What was the last movie you saw?

Foxbat

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Downfall (2004)
It’s been a few years since I’ve seen this movie but a rewatch simply confirms that it’s as impressive and compelling as I remember it to be.
 

CupofJoe

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The Lost Boys [1987]
Saw it in the cinema back in the day, so watched it for a nostalgia trip. Not too scary. Not too funny but a good watch all round.
Nice to see vampires that are pre-Buffy and Twilight and not based on Dracula.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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Nocturna (1979)

French/Vietnamese belly dancer Nai Bonet has the title role in this disco vampire comedy, as well as being executive producer and providing the story.

Nocturna is the granddaughter of the elderly Dracula (John Carradine, who first played the part in 1944.) He's fallen on hard times, having to use dentures instead of real fangs, and using his castle as a hotel in order to pay his taxes. There's also a Renfield-like servant, played by cult monologist Brother Theodore, who lusts after Nocturna. ("If only I could get into her coffin!") There's a nightclub of sorts at the Hotel Transylvania, where a disco band plays. Nocturna dances with a guy in the band, in the first of many disco scenes we'll get. You can tell that she's a belly dancer rather than a disco dancer by the moves she makes. It turns out that disco dancing makes her become less vampiric and more human, evidenced by the fact that she can see herself in mirrors.

Well, she flies -- by plane, not leather wings -- to New York with the guy, but can't stay with him. Apparently she needs a coffin for the day, because she goes to some place under the Brooklyn Bridge where an older lady vampire named Jugulia (Yvonne DeCarlo, who, oddly, isn't done up like Lily Munster at all) lives. This leads to Nocturna attending a meeting of the BSA (Bloodsuckers of America) where we get a guy who talks like Boris Karloff and some very ordinary looking folks who make lame jokes about blood. There's also a stereotypical African-American drug dealer, calling himself RH Factor, who offers them powdered blood, that they can sniff like cocaine. We'll later also see he runs a "massage parlor" where a quartet of scantily clad vamps drain their client.

Time-wasting scenes of Nocturna riding around in a taxi and walking through the streets of New York follow. Nocturna usually wears outfits consisting of a tight, slinky, floor-length-but-slit-to-the-waist gown, either bright pink or bright purple, worn with a matching filmy cape, but for the big disco dancing scene, she strips down to a typical bikini-like belly dancing costume. Well, since the end of the movie is coming and we need some plot, Dracula shows up in an attempt to break up the romance. Nocturna's blond hunk of a boyfriend drives him away by pulling a neon letter "t" off the sign of the disco and using it like a cross. Love conquers all, and Nocturna gets to witness a sunrise for the first time in her life. The End.

Bonet is gorgeous and a sight to behold in her sparkly outfits, but she may be the worst actress I've ever seen. Every one of her lines is delivered in a deadpan monotone, and she has exactly two expressions: neutral and big smile. Carradine and DiCarlo ham it up, and Brother Theodore does his own thing, using a couple of lines from his infamous nightclub routine. ("Long live death!" and "As long as we have death, there is hope.") The boyfriend is completely forgettable. The vampires turn into Saturday morning cartoon style animated bats now and then. It's a terrible film in almost every way, but somehow fascinating in the way it manages to do everything the wrong way.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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Island of the Fishmen (L'isola degli uomini pesce, 1979)

Old-fashioned Italian fantasy adventure. Set in the late 19th century, it begins with our hero, a naval officer and physician, shipwrecked with some prisoners. They wind up on an uncharted Caribbean island. One of them gets killed pretty quickly by the sharp claws of a Fishman. Then they find some graves from which bodies have been removed and signs of voodoo rituals. Pretty soon we meet our suave, elegant villain and Bond Girl Barbara Bach, who is obviously reluctantly under his control. It seems that her father -- Joseph Cotton in Mad Scientist mode -- creates a substance to which the Fishmen, descendants of the inhabitants of the lost continent of Atlantis, are addicted. You see, the island is the tip of sunken Atlantis, and the villain trades the substance for treasures the Fishmen bring up from the depths. Later we find out that Cotton is actually turning locals into Fishmen. (That explains the empty graves.) His insane but altruistic purpose is to create a race of beings who can survive when the resources of the land run out. Did I mention that there's a volcano rumbling from time to time? You can guess what happens at the end. The whole thing has a sort of old-time movie serial mixed with Jules Verne feeling to it; the villain has a steampunk diving bell device. The Fishmen constumes, something like the Creature from the Black Lagoon, aren't bad, and everybody treats the somewhat silly story seriously. Good, clean, Saturday afternoon matinee fun, with only mild violence. (American distributors took out some footage -- admittedly, the original moves a little slowly -- and added new scenes with much more gore, giving it titles like Something Waits in the Dark and Screamers, and tried to sell it as an R-rated horror film.)
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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The Return of Mr. Moto (1965)

Failed attempt to revive the Japanese secret agent in the Bond era. Henry Silva has the title role. Oddly, no attempt at all is made to make him seem or sound Japanese, and he might as well be playing somebody named Smith. The plot involves a conspiracy to control oil supplies in the Middle East, through blowing up refineries, assassinations, etc. The bad guys kill Moto's old buddy, chase him but he gets away, they capture him, he escapes but they think he's dead, he gets the movie's Bond Girl to help him, he goes undercover, suddenly putting on a Japanese accent and wearing a disguise that consists entirely of glasses, mustache, and goatee, we get a minor twist ending, the good guys win. I've made a couple of references to Bond, but this really more of an old-fashioned, low-budget, black-and-white crime flick with lots of talk and a little action. Not very exciting.
 

Randy M.

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The Return of Mr. Moto (1965)

Failed attempt to revive the Japanese secret agent in the Bond era. Henry Silva has the title role. Oddly, no attempt at all is made to make him seem or sound Japanese, and he might as well be playing somebody named Smith. The plot involves a conspiracy to control oil supplies in the Middle East, through blowing up refineries, assassinations, etc. The bad guys kill Moto's old buddy, chase him but he gets away, they capture him, he escapes but they think he's dead, he gets the movie's Bond Girl to help him, he goes undercover, suddenly putting on a Japanese accent and wearing a disguise that consists entirely of glasses, mustache, and goatee, we get a minor twist ending, the good guys win. I've made a couple of references to Bond, but this really more of an old-fashioned, low-budget, black-and-white crime flick with lots of talk and a little action. Not very exciting.
Silva was usually typecast as the villain (case in point, The Manchurian Candidate, probably the greatest movie with a silly karate fight scene in which Silva and Frank Sinatra brandish their hands like they're cleavers), and almost always more interesting than the heroes.

Randy M.
 

Jeffbert

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The League of Gentlemen (1960)

Heist film in which the leader gathers a group of WWII veterans, all with criminal backgrounds, in order to rob a bank in the style of a military operation. First they have to steal firearms from an army base, so it's really two heist movies in one. As you'd expect, the carefully planned robbery goes wrong, due to one little factor. A good example of the genre, if not groundbreaking.
TCM is running a bunch of heist films 09/08 during the day, including this one. I do not know if I saw this one yet, but I do intend to watch it soon!
 

Starbeast

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Double World (2020) - I thoroughly enjoyed this movie for it's drama, action and imagination. The story is sculpted like an anime tale. Basically it's a competition that is offered to all great warriors. The winner can have anything she/he wants (riches, power etc.).



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Vince W

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Bill and Ted Face the Music (2020). This is the first world premiere film I've streamed and I have to admit it makes returning to the cinema unlikely. That aside, the return of our time travelling musicians is a worthy addition to the trilogy and a good way to round out the story. My fears that Bill and Ted would be irrelevant to the plot were unfounded and the focus was clearly with them. Even so, viewers new to the series would not be put off in any way and would find relevance in this film. There is a lot of joy in the film and that is down to Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter. They fell back into their roles easily.

The girls playing Bill and Ted's daughters were outstanding, playing the parts with energy and sincerity. I doff my hat to them. It was wonderful to see so much of the original cast again, especially Missy. Be sure to watch past the credits.
 

Jeffbert

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Two B&W prison films, though it would have been better if I had seen them in the opposite order.

BRUTE FORCE (1947) This is the prison-break film that broke the mold. Joe Collins (Burt Lancaster , in only his 2nd film!) leads a doomed attempt at freedom, when, after hearing how an ex-GI and his fellows attacked a hill in WWII, decides that an attack on the guard tower from two sides would work. Several key cons have their backstories told in flashbacks.

In both these films, the warden is having difficulty with violence, etc. Here, officials threaten to replace him. There is intense drama between the warden, the prison doctor, and the captain of the guards, on how best to deal with it.

Gallagher (Charles Bickford) who runs the prison newspaper is originally out, as he hopes for parole. When that fails, he joins in, and unintentionally, ruins the escape by driving a truck into the gates, which, unknown to him, open inward,

Capt. Munsey (Hume Cronyn) is the old style guard, who uses torture to extract info on the scheme. It is said that casting Cronyn as Munsey was a deliberate anti-type because this guy had usually portrayed weak cowardly or just nice guy types. I cannot recall the exact description used, but it was much better than my own.

Supporting cast included some old 30s era gangster/ tough guy types, such as Sam Levene in the role of Louie Miller, the poor guy whom the Captain tortured. John Hoyt, who was the ship's Dr. in the Star Trek pilot, here as Spencer.



My Six Convicts (1952) The warden is at wit's end with troublesome convicts, so, a psychologist is brought in to somehow make things go smoother. The psychologist (John Beal) interviews several groups of 6 convicts, one of which includes a very uncooperative Jock (Charles Buchinsky AKA Charles Bronson); sadly, not enough screen time for him.

The second group consisted of guys who, like the 1st, took the whole idea as a joke, at first.
James Connie (Millard Mitchell) as the leader, Punch Pinero (Gilbert Roland) as the contender for leadership. Dawson (Henry Morgan later of MASH) as usual, the violent guy in the group.

While this is a decent film, It just pales after having watched BRUTE FORCE.



BODY & SOUL (1925) An escaped prisoner comes to town, posing as a preacher. Reverend Jenkins (Paul Robeson) shows his righteous side to the many, and keeps his wicked side hidden. They made the producers make the evil preacher part a nightmare, as it would have been banned by censors otherwise.


PAT GARRET AND BILLY THE KID (1973) MGM had differences with Sam Peckinpah, and after completion, re-edited the film. Apparently, Sam was unhappy with the result, so says the wiki page.

Pat Garrett (James Coburn) becomes the lawman, and is out to get Billy the Kid (Kris Kristofferson) My first time with this film, and seeing Peckinpah's name on it, was expecting much more violence. I know TCM only shows full films, not the watered down for TV versions, but, now I am wondering if what I saw was the watered-down MGM version.
 

Randy M.

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Raft-ing

Wanted some lighter fare over the weekend, so ...

Background to Danger (1943) dir. Raoul Walsh; starring George Raft, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Brenda Marshall

WWII spy adventure, the plot apparently borrowed from an Eric Ambler novel of the same name, but I'm betting the novel is rather more grounded in reality. Raft is a traveling American machinery salesman en route from Syria to Ankara. On board he meets an attractive young woman who's being followed (Osa Masson (who we last saw in Cry of the Werewolf ). Masson has very important papers she cons him into carrying across the border for her. Greenstreet, meantime, is a Nazi agent bent on getting the papers which will allow him to pit Turkey against the Soviet Union. There are twists and turns, Lorre overacts somewhat but is the most entertaining part of the movie, though Greenstreet as always holds the camera. Raft was -- George Raft. He had the stony face of Buster Keaton but at about 99% fewer laughs, his main appeal being a good physicality (started out as a dancer, as I recall) and a voice that seemed right for his hard-boiled roles. Marshall is Lorre's sister, and indicates better roles might not have been beyond her. Turhan Bey also appears: I recall watching the first season of a TV show called VR 5, really pleasant hokum in which a much older Bey showed up, still as smooth and elegant as ever and I was looking forward to seeing how he was blended into the show when ... cancellation. Fox, you ask? Why, of course!


Nocturne (1946) dir. Edwin Marin; starring George Raft, Lynn Bari, Virginia Huston, Joseph Pevney

Surprisingly entertaining noir I recorded some time back from the Noir Alley showcase hosted by Eddie Mueller; note, it's far from the darkest of noirs. Songwriter kills himself in mid-songwriting, turns out he's a cad, having wooed and discarded any number of young women, including one or two who later committed suicide. Still, Lieutenant Warne (Raft) can't get his head around the guy committing suicide, and nearly loses his job pursuing the killer. The screenplay by Jonathan Latimer -- who had more than a few hard-boiled novels under his belt of which I'm sorry to say I've read none -- apparently had a blast by playing off Raft's reputation for carousing and cozying up to the notorious, like Bugsy Siegal. Here Raft's character lives with his mother, drinks milk for dinner and is an all-round good boy. Probably the most amusing scene comes late in the movie when his mom and her friend essentially recap the plot and lay out the problem in the way of solving the murder. Virginia Huston didn't leave much of an impression, Joseph Pevney was a good supporting actor who later went on to direct a lot of movies and a lot more TV shows, and Lynn Bari indicated she could have handled even juicier roles (see also, Brenda Marshall and, for that matter, Audrey Totter).


Along with this, also watched Birds of Prey which was okay, giving Ewan McGregor an opportunity to chew scenery, and providing paychecks to several deserving female actors most of whom may go on to better roles. (Jurnee Smollett, for instance, is nearly stealing Lovecraft Country from some pretty good actors).

Randy M.
 

svalbard

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Ready or Not

A thriller, horror, slasher, comedy, satire etc. You name it this movies ticks all the boxes in a story about a wedding that takes a surreal turn. On Sky Movies at the moment.
 

Randy M.

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Ready or Not

A thriller, horror, slasher, comedy, satire etc. You name it this movies ticks all the boxes in a story about a wedding that takes a surreal turn. On Sky Movies at the moment.
I enjoyed it, too. Probably not to everyone's taste, but amusing. Samara Weaving is excellent in the lead, and in combination with her latest role as Bill's daughter (I think, though IMDB isn't entirely clear) in the latest Bill & Ted movie should see a real career boost.

Randy M.
 

Mouse

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Ocean's Eight. Don't understand the slagging off of this film (other than it's full of nasty female types and that upsets the poor men). Thought it was fine.
 

AstroZon

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Ocean's Eight. Don't understand the slagging off of this film (other than it's full of nasty female types and that upsets the poor men). Thought it was fine.
Same opinion here - and in general as well. I often like movies that critics put down. It doesn't have to be Citizen Kane to be enjoyable.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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Moonrise (1948)

Beautifully filmed crime story/psychological drama/darkly brooding romance. Opens in striking fashion with impressionistic scenes of the shadow of a man being hanged alternating with a baby crying, with a doll in a noose hanging over its cradle. Quick sequences show the baby growing into a boy, tormented by other kids because his father was executed as a murderer. As a young man, the fellow gets in a fight with the main bully, and winds up killing him. He hides the body in the swamp, and begins a romance with the dead man's girlfriend. Her reputation as a schoolteacher suffers, as the guy immediately gets in a car wreck with her and some other folks. (Nobody hurt, amazingly.) They go on to have secret meetings. In a telling moment, as they're inside an abandoned mansion, she acts out an elaborate fantasy of being a Civil War era Southern Belle. The dead man's body is found during a raccoon hunt, and the local deaf/mute man, who was always being protected by the killer, finds a pocket knife that links him to the crime. Our hero/antihero nearly kills him, but manages to keep himself from doing it. During a daring public date at a carnival, the killer goes into full paranoid mode, jumping off a Ferris wheel when he thinks he's being pursued. Will he turn himself in and face his punishment, while being redeemed by the love of a good woman? You can figure that out. The black-and-white cinematography is gorgeous, reminding me of Citizen Kane and The Night of the Hunter. Recommended.
 

Foxbat

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Catacombs (aka The Woman That Wouldn’t Die). Mediocre murder mystery from 1965 with not a catacomb in sight.
 

Vince W

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Skyscraper (2018). Dwayne Johnson is a disabled war veteran turned security expert who is in charge of okaying the security systems of Hong Kong's new super-skyscraper. Unfortunately Chinese criminals need to get a very important hard-drive with all their information on it from the building owner. The criminals set the building on fire with Johnson's family still in the building so he has to do some fancy work to save them. The only truly interesting character was hardly in it. Light fare with predictable events. The whole film could have been cut down to about 10 minutes if they had simply
 

F.J. Hansen

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The Great Dictator -- Charlie Chaplin's parody and commentary on the Nazis, which is still relevant with the social issues we're facing 80 years later.
 
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