What was the last movie you saw?

Toby Frost

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

A bold but (perhaps inevitably) doomed attempt to mix a superhero film and 1970s-style conspiracy thriller. It's much more adult that other superhero films - not in terms of violence but in concept and argument. The first hour is intriguing, but inevitably a lot of stuff has to explode in the last half-hour. I found that the presence of franchise characters who can't die (and who are less likeable than the sidekicks from the first Captain America film) weakens the sense that nobody can be trusted. Still, it deserves credit for suggesting that organisations like Shield might not be a brilliant idea in themselves. I don't know much about Captain America, but I really like the way he's depicted in both films.


The Terminator (1984)

For its time and budget, absolutely brilliant. Holds up excellently.
 

Randy M.

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The Seventh Victim (1943)
An RKO horror movie from the 1940s. I’d seen this once, many years ago and wasn’t as impressed as I had been by other Val Lewton productions (The Leopard Man, The Body Snatchers, I Walked with a Zombie, etc.), but some comments over on GoodReads piqued my curiosity and I watched it again. I under-estimated this one: It’s quite good, with two of the creepier scenes I’ve seen in ‘40s horror movies, and sort of a prequel to Lewton’s The Cat People since the psychiatrist from that film plays a prominent part in this one. Mary’s sister, Jacqueline has disappeared and Mary only knows about it because she hasn’t paid Mary’s tuition. Mary leaves school for New York to search for her, and so finds out some things she hadn’t known before, like that her sister had a psychiatrist, also that she is married (to Beaver Cleaver’s father – older TV viewers will know who I mean). A few scenes feel like a dry run for Rosemary’s Baby, with a cult of devil worshipers Jacqueline has run afoul of, and it’s possible Roman Polanski knew of this movie, but ultimately there’s something else here that in its way is rather darker, a psychology that the actress playing Jacqueline, Jean Brooks, pulls off quite well. The Seventh Victim is also notable as the debut of Kim Hunter, who plays Mary.


Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)
One of the great small budget action movies. Directed by John Carpenter, I’ve read this was his version of Howard Hawks’ Rio Bravo, in which a small group of people are trapped in a closing precinct station under attack by local gangs. Well shot and edited on the cheap, it really relies on the performances of a cast of unknowns, many of whom went on to successful acting careers. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a viewing.


Randy M.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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Castle of Blood (1964)

Atmospheric and moody Italian Gothic horror film. A journalist trying to get an interview with Edgar Allan Poe meets him in a London pub, talking to a Lord. (The anecdote Poe is relating is based on his short story "Berenice," by the way.) The Lord says that nobody can live in his ancestral castle, because it's haunted. In fact, he has a standing wager that nobody can spend the night there on All Souls' Day (November 2.) The reporter takes the bet, but only for the small amount of money he can spare. (This detail pays off in an ironic way at the end.) Once he gets there, he quickly discovers the Lord's sister (the great Barbara Steele) living there. She comes on to him strong, despite interference from another woman. A science-type guy also shows up. He explains some of the weird things that happen, although they remain mysterious. Scenes of violent death from the past are relived, and the fellow meets an inevitable fate. Although slow at times, the film is eerie and compelling. The copy I saw had French titles, and the dialogue changes from dubbed English to dubbed French during scenes cut out of the American version. (Amusingly, a couple of written notes remain in Italian.) Some scenes seem to be cut just to reduce the running time (part of Poe's anecdote) but others obviously wouldn't have been acceptable in the USA in 1964 (very brief nudity and a lesbian subplot.)
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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Exorcism (1975)

Guess what famous hit movie this flick resembles. Spanish horror star Paul Naschy (who also wrote the story) has a rare role as a good guy. We begin with a hippie Satanic ritual on the beach at night, bringing us the first of a fair amount of groovy music and gratuitous female nudity. A young woman and her boyfriend leave the ritual in a car. Stoned out of their minds, they get in a bad wreck. They survive, but the woman shows the first signs of a sudden personality change as she snaps at the boyfriend. She goes home to her mother's fabulous mansion, which also houses her brother, sister, and servants, all of whom play a role in the plot. Brother doesn't approve of boyfriend. Pretty soon he's found murdered, his head turned around 180 degrees. It's not much longer until boyfriend gets the same treatment. Meanwhile, the woman gets worse, although it looks more like she's severely psychotic rather than possessed. We won't get our Linda Blair stuff until the last twenty minutes of the movie. The cops investigate the two murders; amazingly, this subplot is not directly related to the supernatural stuff. Eventually the woman goes into full possession mode. The makeup here is pretty darn good, with some really creepy contact lenses (which receive a special acknowledgement in the end credits) and convincing rotting flesh effects. Although the climax is a blatant copy of The Exorcist (although Naschy claimed he wrote the story before that film came out), with the woman's body bent in impossible ways, the bed levitating, etc., there's an interesting twist.

It seems she's being possessed by the spirit of her father, who died in an insane asylum after trying to kill his wife and children.

This is a leisurely, sedate, talky little slice of Eurohorror, but not without its good points.
 

Cathbad

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I read the book, literally the moment I finished watching the movie on television (circa 1976 or 7). I found it odd that the visual interpretation - that did not really deviate from the novel - was unable to bring across the profundity of the tale told by the novel! I was so entranced, that after watching the movie that started at 11pm, I stayed up and read the whole novel, going to bed at/near daybreak.
 

Jeffbert

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A few more from Lionel Atwill day on TCM:

Rendevous (1935) William Powell as a WWI soldier who just happened to have written a book on cryptography under a false name. He meets a woman I thoght she was Myrna Loy, but was Rosalind Russell & trying to get a kiss from her, spills the secret, & ends up behind a desk in DC, instead of in France. But enemy spies abound & things happen. Good, better than just good spy film. Lionel Atwill is RR's uncle and works in the Army Intel dept that now employs WP.

Absolute Quiet (1936) Lionel Atwill as a guy whose Dr. advised him to go to the country and have absolute quiet for has nerves' sake. So he is in his ranch home, & just about everybody drops in for the night. A Bonny & Clyde type couple, an airplane full of people he would rather not see, including the Governor, reporters, etc. Witty dialog from LA, as his character seemed to enjoy irking the others.

The Firebird (1934) Lionel Atwill as the husband of one seduced woman, & the father of another. Ricardo Cortez, as the seducer of various women, who uses Stravinsky's Firebird to indicate to them when to come to his apartment. Oh, that dog was indeed the Thin Man's Asta! Wikipedia does have a page for it (named Skippy), but it does not link to the page for the Firebird! or is it that the page for FB does not link to the one for the dog?

I know I have seen VL's The Seventh Victim, but it was several years ago; likely during TCM's annual month of horror films. I may have seen it just once, which explains why I remember no details.

What I don't understand, nothing particular to the film, but how VL who merely produced films, had so much influence over them. While as I recall, William Castle, was so devastated that direction of Rosemary's Baby was snatched from him, and he was just the producer.
 

HanaBi

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"Men in Black" (1997) - Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith

Synopsis (courtesy of Wiki) - "They are the best-kept secret in the universe. Working for a highly funded yet unofficial government agency, Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) and Jay (Will Smith) are the Men in Black, providers of immigration services and regulators of all things alien on Earth. While investigating a series of unregistered close encounters, the MIB agents uncover the deadly plot of an intergalactic terrorist who is on a mission to assassinate two ambassadors from opposing galaxies currently in residence in New York City "


Hard to believe this slick SF comic caper is over 20 years old; still feels fresh both visually and scriptwise by today's exacting standards. The unlikely partnership of Smith & Jones works surprisingly well, and there's good support from the likes of Rip Torn and Linda Fiorentino. Smith is a particular delight because he doesn't come off as the big ego first and foremost; he plays the character straight down the line, and since the men in black are supposed to be hip and trendy anyway, this suits him perfectly.

The sfx for a 20 year old film still look good, although there are obvious moments the cgi is a bit too obvious; not that it matters because the editing is so swift you're quickly moved onto the next scene without having to worry too much about the patchiness of the effects from the last scene.

A great film whereby your eyes can feast on the visuals while taking your brain off the hook for a couple of hours. (Although the less said about the two sequels the better)

4/5
 

Starbeast

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Hunchback of the Morgue (1973)

Actor PAUL NASCHY, portrays a poor hunchback named, Gotho, in a tragic story. I don't want to say too much, because it's a short film. However, for me, it's one of the best horror films that starred, Paul Naschy.

@Victoria Silverwolf - have you seen it?
 

Randy M.

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I know I have seen VL's The Seventh Victim, but it was several years ago; likely during TCM's annual month of horror films. I may have seen it just once, which explains why I remember no details.

What I don't understand, nothing particular to the film, but how VL who merely produced films, had so much influence over them. While as I recall, William Castle, was so devastated that direction of Rosemary's Baby was snatched from him, and he was just the producer.
Different studios at different time periods. RKO put Lewton in charge of a project he didn't want and pretty much left him alone to do it, so he made it his own. His movies were nothing like the Universal horror pics of the 1930s, avoiding established monsters. It strikes me as a parallel to the changes from Lovecraft/Weird Tales horror stories to something like Fritz Leiber's "Smoke Ghost" and Robert Bloch's "Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper."

Further, Lewton chose his directors and at least two were new to directing (Robert Wise, Mark Robson), without whatever clout Polanski had because of his boy wonder reputation from Repulsion and Knife in the Water. Jacques Tourneur, according to IMDB, had more experience than I thought he had, but it doesn't look like he was an established director. And, too, I think Castle had the rep of being a hack, his gimmicks drawing more attention than his skill as a director.


Randy M.
 

Judderman

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Watched several films in the last week. Mostly horror, but some romance in there too.

Mother (2018) - A very good first half an hour only. Weird but interesting. Lots of big name actors and actresses including Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem and Ed Harris. However it devolves into nonsense and I would say it is a very poor film overall. I read the director's explanation after the fact. It makes some sense but doesn't really compensate for a film that is not enjoyable.

What If (2013) (Also known as the F Word) - A very pleasant romance/comedy with Daniel Radcliffe. You kind of know where it is heading but works well. A good couples movie.

The House of The Devil (2009) - Shot in an older B-movie style. A tale of a young lady who gets work as a Nanny for a night in a strange, old house. It is quite a good one for the tension building up as the movie progresses.

Ghost Stories (2018) - This is about a guy who exposes supernatural stories and paranormal activity as hoaxes, and frauds, but then he investigates three ghost stories and starts to have his doubts. One of the ghost stories is decent but it is dull overall. A bit sad to see a British film with good actors being so mediocre. The worst one on this list except Mother.

Revenge (2018) - This is a woman's rape revenge movie as she gets back on three men. Apart from some unrealistic occurrences this is really entertaining overall as the tables are turned.

The Terrifier (2016) - This is a slasher movie on Halloween with a villain dressed as a clown. Doesn't sound so original but it is very well done. Has both violence and some tension. A superb one for Halloween if you are happy to watch a gory, slasher movie. The victims are rather dumb at times, which is not unusual. I prefer this to Friday The 13th.

One Day (2011) - A romance/drama. This has some sad parts and some more pleasant and uplifting parts. A good movie which shows two people who meet, and then what happens to them in their lives every year on the same day for the next few decades.
 

Randy M.

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I remember loving Gargoyles the first time I saw it. Saw it again 10-15 years later, and boy had it aged.

Still like Cornell Wilde and I didn't recall Scott Glenn being in it, and it's possible he's just as happy if viewers don't.


Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
Not great, but good fun. Branagh probably puts the camera on himself a bit too much, but on the whole I have no great complaints. It's a fun popcorn movie with some beautiful location cinematography; I should say, I would not be surprised if there was a good deal of CGI smoothing out any the locations, eliminating anachronisms, but I couldn't detect it on one viewing. The train journey looked more obviously CGI.


Randy M.
 

Anthoney

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Anon (2018). This is a Netflix original. It was extremely mediocre, if such a thing is possible. Clive Owen always does a decent job. Their ideas of technology and anonymity were interesting. Nothing was great. There were even a few graphic sex scene but they were uninspired and less interesting than the tech that we were watching it through.

Very much like what I remember as TV movies of the week (with much more nudity).
 
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