Author Topic: Seen any good films recently?  (Read 94201 times)

Martin G

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Re: Seen any good films recently?
« Reply #390 on: April 25, 2019, 10:22:49 AM »
Seems like this thread should actually be "Seen any bad films lately"! I saw LEGEND a while back and never been a subscriber to the old "They loved their Mum" and "At least the streets were safer when they were around" school of thought. I generally avoid the various films or documentaries about them but sort of see the pull these type of figures have for sections of the public. I watched it more because of the '60s setting and the clobber and stuff. Found it to be an OK film but nothing I'd be running back to see again. Not familiar with the Sisters Brothers thing. May need to have a look out for it.

greenstreet

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Re: Seen any good films recently?
« Reply #391 on: April 25, 2019, 04:37:07 PM »
Seems like this thread should actually be "Seen any bad films lately"! I saw LEGEND a while back and never been a subscriber to the old "They loved their Mum" and "At least the streets were safer when they were around" school of thought. I generally avoid the various films or documentaries about them but sort of see the pull these type of figures have for sections of the public. I watched it more because of the '60s setting and the clobber and stuff. Found it to be an OK film but nothing I'd be running back to see again. Not familiar with the Sisters Brothers thing. May need to have a look out for it.

To bring back the "good" in the thread, I have to say I've finally watched "The L-Shaped Room" and I've found it a terrific movie, unjustly relegated to the back rows of the "kitchen-sink" dramas of the early 60s. Truth is the black & white cinematography isn't up to the levels of contemporary continental masters as Bergman or Antonioni (check out the stunning "La Notte" and you'll see what I mean) and the movie feels a bit "theatrical" to be a masterpiece, but it's a clever and moving film nevertheless, with excellent script and dialogue (the subtle, poetic references to the homosexuality of two of the characters are a good example) that's never condescending or preachy, in spite of focusing in an undesired pregnancy and a bunch of misfits that live in a deprived London neighbourhood. In fact, one of the things that stood out for me is how gracefully this movie has aged, (or maybe it's me who's aged, who knows?) even to the bittersweet, open end.

Performances of the main actors are top notch (as I've actually come to expect in a british flick) but I'd highlight Leslie Caron's, a french actress I don't particularly like, but that here looks beautiful and gives the needed balance between frailty and stubbornnesst her character asks for. As this is mainly a touching love story, her co-star, Tom Bell, rises up to the challenge and gives also a 5-star performance (a shame as good an actor wasn't really big afterwards).

For those looking for the mod angle, there's a great "beatnik" club scene with a jazz band (not modern really, but not trad either; in fact, the guy who plays the trumpeter receives later a Count Basie EP as a present) and a cool bunch of weird blokes (maybe one of them was the mythical first modernist!  ;))

Now, next is "All Night Long", as at last I've got a DVD reissue with spanish subtitles. No wonder I could'n find it, the ridiculous spanish title is "Noche de pesadilla" = "Nightmare Night"  :o


Ady C

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Re: Seen any good films recently?
« Reply #392 on: April 25, 2019, 05:03:07 PM »
Seems like this thread should actually be "Seen any bad films lately"! I saw LEGEND a while back and never been a subscriber to the old "They loved their Mum" and "At least the streets were safer when they were around" school of thought. I generally avoid the various films or documentaries about them but sort of see the pull these type of figures have for sections of the public. I watched it more because of the '60s setting and the clobber and stuff. Found it to be an OK film but nothing I'd be running back to see again. Not familiar with the Sisters Brothers thing. May need to have a look out for it.

To bring back the "good" in the thread, I have to say I've finally watched "The L-Shaped Room" and I've found it a terrific movie, unjustly relegated to the back rows of the "kitchen-sink" dramas of the early 60s. Truth is the black & white cinematography isn't up to the levels of contemporary continental masters as Bergman or Antonioni (check out the stunning "La Notte" and you'll see what I mean) and the movie feels a bit "theatrical" to be a masterpiece, but it's a clever and moving film nevertheless, with excellent script and dialogue (the subtle, poetic references to the homosexuality of two of the characters are a good example) that's never condescending or preachy, in spite of focusing in an undesired pregnancy and a bunch of misfits that live in a deprived London neighbourhood. In fact, one of the things that stood out for me is how gracefully this movie has aged, (or maybe it's me who's aged, who knows?) even to the bittersweet, open end.

Performances of the main actors are top notch (as I've actually come to expect in a british flick) but I'd highlight Leslie Caron's, a french actress I don't particularly like, but that here looks beautiful and gives the needed balance between frailty and stubbornnesst her character asks for. As this is mainly a touching love story, her co-star, Tom Bell, rises up to the challenge and gives also a 5-star performance (a shame as good an actor wasn't really big afterwards).

For those looking for the mod angle, there's a great "beatnik" club scene with a jazz band (not modern really, but not trad either; in fact, the guy who plays the trumpeter receives later a Count Basie EP as a present) and a cool bunch of weird blokes (maybe one of them was the mythical first modernist!  ;))

Now, next is "All Night Long", as at last I've got a DVD reissue with spanish subtitles. No wonder I could'n find it, the ridiculous spanish title is "Noche de pesadilla" = "Nightmare Night"  :o
Great overview of L-Shaped, I've got it to watch as I recorded it when it was on TV. Recently read the novel which is superb. There's much to recommend Bryan Forbes' oeuvre, be it as director, writer, actor. If it has his name attached then it's a general rule of thumb that it will be quality (Sťance On A Wet Afternoon, The Whisperers, League Of Gentlemen) and he always had his wife star in them, the delightful Nanette Newman.
Let us know what you think of Nightmare Night.
And will you shorten the sleeves, love? I'm not a gorilla.

greenstreet

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Re: Seen any good films recently?
« Reply #393 on: April 25, 2019, 06:44:53 PM »

Great overview of L-Shaped, I've got it to watch as I recorded it when it was on TV. Recently read the novel which is superb. There's much to recommend Bryan Forbes' oeuvre, be it as director, writer, actor. If it has his name attached then it's a general rule of thumb that it will be quality (Sťance On A Wet Afternoon, The Whisperers, League Of Gentlemen) and he always had his wife star in them, the delightful Nanette Newman.
Let us know what you think of Nightmare Night.

 ;D

I'll have to check out Bryan Forbes stuff too, Ady, thanks.

greenstreet

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Re: Seen any good films recently?
« Reply #394 on: April 28, 2019, 11:15:48 AM »

Now, next is "All Night Long", as at last I've got a DVD reissue with spanish subtitles. No wonder I could'n find it, the ridiculous spanish title is "Noche de pesadilla" = "Nightmare Night"  :o

Well, watched that last night and no, it isn't a nightmare but neither a great movie, more of a flawed curio, IMO. For starters, it seemed contrived to me, more like watching an expensive TV special or an adaptation of a play than immersing in true cinema; in fact the contemporary "The Connection", a humble translation to cinema of the Jack Gelber's play, feels much more "real" and touching, with its gritty depiction of junkie musicians waiting for their dealer.

Unlike the Shirley Clarke's movie, in "All night long", music segments seem ill-positioned and only contribute to disrupt the dramatic flow. Clever dialogues abound, marred somewhat by the "hep", dated jargon, but they can't hide the essential schematism of the main characters. In spite of its claims, the Bard it is not, that's for sure. Richard Attenborough's character, for instance, seems designed just to tie the thing together, and he seems to be going through the motions without caring too much. The only character with some weight in it is of course our Iago, Patrick McGoohan, and he delivers a fine performance (down to learning to play the drums for the shooting), but he's mis-casted to a certain extent as the energetic, manipulative hustler, when to me he excelled portraying reflective, troubled and taciturn individuals.

Another anti-climactic trait is the use of the lush warehouse-like loft as the only setting. Yes, it's perfect to move the camera smoothly and hence give a sense of motion, but the trick wears thin quickly and the scenery seems more apposite for a 40s than a 60s movie, and the modern jazz atmosphere that supposedly the director strived to get ends ruined. They should have used a real, smoky, dimly-lit and scruffy jazz club. And I say "supposedly" because I feel the producers were misguided regarding this one; I reckon they only wanted a cash-in with some real jazz stars in the mix, but they got it wrong, mistaking the only jazz music with an amount of success in the UK at the time, that is "trad jazz", for modern jazz. That would explain the awkwardness of the movie: clueless people at the helm (tho' obviously someone knew his jazz among the crew).

On the upside, a rather unprejudiced view on inter-racial couples for the times, counterbalanced by the then common sensationalist approach to marijuana use (all of them drink like there was no tomorrow, but the only one who seems drunk is the guy who's smoked a spliff).

What leads us to the two main aspects that really justify watching "All night long" as something more than a period piece: the music and the clobber. Music in the movie is a mixed bag: half of it is of little merit, especially the incidental, credits, etc... music, just functional stuff, but there are some great modern jazz numbers thrown in, with the cream of the british jazz scene playing on them (Tubby Hayes on vibes and sax, Johnny Dankworth...) with the help of US legends like Charles Mingus or Dave Brubeck (strange pairing, as they apparently hated each other). A rather annoying facet of the plot is it revolves around a supposedly great singer that has changed lately her style after years of devoting to her husband. Well, the fabled vocalist (Marti Stevens) turns out to be an appallingly soulless white singer that ruins the two (weak) numbers she's given to sing; I better not think how would her "old" style sounded like!! They should have known better and employ Cleo Laine instead.

Sartorially-wise this is a feast, with plenty of italian suits, raincoats. penny loafers, slim ties and crisp white shirts on display. Special mention to the 3 buttons' madras number of the guy playing Cass (or Cassius, as you like). Oh, and to the jacket that wears (I think it's him) Johnny Dankworth, I'd kill for any of both numbers. Everything is very early modernist stuff, very stylish, much better in that chapter than the film itself.


Martin G

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Re: Seen any good films recently?
« Reply #395 on: April 29, 2019, 12:27:16 PM »
That is a very reasonable review/critique mate. Agree pretty much all the way. Certainly worth a watch for starters regardless of the faults you rightly note. It is indeed a little contrived but by the very nature of a 'Shakespeare update for the present day' is perhaps always going to have that criticism levelled at it. In certainly is an interesting take if at times a bit 'ham-fisted'. On a surface level, which is fair to say how I largely watched it, some of the clobber is ace as is some of the music. McGoohan is top class and it is at least a novelty to see some of those top flight musicians in there too. Glad you finally got to see it though fella regardless of your conclusions to the shortcomings of it in certain areas. Cass looks the absolute tops in it though for me as you say and that jacket of his is a blinder.

greenstreet

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Re: Seen any good films recently?
« Reply #396 on: April 29, 2019, 04:58:39 PM »
That is a very reasonable review/critique mate. Agree pretty much all the way. Certainly worth a watch for starters regardless of the faults you rightly note. It is indeed a little contrived but by the very nature of a 'Shakespeare update for the present day' is perhaps always going to have that criticism levelled at it. In certainly is an interesting take if at times a bit 'ham-fisted'. On a surface level, which is fair to say how I largely watched it, some of the clobber is ace as is some of the music. McGoohan is top class and it is at least a novelty to see some of those top flight musicians in there too. Glad you finally got to see it though fella regardless of your conclusions to the shortcomings of it in certain areas. Cass looks the absolute tops in it though for me as you say and that jacket of his is a blinder.

Don't get me wrong, Mart, I don't regret watching it, far from it, as a 60s obsessive I enjoyed a lot the setting, the clobber and the music, but I try to be as objective as possible when I review a movie or a record.

Ian_B

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Re: Seen any good films recently?
« Reply #397 on: April 29, 2019, 06:55:17 PM »
. It is indeed a little contrived but by the very nature of a 'Shakespeare update for the present day' is perhaps always going to have that criticism levelled at it.

I concur ..... but if anyone ever tries to level that criticism at West Side Story, they will have me to answer to  >:(
« Last Edit: April 29, 2019, 06:58:28 PM by Ian_B »
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Martin G

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Re: Seen any good films recently?
« Reply #398 on: April 29, 2019, 07:19:16 PM »
You won't hear it from me mate. One of my absolute favourites. It is so good and its own animal now when people say "Oh you know it's actually ROMEO AND JULIET by Shakespeare" I usually say "Who?".

greenstreet

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Re: Seen any good films recently?
« Reply #399 on: April 30, 2019, 09:50:55 AM »
Nothing to do with "West Side Story", that is a proper (as opposed to a movie with music in it) musical, and a brilliant one at that. Not every film related to Shakespeare is a dud; in fact, it should be a good starting point for a script, but then it also increases the level of exigence. Anyway, there's quite a number of fine Ol' Will's adaptations to the movies, Orson Wells was great at it.