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HawksFord

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Maurice
A few months ago, I went on a Titanic kick and watched a few different movies based on that incident. I think A Night to Remember is my favorite, but I also quite like the 1953 Titanic with Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb.
 

HawksFord

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Over the past week or so, we went through the four movies and commentary tracks in Kino-Lorber's Ida Lupino box set:

Not Wanted (1949)
Never Fear (1949)
The Hitch-Hiker (1953)
The Bigamist (1953)

We'd seen The Hitch-Hiker before, and it's a terrific film noir. I wish Lupino had the chance to make more films like this one. The commentary by Imogen Sara Smith was very good as well (no surprise; she's always good).

The other three films were new to us. Each deals with a particular issue: unplanned pregnancy, polio, and bigamy. We both liked these but had different preferences. I quite liked Edmond O'Brien in The Bigamist for its complex portrayal of the bigamist and critique of society in which he lives. My wife had some trouble appreciating a bigamist as a main character. She preferred Never Fear and Sally Forrest's struggle with a sudden onset of polio. The character's feelings resonated with her own feelings as a cancer survivor. Both of us had Not Wanted, about an unplanned pregnancy, as our second favorite of the three. It packs a powerful emotional punch, but I didn't think we got deeply enough into the main character (also played by Sally Forrest).

I initially balked at picking up this set since I had The Hitch-Hiker on an earlier blu-ray release. I'm glad I finally picked it up. The other three films are all worth watching, and the commentary to The Hitch-Hiker added to our appreciation of the film.
 

Thomas T

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IMG_E9602 (2).JPG
 

Matt Hough

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I watched last night Great Performances production from PBS, a documentary on the making of the production of Company now on Broadway. Illuminating and quite wonderful, it featured lots of clips of past productions and interviews with past and present cast members with generous looks at the current production.
 

Keith Cobby

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Top Gun - my wife expressed an interest in seeing the new Top Gun film so I thought I'd better watch the first one. It was ok, but I slightly fast forwarded through some of the flying scenes! I like a few of Tom Cruise's films but there is something about him that really irritates.

Dunkirk (2017) - I love this film, I think it's a masterpiece. First time viewing of the making-of featurette, which further elevated my admiration for Chris Nolan. I still can't believe it didn't win anything, was Shape of Water the better film, did Blade Runner 2049 have superior cinematography. It won for sound mixing, and is certainly the loudest film I have experienced theatrically. Maybe Oppenheimer will do better or perhaps he is destined to follow Hitch, we will see.
 

Dave Moritz

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May 29th, 2022 Sunday

Obi-Wan Kenobi
Pt1
Pt2
4K Digital / Dolby Vision / Disney +
Dolby Atmos 7.2.4

ObiWan Kenobi.jpg



Jack Reacher
4K Digital / HDR / Amazon Video
Dolby 5.1 upmixed to Auro 7.2



Jack Reacher.jpg
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Top Gun
Originally Released: 05/16/1986
Watched: 05/29/2022
1080P HD digital streaming on Netflix, upscaled to 4K via Roku Ultra

Top Gun (1986) Poster


Recommended?
It Depends

On What? Whether you view the movie's status as the epitome of eighties excess is a commendation or a condemnation. It's a showcase of all of Tony Scott's best and worst qualities as a director; the movie features some truly spectacular aerial dogfighting scenes that continue to set the standard. The movie is generally well-cast, and features that reliable Simpson/Bruckheimer crowd-pleasing magic. But the characters are paper thin, and the endless parade of uber-macho -- and strangely homoerotic -- dick measuring through most of the movie gets really old really fast.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Albany, NY
Top Gun: Maverick
Originally Released: 05/27/2022
Watched: 05/30/2022
In theaters: 12:00 PM matinee on Screen 3 at Landmark's Spectrum 8 Theatres


Top Gun: Maverick (2022) Poster


Recommended?
Yes

Why? The perfect balance between nostalgia and modern thrills, it excels at everything that was great about the first movie, while avoiding many of that film's flaws.

My thoughts (which may contain spoilers) are available here.


* * *​
The Village
Originally Released: 07/30/2004
Watched: 05/30/2022
1080P HD digital streaming on Apple TV app, upscaled to 4K via Roku Ultra

The Village (2004) Poster


Recommended?
No

Why Not? A terrific cast and strong production design and cinematography aren't enough to compensate for a movie that doesn't grapple seriously enough with its core premise, and too often feels driven by its twist ending.

My thoughts (which may contain spoilers) are available here.
 

Robin9

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Last night I watched Kino-Lorber's 4K disc of In The Heat Of The Night. I've always admired this film and am very pleased that this 4K presentation shows the film so well.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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A Pride Month Selection

Crush
Originally Released: 04/29/2022
Watched: 06/01/2022
4K digital streaming on Hulu via Roku Ultra

Crush (2022) Poster


Recommended?
It Depends

On What? Whether you find the movie endearing enough to paper over its flaws.

This Hulu original is the latest teen coming-of-age movie from American High, a production company which is based out of an old middle school near Syracuse. Of the three I've seen, this one is the weakest. The script is overwritten, and the movie feels the need to hammer home that our heroine is gay roughly every thirty seconds.

But I can't say it was a negative viewing experience. Despite the shoehorned in profanity, alcohol, and drug use it's actually a pretty innocent story about two shy girls falling in love for the first time.

Rowan Blanchard shined as the title character in "Girl Meets World", a Disney Channel-based continuation of the beloved "Boy Meets World" from my childhood. I remember thinking what a gifted comedic performer she was, then only a tween, with a rare gift for humor through physicality that only a small handful of actresses -- Lucille Ball and Brittany Murphy, for example -- possess. Now she is a lanky twenty year old with a deep voice, but those same qualities shine through here as Paige Evans. There are a number of moments in this movie that shouldn't work but do, because she sells the hell out of them. And she's still good at portraying earnest emotion, which is a deceptively hard thing to do.

Auliʻi Cravalho, aka Disney's Moana, is good here as the main love interest, a guarded student athlete who lives in the shadow of her taller, prettier, more extroverted twin sister. To the extent the movie works, it works because the audience likes both girls and wants them to be happy. Their love story isn't hot and steamy, it's tender and delicate and uncertain.

Maybe it's a Gen Z thing, but this is the nicest group of high school students I've ever seen. There isn't really a bad apple or a villain in the bunch. Nobody really means Paige ill, and everybody from her hetero best friend (a nice inversion of the gay best friend trope) to the Wiccan girl to the school jocks just want what's best for everybody. Unlike Millennial movies, where coming out was a major deal, the LGBTQ kids in this movie came out well before the start of this story, with little or no drama.

What edginess there is comes from the adult characters, played by a trio of well known actors. Paige's sexually promiscuous mother is played by Megan Mullally, and it's a very Megan Mullally role. Aasif Mandvi plays the track coach, probably the closest character to an antagonist in the film. But he's mostly there to be mildly exasperated. Michelle Buteau plays the principle, whose overriding preoccupation is her Renaissance Faire hobby.

It's a movie with a lot of shortcomings, but I liked Blanchard and Cravalho enough not to care. If nothing else, it's a very difficult movie to dislike.
 

DFurr

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Don
Great movie tonight from Netflix......Premonition...........a bit hard to follow until the last 30 minutes when it all started to come together.

premonition-210x300.jpg
 

Keith Cobby

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Passengers (2016) - I like this sci-fi film but the ending feels tacked-on. Lots of unanswered questions, how long did they live, did others wake up, were there subsequent generations. There was (is) scope for a sequel. The 4k disc is outstanding and one of the best I own.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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A Pride Month Selection

Spring
Originally Released: 08/25/2021
Watched: 06/02/2022
1080P HD digital streaming on Amazon Prime Video, upscaled to 4K via Roku Ultra

Spring_2021_Poster.jpg


Recommended?
Yes

Why? This crowdfunded indie film is ultra low-budget, but the spartan production values prevent any artifice from intruding. Rose (Emma Maddock) is a disaffected British teenage prodigy, two grade levels ahead, who has been involuntarily relocated to her American mother's hometown. Tyler (writer/director Alexandra Swarens) is a painfully student athlete, who hovers on the periphery of a clique of the school's mean girls. Tyler is taken by Rose from the first moment she lays eyes on her. Rose, initially too preoccupied by her own discontentment, takes a bit longer to notice Tyler. This is not a coming out story; both girls are already out to their friends and family, and at ease with their sexuality. But it is very much a coming of age story, tenderly and sweetly capturing something of the awkwardness and uncertainty and magic of being a teenager falling in love for the first time. Swarens is a bit too old to be credible as a high school student, but both her and Maddock sell the hell out of the feelings blossoming between Tyler and Rose. The world of the film is run down and kind of desolate, in a way that makes the growing bond between the two girls feel like a kind of sanctuary. By the time the end credits rolled, the world felt just a bit less isolated and lonely. Swarens is a filmmaker to watch, and Maddock deserves to be an indie star.
 

Dave Moritz

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June 3rd, 2022 Friday

Top Gun (1986)
4K Blu-ray / Dolby Vision
Dolby Atmos to Auro 3D 7.2.4

Going to go see Top Gun: Maverick in the theater tomorrow so this was a planned viewing of Top Gun. And yes I have purchased this movie a few times, lol.

Top Gun pre4K.jpg






Top Gun 1080 to 4K.jpg
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Crimes of the Future
Originally Released: 06/03/2022
Watched: 06/03/2022
In theaters: 7:20 PM showing on Screen 18 at Regal Crossgates & IMAX


Crimes of the Future (2022) Poster


Recommended?
No

Why Not? While it heavily features David Cronenberg's usual trademark mix of body horror, technology, and transformation, the narrative muddles forward rather than charges forward. There is some facile commentary about performance art and humanity's degradation of the environment, and a series of plot threads that feel disjointed and out of sync with one another. I wasn't quite bored, but I was never really invested or engaged either.

My thoughts (which may contain spoilers) are available here.

* * *​
A Pride Month Selection

Cabaret
Originally Released: 02/13/2022
Watched: 06/03/2021
1080P Blu-ray disc, upscaled to 4K via Panasonic DP-UB820

Cabaret (1978) Blu-ray Cover Art


Recommended?
Yes

Why? Bob Fosse's cinematic adaptation of the 1967 Tony Award winner for Best Musical is a magnificent achievement that showcases Joel Grey (reprising his most iconic role as the devilish master of ceremonies) and Liza Minnelli in Academy Award-winning performances. It is sexy and fun and deeply unsettling -- sometimes all at the same time.

It's easy to see why Minnelli's performance as Sally Bowles furthered her status as a gay icon: Bowles represents a radical act of self-invention, embodies the drag queen ethos. That those around her can easily see through the artifice is more or less unimportant; the artifice is the armor with which she is able to face the world, and weather its blows.

One of the most striking things about Fosse's work behind the camera is how cinematic it is; the movie never feels like a filmed stage performance. Fosse's mastery of timing and arrangement and motion shape the editing, shot compositions, and camera movement here. And he uses the power and immediacy of the cinema -- and Geoffrey Unsworth's gorgeous cinematography -- to lean into the darkness, to stare unblinkingly at the looming catastrophe. Even when the story is at its most libertine, the triangle between Sally, Brian, and Max at its most potent and decadent, the movie never lets you forget about fascism's inexorable rise.

The movie draws a bold line between the rise of Nazism and the increasingly brazen defiance of conservative sexual more represented by both the pageantry of the cabaret and the baron's seductively degenerate lifestyle. At the same time, however, the ambiguity of gender and sexuality in these arenas and their delight in irony serve as a robust and lively retort to Nazism's solemnly self-important dogmatism.
 

Keith Cobby

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Xanadu (1980) - I love the way this fuses 1940s musicals with late 1970s roller disco. My favourite Gene Kelly film is Cover Girl, and Xanadu book-ends his career 36 years later. Fabulous music and songs from E.L.O. and John Farrar. The highlight, which was added later, is Gene dancing with the luscious Livvy. No idea why this is so poorly regarded.
 

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