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Last Movie You Watched 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Sentinel

The Michael Winner film from 1977, that is. This is frequently lumped in the horror genre, but it is really a mystery with some horrific elements. A woman moves into a new apartment and begins seeing visions. Is she going crazy? Or does it have something to do with the creepy priest who lives upstairs?

The film's plot is convoluted and it takes a while for it to really get into gear; it's one of those movies where a lead character stops everything toward the end and tells us what's going on. But The Sentinel does have some great atmosphere. I can't, however, give it a full recommendation.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
The Sentinel

The Michael Winner film from 1977, that is. This is frequently lumped in the horror genre, but it is really a mystery with some horrific elements. A woman moves into a new apartment and begins seeing visions. Is she going crazy? Or does it have something to do with the creepy priest who lives upstairs?

The film's plot is convoluted and it takes a while for it to really get into gear; it's one of those movies where a lead character stops everything toward the end and tells us what's going on. But The Sentinel does have some great atmosphere. I can't, however, give it a full recommendation.


I saw this! After it cracked the Bravo 100 Scariest. I agree with your assessment. THough you forgot to mention Beverly D'Angelo masturbating on a couch

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
The Sentinel

The Michael Winner film from 1977, that is. This is frequently lumped in the horror genre, but it is really a mystery with some horrific elements. A woman moves into a new apartment and begins seeing visions. Is she going crazy? Or does it have something to do with the creepy priest who lives upstairs?

The film's plot is convoluted and it takes a while for it to really get into gear; it's one of those movies where a lead character stops everything toward the end and tells us what's going on. But The Sentinel does have some great atmosphere. I can't, however, give it a full recommendation.


I saw this! After it cracked the Bravo 100 Scariest. I agree with your assessment. THough you forgot to mention Beverly D'Angelo masturbating on a couch


I did forget that. There's actually a lot of name actors in this film. Watching it is a lot like "Hey, there's Eli Wallach! And there's Chris Walken! And Jeff Goldblum! And Ava Gardner! And Martin Balsam! And Tom Berenger!"

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Holy Motors - Leos Carax's new film, his first full-length feature in over a decade, opens with himself as he enters a secret door in his bedroom and walks into a cinema. The audience watches the screen, and are introduced to Monsieur Oscar, who travels from one destination to another in his limousine, applying extensive makeup and emerging at each stop as a different character. He begins the morning as an elderly businessman with a family, before shifting into a begging spinster, a hitman, and a flower-eating, sewer-dwelling leprechaun, among others. All the while there is the question of why he is playing these roles, and who he is playing them for. It reminded me, strangely enough, of the Bill Murray comedy The Man Who Knew Too Little, which features a plot element called the Theater Of Life, an outlet for people to act without the need for a stage or cameras. That idea of theater being played out in reality, without any specific audience or any camera there to capture it, is only one of the many ideas the film entertains. To say much more about the roles Oscar plays would spoil many of the film's best moments, but I will mention one interlude where he dons a motion-capture suit and performs acrobatic stunts in a pitch-black warehouse, with only the lights on his body visible in the darkness. This section displaying the wonders of digital motion capture work contrasts nicely with the film's opening images of early footage of human motion, and indeed one of the pleasures of Holy Motors is how it contrasts the old with the new. The frequent changing of roles and situations also allows for some playful experiments with genre storytelling, as Oscar seems to move between comedy and tragedy, musical and horror, realistic drama and surrealist fantasy. The constant presence throughout each section is actor Denis Lavant, who immerses himself in every role so thoroughly that it's easy to accept him at every point, even though it's made clear each section is a performance carefully tailored to the situation. Despite its oblique nature, the film is one of the most exhilarating and intellectually-stimulating experiences I've had the pleasure to witness in the past year. To be honest though, I don't feel I've even scratched the surface of what this film has to offer, but I know I'll be gladly returning to it many times. 10/10.

This Is Not A Film - If we could tell a film, then why make a film? This is the question Iranian director Jafar Panahi asks himself, after staging a bare-bones recreation in his apartment of a film he is not permitted to make. Under house arrest and awaiting the results on an appeal of a six-year prison sentence and a twenty-year ban from filmmaking, Panahi, desperate to express his creativity and situation in any way possible, invites a fellow filmmaker over to essentially document a day in his life. This includes an attempt by Panahi to explain what his unmade film would have been about and how it would have been made, by reading from his script and using tape on the floor to establish a makeshift setting. He realizes quickly though that his efforts are futile, that there is something about film storytelling that can't be replicated with ease. The film is about that special and unique power that only cinema has to offer, but is it also equally about a filmmaker who has had his main creative outlet of expression taken away from him. Panahi's situation is frustrating and depressing, and it's sobering to realize that there are places in the world where artists are punished so heavily for expressing their opinions and ideas. But the film itself never turns into a dirge, in part because Panahi himself is an affable personality (he has a pet iguana that likes to wander behind shelves and occasionally dig its claws into his shoulder). Because of the short running time and the fact that this is by necessity the equivalent of a home movie, the film itself sometimes feels a little aimless (the final stretch in particular where Panahi interviews a young custodian/graduate student offers up some insight but seems like an odd note on which to end everything). I think it was Shade who said something along the lines of the background to the film being more captivating than the film itself, which is something I agree with. Still, I think this comes close to mandatory viewing for any film fan, to witness how a filmmaker's passion and vision can remain vital and alive even in the most oppressive circumstances. 7/10.

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Last edited by Blonde Almond on Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:58 am, edited 4 times in total.



Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:51 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
The Sentinel

The Michael Winner film from 1977, that is. This is frequently lumped in the horror genre, but it is really a mystery with some horrific elements. A woman moves into a new apartment and begins seeing visions. Is she going crazy? Or does it have something to do with the creepy priest who lives upstairs?

The film's plot is convoluted and it takes a while for it to really get into gear; it's one of those movies where a lead character stops everything toward the end and tells us what's going on. But The Sentinel does have some great atmosphere. I can't, however, give it a full recommendation.


I saw this! After it cracked the Bravo 100 Scariest. I agree with your assessment. THough you forgot to mention Beverly D'Angelo masturbating on a couch


I did forget that. There's actually a lot of name actors in this film. Watching it is a lot like "Hey, there's Eli Wallach! And there's Chris Walken! And Jeff Goldblum! And Ava Gardner! And Martin Balsam! And Tom Berenger!"


And Jerry Orbach! I had the exact same fun experience watching it

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
And Jerry Orbach! I had the exact same fun experience watching it


Me as well. And Orbach happens to be my all-time favorite actor. Which is not to say he's the best ever, of course, although I do think he's somewhere on that list. I have plans to name a daughter Briscoe in his honor. Cannot imagine another famous person I'd even consider that with.

I saw Snitch, kindof on accident. It was supremely passable. As has been mentioned by others, it's an odd experience to see The Rock out-acting Susan Sarandon. Barry Pepper manages to create a character out of a gross goatee because he's Barry Fuckin' Pepper. And speaking or Orbach, Benjamin Bratt is solid as well in a super underused role. The whole thing weirdly felt like a season of a network TV show condensed to a fairly short movie. If you're at all into this sort of thing I wouldn't steer you away, but I wouldn't steer you directly toward it either.


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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Three more:

Out Of The Past - In my admittedly limited experience with film noir (I’ve seen the classics and a handful of others), I’ve always taken pleasure in the depiction of the central anti-heroes. From Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep to Ralph Meeker in Kiss Me Deadly to Jack Nicholson in Chinatown, the best noirs always have that strong center, a figure to command attention. Jacques Tourneur’s 1947 classic Out Of The Past is no different, with Robert Mitchum taking center stage. I went into the film expecting a certain kind of performance from Mitchum, looking perhaps for a similar character to the ones he played in The Night Of The Hunter and Cape Fear, sinister creations with only evil on their minds. That’s not what you get here though, as Mitchum plays essentially a good guy and plays it well. Like many noir heroes, he can talk tough and he knows his way around the darker corners of society. But also like many noir heroes, he has a softer side that he likes to keep hidden, and this is apparent when his character is first introduced, having escaped into a life of seclusion in a small town, with a pretty, wholesome girl by his side. He is hiding from a mistake in his past, but in a nice touch it wasn’t money that motivated him, but love. When he inevitably ends up getting dragged back into his past, he knows he’s not going to get off the hook easily, and he plays along with everyone’s schemes, in part perhaps because he feels he kind of deserves it. Despite his attempts to settle down in that quiet town at the beginning with the nice girl, he doesn’t belong in that world, and he knows it, and everyone else around him knows it too. The machinations of the plot are classic noir, with twists and turns and double crosses and gamblers (Kirk Douglas in a nice early role) and femme fatales influencing everything from behind the scenes. But it’s Mitchum who holds it all together, the center of an essential noir. 9/10.

Wreck-It Ralph - The trailers for Disney’s latest CGI animated film promise a nostalgia-fueled adventure for anyone who grew up with early video game systems and mascots. Even though I am definitely a part of that particular demographic, for whatever reason I didn’t ever jump at the chance to see the film in theaters (only recently did I learn that Paperman, the eventual Oscar-winning short film, was offered before the main feature, which alone would have sparked my interest). Despite quite a bit of hype from both friends and the gaming community, I waited until it hit the home market to finally see it, and approached it with trepidation. Would the film end up as the ultimate video game love letter, or a disappointing and cynical attempt to rope a new audience into the theaters? It was with some relief to find that the answer is much more the former and hardly any of the latter, but I’m not without some reservations. The first half-hour or so is far and away the most engaging, and it’s not just because it contains of all the vintage references that appeal to a nostalgic gamer like me. The first third sets up a world with enormous possibilities from both a visual and storytelling standpoint, but unfortunately, this world isn’t really explored to its full potential. Once everything starts to settle down in the Sugar Rush game world for the final two-thirds, the film seems to lose much of its ambition in favor of more conventional fare. The whole “love letter to gaming” aspect takes a backseat, replaced by countless candy jokes and standard action. To the film’s credit, it never slides down far enough to become actively bad, but there was a disappointment from me with the abandonment of the earlier, more creative material. With all that said, I think the film does an acceptable job of balancing out the inside jokes with the more universal material for the wider audience. As with any animated film that bases a portion of its jokes on pop culture references, I have a hard time believing this one will stand the test of time as something truly special. The references do already have their feet planted firmly in the distant past though, so maybe this one will last longer than others, and unlike many other similar creations, Wreck-It Ralph at least deserves that chance. 6/10.

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 - In what could only be described as either a bout of morbid curiosity or temporary insanity, I decided to subject myself to the Twilight franchise this last December. I rented the first four films from the library, but decided I couldn’t live with myself if I paid to see the final installment in the theater, so it’s been a little bit of a wait to get to this second half of the franchise finale. A few words on the previous films I suppose are in order, as I did attempt to view them with an open mind. While I don’t hold the same level of vitriol towards them, I have no problem with saying they are not good films. The original film maintains a few elements of interest, mainly through its sincere attempts to resurrect some classic Gothic traditions, and Eclipse is the closest the franchise has ever got to a halfway decent entry, but the bar has clearly not been raised to an even moderately high level. And this last entry asserts that the bar will maintain its low placement.

While the previous films in the franchise occasionally crossed the line into pure camp, they more often than not just trudged along in a mode of dull self-seriousness. This last entry is finally the one that embraces that inherent goofiness of the material. A plot summary is pointless, but for a franchise five films long, it’s amazing just how little actual plot there has been. The stakes are almost comically low; everything hinges on a simple misunderstanding that can be solved with a minute-long explanation. But that doesn’t stop the characters from standing around and having the same discussion over and over again, usually in only one setting, which begs the question of what the 120 million dollar budget was used for. It certainly didn’t go into the special effects. On a genuine plus side, the final thirty minutes and the climactic battle are laugh-out-loud hilarious. The film might break the record for onscreen decapitations in a PG-13 film in this stretch, which I didn’t expect and was quite good fun. And of course, in a key moment that emphasizes the inherent terribleness of the source material, the climactic battle turns out to only be a premonition, bringing the franchise to an inexplicable anticlimax. Now, I realize that I’m clearly not the targeted demographic for the Twilight franchise, but this isn’t even close to being good enough for anyone. Hopefully audiences will get something better when the next hugely popular young adult franchise comes along. For now, I guess we can just be glad this one is over. 3/10.

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Last edited by Blonde Almond on Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:14 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:38 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Blonde Almond wrote:
Holy MotorsTo say much more about the roles Oscar plays would spoil many of the film's best moments, but I will mention one interlude where he dons a motion-capture suit and performs acrobatic stunts in a pitch-black warehouse, with only the lights on his body visible in the darkness. This section displaying the wonders of digital motion capture work contrasts nicely with the film's opening images of early footage of human motion, and indeed one of the pleasures of Holy Motors is how it contrasts the old with the new.


Hmm, you see, I kind of felt that the scene was rather critical of the 'new'. With the live motion capture part, the movement is so raw, so passionate, so human, it's exhilarating to watch. And the 'sex scene' as it is with the female motion capture actress is wonderfully, strangely erotic. But then the camera pans away to reveal what the motion capture is for, and it's absolutely ghastly. All this passion and humanity wasted for the digital 'new'. To me, it seemed like a cry out for a more human presence in cinema. Well at least that's my interpretation of the scene. Absolutely wonderful film that has so much intricacy and depth behind it.


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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Awkward Beard Man wrote:
Blonde Almond wrote:
Holy MotorsTo say much more about the roles Oscar plays would spoil many of the film's best moments, but I will mention one interlude where he dons a motion-capture suit and performs acrobatic stunts in a pitch-black warehouse, with only the lights on his body visible in the darkness. This section displaying the wonders of digital motion capture work contrasts nicely with the film's opening images of early footage of human motion, and indeed one of the pleasures of Holy Motors is how it contrasts the old with the new.


Hmm, you see, I kind of felt that the scene was rather critical of the 'new'. With the live motion capture part, the movement is so raw, so passionate, so human, it's exhilarating to watch. And the 'sex scene' as it is with the female motion capture actress is wonderfully, strangely erotic. But then the camera pans away to reveal what the motion capture is for, and it's absolutely ghastly. All this passion and humanity wasted for the digital 'new'. To me, it seemed like a cry out for a more human presence in cinema. Well at least that's my interpretation of the scene. Absolutely wonderful film that has so much intricacy and depth behind it.


I think you're right about the scene; I was thinking more of the wonders of the digital motion capture process than the end result, which does feel like Carax making a joke on how technology is used in our new world. The human motion in the early film footage has been replaced by a technically proficient but ultimately quite hellish new form, lacking any trace of humanity in its computer-generated image.

Despite shooting the film on digital, Carax definitely seems like more of a traditionalist at heart. There are the references to some of the great works of cinema's past (Breathless and Eyes Without A Face were the two that stood out to me the most), the conversation Oscar has in the car with the stranger about nostalgia and the reasons for continuing onward, and even the title itself, which could have a double meaning, not just referring to the limousines but also perhaps film projectors. The film as a whole feels almost like a lament for a past culture that has been abandoned in a changing world.

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Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:48 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Blonde Almond wrote:
Three more:

Out Of The Past - In my admittedly limited experience with film noir (I’ve seen the classics and a handful of others), I’ve always taken pleasure in the depiction of the central anti-heroes. From Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep to Ralph Meeker in Kiss Me Deadly to Jack Nicholson in Chinatown, the best noirs always have that strong center, a figure to command attention. Jacques Tourneur’s 1947 classic Out Of The Past is no different, with Robert Mitchum taking center stage. I went into the film expecting a certain kind of performance from Mitchum, looking perhaps for a similar character to the ones he played in The Night Of The Hunter and Cape Fear, sinister creations with only evil on their minds. That’s not what you get here though, as Mitchum plays essentially a good guy and plays it well. Like many noir heroes, he can talk tough and he knows his way around the darker corners of society. But also like many noir heroes, he has a softer side that he likes to keep hidden, and this is apparent when his character is first introduced, having escaped into a life of seclusion in a small town, with a pretty, wholesome girl by his side. He is hiding from a mistake in his past, but in a nice touch it wasn’t money that motivated him, but love. When he inevitably ends up getting dragged back into his past, he knows he’s not going to get off the hook easily, and he plays along with everyone’s schemes, in part perhaps because he feels he kind of deserves it. Despite his attempts to settle down in that quiet town at the beginning with the nice girl, he doesn’t belong in that world, and he knows it, and everyone else around him knows it too. The machinations of the plot are classic noir, with twists and turns and double crosses and gamblers (Kirk Douglas in a nice early role) and femme fatales influencing everything from behind the scenes. But it’s Mitchum who holds it all together, the center of an essential noir. 9/10.


Like this one a lot too. I'm on record as saying that I'm perennially searching for the **** noir, and I haven't seen it yet, but Out of the Past comes close.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
Like this one a lot too. I'm on record as saying that I'm perennially searching for the **** noir, and I haven't seen it yet, but Out of the Past comes close.


None? Not even Double Indemnity or Night and the City?

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
I realize Chinatown is something of a revisionist noir, but it is a four star film if I've ever seen one.

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Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:23 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
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Despite shooting the film on digital, Carax definitely seems like more of a traditionalist at heart. There are the references to some of the great works of cinema's past (Breathless and Eyes Without A Face were the two that stood out to me the most), the conversation Oscar has in the car with the stranger about nostalgia and the reasons for continuing onward, and even the title itself, which could have a double meaning, not just referring to the limousines but also perhaps film projectors. The film as a whole feels almost like a lament for a past culture that has been abandoned in a changing world.


Traditionalism shouldn't be tied to one specific technical format. Digital is simply more convenient than film, allowing a traditionalist, or anyone, to have an easier time doing their thing. I think the key line of the film is, as you suggest, "what if there is no more beholder." But I don't think the movie is a lamenting that there is no more beholder. I think it's lamenting the fact that people no longer understand films which were not made for any obvious beholder. Holy Motors is a film without a shred of mainstream appeal; its greatness comes from the fact that it's not even trying to appeal to anyone. Carax clearly made the film for himself and from his own passions, just as Oscar performs the acts for himself and for his own passions.

It's only in the last several years that films have abandoned idiosyncratic passion in favor of 100% mass appeal, especially superhero event movies. 35 years ago, Kael thought it unusual than Lucas, having total independence on Star Wars, would make a film without one single element that wasn't catering to mass appeal. Now, however, people think it unusual when a film shows up that doesn't try to do that.


Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:27 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Weekend watches...

12 Angry Men (1957) Not necessarily new; I had seen the TV remake in the 90s, and had seen bits and pieces of this one on TCM. Finally saw it whole and it's nothing short of mesmerizing. A captivating film driven by a great script, and carried by the excellent performances of everyone involved. I love the way the personality of each juror is established and carried through the film, plus it makes an excellent point of how justice works. Grade: A

Unconditional (2012) A little known, indie film about a woman struggling with the murder of her husband, and her reencounter with an old friend from her childhood, who is struggling with health issues of his own. The film takes the sappy, melodramatic route too many times, and the performances from several kids were pretty bad, but it still ends up feeling solid. Nothing special, but well made and touching. Grade: B-

Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed (2012) Another little known film about a trio of paratroopers during the 1944 invasion of France. There were some nice moments here and there, and it was decently acted and directed; but overall, the film is uneventful and maybe even a bit tedious. Grade: C+

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Ken wrote:
I realize Chinatown is something of a revisionist noir, but it is a four star film if I've ever seen one.


Oh absolutely. Chinatown is a **** movie and more. Easily in my Top 25 best movies ever made. But it isn't a noir. Noir ended in 1957.

Sexual Chocolate wrote:
None? Not even Double Indemnity or Night and the City?


Great picks. Those are two that came close for me. But I think Double Indemnity's framing device mars the film and...well actually I can't remember what was wrong with Night and the City. Maybe just missing the tingle down my spine

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Thief12 wrote:

Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed (2012) Another little known film about a trio of paratroopers during the 1944 invasion of France. There were some nice moments here and there, and it was decently acted and directed; but overall, the film is uneventful and maybe even a bit tedious. Grade: C+


Do you know if this movie is connected to this: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0373283/?ref_=sr_2

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
Thief12 wrote:

Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed (2012) Another little known film about a trio of paratroopers during the 1944 invasion of France. There were some nice moments here and there, and it was decently acted and directed; but overall, the film is uneventful and maybe even a bit tedious. Grade: C+


Do you know if this movie is connected to this: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0373283/?ref_=sr_2


I read afterwards that the one I saw it's a sorta prequel. I can see there's a common actor (Corbin Allred), but they play different characters.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
Ken wrote:
I realize Chinatown is something of a revisionist noir, but it is a four star film if I've ever seen one.


Oh absolutely. Chinatown is a **** movie and more. Easily in my Top 25 best movies ever made. But it isn't a noir. Noir ended in 1957.


Chinatown is usually referred to as neo-noir. Regardless, it does feature most of the elements usually attributed to noir films.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Thief12 wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Ken wrote:
I realize Chinatown is something of a revisionist noir, but it is a four star film if I've ever seen one.


Oh absolutely. Chinatown is a **** movie and more. Easily in my Top 25 best movies ever made. But it isn't a noir. Noir ended in 1957.


Chinatown is usually referred to as neo-noir. Regardless, it does feature most of the elements usually attributed to noir films.


Indeed Chinatown is a neo-noir. As is L.A. Confidential. Which, ironically, means I can name two great, **** neo-noirs but not one, great, **** noir

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Cheesy LA Confidential on par with Chinatown? Danny Devito and all?


Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:24 pm
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