Movies I’ve recently seen: The Woman King ֍ Man Hunt ֍ Pillow Talk ֍ Your Place or Mine ֍ Free and Easy

It’s been almost two months since I’ve posted one of these Movies I’ve recently seen articles. I was busy with Oscar nominees, film festivals, and producers hoping for a good review. Finally, I found time to simply watch a movie or five. So here are some pictures I finally got around to see. As usual, I’m going from best to worst.

A- The Woman King (2022)

Here’s an epic that feels like one of the big roadshow movies of the 1960’s…except that it’s focused on Africans rather than colonizers. Some two centuries ago, the nation of Dahomey (it’s historical) is fighting the slave trade. And women, as well as men, train to fight for their country and for freedom in Africa. The story is based on real events, but like all such heroic movies, I suspect that it’s very far from the truth. Like the heroines in the movie, the evil slavers are almost entirely black, with one good white man – who isn’t all that believable. Viola Davis plays the title character, but the real star is Thuso Mbedu as a young woman ready to fight.

A- Man Hunt (1941)

Fritz Lang created this tight and suspenseful thriller set just before World War II (and made just before America came into the war). Walter Pidgeon plays a wealthy big game hunter who may or may not want to kill Hitler – just for the sport of it. Soon the Nazis and Scotland Yard are both going after him. George Sanders and John Carradine play the evil Nazis, and Joan Bennett plays the young woman who falls in love with him.

B+ Pillow Talk (1959)

If you want to see a conventional sex comedy from the 1950’s, this is one of the best. Everything is in bright and popping colors. Doris Day plays a decorator and probably a virgin. Rock Hudson plays a songwriter and a playboy. (The fact that Hudson was gay in real life doesn’t really mean anything.) The movie is very sexist by today’s standards, but it’s still a very funny movie. With the wonderful Thelma Ritter and Tony Randall.

B Your Place or Mine (2023)

And this is a conventional sex comedy from 2023. This Netflix romcom won’t keep you laughing, but it has its funny moments. You can’t help liking the main characters–in fact, everyone in the movie is basically a good person. Long ago, Debbie and Peter (Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher) had sex. Since then, Peter moved to a different coast, and she’s now a mother. Years later, he comes to help her with the kid (they’ve been telephone friends for years). There are a few setups that don’t have a decent payoff, and it could have been better, but it’s enjoyable.

F Free and Easy (1930)

Sometimes I watch a movie with a bad reputation to see how awful it really is – especially if it stars Buster Keaton. Free and Easy is Keaton’s first talkie. Almost every talky from 1930 is horrible, but this one goes off the charts. When Buster falls down a staircase, you hear it, but you don’t see it. His character is an idiot named Elmer Butts, who comes from Kansas to Hollywood to manage the hometown girl for her shot to stardom. Instead, it’s Elmer who becomes a movie star, while wearing a ridiculous costume and makeup. I didn’t laugh once. The movie appears to be designed as an ad for the studio – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

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