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I Just Watched...

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Earlier today, I saw Boyz N the Hood (1991) for the first time. What a strong, powerful film. It sags a little bit in the middle but the beginning is very strong and the finale is a heartbreaking powerhouse. And Lawrence Fishburne was excellent as the father.

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Fear and Desire (1953)  -  3/10

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Amateurish war drama that marked the feature directing debut of Stanley Kubrick. In an unnamed country during an unnamed war, four soldiers (Frank Silvera, Kenneth Harp, Stephen Colt, and Paul Mazursky) try to make their way to safety from behind enemy lines. Also featuring Virginia Leith as "The Girl". Shot silent and then completely dubbed in post, this is bargain-basement film-school material, written with much pretentiousness and filmed with insufferable ham-handedness. The performances range from bad to worse, with future director Paul Mazursky the worst as a whiny soldier who loses his grip on reality. Kubrick detested this feeble first effort and with good reason. He tried to have it destroyed, but a negative survived and this was finally restored and officially released to the general public in 2012.

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All That Heaven Allows (1955).

Underrated comedy director Douglas Sirk has another hit on his hands with this tale of a rich widow (Jane Wyman) who falls for her tree pruner (Rock Hudson), at which point everybody around her other than Endora flips out.

Filled with heavy-handed musical cues and blatant foreshadowing (notably involving a Wedgwood teapot and a TV set) as well as dialog that's hilarious in hindsight considering Hudson's sexuality, such as the line from Wyman about Hudson trying to make a man out of her. :lol:

Oh, and Wyman's daughter has a ridiculous round window in her bedroom that lets in a spectrum of light, which seems profoundly impractical.

4/10 for drama; 8/10 for comedy.

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The Glass Web (1953)  -  6/10

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Crime thriller with Edward G. Robinson and John Forsythe as men who work behind the scenes on a true-crime TV series. When an ambitious actress who worked on the show is murdered, one of the men is afraid of being charged with the crime. Things grow even more nerve-wracking when the script for the next show is based on the case. Also featuring Richard Denning, Kathleen Hughes, Marcia Henderson, Hugh Sanders, Jean Willes, Beverly Garland, Brett Halsey, Lance Fuller, Jack Kelly, and Kathleen Freeman. From director Jack Arnold, this was originally released in 3-D, and there's a laughable sequence with Forsythe wandering the city streets at night, barely avoiding getting hit with various things that are instead thrust towards the camera/audience, like an extension ladder, water from a hose, a stack of newspapers being delivered, and even a chute full of tumbling rocks (I think...they could have been cabbages). The "mystery" aspect is glaringly obvious to all but the densest of viewers.

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The Glory Brigade (1953)  -  6/10

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Unusual Korean War picture about a group of American soldiers led by Victor Mature tasked with working with a squad of Greek soldiers, part of the UN forces. The cultural and language differences cause conflict and misunderstanding. Featuring Alexander Scourby, Richard Egan, Lee Marvin, Nick Dennis, Roy Roberts, Alvy Moore, Henry Kulky, and Frank Gerstle. This is an aspect of this conflict that I don't recall seeing covered in a film before, so that was interesting. The rest of the film is rather standard war-film material though, with merely adequate direction.

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Ordeal (1973)  -  6/10

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Made-for-TV thriller with Arthur Hill as a verbally abusive rich guy who, after breaking his leg, is left to die in the desert by his wife (Diana Muldaur) and his employee (James Stacy) that she's having an affair with. Hill struggles to survive to exact his revenge on the two, but it will be an...ordeal. Also featuring Macdonald Carey and Michael Ansara. This is fairly well-handled, although I became bored before it was over, as its desert survival tropes are old hat. 

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23 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Ordeal (1973)  -  6/10

Made-for-TV thriller with Arthur Hill as a verbally abusive rich guy who, after breaking his leg, is left to die in the desert by his wife (Diana Muldaur) and his employee (James Stacy) that she's having an affair with. Hill struggles to survive to exact his revenge on the two, but it will be an...ordeal. Also featuring Macdonald Carey and Michael Ansara. This is fairly well-handled, although I became bored before it was over, as its desert survival tropes are old hat. 

IMDb confirms my suspicions that it's a remake of Inferno (1953), considered to be one of the better 3-D B-movies of the 50's.

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You probably know, but Ordeal is a remake of the very good Robert Ryan film Inferno.

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Confessions of a Psycho Cat (1968) Sexploitation Roughie

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"Cat" is leftover beatnik speak for a person.
The person is a woman. The woman is Virginia Marcus (Eileen Lord) and she is a psycho-cat. Marcus is a wealthy whacked out big game huntress with an incredibly over stuffed trophy room. It looks like a storage closet with some furniture. She is apparently bored with hunting animals, she now wants to hunt the biggest game man.

The film starts with a shot of seeing her brother Anderson off on a trip from Manhattan by ocean liner (of course, how else is a big game hunter supposed to travel you are not getting your trophies back to the USA by plane).

Which reminds me of a funny story. I was working on a land survey for an owner up in the Shawangunks of New York State.  He was a nice little guy with these coke bottle glasses who it turned out was one of these big game hunters. He had a trophy club house, sort of a converted garage detached from the main residence that was part of the survey. Well he invited us in to see the trophies. It was filled with heads, stuffed bears, mountain lions, etc., etc. It dawned on me while looking at his prizes that through some type of psychological cause and effect this guy was compensating for the fact that without his glasses he would be essentially food for all the former trophies, hah!

Directed by Herb Stanley (his only credit if that is even his real name). Written by Bill Boyd. The stylistic claustrophobic Cinematography was by Paul Guffee, his use of a fish-eye lens was quite effective. It doesn't look as if he filmed any of what looks like in comparison the inserted **** sequence (the sexploitation ingredient). The only redeeming factor for shooting a sex scene would be to shoot it artistically and creatively.

The film stars Eileen Lord as Virginia Marcus, Jake LaMotta as Rocco, Ed Garrabrandt as Anderson, Frank Geraci as Buddy, and Dick Lord as Charles Freeman. The acting is at times amateurish but it's got to be expected with a low budget effort, it's nice seeing Jake LaMotta.

Confessions of a Psycho Cat is another missing link between the demise of Classic Hollywood Noirs and the Neo Noirs that began to emerge in the 1970s. I call them Transitional Noir. Available from Something Weird Videos. A curiosity 5-6/10.

Full review with some screen caps here in Film Noir/Gangster pages.

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9 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

working on a land survey for an owner up in the Shawangunks of New York State

Hey that's where I live!

10 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

Transitional Noir. Available from Something Weird Videos.

Ugh another sub category for "noir"? 

Glad there's someone else who enjoys exploring Something Weird videos. At best, you find something that delights your personal fetish (mine was a Vampire Bollywood horror) but they are at the very least interesting historical artifacts for classic film lovers.

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8 hours ago, EricJ said:

IMDb confirms my suspicions that it's a remake of Inferno (1953), considered to be one of the better 3-D B-movies of the 50's.

 

7 hours ago, Fedya said:

You probably know, but Ordeal is a remake of the very good Robert Ryan film Inferno.

No, I didn't know, but oddly enough I'll be watching Inferno later today.

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7 hours ago, Fedya said:

You probably know, but Ordeal is a remake of the very good Robert Ryan film Inferno.

Inferno features Rhonda Fleming in a gold bathing suit. Ordeal features Diana Muldaur in a bikini. That makes both films worth watching.

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The Golden Blade (1953)  -  5/10

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Technicolor Arabian adventure with Rock Hudson as a "son of Basra" out to avenge the death of his father at the hands of Bagdad raiders. Rock meets Bagdad princess Piper Laurie, who is promised in marriage to the loathsome Gene Evans, so she asks for Rock's help in avoiding the nuptials. Rock has an advantage once he finds the mystical weapon of the title which can cut through anything and grants increased endurance to the bearer. Also featuring George Macready as Jafar, Steven Geray, Edgar Barrier, Dennis Weaver, Anita Ekberg, Guy Williams, and Kathleen Hughes. Colorful silliness that holds some camp appeal. The ladies are nice to look at, too.

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Travels With My Aunt (1972) 6/10 Directed by George Cukor

First time viewing for me on this one. Maggie Smith had won an Oscar for "The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie" 3 years before and plays another eccentric lady this time and got another nomination for it. She is wonderful in the role and Alec McCowen (he was the police inspector in Hitchcock's "Frenzy" that same year) matches her as her strait laced banker nephew. She involves her nephew in a shady deal while traveling throughout Europe together. Lou Gossett plays Smith's jovial flat mate and Cindy Williams shows up as a kooky American girl on the train to Istanbul. The film seemed a bit uneven at times but it finally won me over by the end.

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I, the Jury (1953)  -  5/10

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Shoddy detective thriller based on the Mickey Spillane novel. Biff Elliott (in his movie debut) stars as P.I. Mike Hammer, who goes on a rampage punching his way around the city at Christmas time after a friend is killed. The trail leads to dames, goons, broads, and thugs. Also featuring Preston Foster as Hammer's police pal, Margaret Sheridan as faithful assistant Velda, Peggie Castle, Alan Reed, Mary Anderson, Tom Powers, Frances Osborne, Joe Besser, Nestor Paiva, John Qualen, the Seitz Twins, and Elisha Cook as "Bobo". Elliott is just plain awful, and easily the worst Mike Hammer that I've yet seen (I haven't watched The Girl Hunters yet). The whole production is cheap and flimsy, with greeting card inserts used instead of location shots. This was shot in 3-D. If only there'd actually been "naked fury" as the poster promised.

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SEARCHING (2018) and HOLMES & WATSON (2018):

Searching: 

Starring: John Cho, Debra Messing, Joseph Lee, Michelle La. 

After his daughter goes "Messing" (sorry, "missing"), David Kim hacks onto her laptop and searches her social media in an attempt to find out what could have happened to her. Messing co-stars as the detective assigned to the case, and the two of them work together to solve it. 

I was essentially unimpressed with everything in this movie; I wouldn't pay money to see this, that's for sure. One thing I did like, was the choice to show the dad's POV of looking on his daughter's laptop and social media sites. That was an interesting touch. 

Related image

*Score: 2.25/10*

Holmes and Watson: 

Starring: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Rebecca Hall, Kelly Macdonald, Ralph Fiennes, Lauren Lapkus, Steve Coogan, Hugh Laurie, Noah Jupe. 

A "humorous" twist on the iconic duo we know so well. I laughed maybe twice the entire movie. I saw it mainly because I was bored one night. I would not recommend spending money to see this. I think Ferrell and Reilly have great chemistry, and I am quickly becoming a fan of Rebecca Hall. She's great in everything I've seen of hers so far. 

Image result for holmes and watson 2018

*Score: 3.75/10* 

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2 minutes ago, NickAndNora34 said:

SEARCHING (2018) 

I was essentially unimpressed with everything in this movie; I wouldn't pay money to see this, that's for sure. One thing I did like, was the choice to show the dad's POV of looking on his daughter's laptop and social media sites. That was an interesting touch. 

I watched that due to a lot of recommendations, as I wasn't at all interested after seeing the trailers. I have to say I was surprised that it worked better than I expected, and I thought John Cho was good in it. The "twist" was as obvious as could be, though. As for the format of the film (everything shot as if viewed through a computer screen and on websites/security cams/cell phone video), I this was about as good as that kind of format could be, and was much, much better than in Unfriended which used a similar gimmick.

P.S.: I agree with you on Rebecca Hall. I like her a lot. One I saw with her recently that I would recommend is Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, but I would suggest avoiding it if you are at all prudish. It's one of those truth-is-stranger-than-fiction stories about the man who created Wonder Woman and the real-life women in his life.

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Inferno (1953)  -  7/10

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Desert survival tale with Robert Ryan as a man left to die in the desert by his unfaithful wife (Rhonda Fleming) and her lover (William Lundigan). Ryan, with a broken leg and meager supplies, is determined to survive, and goes to greats lengths to do so. Also featuring Henry Hull, Larry Keating, and Carl Betz. Shot in bright Technicolor and originally released in 3-D, this is an excellent wilderness drama, with nice elements of betrayal and revenge thrown in. As was noted above, this was remade for TV in 1973 as Ordeal, which I completely coincidentally watched last night, having no idea that the newer movie was a remake. 

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4 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Inferno (1953)  -  7/10

MV5BYzJiZWY0Y2ItMjdhMC00MDVmLWE4Y2EtYWM5

Desert survival tale with Robert Ryan as a man left to die in the desert by his unfaithful wife (Rhonda Fleming) and her lover (William Lundigan). Ryan, with a broken leg and meager supplies, is determined to survive, and goes to greats lengths to do so. Also featuring Henry Hull, Larry Keating, and Carl Betz. Shot in bright Technicolor and originally released in 3-D, this is an excellent wilderness drama, with nice elements of betrayal and revenge thrown in. As was noted above, this was remade for TV in 1973 as Ordeal, which I completely coincidentally watched last night, having no idea that the newer movie was a remake. 

Just curious:  are you trying to "catch-up" on viewing films originally released in 3-D or it is just a coincidence?  

Also,  on the 'set-up' you view these films;  does it being a 3-D film make any difference in how the film looks?   Yea, I assume you're not wearing some special 3-D glasses (and I'm not sure that would make a difference anyhow),  but I do wonder if there is a noticeable difference or not.   I assume there is no difference (i.e. when a 3-D shot film is converted to digital any 3-Dness is wiped away).

 

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1 minute ago, LawrenceA said:

I watched that due to a lot of recommendations, as I wasn't at all interested after seeing the trailers. I have to say I was surprised that it worked better than I expected, and I thought John Cho was good in it. The "twist" was as obvious as could be, though. As for the format of the film (everything shot as if viewed through a computer screen and on websites/security cams/cell phone video), I this was about as good as that kind of format could be, and was much, much better than in Unfriended which used a similar gimmick.

P.S.: I agree with you on Rebecca Hall. I like her a lot. One I saw with her recently that I would recommend is Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, but I would suggest avoiding it if you are at all prudish. It's one of those truth-is-stranger-than-fiction stories about the man who created Wonder Woman and the real-life women in his life.

I liked John Cho in "Searching" as well. The twist was certainly predictable, you're right. 

And I actually have seen "Professor Marston" already. It was interesting to see how Wonder Woman came about and the details surrounding his life. 

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18 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Just curious:  are you trying to "catch-up" on viewing films originally released in 3-D or it is just a coincidence?  

Also,  on the 'set-up' you view these films;  does it being a 3-D film make any difference in how the film looks?   Yea, I assume you're not wearing some special 3-D glasses (and I'm not sure that would make a difference anyhow),  but I do wonder if there is a noticeable difference or not.   I assume there is no difference (i.e. when a 3-D shot film is converted to digital any 3-Dness is wiped away).

The amount of 3-D stuff I've been seeing is just a coincidence, a side effect of the period of film that I'm currently watching. Also I haven't seen many of these in earlier years due to scarcity of home video or TV showings thanks to the original format. That being said, all of the versions I've watched have been the "flat" 2-D versions, with no picture quality lost. The picture is sharp and the color doesn't bleed, but there are no 3-D effects and no need to wear the glasses. Some of the movies look sillier than others, like The Glass Web and its sequences of stuff being thrown at the camera lens, but others, like Inferno, hold up very well, with little of the original gimmickry visible.

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9 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

Written by Bill Boyd.

Not Hopalong Cassidy, I presume.

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9 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Hey that's where I live! 

Your location says Syracuse, which is a good ways away from the Shawangunks. :P

 

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Innocents in Paris (1953)  -  6/10

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British comedy about various passengers on a London-to-Paris airplane trip and what they do during their weekend stay. The cast includes Alastair Sim as a fussy government representative, Margaret Rutherford as an eccentric art enthusiast, and Claire Bloom as a lonely woman. Also with Claude Dauphin, Peter Illing, Gaby Bruyere, Colin Gordon, Kenneth Kove, Peter Jones, Mara Lane, Laurence Harvey and Christopher Lee. Mildly entertaining amusement, with Rutherford stealing the film. I watched it for Lee, who appears briefly as a military officer. The version I watched was marked as a "restored" version, as apparently all the scenes with Harvey were edited out of the movie after its initial release. There's a notable difference in the picture quality of the restored footage.

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