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 Posted:   May 21, 2024 - 2:57 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

That's Entertainment! (1974) ... 6/10

I bought the DVD triple pack for my mother more than 15 years ago and have been intending to watch the films for many years ... so, finally, #1. It's a strange film to review because it is simply a compilation of numerous sequences from MGM musicals ... it's unlikely the viewer will like all the clips, be it the singing, dancing or production.

And, yes, for me there were more than a few sequences which did not make me think I'd like to see the films from which they had been taken. Also, he's never been one of my screen favourites but he gets a significant amount of screen time: Gene Kelly.

Most of the sequences are shown in excellent picture and sound, no faults there ... but what lets it down for me are the linking clips of a range of stars talking about the films, lauding praise on their fellow stars. It soon becomes too syrupy-sweet. The talented music writers - composers, lyricists, arrangers, orchestrators, conductors - are finally mentioned in end title lists. I think their contributions should have been more prominent.

Whilst most of the music heard is that from the original productions, there is new music arranged/scored by Henry Mancini in his typical style.

How long before I try #2?

 
 
 Posted:   May 21, 2024 - 4:23 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

That's Entertainment! (1974) ... 6/10

he's never been one of my screen favourites but he gets a significant amount of screen time: Gene Kelly.


Given that Kelly appeared in 17 musicals for MGM, and a considerable number of their most well-regarded ones, it was a foregone conclusion that he would be prominently featured in a film compiling clips from MGM's musicals.


How long before I try #2?

Kelly appears about a dozen times in PART II and directed the new sequences as well, so you may want to wait a bit.

 
 Posted:   May 22, 2024 - 1:16 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

That's Entertainment! (1974) ... 6/10

he's never been one of my screen favourites but he gets a significant amount of screen time: Gene Kelly.


Given that Kelly appeared in 17 musicals for MGM, and a considerable number of their most well-regarded ones, it was a foregone conclusion that he would be prominently featured in a film compiling clips from MGM's musicals.


How long before I try #2?

Kelly appears about a dozen times in PART II and directed the new sequences as well, so you may want to wait a bit.


Thanks for the info - and advice - Bob. I'm afraid my knowledge of musicals in general is lacking and recalling which studio is responsible is challenging. I kept wondering why Doris Day didn't appear then realised that most (all?) of hers were Warner productions (I think!) I hadn't been aware that Bing Crosby hadn't performed for MGM in any major production until High Society (1956) - my all-time favourite musical - but was pleased to see/hear clips from Gigi (1958), another favourite.

As for Gene Kelly, supreme talent without doubt but I often find his dance routines just too acrobatic and much prefer Fred Astaire, albeit I've seen only a few of either's films.

 
 Posted:   May 22, 2024 - 1:32 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Fury (2014) ... 5-/10

Great, realistic (at least, to my eye) battle sequences fill out the standard oft-told story of the seasoned guy teaching the young recruit and in so doing learning something about himself. The plot could have been written in ten minutes so the film needed the action and a whole lot of characterisation. In this it was lacking, not helped by almost indecipherable dialogue ... the only words I could hear clearly were the four-letter ones (again: a simple script ... copy line after line) - these rarely included fury.

The ending bloodbath sequence is simply stupid and robs the film of one mark.

Brad Pitt and a couple of other faces I recognised (my fault, watching so few new films), otherwise a cast of unknowns but then most of the support cast were there to be shot, blown-up or otherwise killed.

I listened for the score which was mostly very low key but when it was more prominent, such as towards the end, it was okay, very much in the modern style. I've known the name of composer Steven Price but think I've seen only one other film scored by him (Heart of Stone (2023)).

 
 
 Posted:   May 23, 2024 - 4:20 AM   
 By:   Kentishsax   (Member)

I watched, via my mobile phone (as the missus was in charge of the TV!), on the Pluto TV website, the 1999 TV movie The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn, starring Sidney Poitier. It was a lovely little, gentle film. Poitier is a carpenter who is loved by all in the nearby small town. He lives alone, without electricity and so on (but he does drive a pickup truck and a very old, possibly 1920s car). A developer is trying to grab his land by any means necessary. One could almost imagine it being a sequel to Lilies of the Field, seeing Poitier's ex-GI handyman Homer Smith in later life.

 
 
 Posted:   May 23, 2024 - 7:40 AM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)

That's Entertainment! (1974) ... 6/10

I bought the DVD triple pack for my mother more than 15 years ago and have been intending to watch the films for many years ... so, finally, #1. It's a strange film to review because it is simply a compilation of numerous sequences from MGM musicals ... it's unlikely the viewer will like all the clips, be it the singing, dancing or production.

And, yes, for me there were more than a few sequences which did not make me think I'd like to see the films from which they had been taken. Also, he's never been one of my screen favourites but he gets a significant amount of screen time: Gene Kelly.

Most of the sequences are shown in excellent picture and sound, no faults there ... but what lets it down for me are the linking clips of a range of stars talking about the films, lauding praise on their fellow stars. It soon becomes too syrupy-sweet. The talented music writers - composers, lyricists, arrangers, orchestrators, conductors - are finally mentioned in end title lists. I think their contributions should have been more prominent.

Whilst most of the music heard is that from the original productions, there is new music arranged/scored by Henry Mancini in his typical style.

How long before I try #2?


THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! was an immense hit and was produced in part to take advantage of the nostalgia fad at the time. 1974 was 20 years before movie channels like TCM were launched, so these musicals were largely unknown by audiences at the time. I saw it during its first run at the sadly departed Cooper theatre in Denver with its 100 ft screen. It became apparent that many of those musicals would be too costly to produce today. MGM's production capabilities during the Golden Age were amazing. That alone makes the film worth watching.

I remember when exiting the theatre a little girl behind me asked her mother "Why don't they make movies like that anymore?"

 
 Posted:   May 23, 2024 - 2:41 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! was an immense hit and was produced in part to take advantage of the nostalgia fad at the time. ... MGM's production capabilities during the Golden Age were amazing. That alone makes the film worth watching.

I remember when exiting the theatre a little girl behind me asked her mother "Why don't they make movies like that anymore?"


I, too, recall the film (this first one) being very successful ... this was my hey-dey of cinema-going and it annoyed me that a compilation of scenes from old films was filling screens to the detriment of new films. I appreciate these older movies (some of them) more now. But my rating for this production reflects how much I enjoyed watching it, not whether it is worth watching.

 
 Posted:   May 26, 2024 - 11:26 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Human Desire (1954) ... 8/10

Superb melodrama/film-noir thanks to a tight script and excellent performances by Glenn Ford, Broderick Crawford and a sensational Gloria Grahame. It's not perfect as the story has Buckley/Crawford kill a man who has just done him a favour ... but I suppose that's the point: human desire overrules the brain.

And whilst his wife is the femme fatale I found her retribution meant an unsatisfactory ending.

Ford and Crawford starred together three times and all are great films. I was amused recalling that I used to watch Glenn Ford in Cade's County 50 years ago where his friend/colleague in this film, Edgar Buchanan, repeated the role.

The B&W image is excellent, albeit the back projection shots are clear. There's no suggestion as to where the story is set but there's nothing inviting with much of the story taking place in and around a railroad yard.

Wonderful score (partly diegetic) by Daniele Amfitheatrof which is mostly easy-listening but has some dramatic themes in the style of Bernard Herrmann.

 
 Posted:   May 26, 2024 - 11:41 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

The Burglars (a.k.a. Le casse) (1971) ... 3/10

Watched via a YouTube w/s download.

Very poor crime drama which is saved only by its stars Jean-Paul Belmondo and Omar Sharif who try to put life into what is a dull story. Despite being set in Athens (not mentioned in the script) little is made of the location - other than some scenic beach scenes, a few miles/kilometres away ... in Corfu! ... and the story drifts when Dyan Cannon's character is introduced.

An early car chase is boring to start but does become more fun and Belmondo performs some great stunts.

By the time Azad/Belmondo drives around broadcasting his girlfriend's name so as to find her I'd given up. I recall my parents seeing it on release and not being impressed; I've been wanting to see it partly because of Ennio Morricone's vibrant score but even this was disappointing. After the main theme there is very little dramatic score.

 
 Posted:   May 28, 2024 - 1:27 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Man of the West (1958) ... 7/10

An old-fashioned western which spends much of its running time in developing characters and hence provides limited action. Here, the story is interesting but the basic premise stretches the limits of plausibility: a reformed outlaw is riding a train which is attacked by his former gang ... he escapes but then joins them, albeit reluctantly.

Perhaps there should have been a scene in which he recognises his former family during the robbery so knows where to go.

Despite some lovely scenery (which moves from lush green to desert far too quickly) and good dialogue the film is let down by Lee J. Cobb. Almost every time he spoke I wanted him to shut up ... made up to look a lot older (he didn't!) he shouted almost every line and his voice grated. Even the usually annoying Arthur O'Connell was restrained in comparison. Julie London played her role well and support from a young Jack Lord and regulars John Dehner, Royal Dano and Robert J. Wilke (three actors I've seen many times without knowing their names) helped star Gary Cooper tell the story. But it was Coop's film from start to finish.

An enjoyable score by Leigh Harline.

 
 
 Posted:   May 30, 2024 - 1:42 PM   
 By:   Prince Damian   (Member)

The Devil's Messenger(1962) 2/10
With Lon Chaney

I haven't watched a film in a while and I picked this crap.
Three limp tales held together by Lon playing Satan. He looks like he enjoyed himself I what little he did - sending a woman back topside to bring deserving souls below. And yet you don't see her ( or did I miss it) up above. Most of the cast were so wooden that I expected the doors to start talking. Pooh. Still better than some star wars and marvel though.

 
 Posted:   May 31, 2024 - 9:10 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

The Shakedown (1960) ... 6-/10

Surprisingly entertaining British 'B' movie with a few well-known faces (including a couple of debuts) which has the police seeking to find out what new racket newly-released criminal Augie/Terence Morgan is up to, not realising that he's seeking retribution on Gollar/Harry H. Corbett who has cheated him.

With a modelling agency acting as a cover for blackmail there's plenty of scope for story development and there's very little padding, almost every scene has relevance. Lead Morgan (I know him from an episode of The Persuaders!) is pleasant and doesn't convey the nastiness required, whilst colleague Donald Pleasance is more seedy than his role suggests. Hazel Court is clearly a little too old for her role which has the viewer wondering why she's involved.

There's a great line when a blackmailed bank manager asks his assistant if he still has an old revolver ... and some bullets. Quaint!

The score by Philip Green is highly infectious and far too jaunty for the subject; the title music was very reminiscent of John Barry's early compositions. A nightclub sequence has a female vocalist seeking to make the film's title the subject of her plaintive song ... painful smile

Sunset (1988) ... 6+/10

Enjoyable crime drama set around late 1920s' Hollywood with real-life Wyatt Earp and Tom Mix (who were friends) fighting a mad film producer (influenced by Charles Chaplin?) and corrupt police.

James Garner is a pleasure to watch and he carries the film whilst Bruce Willis is fun and accepts his role is secondary. The story is muddled with the script requiring action rather than development but none of it is meant to be serious.

A wonderful score by Henry Mancini leaves you humming.

 
 Posted:   Jun 2, 2024 - 2:39 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

The Duchess (2008) ... 4/10

A wonderful score by Rachel Portman.

Otherwise: sickening.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 2, 2024 - 3:13 PM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

The Duchess (2008) ... 4/10

A wonderful score by Rachel Portman.

Otherwise: sickening.



big grin

Do tell…

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 2, 2024 - 3:38 PM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)

The Duchess (2008) ... 4/10

A wonderful score by Rachel Portman.

Otherwise: sickening.



big grin

Do tell…


I looked at the Parents Guide at the imdb and couldn't see anything that would offend the vicar. "Wine is drunk with most meals." Sounds like a recommendation!

 
 Posted:   Jun 2, 2024 - 10:48 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

The Duchess (2008) ... 4/10

A wonderful score by Rachel Portman.

Otherwise: sickening.



big grin

Do tell…


I looked at the Parents Guide at the imdb and couldn't see anything that would offend the vicar. "Wine is drunk with most meals." Sounds like a recommendation!


Ah, I did wonder if my short review may raise a query smile Competently made, though I found lead Keira Knightley far too 21st Century in her portrayal and Dominic Cooper very poor ...

... but it was the story which I found distasteful: dramatised history but this adult version of a Mills & Boon story had no redeeming features ... other than some lovely scenery and the wonderful music score.

 
 Posted:   Jun 3, 2024 - 4:06 AM   
 By:   agentMaestraX   (Member)

Furiosa - A Mad Max Saga - (2024) 9/10

As the world fell, a young Furiosa is snatched from that Green Place and falls into the hands of a great Biker Horde led by the Warlord Dementus. Sweeping through the Wasteland they come across the Citadel presided over by The Immortan Joe. While the two Tyrants war for dominance begins, Furiosa who is now grown up must survive many trials as she puts together the means to find her way home. Gloriously epic, beautifully photographed, exciting action, like Fury Road this score is rad, great cast!
I need say no more! Furiastic Excellence!

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 3, 2024 - 9:41 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2024) – 8/10

This film is a sequel that takes place about 300 years after the events depicted in 2017’s WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES, which ended with the death of the ape “Caesar.” The new film follows “Noa” (Owen Teague), a young chimpanzee from a falconry-practicing clan, who sees his father killed and his mother “Dar” (Sara Wiseman) and girlfriend “Soona” (Lydia Peckham) abducted by a group of ape raiders, serving their self-proclaimed king, “Proximus Caesar” (Kevin Durand). On the way to the raider’s village, Noa is joined by “Raka” (Peter Macon), a wise and virtuous Bornean orangutan, and by a human who is later revealed to be “Mae” (Freya Allan). Initially, Noa and Raka name the supposedly mute woman “Nova,” a reference to the character of the same name from WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES. KINGDOM says that “Nova” has since become an ape name for trusted humans. The name is also a reference to the original 1968 film.

We get involved with the journey of Noa, Raka, and Mae to the ape village, and things really pick up when we finally meet the smart and dynamic Proximus Caesar. His seaside village is built around an old human vault, embedded into a mountainside, which Caesar desperately wants to crack. He’s aided in this by “Trevathan” (William H. Macy), an opportunistic human who styles himself as Proximus Caesar's chief advisor and teaches him human history.

It's good that this film is not another reboot of the series, and instead continues the storyline from the last film. Seven years between series entries is a long time, but this film can stand on its own without a detailed knowledge of the prior three films in the current cycle.

As with most series films, this one suffers from “sequel bloat,” in which each succeeding film is longer than the one before it. RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2011) ran a crisp 105 minutes, DAWN (2014) ran 130 minutes, WAR ran 140 minutes, and now KINGDOM clocks in at 145 minutes, a full 40 minutes longer than the first film. The film drags in a few spots, and the not-unseen-before special effects do little to take up the slack.

Still, the film has good performances, particularly by Durand, and the script has a few surprises, setting us up for the next entry. John Paesano’s score, recorded in Australia, is a good one, with echoes of Goldsmith’s original in some of its orchestrations and tonalities. The $160 million production has been a reasonable success, grossing $337 million to date. But it still has a way to go to reach the box office returns of the first three entries.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 4, 2024 - 10:33 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

IF (2024) – 7/10

Twelve-year-old “Bea” (Cailey Fleming) moves into her grandmother’s apartment in New York while her father (John Krasinski) waits for heart surgery in the same hospital where her mother died of cancer years earlier. She chafes against his playful antics, insisting she can handle the situation with maturity. One night, Bea goes out to buy a charger for her mother's old camcorder and sees an unfamiliar creature, following it back to her grandmother's building. The next day, she sees the creature again, accompanied by a man. Bea follows them to a nearby house where the man, “Cal” (Ryan Reynolds), meets a large furry creature named Blue. She also meets the first creature, a butterfly-like being named Blossom, and faints. She awakens in Cal's apartment, where she learns that he has been working with imaginary friends, nicknamed IFs, to place them with new children as their original children have grown up and forgotten them. Initially reluctant, Bea eventually decides to help Cal.

IF is a cute enough film, although it’s neither as funny nor as touching as it wants to be. The fact that the basic plot seems like a TOY STORY derivative—about how toys feel when their children grow up and move on from playing with toys—doesn’t help.

Most of the humor and emotion in the film comes from Michael Giacchino’s insistent score. The score occasionally overpowers what’s on screen, but by and large it’s one of the best scores for pure listening that I’ve heard in a film for a long time.

Director John Krasinski was able to corral nearly 20 top stars to lend their voices to the various imaginary friends, many of whom have only “walk on” parts. The late Louis Gossett, Jr., however, has a major role as “Lewis,” an elderly teddy bear who runs the Memory Lane Retirement Home, a retirement community for IFs housed underneath a ride in Coney Island. The picture is dedicated to his memory.

The $110 million production had already been released in most of the world before its 17 May opening in the U.S., so its worldwide gross of $138 million to date has to be seen as a disappointment.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 5, 2024 - 11:23 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

RIO LOBO (1970) – 7/10

Although he holds no ill-will towards two Confederates against whom he fought ("Capt. Pierre Cordona” (Jorge Rivero) and “Tuscarora” (Chris Mitchum)), after the Civil War, “Col. Cord McNally” (John Wayne) searches for the two Union traitors whose treachery caused the loss of a close friend. McNally learns from Tuscarora that the traitors have taken over the town of Rio Lobo. When McNally rides into town, he finds out that town boss “Ketcham” (Victor French) and “Sheriff Tom Hendricks” (Mike Henry) have confiscated land from the people.

Howard Hawks directed this film, his last. It was his fifth collaboration with Wayne. Like most of Hawks’ films, the picture celebrates friendship and professionalism. And like most of Wayne’s films from TRUE GRIT (1969) on, it plays off Wayne’s advancing age. The picture is “comfortable,” an appellation applied to Wayne by “Shasta” (Jennifer O’Neill), a young woman whose medicine show partner has been murdered by a sheriff's deputy from Rio Lobo.

If RIO LOBO had not been so derivative of Hawks’ own RIO BRAVO (1959) and EL DORADO (1967), and had it not been released in an era when standard westerns were quickly giving way to revisionist ones, the film would have been better received. But looking back from 50 years on, we can appreciate it as being completely in the Hawks tradition.

Jerry Goldsmith's score was last released by La-La Land in 2012. The $5 million production finished just out of the top 30 films of the year, with a $12.9 million gross.

 
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