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Found 5 results

  1. I'm going to use this opportunity to sneak in a recommendation for Rush, the only racing movie I've ever actually liked*. Although the writers played with some historical facts regarding the main characters**, the racing sequences are spot-on accurate and totally believable -none of this "can they really do that?!" Hollywood special effects bs. And, the racing sequences are mercifully short and serve to further the story, which is about a rivalry between two men. It's not a paean to F1 (that's a compliment, and it comes from an F1 fan). *aside from Senna, but that's a documentary **example: the reporter really was beaten up but no one ever found out who actually did it
  2. Some people know the 1973 film, "Bang the Drum Slowly" which features Michael Moriarty, and Robert De Niro in his first major role. But 17-years before that, an adaptation of the 1956 book was performed on live television, starring Paul Newman and Albert Salmi. Anyone who thinks Newman was just a pretty pair of blue eyes should watch this, as he's on live television, pretty much from start to finish, in this riveting hour of television.
  3. SPOILERS THROUGHOUT Do Not Read Unless You've Seen The Film Rather than analyze this great and tragic movie, I will simply summarize the plot for those who need a reliable study guide. Please feel free to discuss any and all aspects, and I will chime in with as much depth as you'd like. On Amazon (not HD) 0:00-2:52 Credits, boxing by himself in ring, B&W 2:52-4:05 1964, NY City, Jake LaMotta (Middleweight World Champion 1949-1951, Robert de Niro, Best Actor winner), smartly dressed, improvising bad poetry (comedy routine) 4:05-7:42 1941, de Niro vs. Jimmy Reeves (Light Heavyweight World Champion 1939-1940, Floyd Anderson), LaMotta undefeated but behind on points, KOs Reeves at bell in 10th, but Ohio rules say Reeves wins on points (saved by the bell). Melée ensues. 7:42-8:26 1941, The Bronx, Joey LaMotta (brother, Joe Pesci, Best Supporting Actor winner) talks with mafia connection Salvy Batts (Frank Vincent) 8:26-9:45 Jake argues with his wife Irma LaMotta (Lori Anne Flax) about an overdone steak, and overturns a table 9:45-10:17 Joey and Sal (Salvy Batts) continue their heated discussion while strolling 10:17- 15:02 Jake, Irma, and Joey argue, Irma leaves, Jake asks Joey to hit him in the face multiple times which he eventually does to no avail (to prove (to himself) he can take a hit) 15:02-17:18 Jake and Joey (his sparring partner) spar in a gym, Sal and two friends walk in, Jake gets furious at the mafia being there and starts beating up Joey badly, the mafia is impressed and leaves, telling Jake "˜not to hurt himself.' 17:18- 20:35 Jake and Joey are at a public pool, the three mafia men are there talking with Vickie Bowman, to eventually become Vickie Lamotta (Cathy Moriarty, Best Supporting Actress nominee), a 15-year-old neighborhood girl, Joey insists she's a nice girl, he went out with her twice, but nothing happened even though he tried, Jake becomes enamored with her from afar. 20:35-21:30 Jake and Joey get dressed to the nines for a night on the town, to Irma's loud and profane protests 21:30-24:05 Jake and Joey walk into a jazz club, nominally a church dance, but quite jazz-bar-like and raucous, then leave shortly after arriving 24:05-31:25 The Courtship Scene, Jake and Joey drive to the swimming pool to see Vickie, Jake asks Vickie for a ride, takes her to play miniature golf, then takes her back to his father's apartment, a romance developing in subtle, nuanced tones 31:25-33:20 1943 in Detroit, Jake fights Sugar Ray Robinson, (World Welterweight Champion 1946-1951, 5-time World Middleweight Champion 1951-1960, Johnny Barnes) Jake pummels Robinson, and is awarded the fight on a decision, Robinson was now 40-1 and would end his career 5-1 against Jake 33:20-38:07 At Jake's father's apartment, Jake and Vickie were seconds away from lovemaking, although the viewer was sure it would happen, Jake then gets up and pours ice water on his privates, saying "I gotta fight Robinson" 38:07-39:40 1943 in Detroit, a new fight between Jake and Robinson, this time Robinson wins convincingly on decision 39:40-41:15 Post-fight tension and reflection in Jake's locker room 41:15- 43:50 1944-1947 - Montage of scenes (shocking the viewer by being the first color sequences in the film), including fights against Fritzie Zivic, José Basora, George Kochan, Jimmy Edgar, Bob Satterfield, Tommy Bell, Jake's wedding to Vickie, Joey's wedding to Lenora LaMotta (Theresa Soldana), and happy family scenes with children, three years duration in less than three minutes 43:50-49:30 1947, Jake's house on Pelham Parkway, The Bronx, Jake is furious at Joey that he weighs 168 pounds, and that he can't get down to the needed 155-pound weight, Jake starts becoming jealous of Vickie, and shows signs of needing to be in control 49:30-55:20 At the Copacabana Club, Jake is introduced to great applause, Vickie gets up and sees Sal and Jake is very jealous, the mob boss Tommy Como (Nicholas Colasanto) arrives and Vickie goes over to say an innocent hello, making Jake more jealous, this was the second longer (3:30+) scene in a row (the 1st time this has happened in the film) 55:20-57:00 At Jake's apartment, he wakens Vickie and asked her why she said Janiro (his upcoming opponent) had a "pretty face," he is showing signs of extreme jealousy and rage even though they haven't become manifest 57:00-58:20 1947 in New York, Jake fights Tony Janiro (Kevin Mahon) and beats him to a pulp, obviously enraged with jealousy, "He ain't pretty no more," Tommy Como says 58:20- 59:03 Jake working out in a sauna, being hectored to lose 4 pounds by his trainer, in the shortest scene thus far in the movie 59:03-63:02 Joey is in a nightclub, chatting with the mafia, he sees Vickie walk in a group which includes Sal, Joey pulls Vickie aside and berates her, she complains that she's in a sexless marriage, Joey throws a drink on Sal, who pursues him outside, Joey starts beating him, and in the melee forming outside, beats him badly 63:02-66:30 Coffee at the Debonair Social Club at a table including Joey, Sal, and a lecturing Tommy Como who insists the two shake hands, Sal walks out and Tommy lectures Joey about Jake becoming an embarrassment, 66:30-68:10 Joey meets Jake at the swimming pool where he met Vickie, he said he wants to catch her in the act just once, Joey informs him he gets a shot at the title, but only if he first flops in an upcoming fight 68:10-68:22 Weigh-in between Billy Fox (Eddie Mustafa Muhammad) and Jake 68:22-69:13 Jake and Joey meet in an underground tunnel with a mobster who said he heard Jake was going to flop, Jake assured him it wasn't going to happen 69:13-71:28 1947 in New York, Jake fights Billy Fox, lots of mafia there, Jake clocks Billy then lets him off the hook, Jake is purposely taking a beating in round 4, lets himself get TKO'd 71:28-72:18 Jake breaks down crying in the locker room in disgrace for throwing the fight 72:18-73:36 Headline: "Board Suspends LaMotta," at Jake's apartment, Joey is trying to justify Jake throwing the fight, Jake cannot justify it in his mind, Jake and Joey eat Chinese carryout, Joey assures him he'll get his title match for throwing the fight 73:36-78:20 1949 in Detroit, Jake vs. Marcel Cerdan (World Middleweight Champion, 1948-1949, Louis Raftis), the LaMottas are discussing things in their room, it's a stadium fight and it's raining, they order food, Tommy stops by the room, Jake gets furious when Vickie kisses him goodbye on the lips, Jake is disgusted with Vickie and with Joey for sticking up for her, 78:20-82:07 Jake finishes warming up on Joey's mid-section, walks out to ring to great applause, Jake winning on points, Cerdan can't answer the bell in Round 10, Jake wins the World Middleweight Championship for the first time in his life 82:07-90:50 1950, Jake's apartment on Pelham Parkway in The Bronx, Jake gets angry at Joey for kissing Vickie on the mouth, Joey chides Jake for eating and drinking too much and gaining weight, Jake asks Joey what happened when he beat up Sal, Jake suspects there was an affair between Sal and Vickie, Jake works himself into a frenzy, he accuses Joey - completely without merit - of "fucking Vickie, Joey walks out, Jake goes upstairs to find Vickie making the bed, he accuses her of fucking his brother, she locks herself in the bathroom, Vickie finally taunts him after being smacked around, Jake storms outside, the longest scene in the film so far 90:50-91:04 Vickie pursues him outside, he shoves her on the ground 91:04-91:55 At Joey's dinner table, Jake enters (followed by Vickie), and pummels Joey for "fucking his wife," nobody can stop him, he beats him in front of his children, everyone is helpless 91:55-93:55 Jake is home alone, Vickie walks in and starts packing, Jake (in classic wife-beater fashion) asks her not to leave and woos her, incredibly, she stops packing and puts her arms around him 93:55-95:03 1950 in Detroit, Jake vs. Laurent Dauthuille (Johnny Turner), Jake plays possum and is losing in the 15th round, then unleashes a furious onslaught and KOs Dauthuille 95:03-97:06 In the locker room after the shower, Vickie talks Jake into calling Joey to apologize, he does, but can't bring himself to say anything when Joey answers 97:06-101:34 1951 in Chicago, the 6th and final fight against Sugar Ray Robinson, the famous "St. Valentine's Day Massacre" fight, Jake is pummeled in the 13th round into a TKO, but never leaves his feet, he taunts Sugar Ray, seemingly placing more importance in Ray's inability to knock him down than winning the fight, amazingly, this was Ray's first world championship 101:34-102:50 1956 in Miami, Jake (notably larger), Vickie, and their 3 children are relaxing by their pool being interviewed about his retirement, he mentions he just bought a nightclub 102:50-109:26 The neon lights of "Jake LaMotta's" nightclub are lit up, Jake grabs a microphone, and yucks it up with the patrons, clearly trying his hand at stand-up comedy, he mentions he and Vickie will soon be celebrating their 11th wedding anniversary, Jake nevertheless starts kissing young girls in his nightclub, Jake is told his wife is waiting outside for him 109:26-110:30 Jake walks outside to meet Vickie, it's broad daylight, she's in her car and tells him she's leaving him, she's taking custody of the kids, and if he shows his face she'll call the cops on him, she comes across as quite resolute 110:30-112:10 Jake, remarkably fatter, is woken up by two DA agents, the "young girls" in his club were 14 years old, they say they're taking him downtown 112:10-113:07 Jake knocks on Vickie's door, saying he has to get one thing, he goes after his championship belt, and starts hammering off the precious metal, making a lot of noise, 113:07-113:39 Jake at a pawn shop, trying to sell the jewels from the belt; the dealer wants the belt itself, he gets offered $1,500 but wants $2,000, he refuses and leaves 113:39-113:59 On a pay phone outside the jeweler, saying "I can't raise the $10,000." 113:59-117:00 1957 in the Dade County Stockade, forcibly led into a cell by two men, he contemplates things in his dark jail cell, and begins pounding his head against the wall, begins punching the wall, saying, Why? Why?! Why?!!, a very sad, total meltdown, he might have killed himself if he had a gun 117:00-118:26 1958 in New York City, Jake telling stand-up, he gets heckled, and challenges the heckler, it doesn't escalate, Jake introduces the next act, Emma 118:26-121:03 Jake leaves with Emma, and puts her in a cab after he sees Joey closing up his shop, he pursues Joey trying to make up, he tries to apologize, Italian-style with kisses, Joey tells him "later," this is not the right place, then gets in his car 121:03-123:55 Barbizon Plaza, a sandwich sign says, "An Evening of Jake LaMotta featuring the works of Paddy Chayefsky, Rod Serling, Shakespeare, Budd Schulberg, Tennessee Williams - Tonight," he's rehearsing in the dressing room, smoking a cigar, "Go get "˜em, champ," he says to himself, before going on stage, before shadowboxing in the mirror several times, you can tell he wants those days back badly 123:55-124:45 The text appears on the screen, one line at a time, in black and white: "So, for the second time [the Pharisees] summoned the man who had been blind and said: "Speak the truth before God. We know this fellow is a sinner." "Whether or not he is a sinner, I do not know," the man replied. "All I know is this: once I was blind and now I can see." John IX. 24-26 the New English Bible Remembering Haig P. Manoogian, teacher. May 23, 1916-May 26-1980 With Love and resolution, Marty. 124:45-129:04 Closing credits A magnificent film. I won't usually take this type of notes while watching films because it's a brutal amount of work, and detracts immensely from the enjoyment of the film, but in this case, I'm glad I did because I feel like I really know it well now.
  4. I wasn't sure what to think about "Cobb" going into it: It was a box office flop, that was mildly acclaimed by critics, which is generally right up my alley; in this case, I think I knew *too* much about baseball to enjoy it as a "regular" film critic would - it was just not a good film. The film focuses on Ty Cobb's final year of life, during which a famous sportswriter (Al Stump) is writing a biography of him. After the film, I still don't know what to believe about Cobb: Was he *that* much of a hateful man, or was this overplayed? I don't know, but if this story was true, then Cobb was simply despicable. Nothing about "Cobb" moved me - I didn't like the interplay between Cobb and Stump, and that's pretty much all there was in the entire film. I'd be very curious to hear from some other film lovers and baseball fans, as to what this film meant to them. I didn't "hate" it so much as I didn't "like" it, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, not an art-house film lover, and not a baseball fanatic. What else is left? I *do* like the fact that they took a very small slice of Cobb's life (his final slice) and spent a great deal of time exploring this, rather than doing a "cradle-to-grave" biography of him. Is that a compliment? I think it is.
  5. Not only have I never seen "Million Dollar Baby," I know nothing about it other than that it's a boxing movie directed by and starring Clint Eastwood and Hillary Swank, and won a Best Picture award - I didn't even know Morgan Freeman was in it until five minutes ago. This falls within that "post-Karen, pre-DR period" where I went a long time without seeing any movies. I spent many years, decades ago, being a student of film, but I let it slip because I got busy with other aspects of life - although I have a lot of catching up to do, it's coming back very, very quickly. Well, for once, I watched the entire film without writing any of the review during the movie - that's because it was so damned good that I didn't want to pry myself away from the film. This movie is a masterpiece, and not only must it surely be Clint Eastwood's finest directorial effort, but Eastwood also *composed the score*! I think that right now, he can take his place as the most important - or legendary - figure in all of Hollywood: He is our generation's version of the stereotypical Hollywood legend. "Million Dollar Baby" goes on my Top 10 List, or Top 20 List, or Top 5 List, or whatever number happens to resonate with me on a particular day. It's not a "boxing movie" any more than "Unforgiven" is a "western." I'm forcing myself to look at this without looking at any awards, but I do know it won Best Picture. I could also see it winning Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and numerous others - in fact, I'd be surprised if it didn't. How much did this movie affect me? I want to hurry up and finish writing this review so I can see an interview with Hillary Swank about the film, just to know she's okay. *** SPOILER ALERT *** Going into the plot would be redundant and pointless. Just allow me to say that "Million Dollar Baby" is one of the finest films I've ever seen, and that it should be among the pantheon of all-time Hollywood greats. How can Clint Eastwood keep getting better-and-better as he keeps getting older-and-older? I enjoyed "Gran Torino," but that was at a whole other level. Note, however, that both films involve Eastwood coming to terms with religion, atoning for past sins, giving up his life for others, and presenting Catholic Priests - not as characters to be mocked, but as supportive figures, which he badly needs. It's as if Eastwood realizes he's approaching the end of life, and he's displaying all his foibles for us on the big screen. Make *sure* to see "Million Dollar Baby" at least once in your life; just do *not* be prepared to come away feeling the way you did after you saw "Rocky." This is one of the best films I've ever seen, but it's also one of the most depressing films I've ever seen, and it's not a "boxing" film per se. I have one question: When Maggie (Hillary Swank) fought for the title, why wasn't she awarded the bout? How is it possible that she wasn't? It would have been *so* much easier to take the ending had she only known that she was, ever so briefly, the champion of the world - which she rightly was.
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