mystery meat's movieverse

Health insurance rip off lying FDA big bankers buying
Fake computer crashes dining
Cloning while they're multiplying
Fashion shoots with Beck and Hanson
Courtney Love, and Marilyn Manson
You're all fakes
Run to your mansions
Come around
We'll kick your ass in

Postby mellowgold » Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:59 pm

nice! yeah Lumet is ... really incredible. each of those three movies really knocked my socks off in different ways and at some point im going to go back to him for sure.

Hitchcock physically tormented Tippi in The Birds and then just flat out embarrassed her in Marnie, god.
wimbledon, strawberries, bubbles, please protect me. happy midsumma, hope you spend it in your heart, everyone is there. bitch.
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Postby mondrary » Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:18 pm

that's exactly what i do with movies, mellowgold! or at least have been doing for a time, i've got a big ol list (along with a couple other list of films / directors that i pick from) and i have it numbered and pick random ones. i try to keep like four filmographies going at a time because i like some variety, but then i get like one from each filmmaker from the library and have those for the week to watch. right now i'm doing godard, cronenberg, harmony korine, and polanski.

re: lumet, i'm gonna double-check to make sure he's on my list as i've only seen 12 angry men and dog day afternoon and think they are both wonderful. i'm excited to see what you think of other filmmakers you watch 8-)
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Postby mellowgold » Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:27 pm

that's cool! it's a good system to avoid just idly scrolling thru the void of movies i have access to. esp this time of the year where there's not much to watch!
wimbledon, strawberries, bubbles, please protect me. happy midsumma, hope you spend it in your heart, everyone is there. bitch.
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Postby Franco » Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:30 pm

mg that’s amazing. Kinda wish you would’ve squeezed Rebecca into your Hitchcock 3. But maybe another day
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Postby Franco » Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:31 pm

Except duh maybe you’ve seen it
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Postby mellowgold » Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:33 pm

I watched Rebecca for the first time last summer. I did not like it!!!
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Postby mellowgold » Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:35 pm

or i thought it was fine. it was pretty dull but Judith Anderson's Mrs. Danvers is ImageImageImageImage
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Postby Franco » Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:38 pm

Lol yeah that’s fair
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Postby goldsoundz » Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:52 pm

i like rebecca but i think it kinda sputters toward the end a little bit.
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Postby Franco » Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:29 pm

I have questions about Lumet actually. A diversity of styles, yes. An eye for memorable, classic material yes. But as a director what are we talking about?

Clinical, economical, deferential. I haven’t seen much outside of the heavy hitters but those are adjectives I’m comfortable with. Is there a larger visual style that I haven’t registered?
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Postby mystery meat » Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:35 am

i don't think Lumet is very nail-down-able by auteurist benchmarks (thematic concerns, recurrent visual styles), like idk i'm sure you could home in on his philosophy of directing actors or location shooting or 'New York cinema' or whatever he writes about in his book. but he's just so prolific and pumped out so many wildly divergent and varied and occasionally horribly shitty films over like fifty years, i think that's what's most exciting. just that he's a really good director who made so many different kinds of movies and it's just a big thicket of stuff to explore.
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Postby inmate » Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:10 am

everybody should watch lumet's 1972 movie child's play with james mason and robert preston.
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Postby mellowgold » Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:22 am

"Clinical, economical, deferential"

is not close to the adjectives i'd use from what i've seen. his movies are full of rage and passion; i think they're pretty stylistic, too. there are some really interesting shots in Network and Dog Day that made me pause the film to figure out where the camera was placed etc
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Postby Franco » Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:46 am

hmm yeah. i guess something like visual "efficiency" is what i was circling there, not that that can't be artful or elevated at times. in that of all the things viewable as a throughline there are a lot more thematic threads from work to work than there is a style.
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Postby mellowgold » Fri Feb 01, 2019 9:29 am

Watched The Searchers last night... John Ford...is not for me. :?
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Postby mystery meat » Fri Feb 01, 2019 9:30 am

mellow no!
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Postby mystery meat » Fri Feb 01, 2019 9:31 am

i kid, The Searchers is a hard pill
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Postby mellowgold » Fri Feb 01, 2019 9:49 am

lolol

on the other hand, i also watched Notorious, which rules.
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Postby mystery meat » Fri Feb 01, 2019 11:12 am

you saw them when they were notorious...now watch them when they're

Image
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Postby mystery meat » Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:07 pm

Image

Old Acquaintance | Warner Bros | Vincent Sherman | Bette Davis / Miriam Hopkins | 1943

an old-school shriekfest waged between two timebombs of melodramatized neurosis. the 40s Warners BDavis hysteria cycle is always rewarding imo, but Miriam Hopkins as the best-friend-cum-rival-author just makes it so much more thrilling. amazing that this is also the same play that is the basis of George Cukor’s Rich and Famous, a far lesser film than this one i must say.

Image

Going Hollywood | MGM / Walter Wanger | Raoul Walsh | Bing Crosby / Marion Davies | 1933

i always show up for Raoul Walsh but when you throw endlessly fascinating renegade independent producer Walter Wanger into the mix, and Donald Ogden Stewart (he who is responsible for the ‘light existentialism as wrought within society’s upper echelons’ stuff in the screenplays for Holiday and The Philadelphia Story) on top of that, then it becomes the ultimate enticement on my to-watch list. this is my first Marion Davies flick, and she’s perfect here, all slumbery and dreamlike and the most languid wit — well hold up, i mean she’s perfect until this abominable blackface scene that made me hate humanity for a hot minute. so yeah this is definitely a flawed flick, very schizoid movie made about Hollywood’s self-image, there’s a real mania and verve to the direction that’s classic Walsh, some of the musical numbers and montages are insane. Bing Crosby is so much more interesting when he’s a young crooner playboy than when he becomes America’s favorite priest with Going My Way in 1944. here he’s self-consciously fucking around with his image onscreen the way Dean Martin later would in something like Kiss Me Stupid.

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The Blue Gardenia | Columbia (?) | Fritz Lang | Anne Baxter / Richard Conte | 1953

Anne Baxter is one of the all-time greatest actors in Hollywood history, def a less bombastic star than many of her contemporaries and super underrated as a result. no one ever talks about her! her character detailing is so skilled in this one. it's extremely dark, with Raymond Burr’s attempt to date-rape her catalyzing the whole knotty noiry plot. it maybe gets less interesting and more formulaic as it proceeds but it’s so masterfully directed all the way through i just couldn’t bring myself to care.

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Hearts Divided | Warner Bros | Frank Borzage | Dick Powell / Marion Davies | 1936

this fuckin sucked. i can’t believe Borzage also produced this! what a gargantuan airball dude. this is just cutesy bullshit about Dick Powell is Napoleon’s (Claude Rains!!!) younger brother who, lemme remember, passes himself off as Marion Davies’ lowly tutor at some random manor in New England (i forget why and how he arrives there and under what circumstances, could not hold it together for this dumb shit) so he can break free of the shackles of Great Man Theory of History fatalism and do normal guy things like fall in love, and orchestrate the most circuitous ruses in order to do so. moreover, she realizes Who He Is and they still declare their love for each other and that’s still not the end of it! there’s like a boring extra half hour of Rainspoleon castigating his lil bro with boring political disputes that have no place in a goofy costume romance. i was happy to delete this from my DVR.

Image

The Spanish Main | RKO | Frank Borzage | Maureen O’Hara / Paul Henreid | 1945

this is more like it! vibrant if vacuous swashbuckler garble with serviceable action and good color, but that’s all i need baby. i kinda enjoyed Henreid in the Flynn role here, usually i find him so boring (no offense to the Henreid-heads). Maureen O’Hara is really worshipped by the camera in this one, she’s stunning.

Image

Robin and Marian | Richard Lester | Sean Connery / Audrey Hepburn | 1976

i cherish Richard Lester like an old school Hollywood auteur so anything with his name on it is the very stuff of movieverse. this movie is so sweet and sugary and entertaining, another one about historical fatalism, with an aged Robin Hood realizing he never really made a substantial mark on anything. Richard Harris is Richard the Lionheart all weathered and pallid and sickly and evil (all the opening stuff with the atrocities of the Crusades is like in the tradition of the 'revisionist' Westerns of the 70s but regarding medieval lore and legend). despite all this parched and grisly mythbusting, it's not long before Robin returns to Sherwood -- where the Sheriff of Nottingham still reigns -- and kinda restores his legend by graceful, jubilant, romantic exploits, none of which are grandiloquent, just simply adventurous in the best way. Audrey Hepburn as Marian is so wonderful. but will the indefatigable romantic spirit win out? will Robin and Marian truly rejoin their hearts in love? will the Sheriff of Nottingham be vanquished once and for all? tune in to this late-70s Lester gem to find out!
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Postby mystery meat » Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:23 am

a weekend at the movies

by mystery meat

Saturday I woke up with a sober commitment to finish the rest of Maurice Pialat's Van Gogh (1990), which i had not been enjoying over the course of many spaced out spare-time viewings. I am sure there are Pialat-stans on here but his conception of human behavior as emotionally discontinuous cycles of abuse + pretty ephemera does nothing for me, even if i can admire the camera-craft and individuated scene-building artisanship. But as Van Gogh marched out of my retinas, Lev Kuleshov's astonishing By the Law (1926) clawed its way in. Here is a movie placed in the same acrid unforgiving American frontier hellscape as Stroheim's Greed, suffused with the same kind of violence and hysteria; but where Greed is rendered via epic duration, widespread mise-en-scene, blistering textures cooking into your brain as you soak in its novelistic density, Kuleshov is all montage-vertiginous torment, hyper-intensive flare-up, anguished close-ups firing at a rapid clip.

I met the afternoon with an intuitively curated Minnelli/Fassbinder double feature -- Goodbye Charlie (1964) and Querelle (1982). The former: Minnelli's worst, a real doozy of a premise (look up a synopsis if you don't know the gist), with a hideous 60s-kids'-cartoon singalong theme song, Tony Curtis the handsomely flabbergasted cartoon he tends toward in his worst comedies, and, in terms of raw direction, a number of garish tonal mishandlings of already weak-willed verbal witticisms.* Walter Matthau is something else though, the man flies high into the crispest altitudes of wacko-stylization in this one. That and Debbie Reynolds' emulation of Lauren Bacall's husky delivery style are the reasons to see it.

The latter is as virtuosic as I would expect. The backdrops are of a sumptuous orange-gold sheet-metal saturation, the foregrounds are the customarily opulent clutter of other Fassbinder mise-en-scene benchmarks (Lola, World on a Wire, Chinese Roulette, etc.), and the dramaturgical design of the picture is beautiful -- at key narrative junctures, the film's bronze-lit imagery will melt into a white-heat radiant plate of the original Jean Genet text, matched to a dry and directionless (and therefore, somehow, completely effective) voiceover and what I recall as a purifying choral sound. I don't want the fact that it was his final film compel me into swansong eulogizing** but I do want to take a few moments to relish the fact of Fassbinder's utter mastery of all of the gears and levers of the machinery of film production at this, the last of a late-career succession of artistic high points.

Saturday night, I decided to investigate what James Cagney and Doris Day -- former Warner Bros stalwarts of differing eras in the studio's history -- might look like in a big all-star MGM musical production together. Love Me or Leave Me (1955) is a mixed bag. Cagney more or less rebounds to Public Enemy levels of abusive-in-all-directions ego-juiced monstrosity, rattling off all the old gangsterisms with all the old nervous rage. Not all of the songs land for me, but I'm always lightly enthralled by Doris Day. But on the whole, it's a misdirected effort to ride the doomed-showbiz-love-story wave precipitated by A Star is Born from the previous year. There's none of the ecstatic 'rising star' momentum to match the grandiloquence of its thematic intentions or the length of its runtime, and it all dissolves into bad biopic soap opera.

Sunday: a day for church bells and Pre-Codes -- The Big House (1930) is one of the original bareknuckle prison dramas, with a lot to recommend it. I still can't say that Chester Morris has ever made an impression on me, but Wallace Beery snarls up a storm, and Robert Montgomery does a good turn as a square, spoiled, but sympathetically mortified new inmate, completely unequipped to meet prison life even halfway. I must confess to having lost track of main thrust of the plot when the outside world got involved and hence the soporific specter of Redemption as served up by filmmakers-cum-armchair-criminologists reared its dreary head. Dracula (1931) by Tod Browning is all shadow-play shot through with shuddering punctuations of silence and piecemeal close-ups of various grisly miscellany. Nothing like sparkling Hollywood chiaroscuro lensed by living room weed haze to close out the weekend.

*Also the 20th Century Fox 'Screen Archives' (Fox's answer to the Warner Archive DVD line) disc was hideously cropped, which enraged my normal self to no end.

**Nor do I want to take on Ben Mankiewiczs' gross and unenviable task of watering down radical queer cinema for the TCM audience of old conservative white suburbanites.
Last edited by mystery meat on Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:03 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby DasLofGang » Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:27 am

mystery meat wrote:the TCM audience of old conservative white suburbanites.

sincere: aren’t they sort of dying off though? the last time I could afford tcm it seemed like they were actively trying to be a little less crumbling-to-dust with this
You remind me of Don Knotts.
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Postby mystery meat » Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:42 am

TCM does a lot of good work programming valuable cinema from marginalized artists and movements (stuff that's netted them tons of angry reactionary facebook feedback) but i guess they use the hosts to soft-sell more transgressive stuff to their base with the usual bad quips and infomarketing.
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Postby Plainsong » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:21 am

Hi mystery meat. Was wondering if you could rec me any Wyler stuff to watch? I've only seen The Westerner, Roman Hoilday, and The Big Country which all ruled. I'm pretty keen on watching The Best Years Of Our Lives, and The Children's Hour if you think they're worth a watch?
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Postby goldsoundz » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:50 am

definitely the heiress and the best years of our lives
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Postby Plainsong » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:53 am

goldsoundz wrote:definitely the heiress and the best years of our lives

Thanks for the recs goldsoundz.
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Postby inmate » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:18 pm

the letter is also pretty good and worth watching
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Postby mystery meat » Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:02 am

Best Years of Our Lives and The Heiress are the best

also recommend The Good Fairy, Dodsworth, The Little Foxes
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Postby Plainsong » Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:03 am

mystery meat wrote:Best Years of Our Lives and The Heiress are the best

also recommend The Good Fairy, Dodsworth, The Little Foxes

Thanks mm, is The Children's Hour worth watching?
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Postby mystery meat » Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:04 am

yeah i would double feature it with his original version of the same story, These Three
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