Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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I never seen a film like it. Fascinating. It's hilarious in places. It's sad...and can be boring. Mixed in with 'ordinary' it's life. Some reviews mention vinuets (sorry I can't spell it) but that exactly what everyday life is like. Small happenings. Therefore it succeeds. It would seem to be Wednesday but could it be Thursday?
It was 1930. The Talkies had just arrived and people wanted to hear talk. It was the perfect time for the Three Brothers (I don't count Zeppo, sorry Zeppo). I can't imagine a silent Marx Brothers film. You wouldn't have the wit and the perfect delivery of Groucho. his non-stop ability to outwit everybody except the deadpan, quick-witted Chico with his cod Italian accent, and his fascinating, 'pointed-finger' piano playing. Watching someone playing the piano is, let's face it, quite boring. Chico always makes it fun. Chico himself could never get the better of Harpo, the voiceless, noisy, violent, aggressive-appearing, girl-chasing Imp of Confusion stealing every scene he appears in. And special mention must be made of the ever durable, statuesque, imperial Margaret Dumont, the continuous victim of Groucho's devastating putdowns, a lady who could take it. Their early films (they had been in theatre for a number of years before Hollywood came calling, and weren't youngsters by any means) are the best. Animal Crackers, Horse Feathers, Monkey Business and Duck Soap. Animal Crackers is wonderful, creaky, dated, virtually plotless but who cares? Just lie back and enjoy the madness for its the Marx Brothers at their best. Some entertainers are unique. You will never see their like again.
First of all it's a silent and therefore dated. You have to make allowance for this. Three actors on top form, the fragile, vulnerable Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess (the only film I have seen him in I think), and an early (well-built - what a body!) the great Donald Crisp for once playing against type, and very well indeed, the villainous abusive father to the young, fragile, delicate Lillian Gish, blossom-like indeed. Barthelmess produces a subtly warm performance as the equally delicate Chinese a near missionary trying to survive while delivering his message of Love and Understanding in a dirty soulless foreign land. This is a well told, well filmed D W Griffith production. A masterpiece. A moral tale about racial tolerance and its ugly opposite leading to a truly heart-breaking finish. A brilliant story, brilliantly acted by all three principals but truly it's Gish's film perhaps her finest moment.
Based on the James Hadley Chases classic No Orchids For Miss Blandish. understandingly, it can't match the book for its extreme violence and sadism and nastiness, and for what happens to the helpless heroine in the end. No movie could and get a certificate. But it does what it can to get it past the censor and I suppose you can't ask for more. But it pales alongside the novel.
How DID Mel Brooks get this 'ultimate in full marks in bad taste' film made??!? It's so mad. It's so AWFUL! It's so dreadful. It's so funny!
We have to thank God that sometimes things just work and the pairing of the sadly much under-rated and under-used Zero Mostel with the always excellent Gene Wilder was inspired. Wilder later said that he wasn't acting in the first scene. The terror he shows of the larger than life Mostel is real.
It has its faults. After the success of their play the film tails off quite a bit. But then Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar both have basic plot weaknesses.
Such nit-picking doesn't matter. In my opinion the test of a great film is that it stands out from the rest and YOU REMEMBER IT. It doesn't just disappear like candy-floss after you've left the cinema as unfortunately most films do.
Well, with Robinson and Bogart both at their peak, I couldn't give it less. And great support from Lauren Bacall and Claire Trevor both excellent in their different ways. Nice to see Lionel Barrymore too, looking his age unfortunately. Maybe the wheelchair was necessary, I hope not. A taut claustrophobic story that drops you in the action and offers you the choices and compromises the various characters have to make during the long hours. But its Robinson's film. His last great film before losing his edge. He's so entertaining and so 'right' in the part. If you had to be menaced by an old time gangster I bet you'd choose Johnny Rocco. And as with the ending of Shane there's a nostalgia even a sadness in his performance at his age for a way of life soon to be gone forever for the character and for the actor. Win or lose Johnny Rocco is doomed. We're all glad that Bogart triumphs in the end of course. He had to win but I always felt that, pragmatic though it was for him to do so, it was just a little cold-blooded for him to shoot Edward G down from cover.
'Noir was never this nasty again' someone said about this film. Whetever happened to Ralph Meeker's career after this film? A big guy, well built, his limited acting range is perfect for the unemotional role of Mike Hammer the tough guy tec. Forget Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe. This is the man. He hates criminals and respects the law until it gets in his way then smiles as he beats the bad guys to pulp, enjoying meeting violence with violence and cruelty with cruelty. He almost runs down a dame wearing just a trench coat who runs out in front of his speeding car. She barely has time to say 'remember me' when they're caught. He's barely conscious as she is tortured to death in a mercifully short scene. Then they shove him down a cliff in his car but unluckily for the bad guys he survives and looks for payback. There's hardly time to draw breath as the dames, suspects and bodies pile up on the trail of the 'Great Whatsit' behind it all. The last scene is unforgettable as the last 'man' standing holding the box, 'Gabrielle' who has been warned repeatedly not to open the box, after spouting some slick lines, shoots Hammer down, can't resist just a peek and the ending explodes on the screen. Unforgettable.
This film is probably wonderful. I didn't know whether to give it 5 stars or none. As it became quite, no, very tedious I went for one. Kafkaesque. You sit wondering where the movies going. It goes nowhere. A very unpleasant leading character with some but little talent but who has a touch of real life about him. As a documentary it would likely be good, but not as 'entertainment'; don't expect to be entertained. Like watching a train wreck in slow motion. Very slow motion. I toss a coin. Go or don't go. ... Heads: don't go. (It was a double-headed coin).
A film in the line of movies about movie making which began with Sunset Boulevard. Visually stunning, super bright and glittering, it exposes the greed, artificiality and hollowness of 1930's Tinsel Town. All the characters struggling in their own mean selfish ways to succeed in this false glamorous world. Karen Black, as the unashamedly sexy, resolutely virginal, blonde bombshell is perfect, unrepentant to the end. Yet marvelously Black is able to imbue her character with an unexpected child-like innocence. An equally fine performance from Donald Sutherland as...Homer Simpson !! (is that where the Simpsons got the name I wonder?), so different from his usual screen personality, as the nervous, neurotic, down-trodden accountant. Nice to see Burgess Meredith too, warm and likeable as ever as Black's ailing, drunken, con-man/showman father. Meredith an old friend I'm always glad to see. And that Shirley Temple-like pesky kid. She's the one who lights the fuse that brings the whole house down. She's only a kid. It WAS her fault but the fuse was already there in this timber-house and it was ready to be lit and would have been - if not by her, by someone or something else. The ending is bloodily realistic, awful and genuinely frightening. Beware mobs! They have a life of their own, so different from the way individuals behave. Also at times the sets had a falsity about them but this works and agrees with this view of the trashy falsity of movieland. A long film which doesn't seem long.
Perhaps it helps if you saw at least one of the first two Bill and Ted movies, but I thought it was a good, happy film taking us from the worrying real world of today. Admittedly the end of the world as we know it was at stake and they do get into a good number of situations from which there definitely is no escape, including being sent to Hell (The Devil plays a mean guitar) but you know nothing bad is ever going to happen to the world or more importantly to B and T. More Excellent than Bogus. It's fun. Party on, Dudes! Oh, stay till the end of the credits if you want to see a real cool care-home gig.
FINALLY!! a great Superhero movie after all the usual junk. It's got everything and in style, goes with all guns blazing, and, as with The Joker, includes a perhaps overdue cynical comment on today's society. So watchable, so exciting and such depth too. The 'heros' especially Rorshach, are uncompromising each with his or her own human (or should I say super-human) failings giving the characters depth and life. A long film, almost three hours, which didn't seem long. It did threaten at one point to turn into a who-dunnit but the endings, yes, both of them ! were stunning and fooled me completely. And what an inspiration was the god-like Dr Manhattan, such an awesome character. I never saw the book but loved the TV series which is why I went for the film. Maybe better. Altogether a brilliant, brilliant production by all concerned. It stands alone as THE fantasy movie.
Well, you certainly get your moneysworth!! What was this? A Carry On Bankrobbing script played by actors who aren't funny, and a cast of thousands? Parts are very good especially the beginning and you have to admire the energy of a young Al Pacino throughout keeping the show going right to the very end; but everyone concerned must have been glad when it was over. They had tried so hard. The problem (surely the original bank robbing couldn't have been so mishandled or eventually so boring), was that they crammed way too much resulting in a self-indulgent, labyrinthine, silly plot. A host of individual ingredients are wonderful in a banquet but, unlike the film, at such a meal we don't have to eat EVERYTHING! In this very long film, to avoid nausea, you have to leave the table early.
I'm not usually a fan of Saga movies, generation on generation, but this held my attention. Particularly fine restrained acting from Whoopi Goldberg as Celie, her screen character's personality so different from what we expect from her - and Oprah Winfrey perfect as the feisty Sofia. Danny Glover too, he makes a wonderful villain, curse him! And generally a great cast. All in all a quite long enjoyable film with brilliant photography and great tension-building cutting. We all like a happy ending and this is provided even if it is a little sugary (it's fortunate that someone in Celie's family had property to leave her) but it tells an important tale nonetheless. A wonderful performance too from Margaret Avery who played Shug Avery as the man-hungry but never man-dependent diva and Tata Vega as her voice! Overall another triumph from Spielberg. The quote I remember, which is the heart of the film, spoken by Danny Glover's character (or some other of Celie's brutal controlling men) as she makes her final escape from soul-destroying household drudgery: 'Don't forget you're black, you're poor, you're ugly and you're a woman. You're NOTHING'. But the women finish up the stronger - as really they usually do in life!
This is not fiction, unfortunately. A true tale and one that is only too likely still to be happening today and not just in Texas. Admirably set up in that the victim of the miscarriage of justice is portrayed as the violent, drunken lout he no doubt was in real life and not as some misunderstood nice guy. But that does not excuse the rush to find someone to blame for what may be just the accidental death of young children. Their father who else -someone without influence, someone poor who no-one will miss. A grueling watch. And as in Shakespeare's tragedies we are not spared from watching his ordeal in detail and to the very end.
A fine film of a fine book. Intelligent. I saw it for the second time in many years and it seems to improve with age. Studded with many stars, Van Johnson, Jose Ferror, Fred McMurray, as well as the American Navy (!) and the great Humphrey Bogart who as the mentally disturbed Captain Queeg gives one of the last great performances of his career during the courtroom scene. What an actor. The final very close close-ups show how he well he is able to portray the dignified breakdown of his character. The twist ending only gives depth to the tragic tale.
Great combination of an intelligent script, unusual story, Richard E Grant (who adds stature to any production) and finally a worthwhile role for a star quality actor I have always had a fondness for and has too often had her talent wasted, Melissa McCarthy.
The plot makes no sense but every character is perfect in this wonderful crime thriller. Bogart's finest hour but then he had so many of them. Of its time so you have to read between the lines at times and perfect. Acting and especially direction top notch. Sometimes they do get it right. This is one of those times.
Hard to watch, VERY long, gruelling and ...unmissable!
A thoughtful movie about growing up in a small town where the only escape for the people from their poverty and their drab lives is twice a week in the glamour of the silver screen. Ultimately the beat up, but friendly cinema house cannot survive TV and its death is the climax of the film.
This is not fiction as it's message is how, as adults, we all have to abandon nearly all our fairytale visions of the future and how finally we all have to settle for the compromises of real life.