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 Posted:   Oct 13, 2023 - 3:12 AM   
 By:   Prince Damian   (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?


big grin there must hav been a bit of tippex on the screen, when I posted.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2023 - 2:18 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

THE SALZBURG CONNECTION (1972) – 6/10

I could barely figure out who was working for which spy organization—the CIA, KGB, MI6, and others—in this confusing supposed thriller. This film’s MacGuffin, a list of Nazi agents and collaborators, hidden by the Nazis in an Austrian lake in 1945, is sought after by various interested parties during the Cold War. Some want to destroy the list to hide their past crimes, others want it to identify people now working for them who may be comprised by other countries if their pasts are used to blackmail them, others want to release the information to the world. And some, like American attorney “William Mathison” (Barry Newman), are just concerned because someone they have come to care about—in his case, “Anna Bryant” (Anna Karina), the widow of an Austrian photographer who was found dead soon after watching a man pull a heavy chest from the waters of Fintersee Lake—is now in danger because she may know where the list is.

Everyone in this picture is either surveilling someone, is being surveilled, or is being surveilled while surveilling someone else. This soon gets tedious, as we flip back and forth between the watchers and the watched. And even when the abductions begin and the bodies start dropping, the ennui doesn’t fade. Since we generally don’t find out what anyone’s motive is (or was) until after he is dead, its hard to decide whether we should be rooting for him or not. Our sympathies naturally go to Barry Newman, since he’s the star, and he’s not a professional spy (although he’s on speaking terms with at least one CIA agent). More importantly, he announces about half-way through the picture that he doesn’t really care who ends up with the list, which generally lines up with the feelings of the audience at that point.

The best things about the film are the on-location shooting in Salzburg, Austria, and the fact that the picture marked the American feature film debut of Austrian actor Klaus-Maria Brandauer.

Lee H. Katzin directed the 1972 film. The picture was the second and final film as a producer for Ingo Preminger, brother of Otto Preminger (the first was M*A*S*H). At the time of the film’s release, Variety reported that although Jerry Goldsmith and Bronislau Kaper initially appeared in Twentieth-Century Fox's credit sheets as composers, only Lionel Newman received screen credit with "Musical Supervision." However, some prints (like the one I watched) credit Kaper for music with Newman as conductor. Modern sources state that Kaper's score was discarded and replaced by Newman's. The film was the last scored by Kaper. Some posters of the film had stickers pasted over Kaper's name in the credits.

 
 Posted:   Oct 18, 2023 - 1:38 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Maid in Manhattan (2002) ... 4-/10

Modern re-telling of the Cinderella story using the Doris Day/Rock Hudson, James Garner or Rod Taylor format.

Nicely played by its leads, especially Bob Hoskins (in the Thelma Ritter role), but I struggled to accept Ralph Fiennes with his mid-Atlantic accent as a wannabee Senator and Jennifer Lopez is no Doris Day. Stanley Tucci in the Tony Randall role fails miserably.

It's meant to be a rom-com but it struggles to meet its definition as the romance doesn't work and the comedy is very thin. The only scene which had me laugh, as opposed to smile, was the lunch in which Christopher meets Caroline (a poorly developed role overplayed by Natasha Richardson) with sentimentality (re: fatherless Ty being the key) used instead.

A good quality w/s print with decent sound ... a shame the material it presented wasn't of the same calibre. The score by Alan Silvestri was pleasant but the songs did nothing to draw me in.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2023 - 11:20 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

DUMB MONEY (2023) – 7/10

“Dumb money” is what Wall Street insiders call individual investors, as opposed to what the insiders are—the “smart money.” This film tells the story of the “dumb money” that in 2020-2021 decided to take on the Wall Street hedge funds that were shorting the stock of Gamestop, the video game retailer. The individual investors were led by Keith Gill, a lower middle-class guy working as a financial analyst out of Brockton, Massachusetts. During his off time, he regularly frequents the stock market subreddit r/WallStreetBets, posting his opinions on it via YouTube live streams under the name “Roaring Kitty.”

Gill concluded that Gamestop was undervalued, and the firms shorting the stock and betting that it would drop were wrong. He put his money where his mouth was, sinking nearly every spare dollar his family had into purchasing the stock. By airing his views on the stock, posting his portfolio online, and railing against the unfairness of the control over the market exerted by the big firms, Gill was able to convince thousands of other individuals to buy Gamestop as well, raising its price 100-fold in a very short time. This made many of the buyers rich (on paper anyway), and caused the hedge funds to lose billions (also on paper). The film follows about a half dozen of the individuals and hedge fund managers through their ups and downs during this volatile period.

As played by Paul Dano, Gill is a very low-key guy, almost to the point of somnambulism. Fortunately, the other characters are more lively, particularly Gill’s brother Kevin, played by Pete Davidson from Saturday Night Live. Davidson provides most of the humor in the film. Seth Rogen is also good as Gabe Plotkin, an increasingly frustrated fund manager. We see the individual investors—some nurses and college students—mainly as they look at their phones, watching their investment rise and fall, and registering the appropriate joy or dread.

In watching the film, I was reminded of the 2015 film THE BIG SHORT, which attempted to explain the roots of the 2008 financial/mortgage crisis. The big difference is that that film had a lot to try and explain, and it became increasingly complicated, even as it tried to simplify all of the financial maneuvering for the audience. What is happening in DUMB MONEY, however, is rather simple—one group of investors is selling a stock, betting that it will go down, and another is buying the stock, and by its actions is keeping the price up. Obviously, something has to give, but the ending is not clearly explained, as the “smart money” puts pressure on the social media platform r/WallStreetBets and the “commission-free” stock trading platform Robinhood to put the squeeze on the little guys. I was hoping for a more in-depth explanation of how this ended, but we have to settle for a number of text screens at the conclusion of the film, telling us what happened to each of the players, without learning the “how.” Still, if you are unfamiliar with the story, the film is a sometimes-amusing tale of the triumph of the underdog—at least for a while.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2023 - 12:17 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

Beckham 9 out of 10

I saw this documentary on Netflix and loved it. I didn’t know a lot about him, nor did I realize how important soc..errr football was to England. Yeah, I could see he was a bit of a prima donna when he scored goals, but he was also an amazing football player in his day.

So he played for “Mannscum” as Bill would say. It looked like, in this documentary, that he didn’t want to leave MU.
So he got a red card in the World Cup and was demonized for a year in England. He was hung in effigy and booed for almost a year. The Argentinian he “supposedly” kicked, said he faked his injury and that Beckham should not have been given a red card.

He did rise again to become the Captain of the World Cup.

I now understand what “Bend It Like Beckham” means. He was a great corner kicker.

I liked the whole exchange of jerseys with players.

He certainly had many hair styles.

Anyway, I got to watch some amazing European football and learn a lot about the man.

 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2023 - 1:37 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

The Eiger Sanction (1975) ... 3-/10

I understand many others have enjoyed the release of this film's score. I like the album which appears to emulate those great Henry Mancini releases of a decade before but not sufficiently to warrant the purchase of this expansion.

I did however push myself to watch the film again. I saw it on release, bought the novel (as was my practice in those days) - I didn't keep the paperback long enough to read a second time: it's no wonder the film story is utter tripe given the source material - and have watched TV broadcasts once or twice before.

Clint is watchable though I couldn't distinguish his character from Dirty Harry and there's some fabulous scenery aided by this BBC4 broadcast (excellent definition and colours). I enjoyed the dialogue where he explains to Jemima how she's been conned by Dragon and Pope ... much of the remaining script is risible.

As for the score, my reason to watch: certainly one of the film's best attributes but I didn't feel it added much to the album so I doubt I'll seek a copy of new release (I don't know if it's still available).

 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2023 - 2:39 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

The Wheeler Dealers (1963) ... 5+/10

In the UK the film had the (awful) title: Separate Beds frown

I grew up loving films and this is one from my youth. No, it's not in the league of the best (of its kind) but it still provides lots of laughs and keeps you entertained for its 100+ minute running time with a wonderful cast.

I've always found James Garner a great lead and better in this role character than, say, Rock Hudson or Rod Taylor (strong competition) and whilst Lee Remick was never my favourite leading lady her strength in this battle of the sexes adds to the fun. Wonderful support from Phil Harris, Chill Wills and Charles Watts as the financial trio hanging onto Henry's every move ... indeed all of the cast (e.g. Vaughn Taylor as the owner of the widget stock - superb albeit very limited screen time).

Some great dialogue, lots of amusing (non-PC!) scenes: women in Wall Street?smile

A fun title song, unremarkable score by Frank De Vol; not much landscape but a lovely widescreen image.

Not a great film ... but great fun, nevertheless. My TCM DVDr recording was from 2007 ...

 
 Posted:   Oct 23, 2023 - 9:29 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Play Dirty (1969) ... 6/10

Enjoyable WWII drama which isn't quite The Dirty Dozen - there are only 8 - but modelled on that familiar idea: a bunch of mis-fits is given an impossible job made all the more difficult by tensions within the group.

Leads Michael Caine and Nigel Davenport are excellent and whilst the rest of the group are unknown (to me) the script allowed some character development. Harry Andrews and Nigel Green are perfect in their roles as the senior officers. I thought Davenport should have been given top billing as Caine's green behind the ears character never pulls through to show dominance, his one logistical success being ruined, this leading to the massacre of British regular army combatants.

I do wonder if the script was edited, cut short, since the last act is upon us without preamble (we're not shown how the group get from the desert to the port) and it's all over (a few explosions) before we know what's happening ... other than seeing Andrews and Green celebrating the British success in pushing Rommel's army back. Perhaps Caine's Capt. Douglas was seen to do a lot of derring-do but this ended up being cut.

There are many great desert travel scenes (despite being Almeria) and the few set pieces such as the aforementioned massacre are well handled. I just wish the last act had been more coherent ... this might have explained the final scene. I first saw the film as the second feature to The Graduate ... probably a re-run around 1970-1 (my mother hadn't wanted me to go but as I was a fan of MC ...) and may have seen some of it on a TV broadcast since. This was a good quality W/S print broadcast by Talking Pictures.

Mostly source music, what underscore there is by Michel Legrand works but is not memorable.

 
 Posted:   Oct 23, 2023 - 10:16 AM   
 By:   Bill Carson, Earl of Poncey   (Member)

Beckham 9 out of 10

So he played for “Mannscum” as Bill would say. It looked like, in this documentary, that he didn’t want to leave MU..


Er...thats "Mankscum" joanie
Otherwise known in football circles as the Evil empire.

 
 Posted:   Oct 23, 2023 - 11:16 AM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

Alien: 5-5

I commented on this already. Fantastic film and largely holds up today.

Young Sherlock Holmes: 2-5

Ah the 80's! When family entertainment was dark, violent and not afraid of tragedy. In this case it really doesn't work for me. While I liked the actor playing Sherlock his character lacked charisma and was a bit of an ass. The villain lacked gravitas.

The direction was pretty weak. Most fight scenes looked like a bunch of fanboys running around on a stage floor half heartily swinging their weapons around. The specials effects, some iconic at the time don't hold up well today. The flying machine was terribly fake looking prop. When a victim gets burned to death by boiling liquid (gold?) Sherlock yells, "Stop, she's still alive!" but the victim was already presumably scolded to death. So what was the point of that line?

Spoilers: The death of Elisabeth was unearned and was to much of a downer for the type of film they tried to make. It was rather cruel when earlier in the film she was screaming, "I don't want to die!" when influenced by mind altering drugs. The villain surviving his fate was unbelievable and his reveal at the end was laughable.

Some of the sets, model work and matte paintings looked quite nice and its the only aspect of the film I really enjoyed. The score was lively in places.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 23, 2023 - 11:19 AM   
 By:   jenkwombat   (Member)

Freaks (1932)
4.5 / 5

Creepy and very entertaining Tod Browning film. Not as "exploitative" as you might think it would be. I watched the Criterion version.

 
 Posted:   Oct 24, 2023 - 12:23 AM   
 By:   agentMaestraX   (Member)

Cat Person (2023) 8-9/10

In a nutshell a razor- sharpe explotation in the horrors of dating! Margot, a college sophomore student goes on a date with the older Robert, she finds that IRL Robert doesn't live up to the Robert she has been flirting with over texts. Things eventually take a turn when after the initial date; bad choices etc envelope and then it begins, you know stalking, bad-mouthing etc. Police are called nothing to be done until...Well find out for yourself! A good example of a black comedy which was based upon a short story featured in The New Yorker. Had me gripped, competently directed which left me feeling does anybody want to endure this hassle of dating.

 
 Posted:   Oct 25, 2023 - 12:57 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Along Came a Spider (2001) ... 4/10 (with reservation)

My third, or fourth, viewing but the first time I managed to watch it through ... which is a shame because lead Morgan Freeman is excellent, constantly watchable; a great support cast, too, and the story which revolves around a kidnapped young girl is the stuff that keeps you watching.

Only it didn't on prior viewings. The trick, this time, was to watch in two parts, pre-dinner/drink ...i.e. it's a good film but has problems. Primarily the story is poor, asking us not only to suspend disbelief but also to accept that the bad guys would live a double life for 2 or more years awaiting an opportunity to carry out a crime which could have been done on day 2 ... or 3, not day 732 ...

And the young boy who can overcome the security systems at the Russian embassy ... using guidance provided by someone who has never been there ...

Add an awful opening CGI scene (we know where JB007's ice-flow paragliding scene originated ... yes, it's that poor) and the film faces major hurdles.

One of Jerry Goldsmith's last scores ... it does its job but is instantly forgettable. As is the film.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 25, 2023 - 12:58 PM   
 By:   Disco Stu   (Member)

Watched the first Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes and am the second one right now and as much as I dislike him and most of all his other films, these two are entertaining. I hate modern incarnations (e.g. Sherlock), modern films and 'quaint" or "flashy" cinema but these two I cannot deny liking. Even Hans Zimmer provides a decent score after a long time.
If I see the DVDs in the store I'll buy them, provided the price is right.
A small miracle......... and it has to be Ritchie! Insert "Khaaaan" image here.

D.S.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 25, 2023 - 12:59 PM   
 By:   Disco Stu   (Member)

Double post, Insert another Kaaaahn image.

D.S.

 
 Posted:   Oct 25, 2023 - 2:04 PM   
 By:   Bill Carson, Earl of Poncey   (Member)

Watch out for the mildly amusing Two Mules music clip in 2nd film.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 25, 2023 - 3:58 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

TAYLOR SWIFT: THE ERAS TOUR (2023) - 9/10

Every review of this concert film has to begin with the reviewer describing how big a fan they are (or are not) of Taylor Swift, so here goes. I own four of her ten albums, purchased primarily because of songs I first liked from radio exposure. On the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, as of July 2023, Swift is the female singer with the most charted songs (212), most top-40 songs (119), most top-20 songs (73), most top-10 songs (42), and most number-one debuts (5). About 35 songs appear in the film, and I’d guess that all of the songs I liked were among those top-10s.

Like another concert film I saw recently, the Talking Heads’ STOP MAKING SENSE, THE ERAS TOUR is all concert, no nonsense (i.e., no interviews, backstage views, critics’ assessments, etc.). We jump from an aerial view of SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles right into the first number, and the show proceeds without a pause for the next 2 hours and 49 minutes (a half hour shorter than the actual concert itself).

Designed as a tribute to Swift's discography across her 17-year career, the Eras Tour covers all styles of music from her 10 studio albums, ranging from country and pop to folk and alternative rock genres. The set list places a somewhat greater focus on albums Swift had not previously toured, which means her more recent material, with which I was less familiar. Fortunately, the 10 albums or “eras” (each identified on-screen for the audience) are not in chronological order. So, if you are mainly a fan of one phase of Swift’s career or another, you won’t be put off for long stretches of the film. There is generally a song you like better coming up soon.

The most amazing thing about the concert (and the film) is the sheer scale of the physical production. It's like a dozen Super Bowl half-time shows strung together. The concert ensemble includes 14 backup dancers and a live band of six instrumentalists, plus four female backing vocalists. Designers such as Roberto Cavalli, Zuhair Murad and Oscar de la Renta custom-made Swift's outfits for the tour to complement each album's aesthetic. The dances were choreographed by Mandy Moore (not the singer). This Mandy Moore is known for her Emmy-winning work on the television series “So You Think You Can Dance,” having appeared on the show every year since the third season, and “Dancing with the Stars.” She also choreographed the 2016 film LA LA LAND.

All of this takes place on three separate stages connected by a broad ramp projecting out into the audience: a main stage with a giant, curved widescreen behind it, a rhombic middle stage; and a rectangular stage that along with the ramp forms a T-shape at the middle of the stadium floor. The staging is equipped with "hyperactive" hydraulic platforms, with the main and middle stages having mobile blocks that rise from the center to form platforms of different shapes.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the tour is one of the most expensive and "technically ambitious" productions of the 21st century., featuring pyrotechnics, laser lights, smoke machines, fire cannons, indoor fireworks, PixMob LED bracelets, and image projection technology, such as projection mapping that creates stadium-size holograms.

Director Sam Wrench used all sorts of floating, flying, and stationary cameras to capture the show over three nights in L.A. The result is that while a person in the stadium with a fairly good seat (not in the third deck) is likely to have a view of the show that consistently looks like this:




The film-goer will see things from a myriad of angles.








The last photo shows how most people in the stadium will be viewing the show--by watching the large screen behind Swift (often at some oblique angle). Film-goers get to see the screen too, particularly when it is enhancing the show with videos setting the mood or otherwise doing something other than just enlarging what is on stage:




Unlike the first photo above, the audience in the film is mostly unseen, with just thousands of points of light (as shown in the last photo) from their LED bracelets.

Swift had the idea for a concert movie in 2022 but none of the major film distributors (Warner Bros, Disney, Sony, Universal, Paramount, etc.) showed any interest. However, feedback from her worldwide fan base on social media indicated a lot of interest from fans who had never seen her live. In a calculated gamble, Swift decided to distribute the film through her own company at her own expense directly to theaters. The gamble paid off quite quickly, as the film has proved to be a massive box office success around the world, grossing $179 million in just two 4-day weekends. (Swift only wants the film shown on Thursday-Sunday, so as to avoid sparsely attended weekday shows). The concert tour itself, after the foreign leg is concluded, is expected to gross $1 billion.

Reports from the heavily attended weekend shows have told of fans dancing in the aisles, singing at the top of their voices so as to drown out the film’s soundtrack, and, twirling flashlights all around. None of this took place at the 4 PM Thursday show that I caught, so if you want to avoid all that, I’d recommend a matinee on Thursday or Friday before the kids are out of school. My main complaint about the show is that it was hard to understand the lyrics of some of the songs I was unfamiliar with. This is not so much because of crowd noise, although there is plenty of that coming from the surround speakers of the theater, but because Swift consistently uses a hand-held or stand-held microphone, which often obscures her lip movements. Many singer-dancers now use headset mics, which offer a less obstructed view of the singer’s face.

Even if you are just a casual fan of some of Swift’s music—as I am—this film is worth seeing for the innovative, constantly stimulating production. When you compare this show to a 1980s concert film like STOP MAKING SENSE, it’s literally like something from a different era.


 
 
 Posted:   Oct 28, 2023 - 2:28 PM   
 By:   Prince Damian   (Member)

Attack from Space(1965)1/10

Starman is sent to Earth to protect against the evil sapphirians and their universal domination.

Absolutely piss poor. Not quite the worst I've seen but close. It's certainly the cheapest made, that I've seen in a long time. There's more string on display than there is on Compo's trousers. The effects have been nowhere near the word 'special', ever. Ed Wood would have been thinking he was David Lean. Starman was a bit of a prick, flapping his arms about and wafting his little bit of webbed( ness) under his arms. Lots of dummies thrown about and some pulled along on string. 1/2 point coz I watched it all and 1/2 for several pretty women. Tit bit for you star wars nuggets - the main space ship , of the villains was known as the death star! Eh, eh.

 
 Posted:   Oct 28, 2023 - 2:32 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) ... 6+/10

One of my favourite Bernard Herrmann scores, I haven't seen the film for many years (and, if I recall, the last TV broadcast was very poor in picture, perhaps sound) so was happy to record and watch this lovely clear print (4:3 B&W) albeit the sound mix meant the music score overwhelmed some scenes ... or was this intentional?

I would like to give the film a higher rating but its all-too-fake attempt at being British (English) meant that London, California and Whitecliff-by-the-Sea, California looked too much as if they were located in ... California. I'd forgotten the story was set this side of the Atlantic and without the screen text and odd line of dialogue would have been none-the-wiser by the end credits!

Perhaps there was more of a problem than the geography: time appeared to be elastic - just what years were the later scenes - Anna's return from university and the finale - set given the opening was in 1900?; and the story failed to convince me that Captain Gregg was seeking to allow - encourage? - Lucy to find a new life; thus, apart from getting involved with Miles Fairley we see nothing of Lucy's life (time with her daughter takes very little screen time).

It's wonderfully romantic in a heart-wrenching, tear-jerking way ... it just doesn't quite hit the mark for me. I'm left thinking Lucy has wasted her life and I'm sure that's not what the script intended.

I still like the music!

 
 Posted:   Oct 28, 2023 - 11:50 PM   
 By:   agentMaestraX   (Member)

Five Nights at Freddys (2023) - 8/10

Who dares stay late? Come on it'll be a blast, fun and disturbing....!
You'll have the time of your life - not!

 
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