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A few reviews

Vultural

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The Bridge - 2006 - 7/10

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Documentary about San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.
Focusing on the pedestrians. Specifically, the ones who climb over the guardrail and step into the next world.
Worldwide, Golden Gate Bridge is the most popular destination for suicides.
Lonely people, forgotten souls, neighbors and coworkers who have lost their self esteem and fallen into despair.
Great film. haunting score. Mostly interviews with friends and family, trying to explain why it happened.
Many of the best scenes are lingering views of the bridge . . . and the quiet splash underneath.
 

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Shiri - 1999 - 7/10

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Shiri was one of those films that put South Korea on the map for Asian action fans.
Also viewed as a passing of the action genre torch following the Hong Kong takeover in 1997.
Narrative revolves around a breakaway N Korean unit trying to disrupt peace gestures.
Espionage cat and mouse punctuated with high voltage gunfire sequences.
In the midst of all that a love story tries to blossom.
Red meat for Asian fanboys. Loosely remade into IRIS.
 

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Vinyl - 2012 - 6/10

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Cynical spoof of youth oriented music biz.
After four aging punkers bury a mate, they get drunk and jam up a can't miss single.
Only no one is interested in old gits. Same as it ever was.
Undeterred, the leader auditions a group of spotty faced kids to lipsync for them.
The whole time, I couldn't help but wonder what would happen to the youngsters once the old farts stepped out and jeered, "Yeah, that's us!" which was their plan.
Disturbing undercurrent in keen satire.
Juicy role for Phil Daniels as the never say die front man.
Top soundtrack by The Alarm.
 

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Sinister - 2012 - 6/10

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Promising thriller missteps early, succumbs to cliche, tired writing, formula.
True crime writer, Ethan Hawke (aarrgghh, another plot with that most boring main character, the writer), moves family into home where previous family was mass murdered.
Of course, he neglects to tell his wife any of those details.
In no time flat, he discovers cans of film, clues, and bumps in the night.
Does he move the family out? Ha, silly grasshopper, sensible character do not, for horror story, abide.
Guys ... men have been stabbed for less.
OK enough production, but the plot has been done dozens of times.
 

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TV's Frink said:
We could use a movie review thread here. Others should feel free to post their movie reviews as well.

I'm fine with Frick's suggestion, by the way.
This should not seen as an imperious palisade.
Anyone can scribble reviews, even if you were dragged to Smurfs 2 or Grown-Ups 2.
Share the pain.
 

TV's Frink

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Who is this Frick you speak of?
 

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Oops, brother of Frack maybe?

That'll teach me to cut n paste rather than type when I'm sleepy.
 

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A Company Man - 2012 - 6/10

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Large Korean metal exporting firm is actually a front for murder and assassination outfit.
One of the top trigger men has gotten bored, weary, exhausted and wants out.
Apparently, he's never watched a single movie about trying to leave the mob.
Expect the usual crescendo of suspicion, mistrust, "severance package," and noisy finale.
Interestingly, most of the characters behaved as bored 9-5 office drones - with weapons in desk drawers.
Derivative, copy cat fare, featuring many players from the much better K-Drama Ghost (Phantom).
 

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Nobody Else But You - 2011 - 6/10
AKA: Poupoupidou

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Crime novelist, suffering writer's block, reads about apparent suicide of Marilyn Monroe lookalike.
Off he drives, to one of the coldest, snowiest regions of France.
Where he chats with locals, reads the dead girl's diaries, and begins to smell a cover-up.
Good little mystery about very minor, local actress (she was the model for a cheese line) who treads out of her depth. Sharp touches of comedy and irony.
 

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John Dies At The End - 2012 - 5/10

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After taking a new drug, "soy sauce," two stoners stumble into the parallel world.
Clever film, but too wordy by far. Exposition delivers much of the plot.
Some genuinely funny moments, offset by strangeness.
All the leads are fine, effects OK. By the end, however, I was hearing Peggy Lee singing, "Is That All There Is?"
My expectations were too high after reading so much acclaim for this one.
If I caught this in a better mood, I might have given it a 6.
 

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Trance - 2013 - 6/10

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Latest brain mixer from Danny Boyle.
After the heist comes off, key mole Simon cannot remember where he stashed the theft.
Gang members beat and torture him without success.
Plan B: Hypnosis. Hire a hypnotist to get him to remember.
And then, plans go off the rails. Simon has other memories, buried.
Smart film, with a lot of tricks and twists.
Keep checking your messages during this one and you will quickly get lost.
 

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Side By Side - 2012 - 7/10

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Documentary hosted by Keanu Reeves.
He interviewed dozens of directors, cinematographers, editors, color designers, etc . . . about the ongoing transition from old technology to new.
From photo chemical film to digital. And the impact on movies, as we see them.
Many can't wait to iron out the flaws and drawbacks with the new. Others were wistful about the loss of "magic" as part of the artistry disappears, replaced by technology.
Highly engaging for film buffs.
 

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Dragon Swamp - 1969 - 6/10

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Vintage Shaw Brothers movie that itself is a throwback to an earlier, less bloody, era.
Plot involves the theft of a magical jade sword, with which the holder can control the martial arts world. In effect, the universe!
That said, the sword also is cursed and means doom for those who wield it.
Not as much fighting and swordsplay as one might expect, though there were a couple highly choreographed and stylized battles.
Main character, Qing-erh, is one of the most gullible and trusting females around.
She is also an orphan. Her family was severed by the sword when she was an infant, but as she starts hunting for the blade she makes fateful encounters.
A lot of fun, though I imagine part of the enjoyment depends on your tolerance for old school Hong Kong movies.
 

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Berberian Sound Studio - 2012 - 3/10

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Toby Jones plays sound designer hired to work on 70s Italian horror film.
Think Argento or Fulci (Zombie, Demons . . . )
Interesting for the first half hour, bogs down, grows pretentious, artsy, preposterous.
Reviews have been all over the map for this one.
Film looks good, though dark, and does a fine job showing how effects were made.
Jones plays his character one-note, the narrative wandered then stopped.
Horror for the wine n cheese crowd, and I did not care for this.
 

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The Mill And The Cross - 2011 - 7/10

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Arthouse cinema with Rutger Hauer, Michael York and Charlotte Rampling.
Deliberately paced film shows the creation of Bruegel’s The Way To Calvary. Hauer, as Bruegel, explains to his patron (York) various aspects of the composition. Tree of Life on one side, Tree of Death (catherine wheel) balanced on the other.
I was ignorant of Flemish history and couldn’t understand why red garbed Spanish conquistadors were killing heretics. Looked it up, the start of the Eighty Years War for Dutch independence was imminent.
Every image was jeweled painting in costume and design.
Film fell somewhere between Monk’s Book Of Days and Parajanov’s The Color Of Pomegranates.
Rewarding for the patient.
 

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The Thief Of Bagdad - 1924 - 8/10

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Fairbanks towering achievement, with eye popping stunts, incredible sets, and rousing action.
Lowly street thief falls in love with completely out of his league princess while Mongols plot to take over Bagdad.
Redemption, and the royal hand, can be gained through severe trials and heroic deeds.
One of those films for those who say, “I don’t like Silent Films.”
Great, great entertainment.
 

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Lovelace - 2013 - 7/10

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- when harry met linda -

Fairly absorbing drama on star of Deep Throat, focusing on her nubile early years and stardom peak.
Ugly, but not as vile as it could have been. A surprisingly strong cast throughout.
Very much in the Boogie Nights vein, but definitely lighter.

I saw the original Deep Throat back in the 70s at Hollywood Blvd's Pussycat Theater.
Part of a double bill with The Devil In Miss Jones. Theater was terribly plush, and never fully dark. Ushers prowled ceaselessly.
Aisles were packed with couples - porn was in its heyday. The era when free love hippies gave way to disco clubrats.

Lovelace caught a lot of that vibe. From the weed to the polyester wide lapels. A fun film, perhaps because I had good memories.
 

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Vampire Doll - 1970 - 4/10
AKA: Bloodsucking Doll - Bloody Eyes

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Cliche ridden horror film.
Boyfriend arrives at spooky house only to learn his fiancee just died!
Or did she?
Next, his sister arrives, looking for her brother (that boyfriend) because he’s been gone a week now.
The mother is remote and warns all visitors to leave, while the deranged servant keeps trying to murder everyone. (Good staff is so hard to find.)
Add a creepy doctor, sinister music, thunder and lightning, gravedigger, empty grave, the basement, cliff fights, chases. Nothing new here, though it went by quick enough.

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