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1 hour ago, Fedya said:

Oddly, it seemed to me that scene was playing out in slow motion.

Wait, Are you being literal or figurative?

It’s been a long long time since I’ve seen TAXI DRIVER and I hate to think I miSremembered the scene, as I often do.

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1 hour ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

Wait, Are you being literal or figurative?

It’s been a long long time since I’ve seen TAXI DRIVER and I hate to think I miSremembered the scene, as I often do.

It's actually a mix of normal speed footage and occasional slow-motion moments. It's all horrific, but that's the point. The viewer is supposed to be disgusted. 

To add my two cents about the movie's quality, it's my second favorite movie of all time. And I would posit that the film's depiction of social alienation leading to violence has more relevance now than it did when the movie came out. ;)

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13 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Sky Murder (1940) - Third and final of the Nick Carter series of comedic mysteries, from MGM and director George B. Seitz. Carter (Walter Pidgeon) and his compatriot "Beeswax" Bartholomew (Donald Meek) investigate a murder that takes place aboard a passenger plane full of beautiful models. The culprit's trail leads to a gang of Fifth Columnists. Also featuring Karen Verne, Joyce Compton, Edward Ashley, Tom Conway, George Lessey, Chill Wills, Dorothy Tree, Frank Reicher, Byron Foulger, Tom Neal, Cy Kendall, and Grady Sutton.

This was pretty forgettable, save for Meek's unlikely turn as an action hero who carries bees in his pocket. His rather ludicrous character also overshadowed Pidgeon in the other Carter film I've seen (Phantom Raiders), so I think I'd have liked a series just featuring his oddball apiarist solving crimes.   (6/10)

Source: TCM.

 

Kaaren Verne was also up against Fifth Columnist the following year in the Bogie picture All Through The Night.  

Being German born she was a good fit for these pre-US-at-War films,  otherwise she didn't have much of a career.   

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Just now, laffite said:

A gentle correction, please:)

Kaaren ...

You are correct about her birth name, but she was often credited, such as in Sky Murder (reference the poster I put with my review) as "Karen" with a single a.

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7 hours ago, EricJ said:

And then when some of us were curious to tune in her Olympic competition, IIRC, she fell on her rear so many times, we thought the only Olympic tie-in deal she'd get would be from a pillow company.

She blamed her poor performance at the Olympics on her broken skate lace.  IIRC, she fell on every single jump she attempted (she would have fit in perfectly with this year's crop of Olympic figure skaters.  Seriously? These are the best skaters in the world?).  I'm sure she was also frazzled and distracted by the ongoing FBI investigation. 

Any serious athlete would have spare laces and such.  She was a gifted skater, but she didn't take her opportunities seriously and always had an excuse ready for why she failed.  It was never her fault, but the fault of her mother, husband, the judges' bias toward her, her ice skate, etc. Even if she had skated flawlessly, the Olympic judges would have never given her gold.  Nancy was the victim, she was almost guaranteed a medal somewhere.  I'm just glad Oksana Baiul slipped in and stole the gold from Nancy.  I never liked Nancy, I thought she was a snob. 

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The Murderer Lives at Number 21 (1942) - French black comedy murder mystery, from Continental Films and director Henri-Georges Clouzot. There's a serial killer on the loose, and he always leaves a calling card behind with his name on it: "Monsieur Durand". The police are at a loss to catch him, but Inspector Wens (Pierre Fresnay) learns that the killer may live at a boarding house at the title address. So he goes undercover as a new boarder to figure out which of the tenants is the killer. Also featuring Suzy Delair, Jean Tissier, Pierre Larquey, Noel Roquevert, Rene Genin, Jean Despeaux, Marc Natol, Huguette Vivier, Odette Talazac, Sylvette Sauge, and Maximilienne.

This is a clever, often funny mystery anchored by a handful of good performances and some nifty camerawork. Fresnay was the only one I recognized from other things, and he's excellent as the sharp detective. Suzy Delair is amusing as his girlfriend, as aspiring opera singer who decides to help him out with the case whether he wants her to or not. There's a point-of-view sequence from the killer's POV early on that is quite striking for the time.  (7/10)

Source: FilmStruck.

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2 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

You are correct about her birth name, but she was often credited, such as in Sky Murder (reference the poster I put with my review) as "Karen" with a single a.

They probably did it on purpose for fear of being thought wrong (maybe) ...

It would look funny to have Kaaren (sic) Verne.

A website called Find a Grave misspells it too.

.

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6 minutes ago, laffite said:

They probably did it on purpose for fear of being thought wrong (maybe) ...

It would look funny to have Kaaren (sic) Verne.

A website called Find a Grave misspells it too.

.

If I was the producer I would have changed it.  That extra 'a' looks lame.   

But hey,  I wouldn't use Archie Leach either!  

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3 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

It's actually a mix of normal speed footage and occasional slow-motion moments. It's all horrific, but that's the point. The viewer is supposed to be disgusted. 

To add my two cents about the movie's quality, [TAXI DRIVER is] my second favorite movie of all time. And I would posit that the film's depiction of social alienation leading to violence has more relevance now than it did when the movie came out. ;)

yes, that was my #1 takeaway from the film- that anyone who thought that TAXI DRIVER made violence look IN ANY WAY enticing or appealing was NOT WATCHING CLOSELY.

Like SEVEN SAMURAI and TARGETS, TAXI DRIVER is a great example of violence "done right" on screen.

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10 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

If I was the producer I would have changed it.  That extra 'a' looks lame.   

But hey,  I wouldn't use Archie Leach either!  

The extra A is cool. It has an air of Euro sophistication. If she had been a big star it would have enhanced her appeal.

B)

 

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Battlecreek (2017)

A nervous drama. When a movie gives you characters you care about and you fear the worst may happen to them, then it has succeeded on a very real level.

A young man (Bill Skarsgard) is afflicted with a skin ailment that precludes being in sunlight. He has severe burns on his neck and back due to a childhood accident. He lives at home with his mother (Paula Malcomson), who is protective, perhaps to a fault. A young woman (Clare van der Boom) passes through this small town, obviously troubled. She lands a job as a waitress and gets help in finding a place to live. An amiable middle-aged black man (Delroy Lindo), the town mechanic who loves jazz and home-spun philosophy and who knows a lot about town history, gently mentors the young man on his next step. There are a couple of drunken louts, sordid white trash types who provide a menacing threat.

Alison Eastwood (Clint's daughter) gets a lot of flack on Netflix, as well as the movie in general. The overall rating is far below average. I must be easy, though I concede it is not extraordinary in the main. There was, admittedly, a forced twist at a crucial place but overall it plays well, the acting is good (special mention for Mr Lindo), and my interest held (or should I say captured).

 

***

out of four

.

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10 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

The thing I like about TAXI DRIVER the most, oddly, is the final violent confrontation sCENE- Which it has been building to for the entire film, and then when it happens it’s fast and ugly- no slow, operatic, romantic glorification of the bloodshed the way we have today.

When Scoresese directed it in 1976, he and Paul Schrader thought they were doing a "modern" update of Dostoevsky's "Notes From the Underground" (about a depressed misanthropic loner who inspires another sad female depressed loner by being sadder than her), but the idea of the Gun-Toting Loner shooting up schools or college campuses just wasn't in 70's culture yet--That's why they had to bring the "Political candidate" subplot in, to suggest where the Lee Harvey Oswald's of the 60's came from, and where they'd still come from in the Nixon era.

It's a good performance by DeNiro, but, like his good performance in "The King of Comedy", you're watching DeNiro go all-out and throw himself into playing a creepy loser.  He can do it, and then he can turn around and do comedy in the next scene, but it's still a role that's more admired than loved.

And then, of course, even that realistic sudden-violence climax has to be wrapped up with the nice, happily "ironic" ending where Travis is considered a "hero" by the press for saving Jodie Foster from her messed-up life (there's some more unintentional irony ;) ), and, because of our twisted fame-culture, gets to return to the good life, Cybil included.  The confrontation is something Scorsese could do for scary effect with "GoodFellas" in the 80's, but back in the Abe Beame-era NYC of the 70's*, everything had to be social criticism.

----

(* - Still, it's that doomed 70's Mayor-Abe NYC that you miss about great old gritty-70's movies.  I've been watching "The Warriors" and "The Taking of Pelham One-Two-Three" on streaming, and those dirty subways just take you back...)

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There Was a Father (1942) - Japanese drama from Shochiku and director Yasujiro Ozu. Mr. Horikawa (Chishu Ryu) is a respected school teacher who is raising his young son Ryohei (Haruhiko Tsuda) alone, after the death of Horikawa's wife. A tragedy causes Horikawa to resign his position and move to the country. As his son grows and needs better schooling, Horikawa makes the difficult decision to move to the city for better paying work. The father and son then spend the next decade or more barely seeing one another, as the grown son (Shuji Sano) attends university and then begins work in another city. Also featuring Takeshi Sakamoto, Shin Saburi, and Mitsuko Mito.

This was made under the strictest conditions during wartime, when all films were required to have some element of propaganda that helped the war effort. Ozu gets by with having the father's sacrifice for his son's greater good work as a lesson to the Japanese populace to sacrifice for their country. It's there if you want to see it, but one could just as easily watch the film and not notice any propaganda. Ryu is terrific in his subdued way, his gently smiling man of simple virtue a living embodiment of the Ozu cinematic aesthetic. I was struck with how often Ozu uses shots of large, foreboding architecture, such as artless multi-story office buildings or smokestacks or harsh concrete bridge pilings, and juxtaposes these images with scenes of common familial love and warmth, as if to say that family life is the one antidote to the cold modern world. Ozu's movies aren't for everyone, and I would completely understand people finding them boring and pointless. But to me their Zen, regimented tranquility and deceptive simplicity are among the finest in world cinema. Recommended.  (8/10)

Source: FilmStruck.

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4 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

Any serious athlete would have spare laces and such.

Sure, but how can you know which pair of laces is going to break during the routine?

Marat Safin once got defaulted from a tennis match for smashing all his racquets and having none left to play with.  :lol:

 

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Looser Than Loose (1930)

Early talkie Charley Chase short from the Hal Roach studios. Chase often played a dapper man about town type placed in situations of awkwardness and embarrassment. The emphasis of many of his shorts was upon characterization moreso than pure slapstick, though there was plenty of physical comedy to be found in them, as well.

Looser Than Loose is one of the best of his early talkies, with Charley (engaged to the delectable Thelma Todd) placed in the awkward position of having to entertain a client of his company with a couple of party girl types (to be supplied by the company). Thelma, highly suspicious of Charley going out with a couple of "wild" girls, insists that she be one of them, brought along as his date.

The pre code humour to be found here occurs when the client takes a dislike to his date and insists to Charley that they swap dates. Charley is stuck, while Thelma is shocked and annoyed but goes along with it.

Chase and Todd, aside from being an extraordinarily good looking couple, have great chemistry on screen in a number of shorts they made together, with Looser Than Loose one of the best illustrations of their rapport. Much of the humour of this short, as hopefully captured by the snapshots taken from the DVD, is of Chase and Todd making "merry" with their dates while at the same time making faces at each other to show their mutual disdain for one another.

The result is an extremely funny short, beautifully re-stored, showing Chase's genius as a comedian, while at the same time providing a demonstration of Thelma Todd's comedic talent and beauty all in peak form here.

For those who enjoy the work of either Charley Chase or Thelma Todd, Looser Than Loose is one of 18 shorts to be found in a new DVD release from Sprocket Vault, Charley Chase: At Hal Roach: The Talkies Volume One 1930-31.

Todd appears in a number of these shorts, including one of the most celebrated of Chase's career, The Pip From Pittsburgh.

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3 out of 4

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Gunman in the Streets (1950) American army deserter Eddy Roback (Dane Clark) is a criminal-on-the-run after his cohorts brazenly ambush a prison van in Paris. Police are in hot pursuit. Simone Signoret is his gal pal. 6/10 

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It Happened at the Inn (1943) - French black comedy from Minerva Films and director Jacques Becker. Eugene Goupi (Georges Rollin) has been living in Paris when he receives a request to visit his father and their extended family in a small country town. When he arrives he lands in the middle of family squabbles, a search for hidden treasure, and even a dead body or two. Also featuring Fernand Ledoux, Blanchette Brunoy, Arthur Devere, Germaine Kerjean, Maurice Schutz, Marcel Peres, Albert Remy, and Robert Le Vigan.

This unusual movie is chock full of fun characters. The Goupi family only uses nicknames for each other, including Moneybags, The Mouth, Emperor, Monsieur, and Tonkin (from the Indochine region). Robert Le Vigan plays Tonkin, an ex-soldier who has been coasting by on tales of his Southeast Asian adventures but who has become a boor and a desperate lout. His is the most indelible performance, but I also liked Fernand Ledoux as the black sheep uncle "Red Hands", who spends his time hunting and stuffing small animals and carving weird figurines of the townsfolk. I see this movie listed as a mystery in some sources, but it really isn't, so don't go in expecting one. Instead it's a finely drawn portrait of an eccentric family, and is often very funny.  (7/10)

Source: FilmStruck.

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Le Corbeau aka The Raven (1943) - French mystery drama from Continental Films and director Henri-Georges Clouzot. In a small French town, Dr. Germain (Pierre Fresnay) receives a letter accusing him of moral crimes. It's signed "the Raven", leaving the sender's identity a mystery. Soon Dr. Germain learns that others in the town are receiving letters from the Raven, accusing various townsfolk of infidelity, theft, and other wrong-doings. As paranoia and hysteria start to mount, Dr. Germain tries to find the true identity of the Raven. Also featuring Ginette Leclerc, Micheline Francey, Helena Manson, Liliane Maigne, Pierre Larquey, Noel Roquevert, and Jean Brochard.

Clouzot's movie, made for the German-controlled Continental Films during the Occupation, ended up being condemned not only by the Nazi censors, but the Free French Resistance as well, with both groups finding fault with the morally nebulous tale of a town ripped apart by revealed secrets and scandals. The performances are excellent, particularly from Fresnay as the embattled doctor, and Ginette Leclerc as his lonely, crippled neighbor. As far as the mystery, the script does a good job of making multiple people appear to be the "obvious" suspect, so that the true culprit isn't known until the movie's final moments. Recommended.    (8/10)

Source: FilmStruck.

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Secret Ceremony (1968) - Embarrassingly awful psycho-drama from Universal Pictures and director Joseph Losey. Leonora (Elizabeth Taylor) has been walking about in a haze of grief ever since her 10 year-old daughter drowned five years ago. On the way to visit the child's grave, a strange young woman named Cenci (Mia Farrow) begins following Leonora, eventually explaining that Leonora looks like Cenci's recently deceased mother. Leonora sees a certain resemblance to the woman that her daughter might have grown up to look like in Cenci, and realizing that Cenci has more than a few screws loose, the older woman decides to move into Cenci's opulent home to look after her. The two spend time in a giant bed and a giant bath tub, but Cenci's bizarre behavior continues to get worse, a situation that is exacerbated by the arrival of Cenci's lascivious stepfather Albert (Robert Mitchum). Also featuring Peggy Ashcroft and Pamela Brown.

How a movie this bizarre, one that struggles so much to be outrageous and push the new freedoms in cinema, can still end up being so boring and dull, is a real testament to director Losey. For me, the movie starts out with two strikes against it thanks to Taylor and Farrow, two of my least favorite actresses. Taylor generally just bores me with her overwrought histrionics and eyebrows by Sharpie, but Farrow really irritates me, especially during the wide-eyed, fragile waif period of her career, which is in full effect here. I watched this for Mitchum, but even he's pretty terrible, with a shoddy accent that only accentuates the lurid absurdity of his "shocking" discussions of incest or measuring the sexual arousal of hamsters as they watch Jean Harlow movies (No, that's really part of the dialogue!). TCM timed the showing right, playing it as a TCM Underground entry, and I can see this having a fervent, if misguided, cult following thanks to the general silliness of it all. But for me it was just a boring slog of "Ooo, look how naughty we're being!" dialogue and ham-fisted psycho-babble encased in a poorly-acted waste of time.   (3/10)

Source: TCM.

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41 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Secret Ceremony (1968) -.

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Thanks for the warning, Lawrence.

If I ever feel really down on myself one day, rather than smashing a hammer onto my toe, I'll put on that recording I just made of Secret Ceremony.

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