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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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LEAST & MOST FAVORITE of the week...


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#21 film lover 293

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 08:45 PM

I saw six films for the first time last week:

 

"Persecution" AKA "The Terror of Sheba" (1974)--Predictable, polite British would-be shocker was one of Lana Turner's last films.  A man's life is ruined because his mother loves her cats more than him.  Shows definitively that Persian cats are NOT terrifying, no matter how they're filmed, what music is on the soundtrack, or even if a lion's roar is added to the soundtrack.  Film Begs for smartass remarks from its viewer(s).

 

"Journey to the Center of the Earth" (1959)--Handsome version of the Jules Verne novel has Oscar nominated Special Effects, but is Slowww paced, almost to the point of boredom.  Film comes to a screeching halt for costar Pat Boone's musical numbers (he sings well, acts...passably).  Stars James Mason and Arlene Dahl keep the film interesting.  Film starts moving more quickly after the first hour, but film should be shorter by about twenty minutes (it's over two hours long).

 

"The Lottery Bride" (1930)--I saw a print of the 1937 re-release of the film which had about 15 minutes cut from it, including the Technicolor finale.  What remains is an excellent example of why the musical died out in the early 1930's.  Plot of this floperetta involves a "quaint" Norwegian opening number, a dance marathon, embezzling, Jeanette MacDonald harboring a fugitive and being jailed for doing so, a mail order bride business, and a Zeppelin crash, all in one hour.  Film's saving graces are that the cast can sing the unremarkable songs, and the shortness of the film.

 

"Dinosaurus!" (1960)--Dreadful horror film.  ALL the characters are dumber than dirt, the two dinosaurs are remarkably non-bloodthirsty, the miniaturization effects are laughable (the final battle is Obviously between a toy truck and a plastic dinosaur).  "Bambi" (1942) is more frightening.

 

"The Invisible Ray" (1936)--Underrated teaming of Karloff and Lugosi that's a mix of sci-fi and horror.  Very worth the watch.  Recommended.

 

"Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" (2009)--Fantastic animation is tied to a script that's in love with it's Cuteness.  Worth a watch because of the animation.  Turn off the sound if the Cuteness Factor becomes overwhelming (I did).

 

Favorite--"The Invisible Ray" (1936).

 

Film that had me wishing monsters would get the Entire cast--"Dinosaurus!" (1960).


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#22 skimpole

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 02:36 AM

I saw four movies last week.  Sound of the Mountain is a Naruse film starring Setsuko Hara.  It's interesting, if not as impressive as Late Spring, which it followed on TCM.  Hara plays more of a wallflower role, though it is striking that she has an abortion in frustration over her husband's womanizing.  Can one think of an American movie in which the lead, sympathetic female character makes such a choice?  Well there's The Godfather, Part II, but otherwise...  Sister Kenny has a good performance by Rosalind Russell playing a strong professional woman.  But it became more problematic as it went on, as it did not really provide a convincing explanation why we should accept her if most Australian doctors thought she was a dangerous quack.  I read the novel "Ivanhoe" when I was ten, and I thought it was very boring.  I can't say the movie version is very good.  It certainly does take some time to get started, though there is a rousing siege, George Sanders becomes more interesting as the movie goes one.and Elizabeth Taylor does a better job being beautiful than being a convincing Jew.  L'Humanitie is a subtle movie.  This 141 minute movie is about a police inspector shocked by a horrifying murder who muddles along trying to solve it, somewhat disconcerted by an attractive neighbor and her uncouth boyfriend.  It's kind of hard to describe the atmosphere:  there's scenes of explicit sex, and there's a lot of ordinary, arguably banal and dehumanizing portrayal of contemporary French life.



#23 film lover 293

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 05:15 AM

I saw six movies and one classic television episode for the first time last week:

 

"The Arrangement" (1969)--Tremendously disappointing film directed by Elia Kazan.  It's about a man who has the perfect mansion, perfect wife, and perfect life.  He has a nervous breakdown because his material success is based on his advertising campaign for a "clean" cigarette.  In addition he screws around on his wife and girlfriend.  Film insists the women in his life are to blame for his breakdown and all the viewers' sympathy should go to the man who traded his life for material success.  Kazan's misdirection of the film ruins it, despite the efforts of Kirk Douglas, Deborah Kerr, and Faye Dunaway.

 

"Queen of Outer Space" (1958)--Wonderful piece of camp starring Zsa Zsa Gabor.  Gabor and company are on the planet Venus, and destroyed all the male Venusians because they made war.  Now they are noticing the lack of men.  When a space expedition ventures near, it crashes on Venus.  Chaos ensues.  Special effects that look like they cost $1.50, silly costumes (Halloween masks to cover radiation burns), makeup that falls off from shot to shot are just a few of the delights of this movie.

 

"The Spoilers" (1942)--Routine Northern is given class and humor by Marlene Dietrich, Randolph Scott, and John Wayne.  Plot involves claim stealing during the Alaskan Gold Rush.  Film has a 10 minute, wild barroom brawl that is the highpoint of the film.  Worth a watch.  Film is the 4th version of Rex Beach's novel.

 

"The Dentist" (1932)--Misanthropic PreCode W. C. Fields short has some amusing gags; his familiar greeting to his wife and the contortions of an unfortunate patient would never have passed the Production Code.  Recommended.

 

"Mulan" (1998)--Disney film has fantastic animation, an Oscar nominated score, good voice work (especially by Eddie Murphy).  It also has jokes from the silent era, and villains that are caricatures instead of characters.  Still, I like the films' themes of empowerment and the underdog winning.  Recommended.

 

"The Reluctant Dragon" (1941)--Robert Benchley goes to the Disney studio to sell a book, and visits the various departments and sees how animation works.  Film is a fascinating snapshot of how early 1940's animation worked.  There are three cartoons of varying quality that make up half the films' running time; the best cartoon is "How To Ride A Horse".  Worth a watch."

"Mars and Beyond" (1957)--Episode of The Wonderful World of Disney examines our solar system. The highlight is a five minute parody of space comics/B movies where a secretary who drinks martinis while working, wears a little black dress to work, and types three words a minute is abducted by Martians.  The first 15  minutes is the best part of the film--film never gets back to that level.

 

Most Favorite--"Mulan" (1998).

 

Least Favorite--"The Arrangement" (1969).


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#24 skimpole

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 01:36 AM

I saw five movies last week.  Blue Sky is best known as the Tony Richardson that sat on the shelf for three years and which won Jessica Lange a best actress oscar apparently because they couldn't think of a better choice that year.  It certainly didn't impress me very much with Lange acting a melodramatic fashion for much of the movie, and with a contrived plot.  (The superior office trying to cover up Jones' concerns over radiation is both sleeping with Lange and the father of Lange and Jones' daughter's boyfriend.)  Daughters of the Dust has a unique visual style and is certainly entrancing as it shows the world of turn of the 19/20th century South Carolinian African-Americans.  It also had a distinctive, if admittedly opaque, narrative style.  Billy Budd is a competent movie version of the Melville novella.  Although the movie made Terrance Stamp a star, I actually think Ryan and Ustinov do a better job.  Toni Erdmann perhaps shouldn't have been seen when I was suffering from insomnia.  There is a genuine comedic payoff in this 150+ minute long movie, and the lead actors do a good job.  And there is certainly something to be said in its portrait of Romania in the age of globalization.  For much of the movie, the multinational company that the daughter works for live in a world of gilded Eurotrash.  Then we see the Romania outside the high society of Bucharest and see the poverty that is just going to be worsened.  Interesting, but I fear that the combination wasn't quite enough for me.  Perhaps a better movie from last year was Indignation, with fine performances, especially from Tracy Letts as a passive aggressive conformist dean whose confrontation with the protagonist is the climax of the movie.  One problem is the ending, which seems a bit abrupt and melodramatic.



#25 film lover 293

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 05:07 PM

I saw five films for the first time last week:

 

"Horrors of the Black Museum" (1959)--OK British/American horror film, notable for the elaborate and bloody ways the victims are killed; alert viewers will notice the culprit gives themselves away in the first ten minutes of the film.  Not great, not terrible.  Was originally released with a twelve minute prologue about hypnotism; the print I saw lacked the prologue.

 

"Mademoiselle Fifi" (1944)--Val Lewton produced and Robert Wise directed this film, which takes place during the Franco-Prussian War of the 1870's.  Film draws parallels between oppression then and under the Nazis.  The film gives the game away very early, when a statue and the words engraved upon it are shown in long shot, medium shot, and a Long closeup (so the audience can read every word).  Simone Simon, Norma Varden, and Kurt Krueger (he's blond, so his character stands for all Nazi brutes) are especially good.  Film is effective propaganda that's worth a watch.

 

"Female on the Beach" (1955)--Late Joan Crawford romantic melodrama where costar Jeff Chandler gets most of the closeups, and in the ones Crawford is in, Vaseline/filters is/are used with the camera.  They obscure Joan's nose and fingers, but the lines in her face are still visible.  The camera settles for ogling Chandler and giving Joan a fashion show.  Silly "Will he Kiss me or Kill me?" melodrama is a fun watch.

 

"Carry On...Don't Lose Your Head" (1966)--A wild spoof of "The Scarlet Pimpernel",  with shots at "Marie Antoinette" (1938) and "The Three Musketeers" (1948) added.  Kenneth Williams as Citizen Camembert, Sidney James as Sir Rodney Effing/The Black Fingernail, and Joan Sims as  Cockney accented Desiree Dubarry are hilarious.  One of the best "Carry On..." films.  Recommended.

 

"Carry On Up the Jungle" (1969)--Spoof of Tarzan and Jungle films in general, film gets off to a good start, falls apart halfway through, then recovers for an abrupt finish.  Film desperately misses Kenneth Williams ' and other regulars spirit and energy.  The weak script doesn't help.  Joan Sims, Sidney James , and Charles Hawtrey do their best, but film is not one of their best efforts.  A fairly amusing watch.

 

Favorite--"Carry On...Don't Lose Your Head" (1966).

 

Least Favorite--"Horrors of the Black Museum" (1959).


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#26 skimpole

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 02:12 AM

I saw seven movies over the last two weeks:  six this week, one the week before.  That movie Paterson, was clearly the best movie I've seen last year.  It's incredibly charming and the most hopeful movie I've seen from last year, with the conceit that ordinary people working in apparently dull occupations (in this case, a bus driver), are actually aspiring poets.  It also portrays a multi-racial world in a city that most American politicians have tried to leave for dead.  It certainly contains the happiest marriage I've seen in a movie this decade, with Golshifteh Farahani being especially charming.  As for this weeks movies, The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds has a striking title, and is certainly dour and pessimistic.  But it doesn't really explain or empathize with Joanne Woodward's character, it's more like an attempt to see the life of someone we've all seen berating her children or generally being unpleasant in public, but without having more insight.The Outlaw and His Wife could be described as the original "Bonnie and Clyde" movie, made when the actual Bonnie and Clyde were small children.  As such it contains a certain amount of power and is worth rewatching again. Edward, My Son is perhaps best known as the first movie Deborah Kerr got an oscar nomination.  Compared to the other four nominated movies that I've seen, it's clearly the least of them.  It's arguably a supporting role, with Kerr getting the nomination for a drunker mourning scene.  The movie is basically Spencer Tracy's as a parent who cheats and swindles to get the best for his son, only to have a spoiled brat who dies young.  Oddly enough, it's not dissimilar from Mildred Pierce, except Curtiz does a better job in showing Crawford's plight than Cukor does.  Symbol of the Unconquered is an Oscar Michaux film which suffers from the fact that the decisive defeat of the Klan was apparently lost.  Talking to Strangers is an interesting film about a young man who has conversations with people.  Each conversation is shot in a single take, and the movie is bookended by two takes which introduce and exit the young man.  The conversations include a snide talk with a priest in a confessional, a chat with a bank employee who is constantly harassed by a loved one's emotionally bullying calls, and a talk with a paramour who turns out to be a stripper.  The Traveller is the first feature of the great Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, or at least the first one he was happy with.  The short movie, under 75 minutes, deals with a boy who by hook and by crook tries to see a soccer match in Teheran while he lives in a different town altogether.  It's surprisingly tense, even though one might guess the ending from the moralistic regime of the Shah Kiarostami made it under.



#27 film lover 293

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 02:51 PM

I saw four movies for the first time last week:

 

"Song of Scheherazade" (1947)--Gloriously silly bio of composer Rimsky-Korsakov, with music adapted and directed by Miklos Rozsa.  Yvonne De Carlo is a stumbling would-be prima ballerina, Eve Arden is her card sharp, fan fluttering mother, Jean Pierre Aumont is the composer who is a naval cadet, Brian Donlevy is the ship's captain who is basted in olive oil.  A Technicolored treat for eye and ear.  Recommended.

 

"Yog, Monster From Space" aka "Space Amoeba" (1970)--This "intelligent being" from space wants to take over the world; so it makes giant, then possesses a squid (which looks like a walking pickle with eyes and eight legs; watch for the two shots where you can see a string moving the squids' legs) a crab, and finally a turtle.  Add superstitious natives, a witch doctor who prays to the monsters, a very convenient erupting volcano, and you have a enjoyably silly creature feature.

 

"Peeping Tom" (1960)--Grim film has no suspense after the opening sequence (the music cues you as to who will die and when), no humor (not even sick humor).  Film about a serial killer boasts excellent performances all around (especially Maxine Audley as the blind mother of the heroine).  None of the characters except Audley's seem to have a sense of self-preservation.  Each victim has multiple chances to escape, and yet they stick around until they are killed.  An unpleasant watch.  Worthwhile?  You decide.

 

"The Extraordinary Seaman" (1969)--Eighty minute so-called comedy scored three laughs and two smiles from me.  Skip it.

 

Most Favorite--Song of Scheherazade (1947).

 

Least Favorite--The Extraordinary Seaman (1969).


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#28 film lover 293

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 02:32 PM

Lawrence--This is one of the worst mainstream films of the 1970's;  Tomlin is trying hard, and Travolta is memorably bad--it's never been released on video or dvd, to my knowledge--it's been on YT six months, and has over 300,000 views.  It's also available on a.org.  To quote a review (I've forgotten where it's from) "Tomlin and Travolta have all the chemistry of Yasser Arafat and Menachim Begin".


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#29 LawrenceA

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 02:18 PM

 

Least Favorite--"Moment By Moment" (1978).

 

I don't recall even knowing this movie existed before your review. I'm not sure how it escaped my notice, although it doesn't sound like something I need to see immediately.



#30 film lover 293

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 02:13 PM

I saw seven movies for the first time last week:

 

"Queen Bee" (1955)--Joan Crawford in the title role plays a deep-fried Southern ***** who enjoys manipulating all within her hive/reach.  One of her Jean Louis gowns even makes her Look like the title creature (Louis got an Oscar nomination).  Film has her spouting lines like "Well, do I look fairly human now?"  "That was Naughty of me, wasn't it?"  "Don't talk to ME in That tone of voice!"  "It's for your own good!"  One character tells her  "You're like some fancy disease I once had--now I'm immune!"  There's even a fight over who gets to kill her.  Film is great fun.

 

"Heller in Pink Tights" (1960)--George Cukor directed oddity about a troupe of theatrical players in the Old West.  The details about 1800's theatre, the interplay between the characters and muttered asides/thrown away lines are more amusing and involving than the plot.  Eileen Heckart and Margaret O'Brien are hilarious as a mother-daughter pair of con artists.  Paramount interfered with the editing; film is two thirds rambling comedy, one third traditional western.  Flawed but entertaining.

 

"What's Up, Tiger Lily?" (1966)--Woody Allen took a Japanese spy movie, dubbed it with nonsensical dialogue and plot (people kill for an egg salad recipe) and came up with a wonderful spy spoof.  Arguably, some of the Godzilla movies are even funnier than this (1972's 'Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster" and 1992's "Godzilla vs. Biolanthe" ( a mutant rosebush is the threat in this one).  Still, good silly fun.

 

"Godzilla vs. Gigan" (1972)--Godzilla on the rampage again--lousy special effects, dumber than dirt characters--the Showa series of movies is rapidly losing its' charm and inventiveness. 

 

"Moment By Moment" (1978)--A train wreck in SSSSSlllliooooooowwwwww MMMoootttttttiiooon.  Taking it as a Lily Tomlin skit alleviates the pain.  I'd say this is Travolta's worst performance, except I haven't seen "Battlefield Earth" (2000).  For BAD movie lovers only.

 

"The Ninth Configuration" (1980)--Strange horror comedy that starts from the Vietnam War and transitions into what's real and unreal.  Very worth the watch.  

 

"Gojira Shin" aka "True Godzilla" (2016)--Godzilla is now a mutant nuclear reactor that can change shape and size at will.  Good to fair special effects, lots of screaming, panicking residents (Several cities in Japan are destroyed, not just Tokyo), all while Japans' government debates proper etiquette as to informs who of what, whether or not to inform the public Godzilla's loose (like they wouldn't notice a 100 foot high monster; anyway, Tokyo's version of CNN breaks the story while the government is arguing).  Enjoyable big budget creature feature.

 

Most Favorite--"What's Up, Tiger Lily?" (1966).

 

Least Favorite--"Moment By Moment" (1978).



#31 cigarjoe

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 05:00 AM

Least favorite The Yellow Canary (1963) directed by Buzz Kulik, with Pat  Boone, Barbara Eden, Jesse White, Jack Klugman, kidnap caper written by Rod Serling on a very crappy Youtube. May have been better with a better print.

 

Favorite Girl Of The Night (1960) Anne Francis as a NYC all girl.


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#32 skimpole

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 02:06 AM

Four movies this week,with this being "Have I actually seen it before?" week.  No, I don't think so.  But I did see the funniest scene in Throw Momma from the Train, when Billy Crystal realizes the horrible situation Danny DeVito has placed him in.  As for the film itself, DeVito is the best part of it.  Crystal himself is rather bland, and while Anne Ramsay is memorably unpleasant, there were more deserving choices for a best supporting actress nominee that year.  Parenthood is a movie I saw most of, but not all of, so I knew the basic plot and remembered the best jokes.  (Such as Rick Moranis try to turn his four year old daughter into a super genius by making her read "In the Penal Colony.")  It has a sitcom vibe, in which the actors all try very hard, but ultimately it's too soft.  Serious problems are raised, teenage pregnancy, unwanted pregnancy, a disturbed child, gambling debts, a bad job which is then lost.  But ultimately they're all waved away.  Rogue One or whatever the exact title is, isn't a bad movie, and one can respect it for the way it answers why we haven't seen any of these people before.  It's thoroughly competent, though the attempts to provide emotional weight are no better than in most of the franchise proper.  And by punching up the thrills and difficulties it makes the achievements in the original movies look too easy.  Fata Morgana is clearly the movie of the week.  This early Herzog documentary, which isn't really a documentary, certainly makes things strange, since it consists of shots of the Sahara and Sahel while the Mayan creation myth is recited over it.


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#33 TikiSoo

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 05:30 AM

Filmlover saw for the first time this week: "Shock Treatment" (1981)--Sequel to "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"

 

This past year I saw that for the first time too.

Wholly disappointing.

 

I think it was a fatal mistake to cast NEW people in the recurring roles (Brad & Janet) and repeat people in new roles! Maybe that's just hindsight since we have become so familiar with the charactors through the years. But that just proves how much Sarandon & Bostwick brought to those parts.

 

It was great seeing how talented & beautiful both Nell Campbell & Patricia Quinn really were outside their silly bit parts in RHPS!


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#34 skimpole

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 02:46 AM

I saw four movies last week.  The main achievement of The Robe is that it makes one appreciate the Wyler Ben-Hur.  Apparently so stodgy, it appears much more impressive in its craftsmanship and comparative subtlety.  Not particular interesting on its own merits, The Robe is basically, in the words of Jonathan Rosenbaum, "pious claptrap," with neither wit, action, cleverness or genuine emotional substance.  Look Back in Anger is better, and it's better than many other examples of the British New Wave.  But it's striking that while the original play was heralded at the time for trying to break through the upper middle class hegemony on the British stage, the movie version doesn't have much of a reputation.  It's basically competent, and outside the original stage setting the challenge to a certain middle class middlebrow view has less effect.  This is especially so for American audiences, where the genteel tradition was never so strong.  King Lear is perhaps the most recondite of Godard's movies.  After the original run of movies from 1960 to 1967 that made his reputation, he then engaged on more ideological films, and then in 1980 returned to narrative films of a sort.  But he became increasingly interested in pure cinema.  So the movie itself isn't actually an adaptation of the Shakespeare play.  Much of it is set in an apocalyptic future where a descendant of Shakespeare tries to get two people (Burgess Meredith and Molly Ringwald) to recite key lines from the play.  Important in Godard's evolution, but not for all tastes.  Not remotely.  My Life as a Zucchini is a charming, if somewhat short French animated movie that was nominated for best animated feature this year.  This story of an orphan, who slowly becomes friends with his six fellow orphans, is a stop-animated movie.  The characters are basically dolls, though not very lifelike ones.  It's a hopeful film, though the traumas that got the children to the orphanage in the first place are given their due weight.


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#35 film lover 293

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 08:34 PM

I saw fourteen movies for the first time the past two weeks.  I've been watching the Godzilla movies, the Showa and Heisei  series.  I'll list those movies first, then the  others I saw.

 

Heisei series:  "Godzilla vs. Biollanthe" (1989)--Godzilla awakens when a volcano erupts, and is threatened by a mutant rosebush.  This is the craziest of the Heisei series that I've seen (two of six films).  Highlights/lowlights--The Rosebush emitting green...goop that burns whatever it touches, Tokyo being destroyed again.  The absolute low--a narrator at the end tells the viewer this was the viewer's fault.  Film is still howlingly funny at times--recommended for lovers of the absurd.

 

Showa series: "Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster" (1966)--Godzilla takes on Ebirah, a giant lobster (one of the more amusing looking monsters in this series), and makes sushi out of him/her.

 

"Godzilla vs. Monster Zero" (1966)--Astronaut Nick Adams goes to visit a new found planet "on the dark side of Jupiter", and finds intelligent life.  They are being terrorized by Ghidorah (a three headed flying monster).  In exchange for beaming up Godzilla and another monster to kill Ghidorah, the people from the new planet will give away a formula for a new drug that will cure all diseases.  Naturally, nothing goes as planned.  Watchable entry in the series.

 

"Son of Godzilla" (1967)--On a remote island, Sonny Boy signals Godzilla psychically when he's ready to hatch out of his egg--Godzilla arrives just as giant praying mantises are about to have Sonny as a snack.  Japanese weather scientists are doing experiments using radiation on the island.  An irritatingly bouncy, happy, "Isn't he CUTE!" musical score just about ruined film for me.  I"m allergic to "CUTE" horror films.

 

"Destroy All Monsters" (1968)--Seven or eight monsters are living amicably together on Monster Island.  Outer Space technology takes over their minds, and the people assigned to keep the peace;  Moscow. London, New York City, and Paris are attacked.  Will the world be destroyed?  Of course not--that would take away the possibility of further sequels.

 

"War of the Gargantuas" (1970)--Sequel to "Frankenstein Conquers the World" (1966) now has two of them; the bad monster is green and eats people: the good monster is brown and saves people.  Oh yeah, Godzilla is in this one also.  Features Awful miniature work and some of the most dimwitted characters in the series.

 

"Yongary, Monster From The Deep" (1967)--Korean ripoff of Godzilla takes 26 minutes of Boring talk to finally get moving.  When Yongary appears, he looks motheaten and has a horn where his nose should be.  He drinks tanks of oil (the tanks look like Dutch ovens) and gets a tummyache.    Downtown Seoul is destroyed, and after much boring talk, so is Yongary.

 

"The Paleface" (1922)--Amusing Buster Keaton short has some hair-raising stunts.

 

"Fantastic Planet" (1973)--Winner of a Special Jury Prize at Cannes, this French animated sci-fi movie for adults has to do with resistance to oppression, that knowledge must be acquired before successful revolt.  This applied to Apartheid, and other political issues if the time.  Film's animation and musical score are both beautiful.  Fascinating movie.

 

"Mark of the Renegade" (1951)--Ricardo Montalban and Cyd Charisse star in this knockoff of Zorro.  Their charm, dance number, and Montalban's sense of humor elevate the movie from barely ok to a pleasant time passer. 

 

"Castle of the Living Dead" (1964)--Low budget Italian shocker was partially directed by Michael Reeves, and stars Christopher Lee and Donald Sutherland in multiple roles. Reeves only directed four films before his death; this is the first of those films.  Parts of the movie are genuinely scary, but the viewer must make allowances for the barely functional cinematography, and the obvious low budget.  Film is worth a watch, especially for horror fans.

 

"Sea Wife" (1957)--Richard Burton and Joan Collins battle a badly written screenplay to a draw.  Script sabotages both stars at every turn, by making Burton a fool, and by making Collins keep her religious calling a secret.  Film throws away whatever credibility it has earned in the last five minutes of the film, when Collins is given a howler of a line to speak (If it had been modified to fit only Burton's character, it would have been a fitting line to end the film).

 

"Doctor Faustus" (1967)--Fine version of Christopher Marlowe's play.  Burton is good, Elizabeth Taylor has a wordless cameo as Helen of Troy, the cinematography is beautiful--but 1967 critics ripped the film apart.  Film deserves to be seen and reevaluated.  Recommended.

 

"Staircase" (1968)--Film doesn't work, despite occasional good lines and effective scenes.  Richard Burton and Rex Harrison seem afraid to even show affection for each other, much less touch each other.  Film seems a stunt.  Ben Mankiewicz said during his intro that the film's publicity focused on the heterosexuality of the film's stars, to the movie's detriment.

 

Most Favorite--Fantastic Planet (1973).

 

Least Favorite--Son of Godzilla (1967).


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#36 skimpole

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 03:14 AM

I saw six movies this week.  A Thousand Clowns, like many prominent movies of the fifties and sixties, was based on a play.  I wonder whether my lack of enthusiasm for it is because it too rigidly follows the contours and beats of a play, or because the play itself isn't very good.  It may be the latter, since we're basically waiting for Jason Robards to be more responsible, but in the meantime he gets to fool around with Barbara Harris instead of immediately following killjoy William Daniels' advice.  Sid and Nancy is a grueling film, a sort of movie of what it's like to be in a pathological relationship when you're too addicted to act either responsibly or remotely competently.  Certainly, it doesn't put the best light on the punk scene, which is musically more interesting than one might gather from the film.  Camp de Thiaroye is an African film from the famed director Osmane Sembene.  It deals with a mutiny by French African soldiers fed up with their mistreatment near the end of the second world war and brutally crushed by the French.  It's an interesting film, though I saw it under awkward conditions.  The film is in French, the youtube video had Portuguese subtitles, and the auto-translate back into English had a 30 second delay.  Weary River a silent film that was sort of converted into a sound film which deals with a thug who finds redemption as a singer of sorts, did not leave much of an impression on me.  The Young in Heart is an amusing trifle with Janet Gaynor, Roland Young, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and Billie Burke all giving good performances as a conman and woman family who are redeemed by the old woman they hope to scam  Finally, I am Not Your Negro is a documentary in which the words of James Baldwin, as read by Samuel L. Jackson, are played in a background of America's racism problem.  Some of this is effective, and some of it is eloquent.  But it doesn't get to the heart of conservative self-justification that racism basically ended after the Voting Rights Act was passed and that any problems are the fault of liberals or of African-Americans themselves.  One needs a sharper scalpel these days.


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#37 film lover 293

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 09:12 PM

I saw six movies for the first time this week:

 

"Shock Treatment" (1981)--Sequel to "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" (1975) was a critical and box-office bomb when first released.  In 2017 its' satire of people who looked and acted like relics out of the Eisenhower administration (the film specifically mentions that President) seems more timely.  Film also reminded me of "The Truman Show" (1998).  "Shock Treatment" deserves another look.  I saw it on YouTube.

 

"Forbidden Zone" (1980)--Starring Susan Tyrrell and Herve Villechaize.  My first reaction was What the (fill in the blank) did I just see!?  Strange fantasy film with the Rock group Oingo-Boingo (I barely remember them) mixes live action with animation.  One character looks a lot like Bettie Page did, there is choreography stolen from The Nicholas Brothers in "Stormy Weather" (1943), another character looks like Lucille Bremer.  Strange film is on Youtube.

 

"Godzilla 1985" (1985)--Starring Godzilla and Raymond Burr.  Godzilla is back, again, in a more expensive, slightly less inept sequel.  This film steals plot developments from "The Swarm" (1978), "When Time Ran Out" (1980), and "The Towering Inferno" (1974).  Despite Burrs' billing, he has only a cameo.  Godzilla provokes Russia into firing a nuclear missile, among other problems.  Tokyo is destroyed, again.  The miniature work is still bad, just not quite as obvious.  Yawn.

 

"Godzilla Versus the Smog Monster" (1972)--Maybe The nuttiest entry in the series.  Godzilla is environmental activist/avenger in this one.  Theme song has to be heard to be disbelieved; "The sea has carbon, it's full of mercury...Save the Earth!"  Tokyo is destroyed by the title monsters, their two confrontations are staged like "High Noon" (1952), and the ending is a shameless steal from "Shane" (1953).

 

"Northwest Frontier" (1947)--Low budget Republic operetta has a pleasant score by Rudolf Friml, and is well sung by Ilona Massey,  Nelson Eddy is in excellent voice, but is just as wooden acting as ever.  Elsa Lanchester detonates wisecracks like dynamite.  Enjoyable but slow moving operetta.

 

"Gigantis The Fire Monster" (1956)--First sequel to Godzilla has Osaka being destroyed, and compares its' destruction with that of Hiroshima.  There is a Japanese version.  Film paints Japan as a victim of circumstance.  I'd love to find a Japanese print with English subtitles,  The English version has two amateurish looking monsters, lousy miniature work, and silly dubbing (One character desperately wants a handbag).  Mediocre, to say the most.

 

Favorite--"Godzilla versus the Smog Monster" (1972).

 

Least Favorite--"Gigantis, the Fire Monster" (1956).


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#38 Sepiatone

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 07:59 AM

:o

 

Funny, I don't recall SCOTT GLENN being in "Pockeful Of Miracles",  as he would have been 20 years old when it was made, and he didn't start his film career until he was 29.  ;)

 

Of course, you obviously meant Glenn FORD, and got balled up somewhere.

 

Everybody slams that movie, but I like it.  Of course, NOT as much as the original LADY FOR A DAY, but it does OK.  And as someone who grew up soaking up ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE as a kid, it was(and still is) a TREAT to get around to seeing Edward Everett Horton in movies.  :)

 

 

Sepiatone


I started out with NOTHING...and still have most of it left!


#39 skimpole

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 02:58 AM

I saw six movies this week.  The first four fall into the category of better than expected.  The New Land is, of course, a sequel to The Emigrants, and I wondered when it started do we really need to spend three and a half hours on Von Sydow and Ullmann slogging it in Minnesota?  Certainly some of it doesn't go well, such as the endless subplot involving the brother who goes out West.  But if not as insightful as The Tree of Wooden Clogs, it does have a certain power as it proceeds.  A Pocketful of Miracles was Frank Capra's last movie.  I'm not the biggest Capra fan, and the story is arguably a trifle.  But it does work on its own terms.  It's nice to see Edward Everett Horton again, and also Thomas Mitchell (if only for the last time).  Bette Davis doesn't have the big role she could have, but Glenn Ford and Hope Lange don't make a bad couple.  Hidden Figures is better than its audience pleasing plot might suggest.  Henson is very good, and we get to see a The Life of Louis Pasteur/Dr. Erlich's Magic Bullet plot only involving women, angular geometry, and segregation.  Is it as good as The Right Stuff?  No, not remotely.  But it's better than Apollo 13.  The Sea Wolf is a good yarn with Edward G. Robinson lording it over his ship.  Elle starts out well.  Isabelle Huppert gives a remarkable performance, arguably the best actress of 2016 I've seen so far.  (Playing a woman more than a decade younger than her is the least of her abilities.)  But it could be trimmed for ten to twenty minutes.  Moreover, once we realize why Huppert is acting the way she is, the explanation appears a bit facile.  Finally, Manchester by the Sea is the best movie of the week, and the best of the seven best picture nominees I've seen.  It's intelligent, thoughtful, funny, nuanced and at times genuinely touching.  Casey Affleck is very good indeed, and one wishes there was more of Michelle Williams that her second billing would suggest.  It's more morally complex than Moonlight and more profound than La La Land.


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#40 laffite

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 03:32 AM

I didn't like the way Doris Day pronounced Broadway. Broad'waaaaay.






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