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A few reviews
Damsels In Distress - 2011 - 5/10

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Forgettable "comedy" about a group of girls who man the Suicide Prevention building at Seven Oaks College.
Completely all over the map, as the damsels try to improve fellow students, educate frat boys, succumb to romantic perils, invent dance routine.
Dialog preposterously overwritten, arch and conflated.  Nobody - nobody - talks like that. Not even in a Shepard or Stoppard play.
I saw this because I had enjoyed director Stillman's previous works (Metropolitan, Barcelona, even Last Days Of Disco), but those were all from the 90s.
Damsels reeked of comeback desperation.
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Mr. Turner - 2014 - 5/10

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Dreary biopic had key viewers hollering foul that Spall missed an Oscar nod as British painter J W Turner.
Really, Spall spent most of the film grunting or guffawing, arguably a spot-on portray of the taciturn artist, but hardly compelling viewing.
Fine outdoor photography undermined by dishwater narrative.
Characters singularly unlikable, and whatever drives them eludes the viewers.
Plot is little more than Turner dabbing oils on canvas, shagging the housekeeper, setting up alternative house, while snorting at relatives, relatives, fellows artists, critics.
A good documentary on Turner would be a recommended alternative.
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The Forbidden Room - 2015 - 7/10

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Wow, I have seen some truly bizarre films in my time, this one hits my top 2% in out-there!
Collision of arthouse, experimental, Silent cinema, demonstration shorts ...
A submarine crew is trapped undersea with a cargo of explosive jelly.
Because they are running out of air, they gobble down hotcakes since those are filled with air pockets.
A sopping wet woodsman (Sapling Jack) enters their midst via a door / duct.
He shares his story of fighting the Red Wolves who had captured the lovely Margot.
Margot in turn, remembers when she had over a hundred broken bones set by the doctor who fell in love with her, only he was kidnapped in the sensuous embrace of skeleton women.

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That’s maybe the first twenty minutes of an almost two hour visual kaleidoscope.
Visual dissolves, inter-titles, musique concrète, a powerhouse cast, in a film confusing, funny, and thoughtful.
Oh, one of the woman’s boyfriends turns into a banana.  How could I forget that?
Unwary - beware.
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(07-02-2016, 05:48 PM)Vultural Wrote: Mr. Turner - 2014 - 5/10

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Dreary biopic had key viewers hollering foul that Spall missed an Oscar nod as British painter J W Turner.
Really, Spall spent most of the film grunting or guffawing, arguably a spot-on portray of the taciturn artist, but hardly compelling viewing.
Fine outdoor photography undermined by dishwater narrative.
Characters singularly unlikable, and whatever drives them eludes the viewers.
Plot is little more than Turner dabbing oils on canvas, shagging the housekeeper, setting up alternative house, while snorting at relatives, relatives, fellows artists, critics.
A good documentary on Turner would be a recommended alternative.

This movie was unbearable. The trailer looked great and I know it got great reviews, plus I like Turner's paintings and his biography is interesting, but what a terrible movie. I'll sum it up like this: 2.5 hours of a miserable, grumpy painter treating other people poorly, with no plot, very little humor, and very little painting. Note that I only made it half way through the movie.
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Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Fabulous Stains
- 1982 / 2008 - 5/10

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Obscure, punk flick that played in a few theaters, then disappeared until 2008.
Young Diane Lane leads the Stains, a punk girl group, with Laura Dern.
The group begins ragged (think Shaggs), improves as they lose credence, wind up glossy MTV icons.
A fading, headlining 60s group features Fee Waybill (The Tubes).
A rival opening act has Paul Cook & Steve Jones (Sex Pistols), and Paul Simonon (Clash).
Not a bad movie, pleasant time spinner.
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Testament Of Youth - 2015 - 7/10

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Latest adaptation of Vera Brittain’s World War I memoir.
Brittain, presumably part of the rural gentry, dreams of becoming a writer and being admitted to Oxford.
Events go her way at first, though one is reminded of simmering tensions in Europe throughout.
Gradually, however, the conflagration across the Channel empties her world.
Film picks up pace as the conflict grows.  First part of the movie is a bit too low key.
The romantic leads lack chemistry, as well as intensity.
Second half is altogether sharper and grimmer.
Ending felt rushed.  Investigate the 1979 version for a fuller aftermath.
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(06-18-2016, 11:56 PM)Gaith Wrote: The Nostalgist (2016)   (7/10)

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Beautiful-looking steampunk 15-min. short on YouTube that plays a bit like a live-action Pixar piece. Worth a watch for those who love Christopher Nolan, and even some of us who don't.


Wow, Gaith, what can I saw? Thanks for posting this!  I rather enjoyed this short (despite it feeling neither Nolan-like nor Pixar-esque). It was touching. I do agree with some of the criticisms posted here (a bit too much explanation), but overall, a touching and interesting short. A solid 7.5/10 for me.
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The Shallows - 5/10

The theater near me advertised 4:45 showing of The Neon Demon but alas, it was nowhere to be seen. Desperately tried to talk the wife into Swiss Army Man but was unsuccessful. So, that's how I arrived at this film.

Started out okay, Blake Lively is solid and she's got a pretty singular tortured backstory. Screenplay ends up connecting everything to what you expect from the set up. Perhaps this is me being old but they put her phone's screen huge and translucent when she looked at pictures and talked on it, and it was weird as hell. There's a dramatic conversation with her dad that I can't feel any emotion for since it's two giant heads on floating screen in front of a gorgeous beach. Visuals are pretty great, framing was often really interesting. Music is a big bummer for me. Dramatic shark stuff takes too much from the Jaws theme sound and everything else just tells you how to feel. Voiceover inserted a lot showing no trust in audience (you can just show the shark biting the painful coral again without VO saying "the shark didn't like that at all - hurt like a jellyfish sting" and it'll be fine. Tacked on "one year later" bit that is horrible and on the nose like a teenage zit. But Lively excels at the physical work and it is shot nicely which goes a really long way in this. Tight 90 but the last act gets super over the top and the CGI is really bad. It's much more effective in bursts.
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Crimson Peak - 2015 - 8/10

I'd heard not to expect much of a straight up horror film - 'duh' for Del Toro fans. Stylish, perfectly composed, gorgeous sets, arresting cinematography, etc.

Dark fairy tale of sorts. Protagonist begins unlocking the puzzle once she stops being reactive. Left with lots of thoughts. Seems interesting to me that Del Toro causes me to reflect on feminity perhaps more than anyone else.

Nice suspense film, reveals aren't held back for drama, they are tussled loose with precision.

Dynamic acting by all three main characters, chemistry pops. Chastain in particular excels.

I look forward to rewatching this many times.
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@Thrown: you're welcome! Smile


(07-02-2016, 05:48 PM)Vultural Wrote: Mr. Turner - 2014 - 5/10

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Dreary biopic had key viewers hollering foul that Spall missed an Oscar nod as British painter J W Turner.

(07-02-2016, 09:06 PM)skyled Wrote: I'll sum it up like this: 2.5 hours of a miserable, grumpy painter treating other people poorly, with no plot, very little humor, and very little painting. Note that I only made it half way through the movie.

Sounds like a terrific candidate for a 30-40 minute fan edit - enough to get the visuals and a sense of the characters, but short enough that the lack of plot isn't too onerous.
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