Not-so-current movies

Posted by: Barbara

Not-so-current movies - 03/03/09 07:27 PM

The IMDB says eight movies have been made bearing the title Incubus. I rented the first one, released in 1965. It stars a pre-Kirk William Shatner, who plays a soldier returning home from a war, and right away there's trouble. He tries to protect his sister from an incubus while at the same time dealing with a succubus who has targeted him. If that isn't weird enough, here's the kicker: all the dialogue is in Esperanto.

Written and directed by Leslie Stevens, produced by Anthony A. Taylor, with a score by Dominic Frontiere and starkly beautiful photograpy by Conrad Hall. Shatner, Stevens, Taylor, Frontiere, Hall -- the one thing those five men had in common was The Outer Limits. Can't you just see them sitting around on a soundstage, waiting for the next scene to be set up, and one of them says, "Hey, kids! Let's do an Esperanto movie!"

Recommended only as a curiosity.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Not-so-current movies - 03/03/09 08:51 PM

1965? The Esperanto movement was fairly well dead by then. What made them do it?
Posted by: Scribbler

Re: Not-so-current movies - 03/04/09 12:07 PM

In Esperanto? How weird!
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 03/04/09 06:47 PM

What made them do it? No idea.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Not-so-current movies - 03/05/09 05:58 AM

There are a couple of discussions about this in the message boards at the bottom of the IMDB page. Apparently somebody still thought that Esperanto was going to take off, though it was said at the time that the movie would be screened for 300 people in NYC and 200 people in Chicago and that would be that.

That discussion led on to another one about Esperanto itself. Allegedly there are about 1m Esperanto speakers around (and I know that there's an Esperanto Wikipedia). One poster was actually learning the language himself (but didn't know why!).

Worth a look. I think you have to register in order to use the message boards (just as you have to do here).
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 04/01/09 01:49 AM

Seeing Christian Clemenson (Jerry in Boston Legal) in NCIS tonight reminded me that not long ago I watched an oldish movie called Bad Influence that he appeared in with his Boston Legal buddy, James Spader. They played brothers, and they were believable as brothers -- oh, they were so young! Rob Lowe played a stranger who struck up an acquaintance with Spader and then proceeded to ruin his life, the same sort of manipulative charmer that Spader himself was to play so often in later years. Not a bad movie.
Posted by: Rita

Re: Not-so-current movies - 04/03/09 10:48 AM

Street Kings, released just under a year ago and already on cable. It's the first movie I've watched where Keanu Reeves looked to me like a man instead of an overaged boy. He plays a violent cop, so he's the perfect fall guy to take the rap for a murder he didn't commit. Forest Whittaker is his corrupt supervisor, and Hugh Laurie is the Internal Affairs officer investigating them both. And guess what! Laurie wears a toupee in House. He let his baldness show in the movie.

[This message has been edited by Rita (edited 04-03-2009).]
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Not-so-current movies - 04/03/09 12:20 PM

Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 04/03/09 08:52 PM

Good heavens! What was going on there? Is that a parking lot?
Posted by: Lorna

Re: Not-so-current movies - 04/04/09 01:15 PM

It looks like one, but I don't know what was going on. The picture came from ImageShack, which is one of those places where anyone can upload photos. There was no text to explain it, not even a caption. There's another picture there I didn't want to post here, but the URL is http://imgcash4.imageshack.us/Himg99/scaled.php?server=99&filename=6929qo5.jpg&xsize=640&ysize=480 .
Posted by: Rita

Re: Not-so-current movies - 04/04/09 04:00 PM

Yuck. What kind of man would pose like that?
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Not-so-current movies - 05/16/09 07:50 PM

One of the BBC channels over here (BBC4) has been having an Irish week. I caught two most entertaining films, I Went Down and Saltwater. Both starred Brendan Gleeson and Peter McDonald, and both were written by Conor McPherson, who also directed the latter.

Anyone who hasn't seen either or both is in for a treat. They're both very well-written and well-acted (though I had to switch on the subtitles, as a lot of the Irish accents were beyond me). I Went Down is more serious, but not without humorous moments. Saltwater has at least three different storylines which don't hold together all that well, but is very endearing and has one real laugh-out-loud moment as well as a serious undercurrent.

My admiration for Gleeson grows every time I see him: his characters in these films are quite different, and different again from his role in In Bruges. I'd never seen or heard of Peter McDonald before, but he was also impressive in an understated way.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 05/17/09 01:12 PM

I couldn't agree more about Gleeson, and I'd love to see both of those. They're not available on DVD, so Netflix is no help. I Went Down has a VHS release. Saltwater is McPherson's adaptation of his own play; but nine years after the movie's release, is it likely to come out on DVD now? Probably not.

Gleeson is in three movies due for release this year: Perrier's Bounty, Green Zone, Into the Storm. He plays Winston Churchill in the last one.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 05/23/09 12:02 PM

In one of these topics I was complaining about the inadequacy of DirecTV's online program descriptions. That's still true, but in one case they (whoever "they" are) went too far in the other direction. I recently watched The Verdict -- not the Paul Newman movie, but a 1946 low-budget b&w murder mystery set in Victorian London, with Sydney Greenstreet as a retired Scotland Yard superintendant, Peter Lorre as a ladies' man(!), and Joan Lorring as a café singer. The Verdict has all the comforting clichés of not only noir but also of period movies -- fog, gaslight, the sound of horses' hooves on cobblestone streets, etc. Great fun. It's a good little mystery, too, which I'm sure I would have enjoyed even more if DirecTV's online description hadn't given away the killer. One sentence to describe the movie, and it's used to reveal the ending! Unbelievable.
Posted by: Lorna

Re: Not-so-current movies - 06/16/09 03:41 PM

I rented a movie called The Void because Amanda Tapping is in it, and it looked to me like one of those disaster-of-the-week movies Sci-Fi shows on Saturday nights. She was good, as she always is, but the movie itself was kind of lame. It looked to me as if a big hunk had been cut out of the last-minute save that those movies all end with. Strange.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 06/16/09 06:55 PM

When was it made? Before SG-1? It might have been an audition movie.
Posted by: Lorna

Re: Not-so-current movies - 06/17/09 09:31 AM

2001, about midway through SG-1.
Posted by: Rita

Re: Not-so-current movies - 06/17/09 10:54 AM

Probably compensation for not putting her in command when RDA left.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 06/17/09 10:55 PM

Huh. Sadly, that's probably true.

I keep forgetting to mention a movie titled Jindabyne, the name of a town in Australia. Four men set out on a much-anticipated weekend fishing trip; but when they reach their spot, the first thing they see is the corpse of a murdered young woman, an Aborigine, floating in the water. They decide not to notify the authorities right away, because that would be the end of their fishing trip. They tether the body to a tree so it won't float away and go off to enjoy their weekend. After a couple of days they return home and call the police.

When the town learns what the men had done, the reaction is one of repulsion and anger. The bulk of the movie is given over to showing the changes in various lives that are triggered by the men's act of insensitivity. The movie has good sustained intensity, a great sense of place, and outstanding performances by Gabriel Byrne as the leader of the four men and Laura Linney as his wife. Strong stuff.

A few days ago I watched The Duchess. Regency soap opera.
Posted by: Lorna

Re: Not-so-current movies - 06/20/09 11:56 AM

One of the cable channels was showing the original The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 this week. It holds up very well, I think, all the way to Martin Balsam's final sneeze.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 08/16/09 07:28 PM

I caught most of one of Jon's favorite movies, The Talented Mr. Ripley. It's even better on second viewing.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 01/08/10 06:27 PM

Revolutionary Road -- further evidence of Leonardo DiCaprio's ineptness as an actor.
Posted by: Rita

Re: Not-so-current movies - 08/02/10 03:56 PM

Recently I caught the last half of B.F.'s Daughter on TCM, which I don't remember seeing before. It was sort of a soap opera set during WWII. But I saw something odd I'd never noticed before in a Barbara Stanwyck movie. Her head was too big for her body. At least two sizes too big.

I couldn't find a picture from that movie for illustration. It's not noticeable when she wears suits and dresses with shoulder padding, but in a strapless gown, her body is nicely proportioned but too small to match her head. Strange.
Posted by: Lorna

Re: Not-so-current movies - 08/02/10 04:27 PM

Did she have an eating disorder? I googled Stanwyck bulemia anorexia but got no pertinent hits.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Not-so-current movies - 08/02/10 07:37 PM

How's this for padded shoulders?


Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Not-so-current movies - 08/03/10 08:34 AM

Ha! Only linebackers have that much padding.
Posted by: Rita

Re: Not-so-current movies - 08/03/10 07:56 PM

Oh gosh. That makes me think of Carol Burnett's version of Scarlett O'Hara.

I don't think Barbara Stanwyck had an eating disorder. She didn't have that starved, skeletal look of someone like Calista Flockhart. Googling bulemia and anorexia probably couldn't turn up anything because they hadn't been named yet during Stanwyck's time, had they?
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 08/03/10 11:49 PM

Bulemia wasn't identified and named until sometime in the 1970s, I think. But anorexia nervosa has been around for a long time. It was first described (and named) back in 1870-something, by Sir William Gull.

Does anyone recognize that name?
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Not-so-current movies - 08/04/10 03:23 AM

One of the candidates for Jack the Ripper, I think. Was he Queen Victoria's physician?
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 08/04/10 10:02 AM

Yes and yes! But Dr. Gull couldn't have been Jack the Ripper. At the time of the murders, he was 70 years old and recovering from a stroke. He couldn't have managed it physically.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Not-so-current movies - 08/04/10 03:41 PM

Another candidate was "Prince Eddy" the older brother of the future George V. Rumors persist that Eddy's early death was a cover up and he was spirited away somewhere to hush up the Ripper scandal.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 08/05/10 12:32 PM

Fortunately, no one buys into that theory any more. That was started almost 100 years after the murders by someone who claimed he'd read Dr. Gull's private papers in which Gull stated that Eddy, who was his patient, was Jack the Ripper. But since no one else has ever seen these papers (what a surprise), that's just assertion. These papers are also supposed to say that Eddy had syphilis and died not of influenza as announced but of "softening of the brain". But Gull was hardly in a position to know anything about Eddy's death, since he died two years before Eddy did. The whole thing's a crock. Eddy wasn't even in town for most of the murders; on the day of the double murder (Stride and Eddowes), he was in Scotland having lunch with his grandma.

In Clarence, a biography of Eddy, Michael Harrison fingers poet James Kenneth Stephen as the Ripper. Stephen's physician was...guess who. I imagine that's why Dr. Gull himself came under suspicion -- because his name keeps popping up so much.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Not-so-current movies - 08/05/10 12:57 PM

Wikipedia has a lengthy article on Jack the Ripper suspects ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_the_Ripper_suspects ) with ample opportunities to whizz off into all sorts of other articles.
Posted by: Lorna

Re: Not-so-current movies - 08/06/10 09:59 AM

Eddy's grandma...Queen Victoria? Barbara, do you think it was Stephen?
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 08/06/10 07:05 PM

Victoria, yes. Stephen, no. I had to dig out my copy of Clarence and check, but it seems to me Harrison's evidence is so circumstantial that I question whether it can be called evidence at all. Harrison's reasons are too long and complicated to go into here, and they've generally been discredited. So I'll offer just one example.

A couple of years before the murders, Stephen suffered a severe blow to the head. His behavior thereafter became increasingly bizarre, and he spent his final days in an insane asylum. Harrison points out the murders stopped when Stephen was committed. Yes, that's true, but they'd stopped three years before he was committed. Harrison also says Stephen escaped long enough to commit one more murder, one not included in the usual list of Jack's victims, etc. etc.

Everybody wants to solve this case, but no one ever has.
Posted by: Mike

Re: Not-so-current movies - 08/06/10 09:46 PM

I love the talk here, like from Barbara Stanwyk to Jack the Ripper without batting an eye. But I don't get the Carol Burnett part.
Posted by: Pete

Re: Not-so-current movies - 08/07/10 08:39 AM

Burnett, in her TV variety show, used to satirize old Hollywood movies by playing a Stanwyck-type character wearing big padded shoulders.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Not-so-current movies - 08/07/10 10:26 AM

Yes, she did a send-up of Sorry, Wrong Number, but Rita was talking about her version of GWTW. Remember how the post-war impoverished Scarlett took down the green velvet drapes to make herself a dress? Well, here's Burnett's version:


Posted by: Rita

Re: Not-so-current movies - 08/07/10 04:19 PM

Yep, that's the one. Did you know there's a Carol Burnett doll dressed in that outfit?


Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Not-so-current movies - 08/07/10 06:48 PM

Who's the gent in the GWTW picture? Harvey Korman?
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 08/08/10 11:49 AM

That's Harvey, yes. Odd, but I remember that skit as being in black and white. Or maybe I just didn't have a color TV then.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 10/10/10 06:45 PM

I finally got around to watching The Blind Side. I know it's a (mostly) true story, but it still follows the sports-movie formula: the hero overcoming great odds to excel but then hitting a bad patch and going AWOL for a brief period before returning to nail down the happy ending (not the Big Game this time, but a football scholarship). Is there any other kind of sports movie?
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Not-so-current movies - 10/11/10 09:26 AM

There's one other difference. The sports star plays second fiddle to the movie star. It's Sandra Bullock's movie, all the way. But there are other kinds of sports movies. I'm sure there are. I might even think of one, some day.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 03/04/11 08:48 PM

One advantage of waking up too early and not being able to go back to sleep is getting to see good old movies you missed. Unfortunately, early this a.m. was not one of those times. A 1950s movie called The Star has Bette Davis playing a washed-up movie star who goes bankrupt. Sterling Hayden is a shipbuilder who gives her shelter when she's locked out of her rented apartment. It was the hammiest performance I've ever seen Bette Davis give. Simply dreadful. But Sterling Hayden, whom I'd always found stiff and uninteresting, was realistic and believable in his second-banana role. It's a sappy movie.
Posted by: Rita

Re: Not-so-current movies - 03/05/11 08:47 AM

Hmm, was this before or after All About Eve?
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 03/05/11 11:02 AM

Two years after. The IMDB says the role was first offered to Joan Crawford, who turned it down. Bette Davis was first offered Sudden Fear, a role she turned down that was subsequently played by Joan Crawford. Both women were nominated for an Oscar. This I don't understand at all.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Not-so-current movies - 03/05/11 02:16 PM

Could The Star be self-parody?
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 03/06/11 03:11 PM

Ah, good question -- especially as the movie has one scene of intentional self-parody. Given the chance to play the older sister of the lead in a movie she's wanted to do for years, Davis swallows her pride at being asked to read for a part and agrees to an audition. The scene she plays with an actor calls for her to be surly and resentful, but she thinks if she plays it young and girly she'll convince the director to give her the lead. To that end, she does a dead perfect impersonation of herself as a young girl -- the big Bette Davis eyes, the flirtatious manner, the lilt in the voice. It's the best acting she does in the entire movie. All wrong for the role she's supposed to be auditioning for, of course, so she torpedoes herself. She realizes this later, so that's an excuse for more scenery-chewing.

But I don't think that makes the rest of her performance self-parody, although I admit the thought did cross my mind. I think she was just overcompensating for a weak script. For instance, whenever a crisis arises in her life (about every ten minutes), she flops down on somebody's bed and cries herself to sleep. Had to sell off all her possessions? Flop and cry. Got locked out? Flop and cry. Got arrested on a DUI? Flop and cry. No bed handy? Okay, a sofa will do...flop.

A really sappy movie.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Not-so-current movies - 03/07/11 07:58 AM

Guess what. Now I want to see the movie.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 03/07/11 02:21 PM

Posted by: Rita

Re: Not-so-current movies - 03/07/11 04:48 PM

Speaking of scenery-chewing, I recently watched The Last Station, a not really successful picture of the last year of Tolstoy's life. Leo (Christopher Plummer) and his wife Sofya (Helen Mirren) were at odds because he wanted to turn over the rights to his works to "the poor". They took turns at bombast and scenery-chewing, but she won, quite possibly because Sofya (as portrayed) was a woman who could turn the theatrics on and off at will. Mirren would come bursting into a room all disheveled, hair flying, eyes bulging, and absolutely impossible to ignore. In her quiet moments, she was quite a different person. An interesting movie, beautifully photographed, but somehow unsatisfying.

[This message has been edited by Rita (edited 03-07-2011).]
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Not-so-current movies - 03/09/11 06:59 PM

I was in no hurry to see Russell Crowe's Robin Hood, but I did watch it last week. The voiceover at the beginning said something portentous about how outlaws come into existence when rulers exploit their subjects, and "One such time was the turn of the twelfth century." Then the first scene was identified as taking place in 1199. And here I thought "turn of the century" meant the START of the century. Oh well. I liked the movie more than I thought I would. It's a prequel, telling how Robin and the gang came to be outlaws living in Sherwood Forest.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Not-so-current movies - 03/12/11 02:19 PM

I finally caught up with The Ghost Writer, which is even more paranoid than The Parallax View...remember that? Pierce Brosnan plays Tony Blair (called Adam Long in the movie) and Ewan McGregor is the somewhat naive title charcter. The movie is slickly made, but it has the most ludicrous solution imaginable. This is the film Roman Polanski finished editing while in prison in Switzerland.

[This message has been edited by Christopher (edited 03-12-2011).]
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Not-so-current movies - 03/12/11 06:00 PM

I haven't seen the film, and probably won't see it, but the book was quite a good read. And the final section was a bit of a big surprise (i.e. one that I hadn't expected).
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 03/13/11 09:01 PM

The ending is laughable (the movie; I don't know about the book).

Does anyone know if Tom Cruise ever made a movie in which he did not run full out, as hard and as fast as he could? I recently rewatched Minority Report (better on second viewing) and Cruise did his running thing. Then toward the end, another character, speaking of Cruise's movie son, said: "He likes to run, like his father." I know running is Cruise's trademark, but I don't remember his earlier movies well enough to be sure he ran in all of them. What about Top Gun? I think he did run in All the Right Moves (high school football picture) but what about Legend? Risky Business, Rain Man -- did he run in those?
Posted by: Rita

Re: Not-so-current movies - 03/22/11 10:50 AM

He didn't run in Top Gun. I just watched that, for the first time...and found it hard to believe that a mature, successful woman would fall for a cocky young kid, and so quickly! But he did no running.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 04/12/11 06:34 PM

The Wedding Planner -- Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey. Everyone knows the old formula for romantic comedy: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl. Well, now it's girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl gets boy. Haven't we come a long way?
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 08/30/11 10:51 AM

This past weekend I was determined to watch a Harry Potter movie all the way through to the end, so I turned on Harry Potter and the Half-Baked Prince or something and settled down to watch. But less than halfway through, we had a power failure. The power came back on just as the end credits were rolling. It's fate; Harry and I just weren't meant for each other.

Another movie -- TCM recently showed Hangover Square, Laird Cregar's last movie, with Linda Darnell and George Sanders (playing the good guy for a change). I've got it in my head that that movie was originally released as Hanover Square -- no "g". IMDB says nothing about a title change. Am I imagining it? Did anyone else ever see this movie?
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Not-so-current movies - 08/30/11 11:31 AM

Well, it's loosely based on Patrick Hamilton's novel Hangover Square which takes place in the seamy Earl's Court area of London. Hanover Square is in posh Mayfair. I can't find any reference to a change of name - Halliwell usually gives these (e.g. Out of the Past became Build My Gallows High in Britain), but there's no mention of one in his article on the film or the list of name-changes at the end of the book.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 08/31/11 10:09 AM

Ah, that would seem to nail it; I imagined it. Thanks, Andrew.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Not-so-current movies - 08/31/11 09:09 PM

What Potter films I've seen have been on TV, often with commercial interruptions. I KNOW it's hard to please book fans with movie interpretations but I sort of dumped the Potter flicks after they omitted some of my favorite moments in "Chamber of Secrets."

The casting is good, but it is awfully hard to do justice to a book that has a cult following, I think.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Not-so-current movies - 09/08/11 05:38 AM

Following a Ping-pong conversation, here are the Jack Nicholson films that I've seen:

Easy Rider
Five Easy Pieces
Carnal Knowledge
The King of Marvin Gardens
The Last Detail
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Reds
Terms of Endearment
A Few Good Men
As Good as it Gets


Not all that many, in fact!
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 09/08/11 12:48 PM

You haven't seen Chinatown? Oh, rent it, Andrew. It's his best, IMO.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Not-so-current movies - 09/08/11 03:19 PM

Yes, I suppose I should get round to it. I have no intention of seeing The Shining. And The King of Marvin Gardens was one of the most boring films I've ever seen (other non-Nicholson contenders: Il Deserto Rosso, Dillinger is Dead, Persona, Interiors). Carnal Knowledge wasn't up to much, either, though well-acted. It was a let-down after Five Easy Pieces, which still has my vote as the best of his that I've seen.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 11/27/11 06:29 PM

If you get Showtime, keep an eye out for a little movie called Big Fan. No name actors; the lead is played by a stand-up comedian named Patton Oswalt, and he does a terrific job with the role. He plays a loser named Paul, a childish man who still lives with his mother, works at a dead-end job in a parking garage, and resists all pressures to better himself. His lawyer brother arranges a job interview for him, but Paul won't go. Because he's happy; he's found something that fulfills him...and that's football. Specifically, the New York Giants. Paul worships the turf they play on. He and a buddy go to all the Giants' home games, where they sit in the parking lot stuffing themselves with food while listening to the game on the radio(!). Football is Paul's reason for living.

Then by chance Paul meets the star player on the Giants team, but because of a misunderstanding, the player turns on him and beats him to a pulp. Paul is hospitalized; what he does when he's released makes up the rest of the movie, and I'm not going to give that away. I'll just add that there's one scene toward the end showing Paul going into a sports bar, where he's surrounded by a mob of people just like him. The point's made that Paul is not just one isolated nut case, but instead he's symptomatic of a national mania. (International, I guess, if you include soccer fans.) These people have made sports into their religion. Big Fan is funny, but it's a dark humor, and a little bit scary.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Not-so-current movies - 11/28/11 12:54 PM

Andrew, I agree with you about avoiding The Shining, and with Barbara about seeing Chinatown. Faye Dunaway is at her very best in that too, and I also think that Jerry Goldsmith's music (written in 10 days when the producer threw out a previous score) has a lot to do with how memorable the movie is.

No argument about The King of Marvin Gardens, and my condolences for sitting through it. (I think of it as pretty obscure now; how did you come across it?) Coincidentally, I just yesterday bumped into Pauline Kael's withering remark that "when [Nicholson] tried to give a quiet performance in The King of Marvin Gardens, he was so self-effacingly serious that he was a dead spot on the screen." Nicholson also directed a handful of films, but I can't in good conscience recommend any of them as a pleasurable experience.

Barbara, Patton Oswalt seems to have a following, though I myself am unfamiliar with his stand-up work. He turns up on TV fairly often, it seems, and has had recurring roles on a couple of sitcoms. And he provided the voice for the main character in the animated Ratatouille.
Posted by: Andrew

Re: Not-so-current movies - 11/28/11 06:45 PM

[quote=Jon]No argument about The King of Marvin Gardens, and my condolences for sitting through it. (I think of it as pretty obscure now; how did you come across it?)[quote]

Er, because Jack Nicholson was in it. These days, I always seem to mix it up (for obvious reasons) with Atlantic City, which I really enjoyed.
Posted by: Mike

Re: Not-so-current movies - 11/28/11 06:46 PM

I saw that Big Fan, its a good movie. I know a lot of guys like Paul, too many.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 02/01/12 10:30 PM

In the Music forum, I mentioned that The Enchanted Island was a feel-good opera. After a while something clicked and I realized I'd seen a feel-good movie recently I'd neglected to mention. It's Real Steel. When it first came out, I sort of dismissed it because boxing robots are not high on my list of things I'm fascinated by. But then Austin mentioned somewhere that it was a much better movie than what it sounded like. So I read a couple of reviews and, yes, it sounded pretty good.

I caught it in a second-run theater here, and I sat there grinning through almost the entire movie. It's not just machines smashing up other machines, like the Transformers movies; it has a real story with believable characters and dialogue that's clever and funny. The plot is the familiar sports story (rise of the underdog), and the robots are fantastic. Hugh Jackman plays a down-on-his-luck manager of a robot that's seen better days, and...oh, see it if you can. It's showing on DirecTV Cinema right now, which means it'll be on HBO or Showtime before long.

So...thanks, Austin.
Posted by: Mike

Re: Not-so-current movies - 02/02/12 07:34 PM

Good movie.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Not-so-current movies - 02/02/12 07:51 PM

I almost skipped it myself, because boxing is something I have no use for. That's one of the reasons I liked Real Steel, I guess. Instead of people maiming each other for "sport", machines do it. That way the crowd can still yell and scream and vent their hostilities and kick ass vicariously...but nobody gets hurt. It is a funny movie, and kind of touching, in a way. It made ME feel good.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Not-so-current movies - 02/03/12 09:25 AM

It surely does sound more humane than the way we do things now. What about football? Mechanized teams engaging in our favorite substitute for war...would that satisfy the human need to kick ass? I don't think that need can ever be bred out of us, but maybe it could be diverted.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 02/07/12 03:07 PM

There will probably always be those who'll never accept a substitute for hands-on mayhem. But the fact that we invented sports and games shows we needed an outlet for that kick-ass drive. I don't know if that's a weaning away from war or just a stop-gap measure until the real thing comes along.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 03/07/12 10:21 PM

Did anyone ever see The Talk of the Town (1942)? It's an incredibly silly movie, but I stuck with it right to the end because I got such a kick out of watching the three leads doing their thing -- Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, and Ronald Colman.
Posted by: Lorna

Re: Not-so-current movies - 03/08/12 06:53 PM

ANOTHER Cary Grant movie I missed, when I thought I had seen them all! Really silly?
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 03/11/12 12:13 PM

Sorry, Lorna, I overlooked this. But yes, really silly. Mostly the problem is that it couldn't make up its mind what kind of movie it wanted to be. It has a dark opening; a factory burns down and a man dies in the fire. Cary Grant is arrested and tried for arson and murder (but since he's Cary Grant, we know he didn't do it). During the trial, he attacks his guard and escapes.

Then for some strange reason we get a whole string of screwball comedy scenes. That's followed by scenes of pseudophilosophical discussions of law, freedom, and human rights. Next is the mystery of who really set the factory on fire, finally solved. Then the movie turns political, and Ronald Colman (a law professor, not practicing law and certainly not a judge) is appointed to the Supreme Court. It's all wrapped up in Washington, D.C., with a little romance thrown in at the end for extra flavoring.

Silly.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Not-so-current movies - 03/11/12 04:33 PM

I think it was made either just before or during the early years of WWII. I was VERY young when I saw it and didn't understand it at all.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 05/13/12 06:28 PM

If you're looking for something off the beaten path, try Half-Life. I went into that absolutely cold, having no idea of what to expect. And I suspect that's the best way to watch this movie. So, no review. But see it if you can.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Not-so-current movies - 05/17/12 06:05 AM

In the category of Classics I've Always Been Ashamed To Admit I've Never Seen (but now I have, so I can admit it):

I finally caught up with Strangers on a Train. It's all that everyone says, and then some. Everyone talks about Robert Walker's performance, rightly, but even so, it surprised me. First, I thought I had seen him before but it turns out I hadn't (his other movies don't come up often). From descriptions of his role I had expected something obviously creepy, a Peter Lorre sort of persona, but this is much more interesting: someone who's physically a rugged All-American kind of guy, who is also insinuating, vaguely gay-flirty, and yes, creepy, but in an entirely original way I don't expect to see in something from that era. And then there's Farley Granger's soft passivity (perfectly used here): it's needed for the plot to work, so the character doesn't just brush the intrusive stranger off in the first minute and have nothing more to do with him, but it also interacts fascinatingly with what Walker is doing.

And of course there are the often-mentioned Hitchcock setpieces: the informal tennis match with one motionless set of eyes, the climactic match intercut with retrieving the lighter, the runaway carousel.

Some "classics" don't live up to their reputation. This one does.
Posted by: Andrew

Re: Not-so-current movies - 05/17/12 10:37 AM

Unfortunately, I'd read the Highsmith book before seeing the film (which rather over-simplified the story), but I certainly agree that Walker's performance was excellent.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Not-so-current movies - 05/17/12 07:07 PM

Robert Walker started out as a member of that generation of young actors being pushed as romantic leading men (Van Johnson, Peter Lawford, etc.). I never really cared for him in that role, in movies like The Clock with Judy Garland or whatever movies he made with June Allyson. In fact, the only time I really liked his performance was in Strangers on a Train, which was probably the kind of role he should have been playing all along. It was his next-to-last movie. His last was My Son John, playing another Bad Boy but this time in a bad movie that Helen Hayes's overacting made even worse. Walker died before the movie was finished, forcing a rewritten ending patched together with some recorded dialogue he'd finished and even some footage from Strangers on a Train. But Strangers is the movie he'll be remembered for, and that's as it should be.