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A few reviews
I wouldn't give up on a movie just 'cause Gaith walked out after 10 minutes...
^ Well, it's true I left before the family bathed in sewage, so if that strikes you as worth shelling out good money and irreplaceable time for... Wink
My postings have been on moratorium for about a year now.
Thanks to ranger613, Gaith, and others for scribbling a review from time to time.

Cranking it up ...
88 - 2014 - 5/10

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Bullet fest mystery / thriller set in the land of violence, the Canadian backwoods.
Katharine Isabelle stars as female companion / waitress / hooker to roadhouse owner and local crime boss.
For withheld reasons, she ghosts in and out of fugue state, caused by emotional trauma.
Her alter-ego, Flamingo, is one no-nonsense, milk swigging broad.
Steals cars, shoots up the bowling alley, goes into full bore revenge against crime lord, Christopher Lloyd.

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Isabelle terrific once again, truly commits to a difficult role and nails it. If anything, there was another outrageous whacked out guns and revenge comedy buried in the script had the writers chosen to focus on Ty and Lemmy.
Michael Ironside is the sheriff. Fine cast in a half-assed script, narrative slice n diced in jumbled chronology.
There’s the flaw. Because of all the jumps in the story, you really must pay attention and even then you might get confused. All well and good if the payoff delivers. Hate to spoiler this, so I won’t divulge. Note 5/10, though. And my rating is a wee bit high.
There’s a lot of unexpected, and really funny black humor.
Will I rewatch 88? Probably (loser) Do I recommend? Only to other losers like me.
Magic In The Moonlight - 2014 - 6/10

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Woody Allen film set in 1928 Europe.
Colin Firth plays magician asked to debunk a female mentalist / hoaxer.
Mentalist is quite pretty and an uneasy romance beckons.
Picture Houdini wooing a Zeigfield Follies girl.
Gorgeous sets, costumes, vintage music.
The 1928 date was a loaded time utterly ignored (Wall Street Crash was 1929 - Hitler became chancellor in 1933).
Likewise the realization that this entire world of gardens and country houses is a breath away from extinction.
Plot remains feather light throughout.
Not to spoil anything, but the narrative faltered in the third act. Badly.
Before that misstep I had been enjoying the movie.
At its core, keep in mind, this is a magic show.
Allen delivers a successful pledge, a very poor turn, and no prestige.
Natural City - 2003 - 7/10

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Fabulous looking Korean SciFi, based on Dick’s “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep.”
Not a Blade Runner remake or clone, though the story is set in a glossy, high tech dystopia.
Viewers will also recognize elements from Ghost In The Shell and Matrix, especially the stunt work.
The plot deals with renegade cyborgs breaking into a medical security facility to get data on human DNA.
Going against them are paramilitary combat troops, the MPs.
Brilliant marrying of live action and CGI, the latter not overdone.
Some of the action wire work struck me as repetitive, but that seems a minor quibble.
The real breakdown and flaw in the story occurs in the three quarters point, focusing on the love story between trooper R and his soon to expire cyborg girlfriend, Ria.
The love story has no depth, no resonance. The cyborg, referred to as dolls, has the personality of a goldfish.
What does he see in her? Not to spoil, but why does he betray fellow soldiers again and again for her?
The pointless love story undermines sympathy for the main character, and has generated countless bad ratings.

When I first watched this ten years ago, that failing was the main reason I disliked the film.
Recently, I thought of a solution and rewatched the movie.
This time, any shared scenes with R and Ria, I switched off the subs and their infantile dialogue, and imagined they at the very least conversed like adults or lovers. Not a knuckle-dragger and his fembot.
For all this, an amazing looking film and decent actioner.
Vampyres - 1974 - 6/10

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One of the best Hammer films never actually made by Hammer.
Two beautiful women prowl a lonely road from overgrown woods.
They stop passing cars, hitch a ride, and take them to a deserted manor house.
Wine flows, bit of bedroom romping, followed by slaughter.
Gory Horror with abundant nudity, sexy and erotic.
Filmed at Hammer’s house, Oakley Court by independent Essay, which might explain why there was much more blood and flesh. Censors had a field day but current versions are fully uncut.
These are not elegant, romanticized vampires. Their savageness seems typical of the excessive 70s.

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Director Larraz’s audio commentary, in his heavily accented Spanish, is as enjoyable as the film itself.
He dishes the dirt of difficult players, and how much more graphic sex and violence he originally wanted.
Money problems, tight shooting schedules, distribution issues, thoughts on American vs European styles.
The version that finally passed he termed as the Vatican edit.
The film’s narrative drifts into incoherence at times, and he confesses a cool image was more important than plot.
Right on.
Mask Of Dimitrios - 1944 - 7/10

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Old Warners Brothers chestnut pairing Peter Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet.
A writer of mysteries learns of the death of a career criminal in Istanbul.
Curious, and seeking inspiration for the next book, he follows the trail of crime across Eastern Europe.
Along the way, an old henchman for the villain enters and offers to pool information.
Film filled with flashbacks, betrayals, lies, and increasing danger.
The look is straight up Film Noir, hard shadows and fog, and while locations bounce from Istanbul to Athens to Budapest, the reality is 100% back lot. (Europe was a bit unstable in 1944.)
This is a terrific rainy night film, with Greenstreet and Lorre superb. Numerous low angle shots of Greenstreet make him seem enormous and imposing.
Supporting characters memorable, as well, as you find yourself believing their stories, only to wonder afterward how much is deception, how much self deception.
How little kindness there is in the world today.
Banksy Does New York - 2014 - 7/10

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Documentary on street artist Banksy’s 31 day guerrilla exhibition in and around New York City.
Each day, Banksy’s website offers a clue where the latest art or installment can be viewed. Then it becomes a race, a scavenger hunt, to see the work before it disappears.
Displays get tagged, smashed, “appropriated,” or on one memorable afternoon, bought.
The press gets involved - adding to the publicity - as well as the mayor and police who announce they intend to catch Mr Banksy. Good luck -- London was never able to do so.
Selected locations often deliberately provocative: within inner city blight or near trendy galleries frequented by the clueless, shallow wine n cheese crowd.
The growing media frenzy brings out the best and worst behaviour in people.
As always, tour de force by the artist - or collective - known as Banksy.
French Sex Murders - 1972 - 5/10
AKA - Casa d’appuntamento

Watchable Italian Giallo revolving around, surprise, a serial killer!
After an opening leap from the Eiffel Tower, flashbacks swirl.
The villain is especially despicable as he is swiping jewels from the church. Stealing from God!
Then, in a very wise move, he decides to hide in a sporting house packed with juicy hotties.

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Five minutes later, he is on the run again. This time for murder!
He better flee quick because Humphrey Bogart is on his tail.

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Bogie lookalike Roberto Sacchi plays the police inspector and is the main reason to watch this confused mess.
Oh, yes, Anita Ekberg is the brothel madam, and the professor’s assistant resembles Carl Sagan.
There is a decent amount of nudity, coupling, chases, stabbings, beheadings.
The pace percolates briskly. Even when flaws and plot gaps a mile wide hit, we could not nitpick them because another crazy scene crashed and we were lured back in.
One sorry movie that will appeal to - - you know who you are.

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