Author Topic: What was the last movie you watched?  (Read 1731969 times)

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Online Darth Geek

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #19425 on: October 02, 2020, 07:52:55 PM »
Intersect (2020) - Wow this movie was DUUUUULLL! It has some interesting ideas, and it was better for the first third when the movie is with the main characters as adults. But then it get bogged down in way too long sections of them as kids that doesn't really add anything. Plus the main character Ryan has basically nothing to his character. The only one of the three that is interesting is the comic relief friend, he should have been the main character. At least until the end when he becomes unlikable.



Offline Cupcake

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #19426 on: October 03, 2020, 06:36:07 PM »
"The Killer Shrews" (1959)

For a movie where some scientists live on an island where dogs dressed as shrews run around and eat minorities first, it's surprisingly dull.


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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #19427 on: October 04, 2020, 04:53:13 PM »
"The Killer Shrews" (1959)

For a movie where some scientists live on an island where dogs dressed as shrews run around and eat minorities first, it's surprisingly dull.
Well they are drinking the entire time, and alcohol is a depressant.



Offline stethacantus

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #19428 on: October 04, 2020, 08:52:13 PM »
Furie ( 2019 )
Veronica Ngo pays a mother who's daughter is kidnapped by a child trafficking ring. What the gang doesn't realize is that Veronica was once a tough gang leader with advanced martial arts skills. So basically, the same formula as the Taken films. Yet, as formula as this film is, it is very satisfying. It's not often a movie I am watching at home makes me cheer, but I did it when Veronica delivers the line: "I may be on the wrong train, but you took the wrong child." shortly before beating the shit out of the leader of the kidnapping ring. A lot of great cinematography as well.



Gldfinger ( 1964 )
Dr. No and From Russia With Love had been hits. Producers  Albert R Broccoli and Harry Saltzman had founded Eon Productions in 1961 specifically to produce Dr. No, and after the success of the first two Bond films purchased the film rights to all of Ian Flemming's novels, both published and future publications. This excluded the rights to Casino Royal which had already been sold to another producer. But it did include a novel he was working on for kids called Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Flemming did make a stipulation.  There was a Bond novel he detested.  The Spy Who Loved Me had been an attempt to depart from Bond with a romance novel.  With a publishing deadline looming, Flemming was having trouble writing the book, so hastily added James Bond in the final third of the manuscript. Flemming detested the novel, and attempted to stop the production of the paperback edition. He initially didn't want the rights to the novel included in the deal to Eon, but they didn't want the possibility that the Flemming estate could sell the novel to rival producers after Flemming's death and have a possible competing Bond film. it was bad enough that another producer had the rights to Casino Royal. Flemming agreed to include The Spy Who Loved Me as long as Broccoli and Saltzman agreed to only use the title and use a different plot for the film. He also gave Eon his blessing to do that with the other Bond stories, as the rights would include the collection of short Bond stories which could not possibly span entire Bond films.

Initially this limited Eon to only adaptions, which meant the series would end once the Flemming novels ran out. Which became set at 9 novels and 5 short stories when Flemming suddenly died of a heart attack at age 56 while Goldfinger was in post production.  Later one more novel and four short stories would be published posthumously. Ironically, the title of the final Bond novel published before his death was You Only Live Twice.  Just prior to Flemming's death, he had been sued by Kevin McClory and Jack Whittingham over the copyrights to his novel Thunderball, and had decided to settle out of court that McClory owned the film rights to the novel along with the characters introduced in the novel. This included SPECTRE and Blofeld.  As a result Goldfinger became the first Bond film with a villain not associated with SPECTRE. ( Goldfinger  had been working for SMERSH in the novel, but as I already mentioned in previous reviews, Eon had been replacing SMERSH with SPECTRE in the films, possibly so that they could eventually destribute the films in the U.S.S.R.  which would never happen if the villains were Russian. )  Another first was a theme song in the opening credits. Goldfinger, belted out by Shirley Bassey is among the best Bond themes ever. ( Many argue the best. ) Another first was an Aston Martin as Bond's car, rigged with several weapons and other spy devices. It was also the first of the running gags where Q asks Bond to return the Aston in one piece, and Bond manages to destroy it during the mission. Thanks to the car,  this Bond film came closer to being like the later action films with a couple of legitimate ( but brief ) chase scenes where Bond dispatches his pursuers using the Aston's various gadgets.  It is the first film where the villain has a memorable henchman, which in this film is Oddjob who can decapitate people with his hat.  It is also the first Bond film that ends with an army showing up to assist Bond in defeating the villain's army of henchmen.

However, more than half of the film is Bond being held prisoner by Goldfinger, trying to figure out his scheme, and then trying to somehow send a message to Felix Leiter warning him of Goldfinger's plan. Because of this  I found this film to be among the least exciting Bond films. ( Others may disagree. Most list put Goldfinger as the best Bond film ever made. It was also the first of the Bond films to be a blockbuster, insuring further Bond films would be made. ) Once again the movie is an almost faithful adaption of the novel, with the differences being changing SMERSH as partners with Goldfinger to SPECTRE, then changing SPECTRE to the Chinese.   The character Tilly Masterton's role in the story is reduced to a couple of scenes before being written out of the film.  Other major changes are replacing a buzz saw with a laser beam in an attempt to kill Bond, and instead of attempting to steal the gold from Fort Knox, Goldfinger having another reason to break into the fortress.

The second half of the film introduces Goldfinger's  second in command, Pussy Galore. Yep, they actually allowed Eon to use that character name in the films. And it was even allowed to be used for the prime time television network broadcast of the film.  Pussy was played by actress Honor Blackman. She was previously the co-star in the spy series The Avengers playing John Steed's partner Cathy Gale. Blackman left The Avengers to do Goldfinger, becoming the first of two actresses Broccoli and Saltzman stole from that series. ( Eon would later get John Steed himself, actor Patrick Macnee, to co-star in A View to a Kill ) The Blackman episodes of The Avengers were not shown in the United States, so only British audiences got the significance of her casting. Eon would mine the casts of other spy shows for the Bond films, most notably Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan.

Bond is captured 50 minutes into the film and held prisoner for an entire hour, only freeing himself for the final ten minutes of the film for a fight with Oddjob and a post mission fight with Goldfinger himself. ( usually it is the other way around, with the villain being killed at the climax of the mission, and the henchman taking revenge in the post mission fight. ) Because of this, Goldfinger does tend to drag a bit.  Still, I admire the fact that this was another Bond film where the villain had a brilliant scheme instead of simply a doomsday machine.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2020, 09:03:15 PM by stethacantus »


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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #19429 on: October 05, 2020, 11:58:25 AM »
Furie ( 2019 )
Veronica Ngo pays a mother who's daughter is kidnapped by a child trafficking ring. What the gang doesn't realize is that Veronica was once a tough gang leader with advanced martial arts skills. So basically, the same formula as the Taken films. Yet, as formula as this film is, it is very satisfying. It's not often a movie I am watching at home makes me cheer, but I did it when Veronica delivers the line: "I may be on the wrong train, but you took the wrong child." shortly before beating the shit out of the leader of the kidnapping ring. A lot of great cinematography as well.


By this point the Taken formula is so cliche we should get a parody. Where they actually kidnap the one with the fighting skills, meanwhile the useless one is trying and failing to come rescue them.



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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #19430 on: October 05, 2020, 02:17:17 PM »
Furie ( 2019 )
Veronica Ngo pays a mother who's daughter is kidnapped by a child trafficking ring. What the gang doesn't realize is that Veronica was once a tough gang leader with advanced martial arts skills. So basically, the same formula as the Taken films. Yet, as formula as this film is, it is very satisfying. It's not often a movie I am watching at home makes me cheer, but I did it when Veronica delivers the line: "I may be on the wrong train, but you took the wrong child." shortly before beating the shit out of the leader of the kidnapping ring. A lot of great cinematography as well.


By this point the Taken formula is so cliche we should get a parody. Where they actually kidnap the one with the fighting skills, meanwhile the useless one is trying and failing to come rescue them.

There was a parody in 2015 called "Tooken".  I've never seen it, but the trailer looks... less than amusing.
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Offline RoninFox

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #19431 on: October 05, 2020, 04:17:54 PM »
Furie ( 2019 )
Veronica Ngo pays a mother who's daughter is kidnapped by a child trafficking ring. What the gang doesn't realize is that Veronica was once a tough gang leader with advanced martial arts skills. So basically, the same formula as the Taken films. Yet, as formula as this film is, it is very satisfying. It's not often a movie I am watching at home makes me cheer, but I did it when Veronica delivers the line: "I may be on the wrong train, but you took the wrong child." shortly before beating the shit out of the leader of the kidnapping ring. A lot of great cinematography as well.


By this point the Taken formula is so cliche we should get a parody. Where they actually kidnap the one with the fighting skills, meanwhile the useless one is trying and failing to come rescue them.

There was a parody in 2015 called "Tooken".  I've never seen it, but the trailer looks... less than amusing.

I have a co-worker that pitches this exact thing to me as if its his own brilliant original idea at least three times a year and has since I met him over six years ago.

He also tries to convince me that a "Pink Hulk" movie, which is exactly like the Hulk, but gay, would be a highly successful comedy.
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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #19432 on: October 06, 2020, 06:58:42 AM »
Furie ( 2019 )
Veronica Ngo pays a mother who's daughter is kidnapped by a child trafficking ring. What the gang doesn't realize is that Veronica was once a tough gang leader with advanced martial arts skills. So basically, the same formula as the Taken films. Yet, as formula as this film is, it is very satisfying. It's not often a movie I am watching at home makes me cheer, but I did it when Veronica delivers the line: "I may be on the wrong train, but you took the wrong child." shortly before beating the shit out of the leader of the kidnapping ring. A lot of great cinematography as well.


By this point the Taken formula is so cliche we should get a parody. Where they actually kidnap the one with the fighting skills, meanwhile the useless one is trying and failing to come rescue them.

There was a parody in 2015 called "Tooken".  I've never seen it, but the trailer looks... less than amusing.

I have a co-worker that pitches this exact thing to me as if its his own brilliant original idea at least three times a year and has since I met him over six years ago.

He also tries to convince me that a "Pink Hulk" movie, which is exactly like the Hulk, but gay, would be a highly successful comedy.
Are you working with 6 year olds?



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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #19433 on: October 10, 2020, 09:13:19 PM »
Body Bags (1993) - This was good! John Carpenter himself plays a coroner as a Cryptkeeper-esque horror host in the wraparound segments and he is a ton of fun! I wish this had sequels so we could have gotten more of him. The only thing that hurts the movie as a whole is that because it has only three segments they feel a bit padded to get to feature length. If they had a fourth segment that would have alleviated this issue.
The first is a slasher at an all-night gas station. It's a complete dud and a waste of time.
The second is the most fun, a sci-fi/comedy segment starring Stacy Keach as a man obsessed with his hair loss. He is wonderfully hammy and clearly having a ball. The twist being sci-fi instead of supernatural makes it not fit with the other horror segments as well as it should have. But that's a minor gripe.
The third stars Mark Hamill as a baseball player who loses his eye and has to get a transplant. He gives a really good performance, and this is probably the best segment overall. But we have seen this type of story before, where a transplant has effects from the previous owner. So we kind of know where it's going. Again, if the movie had a fourth segment then this segment could have been only about twenty minutes instead of dragged out to thirty.
I would definitely recommend it.



Offline Charles Castle

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #19434 on: October 11, 2020, 04:36:27 AM »
I think Body Bags is a great deal of fun as well. I even like the first story.
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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #19435 on: October 11, 2020, 04:58:56 PM »
Ghost Story (1981) - I'm really surprised this isn't a remake of a much earlier movie. Because it's slow pacing feels a lot older. It has a few bits of great 80s Creepshow style rotting bodies effects. But it's too few and far between, plus they don't really match the rest of the movie. Where the movie really drags is in the two middle flashback sequences that are waaaay too long for their own good. Especially the second one since we know what is going to happen so we're just impatiently waiting for it, and the four douchbags are thoroughly unlikable even before they murderer. The movie is an hour and fifty minutes, it could have been a half hour shorter. When I heard that Fred Astaire was in this I figured it'd just be a cameo since he was so old at the time, but no he's one of the main characters in the whole thing.



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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #19436 on: October 11, 2020, 09:14:30 PM »
Ghost Killers vs Bloody Mary (2018) - Oh wow, this was a ton of fun!!! Funny, creative, and a whole lot of goopy practical gore effects.
It's free on Shudder and available to rent on Amazon Prime. It's in Portuguese with English subtitles.



Offline stethacantus

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #19437 on: October 11, 2020, 10:39:29 PM »
Fist of Unicorn( a.k.a. Bruce Lee and I) ( 2014 )
I have a lot of Bruce Lee related and Bruceploitatin films in queue. This is mostly due to Criterion releasing what should be the ultimate Bruce Lee collection, which I am currently avoiding due to it's expense, but hope to own next year. But ever since I clicked on the Amazon page with the Criterion collection, I have been getting a lot of Bruce Lee related films as suggestions. A few of which are OOP and in short supply,  putting me in a now or never situation. This was literally the final copy of the Video Asia release of Fist of Unicorn  available on Amazon.

This is a film I have been thinking of getting for years. If you are a Bruce Lee completest then this is something you must have in your collection. The problem was there has never been a decent release for this film on home video. I had never seen a VHS release of this film in any store, although they did exist in the 80s sold via catalog to rental shops, and the very few DVD releases were tagged as being sourced from inferior bootleg prints. Media Asia is known for having the best quality release, but that is not saying much. It comes with two prints of the film. A full screen English dub print sourced from the 80s VHS release, which looks as if it is a tenth generation VHS bootleg from a worn out rental tape. There is also a shorter letterboxed Chinese language print which I didn't bother with due to the subtitles being unreadable. The original source was a theatrical print with the subtitles burned on. ( Being part of the United Kingdom in the 70s, the law dictated films released in Hong Kong must either be in English, or have English subtitles. Chines character subtitles were also added below the English . ) But once again, it went through many generations of VHS bootleg making the subtitles unreadable. Furthermore, by putting both films along with nearly an hour of extras on the same disc, both films are badly compressed which adds to the poor picture quality. And this is supposed to be the best quality home video release this film ever got?

A little backstory on this film. Chan Ling Chung, who went by the screen name of Unicorn Chan, was a childhood friend of Bruce Lee. Much like Lee, Chan was a child actor who graduated to minor roles as an adult. Bruce Lee's parents sent him to the United States in 1959 to go to college in America. ( Lee was born in San Francisco when his parents were visiting the United States in 1940 and had a dual American/United Kingdom citizenship. ) After finishing with college, Lee became a martial arts teacher, eventually teaching stars in Hollywood which lead to him being offered screen tests for films and television shows, which included the role of Kato on the Batman spinoff series The Green Hornet. Fed up with being turned down for leading roles due to studio heads fearing a Chinese actor could never sell movie tickets, Lee took the advice of his friend James Coburn and returned to Hong Kong to get leading roles as proof to the Hollywood studio heads that he could carry an entire film and was a viable leading man. He contacted his friend Unicorn Chan, who he knew was still in the Hong Kong film business, to arrange meetings between him and the heads of the top Hong Kong studios.

What Bruce didn't realize was that The Green Hornet had aired in Hong Kong. And while it did poorly in the ratings in the United States leading to it's cancellation, in Hong Kong it was a hit show,  and Bruce Lee  became very popular over there. By this time Chan's career was in the skids. The only reason he was able to get Lee the meetings so easily was because every Hong Kong studio wanted to hire Bruce Lee. By then the powerful Shaw Brothers studio had driven most of the other studios out of business, and most of what was left was skid row studios who could only make low budget films. Since Shaw Brothers was the only major studio left, they tried to get Lee to sign a standard contract which would have him locked into a low paying multi year exclusive deal. However, two top executives at Shaw Brothers, Raymond Chow and  Leonard Ho, had just left to form their own studio Golden Harvest, and were willing to pay Bruce Lee a huge amount of money to star in the film The Big Boss.  It ended up shattering Hong Kong box office records, and was a hit all over Asia. Golden Harvest made two more films with Lee, Fist of Fury and Way of the Dragon which were also blockbuster hits, which basically turned Golden Harvest into a major studio.  Since Chan had set up the meeting with Raymond Chow, Lee owed him a favor.

A small time film producer Sing Hui Ku saw an opportunity to finance his first film by getting Bruce Lee involved. He asked Unicorn Chan to be the star of the movie, but told him he could only get it financed if he asked Lee to choreograph a fight scene. Basically all Lee had to do was  show up at a press conference with the rest of the cast where it would be announced he was the action director, then show up to the set for at least a single day of choreographing fight scenes so they could legitimately credit him as the action director.  Unbeknownst to Lee, Sing Hui  wasn't satisfied with just having Lee choreograph some of the fights. He wanted to release an actual Bruce Lee film. So he instructed his cameramen to roll the camera whenever Lee wasn't paying attention. The footage would be edited into the film, both in the opening and closing credits, and in a scene with Chan, where close ups of Lee on the set were edited into a scene where Chan is receiving instructions from a teacher. the teacher ( played by a double )  is shown from the back, with the Lee footage cut in to show the same character from the front.  Some sort of legal action was taken by Lee against Sing Hui to remove all footage of him from the film, but was supposedly dropped because Bruce Lee died. Whatever the case, the Hong Kong print removed  all the Bruce Lee footage that made him look like Chan's teacher, keeping only on set footage in the closing credits. Meanwhile the international print was never edited and was released after Lee's death as a film staring Bruce Lee.  To further exploit Lee, many of his co-stars from previous films were cast, including character actor Paul Wei in a guest starring role as a Japanese gun smuggler selling the villain guns.

I have always heard this film was supposed to be terrible. It's not.  Or at least I wasn't bored with the film at any point. There have been a lot of bad martial arts films released in the 70s that had me wanting to turn it off after about ten minutes.  While this does come close in the first act thanks to an annoying child actor who becomes Chan's bratty sidekick in the film, the villains begin to, well, be villains as the film settles on a plot of one of the villains to kidnap and rape a beautiful traveling acrobat Chan eventually ends up protecting. This is basically the plot from Shane with martial arts. Chan is a martial artist who vows never to use his skills, who is hired by a widower as a handyman. Her son realizes Chan has skills and tries to get him to fight members of the Wong clan, a family of gangsters who have been terrorizing the town for years. Instead of fighting, Chan agrees to crawl like a dog under the legs of one of the Wong's gang members, which upsets the boy because he now thinks he is a coward.  However, the Wong family goes too far when Wong's spoiled son falls for a girl in a traveling family of acrobats and has his henchmen kill the entire family so he can kidnap and rape the girl. She manages to escape and is found by Chan who hides her at the widow's house. When gang members from the Wongs begin barging in to every house in town looking for the girl, Chan decides they have gone too far and begins taking out some of their members. The Wongs begin to kill off other characters, leading Chan to announce "That's the last straw" and decide to go to the Wong's house and wipe them out completely.

My biggest complaint about this Media Asia release is not the poor quality of the prints used, but that most of the Bruce Lee footage has bee edited out. I expected this on the Hong Kong print, but the source print for the English dub version has the scene with Lee as the teacher cut. Furthermore, Video Asia purposely cuts the ending credits off of both films just as Bruce Lee begins to appear. Were they afraid of being sued? They didn't seem afraid of being sued for having Pink Floyd music in the soundtrack, because that is still there.  It is just aggravating that the main reason anyone would buy this film is missing.  This is similar to the video releases of 36 Crazy Fist which all seemed to have the footage of Jackie Chan edited out. Similar to what happened with Lee, Chan agreed to choreograph a film, during which the cameramen filmed him without his permission, and the footage was used in the closing credits. Although in this case the Chan footage was never included in the international print as he was still unknown outside of China. BTW, Jackie plays one of the thugs working for the Wongs in this film. This was made back when he was still a struggling stuntman. So basically this film is also essential for any Jackie Chan completest. But I am still waiting for someone to release a restored version.

Thunderball  ( 1965 )
After CBS paid Ian Fleming $1,000 to do a teleplay of his novel Casino Royal, he decided to shop the novel around as property for a motion picture.  The rights were sold to producer Gregory Ratoff in 1955 and then went promptly into production hell.  When Ratoff died, the rights were sold by his widow to another producer for cheap. Fleming attempted to sell the rights to his other Bond novels, but was told they were too British for American audiences.  Fleming hooked up with screen writer Kevin McClory to write a Bond script with an original story, called Thunderball, that would appeal to Americans.  McClory brought in screen writer Jack Winningham to help polish what he and Fleming had written.  Americans seemed obsessed with nuclear weapons,  so the plot would have Bond tracking down nuclear missiles stolen by a terrorist group called SPECTRE.

Once again the project languished in production hell, and by 1961 Fleming decided to cut his losses and turn the script into a bond novel. Soon after, Eon offered to buy the rights to all the James Bond novel for a film series. They decided to start with Thunderball as the novel introduced SPECTRE and Blofeld. However, Fleming was sued by McClory and Winningham who claimed they were co-authors of Thunderball having cowritten the script the novel was based on. They were convinced Fleming had novelized the script only so he could cut them out of the Eon deal. Eon was forced to table plans on adapting Thunderball until it was decided in court who owned the property.  Meanwhile Fleming stubbornly continued using Blofeld and SPECTRE in his novels,  because in Thunderball novel he had the Soviet Union  disbanded SMERSH, and it's key members defecting from the U.S.S.R. to form SPECTRE. In the Bond films SPECTRE and their mysterious unnamed leader were introduced in the first two movies as being behind plots that were originally SMERSH plots in the novels.

There were no mentions of SPECTRE in the movie Goldfinger as Fleming decided to settle out of court,  in a decision where he kept the rights to his novels and McClory kept the movie rights to Thunderball as well as the rights to Blofeld and SPECTRE. Within weeks both Thunderball and Casino Royal were being pitched to the major Hollywood studios. Eon now faced the prospect of competing against two rival Bond films. Worst of all, Ian Fleming passed away of a heart attack leaving 11 Bond novels, two of which Eon already adapted, and two of which they didn't have the rights to. If they chose to adapt the five published short stories as well, and kept the same pace of one new Bond film a year, the series would end in 1977.

Then fortune smiled on them. None of the Hollywood studios wanted to do any Bond movies unless the producer of those films could get Sean Connery.  Offers were made, but Sean refused to betray Eon. So both the producers of Casino Royal and Thunderball approached Eon with co-production  offers. Eon was not happy with the terms the producer of Casino Royal was offering, and anyway preferred Thunderball as a script existed which didn't need much of a rewrite so it would fit in with the established Eon canon,  which meant they could begin shooting almost immediately.   Eon assumed the producer for Casino Royal would be back. This strategy backfired, which I will talk more about next week. McClory retained the film rights to Thunderball, which allowed him to remake it as many times as he wanted.  As early as 1970 he tried to convince Sean Connery to star in a remake.

This was the darkest and grittiest film in the series up to that date. Also, the best argument by the cancel culture for Bond being a womanizer. In this film he repeatedly sexually molests a nurse who tells him she is not interested in him. Then blackmails her into having sex with him. Once again the film is a near perfect adaption of the novel it was based on. One alteration to the novel is having the villain Emilio Largo's yacht, the Disco Volante, speeding through the ocean and just missing coral rocks as Bond and Largo fight in the bridge. This seemed to be a replay of the previous film where Goldfinger and Bond have their climatic fight aboard Goldfinger's private jet. The theme song sung by Tom Jones attempts to outdo the theme from Goldfinger, and comes close to it. Oddly, it is among the forgotten Bond theme songs. Also, the lyrics have nothing to do with the film, where Jones sings as if Thunderball is the nickname of an unidentified character, while in the movie Thunderball is the code name for the mission to retrieve the nuclear bombs stolen by SPECTRE. Once again SPECTRE is given an intelligent plot.  Originally meant as the story that introduced SPECTRE, this time around we get to see the organization in action as they are holding a board meeting where each member announces how much money their schemes have made for the organization.

Once again, an early Bond film that is thin on action. The few action scenes include the fistfight between Bond and an enemy agent in the pre-credit sequence, and the surprisingly violent and bloody underwater frogmen battle between the SPECTRE and NATO agents which leads into the final confrontation between Bond and Largo. There is no car chase. Disappointingly, when Bond gets into his tricked out Aston Martin, it remains parked as he dispatches the enemies using it's water cannons. Another excellent Bond film, but more fore the sleuthing than for the action. 
« Last Edit: October 11, 2020, 10:48:39 PM by stethacantus »


Offline MartyS (Gromit)

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #19438 on: October 18, 2020, 08:20:43 PM »
Gemini Man (2019)
 
 OK action flick, it does go on a bit too long and gets bogged down here and there, but interesting enough to make it somewhat above average.

Playing With Fire (2019)

Silly, unrealistic, completely predictable, obviously for little kids, but funny and heartwarming at times so worth a watch.


Offline stethacantus

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #19439 on: October 18, 2020, 11:52:51 PM »
A Guiding Light ( 1953 )
What most American fans knew of Bruce Lee was that he didn't exist until 1966 when he played Kato in The Green Hornet, and died in 1973 right before the premiere of Enter the Dragon. He made only four feature films, five if you count his brief appearance in Marlowe. Anything else, like Game of Death, was just preexisting Bruce Lee footage edited into a  new film. For many of these fans it was a shocking revelation that Bruce had been a child actor, having done 20 feature films before the age of 20.

But what is even more shocking is that none of these films ever got commercially released outside of Asia. A few of them were dubbed in English and used to make the documentary The Real Bruce Lee. As mentioned a few weeks ago footage from The Thunderstorm was used to make Fist of Fear, Touch of Death. And when the distributors of Tower of Death (a.k.a. Game of Death II ) were told their film didn't have Bruce Lee on screen long enough for them to advertise it as "Starring Bruce Lee" in America, they increase his screen time by editing in footage from his early films. But none of his early films got any home video release. No one was interested in releasing films by baby Bruce Lee before he learned martial arts.

I was a bit of a completist when it came to Bruce Lee. Once I had the CBS/FOX box set release of The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, Way of the Dragon,  And Game of Death, I definitely  needed to get Enter the Dragon from Warner Home Video. Then Marlow from MGM Home Video. CBS/FOX wasn't interested in Tower of Death a.k.a. Game of Death II, which was instead released by one of the smaller home video companies and was out of print by the time I began my Bruce Lee collection.  So that movie, along with Fist of Fear, Touch of Death, The Green Hornet and Fury of the Dragon ended up being bought as bootlegs. From there I moved on to the Bruceploitation films starring Bruce Li and Bruce Le, and any film available on home video with "Bruce Lee" in the title. So yea, once I knew of the films Bruce Lee made as a kid, I wanted them. But even the bootleggers were avoiding them.

Recently I discovered that a boutique label called Cinema Epoch began releasing the childhood films of Bruce Lee. I found them on Amazon tens of pages back when I searched the Bruce Lee movies topic, way behind hundreds of multiple releases of his Golden Harvest films, bootleg Bruceploitation films, foreign PAL releases of his films including German releases with the titles in German,  and even a lot of stuff that didn't belong in the search like Spongebob Squarepants season 1, you get to the page with the Epoch releases of his early films. All of which are OOP and Amazon is low on stock. In fact,  one which costs $125 on Amazon as used ( but fortunately still $9 on Ebay. ) So far it appears that Epoch only released three of the early Bruce Lee films.

The Guiding Light is very much like a  melodramatic Hollywood film from the 1930s. In fact, the print used looked like something you would expect from a 1930s film print, even though it was a 1953 production. But I guess with Bruce Lee not becoming a superstar until the 70s, nobody thought of properly preserving these films. We should be lucky that any of these early films still exist. The plot is heavily inspired by Charles Dickens, as it is mostly the story of an orphan named San and his horrible childhood. San's mother was an orphan herself, and was impregnated by a rich man during an affair. Unable to pay the hospital bill after San is born, she begs San's father for the money. His wife is unable to have children, so he decides to keep San for himself. But San's mother doesn't want to sell him, so instead decides to leave San at the hospital with her doctor, promising she will return and pay her bill once she finds work. Her doctor is a widower and decides to adopt San himself to fill the void in his life. He becomes a loving father of San, but around the time San reaches five, he has wed a new wife. She is jealous of the attention the doctor gives San, and constantly punishes him. After she has her own son, demands the doctor send San to an orphanage or else she will leave with his real son. San's loving nanny begs the doctor to allow her to adopt him. However, she lives with an abusive husband who gambles away her money and hits San when she is not home. One day he gets into a fight with his wife over their last few dollars which he wants to use to gamble, and slams her into the wall, which causes he to die of a head injury. The husband's brother shows up and suggests they sell San to a rich woman he knows is looking to adopt a son. It turns out that woman is the barren wife of San's real father. His new mistress has just had a son, and she wants an older son so that she will not be cut out of his will. She doesn't really care about San, nor does her husband who schemes with his mistress to thrown San out of the house once his wife has left to visit relatives. San ends up on the street, wandering around hungry and in rags. A woman running an orphanage for blind girls takes San in, but after years of abandonment an abuse doesn't trust her. However, after being chased by the police for stealing food, he ends up hiding at the orphanage. The kind woman running it talks him into staying, and she has him gets him to work as an assistant to her husband, who is a doctor who is trying to cure blindness. Finally finding a home, San grows up  to be a doctor himself. When the doctor dies of old age, he asks San to continue his work. San  discovers the cure  for blindness, and becomes famous. Everyone reads about him, including his mother and the original doctor who adopted him. His mother had returned alter five years, finally having raised the money to pay her medical bills, only to be told by her doctor that his wife made him give San away, they spent years looking for him, tracing him as far as the nanny's husband who refused to tell them what happened to San other than saying "He is gone." They finally found out what happened to him by reading about his life story in the newspaper, and decide to go to a banquet honoring him. Meanwhile his birth father and his wife have gone broke, and reading about San in the newspaper, realize his is the boy his wife adopted years earlier. So they decide to go to the banquet and demand San take care of them. Of course there is a confrontation, which ends with San's adopted father realizing San was his real son, just before he and his wife are exposed for their past sins before everyone and are driven off in shame.

The film then ends with the woman who ran the orphanage giving a speech about how properly raising children turns them into productive members of society ( such as being a doctor who cures blindness. ) It is then that you realize this has been a message film all along, even though that message has been awkwardly tacked onto the end.  Sort of reminds me of another message film, Charlie Chaplin's Monsieur Verdoux ( 1947 ) which also had a message speech awkwardly tacked onto the end. Bruce Lee was 13 when he made this film, and plays San at that age. The role requires a full range of acting, which Bruce handled like a pro. Which shows that he was not just a great martial artist who made movies, but had the potential to be a great actor as well. Had he lived, he could have gone on to be an academy award winning actor once he had moved on from making martial arts films.  Which makes it suck all the more that he died so young. It wasn't just the Chinese who were robbed of a hero, the entire world was robbed. If you love depressing 1930s era Charles Dicken's films where some orphan goes through years  and years of hardships before finally finding happiness, then you will love this film too. If you are expecting Bruce Lee to fight anyone, then you will be disappointed.


Casino Royal  ( 1967 )
The Ian Fleming estate announced they would be publishing one more Bond novel and a collection of two Bond short stories that had not yet been published. That gave Eon a total of 7 novels and 7 short stories they could adapt into Bond films. With the prospect of the series ending in 14 years, and that was assuming they adapted some of the stories that were too short for an entire feature film, Eon decided the Bond films would be released every other year. This would extend the series into the 90s before they could no longer contractually make any new Bond films. Co-producing Casino Royal would have extended their series another two years, but their decision to co-produce  Thunderball first, then tell the producer of Casino Royal they wanted to wait an entire year before filming it, backfired.

In the 1850s Ian Fleming was intent on bringing his literary creation, secret agent James Bond, to the big screen.  In 1955 he sold the rights to his first novel, Casino Royal, to producer George Ratoff for only $6. Unbeknownst to Fleming,  Ratoff thought the Bond character was stupid, and intended to adapt the novel without James Bond in it. In fact, replacing him with a character called Jane Bond to be played by Susan Hayward. The adaptation would be a comedy, and Ratoff hired Lorenzo Semple Jr. To write the script.  Ratoff was never able to convince any studio to back his film before he died. Ratoff's widow sold the film rights to their agent, Charles K Feldman, who in turn formed a partnership with director Howard Hawks to produce an adaptation starring Cary Grant as Bond, who would be a card shark instead of a spy, and with the other spies from the novel replaced with gangsters. After seeing the first Eon film Dr. No, Hawks backed out of the project. Feldman began pitching his Bond films to other studios,  but was told each time that unless he signed Sean Connery to play Bond, they weren't interested.  So Feldman went to Eon and suggested they work together in a co-production, where they supplied the film rights and Eon supplied Connery.

No one could agree on how the  profits would be split. Besides, Eon wanted to co-produce Thunderball first, then wait two years before making Casino Royal. Eon assumed they had the upper hand as they had Connery.  However, while the first two Bond films had been modestly successful,  Goldfinger was a huge blockbuster. Suddenly every studio wanted to do their own spy film. M.G.M. was willing to do an adaptation of Casino Royal without Connery.  Feldman no longer wanted to co-produce with Eon, and an opportunity was lost to have Casino Royal as part of the Eon series.

However,  Feldman was beginning to get cold feet. It was already a risk that any audience would accept anyone other than Sean Connery playing Bond. But now with the 60s spy craze  at its peak, there was an oversaturation of Bond knockoffs on film and on television.  Then Feldman made a bad decision.  The only way to make his Bond movie appealing to an audience that has seen way to many spy films was to turn Casino Royal into a spy parody.

And at this point the production went off the rails. The idea was to acknowledge Connery's Bond wasn't in the film by claiming he was never the real James Bond to begin with. As it turns out, Ian Fleming had originally wanted David Niven to play James Bond back in the 1950s when he first sold the film rights to Casino Royal. Feldman learned of this, and cast Niven as Bond. In the film he plays "the original" James Bond who is currently retired, while it is implied Connery's Bond took over for him after he left the service. M didn't want England's enemies knowing Bond was retired so found a duplicate to carry on his name. The original Bond despised his duplicate, claiming he relies too much on gadgets, and spends too much time sleeping around.

Feldmsn's idea for the film was to be divided into four separate stories with four James Bonds. The first segment had Nivens as the original James Bond being lured out of retirement after several attempts on his life by SMERSH agents. He ends up taking M's place as the head of MI6 where he decides all their agents should from that point on call themselves 007 James Bond, just to confuse SMERSH. The second segment featured another agent, Mata Bond, who was the love child of Bond and Mata Hari . Taking over for her late mother as a belly dancing secret agent, she uncovers a plot for a villain named Le Chiffre to auction off his collection of blackmail photos in order to raise money for a Baccarat game at the Casino Royal. The third segment had Peter Sellers playing a Baccarat master named Evelyn Tremble who is recruited by MI6 to impersonate James Bond so that he can play Baccarat against Le Chiffre at the Casino Royale. This segment  is the only part of the film that actually uses any material from the novel.  The fourth segment was to have Mrs. Moneypenny realizing SMERSH was recruiting beautiful women as agents, so decided to recruit an agent as dashing as Bond but who can resist the charms of women. She finds such an agent ( played by Terrance Cooper )  and sends him to the Casino Royal as Bond after Tremble has disappeared since the last mission. There he discovers the secret base of SMERSH as well as the identity of their mysterious leader, Dr Noah.  Each segment was to be directed by four different actors, all with their own cast, with a few characters showing up in more than one segment.

Peter Sellers frequently didn't show up on the set. He didn't get along with co-star Orson Welles, and supposedly was upset that the Bond film he signed on to do was going to be a comedy instead of a straight Bond film. Frequently Sellers handed the director rewrites of the script. Finally Sellers stopped showing up at all, so Feldman fired him. Many of his scenes had not been shot, nor had he shot any of the scenes for the climax. The editor tried to get around the missing Sellers scenes by reshuffling other footage, as well as Feldman having some scenes Sellers hadn't shot rewritten so other characters took over for him. But it still didn't work. In fact, even the completed segments didn't work. Feldman decided to do away with the anthology format and instead cut back and fourth between the different segments. He also decided to shoot framing scenes with David Niven, including replacing Terrance Cooper's Bond with Niven's Bond in the climatic encounter with Dr. Noah. He also wanted to save the film with all the characters from the agents showing up for a climatic fistfight i the Casino Royal which for some reason included cowboys and Indians. The final scene had all the agents in Heaven dressed as angles playing harps, with a cardboard cut-out of Peter Sellers  in the background in place of the real sellers. After the initial run of the movie, it was decided to edit in footage of sellers from earlier in the film for the Heaven scene even though he is not wearing an angle costume or playing a harp and stands out.

The final result of this film is, well, a mess. I can understand why the Sellers story line would be disjointed as he didn't  film a lot of connecting scenes. But ironically, the Sellers story line is the only one not disjointed. The editors did a wonderful job making his footage work without looking as if vital parts of the film were missing. The only thing missing is him being kidnaped by Le Chiffre. In one scene he is chasing after some SMERSH agents who kidnapped his partner Vesper Lynd, and there is a jump cut to him tied up in a chair in Le Chiffre's dungeon about to be tortured by him.  While most of Seller's footage is not disjointed, I can't say the same for the rest of the film. It seems like a huge part of Woody Allen's story was cut. Terrance Cooper also had a lot of his scenes cut. We see him get into a race car to chase after SMERSH agents, but no chase scene. Later in the film when the original Bond confronts Dr. Noah, there is a sudden cut to Moneypenny, Nivens and Cooper all standing on each others shoulders in order to reach something on the ceiling. There is no explanation as to what they are doing, or how Cooper got there, but apparently they are all in a death trap, and whatever they did on the ceiling allows them to escape. Another bad edit omits what exactly happened to M. It seems like these edits must have been made to cut the running time down to 2 hours 21 minutes rather than for any other reason.  But the end result is a film with missing continuity.

Oh, and it isn't funny. Although I must admit that I am sure it hasn't aged well, as many of the gags are references to spy films I have never seen. But I do recognize bad slapstick when I see it. The film makers also resorted to speeding up the film on some gags, and putting in goofy sound effects. None of it worked. At least not for me. Considering the wealth of talent who worked on this film, it is a shame it is such a misfire. You had Peter Sellers, Orson Welles, Woody Allen, Ursula Andress, and David Niven in the cast, as well as John Huston as one of the five directors. This film does have a couple of good things to mention. While it has no memorable theme song, the Burt Bacharach score has gone on to become more memorable than the film itself. Also, this is the first Bond film to have a proper car chase scene, with Niven's Bond chasing after a female SMERSH agent while a remote control van chases Bond. It is brief, but has the vehicles doing various stunts. Something the EON films had yet to stage. My takeaway from this film is that Feldman should have not tried to do a comedy, but stuck with adapting the book. Niven did a wonderful job as Bond, and while he is no Sean Connery, neither were any of the other Bonds that followed. We could have had a decent Bond film outside of the Eon franchise. Instead we got this.