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A few reviews
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale - 2010 - 6/10

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Ho ho ho.
In Finland, US geologists / archeologists drill into something unexpected in the Korvatunturi mountains.
Animals are later found slaughtered, all the children are kidnapped.
They had accidentally unearthed the original Santa Claus, not the Coca Cola version.
The one from the locked histories, the one who devours children.
Needless to say, a dark film, set at night with difficult characters.
Not as much action or narrative thrust as I would have liked.
Enjoyable, but could have used more voltage.

Note: Most of the dialogue was in Finnish.
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Vultural Wrote:They had accidentally unearthed the original Santa Claus, not the Coca Cola version.

:lol:
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The Devil’s Rock - 2011 - 6/10

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World War II, just before D-Day, two New Zealand commandos kayak to Forau, in the Channel Islands, to take out Nazi gun emplacements.
They hear female wailing and whimpering, and drop the mission to investigate.
After tiptoeing through endless corridors, they encounter blood splattered walls, gory entrails, slain German soldiers.
Naturally, they proceed. After all, some damsel needs rescuing.
Pocket thriller that, despite low budget, looks fine. Solid acting by all, as well.
Film is of two halves, however.
First part, clues lead to mystery, tension approaches dread.
Second part was stagey. Seriously, it felt like an off-Broadway or outer London play. Lot of dialogue.
Cerebral rather than gut piercing. Still, a nice little flick, especially for indie buffs.
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The Gathering - 1977 - 7/10

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Holiday gem, now forgotten.
Family sire, separated from his wife, estranged from his children, receives the 90 day expiration notice.
Wants to make amends for misplaced priorities (business over family), convinces wife to get family to come home for Christmas.
A bit mushy, but thankfully not as touchy-feelie as most Christmas fare.
Relationships between Boomers and WWII parents were extremely polarized. This film glosses over problems, and drapes a gauze of hope and over the proceedings. It is a holiday film, after all, but underlying tension is constant.
For a TV movie, this had top tier talent behind the scenes (production by Hanna-Barbera, music by John Barry), and actors who would be mainstays throughout 70s airwaves (Hill Street Blues, Mary Tyler Moore, Soap, Lou Grant, Trapper John, M*A*S*H, Remington Steele).
Bittersweet.
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The Game - 1997 - 5/10

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Was unimpressed by this when it originally screened. Rewatched this critical darling and I
still don’t buy the premise, no matter how polished looking, how breathless the pace.
Douglas’ character, as shown early on, would never have gotten into the situation in the first place.
One example: Would he have spent several hours in the application process? No way in hell.
The running without analyzing?
And “the game” itself? The sheer organized structure of it defies logic.
Preposterous. Though had Douglas’ character been different, the premise might have seemed more plausible.
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Black Christmas - 1974 - 5/10

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A decade before director Bob Clark struck holiday gold with Christmas Story ( “... You’ll shoot your eye out ...” ), he helmed this Yuletide slasher.
Olivia Hussey and Margot Kidder star in sorority house, receiving chronic obscene phone calls.
Christmas Eve, the house is invaded, and one by one ... yes, you can guess the predictable plot.
The genre had not hardened yet, so the girls I pointed out did not necessarily die, nor was the “order of victims” followed.
Very slow going proceedings, especially by todays tempo, and gore mavens will lament a lack of blood.
Keir Dullea and John Saxon male roles.
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Snow Queen - 2002 - 6/10

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Nice Winter movie with no holiday overtones.
Bridget Fonda plays the icy Snow Queen to perfection.
The narrative involves a young girl pursuing her boyfriend who has been "taken" by the Snow Queen.
At three hours, the movie is too long, and visits to "Spring," "Summer," and "Autumn" are little more than childish comic relief.
Worth watching for Fonda and her brittle performance, but this would be better chiseled to two hours or less.
Fonda’s last performance to date.
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Susan Slept Here - 1954 - 6/10

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Film set during Christmas, but not necessarily a holiday story.
Vice cops drop off 17 year old juvenile delinquent (Debbie Reynolds) to 35 year old Hollywood writer (Dick Powell - who was 50 when this came out), and leave her in his care during Christmas.
Creepy premise for romantic comedy fluff.
I am a big fan of Mr Powell, though, and guiltily enjoyed this one.
Lush, over saturated Technicolor hues, and the overall design was packed with reds and greens, white trees, ornaments, presents in foil.
Great dream sequence, as well, with Reynolds doing a trapeze/pole dance thing inside a giant bird cage, while Powell (in sailor’s uniform), tempted by Anne Frances as ensnaring spider femme.
Powell’s last movie role.
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Meek's Cutoff - 2010 - 6/10

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A group of pioneers heading for Oregon in 1845 hires a mountain man who knows a shortcut.
Start shaking your head now.
Of course he gets them lost. In the desert, no less. Add parched thirst, and a Paiute Indian prowling about.
The film is very slow, colors washed out, dialogue sparse. Much of the film is from the women's point of view, and the viewer, like them, cannot hear what the men are quietly discussing.
Not an action flick, but a mood piece that will try the patience of many.
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The Blue Carbuncle - 1984 - 8/10

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“It’s a bonny thing,” said he. “Just see how it glints and sparkles. Of course it is a nucleus and focus of crime. Every good stone is. They are the devil’s pet baits. In the larger and older jewels every facet may stand for a bloody deed ... ”
Holiday chestnut from Arthur Conan Doyle. Sinister jewel is stolen, promptly found and identified by Sherlock Holmes.
That is early in the plot, however, as Holmes and Watson proceed to backtrack the trail of the stone, unearthing the truth behind the theft.
The Victorian Christmas remains constant throughout. Bracing cold, wandering carolers, the goose.
Wonderful production values and a sense of humour fill the show.
Jeremy Brett, in this, the initial series, brims with intensity as Holmes.
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