Last Movie Watched.... The Xenforo Edition

Discussion in 'Movies, TV and Music' started by Val1, May 4, 2012.

  1. spejic

    spejic Cautionary example

    Mar 1, 1999
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    You got me.

    Walk a Crooked Mile (1948)

    The dirty commies devise a fiendish plan to smuggle nuclear secrets out of the US by hiding them in terrible urban paintings of San Francisco buildings. But all the main elements of the plan communicate directly with each other, making it so easy to trace that even the FBI can smash the ring.

    It was a rather straight-forward piece, practically a wishful documentary of a fictional event. It only serves as a time capsule of the thinking and the architectural state of the time. But wow was the second fun. I probably spent more time in streetview maps than watching the film confirming the actual knowledge of San Francisco shown by the filmmakers. They could have easily chosen any place for the FBI office, but they showed the actual one housing Federal agencies at the time (what is known here as the "United Nations Building") and filmed from inside it. The place on Clay street really is on Clay street (at the corner with Mason to be exact). The San Francisco Airport of the 1940's was unrecognizably bare-bones, and a real treat, as was the still-active docks.

    I will say the realism hurt the film in a few places. They tried to do a little proto-The Third Man chase scene including a Dutch angle, but doing it among featureless corrugated steel shacks diminished it greatly. The stylish oblique lighting and unusual blocking around the first confrontation clashed with the heavily narrated matter-of-fact start and end. Maybe the director was giving us his own secret message, saying "I'm better than this schlock".
     
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  2. Belgian guy

    Belgian guy Member+

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    @spejic If you like movies of that era with a decent amount of on-location footage of San Francisco, I can also recommend the excellent "Woman on the Run", starring Oomph Girl Ann Sheridan and coincidentally also Dennis O'Keefe.
     
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  3. Val1

    Val1 Member+

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    Mar 12, 2004
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    anxious people.jpg

    Anxious People

    A six-part netflix miniseries based on a book of the same name. I only watched because the book was written by Fredrik Backman who wrote A Man Called Ove, one of my favorite books of the millenium. This is quirky police non-precedural because the two cops on the scene are not particularly effective: they've never had to deal with a hostage situation before. The rhythms are off because each episode clocks in at 30 minutes which serves to highlight the slight comedic edge you would expect from a show that features a guy in a bunny suit. In other words, a cute, easily binged watch.
     
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  4. Belgian guy

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    A Company Man (2012)
    Dir. Sang-yoon Lim

    [​IMG]

    On the surface, the company that Ji works for produces steel. In reality, that is just a front for their real activities: they are hitmen for hire for anyone who can afford them. Ji himself is a middle-management up and comer who is the Chairman's personal favorite due to his no-nonsense persona and strong work ethic. Unbeknownst to his boss, Ji is starting to have doubts about his job, about the cost it is taking on him as a person and about the fact that it brings him no joy and the money itself isn't enough to bring him solace. This leads to him disobeying a direct order one day, by allowing a temporary asset he was supposed to get rid off after the completion of a job to live. He also gets interested in the young man's family when he discovers that the kid he spared has a mother who is a retired (and only ever very modestly successful) pop singer that Ji listened to as a kid. The little family stirs his pre-existing doubts and he starts to unravel just enough for his superiors to notice something is off, endangering both himself and his new loved ones in the process.

    Stylish and cool South-Korean action thriller, starring So Ji-sub as the stoic Ji. The plot does little to try and re-invent the wheel but this is a crisp and fast-paced ninety minutes. What I love about how they shoot action in South-Korea is just the subtle differences, meaning I see a few things every time I have rarely if ever seen in their Hollywood counterparts. This time around, a shot where the camera perspective follows a flying bullet through the roof of a car, or a similar shot where the camera perspective changes from the shooter to the falling shot victim in the blink of an eye.
     
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  5. Belgian guy

    Belgian guy Member+

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  6. Belgian guy

    Belgian guy Member+

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    Old Henry (2021)
    Dir. Potsy Ponciroli

    [​IMG]

    Near the end of the 19th century, widowed farmer Henry and his son Wyatt are trying to keep their farm afloat. Whilst Henry is content with the simple life his farm provides him with, Wyatt hates the hard work and the long tedious days and longs for some excitement in his life. Excitement comes their way when a horse without a rider ventures onto their property. Blood on the saddle makes Henry investigate and some miles away, he finds a wounded man, as well as a satchel full of money. Reluctantly he takes the stranger back to his home to treat his wounds. Wyatt is excited by the prospect of anything that breaks their day to day routine but the older and wiser Henry guesses their "guest" is an outlaw and the large cache of money on his person means that trouble is coming their way...

    Fun little western starring an excellent Tim Blake Nelson in the titular role. Revealing too much of the plot would ruin things, suffice to say that his performance probably warrants a second watch to better study the character's evolution and how Tim Blake Nelson handles it. By contrast, I thought that Stephen Dorff (the main antagonist) flirts with over-acting and probably pushes past that line on a few occasions in this film.

    Total side-note, but Potsy Ponciroli is a great director name!
     
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  7. Belgian guy

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    Experiment in Terror (1962)
    Dir. Blake Edwards

    [​IMG]

    Kelly Sherwood works as a bank teller. After a night out, she is cornered by a mysterious man inside of her own garage. The man appears to know much about her personal and professional life and tells her he will soon ask her to steal 100000 dollars from the bank she works for. Failure to comply will lead to him carrying out retribution in the form of murdering both Kelly and her younger sister and ward Toby. After the man leaves, Kelly makes an attempt to contact the authorities, but her assailant had been watching her, interrupting the call and making clear to Kelly that any future attempt to involve law enforcement will lead to her immediate death. Thanks to the interrupted call, the F.B.I. does manage to track Kelly down and a covert surveillance is set up near her home and her place of work. The idea is to capture who ever is coercing her into the theft before he asks her to actually carry out the crime. Only the F.B.I. agent in charge of the case soon finds out that the man they are chasing is more clever and elusive than they first believed him to be.

    A nicely shot, slow-burner of an action thriller, with three good principal performances by Lee Remick (the victim), Glenn Ford (the F.B.I. agent) and Ross Martin (the criminal). Of interest to Spejic might be that this is another movie that features a lot of on-location shots in and around San Francisco. But there is another thing about the location that reminded me of another movie: Dirty Harry. Mostly in the form of the deranged criminal. It isn't that we haven't seen men like this before in earlier movies (James Cagney in White Heat, John Cassavettes in The Night Holds Terror), but not done in quite this specific manner.
     
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  8. Belgian guy

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    I should also add that this is perhaps the most focused effort I have seen from Blake Edwards, who is otherwise prone to a certain level of self-indulgence. But he maintains a tonal consistency throughout here and some of the shots are genuinely inventive and memorable. Some of it almost felt like Carol Reed had seen some nouvelle vague and decided to try some new stuff.
     
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  9. spejic

    spejic Cautionary example

    Mar 1, 1999
    San Rafael, CA
    Club:
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    Experiment in Terror (1962)

    A creepy guy needs a lot of money, and a regular bank robbery isn't going to cut it. He needs the kind of dough you get in a financial district commercial bank at the end of a week. He's picked the teller he can control, he's silenced all witnesses, he has a plan, and he has an escape. He also knows the FBI is on the case, but he can't back down now. He just has to be that much more clever.

    I really enjoyed this stylish thriller. Everything looked so good. The black and white film was unusually contrasty and rich. A lot of time is spent on very detailed closeups of silent characters, conveying emotions and mood better than any dialogue. I've never seen a crowd used in such an artistic manner.

    They pretty obviously chose locations for their look rather than what might be natural for the story, but that's ok because we some prime real estate. And you can't much more prime than the protagonist's house, located in one of the richest neighborhoods of San Francisco. I don't think she's buying that on a teller's salary, even in 1962. Her sister went to the very-out-of-the-way George Washington High School with it's nice grounds and epic columns (at least the soda shop the kids went to really is around the corner from the school). And later on we get to see the evidently-never-not-tourist-trap Fisherman's Wharf and a very early incarnation of Candlestick Park used to its full as a stage for a well timed cascade of cops.
     
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  10. Chesco United

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    Annie Hall (1977)-Critically acclaimed Woody Allen flick. I got some good literature references to add to my Amazon Wishlist. Diane Keaton also stars as the title character. Worth the watch.
     
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  11. spejic

    spejic Cautionary example

    Mar 1, 1999
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    Club:
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    I was thinking again about the teller and her fancy home, and I think there actually may be an unwritten story element here besides having a home on a hill overlooking the city. She's really young to have purchased a home by herself, and when in trouble she does not contact a parent. She instead shows a lot of independence, fighting the would-be-thief all the way. I think that her parents are dead, have left her the house, and she did a lot of growing up quick to take care of her young sister, whom she really treats as a daughter the whole movie.
     
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  12. yasik19

    yasik19 Moderator
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    Oct 21, 2004
    Daly City
    I always take your movie recommendations close to heart.....however, I didn't find this movie all that compelling, mostly b/c the story is not very original and I couldn't really find myself sympathizing with the main characters.
     
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  13. Belgian guy

    Belgian guy Member+

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    The Age of Shadows (2016)
    Dir. Jee-woon Kim

    [​IMG]

    1920s, Seoul. Jung-Chooi is a Korean working for the Japanese as a police captain, tasked with finding and rounding up members of the armed resistance. As a man who was formerly attached to the provisional Korean government, he is in the unique and awkward position of being personally acquainted with many of the men he is chasing, some among them being former friends. For most of the resistance, this makes him a traitorous rat. To resistance leader Sang Ho, this is perceived as an great opportunity to potentially turn a high-ranking official within the Japanese occupational bureaucracy. Sang Ho assumes that Jung-Chooi's former ties will make him a prime target to be flipped back to their side. Thus Woo-Jin, one of his most trusted commanders, it tasked with making contact with Jung-Chooi and trying to bring him over to the resistance. Woo-Jin has far less trust in the endeavor's success than his boss, but the attempt is still made. For Jung-Chooi, the approach has extra complications because both Sang Ho and Woo-Jin are at the very top of the list of men his Japanese superiors want him to apprehend, especially after it is revealed the resistance has been raising funds for a possible bomb plot.

    Stylish Korean period piece, revolving largely around the cloak and dagger game of covert operations and the trappings of unclear loyalties. Featuring another tour de force lead performance by Kang-ho Song (frequent collaborator of Joon-ho Bong and probably most famous to Western audiences from the much-lauded Parasite) as the conflicted and tortured Jung-Chooi. It's also pretty clear that Jee-woon Kim saw - and is a fan of - Jean-Pierre Melville's l'Armée des Ombres (Army of Shadows). To the point of referencing the French classic in his title.
     
  14. Belgian guy

    Belgian guy Member+

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    Letterboxd 2021 stats:

    upload_2022-1-12_8-24-33.png

    upload_2022-1-12_8-24-53.png

    Honestly was surprised at both most watched actor and director but then remembered that Janiak directed the Fear Street trilogy and Hechinger was in the Fear Street trilogy too, as well as News of the World (which I also watched).
     
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  15. Belgian guy

    Belgian guy Member+

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    I think you are posting the wrong topic! :)
     
  16. Belgian guy

    Belgian guy Member+

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    Eternals (2021)
    Dir. Chloé Zhao

    [​IMG]

    Thousands of years ago, a group of heroes arrived on earth, known as the Eternals. They were sent with the specific goal of eradicating the Deviants, Apex Predators which if allowed to thrive on earth would not permit humanity to persist. Each of the Eternals have their own superpowers, and as the essentially immortal beings live through human history, each creates his or her own bond with the planet and its people. When the very last of the Deviants are killed in the 16th century, they part ways, also because in spite of their great powers, they are not allowed to intervene in any other way, not even when Universe-threatening enemies like Thanos emerge. The group is forced to reconnect when suddenly in the 21st century, some Deviants have re-emerged and they discover their former leader has perished. But is there a bigger reason for the timing of their old nemesis' reappearance?

    This was okay. For all of Kevin Feige's gushing over how gloriously beautiful Chloé Zhao's work was supposed to be, I don't think this is a necessarily much better looking MCU movie than the average. In terms of the pure beauty of visuals, I find that most of this franchise has been largely underwhelming. Most of the enjoyment comes from the ensemble, an eclectic bunch, who do a decent job convincing us that these are people who have spent millennia together. The underlying mythology with Celestials, Eternals and Deviants is a bit silly - though thankfully most of the cringe was contained entirely within that opening text prologue. Somehow seeing these concepts in writing makes them more ridiculous. I really liked Gemma Chan's lived in performance and Angelina Jolie steals some scenes in a good supporting turn. Also as per usual, at 2.5 hours, this thing is at least thirty minutes too long but I no longer expect even an attempt at efficient story-telling from Marvel/Disney, so it is what it is.
     
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  17. The Jitty Slitter

    The Jitty Slitter Moderator
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    #8467 The Jitty Slitter, Jan 14, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2022
    Colditz (1972-1974)

    Starring David McCallum & Robert Wagner

    Completely by chance, came across this fantastic old English TV series that screened in the early 70s. I was much too young to see it then, and of course TV being what it was, there were few opportunities to see these old classics unless you were retired and could watch daytime TV which tended to fill the low viewer periods with episodes of Secret Army amongst the daytime soaps.

    As a boy I read the superb Colditz Story & Latter Days at Colditz by the legendary Major Pat Reid as well as the german classic Colditz: The German Story by Reinhold Eggers who was head of security for much of the time.

    The series is a typical english masterpiece as far as wartime period drama goes, and holds up even now, The characters are largely based on the real protagonists and Pat Red who was the Colditz escape officer was a consultant for the show.

    Interestingly for a wartime drama, the series manages to steer clear of the usual nazi tropes and especially the germans are portrayed in a realistic way without silly accents and "Denglish" dialogue. The english are portrayed as the unuruly larrikins compared to the Wehrmacht but this is quite accurate to books - I think it is partly due to the fact that the British Officers at the time obviously come largely from the public school system so it is cultural, but also the sheer fact of being locked up for years on end (many from 1940-1945) with few creature comforts resulted in more of a rowdy prison population than a disciplined parade ground group.

    Given the "action" takes place in cramped quarters, the series draws heavily on a fine array of actors, especially David McCallum who is superb at creating tension out of nothing (see also Sapphire and Steele).

    I thought I'd post one episode where which is the first half of a double episode documenting Pat Reid's "home run". Escaping from Colditz was one thing. But travelling as Flemish wrokers in Nazi Germany to the Swiss Frontier took some doing, and required multiple fake papers - not only the Ausweise, but also special workers documents and an Erlaubnis to travel by rail to a town close to the frontier. All of these had to pass gestapo inspection, before literally a dash over the border. The route was designed based on intelligence the Dutch had managed to gather from the germans themselves on a good potential frontier crossing (The so called Singen route).



    Inspired by the series I listened to Pat Reid's book again as an Audible story and the escape as shown is very faithful to the book. A group of 4 broke out of the English kitchen, into the german part of the camp after much preparation. Finding they could not pick a lock in the german courtyard, from where they hoped to exit, the ended up improvising an escape via a storage cellar under the Kommandantur and crawled out through a narrow vent into the castle moat, and then escaped through the park ...
     
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  18. The Jitty Slitter

    The Jitty Slitter Moderator
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    An interesting factoid in the series is that WW2 was (at least initially) a younger man's war whereas for the camp staff these were drawn from german B or C grade soldiers not fit for active duty, and older reservist officers who served in WW1. This leads to an interesting tension between the camp commandant, a WW1 veteran Colonel whose son is killed on active duty and the SBO (Senior British Officer) also a WW1 veteran where he fought as a very young man, but now captured at Dunkirk

    Although many of the actors look actually a bit too old for their roles (typical of TV) it gave a good feel for how the SBO was in somewhat of a father figure role for his men.

    And given that it was continuously in the air that the VIP inmates at Colditz were defacto hostages for the SS when the time came, the Kommandant also had a significant role in trying to keep a lid of things to stave off an SS takeover of the camp (something that was constantly in the air).

    So a recurring theme was that of a Kommandant who was now "out of time" as a fairly traditional Wehrmacht officer and the significant ill-will between him, the SS, his 2IC who was a popular wounded nazi hero. not to mention the local Gestapo (i.e. police).

    I was surprised a 70s production would have so much nuance.
     
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  19. Val1

    Val1 Member+

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    #8469 Val1, Jan 14, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2022
    This is a stunningly great series. It's the favorite piece of television for my, mom and dad.
     
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  20. Val1

    Val1 Member+

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    AfterMath.jpg

    2149: The Aftermath

    Wow. Just wow. This is may be the most pointless movie I have ever watched.

    Typical post-apocalyptic setting: the air outside is toxic and humanity is stuck in survival chambers, largely addicted to video gaming. Our main character -- and I can't call him hero or protagonist because he's not that interesting -- Darwin, is able to remotely pilot an earth grader so valuable minerals can be mined. Big Brother is always watching and when he is momentarily distracted he is told that he can be replaced if he's not working. Electrical storm knocks out both the computer and the emergency relay so he must venture outside. And he finds, to no surprise at all, that the air isn't toxic. He stumbles along for two days, miraculously avoiding terminator-style drones, until he finds a family living a pretty nice post apocalyptic life.

    Darwin is feeling the urge to find his mother and bring to this bucolic setting, so he ventures back out. He finds his mom's chamber, but as he's trying to get in, a drone finds him. We discover that this drone is piloted by a sinister looking woman encased in shadows. The drone questions him as where he's been for the past three months, and Darwin gives the lamest of lies. And the drone flies off. Darwin discovers that his mom is self-medicating and more zombie than anything else. He then hacks into restricted goverment archives, using his PIN. And he learns that he was easly tracked when he left the chamber and that the system knows that he's been with other survivors. Darwin realizes that no one is watching, because there is no one there. Cue the heavy narration that government had ceased to exist over the past nine years.

    He goes back to the family, walking more brazenly this time, and is accosted by a drone. The drone tells him to return home, that his work is needed. Darwin says no. We see the shrouded government agent and the camera pans up to her face, she smiles a very wan smile. And the drone flies away. Darwin returns to the family, the voice over reveals he married the very cute girl his age and the voiceover states: Mom was right. I am the future and I would love and live. Fade to black.

    There! Now, no one has to waste their time on this dreck.
     
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  21. spejic

    spejic Cautionary example

    Mar 1, 1999
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    Thanks for taking over my job during my sick leave.
     
  22. The Jitty Slitter

    The Jitty Slitter Moderator
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    One of the things that is remarkable about it is there are very few weak filler episodes across the 27 episode run.

    And just the amazing level of detail. They even dig into the complicated relationships between the British, Dutch, French, Polish and (later), American contingents. Even the germans have proper storylines.
     
  23. The Jitty Slitter

    The Jitty Slitter Moderator
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    Speaking of which, don't watch Vivarium

    I had high hopes when Netflix sent me an email about this.

    Dystopian sci-fi with Jesse Eisenberg?

    Sigh-fi more like :laugh:
     
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  24. Chesco United

    Chesco United Member+

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    The Last Picture Show (1971)-Directed by the late Peter Bogdanovich. From a book by Larry McMurtry. Black and white movie about people in a small town in early 1950s Texas. Academy Award for Ben Johnson. Good coming of age flick.
     
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  25. The Jitty Slitter

    The Jitty Slitter Moderator
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    I've been meaning to see this film again - haven't seen it is like 25 years!
     
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