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From the last week:

Heaven Help Us (1985) Second viewing and i seem to have enjoyed it more the first time but still surprised this film wasn't more popular.  I tepidly like it.

Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) With all the talk of the recent podcast (which i think is trying to make a forgettable film into a legendary flop- maybe just do the Island of Dr Moreau instead although it is only slightly less of a classic) i had to finally watch this.  didn't like it, but didn't think it was horrible.  seems like a lot of talent in a film that just didn't hit the mark.  never read the book and i never will and the story itself just didn't interest me- not sure if it varies from the book at all.

Cannery Row ( 1982) Saw the film in my high school AP English class and i liked it, but that was before i read the two Steinbeck novels that it's based from.  I like the books- the first one much more, and probably like the film less now, but i like a decent Steinbeck adaptation any day.

 

The Day Mars Invaded Earth (1963) Meh- not very exciting.

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) Some of these early Hammer films are rather boring but i guess this film had its moments.

Star and Barb Vacation at Vista Del Mar (2021) Silly but with a few funny moments.  My wife laughed more than me.

Sideways (2004) Top 20 film for me.  Have read the trilogy of books and have often given the first novel as a gift to my friends.  Love this film.

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956) Feel like it was a bit unresolved but i did like it- mostly.  Some of it feels like it was a loose inspiration for Mad Men.

The Barefoot Contessa (1954)  Didn't care for it and thought the story lacked cohesion.

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4 minutes ago, NostalgicNautilus said:

Caught Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in theaters last week; was a great experience. So many things went over my head when I was younger.

Reportedly, one of the reasons Roald Dahl hated the Gene Wilder version was that he had written the script on the promise that a manic Spike Milligan would take the role--

And now it's hard to hear some of Wonka's wacky quotes ("Nil desperandum, dear lady, across the desert lies the promised land!") without wondering how Milligan's mad, twittery delivery would have rendered them.    😅

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1 hour ago, EricJ said:

Reportedly, one of the reasons Roald Dahl hated the Gene Wilder version was that he had written the script on the promise that a manic Spike Milligan would take the role--

And now it's hard to hear some of Wonka's wacky quotes ("Nil desperandum, dear lady, across the desert lies the promised land!") without wondering how Milligan's mad, twittery delivery would have rendered them.    😅

With all due respect to Mr. Dahl, I can't picture anyone but Gene Wilder in the role.

Though to be fair I suspect Spike Milligan would still be an improvement over Johnny Depp any day of the week.

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15 hours ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

With all due respect to Mr. Dahl, I can't picture anyone but Gene Wilder in the role.

Agree. It's a rare instance of an actor or director changing the role & story simply by bringing aspects of their own personality. Authors usually hate that (re Stephen King/The Shining) Actors like Cary Grant/Bette Davis are those who can "color" a story distinctively as their own. 

I didn't hate the Depp version, I actually LOL in the theater when Wonka found a gray hair. That was a vain, Johnny Depp sort of thing to do that I could NEVER see Wilder do -succumb to vanity- he was more "in control". 

I saw Willy Wonka as a kid in the theater originally and only once thereafter, but also in the theater. In the more recent viewing, Dr. Peter Ostrum attended bringing some vintage Golden Ticket props for display. Seeing it as an adult, I cried at the ending.

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4 hours ago, NostalgicNautilus said:

I see I wasn't the only one who wasn't a fan of that version.

I'll take the original WILLY WONKA over Tim Burton's way too weird reimagining of the story. Maybe Burton's version is more faithful to Dahl's story, but even the book version didn't portray Wonka as some sort of protential pervert waiting in the wings.

Just my two cents.

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"The Edge of Tomorrow" (2014)

Movie is too bizarre and yeah let's find another ridiculous way to win a war with aliens.

Can't go through Tom Cruise reliving his day over and over AGAIN!  One time was enough. :wacko:

A sillier plot than "Starship Troopers"  

MV5BMTc5OTk4MTM3M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODcx

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2 hours ago, hamradio said:

"The Edge of Tomorrow" (2014)

Movie is too bizarre and yeah let's find another ridiculous way to win a war with aliens.

Can't go through Tom Cruise reliving his day over and over AGAIN!  One time was enough. :wacko:

A sillier plot than "Starship Troopers"  

MV5BMTc5OTk4MTM3M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODcx

Sounds like an action/sci-fi version of GROUNDHOG DAY to me.

I'll stick with GROUNDHOG DAY (one of my favorites, plus I really like Bill Murray but am not overly fond of Tom Cruise).

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7 hours ago, hamradio said:

"The Edge of Tomorrow" (2014)

The title was SO awful, that when it underperformed at the B.O. for being standard generic non-MI Cruise fodder, Warner actually surveyed fans about whether they should officially change the title to "Live Die Repeat", since more people remembered the ads than the movie.

"Will Tom accept his love for the aliens?  Will Emily accept his love for Tom?  Will the aliens let go of their old past grudges to the planet?  And (organ sting!)...what about Naomi?  For the answers to these and other questions ('So, you gonna eat that?'), tune in for the next episode of...'Edge of Tomorrow'."  😂 

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The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)
 

Dr. Watson wrote of some of Sherlock Holmes' exploits but left instructions that the manuscript was not to be read until fifty years after his death. This is two of those stories.

This was to be: Billy Wilder's magnum opus consisting of two vignettes and four stories. Total original running time of the rough cut was three hours and twenty minutes. The studio backed away from their original promises and ordered it cut to two hours and five minutes. What is left is a short introduction, one short story and a main story.

I found this to be quite wonderful because it shows that even great people can have less-than-stellar incidents in their working life. The idea that Dr. Watson insisted on writing of some but having the tact to withhold them from publication until all interested parties were deceased shows an admirable mixture of dedication and tact and the viewer forgets that Dr. Watson was a fictional character also.

I believe that the gentle humor mixed with madcap incidents mark this as pure Billy Wilder. The pacing is a little tighter than normal because there were to be so many stories crowded into one movie. 

I found: Robert Stephens and: Colin Blakely quite believable in their roles as Holmes and Watson. They may or may not have been as good in a tense drama but they fit well the breezy true-to-life tone of this movie. Geneviève Page was quite charming and exceptionally beautiful as a lady worthy of tempting the great Sherlock Holmes. The rest of the cast were notables: Christopher Lee, Clive Revill, Stanley Holloway and Robert Cawdron proving the "no small roles, only small actors" maxim.  

8.1/11

I am sorry to say that I can not find this available for viewing for free on any streaming service. We watched it as part of subscription to: Amazon Prime Video.

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2 hours ago, SansFin said:

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)
 

Dr. Watson wrote of some of Sherlock Holmes' exploits but left instructions that the manuscript was not to be read until fifty years after his death. This is two of those stories.

This was to be: Billy Wilder's magnum opus consisting of two vignettes and four stories. Total original running time of the rough cut was three hours and twenty minutes. The studio backed away from their original promises and ordered it cut to two hours and five minutes. What is left is a short introduction, one short story and a main story.

I found this to be quite wonderful because it shows that even great people can have less-than-stellar incidents in their working life. The idea that Dr. Watson insisted on writing of some but having the tact to withhold them from publication until all interested parties were deceased shows an admirable mixture of dedication and tact and the viewer forgets that Dr. Watson was a fictional character also.

I believe that the gentle humor mixed with madcap incidents mark this as pure Billy Wilder. The pacing is a little tighter than normal because there were to be so many stories crowded into one movie. 

I found: Robert Stephens and: Colin Blakely quite believable in their roles as Holmes and Watson. They may or may not have been as good in a tense drama but they fit well the breezy true-to-life tone of this movie. Geneviève Page was quite charming and exceptionally beautiful as a lady worthy of tempting the great Sherlock Holmes. The rest of the cast were notables: Christopher Lee, Clive Revill, Stanley Holloway and Robert Cawdron proving the "no small roles, only small actors" maxim.  

8.1/11

I am sorry to say that I can not find this available for viewing for free on any streaming service. We watched it as part of subscription to: Amazon Prime Video.

I'd say i'm a huge Holmes fan, but i've met some of the super fans and can't say i'm anywhere near them, so i'll just say i'm a big Holmes fans and am currently going through the book series for a second time.  There are so many Holmes films that i can't stand and only a few that i genuinely enjoy.  This is one of the latter (The Seven Percent Solution is still my all time fave).  I actually enjoy the early radio dramas with Nigel Bruce the most.

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A Most Wanted Man (2014) An espionage thriller based on John le Carre. It's been sometime but I remember finding Carre difficult to read. I have only recently started watching a movie or two and am finding them fascinating. It's seems to have so much I want in a movie, character driven, great dialogue, intriguing plot, and a much desired dearth of action sequences. I am not dead against 'action' but I don't like movies that are termed actioners. I recently watched the famous The Spy Who Came out of the Cold (also by le Carre) where the protagonist (played by Richard Burton) is vulnerable and ensconced in a situation representing that chronic palpable sense of danger of a spy in enemy territory. My interest was totally sustained and I admired the restraint required of seeing what might possibly be adapted for the stage, so much like a play it could be, and for my money there is nothing wrong with that. The dialogue (as opposed to extravagant sequences of relentless action befitting an adolescent) is enough when it is as good as this.  AMWM is much like this.

Briefly, a political refugee enters Germany. Phillip Seymour Hoffman in his last movie, plays the head of a covert agency, something like the CIA but on a smaller scale, able to initiate activities that conventional law enforcement cannot due due to legal restraint. It is Hoffmann's shtick to corner such refugees and convert them if possible to informers leading to arrest of higher ups. As opposed to that, conventional law enforcement prefers to capture immediately for after all they say, "he may set off a bomb." The plot thickens.   Hoffman is overweight and slovenly, smokes like a chimney, and looks as if he might die of a heart attack at any moment. This fits some of the rogue aspects of his character. He is totally convincing. The Rachal McAdams role could have been played by any number of actors and it's interesting they would choose such a gorgeous one to play it, on the other hand, it's probably not so bad to have something pretty to look at once in a while, so heavy is the story.  The ever solid Willem Dafoe, who is very good with sinister roles, is more on the other side here and his talent is somewhat wasted but nevertheless plays it well enough. I hope this isn't a spoiler but it seems from the two films mentioned that the protagonist have something in common, [possible spoiler, don't look, watch the movie instead➡️ ...namely, they don't seem to have all the facts. Perhaps a vintage le Carre theme.

I remember---and I give myself some cover by emphasizing that this was a long time ago (as if I'm smarter now; ha, that would be scanned)---being totally lost in the PBS production of Smiley's People with Sir Alec. I remember endless conversations that I found difficult to follow, maybe I would be more amenable to it, as that seems to be what I am touting here.

I watched yesterday and erased this movie from the DVR and today I hastily booted up to see if I could recover it, recently deleted programs hang around for a short while for that. Alas, it is gone. Luckily, it's on again tomorrow on EPIX tomorrow at 9:24pm PST. I could watch this again, though so soon after.

///

 

 

.

 

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A quick DVD spin, now that our Blockbuster-shelf public library is open-with-masks again:  

- Alice's Restaurant (1969) - [Abandoned]

image.jpeg

Rented this one just because I didn't know the song, and much as I liked a slightly older ex-60's Arlo Guthrie in the late 70's  on the Muppet Show, the young folksinger-activist's first attempt at vanity movie gets pretty insufferable fast.  The late 60's had just discovered Angry Satire, ie., too angry to be funny, and for the first half hour, we get a narcissistically unbroken parade of We're-Right-and-They're-Wrong depictions of the Draft board, Middle America, mom-and-dad, religion, commerce, etc., before his counter-culture friends buy out an old retired church to create their new Commune pad, just in time for the Vietnam draft to interrupt, and...Eh, forget it, these people are despicably indulgent parasites, and Easy Rider had better songs.

- The Sugarland Express (1974) - 👍

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Always wanted to complete my stubborn-retentive Steven Spielberg completism collection by tracking this one down, as even showoff experts who talk about his "emerging style" in Duel never seem to mention his first feature before Jaws.  Clearly he'd just gotten the job on the grounds of being able to film long desert car chases after Duel, but for being the "least" Spielbergian movie--if we're not counting 1941 or The BFG--there's still some occasional hints of his signature visual irony, eg. long slow crane-lifts over a scene of destruction, that lets us see the lighter side of the scenes.  Goldie Hawn gets a good role (that nobody noticed her acting until Private Benjamin six years later) as a colorfully red-state mom who breaks her husband out of jail, and leads a Blues Brothers-sized fleet of Texas highway patrol on a cross-state chase to get her baby back from foster care.  
I was going to say "Imagine Raising Arizona played straight", with Hawn in the Holly Hunter role, but Spielberg's light touch, and an equally early script by fellow wunderkinds Hal Barwood & Matthew Robbins (that we didn't notice until Dragonslayer, seven years later), manage to keep a cuddly sympathy with the characters, without delving into the middle-America freak show that the Coens wouldn't have been able to resist.  In fact, it becomes more a sort of Midnight Run, with Michael Sacks as their sporting young rookie-trooper hostage who tries to cajole sense into the amateur fugitives, in the Charles Grodin role.

- Charley Chase collection - 👍

MV5BNWNkMGRlZTEtNzdhNS00ZDRiLWExOTctM2M2

I always saw Chase shorts turn up on those public-domain collections of "silent comedy" that local stations used to show on TV, but never could attach the name to, and it was only Leonard Maltin's recommendation of his humor on the cover that made me give the disk a try.  So who the heck was he and is he funny?  B ), yes 😅 , and A) a handsome gent who's trying for the same "Normal, occasionally mousy, average guy in embarrassing situations" territory as Harold Lloyd, which he's rather good at.  Only problem is, as good as he was at complex gags, silent comedy needed larger than life clowns--it was easy to spot Lloyd by his big nerd-glasses, and could believe he'd end up hanging from a building--and Chase as a good-looking chap with a natty mustache doesn't...quite...cut it.  Like the old comic saying, there's nothing funny about the man whose clothes fit perfectly.

Chase later ended up taking his humor to talkies, where he was probably better at it (might look those up, if they're anywhere), and wrote for most of the Curly-era Three Stooges shorts under his real name of Charles Parrott, but here, even if the silent humor is droll, the sampling of shorts I managed to see--the standouts being Be Your Age, where Charley is blackmailed into wooing a 60-yo. widow, while her grown son (a pre-Laurel Oliver Hardy) objects, and Bromo & Juliet, where our hero has to perform in the local amateur dramatics, despite ending up drunk and chased by police--were twenty serviceable minutes of off-label Silent Comedy.

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@Eric_J:   You spoke of SPIELBERG movies.  Have you seen his Tvm SOMETHING EVIL (1972)?  Stars Darren McGavin, Sandy Dennis, Johnnie Whitaker, Ralph Bellamy.  This TVM would make a great companion piece with CROWHAVEN FARM (1970). 

It's lot of fun.  Only runs 73 minutes asit was made for long-since-outdated 90-minute time slot.  Has some creepy moments. 

TOTAL TELEVISION TERROR!  😈

 

 

 

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Watched 7 FACES OF DR. LAO.....I actually quite like it. 

Tony Randall turns in  a dignified turn as the Oriental Dr. Lao, who dispenses wisdom along with a bit of magic to a skeptical and disillusioned bunch of townspeople, easy pickings for a scoundrel for a guy like Stark (Arthur O'Connell plays him to perfection).

Yet even Stark doesn't remain unaffected by Lao's presence. 

Some of the wisdom dished out can be painful....like Lao's insisting to Mrs. Cassin she will never marry, never have children, will live and die as if she had never even existed. She learns nothing from this and continues to see things how she perceives them, not how they really are. I have no doubt his prediction about her uninvolving future will come true.

Interesting to see Barbara Eden in an early role, a far cry from blonde Jeannie. Still I think she and Ed would make a cute couple, if she only gives it a chance. It was quite interesting to see her 'seduction' by the God of Joy. Helped to loosen her up.

The special effects may seem dated but I enjoy them for what they were at the time. I especially like that snake-like creature who somewhat resembled Stark. Also the nagging wife who gets turn into stone by Medusa.

Dr. Lao restores the dignity of many folks in that town, his presence having a profound effect around everyone (except those two fools of Stark's who let loose the sea loch). 

Anyway I give it a 8/10. It's always nice to discover a cinematic gem now and then.

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11 hours ago, Mr. Gorman said:

@Eric_J:   You spoke SPIELBERG movies.  Have you seen his Tvm SOMETHING EVIL (1972)?  Stars Darren McGavin, Sandy Dennis, Johnnie Whitaker, Ralph Bellamy. 

Saw it once, in the long-ago local station days (also out of Spielberg-completist curiosity)—I got past something about why not to take the good-luck Pennsylvania Dutch symbols off a barn, and….maybe if I watch it again, I’ll be able to make head or tail of anything that happens after that.   🤨

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image.jpeg.59502d041208ae092939f9f1ef2f7759.jpeg

Our Miss Brooks (1956) TCM On Demand 5/10

Miss Brooks is the new English teacher at Madison High and gets involved with some of the residents.

First time viewing for me, it was just OK. I never saw the TV show but I was a fan of the cast. Eve Arden as usual is great with her bemused looks and sarcastic wit. Gale Gordon is the blustering principal. The movie tries to pack in several subplots into it's short (85 min) run time. Robert Rockwell plays the mama's boy biology teacher that Miss Brooks falls for. Nick Adams (right after he played one of the hoods in Rebel Without A Cause) is the rich kid failing English. Don Porter plays his publisher father who is also interested in Miss Brooks. There are some amusing moments here and there. Richard Crenna is the goofball student Walter Denton and is very funny singing "It's Magic". One of my favorite things was seeing Joseph Kearns and Gale Gordon playing political rivals. Kearns would later play the first Mr Wilson on the Dennis The Menace TV show. Gordon replaced him as Mr Wilson #2 after Kearns' death.

 

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On 8/26/2021 at 10:42 PM, EricJ said:

- Charley Chase collection - 👍

MV5BNWNkMGRlZTEtNzdhNS00ZDRiLWExOTctM2M2

I always saw Chase shorts turn up on those public-domain collections of "silent comedy" that local stations used to show on TV, but never could attach the name to, and it was only Leonard Maltin's recommendation of his humor on the cover that made me give the disk a try.  So who the heck was he and is he funny?  B ), yes 😅 , and A) a handsome gent who's trying for the same "Normal, occasionally mousy, average guy in embarrassing situations" territory as Harold Lloyd, which he's rather good at.  Only problem is, as good as he was at complex gags, silent comedy needed larger than life clowns--it was easy to spot Lloyd by his big nerd-glasses, and could believe he'd end up hanging from a building--and Chase as a good-looking chap with a natty mustache doesn't...quite...cut it.  Like the old comic saying, there's nothing funny about the man whose clothes fit perfectly.

Chase later ended up taking his humor to talkies, where he was probably better at it (might look those up, if they're anywhere), and wrote for most of the Curly-era Three Stooges shorts under his real name of Charles Parrott, but here, even if the silent humor is droll, the sampling of shorts I managed to see--the standouts being Be Your Age, where Charley is blackmailed into wooing a 60-yo. widow, while her grown son (a pre-Laurel Oliver Hardy) objects, and Bromo & Juliet, where our hero has to perform in the local amateur dramatics, despite ending up drunk and chased by police--were twenty serviceable minutes of off-label Silent Comedy.

All of Charley Chase's talkie shorts from 1930 to 1936 have been released on DVD by Sprocket Vault. If you're going to test the waters because you're not too familiar with Chase (at his best, a very funny comedian, IMO), I suggest trying Charley Chase At Hal Roach Volume One 1930-31. The shorts are uneven but this volume has The Pip from Pittsburgh and Looser Than Loose, both co-starring the delectable and very sexy Thelma Todd at her best. Chase had a variety of leading ladies but he and Thelma had real chemistry. Unfortunately their shorts together ended in 1932 when Roach decided to put Todd in a comedy short series of her own (with ZaSu Pitts, later Patsy Kelly).

CHARLEY CHASE: AT HAL ROACH TALKIES VOLUME 1 - CHARLEY CHASE: AT HAL ROACH  TALKIES VOLUME 1 (2 DVD): Amazon.ca: Movies & TV Shows

Amazon.com: Charley Chase: At Hal Roach: The Talkies Volume Two 1932-33 : Charley  Chase, Muriel Evans, Thelma Todd, Billy Gilbert, James Finlayson, James C.  Morton, Dell Henderson, Jimmie Adams, And Gale Henry:

DVD & Blu-Ray Release Report: Kit Parker Films Targets Aug. 10 For The DVD  Release Of Charley Chase: At Hal Roach - The Talkies, Volume Three

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The Black Raven (1943)

 

Several not-quite-respectable people take refuge during a thunderstorm in an old dark tavern operated by a not-at-all-respectable innkeeper.

This is a quite wonderful movie! All the characters are introduced with great economy and the action simply goes on and on. It is surprising that this is only an hour long as it has better characterizations, greater action and more murders than some movies twice as long.

George Zucco is perfect as the crook who got out when the getting was good and settled down to a quiet life away from the city. He is intelligent, restrained and quite gentlemanly in retirement. I believe that this movie could make any viewer become a fan of his.

Not one but two comic reliefs are provided by: Glenn Strange as the dim-witted houseman and by:  Charles Middleton as the equally dim-witted sheriff.

Wanda McKay is the only female in the cast but her character carries the duality of a young soon-to-be-bride and disrespectful and rebellious daughter.

The great variety of sets, intelligent dialogue and multi-faceted mystery set it far above a 'B' movie.

8.2/10

It is available for viewing free with commercials on: TubiTV and several other streaming services.

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~ The Double Life of Veronique. --

   Lyrical. Poignant. Slow. Intelligent. Self Aware. Lovely. (Insanely) Immersive. Poised. (Incredibly, Gorgeously) Detailed. Deliberate. Incredible. Kalos. And Also NOT for Viewing When Tykes, /Small Fry Are Present.

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On 8/27/2021 at 3:47 PM, Det Jim McLeod said:

Our Miss Brooks (1956) TCM On Demand 5/10

Miss Brooks is the new English teacher at Madison High and gets involved with some of the residents.

First time viewing for me, it was just OK. I never saw the TV show but I was a fan of the cast.

The movie was OK, basically an extended version of the half-hour sitcom.  I've only seen a handful of TV episodes (although just discovered a wealth on YouTube), but I was hooked on the radio version, when I was digging them up on MP3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ragNrIa8bI0

The show had the rare luxury of actors who LOOKED like the character voices we imagined.  😂

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