Raw Meat aka Death Line (1972) - rewatch 6.0-6.5/10
At times funny and at times effective modern cannibal horror that pre-dates The Descent and also weirdly evokes Night of The Living Dead, and hints towards Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Hills Have Eyes.
Unfortunately the story mechanics often don't make sense - even where you can forgive it - and some of it is played too cheesy.
A lot of people love this but I think they're overrating it although Donald Pleasence in the lead is kind of a blast and in the broader sense it works and could be tightened up, remade I guess.....but what this is disappoints.
Long overdue re-watch to honor the maestro. Can't believe I was underwhelmed by this years ago... perfect mix of majestic and badass. And Morricone's score elevates it to something... I dunno... cosmic.
Wild, awesome plot... but it lags more than it needs to for only 78 minutes and Dick Powell's character (John Kennedy, lol) could have been more interesting/less paper thin. Still mostly well directed by Mann and an interesting blend of genres/eras.
Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte - Lots of wonderfully made fun. The follow-up to "Baby Jane" may not be as iconic as its predecessor but I think it's just as good and just as entertaining. After a (literally) killer opening the film maintains a high level of enjoyability for its hefty duration. The visual style is quite tremendous with its terrific compositions and magnificent lighting (it's such bullshit that it lost the Cinematography Oscar to "Zorba the Greek"), and the cast is nothing less that a lot of fun too, be it Olivia de Havilland in a rather unexpected turn or the utterly scenery-chewing Agnes Moorehead.
A few iffy scenes (the ones without Vincent Price, the try-hard 3-D stuff) aside, this was a lot of fun and pretty deliciously macabre. And another brilliant two-sided performance from Price... the passionate artist and the mad scientist... can't imagine this film succeeding without him.
It must have been easy for Vincent Price to act alarmed in the sequence in which his museum burns down. Right before the shoot, André De Toth's crew set three "spot fires" in strategic locations. Then the cameras started rolling and everything went downhill. The team quickly lost control of their fires, which merged into a massive inferno that put a hole in the sound stage roof and singed Price's eyebrows. But because the rapidly melting wax mannequins would've been very hard to replace, de Toth kept on filming-even as firemen arrived to help extinguish the flames.
Decameron's night (1953). A forgotten mid/low budget film, originally filmed in Spain,better than I thought.- Fontaine and Jordan are very good in it.- I love the low budget italian decameron'sfilms in the early 70s.-
Saw North by Northwest for the first time last weekend. Might be my favorite Hitchcock film and I've seen Rear Window, Psycho, Vertigo, etc. Lighter than some of Hitchcock's other films but a terrific thriller of a man with a mistaken identity. The entire cast is great: Cary Grant, James Mason, Eva Marie Saint, Martin Landau, etc. and some all-time great direction by Hitchcock. I see why the film is the highly regarded masterpiece that it is. My apologies for taking so long to finally watch it..lol
I feel like the plot could've gone in some better directions... but overall this was a very strong, somewhat unique prison movie. Bit too preachy to be great though... Cagney was great though (and terrific in one particular breakdown scene) and George Raft was cool as hell. Why didn't he star in The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca?
I'm overrating it but that's how much I like Garfield here and if it ended better I'd be more adamant about it .......a role that's perfect for Bogie but Bogie isn't handsome enough to really pull this off. This movie is a misdirection which sets up one plot before following a whole other.
Some of this is formula stuff despite the swerve in plot but it's one of those "Post-WW II" noirs where desperate men return home willing to do desperate things to eat dammit. These movies always gain a lot from that set-up and this one is no exception.
One of those pre-Camera Buff early Kieslowski movies where he worked out his style and refined his artistic sensiblities.
This is only 70 minutes long and it functions as a set-up for stuff he'd deep dive into later - and his career is as great as anyone's ever - love, community, a living wage, corruption and irony functioning side by side and within each other in waves. Jerzy Stuhr a Kieslowski regular stars here and without him you may not fully recognize this as Kieslowski.
In these early films you feel an awful lot at stake already and a lot less beautifully than his later bravura style - close ups here feel agonizingly all too real.
The Rack (1956) - 6.5-7/10. "Most rumors crawl, this one flew." This is a strong Rod Serling idea with emotional cross-currents dealing with guilt, understanding (lack thereof), fatherhood, the service. Except for Walter Pidgeon as the father whose perf feels pushed out, this is well-acted by all and especially Newman when he takes the stand.
Children of Paradise (1945) - Can't believe I'd put this off for so long. If not the best, the most French film ever made? (Made during the Occupation with a sensibility that's like an affront to the Germans). Might be described as a tragic farce, though that doesn't begin to describe its intricacies and many pleasures. Artforms within artforms—breathes theatre, music, literature, acting. Shows how life, rather than imitating art, catches it off guard. And it poses a question: by what right does a culture separate tragedy from farce? Spiritual, romantic love—in the form of sublime Jean-Louis Barrault—turns out to be no more elevated than vulgar, "common" love... and considerably more cruel. Love, not death, is the leveller that reduces everyone to fools. And Arletty's performance as the courtesan with the world at her feet ensures we're happy, willing fools. Penned by Jacques Prévert, a contender for the greatest screenplay ever written if you ask me.
Preposterous.......nasty ........cheap-ish noir BUT ....... with a greeeeeeeeeeeeeat femme fatale turn from Jean Gillie who makes this weirdly fascinating and of note. This is less than 80 minutes which is insane when you know the plot - just know it involves many implausibilities one of which is that you could involve this many people in under 80 minutes.
This plot is utterly weird for noir too and the performance from Gillie is one of the great "what a bitch!" turns in movies I think I've ever seen and I never saw it until today - it got recommended to me from my movie club - finally they recommended something worth seeing
On paper, this could have been incredible as both a Vietnam allegory and a look at the history of racism in America... but in execution, it leaves a lot to be desired. The group of racist scumbags aren't even interesting... and their "maybe we shouldn't even be doing this" moments just come off phony. Bronson's Chato has like 5 lines and we don't even see his reaction to some major plot points. Jack Palance's character (who puts on his old Confederate uniform to hunt the half-Apache) was unique enough to maybe have turned this into a good movie... if the direction of his character actually went somewhere interesting instead of strangely remaining enigmatic.
Disappointing... dry... but kind of fascinating I guess.
Howard Hawks's Ball of Fire which was a total hoot! Although many consider him to be wooden, I gotta say that I love Gary Cooper and this movie is yet another example of why. He just had this heartwarming charm to him which I find endlessly enjoyable. And Barbara Stanwyck once again proves that she was and always will be one of the very greatest actresses of all time. And so utterly sexy too.
The Shout (1978) rewatch 7.5/10. Jerzy Skolimowski’s mystic mystery-horror is deeply fascinated with the force of objects - ordinary things like rocks and belt buckles become supernatural and soul-sucking here - and Jerzy uses a range of techniques to unsettle small moments, with Roeg-quick editing (a flash cut during a shake of a t shirt to inflect a feel of violence) and a magnification of sounds, which is literally John Hurt’s job in this movie, blowing out the sound of marbles, cigarettes, etc, for some jacked sonic potential.
Alan Bates is the disruptive stranger - a favorite trope of mine (don’t forget Jerzy cowrote Knife in the Water) - who is telling t/his story (forgiving hyperbole, he admits) to Tim Curry during a cricket match between doctors and patients at a mental hospital. That we can’t tell the two apart is a neat wink from Jerzy who’s interested in this confusion of the British quaint and has always been interested in exiles, surreally detailed social edges, moral pauses, etc. But here the inexplicable, the religious/cultural undertones, and Bates’ wickedly terrific perf, give this a darker whole, a terrifying lingering pull.
I like the idea of a desert noir/neo-western/lost gold hybrid... but this was stunningly dull. If this had one clear protagonist instead of a bunch of boring duds, it might've been a little bit better. Only 78 minutes yet padded with unnecessary flashbacks and weird musical numbers. Already forgot most of the plot tbh.
The only movie Tracy/Davis made and they're kind of sorta great - Tracy highly emotive here - he resembles Cagney in his acting and Davis is shockingly modern. The movie is kind of a bore but the ending (pre-Code) is batsh it crazy and complex in a way if you think about it........... and the stars - 19 Oscar nominations and 4 wins between them are very starry.
Ebert bashes the movie for its “uncertainty” between tones - should we be laughing? crying? I thought that made the movie so interesting, that conflict of feeling, just how Dom DeLuise is made to feel about food here. And what uncertainty? It IS hilarious (“You ate the ony!” - “Give me the keys!” - mumbling “marzipan” in his sleep - etc) and it IS sad - when the doctor reads out all the food he can no longer eat, Anne Bancroft waits and waits and THEN cuts to DeLuise, we see he’s destroyed and it’s heartbreaking. And like the customer dithering about the danish, all food as potential food, teasing sweet, that’s an every-body thing. Hugely hearted movie, Italian-American specific, very funny, even romantic. And complicated in its addiction parallels. His crucifix is a cruller. Bancroft, her only time behind the camera, writes-directs splendidly, perceptively. It’s among the best American fem-helmed movies of the 80s.
Wasn't expecting this to be as funny as it was... but I think all the humor kind of took away from any chance of the weight-y moments having real weight. Kind of a mess too... though I enjoyed a lot of it. I dunno.
Finally watched this to honor Olivia de Havilland.
Remarkable performance from her (nearly on the level of The Heiress). Exhaustive study of mental illness, institutions, and eventually... recovery. A bit too exhaustive for me personally, but quite solid and well made overall.