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A few reviews

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Bodyguard - 1948 - 6/10

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Lawrence Tierney plays detective who ignores the rules and book one too many times and gets suspended.
Not to worry, he is approached to work as bodyguard for wealthy old lady.
She protests she does not need a bodyguard, then a bullet smashes though the window of her study.
Detective stays the night, follows her when she slips out at 4:00 AM, gets whacked on the head, wakes up in a car with a dead cop beside him, the car is on train tracks with an express train howling ...
That’s like the first ten minutes of this rapid fire B-movie.
Pace is terrific, from constant tracking shots to enough situations to fill six movies.
Breathless thrust of the narrative keeps one from wondering, “What's the point?”
Tierney also plays a “good guy.” He’s no Boston Blackie, but it’s nice to view him in a role other than a caged tiger.
He has good chemistry with Priscilla Lane (her last role).
Script by a very young Robert Altman, of all people.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Obvious Child - 2014 - 6/10

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Stand up comedienne is having a bad day, bad night, bad stretch.
Her job is going out of business (another New York bookshop bites the dust).
Her boyfriend dumps her. She gets drunk, jumps a straight-arrow guy.
Next beat, she discovers she’s the winner of Baby Jackpot!
Story then follows the less traveled path - meaning the cliché of she and the guy hooking up, perhaps getting married, do right by the baby, does not happen.
Instead, she makes an appointment with the abortion clinic.
Realistic, funny at times (though her stand-up routine struck me a painful), based on a previous short film.
Therein is also a flaw with the film. Most of the actors from the short (2009) reprise their roles, and they are now in their 30s - obvious 30s. They look too old to play 20-somethings. Her actions don’t always ring true.
Intelligent, adult script with thoughtful, non-judgmental, non-hysterical performances.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
xxxHOLiC - 2013 - 7/10

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Inventive fantasy series based on anime based on manga.
Enroute from school, young student spies and is quickly whisked into the shop run by a dimensional witch.
What she runs is, plain and simple, a barter shop. She can grant wishes - but - there is a price to pay.
In any exchange, there is always a price.

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He can see ghosts. On the street, in school, everywhere. He is miserable.
There series is only eight episodes, thirty minutes each.
One story involves a variation on the monkey’s paw.
Aside from the dimensional witch, there are ghosts (not the friendly sort, either), tainted blood, and a fetchingly cruel wasp spider.
The set design is spare yet elegant. Costumes range from school uniforms to beautiful gowns to downright kinky.
This seems aimed for the young adult crowd, but anyone interested in Japanese folklore should appreciate.

Note - I reworked subs and uploaded at Addic7ed.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
That Day We Sang - 2014 - 7/10

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Pretty good recreation of what looks like a West End musical.
Filmmakers are shooting documentary of Manchester children, now 40 years later, who sang Purcell's 'Nymphs and Shepherds' and later cut a best selling 78 of that.
Story bounces back and forth between 1929 and 1969, showing characters as children and as adults.
As adults, two main characters attempt to connect. We glimpse their lives, hear their stories.
Of course, being a musical, tunes sally forth at the drop of a hat.
Melodies are enjoyable, though not exactly hummable.
First rate acting - plus, all leads have good voices. Tale is thin, but - please - this is a musical.
Recommended for fans of.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
My Little Princess - 2011 - 6/10

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Well done, if exceedingly disturbing mother / daughter story.
Isabel Huppert plays dysfunctional mom with artistic pretensions. Self delusions far outweigh actual talent.
She takes up photography and starts taking shots of her 10 year old daughter.
Clothes start getting removed, heavy lipstick applied, and poses become sexually provocative.

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Ma believes success has arrived as last and pushes boundaries even further.
The young girl, starting to grasp the concept of exploitation, tries to resist.
Unsettling and inappropriate in countless ways, also metaphor for parents as agents or pimps.
Huppert throws herself into this and is utterly convincing, though she is clearly too old for the role.
Newcomer Anamaria Vartolomei acquits herself well.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Cyborg Girl - 2008 - 6/10

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Cross between Terminator meets Robotrix meets Fembots,
mixing comedy, romance, time travel and apocalypse.
Whew!
Smokin’ hot female cyborg, wearing skin tight getups, sent to protect clueless young male.
Haruka Ayase is so scrumptious in this, one temporarily forgets how derivative the script is, or how the male lead couldn’t out act a paper sack.
Cyborg Girl is ostensibly a romantic comedy, heavy on broad based, juvenile behaviour.
Truly, the male has negative social skills and behaves like he has never spoken with a girl in his life.
Good special effects, used (wisely) sparingly. Plus a few plot twists near the end.
More innocent viewers would rank this higher - more skeptical souls would cut the score.
Probably make an innocuous date flick.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Wicked Woman - 1953 - 5/10

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Bottled blonde steps off the bus in the boondocks, rents a room in a dumpy boarding house, hires on as waitress in low end dive.
Another role in the checkered career of Beverly Michaels, who seemed to glide from one trashy film to another.
This one exudes sleaze. Flophouse sets filled with low life schemers and their petty dreams.
The plot is no great shakes, seduction and greed. Souls fighting for loose change.
Characters are all broken failures, though, and everything they attempt seems to collapse.
Not really dark enough or fatalistic to be a Noir proper, but sour candy for the fans of Michaels, and as good a film as any to start if you’re tempted by or have a weakness for hard blondes.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Goltzius And Pelican Company - 2012 - 6/10

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Warning!! Serious arthouse alert!
Peter Greenaway film. Those uninitiated to Mr Greenaway, beware.
In look and visual overload, this is much closer to Prospero’s Book rather than Cook, Thief, Wife, Lover.
17th century dramatist, scribe, bookbinder Goltzius approaches the Margrave of Alsace with the aim of illustrated book publication.
The first book will from the Old Testament, focusing on the salacious, the wicked, the steamy parables.
The Margrave asks to see the stories acted out first by Goltzius’ troupe, which they do - sans clothes.
As with other Greenaway films, there is copious nudity, full frontal, male and female.
Saturated colours, overlapping images, dense dialogue, multiple storylines, not to mention Biblical references and reenacting parables as pornography will be a challenging film for some.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Cold Comfort Farm - 1995 - 8/10

The story of Robert Poste's child, Flora, left orphaned by the unspecified demise of both parents. She decides to stay with relatives at Cold Comfort Farm. Kate Beckinsale shines in an early role.

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Droll comedy packed with memorable quotes.
"I saw something nasty in the woodshed."
"There have always been Starkadders on Cold Comfort Farm."
"If you come to this doomed house, what is there to save you?"
"Drain the well, there's a neighbor missing."
“Nature is all very well in her place, but she must not be allowed to make things untidy.”
"What do you do in the evenings, Seth? When you're not eating people."
"If there be any virgins amongst you, which is not likely, the world being in the wicked state that it is."
“There'll be no butter in hell!”

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Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Cop Hater - 1958 - 7/10

Late entry in Noir genre is a grimy, sweaty hunt for a cop killer.
Dialogue stilted initially, though one grows accustomed to it. Based on an Ed McBain novel. (For ripe pulp prose, track down episodes of “Broadway Is My Beat,” OTR from the 50s.)
From the look of the barely clad females, air conditioning had not been invented yet.
Hot summer, lingerie cheesecake cooling in front of open blade fans.
Many picture compositions appear yanked off detective paperbacks.

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The precinct knuckles down, slaps suspects, cuts deals. Sensitive, good-guy cops, no.
Robert Loggia is the main star. Look for a young Jerry Orbach (Law & Order) as delinquent gang leader.

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Film simmers and boils into a bruising finish with twist ending.
Sleazy, enjoyable trash.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Two Of Us - 2000 - 7/10

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In 1976, Paul dropped in on John at the Dakota.
This film "speculated" on what they did and discussed.
The film also omitted two other persons who were there that day, Linda and Yoko.
This felt like a small play, but was enjoyable and well acted. Aiden Quinn had, perhaps, the tougher part playing Paulie. His Paul was well grounded, worldly, and not merely the "cute Beatle." John, holed up in his Dakota fortress, was still troubled by demons, though when we went out, the prankster emerged.
Few tunes, by the way.
Creative fly on the wall concept, well executed.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Pride - 2014 - 7/10

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Feel good movie of LGSM (Gays Lesbians Support the Miners), circa 1984, when Thatcher tories struggled to break the coal miner union.
The government had seized the assets of the Mining Union and were literally starving miners into compliance.
Unlikely support came from gays and lesbians who raised money through bucket drives, later benefit concerts.
An awkward pairing, especially for blue collar males, and film goes into that.
Community is reluctant, unsure, uneasy. Homophobia contagion, or fear thereof.
Still, LGSM were the only group that gave generous and consistent support.
Film features a slew of top actors, including Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton, as well as a fabulous 80s soundtrack.
Dominic West has show stopping moment when he teaches non-dancing miners that one of the quickest ways to catch the feminine eye is to kill on the dancefloor.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Born To Be Bad - 1934 - 5/10

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Cynical Pre-Code film about 22 year old unwed mother and her 7 year old son.
Mom earns money as an escort (figure it out) while junior runs with gangs and drinks mugs of beer at the house.
When he runs under a delivery truck, they exaggerate the injury and try to hustle the company.
Ought to be more fun, but mother and son play unpleasant to perfection.
One of the films the Legion Of Decency likely pointed at when wanting to tighten the Production Code.
Very young Cary Grant as naive company president, Loretta Young (before she became Miss Wholesome) as call girl.
Short - bitter tasting - with preposterous finale.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Sign - 2011 - 5/10

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Exasperating K-drama that takes forever to find its groove, only to perform a cliff dive at the end.
I cannot decide whether to blame incompetent writing or wrong headed directing, probably a combination.
Episodic show occurring in and around the NFS (National Forensic Service). Yes, the coroners. Corpse cutters.
A new crime/mystery happens ever few weeks and wraps in a couple of episodes. In each time, the examiners are summoned to determine what transpired. Some are frightening, one poignant, others are mis-assumptions.
Weaving throughout the narrative is the murder of a beloved pop singer, the cover up, the destruction of evidence, the conspiracy, and the bullheaded doctor who probes remorselessly toward the truth.
The doctor is extraordinarily unlikeable, argumentative, with the manners of a pitbull. No way, no matter how gifted, such an individual would be tolerated in any structured hierarchy.
The three assistants are complete and utter idiots. Their main purpose seems little more than comic relief. Any professional skills they may possess is dwarfed by their moronic behaviour.
After ten episodes, the characters (and writers) find their footing and the cartoon antics subside, the stories tighten.
Still ... viewers had to endure half the series before this locked into an intense thriller.
The final episode was moving - and preposterous. The finale seemed rushed, contrived, and unbelievable.
There were well reported production problems, but the root cause seemed to point toward the writers who apparently had written themselves into a corner.

This was one of the chilliest K-dramas I have ever watched. Most of this was photographed in bleak winter. It looked downright cold. Definitely not the travel postcard for Korea tourism.
Three lead male characters boasted spiky haircuts. Couldn’t tell if this is a fashion trend, but it was noticeable.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
What If - 2014 - 7/10

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Tart romantic comedy.
Couple meet at a party, chat, drift away, but leave together so he walks her home.
She doesn’t invite him inside, advising her boyfriend will be so worried.
Instead, she writes down her phone number and says “call me.”
Oh yeah, whatever.
Still, being squarely in the romantic genre, they do succumb to natural attraction and become buddies.
Each is on the other’s friend shelf.
Dialogue driven film, rather clever dialogue, with characters who are career professionals, who don’t want to cause or inflict emotional carnage, but who also don’t want to miss out on the real thing.
Good date film. Know thyself, though. These are not giggling twenty year olds, nor is the film aimed at that crowd.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Catching Milat - 2015 - 7/10

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Engrossing two-part series on Ivan Milat, considered the worst serial-killer in Australia’s history.
Milat preyed on young hitch-hikers, particularly foreign visitors.
Series is more about police dragnet trying to find and arrest the Balanglo Forest killer.
Tense nail-biter with several grisly scenes.
Malcolm Kennard gives nightmares with razor keen performance.
Definitely worth seeing if you have ever hitch-hiked or if thumbing a ride is in your vacation plans.
Parents of hitch-hikers - no no no.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
The Hundred-Foot Journey - 2014 - 6/10

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Young Indian chef sets up establishment across from haute cuisine in rural France.
Rivalry turns into alliance when starchy matriarch realizes his culinary gifts can get her restaurant a second Michelin star.
Story has the depth of a soufflé and is longish, with nary a Frenchman in sight.
Produced by Oprah Winfrey and Stephan Spielberg (both US). Directed by Lasse Hallström (Sweden) from an American novel. Helen Mirren (UK) plays the Gallic proprietress.
Popular with the arthouse crowd who also call themselves foodies.
Pleasant enough way to kill a couple hours, might be more enjoyable on big screen.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Mr Hoppy’s Geheimnis - 2014 - 5/10
AKA: Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot

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Absurd, feel good twaddle of lonelyhearts and tortoises.
Flat neighbors, one floor apart, chat from balcony to balcony.
She obsesses over her pet tortoise. “Will he ever grow?”
He decides to help by substituting a slightly larger creature every couple of days.
To do so, he purchases 100 tortoises of varying sizes. (I also spied some red eared sliders, but will ignore.)
Does she notice differing shell patterns? - No -
Do neighbors notice stench from 100 turtles? - No -
Pace is killingly slow (padded). I kept reminding myself the original story had been written for children, hence the silly, clueless characters.
No ... children would have viewed them as foolish twits, too.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
The Gorgon - 1964 - 6/10

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Atmospheric Horror film with Cushing and Lee.
Teutonic village plagued during full moon when some hapless victim turned stone.
Why was the Gorgon in that village to begin with?
One of several unanswered questions in handsome, albeit lethargic, Hammer production.
Well thought out set design with grays and slate exteriors to match the stone and rock motif.
Interiors awash in intense colours, hallmark of the Technicolpr process.
Reason I noted all that was because the pace was slow - slow - slow.
Minutes pass as characters methodically walk about those crafted sets.
Cushing mostly seen in first half of film, Lee in second.
For Dr Who fans, head of police was Patrick Troughton.
Fine for classic film buffs, might put modern fans to sleep.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Throwback - 2013 - 4/10

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Noticed this dubious winner on the shelf, read terrible reviews.
Grabbed it anyway. Marshmallow for brains here.
Of particular note was writer / director / producer = same name.
Likewise producer / star. Small cast alert.
Australian bush prospectors are hunting for lost treasure of legendary Thunderclap Newman.
They find treasure relatively easily, but then they get found by the Yowie.
Think Sasquatch, Bigfoot, Yeti. Huge furry creature who must be miserable under the Australia sun.
Beautiful photography cannot overcome dreadful editing.
Almost every single scene goes on two - three beats too long. Whole film is padded.
Minimal verbal exchanges, which is OK, but also minimal action and no twists or decent story telling.
 
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