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A few reviews


Staff Member
^ The mistake you made there was watching anything made for BBC3 (Or BBCII! as it's currently re-branded/youthified). I love the BBC but that channel really treats the target youth audience like idiots IMO.


Well-known member
Vultural said:
How to Be Sherlock Holmes - 2014 - 6/10


[...] The narrative also reminded viewers how fortunate they were to have two new actors (Cumberbatch & R Downey) playing the consulting detective. No mention of the Miller / Liu series.
Grumble grumble grumble... I got nothing against the show Sherlock; it's not to my tastes and that's fine, but I get annoyed at the notion that Cumberbatch plays Sherlock Holmes. No, he doesn't, that voice in my mind says, he plays a different guy with the same name in a world with no previous actual or literary Holmes. Rathbone was enough of a stretch, but at least he started in the right time-setting. And to discuss the Cumberbatch show yet not even mention the Miller one? Oh, hell no. :p


Well-known member
Vultural said:
How to Be Sherlock Holmes - 2014 - 6/10


Purists decry the omission of Vasily Livanov, considered by many to be the finest Holmes.
( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079902/ )

The Soviet Sherlock Holmes series is very well done. Livanov is spectacular, however the pace of the show can be very slow at times: The Hound of the Baskervilles one in particular.


Well-known member
5 X 2 - 2004 - 6/10


Inverted love story from François Ozon follows a couple “2“ through “5“ episodes of their relationship.
Story opens at the divorce attorney and a humiliating separation.
Then it flashes back to when the marriage turned sour -
back to the ecstasy of the nuptials -
to the desperate joy when you encounter one who could be “the one.”
The film is more the details, though, rather than the history.
Fate, coldly cruel here, twists each scene - from the beginning, or in this case, from the end.


Well-known member
Juha - 1999 - 6/10

Black n white, Silent movie from Finland. And yes, this predates The Artist by a good decade.
Married Juha and Marja live quietly and simply on the farm. Social activities include friends, or the club.
Into their life, however, comes a sleek, if ailing, Corvette. Driven by the city soul, Shemeikka.
While Juha repairs the visitor’s sports car, the driver immediately woos Marja.
She’s too nice for this life, she deserves better.
The contest between flash and stable usually has one outcome.
And into the darkness of the city the wayward wife plunges.


Bleak tale, though surprisingly funny at times.
Broad acting at points, subtle nuance during other moments.
A very modern soundtrack - added immensely and jarred inappropriately.
Well cast with average looking faces.


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Sharktopus Vs Whalewolf - 2015 - 3/10


Yeah, I know, I asked for it.
Witless stupid sequel to an already awful movie.
This installment aims for a more comic approach (think Sharknado franchise), only the humor is on a three year old level.
Sharky is same old guy, whalewolf has expressive eyes and resembles Wile E Coyote.
Human actors are uniformly crappy across the board.
Lots of meals, aquatic tussles, blood splatters.
Still, I was bored.


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Revealing Anne Lister - 2010 - 6/10


Documentary about the scandalous Ms Lister, landowner and womanizer during the Regency era.
Womaniz - huh? Say what?
Apparently this Sappho tale was an open secret during her time, though she did live in seclusion and was rich.
Money always helps cloak taboos.
She left journals containing 4 millions words. Juicy bits, seductions and graphic depictions, are written in code.
The code was cracked in the 1890s, yet a descendant suppressed it.
The journals were deciphered again in the 1930s, again in the 60s, both times suppressed.
Finally, in 1988 the diaries were published. It is astonishing they survived, instead of being burned.
Most of the “talking heads” in this are excellent, commenting with wry humour.
The presenter, on the other hand, is an insecure soul who brings up her own life experiences throughout, and cracks sarcastic.
Anne Lister’s story is interesting, the narrator’s life is not.


Well-known member
Irrational Man - 2015 - 6/10


Psychological mystery from Woody Allen.
Initially, I thought this a rehash of a recent Hugh Grant, The Rewrite, a droll rom com.
Yet, no, this is one of Allen’s darker films.
Joaquin Phoenix plays a philosophy professor who overhears a conversation of moral misdoing.
Next he contemplates the ethics and consequences of random murder.
The story is neither compelling nor arresting. Most of the parts seem curiously underwritten.
The professor and female student contribute dual voiceovers to further the plot.
Allen is telling, rather than showing. Violation of the old adage, show, don’t tell.
Better than 2014's, Magic In The Moonlight, but pales beside Match Point.

Observation: Sound mix - 5.1. Haven’t paid attention to such in Allen’s recent films, but a step beyond 2.0 stereo.
Much of the music was classic Ramsey Lewis, circa mid-60s, another move forward for the Woodster.


Well-known member
Blonde In A White Car - 1958 - 6/10
AKA - Toi... le venin

Glossy French sleaze.
Man is walking down deserted beach road, late night.
A huge, white Cadillac creampuff slows down and a silhouetted blonde asks if he wants a ride.
“No thanks,” he declines . . . . . “Hop in anyway,” she insists.
He climbs in and she drives to secluded woods.
Kills the engine, opens her robe - revealing no clothes, and she gives him a ride that makes seat springs groan.


When she’s finished she kicks him out at gunpoint, then tries to run him down in the car.
Boy scout that our hero is, he gets the license number and tracks the car to the home of two blonde half sisters.
Both are jealous, manipulative, game players.  And both are lonely.


One of them is a crazy psycho - maybe both of them.
Ever the fool, the man wants to know which one is wacko, so when they offer him the guest room, he stays.
They purr into his stupid male brain and wrap spider silk around him tighter and tighter.
Shallow - slow - unsavory, with a jazz score that wails like a deranged stripper joint.


Well-known member
All Things Must Pass - 2015 - 7/10


Documentary follows the rise and demise of Tower Records.
History charts the humble beginning to the pinnacle to the disastrous aftermath of “file-sharing.”
Entertaining throughout, though the last section is uncomfortable.
Greybeards share memories (Tower execs, Label moguls, famous shoppers) in between vintage photos.
Smiles all around, but one cannot escape the notion of widespread nepotism at HQ.
By 2004, giant record stores passed into memory, Gen X-ers were likely the last generation to shop the bins.

Rather difficult for me to rate or judge this objectively.
I shopped Tower Records on Sunset Blvd at least once a month during the 70s.
This was paradise for music buffs. Even when I was stone broke, it was comforting to peruse endless albums.
Peaches was expensive, Licorice Pizza more so, Wherehouse and Music + were affordable, but lacked depth. The Valley had a Tower in Van Nuys, but it was never as thrilling as the Sunset store.
I still own tons of recordings. CDs sound superior, vinyl holds memories.

The bittersweet finale I understood personally.
A decade after shopping one last time inside Tower Records, I started working for Sound Warehouse, a rival deep catalogue record shop, and would be there until I switched off the lights in 2004.
The application form asked whether “taking drugs or alcohol has ever interfered with your work?" That was the drug test.
It was one of the coolest jobs in the world. Sadly, new generations will never get the chance.
In the 80s, the staff were knowledgeable and passionate music snobs, clubbers, collectors. Half the crew was female, always, which was and remains unheard of in the extremely sexist record store universe.
By 2000, most of my coworkers had never bought an album in their life. They downloaded tens of thousands of tunes that they never listened to. Music was free, and free had no perceived value.
Causes for the demise of the music industry were referenced in All Things Must Pass.
Won’t bother to repeat them. Things truly do vanish, however.
Traditions, technology, burger joints, friends, you name it.
Good documentary. Likely to resonate more with viewers aged 30 or older.

10 minutes inside Tower Records - Sunset Blvd.
Back in the early 70s -



Well-known member
It's A Free World - 2007 - 7/10


Unpleasant, Ken Loach "€œmessage"€ film about the exploitation of undocumented workers.
Angela is fired from her recruiting job after repulsing a groping male coworker.
Soon enough, she and a friend set up their own black market agency.
Companies want temp workers, day workers, casual workers.
Immigrants, especially illegal immigrants without papers, are less likely to complain when cheated.
The females soon realize there is a lot of profit in flop houses, as well.
So they lease sh!tholes, jam them with illegals, double book the rooms so sleeping is only by shifts.

Others I viewed this with were horrified.  I shrugged and said it was fairly accurate, if over dramatized.
I worked with illegals for several years and most were treated OK, though we had one SOB boss who contacted Immigration every time payroll ran tight.


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While We’re Young - 2014 - 7/10


Middle aged couple meet younger versions of themselves.
They start to hang out together, bounce ideas, share.
Both men are documentary filmmakers.
Middle aged Stiller has been toiling on his film for 10 years,
the younger man is hungry, and driven, and perhaps not all he seems.


There is a palpable undercurrent of the middle age glance in the mirror.
The older couple want to stay relevant, but they don’t quite grasp the “sharing” mentality of the coming generation.
Marked as a comedy, it is droll and subversive.


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Coffy - 1973 - 7/10


Not necessarily Oscar quality film, but a highly enjoyable one.
Coffy cemented Pam Grier’s rep was one badass broad.
This is a full bore, revenge ride, as nurse by day, vigilante by night, takes on drug pushers and the mob.
Funky soundtrack - not great, not bad.
Most of the story is set in the milieu of pimps and whores.
The king pimps flash exuberant 70s over the top style, the hookers flash breasts. Lots of them.
Overdoses, beatings, stabbings, shootings, car chases.
All the while, Nurse Coffin kills and kills.
This put Pam Grier on the map and remains hugely entertaining.
Kick-ass introduction to Blaxploitation.


Well-known member

Reminds me of a flick I watched last week on Netflix, EVERLY starring the sexiest, most beautiful woman in the world, Salma Hayek.


Dark, brutal, sadistic, exploitive, grind house-ish, over the top Tarantino-isms....
Hayek is a skimpy clad sex slave trying to escape her one room Die Hard situation. Though Everly makes John McClane look like a complete wimp. Guilty bad fun. :)


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Danny Collins - 2015 - 6/10


Al Pacino as aging / elder pop music icon.
Think Neil Diamond.
For a birthday gift, his manager (a very dry, Christopher Plummer) finds a vintage fan letter that somehow never made it into Danny’s hands.
From one John Lennon. What do you think of that, Danny Collins?
This has a profound impact, as the singer wonders how much of the artist he sacrificed in pursuit of popularity and wealth.
He sets about getting his life in order. Writing his own songs - reaching out to his estranged son.
Feel good territory, but not too over the top.
I am not a Pacino fan, but he is better here than in most of his films.
His usual shouting and yelling mannerisms to get his points across are absent in this one.

Based on a slim, real life incident.


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Ricki And The Flash - 2015 - 5/10


Feel-good smoothie about mom who abandoned kids and husband decades earlier to pursue rock n roll fame.
Now she returns to straighten everyones’ lives and remind them how special they are and how much mommy still loves them.
Story is predictable and contrived.  Characters are pencil lite sketches.
The bar where she and her band perform decades old cover songs looks like a cliché, and the lower echelon clientele would never drink enough to keep the rent paid in Tarzana (ain’t no cheap rent in that Valley burg).
Streep likely had fun playing a rocker (even a failure), but the character was as shallow as a birdbath.

Note - The females loaded this and when I asked what it was, they said, "€œOh it'€™s mumble mumble."
My radar flared that they knew I wasn'™t going to enjoy this, and they were spot on.
I thought the whole movie phony, though to be even handed, everyone else in the room thought it very good.


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Weather Girl - 2009 - 5/10


Whiney story masquerading as romantic comedy or date night film.
35 year old "sassy" weather girl quits her job after male coworker plays hide the sausage with blonde anchor.
Then - miracle! - she meets a supposed 29 year old male (the age he gives). Sparks kindle.
The lead female character is actually 40 and looks it.
Unfunny chick flick
Do not confuse this with the 1996 classic with Kei Mizutani. That is a must for cult fans.


This 2009 version with blonde doof is acceptable date flick diversion.


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Last Of Robin Hood - 2013 - 6/10


Kevin Kline terrific as world weary Errol Flynn in his last years.
Movie spotlights relationship with 15 year old Beverly Aadland and her eagle eyed mother.
From what I have read on and by Flynn, events seemed accurate.
Flynn was still a name star, but the glamour roles had dried up a decade earlier. (Warners dropped him in ‘53)
There were mentions of Oscar nods for The Sun Also Rises and Too Much, Too Soon but nothing came of those.
Fine acting all around in a warts n all portrayal. No one escapes.
Bad reviews seem more from fans who prefer the rollicking swashbuckler, not the worn out wreck.
Kline captures the charm and grace that never failed the man.


Last hurrah - Flynn & Aadland on the Red Skelton Hour (episode aired posthumously).


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TURBO-KID!!!! Welcome to the future.... 1996!!!


This was glorious! It you are of a certain age and grew up watching 1980s futuristic schlock, then you will love this movie! It brought back so many wonderful memories of browsing the VHS aisles and renting low budget sic-fi flicks... lol. Great mindless fun!!!


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Shooting For Socrates - 2014 - 6/10


Sheesh, how many football shows are there?  I don'€™t review half the ones I sit though.
This isn'€™t even Premiere League, which is what the girls follow.  This is World Cup.  1986.
Anyway, Northern Ireland somehow made it into the World Cup tournament back in 1986.
Up against the mighty Brazil.
The film contrasts the situation back in Northern Ireland during the time of the "€œtroubles"€ and the Thatcher Government with the sport hopes.  Troubles are alluded to, rather than the confrontational display.
The film is about underdog Northern Ireland getting division play against Brazil, captained by their philosophical leader, the title named, Socrates.
Little training shown, and round play is more from the TV onlooker perspective.
Passable - though I've seen better - this is sorta feel-good, but more souvenir for aging fans.
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