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A few reviews
(08-15-2017, 04:12 PM)Vultural Wrote: Assassination - 2015 - 7/10
AKA - Amsal // 암살

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High voltage S Korean escapism with sumptuous production values.
Circa 1933, a Korean hit team is assigned to take out a fatcat appeaser and occupied Seoul’s Japanese military commander.
Rival Korean factions squabble with each other and informers are omnipresent.
Similar in look and feel to The Good, The Bad, The Weird (1998), though more grounded in reality.
Like the K-drama Bridal Mask, these are non-historical characters (though Korean resistance to occupation was real, especially in the north).
Excellent cat n mouse thriller with superb action sequences.

That sounds like my cup of Cha Yen. I just ordered a copy after I looked at the beautiful screenshots on blu-ray.com. Thanks for the tip.
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I Married A Shadow - 1983 - 6/10
AKA - J'ai épousé une Ombre

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Low life boyfriend kicks his pregnant Hélène out of the car and speeds into the horizon.
Dumped, dejected, she boards a train going elsewhere, anywhere.
In the dining car, another female, a pregnant bride, befriends her and allows her to sleep in her cabin while she and new husband have dinner.
After a catastrophe, Hélène is mistaken for the bride by the grieving family.
Part mystery, part character study, as personal ethics conflict with wanting what will be best for the new infant.
The wine growing family, is wealthy, by the way.
I recognized William Irish in the opening credits as a pseudonym for an old mystery writer (Cornell Woolrich).
15 minutes into the film, I recalled the story from a vintage Suspense (OTR) episode, "They Call Me Patrice."
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(03-03-2017, 06:32 PM)Vultural Wrote: The Expanse:  S01 - 2015 - 7/10

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Yeah, there’s a sucker born every minute.
I can’t tell you how many SciFi shows I take a chance on when I know - I know - they are going to blow.
Most are pathetically lame, written by unimaginative hacks, with plots for the lowest common denominator.
Well - this one ain’t!  Probably because it is based on a clutch of well written novels.
This, set a couple hundred years in the future, details the conflict and intrigue between Mars and Earth.
Caught in the middle are the “Belters,” denizens of the Asteroid Belt who are treated as grunt labor.
Unlike most SciFi, this is packed with ships and space.  Multiple plotlines that converge, yes!

BSG fans, hit this!

This show is FANTASTIC!  Binged through the 10 ep season one in two days and just kept on going!!!
After searching for my next fun sci-fi series, trying both KILLJOYS and DARK MATTER and not really connecting with either, I remembered this recommendation by V.   And boy am I glad I did!
This may be one of the BEST tv sci-fi dramas I have watched in a long time.   Far superior to nuBSG imo, or should I say superior to seasons 3 and 4 which went off the rails for me lol.   The Expanse started out as a slow burn, lots of world building in the first 5 episodes, but after that it kicks into high gear.   The show is smart, it takes it time building complex characters and an intricate plot, and yet remains fast paced, tense and riveting.   All the tech in the show feels plausible and real, and for the first time, in a very long time, living, working and travelling through space feels very, very dangerous.  And the FX!  Gorgeous stuff!!!
High recommended! 

Bring on season three!!!
"... let's go exploring!" -- CALVIN.
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Enigma (2001)

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2014's The Imitation Game tried to pay movie tribute to Bletchley Park codebreaker Alan Turing, but grossly distorted his personality, greatly exaggerated his importance*, made him look like an idiot** and a possible murderer***, and literally portrayed him committing treason. The 2001 film Enigma, on the other hand, doesn't reference Turing at all (apparently the source novel mentions that by the time the story is set, in '43, he was on his real-life trip to America), and kinda conflates its fictional straight protagonist with the real-life figure. Obviously, then, neither of these films do Turing justice, but in sheer overall historical terms, despite being a fictional thriller, I think Enigma gives a much better and more complex picture of Bletchley Park operations, and has a far greater respect for its audience overall. (If you don't know what the Katyn Massacre was, chances are you'll get fairly confused.)

In artistic terms, however, it's no contest at all. Wheras The Imitation Game has an putrid script written by some American jackass, with a corresponding gaping void of British flavor (in spite of the laughable excess of Union Jacks draped all over the place), Enigma was adapted from a Robert Harris novel by Sir Tom Stoppard. Dougray Scott and Kate Winslet give great performances, as does Jeremy Northam (in a role he virtually reprised for Glorious 39), and whose part seems to have inspired that of Mark Strong in TIG. Indeed, Enigma also has a sequence revolving around the German code and an imperiled convoy, but while I'm no Bletchley historian, the details seem plausible, and there's certainly none of the obvious idiocy or insubordination of the later movie. Taken solely on its own terms as a historical Hitchockian thriller, it's a cracking good yarn, with some first-rate craft on both sides of the camera. (If Michael Apted made a better spy-themed movie, I don't know of it, and the guy directed The World is Not Enough.)

Conclusion: If one wants to learn about Turing, one should read a biography of the man. If one wants to watch a good film that honors the Bletchley Park cryptographers, Enigma blows The Imitation Game out of the freaking water on artistic and even historical grounds. (Did I mention its great John Barry score?) My thanks go out to one of the oddest producing teams I've ever heard of: SNL's Lorne Michaels and Mick Jagger! Tongue

A-

* Yes, Turing made vital contributions, but he wasn't the singular mastermind of the whole project the movie implies.

**This is in reference to the scene where Turing realizes the Enigma code can be cracked in one evening simply by finding a German message's "Heil Hitler", and solving the rest of the alphabet from there. Obviously, the real-life codebreaking wasn't anywhere near that simple - no, it wasn't a matter of simply re-arranging the alphabet once-and-you're-done, but even if it had been, he (and everyone around him) would have had to have been a thundering moron not to realize that far earlier!

*** This is in reference to the scene in which he and his team crack the German code, realize a British convoy is at risk, and immediately decide not to notify anyone because doing so, and saving those lives, would alert the enemy to their success. Hey, assholes, what's the point of breaking a code if you don't use it? We then get a preposterous and completely ahistorical scene in which Turing explains to an Intelligence official that he can secretly calculate for his eyes only how often the code's intelligence can safely be used so as to not tip off the Germans - in other words, he himself says the point of cracking the code is to use it more than once, when he just a few days before unilaterally decided that he'd decide when that one time would be, without even informing his superiors. What slanderous, horrible f******* bull****!
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Blanc - 1994 - 7/10
AKA - White

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The “equality” part of Kieslowski’s Trois Couleurs triptych.
In this instance, an unhappy and unequal marriage, as seen in opening divorce proceedings.
After several years, the French bride has had enough.
Or rather, has not had enough, as their union has not been consummated.
The husband, a Polish hairdresser, is outmaneuvered legally and is soon destitute.
Film tracks the ex husband and his struggle to rebuild his life and perhaps regain his wife.
A dour comedy, fatalistic throughout, stands on its own (you don’t have to see Bleu or Rouge).
While I prefer the other films, all three ought to be viewed fairly close together.
The trilogy is exceptional filmmaking.
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The Hard Way - 1979 - 7/10

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Terrific, underrated, and I suspect, little seen crime film.
Patrick McGoohan plays an Irish assassin who does a final job before telling the go-between his is finished.
Quitting is not so easy, however.  His main employer, Lee Van Cleef, needs him for a more difficult job.
After clear refusals, leverage is brought to bear upon the marksman.

Moody film that advances slowly, with a brilliant sense of quiet.
Dialogue is spare, a couple characters hardly talk at all.  Tight closeups of gun work.
Emphasis is placed on hunting, tracking, and stalking in three distinct sequences.
Stealth, by its nature, can be a silent and patient enterprise.
One also sees the organized hierarchy.  McGoohan works under Cleef, who accepts assignments from another, who in turn is merely another go-between.  Contractors, sub-contractors.
McGoohan’s estranged wife acts as a chorus, sketching in details of the man.
Hyperkinetic action fans, not for you.  Those who enjoyed The Mechanic (Bronson), find this.
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Mechanic: Resurrection (2016)

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Didn't see the (remake) 2011 original. Plot: master hitman Jason Statham's childhood nemesis kidnaps his new squeeze Jessica Alba in order to force him to do what he does best - carry out three Mission: Impossible-style kills and make them look like accidents. Amusing twist: Statham starts off the movie solo, so in order to set up his devious scheme, the villain must first kidnap random humanitarian hottie Alba and blackmail her into winning his affections. She immediately tells Statham about the ploy, but they fall for each other anyway, and so the baddie gets his mission.  

He falls in love with her because she's a saintly humanitarian, see.

Anyhow, the three-mission structure allows for some nifty globetrotting and variety, and Tommy Lee Jones is fun in a cameo he probably shot over a relaxed weekend. Totally solid R-rated B-movie popcorn trash; worth a rental for action fans.

B
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14 - Diaries Of The Great War( - 2014 - 7/10

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Imaginative WWI documentary should not be ones first choice for an overview of that war.
A compelling series, nonetheless, that will reward viewers who dig into it.
The usual combination of newsreel footage, stills and maps, is augmented with reenactments.
Diaries are quoted extensively and played out by actors.
This may take awhile to get accustomed to, but one does fall in with the concept.
“14 Diaries” are the prime journeys, yet secondary quotes and passages come from hundreds of memoirs.
Diaries and journals are not necessarily historically accurate, but they are heartfelt and hopefully honest whereas wartime news reports are invariably censored, if not fabricated.
Of particular note is the film restoration and colouring (sparingly) which is breathtaking.

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An international production (trench sequences shot in Canada) that gives me my only quibble.
Characters speak in many languages.  Sometimes they are subbed, other times overdubbed.
I wish producers would have made one choice and stuck with it.
Minor nitpick.  For historical types, this should go onto your queue.
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Dancer - 2016 - 7/10

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Critics declare he is greatest dancer of his generation, Sergie Polunin.
Profile shows his early youth, where his talent is clearly recognized.
Also the sacrifices made by his family to underwrite his training and education.
The pressure becomes a heavy burden and the doc is unflinching about showing the strain he is under.
And how humans often stumble and falter.
Rewarding film for dancers, very young dancers, especially parents of aspiring dancers.
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The Last Of Sheila - 1973 - 5/10

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Old fashioned Hollywood lineup assembles in timeworn yarn of multiple suspects in a mysterious killing.
Mogul (James Coburn) “invites” has-beens and hopefuls to his Mediterranean yacht for a week of games.
Mix of Clue and Treasure Hunt with revealing cards and exposed secrets.
Ian McShane, Raquel Welch, James Mason, Dyan Cannon, Richard Benjamin are in the cast.
Written by Stephen Sondheim and Anthony Perkins, actual puzzle fanatics and game players.
First third has fabulous location shooting and propulsive drive.
Then it all bogs down into sluggish chamber drama
Very talky, exposition becomes paramount.  “Show, don’t say” rule is discarded.
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