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 Posted:   Oct 2, 2023 - 5:24 PM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)

THE BLUE CAFTAN (2022) 9/10

Halim has been married to Mina for a long time, with whom he runs a traditional caftan store in the medina (old town) of Salé, Morocco. The couple has always lived with Halim’s secret – his homosexuality – about which he has learned to keep quiet. However, Mina’s illness and the arrival of a young apprentice upset this balance. United in their love, each will help the other face their fears. Beautifully acted and photographed, and you're drawn into the story immediately. It's amazing that this film could be produced in Morocco where such topics are generally taboo.

 
 Posted:   Oct 3, 2023 - 3:05 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Music Box (1989) ... 4+/10

Although I'd understood this film's story involved a courtroom drama I hadn't expected such scenes to dominate the 2hr run-time. This is one of the film's faults but the major problem with the drama is the twist (very similar to Jagged Edge (1985) - same writer: Joe Eszterhas) which makes a mockery of several key story points.

The copy I watched had decent picture and sound but I missed some of the dialogue due to the strong accents and filming style - e.g. whilst there is talking between counsel and witness the camera leads us to subsidiary characters in the courtroom as one whispers to another only what is said is indecipherable; at least once we hear dialogue spoken between characters who have their backs to us which is unclear. Surely the filmmakers have a duty to ensure that any relevant dialogue can be heard and understood.

Also, what was the point re: one of the grandfathers telling Mikey the Holocaust was not real ... other than Jessica Lange speaking tersely to both this goes nowhere and is then forgotten.

I liked the portrayals of the lead characters (not so Michael Rooker as Jessica Lange's brother) and the few brief scenes of Budapest were very welcome after the claustrophobic courtroom settings. Philip Sarde's score was enjoyable (I have a single cue: Ann's Theme) and this adds to Ann's despondency as she attempts to prove her father innocent.

Not as good as I'd hoped.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 3, 2023 - 9:36 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

STOP MAKING SENSE (1984) – 8/10

I haven’t seen a lot of concert films, but STOP MAKING SENSE, with the band Talking Heads, is the only one I’ve seen that is nothing but concert. Director Jonathan Demme doesn’t waste any time showing what goes on backstage, watching audience members file into the hall, interviewing musicians or hangers-on or people philosophizing about the state of rock music. If David Byrne, the leader of Talking Heads does any talking to the audience during the show, Demme has chosen not to show it (other than Byrne’s introduction of the band members at the end). The resultant 90 minutes is as pure a distillation of the Heads’ music as you are going to get outside one of their albums.

Demme culled the footage from three different shows at Los Angeles’ Pantages Theatre during the band’s 1983 tour to promote their album Speaking in Tongues. In order to minimize the number of cameras in the frame, one show was all shot from one side of the stage, the next night was shot from the other side. Demme wanted to shoot additional performance footage on a sound stage made to recreate the Pantages Theatre The band vetoed this idea because they thought the lack of audience response would have hindered the energy of their performance.

Talking to Rolling Stone in 2016, Demme was asked what the secret was to making a great concert film. Ever modest, he gave the credit to his performers. "It comes down to two things," he said. "Whoever's doing the work of making the music, they have to have a cinematic quality. … I wouldn't say showmanship, exactly, but that the people creating the music are interesting characters. And second, that their experience makes for an interesting, if only interior, journey for us to watch."

Lead singer David Byrne is certainly a character—twisting his face into contortions, uttering a myriad of sounds along with the songs, wearing an oversized white suit, doing a Fred Astaire-type dance with a floor lamp. His fellow bandmates and backup singers are more “normal,” as rock musicians go, but are quite energetic nevertheless. Not being too familiar with the band’s oeuvre, most of the songs were new to me, but all of them are toe-tappers, and I can’t imagine them being delivered any better than they are in the film.

The 1984 movie is notable for being the first made entirely using digital audio techniques, although after the final digital mix was done, it had to be converted to analog so that it could be sent out in Dolby Stereo prints, which is an analog process. (Digital sound in films was not yet a thing.) It was Jonathan Demme’s first stereo film.

The film has gone through many hands since it was released by Cinecom Pictures. After Cinecom went bankrupt in 1991, the film was acquired by Polygram Filmed Entertainment, which was then acquired by MGM. The film finally ended up with Palm Pictures, who had released various video versions over the years. Eventually, the rights to the film reverted back to the band, because band member Jerry Harrison, along with fellow Heads David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, and Chris Frantz, had originally self-financed and produced the film under the banner of Talking Heads Pictures.

Now, A24 has done a 4K restoration of the film for a current re-release to theaters, and has upgraded the audio to the latest Dolby Digital Atmos process. But before that could be done, the original elements had to be located, since Palm had used prints that were several generations old to produce their videos. After a long and fruitless search, a desperation call to the head of MGM produced the film negative, which was located back in the MGM vault, something they didn’t even know they had. The original sound elements had been rescued from destruction by Sony, along with a whole semi-trailer load of recordings, when the Todd-AO sound studios closed and were torn down. The sound tracks were in an early, no longer used, digital format, but the restorers found someone who could work with the process. So now we have the restored film, looking and sounding better than ever.

The original film was produced for $1.2 million and returned $4.9 million at the U.S. box office. This re-release has already added $3 million to that total. An expanded CD of the Sire Records soundtrack was released back in 1999, and on August 18 of this year, a Deluxe Edition was released as a limited edition two-LP set as well as digitally, and a new Dolby Atmos digital release may be forthcoming. In 2021, the film was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry.

 
 Posted:   Oct 4, 2023 - 10:22 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Love Is a Ball (1963) ... 6/10

Lightweight but flashy - and expensive looking - romcom which pales against contemporary films of a similar style (e.g. those with Doris Day) but still works and provides more than a few smiles ... though not full-out laughter. Stars Glenn Ford and Hope Lange are good to watch but both are a little too old for their roles (and their age difference could be an issue). I enjoyed seeing Ford in a less serious role .. he's long been a favourite actor.

For me, a major issue is the amount of screen time that neither are on screen: Charles Boyer is great fun but overdoes his role, Ricardo Montalban is too silly and Telly Savalas far too irritating. Help is provided by the lovely Ulla Jacobsson, an actress I knew from only two other films.

Wonderful scenery, some fun driving sequences (including racing cars when they looked liked racing cars!) and a score by Michel Legrand which was both lovely (the romantic themes) and irritating (the modern jazz which I struggle to like) made this a film I was happy to watch again after 50 years or so. If I could watch it in full widescreen with good colour definition I'd do so again ... until then.

Checking STC, I see that only one cue from the OST has been released on CD - a Legrand compilation; the OST was released on the Philips label.

 
 Posted:   Oct 4, 2023 - 10:48 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

...The Boys from Brazil 6/10
I love the concept. Lawrence Olivier and Gregory Peck are pretty impressive.
As much as I love listening to Jerry's score for this movie. I found it quite heavy handed, on the nose and very distracting in the first half of the film...


I can't understand how anyone can give this film such a high rating ... to me it was utter rubbish. And, albeit not a Goldsmith dedicatee*, I do have well over 100 of his scores, this one is close to my least favourite. Having attempted to watch the film on a couple of prior occasions, I finally did so in May 19 ... I still shudder at the memories (and I think Gregory Peck was a great film star and Laurence Olivier was a great actor).

* not the correct word but you will know what I mean.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 4, 2023 - 2:10 PM   
 By:   Prince Damian   (Member)

The Big Boodle(1957)6/10
With Errol Flynn, Pedro Armendariz, and Gia Scala.

Errol is a card dealer, in a casino, in Cuba. During a stint he is passed some phoney pesos. From then on he gets deeper into trouble, with everyone. The police, Cuban villains and women.
A late entry in Flynn's career and while no masterpiece, it was watchable. Mainly due to my not being familiar with it. Errol looked a bit tired but this added a bit to his performance as the ' wtf is going on' character, at least at the outset, until he finds his bearing. Armendariz played his part well- pain in the arse but honest police chief. There were plenty of other shifty looking people that had nothing to do with the story,except to make you say ' I bt its him'.

 
 Posted:   Oct 5, 2023 - 12:58 AM   
 By:   Bill Carson, Earl of Poncey   (Member)

...The Boys from Brazil 6/10

I can't understand how anyone can give this film such a high rating ...


6 isn't high, it's above average watchable.

6 is a low mark for Boys from Brazil.
And it was definitely improved by the superb score.

 
 Posted:   Oct 8, 2023 - 1:36 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

The Undercover Man (1949) ... 7+/10

Another film I decided to watch (I don't think I'd seen it) due to its lead: Glenn Ford, who proved once again he was a great actor. The scene in which he realises he can't walk away (a superb performance from the young Joan Lazer) is very moving and he does most of this with minimal dialogue, his facial expressions and eyes telling you everything.

The film has a typical set-up: the law attempting to get the crime-lord but finding all witnesses are too scared or end up dead. But there is a variation in that Ford and his colleagues are Revenue officers albeit work with the police ... and Ford's character carries a gun!

Good support from many well-known faces including James Whitmore and David Bauer (who became a regular in the UK in many ITC productions in the 1960s including the voice-over at the start of each episode of The Champions), a tight running time at under 90 minutes, and clear B&W images with good sound. And a great score by George Duning (the music backdrop for the romantic break when Ford returns to his wife and decides to quit the job is excellent).

I don't understand the title, thinking we would see Ford go undercover in order to catch the Big Man, but perhaps this relates to the latter as we never see him smile

 
 Posted:   Oct 8, 2023 - 1:43 AM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Philip Kaufman, 1978)
Along with the first adaptation from 1953 by Don Siegel (who has a cool cameo, along with Kevin McCarthy) still one of the best adaptations of Jack Finney's novel "The Body Snatchers". When I originally saw it as a kid, I enjoyed it as a creepy science-fiction movie, but nowadays, I find the commentary on social conformism much more interesting (and scarier.) Glad to finally have Denny Zeitlin's wonderful score on CD.

 
 Posted:   Oct 8, 2023 - 7:10 PM   
 By:   Spinmeister   (Member)

Passages (2023)

Toxic narcissist Tomas (Tomas Freiburg) and his wayward cock tramps all over doormats named Martin (Ben Whishaw) and Agathe (Adèle Exarchopoulos) until they finally come to their senses and give him the heave-ho. Then Tomas takes a bike ride.

Underwhelming cheating spouse melodrama.

6/10

 
 Posted:   Oct 9, 2023 - 1:54 AM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)

The Specialist (Luis Llosa,1994) 5/10

Boy, they sure don’t make ‘em like that anymore. The movie practically revels in its glossy, over-the-top extravagance. Sylvester Stallone and Sharon Stone aren’t so much performing as posing, every other shot of Sharon Stone looks as if lifted out of Vogue Magazine, Cigarettes and cigars and expensive cars abound, and who better than James Woods to play a mean, ice-cold bad guy. He seems to have a ball. The plot is nonsensical and basically just serves as a backdrop for some cool action scenes and a ludicrous love scene between Stallone and Stone. Woods and Stallone play ex-colleagues who were once explosive experts at the CIA, but now work “freelance”, Woods for a gangster. Stallone is choosier when it comes to picking his jobs and prefers to blow up only people he finds morally objectionable, your friendly neighborhood executioner for hire, so to speak. In comes Stone, who wants to take revenge on Eric Roberts, because he and his gangster family are responsible for her family's death. Or maybe she’s actually working with Woods, who wants to get Stallone to come out of hiding and finish him off. The plot is actually quite complicated for a thriller of this kind, taking turns right and left so the characters have something to do, since there are not nearly as many action sequences as one would expect in a Stallone blockbuster from this time. That’s probably because by the mid 90s, the “tough guy action movie” had started to overstay its welcome, and stars like Schwarzenegger and Stallone were trying to branch out into other types of movies, so THE SPECIALIST mixed in a heavy dosis from classic noir film and obviously capitalized on Stone’s fresh fame from BASIC INSTINCT. John Barry’s elegant music elevates the whole affair from glossy to hyper-glossy.

But, say what you want, we had a lot of fun watching this movie. The same year Quentin Tarantino came out with his masterwork PULP FICTION, THE SPECIALIST was the “real deal”. This is purest “pulp fiction”: tough guys and sexy dames, a far fetched revenge plot, sleasy (and completely superfluous) sex scenes, explosions with lots of KABOOM!, and one liners. (Even the bomb timers come with one-liners here!)

Great stuff, you have to be in the mood for it for sure, it’s not so much a “good” movie, but it comes with the smell of another era, and for the running time of the movie, the 90s were alive again. Lot’s of fun if you go with the flow.

 
 Posted:   Oct 9, 2023 - 2:09 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

The Specialist (Luis Llosa,1994) 5/10

Boy, they sure don’t make ‘em like that anymore ... Lot’s of fun if you go with the flow.


I last watched this some 3+ years ago ... I think it's great fun. Sure, it's OTT, corny and more comic-book than necessary but the three main stars make it work (James Woods is wonderful). As you suggest, not wall-to-wall action (and those action scenes are well-performed/produced) and more than a simple good guy v. bad guy script.

As for the score (I try to ignore the vocals) ... it's my favourite score from the 1990s.

 
 Posted:   Oct 9, 2023 - 4:37 AM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)

Yes, the John Barry's score is very nice. The producers of the film obviously wanted something elegant and stylish, rather than a straightforward action/suspense score.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 11, 2023 - 12:20 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

HOCUS POCUS (1993) – 7/10

I had previously only seen this film on broadcast TV, but I decided to take in one of the 30th Anniversary theatrical showings. It’s not as good as I remember it, but I bumped it up one point for its lively John Debney score (last released by Intrada in 2013).

In a lengthy prologue, three 17th-century witch sisters (Bette Midler. Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy) are hanged in Salem, Massachusetts after stealing the spirit of a young girl in order to maintain their youth. They also turned the girl’s teenage brother, “Thackery Binx” (Sean Murray), into a black cat. Flash forward to the present day, when teenager “Max” (Omri Katz), younger sister “Dani” (Thora Birch), and girlfriend “Allison” (Vinessa Shaw) accidentally reincarnate the witches on Halloween night by lighting a candle that burns with a black flame, found in an old, closed museum. The witches have until morning to conjure up the spell that will allow them to steal the spirit of Dani and the other young children in town. But our intrepid trio snatch the book of spells from the witches, and the chase is on, with the kids being helped by Binx the cat, who has been around all these years.

Screenwriters Mick Garris and Neil Cuthbert have set up a decent premise, but the humor is pretty much limited to the witches, with Bette Midler playing straight woman to the comic unruliness of her two sisters. There are a few gags when the witches confront modern life and technology, but not much is done with that idea.

Special effects are similarly limited (at least based on today’s standards)—the witches fly on their broomsticks and Midler shoots some lighting bolts out of her fingers. Nevertheless, HOCUS POCUS was Disney’s first foray into the digital era after purchasing two new computers and a proprietary software package for its existing in-house effects unit. Through Buena Vista Visual Effects (BVVE), Disney became the second major studio with in-house digital effects capabilities behind Sony Studios’ Imageworks. Among the effects created with the new digital technology was a six-layer digital composite which combined live-action footage of a house, a miniature of its upper floors and roof exploding, and three puppet witches shot against a blue screen, flying out across a matte painting of a moon and clouds which were set into motion digitally. Additional digital effects were created by the Rhythm & Hues company in Hollywood which created “Binx,” the talking cat. Rhythm & Hues achieved Binx by filming a real cat, digitally removing its head, and digitally cloning its fur for use in their 3D-model.

Kenny Ortega (NEWSIES) directed HOCUS POCUS. The film’s best scene occurs when the witches crash a big adult Halloween party and are mistaken for guests. They end up on stage with Parker and Najimy performing as backup singers as Midler belts out a rendition of "I Put a Spell on You.”

In another good scene, uncredited brother and sister Garry and Penny Marshall play a creepy husband and wife. Garry is dressed as Satan for Halloween, and the sisters mistake him for the real thing. Garry Marshall had previously directed Midler in BEACHES (1988).

The $28 million production had just OK grosses of $40 million domestically on its initial run. A 2020 re-release and now this 30th Anniversary re-issue have brought in another $6 million. For the re-releases, the sound has been upgraded from analog Dolby Stereo to Dolby Digital Atmos, which helps the enveloping music score considerably.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 12, 2023 - 8:47 AM   
 By:   Hurdy Gurdy   (Member)

The Boys from Brazil 6/10
I can't understand how anyone can give this film such a high rating ...
----------------------
6 isn't high, it's above average watchable.
-------------------------
6 is a low mark for Boys from Brazil.
And it was definitely improved by the superb score


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I'm no great fan of THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL myself (it's a cheezy old clunker) but I'd give ANY film with a semi-naked Linda Hayden and a stirring score by Goldsmith - plus some nice cinematography - a few stars for that alone.
It's probably a 4 (maybe 4.5) in my book.


 
 
 Posted:   Oct 12, 2023 - 9:09 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

The Boys from Brazil 6/10
I can't understand how anyone can give this film such a high rating ...
----------------------
6 isn't high, it's above average watchable.
-------------------------
6 is a low mark for Boys from Brazil.
And it was definitely improved by the superb score


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I'm no great fan of THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL myself (it's a cheezy old clunker) but I'd give ANY film with a semi-naked Linda Hayden and a stirring score by Goldsmith - plus some nice cinematography - a few stars for that alone.
It's probably a 4 (maybe 4.5) in my book.


It’s a long time since I saw it (hired from a video library!) and whilst I recall the general gist of the plot couldn’t even remember Linda Hayden being in it. The score suited the film, with that deliberately banal waltz popping up all the time to underpin the tawdry aspirations of the bad guys. A good example of a score that works in the film but why in Ennio’s name would you choose to listen to it in isolation?

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 12, 2023 - 2:17 PM   
 By:   Prince Damian   (Member)

The Mule(2018)7/10 ish
With the legend.

Finally saw this one, my first new Clint flick in ages. I wasn't remarkable but steadily enjoyable. Not a lot happens with little action. It just moseys along , like Cli t.

 
 Posted:   Oct 12, 2023 - 3:35 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

The Boys from Brazil 6/10...The score suited the film, with that deliberately banal waltz popping up all the time to underpin the tawdry aspirations of the bad guys. A good example of a score that works in the film but why in Ennio’s name would you choose to listen to it in isolation?

Hey, TG, you might think you're safe whilst abroad ... but if you play with fire you're likely to get burnt. I do, BTW, agree ... for me, a fan of JG, find this one of his least inspired (bottom quartile) ... i.e. it suited the film! smile

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 12, 2023 - 10:44 PM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

The Boys from Brazil 6/10...The score suited the film, with that deliberately banal waltz popping up all the time to underpin the tawdry aspirations of the bad guys. A good example of a score that works in the film but why in Ennio’s name would you choose to listen to it in isolation?

Hey, TG, you might think you're safe whilst abroad ... but if you play with fire you're likely to get burnt. I do, BTW, agree ... for me, a fan of JG, find this one of his least inspired (bottom quartile) ... i.e. it suited the film! smile


Heh, by the time they track me down, I’ll be gone!

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 13, 2023 - 2:12 AM   
 By:   Hurdy Gurdy   (Member)

"Finally saw this one, my first new Clint flick in ages. I wasn't remarkable but steadily enjoyable. Not a lot happens with little action. It just moseys along , like Cli t."
-------------------
Are you calling Clint Eastwood a bit of a fanny?

 
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