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A few reviews

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
The Lineup - 1958 - 6/10

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Taut film spinoff from old (lost?) 50s TV show called San Francisco Beat.
Don Siegel directs retrieval caper of twin hoods fetching merchandise smuggled in by innocent tourists.
Eli Wallach terrific as barely restrained, borderline psychotic killer.
Narrative sorta ho-hum cops a step behind bad guys. Good use of Bay locations.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
American Hustle - 2013 - 6/10

Man, I was looking forward to this. Thinking it would be like Boogie Nights.
Nope.
Odd interpretation of the AbScam sting, where politicos took bribes for influence.
FBI coerces low level hustlers to run the scam.
Main FBI handler displays less intelligence than my cat, other agents little more than career chasers.
Fashion seemed right. There weren’t enough drugs, music was incorrect.
Noticing crap like that kept yanking me out of the flow.
Plus, I had already heard and read so much ballyhoo about this my expectations were unreasonable.
Compensations included Adams and Lawrence as outstanding distractions, though.

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Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Hollywood: A Celebration Of American Silent Film - 1980 - 9/10

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One of the greatest documentaries about filmmaking, and the greatest documentary on the Silent Era.
Definitive, 13 part series about the rise, flowering, and overnight shattering of silent films.
Narrated by James Mason. Dozens of stars, directors, screenwriters, stunt men, etc ... were interviewed.
Film clips, stills, music. Historian or fan, this is a must!
Kenneth Brownlow interviewed surviving participants in the nick of time. Now they are all gone.
Hollywood: A Celebration Of The American Silent Film aired in 1980. It was scheduled for DVD release in 2004, then was withdrawn over legal wrangling over money by various estates. On IMDB one can see the DVD box, which never came out.

All episodes available from time to time. YouTube and other routes.
Copies from Laserdisc offer best quality.
Interviews with Brownlow indicate DVD release unlikely.
 

ThrowgnCpr

Staff Member
Vultural said:
Hollywood: A Celebration Of American Silent Film - 1980 - 9/10


One of the greatest documentaries about filmmaking, and the greatest documentary on the Silent Era.
Definitive, 13 part series about the rise, flowering, and overnight shattering of silent films.
Narrated by James Mason. Dozens of stars, directors, screenwriters, stunt men, etc ... were interviewed.
Film clips, stills, music. Historian or fan, this is a must!
Kenneth Brownlow interviewed surviving participants in the nick of time. Now they are all gone.
Hollywood: A Celebration Of The American Silent Film aired in 1980. It was scheduled for DVD release in 2004, then was withdrawn over legal wrangling over money by various estates. On IMDB one can see the DVD box, which never came out.

All episodes available from time to time. YouTube and other routes.
Copies from Laserdisc offer best quality.
Interviews with Brownlow indicate DVD release unlikely.


Damn - 9/10. It seems like this would be a really good preservation project. maybe [MENTION=4826]AvP[/MENTION] would be interested in tackling it.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
ThrowgnCpr said:
Damn - this would be a really good preservation project. maybe AvP would be interested in tackling it.

Well ... authentic Laserdisc boxes sell for $500 and up. And fewer and fewer souls still have LD units.
DVD+R copies from LD can be found for $30.00. In my view, those would be considered bootlegs and unusable for any preservation project.
The YouTube chapters are 360p VHS rips with sync issues and bottom screen distortion.
For all that, this remains the easiest way fans can view the series.
Shrug and settle for second rate. Until heirs of deceased interviewers cease demanding juicy royalties.
 

bionicbob

Well-known member
Donor
Faneditor
Vultural said:
American Hustle - 2013 - 6/10

Man, I was looking forward to this. Thinking it would be like Boogie Nights.
Nope.
Odd interpretation of the AbScam sting, where politicos took bribes for influence.
FBI coerces low level hustlers to run the scam.
Main FBI handler displays less intelligence than my cat, other agents little more than career chasers.
Fashion seemed right. There weren’t enough drugs, music was incorrect.
Noticing crap like that kept yanking me out of the flow.
Plus, I had already heard and read so much ballyhoo about this my expectations were unreasonable.
Compensations included Adams and Lawrence as outstanding distractions, though.

2jdmn87.jpg


ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS MOVIE!!! :thumb:
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Bastards (Les Salauds) - 2013 - 7/10

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Existential French Noir, grim and fatalistic.
Seaman summoned home after brother-in-law commits suicide.
Niece has been raped to the point of requiring repair surgery.
Sister shoves him toward vengeance.
Filmed mostly in gloomy interiors or at night.
Minimal dialogue, unusual for a French flick.
Physical similarity between sister and “villain’s” wife add to confusion.
Limited exposition, viewer on his/her own to grasp roles and backstory.
Typical of Noir, the deeper the seaman digs, the filthier and uglier the truth.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
300: Rise Of An Empire - 2013 - 5/10

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Not quite as good as 300, but good enough, I suppose.
Narrative runs parallel to the Spartans, finally shifting to the big battle at Salamis.
Beware, if you are watching this for Greek history class.
Accuracy completely jettisoned.
Hordes of attractive, bare chested males (mostly the CG breed) scream and slash in a bluish world.
Other than some female warriors, nothing new for this sequel.
Not a bad film, merely the over reliance on action.
Enjoyed it for what it was - midnight popcorn.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Cold Eyes - 2013 - 5/10

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Shameless, scene for scene Korean remake of Eyes In The Sky (HK - 2007).
Tightly synchronized gang executes daring daylight robberies, foiling hundreds of surveillance cameras.
Special security branch gets involved, and begins sifting the slimmest of clues.
Straight faced, high tech glossy, slick as all can be, but not necessarily better than the Hong Kong original.
Lacks any sense of humour, and the characters are little more than faces.
Watch for nice cameo by Simon Yam near the end.
 

Gatos

Well-known member
Faneditor
I love this thread.

1) Where does Vultural find the time to watch so many movies?

2) Vultural has introduced me to movies I would have never heard of, had it not been for this thread. (So, thanks!)
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
The Mysterians - 1957 - 6/10

Vintage invasion film from Toho!
Earth (Japan) gets invaded by denizens from Mysteroid, planet five, between Mars and Jupiter.
Give yourself a gold star if you’re going, “Wait a minute, there ain’t no ...”
Thanks to war between themselves, Mysteroid blew itself up and only Asteroid Belt rubble remains.
First inkling on the invasion occurs when Moguera, a clumsy, giant robot, lumbers from the woods and starts wrecking neighboring villages and then troops.

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Then the big ole white dome erupts out of the landscape near Mr Fuji and the Mysterians start making demands.
They want two square miles of land for themselves.
And women.
Leaders can shrug off the land grab, but seizing womenfolk? War!
Big budget SciFi with impressive effects (for 1957), mattes, miniatures, interiors, and great score.

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Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Lord Of Tears - 2013 - 4/10

Arthouse horror charges from the gate, takes a wrong turn midway, gimps to the finish.
Scottish teacher inherits city house, plus a stately manor house, and a parental warning to “never go to the manor.”
Sooner than you can suggest he sell, he’s returned to the country.
Opening packed with moody imagery, black n white stills, turbulent clouds, all artfully sequenced and underlaid with an evocative score.
Twenty some minutes in, the American female appears, and the story grinds to a stop.
The girl cannot act, her character is annoying, and one wonders why the director kept her. US demographic?
Seriously, one could discard 75% of her screen time and the film would be better for it.
Oh yeah, there is also a character with a booming voice, wearing a dinner suit and an owl head.
Disappointing because Tears began so well, though it might have been a one-note tale.

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Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Der Baader-Meinhof Komplex - 2008 - 7/10

After reading about the SLA (Symbionese Liberation Army), and what a group of amateur halfwits they were, I dug this out.

Baader Meinhof follows the genesis of the gang from 60s student protesters, and their radicalization into the RAF (Red Army Faction) following brutal police crackdowns.

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During the bloody 70s, the RAF robbed banks to raise funds, bombed police stations and US military bases in Germany, assassinated prosecutors, bankers, ex Nazi businessmen, killing at least 34.

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Film captures all that, including public sympathy for the RAF, political maneuvering to crush the members, the growth of second and third generation members after incarceration of the leaders, and continued terror into the 90s.
Violent, gory history lesson, upsetting the delusion the 60s was all peace, love and understanding.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Limits Of Control - 2009 - 4/10

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What the hell was that?
Oh, a Jim Jarmusch film. No wonder it was incomprehensible.
Hitman Isaach De Bankole journeys across southern Spain,
and receives instructions from quirky messengers along the way.
Target is shrouded, as are the reasons. Narrative glides between literal and allegory.
Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Bill Murray and Paz de la Huerta play bit parts.
The scenery was great, moving from Madrid to Sevilla into the Andalusian countryside.
Pace never picks up, and viewers are given few clues, though that is part of the charm of a Jarmusch film, or reasons for annoyance towards his oeuvre.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Confessions Of An Opium Eater - 1962 - 6/10
AKA: Souls For Sale

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Strange, cult gem, set in 1902 San Francisco.
Gilbert De Quincey (Vincent Price) gets involved in Tong wars, slave trafficking, opium dens.
Price seems to work for one side, then the other, while beautiful girls hang suspended inside bamboo cages, waiting to be bartered for opium bricks.
Exteriors shrouded with fog to disguise minimal sets, though the entire film has a dreamy (drugged) quality.
Secret tunnels, subterranean waterways, trick doors add to the maze vibe.
Movie filled with fortune cookie dialogue:
“The more we approach our enemies the more they think of us as lambs.”
“The superior man blames himself, the inferior man blames others.”
“There is not poison in a green snake’s mouth, as in a woman’s heart.”
“The path of righteousness lies around us, for the eye that will see and the foot that will follow.”
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Incendies - 2011 - 7/10

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The notary addresses the twins (male y female) during the reading of their mother’s last will and testament.
The girl is given an envelope to give to their father. What father? Mom had always been the lone parent.
The son is given an envelope to give to their brother. Brother? What brother?
The children leave Canada and head toward their mother’s birthplace. Lebanon.
And begin to unravel who their mother truly was.
In the 70s, Lebanon succumbed to a brutal civil war between Christians and Muslims.
Dual storylines of the orphans following threads, learning of horrors, mixed with their mother’s youthful journey from fire and death and unfinished promises.
Violence, murders, torture, and dark revelations set the tone.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Grabbers - 2012 - 5/10

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Irish horror comedy set on remote island facing big storm.
Just in time for an alien invasion!
Giant octopods attack boats, pilot whale, then clamber ashore.
Next meal, tasty humans, though it spits out those too crunchy heads.
Apparently the big squids suffer alcohol allergies, which village inhabitants discover.
Expect serious drinking.
Not as gory as it could have been, and certainly not as funny as it should have been.
Many wasted opportunities. Might seem better if your brain is hammered.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Underworld U.S.A. - 1961 - 7/10
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Murderous Noir that came out at the very end of the Noir cycle.
Early on, a young boy watches his father beaten to death by four thugs.
Twenty years later, the grown boy, now a hardened criminal, targets his father’s killers, bigwigs in the Syndicate.
How this passed the Production Code is beyond me. Crossed a lot of lines, up to and including #14, cruelty to children.

I hunted this down because Samuel Fuller directed and Beatrice Kay played Robertson’s mother figure.
(Kay, an acquired taste, did much to keep alive Gay 90s music and vintage Music Hall, not treating songs as crystal relics, but as naughty, salacious, roisterous turns.)
 
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