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Discussion Starter #21
Director:
Clint Eastwood
Writers:
Michael Butler, Dennis Shryack
Stars:
Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Pat Hingle

Great flick . Sondra Locke is outstanding. Underrated film .

A hard but mediocre cop is assigned to escort a prostitute into custody from Las Vegas to Phoenix, so that she can testify in a mob trial. But a lot of people are literally betting that they won't make it into town alive.

The performances were top-notch, with Eastwood's persona making any film of his films watchable. He gives a stellar performance. Sondra Locke as Gus Mally was perfect. The chemistry between the leads was outstanding. Sondra Locke is gorgeous and the film is a chaotic road trip justice that is just one hell of a ride . One of my favorite pairing of Sondra & Eastwood .


 

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Discussion Starter #22
Mystery, Romance, Thriller
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writers: John Michael Hayes (screenplay), David Dodge (based on the novel by)
Stars: Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jessie Royce Landis

American expatriate John Robie, living in high style on the Riviera, is a retired cat burglar. He must find out who a copycat is to keep a new wave of jewel thefts from being pinned on him. High on the list of prime victims is Jessie Stevens, in Europe to help daughter Frances find a suitable husband. The Lloyds of London insurance agent is using a thief to catch a thief.

I adored this lighter side of Alfred Hitchcock. A charming , romantic mystery thriller ! The film has all the ingredients for entertainment; Cary Grant and Grace Kelly could be of most attractive actor & actress ever shot on celluloid. Fabulous acting, witty, snappy dialogue, beautiful locations and a clever mystery. Grant and Kelly play off each other wonderfully. Oscar-winning cinematography beautifully captures the French Riviera .

 

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Discussion Starter #23

Director:Stanley Donen
Writers:Peter Stone (screenplay), Peter Stone (story)
Stars:Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau, James Coburn , George Kennedy

I have heard "Charade" (1963) with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn called the best Alfred Hitchcock film that Hitchcock never directed. It has all the trademarks of the master of suspense - a tense fast-paced plot, humor and great acting. It's fun watching Cary Grant (who starred in 4 Hitchcock films) and Audrey Hepburn being chased around Paris by bad guys trying to get their hands on the money that Hepburn's dead husband stole from them. Grant is his usual debonair self and Hepburn looks super chic in those Givenchy outfits. A terrifically entertaining comedic-thriller.

Audrey Hepburn wearing Givenchy outfits
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Married to the mob, Crawford style: 'The Damned Don't Cry

The Damned Don't Cry! combines Warner's standard gangster plot with the true story of Virginia Hill and Bugsy Siegel. A smash hit upon its release, is the story of Ethel Whitehead, a woman who following a family tragedy abandons her humble origins and climbs to the top of society ... one man at a time. According to the DVD cover, Ethel Whitehead is "as tempting as a cupcake and as tough as a 75-cent steak."

Following the blinding success of Mildred Pierce (1945), Joan Crawford once again enjoyed a renewed, successful film career. The role of Edith Whitehead fits Joan like a glove,and doubtless the film star identified with the role of a woman driven to flee poverty to seek the finer things in life. Like Edith, Crawford was born on 'the wrong side of the tracks' .

This is Joan at her best playing the lusty, crazy Dame, who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. You cannot take your eyes off her while she is on screen. Absolutely gorgeous; her check bones and eye brows are to die for. Nobody can play a role like this, like the quintessential superstar star Joan Crawford during the movie industry's Golden Age.
Joan Crawford was known for her gorgeous legs. she was 47 in this film.


Faithful to the 1940's Warner Brothers film noir formula, this movie doesn't waste a minute of screen time ; a ride from beginning to end. The Damned Don't Cry is a superb film with one of the greatest performances of Crawford's magnificent career. 9/10

Joan Crawford, original name Lucille Fay LeSueur, (born March 23, 1904?, San Antonio, Texas, U.S.-died May 10, 1977, New York, New York), American motion-picture actress who made her initial impact as a vivacious Jazz Age flapper but later matured into a star of psychological melodramas.

Joan Crawford in The Damned Don't Cry (1950)


I love Joan Crawford despite the controversy after her death in 1977 by her ungrateful Daughter.
Daughter Dearest The Aftermath Of Mommie Dearest

One of Joan Crawford's staunchest defenders against the claims of Christian Crawford was actually her biggest rival: Bette Davis. Joan Crawford was not Bette Davis's favorite person.

The famous rivalry was often capitalized on for classic movie roles, like What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?, which featured Crawford and Davis as bickering sisters. But even Davis, who "was not Miss Crawford's biggest fan," dismissed Christina Crawford's expose.

Davis said that the book was "trash" and declared it was a "terrible, terrible thing" for Christina to have done. An abomination! To do something like that to someone who saved you from the orphanage, foster homes. What she did not deserve was that detestable book written by her daughter, horrible.

Douglas Fairbanks Jr., when asked by the press if he thought his former wife really hit her children, dismissed such a possibility in a tone of mock seriousness. "Of course not. It would not only have been out of character, but she only used covered, padded hangers." He added, "If you really want to know someone, you must see their emotions off guard. That's how I know Joan Crawford could never have been cruel to her children. I really knew her, when she was still Billie, as she liked to be called in the early days. In a relationship as close as ours, I had the chance to see her in every kind of personal situation. She was never out of control. The most she was guilty of ever was a few sharp words, and not many of those. We had our rows, but she never showed any sudden bursts of temper."

"What bothers me," Myrna Loy said, "is that there were book buyers who bought that book and read it and people who believed it. What perplexes me and makes me profoundly sad was that people wanted to spend their money that way, on such trash, and, worse yet, believed it. The readers who believed it were the ones who did the damage."

It wasn't only other Hollywood stars who came to Joan's defense, but also her other children.

Catherine
and Cynthia, Joan's adopted twin daughters, were heartbroken about their adopted sister's portrayal of their mother. Catherine stated that Christina "lived in her own reality" and that "Our Mommie was the best mother anyone ever had.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Director:Woody Allen
Writer:Woody Allen
The Curse of the Jade Scorpion is a 2001 American crime comedy film written, directed and starring Woody Allen. The cast also features Helen Hunt, Dan Aykroyd and Charlize Theron.

Woody Allen stars as CW Briggs, the top insurance investigator in New York in 1940-or so he keeps telling the firm's new efficiency expert, Betty Ann Fitzgerald (Helen Hunt). Briggs prides himself on being able to crack any insurance caper by getting into the mind of the thief, but now, thanks to the hypnotic powers of the Jade Scorpion, the mind of a thief is getting into Briggs.

Woody Allen pays loving tribute to noir movies like Double Indemnity and The Big Sleep with this delicious comedy for grown-ups. This is the lightest of light comedies, silly but intelligently sophisticated.

If you enjoy man-versus-woman insult exchanges, Helen Hunt and Allen are never better; as Allen and Helen Hunt trade clever barbs back and forth I thoroughly enjoyed Allen's witty dialogue. Smart and fresh well have you rolling in the isles.

The cinematography and the visual setting for the film in jazzy 1940 is absolutely exquisite. The jazz soundtrack is, as usual, very "in tune" and fits very well with the clever screen-play Allen is telling. The film has a very stagey feel like it would have been suited to open on Broadway. This aspect of the cinematography, costume design, art direction really helps bring to life the aesthetic of the 1940's atmosphere.

The casting in the film was excellent. There are supposed film "experts" out there who believe that Woody is too old for the lead in this film, and that it is unbelievable how Charlize Theron or Helen Hunt would ever fall for him. I fail to agree. Don't these people watch Woody Allen films ? The man always gets the women. Although Woody is ageing, his performance was outstanding, not losing a step as he delivers wise cracks and witty comments, one after the other. Helen Hunt also performs flawlessly . Very refreshing to see a role that a first rate actress can get her teeth into. Woody should be congratulated for taken second spot for Helen Hunt to shine in all her Glory. The icing on the cake ! Charlize Theron playing a Veroncia Lake-lookalike was a real blast. Her performance was seductive, Sultry and extremely sexy. She was tremendous.

This was vintage Woody Allen at his best. Thank you Woody, for yet another great funny , intelligent, witty movie.

 

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Discussion Starter #26
Stars: Gemma Arterton, Aisling Franciosi , Alessandro Nivola

Black Narcissus is a story of ghosts, wind, faith, frustration, sexual tension and madness. The story has touches of Gothic horror with nuns unraveling against a mountainous backdrop.

The production values , period costumes and also by the maddening wind, which fills the sound design of the musical score it is extremely effective in this FX miniseries event remake of the classic 1947 film of the same name.

The underrated Gemma Arterton steps into the shoes of Deborah Kerr to play the role of Sister Clodagh, and she made the character her own. Arterton is a very talented actress. She conveys one individual's inner conflicts within an organized religious group; and the suggestion that all the nun's had lives before they became nuns and not all of them are suited to "The Life". She adds depth and tension with her struggle with lust and temptation, regret, devotion, and cultural differences.Her acting is superb.


As the deranged Sister Ruth (Aisling Franciosi) is fabulous in her role, falling victim to various desires and insecurities in ways that are heartbreaking.

The performances by Gemma Arterton and Aisling Franciosi sister Ruth (who starts to unravel from pretty much the minute she gets to the Himalayas) are superlative, their facial expressions revealing deep heartfelt emotion and pain.

Black Narcissus , FX mini series event was well done. This is satisfying melodrama and wonderful television . Brava, FX & BBC .
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Total Recall (1990)
SteelBook 4K Ultra HD


The hypnotizing Rachel Ticotin in Total Recall (1990)


For her first major film role, Sharon Stone went mano a mano with Arnold Schwarzenegger !



Her role is a tantalizing constellation of dream girl, jealous spouse, double agent and killing machine.


Director Paul Verhoeven’s maximalist interpretation of a Philip K. Dick story , at the time of its release, one of the most expensive movies ever made. Total Recall is one of Schwarzenegger best films he was excellent to play a role as complex as Total Recall's protagonist, Douglas Quaid .

Overall this still stands as a great piece of sci-fi.

 

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Discussion Starter #28

Barbra Stanwyck is Fabulous as always !

Just before Christmas, Lee Leander is caught shoplifting. It is her third offense. She is prosecuted by John Sargent. He postpones the trial because it is hard to get a conviction at Christmas time. But he feels sorry for her and arranges for her bail, and ends up taking her home to his mother for Christmas. Surrounded by a loving family (in stark contrast to Lee's own family background) they fall in love. This creates a new problem: how do they handle the upcoming trial?

A heartwarming Christmas-time movie which skillfully blends touching drama with zany comedy. It has a witty, incisive screenplay by the great Preston Sturges, stars Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray in their first film together.

Directing a Sturges script was Mitchell Leisen, who trimmed many scenes throughout the screenplay before shooting and deleted a few more after shooting. This was something which generally irritated Sturges, and was the very reason he was determined to direct his own work , which he indeed began doing shortly after this production.

Sturges hung out on the set and got to know Stanwyck. The actress later joked, "As long as you didn't open your mouth, but let him do the talking, everything was fine." The wheels were already turning in Sturges about working with Stanwyck again. She would recall: "One day he said to me, 'Someday I'm going to write a real screwball comedy for you.' Remember the Night was a delightful comedy, swell for me and Fred MacMurray, but hardly a screwball, and I replied that nobody would ever think of writing anything like that for me - a murderess, sure. But he said, 'You just wait.'" A year later Sturges was directing Stanwyck in The Lady Eve (1941), his first truly great writing-directing effort and one of the best movies on both their resumes.

Remember the Night" has been oddly obscure for a very long time; a forgotten gem somehow avoiding the public eye, despite starring two popular Golden Age icons, being a Christmas-themed movie, and having been written by celebrated filmmaker Preston Sturges. It's also one of the most moving, humorous, and unique films of 1940.



 

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Discussion Starter #29


Creature
from the
Black Lagoon

(1954)
3D Blu-Ray
My CFTBL Pinball machine
174730

This is a quintessential monster movie !!!

Director: Jack Arnold
Writers: Harry Essex (screenplay), Arthur A. Ross (screenplay) (as Arthur Ross)
Stars: Richard Carlson (David Reed), Julie Adams(Kay Lawrence), Richard Denning (Mark Williams)

A scientific expedition searching for fossils along the Amazon River discovers a prehistoric Gill-Man in the legendary Black Lagoon. The explorers capture the mysterious creature, but it breaks free. The Gill-Man returns to kidnap the lovely Kay, with whom it has fallen in love. The Creature be getting busy....


Universal Pictures introduced audiences to yet another classic movie monster with this superbly crafted film, originally presented in 3-D. I watched this Blu-ray in Real stereoscopic 3D. The film is one of the finest 3-D masters around showcasing excellent Pop-out and also very good depth. The 2-D version is excellent as well. Julia Adams with abundance of physical charms often dominates the scenery and gave the 'Gill Man' a run for his money.



Director Jack Arnold makes excellent use of the tropical location, employing heavy mists and eerie jungle noises to create an atmosphere of nearly constant menace. The film's most effective element is certainly the monster itself, with his pulsating gills and fearsome webbed talons. The creature was played on land by stuntman Ben Chapman and underwater by champion swimmer Ricou Browning who was forced to hold his breath during long takes because the suit did not allow room for scuba gear. The end result was certainly worth the effort, proven in the famous scene where the Gill Man swims effortlessly beneath his female quarry in an eerie ballet a scene echoed much later by Steven Spielberg in the opening of Jaws. So I have read.



This film is the perfect example of the ability of Hollywood to provide viewers with much needed escapism, even 50 years after its release. Sit back, grab some popcorn and get ready for one of the all-time greatest horror classics from the 1950's. 10/10

 

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Discussion Starter #30
Sabrina (1954)
Blu-Ray



Director:Billy Wilder
Writers:Billy Wilder (written for the screen by), Samuel A. Taylor (written for the screen by) (as Samuel Taylor)
Stars:Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden

Linus and David Larrabee are the two sons of a very wealthy family. Linus is all work -- busily running the family corporate empire with no time for a wife and family. David is all play -- technically employed in the family business but never showing up for work, spending all his time entertaining, and having been married and divorced three times. Sabrina Fairchild is the young, shy, and awkward daughter of the household chauffeur, who has been infatuated with David all her life, but whom David hardly notices till she goes away to Paris for two years and returns an elegant, sophisticated, beautiful woman. Suddenly, she finds she's captured David's attention, but just as she does so, she finds herself also falling in love with Linus, and she finds that Linus is also falling in love with her.
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden . Ignore the critics who say this is one of Billy Wilder's minor works. It is a major movie, a masterpiece of romantic comedy, and it still looks as fresh as a daisy. A charming reworking of the classic Cinderella story. Sabrina featurs a terrific cast, headed by William Holden, Humphrey Bogart (in a comedy role!), and best of all Audrey Hepburn. With its humorous script and its stars' immense charm, Sabrina remains a resonant romantic gem.

Hubert de Givenchy, designer of Audrey Hepburn's most iconic looks
Givenchy first met Hepburn in 1953, a year after he founded the celebrated Givenchy couture house, the brand confirmed. They formed a close bond, and he went on to design several of her most memorable movie outfits .

Givenchy designed this strapless, floral gown in 1954’s “Sabrina."


Audrey Hepburn wearing Givenchy outfits

 

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Discussion Starter #32
Depressed at the commercialism he sees around him, Charlie Brown tries to find a deeper meaning to Christmas.

Director:Bill Melendez
Writer:Charles M. Schulz

On Thursday, December 9, 1965, over 15 million households tuned in .



Charles Schulz's Peanuts can still delight, sadden, and fascinate. The man was brilliant .
And the jazz music soundtrack to Peanuts is breezy, Latin-inspired jazz by composer Vince Guaraldi always stuck with through the years . Guaraldi pulsating, rhythmic pattern of jazz helped me become a lover of the genre.


Charlie Brown is a model neurotic. He is prone to depression and anxiety and paralyzing fits of over-analysis. In my youth I could identify with his Chuck's persona . 🎄 🎄
 

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Discussion Starter #33
Writers:George Seaton (written for the screen by), Valentine Davies (story)
Stars:Edmund Gwenn,
Maureen O'Hara
, Natalie Wood

Doris, a divorcee who works at Macy's (Maureen O'Hara) raises her young daughter Susan (Natalie Wood) in a very no-nonsense manner. And that includes not believing in Santa Claus. Enter Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn), playing Macy's Santa Claus. Kringle is a sweet old man and an excellent Santa but there is one small problem - he actually believes he's Santa, which results in his being committed to an institution and lawyer Fred Gailey (John Payne) defending him.

Miracle on 34th Street continues to be a popular holiday classic. It was included in the National Film Registry in 2005. The following year it ranked #9 in the American Film Institute's Most Inspiring Movies of All Time, and in 2008 ranked #5 on their 10 Greatest Films in the Fantasy Genre.

It won three Academy Awards - Best Supporting Actor for Edmund Gwenn, Best Writing, Original Story for Valentine Davies, and Best Writing, Screenplay for George Seaton's adaptation. It was also nominated for Best Picture but lost to another Fox film, Gentleman's Agreement (1947).

Edmund Gwenn's delightful Academy Award-winning performance as Kris Kringle created a character that generations of children and adults alike have come to love. Gwenn is so memorable in the role that he came to forever be identified with Santa Claus until his dying day.

Miracle on 34th Street was one of the earliest screen roles for little Natalie Wood, who was just beginning to establish herself as a fine child actress. Her remarkable performance as the skeptical Susan Walker showcases her natural talent as an actress that would take her far in her adult career as one of Hollywood's most luminous movie stars.


I especially liked O'Hara as the tough but softhearted executive. Maureen O'Hara was perfect as the doubtful Doris who raised her daughter away from fairy tales and magic.

Miracle on 34th Street is a family film in the best sense of the word. It is well-made, well-acted by all, with perfect performance and a wonderful script at its center. It is smart, funny, touching, poignant, and an altogether great film.

This is a digitized version of an article from The Times's print archive 1947
Spoiler

' Miracle on 34th Street,' With Edmund Gwenn in the Role of Santa Claus, at Roxy -- 'Web' at Loew's Criterion By Bosley Crowther June 5, 1947

For all those blasé skeptics who do not believe in Santa Claus-and likewise for all those natives who have grown cynical about New York-but most especially for all those patrons who have grown weary of the monotonies of the screen, let us heartily recommend the Roxy's new picture, "Miracle on 34th Street." As a matter of fact, let's go further: let's catch its spirit and heartily proclaim that it is the freshest little picture in a long time, and maybe even the best comedy of this year.If that sounds like wild enthusiasm for a picture devoid of mighty stars and presented without the usual red-velvet-carpet ballyhoo, let us happily note that it is largely because this job isn't loaded to the hubs with all the commercial gimmicks that it is such a delightful surprise. Indeed, it is in its open kidding of "commercialism" and money-grubbing plugs that lies its originality and its particularly winning charm.What would you think, to put it plainly, if you ran across an old man who not only looked like Kris Kringle but confidently claimed that he was? And what would you think, more specifically, if you were an executive of Macy's store, employing the old man to lure the kiddies before Christmas, and caught him sending customers to Gimbel's, down the street. Would you see in this merchandising technique a "friendly policy," as Mr. Macy does, or would you figure the old fellow crazy and a menace, as does a sour psychiatrist?Well, if you were Valentine Davies and George Seaton, who wrote the story and script of "Miracle on 34th Street" for Twentieth Century-Fox, you would give free rein to the latter point of view and you would get the old man before the Supreme Court on a question of his sanity. You would, for the sake of the story and an uncommonly fascinating jest, call for a formal court decision as to whether there is actually a Santa Claus. And, furthermore, you would demand substantiation that this old fellow is the true Santa himself-and you would then go ahead and prove it by the highest authority in the land. By doing so, you would not only gladden the hearts of all New York but you would bring a young couple to matrimony and you would lift a little girl's doubts.At least, that is what Mr. Davies and Mr. Seaton have done in their bright yarn. And, appropriately, in this buoyant spirit, Mr. Seaton has directed it. He has got Edmund Gwenn to play Kris Kringle with such natural and warm benevo-lence that, if ever the real Santa wants to step down, Mr. Gwenn is the man for the job. His candor with Mr. Macy, an awesome tycoon; his charm with little Sue and his genuine attitude of generosity toward everybody are cherishable in this dark day.Good, too, are Maureen O'Hara and John Payne, as the lady and gent who help Mr. Kringle spread sunshine. And most amusing are little Natalie Wood as the child who has been trained to sniff at Santa and Gene Lockhart as the much embarrassed judge. Porter Hall is a tangle of malice as the big-business psychiatrist and at least a dozen others are delightful in small roles or bits. Scenes shot in actual New York settings add credibility to the film.As a lesson in merchandising not only store products but good-will this "Miracle on 34th Street" is a dandy. Does Macy's tell Gimbel's? It should!On the stage at the Roxy are Jerry Lester, comedian; Art Lund, singer; Jan August, the Salici Puppets and the Gae Foster Roxyettes.

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET, screen play by George Seaton, based on a story by Valentine Davies; directed by George Seaton; produced by William Perlberg for Twentieth Century-Fox. At the Roxy.Kris Kringle . . . . . Edmund GwennDoris Walker . . . . . Maureen O'HaraFred Gailey . . . . . John PayneJudge Henry X. Harper . . . . . Gene LockhartSusan . . . . . Natalie WoodMr. Sawyer . . . . . Porter HallPolitician . . . . . William FrawleyDistrict Attorney Mara . . . . . Jerome CowanMr. Shellhammer . . . . . Philip TongeDr. Pierce . . . . . James SeayMr. Macy . . . . . Harry AntrimMothers . . . . . Thelma RitterMary FieldCleo . . . . . Theresa HarrisAlbert . . . . . Alvin GreenmanMrs. Mara . . . . . Anne StauntonThomas Mara Jr. . . . . . Robert HyattMrs. Shellhammer . . . . . Lela BlissDutch child . . . . . Marlene Lyden
 

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Discussion Starter #34
Director:Edward Bernds
Writers:Edward Bernds, Jules Verne (novel)
Stars:Cesare Danova, Sean McClory, Joan Staley

In this sci-fi fantasy, based on a Jules Verne story, two 18th-century men are preparing for a duel when they find themselves caught in the tremendous tailwind of a passing comet. They get sucked onto the comet's head where they find a strange world inhabited by dinosaurs and cave men.


The interweaving of new footage with stock shots from One Million B.C. (and Rodan!) is pretty clever. The human story line is the movie's weakest aspect. Albeit Joan Staley as Deena takes off her prehistoric sunsuit and lo and behold she is wearing a Stone-Age bikini!

Joan Staley in Valley of the Dragons (1961)


The film is at its best with the prehistoric creatures that were real lizards edited in to look like dinosaurs . I must admit that I did enjoy "Valley of the Dragons". Overall, a bit of a guilty pleasure.

 

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Discussion Starter #35
A Christmas Carol (1951)
Blu-ray /DVD

Director:Brian Desmond Hurst (as Brian Desmond-Hurst)
Writers:Charles Dickens (adapted from "A Christmas Carol"), Noel Langley (adaptation)
Stars:Alastair Sim, Jack Warner, Kathleen Harrison

A Christmas Carol shines as one of the brightest stars in the British tradition of ghost stories at Christmas.This film has been a sentimental favorite ever since it appeared, and I have no doubt it will continue to bring tears and joy to audiences for many Christmases to come.


Chances are you are well acquainted with Mr. Dickens's ghostly tale of redemption and Christmas cheer. You may have seen it presented by the local high school, or watched a comedic take on a top rated sitcom. The story has been done to death (dead, like a coffin nail). So why watch another version? When a story is so well known and so often filmed, there must be something special, something that brings greater insight into the themes of the tale, or presents something new and unexpected, to make it worth your time.

The 1951 version does supply that something special, in the form of an intelligent script, sharp editing, but mainly in Alastair Sim. Sim is a phenomenal Scrooge. There is enough of humanity in him even at his worst that you totally believe in his redemption.An extended back-story (well, extended compared to most versions) lets us see what happened to Scrooge and how he made mistake after mistake. When he finally finds the meaning of Christmas, his manic joy is contagious to the viewer.

This version also features some really nice traditional music and special effects.If you are the type to shed a tear or hide in fright while watching a movie, then be prepared to do both. There's emotions to spare. We all have holiday film traditions; I will make Alistair Sim as Scrooge one of mine.

While titled A Christmas Carol in the U.S., it is called Scrooge in Britain and the rest of the world. 9/10

 

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Discussion Starter #36
Buffalo '66 (1998)
Blu-Ray


Director:
Vincent Gallo
Writers:
Vincent Gallo (original story), Vincent Gallo (screenplay)
Stars:
Vincent Gallo, Christina Ricci, Ben Gazzara, Mickey Rourke , Rosanna Arquette , Jan-Michael Vincent , Anjelica Huston

This movie is pure art, plain and simple. Even if the movie might not be to your taste (a lot of people don't like this film at all, and they find it boring and meaningless). Hopefully one can agree it is really nice to know that there was once a time and place when American Independent Cinema really had a heart and soul and it is in full exhibition here. Classification avant-garde.

Vincent Gallo wrote the story and screen play, directed the film, and was the main star. Vincent Gallo fresh out of a five-year prison stint who really needs to take a leak but can't find a bathroom anywhere.



Easily one of the best contemporary actresses ever, Christina Ricci (who plays Layla), enters and is literally kidnapped by Vincent's character. This happens realistically, with a dark sense of humor-- (in a building where he almost finds a toilet), brings her to his family and poses her as his wife. We then get a wonderful half-hour of the biggest generation gap in history in which Gallo, Ricci and his parents, Angelica Huston and Ben Gazzara, have the most complicated anti-bonding dinner in ever.

This indie gem is downright brilliant with wonderful imagery, antique film stock, strategically placed camera-angles and split screens that all work to embody the dreamlike... or rather... nightmarish quality. Also, needing to be mentioned it the soundtrack of this movie which personally I believe to be among the best, featuring original music from writer, director and star Vincent Gallo as well as prog-rock artists like Yes and King Crimson. Buffalo '66 is an exceptional film IMO.

Interesting cinematography note: Buffalo '66 was shot on a Reversal stock that the NFL used to use to film games back in the 1970s. It was out of production and Gallo's production gathered all they could to shoot the film and give it it's gorgeous wintery palette.

 

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Discussion Starter #37
Cursed (2005)
DVD Unrated: Edition

DVD Unrated Edition it contains an additional two minutes of gore-fest footage.

Watching Christina Ricci perform on celluloid is my guilty pleasure.......

Director: Wes Craven
Writer: Kevin Williamson
Stars: Christina Ricci, Jesse Eisenberg, Portia de Rossi, Shannon Elizabeth

Horror legend Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson (Scream franchise) bring us this werewolf flick starring the beautiful and talented Christina Ricci (Buffalo 66).

Ellie is a woman who works as a page and assistant for a local talk show. One fateful night, she picks up her bullied younger brother Jimmy and two find themselves in a car accident after avoiding both an animal and slamming into another car. When the siblings attempt to help the other driver, all three are attacked by a monster. Ellie and Jimmy are both slashed by the animal while the other driver is viciously murdered. Soon enough, the siblings realize they are slowly undergoing changes.

The late horror master Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson had become a dream team with their hit collaboration franchise Scream. In 2005, the two have collaborated on their entry into the werewolf genre. What's great in the film are not so much the werewolf effects, but it's the slow tense emotions of lead characters Ellie and Jimmy. They are slowly transitioning and show the signs of eventually becoming werewolf siblings.

Lovely Christina Ricci and Jesse Eisenberg are really quite wonderful in their roles of the siblings afflicted by the lycanthropy. In the case of the beautiful and talented Ricci's Ellie, she gets extremely nervous and becomes more fearful while on the other side of the spectrum, Eisenberg's Jimmy used his powers in a Teen Wolf-style of confidence. The play wonderfully off each other.

What makes the film even more interesting is the film allows everyone to play the guessing game of who is the werewolf responsible. "Cursed" has some of the humor you typically find in a Craven film. Cameos/short appearances abound, including Scott Baio and Craig Kilborn playing themselves, as well as Shannon Elizabeth( Night of the Demons) and Portia de Rossi ( Scream 2).

The werewolf scenes are campy, but the werewolf looks amazing. When a wild, evil, snarling werewolf stops to give people the finger, you know this beast is just not wild enough however it is in good fun and works. There is more awesomeness in the Gore meter if you watch the DVD Unrated version. The original R rated version has been cut in order to receive a PG-13. As the theatrical release stands, chunks of the film appear to be missing. This simply hamstrings the awesomeness of this particular film. The Gore is excellent, visceral and creative. But to see "Cursed" as Wes Craven truly intended. You must buy the DVD Unrated Edition it contains an additional two minutes of gore-fest footage. A Hard (R) is a better fit. Being a desperate werewolf fan, I was just happy to see the big guy back on the big screen. I'm easy to please.
I am a huge Christina Ricci fan I absolutely think she is a tremendous talent and she does not disappoint in this film she is brilliant as usual. Cursed is a must watch for Christina Ricci fans, Wes Craven aficionados & desperate werewolf lovers who can not get enough lycanthrope cinema. This film is a blast. 8.5/10

The original R rated version has been cut in order to receive a PG-13.
A gorier, unrated version was released on DVD featuring scenes with violence more graphic than what was seen in the theatrical PG-13 version of the film. The differences are as follows (includes Spoilers):
Spoiler
In the PG-13 version, Shannon Elizabeth's character Becky is simply dragged away by the wolf at the end of the opening sequence. In the unrated version, Becky is torn in half and her bloodied upper-torso is tossed back at Jimmy and Ellie.
In the PG-13 version, during Ellie's nightmare, she merely bites Joshua Jackson's character Jake in the neck. The scene then cuts to a quick montage of bizarre images before Ellie wakes up. In the unrated version, after Ellie bites into Jake, she's shown ripping a large chunk of his neck off and then a torrent of blood shoots out of his wound.
In the PG-13 version, after Joanie knocks out Jake she starts looking for Ellie and Jimmy. In the unrated version, she first stops by Kyle's body, digs into the large gash in his stomach with her hands, pulls them out and then licks his blood off her fingers before proceeding to look for Ellie and Jimmy.
In the unrated version, Joanie (in wolf form) is killed when she is shot in the head and her brains slowly ooze onto the floor.
In the PG-13 version, the coroner discovers that Joanie's corpse has changed back into human form when her nude body is shown laying on the floor. In the unrated version, a sheet over her body is pulled back and only her face, complete with a bullet hole in her forehead, is shown.
In the PG-13 version, Jake's death by decapitation occurs off-camera. In the unrated version, Ellie is actually shown stabbing him in the neck with the shovel a couple of times before finally cutting his head off.
DVD Unrated Edition contains additional two minutes of footage.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
What does Black Snake Moan mean? Personal demons As explained in the bonus features on the DVD, the "Black Snake Moan" represents personal demons - the "voice that won't go away."
A God-fearing blues-man Lazarus (Samuel L. Jackson),takes to a wild young woman Rae (Christina Ricci) who, as a victim of childhood abuse, has become the town tramp she looks everywhere for love, never quite finding it.

This is an unusually bold film, but it's also a morality tale. Christina Ricci wears little but a pair of skimpy white underpants as Rae, a properly mixed up Tennessee gal who has an insatiable urge for sex. Lazarus, a local farmer (Samuel L. Jackson), with gold capped teeth, grey hair and woolly beard, has his own problems.

When Lazarus finds Rae lying unconscious from drugs, alcohol and abuse near his property, he takes her in. "God seen fit as to put you in my path and I'm going to take this wickedness out of you," he tells her, wrapping a thick industrial chain around her tiny waist, to keep her from running away. Deception, freedom and redemption all weave themselves into a moody tale that held my attention for most of the time, compounded by Ricci's stunning beauty, striking performance and waif-like appearance.

Ricci is like a wild cat in heat as she struggles to free herself from the heavy chain. Her performance is incredibly fierce and free. It is reminiscent of Ida Lupino's bold, performance as a crazed women who looses her mind in 1940's 'They Drive by Night' or Elizabeth Taylor's performance in a Taming of the Shrew. Christina Ricci's performance is unbridled and gritty. What I would give to have a conversation with her and pick her brain about how Christina prepared to dive so emotionally deep to give such a raw and unflinching performance . She is a first rate actress.

Delightfully outrageous, Black Snake Moan is an explosive mixture of sex, race,and redemption in the Deep South. It may be one of the most peculiar films I have seen recently. I love the way that both Samuel Jackson and Christina Ricci take chances pushing the boundaries of the content with there no- holds- bar acting chops. Such movies defy all categories and really need to be experienced for better or worse IMO. Any of you cats want to barrow my Blu-ray I will post it to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Director:Phillip Noyce
Writers:Jeffery Deaver (book), Jeremy Iacone (screenplay)
Stars:Denzel Washington, Angelina Jolie, Queen Latifah

A diabolical killer whose brutal slayings leave a trail of cryptic messages hidden at the scene of the crime is loose on the streets of Manhattan. As the city lies in fear, a gifted but disabled detective (Washington) teams with a rookie street cop (Jolie) to go inside the mind of this terrifying madman and defeat him at his own game.

Adapted from Jeffrey Deaver's novel, The Bone Collector is a Seven -like thriller , a little morbid, and a bit grisly a psychotic that leaves his victims dead and without their bones. The intriguing element is the fact that the hero, like James Stewart in Rear Window, is confined to bed and has to use someone else to do the legwork, literally.


Washington and Jolie are very good here. Jolie gets some background characterization, which helps explain her bitterness, and it takes her a while to warm up to Washington. Washington is also good in a physically limited role, using his facial expressions to relate to the audience. Phillip Noyce does an excellent job of direction and works brilliantly with cinematographer to create an eerie mood , and most audiences will be on the edges of their seats as the climax draws near. A thriller that also manages to focus on the art of mentoring. This film is a very entertaining psychological thriller .
 

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Discussion Starter #40 (Edited)
Emma. (2020)

Blu-Ray



Director: Autumn de Wilde
Writers: Eleanor Catton (screenplay by), Jane Austen (based on the novel by)
Stars: Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Bill Nighy, Mia Goth, Miranda Hart

Emma. is one of the funniest Austen adaptations I have ever seen-humor being mostly missing from film and TV adaptations of her work. A sharp script and charming performances have allowed for this Austen adaptation to make me laugh out loud at points; an accomplishment for dialogue that is, mostly, a few hundred years old giving it a timeless and intelligent quality.

The cast are superbly matched to their roles: whether it's Anya Taylor-Joy as the sharply intelligent and proud Emma, Johnny Flynn as the thoughtful and compassionate Mr Knightley, Bill Nighy as the ever complaining father or Miranda Hart as the chatty and sweet Miss Bates. Everyone is perfectly matched to their role.



The film's ultimate strength is in the absolute gorgeousity dripping from its costuming and set design. With pastel palettes and perfect symmetry, with every frame feeling like a period-appropriate master painting. This, mixed with strong performances and a charming screenplay , wonderful soundtrack allows for a film that is a delight to watch. I am finding it difficult to lend more words to my absolute enjoyment of the film. 8/10



From the the many films I have seen this year I feel
Anya Taylor-Joy’s ‘Emma’
Has a great chance for an Oscar win .
Costume Design . Alexandra Byrne is responsible foro the 19th century gowns in the film, and this type of period fare is usually catnip to voters. It also helps that Byrne has reaped five Oscar bids for “Hamlet,” “Elizabeth,” “Finding Neverland,” “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” and “Mary Queen of Scots.” She won for “Elizabeth: the Golden Age.”

Makeup & Hairstyling. “Emma” also looks like a strong contender in the Makeup & Hairstyling category. Hair and makeup designer Marese Langan is a BAFTA winner for “The Iron Lady,” and could find herself a first time Oscar nominee thanks to the impressively detailed hair in the movie. We should also look out for the film to pop up in Production Design for its grand interiors.

 
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