What was the last movie you saw?

HanaBi

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"The French Connection II" (1975) - Gene Hackman

Summary (Credit to Rotten Tomatoes) -
This sequel to the Oscar-winning The French Connection picks up almost exactly where the earlier film leaves off. Still on the trail of drug kingpin Frog One (Fernando Rey), narcotics officer "Popeye" Doyle (Gene Hackman) leaves his Manhattan stomping grounds and heads for Marseilles. There, Popeye is captured by Frog One's minions, who pump him full of drugs in hopes of turning the cop into a hopeless junkie. After a grueling "cold turkey" treatment, Popeye is up and about and chasing after the villains, determined to mete out justice
Four years after the original the story continues with Popeye still in hot pursuit with his nemisis, Charnier, but this time set in the back streets of Marseilles. Unlike the original Popeye no longer has his trusted partner, Buddy Russo (Roy Scheider), by his side; and as such the film feels somehow incomplete & uneven given that Hackman is the only real driving force in this character-driven thriller.

The supports from Fernando Rey and Bernard Fresson (Popeye's French detective stooge), are adequate, but the film lacks real tension and direction right up until the 3rd and final stanza and the pursuit of Frog One by Doyle - and even that ended rather lamely I thought.

On its own the film stands up quite well, especially Hackman's overly long & drawn out "cold turkey" sequence; but it really doesn't compare to its original, and it desperately misses Roy Scheider to take some focus away from the rather depressing & tormented Doyle character.

3/5
 

Happy Joe

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Fantastic Beasts; the Crimes of Grindelwald... Fair movie; I'd give it a 3 out of 5.
As expected; good effects,
Rather bland, overall; becoming almost formulaic
Becoming too familiar, almost predictable; after each new character, creature etc. is introduced... few, real, surprises.
No "made me jump" Belly laughs or "Oh! Wow!" moments.
Too many characters with similar looks, IMO; found it kind of confusing even on the second viewing.
If the next movie in the series does not show less predictability/more originality I will likely stop following.

I am tempted to make story line forecasts, but don't want to introduce spoilers.

Enjoy!
 

biodroid

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Venom - 3/5. A been there done that before kinda movie, with the great mumbling skills of Tom Hardy. Cool SFX though.
 

Randy M.

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The Lady in the Lake (1946) dir. Robert Montgomery; starring Robert Montgomery, Audrey Totter, Lloyd Nolan, Leon Ames

Philip Marlowe (Montgomery) investigates the disappearance of a publisher’s (Ames) wife. Totter plays the publisher’s managing editor, hiring Marlowe with the aim of catching the wife cheating then catching Ames on the rebound. But there’s more to the disappearance than that.

Director Montgomery decided to film the movie as a first-person shooter, minus shooting – that is, that’s what the movie may look like to contemporary viewers. At the time, only seeing the movie’s star in reflective surfaces must have seemed very odd. To some degree it still does, since it means the other actors, Totter most of all, have to play directly to the camera, which somehow seems hokier with actors than with CGI characters.

Montgomery’s Marlowe is quick with snide, sneering quips, more so than Bogart with his more measured humor or Dick Powell with his smarter material which seems aimed more at self-defense; Montgomery’s voice doesn’t quite carry the movie. He also comes across as less of a tough guy, knocked out – fade to black – at least four times, three times by one punch.

Lloyd Nolan is a dependable, solid presence as a cop and might have been a better Marlowe – he played P.I. Mike Shayne in a series. With his gruff voice, Fedora dipped over one eye and thumbs in his waistband, he seems Bogart-ish. Since he’d been around at least as long as Bogart, I wonder if there was some sort of cross-fertilization in mannerisms. Tangentially, to give an idea of Nolan’s status in Hollywood, John Wayne said that when he read the script for Stagecoach, he suggested Nolan to the director, John Ford, to play the role Ford eventually gave to Wayne.

Totter is well-cast as a sort of femme fatale, and seems at ease acting directly to the camera. The measure of the movie’s success largely rests on her performance. It’s odd that she seems to have had few chances at better quality films – according to Eddie Muller (this was a TCM Noir Alley presentation) Montgomery was a friend, so she pulled out of The Killers to play in this one; The Killers made stars of Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner.

So, worth a watch as a one-off experiment or if you’re a real fan of Raymond Chandler’s P.I. on film, but the rather muddled plot (complex in the book with the same title) and other drawbacks, probably makes it of limited interest to general viewers.



Antman and the Wasp (2018) dir. ; starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishbourne, Hannah John-Kamen

Mostly a fluff superhero flick, fun and well done with a somewhat Disney-like (surprise!) humor, using the size changing CGI to good effect (think The Love Bug, or The Shaggy Dog but years and years advanced). This moves along well, all the actors old pros at comedy and the effects really enhancing the flow. The surprise, if there is one, is Hannah John-Kamen, who adds a bit of gravity to the situation. Anyone who has seen her in Killjoys will recognize her athleticism, her ability to portray anxiety, desperation and anger may be a bit less known.


Randy M.
 

Cathbad

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Venom (2018)

Unfortunately, this was a cute movie.

The creature that terrorized Spiderman and his loved ones is, in this movie, a loveable, misunderstood monster, who has changed his ways.

And his mind. They came to feed on the denizens of the planet, but Venom decides he'll be good. Or at least try to be.

If you know nothing about Venom going in, you might like this movie a lot. It's a well told story, and the special effects are great.

I wanted the old Venom.
 

Jeffbert

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The Lady in the Lake (1946) dir. Robert Montgomery; starring Robert Montgomery, Audrey Totter, Lloyd Nolan, Leon Ames

Philip Marlowe (Montgomery) investigates the disappearance of a publisher’s (Ames) wife. Totter plays the publisher’s managing editor, hiring Marlowe with the aim of catching the wife cheating then catching Ames on the rebound. But there’s more to the disappearance than that.

Director Montgomery decided to film the movie as a first-person shooter, minus shooting – that is, that’s what the movie may look like to contemporary viewers. At the time, only seeing the movie’s star in reflective surfaces must have seemed very odd. To some degree it still does, since it means the other actors, Totter most of all, have to play directly to the camera, which somehow seems hokier with actors than with CGI characters.

Montgomery’s Marlowe is quick with snide, sneering quips, more so than Bogart with his more measured humor or Dick Powell with his smarter material which seems aimed more at self-defense; Montgomery’s voice doesn’t quite carry the movie. He also comes across as less of a tough guy, knocked out – fade to black – at least four times, three times by one punch.

Lloyd Nolan is a dependable, solid presence as a cop and might have been a better Marlowe – he played P.I. Mike Shayne in a series. With his gruff voice, Fedora dipped over one eye and thumbs in his waistband, he seems Bogart-ish. Since he’d been around at least as long as Bogart, I wonder if there was some sort of cross-fertilization in mannerisms. Tangentially, to give an idea of Nolan’s status in Hollywood, John Wayne said that when he read the script for Stagecoach, he suggested Nolan to the director, John Ford, to play the role Ford eventually gave to Wayne.

Totter is well-cast as a sort of femme fatale, and seems at ease acting directly to the camera. The measure of the movie’s success largely rests on her performance. It’s odd that she seems to have had few chances at better quality films – according to Eddie Muller (this was a TCM Noir Alley presentation) Montgomery was a friend, so she pulled out of The Killers to play in this one; The Killers made stars of Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner.

So, worth a watch as a one-off experiment or if you’re a real fan of Raymond Chandler’s P.I. on film, but the rather muddled plot (complex in the book with the same title) and other drawbacks, probably makes it of limited interest to general viewers.

Randy M.
I had seen this sometime within the last year, as I recall, but could not resist the NOIR ALLEY treatment. I too, thought Montgomery's voice was ill-suited to his character; in fact, it did not seem like his real voice. I have seen him in numerous other films, and this was a voice I could not recognize as his.

Yes, the one punch knockouts are strange, especially when there are often drawn-out fight sequences in the same film; cannot recall any in this one, though.

Gay Diplomat (1931) just as WWI is starting, people are in a train station, attempting to flee to various places. Captain Ivan Orloff (Ivan Lebedeff) is in civilian clothes when he meets a woman, whose paper currency is rejected by the guy at the ticket office. Countess Diana Dorchy (Genevieve Tobin). He offers her a ride, and falls in love with her. But, he is a counter espionage agent and she is an enemy spy, though neither knows about the other's role.

Not likely that anyone would bother to watch this, as the critics savaged it. So, here is the spoiler. During the war, he catches her in the act. He must turn her in, but he loves her. She escapes, the war ends, & they by chance, meet again in a train station. Happy Ending.

Another spy-romance film:

Inside the Lines (1930) The Brits have a military base on the Rock of Gibraltar, and German spy Jane Gershon (Betty Compson) poses as a woman nobody had seen since she was a child. Eric Woodhouse (Ralph Forbes) the man nwho loved her when both lived in Germany before the war. So, both independently end up on the Rock, in a British military base, each one believing the other is a german agent, when both actually are British agents. Happy ending.

The Mighty McGurk (1947) Wallace Beery as an ex-heavyweight boxer, who now works for a bar owner in the Bowery (Edward Arnold). So, the big tough guy meets a ship of immigrants, to recruit 100 of them to work as laborers for some company. He is paid $100 to do so; but the 100th guy has a little boy in tow, whom he was to deliver to the boy's uncle. The kid has a tag pinned to his shirt with uncle's name & address on it. So, Slag McGurk takes the kid along, expecting to deliver him and be done with him soon. Johnny Burden (Cameron Mitchell (damn, this guy was young! I hardly recognized him!)) is a Salvation Army guy, who likes to parade around in front of Arnold's bar, but he had been a boxer himself, apparently trained by Slag. Now, they are not friends. So, the tag on the kid's shirt is lost, and McGurk is stuck with him. :LOL: Arnold's daughter returns from France, and he sends Slag out to meet her at the pier; though on bad terms with Mitchell, Beery sends him, knowing the two were lovers, much to Arnold's displeasure.

Mamie Steeple (Aline MacMahon) has a pawnshop, where Slag had pawned his champion's belt. He desperately wants to retrieve it, but is perpetually broke. When he annys her, she puts it in the shop window, and continually lowers its price.

Far more to my liking than either of the other films. Hollywood seemed to have a thing for sticking big tough guys with little boys. Professional Soldier (1935) put Victor McLaglen in a similar situation. :D
 

Jeffbert

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Venom (2018)

Unfortunately, this was a cute movie.

The creature that terrorized Spiderman and his loved ones is, in this movie, a loveable, misunderstood monster, who has changed his ways.

And his mind. They came to feed on the denizens of the planet, but Venom decides he'll be good. Or at least try to be.

If you know nothing about Venom going in, you might like this movie a lot. It's a well told story, and the special effects are great.

I wanted the old Venom.
I vaguely recall Reed Richards telling Spiderman that his new costume was a creature that fed off his life force. Funny seeing him trying to remove it! Way long ago, just after the end of Marvel Comics Secret Wars. Amazing Spiderman #252. I should have bought the entire stock from the comic book store. A very unhealthy addiction, though. :D
 

Starbeast

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The Bank Job (2008) - Whoa! I stumbled across this little gritty gem, which was based off a true story. Yikes! I liked it.

Bigfoot vs Zombies (2016) - Cheap production, sickeningly lame. DON'T waste your time with this mess.

Soldiers of the Damned (2015) - Not for everyone. But for me, it was an entertaining World War 2 supernatural/horror flick.

The Defenders (2017) - An eight part mini-series featuring a MARVEL COMICS superhero team. Very dark and fiercely cool.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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Shock Treatment (1964)

Psychological melodrama with an interesting cast. Starts with gardener Roddy McDowall chopping off the head of his rich employee with a huge pair of shears. (All off-screen, of course.) He gets sent to a state mental hospital; one in which, apparently, homicidal maniacs wander freely with less dangerous folks. It seems that he burnt a million dollars of his employer's money after he killed her. There's a guy who thinks he actually hid the money. He hires an actor (Stuart Whitman) to pretend to be mentally ill so he can get sent to the same place and wheedle the truth out of McDowall. Complicating matters is the head of the institution (Lauren Bacall) who is after the money herself. Along for the fun, although serving no real purpose in the plot, is Carol Lynley as another patient. Whitman is pretty bland compared to the other performers, who pull out all the stops. Bacall gets to be a Mad Scientist in this one, having invented a drug which induces catatonia, and using it for her own nefarious purposes. Slows down a bit in the middle and wanders around, but comes back to life at the end. You won't believe a thing that happens, but it's worth the ride.
 

HanaBi

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The Seven Samurai (1956 - Japan) - Toshiro Mifune

Summary (Credit to Rotten Tomatoes) -
Akira Kurosawa's epic tale concerns honor and duty during a time when the old traditional order is breaking down. The film opens with master samurai Kambei (Takashi Shimura) posing as a monk to save a kidnapped farmer's child. Impressed by his selflessness and bravery, a group of farmers begs him to defend their terrorized village from bandits. Kambei agrees, although there is no material gain or honor to be had in the endeavor. Soon he attracts a pair of followers: a young samurai named Katsushiro (Isao Kimura), who quickly becomes Kambei's disciple, and boisterous Kikuchiyo (Toshiro Mifune), who poses as a samurai but is later revealed to be the son of a farmer. Kambei assembles four other samurais, including Kyuzo (Seiji Miyaguchi), a master swordsman, to round out the group. Together they consolidate the village's defenses and shape the villagers into a militia, while the bandits loom menacingly nearby. Soon raids and counter-raids build to a final bloody heart-wrenching battle.
Without question, my all time favourite foreign film -often imitated (The Magnificent Seven), but never bettered. For me this is Kurosawa's most complete film - his magnum opus!

A million words still wouldn't come close to how perfect and how engrossing this film is, and as such I will simply put a full stop right here .

5/5
 

Jeffbert

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Shock Treatment (1964)

Psychological melodrama with an interesting cast. Starts with gardener Roddy McDowall chopping off the head of his rich employee with a huge pair of shears. (All off-screen, of course.) He gets sent to a state mental hospital; one in which, apparently, homicidal maniacs wander freely with less dangerous folks. It seems that he burnt a million dollars of his employer's money after he killed her. There's a guy who thinks he actually hid the money. He hires an actor (Stuart Whitman) to pretend to be mentally ill so he can get sent to the same place and wheedle the truth out of McDowall. Complicating matters is the head of the institution (Lauren Bacall) who is after the money herself. Along for the fun, although serving no real purpose in the plot, is Carol Lynley as another patient. Whitman is pretty bland compared to the other performers, who pull out all the stops. Bacall gets to be a Mad Scientist in this one, having invented a drug which induces catatonia, and using it for her own nefarious purposes. Slows down a bit in the middle and wanders around, but comes back to life at the end. You won't believe a thing that happens, but it's worth the ride.
The plot you describe reminds me of Shock Corridor (1963), in which the protagonist a journalist Johnny Barrett (Peter Breck), has himself committed and tries to solve a murder, but ends up going insane. (Roscoe P. Coltrane) James Best as Stuart is at his best as an inmate who thinks he is serving under General Lee. It is likely that Shock Corridor inspired Shock Treatment.
 

Jeffbert

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The Seven Samurai (1956 - Japan) - Toshiro Mifune

Summary (Credit to Rotten Tomatoes) -

Without question, my all time favourite foreign film -often imitated (The Magnificent Seven), but never bettered. For me this is Kurosawa's most complete film - his magnum opus!

A million words still wouldn't come close to how perfect and how engrossing this film is, and as such I will simply put a full stop right here .

5/5
While watching this film, the TCM guy mentioned the significance of Kambei Shimada (Takashi Shimura) cutting off his topknot. He said the film that best explains it is HaraKiri. Don't watch the recent remake, go for the B&W one.

Another film with Takashi Shimura as the mentor-type guy of Toshiro Mifune is Stray Dog. Both are plain clothes police, and Mifune loses his pistol and is worried about it being used in a crime.
 

Jeffbert

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The Bank Job (2008) - Whoa! I stumbled across this little gritty gem, which was based off a true story. Yikes! I liked it.

Bigfoot vs Zombies (2016) - Cheap production, sickeningly lame. DON'T waste your time with this mess.

Soldiers of the Damned (2015) - Not for everyone. But for me, it was an entertaining World War 2 supernatural/horror flick.

The Defenders (2017) - An eight part mini-series featuring a MARVEL COMICS superhero team. Very dark and fiercely cool.
Bigfoot vs Zombies sounds like something I might enjoy, but I will defer to your judgement.
 

HanaBi

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While watching this film, the TCM guy mentioned the significance of Kambei Shimada (Takashi Shimura) cutting off his topknot. He said the film that best explains it is HaraKiri. Don't watch the recent remake, go for the B&W one.

Another film with Takashi Shimura as the mentor-type guy of Toshiro Mifune is Stray Dog. Both are plain clothes police, and Mifune loses his pistol and is worried about it being used in a crime.
Have seen the original Harakiri, and it is exceptionally good. And as for Mifune, he was so exceptional in Seven Samurai that I bought a number of his films on DVD years ago, and I don't think there was a dud in any of them.
 

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Bigfoot vs Zombies sounds like something I might enjoy, but I will defer to your judgement.
Hi Jeffbert.

Yep. Once again, I was drawn in by the movie poster artwork. If you are still curious and want to see a bigfoot creature that is shown at the beginning of the movie, that is a guy in a cheap gorilla suit, wearing a big wig.....then try to watch 20 minutes of the movie on Youtube.

I really don't mind watching a low production film. I just don't care for overwhelmingly cliched dialogue, and badly directed movies.
 

HanaBi

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View attachment 51310
I've just watched this brilliant film, my all time favourite again. Filled with so many great scenes, and one of the best storylines ever.
It remains one of my favourites too. Redford and Newman are great together (roughly 5 years after making Butch and Sundance), but the real star for me is Robert Shaw as the brooding, menacing Doyle Lonnegan.

Great scenes, brilliant support, and marvellous jazz!
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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The plot you describe reminds me of Shock Corridor (1963), in which the protagonist a journalist Johnny Barrett (Peter Breck), has himself committed and tries to solve a murder, but ends up going insane. (Roscoe P. Coltrane) James Best as Stuart is at his best as an inmate who thinks he is serving under General Lee. It is likely that Shock Corridor inspired Shock Treatment.

You are quite correct. Shock Corridor is much the better film.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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Filipino Fright Films Double Feature:

Mad Doctor of Blood Island (1968)

Starts off with a hilarious, gimmicky sequence where the audience is invited to drink green blood, which must have been some harmless liquid given to folks who attended a theatrical showing. This stuff is supposed to protect you from turning into a monster. I guessed it work. The real movie concerns three folks arriving at the title island for various reasons, eventually running into the Mad Doctor and the monster he created when he tried to cure a guy's leukemia by injecting a special kind of chlorophyll into him. All the scenes of the monster are filmed in a really annoying fashion, with the camera moving in and out rapidly. There's a slight twist in the plot when we find out who's controlling the monster. Otherwise, typical cheap monster stuff.

The Beast of the Yellow Night (1971)

Made by the same folks, and with the hero of the previous film now starring as the monster, but much weirder. In 1946, the Filipino military is tracking down a deserter/murderer. They shoot his female accomplice dead. Starving after having been on the run for some time, he eats some poison berries. The strangeness starts when Satan shows up to offer him life in exchange for serving him. He then gives him food, in a nice, neat shopping bag. It's body parts from the dead woman, and our antihero devours it. This all takes place before the credits. Fast forward to the present day. Satan has been putting this guy into the bodies of various folks to make them do evil. On a whim, he causes the next body he's going to inhabit an accident that requires plastic surgery, which makes him look exactly like the guy. Whenever the guy gets upset, he changes into a murdering monster. The film alternates theological/philosophical musings with typical monster stuff. A real oddity.
 

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