Author Topic: Antares' Short Summations  (Read 153591 times)

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #240 on: November 15, 2012, 01:05:55 AM »
5 Against the House (1955) 59/100 - Has there ever been an actress more vacuous than Kim Novak? To me, when she's on screen, she has the appearance of a deer in the headlights. Yeah, she's beautiful, but man, she has no screen presence whatsoever. The film itself is rather lackluster until the last twenty minutes or so. I found the whole pre-heist build up to be grating, especially the bits with the college freshman. I'm only giving this a passing grade for those last twenty minutes, when the actual heist is taking place. It's a shame that the intensity of that time frame couldn't be spread out a bit more across the whole breadth of the film. But I will say that it was fun to see a pre-Hank Kimball, Alvy Moore. He has some of the best lines in the early part of the movie.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 11:31:33 PM by Antares »

Offline DSig

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #241 on: November 15, 2012, 04:07:46 AM »
Nah .. i disagree with you.  She was great in Bell, Book and Candle and I have liked her in other things.  But tastes do vary ..
Thank you
David

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #242 on: November 17, 2012, 04:45:49 PM »
Criss Cross (1949) 78/100 - I really wanted to like this a lot more than I did, but it has a few glaring problems that keep it from being considered a masterpiece in the film noir genre. First, there isn't enough exposition in the beginning of the film to explain the relationship between Steve and Anna. Second, Dan Duryea doesn't get enough screen time or character development. Third, the ending is a little convoluted. Where did Anna and Steve get all the money they have when Nelson brings Steve to the house in Palo Alto? Back at the robbery, Steve is shot in the shoulder and passes out, holding on to one half of the payroll. The other half is taken by Slim and the rest of the gang. So how did Anna wind up with Steve's share? After Steve passes out, the scene shifts to him waking up in his hospital room, a hero for saving half of the payroll. I've been going over it in my head and it doesn't make any sense. Aside from that, the film is a blueprint for what a film needs to be considered a classic noir. You have the amazingly seductive femme fatale, played by the drop dead gorgeous Yvonne De Carlo. De Carlo is the actress that Ava Gardner always wishes she could have become. She can play either a good girl or the tempting bad girl with ease. I couldn't take my eyes off of her and it's a shame that she's primarily remembered for her role as Lily Munster, because she definitely has talent. You have the poor sap, who doesn't know whether or not he's being played for a fool, but can't help himself because the little head is doing all the thinking for the big head. Top those off with a nail biting story, believable heist sequence and decent bad guys and you should have the makings of a masterpiece. But unfortunately, those problems I spoke of hinder this film's ability to reach that strata. It's a good film with a very good final scene, but it could have been more... much more.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 11:32:26 PM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #243 on: November 23, 2012, 10:42:16 PM »
Human Desire (1954) 84/100 - This is my second noir from Fritz Lang, the other being The Big Heat. For some reason, that is the film that seems to get the most praise and press in Lang's canon. I can't see why, because aside from both starring Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame, Human Desire is the much better film. What I liked most about this one was the fact that you didn't have just one dumb sap who'll do anything for a dame, you have two. You can see what's going to happen to Ford's character from the get go, but what's interesting is watching the disintegration of Broderick Crawford's character, as his world crumbles around him. He's just as madly in love with the scheming, sizzling Vicki (Grahame), and he sets his life on the path to ruin to keep her. I've only seen Crawford in a couple of films, and it's too bad he didn't possess Tyrone Power type looks, because he definitely has the chops for leading man acting chores. Gloria Grahame, as usual, is molten lava in this, she's bad or is she? You see what transpires in the coach car and you wonder if she's just a victim of fate. From beginning to end I loved what Lang does with the story. You never really know what's going to happen, at times, it seems like the inevitable will come about. But as the film closes, one of the three dies, and it's surprising to find out who that someone will be.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 11:33:15 PM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #244 on: January 05, 2013, 12:38:15 AM »
Forty Guns (1957) 59/100 - What a mess of a movie! Pretty much a glorified and extended episode of television's Virginia City, Bat Masterson or Have Gun, Will Travel. I didn't know whether to be enthralled by the looseness of the film, or snicker at the sexual innuendo that was rife in this screenplay. Unfortunately, I found myself snickering more than I was interested in this disjointed mess. It's called Forty Guns, yet the forty hired men are nothing more than a phallic symbol in the beginning of the movie and they disappear about 30 minutes in. The story is then riddled with a lot of really bad acting (The exception being Barbara Stanwyck & Barry Sullivan), bad dialog and ridiculous set pieces, like the tornado scene. For a second there, I thought I was watching the precursor to that awful film Twister, you know, at the end when Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton are caught in the middle of the tornado and they both come out without a scratch. Well, that's what happens here to. I think the only thing I found worthwhile about this story, was the ending. When Sullivan finds a shocking way to shoot Stanwyck's brother. I didn't see that coming and it was kind of ballsy.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 11:34:23 PM by Antares »

Rogmeister

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #245 on: January 05, 2013, 12:37:38 PM »
I had a copy of 40 Guns...I like westerns but I disliked this movie enough that I gave it away after watching it once.  Some consider this to be a great film.  I'm not one of those.

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #246 on: January 18, 2013, 11:53:47 PM »
None But the Lonely Heart (1944) 65/100 - I can see why wartime audiences didn't connect with this film. First, you have Cary Grant playing a very un-Cary Grant type role. Second, the film as directed by Clifford Odets, is all over the map, never really meshing when all is said and done. It never can decide whether or not it wants to be a romance film or Dickensian tragedy. The cast gives it their all, and as always, Ethel Barrymore proves that she was the most talented in the Barrymore family. Too bad she's not as well known as her two brothers, for her performance was worthy of the Oscar she won for it. Grant does an acceptable job, but from time to time, he slips in and out of his cockney accent, and it kind of tarnishes his performance. Barry Fitzgerald is once again at his scene stealing best and George Coulouris plays the heavy with complete aplomb. Odets may have been a great writer, but he should have handed the directorial chores to someone who understood what movie audiences are looking for when they plunk down their money to see a movie. In the end, it may have been Grant's favorite role, but the film itself is very forgettable.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #247 on: January 23, 2013, 10:51:20 PM »
Last Year at Marienbad (1961) 96/100 – If you would have asked what I felt about this film after the first thirty minutes, I would have told you it was arthouse tripe. But something happened at around the 30 minute mark… I fell asleep. I had been tired when I first ventured into this film, not a smart thing when one is dealing with a French new wave film, and I slept for about an hour. When I awoke, I found where I had been when I dozed off and continued on. But then I felt myself being sucked into the surrealistic imagery. It reminded me of the feeling I have for Classical music Tone poems, which is what this film kind of replicates. Is it a dream, or maybe a nightmare, could it be an allegory for French society? It is so ambiguous that I finished it a little over an hour ago, and my mind is still fixed upon many scenes. My favorite scene is when the camera rushes through the hotel and bursts through a window and expands upon the garden grounds, which are bathed in a most luminescent sunlight. A few guests of the hotel are scattered around the courtyard, and they are motionless, just like the statues that rim the perimeter. But the guests draw long shadows on the ground, yet the trees and the statues do not. It’s a strikingly beautiful shot, which reminded me of a Rene Magritte painting. There are countless other scenes that are meticulously crafted throughout this film’s duration and make for a rather confusing, yet fascinating venture into the realm of surrealism. Would I recommend this film to everyone…hell no! It is too vague, too ambiguous and maybe one could say, a bit too weird for most people’s tastes. But if you love a film that makes you ponder, haunts your mind, then this is a film for you. I can see where this may have been influential to other directors in the following years. Many times throughout, I could see where Kubrick had borrowed some elements for The Shining and also maybe, Polanski for certain ways to depict abstract horror in Repulsion. I’m definitely going to revisit this film again. But for now, it’s time to delve into the plethora of extras which are on disc two of the Criterion set.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #248 on: January 24, 2013, 10:30:06 PM »
Django (1966) 68/100 - Good beginning and a good ending, unfortunately the rest of the film makes you truly appreciate what a genius Sergio Leone was with his four westerns. It appeared to me that Corbucci never really had the same love of the American west and Hollywood's vision as Leone did. When Leone created for the screen, it was a love affair, with Corbucci, it's all just matter of fact, mud and violence. There were times when it bordered on camp with so many ridiculous moments of unreal violence, something that must have inspired Sam Peckinpah when he made The Wild Bunch, as the ambush scene is eerily similar to Peckinpah's blood bath at the fiesta. I did enjoy Franco Nero's performance though, he definitely had that certain something that screamed screen presence. I watched it in its original Italian soundtrack, maybe I should have used the English dubbing. I may have liked it more, because the cheesy dubbing is what makes most spaghetti westerns entertaining. Oh, and one final note, I spoke of the campy nature of certain scenes, well, this was definitely further augmented by the horrible soundtrack by Luis Bacalov. Ennio Morricone he is not.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #249 on: January 24, 2013, 10:56:45 PM »
Searching for Sugar Man (2012) 81/100 - Before films became my main hobby, music was my one love. I grew up as a child in the sixties and basked in the creative outputs of the greatest musical generation. So it irked me that I had never heard of this performer or his music. I had heard the urban myth about the performer who created suicide on stage, but that's what it was, just a myth. Listening to the clips that are played in this documentary makes one wonder why he never had a successful career. He had a voice that was harmonic and rich, yet eerily similar to Bob Dylan. His lyrics were poetic, and laced with a societal substance that few songwriters every attain. Maybe it was his ethnic background that created the ceiling he couldn't punch through or maybe it was a case of the right songs at the wrong time. All the while I was watching this, I felt a connection between Rodriguez and another performer who was never truly understood, Laura Nyro. She too, was a gifted songwriter with a distinct flair, but only achieved marginal success. The documentary itself, is pretty manipulative. I say that because after I finished it, I jumped on the web to do some research on the man chronicled. That's when I found out that the underlying theme of the film, that Rodriguez never knew success and had just disappeared, wasn't exactly true. Six years after his second, and final album was released, he did achieve a small level of success in Australia. Which is never mentioned in the film. And that's where I have a problem with the film. After learning about what transpired in Australia in 1979 and the subsequent release of a live album not mentioned, I felt that I had been slightly duped by the director and writers of this film. You can't take poetic license when you are trying to make an historical documentary, which this film is. Sure, the story as shown, is heartwarming and intriguing, but in the end, it kind of rings hollow, if you do just a little bit of research on your own. So while I enjoyed learning about this performer and will definitely seek out his two albums, I can't give this a higher rating, because it is just manipulative mythologizing for the sake of entertainment.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #250 on: January 31, 2013, 12:10:24 AM »
Un homme et une femme (1966) 72/100 - This is a film that's burgeoning with style. yet rather thin on substance. The plot is so threadbare, it had to be padded out with an abundance of jump cuts and extraneous filler scenes to make it more than just a time travelogue of the mid sixties. But I can't complain, because at least I got to gaze upon Anouk Aimee for ninety plus minutes. She's another actress who can make the argument that today's actresses are just amalgamations of their plastic surgeons and fitness trainers. She's soft, alluring, mysterious and incredibly seductive, and you can believe that a man like Jean-Louis would drive all the way from Monte Carlo to Paris, non-stop, and then back to Deauville just to be with her. I will probably re-visit this film again sometime in the future, but only if it is released with a more substantive set of subtitles. Nothing drives me more nuts than when a media company releases a DVD where bits of dialog or lyrics to songs aren't translated and that happens quite a few times in this film. I would have loved to know what the woman was singing when Jean-Louis and Anne are approaching the train station, or what Anne's husband was singing in those samba lyrics. It may have helped me to understand why she fell in love and why she was still in love with him.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
« Last Edit: February 07, 2013, 01:06:27 AM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #251 on: February 01, 2013, 03:14:12 AM »
L'avventura (1960) 60/100 - Lot's of pretty people, lots of pretty shots and lots of time wasted on lots of nothing. It's very rare that I can't wait for a film to end, but this definitely was one of them. Too bad, because I felt that the first 40 minutes showed potential for a very good film. But once they gave up looking for Anna, it becomes meandering and meaningless. I think what bothered me most was how abruptly things would shift from one scene to another. First they're looking for Anna, then when they can't find her, Sandro fixates on Claudia. Claudia, doesn't want to have anything to do with Sandro, but in a blink of an eye, she's madly in love with him. My rating is only for Monica Vitti and for the wonderful cinematography, the film's only saving graces.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
« Last Edit: April 05, 2013, 02:16:48 AM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #252 on: February 07, 2013, 01:05:56 AM »
Hiroshima, mon amour (1959) 82/100 - It lays the groundwork technically for the much better, Last Year at Marienbad which came out two years later. Alain Resnais is a master of black and white cinematography, probably rivaled only by Kurosawa at the time. There are so many great shots in this film and the framing of the characters in certain scenes, proves what a genius like Resnais can do in the medium. I loved in the beginning of the film when the embraced couple is shown with ash falling all over their skin, then it cuts away to the after effects of the Hiroshima bombing. It returns to the couple, and now their skin is clean, changing the mood of the scene, before once again, switching to more of the bomb's harsh reality. Finally, it's switches back to the couple one more time, but now, the couple's skin is covered in beads of sweat, indicating to the viewer that the rest of the film is a love story. In just a span of a few moments, Resnais creates three different motifs, showcasing fear of the unknown, the comforting embrace of two people, possibly in love and finally, the erotic nature of romance. It was an absolute masterstroke of genius. This is the third film I've seen directed by Resnais, and he's definitely become, alongside Eric Rohmer, the shining beacons of the French New Wave for me.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
« Last Edit: April 05, 2013, 02:17:05 AM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #253 on: February 20, 2013, 01:59:07 AM »
Coffy (1973) 67/100 - This film made me really feel a bit of nostalgia for my younger days back in the seventies. I had a friend who lived next door to a slowly dying drive-in movie theater. On summer nights, we'd crawl through a hole in the dilapidated wooden fencing in his back yard and after spreading out blankets and lawn chairs, would sit back and watch the best and worst of B movie fare for free. I never saw this film in that situation, but I can assure you, it would have been one of our favorites. It really should be called Tits-a-Poppin', because AIP must have had it in their contract with the director that there can't be a ten minute gap in the film without someone either disrobing or having their blouse ripped off to show their breasts. Pam Grier is her usual smokin' self and really doesn't get much to do except get naked and get revenge for her sister. If you go into it with the right mind set, you can have a lot of fun with a film like Coffy, but if you're looking for a slick production or a masterfully written screenplay, then you've embarked on the wrong ship. One last note, Roy Ayers is definitely not Isaac Hayes or Curtis Mayfield, as the soundtrack for this film seems as if it was thrown together in just a few hours, and is pretty lame.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
« Last Edit: April 05, 2013, 02:17:28 AM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #254 on: February 20, 2013, 02:15:16 AM »
The Emperor Jones (1933) 65/100 - This is my introduction to Paul Robeson and I have to say I'm pretty impressed. What an amazing voice and screen presence he has. The film itself is a bit of a mixed bag. From what I've read on other sites, O'Neill's play is pretty much glossed over and the film lacks the power of the theatrical play upon which it is based. I've never read the book or seen the play, so I can't make a comparison. I didn't get bored with it, but it kind of lacked an edge which would have made me enjoy it more. It was a bit shocking to see many bits of real stereotyping like the crap game and the razor fight or the surprising amount of use of the word nigger in this. With Robeson's activist background, I would have thought he would have found a way to get those lines changed. All in all, he made me eager to delve into the rest of the Criterion set that this was a part of.

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is