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Ok. Shoot me.

 

John Carter (2012)

 

- based on A Princess of Mars, the first book in the Barsoom series of novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

 

This reminded me of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant - a series of ten high fantasy novels written by American author Stephen R. Donaldson.

 

A civil war era ex-soldier from Virginia, now prospector, is accidentally transported to a Mars imagined by the author. John Carter develops superhuman strength and becomes involved in mediating civil unrest between warring kingdoms.

 

This story, and others in the series, have been attempted by film studios since the 1930s, with no progress until the Disney Studios took it up relatively recently.

 

The film feels much longer than the 132 min running time - it covers a lot of territory. The story is told in flashback as John Carter's nephew (Edgar Rice Burroughs) reads the diary, left to him after his uncle's funeral.

 

This is an interesting story with a good ending.

 

*  *  *  *  *

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I didn't hate the John Carter movie. I read several of the books back in my teenage years, and the movie did a pretty good job of capturing the feel, as far as I can recall. 

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"Fire Maidens of Outer Space" (1956)--Barely made it through this movie, and that was with the help of MST3K--I  went to sleep ten minutes in when I tried watching the film by itself.  Film is among the 50 most painfully bad movies I've ever watched all the way through.  Film is nicely scored, although it Overuses the theme Stranger in Paradise.

 

Crows' rendition of "I'm Just A Girl Who Can't Say No" to the 503rd rendition of "Stranger In Paradise" got  the only laugh from me during the film.  For MST3K fans or those wishing a filmic sleeping pill only.

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Red Rock West (1993) Lone Star Loser
 
red_rock_west%2Bposter%2BRed%2BRock%2BWe
 
Red Rock West was the second shoe string budget Neo Noir directed by John Dahl. It was written by John Dahl and Rick Dahl. The film stars Nicolas Cage (The Cotton Club (1984), Raising Arizona (1987), Wild at Heart (1990), Leaving Las Vegas (1995)), Dennis Hopper (I Died a Thousand Times (1955), Naked City TV Series (1958–1963), The American Friend (1977), Blue Velvet (1986), Black Widow (1987), True Romance (1993), Lara Flynn Boyle (Twin Peaks TV Series (1990–1991)), J.T. Walsh (The Grifters (1990)) and Dale Gibson. Music was by William Olvis. Cinematography was by Marc Reshovsky. 
 
Cage is believable as Michael, he plays the part with the right mix of honesty, humility, chagrin, and boldness. J.T. Walsh is excellent as the bar owner/sheriff with a shady past. Dennis Hopper is entertaining as Lyle the Dallas hit man, doing his slightly over the top schtick, almost homaging/reprising his Frank Booth character from Blue Velvet. Dahl seems to have a penchant for dark brunette Femme Fatales they feature in all three of his Neo Noirs. The films only speed bump is Lara Flynn Boyle, who is merely adequate in her role. She just seems to simmer along sedately, never quite matching the delicious seediness of Joanne Whalley in Kill Me Again, or the sexy cunning intelligence of Linda Fiorentino in The Last Seduction. Her attire is 90% unattractive, which I don't quite get. It was a poor decision by the costume department. 

Noirish%2B04.jpg
 
The film is entertaining, but I still consider it the weakest of Dahl's Neo Noirs. Filmed mostly in Arizona, with a bit of Montana. The closing freight train sequence before the credits roll looks an awful lot like the old Northern Pacific (now Montana Rail Link) spur that runs up to Polson. The shot is near Charlo, Northwest of St. Ignatius on the Flathead Indian Reservation, with the Mission Mountains in the background. I should know I ran a wrecking yard just North of that location back in the 1980s. 8/10 
 
Full review in Gangster & Film Noir board and with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2016/06/red-rock-west-1993-lone-star-loser.html

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 Film is nicely scored, although it Overuses the theme Stranger in Paradise.

 

They probably used that tune because it originally comes from the Russian composer Borodin's music from his opera Prince Igor. Specifically, it's "Gliding Dance of the Maidens," ("Polovtsian Dances"), which would be appropriate for the film. And there would be no royalties to pay, as the tune would have been public domain, so long as they didn't use the lyrics or specific arrangements later added by Wright and Forrest (whom I knew) for their show Kismet, based on Borodin's music. Wright and Forrest also adapted the music of Grieg for their Song of Norway; and Rachmaninoff for their show Anya.

Edited by Swithin
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Wish TCM would show more Nancy Carroll. One of Paramount's top stars in the early 30s, but forgotten now.

 

CapitolFest last year (or year before) spotlit Nancy Carroll and the newly restored "Follow Through" was screened along with about 15 others featuring the star. I loved it.

 

TCM can only show (and afford) so much. For real film fans, the rare stuff is often screened at film festivals. Afterward, you even have historians and academics milling in the lobby to discuss it with - or quietly listen in, like I do!

 

I much prefer this to watching a movie alone, sitting at a computer. And I also find it sad TCM misses the opportunity by screening the same old chestnuts at their film festivals.

 

Lucky you!!!

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Me too, I could watch her a lot. But she was outstanding in other films; even in a minor role. Take The Razor's Edge with Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, etc. She was quite surprising in her role as secretary to a woman of title who did not include Elliott T. (Clifton Webb) on invitation list to a party/ When he was very ill, his friends, Larry (Tyrone) and Somerset Maugham (Herbert Marshall) visited her. Very touching about her subtle tour de force.

 

Who are you talking about???

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I watched Salem's Lot(1979) today. I hadn't seen it in years, but it still holds up for me. The few people who manage to get out of Dodge pack up their cars and even remember to bring their brooms and rakes. I dunno. If I were in a hurry to escape, those would be the last things I would think to take with me. The sheriff was heading to South Carolina. The last thing he piled into his car was a fan. He had the broom and rake, of course, but at least he will need the fan!

 

James Mason still creeps me out as Straker. Very enjoyable film.

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Red Rock West (1993) Lone Star Loser

 

red_rock_west%2Bposter%2BRed%2BRock%2BWe

 

Red Rock West was the second shoe string budget Neo Noir directed by John Dahl. It was written by John Dahl and Rick Dahl. The film stars Nicolas Cage (The Cotton Club (1984), Raising Arizona (1987), Wild at Heart (1990), Leaving Las Vegas (1995)), Dennis Hopper (I Died a Thousand Times (1955), Naked City TV Series (1958–1963), The American Friend (1977), Blue Velvet (1986), Black Widow (1987), True Romance (1993), Lara Flynn Boyle (Twin Peaks TV Series (1990–1991)), J.T. Walsh (The Grifters (1990)) and Dale Gibson. Music was by William Olvis. Cinematography was by Marc Reshovsky. 

 

Cage is believable as Michael, he plays the part with the right mix of honesty, humility, chagrin, and boldness. J.T. Walsh is excellent as the bar owner/sheriff with a shady past. Dennis Hopper is entertaining as Lyle the Dallas hit man, doing his slightly over the top schtick, almost homaging/reprising his Frank Booth character from Blue Velvet. Dahl seems to have a penchant for dark brunette Femme Fatales they feature in all three of his Neo Noirs. The films only speed bump is Lara Flynn Boyle, who is merely adequate in her role. She just seems to simmer along sedately, never quite matching the delicious seediness of Joanne Whalley in Kill Me Again, or the sexy cunning intelligence of Linda Fiorentino in The Last Seduction. Her attire is 90% unattractive, which I don't quite get. It was a poor decision by the costume department. 

 

 

 

The film is entertaining, but I still consider it the weakest of Dahl's Neo Noirs. Filmed mostly in Arizona, with a bit of Montana. The closing freight train sequence before the credits roll looks an awful lot like the old Northern Pacific (now Montana Rail Link) spur that runs up to Polson. The shot is near Charlo, Northwest of St. Ignatius on the Flathead Indian Reservation, with the Mission Mountains in the background. I should know I ran a wrecking yard just North of that location back in the 1980s. 8/10 ....

 

 

 

Damn, I love Red Rock West  !  I remember being absolutely delighted the first time I watched it, and subsequent viewings have not disappointed  (well, I think I've seen it a total of 3 times.)

 

It makes me sad to  see Nicholas Cage in something like this, when he was still respected and considered a major acting talent in both mainstream and "indie" movies. Now everyone dismisses him at best, outright laughs at him at worst. But his performance in Red Rock West shows Cage when he was still cool. I think he's pretty darn good in the film.

 

I also really enjoy Dennis Hopper here. He could always be counted on to give just the right touch of intensity and maniacal sadism. (Blue Velvet of course being the prime example of this,but he reprised that character many times...)

 

And let's not forget the fine performance from J.T. Walsh, always reliable as a character actor, always memorable.

 

Red Rock West may not have the usual noir setting, filmed as it is in the American South-West ( as you say, cigarjoe), but its plot is classic noir.  I enjoyed this film so much I purchased it. In fact, cigarjoe's review has put me in the mood for it, I might just go and throw it on the player tonight.

 

Neo-noir at its best.  

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Damn, I love Red Rock West  !  I remember being absolutely delighted the first time I watched it, and subsequent viewings have not disappointed  (well, I think I've seen it a total of 3 times.)

 

It makes me sad to  see Nicholas Cage in something like this, when he was still respected and considered a major acting talent in both mainstream and "indie" movies. Now everyone dismisses him at best, outright laughs at him at worst. But his performance in Red Rock West shows Cage when he was still cool. I think he's pretty darn good in the film.

 

I also really enjoy Dennis Hopper here. He could always be counted on to give just the right touch of intensity and maniacal sadism. (Blue Velvet of course being the prime example of this,but he reprised that character many times...)

 

And let's not forget the fine performance from J.T. Walsh, always reliable as a character actor, always memorable.

 

Red Rock West may not have the usual noir setting, filmed as it is in the American South-West ( as you say, cigarjoe), but its plot is classic noir.  I enjoyed this film so much I purchased it. In fact, cigarjoe's review has put me in the mood for it, I might just go and throw it on the player tonight.

 

Neo-noir at its best.  

Check out Dahl's  Kill Me Again it's a lot of fun also.

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Check out Dahl's  Kill Me Again it's a lot of fun also.

 

I will. It's the only one of the three John Dahl neo-noirs you mentioned in your write-up that I haven't seen.  

 

By the way, although I did like The Last Seduction, I enjoyed Red Rock West  more. It will be interesting to see where Kill Me Again fits in this trio.

 

Hey, I just looked up John Dahl. He also made Rounders.  Shirley it could be argued that this is at least a semi-neo-noir  (too many adjectives going on there.)

 

I always thought it was kind of interesting that this latter day noir director bore the same name as the actor who appeared in a number of classic noirs, notably Gun Crazy. Just one of those interesting random coincidences, I guess.

...ok, so the spelling is different.

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Hollywood, My Hometown.  I know Lorna reviewed this a while back, but I finally go to see it myself.  I completely concur with everything that Lorna said.  This collection of candid videos was fascinating.  I also got to see film footage of Errol with other stars (including Lucy!  I would love to know if they met!) in Sun Valley, ID.  This is where that fabulous animated gif of Errol winking (that Sans posted last week for my birthday) came from! I had seen the footage of Lucy filming Fancy Pants before.  It must have been featured on some Lucy documentary or something that I've seen in the past.  Anyway, this is a fabulous collection of videos and I hope that there are more and that TCM airs them.

 

---

Finding Dory.  My husband and I saw the latest Pixar release yesterday.  It was fantastic, just as good as its predecessor, Finding Nemo.  In this film (which takes place one year after 'Nemo'), Dory, who suffers from short term memory loss, makes it a mission to find her parents.  She helped Marlon find Nemo in the first film and now she wants help locating her parents.  She became separated from them when she was young and until now, has relied on others to help her find her way.  She also gets by with her unique brand of impulsiveness and quick action.  Throughout the film, Dory uses other "people's" (fishes'?) words and objects to trigger memories that assist her in finding her way.  It was very clever how Pixar incorporated these triggers to help move the story along and flesh out Dory's background.  I also liked how they treated short term memory loss with sensitivity and did not make it a joke.  The marine center that Dory & co. end up at is based on the excellent Monterrey Bay Aquarium.  The funniest new character added to the Nemo franchise is Hank the octopus (except he only has seven legs as Dory points out and refers to him as a "septapus.").  Hank is cynical, but you know he's a softy deep inside.  He can also camouflage himself into his settings which is quite comical.  There are other funny characters like Becky the buzzard and Gerald the seal with a uni-brow.  

 

It seems that Pixar thrives on adding emotional scenes to their films that pull at their audience's heartstrings.  Finding Dory is no exception.  There is a very dramatic scene near the end of the film where Dory is separated from her party and is lost in an unfamiliar, dark ocean, alone.  She has to rely on herself to figure out how to find her way out and find her friends.  This was a very heart wrenching scene.  I won't lie, it made me tear up and I could hear other people sniffling in the theater.  Another emotional scene is the beginning of the film showing a baby Dory with her parents.  It's not as sad though as the beginning of Up, which is probably one of the saddest scenes I've ever seen.

 

This was an excellent film.  Highly recommended. 

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"Emma" (1932)--Marie Dressler again outclasses her material,and is the best thing in the film.  But she had a fine director, Clarence Brown, and a good supporting cast to help her through the suds and melodramatics in this drama/comedy.

 

Dressler is a housekeeper who takes care of the family she works for because they can't manage their own lives, for various reasons. 

 

Richard Cromwell is amusing as someone who thinks of nothing but aviation.  Ben Mankiewicz said in his outro that Myrna Loy was shooting two other films at the same time as "Emma".  That accounts for her abruptness, and the distracted air to her performance.  2.7/4

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Woke up earlier than usual this morning.  Couldn't get back to sleep, so I had my morning coffee while watching a couple of old "Beverly Hillbillies" episodes on METV.

 

One was the one in which Jed, Granny and the clan all head for the seashore to save the country from the invasion of grunions, which they didn't realize were a species of fish.

 

I don't recall ever seeing this one before,  plus I've never heard of the fish called grunion.  But what tickled me about it was.....

 

In elementary school and through Jr. high, I knew a guy( And hung out with all summer of '65) named RICK GRUNION.  And HIS big dream in life was to be an oceanographer!  Sadly, he never made it, but it's OK. He became an airline pilot instead.

 

 

Sepiatone

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Woke up earlier than usual this morning.  Couldn't get back to sleep, so I had my morning coffee while watching a couple of old "Beverly Hillbillies" episodes on METV.

 

One was the one in which Jed, Granny and the clan all head for the seashore to save the country from the invasion of grunions, which they didn't realize were a species of fish.

 

I don't recall ever seeing this one before,  plus I've never heard of the fish called grunion.  But what tickled me about it was.....

 

In elementary school and through Jr. high, I knew a guy( And hung out with all summer of '65) named RICK GRUNION.  And HIS big dream in life was to be an oceanographer!  Sadly, he never made it, but it's OK. He became an airline pilot instead.

 

 

Sepiatone

There's another funny episode where Jethro meets a bunch of hippies in Griffith Park. They think he's really cool a guru. They get all excited when Jethro tells them that he and granny smoke a lot of crawdad.  They want to do so too, so Jethro brings them a gunny sack full of crawdad, the groups leader sticks his hand into the bag to get a smoke, and gets pinched. He exclaims that Jethro is too weird for them because "these things are alive, man!"

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"The Prodigal" (1955)--High Camp, Biblical variety.  MGM spent $5 million on this cinematic disaster. Finding the mistakes is like the    "Where's Waldo?" game.  Here's three.

 

In the scene where Eli (Walter Hampden) rejects his son, as Eli waggles his beard in anguish, his beard turns from white to blue to green to white, back to blue again--presumably because of overhead lights and the direction his beard moves.

 

In his battle scene with a bird (The Black Raven of Impending Doom?) after he's tossed on a pile of plastic skeletons (which clatter like a pile of plastic Halloween skeletons on clearance on Nov. 2nd) the bird goes from a few shots of a confused live bird to a stuffed fake that Micah (Edmund Purdom) wrestles with mightily but fails to conceal that the wings are frozen in place, the claws don't move and the open beak looks like pink bubble gum (the hand that threw in the fake that I saw on videotape was edited out, **** it).  All that's missing is stuffing coming out of the bird.

 

Turner, as Samarra is most assured when she makes her initial entrance in the temple, wearing the best in less-is-more 70 B.C. Damascus fashions, and in another scene where she teaches an eight year old Future High Priestess makeup tricks.

 

The statue of Baal that features prominently in the film looks like MGM borrowed the one Paramount had built for "Samson and Delilah" (1949).

 

Essential viewing for fans of the silly.  3/4 on the "So Bad It's Good" scale.

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"The Prodigal" (1955)--High Camp, Biblical variety.  MGM spent $5 million on this cinematic disaster. Finding the mistakes is like the    "Where's Waldo?" game.  Here's three.

 

The statue of Baal that features prominently in the film looks like MGM borrowed the one Paramount had built for "Samson and Delilah" (1949).

 

 

 

I bet that was a fun phone conversation between the prop departments:

 

"Manny? Yeah, it's Mort over at MGM, how the Hell are ya? I know, I know Brother, overworked and underpaid like all the rest of us poor schlubs- tell me all about it.

 

Edna good?

 

Good.

 

And the kids?

 

Great....

 

Look: Manny:

 

...you guys don't happen to still have that statue of Ba'al left over from SAMSON AND DELILAH do you...? We're in the red on a big **** and toga Turner flick, and we need to rent that sucker like anything if you got it. Yeah, sure I'll hang on while you look...and just for good measure, check and see if you still got the rubber Octopus from REAP THE WILD WIND, we wanna use it to play a prank on the guys in the sound department..."

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"The World, The Flesh, and The Devil" (1959)--Starring Harry Belafonte, Inger Stevens, and Mel Ferrer, directed by Ranald MacDougall.

 

Fantastic End of the World horror movie/noir.  Like Steven King's "The Stand", minus the supernatural elements and gore.

 

Belafonte is buried in a cave-in for five-six days.  When he frees himself, the country is deserted, due to WW III having occurred while he was safely stuck.  He goes to Manhattan, finds it deserted, and nearly goes crazy.

 

Belafonte is tremendously effective, especially while he's alone.  Stevens and Ferrer are also good. The faults are in the script, not the actors' performances.

 

Excellent film I hadn't seen.  3.6/4

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"The World, The Flesh, and The Devil" (1959)--Starring Harry Belafonte, Inger Stevens, and Mel Ferrer, directed by Ranald MacDougall.

 

Fantastic End of the World horror movie/noir.  Like Steven King's "The Stand", minus the supernatural elements and gore.

 

Belafonte is buried in a cave-in for five-six days.  When he frees himself, the country is deserted, due to WW III having occurred while he was safely stuck.  He goes to Manhattan, finds it deserted, and nearly goes crazy.

 

Belafonte is tremendously effective, especially while he's alone.  Stevens and Ferrer are also good. The faults are in the script, not the actors' performances.

 

Excellent film I hadn't seen.  3.6/4

 

Spoiler for The World, the Flesh, and the Devil

 

 

====

 

 

Don't remember much, but I love the way the second person is "introduced." Fed up with the dummy, throwing it over the balcony, then hearing a woman SCREAM.

 

Love that.

 

--

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"The World, The Flesh, and The Devil" (1959)--Starring Harry Belafonte, Inger Stevens, and Mel Ferrer, directed by Ranald MacDougall.

 

Fantastic End of the World horror movie/noir.  Like Steven King's "The Stand", minus the supernatural elements and gore.

 

Belafonte is buried in a cave-in for five-six days.  When he frees himself, the country is deserted, due to WW III having occurred while he was safely stuck.  He goes to Manhattan, finds it deserted, and nearly goes crazy.

 

Belafonte is tremendously effective, especially while he's alone.  Stevens and Ferrer are also good. The faults are in the script, not the actors' performances.

 

Excellent film I hadn't seen.  3.6/4

 

Is that where once he finds the NYC Public Library and now has all the time in the world to catch up on his reading, he trips and falls and breaks his glasses???

 

(...oh...wait...that was Burgess Meredith, huh...sorry...never mind)

 

;)

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Belafonte is tremendously effective, especially while he's alone.

You mean Harry Belafonte could act?

 

(I've seen The World, the Flesh, and the Devil and some of Belafonte's other movies, and he comes across as the weak link most of the time. Particularly in Carmen Jones.)

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You mean Harry Belafonte could act?

 

(I've seen The World, the Flesh, and the Devil and some of Belafonte's other movies, and he comes across as the weak link most of the time. Particularly in Carmen Jones.)

 

Maybe only in 1959,  since I feel he give a solid performance in Odds Against Tomorrow, which was released the same year as The World, the Flesh, and the Devil.

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You mean Harry Belafonte could act?

 

(I've seen The World, the Flesh, and the Devil and some of Belafonte's other movies, and he comes across as the weak link most of the time. Particularly in Carmen Jones.)

 

I think so. I would have thought otherwise, as you do ... until I took notice.

 

There a movie I saw long ago that Belafonte and Poitier were both in---a Western, I believe---and I thought Belafonte ran circles around Poitier. It may have been their characters. Poitier played a proud, dignified man which perhaps compares unfavorably with Belafonte's devil-may-care type. He was so uninhibited, free, and comfortable with himself. I took note and took him to be a good actor. Good or no, he at least comes across well (to me).

 

==

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I think so. I would have thought otherwise, as you do ... until I took notice.

 

There a movie I saw long ago that Belafonte and Poitier were both in---a Western, I believe---and I thought Belafonte ran circles around Poitier. It may have been their characters. Poitier played a proud, dignified man which perhaps compares unfavorably with Belafonte's devil-may-care type. He was so uninhibited, free, and comfortable with himself. I took note and took him to be a good actor. Good or no, he at least comes across well (to me).

 

==

 

That western is Buck and the Preacher.    Maybe Poitier gave only a so-so performance in that film because he didn't receive unbiased direction from the director.     ;)  

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You mean Harry Belafonte could act?

 

(I've seen The World, the Flesh, and the Devil and some of Belafonte's other movies, and he comes across as the weak link most of the time. Particularly in Carmen Jones.)

he's great in Odds Against Tomorrow.

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