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A few reviews
Incident - 1948 - 5/10

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Often categorized as Noir, this low-rent effort is not.
Cheap budget, poor sets, women with bad perms, men with empty heads.
Poverty Row, B-mystery all the way.
Man misses late bus and decides to walk home.
In a case of mistaken identity, he is mugged and beaten, but not robbed.
Later that week, he decides to find out who beat him up, who hired that guy, and who the intended victim was.
Yes, IQ of a sandwich.
Along the way he meets an intriguing female who keeps a few secrets.
Time waster. There are easily 643 better Noirs out there.
Playing The Field - S01 - 1998 - 6/10

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First season following the trials and tribulations of woman’s football club.
Limited pitch action, focus more on domestic dramas.
Infidelities, revelations, screaming matches, tears, cursing.
Probably OK if you can tolerate a limited soaper.

Got this for my wife who follows Premier League, particularly, though not exclusively, Man U.
I was glad when this concluded, gladder when she said she was uninterested in S02.
La Rose du Fer - 1973 - 6/10
AKA - Iron Rose // The Rose Of Iron

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Moody, minimalist Jean Rollin film.
When most think of this director’s oeuvre, key words are vampires and lesbians.
None of that here. In fact, this does not even qualify as Horror.
During a wedding banquet, a young male guest stands up and delivers a poem on death.
Applause across the room. Oh, those French.
Moved, a pretty girl agrees to go on a bicycle date with him the next day.
He pedals to a cemetery and in they stroll. The cemetery is magnificent, by the way. A third character.
The pair have a picnic, enjoy themselves in a crypt, and fail to hear the clock strike 12 - strike 2 - strike 5.
Gates are locked and the couple discover they are utterly lost.
Warning - There is next to no plot in this. Iron Rose is pure mood and atmosphere.
Typical of Rollin’s work, a dreamlike quality suffuses the look and tone.
The couple wander the tombstones and lose their direction. Again, this is not a horror film.
Scenes are laden with symbolism, some discernible, others a mystery.
Fans of the director should seek this out. Newcomers ought to find an alternative.
The Unthanks - A Very English Winter - 2012 - 7/10

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Folksinger sisters Rachel and Rebecca Unthank explore rural festivals in bleak winter.
They begin on All Souls Night (Halloween) and end on 21 February with a pancake race.
For those sick of it, Christmas is barely mentioned.
This focuses on darker traditions such as ritual combats, door to door begging, bonfires and explosions.
As one said, “The battle between good and evil, played out in the bitter cold.”

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Interesting throughout. Everyone seems cheerful and helpful, but I couldn’t help wondering how perfect such nights would be to commit and conceal a murder or two.
Subtitles might be helpful, the girls have pronounced Northumberland accents.
J'ai Pas Sommeil - 1994 - 6/10
AKA - I Can’t Sleep

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French arthouse territory.
Story tracks a young Lithuanian girl just arriving in Paris to visit great aunt.
Also, it transpires, to meet a playwright or producer who apparently offered her work (?).
Camera trails her around, as well as another immigrant working the transgender entertainment sphere.
Without spoiling the plot, there is sporadic police activity and surveillance throughout.
In the background, there is the third thread of a shadowy “granny killer.”
Absorbing study of the Parisian underbelly.
Not an especially “fun” film, yet it held my interest.
Betty Blue fans, Béatrice Dalle has supporting role.
The Lady Vanishes - 1979 - 3/10

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Early in the year, but this has set the low bar. One of the worst pieces of crap I’ve viewed in ages.
Pointless remake of the Hitchcock classic, featuring two godawful American leads, irritating music, and a wasted supporting cast.
Gabby nanny type, who may or may not be a spy, disappears from train in Nazi occupied territory.
Cybill Shepherd especially good/horrible as shrill, whining American heiress who demands to know what happened to her new English friend (underused Angela Lansbury). I would have paid for anyone to have hurled her off the train, moving or stopped, off a bridge or into quicksand, didn’t matter. She was painful.
A bored Elliot Gould plays the male hero. Shepherd and Gould have the chemistry of a pair of cracked duck eggs.
The Love Punch - 2013 - 4/10

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Tedious, forced comedy, undermined further with a totally implausible script and broad over-acting.
Felt like rehashed 60s farce.
Pierce Brosnan (who does not look well here) plays soon-to-retire tycoon who sells business, only to discover he sold to a corporate raider who emptied all accounts, including pensions. His included.
With ex-wife (Emma Thompson) and two neighbor friends he decides to crash the raider’s wedding and steal a diamond worth £10 million.
OK, call me jaded. £10 million is the haul? For his pension account, his ex’s retirement, other colleague’s money, the kids’ money, etc ... £10 million?
Moreover, didn’t his company have lawyers or accountants to protect from that? Or litigate afterward?
Pensions are usually sacrosanct. Separate from all other elements of negotiations. So I never bought that angle.
Their method of crashing a wedding - which I shall not spoil - is preposterous.
Trust me, my wife and I have crashed many a wedding, domestic and abroad. Always for champagne and nibbles.
This film is OK enough if you are undemanding and in the mood for old fashioned corn.
Kafka - 1991 - 7/10

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Non-descript insurance clerk (and part time writer), Franz Kafka, finds himself entangled with revolutionaries, secret police, anarchists, spies, and the imperious palisade known as The Castle.
Highly stylized film by Soderbergh is part Noir, part Gothic.
Unsettling narrative steeped in paranoia and anxiety.
Third act “Castle” sequence borrows heavily from Brazil. The same black humour abides, though in Kafka it is more brittle, less fatalistic.
Dialogue often conveyed multiple meanings so one has to keep alert.
Outstanding set design (Prague) of empty streets, endless midnight.
Kafka’s works, like Orwell’s, grow disturbingly relevant to our era.
Vexed - S01 - 2010 - 7/10

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Three episodes of acid comedy, satirizing cop shows.
Toby Stephens jaw-dropping as clueless, no-check-switch, politically incorrect police inspector.
Lucy Punch as his sharp-tongued partner, prone to violent outbursts.
Truly funny in a mean, cruel, black-humored manner.
For those who appreciated Touch Of Cloth, only more wicked.
yνῶθι σεαυτόν

Have not viewed S02 yet. It aired two years later and supposedly
replaced one character and toned down Stephens’ cringe producing behaviour.
If true, too bad. Suits making creative decisions.
Prog Rock Britannia - An Observation In Three Movements - 2009 - 6/10

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Ha ha ha.
Zillions of notes, oddball time signatures, fairyland lyrics, Roger Dean art, Gabriel’s outfits, the madness.
Plus Keith Emerson stabbing his keyboard with the knife!
Hour and a half documentary highlighting wild excesses with amused performers.
Why do a song in 3 minutes when you can do it in 33 minutes? Or longer!
Wait till you hear how many groupies the Prog guys pulled. Zero!
I still have my Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, Emerson Lake Palmer, Captain Beyond, Tull, several others.
On vinyl and CD! Ha ha, what a geek!
Ha ha ha. Great times.

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