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A few reviews
Sleuths, Spies & Sorcerers - 2016 - 6/10

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Three part doc (of which I only watched E01, and am uninterested in the others) hosted by Andrew Marr
“Sleuths” charts the rise of detective fiction.  Poe mentioned, but Sherlock seems the starting point.
From there, Marr details cozy, targeting Christie (though Sayers and Marsh referenced).
After WWII, hardboiled Americans Chandler and Hammett, then to modern masters Pym and Rendell and current Scandinavian dominance.
Show is about the works themselves, as well as trends - less about author’s personal lives.
Current writers discuss bygone scribes and their own processes.
Breezy, slight, though enjoyable.  Marr a craggy host.
I Wake Up Screaming - 1941 - 6/10

Rising socialite found murdered!  Prime suspects - sportswriter boyfriend and the girl’s sister.
Detective in charge is convinced of boyfriend’s guilt and he begins to grind him down.
Highly influential, half forgotten thriller / mystery filled with flashbacks, sharp dialogue and pursuits.
For me, this is where “the look” of Film Noir begins.

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The story and characters are not Noir, however.  Time is still, barely, pre World Wart II.
Returning G.I.s would carry disillusionment and a grimmer outlook.  The tone of this harks to an earlier time.
An underrated Victor Mature fine as the cornered sportswriter.
Betty Grable, before her mass popularity, radiant as lush American good girl.
The star, though, is Laird Cregar (only 24, looks older), tackle sized with purring voice.

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Cregar, and brilliantly stylized camera work.
I Wake Up Screaming is packed with angles, shadows, and inventive camera movement.
DVD has outstanding commentary by Eddie Muller:  anecdotes, histories, tragic lives of Cregar and Landis.
(OK, I don't always control the remote, dammit)

Nine Lives - 2016 - 6/10

Say you are a massively successful businessman, with titanic ego.
For her birthday, your small daughter asks for - again - a cat.
Instead of delegating your secretary, you yourself go to an obscure pet shop to get the feline.
And who’s running the cat shop?  Mr Perkins, or as he would say, Purrkins.

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Only wait!  Before he can say, “I hate cats,"  the tycoon lies in a coma, his soul in the cat!
What to do, what to do?
I suspect because we are in a resurgence of television, movies, especially family fare, tend to get overlooked.
Jennifer Garner, Kevin Spacey, Christopher Walken headline a comedy of a man who almost loses family and soul.
Warning - there are cat antics aplenty.  Cat haters, consider yourself warned.
6/10? Is it that good? I haven't seen it, have only heard the basic premise and expected maybe 3/10.
5/10 is total rubbish
6/10 is ok to watch
7/10 is MUST WATCH
(11-06-2016, 06:25 PM)addiesin Wrote: 6/10? Is it that good? I haven't seen it, have only heard the basic premise and expected maybe 3/10.

    This was a movie for children.  Family friendly, meaning no foul language, no tittie shots, no genital groping, no dismemberment, no pets getting slaughtered.
    Is this a great film?  No, not at all.  It is cute, slightly above average, a 6.  Well made, with a strong cast who put in decent performances (ain’t no Oscar bait here).
    This film is not made for hipsters.  There is none of the mocking irony now de rigueur in our society, to belittle any artistic endeavor.
    There is also a cat, however, and I realize there are males who truly hate and despise felines.  Cats are not subordinate, let alone subservient underlings, and that often sticks in the craw of certain menfolk.
    Do I recommend Nine Lives?  More or less.  For cat fans first, family viewing second.  How many feature films are out there?  300,000?  Plenty of alternatives.
    Would I watch again?  Never.  Are there 3s, 4s, 5s I enjoy more?  Yes!
    Note - I like cats, though they are akin to being on a permanent bad date.
Well thank you for the clarification. I am a fan of some of the actors and was curious about the tone. No irony but competently made, sounds like it doesn't quite have the so-bad-it's-good formula, so I might avoid it. Thanks.
^ No, it is not a smug or self winking film.
And I didn't mean to apply the hipster flag to all in general.
Now for a step down in enjoyment ...

Trop (peu) d 'amour - 1998 - 6/10
AKA - Too Much (Little) Love

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Patience and stamina draining French drama.
Also quite talky, no surprise there.
40 year old movie writer / director invites young author to his country estate.
She is a green 18, but he finds elements of her draft screenplay intriguing.
At the manor is wife #2 (25ish) and his daughter (16).
Insecurities, jealousies, game playing, bickering launch almost immediately.
The 18 year old is exceptionally irritating and adept at pushing emotional buttons.
Acting is great in that viewers wind up hating all characters.
Females around me winced and said,  “Welcome to our world.”
Rigor Mortis - 2013 - 7/10

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How did this nifty Hong Kong gem fly under my radar?
Actor whose career is on the skids checks into a ramshackle high rise.
Suspends the noose, kicks the stool away, only to get rescued.
Building is a way-station or limbo or purgatory or simply a dump.  Take your pick.
Marketed as Horror, this is way too artsy and moody for cheap thrill seekers.
Suffice to say the building conceals souls that will not rest.
Dead - undead - unhappy dead - humans with a death wish.
Dazzling, inspired visuals.  Plenty of “wow, look at that” moments.
Like Del Toro’s Crimson Peak (which I did not care for overall)) this drips style.
Moody first halt, spells and conflict punctuate the second half.
Kampen Om Tungtvannet - 2016 - 7/10
AKA - The Heavy Water Wars

Norway gets occupied by Germany during World War II.
One of the factories the Reich is keenly interested in is Norsk Hydro, where they make fertilizer, ammonia.
Especially the by-product, heavy water.

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Story relayed from four points of view:
The Nazis, British Intelligence, Norwegian Resistance, and Norsk Hydro management.  The latter understood the huge profits to be made, plus they were keeping employees working.
Lavish production values, sumptuous sets (early on, worse as war prolongs).
Main threads  follow the experiments race and the sabotage.
While this series boasts strong ratings, sabotage is not necessarily action.
Sabotage involves stealth, subterfuge, and invariably silence.
That may be challenging to the viewer demanding gun battles, fistfights, explosions, superheroes.
There are also several languages, meaning subtitles.  γνῶθι σεαυτόν

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Outstanding historical war drama for adults.
Note:  For action diehards, Michael Bay is filming his version of this piece of history.
Expect stylistic differences, action, superheroics - Michael Bay’s trademark.

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