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  1. Moorman

    Branded to Kill (1967)

    Amazon Prime Video...
  2. Moorman

    Branded to Kill (1967)

    I know this is foreign language but I like putting the gangster films into this category. This is my FIRST Japanese film and my first Yakuza film. I had a feeling this was gonna be gritty and it didn't disappoint in that area. My experience with the French gangster/noir films lead me to believe the Yakuza films would be gritter than the American films also. Branded to Kill is a hitman film directed by Seijun Suzuki ( more on him later) with Joe Shishido starring as the hitman Goro Hanada. The hitmen in Japan have a ranking system. Hanado is ranked 4. Isao Tamagawa plays Michihiko Yabura, the Yakuza boss who hires Hanado to escort a client to a destination. Hanado is joined by cab driver Gihei Kasuga ( Hiroshi Minami) who himself was a former hitman but lost his nerve on a mission and took to drinking. He is trying to redeem himself with this mission. The plot thens goes off in a few different directions which I will not divulge to afford spoilers. I will say that the plot involves some well, DIFFERENT plot devices which can leave you confused. Remember I said this was directed by Seijun Suzuki? Suzuki was a contract director hired to make this film for Nikkatsu ( which I found out is the oldest Japanese film studio.) Nikkatsu already had experience with Suzuki and found him to be eccentric and ordered him to make a straight gangster film. Suzuki did the opposite and literally got fired for making the film which resulted in him later suing Nikkatsu and winning but was blacklisted in Japan for a while by the film industry. Among the many things Suzuki employed in the film was a extensive use of Jump Cuts. If you are not paying attention you can lose track of whats going on. This is the first film that I can look at and say that I agree with the studio for firing him.........THEN, at the same time I say they are wrong because the film is a masterpiece. Its garbage and a masterpiece at the same time, if thats possible, lol. Suzuki doesn't use storyboards and impliments most of his script ideas on the fly during filming. He also encourages input from others. It shows because the film looks like two or three different films meshed together. The thing is, after a initial theatrical release in which the film bombed, big time, its now considered a cult classic and a masterpiece, influencing such directors as Quentin Tarantino and Jim Jarmusch. I agree that its a masterpiece and is a must watch for fans of gangster films. I rank it a shaky 9.5 out of 10... It can be purchased from Criterion. I screened it on Amazon Prime.
  3. Moorman

    Name your top 20 Westerns of All Time

    I will have to redo my list and move Shane up around number 17 on my list.
  4. Moorman

    Recently Watched Westerns

    Very underrated western in my opinion.
  5. Ingmar Bergman explores horrific situations in this film set in medieval Sweden. Tore ( Max von Sydow) has a farm up in the mountains where he resides with his wife Mareta (Birgetta Valberg), daughter Karin ( Birgetta Pettersson), maid Ingeri ( Gunnel Lindblom) and his farm workers. The plot revolves around Tore sending his daughter into town to deliver some candles to the church. This sets off a horrific chain of events that got the film censored in the United States when it was initially released. The plot centers around questions of faith. The film itself features gorgeous cinematography by Sven Nykvist. Its a major standout of the film. The music score is by Erik Nordgren. Bergman read about the legend of Per Tore and initally wanted to turn the source material into a play or Opera with the Royal Swedish Opera. He later decided the film would be the best format for the material. To accomplish it and give the film more historical accuracy for its medieval time period, Bergman hired novelist Ulla Isaakson to write the screenplay. The film won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. The film is a remarkable piece of work. I rate it a solid 9.5 out of 10. It can be purchased from Criterion.
  6. This film has kind of a cult following because its underrated. The film is directed by and stars Allen Baron as hit man Frank Bono. For anyone familiar with the roles played by French Actor Lino Ventura, think of Bono as one of Lino's gangster characters, but with baggage which effects how he goes about business. Bono wants to do one last job and is hired to knock off numbers man Troiano ( Peter Clume). Bono tracks down one of his contacts named Big Ralph ( Larry Tucker) who is a gun supplier. Big Ralph plays prominently in the plot. I'm gonna leave it there because the plot is short and straight to the point. With a run time of only 77 minutes the plot wastes very little time doing what it does. The film features ASTOUNDING images of New York during the holidays. The camera techniques used are fabulous but I had a problem with the photography. Some scenes came off as flat while others were more crisp. I don't know if it was filmed that way or a result of film restoration problems. The film IS a low budget affair so take that with a grain of salt. Its a minor issue during some scenes at the beginning. The film features a ton of narration by Lionel Stander which gave it a early noir feel. The music score was by Meyer Kupferman which featured some very nice Jazz pieces. Its a very good film. Bono never got a chance to direct a feature again and was relegated to directing tv episodes like Charlies Angels, etc. I rate this film a solid 9 out of 10. I felt the film actually could have been about 15 to 20 minutes longer. I'm knocking half a point for the shorter time of the film. The film can be purchased from Criterion.
  7. Moorman

    Sunrise. A Song of Two Humans (1927)

    She has a few films that I wanna see now after watching her in this performance. I will post reviews when I screen them.
  8. This is my first F.W. Murnau film. I had great expectations and the film didn't let me down. It stars Janet Gaynor ( The wife), George O'Brien ( The Man), Bodil Rosing ( The Maid) and Margaret Livingston ( The Woman from the City). Very simple but engaging plot. The man owns a farm where he resides with his wife, child and his maid. A woman from the city sees him and his wife one day and decides to flirt with him. He takes the bait and starts seeing the woman. He falls for her and she wants him to leave his wife. The plot then takes a ugly turn. ( not gonna spoil it). Its a beautiful film made even better by the moral situations presented therein. The acting by Gaynor in particular is first rate. The cinematography and music score are fantastic. Cinematography is by Charles Rosher and Karl Struss). Struss also did Limelight for Chaplin which was another fantastic work of art. Hugo Riesenfeld and Erno Rapee scored the film. Another stand out is the sets. Murnau forced Fox to spend big money on the sets and it paid off. I THOUGHT for a minute that the film was in San Francisco. Thats how great a job they did with this. The film holds up and meets its reputation as one of the greatest films ever made. I rate it a perfect 10 out of 10...
  9. Moorman

    La Haine (1995)

    Vincent Cassell ( Vinz), Hubert Kounde', and Said Taghmaoui ( Said) are three youths in their early 20s living in a French banlieue ( housing project) in the suburbs of Paris. Based on real life events, the film follows 24 hours in the lives of the three youths. The film is about class struggles in modern France and Paris in particular. The film opens with real footage of French riots from the early 90s time period. Abdel (Abdel Ahmed Ghili) a friend of the three youths has been beaten by the police and is hospitalized in critical condition. Vinz wants to seek revenge but Hubert tries to talk sense into him through out the film. Said is more concerned with chasing women but goes along with his friends. During the riots, one of the police officers loses his weapon. Vinz finds it and threatens throughout the film to use it but is thwarted by Hubert. I'm not gonna go further with the plot because of spoilers. One of the main draws to the film is the on location filming in a actual banlieue in Paris. Due to the controversial subject matter only the suburb of Chanteloupe-les-Vignes allowed the director (Matthieu Kassovitz) to film on location. The soundtrack features contemporary and classic hip hop, soul and funk music which is another standout of the film. The performances of the three lead characters was also exceptional in this film. The choice by the director to film in black and white adds a beautiful classic look and feel to the film and enhances the timeless philosophy that is being expounded upon in the film. I would be remiss to not mention the fabulous camera techniques used by the director. Pierre Aim was the cinematographer here. This is a great production. I felt the plot dragged in some areas, but if you stick with it the film will draw you back in when it wanders. I give the film a solid 9.5 out of 10... ( I saw this on Amazon Prime)
  10. I've always been a big fan of the musician Prince. I knew back in the 80s that he was a classic movie buff but I never made the connection between him and Chaplin until I saw Limelight and this film. Prince ( and Michael Jackson) practically "copped" Chaplin's whole style, look, and persona. It got past me until I got into Chaplin. Everything from his clothing, dancing and his comedy. I mean EVERYTHING about Chaplin, Prince and Michael took and added it into their styles. Its soo blatant that Prince essentially REMADE Monsieur Verdoux as the 1986 film " Under the Cherry Moon." I wondered back then about WHERE he got that plot and French setting from. In UTCM Prince plays a French Gigolo ( sound familiar?) with a comedic sidekick played by Jerome Benton ( a member of several of Prince's bands.) Prince changed it up a little though. He falls in love with heiress Mary Sharon ( Kristin Scott Thomas). The ending of UTCM is his version of the ending of Limelight. What tipped me off ( I was on the trail while watching City Lights) was a dancing scene in Limelight. The Danseur Andre Eglevsky did a dance sequence and he made a move that I for YEARS wondered where Prince got the inspiration for. I saw that move, lol. THAT tipped me off to where Prince copped some of his dancing, styles, etc. from. Its from Chaplin. Prince even has a video called " The One" in which the first part is his version of "The Tramp" character calling on a love interest. A modified version of this character is shown over the years in various Prince videos. Michael Jackson has never hid his affinity for Chaplin. He has numerous projects and dances that are clearly directed at Chaplin. Prince performing on Ophrah Winfrey Show: Andre in Limelight: Chaplin in limelight: Prince in Under The Cherry Moon: Michael Jackson:
  11. This is my first Ingmar Bergman film. I've had it on my screening list for a while. Swedish director Victor Sjöström plays 78 year old Professor Isak Borg. He has been awarded the degree of Doctor Jubilaris after a 50 year career as a physician. Currently residing in Stockholm, the plot revolves around his long car journey from there to Lund where the ceremony is being held to honor him. During the course of the journey the apparently cold charactered Borg has a chance to reflect on his childhood and young adult years. His daughter in law and characters he meets in route trigger different memories he had. I had mixed feelings about the film. First. I didn't like the flashback aspect of the plot. Borg's memories of his past were brought back thru dreams. I didn't like the philosophy that was touched on in these sequences either. It didn't make sense. Next, the main gist of the plot is his supposedly hard, cold character. I felt this wasn't built up anywhere but in dialogue from his daughter in law. For this reason the film didn't connect to me at the end when his character changed. I would have ditched the dream sequences and built up his character in real time. Another problem I had ( and I learned this is true with most of Bergman's films) is the serious tone of the majority of the characters. Seems like everybody had some deep issue that was troubling them. This issue was balanced out somewhat by the trio of young people that Borg let accompany him on his trip, but a lot of people will find it bothersome nevertheless. One of the highlights of the film is these three people played by Bibi Andersson, Folke Sundquist and Bjorn Bjelfvenstam. I said I had mixed feelings about the film. What I did love was the cinematography. This is a gorgeous film. Gunnar Fischer did excellent work here. The on location filming in Stockholm was gorgeous. Even the scenes filmed on the studio lot were gorgeous. Everything was deep and crisp. The lighting and shadows were beautiful. This alone makes the film worth viewing. My final score for the film is 7.5 out of 10...
  12. Moorman

    Limelight (1952)

    Another masterpiece from Chaplin. Most of you already know this film is considered a very personal drama and has autobiographical elements. Filmed later in Chaplin's career, it features Chaplin as past his prime Calvero, a stage clown. One day Calvero comes home to his boarding house and saves a neighbor named Terry ( Claire Bloom in her first major film role) from suicide. He takes her to his room with the assistance of a doctor he called. He nurses her back to health and finds out she is a ballerina with her own personal problems. They develop a friendship and Terry falls in love with Calvero albeit against his wishes due to a vast age difference. The film is just marvelous. Chaplin again directs, produces and helps score the film. Karl Struss did the wonderful cinematography. Due to problems going on in Chaplins life at the time of production of the film it was heavily boycotted in the United States upon initial release. The film was re-released in 1972 and the music score won a Oscar for Best Dramatic Score. Even THAT was controversial because it has come to light that Larry Russell ( who was awarded the Oscar along with Chaplin) had nothing to do with the film but that it was really Russell Garcia who had scored the film with Chaplin's assistance. Nevertheless, Garcia and Chaplin created a fantastic score for the film. Another major point about the film is the extended "Cameo" appearance by Buster Keaton. As fans know its the ONLY time that both Chaplin and Keaton were both featured in the same film. There was controversy about this appearance that was later refuted by people who knew Keaton. He and Chaplin perform a marvelous stage routine toward the end of the film that is just fantastic. I rate this as another masterpiece from Chaplin and give it a 10 out of 10...
  13. Moorman

    The Circus (1928)

    Even when he is off mark, Chaplin is STILL the best. From Wikipedia: "The Circus is a 1928 silent film written and directed by Charlie Chaplin. The film stars Chaplin, Al Ernest Garcia, Merna Kennedy, Harry Crocker, George Davis and Henry Bergman. The ringmaster of an impoverished circus hires Chaplin's Little Tramp as a clown, but discovers that he can only be funny unintentionally." I found the film, though not as mesmerizing as The Kid, City Lights or The Gold Rush, STILL a worthy addition to the Chaplin collection. There was a lot of real life unfortunate distractions surrounding Chaplin when he made this, so that possibly carried over into the production of this film. Its still a great film and I rank it at a solid 9 out of 10...
  14. Moorman

    The Gold Rush (1925)

    Another masterpiece from Charlie Chaplin. His Tramp character plays the Lone Prospector searching for Gold in the Klondike. Georgia Hale stars opposite him along with Mack Swain and Tom Murray. Excellent cinematography ( even though its not on location), music scoring and the plot is fantastic. Gonna keep this review short... another perfect 10 out of 10 for Chaplin... One more thing. I saw the original 1925 version on Youtube. The Criterion release of 2012 contains both the 1925 version and the 1942 version. Thats the one to get...
  15. Moorman

    The Freshman (1925)

    I've got a list of his films to watch.

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