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Mysto

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marv long
I wish people on both sides of this argument stop overreacting because it’s getting us nowhere towards acknowledging our past and moving forward to the future.
I'm sorry - I don't see how my statement was overreacting or an argument - but we'll move on.
 

BobO'Link

Lead Actor
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Howie
Yesterday and so far today:

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I *really* enjoyed the Dr. Who episode " Genesis of the Daleks" - and learned the correct pronunciation of Dalek. :) I finished that Tom Baker season and am looking forward to watching the "New Who" seasons I recently purchased.

Escape from L.A. is an old favorite, Star Wars: Episode VII was a 3rd viewing (liked it a bit better but still find it to be mostly a reimagining of A New Hope), Equilibrium was a new viewing. It's OK but reminds me too much of Fahrenheit 451 mashed up with The Matrix (mostly the fighting bits) and several other SF works. The director/writer gives no credit to Ray Bradbury in spite of the story "borrowing" heavily from Bradbury's tale (IMHO it's mostly a reimagining of Bradbury's tale).
 

bujaki

Cinematographer
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Jose Ortiz-Marrero
Arizona Raiders (iTunes) 1965. Audie Murphy rides and shoots. He starts off as a late addition to Quantri(e)ll's Raiders, joins the Arizona Rangers, flips flops and flips flops again. OK, not great. Good to see Buster Crabbe in a late role.
Borsalino (iTunes) 1970. Belmondo and Delon (so cool and so handsome!) star as small-time pimps in 1930 Marseilles who rise to the top of underworld crime. Stylish and brutal. Unavailable in physical format.
The Sign of the Ram (TCM) 1948. I had seen this film many years ago (must have been a better print since this one was very lacking). Peters was very good. Thaxter was wasted. Guffey's lighting was very good. Peggy Ann Garner must be institutionalized at once; boarding school will never cure her warped mind.
 
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Robert Crawford

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The Sign of the Ram (TCM) 1948. I had seen this film many years ago (must have been a better print since this one was very lacking). Peters was very good. Thaxter was wasted. Guffey's lighting was very good. Peggy Ann Garner must be institutionalized at once; boarding school will never cure her warped mind.
You got that right!:rolling-smiley:
 

Matt Hough

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Matt Hough
I'll talk about The Sign of the Ram later. After I finished it, I went to the TCM app and watched Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Not a great MGM musical, but an entertaining one with a fine cast and a Roger Edens score that, although it threw off no standards, suits the frame story perfectly. Still in HD, it appeared, and I could just as easily have watched my DVD, but I always have hope when one of the MGM musicals appears on TCM that maybe a new transfer has been struck.
 

Adam Lenhardt

Director
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Albany, NY
The Patriot
Originally Released: 06/28/2000
Watched: 07/04/2020
4K UHD disc via Panasonic DP-UB820

ThePatriot_2000_UHDCover.jpg


Historical movies are interesting, because they speak at least as much to the time in which they were made as they do to the time they're depicting. Hamilton is a reflection of Obama's America. 1776 is a reaction to Nixon's America. The Patriot came out five months before the closely fought and long disputed 2000 presidential election. America had outlasted the Soviet Union and experienced a decade of incredible economic growth. The nation was headed into the new millennium with optimism. At the same time, the language of public discourse was changing to avoid offense or disadvantage to members of particular groups in society.

The first person we see in this film is a young black boy working the fields of Benjamin Martin's plantation. It was an image that stuck with me the rest of movie. Director Roland Emmerich and screenwriter Robert Rodat made a film that is aware of the systemic injustices of colonial America but isn't much interested in grappling with them. Instead, they find ways to sidestep those systemic injustices.

This begins with Benjamin Martin, a fictional composite character who combines the heroic virtues of Andrew Pickens, Francis "Swamp Fox" Marion, Daniel Morgan, and Thomas Sumter but possesses none of their failings or shortcomings. He is a South Carolina plantation owner, a member of the planter class, but he does not own slaves. Instead, he works the fields alongside freedmen whom he presumably pays a wage. This is a fantasy, invented presumably because the filmmakers knew that audiences wouldn't root for a protagonist who owned other human beings as property.

It continues with Occam, a slave who earns his freedom by serving for more than a year in the continental army. There is a historical basis for this character; many of the enslaved men who fought in the war on the American side did secure their freedom after the war. But the purpose of including the character isn't to broaden our understanding of who participated in fighting but rather to divert the audience's attention from the fact that over 700,000 people would still be in bondage at the end of the war.

It continues with the depiction of warfare between the American revolutionaries and the British. While the movie does a good job of showcasing how the Americans utilized assymetrical warfare and guerilla tactics to overcome Britain's superior resources and training, it minimizes atrocities on the colonial side and exaggerates atrocities on the British side. The British under Colonel Tavington have more in common with Nazis than the actual redcoats fighting in the thirteen colonies during the 1770s.

So what we're with then is an action flick that happens to use the Revolutionary War period as its setting. And how does it work on that level? Actually, pretty damn good.

John Williams's score is terrific, and Caleb Deschanel's painterly cinematography is beautiful -- on this UHD disc, at times, stunningly so.

As Martin, Mel Gibson gives a very different performance than his usual action hero persona. This is a man shaped by loss and regret, and it tempers him in some really interesting ways. There's a moment midway through the movie where Tavington tries to get Martin to violate his agreement with Cornwallis by provoking him. Martin doesn't rise to the bait. Watching Gibson in this movie, I was reminded on something Laura Dern's Marmee said in Greta Gerwig's recent adaptation of Little Women: "I'm not patient by nature, but with nearly forty years of effort I'm learning to not let it get the better of me." Benjamin Martin is not patient by nature, but through marriage and parenthood he has learned to not let it get the better of him.

As Tavington, Jason Isaacs makes for a terrifically compelling villain. There is nothing redeemable about this man at all, and Isaacs commits totally to his horribleness.

Heath Ledger has a nice arc in the picture, going from restless teenager to married man.

The supporting cast is an embarrassment of riches, including Joely Richardson as the sister of Martin's dead wife, and his current love interest; Chris Cooper as Martin's commanding officer, who he'd fought alongside in the French and Indian War; René Auberjonois as the reverend who fights as part of the militia; Tom Wilkinson as Cornwallis; Donal Logue as a racist local in Martin's militia who improbably befriends Occam; Leon Rippy as one of Martin's rough around the edges comrades from the French and Indian War, experienced at Martin's guerilla tactics; and Adam Baldwin as a Loyalist who grows increasingly disillusioned as a result of his time serving under Tavington.
 
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Matt Hough

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I stumbled across complete episodes of Burke's Law on YouTube this afternoon. Since I don't own the first three mystery seasons on DVD; not sure all three were ever released (never cared for Amos Burke, Secret Agent), I watched one this afternoon and will likely watch a couple more this evening.
 

bujaki

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Jose Ortiz-Marrero
A John Ford triple feature, all revisits:
The Last Hurrah (Indicator BD ZONE B LOCKED) 1958. I saw this when it came out. Wee lad then and, although I remember liking it, I'm sure most of it went right over my head. I next remember seeing it in NYC in the mid-'70s and liking it very much. It was another gorgeous 35mm print and I was struck by the extraordinary B&W images (courtesy of Charles Lawton, Jr.) and the wonderful acting. This time around, in addition to those two elements still in evidence in this great transfer, I was able to savor the story much better in light of the politics of today. "Better a rogue than a fool," as the bishop says. Often funny, sometimes dirty (it's politics, after all), sentimental, but earns its tears. Recommended.
The Long Gray Line (Indicator ZONE B LOCKED) 1955. I also saw this when it was somewhat newish. Not in '55 because our theater was not yet equipped for 'Scope. I enjoyed it then and I enjoyed it, particularly since this is the first time I've seen it in its OAR of 2.55 and in 3-channel stereo, and in what's called a 4K "restoration." Episodic retelling of Marty Maher's "life" at West Point, full of humor, Irish blarney, pathos, love of country, sacrifice, family ties: all Fordian themes. Even the end is a reprise of the ending of How Green Was My Valley with two of the same actors showing up! It's still as effective. Recommended. BTW, this was Ford's first 'Scope film, a format he hated, but Lawton, Jr., also provided the cinematography and it is well-lit and composed.
7 Women (TCM app) 1966. Ford's final film was a critical and box-office failure. Of course, the French critics knew better...Anyway, I saw it when it came out and liked it. Saw it again around the time I saw The Last Hurrah in NYC (I just can't remember whether it was at MoMA during Ford's retrospective or at the Carnegie Hall Cinema; regardless, it was a 35mm print), and liked it even more. The TCM print is an abomination: old, non-anamorphic transfer; even the trailer is anamorphic! Bu the movie and Ford's touches still shine through. People trapped and besieged react very differently; some rise to the occasion while others fall. There's enough psychological and pathological behavior going on here beneath the surface, somewhat unusual and very modern for Ford. Much maligned in its time and not widely seen since then, this film needs a reappraisal. A proper remastering is required and a BD ASAP.
 

Robin9

Producer
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Joined
Dec 13, 2006
Messages
5,476
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Robin
A John Ford triple feature, all revisits:
The Last Hurrah (Indicator BD ZONE B LOCKED) 1958. I saw this when it came out. Wee lad then and, although I remember liking it, I'm sure most of it went right over my head. I next remember seeing it in NYC in the mid-'70s and liking it very much. It was another gorgeous 35mm print and I was struck by the extraordinary B&W images (courtesy of Charles Lawton, Jr.) and the wonderful acting. This time around, in addition to those two elements still in evidence in this great transfer, I was able to savor the story much better in light of the politics of today. "Better a rogue than a fool," as the bishop says. Often funny, sometimes dirty (it's politics, after all), sentimental, but earns its tears. Recommended.
The Long Gray Line (Indicator ZONE B LOCKED) 1955. I also saw this when it was somewhat newish. Not in '55 because our theater was not yet equipped for 'Scope. I enjoyed it then and I enjoyed it, particularly since this is the first time I've seen it in its OAR of 2.55 and in 3-channel stereo, and in what's called a 4K "restoration." Episodic retelling of Marty Maher's "life" at West Point, full of humor, Irish blarney, pathos, love of country, sacrifice, family ties: all Fordian themes. Even the end is a reprise of the ending of How Green Was My Valley with two of the same actors showing up! It's still as effective. Recommended. BTW, this was Ford's first 'Scope film, a format he hated, but Lawton, Jr., also provided the cinematography and it is well-lit and composed.
7 Women (TCM app) 1966. Ford's final film was a critical and box-office failure. Of course, the French critics knew better...Anyway, I saw it when it came out and liked it. Saw it again around the time I saw The Last Hurrah in NYC (I just can't remember whether it was at MoMA during Ford's retrospective or at the Carnegie Hall Cinema; regardless, it was a 35mm print), and liked it even more. The TCM print is an abomination: old, non-anamorphic transfer; even the trailer is anamorphic! Bu the movie and Ford's touches still shine through. People trapped and besieged react very differently; some rise to the occasion while others fall. There's enough psychological and pathological behavior going on here beneath the surface, somewhat unusual and very modern for Ford. Much maligned in its time and not widely seen since then, this film needs a reappraisal. A proper remastering is required and a BD ASAP.
I've seen Seven Women only once and I liked it although at that time it was fashionable to sneer at it. I'd love to see it again but only if the presentation is good.
 

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