Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

I Just Watched...


speedracer5
 Share

Recommended Posts

Triple feature yesterday for my birthday (wifey had no control of the TV for the night and I apparently had no control over how much wine i drank):

Caught (1949) Part of Criterion's Noirvember collection.  Don't see how this is a noir film, feels more like a Douglas Sirk melodrama.  Guess I didn't really care for the story and the ending felt a bit dark and unsatisfying.

American Movie (1999) Hadn't seen this film in 20 years and still have the VHS in a box somewhere.  This should be required viewing for anyone who wants to be a filmmaker.  The first time I watched this i didn't even realize it was a documentary, i just thought it was a comedy.  As someone who made their first independent feature in under a year (and six months of that seemingly spent on song rights) it's painful to watch someone spend nearly a decade to make a 30 minute short.  This guy is his own worst enemy and through it all he constantly says he needs to finish the script while half of the film is in the can already.  I really wish there was a sequel to this though.  At the end it's said that he was given 50K from his uncle's will to that he could finish his feature film project but reading on-line it was never completed and i get the feeling that 50K to this filmmaker must be like a million dollars.  His IMDB page says he has two features to his credit but both are unfinished.  What this guy needs is a producer over him keeping him on track.  In no way should he be running the show.  I also read that the sidekick, Mike Schank just passed away last month in his mother's arms which was sad to read.  This film is funny and depressing but i love it.

My Own Private Idaho (1991) Another film I haven't watched in over 20 years.  Not as good as I remember it being (i never caught the Shakespeare references when i was younger, but now it just feels heavy handed.  Feels like a proper American New Wave film, especially with the ending.  From what I've heard, it was while researching his role for this film that River Phoenix became addicted to drugs while wandering around Portland's Old Town, which used to be my old stomping grounds, which sadly is longer a desirable place to be.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/18/2022 at 12:59 PM, Shank Asu said:

My Own Private Idaho (1991) Another film I haven't watched in over 20 years.  Not as good as I remember it being (i never caught the Shakespeare references when i was younger, but now it just feels heavy handed.  Feels like a proper American New Wave film, especially with the ending.  From what I've heard, it was while researching his role for this film that River Phoenix became addicted to drugs while wandering around Portland's Old Town, which used to be my old stomping grounds, which sadly is longer a desirable place to be.

I had a similar expererience re-watching MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO.  There are a still a lot of moments that remain emotionally poweful, but I find that I don't like the movie as  a whole as much as I once did.

DRUGSTORE COWBOY, on the other hand, holds up for me.  Like MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO (and much of Gus Van Sant's work) it makes us of Portland locations.  Probably my favorite Van Sant movies are DRUGSTORE COWBOY and ELEPHANT.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, HoldenIsHere said:

I had a similar expererience re-watching MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO.  There are a still a lot of moments that remain emotionally poweful, but I find that I don't like the movie as  a whole as much as I once did.

DRUGSTORE COWBOY, on the other hand, holds up for me.  Like MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO (and much of Gus Van Sant's work) it makes us of Portland locations.  Probably my favorite Van Sant movies are DRUGSTORE COWBOY and ELEPHANT.

My first feature was shot in Portland and the opening and closing shots are both outside of the drugstore that gets robbed in Drugstore Cowboy.  Sadly it is now a pub.

And my Producer was the Line Producer for  Elephant and Last Days.  VanSant is hit and miss with me.  Didn't care for Elephant and couldn't stand Last Days.  I think about half of the Elephant cast auditioned for me.  Love Drugstore Cowboy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/12/2022 at 9:10 AM, Tikisoo said:

Last night I watched Jackie Brown '97, in an attempt to complete my Pam Grier library. I am always reticent to watch a Quentin Tarantino film because I can't stand violence. Just like Martin Scorsese, I love the man, love his character/personality but can't watch gory violent films.

Well, I loved this movie. The violence was wisely kept off camera and was mostly implied. I could handle that. The male lead played by Samuel Jackson was a deplorable cartoon character, not unlike WB gangster films. I don't like Jackson at all, but I guess that means he played the role well, haha.

This was no romantic comedy, but gangster movie in the vein of my beloved 70's Blaxploitation movies. I thought Tarentino did a great job of capturing the atmosphere although  at times heavy handedly.  I did notice the OUTSTANDING photography, enhanced by lighting, make up & editing. Wow this was a great looking film!

This photo reminds me of myself except for her nails:

Jackie_Brown-10.jpg

Yeah, that's pretty much my "matter of fact" look when threatened although that's no way to hold a hand gun.

I was blown away by the supporting character played by Bridget Fonda whom I did not recognize at all. I said, "Wow that actress is OUTSTANDING....she's made a small part of an airhead into a GREAT big character!" All with little teeny pieces of business or slight but specific delivery of her lines. At the end I saw her name in the credits & thought-of course - outstanding talent confirmed. The fact that her role clearly outshined Robert DeNiro who played his usual bumbling dopey ex-con, says it all.

I very much liked the writing, the dialogue captured the personality & MO of how gangsters work, their BS....and  Jackie Brown's character is an excellent, realistic representation of someone whose familiarity with the BS gets one up on him with her intellect.

I recall from Pam Grier's bio that she ran into Tarantino several months before she got the script and she didn't believe him when he said he had written a script with her as the lead. Several months later, she gets the script after paying up 44 cents to fulfill the package's insufficient postage. She honestly thought she was going for the Bridget Fonda part and said as much when she called Tarantino. He then told her the lead was hers.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/18/2022 at 1:59 PM, Shank Asu said:

American Movie (1999) Hadn't seen this film in 20 years and still have the VHS in a box somewhere.  This should be required viewing for anyone who wants to be a filmmaker.  The first time I watched this i didn't even realize it was a documentary, i just thought it was a comedy.  As someone who made their first independent feature in under a year (and six months of that seemingly spent on song rights) it's painful to watch someone spend nearly a decade to make a 30 minute short.  This guy is his own worst enemy and through it all he constantly says he needs to finish the script while half of the film is in the can already.  I really wish there was a sequel to this though.  At the end it's said that he was given 50K from his uncle's will to that he could finish his feature film project but reading on-line it was never completed and i get the feeling that 50K to this filmmaker must be like a million dollars.  His IMDB page says he has two features to his credit but both are unfinished.  What this guy needs is a producer over him keeping him on track.  In no way should he be running the show.  I also read that the sidekick, Mike Schank just passed away last month in his mother's arms which was sad to read.  This film is funny and depressing but i love it.

And even then, his auteur epic was a semi-autobiographical anti-AA tantrum, about a character nagged into a rehab group he discovers is a demonic co-ven [does not rhyme with "oven"]

Um, yyyyeah.  Given where his sentiments are coming from, I don't think the world of indie filmmaking is suffering any great loss.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been off the message boards for months and when I saw that they were going to be shut down, so did I. But I just read Tarantino's book, "Cinema Speculation" and thought I'd come back and make my final contribution to the board. 

Has anyone else read it? Forgive me, if it has been discussed in another thread. I didn't bother to search. Nevertheless, my two cents.

1. I was pleasantly surprised. I'd seen a clip of QT being interviewed on the Bill Maher show. It made me want to read it. I'm a little older than he is, but cut my teeth on the same 70's movies he did. He was a young teenager and I was a college/post-college film goer. He loved a bunch of movies that I did. "Deliverance", "Dirty Harry", "Dressed to Kill". He focused on a bunch of actors I've always liked, Eastwood, McQueen and character actors like Alan Garfield and even Season Hubley (I met her brother, Whip a couple times). He loved directors like Scorsese, Bogdanovich  and Spielberg. 

2. He focused a lot on revenge movies, which is understandable as that is his thing, The Kill Bills, Django Unchained were his most prominent. I was surprised by his repeated references to "The Searchers" as the more or less, standard, of revenge flicks. I didn't see The Searchers until I was an adult. I was never a fan of John Wayne's acting so I found The Searchers, dry, overly long and unfulfilling. But, what do I know. He went all in on "Rolling Thunder" a William Devane, Tommy Lee Jones 70's post Viet Nam revenge movie. He thought this was great cinema? I thought it was gratuitously violent and formulamatic. I was surprised Tarantino would bother with it, as I was when he said "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" was one of the greatest movies of all time and paid belated tribute to "Eaten Alive".  Really?

3. He had some nice inside Hollywood tidbits. Like how Jeff Bridges was originally cast to play Travis Bickel in "Taxi Driver". I can't see that.

4. He went deeply into the movies of Paul Schrader, a hometown boy from Grand Rapids, like me. Shrader attended Calvin College and was in a couple classes with my sister-in-law. Tarantino really delved into "Hardcore" a movie we've/I discussed some time back on these pages. There may be more, but Hardcore and the Pacino/Hackman movie, "Scarecrow" might be the only movies I know of that had scenes shot in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He also reminded me that the call girl character played by Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver was named Iris Seemstra...a most Dutch, Grand Rapidian name if there ever was one.

5. I was disappointed that he did not delve much, if at all, into a bunch of significant 70's movies. He obviously touched on The Godfather, once by tangentially dissing Al Lettieri's performance in "The Getaway" (a movie I liked and thought Lettieri was terrifically foreboding in) while not mentioning his outstanding mafioso turn in The Godfather. He never mentioned the quintessential western revenge movie "Once Upon a Time in the West". To me a 10x better movie than "The Searchers" and it starred one of QT's favorite actors (and mine) Charles Bronson. I thought he might touch on "Slaughterhouse Five" for it's out of sequence script and how it might have influenced his "Pulp Fiction" screenplay. But he didn't. Nothing on "Harold and Maude" or "McCabe and Mrs. Miller". He referenced "Rollerball" (one of my all time favorites) but not in a flattering way. Oh well. 

In the end, he explained why he makes films the way he does. Clearly, he's a revenge-aholic. Great screenplays need to have obstacles. It needs to have characters overcoming great odds. Whether they be deep dramas or fluffy rom-coms the lead characters must "win" something. Tarantino's movies have that. I'd encourage others here to read it. 

I send my best wishes to all TCM Message Board members. Sayonara!

 

 

 

 

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My favorite Tarantino movies in order:

1. Pulp Fiction

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

3. Inglorious Bastards

4. Reservoir Dogs

5. Jackie Brown

Tarantino movies I never care to see or even hear about again (for various reasons):

Both Kill Bill movies, Django Unchained, Hateful Eight, Grind House, Sin City, and From Dusk til Dawn. 

 

Discuss

Sayonara again.

 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, MrMagoo said:

But I just read Tarantino's book, "Cinema Speculation" and thought I'd come back and make my final contribution to the board. 

Has anyone else read it? Forgive me, if it has been discussed in another thread. Nevertheless, my two cents.

Magoo-it's stuff like this I'll miss most of all from this board

1016073716-judy-garland-as-dorothy-with-

I too am about the same age as Tarentino and just love the way he views & absorbs movies as modern storytelling. But I abhor revenge movies! Like you, I'm too intrigued not to watch his movies once-and like you, many never again. I have the exact same relationship with Scorsese.

I'm going to have to start a "What Movie Related Book Are You Reading?" thread on the site I've migrated to.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/22/2022 at 6:19 AM, MrMagoo said:

I've been off the message boards for months and when I saw that they were going to be shut down, so did I. But I just read Tarantino's book, "Cinema Speculation" and thought I'd come back and make my final contribution to the board. 

Has anyone else read it? Forgive me, if it has been discussed in another thread. I didn't bother to search. Nevertheless, my two cents.

1. I was pleasantly surprised. I'd seen a clip of QT being interviewed on the Bill Maher show. It made me want to read it. I'm a little older than he is, but cut my teeth on the same 70's movies he did. He was a young teenager and I was a college/post-college film goer. He loved a bunch of movies that I did. "Deliverance", "Dirty Harry", "Dressed to Kill". He focused on a bunch of actors I've always liked, Eastwood, McQueen and character actors like Alan Garfield and even Season Hubley (I met her brother, Whip a couple times). He loved directors like Scorsese, Bogdanovich  and Spielberg. 

2. He focused a lot on revenge movies, which is understandable as that is his thing, The Kill Bills, Django Unchained were his most prominent. I was surprised by his repeated references to "The Searchers" as the more or less, standard, of revenge flicks. I didn't see The Searchers until I was an adult. I was never a fan of John Wayne's acting so I found The Searchers, dry, overly long and unfulfilling. But, what do I know. He went all in on "Rolling Thunder" a William Devane, Tommy Lee Jones 70's post Viet Nam revenge movie. He thought this was great cinema? I thought it was gratuitously violent and formulamatic. I was surprised Tarantino would bother with it, as I was when he said "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" was one of the greatest movies of all time and paid belated tribute to "Eaten Alive".  Really?

3. He had some nice inside Hollywood tidbits. Like how Jeff Bridges was originally cast to play Travis Bickel in "Taxi Driver". I can't see that.

4. He went deeply into the movies of Paul Schrader, a hometown boy from Grand Rapids, like me. Shrader attended Calvin College and was in a couple classes with my sister-in-law. Tarantino really delved into "Hardcore" a movie we've/I discussed some time back on these pages. There may be more, but Hardcore and the Pacino/Hackman movie, "Scarecrow" might be the only movies I know of that had scenes shot in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He also reminded me that the call girl character played by Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver was named Iris Seemstra...a most Dutch, Grand Rapidian name if there ever was one.

5. I was disappointed that he did not delve much, if at all, into a bunch of significant 70's movies. He obviously touched on The Godfather, once by tangentially dissing Al Lettieri's performance in "The Getaway" (a movie I liked and thought Lettieri was terrifically foreboding in) while not mentioning his outstanding mafioso turn in The Godfather. He never mentioned the quintessential western revenge movie "Once Upon a Time in the West". To me a 10x better movie than "The Searchers" and it starred one of QT's favorite actors (and mine) Charles Bronson. I thought he might touch on "Slaughterhouse Five" for it's out of sequence script and how it might have influenced his "Pulp Fiction" screenplay. But he didn't. Nothing on "Harold and Maude" or "McCabe and Mrs. Miller". He referenced "Rollerball" (one of my all time favorites) but not in a flattering way. Oh well. 

In the end, he explained why he makes films the way he does. Clearly, he's a revenge-aholic. Great screenplays need to have obstacles. It needs to have characters overcoming great odds. Whether they be deep dramas or fluffy rom-coms the lead characters must "win" something. Tarantino's movies have that. I'd encourage others here to read it. 

I send my best wishes to all TCM Message Board members. Sayonara!

 

 

 

 

This book is on my Christmas wish list.  Thanks for the write-up on it.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/22/2022 at 8:29 AM, MrMagoo said:

My favorite Tarantino movies in order:

1. Pulp Fiction

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

3. Inglorious Bastards

4. Reservoir Dogs

5. Jackie Brown

Tarantino movies I never care to see or even hear about again (for various reasons):

Both Kill Bill movies, Django Unchained, Hateful Eight, Grind House, Sin City, and From Dusk til Dawn. 

 

Discuss

Sayonara again.

 

 

 

Kill Bill is my favorite.  What did Tarantino do on Sin City?

My favorite film that he wrote is True Romance.  Have a tattoo of the matching wedding tattoos that the characters get from this film.  My only film tattoo.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/22/2022 at 12:47 AM, EricJ said:

And even then, his auteur epic was a semi-autobiographical anti-AA tantrum, about a character nagged into a rehab group he discovers is a demonic co-ven [does not rhyme with "oven"]

Um, yyyyeah.  Given where his sentiments are coming from, I don't think the world of indie filmmaking is suffering any great loss.

I've never seen his film.  I'd like to.  The fact that he's been mis-pronouncing the title of his film for years and doesn't grasp how it's really pronounced when it's called out, for me is the funniest part of the film.

I've seen a lot of bad horror films and it's probably my least favorite genre, but there seems to be a huge audience for it.  I guess knowing that he has a vision for a film, i'd be curious to see what he could actually do if he was able to make a film to his 'standard'.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, Shank Asu said:

I've never seen his film.  I'd like to.  The fact that he's been mis-pronouncing the title of his film for years and doesn't grasp how it's really pronounced when it's called out, for me is the funniest part of the film.

It was included on the original DVD, FWIW.  (Which isn't much.)  

That's what you lose by going Amazon, or sticking to VHS.  😛

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The First Deadly Sin (1980) -- 4/10
In the past few weeks, the last ones for this website, I have been quietly plowing through  a vast number of films, mostly prior to 1975, so very classic oriented and mostly very rewarding. But, every now and then you still get the garden variety failure that comes across as a big disappointment, and this is one of them. The First Deadly Sin was the final starring film for Frank Sinatra (unless you want to count his cameo in Cannonball Run II, and who wishes to do that?), and while he himself is quietly professional, the film itself is embalmed beyond belief.

 Some months back, I praised Sinatra's 1968 film The Detective, especially his performance, and this film has some similarities to that one. This too is about a lonely, depressed detective trying to solve a murder case as his life falls apart, but the earlier film was dynamic and gripping while this is just deathly dull. With the exception of a gory juxtaposition of a murder and a n emergency medical incision around the opening credits and one violent shot near the end, the film is as visually exciting as a rotary meeting. It gives you nothing but gloom; when Sinatra isn't investigating his case, he spends time in the hospital visting his dying wife (Faye Dunaway), wasting away from premature kidney failure. The killer he's tracking (David Dukes, playing another creep three years after the All in the Family episode where he almost raped Edith Bunker) is a split personality, who when is not killing, is weeping and laying nude in a fetal position in his bathtub as the shower runs. Everything in this film is as hushed as Faye Dunaway's whispered lines. It makes for a depressing and claustrophobic viewing, even though this was based on a best-selling book.

Still, Sinatra is still good, and Brenda Vaccaro briefly appears as a widow of a victim, and does a fine job with what little she has. Sharp eyed viewers should be able to see that one wordless extra seen briefly in profile is a pre-stardom Bruce Willis. If only this thing had even the fraction of the energy or inventiveness of a Moonlighting episode, it would be better that what is actually here.
 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I watched North by Northwest for the 100th time when it aired on Thanksgiving night.  I'm always amazed that no matter how many times you watch a film, you can notice something you never had before.

Tonight, I noticed that what I thought was a location shot in Chicago was actually shot someplace in California (LA, I'm assuming).  When Thornhill (Grant) makes his way to Chicago from the corn fields, in a stolen pickup truck, he parks it along the street near the Ambassador East hotel.  What I thought was a shot made in Chicago is not.  If you look closely, you can see a couple of palm trees swaying in the nighttime breeze across the street from the hotel (on the left-hand side of the frame).  Because it is so dimly lit, they probably thought no one would notice.  It only took me 100 viewings to notice.   So I'm not the most observant viewer...

This is documented on IMDb in the "Goofs" section, but as there are 143 (!) entries listed, I've never read through them before, so seeing the palms was a real surprise for me.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tuned in the the 2nd half of "Restoring a Family Classic".  I didn't knowthere were any more Cinerama feature films left to restore? :huh:

Just Purchased the Deluxe version of "The Wonderful World of The Brother's Grim" (1962) which included the Smilebox version.

51HHC8ug3FL.jpg

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Assorted notes on films recently seen....and yes I know  most are from the relatively recent date of 1990 (but sometimes you have to fold in some more recent films to help to create variety and more love for the classics. I will admit though that in my idiosyncratic world of films I view, I rarely go beyond 1997 anymore)

Women in Love (1969) was once infamous for being one of the most sexually explicit films made up to that point. Its still very spicy to this day, and I highly doubt in this day and age that the nude wrestling scene between Oliver Reed and Alan Bates would go on for 6 minutes like it does here. However, the performances tend to be good, especially Glenda Jackson, and it is not quite as overheated as many other Ken Russell films. Nice period detail too.

The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) was of course a notorious debacle, brutally panned due to softening its bitingly acidic source novel after casting Tom Hanks as an amoral  Wall Street tycoon on trial for a hit-and-run accident actually committed by his mistress (Melanie Griffith). Watching the film, you can feel that material being softened , and yet, the film seems to have more bite and political incorrectness in it than a film of the same material would have today, plus some lines truly are funny. It's really not as bad as was originally claimed, and it always looks stunning. 

Don't Go Near the Water (1957) was a pretty vibrant service comedy with some big laughs. Glenn Ford starred as a Navy member always at loggerheads with his commander, but the rest of the ensemble cast was fun too. Couldn't help but note that some jokes in this were pretty wild for the time period, especially the one involving the unkempt sailor whose ever other word was replaced by a loud bleeping sound.

Tammy and the Doctor (1963) was typical early-60s Universal fluff...something I admit I have a general fondness for since my mother loves films like that. Sandra Dee plays the naive country girl who causes some chaos when ahe goes to work as a nurse while the woman she looks after (the wonderful Beulah Bondi) is awaiting surgery. Sweet, gentle, and absolutely charming.

Pacific Heights (1990) was another in the line of thrillers at the time where normal people's lives would be thrown upside down by a psychopath. In this case, landlords Melanie Griffith and Matthew Modine get more than they bargained for when they lease a room to Michael Keaton. It's predictable, but it gets smoother as it goes along with Griffith just getting better the longer the film unspools, and Keaton is clearly relishing his villainous role. That said, the script never really indicates why he is so unhinged, and it does seem strange that this popcorn thriller was directed by John Schlesinger, someone capable of much more substantial films.

Total Recall (1990) is likely the most violent film I've seen to date. Don't get me wrong, the story is fascinating if confusing, its visually dynamic, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, and Sharon Stone are all in fine form. It is a gripping film, and it is entertaining. But couldn't the number of bloody deaths and the sheer hyperviolence been cut in some way? It's overkill.

Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment (1966) was far too arch, irritating, and twee. To boil it down to a few words, its the satirical saga of a young communist (David Warner) who begins to think he is a gorilla. Practically everything in this movie is seriously off, and while Vanessa Redgrave was up for an Oscar for this, the film gives her very little to do.I

Mountains of the Moon (1990) is a favorite of Swintin's and it is a beautifully mounted drama involving explorers in Africa. It is clearly a passion project for director Bob Rafelson, and the film is never less than deeply intelligent and intriguing. 

Dance with a Stranger (1985) is the saga of what lead up to one of the last murder cases in England before the death penalty was abolished. The film surprised me by focusing only on events leading up to the deadly deed, with the murder itself occuring in the very last scene. Miranda Richardson is as fine as ever as the ultimately guilty party, ultimately pushed too far by the demeaning treatment allotted to her by Rupert Everett. Well handled, but naturally very depressing too. 

Absolute Beginners (1986) was a costly debacle for the British film industry, a youth-oriented musical about the time when teenage passion took over the pop culture in the country circa 1958. The film itself is a bit schizophrenic. There are many astonishing visual ideas, such as a long, sweeping camera shot at the very beginning, and vibrant uses of color. But the film iself often feels too much like it's flying into your face, aggressively so. It's ultimately a bit too strident for its own good.

Someone to Watch Over Me (1987) combined two of Hollywood's two most common plots in one film: the love triangle film where a married man (Tom Berenger)is caught between two women that he both loves (Blue-collar wife Lorraine Bracco and upper-crust Mimi Rogers) and the thriller (Rogers is a witness to a murder, and Berenger is the cop assigned to be her bodyguard). You can also easily guess which woman wins out in the end (the wife of course). However, director Ridley Scott directs the whole thing with such visual flair and technical polish (not to mention his getting fine work from both of his leading ladies) that it ends up feeling far less shopworn than the premise would indicate. Nothing major, but a fine example of what good work professionals can do with tired material sometimes.

The Sheltering Sky (1990) was apparently a book many filmmakers had wanted to have a go at ever since it was published in the 1940s, although with this film's high sensual content (sex plus nudity of both genders in big close-up), its hard to see how it could have been made under the production code. It starts as the story of an unhappily married couple (John Malkovich and Debra Winger) as they take a tour in Africa, but in its final third it becomes a story of Winger trying to fulfill her desires. The plot is very oblique, and the actors are always held at an emotional distance by director Bernardo Bertolucci, but Debra Winger still manages to give a very striking performance. The film itself is beautifully designed, with glorious cinematography that makes it one of the most striking films of its period.

Raggedy Man (1981) is about 4/5 of a wonderful film. For most of its run, its a tale of a young divorcee (Sissy Spacek) in 1940s Texas, raising her children and having a brief romance with an affable sailor (Eric Roberts). There is such a feel for the land in this film, such wonderful period detail, with a luminous performance from Sissy Spacek (the film was directed by her husband, who she is still married to to this day). And then the film effectively crashes at the end with a mysterious man coming to Sissy's aid rescuing her from two ****. The ending is cheap and tacky, and does not fit the rest of the film, and it feels like a betrayal of all that went before. I'd still recommend it, just to note to bail before that ending.

Cadillac Man (1990) meanwhile feels like an awkward melding of two plots. The first 40 minutes, detail the desperation of a used car dealer, played by Robin Williams, trying hard to hold onto his job, while all the while foolishly spending too much time with the company of many married ladies. In these opening passages, Williams is exceptional, and the women in his life (ex-wife Pamela Reed, and current flames Fran Drescher and Lori Petty) are a vibrant, idiosyncratic group with all the ladies turning in fine work. And then, Tim Robbins enters the film as an angry husband sure that his own wife (Annabella Sciorra) has been canoodling with Williams (they haven't). And it is then that the film turns into a loud, foul-mouthed, slightly more comic version of Dog Day Afternoon on a car lot. It ultimately reminded me of the earlier Williams misfire The Survivors, which went off the rails after a promising open, but unlike the earlier film, Williams is more restained, and Tim Robbins plays the crazy part. But, even though the second half of this is disappointing after the quite good start, this does manage to be significantly better than The Survivors and still manages to be an OK film, so that should count for something.

Richard III (1955) is another of Laurence Olivier's famed Shakespearean staging with him at the center as the notorious monarch. It is very well staged, very well acted (the cast also includes Ralph Richardson, John Gielgud, and Claire Bloom), but at 168 minutes, it feels like a bit too much of a good thing.

And finally, there is Texasville: The Director's Cut (1990), the longer version (by 20 minutes) of the neglected sequel to The Last Picture Show. Having read the book that it was based on earlier in the year, I can vouch that it is a faithful adaptation, although Peter Bogdanovich helps to manage the tone of the material, so its not as wildly slapstick as some bits of the book, while managing to deepen its emotional ties to the well-known 1971 film. Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Cloris Leachman, Timothy Bottoms, and (extremely briefly) Eileen Brennan return to their earlier roles, and while all of them do well (as does Annie Potts as Bridges' spunky wife, although one gets the feeling that the role was slightly trimmed down from the book due to her shooting schedule with Designing Women) , Cybill  walks off with the film, in a truly multifaceted and touching performance. The film itself is both funny and moving, and is actually a bit better than the book.It's one of the best films of 1990.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 minutes ago, CinemaInternational said:

 Assorted notes on films recently seen....and yes I know  most are from the relatively recent date of 1990 (but sometimes you have to fold in some more recent films to help to create variety and more love for the classics. I will admit though that in my idiosyncratic world of films I view, I rarely go beyond 1997 anymore)

Women in Love (1969) was once infamous for being one of the most sexually explicit films made up to that point. Its still very spicy to this day, and I highly doubt in this day and age that the nude wrestling scene between Oliver Reed and Alan Bates would go on for 6 minutes like it does here. However, the performances tend to be good, especially Glenda Jackson, and it is not quite as overheated as many other Ken Russell films. Nice period detail too.

The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) was of course a notorious debacle, brutally panned due to softening its bitingly acidic source novel after casting Tom Hanks as an amoral  Wall Street tycoon on trial for a hit-and-run accident actually committed by his mistress (Melanie Griffith). Watching the film, you can feel that material being softened , and yet, the film seems to have more bite and political incorrectness in it than a film of the same material would have today, plus some lines truly are funny. It's really not as bad as was originally claimed, and it always looks stunning. 

Don't Go Near the Water (1957) was a pretty vibrant service comedy with some big laughs. Glenn Ford starred as a Navy member always at loggerheads with his commander, but the rest of the ensemble cast was fun too. Couldn't help but note that some jokes in this were pretty wild for the time period, especially the one involving the unkempt sailor whose ever other word was replaced by a loud bleeping sound.

Tammy and the Doctor (1963) was typical early-60s Universal fluff...something I admit I have a general fondness for since my mother loves films like that. Sandra Dee plays the naive country girl who causes some chaos when ahe goes to work as a nurse while the woman she looks after (the wonderful Beulah Bondi) is awaiting surgery. Sweet, gentle, and absolutely charming.

Pacific Heights (1990) was another in the line of thrillers at the time where normal people's lives would be thrown upside down by a psychopath. In this case, landlords Melanie Griffith and Matthew Modine get more than they bargained for when they lease a room to Michael Keaton. It's predictable, but it gets smoother as it goes along with Griffith just getting better the longer the film unspools, and Keaton is clearly relishing his villainous role. That said, the script never really indicates why he is so unhinged, and it does seem strange that this popcorn thriller was directed by John Schlesinger, someone capable of much more substantial films.

Total Recall (1990) is likely the most violent film I've seen to date. Don't get me wrong, the story is fascinating if confusing, its visually dynamic, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, and Sharon Stone are all in fine form. It is a gripping film, and it is entertaining. But couldn't the number of bloody deaths and the sheer hyperviolence been cut in some way? It's overkill.

Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment (1966) was far too arch, irritating, and twee. To boil it down to a few words, its the satirical saga of a young communist (David Warner) who begins to think he is a gorilla. Practically everything in this movie is seriously off, and while Vanessa Redgrave was up for an Oscar for this, the film gives her very little to do.I

Mountains of the Moon (1990) is a favorite of Swintin's and it is a beautifully mounted drama involving explorers in Africa. It is clearly a passion project for director Bob Rafelson, and the film is never less than deeply intelligent and intriguing. 

Dance with a Stranger (1985) is the saga of what lead up to one of the last murder cases in England before the death penalty was abolished. The film surprised me by focusing only on events leading up to the deadly deed, with the murder itself occuring in the very last scene. Miranda Richardson is as fine as ever as the ultimately guilty party, ultimately pushed too far by the demeaning treatment allotted to her by Rupert Everett. Well handled, but naturally very depressing too. 

Absolute Beginners (1986) was a costly debacle for the British film industry, a youth-oriented musical about the time when teenage passion took over the pop culture in the country circa 1958. The film itself is a bit schizophrenic. There are many astonishing visual ideas, such as a long, sweeping camera shot at the very beginning, and vibrant uses of color. But the film iself often feels too much like it's flying into your face, aggressively so. It's ultimately a bit too strident for its own good.

Someone to Watch Over Me (1987) combined two of Hollywood's two most common plots in one film: the love triangle film where a married man (Tom Berenger)is caught between two women that he both loves (Blue-collar wife Lorraine Bracco and upper-crust Mimi Rogers) and the thriller (Rogers is a witness to a murder, and Berenger is the cop assigned to be her bodyguard). You can also easily guess which woman wins out in the end (the wife of course). However, director Ridley Scott directs the whole thing with such visual flair and technical polish (not to mention his getting fine work from both of his leading ladies) that it ends up feeling far less shopworn than the premise would indicate. Nothing major, but a fine example of what good work professionals can do with tired material sometimes.

The Sheltering Sky (1990) was apparently a book many filmmakers had wanted to have a go at ever since it was published in the 1940s, although with this film's high sensual content (sex plus nudity of both genders in big close-up), its hard to see how it could have been made under the production code. It starts as the story of an unhappily married couple (John Malkovich and Debra Winger) as they take a tour in Africa, but in its final third it becomes a story of Winger trying to fulfill her desires. The plot is very oblique, and the actors are always held at an emotional distance by director Bernardo Bertolucci, but Debra Winger still manages to give a very striking performance. The film itself is beautifully designed, with glorious cinematography that makes it one of the most striking films of its period.

Raggedy Man (1981) is about 4/5 of a wonderful film. For most of its run, its a tale of a young divorcee (Sissy Spacek) in 1940s Texas, raising her children and having a brief romance with an affable sailor (Eric Roberts). There is such a feel for the land in this film, such wonderful period detail, with a luminous performance from Sissy Spacek (the film was directed by her husband, who she is still married to to this day). And then the film effectively crashes at the end with a mysterious man coming to Sissy's aid rescuing her from two ****. The ending is cheap and tacky, and does not fit the rest of the film, and it feels like a betrayal of all that went before. I'd still recommend it, just to note to bail before that ending.

Cadillac Man (1990) meanwhile feels like an awkward melding of two plots. The first 40 minutes, detail the desperation of a used car dealer, played by Robin Williams, trying hard to hold onto his job, while all the while foolishly spending too much time with the company of many married ladies. In these opening passages, Williams is exceptional, and the women in his life (ex-wife Pamela Reed, and current flames Fran Drescher and Lori Petty) are a vibrant, idiosyncratic group with all the ladies turning in fine work. And then, Tim Robbins enters the film as an angry husband sure that his own wife (Annabella Sciorra) has been canoodling with Williams (they haven't). And it is then that the film turns into a loud, foul-mouthed, slightly more comic version of Dog Day Afternoon on a car lot. It ultimately reminded me of the earlier Williams misfire The Survivors, which went off the rails after a promising open, but unlike the earlier film, Williams is more restained, and Tim Robbins plays the crazy part. But, even though the second half of this is disappointing after the quite good start, this does manage to be significantly better than The Survivors and still manages to be an OK film, so that should count for something.

Richard III (1955) is another of Laurence Olivier's famed Shakespearean staging with him at the center as the notorious monarch. It is very well staged, very well acted (the cast also includes Ralph Richardson, John Gielgud, and Claire Bloom), but at 168 minutes, it feels like a bit too much of a good thing.

And finally, there is Texasville: The Director's Cut (1990), the longer version (by 20 minutes) of the neglected sequel to The Last Picture Show. Having read the book that it was based on earlier in the year, I can vouch that it is a faithful adaptation, although Peter Bogdanovich helps to manage the tone of the material, so its not as wildly slapstick as some bits of the book, while managing to deepen its emotional ties to the well-known 1971 film. Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Cloris Leachman, Timothy Bottoms, and (extremely briefly) Eileen Brennan return to their earlier roles, and while all of them do well (as does Annie Potts as Bridges' spunky wife, although one gets the feeling that the role was slightly trimmed down from the book due to her shooting schedule with Designing Women) , Cybill  walks off with the film, in a truly multifaceted and touching performance. The film itself is both funny and moving, and is actually a bit better than the book.It's one of the best films of 1990.

Your eloquent post brings back memories of two favorite films: Mountain of the Moon (a particular favorite) and The Sheltering Sky. I haven't seen either of them in yonks; time for me to see them again. Back in the 1990s, I spent a sweltering Memorial Day weekend with fever and chills. I watched those two films on video, along with Lawrence of Arabia. In retrospect, perhaps I was trying to warm up. Despite the weather, I was freezing. Btw, Speke's recollection, in his memoirs, of that incident with the beetle in his ear, is harrowing!

Regarding Richard III, even though it is indeed very long, I wish Olivier had not cut the role of Queen Margaret. She has one of the great speeches.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 minutes ago, Swithin said:

Your eloquent post brings back memories of two favorite films: Mountain of the Moon (a particular favorite) and The Sheltering Sky. I haven't seen either of them in yonks; time for me to see them again. Back in the 1990s, I spent a sweltering Memorial Day weekend with fever and chills. I watched those two films on video, along with Lawrence of Arabia. In retrospect, perhaps I was trying to warm up. Despite the weather, I was freezing. Btw, Speke's recollection, in his memoirs, of that incident with the beetle in his ear, is harrowing!

Regarding Richard III, even though it is indeed very long, I wish Olivier had not cut the role of Queen Margaret. She has one of the great speeches.

 

Swith--On the subject of Richard III, have you seen Al Pacino's docudrama? 

I was surprised that he used Alec Baldwin, because I didn't think Alec was much of an actor. But Estelle Parsons is in it too.

Do you think Pacino did this cuz he didn't have the wherewithal to make a real movie of the play?

(By the way, one of my mom's soap opera actors was in it too.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, Princess of Tap said:

Swith--On the subject of Richard III, have you seen Al Pacino's docudrama? 

I was surprised that he used Alec Baldwin, because I didn't think Alec was much of an actor. But Estelle Parsons is in it too.

Do you think Pacino did this cuz he didn't have the wherewithal to make a real movie of the play?

(By the way, one of my mom's soap opera actors was in it too.)

No, I haven't seen it, though I should see it. Pacino played Richard on Broadway in 1979, to very mixed reviews. Queen Margaret was cut from that production (as she was from Olivier's film), which I think is a shame, because she is one of Shakespeare's most interesting women, beginning as a sweet French girl, then a warrior queen in the Henry VI plays, then  a bitter old crone in Richard III. Evidently Estelle played her in Looking for Richard -- great casting! I worked with Estelle on a number of occasions, and she's a great actress and wonderful character in real life.

 

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, CinemaInternational said:

Assorted notes on films recently seen....and yes I know  most are from the relatively recent date of 1990 (but sometimes you have to fold in some more recent films to help to create variety and more love for the classics.

CinemaInternational- Your posts about movies you've seen are absolutely perfect. You know your audience (classic film aficionados) and how to speak to them. You reveal just enough of the general gist of the plot and just let us know IF the story unfolds successfully, rather than giving us an entire synopsis. 

You know your audience cares about the "look" of the film, as well as dialogue & performance. You reveal if the movie contains trigger negatives for some like violence, nudity, profanity...musicals (haha) 

Thank you. I hope to meet your insightful & thoughtful posts again on the other side.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, CinemaInternational said:

 Raggedy Man (1981) is about 4/5 of a wonderful film. For most of its run, its a tale of a young divorcee (Sissy Spacek) in 1940s Texas, raising her children and having a brief romance with an affable sailor (Eric Roberts). There is such a feel for the land in this film, such wonderful period detail, with a luminous performance from Sissy Spacek (the film was directed by her husband, who she is still married to to this day). And then the film effectively crashes at the end with a mysterious man coming to Sissy's aid rescuing her from two ****. The ending is cheap and tacky, and does not fit the rest of the film, and it feels like a betrayal of all that went before. I'd still recommend it, just to note to bail before that ending.

RAGGEDY MAN is a wonderful movie with a truly magical performance by Sissy Spacek, who is in my opinion is one of the most gifted movie actors of all-time (definitely in my top five).  The scene where she dances with the broom brings tears to my eyes (and I am not really a movie crier).

Regarding the ending:  the movie was adapted from a novel so the dramatic reveal ending was part of the book's story.

The movie features a pre-ET performance by Henry Thomas as one of Sissy Spacek's son.

 

  420d1da3569906e8dc75aab5e2d86ab6.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/26/2022 at 6:17 PM, CinemaInternational said:

Women in Love (1969) was once infamous for being one of the most sexually explicit films made up to that point. Its still very spicy to this day, and I highly doubt in this day and age that the nude wrestling scene between Oliver Reed and Alan Bates would go on for 6 minutes like it does here. However, the performances tend to be good, especially Glenda Jackson, and it is not quite as overheated as many other Ken Russell films. Nice period detail too.

Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment (1966) was far too arch, irritating, and twee. To boil it down to a few words, its the satirical saga of a young communist (David Warner) who begins to think he is a gorilla. Practically everything in this movie is seriously off, and while Vanessa Redgrave was up for an Oscar for this, the film gives her very little to do.

[Cadillac Man] But, even though the second half of this is disappointing after the quite good start, this does manage to be significantly better than The Survivors and still manages to be an OK film, so that should count for something.

 

Thanks so much for your reviews, which I always enjoy so much. About that nude scene in Women in Love: Alan Bates had it in his contract that his genitals would not be shown. Therefore, we keep seeing Alan Bates' bare backside--also on display in Georgy Girl and King of Hearts--and Oliver Reed's frontal view.

Your comments on Morgan are spot-on. It may be the only film where Vanessa Redgrave plays a birdbrained character, and she doesn't get much screen time. I think we're supposed to find David Warner's character sympathetic, which may be the looniest aspect of the film. Irene Handl is very funny as Warner's mother.

"Significantly better than The Survivors" is a standard so low that one shudders at the thought of films that can't reach it. Kristen Vigard was one of the best teen soap stars ever on Guiding Light opposite John Wesley Shipp and Kevin Bacon, but the daily pressure apparently got to her and she either quit or was fired. The Survivors did not launch her on a fabulous career in the movies.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

© 2023 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...