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Author Topic: What was the last movie you watched?  (Read 1584232 times)

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Offline Charles Castle

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17910 on: March 12, 2018, 05:54:56 PM »
My favorite description of The Lady Vanishes (1938, Alfred Hitchcock) is that it resembles a train: starts out slow, gathers momentum, and keeps accelerating at breakneck speed right to the finish. Hitchcock’s ability to juggle myriad clues, red herrings, and other bits of business goes full throttle here, creating a constant stream of suspense, each element paced perfectly.

At the same time, the first act, which takes up nearly half an hour, seems so distinct from the train ride that encompasses the rest that the film comes to resemble a symphony with different movements. Right from the beginning, there’s an ironic sense of community, with passengers speaking sundry languages packed into a hotel that can’t accommodate them all. To continue the musical motif, it will be music – the (encoded) evening singing of a man outside the hotel, the dancing of people on the floor above our lovely heroine, Margaret Lockwood - that connects these temporarily derailed passengers, creating at the same time a sense of interconnected spaces as the sounds trickle from one room, and one set of characters, to the next.

At first we’re not really sure who the main character will be – it’s as if only by chance that Lockwood gets hit in the head by the falling plant and becomes the center of our identification. The transition is short but incredibly effective, as she boards the train and through her perspective we experience a blurring of reality as she nods off. The romantic interplay with Michael Redgrave that follows is hinged around the slightly sadistic conceit of Lockwood’s inability to get anyone to believe her except for the man who annoyed her the previous night, in a sense forcing her to buddy up with the one man she ought to hate. (A conceit Hitchcock used previously in The 39 Steps, where the two who get off to a rocky start (on a train, no less) are literally chained to each other. Hitchcock also borrowed the MacGuffin of the man humming a tune from that earlier masterpiece).

More interestingly, if only briefly, the film explores the psychic claustrophobia (mirrored by the train’s literal claustrophobic setting) of Lockwood’s own self-doubt. Is it possible she imagined the whole thing? Could the bump on the head have stimulated such a wild imagination? As her doubt progresses, she seems to be more and more confined by others within the frame, even seeing the vanished lady in the face of everyone around her (like Scotty seeing Madeleine everywhere he looks); their proximity only exacerbating her sense of isolation.

There’s also a good deal of social critique here. This is probably more Gilliat and Launder’s doing than Hitchcock's (who revised the scenario for the movie they had initially drafted), but there’s a very overt mockery of the British characters on board, who are mostly a mix of overgrown schoolboys, liars, and fools, and yet these people supposedly compose the backbone of British society. Their ineptness in dealing with the blockade of spies that stop the train further reflects on Britain’s then (in)ability to deal with the threat of Hitler.

In any event, The Lady Vanishes is one of Hitchcock’s most entertaining thrillers, mainly due to the pitch perfect pacing, the colorful supporting characters, and the (somewhat uncharacteristic) brunette at the center.
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Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17911 on: March 12, 2018, 05:58:14 PM »
Now THAT'S a movie I love.
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Offline Charles Castle

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17912 on: March 12, 2018, 06:00:32 PM »
I couldn't bring myself to watch that after how much I hated Only Lover Left Alive. I should probably give it a go.
Jim Jarmusch is one of those filmmakers that I am going to watch the next film no matter how I felt about any of his individual works. You would really be depriving yourself of a great film viewing experience if you let it pass you by. I can't encourage you enough to check it out if you have the chance.
You know, if the space man puma thing turns out to be the correct religion, I for one will be very surprised.


Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17913 on: March 12, 2018, 06:05:24 PM »
I couldn't bring myself to watch that after how much I hated Only Lover Left Alive. I should probably give it a go.
Jim Jarmusch is one of those filmmakers that I am going to watch the next film no matter how I felt about any of his individual works. You would really be depriving yourself of a great film viewing experience if you let it pass you by. I can't encourage you enough to check it out if you have the chance.

Pretty sure it's on one of the streaming services over here at the moment. (Ar at least it was). I'll check it out.
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Offline Charles Castle

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17914 on: March 12, 2018, 06:11:52 PM »
The Wicked Lady (1945, Leslie Arliss) is a devilishly juicy melodrama starring Margaret Lockwood as the ultimate femme fatale: a thrill-seeking, back-stabbing psychopath cursed by her unquenchable desire for desire. She performs many selfish, evil deeds and yet, to the movie's credit, her wickedness isn't one-dimensional. Her desire is so genuine, so raw and all-consuming, that she becomes pitiable, unable or unwilling to suppress her impish fancies, enslaved by her desire and the facility her physical beauty affords. Lockwood's nuanced performance convinces us of the vivid lust for life that flows through her veins, poisoning those around her and suggesting with each new infatuation that her desire is very human, merely errant, undisciplined; that the potential for love is there but thwarted; that she, too, is a victim of her uncontrollable nature. The movie suffers only from a tendency for expository dialogue, but it's competently directed and features a solid supporting cast that includes James Mason as a rogue who proves no match for Lockwood. Naughty fun.

****************

They Live by Night (1948, Nicholas Ray) is as gorgeous as it is tender, a Depression Era love story centered around a young man never given a fair chance in life, chance and circumstance branding him a pariah. You see this in the light alone, in the golden, almost heavenly luminescence attempting to illuminate faces shrouded in darkness. Ray's feelings for his lonely souls yearning for the light are so clear in these images, just as the gritty reality of the impoverished milieu can be sensed behind the studio backdrops. The sets convince us not of their own reality, but of the grim reality they represent, while the light interprets the moral ambiguities of the people struggling to live in that darkness. A remarkable directorial debut.

****************

Moonlight (2016, Barry Jenkins) opens with a complex, virtuosic shot encircling two characters out on the street. This is followed by a shaky handheld image chasing a boy as he is chased by other boys. The film doesn't return to either of these techniques, but includes many other devices, from stylized slow motion to long tracking shots that follow characters walking and even some conventional, invisible filmmaking. Clearly, it's the work of a man who has studied cinema, and the changes in technique are, like parts of the drama itself, open to interpretation. As I see it, the manner of trying out so many diverse cinematic devices mirrors the coming-of-age story itself: the stretched out self-discovery of Little/Chiron/Black through three pivotal sequences in his life matches, or at least justifies the kitchen sink of techniques. The camera, in other words, says “Who am I?” beside the protagonist. In any event, the characters and the milieu – an impoverished section of Miami with boarded up homes and drug-addicted single parents – are realized with convincing period detail, and the casting of actors who so resemble one another across the decades is extraordinary. That, perhaps, has been done before, but the central story of a vulnerable young black man coming to grips with his sexuality and sense of difference in a hostile environment is both new to the mainstream cinema and transparently personal, arising from lived experience. That it's rendered with such sensitivity and formal boldness makes it as admirable as it is genuinely moving.
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Offline Charles Castle

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17915 on: March 12, 2018, 06:18:42 PM »
I couldn't bring myself to watch that after how much I hated Only Lover Left Alive. I should probably give it a go.
Jim Jarmusch is one of those filmmakers that I am going to watch the next film no matter how I felt about any of his individual works. You would really be depriving yourself of a great film viewing experience if you let it pass you by. I can't encourage you enough to check it out if you have the chance.

Pretty sure it's on one of the streaming services over here at the moment. (Ar at least it was). I'll check it out.
It's owned by Amazon in the US so it is available on Amazon Prime, but I don't know how that works out overseas.
You know, if the space man puma thing turns out to be the correct religion, I for one will be very surprised.


Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17916 on: March 12, 2018, 06:21:12 PM »
I couldn't bring myself to watch that after how much I hated Only Lover Left Alive. I should probably give it a go.
Jim Jarmusch is one of those filmmakers that I am going to watch the next film no matter how I felt about any of his individual works. You would really be depriving yourself of a great film viewing experience if you let it pass you by. I can't encourage you enough to check it out if you have the chance.

Pretty sure it's on one of the streaming services over here at the moment. (Ar at least it was). I'll check it out.
It's owned by Amazon in the US so it is available on Amazon Prime, but I don't know how that works out overseas.

Utter chaos.
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Offline Charles Castle

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17917 on: March 12, 2018, 06:30:20 PM »
I couldn't bring myself to watch that after how much I hated Only Lover Left Alive. I should probably give it a go.
Jim Jarmusch is one of those filmmakers that I am going to watch the next film no matter how I felt about any of his individual works. You would really be depriving yourself of a great film viewing experience if you let it pass you by. I can't encourage you enough to check it out if you have the chance.

Pretty sure it's on one of the streaming services over here at the moment. (Ar at least it was). I'll check it out.
It's owned by Amazon in the US so it is available on Amazon Prime, but I don't know how that works out overseas.

Utter chaos commerce.
Fixed.
You know, if the space man puma thing turns out to be the correct religion, I for one will be very surprised.


Offline Russoguru

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17918 on: March 13, 2018, 07:26:15 PM »
I bought and watched Justice League this morning and watched it today and... le sigh... I am sad to report I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I did in the theater. I initially thought it was good, but on second viewing... it somehow got slightly worse. I don't know how that happened. I think the story and movie overall just failed to engage me on any level. My explanation for thinking it was good the first time around was probably because I was comparing it against Batman Vs Superman and of course most movies are going to look good when compared against Batman Vs Superman. 


Offline Darth Geek

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17919 on: March 14, 2018, 07:29:05 AM »
I bought and watched Justice League this morning and watched it today and... le sigh... I am sad to report I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I did in the theater. I initially thought it was good, but on second viewing... it somehow got slightly worse. I don't know how that happened. I think the story and movie overall just failed to engage me on any level. My explanation for thinking it was good the first time around was probably because I was comparing it against Batman Vs Superman and of course most movies are going to look good when compared against Batman Vs Superman.
I am morbidly curious about Justice League, but I am going to wait for it on Redbox on March 20th.



Offline Lesbunny

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17920 on: March 14, 2018, 09:11:21 AM »
Sadly, it's looking like they're going to Flashpoint the entire canon except for the one film that was actually great, so there's no point in exploring the DCEU as it currently stands.


Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17921 on: March 14, 2018, 10:07:45 AM »
Wait, THAT'S the continuity altering DC event that they want to film?  The one that lead to one of the weaker universes?  It wasn't as beloved as you seem to think it was DC.


Offline Darth Geek

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17922 on: March 14, 2018, 10:49:13 AM »
Wait, THAT'S the continuity altering DC event that they want to film?  The one that lead to one of the weaker universes?  It wasn't as beloved as you seem to think it was DC.
It is very typical of the DCCU, though. Use a storyline that was significant in the comics, forgetting that it was only significant because of the long history of comics before it. Which the DC movies don't have.



Offline RoninFox

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17923 on: March 14, 2018, 10:19:23 PM »
Not to mention they get to have it compared to the good animated version from a few years back.
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Offline Darth Geek

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17924 on: March 15, 2018, 08:03:01 AM »
Not to mention they get to have it compared to the good animated version from a few years back.
And how it was done well in the TV show, which at least had a two seasons of episodes before it to make the changes significant.