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A few reviews
La Chamade - 1968 - 7/10

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Classic French arthouse from the late 60s.
Young “girlfriend” of older, affluent man lives in a glittering strata of parties, concerts and dress dinners.
During a croquet match she meets magazine editor her own age.
Sparks ignite and she leaves her very posh life to embrace in seedier digs.
To soon, she needs to find a job.
And she has to start looking at price tags.
Quiet argument against dazzled souls who declare love conquers all.
Of course, one of the main reasons for watching this is a young Catherine Deneuve who is radiant.

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Crimson Peak - 2015 - 5/10

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Another discouraging step in Guillermo Del Toro’s decline.
Breathtaking set design, top tier actors, lavish, symbolic costumes.
All for naught in moralistic ghost story, that would have been quaint and corny 100 years ago.
Impoverished English baronet woos rich American heiress.
He whisks her away from gorgeous full colour hues of New York to somber greys of remote England.
The mansion, while beautiful, is cracked, rotting and has a roof hole possibly twenty meters wide.
Snow - leaves - rain falls from outside to the lowest basement.
Any normal human would have put a tarp over the opening at the very least!
The plot - if you are so charitable - is a blend of House Of Usher, Angels & Insects, Notorious.
CGI ghosties are laughably un-scarey.  As so often with DelToro, bug infestation overload.
Sad to see so much money and talent squandered on an inferior live action cartoon.
(04-17-2016, 04:06 PM)Vultural Wrote: All for naught in moralistic ghost story

I re-watched this just the other week and found the story and script rich with nuances you only pickup on a second viewing. The main character (Who is basically De Toro's own voice) even says something like "It isn't a ghost story... it's a story with ghosts" when a publisher is dismissing her work.

(04-17-2016, 04:06 PM)Vultural Wrote: CGI ghosties are laughably un-scarey.

The ghosts were all practical/live on set creature makeups (all played by the same dude IIRC)...

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...with I think a second pass to create the partial transparency (Plus some added mist FX which I imagine were CGI?).

I found them really creepy.

Edit: Here's a video about it...

56 Up - 2012 - 9/10

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Most recent installment of outstanding Up documentary series, which began in 1963 with 7 Up.
The children are now 56.  As theorized, the personality of the child very much predicted the adult.  The other notions, such as class separation, did not hold as much.  Privilege helped, though not always. Likewise, many of the East Enders climbed far.
At their current age, none of them allowed themselves to be baited, goaded or bullied by director Apted.
Worth tracking down right now as the three part series.
The DVD releases are never as good as the TV airings.
Charles, ever stubborn, remains MIA.
Last Knights - 2015 - 5/10

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I noted Clive Owen and Morgan Freeman and I crossed my fingers, hoping they weren't slumming.
The Lord of the North (snow on ground) is summoned to the capital for extortion.
He refuses to pay the bribe, chastises onlookers in throne room, meets predictable fate.
No - it has a vibe going, but Knights is not a Game Of Thrones clone.
His realm is appropriated, honour disgraced, warriors scattered like winter leaves.
Then, said warriors bide their time - and wait - and wait.
Yes - a remake of Chūshingura, 47 Rpnin, countless other films, Kabuki, ballet ...
Once I recognized the story, I prepared for the long, slow middle.
Darkness and shadows disguise shortcomings, and there is too much slow motion in battles.
I could knock this around, but it is not meant to be a classic.
Multi-national action film, aimed for non-demanding young males.
Derivative vengeance popcorn, but OK.  Final fifteen minutes should please combat fans.
Before I Go To Sleep - 2014 - 5/10

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Woman (Nicole Kidman) wakes up next to “husband" (Colin Firth).
Only she has no idea who he is.  After an accident ten years earlier, she suffers from anterograde amnesia.
Each day is a blank, she cannot remember the previous day, only memories up to her late twenties remain.
Every night when she sleeps she forgets that day all over.
There are mysteries.
A psychiatrist is trying to help her - is he really a psychiatrist?
Is Colin Firth really her husband?
What happened ten years ago?  Who was she?
Less imaginative and creative than 50 First Dates, let alone Memento.
Slow, stagey, cheap looking.  Ill thought out script with numerous plot holes.
La Cérémonie - 1995 - 7/10

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Disturbing psychological thriller based on Ruth Rendell novel.
Distracted wife interviews maid applicant, explains duties, gives a tour of the house.
Does or does not run background check.
The maid, it is revealed, has one glaring shortcoming, which gnaws at her more than anything.
Maid falls under the influence of busybody mail clerk,
and the two females bond over resentments, secrets, worries, and grudges.
Tension is tightened throughout until the last reel.
One of Claude Chabrol’s more accessible films.
Huppert and Bonnaire pitch perfect as amoral pair.
Firestorm - 2013 - 6/10

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Reassuring to know Hong Kong is still capable of cranking out a classic heist flick with action overload.
After a somewhat artsy opening, the lens focuses on a gang preparing an armored car robbery.
Cops led by Andy Lau are on the alert, but too slow.
Several other capers follow.
Plenty of style in this.  Terrific stunts.  In extended gunfights, both sides seem to use tracers.
Fantastic looking.
Docked a couple points for lack of substance.  Narratives are frenetic and incoherent.
Great time waster, but not top tier.
Cheerful Weather For The Wedding - 2012 - 6/10

Unexpected guest arrives at the bride’s family house the day of her wedding.
Her old flame.  Invited by the bride.
Love story of the girl who waited, and the boyfriend who waited possibly too long.
Story is laced with regret, longing, errors recognized, and unconfessed feelings.
Large family with identifiable types:  those who adore nuptials, those who would rather drink.
Set in 1932 over what seems like less than a year.

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The “lovers’” history is told in flashbacks and is shown in golden hour.
Plot never unrolls as expected.  One is also left with a question or two.

Not necessarily a chick flick, but enjoyment may depend on one’s tolerance for:
1) It’s my prerogative to change my mind
2) I don’t make a decision until the last minute -- sometimes after.
I live with both types and have been trained to shift gears in an instant.
Second Best Marigold Hotel - 2015 - 5/10

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Was this film really necessary?
Since someone brought it home, and I got to watch it, I guess so.
Second helping of elderly retirees living in Jaipur hotel, picks up where original left off.
That was a surprise smash, reaching beyond the aging arthouse set.
The ensemble interaction is less this go around.
Two new characters are introduced, which likely translates as less lines for everyone.
More critical, the core of the narrative is about the upcoming wedding.
Rehearsals, dance practice, dinners, capped by the wedding which is elaborate and lengthy.
Consequently, most of the returning principals are underwritten sketches.
We see them onscreen, a minute here, a minute there, shadows of what they were in the original release.
Above photo nicely encapsulates characters lost in a crowded script.

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