Recommend a movie

1,489 posts in this topic

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The Wife - 2018 – 6/10

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The peerless author, acclaimed, lauded, is to receive the Nobel Prize for literature.
Accompanying him is his son, struggling in the giant’s shadow, and his support and anchor.  The wife.
Oh, and on the trip is another writer / reporter, wanting to a biography, after “clarifying” a few questions.
Acting is excellent throughout.  Sympathized with characters, rooted others on, hated one.
For all that – – Within ten minutes, I turned and asked,  “Are you familiar with this storyline?”
“No, I didn’t read much about it.”
“Well, do you think this is about THE BIG TWIST ENDING?”
“Yeah, that how it feels to me.”
Sure enough, the script telegraphed the ending early on.  So, the whole time, I am beginning to hate every single spineless character, not to overlook the producers who have dumbed down the film to make it easy for viewers to follow.
Final ten minutes – THE BIG TWIST ENDING – my mental jukebox spins Peggy Lee, “Is That All There Is?”

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Posted

The Sign Of Four - 1932 – 6/10

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Downright creaky rendition of the detective mystery.
Arthur Wontner looks like the oldest filmed Holmes, though resemblance to the Paget drawings is uncanny.
This comes across, to this viewer, as a bridge between the theatre versions (Gillette, Saintsbury), and Universal adaptations (Rathbone).
This may prove too modern for purists, as there are motorcars, as well as speedboats.
There are also a few elements from other stories cobbled in.
Nevertheless, this is well done.  You could do a lot worse.

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Posted

View From A Blue Moon - 2015 - 5/10

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Surfing “documentary” focusing on tube and curl specialist John John Fletcher.
J J and friends catch waves across the globe, in what comes across as vanity project.
The limited narration is akin to “See John surf,”  “Go, John, go,”  “Wave, John.”
Slick, 4K photography, yet editing is so brisk one cannot study technique for more than five seconds.

I live with someone who likes adventure docs (surf, climbing) and I have seen more than I care to recall.
Pretty camerawork aside, this one is piffle.
For classic surf films, watch the Endless Summer trilogy.
For big wave surf, Bilabong Odyssey or Riding Giants, and, if you can find it, Biggest Wednesday: Condition Black.  Fifty footers.

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Posted

Vendredi Soir - 2002 – 7/10
AKA – Friday Night

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Laure packs up her apartment and prepares to move in with François.
Drives through rain soaked Paris where, owing to a subway strike, streets are snarled.
Motorists are urged to help out, pick up passengers, if possible.
Laure offers a ride to a heavy set man, one a little rough around the edges.
Gradually, within the claustrophobic car interior, and the man’s sporadic nervous energy, Laure wonders what she had invited in.
Haunting film evokes loneliness and the nocturnal hours better than known, themed works.
Snatches of scenes pass by constantly.  Fellow drivers, pedestrians, lovers, shoppers, diners.
Individuals making their way through the city stream, of whom we are the onlookers.

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None Shall Escape - 1944 – 6/10

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Reichskommissa stands trial before an Allied tribunal for crimes committed in Poland.
Narrative quickly shifts into flashbacks, not to show how he became a monster, but rather how his growing power and influence permitted greater and more heinous activities.
One understood early on, this man was a bitter and rotten soul.
Movie is preachy at times, to be expected, yet note the date.
World War II was ongoing at this point, and victory was not necessarily a foregone conclusion.
Camerawork is impressive throughout, and the story must have been an eye-opener to the home front.
Can’t say I enjoyed this, yet it was impressive, especially considering when this was lensed.

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Des Morceaux de Moi - 2012    -  6/10
AKA - Pieces Of Me

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IMDB reads “mother-daughter” film, but this is coming of age.
Younger daughter, Erell, is increasingly frustrated by high maintenance mom, who suffers MS.
She lives in small village, her friends are resigned or simply going nowhere.
Everyday, the same ole, same ole.
Until her older sister returns after a four year absence.
As Erell narrates, “Things are the same, but they are not the same.”
One aspect I enjoyed was watching the “kids” (17-19) strike out, break free.
No idea how common this is in France, or Europe.
Now, in the States, 30 year old offspring are still dependent on parents.
Aside from that observation, while this was well acted, I was never engaged.

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La Maison du Mystère - 1923 -  7/10
AKA – The House Of Mystery

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Ten episode silent serial from France.
Straight off, serial rules do not necessarily apply to surviving Silents, likewise European serials.
After marrying his childhood sweetheart, Julien is convicted of murder and sent to Devil’s Island.
While imprisoned, his boyhood friend runs his factory for him, and secretly attempts to seduce his wife.
Events spin out over twenty years, before – during – and after the Great War.
Blackmail, murder attempts, harrowing escapes, fights, disguises.
Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler came out a year before, and may have been an influence, especially with the disguises.
Nonetheless, the French DNA predominates.  Interiors, clothing, attitudes.
While only ten parts, each episode runs approximately 40 minutes.  Few bonefide cliffhanger endings, though no cheats.
The print I viewed had been immaculately restored, excellently tinted, nicely subbed.

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Préparez vos Mouchoirs - 1978 - 6/10
AKA – Get Out Your Handkerchiefs

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This “popular in its time” arthouse comedy has dated uncomfortably.
Husband feels is wife is cold, disinterested in life.  She also suffers fits and swoons.
Men around him advise she needs to get pregnant.  “We’ve tried!  For years!”
Soon, the husband approaches a man in the restaurant, and asks if he would like to enjoy his wife.
She has no say in this, nor when a male neighbor gets involved.
Eventually she does find one who inspires her, though this is implausible beyond belief and sexist, to boot..
By design, this is meant to be disturbing, in a comic way, yet social attitudes have altered so much, that I daresay modern audiences will be unable to view this dispassionately, or through the lens of history.
Acting is broad based, appropriate but not relatable.

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The Spy Who Fell To Earth - 2019 - 7/10

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Mesmerizing documentary for history buffs, mystery hounds, conspiracy types.
The unmasking of a superspy who was involved in the Six Day War (1967) and later Yom Kipper War (1973).
Both Israel and Egypt claim Ashraf Marwan was “their guy.”
And seeing how he fell to his death in 2007 (pushed, thrown, jumped), viewers do not hear his side.
Instead, we listen to a passel of talking heads from various security branches – utterly reliable, of course.
The producer does an inspired job of rewinding periodically, establishing contradictory points of view.
I never made up my mind about his loyalty, but my interest never flagged.

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