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Narc (2002) Directed and written by Joe Carnahan. Starred Ray Liotta, Jason Patric, Chi McBride. 

Narc Poster

An undercover narc gets shot and killed, the investigation into the killing stalls, so the Detroit P.D. brings back Nick Tellis (Patric), fired 18-months ago when a stray bullet fired by him in the heat of a chase hits a pregnant woman. Tellis teams with Henry Oak (Liotta), a friend of the dead narc and an overly aggressive non PC cop constantly under the scrutiny of internal affairs. Watchable 7/10

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32 minutes ago, scsu1975 said:

 I'm not so sure ... I kind of liked Jeanne Crain in that tight black dress.

She got pregnant a lot. Now you know why.

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11 minutes ago, TomJH said:

She got pregnant a lot. Now you know why.

As Groucho once said, "I like cigars too, but I take them out once in a while."

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Underworld U.S.A. (1961)  -  7/10

220px-Underworldusa2.jpg

Violent crime drama from writer-director Sam Fuller. A teen (David Kent) witnesses the beating death of his father at the hands of four thugs. The boy vows revenge, and dedicates his life to tracking them down. He becomes a criminal himself so as to get closer to them, and after leaving prison as an adult (Cliff Robertson), he infiltrates the organization of the four killers, who have all gone on to become top men in the mob. Also featuring Dolores Dorn, Beatrice Kay, Robert Emhardt, Larry Gates, Gerald Milton, Allan Gruener, and Richard Rust. Robertson seems an odd casting choice, but he's not bad, playing it rough around the edges, with a scar on his face to match his tortured psyche. My only real fault lay with the uninspired casting of the crime bosses, an assortment of unmemorable actors that fail to make an impression. However, I did like Richard Rust as the cold-as-ice killer employed by the racketeers.

Source: getTV

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1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

Underworld U.S.A. (1961)  -  7/10

220px-Underworldusa2.jpg

Violent crime drama from writer-director Sam Fuller. A teen (David Kent) witnesses the beating death of his father at the hands of four thugs. The boy vows revenge, and dedicates his life to tracking them down. He becomes a criminal himself so as to get closer to them, and after leaving prison as an adult (Cliff Robertson), he infiltrates the organization of the four killers, who have all gone on to become top men in the mob. Also featuring Dolores Dorn, Beatrice Kay, Robert Emhardt, Larry Gates, Gerald Milton, Allan Gruener, and Richard Rust. Robertson seems an odd casting choice, but he's not bad, playing it rough around the edges, with a scar on his face to match his tortured psyche. My only real fault lay with the uninspired casting of the crime bosses, an assortment of unmemorable actors that fail to make an impression. However, I did like Richard Rust as the cold-as-ice killer employed by the racketeers.

Source: getTV

I like it also, but here is a good example of a film that probably would have been an 8 or an 8.5/10 if Fuller or the producers would have gone to real locations and shot. It definitely looks studio backlot bound. Agree about Rust, like his putting on the shades when he's gonna make a hit.

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One Wild Night (1938)

A comedy mystery from the "B" unit at 20th Century Fox dealing with three small town businessmen who disappear after withdrawing money from their bank, leading to speculation about an extortion racket.

The opening credits have "thriller" music playing under the titles but it doesn't take long to see that this is a film playing its material for laughs and, for a little film no one has heard of, doing it surprisingly well. The leads are lesser lights, but June Lang (who shone in Howard Hawks' anti-war The Road to Glory two years earlier) is very pretty and spunky as a cub reporter who is forever phoning in only partially accurate news stories to her city editor, as she gets involved in the case.

As the eager beaver son of the town sheriff, returning to his home town to help Pop out with the case even though he only had a month of investigative studies, Dick Baldwin is a pretty hopeless actor, jutting his chin out a lot and shouting his lines of dialogue. But I don't think he hurts the film as he is surrounded by some first rate character actors.

William Demarest is a hoot in a standard Demarest role, that of the town newspaper editor exasperated by incorrect news stories from his least favourite cub reporter and fighting law suits because of them. I lost count of the number of times that Demarest fires Lang over the phone only to re-hire her again. Sidney Toler, as a cop who's not the bravest member of the force, gets a lot of the film's biggest laughs. Charlie Chan-smart he is not in this film. Truth is none of the citizens of this town are likely to be in line for any kind of Einstein awards when it comes to the brains department.

Other cast members include J. Edward Bromberg as the bank president, Lyle Talbot, smooth as ever, as a bookie, and, in a real highlight comedy performance, Andrew Tombes as the frustrated police chief who may be dumber than his son. Tombes is a familiar character actor, even if most movie buffs don't know the name. His face is on the bottom left corner of the poster below. Recognize him? If you've seen your share of '30s and '40s films I'm sure you did.

Director Eugene Ford may be the real star here, keeping this bright, perky little film moving at an incredibly fast pace throughout its entire 71 minute running time. It doesn't matter if you may get a little lost with the story line because this good natured "B" has such a high energy level to keep you entertained. And, being a "B" from a major studio, means that it is also a good looking production. The film climaxes on an effective "spooky" old mill set with some impressive black and white photography to boot.

One Wild Night is a surprisingly fun time and was released in 2014 on DVD from the Fox Cinema Archives in a nice looking print.

one-wild-night-us-lobbycard-bottom-left-

2.5 out of 4

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April Fool's Day (1986)--A group of 9 college students all travel to a remote island home of their mutual friend for a weekend--what could go wrong?  Well, it was the 80s...so gatherings such as these either mean expect a slasher film..or a brat pack reunion.  Interestingly, this group does look a little like stand-ins for St. Elmo's Fire...you've got the cool guy, bookish girl, couple, funny guy...whatever.  This group acknowledges their lives are somewhat entitled--best colleges, and clueless what to do with their lives after looming graduation.  They go to pal Muffy's (Wellesley, of course) palatial summer home..all are friends except for two 'outsiders'--her somewhat hick-ish cousin and a quiet bookish pal she met in a drama workshop.  Little April Fool's pranks turn personal, and ugly...then deadly.  Muffy's pal's are vanishing, bodies are floating about in unexpected places, and Muffy's appearance has gone from pure preppy to unfabulous frump.  Have her little pranks gotten out of hand?  Or is she as oblivious as the rest?  The real stand-outs in the cast are Amy Steel, as part of 'the couple' (along with Ken Olandt) and Deborah Foreman, as the mysterious Muffy (or is she...Buffy?..that's a whole other side-plot..).  It's as good, if not better than the usual 80's teen horror/slasher films, thanks to a bit of wit and a double twist to wrap things up (I sort of figured the first...but I thought the second would be completely different).  Mid-range gore, a few shocks..not a bad watch at all.                                                            Related image

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X-15 (1961)  -  6/10

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Workman-like aviation drama follows three test pilots, one civilian (David McLean) and two Air Force (Charles Bronson & Ralph Taeger), as they work with the experimental X-15 jet, setting speed and altitude records. Also featuring James Gregory, Kenneth Tobey, Brad Dexter, Stanley Livingston, Patricia Owens, Lisabeth Hush, and Mary Tyler Moore. There's also narration by James Stewart. The widescreen imagery is striking, but the aviation footage is undercut by much of it having been shot in the narrower 1:85 size and then stretched to match the 2:35 of the rest of the film. I would guess many people will find this dull, but fans of aviation movies or The Right Stuff may get a kick out of some of it. This also marked the feature directing debut of Richard Donner.

Source: YouTube

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The Young Doctors (1961)  -  7/10

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Medical drama set in a large, big-city hospital, with veteran pathologist Fredric March butting heads with newcomer Ben Gazzara. The younger man wants to clean the place up and modernize their techniques, while the older man tries to stick to the tried-and-true methods of his long career. Also featuring Ina Balin, Eddie Albert, Dick Clark, Aline MacMahon, Phyllis Love, Edward Andrews, Arthur Hill, Rosemary Murphy, Barnard Hughes, Dolph Sweet, and George Segal in his film debut. There's also a bit of narration by Ronald Reagan. I thought this was fairly well-done, with distinctive characters and interesting situations. The direction by Phil Karlson is sharp, too. It may seem a bit bland in an era when medical shows are on TV multiple times a week. I liked seeing 30's film stars March and MacMahon together in their later years. 

Source: TCM

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The Adventures of Superboy (1961)

250px-Adventures_of_Superboy.jpg

26-minute pilot for a proposed series, from the makers of the George Reeves Adventures of Superman series. Johnny Rockwell stars as Clark Kent, a high school student in Smallville. He's also secretly the costumed Superboy, and in this outing, he's after some thieves who target the local theater, which has a bunch of diamonds on display as part of a promotional stunt. Also featuring Bunny Henning as Clark's gal pal Lana Lang, Monty Margetts as Ma Kent, Ross Elliott, Robert B. Williams, and Richard Reeves as "Shifty". This looks like the previous Reeves show, and Rockwell even vaguely looks like a younger version of the actor. We see Superboy pull the old "squeezing coal into diamonds" gag, and he uses his super-hearing to listen to a crook's heartbeat to tell if he's lying.

Source: Amazon Prime video. The picture quality is atrocious. 

superman010.jpg

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First Man (2018) 👍

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The weekly trip through the library DVD section is usually the good excuse to catch up on all those "guilt" Oscar nominations everyone says they're going to get to, but never wants to pay for on digital.  I'd been meaning to see this one, as it certainly looked like it wants to be "this generation's The Right Stuff" in terms of NASA history, but--reuniting "La La Land" director Damien Chazelle with star Ryan Gosling--it does often seem like it's this generation's The Right Stuff before going on to the historical spectacle.

In recreating the Apollo 11 landing (which doesn't happen until the last half hour of 2:15), it does the same job of capturing the technical cockpit pressures of keeping the space capsules flying, and the by-the-pants attempts to pull out solutions to problems--But it never captures either the white-nails problems of Tom Hanks in "Apollo 13", or the goofy gung-ho camaraderie of the Right Stuff astronauts.  The story instead focuses on Gosling as Neil Armstrong, who is historically depicted as closed, elusive, technical, and basically shut off from his emotions after the death of his young daughter early on.  (And who even treats his "last" conversation with his kids before liftoff as a kitchen-table NASA press conference.)

While it captures the look of the mission perfectly, the book's focus on Armstrong's inner demons ends up dragging it back down to personal drama, and we're left wondering about Corey Stoll's depiction of the not-always-graceful but more enthusiastic #2 Buzz Aldrin.  "First Man" does a good job of capturing a good, essential mainstream pop-history story, even if we basically get the story of a dedicated pilot who spent eight years just...mooning about.  😔

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The Psychic (1977)  -  6/10

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Italian thriller from director Lucio Fulci. Jennifer O'Neill stars as a woman who has psychic visions of another woman's murder. They lead her to the discovery of the victim's skeleton walled up in an old villa. In a surprise twist, O'Neill's husband (Gianni Garko) is arrested for the crime, so Jennifer sets out to prove him innocent, with some help from a parapsychologist friend (Marc Porel). Also with Gabriele Ferzetti, Evelyn Stewart, and Jenny Tamburi. The movie looks nice, with that late-70's Euro-fashion-shoot gloss, and with the expected exotic music score. The dubbing is pretty laughable, though, and the mystery holds few surprises.

Source: YouTube

tumblr_or18yjc5Bc1uv00xxo2_500.png

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6 hours ago, TomJH said:

One Wild Night (1938)

Oops, I don't think I have the right one in mind. There is a "B" (very B, maybe even a C) that begins when two newly weds register into a hotel She is very pretty as well as ditzy as all get out and he is just a happy guy who does anything she wants. There is a short exposition where there are some genuinely funny moments while they get settled in. The plot develops and but my memory fails, it might be this one. This was very long ago and it was on TCM. The title is very similar. Is this the one?

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The Avengers - Season 1 (1961)

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I watched the very small amount of stuff I could find from the first season of this British TV series. When this series was run, it was standard practice to re-record over the videotapes used to record the episodes. Therefore nearly all of the first season's 26 episodes are now lost. However, copies of 3 full episodes have been discovered in private collections, as has the first 15 minutes of the series' first episode. I was able to watch that fragment, as well as the full episode "The Frighteners".

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The first episode, "Hot Snow", introduced star Ian Hendry as physician Dr. David Keel. His fiancee is murdered by a drug gang, and Keel is later approached by investigator John Steed (Patrick Macnee), who has been after the drug gang for some time. Steed offers to help Keel avenge his fiancee, thus the series' title. Unfortunately, all that remains from this first episode are the scenes with Keel and his nurse fiancee, some scenes of the gang, and the fiancee's assassination. Steed is not seen at all. I did recognize a couple of the other actors, though, including Philip Stone as the fiancee's father, and Murray Melvin from A Taste of Honey as one of the drug gang.

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The full episode I watched, "The Frighteners", involved Keel and Steed encountering a gang of strong-arm-men-for-hire as they try to scare off a man dating the daughter of a wealthy man. Keel and Steed later discover that the man should have been scared away from the nice daughter, so they endeavor to set things right.

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The series was created as a vehicle for Ian Hendry (The HillGet Carter), after he'd made an impression as the star of another short-lived series, Police Surgeon. He plays a doctor again here, while Steed is his associate, lacking the verve and fashion sense of the later seasons. I wouldn't mind seeing the other two extant episodes, but based on what I've seen, the show wasn't very memorable in this earliest of incarnations.

Source: YouTube

Ian-Hendry-Dr-David-Keel-Patrick-Macnee-

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The Prisoner (1967-1968)

I have loved this series very much for a very long time. It is enigmatic, philosophical and nearly surreal spy/drama/science fiction like no other.

I am very happy that it is now on tubi for free viewing through their site and on Roku.

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6 hours ago, laffite said:

Oops, I don't think I have the right one in mind. There is a "B" (very B, maybe even a C) that begins when two newly weds register into a hotel She is very pretty as well as ditzy as all get out and he is just a happy guy who does anything she wants. There is a short exposition where there are some genuinely funny moments while they get settled in. The plot develops and but my memory fails, it might be this one. This was very long ago and it was on TCM. The title is very similar. Is this the one?

Nope. Not even close. You'll have to keep searching for your little film, Iafitte.

And, being a Fox film, I'm pretty sure that One Wild Night has never been on TCM. Here's hoping that changes now that it's had a DVD release.

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M (1931)

3f0b3caefd7e4ca3e9fc9d3a68006e38.jpg

Slow procedural bookended by two excellent scenes. I made the mistake of going in believing the film would be about Lorre's child killer character. The final 15 minutes could stand alone as an excellent short film.

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"M" - Joseph Losey - 1951 -

starring David Wayne, Howard da Silva, Martin Gabel, Raymond Burr, Glenn Anders, etc. -

superb re-make of the Fritz Lang classic by Joseph Losey, just prior to him being drummed out of Hollywood -

Losey keeps us at a distance from the child murderer, but we can see that he is a man in torment -

the film is far more interesting when the underworld enters the scene and tries to take over from the police -

they will capture the child murderer and take the heat off the underground -

in the garage, in front of the denizens of the underground, I did not understand the child murderer's confessional -

and why he collected the children's shoes -

was the confessional murky on purpose? -

he hated his mother who told him that men were bad? -

but how does this hatred extend to killing children? -

were they too good for this world? -

or was he fulfilling his mother's prophecy that men are bad -

to me, the refusal to offer a rational explanation is a major failure -

otherwise, a taut, suspenseful ride into some definitely dark material -

iVD-rL_MJY7fP7EiRK7xrCRSTs4.png

(How this film fell into oblivion for over 60 years is beyond me.)

 

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22 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Underworld U.S.A. (1961)  -  7/10

220px-Underworldusa2.jpg

Violent crime drama from writer-director Sam Fuller. A teen (David Kent) witnesses the beating death of his father at the hands of four thugs. The boy vows revenge, and dedicates his life to tracking them down. He becomes a criminal himself so as to get closer to them, and after leaving prison as an adult (Cliff Robertson), he infiltrates the organization of the four killers, who have all gone on to become top men in the mob. Also featuring Dolores Dorn, Beatrice Kay, Robert Emhardt, Larry Gates, Gerald Milton, Allan Gruener, and Richard Rust. Robertson seems an odd casting choice, but he's not bad, playing it rough around the edges, with a scar on his face to match his tortured psyche. My only real fault lay with the uninspired casting of the crime bosses, an assortment of unmemorable actors that fail to make an impression. However, I did like Richard Rust as the cold-as-ice killer employed by the racketeers.

Source: getTV

Lawrence, I also liked Beatrice Kay in the Thelma Ritter role, and Dolores Dorn wasn't bad either. Location shooting, some improving of the script by someone other than Samuel Fuller, and the casting upgrades you mentioned would have raised this one from "not bad" to "pretty darn good."

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2 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Glass (2019)  -  3/10

220px-Glass_(2019_poster).png

ZzzZzzzZzzzZZzzzzz

I agree, Lawrence. A dreary film in which it's difficult to care about any of the characters. And the message, "There are real heroes and real villains in the world," yawn, so, got somethin' else to add to that profound statement? Willis, as always these days, shows up to cash his pay check without giving an attempt at a performance. He used to be an actor.

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5 hours ago, rayban said:

"M" - Joseph Losey - 1951 -

starring David Wayne, Howard da Silva, Martin Gabel, Raymond Burr, Glenn Anders, etc. -

superb re-make of the Fritz Lang classic by Joseph Losey, just prior to him being drummed out of Hollywood -

Losey keeps us at a distance from the child murderer, but we can see that he is a man in torment -

the film is far more interesting when the underworld enters the scene and tries to take over from the police -

they will capture the child murderer and take the heat off the underground -

in the garage, in front of the denizens of the underground, I did not understand the child murderer's confessional -

and why he collected the children's shoes -

was the confessional murky on purpose? -

he hated his mother who told him that men were bad? -

but how does this hatred extend to killing children? -

were they too good for this world? -

or was he fulfilling his mother's prophecy that men are bad -

to me, the refusal to offer a rational explanation is a major failure -

otherwise, a taut, suspenseful ride into some definitely dark material -

iVD-rL_MJY7fP7EiRK7xrCRSTs4.png

(How this film fell into oblivion for over 60 years is beyond me.)

 

Rayban, thanks for posting this gorgeously composed shot.

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One of the pleasures at the recent TCM Festival was seeing Broadway Danny Rose with a movie buddy from Florida. Both of us remembered liking the film when it was first released, but neither of us had seen it since. We both thought it was just as good as we had remembered, and maybe even more. The framing device of the seven comedians re-telling show biz stories as they spent time in the Carnegie Deli sets just the right tone. Whatever one thinks of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, both are well represented here. Allen's work as scriptwriter and director is right on point, he's on screen just enough but not too long, and Mia Farrow probably gives her best performance ever. She's hardly the obvious choice to play a blonde bimbo, but she nails the part without overdoing it.

I had forgotten how wonderful Nick Apollo Forte is as the fading lounge singer who's running around on his wife with Mia. The casting director Juliet Taylor, who cast most of Woody Allen's films, among many others, said that Danny Aiello and Julius LaRosa were among the people considered for the part. She asked her assistant to go to the nearby Tower Records and look through the Male Vocalists section and find album covers with photographs of the singers. Her assistant came back with an armload of albums; they loved the picture of Nick Apollo Forte, brought him in, and realized they had the perfect guy for the part.

The faces in the many group scenes in Broadway Danny Rose are priceless, and the novelty acts Danny Rose tries to book will have you laughing, shaking your head, or both. For me, this is one of Woody Allen's five or six best films.

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The Ghoul (1975)  -  5/10

the_ghoul_1975_poster.jpg

Peter Cushing has a ghoul living in his attic. Also with John Hurt as a creepy groundskeeper.

 

Starship Invasions (1977)  -  3/10 or 8/10

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Incredibly goofy Canadian sci-fi epic, with Robert Vaughn as a bored-looking UFO expert, and Christopher Lee as an evil alien named Ramses. This one has to be seen to be believed. I tip my hat to ye, o' northern brethren. 

Both are available on YouTube.

 

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7 hours ago, kingrat said:

The faces in the many group scenes in Broadway Danny Rose are priceless, and the novelty acts Danny Rose tries to book will have you laughing, shaking your head, or both. For me, this is one of Woody Allen's five or six best films.

The Jersey humor seemed so uncharacteristically lowbrow and dopey, I kept wondering why Woody had made it.  (I would stare jawdropped at people who claimed they busted a gut laughing at the "helium" scene.)

Until I saw the two-part documentary on Woody's career, where he paid tribute to his own manager Jack Rollins from during his early 60's nebbish-comic days--Who would hire out Woody for the craziest gigs, from panel shows, to fighting a boxing kangaroo on a TV talk show.  Okay, puts it in a little bit of labor-of-love context.

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