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Found 23 results

  1. "Rebecca," Alfred Hitchcock's first American project, is a Gothic tale filled with suspense. There is fine acting, beautiful cinematography and more twists and turns than your favorite roller-coaster. I wanted to see this film because I have watched a number of movies lately starring Joan Fontaine, and this is considered by many to be her finest work. "Rebecca" is the only Alfred Hitchcock-directed film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture. It is based on the 1938 novel of the same name written by Daphne du Maurier. Filmed in black-and-white, "Rebecca" has a darkly brooding, mys
  2. "Das Boot" is perhaps the finest war film I have ever seen. It is certainly in my top three films about war. I recently watched the Director's Cut of this German film, released in 1997 (the original was first shown in German theaters in 1981 and then as a TV miniseries). "Das Boot" is an adaptation of Lothar-Günther Buchheim's 1973 German novel of the same name, and it tells the fictional story of a German U-96 crew during World War II. The director's cut is 3 hours and 29 minutes long, combining action sequences from the 2.5 hour original theatrical release (which garnered six Academy Aw
  3. Note: As of this writing, a high-quality version of this film can be found for free at this URL: http://ffilms.org/marnie-1964/. For those trying to find Hitchcock's cameo, this is the *one* time it will be impossible to miss. *** SPOILER ALERT *** Okay, there's something about "Marnie" Edgar (Tippi Hedren) that's more than meets the eye - instead of simply being a shrewd, serial bandit which is obvious from the very beginning, you have two very disturbing scenes in the first thirty minutes: the "dream scene" at her mother's (Louise Latham's) house, which culminates with her mo
  4. "Strangers on a Train," is regarded by many critics as one of the top five or six films by Alfred Hitchcock. Roger Ebert, in this review, says only three or four Hitchcock films are superior to it. Having seen most of the other films lauded as his "best," as well as some more obscure Hitchcock movies from his earlier days, I wanted to see for myself how this film stacked up against the others. The movie, based on the 1950 novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith, tells the story of two strangers who meet on a train and discuss "swapping" murders. While I found this film flawed, there
  5. I had heard of "Ex Machina," but knew absolutely nothing about it before a couple of nights ago - released in 2015, it won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects - considering it was a relatively low-budget, independent, science-fiction film, it's pretty remarkable that it didn't come across as low-budget (it didn't come across as high-budget either; it fell somewhere in the middle). Made for $15 million, it beat out such films as "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" ($250 million) and "Mad Max: Fury Road" ($150 million) - this alone is remarkable. Writer-Director Alex Garland also received
  6. "Infinity Chamber" (originally called "Somnio") is so new that it doesn't even have a Wikipedia entry. I'm not sure if it was even released in theaters, and it just came out on streaming video last month. There was initially an attempt to fund it on Kickstarter - if you watch the video there (which won't give much away), you'll "get to know" Writer-Director Travis Milloy, which makes me feel somewhat guilty for what I'm about to write. This intriguing title is about an equally intriguing subject: A man wakes up with only a vague recollection of being shot, and is imprisoned by a high-tech
  7. The first time I ever saw a film by David Lynch was in Manhattan, during the summer of 1981, and it was a re-release of "Eraserhead" on the big screen. I haven't seen this movie in almost 36 years, yet there are images which remain as plain as day in my mind. It was perhaps the creepiest film I'd ever seen at that point in my life. "Mulholland Drive" may not be as creepy - on absolute terms - until, that is, the final 40 minutes, when all sense of logic and reality become distorted: No matter how hard you try and understand what's going on, the film will demand a second watching (at least
  8. "The Stepford Wives" (1975) - Directed by Bryan Forbes (Director of "The Whisperers") Produced by Edgar Scherick (Producer of "Sleuth") Written by: Screenplay - William Goldman (Academy Award Winner for Best Original Screenplay for "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and for Best Adapted Screenplay for "All the President's Men"), Story - "The Stepford Wives" by Ira Levin (Author of "Rosemary's Baby") Featuring Katharine Ross as Joanna Eberhart (Etta Place in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," Elaine Robinson in "The Graduate"), Paula Prentiss as Bobbie Markowe (Liz Bien in
  9. Just as "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" (1962) fell into an obscure sub-genre of films being produced around the early 1960s called "Psycho-Biddy" - essentially old, famous actresses cast in new movies as "old ladies gone mad," "Satan's Triangle" (1975) falls into a cluster of films around the mid-1970s - including "The Exorcist" (1973), "The Omen" (1975), and "The Devils" (1971) that I would term, "Catholic Horror." I've never heard of this sub-genre before, but I remember an unusually high concentration of "Priest and Devil" films that came out right when I was transitioning from child t
  10. I know nothing about "Blackboard Jungle" except that it's "the other" teen-angst film from 1955 that I was going to watch, along with "Rebel Without a Cause." The notorious high school principal, Mr. Warneke, is played by John Hoyt, who you'll find playing the Chief Medical Officer on the Starship Enterprise before Dr. McCoy came along in the "Star Trek" series pilot, "The Cage." (don't forget, the central action in "The Cage" takes place thirteen years before most of the current cast has come into the picture). It's amazing how many character actors you become familiar with over time - i
  11. When I was in my mid-20s (maybe in the late 80s), "The Manchurian Candidate" made a revival on the big screen, and I saw it, and really enjoyed it while also thinking it was something almost campy. Now that I've seen it a second time, I realize that I was too uneducated to appreciate the film - this was an incredibly well-done movie, somehow able to take the absolutely unbelievable - bordering on the ridiculous - and make it seem positively realistic and possible. For me, The Manchurian Candidate is almost like a "Greatest Hits" album of actors, and I cannot imagine how Frank Sinatr
  12. You have two choices when watching "The Wild One": 1) Watch it through the eyes of older people who lived through The Great Depression and World War II, and were genuinely afraid of seeing society unravel and go to hell in a handbasket, or 2) roll your eyes, and scream aloud, about fifty times, "My *God* this is dated!" "The Wild One" is so dated that it comes across as a parody of itself. The acting is so overwrought, and the dialogue is so corny that it comes across as being about as rebellious as "Rock Around the Clock." One of the leaders of the Black Rebels Motorcycle Club is Jerry P
  13. "Suspense" is one of the very first television anthology series, debuting in 1949, and running 6 seasons and 260 episodes until 1954. It was adapted from a radio program of the same name which ran from 1942-1962, and was broadcast *live*. Many of the scripts were adapted from literary classics by big-name authors, and also featured big-name stars as actors. Although the show was broadcast live, most episodes were recorded on kinescope, and about 90 out of the 260 episodes survive as of this writing. I continue to be amazed that so much early television is just plain *gone*, con
  14. Earlier this year, I watched the 1927 silent film "The Lodger," which is widely considered the first "real" Alffed Hitchcock film (after he found his mojo), as well as the first filming of The Lodger, which was remade, in various guises, no less than four times, this being the third of five that I know of. Although this is a remake, Hitchcock had nothing to do with this: It was produced by Robert Bassler and directed by John Brahm, For those who don't know, Jack the Ripper was active in London during 1888 in Whitechapel, a district in the East End of London, in the borough of Tower H
  15. It sounds kind of pathetic, but I sometimes try and link together two small themes when it comes to selecting my next film - in this case, the theme was Jacqueline Scott, who co-starred as Polly Baron in "Macabre," and also co-starred as Carol Maxwell in "The Galaxy Being," the very first episode of "The Outer Limits." It's a thin, tenuous link, to be sure - not unlike throwing a dart, blindfolded, at a global map to determine your next family vacation, but I wouldn't have discovered "Macabre" without it. "Macabre" was one of the first "huckster" films, where director William Castle gave
  16. I cannot believe it! I saw "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" when it was released in theaters in 1986 - right at the beginning of my "art-house theater period," when I was going to great lengths to expose myself to culture other than Del Taco. Or perhaps it was in 1990 after the rating changed (see below). By chance, I happened to look up Merle Dixon - one of the primary characters on "The Walking Dead" - and saw that his name was Michael Rooker. I didn't recognize the name, and like I usually do, I looked him up on Wikipedia, only to have my *jaw drop* when I saw that he was *Hen
  17. After viewing the 1956 version of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Man Who Knew Too Much," I decided to watch the 1934 film by the same name, also directed by Hitchcock. Not satisfied with his earlier work, Hitchcock decided to remake the film. While the basic plot remains the same, I was surprised at just how different the two films are. I liked parts of both films, but loved neither. Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day are endearing in the 1956 version in their roles as a Midwestern doctor and his wife on a Moroccan holiday. But the film felt too long as it went on-and-on beyond what I considered the cl
  18. You may be asking yourselves: 'What in God's name are you doing watching, much less writing about, 'Airport '77,' Don?' And you'd be wise to ask both questions - watching this God-forsaken movie was an accident: I thought it was a sequel to "Airplane!," the uproariously funny parody of "Airport" (1970), but Airplane! came out in 1980, and was a parody of the entire, four-film Airport franchise, "Airport '77" being the third of four. Before watching it, we took a quick peak at Wikipedia, and noticed in one section Roger Ebert's comment that "The movie’s a big, slick entertainment, rel
  19. A recent discussion about "Vertigo" on this website made me think about watching "Rear Window" again. I saw this film years ago, and I loved it. I watched it again last night with the same result. This film is regarded by many critics as one of Hitchcock's best. It stars James Stewart as a world famous photographer sidelined with a broken leg. As he sits in his apartment recovering from his injury, he becomes a voyuer, passing the hours watching the lives of his neighbors unfold through their rear windows. The result is a fascinating look at human nature, and our desire to watch. Lik
  20. "Rope," Hitchcock's first Technicolor film, was an experiment of sorts for the director. The action takes place in real time, edited to appear as a single, continuous shot through the use of long takes. This movie is based on a play of the same name, and this filming technique makes the viewer feel as if they are watching a play rather than a film. *** SPOILER ALERT! *** "Rope" is the tale of two young roomnates who strangle a former classmate minutes before they host a dinner party. The corpse is stuffed into a large chest, on which they decide to serve their meal to their guests. T
  21. I saw "Taxi Driver" years ago, and the only thing I remembered was finding Jodie Foster's portrayal of a 12-year-old prostitute unsettling. I am one year younger than Jodi Foster, so, at the time, her character stood out in my mind. I recently re-watched the film, and I am glad I did. "Taxi Driver" is a masterpiece. It is a gritty tale about the underbelly of New York City. Robert De Niro's portrayal of Travis Bickle, a lonely and depressed former U.S. Marine who becomes a taxi driver, is phenomenal. Is this troubled young man insane, a hero, or a little of both? De Niro's nuanced performa
  22. I hadn't seen "Marathon Man" since I was in high school - given my filtered memory, I'm surprised at how slow the film starts off, but once it builds (about one-third or one-half way through), it builds quickly and relentlessly. It's a fiendishly fun thriller that will make you wince, pity, fear, and cheer, all with unresolved questions at the end, but you may be surprised at how slowly the film begins. An obvious repeated theme in this film is pain, and the ability to "run through it," and the marathon motif is no MacGuffin - it's highly symbolic of the horrors which are coming. Speaking
  23. Torment was originally released in Sweden as "Hets," and then in the U.K. as "Frenzy." Released in 1944, it represents Ingmar Bergman's first directorial work, although he wasn't the official director (he co-directed without credit, and also wrote the screenplay). This is the first film in our Bergman retrospective, as we're going in chronological order. Having watched about 45 minutes of the movie as I post this, I can tell you right now: It's worth your time! Of note: This was released during WWII, not that this is readily evident from what I've seen so far, but how could it n
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