What's on your Daily Viewing List?

Robin9

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The Rawhide Years (Peacock) 1956. Gorgeous transfer in 2.0 AR. Tony Curtis only western. . . .
Kansas Raiders?
Once a Thief (TCM app) 1965. Well, I liked this Ralph Nelson offering starring Alain Delon, Ann Margret and Van Heflin. Jack Palance and John Davis Chandler give excellent support. Well shot in B&W with a good score by Lalo Schifrin. It's kind of noirish, since the characters are doomed with nowhere to go but down.
I enjoy this film too. I like all the cast members and for me this film just works well.
 

bujaki

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Night Editor (TCM) 1946. Janis Carter dresses to kill and almost does! The killer holds a pointy instrument while talking to the detective and later on, Carter picks up the ice pick. Foreshadowing indeed! Carter's sadomasochism going under the radar post production Code is indeed remarkable. Pre-Code it figured prominently in Frances Dee's socialite character in Blood Money. Are socialites more prone to this particular psychopathic disorder?
Sleepwalking Land (TCM) 2007. First film from Mozambique that I've seen, a first-effort from a woman director, Teresa Prata, who abandoned conventional film making after this. An old man and a young boy, seemingly unrelated, fleeing marauding forces during the endless civil war unrest in Mozambique. They walk and walk and wind up always in the same place. Meanwhile, the boy reads from a journal kept by a young man killed by marauders. This young man's story is interwoven with the couple's wanderings and the boy's search for his own mother. Both stories start to converge and the reality of the world around them melds with the notebook's magic realism. It is a rare film of violence and tenderness and hope. Beautiful.
 

Robin9

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Last night I watched Arrow's revised Blu-ray disc of Black Angel, a film I've always liked a lot. (Apparently, Arrow's first disc was faulty so I held off buying until I was confident I'd get the second disc) The disc is excellent with some good "extras" thrown in for good measure. In his commentary Alan K, Rode pointed out something I'd never noticed: June Vincent plays the girl in the car at the beginning of In A Lonely Place. I'll have to upload another picture of June Vincent into the Blondes thread. She deserves it. I wish she had made more good films.

To Each His Own has arrived from Spain so that takes top priority tonight.
 

HawksFord

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It was a busy, long weekend for us and by Monday afternoon we crashed. We watched a double feature catching up on some of the Twilight Time discs I bought in their final sales. Both were Cinemascope, color, film noir (or at least noirish).

Black Widow (1954) - Van Heflin plays a Broadway producer married to a leading actress played by Gene Tierney. Peggy Ann Garner plays a young woman newly arrived in New York City who uses relationships to climb the social ladder. Also in the cast are Ginger Rogers who does a great job as an actress friend/rival and George Raft as a police detective. The story turns into a whodunnit with several twists and turns along the way. We both really liked this one.

The River's Edge (1957) - Anthony Quinn and Debra Paget play a newly married couple struggling to make it as ranchers in the American southwest. Ray Milland is a man from her past who shows wanting Paget back and Quinn to guide him across the border. Quinn and Milland both turn in terrific performances, but the story wasn't quite as strong as the first film we watched.
 

Montytc

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Tim Montavon
Watched this one after watching LA Confidential the night before. Although they are not connected in any way they feel like a good pairing to me and I consider them both to be great films. They both looked excellent, although with a modest 50" Samsung, a mid level Sony 4k player and my 65 year old eyes I don't claim to be the final word on that.
 

bujaki

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A trilogy of Spanish films based on detective crime novels in a remote region of Spain (Baztan, Navarre), all on Netflix:
The Invisible Guardian; The Legacy of the Bones; Offering to the Storm (2017-2020). Interesting for its mixture of crime, Basque mythology, witchcraft, family secrets. Gorgeous landscapes of a region not familiar to most of us. My wife was most keen on watching these films as she had read the very popular novels (in Spanish, of course).
 

DFurr

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Another one of our favorites tonight. Spielberg's The Lost World: Jurassic Park, IMO just about as good as the original Jurassic Park. 35mm/1:85:1/DTS

lost world.jpg
 
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Adam Lenhardt

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Jurassic Park
Originally Released: 06/11/1993
Watched: 09/08/2020
4K UHD digital streaming on Apple TV app via Roku Ultra

Jurassic Park (1993) iTunes Cover


One of those movies where everything just works: Great concept, great cast, great script, great action sequences. The stakes are always clear, and most scenes further multiple goals. The visual effects also hold up surprisingly well, given that this one of the first movies to use CGI in such a front and center way. The transition back and forth between Stan Winston's animatronic dinosaurs and the CG dinosaurs is mostly seamless, and the extreme weather from the tropical storm hides a lot of sins.

The framing device of the movie, with John Hammond flying in experts to endorse his park in order to ease the minds of his investors, is genius because it puts together a group of disparate colorful characters that would otherwise never have been in the same room together. The interplay between the various characters is at least as much fun as the dinosaur action. Even the minor characters, like the operations chief played by Samuel L. Jackson and the game warden played by Bob Peck, are well-defined with distinct personalities.

When Dennis Nedry sabotages the park in his attempt to steal and smuggle out the embryos, and the cast fractures to multiple groups, it's always clear where the various groups are in relation to one another. Sometimes, as when Ellie Sattler reboots the power and zaps Hammond's grandson off the fence, the actions of one group have consequences for one of the other groups elsewhere in the park.

Just one of the great cinematic thrill rides.

* * *​

All Together Now
Originally Released: 08/28/2020
Watched: 09/08/2020
1080P HD digital streaming on Netflix, upscaled to 4K via Roku Ultra

AllTogetherNow_2020_Poster.jpg


This was the most Capra-esque movie I've seen in a long, long time. And I don't just mean the feel good ending that reaffirms your faith in humanity; it's also the long journey through the darkness to get there.

It is an adaptation of Matthew Quick's novel Sorta Like a Rockstar. Quick, also wrote The Silver Linings Playbook, is one of the credited screenwriters. The film was developed by Fox Searchlight and then picked up Netflix in turnaround. It was directed by Brett Haley, who previously made the well-regarded 2018 indie dramedy Hearts Beat Loud.

The film chronicles the story of Amber Appleton, the shining light of her community. She runs many of her high school's extracirriculars, she volunteers, she works multiple jobs after school; she's like the Energizer Bunny, and almost annoyingly perfect. Then we see where she sleeps at night: On the school bus her mother drives. Since her dad's sudden death a few years earlier, they've been struggling just to keep going. Amber's perfect facade is a defense mechanism; it has been a long time since she's had the luxury of behaving like a kid.

The movie lives and dies on the casting of Amber, and fortuitously they landed Auliʻi Cravalho -- the voice of Disney's Moana. The bundle of sunshine Amber is at the beginning of the film, I knew she could handle. But it's when things go from bad to worse and then finally unbearable that she really surprised me. There is a tremendous sharpness to this performance. Amber has spent years experiencing the kind of extreme poverty that most of us will be fortunate enough to never experience. She is a survivor. And when things spiral out of control, that survivor comes to fore -- and extinguishes her light in the process.

But much like It's a Wonderful Life, this movie believes in karmic balance. Amber's luck doesn't change because a god from the machine reaches down from the heavens and makes it so. The incredible support system she discovers is a product of the community that she so steadfastly nurtured.

It's Cravalho's movie from beginning to end, but the supporting cast is solid as well. Justina Machado plays Amber's mother, who loves her daughter and nurtures her gifts but can't give her the safety and stability that every child needs. Judy Reyes plays Donna, the mother of Amber's friend Ricky, who is the kind of responsible adult that Amber's mom can't manage to be. Fred Armisen plays Amber's drama teacher. The movie is set in Portland, and his character feels straight out of a "Portlandia" skit, but he does help Amber pursue her dream of attending Carnegie Mellon, her father's alma mater. Carol Burnett has a small role as Joan, who is both the sharpest and most cantankerous resident at the retirement home where Amber works. Her character and role in the movie reminded me a lot of Andy Griffith in Waitress.

If you're looking for a respite from the unrelenting shitshow that is the year 2020, I highly recommend this movie.
 

bujaki

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Prompted by Robert Crawford, I sought on Peacock:
Gun for a Coward 1956. Fred MacMurray, Jeffrey Hunter and Dean Stockwell play brothers in a ranch spread trying to survive Mother. This is more a psychological western than an action story, so the focus is on the brothers' relationships to themselves and to the one woman who comes between MacMurray and Hunter.
TCM is continuing its marathon Women Make Films series, so I watched Part 2 of their documentary followed by:
El camino (The Path) 1963. Directed by Ana Mariscal, based on a novel by Miguel Delibes that I read as part of my first year of university literature curriculum, this lovely film observes the relationship of 3 kids spending their last months together before one of them departs for a boarding school in the city. They do pranks and interact, as kids do, with their parents and adults around them. This is small-town life in Franco's Spain, but it's small-town life anywhere, so it's funny, serious, touching. If you liked Truffaut's Small Change, you'll like this one. I'd never seen it before, and I'm so glad I caught up with it. Available in the TCM app.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Originally Released: 05/23/1997
Watched: 09/09/2020
4K UHD digital streaming on Apple TV app via Roku Ultra

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) iTunes Cover


It's a Steven Spielberg film, so it's well-crafted sequel. But it still suffers from two of the major problems one commonly associates with sequels: Trying to repeat the formula that made the original so successful; too many characters to service successfully. The biggest problem, though, is that it never quite justifies its existence; there's nothing in the movie so amazing that it feels like the movie demanded to be made. Instead, it feels like they wanted to make another one and this is the best they could come up with.

The core concept, taken from Michael Crichton's sequel novel, isn't bad: a second island used as a breeding ground which has been allowed to go wild since the failure of the park in the first movie. A good portion of the first movie was dedicated to explaining how all of the safeguards in place for the park failed; with this second island, there aren't any safeguards so those plot requirements are neatly discarded. Isla Sorna really is the high-tech science fiction equivalent of Arthur Conan Doyle's Lost World.

The problems begin with the reintroduction of Dr. Ian Malcolm as the sequel's protagonist. I understand the logic behind it; he was arguably the biggest fan favorite among the first movie's characters, and his wry commentary is a great tool for a screenwriter to have in his kit. Jeff Goldblum is just as solid here as he was in the first movie. My issue is that after his experiences in the first movie, I just don't believe he'd go back to anywhere where dinosaurs roam.

And because an uneasy adult-child pairing played well with family audiences, the sequel brings Dr. Malcolm's daughter into the mix. Putting the two of them on the island requires a series of contrivances that have alienated me before the main plot of the movie gets underway.

And then the whole conflict with the two competing factions of InGen hires feels needlessly complicated. The second team exists to provide lots of cannon fodder for the dinosaurs to munch on, and a means to get a T-Rex to the mainland where it can roam the streets of San Diego. Each of the characters in the first movie felt distinct and brought something worthwhile to the table. In this movie, too many of the characters feel like generic types.

On the plus side:
  • Vanessa Lee Chester is unconventional casting as Jeff Goldblum's daughter, but it totally works. I watched Alfonso Cuarón's adaptation of A Little Princess a few weeks ago, and Chester was far and away the most talented of the young actresses in that movie. In the first movie, there is a throwaway line about how Dr. Malcolm has three kids and even more ex-wives. Presumably Kelly is one of the three kids mentioned. The movie never clarifies whether she is his biracial biological daughter or his adopted daughter, but either way you believe the history between them. He is smart, and she is smart, and they have arguments that feel like arguments most parents have with their twelve-year-old daughters, only at a higher level with vocabulary like "troglodyte". Goldblum has a very particular and offbeat rhythm, and Chester zeroes in on it and plays off it well.

  • This is probably the only time Richard Schiff will ever get to be an honest to God action hero. The entire sequence with the trailer hanging off the cliff is thrilling stuff, probably the best action sequence in the franchise to date.

  • Pete Postlethwaite never disappoints. He made InGen's hired gun big game hunter way more complex and compelling than he had any right to be.

  • The opening sequence, with the wealthy British family dining on the beach of Isla Sorna, only for the young daughter (played by a prepubescent Camilla Belle) to run off and be attacked by dinosaurs, is a really effective scene which immediately reestablishes the high stakes of this environment.
 
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Thomas T

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I like this film and am a bit disappointed it's not more widely known.
It's a good film and quite daring for its era in dealing with abortion, euthanasia, substance abuse and prejudice against women in the medical field (as doctors, not nurses). Alas, its potency has since been diminished by years of TV medical shows from Dr. Kildare to Gray's Anatomy! It still holds up though and there are some good performances, notably Nick Adams, Cliff Robertson and Suzy Parker.
 
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bujaki

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Tragedy tomorrow,
Comedy tonight!
Mother Is a Freshman (TCM) 1949. Loretta Young (an actress whose beauty has always eluded me except when she still had baby fat) and Van Johnson (an actor who's a notch higher than June Allyson in my tolerance meter) are paired in this Technicolor comedy which looked decent except for some isolated shots that inexplicably turned orange. Enjoyable fluff with self-referential jokes to Rudy Vallee. First-time viewing.
My Favorite Blonde (Peacock) 1942. Terrible, old transfer of a very enjoyable romp with Hope and Carroll, she playing a British agent, he playing the chump who winds up helping her elude ne'er-do-wells trying to stop her at all costs.
The Road to Singapore (Peacock) 1940. The first of the Road movies starring Hope/Crosby/Lamour. I'm assuming this is the same transfer provided to Kino. The template is created for subsequent pairings of the trio. It's still fresh after all these years.
The Road to Zanzibar (Peacock) 1941. The second pairing of the above trio with the welcome addition of Una Merkel. The comedy is now more playful and self-referential. Same transfer as Kino's?
The Road to Utopia (Peacock) 1945. This is the fourth of the Road movies. Lamour added so much to this one, but the boys are always fun to watch. They really worked well together. I'm assuming this transfer is also the same as Kino's.
 

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