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A few reviews

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Mr. Holmes - 2015 - 6/10

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Character study of the consulting detective played by the peerless Ian McKellen.
Holmes has survived friends and family, as well as WWI and WWII, which I find hard to swallow.
The brilliant mind, now into its 90s, struggles with dementia and confused memories.
Companions include housekeeper and her son, and a doctor who looks in on him.
Otherwise, he is a man who has outlived his time and lingers in an era that sweeps past.
I appreciated this movie more than I enjoyed it.
I am at the age where select neighbors and relatives collapse into confined rooms.
Not the most pleasant of reminders that this future will be mine sooner than later.
Film echoes earlier Robin And Marion (1976) which was rather depressing also.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Star Trek - Renegades - 2015 - 6/10

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Eagerly awaited fanfilm exploring the underbelly of the Trekverse.
Plot involves embittered souls erasing worlds rich in dilithium crystals.
Walter Koenig plays Admiral Chekov, though his character seems more aligned to Bester of Babylon 5.
Along with Tuvok (Tim Russ - who also directs) they “authorize” a ship of outlaws and misfits to investigate.
Battered cliché, true, but that’s the imaginative hook the writers devised.
Unlike most Trekverse tales, this is quite heavy on action and seldom dull.
After the opening (yawn inducing sitting and scribbling) the narrative barrels along for 45 minutes, pauses, races to the finish.
The story is so brisk, one cannot dwell on plot holes.
This ain’t your father’s Trek. Darker and more violent.
Starfleet Captain Alvarez shoots first, lies in ambush, ignores boundary lines.
Good costumes, top notch models and special effects, lame CGI.

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Entertaining. Better than most fanfilms I have watched.
A tighter, more thought out script would have improved this.

One of my issues with Trekverse is how privileged species travel about in magical spaceships, yet half of the lesser members live in dirt. Caves, tunnels, dirty prisons.
Unless you belong to Starfleet, you are - what? - swine?
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
The Brest Fortress // Fortress Of War - 2010 - 7/10
AKA - Брестская Kрепость

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No-holds barred WWII guts n glory film, told from the besieged Soviet point of view.
In 1941, the Soviets were unprepared, poorly trained, complacent, and, if you recall your history, supplying raw materials to their German “ally” up to the last hour.
The Brest fortress is an obsolete relic, ill equipped for the Wehrmacht, at its zenith in '41.
Film scores in not being jingoistic or packed with propaganda. Poor planning results in failure.
Even heroism is no match for Stukas, Panzers and machine gun fire.
Film is problematic, however, in that it provides scant background details.
Nothing is shown of the German planning for Operation Barbarossa, or the overall offensive around Minsk.
Of course, the entire film is from the Soviet defenders’ perspective, and they would be likewise ignorant of German High Command strategy.
There are also an awful lot of characters in this and roles and ranks are often confusing.
Don’t let that deter you, if curious. Hunt down the documentary series Soviet Storm if truly interested.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
The Bishop’s Wife - 1947 - 7/10

Once a perennial Yule favorite, less shown nowadays.
Bishop (non Catholic) prays for help.
Not guidance, not solutions, help.
An angel is sent - Cary Grant.
The angel works, likes God, in mysterious ways, not always understandable.
A small clutch of characters are touched by him, shown the light or their burdens eased.
Old fashioned, lifting movie. Wry, not syrupy. Gentle, not noisy. Several unforgettable scenes.
Impossible to imagine this remade today, the generation of cynicism giving way to the ironic age.
Most could not imagine a chance encounter with the Divine.

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Gaith

Well-known member
Faneditor
Vultural said:
Mr. Holmes - 2015 - 6/10

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[...]
I appreciated this movie more than I enjoyed it.
[...]
That does seem to be the prevailing reaction. Myself, as a huge fan of Nicholas Meyer's three Holmes novels, I have a hard time psyching myself up for such a historically inaccurate tale, as The Seven-Per-Cent Solution clearly establishes that the good doctor, and not the detective, outlives his friend. ;-)
 

TM2YC

Staff Member
Donor
Faneditor
I thought 'Mr. Holmes' was a masterpiece, perfect in every way and working on so many levels. But if I had to play devil's advocate... I could see the slow pacing and total lack of any action (or activity) could test people's patience if they aren't in the mood to spend an hour or two staring at the wrinkled landscape of Sir Ian's face while he mumbles and growls semi-coherantly.
 

bionicbob

Well-known member
Donor
Faneditor
Vultural said:
The Bishop’s Wife - 1947 - 7/10

Once a perennial Yule favorite, less shown nowadays.
Bishop (non Catholic) prays for help.
Not guidance, not solutions, help.
An angel is sent - Cary Grant.
The angel works, likes God, in mysterious ways, not always understandable.
A small clutch of characters are touched by him, shown the light or their burdens eased.
Old fashioned, lifting movie. Wry, not syrupy. Gentle, not noisy. Several unforgettable scenes.
Impossible to imagine this remade today, the generation of cynicism giving way to the ironic age.
Most could not imagine a chance encounter with the Divine.

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Actually this was remade in the 90s lol!
Directed by Penny Marshall, starring Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston.
Funny and enjoyable, but no where near as magical or powerful as the original.

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Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Oh, you are correct, BBob.
When I wrote remade today, I meant today.
We are very far removed from 1996, when The Preacher's Wife had its flurry.
2015 is more cynical and ironic, and I don't even think Denzel and Whitney
would have been able to release their film unless on Hallmark or Lifetime.

Not sure. Don't want to sound like a Grouch.
Difficult time of year, this.
 

baileym43

Well-known member
Vultural said:
Don't want to sound like a Grouch.
Difficult time of year, this.
[MENTION=17386]Vultural[/MENTION], something to brighten your day, maybe just a moment of it.
i'm a fan of your reviews.
without giving away the whole film, you say so much about it.
i'm not big on foreign films and you make me want to watch them.
and your style, the short, broken sentences and phrases.
often only two words. poetic.
i tried to mimic it just now, not even close.
you make me want to write up my own reviews for this thread but i'm afraid i'm out classed.
keep going with them, this thread is sometimes the best part of my night. i work third shift.
a not very busy third shift. Merry Christmas.
 

bionicbob

Well-known member
Donor
Faneditor
^Ditto!:)

Always love a good [MENTION=17386]Vultural[/MENTION] review :thumb:

Maybe its time to revisit some Christmas classics -- Ben Hur, Die Hard, Gremlins, Batman Returns, SMDM "A Bionic Christmas" lol -- to lift your holiday spirits?

Either way buddy, keep those reviews coming! :pop2:

And Happy Holidays to you and yours! :)
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
TiMER - 2009 - 6/10

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Indie flick.
A wrist implant allows wearers to know exactly when they will meet their life partner. Their "soul mate."
Great, if the wait is six months or so. What if it is 30 years?
Do you date around with Mr. Right Now, waiting for Mr. Right to finally appear?
TiMER's heroine's band reads 00 - 00 - 00:00. Her true love is either dead or never bothered with the implant.
She meets someone who is fun, who refuses to get the implant. Can she fall in love the old-fashioned way?
With arguments, misunderstandings, and no guarantee of love.
Bittersweet.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Crosswinds - 1951 - 6/10

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Old-fashioned, Technicolor adventure yarn from Paramount.
Small time skipper, with a really nice boat, gets fleeced out of same boat by good natured con man.
A hunt for hidden pearls lands him into trouble with the local constabulary.
Next, the skipper teams up with a pair of genial swindlers.
Everyone soon hurries to the crash site of a plane packed with gold bullion.
The coordinates are in crocodile infested waters, patrolled by a village of head-hunters!
Solid cast (John Payne, Forrest Tucker, Rhonda Fleming) are suitably middle aged weary.
Alliances form and break as all aboard maneuver for that gold, and dodge spears, arrows, blowdarts, and those ever chomping crocodiles.
Old school in every sense of the word.
Observant viewers will note underwater scenes take place in the exact same location each time.

Though supposedly set in New Guinea, opening credits listed Weeki Wachee, a real place I used to visit as a kid.
Weeki Wachee, still flourishing in Florida, is tourist trap famed for its “live mermaids” underwater act.
In fact - and sorry for digressing - you can write the mermaids and they will write you back!
The park refers to this as - I kid you not - “Tail Mail.”

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Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Best Of Enemies - 2015 - 7/10

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Giving this 7/10 as a piece of theatre. Entertainment.
For accuracy, I am unsure. For “coulda - shoulda” this would score lower.
In 1968, third rate network ABC decided to have two debaters during the political conventions.
Conservative William F Buckley Jr and Liberal Gore Vidal.
Both could be considered privileged aristocrats.
The doc focused not so much on issues, not even on the debates, but on the personality clashes and dislike each had of the other.
Filmmakers high lit the cat fight, which makes for juicy watching, though empty of substance. Think FOX.
Ubiquitous talking heads contribute little information.
Much could have been shown about the subsequent path of each man. Buckley became more liberal, Gore more conservative. Show is about the debates, however. Since the full debates are not shown there is no context.
Refreshing to see articulate and intellectually sharp individuals.

Aside - I actually watched the 68 conventions, and watched later ones until 1980. They were unpredictable and royally entertaining. After 1980 they became micro-managed and boring.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Holiday In Handcuffs - 2007 - 5/10

Tempting Fate -

Oh, disaster.
I brought this upon myself.
In a post or two earlier, I mentioned Hallmark or Lifetime. Loki, god of mischief, must have overheard and decided, “Here you go, loser.”

I sat on one end of the sofa, the cat on the other. I had just loaded a perennial holiday favorite, Ric Burns’ festive, The Donner Party, when my bride and her sister returned from late shopping.
“Look, we found a fun family movie in the dollar bin.”
“Huh?”
“You know, something to chase away the holiday blues.”
“I don’t know about you two, but I’m not blue,” I declared. “I sent all my packages out by December 10. All of my recipients have already received their parcels.”
“Well, aren’t you just Mister Perfect?”
“All of my household gift buying is done, too,” I continued. “Presents wrapped, piled in the corner over there.”
Both rolled their eyes, then one asked, “What are you watching?”
“Donner Party,” I said. “Pretty snowflakes and a winter feast.”
“No - no - no. That’s horrible!”
“I know!” one waved the DVD, “let’s watch Holiday In Handcuffs!”
“Huh?”
Then the other pointed. “What are you drinking?”
I held a tumbler with two ice cubes clinking in a sea of gold.
“Medicine,” I replied.
“You’ve had quite enough medicine this week,” my wife took the glass and headed toward the kitchen.
“Hey! Dude!”
She glanced over her shoulder, “Dudette, please.”
Seconds later, she returned with a wineglass, red ribbon wrapped on the stem along with a sprig of plastic holly.
“What’s this?”
“Chardonnay,” she said.
“Electric Raindeer vineyard,” her sister grinned.
Oh, joy, I thought. Long ago, I realized it was pointless to argue with women. They could persist for hours, days, weeks. I didn’t have the stamina.
The Donners were ejected, the handcuff thing inserted.
“What is this?” I grumbled. “Please tell me the handcuffs involve Miss September.”
“Of course not. This is Hallmark, or something similar.”
“Wholesome holiday entertainment,” said the other, and the sisters toasted glasses.
Five minutes in, the cat, doubtless looking forward to 90 minutes of human misery, starvation and cannibalism, stepped off the couch and sauntered away.
I was less fortunate.

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Holiday family folly.
Young woman, facing another dateless family Christmas reunion, kidnaps a completely unknown restaurant customer at musket point. Yes, musket point. OK, at gunpoint.
One way or another, she hauls him into snow blanketed oblivion.
The family is seemingly perfect. The backyard even has an outdoor ice rink!
Will the mismatched couple fall in love?
Aarrgghh!!

Now - what if roles were reversed? A guy kidnaps a female.
Drags her to his backwoods family. Bet you’re thinking Texas Chainsaw kinfolk.
Not here. Not remotely.
Aarrgghh!!
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
West Of Zanzibar - 1928 - 7/10

A “friend" tells shocked husband that his wife is leaving with him.
When the husband protests, the friend pushes him off a balcony. He falls and breaks his back.
Permanently paralyzed.
Later the wife returns, only to die, leaving hubby with an illegitimate daughter to raise.
The husband vows revenge against the man who stole his wife, and against the brat.
Eventually he tracks his rival to Zanzibar. He plots revenge, using the daughter whom he had raised in a brothel.

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One of the most sordid and unpleasant of all Silent films, Tod Browning's Zanzibar still packs a wallop.
Lon Chaney amazing as embittered man, consumed by vengeance. Lionel Barrymore his slippery rival.
The opening, which I described above, takes about five minutes, and the plot moves like brushfire.
Ignore sappy ending which was likely pegged on to appease censors.
A wonderfully ugly film.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Partir - 2009 - 5/10
AKA - Leaving

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Implausible French melodrama.
Married woman develops the hots for the handyman hired to clear out the barn.
All well and good, but then ... love? Really?
She is the wife of a doctor, she is also a physical therapist of sorts, and mother to two teens.
Handyman is illegal worker from Spain, with a prison record.
Say again, love?
Give up the posh life to pick veggies or work as grocery check-out girl because of true love?
Balls.
Characters are in their 40s and 50s. Females are hard nosed about money at that age.
The leads have negative chemistry.
Farfetched nonsense.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Remember The Night - 1940 - 7/10

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Unfairly forgotten Christmas chestnut with Stanwyck and MacMurray before their classic Double Indemnity.
Female shoplifter hauled before jury right before Christmas. Shrewd DA gets her trail postponed because he knows juries are more merciful during Yule. Once he realizes the woman has no place to stay, no money, he feels guilty.
Fortunately, they both hail from the same state, so he offers her a ride back home.
Film, from a brilliant Preston Sturges script, runs cynical, funny, bitterly sad, sentimental.
Stanwyck and MacMurray display marvelous chemistry, shifting effortlessly between wary and hopeful.
Both are city souls, however, and dead honest with themselves.
The trip from city to country is the journey from calculating adulthood to innocent childhood.
The contrast between their childhood homes is heartbreaking.
The homestead, a bygone world, seems already a fading memory here, as the States poised for war.
Sentimental, yes - but not icky.
Reinforces a personal hope that a good individual can redeem a borderline soul.
 

TM2YC

Staff Member
Donor
Faneditor
^ Ooooh, not seen that, it's not in my Barbara Stanwyck boxset. You make it sound really good :).
 
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