims with claw marks and bizarre little statues by their bodies. Our hero consults a Chinese mystic (played by an Occidental) who explains that the murders are meant to allow an ancient demon to inhabit human form. Things get even stranger later. We soon find out that the hero's friend not only suffers from blackouts and can't remember what happens during them, but that he was connected with each of the victims in some way. Could he be the killer? The truth is more complex. Overall, a nifty little mixture of The Wild Wild West and Kolchak: The Night Stalker.
     
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  9. Victoria Silverwolf

    Victoria Silverwolf Vegetarian Werewolf

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    Night Life of the Gods(1935)

    Based on the novel of the same name by Thorne Smith, author of Topper and other comic fantasies with mild bawdiness, lots of drinking, and meandering plots. I haven't read that one, but I've read a few of his works, and this adaptation actually captures something of the flavor of them. A fellow invents a gizmo which changes flesh into stone and stone into flesh. Somehow he turns this into two rings which he uses to change his nagging family into statues. He meets a guy who claims to be one of the "little people" and to be 2400 years old. He meets the 900 year old daughter of this man living in an cavern and, in typical romantic comedy form, at first they fight, then they fall in love. Chaos ensues as they go off on a tear, changing the folks at a nightclub into stone. Somewhat later he goes to an art museum and changes statues of mythological figures into living people. More chaos ensues. There's some witty dialogue and a lot of wacky antics. I found it rather charming.
     
  10. AE35Unit

    AE35Unit ]==[]===O °

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    Logan, a great way to end the series.
    Laura X as a spin-off next perhaps?
     
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  11. nixie

    nixie pixie druid Staff Member

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    Recently watched The Girl With All The Gifts, probably the best zombie film I've ever watched.

    Just watched A Street Cat Named Bob, a beautiful film, following a recovering drug addict who is adopted by a stray cat made me laugh and cry. Normally I wouldn't watch these type of films but this is well worth a view.
     
  12. Foxbat

    Foxbat None The Wiser

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    Logan. Personally, I think that this movie is the best superhero film of the last twenty years. It's kind of a cross between The Tempest and The Cowboys and, apart from The Fountain, I'd say is Jackman's best performance to date.

    No spin-offs please. Hollywood really needs to learn to let a franchise die with dignity.
     
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  13. AE35Unit

    AE35Unit ]==[]===O °

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    Nah, I think it could be entertaining. If handled well. In fact I'd say Laura X is inevitable!
     
  14. AE35Unit

    AE35Unit ]==[]===O °

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    Watched Rogue one on blu ray last night (already seen it at the cinema)
    I like how it ties in to the events leading up to episode 4
     
  15. Alexa

    Alexa traveller space dreamer

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    Watched The Fate of the Furious last night. It was better than I expected. I was afraid that with the dissapearance of Brian (Paul Walker) and Mia as collateral damage, they had no real family to keep going. There were moments when those special effects were a bit too much, but I loved the new bad ass story and James Statham fighting while protecting a baby.

    Awkward moment to see Owne Shaw alive. I thought he died in ep. 6.
     
  16. Cli-Fi

    Cli-Fi John J. Falco

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    War for the Planet of the Apes (2017): These movies are so underrated but story was top notch. I think the best ending to any trilogy I've ever seen. It's NOT just another Ape movie. It's the perfect conclusion to a trilogy. The story of Caesar's life. It was a little predictable but even though I did predict the ending, I had no idea how it was going to get there. It makes you root against your own species and not many movies can say the same. People say Caesar isn't a superhero, but I beg to differ.
     
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  17. AE35Unit

    AE35Unit ]==[]===O °

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    We hope to see that soon
     
  18. Victoria Silverwolf

    Victoria Silverwolf Vegetarian Werewolf

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    The Manster (1959/1962)

    Directed by George Breakston and Kenneth G. Crane; written by George P. Breakston and William J. Sheldon

    ***SPOILERS AHEAD***

    Made by American folks in Japan, and, as indicated by the dates above, apparently released in Japan a few years before it hit American screens, this is a surprisingly entertaining monster movie.

    An American reporter goes to see a Japanese scientist at his mountaintop lab. We've already seen a yeti-like monster created by the scientist kill some women and then get destroyed by his maker, and we've already seen a grotesquely deformed woman held in a cage by the scientist. We'll find out later these creatures are his brother and his sister, and that they both volunteered to be test subjects! Despite these dismal failures, the scientist gives the reporter some drugged Scotch and injects him with something.

    Pretty soon the reporter, formerly a happily married man eager to get back to his wife in the States, is partying hard with the scientist, drinking huge amounts of sake, smooching geisha girls, and having an affair with the scientist's stunningly beautiful Eurasian assistant.

    (A word about the actress playing this role. She's quite striking, and yet this is her only film appearance as far as anybody can tell. There appears to be absolutely no information available about her outside of her involvement in this movie.)

    At this point we pretty much have a domestic drama, as the reporter's wife arrives in Japan and demands that he choose between her and his girlfriend. The only reminder that we're watching a horror film is the fact that one of the reporter's hands grows a lot of hair, as if this were a werewolf movie. Not much later the film's most famous, bizarre, and surreal scene occurs, when an eye appears on his shoulder! Pretty soon an entire second head pops out. By this time the reporter has already killed a Buddhist monk, some women, and, just after the second head shows up, a psychiatrist.

    The movie changes into a crime story, as the Japanese police try to track down the killer. Some scenes could have come out of a good film noir. It all leads up to a final confrontation back at the scientist's lair. Things get pretty wild at the end, when the reporter splits into two halves, one another yeti-like monster and one his old self. Throw in an exploding volcano, and you've got a heck of a climax.

    Good use is made of the Japanese setting, and the whole thing looks like something made by Americans who were at least reasonably familiar with the place. All the actors take their roles seriously. This is not to deny that, at heart, it's a goofy movie about a guy with two heads.
     
  19. The Great Snook

    The Great Snook Well-Known Member

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    Double Feature. John Wick and John Wick chapter 2. Loved both of them. So many head shots you would think it was a zombie movie. I especially loved any and all references to a fookin pencil.
     
  20. Null_Zone

    Null_Zone Well-Known Member

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    Baby Driver.

    Dragged a bit at the end, and the music was a bit predictable, but over all a lot of fun.
     
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