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A few reviews

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Sharknado 3 - Oh Hell, No! - 2015 - 4/10

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Unfortunately, most members of the household are really into this series.
Each installment, apparently, has a greater budget, indicated by improved effects and photography.
Also dozens of cameos, probably working for nothing or scale.
What is slipping away is heart and goofy humor, replaced by winking calculation.
Attempts are made at explaining the “sharknado effect,” which indicates numerous future installments.
Concepts remains the same. Sharks in twisters, culling stupid members of society who can’t find shelter.
If you bought Jamie Foxx as President in one film, you will have no problem with Mark Cuban as President here.
Aarrgghh . . . just read Sharknado 4 is in the works.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
L’Étudiante - 1988 - 6/10

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Breezy French romance.
Ambitious student, bracing for exhausting finals, enters steamy affair with musician.
Each barely has time for the other, even making time is possibly career destroying.
Yet they recognize they share a spark and recklessly hold onto the relationship.
They chase across the region trying to carve time for themselves, then hurry back to the classroom or concert appearance, exhausted.
A young Sophie Marceau is pouty and luscious.
Quite an 80s film, from music, to clothes, to the photography, to makeup, to the romantic attitudes.
One can’t help but wonder how much desperation has been lost in our digital era of love via the phone.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Maps To The Stars - 2014 - 6/10

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David Cronenberg alert!
What begins as a dish-the-dirt, Hollywood insider yarn veers into the realm of the preposterous.
Wayward daughter - onetime firebug - returns home after living in a “controlled environment” for a decade owing to a trifling incident with matches.
Brother is a successful actor, supposedly drug free, although he is insecure and suffers testosterone overload.
Dad writes crap books and coaches a fading actress whose mom perished in a fire.
Wait a minute! Could it be?
No, you’re only getting halfway in this over-the-top nonsense.
Talented cast (Julianne Moore, John Cusak, Mia Wasikowska ... ) backstabs, whines, begs, lies, and much worse in dreary puzzle spiral. Animal lovers - beware.
Creators ought have have let Robert Crumb write the draft. He would have gone full bore bonkers and this would have been entertainment sleaze, rather than seamy titillation.
Got the feeling Cronenberg has some ideas, but is running out of vocabulary to express them.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Star Wars - Blackened Mantle - 2015 - 6/10

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Japanese 3-in-1 edit of the Star Wars prequels.
Compelling reconstruction of the narrative. Phantom Menace footage limited to several flashback sequences of young Anakin. Jar Jar, podracing, and babble all removed.
Apprentice Anakin becomes unbalanced following his combat with Dooku; the Jedi Council try to help him, the Emperor tries to exploit.
The alternative story and resurrection of Darth Maul is inspired.

The edit contains problems, however, that might have been smoothed over or eliminated had the unit that created this reached out and sought feedback from better known editing sites.
The parade of flashbacks often get confusing, and the storyline stumbles at times.
Clones and Revenge ping pong back and forth, and viewers are left to gauge hairstyles to keep up.
There was an excessive amount of fades, noticeable in a series which favors wipes.
Dialogue is Japanese - no problem. Brilliant, alternative subs, though they are hardsubs.
Absolutely worth watching for those who appreciate edits.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Kazokugari - 2014 - 7/10
AKA - Family Hunting

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Someone is slaughtering dysfunctional families.
Mass murder masquerading as suicide.
Overlooked series featuring a lot of guilty looking souls, and families with overwrought teens.
Especially good camera work here, casting one character after another as spooky or creepy.
Plot well constructed, as well, layering clues, trails, doubts and fear.
Ground remains slippery throughout as you hope, “maybe this person is a good one” ... “uh oh, maybe not.”
Absorbing, brief series. Emotional outbursts and family drama may alienate disconnected types.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Woman In Black - Angel Of Death - 2014 - 4/10

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The cursed house out on the moors returns.
Timeline has moved to 1941. London children are being relocated to escape the height of the Blitz.
Two women are in charge of about eight kids, one of whom was orphaned in a bomb raid the night before.
The younger woman senses something is the house is not quite right, and investigates noises in the middle of the night. The nearby village offers hints, but that gets ignored in the story.
Children squabble, children perish.
Sadly, that pretty much describes the entire plot.
Scares are all gotcha stings, as you couldn’t care less about a single character.
Cheap, pathetic Horror film, that follows the laziest, sleaziest route - placing children in danger.
Writers, producers, director - all ought to be shunned for two years for that.
Clever photography masks shoddy sets and budget production values.
Ostensibly a Hammer film, it is dark and murky throughout. None of the legendary Hammer colour here.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Man Up - 2015 - 7/10

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Well done British romantic comedy scores all around.
Jaded, relationship failures “meet cute” then have the great first night date.
Go figure.
They down multiple shots, strike at a bowling alley (are there even lanes in London?), quarrel, bond, deceive, lie.
And yes, deception lurks at the core of this comedy.
Points for using fairly unglamorous leads, kicking them into cringe situations.
Points for positive portrayals of Millennials, not cast as self-absorbed, delusional twats.
Feel good material, with melancholy undercurrent.

Possibly rated this higher than it deserves because the other suggested title was guy kryptonite, Sex In The City 2.
 

Gaith

Well-known member
Faneditor
^ Simon Pegg and Lake Bell, millennials? No, sir. Pegg was born in '70, Bell '79, and the general millennials birth year cutoff is '82. Bell is a late Gen X-er, whereas Pegg could hardly be more so. ;)

I actually looked into the question of London bowling alleys while living in Camden. There are indeed two or three, but I never went to one.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Nothing to do with the leads.
Late in the story, a group of Millennials, without taking selfies, without checking their texts, without snarky comments, cheerfully help Mr Pegg in his quest for love.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
No apologies necessary. I probably could have been more specific.
Or omitted the Millennials reference altogether.
Yet they do seem to receive a lot of grievances, some deserved, more misplaced.
I often see them cast as joke butts or punchlines.
I'm fairly old, but the ones I work with are pretty industrious and professional.
So it was a pleasant surprise to see the Millennials pause their party and help "old guy" Pegg out.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Last Train Home - 2009 - 7/10

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Excellent documentary about Chinese migrant workers who jam trains every New Year to go back to the village and their families.
Shows the sweatshop conditions of two garment worker parents contrasted with the lush village they left behind.
No preaching or soapbox. This is how it is.
Parents toil, making clothes for Westerners, so their kids can attend school and have a chance at a better life.
Shot in Guangdong before and after the Beijing Olympics, and before the financial meltdown in 2008.
An unsettling future if one can look beyond today's horizon.
Planet Antfarm.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Kisses - 2008 - 7/10

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Dylan and Kylie live in dysfunctional households. One endures physical violence, the other abuse of another sort.
One afternoon, they flee and hop a ferry to Dublin. (Yes, a road movie of sorts.)
Fun under the lights, contrasts with predators in shadows.
Dublin proves too hard. No surprise since the characters are aged 10 and 11.
Another, more iconic Dylan appears in a white hat and offers advice.
A small gem.
Those with sensitive ears - there is foul language galore.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Scream And Scream Again - 1970 - 6/10

Man jogging in busy downtown London collapses from obvious heart attack.
When he wakes up, he’s missing a leg! Later on, he wakes up to another missing leg!

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OK, this film is about harvesting.
No no no. Next scene is in a fascist military regime. Spies and conspiracies.

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Quick shift back to London where police are chasing after a brutal killer who’s targeting women.
Couple other threads stack this entertaining, if bewildering, horror thriller.
Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing (don’t blink) headline a strong cast.
There is a too much going on. Defenders say filmmakers decided viewers were smart enough to connect the storylines. It seems a pieced together job, nonetheless.
The pace is rarely dull, there is nudity, chases, bloody killings, and enough plot jumps to keep your head spinning.
Not a great horror film by a longshot, but contains memorable scenes.
The jogger/patient is quietly unsettling.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Departures - 2008 - 7/10

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After the orchestra folds, unemployed cellist returns to his hometown, where he had inherited his mother's small home / coffee shop.
He answers a Classifieds ad for "Departures" thinking it some sort of travel work.
Wrong.
Departures means the final trip, from this life to the next. His duties involve making the body appear as lifelike as possible so families can say goodbye.
Moody, quiet film, with peerless Japanese set design.
Academy award winner. Worth your time, unless the inevitability of death unnerves you.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Strangerland - 2015 - 6/10

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City family relocates to small town oblivion and have trouble fitting in.
They had to leave the big city after their underage daughter got into trouble with a male teacher.
In the new redneck burg, she skips in skimpy clothes in front of new males. Making friends.
One morning, daughter and son have disappeared into the Outback.
Parents (Joseph Fiennes and Nicole Kidman) enlist the locals to start searching.
Dust and sand seem to be everywhere in this, and no one has air-conditioning!
None of the residents want to help those entitled city types. There is an undercurrent of class distinction and simmering resentment. Caught in the middle is the local cop (Hugo Weaving).
The married couple seem to harbor several dark secrets, of which only half emerge.
Brooding character studies, with mysteries partially resolved.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
How To Be Bohemian - 2015 - 6/10

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How indeed? Is there even such a thing anymore?
Three part series hosted by Victoria Coren Mitchell.
First episode offers historical perspective of early 19th century Paris Decadents, popularized in famous book, “La Vie de Bohème.” Followed by London types, PreRaphaelites and Aesthetes, think Wilde and Beardsley.
Second episode focuses on Bloomsbury Group and the “bright young things.”
The first episode were creative souls, striving against social norms, working for success on their own terms.
The second were mostly rich, privileged souls with affluent bank accounts.
Third episode begins at the 60s, sweeps to today. Creative types followed by wannabees.
Bohemia commodified and sold to middle class and hipsters who hope “looking unique” is the same as “being unique."

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Numerous talking heads throughout. Some informed, some funny, others are aging, pretentious old farts.
Host Mitchell comes off as a bit bourgeois, though that is actually refreshing in light of affected posing elsewhere.
Poseurs, pretenders, limited sorts roundly loathed by all.
 

Gaith

Well-known member
Faneditor
Vultural said:
Last Train Home - 2009 - 7/10

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Excellent documentary about Chinese migrant workers who jam trains every New Year to go back to the village and their families.
Shows the sweatshop conditions of two garment worker parents contrasted with the lush village they left behind.
No preaching or soapbox. This is how it is.
Parents toil, making clothes for Westerners, so their kids can attend school and have a chance at a better life.
Shot in Guangdong before and after the Beijing Olympics, and before the financial meltdown in 2008.
An unsettling future if one can look beyond today's horizon.
Planet Antfarm.
Aye, terrific movie. Makes our Western Christmas migrations look like breezy morning commutes. And that moment in the middle - anyone who's seen it will know the one - unforgettable.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
The Master Key - 1945 - 6/10

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Universal serial set in 1938, before W W I I.
Secret Nazis and Nazi sympathizers plan to buy up all the US manufacturing companies and corporations they can.
That way, once war starts, they will own the States.
To accomplish their task, they need money - lots of it.
Fortunately, they have copied the orotron, a device that can extract an endless supply of gold from sea water.
Combating this conspiracy is one FBI agent, one police detective, and a plucky female newspaper reporter.
Luckily tor them, there is an empty theater hall nearby, filled with juvenile delinquents who don’t like Nazis, either.
Fast paced cliffhanger with fairly good twists - the usual cheats, nice cast, inventive plot.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Fantastic Mister Fox - 2009 - 7/10

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Fox "settled down" after he and the missus nearly died one night at the chicken farm.
Writes for the village paper (that no one reads), has angry teenage son, and a wife who holds him to his promise of no more stealing.
As a reformed character, however, he is dissatisfied, and longs for one final heist.
Three stages - three farms - three farmers.
One farmer, in particular, is diabolically clever.
Powerhouse voice cast: George Clooney, Bill Murray, Meryl Streep, Owen Wilson, Willum Dafoe, Michael Gambon, Jason Schwartzman.
Based on Roald Dahl's book.
 
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