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Jackie Brown (1997) Soul Noir

Jackie-Brown%2Bfilm%2BPoster.jpg

 

A great amalgamation of Blaxploitation, Neo Noir, and Elmore Leonard, by Quentin Tarantino.

This film is a lot of fun to watch, Tarantino weaves his magic in his Tarantinian way. Snappy dialog, check, pop references, check, soul music, check, low life losers, check, bringing back blasts from the past in the forms of Pam Grier and Robert Forster, check. The film is probably one of his more restrained efforts, but it fits perfectly for Film Noir.

Noirs were almost always about small time losers. Low key stories of life on the cusp. Tales that drift to the wrong side of the tracks. It's about poor schmucks who are trying to get by any way they can. And if in the process they have to step over on the dark side occasionally, and make deals with the boogie man, well, in this case, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

This film is full of these amusing vignettes, and it's a fun ride. Everyone is jockeying for position. Odell wants his cash, the ATF and LAPD want Odell, Max wants Jackie, and Jackie wants her freedom and a payback from Odell. How all this plays out is part of the magic of the movie and it's the getting there with wonderful fleshed out characters that's a hoot.

The film stars Pam Grier as Jackie Brown, Samuel L. Jackson as Ordell Robbie, Robert Forster as Max Cherry, Bridget Fonda as Melanie Ralston, Michael Keaton as Ray Nicolette, Robert De Niro as Louis Gara, Chris Tucker as Beaumont Livingston, Michael Bowen as Mark Dargus, Lisa Gay Hamilton as Sheronda, Tommy "Tiny" Lister Jr. as Winston, Hattie Winston as Simone and Sid Haig as the Judge.

Cinematography was by Guillermo Navarro and the soundtrack has cuts by Bobby Womack, Smokey Robinson, Brothers Johnson, The Supremes, Pam Grier, Bloodstone, Roy Ayers, Johnny Cash, Jermaine Jackson, The Delfonics, Minnie Riperton, Foxy Brown, Isaac Hayes, Bill Withers, The Meters, Elliot Easton's Tiki Gods, Elvin Bishop, The Guess Who, The Grassroots, Randy Crawford, The Vampire Sound Incorporation, Orchestra Harlow, Umberto Smaila, Snakepit, Brad Hatfield and Dick Walter.

Partial review with some screencaps in Film Noir/Gangster and full review with more screencaps and dialog at Noirsville

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FARGO (1996): 

According to the Internet, this film is classified as a "reality-based crime drama." I guess I'd have to agree with that. This film doesn't contain any true "comedy" moments, but there are some scenes/situations I had to sort of chuckle at. 

Frances McDormand was great as a small-town, heavily pregnant, Minnesota chief of police, who finds herself on the trail of 2 rather inept kidnappers-turned-murderers. Steve Buscemi gets the most screen time out of the two criminals, which makes sense, since his blonde-and-brawny counterpart has the personality of a sack of beans. 

I didn't hate this one, but I do enjoy the Coen brothers other hit "Big Lebowski" more. 

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On 11/13/2017 at 4:42 PM, Fedya said:

Thelma Ritter always got to deliver such great lines.

A particular favorite of mine comes from "All About Eve" (1950), when Anne Baxter's "Eve" is telling the "true" story of her life: "What a story! Everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end!" 

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5 minutes ago, NickAndNora34 said:

FARGO (1996): 

According to the Internet, this film is classified as a "reality-based crime drama." I guess I'd have to agree with that. This film doesn't contain any true "comedy" moments, but there are some scenes/situations I had to sort of chuckle at. 

Frances McDormand was great as a small-town, heavily pregnant, Minnesota chief of police, who finds herself on the trail of 2 rather inept kidnappers-turned-murderers. Steve Buscemi gets the most screen time out of the two criminals, which makes sense, since his blonde-and-brawny counterpart has the personality of a sack of beans. 

I didn't hate this one, but I do enjoy the Coen brothers other hit "Big Lebowski" more. 

Fargo is hilarious. I laugh through most of it every time I watch it. William H. Macy is brilliant as the not-brilliant "mastermind". The interplay between Buscemi and Peter Stormare is priceless, with one of the best pay-offs in film history (the woodchipper). Marge interviewing the prostitutes, Marge's awkward dinner date with her old classsmate, Harve Presnell as the grouchy father-in-law...I find much of it a source of amusement. And the score and cinematography are fantastic.

By the way, despite what it says, it's not based on a true story. That was another joke, doncha know.

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BIG BUSINESS (1988): starring Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin. 

An overall silly comedy, this film centers essentially around a hospital mix-up, wherein 2 sets of twins are born, and one of each is sent to live with the wrong family. The wealthy family decides to name the girls Sadie and Rose, and after overhearing this, the dirt-poor farmer (with 10 kids already) decides to name his girls Rose and Sadie too. Honestly, this movie gets a little dicey at times, but Lily and Bette are their usual funny selves. 

Score: 3/5

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PENNIES FROM HEAVEN (1981): STARRING STEVE MARTIN AND BERNADETTE PETERS

This is a movie musical set in the early 1930's, reminiscent of all those fantastic Busby Berkeley phenomenons. I found it interesting how no one's real singing voices were used, instead all the actors lip-synced to popular 20s and 30s songs. 

It centers around Arthur, a man who knows his music. He is married to a rather lack-luster woman named Joan, whose middle name is most likely "Propriety." Arthur essentially begs Joan to allow him to use the money her father left her to run and own his own record store. Unfortunately, no one is buying. Arthur meets a young schoolteacher named Eileen Everson (Bernadette Peters) and promptly begins an affair with her (although he lies to her, and she is unaware that he already has a wife). 

Eileen becomes pregnant with Arthur's child, and upon this discovery, the audience witnesses Arthur trying to make it with a young blind girl whom he encounters while taking a break from work (some break, no one's even buying anything from you). After Eileen tells Arthur about his child, he lets slip that he's married, refuses to divorce his wife, and Eileen ends up becoming a "lady of the evening" and getting rid of the baby. 

All in all, I basically only watched this because one of my role models, Bernadette Peters, was starring in it. Steve Martin, I could take or leave in this. 

Score: 2.5/5

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Desperate Journey (1942)

Warner Brothers used WWII as a backdrop for a Rover Boys type action adventure, depicting the over-the-top activities of five RAF airmen downed behind enemy lines. Not only do these guys successfully travel from Germany through the Netherlands with the Germans hot on their trail, but they manage to pull off various acts of sabotage along the way, as well.

Director Raoul Walsh, who keeps this film moving at a brisk "let's not stop to think how ludicrous this is" pace, would later call Desperate Journey "a war comedy spiced with enough tragedy to give it reality." Believe me, folks, you will be searching this film a long time before you find much reality here. Having said that, the film's fun, thanks to the overall slick presentation, a cast that seems to be having a good time, and director Walsh's adroit ability at mixing action with light hearted characterizations.

The downed RAF boys are an international crew, with reckless, "let's blow everything up real good" Aussie Errol Flynn, brash Yank Ronald Reagan ("half American, half Jersey City") and serious, responsible Canuck Arthur Kennedy. Comprising the rest of the five man crew are Alan Hale as an aging jokester who likes to fire spitballs at everybody, including his German captors, and Ronald Sinclair as "the kid." There's always a naive innocent youngster called "the kid" in these films, it seems, practically a guarantee he will have an unfortunate end.

Raymond Massey is cast as the monocle wearing German general who, for some reason, personally chases after the RAF boys across much of the continent. (Possibly it's because Reagan had earlier knocked him out with a single punch- "The iron fist has a glass jaw," Reagan casually reports as he sips some tea).

With the exception of ultra serious Kennedy none of the boys seem to take their plight too seriously, and there are plenty of jokey lines spouted by them in the screenplay. At one point the car in which they are escaping from the Germans runs out of petrol. "Well this is the first time I ever ran out of gas with a couple of guys," Flynn says.

At another point a German soldier gets the drop on the RAFers, who hold their hands high in surrender.

"Come on, Picklepuss," Reagan says to the German who speaks no English, "give me just one chance to kick you in the middle of your goose step."

Flynn then says to Reagan, "Now when I say 'go' you hit him high, Jed and Edwards will hit him low and I'll grab his little pistol. Do you understand?"

"I understand, Daddy," Reagan replies as they all turn on the German, quickly disarming him and dropping him off a bridge. It all looks so easy.

(A side note here: the German soldier is played by an unbilled Otto Reichow, who frequently portrayed German soldiers in Hollywood WWII films. He would become a friend of Flynn and some 17 years after this film was made be one of the actor's pallbearers).

Desperate Journey's screenplay does have a couple of dialogue exchanges between Flynn and Kennedy in which Kennedy questions Flynn's cavalier attitude. The war is a dirty business, not a time for games and adventures, he says. Flynn has no real response, but the attitude of the film itself is clearly that the war is time for games and adventures, at least on the big screen.

The public certainly lapped it up at the time as Desperate Journey was a solid hit at the 1942 box office for the studio, a film in which Flynn's swashbuckling film persona was in full bloom in a wartime setting. The actor would give contrasting, far more serious performances under Walsh's directorial hand in their final two WWII collaborations, Uncertain Glory and Objective Burma.

image-w856.jpg?1445912437

3 out of 4

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Young, Violent, Dangerous (1976) Tomas Milian is the police commissioner of Milan, Italy on a manhunt for three young criminals shooting up the city. The film boasts a couple of exciting car chases through the narrow city streets, the police look a bit stupid though, and seemingly a bit uncoordinated, it has a few either plot holes or cuts that creates these holes however. Eleonora Giorgi was cute. 7/10

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Fallen Angel (1945)

Poster%2BFallen%2BAngel.jpg

I rewatched Fallen Angel today.

It's a Noir with all of the right ingredients. An out of money drifter named Eric who gets thrown off a Pacific Coast Highway bus in a California seaside flyspeck called Walton. He has one dollar to his name, the fare to San Francisco is $2.25. Out of luck buddy.

The chiaroscuro cinematography throughout the film is breathtaking. Review with a few screencaps in Film Noir/Gangster pages.

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31 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

Fallen Angel (1945)

Poster%2BFallen%2BAngel.jpg

I rewatched Fallen Angel today.

It's a Noir with all of the right ingredients. An out of money drifter named Eric who gets thrown off a Pacific Coast Highway bus in a California seaside flyspeck called Walton. He has one dollar to his name, the fare to San Francisco is $2.25. Out of luck buddy.

The chiaroscuro cinematography throughout the film is breathtaking. Review with a few screencaps in Film Noir/Gangster pages.

Big fan of Fallen Angel.   Movies-TV was showing this about once a month and the last time my wife had to tell me 'not again!'.    As noted fine cinematography.   I really like how much of the story revolves around a California beach somewhat dive dinner.    The placement of the various characters and how they are filmed drinking their joe is used to great effect.    Also the questioning scene between the Bickford and Cabot is chilling.     

Lots to love about this Fox 40s noir.  

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On 11/4/2017 at 9:50 AM, TomJH said:

If you can, Lawrence, try to see where the "62" comes from in the title and let me know.

I just finished Private Detective 62, and did not see any reference to the number "62" throughout. I did like the movie, though.

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On 11/15/2017 at 10:07 PM, cigarjoe said:

His bit was pretty good, ya gotta admit.

But, of course, since all the singing was dubbed, that wasn't his--

He proved to be just as good in his other first musical he did sing in:

 

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1 hour ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Big fan of Fallen Angel.   Movies-TV was showing this about once a month and the last time my wife had to tell me 'not again!'.    As noted fine cinematography.   I really like how much of the story revolves around a California beach somewhat dive dinner.    The placement of the various characters and how they are filmed drinking their joe is used to great effect.    Also the questioning scene between the Bickford and Cabot is chilling.     

Lots to love about this Fox 40s noir.  

I am a big fan of Fallen Angel too.  Outstanding cast.  I remember seeing it on TV when I was very young and didn't fully appreciate until re-watching lately.  I like the setting too.  Yes, I thought that was very scary and effective, the interchange with Bickford and Cabot in the questioning scene. 

Film Noirs are my favorite these days and it is high on my list.

 

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Not sure if I didn't have one too many.  Sorry I combined my Comment with a previous one about

Fallen Angel.  I was going to say that the cast was Outstanding and the acting was quite brilliant.

Also, the background is quite impressive.  Fallen Angel is high on my list of favorite Film Noirs.

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All These Women (1964)-- from TCM on Demand, copying my review from another website

 

And so, here I am confronted with one of cinema's most atypical twists of fate for a director. For it is the truth that Ingmar Bergman, known for his austere, bleak dramas, made this frivolous slapstick comedy. This is not a perfect film by any means, some of the scenes are uneasy, others feel too overextended even at an 80 minute runtime, but despite its flaws, the film is oddly endearing. Maybe its because of  Bergman's game attempt to do something different or because the talented cast, but there is some great charm here and some blissfully silly scenes that are quite amusing. Even if comedy was not Bergman's forte, this is worth a look.

Note though: The print I saw of this on TCM on Demand was very washed out looking with subtitles that could be barely seen at times. I think its time to remaster this film.

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On 11/15/2017 at 9:56 PM, NickAndNora34 said:

PENNIES FROM HEAVEN (1981): STARRING STEVE MARTIN AND BERNADETTE PETERS

This is a movie musical set in the early 1930's, reminiscent of all those fantastic Busby Berkeley phenomenons. I found it interesting how no one's real singing voices were used, instead all the actors lip-synced to popular 20s and 30s songs. 

It centers around Arthur, a man who knows his music. He is married to a rather lack-luster woman named Joan, whose middle name is most likely "Propriety." Arthur essentially begs Joan to allow him to use the money her father left her to run and own his own record store. Unfortunately, no one is buying. Arthur meets a young schoolteacher named Eileen Everson (Bernadette Peters) and promptly begins an affair with her (although he lies to her, and she is unaware that he already has a wife). 

Eileen becomes pregnant with Arthur's child, and upon this discovery, the audience witnesses Arthur trying to make it with a young blind girl whom he encounters while taking a break from work (some break, no one's even buying anything from you). After Eileen tells Arthur about his child, he lets slip that he's married, refuses to divorce his wife, and Eileen ends up becoming a "lady of the evening" and getting rid of the baby. 

All in all, I basically only watched this because one of my role models, Bernadette Peters, was starring in it. Steve Martin, I could take or leave in this. 

Score: 2.5/5

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I liked this film a lot, I must say. The lypsyncing is jarring at first, but then is just snaps into place, and enhances the bleak, tragic story. This could be Steve Martin's finest hour, Christopher Walken is memorably oily in his scene, Jessica Harper hits the right notes, but all of them are swept aside her by Bernadette Peters in an astonishing performance that blew me away. Sensational work on her part. The film looks fantastic and the story is very effective.

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1 hour ago, CinemaInternational said:

All These Women (1964)-- from TCM on Demand, copying my review from another website

 

And so, here I am confronted with one of cinema's most atypical twists of fate for a director. For it is the truth that Ingmar Bergman, known for his austere, bleak dramas, made this frivolous slapstick comedy. This is not a perfect film by any means, some of the scenes are uneasy, others feel too overextended even at an 80 minute runtime, but despite its flaws, the film is oddly endearing. Maybe its because of  Bergman's game attempt to do something different or because the talented cast, but there is some great charm here and some blissfully silly scenes that are quite amusing. Even if comedy was not Bergman's forte, this is worth a look.

Note though: The print I saw of this on TCM on Demand was very washed out looking with subtitles that could be barely seen at times. I think its time to remaster this film.

Going by the Janus logo on the TCM broadcast, this was one of Criterion's earlier releases - it'd probably have a better job with the subs (and possibly the overall colour balance) if it was done today. The white subtitles had a habit of turning up over bright white backgrounds & could have done with some text shadowing, or perhaps, a different colour.

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The Red Baron (2008) bio pic about Manfred Von Richthofen some nice aerial combat shots/CGI about 7/10. There's been a few films since The Blue Max that covered WWI aerial combat back in 1966. There was that one about the I think it was the volunteer American Expeditionary Force before US involvement, I don't remember it's name and probably another. I need to see Wings and the others again to compare.

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When I was a kid there used to be an old serial they'd show on TV that was about a bunch of guys who flew old WWI era biplanes that I used to watch.  I can't remember the name of the serial, and all I remember is one guy had his plane painted to look like it was covered with feathers.

Anybody know of this?

Sepiatone

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Cigarjoe:

You're probably thinking of Flyboys (2006), which was about the Lafayette Escadrille.  Bill Wellman's last movie was also about the Lafayette Escadrille.

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3 hours ago, Fedya said:

Cigarjoe:

You're probably thinking of Flyboys (2006), which was about the Lafayette Escadrille.  Bill Wellman's last movie was also about the Lafayette Escadrille.

Yea that's it. I knew it wasn't named Lafayette Escadrille, thanks.

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MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (2017)

I thoroughly enjoyed this film. I'm always rather hesitant when going to see a remake of something, but this time I was pleasantly surprised. I think Kenneth Branagh did a fantastic job of playing Poirot accurately, and the rest of the cast did a spectacular job as well. Having seen the original 1970s version with the likes of Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, and Ingrid Bergman, to name a few, I already knew the ending and "whodunnit" (so to speak), but I liked seeing this cast's takes on their roles and the changes in the script. Overall, I'd have to give it a 3.5/5. 

Image result for murder on the orient express 2017

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The Italian Connection (La mala ordina ) (1972) Two American mob hitmen Henry Silva and Woody Strode, are sent to Milan to kill a Mafia pimp Mario Adorf who is suspected of stealing a portion of a heroin shipment. It's actually Milan Mafia Boss Adolfo Celi (Largo in Thunderball) who did it. Watchable but nothing special, 6-7/10

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