What's on your Daily Viewing List?

Bryan^H

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I'm a Judy Canova fan, and really wish more of her films were available in any format of home video. Until then I'll take what I can get.
 
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Adam Lenhardt

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Today was a Netflix day:

I Am Not Your Negro
Originally Released: 02/03/2017
Watched: 08/09/2020
1080P HD digital streaming on Netflix, upscaled to 4K via Roku Ultra

I Am Not Your Negro (2016) Poster


This is a very difficult movie to classify. It could be called a documentary, or an adaptation of a book that was never written, or a work of social commentary.

The spine of the movie is a proposal that James Baldwin sent to his literary agent, for a memoir that would confront the state of race relations in America from the context of the assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Baldwin's words from that proposal, recited by Samuel L. Jackson, provide the narration that drives the movie forward and gives it its shape.

Set against that narration is a wide variety of footage from the past and the present. The movie jumps frequently between Jackson's narration of Baldwin's writing and archival interview footage of Baldwin himself. The cumulative effect is to be put inside Baldwin's head, to get a sense of how he perceived America, a sense of how he engaged with the world around him.

At the same time, the movie draws connections between Baldwin's ideas and observations in 1979 and the world as it is today. That so many of his observations about America's failures have such ready parallels today for the filmmakers to draw upon is more than a little dispiriting.

* * *
Work It
Originally Released: 08/07/2020
Watched: 08/09/2020
1080P HD digital streaming on Netflix, upscaled to 4K via Roku Ultra

Work It (2020) Poster


After the heavy seriousness of that movie, I was looking for something light and frothy so I went with this Netflix Original Movie. Sabrina Carpenter plays an uptight academic who creates a dance team to try and beef up her extracurricular. What happens next is more or less exactly what you'd expect would happen next.

Carpenter was always one of the more talented Disney starlets, and she delivers exactly what's required of her here. She has decent chemistry with Jordan Fisher, who is credible as locally renowned dancer and choreographer. Liza Koshy brings a certain amount of spunk as the best friend of Carpenter's character, who is also the more talented dancer.

If you've seen any dance movie, you've already seen what this movie delivers. There is some good dancing, but not in the ballpark of the best dance movies. What it does well is capture the joy of dancing; the big competition at the end of the movie is almost beside the point, because the real success is Carpenter's character learning how to get out of her own head and find things that make her happy.

With the major studios having abandoned mid-budget character-driven movies, Netflix is just about the only one left operating in that space. I just wish they aimed higher with their output. They pony up for decent casts, but -- with a few notable exceptions -- the final product feels like it was mechanically designed to hit certain metrics. Instead of letting analytics drive production decisions, I wish they'd give new, exciting filmmakers $10 million and just see what they come up with.

Netflix is developing a recurring roster of actors, and it's no coincidence that many of them are Disney Channel alumni; the formula for Netflix's original movies is very similar to Disney Channel's formula for original movies. There's nothing wrong with the end result, but there's nothing especially exciting or surprising about the end result either.
 

Robin9

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Yesterday I re-watched The Mississippi Gambler which stars Tyrone Power and Piper Laurie. I hope this one comes out on Blu-ray soon. I'm going to watch several Piper Laurie films in the next few weeks but not tonight because The Public Eye has just arrived and I'm eager to see this film.
 
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dana martin

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This Morning's Matinee: after a month or so of Noir jumping to the Pre-Code Era

First Up

1597083541629.png 1597083569856.png

Barbara Stanwyck is truley one of the Pre-Code Goddesses, the transfer is good, not optimal, as there was some movement on screen a few times, but other than that a stellar presentation. Of course this is the more risque Pre release version. DVD uprezed looks good, but would like to see the Warner Archive, maybe delve into more of there pre-code classics with HD releases.
 

bujaki

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This Morning's Matinee: after a month or so of Noir jumping to the Pre-Code Era

First Up

View attachment 76789 View attachment 76790

Barbara Stanwyck is truley one of the Pre-Code Goddesses, the transfer is good, not optimal, as there was some movement on screen a few times, but other than that a stellar presentation. Of course this is the more risque Pre release version. DVD uprezed looks good, but would like to see the Warner Archive, maybe delve into more of there pre-code classics with HD releases.
I showed Baby Face to my adult son and his jaw dropped. And he's not film illiterate.
 
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bujaki

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Hercules in the Center of the Earth aka Hercules in the Haunted World (Kino BD) 1961. I opted for the longer Italian version. Peplum and horror in Technicolor via the prism of Maria Bava, which really should be BavaColor. Christopher Lee plays (what else?) a vampire who fights Hercules for the life of his beloved. The colors are intoxicating, the special effects are quite good, considering that Bava created most of them in camera. There's humor, horror, action. Great fun. 3 versions are included in this edition.
Budapest Noir (Kino BD) 2017. Budapest 1936. A young prostitute is killed, so what? This murder uncovers a nest of corruption, rising antisemitism, Hungary's alignment with Hitler, a sense of impending doom. The mystery is solved and our lead walks away over wet pavement, away from a Jew who senses the coming storm, while he himself is in denial. It can't happen here. It's Budapest.
 
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Matt Hough

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Over the weekend, I stumbled over iTunes' sale price on the 1936 Romeo and Juliet. For $4.99, I was happy to buy it. The movie is beautifully directed by George Cukor and expensively produced. Sure the main parts are played by actors twenty years too old, but they speak the lines well, and I had no problem adjusting to this "elder-statesman" version of the classic tale. I'm not sure I had ever bothered to watch this entire movie before. For years, I played in my classroom a 16mm version of the film that ran about 45 minutes which MGM produced for many of their classic book-to-film movies (Tale of Two Cities, Anna Karenina) for use in schools.

One big takeaway for me after seeing these famous actors squaring off in the public square was how much shorter John Barrymore was to his fellow stars: Basil Rathbone towered over him and so did Reginald Denny and Leslie Howard. I had never thought about him as being particularly short before.
 

Robert Crawford

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This Morning's Matinee: after a month or so of Noir jumping to the Pre-Code Era

First Up

View attachment 76789 View attachment 76790

Barbara Stanwyck is truley one of the Pre-Code Goddesses, the transfer is good, not optimal, as there was some movement on screen a few times, but other than that a stellar presentation. Of course this is the more risque Pre release version. DVD uprezed looks good, but would like to see the Warner Archive, maybe delve into more of there pre-code classics with HD releases.
I watched my HD digital on iTunes last year.
 

Robert Crawford

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Over the weekend, I stumbled over iTunes' sale price on the 1936 Romeo and Juliet. For $4.99, I was happy to buy it. The movie is beautifully directed by George Cukor and expensively produced. Sure the main parts are played by actors twenty years too old, but they speak the lines well, and I had no problem adjusting to this "elder-statesman" version of the classic tale. I'm not sure I had ever bothered to watch this entire movie before. For years, I played in my classroom a 16mm version of the film that ran about 45 minutes which MGM produced for many of their classic book-to-film movies (Tale of Two Cities, Anna Karenina) for use in schools.

One big takeaway for me after seeing these famous actors squaring off in the public square was how much shorter John Barrymore was to his fellow stars: Basil Rathbone towered over him and so did Reginald Denny and Leslie Howard. I had never thought about him as being particularly short before.
That's a great price which is less than when I purchased it from iTunes in 2019. I've only watched the first 10 minutes of that HD digital so I need to watch the movie in its entirety so I can compare it to the 2007 DVD.
 

dana martin

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Last Night's Feature Presentation
Continuing with the set

1597130391407.png 1597130410205.png

Jean Harlow in the title role, face of an Angel, and definitely fills the name of the title correctly, this is no waifish girl but a full bodied woman with dresses that accentuate her ample curves, and plenty of scenes where she is hiking her skirt up to show as Tony Soprano would say “the meaty part of her thigh”.

Golddigger, Maneater, Manipilator those three words could be used to describe “Red”. She knows, not only what she wants but how to get it, very liberated view of a woman with an sex drive equal to that of a man, that 2 years later would be suppressed by enforcement of the code, this woman has an appetite for carnal activities, and not just classic hum drum type.

It had been years since I had viewed this and had completely forgotten how brazen it is on one incredibly unique scene. The main male protagonist slaps the crap out of her, and she only gets more excited, and tells him “Do it Again, I Like It”, driving him to close the door and as you hear the noises on the other side of the door one can only wonder as it opens and she is lying on the floor crying in disarray, but looking as if she is relishing every moment that has passed, not certain but this may be one of the first indications of a Sadomasochistic relationship on film.
 

dana martin

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Early Morning Viewing

1597143215833.png 1597143429753.png

One film collection, three different studios represented TCM did a great job in this initial release.

Waterloo Bridge (1931), This is possibly the weakest film of this collected release, it’s very stagy, but considering that it's an adaption of a play some of that has to be considered. James Whale uses Universal Studios back lot quite well, I believe The Paris Opera House from Phantom of the opera is used as one set piece in the beginning of the film.

It starts with Mae Clarke as a chorus girl in the opening production number on her last evening of the program, nice Pre-Code moment In the chorus girls dressing room as there are many frilly things and some things that aren't quite left to the imagination because of the see through fabric of the undergarments. (Definitely didn't see anything like that in the Vivian Leigh version). Unable to find shows to hire her, she “walks” a different path. The fact the she is a “Fancy Lady” seems to be the biggest reason this would be an issue with any censorship, that, and the brief changing room scene. But she is the Hooker with a Heart of Gold, that will not marry the soldier just to get his money.

Unlike the other two films in this collection the female lead in this has a moral compass, she is a fine decent girl who was put in unconventional circumstances and did what she needed to do to survive. At the end of the film she agrees to marry the soldier because she honestly does love him ah, but redemption is short lived, and anything can happen in war.
 
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Matt Hough

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That's a great price which is less than when I purchased it from iTunes in 2019. I've only watched the first 10 minutes of that HD digital so I need to watch the movie in its entirety so I can compare it to the 2007 DVD.
The transfer is not ready for Blu-ray, that's for sure, but it looked very nice for the most part. There is damage along the way and some spotting, but it's sharp (except in Shearer's close-ups), and Bill Daniels photographed it brilliantly. Easy to see why he was Garbo's cinematographer of choice.
 

TJPC

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Over the weekend, I stumbled over iTunes' sale price on the 1936 Romeo and Juliet. For $4.99, I was happy to buy it. The movie is beautifully directed by George Cukor and expensively produced. Sure the main parts are played by actors twenty years too old, but they speak the lines well, and I had no problem adjusting to this "elder-statesman" version of the classic tale. I'm not sure I had ever bothered to watch this entire movie before. For years, I played in my classroom a 16mm version of the film that ran about 45 minutes which MGM produced for many of their classic book-to-film movies (Tale of Two Cities, Anna Karenina) for use in schools.

One big takeaway for me after seeing these famous actors squaring off in the public square was how much shorter John Barrymore was to his fellow stars: Basil Rathbone towered over him and so did Reginald Denny and Leslie Howard. I had never thought about him as being particularly short before.
You may be like me. After years of sitting beside the tv showing films for my English classes, I can almost recite the sound tracks for "Death of A Salesman", "To Kill A Mockingbird", "12 Angry Men", "Of Mice And Men", "F451" etc. etc.
 
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bujaki

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Last Night's Feature Presentation
Continuing with the set

View attachment 76817 View attachment 76818

Jean Harlow in the title role, face of an Angel, and definitely fills the name of the title correctly, this is no waifish girl but a full bodied woman with dresses that accentuate her ample curves, and plenty of scenes where she is hiking her skirt up to show as Tony Soprano would say “the meaty part of her thigh”.

Golddigger, Maneater, Manipilator those three words could be used to describe “Red”. She knows, not only what she wants but how to get it, very liberated view of a woman with an sex drive equal to that of a man, that 2 years later would be suppressed by enforcement of the code, this woman has an appetite for carnal activities, and not just classic hum drum type.

It had been years since I had viewed this and had completely forgotten how brazen it is on one incredibly unique scene. The main male protagonist slaps the crap out of her, and she only gets more excited, and tells him “Do it Again, I Like It”, driving him to close the door and as you hear the noises on the other side of the door one can only wonder as it opens and she is lying on the floor crying in disarray, but looking as if she is relishing every moment that has passed, not certain but this may be one of the first indications of a Sadomasochistic relationship on film.
I love the amorality of this film. The lead has no moral compass whatsoever. But she's going to have a good time no matter what or who gets in her way.
 
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bujaki

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Early Morning Viewing

View attachment 76822 View attachment 76823

One film collection, three different studios represented TCM did a great job in this initial release.

Waterloo Bridge (1931), This is possibly the weakest film of this collected release, it’s very stagy, but considering that it's an adaption of a play some of that has to be considered. James Whale uses Universal Studios back lot quite well, I believe The Paris Opera House from Phantom of the opera is used as one set piece in the beginning of the film.

It starts with Mae Clarke as a chorus girl in the opening production number on her last evening of the program, nice Pre-Code moment In the chorus girls dressing room as there are many frilly things and some things that aren't quite left to the imagination because of the see through fabric of the undergarments. (Definitely didn't see anything like that in the Vivian Leigh version). Unable to find shows to hire her, she “walks” a different path. The fact the she is a “Fancy Lady” seems to be the biggest reason this would be an issue with any censorship, that, and the brief changing room scene. But she is the Hooker with a Heart of Gold, that will not marry the soldier just to get his money.

Unlike the other two films in this collection the female lead in this has a moral compass, she is a fine decent girl who was put in unconventional circumstances and did what she needed to do to survive. At the end of the film she agrees to marry the soldier because she honestly does love him ah, but redemption is short lived, and anything can happen in war.
I prefer this film to the glossy remake. This has more grit and realism. Plus it is directed by the great James Whale and has a very affecting performance from Mae Clarke. Saw this at MoMA when it was "rediscovered" after it had been suppressed by MGM for over 30 years (although it was probably suppressed by the Code long before that).
 
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bujaki

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The Florodora Girl (TCM app) 1930. The last time I saw this film it was a beat up print that showed nothing of the quality of the film. Therefore I was glad to tune this time to watch a restored print in the correct OAR and with (surprise to me) the 2-color Technicolor finale. Marion Davies was her usual sparkling, delightful self, and her supporting cast was a hoot. All in all, a real old-fashioned treat.
I'd forgotten to mention that I'd watched the final 4 chapters of The Alienist: Angel of Darkness on TNT. Worthwhile series based on the novel by Caleb Carr. The conclusion was violent, showing the effects of cruelty on children.
Casque d'or (TCM app) 1952. Jacques Becker's film about a woman who brings death to the 3 men attracted to her. Simone Signoret won a Best Actress BAFTA as the woman at the center of the doomed love affair. A tale of friendship, honor, loyalty, betrayal, duel to the death, murder, execution: all set in the criminal world of the Belle Epoque. Haunting ending.
 

bujaki

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A separate ending for the next films:
The City without Jews (Flicker Alley) 1924. Based on a 1922 eponymous novel by Hugo Bettauer, this Austrian film tells the story of a city (Utopia, a thinly disguised Vienna) beset with inflation and joblessness, rampant antisemitism, and many other social ills. Needless to say, the far right blames the Jews for everything and vote to expel the Jewish population, even converts. The city will receive a loan from a wealthy American industrialist to help float their debt. Jews are carted off in trains (a portent of things to come!), leave their synagogues and homes in the depths of winter, trudging in the snow (hard to watch), pogrom like soldiers escort them to the border, etc.
The Prime Minister, who had been advised by one counselor not pursue this inhumane plan, suddenly finds that no other country will trade with Utopia. Industry and banking stops. The American will no longer support Utopia because his daughter is going to marry a Jew. What to do? Invite the Jews back? A scathing satire and a plea for understanding and unity.
The ending, with a rabid antisemitic counselor locked up in an asylum, looks like something out of Caligari.
The author of the novel was shot to death in 1925 by a raving Nazi who was tried and sentenced to 2 years; released from prison, he took part in the Nazi putsch and joined the SS and served in the Eastern front where he was undoubtedly happy killing Jews and Russians. After the war, he was a dental hygienist; was interviewed in Austrian TV in the '70s and frankly admitted to the killing and was totally unrepentant of any of his nefarious acts. Great guy.
This film was lost after 1933. A nitrate copy was found in a Paris flea market in 2015. The Austrian Film Archive wanted to restore the film for its incredible historical value; however the government does not provide funds to the Archive. Therefore, the Archive started a crowdfunding project. Fortunately for it, (and I'm quoting) in 2016 a far-right candidate who was advocating many of the doctrines advocated in the film was running for office in Austria; also, in another part of the world, another nameless far-right candidate was advocating the building of walls; so between these two forces, the European and the American contributions flowed freely and the Archive was able to restore the film. An important film.
Victims of Hatred (Flicker Alley) 1923. Part of the above release, this is a documentary feature by the Jewish Relief Organization in Vienna. It tells a flashback story of a Jewish family who suffers misfortune and is aided by the Organization. The ending brought tears to my eyes. Three girls ages 4-5 in their fine dresses and huge bows in their hair smile and applaud and ask for contributions to the Fund, and I couldn't help but wonder which, if any, of those girls survive the Holocaust?
 

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