What was the last movie you saw?

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Re: What was the last movie you saw?

Postby Jestak » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:58 pm

Tonight I watched Scream 4, which was reasonably entertaining but nothing special. None of the sequels in this series has ever really caught lightning in a bottle the way the first film did, but I do always enjoy watching Neve Campbell doing her thing as Sidney Prescott, the Final Girl to outlast all Final Girls.
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Re: What was the last movie you saw?

Postby Jestak » Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:17 am

The best thing to be said for the 1952 film version of Ivanhoe is that the writers, Aeneas MacKenzie, Marguerite Roberts and Noel Langley, managed to turn Walter Scott's almost unreadable novel--and having had the book inflicted on me years ago in school, I can attest that it is barely readable--into a workable storyline. If you've never read it, here's the basics: Our setting is England, same time as the Robin Hood tales (in fact, Robin Hood plays a part in both the novel and film). Prince John is, as usual, making trouble while his brother King Richard is away on the crusades. The Saxon knight Ivanhoe, a loyalist of Richard's, returns to England and tries to disrupt John's schemes. Along the way, he has opportunities for romance with two fair ladies, the Saxon Rowena and a Jewish girl named Rebecca, and he also crosses swords more than once with a knight named Brian de Bois-Guilbert.

Yikes, the basics took a while.

Anyway, the film version is directed by Richard Thorpe, competently but without the flair that Michael Curtiz, for one, brought to this kind of film. Robert Taylor is a good swashbuckling hero as Ivanhoe, and there are three big action sequences for him to be heroic in. Unfortunately, George Sanders was a poor choice as Bois-Guilbert; he was really too old for the part. Elizabeth Taylor is so lovely and charming as Rebecca that you'll wonder why Ivanhoe would ever leave her to go off with Joan Fontaine's Rowena.
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Re: What was the last movie you saw?

Postby Jestak » Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:24 am

Like most films from Ray Harryhausen (and despite other names being attached to the direction and script, he's the main creative force at work here), Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger is a little weak in the script department, but it is good, lightweight fun. In this one, Sinbad (Patrick Wayne--son of you-know-who) wants to marry Princess Farah (Jane Seymour), but she's got this little problem--her brother, the rightful Caliph, has been transformed into a baboon. The only way to restore him--a perilous voyage to the ends of the world with lots of (stop-motion animated) monsters to dispose of along the way.
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Re: What was the last movie you saw?

Postby Jestak » Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:22 am

As I've written here before, the 1970s were a decade of political thrillers, some of them quite paranoid in their outlook--of them all, however, only one dared to tackle the most famous alleged conspiracy in US History, the assassination of President Kennedy. That was Executive Action, which I watched tonight. It's presented as a "here's how it might have happened" scenario, and intersperses footage of actual events, such as speeches by President Kennedy, with scenes of the conspiracy being planned and organized. The main architects of the conspiracy are black ops specialist Farrington (Burt Lancaster) and the politically well-connected Foster (Robert Ryan), while wealthy oilman Ferguson (Will Geer) is eventually persuaded to join and provide funding. We see Farrington supervise the hit team and arrange for one Lee Harvey Oswald to be framed for the killing, while Foster facilitates the escape of the assassins and the cover-up. It's not a classic but it's very tightly paced and both Lancaster and Ryan are pretty good. This was Robert Ryan's last film; he died before it was released.
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Re: What was the last movie you saw?

Postby Jestak » Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:26 am

My movie tonight was The Losers, an action B-movie adapted from a comic book series. Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his special ops team are on a mission to Bolivia; when their controller, Max (Jason Patric), betrays them, they are all assumed dead--but the "losers" have survived. One day the mysterious Aisha (Zoe Saldana) approaches them and offers to help them get back at Max. But many rounds of ammo will be expended, and many things blown up, before matters are concluded. This one was fast-paced and not too pretentious, and the action was well-handled. If that's what you're looking for, The Losers will probably satisfy you.
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Re: What was the last movie you saw?

Postby marielle » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:05 am

I watched the Hunger Games this weekend.
It was a good movie... though I had a few minor issues with it...
These violent delights, have violent endings...Like fire and gunpowder, they consume what they kiss

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Re: What was the last movie you saw?

Postby Jestak » Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:28 pm

Giu la testa/Duck, You Sucker is a reasonably watchable spaghetti Western, but not at the level of Sergio Leone's previous work. The rather loose plot concerns two men, bandit Juan Miranda (Rod Steiger) and Irish exile and explosives expert John Mallory (James Coburn). The two have various misadventures amidst the political turmoil in Mexico in the early 20th century. An alternate title for this film is A Fistful of Dynamite, so if you watch it, be prepared to see a lot of stuff blown up.
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Re: What was the last movie you saw?

Postby Jestak » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:43 pm

Tonight I watched Ninotchka. Watching it gave me a very clear sense of why people once spoke the name Greta Garbo in hushed tones. She is absolutely stunning as the Bolshevik ice maiden whose heart is awakened by the charming Melvyn Douglas (who also shows her how to laugh--"Garbo laughs" was the tagline for this one). In many years, Garbo likely would have walked away with a Best Actress Oscar for a performance like this, but in 1939, the Year of Scarlett O'Hara, it was not to be. Sig Ruman, Felix Bressart and Alexander Granach provide delightful support as a trio of commissars who become enamored of capitalism. Definitely worthy of its classic status.

This was Garbo's next to last picture before she retired permanently from the screen before turning 40 (can anyone imagine an actress of that stature doing that today?).
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Re: What was the last movie you saw?

Postby Jestak » Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:47 pm

One of the first movies ever to attempt to parody movies that had gone before was John Huston's Beat the Devil, which parodied adventure/intrigue films of the 1940's--directed by John Huston. Appropriately, Humphrey Bogart plays the lead role as he did in several of Huston's 1940s films. The satire is far more subtle than latter day examples like Airplane!, as the cast play things very straight. The women in Bogie's life in this one are Gina Lollabrigida and Jennifer Jones. Bogie also is tangled with a band of criminal "associates," who include Peter Lorre and are led by Robert Morley doing a very credible Sidney Greenstreet impersonation. Bernard Lee--"M" in the James Bond films for many years--turns up as a Scotland Yard man near the end, and Mario Perrone has some very funny moments as a ship's purser. Jones is a dizzy delight, but the best moment of all comes when most of the principals are captured by a seemingly deadly Arab chieftan; Bogie saves the day by persuading the man that he can arrange an introduction to Rita Hayworth.
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Re: What was the last movie you saw?

Postby Jestak » Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:47 am

After he made the "Man With No Name" trilogy with Sergio Leone, Clint Eastwood's first film was another Western, Hang 'Em High. Jed Cooper (Eastwood) is driving a herd of cattle through pre-statehood Oklahoma when a band of men surround him. With only the barest of formalities, they accuse him of rustling the cattle and murdering their owner, and hang him and leave him to die. But before he expires, Deputy Marshal Dave Bliss (Ben Johnson) cuts him down and takes him before the territorial judge, Fenton (Pat Hingle). Fenton determines that Cooper is innocent, and enlists him as one of the Deputy US Marshals for the territory, allowing Cooper to pursue the lynch mob within the confines of the law. This one suffers from a talky script, and a romantic subplot between Cooper and local widow Rachel (the tragically short-lived Inger Stevens) doesn't really work and slows things down. But there's a surprising degree of moral complexity, and the cast is very good--besides Hingle and the always-welcome Johnson, there are impressive performances from Bob Steele, Charles McGraw, and Bruce Dern. This was also Eastwood's first venture into production--his Malpaso Productions co-produced it, as they continued to do on virtually all his subsequent films.
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