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A few reviews


Well-known member
Library Wars - 2013 - 3/10


Opening sequence. A bustling library, packed with readers and book lovers, is attacked by a squad of black suited, masked men, toting machine guns and flame throwers.
Library staff massacred, patrons killed, 600,000 books go up in flames.
The government then clamps down on obscenity, hate books, controversial books.
Then books that give readers unacceptable thoughts: horror, murder, politics, violence ...
Who can save the books? The Library Defense Force is created, to stand against media censors!
Silly, far-fetched nonsense, based on popular manga, dawdles at length over fresh scrubbed recruit.
Between juvenile lulls, extended gun battles between the LDF and armies in riot gear devastate collections.
Preposterous beyond words. All these people reading physical books - reporters hustling to print EXTRAS!
No mention of cloud storage, filehosts, downloading, digital copies (one ref to ebooks).
All actors play this dead serious, with lots of yawn inducing speechifying, and self sacrifice.


Well-known member
Certified Copy - 2010 - 7/10
Copie Conforme


Confusing, talky French movie set in Tuscany.
A couple meet at a book lecture, then go on a small road trip. At a coffee shop, all points of reference shift.
Dense film, packed with mysteries and revelations. Questions whether a copy is equal to an original, or superior?
Deliberately composed to be misleading - for example - does the couple know each other?
Is a sham relationship better than a failing one?
In French, English and Italian.
Juliette Binoche stars. Gorgeous scenery. Definite arthouse fare.


Well-known member
Like Someone In Love - 2012 - 6/10


Another film by Abbas Kiarostami, though not as maddeningly provocative as Certified Copy.
Struggling female student, pretty (they are always pretty), earns needed income by visiting elder men.*
Her procurer pushes her toward a particular client, while urging her to drop her possessive, suspicious boyfriend.
Film almost exclusively talk (Japanese), broken with quiet moments as characters do mundane tasks.
Restless viewers will rush for the volleyball channel after twenty minutes.
Everyone else will recognize the slow trainwreck, and still be unprepared for the ending.

* I thought the casual co-ed hooker urban legend was an overused cliché.
Seen this plotline in way too many movies and TV shows.
Lo and behold, the local rag runs a story on a flock of pretty girls busted for solicitation.
All students at the most prestigious college in town, and a Christian one, at that.
They needed money for tuition, among other essentials.


Well-known member
Sweet Karma - 2009 - 6/10


Dark revenge exploitation flick, recalling grindhouse fare from the 70s.
Russian girl, Karma, goes to Toronto searching for her sister.
Sis had signed a contract for that great paying housekeeping job.
Which meant sex trade.
Naked women, pole dancing, strip clubs, rapes, fish net n leather.
Karma follows the revenge path. Knives, tire irons, strangling.
Old school vengeance. Film itself very grainy.


Well-known member
Vultural said:
Certified Copy - 2010 - 7/10
Copie Conforme Definite arthouse fare.

I was really looking forward to Certified Copy and it left me completely angry. :) I guess it was, because the film was throwing around hints and ideas of what was going on between the protagonists without ever really being clear about it. I don't need to be spoonfed that kind of information and I enjoy ambigious stories or endings, but I just didn't get why this film needed to be unclear about it in the first place. I didn't see any layer (storytellingwise) that went beyond confusing the audience. I don't know.


Well-known member
Alan Partridge - Alpha Papa - 2014 - 6/10


Sleepy, local radio station gets bought out by major broadcast chain.
Changes announced, staff “reassigned.” One reacts poorly, however.
Hit n miss comedy, but misfires are rare.
Sharp satire of media culture in all its fake forms.
Steve Coogan effective as self-centered sleazebag who hurls everyone under the bus.


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Ring Of Curse - 2011 - 6/10
AKA: Gomennasai


Another riff on the “grudge” theme, popular in J-films.
Setting is high school, and the usual devices apply.
Popular girls bully the misfit. Boys are non-existent props. Adults = where?
Girls decide to produce the school play and coerce the brainy weirdo to write the script.
Unluckily for them, she knows select words to write, in precise order, to launch a death curse.
Not a bad film. There are better haunted schoolgirl movies out there, but this was enjoyable enough and I watched this to the end bits past the credits.

Note: The lone available English subs had timing errors and malformed spelling.
I corrected those, and uploaded alternatives on SubScene.


Well-known member
We Are The Night - 2010 - 7/10
AKA: Wir sind die Nacht


Vampire tale, set in modern, neo-Weimar Berlin.
Throbbing nightclubs and blood cocktails. Quality looking design that worsens as the narrative proceeds.
The V word is never mentioned, by the way, and in this world, there are no male vampires.
Too aggressive for their own good, too self assured, too stupid. Male vamps extinct.
Story flows on a rockin’ pace, though, as with most vamp pictures, the characters don’t really “do” that much.
Boredom, weariness, thefts. Not enough killing, and sex was more spoken of than engaged in.
Action sequences were fairly creative.

Watched the dubbed version. Colorless voice actors, bad translation (I hope).
Worse, audio 5.1, the dub track was smack in the mono middle.


Well-known member
Bitter Feast - 2010 - 6/10


After a harsh review from, get this, a blog, chef Peter Grey loses his own restaurant, and gets canned from his own TV show. Does he dust himself off, start anew? Nooo! He kidnaps that nasty blogger critic and exacts vengeance.
If you’re so good at criticizing, let’s see if your own efforts match your standards.
Wicked horror tale of retribution against souls who cannot create, who eek a living as professional complainers.
Dark film that grows progressively darker. Early sequence of adolescent violence might upset the squeamish.
Bon appétit.


Well-known member
I’m So Excited! - 2013 - 2/10
AKA: Los Amantes Pasajeros


Shockingly awful film. Even more appalling / distressing, it was written & directed by Pedro Almodóvar, who had been on a career streak up to this gobbler.
Jet circles over Spain, owing to disabled landing gear, allowing alcohol guzzling crew and 1st Class passengers to confess sexual secrets. For no apparent reason, stewards prance musical number.
Sexual bathroom humor, rampant homosexual stereotypes, not to mention a sequence where a female passenger rapes an unconscious male. If genders were reversed, would it be so “funny”?
Benny Hill did this nudge-nudge, wink-wink nonsense 40 years ago. Yet times pass.
I ended up wondering if this is what Almodóvar values. Or it this reflects Spanish behavior.
And knowing I had wasted of 90 minutes of my life. Avoid.


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Spring Breakers - 2012 - 6/10


Diverting trash.
Four hotties roll down to St Pete for sun, sand, booze, drugs, parties, adventure.
They hook up with a low level gangsta (James Franco effective as sleaze) and strut into dark territory.
First half of film binge drinking, bare breasts, layered disjointed dialogue. Daylight.
Second half much gloomier.
Overall, not a fun ride, but a bad acid trip.
Pink ski masks glow great under blacklight.
Confession, I was the only one in the room who liked this one.


Well-known member
20 Feet From Stardom - 2013 - 5/10


Acclaimed documentary about background singers.
Some were genuinely cheated (Darlene Love), others held the spotlight for a bit (Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer).
Most were - are - simply that, background singers.
Filmmakers make this as interesting as they can, but it stuck me there would be little difference between this and a doc about Hollywood or television bit players.
Sly might have sung, “Everybody is a star,” but sorry, no, everybody is not.


Well-known member
Mysterious Doctor Satan - 1940 - 5/10


Vintage Republic serial.
The Copperhead tries to save the earth from Doctor Satan.
Satan intends to conquer the planet using robots that resemble and move like drunken trash cans.
Copperhead is secretly Bob Wayne (unknown if he was related to Bruce Wayne). No one else knows, even though he'll be Bob one second, then bound in as Copperhead, still wearing the same suit and tie. His voice is not disguised, and Copperhead drives Bob's cars!
Most action is of the fisticuff variety.
Not the best, though I've sat through worse.


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The Company You Keep - 2012 - 7/10


Nicely turned thriller of hunt for underground Weatherman.
If you are saying, “Wha?” that exposes an oversight in the script.
Precious little was given to the backstory, the late 60s - early 70s, when the Weathermen resorted to violence to end the Vietnam War, and also as a reaction to heavy handed government crackdowns.
Redford plays the underpaid, altruistic attorney who disappears into trains and rental cars, touching bygone comrades, with FBI agents and ambulance chasing reporters in pursuit.
Great cast with Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte, Julie Christie, Shia LeBeouf, Sam Elliot, among many others.
Held my interest throughout, followed by discussion why students are no longer so passionate.
“Cause there is no draft,” someone said. “Once students, male and female, get drafted for old mens’ wars, then they would make noise.”


Well-known member
The Devil’s Whore - 2008 - 6/10


One of the members bounced this film across the board, and, curious, I chased it down.
17th century costumer. Four part series of the English conflict between Cromwell and Royalist cavaliers.
I thought the show had nice production values, though rival hutong members declared it cheap and confusing.
Sketchy overview covered a lot of historical territory, from the vantage of a fictitious lady observing famous names making history.
Seemed like the bulk of the story was accurate (I checked Wiki), though shallow.
I was never involved nor interested.
Better for history buffs, unless cracking the research page isn’t beyond you.


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Vampire Prosecutor - 2011 - 6/10


First season of wildly popular series. More "prosecutor" than vampire, as the lead character employs his abilities to uncover bad guys.
Early episodes displayed a harder edge than later ones, though the story with so-called martial artists was a hoot. Unlike most K-dramas, there was no romantic subplot - praise the Lord.
Typical of drama fare, the series was self contained, though a door was left open for subsequent series.
The finale concluded an arc, and loose thread from the opening installment.
Well worth tracking down. Proper subs a must, consider joining translation forum, if necessary.


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Testament - 1988 - 8/10


Outstanding seven part biblical series hosted by John Romer.
Archaeologist, scholar, historian, Egyptologist, and serious Bible reader, Romer wanders from Mesopotamia and Egypt, trailing Abraham. Episodes show the gradual coalescence of Israel, the formation of the state, then the writing of the history - which became the Old Testament.
From there the splinter group of Christians, the spread and rise of the faith.
Romer is infectious, his love of the history and the land is apparent. Most of the photography hails from digs across the holy land.


Well-known member
^ Hm, interesting. I wonder how current the research/views presented are; I imagine a fair amount of religion studies have changed in the past two decades, if not always in fundamental ways. :)


Well-known member
PBS often airs a later series called Early Christians or something similar, with talking heads.
Dry, and somewhat provocative - wonder if that is the tiniest by design.
I would always recommend Romer's Egypt series or Byzantium.
My uncle is a minister, and I sent him several biblical series above.
My brother, on the other hand, married into and became a holy roller.
I once overheard an argument about dinosaurs existing in Jerusalem, Ephesus, Alexandria, with various prophets and apostles.
According to my brother & wife, the Bible makes no mention of raptors or brontos because they were simply so common.
I didn't say a word.


Well-known member
Le Couperet - 2005 - 7/10


Nifty French thriller.
Chemist loses his job to downsizing and outsourcing.
After two years, he remains unemployed.
He determines who his likely competitors are and decides to winnow the field.
Very black comedy grows grimmer and darker.
Based on Donald Westlake's The Axe.
Themes, far ahead of their time, still resonate today.
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