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Welcome to version 33, the Egg McMuffin of discussions. 

 

The first post in this thread will be # 14,394. 

 

The ghost of George Sanders reminds you to link your films, and that one should feel free to move on if bored. 

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Journey to the Edge of the Universe: Is this what National Geographic has come to?  Alec Baldwin gives a laughably melodramatic reading of an already insipid script in this dumbed-down production.  This might be a good tool for introducing grade school kids to astronomy but grownups or anyone who already has a basic knowledge of space will find it hard to get through.  You're better off watching Wonders of the Solar System and Wonders of the Universe with Prof. Brian Cox.  2 or 3 stars, depending on the audience.

A few passing thoughts on a movie everyone's already seen:

 

Ben-Hur - I caught a few moments of it on TCM today. I say a "few moments" because I no longer have the stamina to absorb the entirety of this colossal bore at a single sitting. The chariot race still has pizzazz (though I like the silent version quite as much) and here and there a spark of Hollywood professionalism triggers something that almost approximates interest. But it's so elephantine, so preposterous, so intrinsically unbelievable. I say this as one who counts religious "miracle" epics among his guilty pleasures. I breathlessly await the inevitable Holy Card sequence, where the clouds part and the Light of Heaven streams earthward, enfolding the characters in Christian love -- usually after those episodes of sex and violence that lured the audience into the theater in the first place. The soundtrack's violins and choir swell to a crescendo. Faith cures all -- the blind see again, the crippled girl becomes Flo-Jo, the whore is re-virginized, the impotent dicks regain their stiffness, and the revenge-hungry hero has the sword taken from his hand by the Lord's Mighty Voice, delivering an APB from the cross. In Ben-Hur  we action fans luck out. We get the pleasure of seeing the villain ground into dust at the hero's feet before the hero himself is Born Again. He pauses at the door of his fashionable Jerusalem digs to fondle the mezuzah, but we know that's all in the past: He's now a Jew for Jesus! For a moment leave aside the theological irreconcilables of this transformation. Do you personally know any urban Jews un-cynical enough to believe that another Jew is the Son of God?

Do you personally know any urban Jews un-cynical enough to believe that another Jew is the Son of God?


Best line of the day, Sev.

Danger Lights (1930)

4/5 Stars

I was prepared for the worst when I put this DVD in the player and the Alpha Video logo appeared on my TV monitor but the image and sound are actually pretty decent. I liked the visual style and the acting is good with the exception of a rather wooden Robert Armstrong. Not as hokey as some other films from this era.

50/50--story about a guy that gets cancer,  indie comedy, Seth Rogen  & Gordon-Levitt. Sort of tired of Seth Rogen's humor, and most of the scenes were improvised--about 3 stars.

Live Free or Die Hard--more Brue Willis playing his super hero persona.  It's more of the same, so if you enjoy the franchise, you'd probably enjoy this one as well.  More explosions and gun fights, if you're in the mood fun stuff. 

War of the Worlds--HG Wells story of invading aliens.  This is the original and still better film.

Postmen in the Mountains

4 Stars

This amazing film sat in my saved queue for a long time until it finally became available. Patience paid off with much reward.Beautiful landscapes of rural Hunan province are the background for this story of a Chinese father passing on his lifelong occupation as a postmen on foot to remote mountainous villages. As the father introduces his son to the rigors of his route, both men gain insights into the others lives which had been missing because of the father being away from home for long streches of time.

Postmen in the Mountains

 

Postmen was very good and the footage is amazing.  I also like Three Days of the Condor.

Three Days of the Condor

4 Stars

Excellent Spy Thriller with Robert Reford who plays a low level CIA employee whose job is to read books to try to find hidden codes and messages. His nondescript Ny City townhouse office is "hit" and we are left to figure out who are the good guys and who has been "compromised". Very well told story which could have been over-complicated but instead flows in an evenly developed way.

Three Days of the Condor

Awful, so far. I wanted a good Cole Porter musical. This is the closet thing on IW. Peter Bogdonovich's homage to 30s musicals (and Mel Brooks) full of non-singer 1970s movie-stars singing Porter. This just ain't my night. Theirs either.

Heart like a Wheel (1983)

Real good bio pic.  4 out of 5 stars.  Bonnie B is great.  I'm surprised she didn't have a bigger career.  A woman in a "man's sport"--and winning big time.  I didn't care for the music/soundtrack, which seemed to date the film terribly (it sounded like a '70's soundtrack from a made for tv afterschool special).  Good storytelling.  The real Muldowney didn't care much form Bedelia or the the portrayal of her life, but thought the film was great fro the sport of drag racing.  She wanted Jamie Lee Curtis to play her.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085656/

Bedelia's performance is great!

 

I should include her on the Great Performances thread.

Day-Time Wife (1939)

3/5 Stars

Linda Darnell was all of 16 years old when she made this film but she was convincing as a twenty something married woman. I imagine censors of the day had problems with the film's flippant stance on adultery. Well made screwball comedy.

Johnny Apollo (1940)

4/5 Stars

Not as dark as some post-war noirs but has all the ingredients. If you've only seen Dorothy Lamour in a sarong it's a kick to see her playing a tough-as-nails gangster moll.

Linda Darnell in 1944 Pin-up photo

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