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Gang Busters (1942) - 13-chapter serial from Universal Pictures and directors Noel Smith & Ray Taylor. The city is under siege from a mysterious group known as the League of Murdered Men, led by Professor Mortis (Ralph Morgan). After his brother is killed by the League, police detective Bill Bannister (Kent Taylor), along with his partner Tim Nolan (Robert Armstrong) and plucky reporter Vicki Logan (Irene Hervey), set out to stop Professor Mortis once and for all. Also featuring Joseph Crehan, Richard Davies, George Watts, Ralf Harolde, John Gallaudet, William Haade, Victor Zimmerman, Jack Mulhall, and Pat O'Malley.

Based on the hit radio show, this entertaining serial has a few aspects that make it stand out. It features some of the best-staged action scenes yet filmed, particularly car chases, crashes, and other stunts. But the true highlight is Ralph Morgan and his bad guy Professor Mortis. Unlike most serials, his identity is never a mystery, to the audience at least, and he's in as many scenes as the lead. His character is soft-spoken, sad-eyed and melancholy, no doubt meant to accentuate his status as an "undead" scientist with the medical ability to revive the recently deceased, including himself. This bizarre science-fiction touch seems out of sync with the usual true-crime fare of the Gang Busters radio show, but it makes for an interesting movie serial.   (7/10)

Source: Alpha Video DVD, on two discs. The picture quality is awful.

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2 hours ago, NickAndNora34 said:

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (2011): 

I like Woody Allen a lot but for some reason could not connect with this. Surprising because this sort of thing (the premise and conceit) is something that he does so well. Those who I talk to who do like it look upon me as if I were crazy. Since you (NN34) was so mindful of avoiding spoilers, I'll do the same. Just to say that the portrayals of those famous people of that bygone era were particularly disappointing to me. This is late Woody and some have claimed that he has lost the magic of past glory but that is belied (for me anyway) by To Rome With Love and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, both which I enjoyed.

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Just now, laffite said:

I like Woody Allen a lot but for some reason could not connect with this. Surprising because this sort of thing (the premise and conceit) is something that he does so well. Those who I talk to who do like it look upon me as if I were crazy. Since you (NN34) was so mindful of avoiding spoilers, I'll do the same. Just to say that the portrayals of those famous people of that bygone era were particularly disappointing to me. This is late Woody and some have claimed that he has lost the magic of past glory but that is belied (for me anyway) by To Rome With Love and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, both which I enjoyed.

Strange, since I thought Midnight in Paris was excellent, but To Rome with Love was not very good, and very indicative of his late decline. To be fair, his output has been hit-or-miss since the mid-90's, some would argue even earlier, so the "late period decline" may be an exaggeration.

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20 hours ago, hamradio said:

Directv is giving free Showtime for the weekend. Just watched...

"U 571" (2000) for the first time in 2.35 widescreen.  Been several years since last viewing it.

 

RIP  Bill Paxton (1955 - 2017)

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That was yet another off the wall early demise

 

Not fr the fainted heart, but check out  what I still rate his finest work in *K. Bigalow's 1987 thriller "NNear Dark" (***)

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8 minutes ago, laffite said:

I like Woody Allen a lot but for some reason could not connect with this. Surprising because this sort of thing (the premise and conceit) is something that he does so well. Those who I talk to who do like it look upon me as if I were crazy. Since you (NN34) was so mindful of avoiding spoilers, I'll do the same. Just to say that the portrayals of those famous people of that bygone era were particularly disappointing to me. This is late Woody and some have claimed that he has lost the magic of past glory but that is belied (for me anyway) by To Rome With Love and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, both which I enjoyed.

"Midnight in Paris" is by far his biggest $hit$  I thought it well-made (***) but not amount his finest by any means  It sold $71m. in tickets  He used to always vote for his 1980 "Stardust Memories" as his favorite, saying because it made the least $money$  But in later yrs he is most fond of "Crimes & Misdemeanors" (l989) ($18m,.)

 

But by far & I truly agree with Leonard Maltin his absolute worst yet is 2005's (*) "Anything Else" ($5m.)

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1 minute ago, LawrenceA said:

Strange, since I thought Midnight in Paris was excellent, but To Rome with Love was not very good, and very indicative of his late decline. To be fair, his output has been hit-or-miss since the mid-90's, some would argue even earlier, so the "late period decline" may be an exaggeration.

Midnight in Paris is probably most excellent, but I miss out on it. To Rome with Love represents another thing that Woody Allen does so well. He takes a very common pastime, and cliche about how a loud ambient noise can embolden; namely, singing in the shower, and builds a whole story around it. My enthusiasm for opera certainly is a factor. And the finale where the last scene of Pagliacci is depicted is downright hilarious.

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Just now, laffite said:

Midnight in Paris is probably most excellent, but I miss out on it. To Rome with Love represents another thing that Woody Allen does so well. He takes a very common pastime, and cliche about how a loud ambient noise can embolden; namely, singing in the shower, and builds a whole story around it. My enthusiasm for opera certainly is a factor. And the finale where the last scene of Pagliacci is depicted is downright hilarious.

I have all of Allen's movies on disc, and rewatch them on occasion, so the next time through, maybe I'll like it more. It wouldn't be the first time that my mind was changed about one of his movies by a second look.

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1 minute ago, LawrenceA said:

I have all of Allen's movies on disc, and rewatch them on occasion, so the next time through, maybe I'll like it more. It wouldn't be the first time that my mind was changed about one of his movies by a second look.

...and movies in general, especially for me. It occurs to me more and more that a single viewing of a caliber movie is just not enough. Depends on the movie, of course; but it's astonishing how things things can pop out of nowhere on a second viewing.

But who has time to take a second look. How would I write/rate 15,000 movies if I have to watch them twice ;)

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Just now, laffite said:

That's interesting to know. He has good taste, ha. This would probably make my top 10 of all time.

& was never a fan of *Landau, until "Tucker: Man & His dream" (l88)-(nom.) this masterful role & of course  what must rate among the decade or more incredible performance as Bela Lugosi in 1994's "Ed Wood" ($6m.)

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Years back he made a challenge to Ebert & Siskel that if they didn't outright laugh at his great 1971 "Bananas" he reimburse them or something to that effect

 

(TRIVIA: *Woody's all-time personal favs are> Bob Hope, *Bogey. *Chaplin & Groucho

 

& his favorite pix> "City Lights" "Duck Soup" "Kane" "Casablanca" & "Treasure Sierra Madre" But he always had problems w/"The Great Dictator"-(final speech)

 

though he;s a huge Ingmar Bergman fan

 

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2 minutes ago, spence said:

& was never a fan of *Landau, until "Tucker: Man & His dream" (l88)-(nom.) this masterful role & of course  what must rate among the decade or more incredible performance as Bela Lugosi in 1994's "Ed Wood" ($6m.)

SPOILERS for Crimes and Misdemeanors

...and again in Crimes seizes on something that would fascinate any ordinary person. The idea of knocking off someone by contract. Landau is a professional (eye doctor?) but in lots of ways an everyman who we can identify with. Landau is depicting as going through the same stages that any ordinary person in this might do. Where in noirs or stark gangster pictures, it's a common occurrence and no one frets about : but here is a "regular" type guy actually goes through with it in all the stages, no I can't; well, maybe; caves in; guilt --- going through the same things that I  or you might go through. After all, for me at least, doing something like that is out of the question. And yet Woody makes us identify with doing just that in a real-world, not a romanticized one. His ability to take an idea like that and make is so alive is just one of his many gifts. And that's only a part of the movie.

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44 minutes ago, spence said:

So this topic/thread, is not limited to TCM broadcasting?

No.  This is not limited to films airing on TCM.  Any film that you recently saw and wish to discuss, whether you watched it on TCM, in the theater, via RedBox or just checked it out from the library or any other source.  Any film is fair game.  

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SOME SPOILER MATERIAL (but it won't ruin the movie)

Lady Bird (2017) Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson (Savoire Ronan), 17 years old, likes to go by Lady Bird against the wishes of her mother. Many demands and wants at this age (in droves with Lady Bird, no surprise of course) one if which is the desire to be accepted in a cool, sophisticated college, preferably on the East Coast (the hub). The city of Sacramento, where she lives, is high profile with shots and scenes of recognizable landmarks (for those who know it, at least) but, alas, no colleges that please (she's actually accepted by Davis but rages against it because it's "just down the block" and is known for a School for Agriculture, yuck!).

The story spans her senior year at a Catholic high school where much of the usual things occur and where some of life's passages are experienced. Lady Bird has a rebellious streak which can be quite nasty. The Assembly on abortion, case in point. Despite this, she does not cross the line so often that might make her truly unlikable (although it depends on the viewer and perhaps, for instance haha, how you feel about abortion might prove decisive).  But she can also show compassion. She has a good side.

The relationship with her mother (Laurie Metcalf) is front and center. Quite a good depiction where, again, though sometimes quite rocky at times is nevertheless betrayed by spontaneous indications of an undeniable bond beneath. Shopping for a prom dress, Lady Bird wails, "You're soooooo passive aggressive, you infurrrrrrriaaaate me." but then without a skipping a beat exclaims, "Oh coooool," when her mother a split second later holds a dress up to the light. The argument is forgotten (at least until the next one starts) indicating resiliency. Not that it doesn't get severely challenged. A telling moment occurs when Lady Bird leaves a voice message for her mother, "Hi, this is Christine." The mother does nag but not always of the infurrrriating kind; in fact, she sometimes radiates a no-nonsense sense of practicality, quite a good quality for a nagger. Actress Metcalf (mother) is great and rivals Ronan for top honors.

There are sexual issues, inevitable in something like this, but not pushed so hard as to glorify itself. She has two boyfriends (not at the same time), one (Lukas Hedges) ends quite suddenly in a seriocomic way and the other (Timothee [sic] Chalamet) quite suddenly as well. On the way to prom the relationship goes South when the date wants to go somewhere else. There's another couple in the back seat who enthusiastically agree. Lady Bird feigns assent and is seen to be thinking, I don't think I like this, and asks to be dropped at Julie's (Beanie Feldstein) house.

And they on a whim end up going the prom while behaving like a couple!

It's a well-developed sequence (dancing, prom picture, etc.) touching in that it is a best friend thing and no more. Something like this can happen with straight girls and therefore no great surprise, and it's cute.

I have not seen a lot of these female coming-of-age movies and this film comes across all the better for it. I am spared the odious habit of comparison and I am not assailed with what might be considered hackneyed in such films. Direction and Screenplay is very clever with plenty of humor and a lack of over-sentimentality (though comes close, but nicely though). Greta Gerwig directs and is probably responsible for the screenplay. Is she a genius?

****

out of 5

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You scooped me on this one   I only missed 3 of the BP contenders & this was one   it did well too considering such a little film at  $45m.

 

 

What other recent Oscar contenders have you seen of late?

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9 minutes ago, spence said:

You scooped me on this one   I only missed 3 of the BP contenders & this was one   it did well too considering such a little film at  $45m.

 

 

What other recent Oscar contenders have you seen of late?

None, really. I don't really watch a lot of late movies.

An anecdote: Yesterday on this thread, some fun with The Shape of Water (which I haven't seen) where I, not entirely seriously, balked at the idea of human-fish relationship. But a funny thing is, watching The Seventh Seal just today, the Squire is among a small group where one is about to sing a song that he has composed. The Squire says, I write songs too. "I have one about a randy fish I bet you've never heard." When no one showed interest he continued, "And I guess you're not going to. Not everybody appreciates my art and I won't impose it on you." I did not say out aloud but thought, "Thank you." ;)

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I've been catching up on Woody Allen's "newer" movies from the library too. While I fell asleep during ROME, I enjoyed MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (2011), although it seemed like Allen's vain attempt at recapturing the magic, emotional theme of PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO (1985)

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I must confess that while I was a huge Woody Allen fan during his first few decades as a filmmaker I have a preference for his films in which he appeared as an actor. I even enjoyed a minor effort like Small Time Crooks because of his presence in it.

The last Allen film I considered outstanding was Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), in which I thought the Martin Landau story with its contemplation about the existence (or not) of God quite profound.

I've enjoyed a handful of his films since then but it's been hit and miss, and even the best of them, such as Midnight in Paris, fail to involve me to the same degree as before.

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19 minutes ago, laffite said:

The Golden Age of WoodyAllen starts with Annie Hall (1977) and ends with Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).

Not if you enjoy the "funny" Woody. It starts well before Annie Hall but a new maturity in exploring adult relationships certainly began with that film.

I will always, though, have an affection for the Woody of Love and Death and even Bananas or, in a non-Allen film, Play It Again Sam. And one of the most perfect castings of Woody ever was in one of the best films in which he appeared, The Front, even if he is only an actor in that film.

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34 minutes ago, laffite said:

The Golden Age of WoodyAllen starts with Annie Hall (1977) and ends with Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).

Take the Money and Run still makes me laugh, and I've probably seen it a dozen times at least;..I'd include later Bullets Over Broadway, Manhattan Murder Mystery as being top tiered too

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12 hours ago, laffite said:

Greta Gerwig directs and is probably responsible for the screenplay. Is she a genius?

She was the sole screenplay writer..genius? dunno...but I really did enjoy the film..It wasn't 'best picture' worthy, but I did think Metcalf's more nuanced performance was better than the louder, one-note-nasty of Allison Janney's.. but of course, I thought The Shape of Water was the most over-rated film I'd seen in a long time...so what do I know...

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