Movies

House of Bamboo (6/10) by Kyle Vernier

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I was two thirds into The House of Bamboo before I realized I've already seen it. There are some memorable scenes, and the whole thing is shot extremely well but there isn't enough momentum to the story. The cast includes Unsolved Mysteries' Robert Stack, Star Trek's DeForest Kelley and Robert Ryan who has been in like half the movies I've watched recently. 

On Dangerous Ground (7/10) by Kyle Vernier

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A working vacation to the snowy climes of up state New York show a cynical and increasingly violent detective that all it takes is a beautiful blind woman, her mentally unstable murderous brother and a farmer out for revenge to show you what life is really about. 

 

Some of the snowy outdoor scenes and driving shots reminded me a lot of Fargo. I'm guessing the Cohens are Nicholas Ray fans.

The Naked City (9/10) by Kyle Vernier

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The Naked City is essentially the 1948 version of Law and Order. It's a noir police procedural. I thought it was great. The plot was so-so. But, much of the dialog was great, funny one liners were tossed around just like an episode of Law and Order. The voice over narration claims all of the movie was shot on location but many of the interiors are clearly sets. But, there is a lot of location shooting and it is really good. Getting to see 1948 New York City in all of its gritty glory is really great. Jules Dassin directed both this and Brute Force, which I recently watched. Both movies were good but Naked City is much better. Highly recommend. 

Born to Kill (1947) (7/10) by Kyle Vernier

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In Born to Kill Lawrence Tierney plays Sam Wilde a psychopath with no emotional range. For some reason all women love him. Helen Brent (Claire Trevor) sees him for what he is and loves him all the more for it because she is crazy too. Here's the thing about this movie; it's hard to relate to any of the characters. I ended up not caring about what happened to any of them.  That made the whole thing a little boring.

 

I watched this because I loved The Set-Up so much and this is Robert Wise' first noir. Born to Kill is half the movie The Set-Up is. Lawrence Tierney's performance as Sam Wilde is so boring, he plays it totally flat. If Sam Wilde was played more evilly or if he had a super charming side and an evil side it'd be much better. Also the camera work is much less exciting and the movie lacks any interesting lighting beyond the first 15 minutes. It was an ok movie. 

Brute Force (1947) (****) by Kyle Vernier

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In Brute Force Burt Lancaster plays a member of a close group of convicts who are terrorized by a napoleonic guard played by Hume Cronyn. Hume Cronyn to my mind will always be the nice old man from Batteries Not Included. Here he plays a sadist. Anyhow, by 1947 standards Brute Force is shockingly violent. Also, there is an inmate named Calypso who does much of his communicating via singing. Good movie.

Ingrid Goes West (***) by Kyle Vernier

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Audrey and I went to go see Ingrid Goes West tonight. It was alright. I wish the Dan character had more scenes, I liked him. Also the Nicky character is creepy, but they don't explain why and they could have pushed his creepiness further. I dunno, it was an ok movie. 

Satan Met a Lady (***) by Kyle Vernier

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Satan Met a Lady is the second Warner Brother's version of the Maltese Falcon. Still no Humphrey. I liked this version more than the 1931 version. It is played more as a farce this time. It is't great, but the acting and direction are both better this time around and it is funnier. This version and the 1931 version both came as bonus material to the Bogart version, at least on the DVD I have.

Bottle Rocket (*****) by Kyle Vernier

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I've seen Bottle Rocket many, many times. I like Wes Anderson a lot. This is the first movie of his I saw, which I bought on VHS from ebay because no rental stores around my house had it. One thing I really like about this movie in particular is the setting and art direction. Where I grew up there was still a lot of mid century stuff in use. Grocery stores still used the same coolers and lights they had since the 60s, many restaurants still looked and operated exactly as they had in the 60s. There was a working car-hop style fast food place in my hometown when I was a kid in the early and mid 80's. I don't think Wes Anderson meant to capture that feeling, I think he was trying to disconnect his movie from our reality, but it does capture that feeling for me. I had an aunt whose wedding reception was held in a house that looked so much like Bob Maplethorp's house including the mid century furniture. Anyhow this is one of my favorite movies. 

Brigsby Bear (****) by Kyle Vernier

Audrey and I just got back from seeing Brigsby Bear. Audrey and I have been going to the movies a lot this summer and I've really been enjoying it.

Audrey and I went to film school together and one of the best things about film school is working on movies with your friends. It is so fun. This movie captures that really well. It also captures how fandom often leads to creativity and how creative work can be a very important and fulfilling part of ones life. 

 

Harper (****) by Kyle Vernier

I can't say for sure but it seems like all of this movie is shot on location. It should have won an award for best location shooting. Plus Technicolor. And the camera work is really great as well.

This is like Philip Marlowe was transported to the 60s and had to deal with weird religious cults and former movie star astrologists. I liked it a lot. 

Putney Swope (***) by Kyle Vernier

I heard an interview once where Louis CK mentioned that this movie changed his life. You can see the influence of this movie his Louis' more surreal work. I think this movie doesn't have as much edge now as it did when it came out only because it inspired so many people who went on to do great things. 

Something Wild by Kyle Vernier

I'm honestly not sure how I've never seen this movie. It is filled to the brim with things I like. The soundtrack is great. John Waters makes a cameo. The Feelies are in it. It is also a really, really good movie. Recommended. 

10/10

Outlaw Gangster VIP by Kyle Vernier

 

This is an good, not great, yakuza movie from the 60's. But, the intro sequence is really good and there are a number of cool sequence scattered throughout the rest of the movie. There are five other films in this series and they are all streaming via Amazon Prime right now. 

7/10