What's on your Daily Viewing List?

HawksFord

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Charley Varrick (1973) - I don't remember ever seeing this Don Siegel directed film before which seem surprising, but it didn't do well at the box office so maybe that's why. Walter Matthau stars as a small time bank robber who runs afoul of the mob and a hitman played by Joe Don Baker. After a burst of action near the beginning, the film does a nice slow burn building up to the climactic scene. I haven't explored all the extras yet, but the documentary Last of the Independents: The Making of Charley Varrick was very good.
 
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bujaki

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Danger Signal (TCM) 1945. Good noir with Zachary Scott as the suave, cold, homme fatal. Terrible ending. Where did his nemesis come from? Unfortunately, not a good print, so James Wong Howe's lighting got lost in the murk.
The Postman Always Rings Twice (HBO Max+) 1981. Since this is a post-Production code version, it is seamier and "dirtier" than the 1946 MGM one. Nevertheless, the acting, particularly Lange as Cora, is superb. I miss Garfield.
Season 1, Ep. 3 Alfred Hitchcock Presents (Peacock) So far to go...
Column South (Starz) 1953. Cavalry outpost in New Mexico, early 1861. Tensions run high as North and South rival sympathies flare. Add a combustible mixture of Indian trouble concocted by a treacherous commander with Confederate ties...Audie Murphy saves the day. At the end, the traitors march towards the Confederate lines, having forgotten their oath to the flag of the United States of America. Very old, mediocre transfer.
The Duel at Silver Creek (Starz) 1952. Don Siegel's name attracted me to this western with Audie Murphy, who disappears from the action for quite a while, leaving the spotlight to Stephen McNally and Faith Domergue (sigh) as the femme fatale. Good action sequence at the climax. Excellent print.
 

bujaki

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Today:

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I read Victor Hugo's novel decades ago in HS and had never seen any movie version before watching these today. I prefer the earlier film as I feel it channels the novel better. However, both have their merits.
Good mix. As far as film versions of Hugo's novel, and none is as good as the book, the best I've seen is the French one directed by Raymond Bernard, available in an Eclipse DVD set, cut by a few minutes, and a full version in a Masters of Cinema (Zone B Blu Ray fabulous edition). For the record, I do not like the musical, and I loathe the film version of it.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Color Out of Space
Originally Released: 01/24/2020
Watched: 09/13/2020
4K UHD digital streaming on Apple TV app via Roku Ultra

Color Out of Space (2020) Poster


This is a supremely weird movie, even though the reality of what is going on is relatively straightforward. It takes place in that creepy, unsettling corner of Massachusetts that thankfully doesn't exist except in the mind of H.P. Lovecraft. The Portugal shooting locations further the sense of things being off-kilter.

The entire movie is a love letter to Lovecraft; even the stuff that isn't drawn directly from the short story being adapted nods to Lovecraft's larger body of work.

Nicolas Cage, Madeleine Arthur, and Tommy Chong are all known for playing offbeat characters, that becomes increasingly true as the movie goes on. The rest of the cast is solid as well.
 
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Robin9

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Last night I watched Hell Is A City on a DVD which froze two thirds of the way through! According to one of the "reviewers" on IMDB, the version uploaded to YouTube (shameless bootleggers) is good so I'll watch the few minutes I missed tonight. The film is pretty good without being excellent. Two central motifs are borrowed from It Always Rains on Sunday although director Val Guest said the way he directed was influenced by The Naked City.

As other Val Guest films have now been released in high definition I hope Hell Is A City comes out soon on Blu-ray disc.
 

bujaki

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Miscast 2020 (You Tube) Live virtual broadcast of B'way performers singing songs NOT suited for them. For example, a male singing Eponine's On My Own; a female singing Some Enchanted Evening; a male singing and dancing Charity's If My Friends Could See Me Now; a male singing Mrs. Lovett's The Worst Pies in London;...you get the idea. Mostly brilliant. If interested, go to You Tube channel Miscast and enjoy past broadcasts as well.
Apache Drums (Starz) 1951. Western that actually shows grace under pressure and character development. Good print. I liked it.
War Paint (Starz) 1953. Weird opening in widescreen; then come the titles in academy ratio; then the film continues in widescreen. Oh, well. Bob Stack needs to deliver a peace treaty to Indian chief; his two children try their best to derail his troop; even his troop sabotage his efforts. Most of the action is a slow trek through a desert and the internal struggle of the men as they disintegrate physically and morally. Print was mediocre.
The Naked Dawn (Starz) 1955. Auteur Edgar Ulmer directs in Technicolor!! and the film is nominated for the Golden Lion in the Venice Film Festival!! Arthur Kennedy and Betta St. John in full brown make-up play Mexicans, but do not descend to cheap stereotypes. Offbeat film that starts with a death and talk of redemption, and ends with a death and the redemption of the older man and the young couple who now see themselves in a parent/child relationship. Strangely, it works. A favorite film of Truffaut. Did Ulmer shoot this film in Academy ratio?
 
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Matt Hough

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Miscast: one of the greatest numbers I've ever seen was "Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag" by Michael Berresse and Tony Yazbeck. Well, it was done for Broadway Backwards, but it's the same motif as Miscast.
 

bujaki

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Miscast: one of the greatest numbers I've ever seen was "Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag" by Michael Berresse and Tony Yazbeck. Well, it was done for Broadway Backwards, but it's the same motif as Miscast.
Try Lin-Manuel Miranda and Raul Esparza singing A Boy like That...
Or a soulful Aaron Tveit singing As Long as He Needs Me...
Or Jonathan Groff channeling Sutton Foster as Reno Sweeney singing and dancing Anything Goes with a company of chorus boys and girls singing and tapping away...
I could go on and on...just tune in.
I've never seen Broadway Backwards; not familiar with it.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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The Farewell
Originally Released: 07/12/2019
Watched: 09/14/2020
4K UHD digital streaming on FandangoNOW app via Roku Ultra

The Farewell (2019) Poster


Earlier in the evening I read Jiayang Fan's incredible story in the New Yorker about managing her mother's ALS during the current COVID-19 pandemic, and all of the fault lines it highlighted between her Chinese past and her American present. It put me in the mood to watch this movie, which is also centered around a young Chinese-American woman caught between her family's Chinese traditions and her own American values.

It is a thoroughly bilingual film, with at least as much dialogue in Mandarin as in English. Even the onscreen credits are in both English (written the Latin alphabet) and Mandarin (written in Hanzi). Billi, the protagonist, is an ideal point of view character for the audience: She is Chinese enough to function comfortably in Changchun, but she is also American enough to be disconcerted by the things that would make most Americans in the audience feel disconcerted. And the movie is really attuned to the differences between how Billi relates to her parents, and how the Wang family as a whole relates to one another.

Despite the cultural specifics of the premise, and many of the traditions observed over the course of the movie, the depiction of family is quite universal. I think most viewers will be able to find analogs in their own family tree for many of the characters in Billi's family.

Zhao Shu-zhen, primarily a stage actress, is phenomenal as Billi's grandmother who is being kept in the dark about her own grim prognosis. The love that Nai Nai has for her granddaughter shines through in every scene they share together.

Awkwafina is really fascinating to watch as Billi. She's still an Asian American Millennial with bad posture and an in-your-face Queens accent. But many of the other qualities that are baked into her Awkwafina persona are stripped away here, so that perhaps we're seeing more of the real Nora Lum. Appropriately, given the circumstance, it's a melancholy performance. She spends most of the movie reacting to the other characters, and we learn a lot about Billi through those reactions.

This is a film à clef, based heavily on writer/director Lulu Wang's real experiences. Wang initially shared the story on an episode of This American Life on NPR, which brought it to the attention of producer Chris Weitz. There is a specificity that comes to that; she knows exactly what Billi is thinking and feeling, because in a way she is Billi. Her actual great aunt plays Billi's fictional great aunt in the film.
 
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bujaki

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The Secret of Convict Lake (Starz) 1951. A Fox film (catch them while you still can!) with a great cast of women without men (Tierney, Dvorak, Barrymore, Donnelly) terrorized by escaped convicts (main baddie Zachary Scott), but Glenn Ford is actually a good convict. Tense with a somewhat offbeat "we judge/jury/executioner" ending.
Ambush at Tomahawk Gap (Starz) 1953. Ex-convicts in search of buried loot enter a now ghost town and are attacked by Indians. Although their allegiances are frail, they fight together for their survival as they are mowed down. Bloody western with a surprising character development at the climax.
Two Flags West (Starz) 1950. From Fox and Robert Wise, a story of Confederate prisoners who join Union forces in New Mexico. Great cast: Joseph Cotten, Linda Darnell, Jeff Chandler, Cornel Wilde...Extraordinary lighting provided by the great Leon Shamroy. Wise directs with great sensitivity the intimate scenes and with excitement the action ones.
Dawn at Socorro (Starz) 1954. Not in its OAR! But Piper Laurie makes it worthwhile! It starts with an OK Corral-like shootout and ends with another exciting shootout. The flashback motif does not work.
 
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JohnRice

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Color Out of Space
Originally Released: 01/24/2020
Watched: 09/13/2020
4K UHD digital streaming on Apple TV app via Roku Ultra

View attachment 78430

This is a supremely weird movie, even though the reality of what is going on is relatively straightforward. It takes place in that creepy, unsettling corner of Massachusetts that thankfully doesn't exist except in the mind of H.P. Lovecraft. The Portugal shooting locations further the sense of things being off-kilter.

The entire movie is a love letter to Lovecraft; even the stuff that isn't drawn directly from the short story being adapted nods to Lovecraft's larger body of work.

Nicolas Cage, Madeleine Arthur, and Tommy Chong are all known for playing offbeat characters, that becomes increasingly true as the movie goes on. The rest of the cast is solid as well.
That has to be the shortest review you've ever written. I got the 4K disc and have watched it once. I think it begs a double feature with Mandy one of these days.
 

Robin9

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Yesterday I watched Le Doulos, one of Jean-Pierre Melville's best films. Jean-Paul Belmondo was superb.

So today I watched another Melville movie, Le Cercle Rouge which, when it first came out, I thought was over-rated. Today was only the second time I've seen the film and I now appreciate it much more. A phenomenal cast: Alain Delon, Yves Montand and Gian Maria Velonte . . . . . . and almost no women!
 
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Jeff Flugel

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Wow, been a while since I've posted in this thread. Can't keep up with you guys here. ;) Will definitely be ramping up my movie viewing come October, though, with the next October "Scary Movie Challenge."

Here are the handful of films I've watched over the past couple of months:


Mystery Road
Good detective thriller, beautifully shot, with an Aussie western vibe and a compelling lead performance by Aaron Pedersen. The subsequent TV series (especially the first season, co-starring Judy Davis) is even better.


The Big Fix
Very interesting late '70s mystery with strong San Francisco atmosphere and location work. Richard Dreyfuss is perfect casting for Moses Wine, former hippie radical turned single dad private detective. Twilight Time's Blu-Ray looks really nice.



Those Redheads From Seattle
Must confess, I found this one a little disappointing...a film that just couldn't figure out exactly what it wanted to be. It tries to be many things - a musical, a Klondike adventure, a western, a romance, a family drama - and ends up not pulling any of them off. Rhonda Fleming sure looks purty, though. Plus, the 3D is good. A very nice disc package from the folks at the 3D Film Archive.



Small Soldiers (HD streaming on Netflix Japan)
I had forgotten how fun and imaginative this Joe Dante '90s fantasy is.



Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Love this film; it really captures what life at sea on a British naval vessel circa 1812 must have been like, and is a good stab at transferring Patrick O'Brian's wonderful series of novels to the screen. Russell Crowe is simply terrific as Capt. Jack Aubrey.



Knives Out
Very enjoyable, with a clever, twisty plot that Agatha Christie herself would have appreciated. Daniel Craig chews the scenery like nobody's business as amateur detective, Benoit Blanc, and Ana de Armas is positively luminous.



Mile 22
Top-notch action and a neat final twist are let down by a half-baked script and a strangely conceived, obnoxious Mark Wahlberg performance.



Rogue Male (1971)
Peter O'Toole give a marvelously stiff-upper-lipped performance in this adaptation of Geoffrey Household's novel. This version is, IMO, far superior - and far more faithful to the novel - than 1941's Man Hunt.
 
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