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Central Park (1932)
This, this, this, this and this.
Crazy and fun 1930s picture, the way that all 1930s pics seem to be, with sometimes little control or care for the plot. Joan Blundell and Wallace Ford star as the most two attractive bums you could ever meet. Blondell gets a job being a pretty girl for a ball, but little does she know that she's ACTUALLY going to be a switcheroo in a planned robbery of the benefit money! Oh, there's also a lion that escapes and wanders around terrorizing everybody, a nearly blind policeman who fails to catch the insane past-zookeeper who lets the lion free, and Wallace Ford.. is just there responding to everything. It's all pretty crazy.. and pretty darn entertaining!
The Bourne Legacy (2012)
whoops ran out of time lol
The Bourne Legacy is pretty much the Halloween III of the Bourne Franchise. Having very little to do with the first 3 Matt Damon / Bourne films, the film attempts to have a similar film along the same timeline as when Jason Bourne was having his adventures, using some of the same actors in the previous movies (but most of them appear to be either cameos or outtakes from previous Bourne movies). Jeremy Renner, who gets my vote as being one of the most unappetizing heroes ever, plays Aaron Cross, a genetically modified killer (!!) who needs pills to keep alive. When the government tries to shut down the program (thanks to yes, a storyline in the original plot line) and tries to kill Renner and a chemist involved in the making of the drug, things of course don't go according to plan, leading to chase after chase. Edward Norton, who seems to be the king of bastard sequels, is here, playing the head of the department trying to eradicate the killers and scientists, he's good in a somewhat throwaway role for him, but really, what can you do? The ending is definitely curious, as it leaves gigantic holes that SHOULD have been filled, not left open for another movie (which there will be, but things are uncertain who will be in that movie). I mean it's all fine and dandy to leave people wanting more, but the way this film ended was sort of like, "whoops, ran out of time lol" leaving gigantic questions answered. Maybe the next movie will answer them? Maybe Jason Bourne will join them? Maybe we'll just forget about this?
A Place in the Sun (1951)
A Place In The Sun
Awesome movie with drifter Monty Clift getting a job because of his name, hooking up with one of the girls he works with, then falling in love with ANOTHER girl, this time with a high society gal. Which one will he choose? He feels he's got it all figured out when the low class girl reveals she's pregnant and he's THEN faced with some pretty hard choices. There, THAT'S a good synopsis of this. This film has LOTS of surprises up it's sleeve. The 2 stars, Clift and Elizabeth Taylor just look ridiculously gorgeous in the movie, and George Stevens directs the tar out of this, putting in GREAT examples of foreshadowing and symbolism and what not. Awesome filmmaking here.
Show People (1928)
It;s odd that a movie made in 1928, about movie making, a comedy, and with tons of cameos of stars and directors of the day could have slipped by my radar for so long and not know ANYTHING about it. Yet, this silent little nugget did just that, and what a total pleasure it was to see it. Marion Davies plays a young starlet wanting to get into the movies, and William Haines plays the low-rent-comedy actor she falls in love with. But when fame beacons, she follows it, and soon becomes to big for her britches. It's a truly wonderful and engaging story. I also really really loved the lovely cameos that the stars of the day put in, Chaplin! Fairbanks! Heck, even Marion Davies makes a cameo in her own movie (which is totally hilarious). Simply a must see if you love the movies. I'm still amazed I'd never heard of it until now.
They Drive by Night (1940)
Good movie, except it's overridden with plot, about two brothers in the trucking industry and the perils they encounter. One of them (played by George Raft) gets a job at a trucking firm, only to find the wife of the boss still playing footsy with him (they had a thing in the past). He's got a dame now! The trucker's boss wife kills the boss and makes the trucker the new boss! Oh, there's still a lot lot more to be told, but as I said, this seems to be a movie with plenty of ideas, and only 90 minutes to tell it in. The MAIN plot (which, yes, is taken from the Bette Davis movie Bordertown) doesn't kick in til the final half hour of the movie. Still entertaining to watch though.
Brass Target (1978)
Any movie that casts Robert Vaughn as a scheming gay general gets my vote.
Fun little 70's "what if?" movies that ties in two unrelated things and tries to connect them, and then tries to invent conspiracy theories. It's like Inglorious Basterds 1970s style. There's a plot out to kill Patton (played rather George-Kennedishly by George Kennedy) and it's up to John Cassevetes and Sophia Loren to stop it! Oh yes, there's a gold theft in there somewhere as well, as well as the story of the assassin too. Somewhat hard to follow, but enjoyable nevertheless. Max Von Sydow is so smarmy and greasy here, he steals the show. OH RIGHT, there's also the amazing Robert Vaughn, playing WAY over type, playing a general with a secret gay boyfriend. So good!
The Old Swimmin' Hole (1940)
Peyton Place For Teens
Sort of a disjointed Robert Altmanesque (well, not really) episodic little tale about teenagers growing up in a small town and facing small town problems. You know, swimming, education, stupid kids, dead dogs, the gamut. The whole movie focuses on one kid, who recently left school to take a great opportunity at a local market, but then has second thoughts when a lot of people want him to go back so he could finish his high school and continue on to be a veterinarian. Along the way there are MANY subplots, such as will a little kid survive after being thrown into the water, will the greasy lawyer who moved into town break up a budding relationship between two old people, and so on. Not going to change the world, but still somewhat enjoyable.
Breaking the Waves (1996)
I love love LOVE Lars Von Trier films. This is a bit of a sleeper in his canon though, as there are films I like better (Antichrist, Dancer In The Dark, and the AMAZING Zentropa) but even then, this film is brilliant. All about a bit of a messed up in the head woman who marries a oil rigger. When he is critically injured, one of his requests is to have her take men on, and tell him about it to make him better. When he gets worse, she feels she's not doing enough.
Even though this film is stark and ugly at times, there is some amazing points of beauty. I really did love the chapter intertitles, with it's scenery and music, so amazing. Emily Watson, my god, just blows me away, and that ending, for some dumb reason (I've seen this about 4 times now) made me weep in how beautiful it was.
Holy Ghost People (1967)
Yay! Snakes! Weee!
YEARS ago on the internet archive, there were quite a number of videos (not film) set in the Appalachian mountains about religion, music and just general townspeople, but mostly it was about religion, and I found that INCREDIBLY fascinating, full of speaking in tongues, faith healing, baptisms, and other fun stuff (and a few boring things). They've disappeared (maybe because I gave some damning reviews to some of them), but they've always stuck out in my mind as some of the most unique vids ever on the archive. The Holy Ghost People is similar to these, maybe a wee bit more talky, grainy and non-structured then I would like, but there's still some stuff that got my attention. The interviews are interesting, and the actual speaking in tongues-hallelujah thing is really strangely bizarre. Would have liked to have known what happened to the preacher in the end.
The best movie I've seen this year! OMG. lol. Imagine if you inherited super powers, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?? When 3 High School students go down a hole and find something buried beneath the earth, that thing bequeaths them superpowers! First they learn to levitate stuff, then they learn to levitate themselves, then, they find out more. But, as Yoda has said, with great power comes great responsibility. How much can they get away with? This is all explored and played with quite brilliantly. The special effects on this one are quite awesome, with an ending that's both fun AND awesome. You can compare this easily with Cloverfield (one of my fave movies from a number of years ago).
Fun Jean Harlow movie here as she plays a starlet pretty much created by the media via sensational headlines and her trying to get away from all of it (gee, how times change). The movie has that 1930's crackle where everyone is super hyper talking all at once, and you're struggling to catch up with all of it. Even though Harlow is the title Bombshell, I was really impressed with Lee Tracy as her publicist who seems to know Harlow more than she knows herself. It sort of does get monotonous towards the end, and the twist just doesn't really resolve anything, as a matter of fact, we're right back where we started. But it's still a fun sit through.
The Good Thief (2002)
The Good Thief
Very good remake of "Bob Le Flambeur" ( but I still prefer the original). Nick Nolte plays Bob this timeout, a down and out gambler and retired crook who bites when the "big job" comes his way. He assembles a team of thieves and they construct a plan to hit the Monte Carlo casino one day before the Grand Prix. His Nemesis, a cop, has a feeling something is going down, but isn't quite sure of what. Neil Jordan does a great job of taking the source material and adding knew life into it, by adding new characters, some subplots and other surprises. I really like how actors like Ralph Fieenes waltzes right in and does a cameo and leaves. Same with the Polish towns. But the original 60's film had it's new-wave style, and nothing can replace that.
Pursuit to Algiers (1945)
Pursuit To Algiers
Pretty awesome way to finish off (for me that is, I previously had watched the final two in the series earlier in the year (or maybe earlier than that loll) The Basil Rathbone / Nige Bruce Sherlock Holmes series. Holmes and Watson are on board a ship trying to protect a young head of a foreign country from being kidnapped or killed. They take a cruise ship to where they're supposed to go with a lot of suspicious characters. Who are they and why are they are on board? All of them are explained in due time. This is all terribly entertaining as the plot, although with some implausibilities, twists and turns to it's delightful (but again, somewhat implausible) surprise ending. One of the best!
La novia ensangrentada (1972)
Blood Splattered Bride
Interesting take on the Camilla story, (which I've now seen 3 versions of), this is is terribly misogynist at first, but then it gets pro- feminist, and then gets a wee bit misogynist again. It's pretty ridiculous, gory (especially in the beginning and the end), it's Italian, so there's a bit of animal slaughter in there, and oh yes, some truly messed up ways of thinking. It's actually all a bit of a mess, as the hero of the thing starts by being, a, yes, misogynist assholde(ripping off his bride's dress, implying oral sex with his 15 year old niece!) but then the women get after him, and he becomes eerily sympathetic. It's all a wee bit strange.
The Blue Bird (1918)
The Blue Bird
Totally wacky silent here about 2 kids who stubbornly refuse to give their bird away to a sick child, then they both have a dream that finds then on a quest for another find another bird to give to them, They are joined by yes, human forms of fire, water, a cat, and, yes, a loaf of bread. They go to multiple places, some are definitely creepy, like they visit their dead grandparents AND the 5-6 dead brothers and sisters they have. Now, THATS messed up. There's a lot more too. I wouldn't recommend children seeing this, as there's way too much stuff adults would have to explain, or want to. eeps. It's all too hard to follow too. Blargh,
A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969)
A Boy Named Charlie Brown
A product of it's time, "A Boy Named Charlie Brown" isn't REALLY that politically correct nowadays if you think about it, a boy who is constantly bullied in school and teased by everyone, and has no one to turn to. (his parents are absent). I mean, is that what we want to teach kids? Anyways, he tries to find acceptance by entering a spelling bee, (again, he goes by himself without any parent) only to find failure, and no moral support when he comes home. Gee, really uplifting lol. This cartoon does have a great 70's feel to it though, with it's animation and soundtrack. Maybe not necessarily for the kids, but it could be interesting for other ages.
Amusing movie here that almost paints everyone with a broad stroke of brush. Paul Muni plays a Mexican (!!) lawyer trying to make it in law in the Mexican part of LA, but loses his first case badly, not because of his mishandling of the law , but also, as the judge states, he's got that Mexican savage blood in him! He returns to Mexico to become the second hand of a successful casino. The manager's wife (played by Bette Davis) can't stop making goo-goo eyes at him, even killing her husband to get her our of the way. Soon he falls in love, no not with Davis, but with the original client he was prosecuting against in LA, this makes Davis go insane, while the client lady is still calling Muni a "savage". This is pretty ridiculous. but it's fun wondering where on earth this is going to go next. It does take a while to get going though.
Boogie Nights (1997)
Man, "Boogie Nights" must be like "The Breakfast Club" of the 90\s. Take a bunch of actors on the cusp of stardom, and put them into a multlayered complex movie. This movie just happens to be about the Porn industry in the late 70's-early 1980's. When I first saw this when the film just came out, the only person I recognized in the cast was of course, Burt Reynolds and that rapper-turned-actor, Mark Wahlberg. Nowadays, I can recognize everyone and just be agog at how much pre-starpower there is: Julianne Moore, Heather Graham, John C, Mcginley, Don Cheadle, William Maxy, Phillip Seymour Hoffman etc etc, This film just gets better and better with each viewing, and the firecracker scene at the ending becomes more hilarious then nerve wracking ( not that it doesn't lose it's power - After maybe 3-4 viewings, I always forget the conclusion of this scene, which increases it's brilliance because it's the firecrackers you remember, and it keeps you wondering.. what happens after this?
Boot Camp (2008)
It's amusing to see that I've seen movies like Boot Camp before, from the hippie "Punishment Park" in the 70's to the Olivia Hussey "Turkey Shoot" which blended this genre, amusingly, with "The Most Dangerous Game" this type of material is not exactly original. (And actually, if you want to take it further, movies like "Battle Royale" and of course "The Hunger Games" owe a lot to this as well). Obnoxious, misunderstood kids are taken forcefully away from their home and onto an island, where they try to learn some manners! Fortunately Mila Kunis and Gregory Smith disagree with the whole setup, and try to find a way to escape. Comparing it with other films of the same genre, it's a bit more hard to take, because it takes itself way too seriously for it's own good.
The Doctor and the Devils (1985)
Doctor And The Devils
Nice retelling of the Burke and Hare murder case, which was about 2 low- life lads in the early part of the 19th century selling off bodies to an all too eager Doctor Of Anatomy. They started off grave robbing, but realized they could get more money if they had fresher bodies.... Actually, this seems more of a remake of the excellent "The Flesh And The Fiends " movie from 1960.., They've made the right move by trimming the plot and getting rid of some characters, perhaps they put more of a cliff hanger ending in there, but that's OK. Of course, Timothy Dalton is no Peter Cushing, but we'll let that slide. Actually contains a great cast for it's time.
Das Boot (1981)
Very long (I watched the 3 1/2 hour version of this) with some boring batches, some exciting patches, and some very intense patches (just like submarine life I suppose) Das Boot woke everyone up to the filmmaking skills of Wolfgang Petersen. I had known about this film for years, but never did get around to seeing it. But I finally did. It took about a week or so to watch it mind you, a little bit here, a little bit there. It definitely got better as we went along. I would recommend though, the shorter version first if you haven't seen this, and even if you just DID see the shorter version, unless you've GOT to see this, I think you'll be fine.
Very well done story about a fictional (?) boy named Hugo, and wanting to find out the secret behind the animatronic man he inherited from him Father. The connections lead to the mysterious man in the trinket shop at the train station. I had heard a lot about how great Hugo was, but somewhat purposely avoided to find out what it was about except hearing little hints along the way (It was a tribute to the movies! A Trip To The Moon is somewhat involved!) and I'm glad I did. Hugo is made by Martin Scorcese, clearly a guy who loves the historical background of the movies (I've actually seen, and touched his collection of films at the Eastman House Archives (no public access!) and this was obviously a labor of love for him. I enjoyed it. I wasn't necessarily OVERWHELMED by it, but it was cute, it seemed to have a bit of a "Chaplin" feel to it though, and may have just been a wee bit sentimental. The Academy made the right choice in giving the Best Picture Oscar to "The Artist", the OTHER film about the love of the movies.
Red Dragon (2002)
Comparing this to "Manhunter" is too easy, but yet, it must be, as both of these use exactly (well, I'm not too sure about that) the same novel to base it on. So this movie is the prequel to Silence Of The Lambs, just so you know. Anthony Hopkins' role is certainly beefed up from the Manhunter movie (which was played by another actor). Thats OK, Hopkins can play menacing a lot better. Problem is, Edward Norton is not William Petersen, who had such an intensity and believability in the role in Manhunter (he also had the 80's wardrobe) Also, Emily Watson sort of acts acts acts as the blind person (Joan Allen was so good in the original). And it's totally debatable whether Ralph Fiennes or Tom Noonan is better as Dolohyde. Both give amazing performances. I'd say stick with the original, but don't count this one out either.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
O was pretty much blown away by this. I was giggling like a school girl at some parts, amazed by the action in other parts, and yes, rather touched in others. Scott Pilgrim will be the #1 film I've seen this year, unless something else just totally blows me away, and that will be very very hard. There's all sorts of little things I love about this movie. A big thing was how wonderfully fresh the gay characters were. While some people may have an issue with some of the stereotypes here, I myself was laughing uproariously at the lines being brought down. All the action sequences were downright cool too, oh, and the soundtrack, oh, and the video game geekness about it. Arrrgh, so so so much goodness here. I gave this 4 1/2 though, because it doesn't QUITE work at the end, (oddly enough, just when Jason Schwartzman comes along) one fight too many it seems. Other then that. perfection.
Class of 1984 (1982)
Class Of 1984
Plenty ridiculous and fun (and somewhat prophetic, but not much) Class of 1984 is Death Wish mixed up with The Blackboard Jungle. Perry King plays a bullied music teacher who's almost Had It Up To Here with the menacing gang terrorizing the school (one of the students is a fat Michael J Fox!). The gang, lead by the very-80's Timothy Van Patten, look laughably cliché'd now, apparently Punk was the root of all evil in the early 80's. Anyways, Van Patten, trying to conjure up Malcom McDowell in If... perhaps, is somewhat iffy here, not really believable as a terror thug. Perry King IS fun though, he always is, and his revenge scene in the end is worth watching for.