Recently Watched Films 2022

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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Sam Raimi, Crimewave, 1985

To quote from the summary of this excellent and detailed review http://www.cineoutsider.com/reviews/blu ... ve_br.html :
"Some will love it, others will hate it, many will find themselves not bothered either way. Crimewave is the very essence of cult cinema, a film effectively disowned by its director, whose original vision was completely scuppered by studio interference but which has found a loyal and enthusiastic fanbase [..] this disc does it proud. For those prepared to wear their silly hats to watch and enjoy it, this has to come most highly recommended."
The tortured backstory of this ill-fated collaboration between Raimi, fresh from the success of The Evil Dead, and the Coens, just starting to hit paydirt after Blood Simple, is well worth reading, but do have a look at the movie first. It's a jawdropping train wreck collision of genres - romcom, horror, black comedy, 40s B-movie - and, despite the studio's clumsy edits (the director apparently can't bear to watch it anymore), every shot is just gorgeously framed and beautifully lit, the script is sharp and the performances, though deliberately and ludicrously over the top, are great fun. File alongside another much maligned exercise de style, Coppola's One From The Heart. I loved it. Henrik, you're a Raimiphile, what about you mate?
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henriq
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Dan Warburton wrote:
Fri Apr 15, 2022 8:34 am
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Sam Raimi, Crimewave, 1985

To quote from the summary of this excellent and detailed review http://www.cineoutsider.com/reviews/blu ... ve_br.html :
"Some will love it, others will hate it, many will find themselves not bothered either way. Crimewave is the very essence of cult cinema, a film effectively disowned by its director, whose original vision was completely scuppered by studio interference but which has found a loyal and enthusiastic fanbase [..] this disc does it proud. For those prepared to wear their silly hats to watch and enjoy it, this has to come most highly recommended."
The tortured backstory of this ill-fated collaboration between Raimi, fresh from the success of The Evil Dead, and the Coens, just starting to hit paydirt after Blood Simple, is well worth reading, but do have a look at the movie first. It's a jawdropping train wreck collision of genres - romcom, horror, black comedy, 40s B-movie - and, despite the studio's clumsy edits (the director apparently can't bear to watch it anymore), every shot is just gorgeously framed and beautifully lit, the script is sharp and the performances, though deliberately and ludicrously over the top, are great fun. File alongside another much maligned exercise de style, Coppola's One From The Heart. I loved it. Henrik, you're a Raimiphile, what about you mate?
Raimiphile, moi? Sure, I like Evil Dead as much as the next guy and I absolutely adore Drag Me To Hell, but the director should have his ass kicked for those fucking Spider Men. Or not - who can really complain about that pay-day, and no one forces me to watch anything I don't want. I have not seen this one, will have a look!

henriq
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Dan Warburton wrote:
Sat Apr 09, 2022 2:08 am
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Steven Spielberg, Munich, 2005

"Gripping, shocking, unflinching, pessimistic, unforgettable" is the title of one IMDb punter review, but I wouldn't use any of those adjectives myself. Much prefer "stylish and well-intentioned action thriller that tries to ask big questions, but is stumped for answers." (Guardian). I'm always a little taken aback when I see how a film I haven't enjoyed very much is praised to sky by everyone else. Anyway, point by point: yep, the opening kidnap sequence is well done, tightly editing archive footage and all that, but you wouldn't expect anything less from Spielberg, would you? Elsewhere, I didn't feel much of the edge-of-yr-seat suspense (the little girl arriving home and nearly getting blown to bits by one of Mathieu Kassovitz's toys), which I've seen compared to Hitchcock in several reviews. Maybe those folks should go back and watch some Hitchcock again before making such claims. Then again, there's nothing like a John Williams soundtrack to kill an erection. Only Zimmer does it better. Nah, the most disappointing thing about this - and I really came prepared to like it (I think you did, Henrik?) - is the script, which is so cliché-ridden and unnatural it belongs in a comic book. As do most of the characters. None of the actors - and it's an impressive cast - has much to do in the way of acting. Zischler and Hinds could be dispensed with altogether, Craig is as appalling as his accent, Kassovitz has little to do other than look worried (compare his nuanced performance in Costa-Gavras' Amen. please), and Bana.. Bof. Looks a bit like Tom Cruise (who probably wasn't available for the shoot, and who doesn't look very Jewish anyway. But does Daniel Craig? ha), and that's about it. He was good in Chopper, but he doesn't have much to do here. And to hear truly fine actors like Lonsdale and Amalric spouting comic book drivel ("Fate's hand falls suddenly, who can say when it falls?" / "We love everybody; we hate everybody. I get my feelings confused") is simply depressing. Want to see a good film about the Arab Israeli conflict? Try https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0787442/ instead.
I think the problem with this film is the overbearing angst with which both director and screenwriter approaches the subject. Both Spielberg and Tony Ksuhner are jewish - I don't know if it plays a role here, and it doesn't necessarily of course, but it feels like they want to cram a LOT of nuance and didacticism into the narrative. A lot of the philosophising is embarrassing, yes, and that scene with the girl at home with daddy about to be blown up is, as one reviewer put it, shameless. The real Mossad would not have any qualms about preemptively blowing up a prospective martyr, I think. But you get a sense that the team of writer/director struggles to, before the fact in a way, disassociate themselves from the obvious pitfalls in the narrative, and from a blatantly pro-Israeli American lobby. Tries and fails, as you say, tries to track the ever-widening circles and mechanics of vengeance and terror. Heavy-handed, to be sure, but to be commended in some way, too.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Guillaume Canet - Ne le dis à personne (2006)

Oh go on, I will tell you that this SUCKS. Where to start? Well, probably with the over-egged Harlan Coben thriller. So many twists and turns it's just silly. Who reads this stuff? Well, half my home country, so wtf. I hate it, all those master criminals pulling all those strings. Or, maybe the actors? Francois Cluzet could and will of course play Dustin Hoffman whenever the French decide to do a biopic on the man, and annoys slightly for much the same reason. That clenched jaw earnestness, my GOD man lighten up! (I should say I love him in Chabrol's L'enfer). I remember I was intrigued, on first viewing years ago, by the jump in the film from the relative calm of Paris to the frenetic chase through the markets of Clignancourt, tearing across the périphérique. But back to the actors. Thankfully Jean Rochefort doesn't have to demean himself too much for that paycheck, and enjoy it old man, but André Dussollier really should know better than this. But no, the real problem is Olivier Marchal as some shady operative. Not only a terrible director, but an absolutely godawful actor. I thought Ewan McGregor was the only actor who actually requires copious direction just to sit in a chair, but no, Marchal can't do it either without looking mannered. And in tow, model MikaEla Fisher as some expert in torture reiki or whatever, yet another one who can't lean against a car without it sticking out like an abscessed tooth. No, real, real bad, avoid.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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henriq wrote:
Thu Jan 27, 2022 8:44 pm
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Tom Kinninmont/Peter O’Toole - Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell (1999)

Ok, not the most filmically daring in concept or execution - a filmed performance of Keith Waterhouse’s play, from the Old Vic in London. But what a play, and what a performance… As the man said, if Jeffrey Bernard didn’t exist it would have been necessary for Peter O’Toole to invent him. A character so thoroughly consonant with his own, and an absolutely consummate performance as a drunken bohemian wastrel, locked in a pub for the night. Is that real vodka in the bottle? Doesn’t matter either way - if it is, he exhibits an impressive command of the text through increasing stages of drunkenness, if it isn’t, he owns every inch of that experience, gives full body and voice to it. Pause, hesitation, explosive swathes of vocalisation, laughter, stumble, silence, regret, despair - the whole gamut and spectra of experience and memory, yes, he is IT. And not alone on the stage: mention must go to the supporting players, Annabel Leventon, Sarah Berger, Royce Mills and Timothy Ackroyd are all great. Leventon and Mills are especially wonderful. And there is a lovely, redemptive tone at work. The opening, with Leventon reading a love letter from Bernard’s muse to him - yes, pubs and betting shops IS where she loved to be with him - to the reading of the poems in his honour at the end of act one. You almost want to stand up and clap at points - wait til you see the party trick with the egg… It reminds me, in a way, of Dennis Potter’s The Singing Detective. The same movement through pain and regret, to joy and forgiveness, redemption. I find I need stuff like this, it must be the season. And I’ve watched this twice in maybe three weeks. A heartfelt recommendation!
Absolutely fucking magnificent! Thanks for the heads up, mon ami. Now, it's time for a drink :D
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Joseph Losey, Boom!, 1968

From The Guardian: "Adapted by Tennessee Williams from his allegorical, symbol-laden play The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore, this was the first of two somewhat hermetic movies in which Joseph Losey directed Elizabeth Taylor. In this one she plays the rich, six-times-divorced Flora Goforth, visited at her sumptuous, bizarrely staffed villa on her private Mediterranean island by a handsome angel of death (Richard Burton dressed as a Samurai warrior). In his penultimate screen appearance, Noël Coward is never out of a dinner jacket as Goforth's extremely camp confidant, known to her as the Witch of Capri. The film is beautifully photographed by Douglas Slocombe on the storm-lashed coast of Sardinia and is breathtakingly designed by Losey's regular collaborator Richard Macdonald. Mrs Goforth's mansion is a sight to behold. Like Secret Ceremony, Losey's other Taylor film, Boom! was a box-office disaster. But Williams thought it the best adaptation of one of his plays, and despite its pretensions and extravagance it's a work of considerable fascination."
"Words cannot express the vertiginous wretching horror that enveloped me as a lost consciousness..." to quote (correctly I hope - can't remember if it's "enveloped" or "overcame") William S. Burroughs, somewhere. Whatever, this is truly amazing, failed art film par excellence. Tennessee Williams described it as the best cinematic adaptation of one of his plays, and I think he really meant it. Then again, he could have been shitfaced drunk when he said, as were, apparently, Losey, Burton and Taylor during the shoot (they all seemed to go for Burton's quadruple Bloody Mary breakfast). Whatever, the story is utterly preposterous, the (over)acting even more so, but the locations - Sardinia, I think - sets (Richard MacDonald), costumes, music (John Barry) and cinematography (Douglas Slocombe) absolutely stunning. Needless to say, John Waters is a huge fan, and there's plenty of juicy trivia and a video of the Baltimore schlockmeister here - boom boom!
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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over easter we watched

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starman by john carpenter, 1984. this would have been the perfect family film except at some point my older boy said it's exactly like e.t. and then he kept harping on about it. we said ok, you're right, now just relax, this is the same guy who made the movie with that anti-capitalism sunglasses meme that you liked so much, he knows how to tell a story and milk it without attempting to do so. and jeff bridges is rather good in this. but yeah if somebody keeps telling you it's hard to ignore, indeed this is too much like e.t.

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merci pour le chocolat by chabrol, 2000 (without the boys). in a way this is too much like so many other chabrols. except one could argue that chabrol is at his best when he doesn't even try, when there's no melodrama to the fall of the (very upper) bourgeoisie, when the acting has a bressonian flatness and even huppert's loose screw is largely inexpressive. this is one of those, it starts off stillborn, the dialog is banal, the string of incidents arbitrary, and at some point it becomes this chabrol thing. there's lots of obvious roads this might travel which in the end it doesn't. they play lots of piano. dutronc looks old! (i thought he was pushing 70 with his obviously colored hair and hampered facial mobility, but no, only 57). in all, pretty cool.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Sergei Loznitsa, Austerlitz, 2016

From a review on the director's website:

"Ukrainean director Loznitsa – also known for fiction films My Joy and In the Fog – offers a sobering vision of how even a World War Two concentration camp can essentially become a theme park, leaving the realities of history and suffering obscured rather than available for understanding." And later: "In a series of extended takes, all fixed shots from a camera that appears to be hidden – itʼs mostly if not wholly unnoticed by subjects - Loznitsa and Mazuch record the drift of various groups and individuals around the camp, who generally come across like stereotypical tourists rather than respectful pilgrims to a site of horrifying human and historic importance. The mostly young visitors traipse around generally looking unimpressed, or unaware of where they are, as if the camp is just another stop between the Louvre and the Tower of Pisa. Decorum isnʼt the order of the day: they laugh, smile, gobble sandwiches, pose for sometimes inappropriate photo ops. They arenʼt exactly dressed for the occasion: shorts, baseball caps and brashly logoed T-shirts predominate. The densely crammed wide shots give us freedom to seize on striking details: itʼs hard not to be struck by the incongruity of someone wearing a Jurassic Park T-shirt to a death camp."
"It's not a question of 'there's so little to hear': there's so much to hear, " wrote Howard Skempton about La Monte Young. Similarly, after ten minutes of apparent whatthefuckness boredom, I became increasingly fascinated not just at the banality of selfie stick sporting tourists (love the bit where the girl poses to have her boyfriend take a snap of her in front of the ovens - you can imagine them later at home showing the snaps to family friends...) but forced to question my own participation as spectator. What gives me the right to be amused / disgusted / scandalized (add adjective of your choice) when I'm nothing less than a voyeur myself? Doesn't the very fact of my choosing to watch a documentary whose subject matter I know about before I watch it put me on the same level as the folks I'm initially tempted to sneer at? The one gripe I have is the title, which seems to be a homage to W.G.Sebald's novel of the same name, with which it has, as far as I can make out, little in common. Perhaps there's an analogy to be made between the banal bureaucratic language of Sebald describing the dehumanized business of mass extermination and the blank, bored expressions of the tourists (you could, also, I guess, mention AUSterlITZ and AUSchwITZ as a link), but there's none of Sebald's depth and emotional power in Loznitsa's documentary. Perhaps that's the point. Gas chambers these days are just a cute place to take a holiday snapshot of your girlfriend. If we're all still here in a couple of generations from now, maybe they'll be doing the same in Mariupol.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Alex van Warmerdam, Nr. 10, 2021

"Günter, found in a German forest as a four-year old, grows up in a foster family. Four decades later, he leads a normal life: he earns a living as a stage actor, spends time with his daughter Lizzy, and has an affair with a married woman. He doesn't start wondering about his origins until a stranger on a bridge whispers a single word in his ear." If that sounds mysteriously tantalizing, wait until you get to the little church in the German forest... This is a trip and a half, and if like me you have no problem with consigning religion to the outer darkness (you'll see what I mean), you'll probably enjoy the ending. But van Warmerdam's early plot line - the play within the play - is more subtly linked to the crazy dénouement than you think. Still, even by the director's standards, this is a straaaange little movie. See what you think.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Justin Kurzel, True History of the Kelly Gang, 2019

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/True_Hist ... ang_(film) Well, it says "highly fictionalised" version of the life of Ned Kelly, but - that bit about wearing women's dresses apart (unless I missed a few paragraphs somewhere) - a casual skim through the voluminous Wiki entry of the real Mr Kelly gives me the impression a lot of this really actually happened. Kurzel's jolly good at all these blood and guts things (Snowtown, Macbeth..), and he does a good job, filming, casting, editing etc. wise. But your response to the film will, I imagine, depend on how great a hero you yourself think Kelly was - for many Aussies he still seems to be. I saw this about a month ago (and have only now got round to mentioning it here) and have already, it seems, forgotten a lot about it. Anybody down under feel like chipping in (Alastair, do you consider yrself an Aussie now or are you still a pommy bastard?)?
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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if you believe the excellent sidney nolan, then ned kelly's eyes were like some kind of inbuilt cinemascope framing, so he should lend himself to good biopics told from his own perspective

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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p.s. it appears that historically gang member steve hart was the one who liked to disguise himself in female clothing. here's nolan on that:

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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Return visit, now with decent subs. Awesome work. Here's what I scrawled last time
Dan Warburton wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:22 pm
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André Cayatte / Georges Lampin / Henri-Georges Clouzot / Jean Dréville, Retour à la Vie, 1949

It was a box office disaster when it came out, and no wonder - when you've just come through a war, supposedly on the winning side, the last thing you want to be reminded of is how callous, grasping, deceitful, cruel and downright evil you - the good guys - are. The second (Lampin) and fourth (Dréville) sketches are light relief, and the last one (also directed by Dréville) ends happily, and rather unconvincingly - unless you assume that human beings are basically good, which I have a few doubts about myself, on the basis of the first part of the sketch when Serge Reggiani (great performance btw) brings home a German bride after his stint as a POW. But where Retour à la Vie really takes off - or dives into the dark depths, rather - is in the first Cayatte sketch, in which an oily and thoroughly detestable Bernard Blier and his equally odious relatives get their aunt to sign over their inheritance, even though she's just been returned from Dachau (and looks like it) and can hardly move. And, even better (worse, rather), the central sketch, written and directed by the darkest of all directors, Clouzot: a career-best performance from Louis Jouvet as the deeply scarred released prisoner Jean who ends up harbouring an escaped Nazi war criminal (with a seriously bad record) in his seedy garret. Nobody was better than Clouzot at portraying the sheer banality of human evil - and how easily any of us might be sucked into it. This is absolutely fucking chilling. I've added 30GB to the pot at KG to try and get some English subtitles - why this isn't out on DVD/BluRay already is nothing short of a war crime. Awesome, literally. Here, try out yr French: https://moncinemaamoi.blog/2016/05/08/r ... ille-1949/
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Ivan Passer, Cutter's Way, 1981

I should probably leave it to our man Henrik to go into details on this one, but I'll let the bloke from The Guardian rap a bit (don't know about that comparison to Who'll Stop The Rain myself, but..): https://www.theguardian.com/film/2011/j ... asterpiece He is, though, absolutely on the one in praising Lisa Eichhorn - and it goes without saying that Heard and Bridges are outstanding too. Superb film. I'll try and pluck up the courage to revisit the even more distressing Born To Win soon.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Vincente Minnelli, Some Came Running, 1958

I can usually live without Shirley Maclaine and, with a few exceptions, Dean Martin too, but they're both quite good here, even if it's Frank Sinatra who carries the film with a career best (arguably) performance as the cynical Army veteran. In the original James Jones novel it was Ginny (Maclaine) who got shot, whereas in the movie it's Bama (Martin). I think I would have preferred that to the rather gooey ending, but, hey, that's 1958 for you. More trivia stuff here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Some_Came_Running_(film)
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Vittorio De Sica, Miracle in Milan, 1951

Feel free to skim the Wiki plot summary: "This fantasy tale tells of Totò who, found as a baby in a cabbage patch, is adopted by Lolotta, a wise and kind old woman. When Lolotta dies he moves to an orphanage. At adulthood Totò (Francesco Golisano) leaves the orphanage and ends up in a shantytown squatter colony on the outskirts of Milan. Totò's organizational ability, learned at the orphanage, and his simple kindness and optimistic outlook acquired from Lolotta bring structure to the colony. He fosters a sense of happiness and well-being among the dispossessed who live there. Businessmen come and haggle over the ownership of the land but the squatters are left alone to live there. Oil is discovered under the colony when they are making a hole for a maypole during a festival. It forms a fountain in the middle of the camp and at first is thought to be water. Mobbi the land owner hears about the oil from the scheming squatter, Rappi, and tries to evict the squatters using an army of police. During this crisis Totò is given a magic dove by the ghost of Lolotta and he uses its powers to grant wishes to those who ask. The camp takes on a surreal appearance as every secret wish is granted. Eventually the dove is taken back by two angels who object to a mortal using its magic powers."
Hmm, well, I guess if you like It's A Wonderful Life, you'll like this, but it's pretty potty, and there's enough material for a Marxist / Semiotics symposium (yes, the capitalist bastard wins in the end but the poor get to go to heaven, albeit on fuckin' broomsticks!). The special effects will look amusing to you youngsters, but they're not at all bad for the time imo; and the barren wastelands of desolate post WWII industrial Italy make a magnificent neorealistico backdrop to De Sica's fantasy fairy tale. Entertaining but definitely wacko.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Brian De Palma, Home Movies, 1980

Well, let's just say this chap liked it much more than I did https://spectrumculture.com/2013/01/31/ ... me-movies/ "[C]heap looking, weirdly paced farce" indeed.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Tom Toelle, Das Millionenspiel, 1970

A while back I wrote up Yves Boisset's Le prix du danger (see above, if interested) and said I'd get round to Tom Toelle's 1970 telefilm adaptation of the same Robert Sheckley dystopian TV manhunt reality show. I have, and it's much better and more disturbing than the later French remake. So much so that some German viewers actually phoned up the TV station and asked how they could take part (!) - yikes. All the IMDb critic reviews are in German, but if you scroll down to the third user review you'll find some more detailed discussion. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066079/re ... _=tt_ov_rt
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Peter Ustinov, Billy Budd, 1962

http://www.sensesofcinema.com/2001/cteq/billy-2/ gives you some good background. Yes, OK, while I much prefer Claire Denis's looser adaptation of the Melville novella (and have never been a fan of the Britten opera based on it, which singer pals of mine always used to refer to as "Buggery on the Bounty" :lol: ), there's much to be said for the chemistry between Terence Stamp (who netted an Academy Award nomination - not bad for a first outing), Robert Ryan and Ustinov himself. But it's Stamp who grabs the attention - damn, you can see why everybody fell for him six years later in Teorema ;)
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Samuel Fuller, House of Bamboo, 1955

"Planted in a Tokyo crime syndicate, a U.S. Army Investigator attempts to probe the coinciding death of a fellow Army official." Definitely worth it for the final shootout on the rooftop playground of the Matsuma department store in Tokyo, but not only for that: Fuller's location shoots are terrific, and you can forgive Robert Stack for his very, well, Robert Stacky performance (the other Robert, the mighty Ryan, is, goes without saying, on awesome form).
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