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Everything posted by cinemaspeak59

  1. cinemaspeak59

    I Just Watched...

    I saw The Departed in the theater when it was released. I liked it. It was a solid genre gangster film. Also contained quite a bit of violence, if I remember correctly. It won the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director for Scorsese. I also liked The Color of Money (1986), which is about the sometimes-seedy world of pool. Paul Newman and Tom Cruise starred in that one. If you’ve seen The Hustler (1961), it’s similar.
  2. cinemaspeak59

    31 Days of Oscar 2019

    Dare I say The Last Emperor (1987), in honor of Bernardo Bertolucci's passing. I was blown away by this film when I saw it. I'm not sure if it's ever been on TCM.
  3. cinemaspeak59

    Recently Watched Action/Adventure

    The Girl in the Spider’s Web (2018). Claire Foy steps into the shoes of Lisbeth Salander, the feminist avenger and hacker extraordinaire. Lisbeth’s mission is to hurt men who hurt women. The plot involves a syndicate trying to acquire nuclear weapons. Haven’t we seen this before? The syndicate is led by Lisbeth’s sister, Camilla, played by Sylvia Hoeks, who was great in Blade Runner 2049 and is excellent here. Unfortunately, she doesn’t appear until late in the second act. Camilla has taken over the crime ring from her father, a monster of reprehensibility. The damage he inflicted on his daughters is a theme that appears early on, and then resurfaces at the end. The actions set pieces and fight scenes are above average. Nonetheless, it looks like a pastiche of past similarly-themed films. Claire Foy’s Lisbeth is cold and inscrutable, but Foy is a great actress and finds her character’s humanity. LaKeith Stanfield plays an American NSA officer seeking to obtain the valuable nuclear codes that were stolen from the American government. The film is enhanced by the gray gothic atmosphere provided by the Scandinavian winter. Despite all the fancy weaponry showcased: computer viruses, lethal syringes, the most lasting comes from an old-fashioned emotional guilt-trip one of the characters will have to live with. I give this film a B.
  4. cinemaspeak59

    I Just Watched...

    The Adventurous Blonde (1937). Torchy Blane does it again. Glenda Farrell has a field day playing the savvy, sexy reporter. The plot is convoluted but fun. Rival reporters, tired of being scooped and embarrassed by Torchy, decide to fake a murder by recruiting a pompous actor to play the slain victim. Then they’ll trick Torchy into printing the false story, and finally turn the tables on her. All this while Torchy is about to tie the knot with Steve MacBride (Barton MacLane), her policeman boyfriend. The only hitch is the murder ends up being real. Torchy wouldn't abandon her wedding to solve the case, would she? There's a funny line a rival reporter utters about whether people will believe the fake murder headline: "If it's in the paper it must be true". And I thought about the saying regarding truth and the Internet. I’m glad TCM is showcasing Glenda Farrell as Star of the Month. She’s a delight to watch.
  5. cinemaspeak59

    Noir Alley

    Woman in the Window is wonderfully stylized. Scarlet Street is darker, grittier and its theme of fatalism more in keeping with noir. Usually "it was all a dream" is a crutch for lazy storytelling; somehow, due largely to how great Woman in the Window looks - Joan Bennett's apartment/penthouse, the elegant club Edward G. spends time in - it doesn't hurt the film at all.
  6. I liked the way Dana Andrews orders coffee in Fallen Angel (1945), with that velvety voice of his.
  7. cinemaspeak59

    TopBilled’s Essentials

    Yes, Frank Capra, as an Italian immigrant, had an idealized version of America that, at times, bordered on simplicity. Some of his films were described by the not-always complimentary term Capracorn. As you mention, TopBilled, women US. senators were not unheard of. The inclusion of female senators as participatory characters would have benefited Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
  8. cinemaspeak59

    Movies I watch again and again.

    In the interest of brevity, here are ten: 1. 42nd Street (1933) 2. The Letter (1940) 3. Out of the Past (1947) 4. The Red Shoes (1948) 5. I Vitelloni (1953) 6. Smiles of a Summer Night (1955) 7. Masculin Feminin (1966) 8. My Night at Maud's (1969) 9. Taxi Driver (1976) 10. The Shining (1980) And if I have to compile this list again, the titles will probably change.
  9. cinemaspeak59

    I Just Watched...

    Yes, it would be nice for him to take a nap once and a while. BTW, I like your spelling better.
  10. cinemaspeak59

    I Just Watched...

    Panic in the Streets (1950). There’s a heightened sense of realism to this film, directed by Elia Kazan, due to the on-location shooting (New Orleans), utilitarian production design, and the urgency of the performances. The consequences could not be direr: A police detective and military doctor race against time to prevent a pandemic, as one unsuspecting crook has been infected by pneumatic plague, a form of bubonic plague. Jack Palance, billed as Walter Jack Palance, plays B*l*a*c*k*i*e, a mob kingpin wannabe, who thinks his dying underling is holding out on him. Little does he know. B*l*a*c*k*i*e has a hair trigger temper, killing a man over a card game. Richard Widmark as the dedicated doctor and Paul Douglas as the pragmatic cop complement each other quite well.
  11. cinemaspeak59

    Great One-Liners

    There’s a line in the Maltese Falcon, in which Bogart’s Sam Spade tells Brigid O'Shaughnessy what he thinks about her convoluted tale: “We didn’t believe your story. We believed your $200.”
  12. cinemaspeak59

    Recently Watched Horror

    Did you see the version that shows Mr. Ullman visit Danny in the hospital and give him the tennis ball from 237? I read this scene was cut from the original.
  13. cinemaspeak59

    Upcoming Releases

    Would love to see Fellini's The White Sheik (1952) get the Criterion treatment. It's on their website but listed as out of print. TCM showed it a few years ago.
  14. cinemaspeak59

    What Were They Thinking?

    Today, going to great lengths to make one appear as unattractive as possible is Oscar bait.
  15. cinemaspeak59

    Glenda Farrell as SOTM November 2018

    Yes, I would have loved to have seen her in noir.
  16. cinemaspeak59

    Movies That Make a Statement

    Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)
  17. cinemaspeak59

    Recently Watched Horror

    The Seventh Victim (1943) is a slow burn. The filmmakers rely on the Lewton trademark of unsettling mood, dread and suspicion to create horror: Satanists, who call themselves Palladists, gather in a cozy Greenwich village townhouse, playing cards, talking, and generally enjoying each other’s company. The Palladists reject violence, except when there’s betrayal in their ranks. This is 1943. WWII is raging. Hopelessness and despair rule the day. Evil had seemingly won. The devil worshipers may have taken to the adage, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” The film title refers to the seventh person who has turned against the cult. The other six were killed. The preferred method is psychologically-induced suicide. And there’s a doozy of a scene involving poison wine, evocatively lit in chiaroscuro. The plot is set in motion when protagonist Mary Gibson (Kim Hunter, who could pass for Deanna Durbin’s twin), leaves boarding school because her sister, Jacqueline, stopped paying the tuition. Mary finds more questions than answers when she arrives in New York looking for Jacqueline, (Jean Brooks, spooky and haunted in black goth hair and ghostly white skin). Along the way, Mary meets mysterious psychiatrist Louis Judd (Tom Conway), and Jacqueline’s “friend”, lawyer Gregory Ward (Hugh Beaumont). I kept thinking about Rosemary’s Baby (1968) while watching The Seventh Victim. I was looking for an image, a piece of dialogue, anything Roman Polanski may have picked up on. And the best I could find is a scene in a hotel room, in which Mary is waiting for Dr. Judd. She looks in the mirror, and sees smoke rising from an armchair. It frightens her. The occupant is revealed to be a detective, advising Mary to be careful snooping around. The shot of billowing smoke reminded me of that great scene in Rosemary’s Baby, when Mia Farrow sees her husband, played by John Cassavetes, talking to someone blowing cigar smoke in Cassavetes’s face (in effect, closing the deal). That person is shown to be Satanist Roman Castevet, played memorably by Sidney Blackmer. That shot was not only chilling, but it distilled the essence of the film. Of course, the similarities are probably coincidence. I don’t think its overstatement to call The Seventh Victim a horror classic, in that it has influenced countless films.
  18. cinemaspeak59

    interesting poll on IMDb

    I gained an appreciation for Gilda Gray after seeing her in Piccadilly (1929). She made three pictures prior to this which are considered lost, and would love if they could be found. They are: Aloma of the South Seas (1926), Cabaret and The Devil Dancer, both from (1927)
  19. cinemaspeak59

    Glenda Farrell finally gets her due.

    I enjoyed her work in the Torchy Blane movies, and am glad she was chosen as SOTM.
  20. cinemaspeak59

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films from 1993

    Chloe in the Afternoon, already mentioned, beautifully closed out Eric Rohmer's Six Moral Tales. I have it on DVD, and hope to re-watch it soon.
  21. cinemaspeak59

    Ranches and Cattle Drives

    There's a notable cattle drive in Dodge City (1939) that turns into a stampede.
  22. cinemaspeak59

    I Just Watched...

    Bad Day at Black Rock (1955). As soon as Spencer Tracy’s John Macreedy steps off the train, having arrived at Black Rock, a town the inhabitants of which you could literally count on two hands, it’s like he’s traveled back in time, from 1945, the film’s setting, to the untamed Wild West, with frontier justice, where laws don’t matter, just men, in this case one man, Reno Smith, played with controlled menace by Robert Ryan. Macreedy is greeted with immediate hostility. He’s unable to book a room in a hotel with 100% vacancy. When he finally secures lodging, he finds a lanky, handsome Hector David (Lee Marvin), one of Smith’s acolytes, lying in bed. Hector interrogates Macreedy, ending every sentence with the dehumanizing “boy”, as in “This is my room, boy.” “What are you doing here, boy?” Macreedy has one arm, and as he’s going up the steps, carrying his suitcase, Hector says “You look like you could use a hand.” These are the people who live in Black Rock. With a tantalizing slowness, we learn why Macreedy is there. And it doesn’t surprise. Instead, it’s a well-earned payoff. This is a well-acted drama. It may remind some of The Petrified Forest (1936). It reminded me of High Noon (1952): individuals with other responsibilities making the hard choices to fight back against evil rather than leaving or being complicit through standing by and doing nothing. Spencer Tracy characteristically underplays; he represents a quiet, humble decency; traits that are effective contrasts to the testosterone-soaked portrayals of Lee Marvin’s smooth upstart, and Ernest Borgnine’s wild-eyed, fanatic thug. The topic of anti-Japanese racism must not have been easy only 10 years removed from WWII. Also starring Walter Brennan, Dean Jagger, John Ericson, and Ann Francis as an auto mechanic (yes, and she’s very good in the few scenes she has).
  23. cinemaspeak59

    On Approval (1944)

    On Approval (1944) is a light, slightly naughty British drawing room comedy that circumvents the norms of romance. George (Clive Brook who also directed) is an impoverished Duke forced out of his mansion. The estate is occupied by Helen (Googie Withers, ravishing in Victorian costumes) who wishes George would pay her more attention. Richard (Roland Culver), a friend of George, has set his sights on Maria (Beatrice Lillie), a bossy and difficult woman, but she’s rich. Maria plots to test Richard’s love by having him stay with her at her home in Scotland. The catch is Richard is not permitted to spend the night. George and Helen, unable to find a hotel room, ensconce themselves at Maria’s. What a setting: Four unmarried people with limited domestic skills in a house without any servants (they walk out rather than be part of a scandalous living arraignment). The conceited and lazy George expects Helen to wait on him hand and foot. And for a while, she does. Richard tolerates Maria’s abuses thinking it’s a ploy to test his devotion. His thinking is: She can’t be this bad. Can she? The dialogue is so rich in witticism the few straight exchanges seem jarring. Comparisons with Private Lives (1931) are unmistakable. In the end, the subtly shrewd Helen gets what she wanted, and is the happiest. On Approval is jolly good fun!
  24. cinemaspeak59

    what is everyone's favorite war film and why?

    La Grande Illusion (1937) is a powerful anti-war film directed by Jean Renoir. It made an impression on me when I saw it.

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