What was the last movie you saw?

AllanR

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Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway (2019)absurdist retro-futurism. A bit of a crazy ride, but if you hang on its worth it.
 

KGeo777

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THE TITAN FIND 1985 -- Bad movie but I have to say for an ALIEN rip-off it has really good spaceship FX work on a low budget. High marks are deserved for that and the atmospheric sets. The sets are pretty good--much better than Inseminoid, and it looks like they used the 2001 space helmets as well. There's also a space station at the start which I thought was lifted from 2001. The script is not good--but the idea (an alien butterfly collection --alien species collected by some mysterious race) is interesting. Klaus Kinski brings some life to it briefly but he's just there for the pay check, the food, and to grab some T & A--which he does. The cast of unknowns--they are not an asset. I complain that modern Hollywood movies tend to lack casts with strong voices or charisma--well...this low budget film suffers from the same. Good casting is so important for a movie.
The musical score is ok-and they clearly lifted some tune inspiration from ALIEN.
 

CupofJoe

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The Suicide Squad [2021]
A surprisingly enjoyable slice of comic, profane and graphic mayhem. It is not a plot-heavy film but engaging enough and the action sequences worked. I couldn't take the "Big Bad" all that seriously, but I don't think we were supposed to. It was nice to have Harley Quinn as a character and not just the eye-candy. Idris Elba aka Bloodsport attacking somewhere called Jotunheim was a nice touch. There were a number of big names in the cast that were unrecognisable under costumes and/or CGI.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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British Crime Films of 1954 That Got New Titles in the USA Double Feature:

Heat Wave (original title The House Across the Lake, 1954)

Self-described hack writer is working on his latest novel in a modest place on the water when he gets a call from The House Across the Lake, which is the fabulous mansion of a rich guy (Sid James of "Carry On" fame in a serious role) and his femme fatale wife. The woman asks him to bring some party guests over in his little boat, because their big boat is out of order. This gets him mixed up with the woman, her latest lover, the lonely millionaire, and his adult daughter from a previous marriage. The rich guy knows his wife is a serial philanderer, so he's going to cut her out of his will; he's got some disease that gives him a year or so to live. If this sounds like a set up for Double Indemnity or The Postman Always Rings Twice, go to the head of the film noir class. It takes a full fifty minutes before we get the murder. After the death is ruled accidental, the writer (who has been narrating this whole story in flashback to an unseen somebody who is obviously the detective come to arrest him) finds out exactly how he's been played for a chump. It's an enjoyable, if modestly budgeted and leisurely, example of the lovers-kill-the husband subgenre.


The Unholy Four (original title A Stranger Came Home, 1954)

Based on a novel ghostwritten by Leigh Brackett, which was published as by actor George Sanders, just as a publicity stunt. A guy (William Sylvester, of 2001: A Space Odyssey fame) comes home, shocking everybody who sees him, because he's been missing for four years. It seems he was on a boat somewhere near Portugal with three of his acquaintances and somebody hit him on the head. The intent was murder, but the effect was a temporary bout with amnesia. The obvious suspect is Sylvester, with the motive of revenge. Mixed up in all of this is Sylvester's wife and their social secretary. The plot gets pretty complicated, with yet another murder and everybody suspecting everybody else. Sylvester's rather bland personality (effective in 2001) works decently here; he's a cold, unpleasant "hero," which is appropriate for the character.
 

Guttersnipe

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Nine Days (2021): Winston Duke lives in a world of unborn souls and interviews a few to determine which should be given a light. I didn't like it as much as I thought I would. It's slow and quiet, but I usually like films like that--The Man from Earth and Marjorie Prime are a couple of my favorites. It still disappointed me. I just can't work out why.

Don't Breathe 2 (2021): A prequel rather than a sequel. An immoral blind man fights a group of other immoral people, but I guess you're meant to root for the former. It was decently thrilling, but I fell asleep halfway through. I might revisit it when I'm not so tired.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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The Last Crooked Mile (1946)

Efficient little B detective film, with a fair amount of comedy. Crooks rob a bank and switch the getaway car with another. They get caught at a roadblock because one of the gang is recognized for having "highly polished nails," which seems like an odd thing for a witness to notice. A car chase ensues, and the crooks go over a cliff. End of movie? No, because the money is missing. Our hero, a short, smiling, wisecracking private eye, gets involved because he's after the ten percent reward for whoever finds it. His investigation starts at a carnival, where the "death car" is on display as part of a crime museum. While on a roller coaster with his girlfriend, the private eye winds up finding the corpse of the mechanic who switched cars for the crooks. Who killed him, and how the heck did the body wind up in the roller coaster? A photograph of a nightclub singer the guy was carrying is the clue that leads to attempted murder and double-crosses. It's not a bad timewaster. The detective comes across like a low budget James Cagney, which isn't such a bad thing. There's a running gag about how he has to keep leaving his girlfriend behind to check things out. There's a weird little bit of comedy about the girlfriend buying a fan that breaks because she's using it wrong, according to the salesman. There's a pretty funny line at the nightclub:

Drunk: "Baby! You and me could go a long way together."
Singer: "No doubt we will -- in opposite directions."
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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Flight to Mars (1951)

Cheap little sci-fi click; it's really amazing that it's in color. Five people (A couple of older science guys, a younger pilot, the beautiful lady scientist who is carrying a torch for the pilot and, oddly, a reporter) head for the red planet. We get the usual "meteor storm" and such, plus some soap opera antics. (The beautiful lady scientist wants to make the pilot jealous, so does some smooching with the reporter.) After crash landing on the snows of Mars, they run into the Martians, all wearing spacesuits of various pastel colors. (The Earthlings wear WWII style bomber jackets and leather helmets, and just need breathing masks.) It seems the Martians are 100% human, without explanation, and they live underground. They provide clothes for their visitors, so we can see the beautiful lady scientist in a combination of vest and hot pants that makes it look like she's ready to serve cocktails. (Just to prove how feminine she is, we've already seen her aboard the spaceship in a long skirt. Her main interest in Martian technology is in the kitchen. At one point, she cries over the pilot for "exactly one hour and seventeen minutes.")

The leader of the Martians pretends to help the Earthlings repair their spaceship, but he really plots to use it to conquer Earth, because Mars is running out of the fictional material that supplies all the energy they need to survive. Among the various Martian women in microskirts is our heroine, Alita. (Yes, this film appears to be loosely based on the early Soviet novel Aelita and the silent film adapted from it, without credit. Take that, Commies!) She's got the longest legs and the shortest skirt on Mars, and the camera gives us quite an eyeful when it follows her up a flight of stairs. She helps the Earthlings defeat the leader's plot, and the pilot takes her back with him to marry her. On the rebound, the beautiful lady scientist falls for the reporter, which will surprise nobody at all.

The special effects are minimal and the matte paintings are obvious but kind of cool. It's a silly bit of Saturday matinee nonsense, but fun in its own minimal way.
 

JunkMonkey

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Europa Report - The first manned mission to one of the moons of Jupiter goes horribly wrong.
I wanted to like this a lot more than I did. I can see what they were trying to do - a found footage film charting the first international mission into deep space from internal cameras on board ship - but.... By the end I was wondering who had designed the spaceship with SO many cameras and why the crew managed to sit right on one side of their field of vision ALL THE TIME. Ok, 'all the time' is a slight exaggeration but it was a noticeable workround of the director's inability to move the camera at all whilst also pretending that this wasn't all carefully staged. And that's not his fault. The constraints of the gimmick of having the fixed cameras meant that he couldn't use dolly shots and steadycam unless a member of the crew was shown using the camera to record something, or the camera was shown to be built into something, like a space suit, that was moving. As a result the dialogue often had to be staged with one person in the foreground, half off the screen so that everyone else could do acting behind them.
The sets were good, some of the SFX excellent, the characters were paper thin and had very little human interaction with each other beyond 'getting the mission done' which I found utterly implausible for a bunch of people crammed into a confined space for over two years. By the end of the film I was more interested in the focus pulling and the set design than whatever plot was going on.
And I was slightly confused by why the upload of MONTHS' worth of all these cameras' stored recording could only be uploaded back to earth at the VERY LAST MOMENT by some sudden handwavium technobabble - after the whole crew had had all those months to work on the communication problem. Nice try but not the gem I had been hoping for.
 

AE35Unit

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Europa Report - The first manned mission to one of the moons of Jupiter goes horribly wrong.
I wanted to like this a lot more than I did. I can see what they were trying to do - a found footage film charting the first international mission into deep space from internal cameras on board ship - but....
Makes me think of 2010, Odyssey two when they receive a message from an extra terrestrial intelligence. "All these worlds are yours apart from Europa. Attempt no landings here"
 

JunkMonkey

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Shame you feel that way, JunkMonkey. Europa Report really hit the spot for me.


SPOILERS AHEAD!


I will admit the reveal that the crew member talking to camera from the beginning was part of the uploaded record and not a post mission interview was well done. I was wrong-footed on that and it worked but I just didn't engage and spent too much of my time wondering about things like why the floor of the launch vehicle was slid shut only after the pilot had fallen through it while dumping the 'water shielding' for some reason which wasn't clear and not explained afterwards. (Whatever the 'water shielding' was. It was never explained either. Another one of those vital components of movie space ships that are only mentioned when they go wrong or need to be jettisoned.

I just went and looked at that sequence again. The only reason the floor of the cockpit was open was so the pilot could fall through to his death through it and the only reason it closed as the co-pilot climbed down to the lower compartment was to save the set-builders (real or virtual) from constructing something that wasn't going to be used apart from keeping continuity. It annoys me when I'm deconstructing movies like that as they happen. Means my disbelief hasn't been suspended well enough. Like I said it's a pity because everyone was trying really hard and it had all the right components for the sort of movie I like but it just didn't gel.
 

Randy M.

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Near Dark (1987; dir. Katherine Bigelow; starring Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henricksen, Bill Paxton)

Second time I've watched this. Violent at times, but not as violent as I recalled, this is a love story with vampires. Or maybe a vampire story with love. You decide. Caleb (Pasdar) is the son of a widowed rancher and brother to the younger Sarah. In town with friends, he meets Mae (Wright) and is instantly smitten and shortly after bitten and almost immediately turns, as indicated by the smoke rising off him in the dawn sunlight.

These are not Hammer Studios vampires; no flowing cloaks or torn bodices. Jesse (Henricksen) claims to have fought for the South in the Civil War ("We lost."), and the family he's created live in one stolen vehicle after another, traveling like the Okies looking for the next place to get their nourishment. A rag-tag group, it includes Diamondback, Jesse's companion and lover; Homer, an old vampire in about a 12-year-old body (maybe a borrowing from Anne Rice) who had turned Mae and is now jealous of Caleb; and Severen (Paxton) who may be a psychopath and certainly relishes the physicality of near invulnerability while beating the crap out of several other characters. Lonely Mae wants Caleb to join them. His father and sister have other plans.

As far as I can see in IMDB, this was Bigelow's first solo directing job, and I felt at times she may have borrowed from John Carpenter, approaching the story with a noir rather than a Gothic mindset. This rural noir frequently shows the grit and dust of highways and countrysides flying off the tires of whatever vehicle the clan uses, and features dusty decrepit motels and rest stops, where their jeans and leather clothing blends in. Henricksen brings a kind of gravitas to his roles, even when the villain, and here he's a reminder of the ruthlessness of vampires but also a leader who has affection for his followers, a father figure, giving Mae latitude to fully train Caleb.

But the movie wouldn't work without the surprising chemistry and sweetness in the relationship between Caleb and Mae, Pasdar and Wright displaying the right mix of desire and vulnerability. By the end, Bigelow has you rooting for the young lovers but also, Severen aside, oddly sympathic to Jesse and Diamondback seeking to keep their family together, and Homer who just wants someone of his own now that Mae has chosen Caleb.
 

Rodders

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What a great review, Randy. I've only seen Near Dark once and i remember enjoying it a lot. A great cast with Bill Paxton the standout yet again. "finger lickin' good".
 

Randy M.

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Thanks, Rodders. I'd forgotten how over the top Paxton could be and get away with it. In a way, he and Henricksen off-set each other, one wild and one cool. It's a strong cast. Pasdar probably has the hardest role -- callow, inexperienced young men often seem bland, which he's not ... quite; Caleb's caring for Mae is convincing. And seeing it again reminded me why I still remember Jenny Wright -- or at least Mae -- from when I first saw it back in the '80s. I also recall her from I, Madman with Clayton Roehner (sp?), but mostly from this.
 

KGeo777

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I haven't been interested in revisiting Near Dark since VHS days. "Finger-licking good."
lol I remember that line.

Considering the resurgence of vampire films in the mid 80s--I have not seen the Lost Boys at all--something about it just did not appeal to me then or now.
Carpenter's Vampires must have been his answer to Near Dark because that is also a vampire road movie.


I watched I Madman recently because I had read Wright disappeared and then was found again to appear at conventions--I only knew her from Near Dark and Lawnmower Man. The killer in I Madman was well conceived. The makeup FX guy played the role and it reminded me of Sterling Hayden crossed with Karloff.
 

Randy M.

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I haven't been interested in revisiting Near Dark since VHS days. "Finger-licking good."
lol I remember that line.

Considering the resurgence of vampire films in the mid 80s--I have not seen the Lost Boys at all--something about it just did not appeal to me then or now.
Carpenter's Vampires must have been his answer to Near Dark because that is also a vampire road movie.


I watched I Madman recently because I had read Wright disappeared and then was found again to appear at conventions--I only knew her from Near Dark and Lawnmower Man. The killer in I Madman was well conceived. The makeup FX guy played the role and it reminded me of Sterling Hayden crossed with Karloff.
I recalled liking Near Dark and wondering if I still would. I do. I like the earthiness of and its depiction of how vampires might get away with being vampires -- at least, in the 1980s.

Re: Lost Boys: I still find it fun but I think that depends on one's tolerance for a few things, like vampire movies in general, and mostly comedic vampire movies in specific, also the Coreys, and maybe the '80s as a whole.

It's been a long time since I saw I Madman and a quick look at IMDB assures me I have little memory of it other than being entertained by Wright and Rohner, who I also remembered when I saw him several years later on The X-Files. IMDB shows that Wright had a career of sorts but tailed off. Too bad. She was actually quite good.
 

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