What was the last film you watched?

Mel O'Drama

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The Sound Of Music (1965)



It's been mentioned several times in the 1960s Top Ten round and its name cropped up in the Movies With Amazing Views thread. Add that my partner casually mentioned never having watched the film and it felt like all signs were pointing towards a rewatch.... with a first-timer.

This is the first time I've watched it myself in many years. I have the 40th Anniversary DVD, probably bought at the time it was issued and watched once or twice, so it must be the best part of two decades since I last saw it. Even so, it's one of those films for which I know lyrics and much of the dialogue verbatim, having watched it far too many times as a kid. In fact I believe it was the first film I ever watched on VHS, at a time when the option to watch something repeatedly was new and novel.

Knowing it as well as I do and being far more cynical in middle age, I really wasn't expecting any surprises. There was also the disappointment that I couldn't find it on streaming so ended up watching it on the same low definition DVD I did last time round, and without surround sound (it's supposed to be in 5.1, but our system didn't convert it for some reason so there was no sound at all from the rear speakers).

Even so, I was pleasantly surprised. The stunning scenery didn't disappoint. The songs were even lovelier - more joyous and poignant - than I'd remembered. The performances were terrific, and I was especially surprised by the wry humour Christopher Plummer delivered and by Julie Andrews' comic timing along with the physicality she brought to the role. I even confess to having stinging eyes when the Captain first heard his children singing and joined in (to their shock and delight).

Long story short, then, I thought I was getting something familiar and predictable, but finding the music between the lyrics made it a far richer experience than I could ever have planned. The nicest of surprises.​
 

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THE EXORCIST III (1990)

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Although I'm not sure if it was "III" or " LEGION", the restored director's cut that is now considered a different release.
I saw this film a long, long time ago so I wouldn't be able to tell the difference anyway, the only thing I remember is that it looked like a proper horror film.

Several decades later it still manages to disturb me but what surprises me the most is how beautiful and timeless it looks.
I could easily believe it was made at the same time they made The Exorcist's spin-off THE NINTH CONFIGURATION (1980).
Editing, special effects and sound are impeccable therefore it's not surprising that this film has found a new cult following.

That being said, it still feels like a sequel that doesn't really complement the original. It doesn't trash it like the first sequel did but there are a few things I struggled with, especially the resurrection of Father Damien Karras, albeit with a different personality.
Apparently, his dramatic and emotional death in the original story coincided with the execution of a most evil serial killer, and the forces that first possessed Regan and now Karras felt cheated and decided to slip the spirit of the serial killer in Karras' dying body (he looked pretty dead to me).
This plot twist screams CHUCKY which cheapens the overall narrative somewhat.
Furthermore, it seems odd that the supernatural forces would "think" in such an earthly way. The possession of Regan looked like a raw existence rather than a conniving scheme.

Incidentally, the serial killer in CHILD'S PLAY was voiced by actor Brad Dourif who now plays the Gemini Killer inside Karras' body in EXORCIST III.
(!)
Brad Dourif has popped up several times in my recent film watches and I think he's consistently great. His role in this sequel is certainly no exeption and that makes it a little easier to overlook this so-so plot twist.

Then there's our lead man played by George C. Scott, an actor who seems to have a knack for playing very distressed characters.
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Thankfully he stays on the right side of "ham" in EXORCIST III, but there are a few moments when I felt I had to brace myself.

So, how should I call an unwanted sequel (even if it's based on a novel) that looks like a terrific horror film? A paradox?

In fact I believe it was the first film I ever watched on VHS, at a time when the option to watch something repeatedly was new and novel.
When I started renting videos in the early eighties I often watched those videos twice, not because I wanted to but because I could.
Such was the time that "the motion picture" was still considered a very precious thing.
 

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THE HOLY MOUNTAIN (1973)

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Yeeees, it was only a film!

In preparation for the Movie Top Ten 1970s decade I wanted to be absolutely sure I hadn't overlooked something, and this film gets mentioned here and there.
It's beautiful, it's repulsive, it's loving and it's hateful. It's inaccessible, it's terribly on the nose, it's hilarious and it's also impossible to believe that this film was actually made.
And if immortality can only be reached in pictures, does that mean that God is a camera? Or a filmmaker?
I don't know if this film is meant to be spiritual or blasphemous, it seems to offer a bit of both.

I'll definitely watch it again but I don't think I will ever love it. But is art made to be loved or to be experienced? After all, man created music because he needed something to dance to (that out of sync stuff in Dallas' disco scene doesn't really work).
Every morning, I wake up my male secretaries.
 

Mel O'Drama

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Red Joan (2018)



My foreknowledge of the film was minimal, other than the vaguest of premises (British woman arrested for being a spy) and that it starred Judi Dench. The latter was plenty for me to dive in.

I'm very glad I didn't read up on the film until afterwards, not because of spoilers - this is a difficult film to spoil - but because reviews don't seem to be too kind to it. Words like "dull" and "mediocre" seem to be the defaults, along with cries of "wasted talent". For me, though, it was a perfectly fine way to spend an hour and forty.

Perhaps it helped that it's one of those kind of, almost true stories: that is to say it's inspired by a true person (Melita Norwood), but apparently has stuck that element onto a completely fictitious story and even changed all the names (presumably because it's so far away from the reality).

But never mind, because it's a pleasant film to watch. The period setting looks gorgeous (it came with the expected contemporary RP/SSB delivery in place of period-authentic pronunciation - with one main offender - but nothing intolerable).

The best thing about the film was George Fenton's score whose name I'll forever associate with Shoestring (closely followed by Bergerac).​
 

Willie Oleson

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THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER (1962)

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I'm sure it makes sense to call this a kitchen-sink drama, but the way I've absorbed LONELINESS I feel it doesn't define the main character as much as the characters in, say, A KIND OF LOVING (the best one I've seen so far).
Sociopolitical changes and the (somewhat well trodden) topic of the British class system mostly serves as the film's background that allows the story of Colin Smith to be told.
Rebellion, boredom and dissatisfaction are timeless, that happened before and after the 1960s.

LONELINESS feels very personal to me since I've always struggled with authority, duties and other things that need to be done. I can be extremely disciplined but only if it's initiated by myself, and I'm very much aware of the fact that this attitude has contributed to many of my shortcomings.
But the point is that it's actually more than a phase or attitude which may or may not be influenced by upbringing and surroundings; perhaps it's more a cats vs. dogs situation, and in that case I'd say Colin Smith is very much a "cat" person.

The story's finale perfectly captures the sort of inbuilt antagonism that can manifest itself even at the expense of the prospect of improvement, in this case the possibility of a successful sports career (or at the very least, being released from the borstal as soon as possible).
It's almost as if that success can't exist when it's based on the pushy and patronising agenda of other people.
And if that success would forever be tarnished by that very compromise, then why bother?
The message to his co-star played by Michael Redgrave (I also need to watch much more of him) is clear. "I can do it, but I won't do it for you".
Like I said, the kitchen-sink angle is neatly intertwined with Colin's story and I guess it also helped to get the point across.
To top it off there's Edward Fox in a small supporting role.

It was also one of the rare occassions when I felt compelled to watch the DVD extras straight afterwards - there's not an awful lot on it so perhaps that made it a little easier.
It features an essay by director of photography Walter Lassally, which made me appreciate the film (and the art of film as a whole) even more than I already did.
Some of the running sequences are simply breathtaking to watch, and while the technical in's and out's can spoil the illusion of the final product, Lassally explains it in a way that is still in character with the story itself.

Maybe I've interpreted the story the wrong way but that doesn't change the fact that I loved the experience I had.
It's another one for the Precious Collection.
 

Willie Oleson

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SUPERSTAR: THE KAREN CARPENTER STORY (1987)


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Made only four years after Karen's death this must have been quite a thing at the time of release, but now, so many years later it looks as if it is the only way to tell that story effectively without looking like a standard made-for-TV biopic.
The songs have never sounded so beautiful and haunting, and I couldn't think of a better promotion for a new Best Of compilation. Perhaps that could be a reason to change brother Richard's opinion of the film (plus the fact that it's all such a long time ago).
Anyway, I've got a CD to buy. Toodeloo.
 

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Jupiter Ascending (2015)
Space opera of which Wikipedia quotes a description of a cross between Star Wars and The Matrix. I see more than a little of The Last Starfighter (1984) in there as well.
Mila Kunis discovers that she is not only a princess, but also the only one who can save Earth. And, of course, does.
 

Willie Oleson

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TOY STORY 2

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Believe it or not, but this is my first Toy Story Experience.
In many ways it looks like an updated version of Disney's THE RESCUERS, but it's gloriously over the top and meta-within-meta, something that would become the trademark narrative of the Pixar hits (and basically every other modern animated comedy).
Despite the fact that the formula feels a bit overcooked in 2024, TOY STORY 2 looks amazingly fresh and inventive.
It's rather upfront about its wholesome message without overdoing it, and maybe it also lacks the cynicism of the more recent releases.

I must admit that I got a little worried at the 45 minutes mark because I knew that was only half of it, and the jokes had been coming thick and fast from the very beginning.
I washed the dishes and made some coffee ("let's all go to the lobby", as it were) and then I finished the rest of the film that ended with a Bruce Willis style action scene.
The bloopers and deleted scenes during the end credits are brilliant, did it also happen in the first TOY STORY film?

I kept seeing Jake Gyllenhaal in "Woody" and conveniently made the connection with his (then) future role of gay cowboy in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN.
According to wiki, the character is based on the features of someone else, but I like my own theory better.
 

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Jaws 2 (1978)

Upon flipping the channels last night I came upon the end of the original on the SY-FY channel so when I discovered the sequel was up next I decided to watch it from beginning to end for the first time in years.

Nothing will ever top the original movie for me and I was reminded why. There are actually a lot of things I do like about the second movie but I can understand why Roy Scheider may have been apprehensive about making it. Where do you go after the original?

The scene where Martin shoots up the beach when he mistakenly thinks a school of bluefish is a Great White really seems out of character for him now. Yes, he was the only person at this point thinking there was another shark problem on the horizon but I just can’t see the Chief of Police reacting that recklessly by opening fire with all those children around, not even in 1978. Nowadays the video would go viral and he’d never get his job back, not even after he was proven right. Martin would have to move and live in obscurity the rest of his existence until someone decided to give him his own reality show years later. Maybe just vacating the water would’ve been enough but of course this time they wanted the visual of a madman that no one believes and has finally gone off the deep end to the point where he loses his job.

As for the teenagers themselves, as long discussed, I still find most of them kind of annoying. After awhile the screaming towards the end starts to irritate me. I’ve always heard people, including myself, jokingly say it’s at this point they began rooting for the shark and now I have to wonder if any of us were ever really joking.

As for the end, I do love the visual of the shark being electrocuted, although I think the effects themselves could’ve been better. Granted it was 1978 here but for some reason I mistakenly remembered the barbecuing of the shark being more grandiose. The ending of the first movie with the exploding shark still holds up well and has a much bigger feel to it, whereas the second one just seemed a little anticlimactic to me now.

All in all, I’m glad I finally watched it again after many years though. It’s good enough for a sequel and for me the last time Jaws would really feel like Jaws moving forward.
 

Mel O'Drama

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The bloopers and deleted scenes during the end credits are brilliant, did it also happen in the first TOY STORY film?

It's a while since I watched it, but I feel like it did.



I can understand why Roy Scheider may have been apprehensive about making it. Where do you go after the original?

As you know, I've had plenty to say about the difficulties I have with this first sequel over in The Jaws Thread. You've summed up exactly what some of those difficulties are, so I'll just drop in how I summed it up when I rewatched it last year:
for me at least - the concept of Jaws 2 is far superior to the film, and my disappointment in it deepens with each rewatch. I feel fairly certain I won't watch the film again until the 50th anniversary. And then I'll probably dislike it even more.


I'm glad you found some enjoyment from rewatching it.
 

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STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951)

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An "how to get away with murder" story based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith, which I haven't read.
Once that murder has happened, and the whole film collapses immediately afterwards, I realised that they wouldn't get away with murdering the most fun character (Guy's slutty greedy wife).
Psycho dandy Bruno isn't sexy enough, tennis player Guy isn't likeable (or dislikeable) enough to sustain the intrigue, the romance is almost non-existent and then there's Barbara. Barbara with her stupid hair and pseudo-bluntness - the only reason I kept watching is because I hoped she'd be murdered too.

I understand that Bruno has to do something to put the screws on Guy, but the way it happens also means they are no longer the "strangers on a train".
What's left is a semi-stalker/semi-blackmail story that's neither sexy nor tense, and it also doesn't make sense that Bruno is plagued by the memory of Miriam's glasses.
It's almost as if they're clutching at straws to make it suspenseful.
The merry-go-round spinning out of control (which shoulda happened during LB Colby's birthday party) has written "never press this button!" all over it. Absolutely hilarious.

There is a good story deeply buried underneath this boring mess and I think it should be considered for a remake. But very much remade.
 

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THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1956)

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A travelling American family gets involved with a political scheme leading to the kidnapping of their young son.
Watching them connecting the dots without too much effort the film kinda looks like an extended TV episode about a popular sleuth couple.
Even before the real action starts they suspect there's something fishy going on.

The panic and despair one would expect to see in a situation like this has to make way for James and Doris' amateur detective work, but I guess it's always fun to watch James Stewart crawling across a rooftop.
The funniest scene happens in the stuffed animal shop when a fight breaks out and all the employers quickly move the stuffed animals to make sure nothing gets damaged. And the reason this is so funny is because it took me a moment to realise what they were doing.

The last scenes in the embassy are frustratingly drawn out without the suspense to justify it.
Doris Day gives a 12" version performance of Que Sera Sera at maximum volume (admittedly, not without reason, but that doesn't make it less annoying) and then finally it all ends on the ever-reliable movie staircase.
However, the film itself ends with one of the most iconic last lines in the history of motion picture.

I haven't seen many films starring Doris Day - in fact I'd be hard-pressed to name just one - so this was partially the reason I chose this Hitchcock film.
Despite the sometimes questionable script she's very good in the dramatic scenes that matter. I'd like to see more of her as long as it's not one of those happy campfire comedies.

All in all, it's not a great film but it's entertaining enough for the proverbial "rainy Sunday afternoon".
 

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Despite the sometimes questionable script she's very good in the dramatic scenes that matter. I'd like to see more of her as long as it's not one of those happy campfire comedies.

LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME is generally regarded as her best dramatic film, although it's been too many years since I've seen it for me to recall if I actually liked it. MIDNIGHT LACE is a quasi-Hitchockian B-movie soapy thriller nonsense kind of thing, but it's fun. Plus, John Gavin.

I'm not wild about her 60s frothy comedies, but TEACHER'S PET with Gable and THAT TOUCH OF MINK with Grant are good, particularly the former.
 

Mel O'Drama

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The funniest scene happens in the stuffed animal shop when a fight breaks out and all the employers quickly move the stuffed animals to make sure nothing gets damaged. And the reason this is so funny is because it took me a moment to realise what they were doing.

The Master Of Suspense he may be, but I love how Hitch includes humour in his films. Often dark, and usually of the eccentric quirky (and perhaps terribly British) variety.



Doris Day gives a 12" version performance of Que Sera Sera at maximum volume (admittedly, not without reason, but that doesn't make it less annoying)

I'm sure you may well know this but just in case, it's worth noting that this film was the song's first outing so it hadn't at this point become Doris's signature song and didn't have the same middle of the road association as it might today.



However, the film itself ends with one of the most iconic last lines in the history of motion picture.

The germ of a future Movie Top Ten, perhaps?




All in all, it's not a great film but it's entertaining enough for the proverbial "rainy Sunday afternoon".

Even though it seems they don't entirely float your boat, I love that you're giving some Hitch films a spin with an open mind (and I hope there may be more still to come).
 

Willie Oleson

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The Master Of Suspense he may be
I'm beginning to think that people have been watching "Hitchcock" the wrong way.
Not as in "overrated", but maybe he was the best in offering the alternative to the more conventional Romance dramas and comedies.
Romances that "just happen to happen" in spooky or dangerous situations, impossible romances (Rebecca & Mrs. Danvers) or the tragedy of the could-be romances ruined by psychopathy (Norman & Marion).
When that unusual connection between characters really works, regardless of whatever criminal shenanigans, I think that's when Hitchcock shines out.

But he's not the greatest storyteller, imo.
so it hadn't at this point become Doris's signature song
I didn't think she was playing one of her real-life greatest hits, but it just sounds so....monstrous.
Btw, I like Deadwood Stage and Move Over Darling (I have both in dance cover-version aimed at the gay club audience but that's neither here nor there).
Even though it seems they don't entirely float your boat
But they're still fun to discuss. And I'll never stop being curious - so many great and bad films to discover, so little time.
 

Toni

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LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME is generally regarded as her best dramatic film, although it's been too many years since I've seen it for me to recall if I actually liked it. MIDNIGHT LACE is a quasi-Hitchockian B-movie soapy thriller nonsense kind of thing, but it's fun. Plus, John Gavin.

I'm not wild about her 60s frothy comedies, but TEACHER'S PET with Gable and THAT TOUCH OF MINK with Grant are good, particularly the former.
I´m not a DD fan, but I did like her in "Midnight Lace", very well-described by you. A story remade for TV with...Mary Crosby!! in DD´s role.

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Gotta love this ad! "Return of the Kristin".​
 

Mel O'Drama

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maybe he was the best in offering the alternative to the more conventional Romance dramas and comedies.
Romances that "just happen to happen" in spooky or dangerous situations, impossible romances (Rebecca & Mrs. Danvers) or the tragedy of the could-be romances ruined by psychopathy (Norman & Marion).

Yes. Or the obsessive love from Vertigo (sudsy enough for Knots Landing to take inspiration). The "can she be trusted" romantic intrigue of North By Northwest. And of course the homoerotic Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name undercurrent of Rope's antiheroes.



I didn't think she was playing one of her real-life greatest hits, but it just sounds so....monstrous.

I'm no fan of the song as recorded (certainly not the 1956 version, though I imagine she's re-recorded it at other points), but watching TMWKTM was the first time I liked it. It's a combination of the nice, simple arrangement, the context of the story (which really sells it, even though the lyrics have almost no connection to the story itself) and the fact that Doris appears to be singing live rather than lip-syncing to a pre-recorded vocal.



But they're still fun to discuss. And I'll never stop being curious - so many great and bad films to discover, so little time.

:dance:
 

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LA BALADE D'IVAN (2018)

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There's not much to say about the story, although the story itself has a lot to say.
It's sort of a transcendental journey into the woods, often disturbing in the most quiet parts, and always intriguingly indecisive about the character of the story's protagonist (that's Ivan!).
It's beautifully shot especially for a film that no-one has seen - no reviews on IMDB or youtube and that means it is all mine.
A meditative goosebumper that makes me question my own happiness and the pursuit thereof.
 

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I´m not a DD fan, but I did like her in "Midnight Lace", very well-described by you.

That's so weird -- I'm exactly the opposite: I like Doris Day, but not in MIDNIGHT LACE, where she's so late-stage Krystle Carrington shrill.

Day could have so played Krystle's aunt (or big sister) but Doris would never go near the furs.
 
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