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 Post subject: Request a Review/Opinion
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:18 am 
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I'm not sure if a thread like this already exists, but if one does I won't mind if it's merged with something else.

The point of this thread is to request a review by another member on the subject of movies, TV and music. Just curious about another member's opinion? This would be the place to put the request and have it answered. While one could always PM* another member on an opinion, here the post could be shared so that others can view it too and contribute their own thoughts. You could also make more than one request per post.

While other review/opinion threads exist, this one is meant to be more open ended and not so focused on just one topic (favorite x, top 10 y, for example). I'll start:

Movie Reviews/Opinions

UmbrellaFish - Darling Lili (1970)

jpanimation - The Artist (2011)

Dr. Frank - Metropolis (1927)

Laz - Theater of Blood (1973)

*I admit to being totally unaware of the current PM rules, like who can and cannot send them, for example.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:29 am 
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This is awesome! Once Laz finishes that review, I'd love to ask him for another!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:11 am 
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Dammit, I've been waiting for The Artist since I first saw the trailer way back in May :cry:

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:19 am 
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Ask and receive :)

Here's one I did a year and a half ago (I've included some post-script thoughts afterward):


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Theater of Blood (1973 / directed by: Douglas Hickox)

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I would never have seen this movie were it not for the addictive 60's AIP films starring Vincent Price. When you see something as amazing as The Masque of the Red Death after starting a series, you sort of find it hard to stop. Well... this is the 70's. And while the horror genre certainly reached a level of excellence in the 70's by changing, watching this film is a harsh reminder of how some change is not for the better. The 60's were radical enough, and clearly the AIP / Roger Corman-directed series of films weren't without their edgy moments and tension. Red Death was all about human cruelty and how we can view each other as nothing more than garbage to be disposed of rather than tolerating. Tower of London showed us an insane rebel madman in charge of sentencing others to death. And The Haunted Palace had its' gruesome moments, deciding to show us death and disfigurement instead of merely suggesting it. This included a very shocking (for its' time) death scene where a man is set on fire and screams as he burns. This all, for me at least, took care of the extremes that later British films starring Price as a horrible torturer (beginning with 1968's wretched, insufferably dull Witchfinder General) would go to. Though the trend was set with the crappily dramatic Witchfinder, it's said that the film was not popular. So, the British horror heads decided to try this nasty horror again... but with humor. This resulted in 1971's The Abominable Dr. Phibes, a film that mirrored Italy's Bay of Blood in that its' marketing campaign tried to draw in audiences with the promise of a large bodycount and brutal, graphic deaths. Apparently, that film (which after this, I've refused to see outright) was successful enough to spawn not only a sequel, but this copy as well.

Anyone else will tell you this film is genuinely funny. The first time I saw it, I was absolutely mortified and deeply offended. That was several years ago and now I have a cooler head. But there's no denying that this insanely nasty film is hateful. Comedy is often used as a mask by certain filmmakers to shield them from serious criticism of their jokes for not being just jokes. This movie tries to adopt a pose of good-natured "something to offend everyone" ribbing. But the way in which the characters are portrayed leaves no question that either the writer or the director really hate these people. To add further insult, people are shown to be worth killing for little more than being gay or fat. The only person targeted by the films' murderers who survives just happens to be the only one of his group who isn't bitchy, elderly, hypocritical, or physically unattractive in some way. What would you think if you were an actor being cast in a film to be murdered because the filmmakers saw you as ugly or old? Not only that, he's also the only character here who is capable of sympathizing with others. Wanting to care despite the characters' jobs as theater critics. So, the film can't claim it works on a "nothing is sacred" level. There is definitely nothing funny about killing two dogs and showing them being fed to someone. Hickox isn't even able to show the horror in their owner's face when he discovers the shocking truth. The film really is heartless (the sole redeeming quality of Witchfinder; it wasn't). And what should be worse is that you become numb to it on repeated viewing rather quickly. But... before it does become numbing, it is a remarkably strong film in terms of brutality (the first murder) and it is one of the sickest movies I've ever seen (the third murder, especially).

-

That's my personal opinion on the film because I have to be honest. But I also believe it's worth watching a movie that has a lot of power and this one does. Visually, it's really striking and at times gorgeous. And, unlike "horror" of the last 13 years with few exceptions (28 Days Later, American Psycho), you will most certainly feel something while watching it. I nitpick based on things that offend my sense of morality but it's undeniably a movie you should see. And not just one of the sickest movies I've ever seen, one of the most brutal horror films too. Emotionally, it goes beyond mocking or passing judgment on its' antagonist(s) (which is more than I can say about how it judges and portrays the victims). At least it cares about someone.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:15 pm 
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I'd love to share my thoughts on Darling Lili, but I won't have time to rewatch it until this weekend. I might not get the review up until the middle of next week, but I'm looking forward to writing it.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:28 pm 
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Laz, I was hoping you'd review Psycho, The Birds, or any other Hitchcock film... you obviously love horror, yet I haven't seen you review one of this master's yet!

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:54 am 
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I have the VHS's but nothing more modern. They're also not on Netflix: Watch Instant either.

But I can tell you that in general, having not seen Psycho in about 9 years and The Birds in maybe 15, I remember liking Birds a lot and Psycho very little. The Birds is mysterious, fascinating, dark, brutal, scary. Psycho is procedural, lowkey, quiet, maybe cerebral. More of an actors' movie. For actors or people who love actors. Anthony Perkins was amazing, Janet Leigh was very good, and after that, names are fuzzy but I believe it was Hitchcock's daughter I liked. I liked the bank scenes a lot, there was an interesting and one of a kind kind of atmosphere I remember to them. I respond to scenes in horror movies where characters say it's hot and then, they act either coldly or rashly. Watching the women's different reactions to the money. And I liked the actor playing the ... Texan? The millionaire? But the movie needed more oomph. Too quiet. The movie's attempt at slowly getting the viewer more tense over every scene didn't work on me. Just because men badger her with annoying questions (annoying to someone trying to get away with a crime) doesn't exactly equal "they're coming to get you!" Paranoia. Etc. Those scenes are too slow, then we cut to her in the car and things start going faster. She stops, they get slower. Then she dies and I remember thinking Vera Miles and (John Gavin?) were two boring peas in a pod.

That's pretty much all I can say without re-watching them again.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:53 am 
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I'm going to watch Metropolis on YouTube; hopefully I'll post my review today rather than tomorrow or even later.

Lazario wrote:
But the movie needed more oomph. Too quiet. The movie's attempt at slowly getting the viewer more tense over every scene didn't work on me. Just because men badger her with annoying questions (annoying to someone trying to get away with a crime) doesn't exactly equal "they're coming to get you!" Paranoia. Etc. Those scenes are too slow, then we cut to her in the car and things start going faster. She stops, they get slower. Then she dies and I remember thinking Vera Miles and (John Gavin?) were two boring peas in a pod.


When I first watched Psycho a few years ago, I was a bit bored by some scenes and only liked the sequences with Norman Bates. However, a viewing last December kept me hooked from beginning to end; even though it is slow-paced, I still thought that it was very intense. As for the fact that Marion's sister and boyfriend aren't very interesting, they're not meant to replace Marion as protagonist - Norman is. The fact that Hitchcock made us care and root for Norman and then exposed him as a murderous psychopath is remarkable.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:59 am 
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Dr Frankenollie wrote:
As for the fact that Marion's sister and boyfriend aren't very interesting, they're not meant to replace Marion as protagonist - Norman is.

I didn't mention that above, but yeah I know.


Dr Frankenollie wrote:
The fact that Hitchcock made us care and root for Norman and then exposed him as a murderous psychopath is remarkable.

Made... you.
Not me.

I knew he was the killer from the moment he became upset / angered during the "some place" scene. But for me, he was much more an interesting antagonist. The whole "oh, you felt for him during the swamp scene" never applied to me. I didn't. I felt nothing one way or the other.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:33 pm 
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There's no rush to get the review done, UF. I just watched the movie recently myself and thought I'd ask our resident Julie expert for her opinion too. :)

Jp - It sucks so few theatres are playing the movie. Hopefully more will play it closer to Oscar time. I'm thinking of waiting for rental, but at the same time it looks like something that should be seen on a bigger screen.

Laz - Thanks for posting the review. I loved Dr. Phibes and know ToB follows a similar (but gorier) formula, but I'm on the fence right now about seeing it. Your review helps in making up my mind about that.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:50 pm 
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Flanger-Hanger wrote:
There's no rush to get the review done, UF. I just watched the movie recently myself and thought I'd ask our resident Julie expert for her opinion too. :)


It's "his," but I know Audrey Hepburn and Julie Andrews don't exactly scream masculinity. ;) lol

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:38 pm 
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UmbrellaFish wrote:
It's "his," but I know Audrey Hepburn and Julie Andrews don't exactly scream masculinity. ;) lol


My bad. :oops: I was thinking about your avatar too much I guess.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:41 pm 
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Just going to chip in and say The Artist is a must-see. A spectacular film that I had the privilege of seeing at a free preview last month.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:42 pm 
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Flanger-Hanger wrote:
UmbrellaFish wrote:
It's "his," but I know Audrey Hepburn and Julie Andrews don't exactly scream masculinity. ;) lol


My bad. :oops: I was thinking about your avatar too much I guess.


No harm done. :)

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:04 pm 
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This thread needs new input. Too good to let it die.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:46 pm 
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Here’s my review a little later than promised.

Darling Lili- note, I’m reviewing the Director’s Cut which excises some of the aerial scenes and that whole French children singing bit, amongst others. I feel this is the superior version.

So… Lili, a famous flop that nearly put the nail in the coffin for both Julie and Blake’s careers. When reviewing Julie’s career, I always forget about Lili, and I’m not sure why. It’s often talked about in the same breath as its sister flop, Star!, so I’ll compare the two sometimes in this review. I have a very soft spot for Star! because it’s beautifully staged and costumed and features a lovely soundtrack to listen to and Julie does her damnedest with the material she was given, but all in all, Darling Lili is the better film, and yet it’s not half as memorable. Why this is, I don’t know. The story structure of Darling Lili is slightly better, but there’s little in the film that will leave a lasting impression on you, unlike Star!. But on to the review…

Let’s discuss the music first, starting with the dazzling Whistling in the Dark by Mancini and Mercer and filmed so expertly by Edwards. It’s mesmerizing, and I love how we feel like we’re on the stage with Julie. To me, that opening is nearly as exhilarating as the title song in The Sound of Music. The rest of the film is filled with period songs, whose enjoyment, I think, depends greatly upon the tastes of the listener. To me, Julie singing period war and music hall tunes is delightful.

As for the meat of the story, we learn Lili Smith is a secret agent for the Germans, and she’s in a relationship with a German Colonel, played by Jeremy Kemp. As a spy, Lili uses her feminine charms to woo and beguile army officers in Paris to learn about secret missions which she relays to the Colonel. But here’s where the story’s problems begin-- why does Lili help the Germans? All we’re told is that her father was German, but her mother was English and that’s where she was raised, which isn’t a very good answer. Did she fall in love with the Colonel first, and agree to help him, but that doesn’t make much sense as they don’t seem to be anything but very close friends with benefits. We don’t really know her motives. In part the very concept is not believable because Julie is so quintessentially English. The woman can play a seductress, but the little girl who sang “God Save the King” to royalty cannot play a traitor to her country.

Anyway, eventually Lili is appointed to charm Major Larrabee, played by Rock Hudson. They bond, and Lili truly falls in love with him. So much so that when she learns he’s been cheating on her with a Miss Crepe Suzette, she becomes incredibly jealous, leading to one of the movie’s most memorable moments-- Dame Julie Andrews herself performing a sexy striptease. However, by the end of the film Lili’s royally screwed things up by implicating Larrabee when she’s framed Crepe Suzette as a German spy, which she tries to fix by confessing herself as the real spy, only proving that Larrabee has indeed been giving out secrets, when before he might have gotten off due to lack of evidence. As Lili flees the country, Larrabee, escaping incarceration, helps save her from being murdered and the movie ends a little while later in London, as Lili sings Whistling in the Dark again, and finds Larrabee, who flew away after he saved her, on the stage and kisses him.

This leads me to another one of the film’s problems. The lack of chemistry between Julie and Rock, which in turn makes the movie’s climax unbelievable. Rock was simply too old to play a man described as “young” earlier in the film, and he seems tired with the picture throughout, as though he was ready for his days of being an action hunk to be over. You never believe that this is a man so in love he’ll save a girl who betrayed him and then reconcile with her after, and you never believe that this is a woman so in love that she’ll lose her bearings as badly as she does. The best scene Rock and Julie have together, in my opinion, is the shower scene, but even then, the movie didn’t sparkle quite as it should have because together they just don’t have “it.”

The film does work as a thriller, and a musical, but fans of either genre will never be completely satisfied with Darling Lili. Tidbits of war film and comedy only continue to muddle up the movie, but the story, despite its problems, is interesting enough and filmed well enough that they can be at times forgiven. However, all Darling Lili really is, is a decent film. No more and no less.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:44 pm 
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You're opinions of Lili will sometimes differ from mine as I only saw the theatrical version (it was the only option on itunes). Comparing it to Star!, I think that movie is actually better as it has the more interesting song score and story for me.

You're right though on a number of things like the chemestry between the couples (or lack of it) and the enjoyment of Julie's singing and the title song. The film seems oddly put together for me as the sequences don't seem to mesh. Certain things like the prolonged flying sequences and the goofy side characters don't seem to be in the same movie as the climax and the more passionate scenes between Rock and Julie. It's probably the fault of the longer version so maybe I won't feel that way in the future if I choose to watch the other cut.

I also feel the movie doesn't really take advantage of the way Lili could be torn between both sides of the war based on her different backgrounds, or how the manipluation of the English affects her conscience. She sort of just hears news, gives it, and moves on, without too much enthusiasm or concern. It doesn't make her character as interesting as it could be.

The movie is still watchable (and worth watching for fans) as a whole, but I can see why it didn't become a huge it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, UmbrellaFish. :)

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:29 pm 
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Flanger-Hanger wrote:
You're opinions of Lili will sometimes differ from mine as I only saw the theatrical version (it was the only option on itunes). Comparing it to Star!, I think that movie is actually better as it has the more interesting song score and story for me.

I understand how you feel about Star!. If I had to pick one of the two if I were to be left on a desert island, I'd definitely pick Star! (I'd love to get my hands on the soundtrack but it's sadly OOP). But Star!'s story is so maligned, because Gertie's rise to fame is never clearly outlined, if you get what I mean. It's as though you see her at Point A and at Point B, but you completely missed the journey inbetween. Star! was ultimately more ambitious, but faltered too badly, which to me is why it pales next to Lili.

Flanger-Hanger wrote:
Certain things like the prolonged flying sequences and the goofy side characters don't seem to be in the same movie as the climax and the more passionate scenes between Rock and Julie. It's probably the fault of the longer version so maybe I won't feel that way in the future if I choose to watch the other cut.

That's one of the great boons of the director's cut-- much of the flying is gone. As for the side characters, I think that was one of Blake's biggest faults as a director, he couldn't resist putting in these cartoon characters that just didn't gel with the rest of the movie. I enjoy the detectives, however.

Flanger-Hanger wrote:
I also feel the movie doesn't really take advantage of the way Lili could be torn between both sides of the war based on her different backgrounds, or how the manipluation of the English affects her conscience. She sort of just hears news, gives it, and moves on, without too much enthusiasm or concern. It doesn't make her character as interesting as it could be.

I agree.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts as well, Flanger-Hanger. I don't often get to enjoy a serious discussion about Julie's movies, especially little known ones like Darling Lili, so this was a real treat.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:34 pm 
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UmbrellaFish wrote:
I understand how you feel about Star!. If I had to pick one of the two if I were to be left on a desert island, I'd definitely pick Star! (I'd love to get my hands on the soundtrack but it's sadly OOP). But Star!'s story is so maligned, because Gertie's rise to fame is never clearly outlined, if you get what I mean. It's as though you see her at Point A and at Point B, but you completely missed the journey inbetween. Star! was ultimately more ambitious, but faltered too badly, which to me is why it pales next to Lili.


I think the "missed journey inbetween" is partially the result of the newsreel style cuts between scenes, which while a creative way to get out ordinary exposition doesn't really feel personal or developed, because it's just narration and not acted.

UmbrellaFish wrote:
That's one of the great boons of the director's cut-- much of the flying is gone. As for the side characters, I think that was one of Blake's biggest faults as a director, he couldn't resist putting in these cartoon characters that just didn't gel with the rest of the movie. I enjoy the detectives, however.


Sometimes it worked like in Victor/Victoria, but that was a comedy were everyone was doing things for laughs. Not really for a drama like Lili.

UmbrellaFish wrote:
Thanks for sharing your thoughts as well, Flanger-Hanger. I don't often get to enjoy a serious discussion about Julie's movies, especially little known ones like Darling Lili, so this was a real treat.


No problem. I'll send you a PM regarding the Star! soundtrack.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:04 am 
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wow, so many i havent seen!

I'll have to keep an eye out next time i'm at Family Video.

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