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A few reviews

Vultural

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ThrowgnCpr said:
I rather enjoyed this film (Kurt Cobain doc - V). I think the doodles were a great addition, and it sometimes felt like a look at his journals.

This has high scores on IMDB, but mixed reviews.
I think hardcore fans will enjoy his journals and family movies.
One gets the feeling interviewees are on first date behaviour throughout.
Not seeing Grohl and Vig made me wonder if they were not approached or if they declined.
The doc left a foul taste in my mouth.

I remember when the label rep posted "Nevermind" posters in our store one Friday evening.
We played the promo that night and it was cool as hell.
Over the next months, we watched as the college alt crowd flocked to it - then high school kids - finally ten year olds.
Put us rock snobs with exclusive tastes into a quandary.
Suddenly our non-conformist bent was embraced by the mainstream.
 

ThrowgnCpr

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Vultural said:
Not seeing Grohl and Vig made me wonder if they were not approached or if they declined.

Grohl has not been involved in any of these Nirvana/Kurt docs really. I think he is trying to distance himself from re-opening wounds and appearing to cash in on the tragedy. I can't blame him.


Vultural said:
I remember when the label rep posted "Nevermind" posters in our store one Friday evening.
We played the promo that night and it was cool as hell.
Over the next months, we watched as the college alt crowd flocked to it - then high school kids - finally ten year olds.
Put us rock snobs with exclusive tastes into a quandary.
Suddenly our non-conformist bent was embraced by the mainstream.

This is unfortunate, but it's not at all uncommon. How many political candidates misrepresent songs by blasting them at rallies? The intention of the art is often lost on the masses.

Have you seen Soaked in Bleach? I am guessing it suffers from some of the same limitations, but I've not yet had a chance to watch.
 

Q2

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Grohl was interviewed, but it happened a few weeks after they'd pretty much locked picture. I read an interview with the director about it.
 

Vultural

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. . . Suddenly our non-conformist bent was embraced by the mainstream . . .

ThrowgnCpr said:
This is unfortunate, but it's not at all uncommon. How many political candidates misrepresent songs by blasting them at rallies? The intention of the art is often lost on the masses...

BBC aired a 3 part documentary -
Born to Be Wild: The Golden Age of American Rock
In one memorable sequence, Chuck D (Public Enemy) comments on how politicians had embraced Springsteen's "Born In The USA" without fully understanding the anti-war, anti-establishment message of the song.

Too many politicians co-opt songs, generally without permission.
I could post examples, but then we would be drifting toward politics which this forum - thankfully - does not indulge in.
I suppose rally attendees hear a favorite song, so by extension they decide to slightly "like" a speaker.
Probably works, too.
We are colossally stupid.

Exceptional types excepted - of course.
 

bionicbob

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Vultural said:
BBob, did you truly like the remake?

Me? I thought it was just average at the time. But obviously it left no lasting impression on me as I remember almost nothing about the actual plot, only all the hype the show had and being excited to watch it as I was big fan of Scott Bakula back then.

An alien invasion show I did used to love was WAR OF THE WORLDS....

It was so incredibly bad in all the right ways... lol. Total low budget, old B-movie, ridiculous adventure show.
 

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French Quarter - 1978 - 5/10

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Exploitation sleaze succumbs to artistic overreach.
Young girl, after burying pa, leaves the bayou and catches first bus to New Orleans.
Being blonde, shapely, and wearing a granny dress that is see-through against the light, the only job position she is able to find is stripper in a cheap club.
This part held my interest, though that girl as dancer is godawful.
Nice outdoor photography of late 70s New Orleans.
All too soon, she wants out and goes to an apothecary shop, where she is promptly drugged for sex traffickers.
Then - outta nowhere - she wakes up in a sporting house in 1910, Storyville district.
Her role is the same, though, to be auctioned off as a genuine virgin.

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Abundant nudity in the brothel, voodoo dancers out in the woods, and a busy snake add some interest.
Nevertheless, the plot crawls into love territory and the narrative stumbles like a weekend drunk.
Piano player in the bordello is Jelly Roll Morton. The small boy playing the cornet, Satchmo Armstrong.
Oh yeah, the 1910 scenes are all fuzzy around the corners. Artsy.
Anyway, the vintage period goes on and on and on, numbing the sleaziness of the 1970s.
I got the impression they were striving for Pretty Baby.
Cast includes Bruce Davison and Virginia Mayo, with music by Dick Hyman.
 

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Gaikôkan Kuroda Kôsaku - 2011 - 7/10
AKA - Diplomat Kuroda Kosaku /  外交官・黒田康作

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Well done spy thriller / sequel to Amalfi: Rewards of the Goddess.
Ten episode drama follows diplomat (ha!) as he attempts to solve a series of increasingly high profile murders.
The police are involved, as is the Foreign Department, finally whatever they call National Security.
He enlists an unappreciated police detective, and also a few unlikely allies (including a couple of cameos from Byung-hun Lee).
Kuroda is mostly a  one man show, however.
Cooperation and sharing details are not strong points, viewers have to work out mysteries on their own.
That will be fine for some, too difficult for others.
Closing credits of chess play symbolize the moves, counter-moves and calculated alliances.
The final two episodes forget the basic film rule of “Show, don’t tell” and are extremely talky and explanatory.
Excellent adult drama, nevertheless.
 

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I’ll See You In My Dreams - 2015 - 7/10

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Unexpected romance at the retirement home.
Woman visiting her girlfriends is persuaded to participate in the next speed-date mingler.
Males are over-earnest, sad-sacks, overdosed on erectile meds, or simply lonely.
Female friends urge her to move into the senior center, share the good times!
The woman (Blythe Danner) has her own home, dog, pool guy, daughter who visits occasionally, and freedom.
Then the handsome stranger from Texas arrives.  Sam Elliott.
Narrative is absorbing because the plot veers in unexpected directions frequently.
Just when you conclude, “This is going to --” the story hard turns.
Same thing with characters.  Just when you feel reassured - or worried - Fate skips across the surface.
These are all people with miles of time behind them, precious little road ahead.
You hope for the best, but
 

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Like Crazy - 2011 - 6/10

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British exchange student falls in love with Los Angeles based student.
During courtship, both revealed they were parents only child.
She over-stayed her visa and was not allowed to return.
They try to maintain their relationship, then try to meet others, try to forget, try to hold on.
Bittersweet romance grinds into the real world.
Both characters flawed but likable, which make their failures more poignant.
 

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Southbound - 2015 - 6/10

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Horror anthology dosed with the surreal.
Opening sequence is strongest and sets the tone.
Two men, covered in blood, roar down desert highway.
They are caught in a time loop, similar to Triangle (2009), which permits “things” on horizon to catch them.
That sequence hands off to the next, three female musicians (young and leggy) who get a flat tire.
As if by chance, a car conveniently arrives and offers a lift.
Obviously, those females don’t know a basic horror rule:  DO NOT CLIMB INTO STRANGERS’ CARS.
Story hand-off transitions are OK, but resolutions for each tale are weak or absent.
This is a “keyhole” view of transient types and misdeeds in southwestern badlands.
Expect no explanations and you might enjoy better.
 

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Lost World: Jurassic Park - 1997 - 5/10

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Considered the weakest of the original trilogy, yet my personal favorite.
Main reason - the sheer quantity of meals.
With two tyrannosaurs and a pack of velociraptors, one expects to see tasty kills.
This does not disappoint.
From the opening child (gutlessly explained away) to all those armed and experienced hunters to Fido.
Chomp chomp chomp!
Unfortunately, director Spielberg, at this stage of his career, was still pandering to his core soccer mommy audience.
So, violence and mayhem tinged, this is more or less family friendly.
Another big problem is the script.
Most of the characters, so-called seasoned professionals, are astonishingly dumb.
For all its flaws, this is a guilty pleasure. I just wish someone could edit out the human stupidity.
 

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Death In A French Garden - 1985 - 6/10
AKA - Péril en la Demeure

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Unemployed male catnip becomes guitar tutor to daughter of wealthy parents.
The wife initiates an affair almost immediately.
In the cafe, new neighbor (female) talks suggestively of differences between the brunette bush and the blonde bush.
Also, in the cafe, the waitress leans forward (twice) to display swaying charms.
Did I mention his pupil was a rich daughter?  Does she want him also?  Ha, silly.
For all that, this is not a sex comedy.
Surveillance VHS tapes appear, suggesting blackmail.
Really, don’t people, even adulterers, bother with curtains?
Tone steadily darkens (reference title) as traps from various partners snap down.
 

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Slashed Dreams - 1975 - 3/10
Originally title - Sunburst (neither title relates to the plot)

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STARRING ROBERT ENGLUND!!
Sure, boss, whatever.
Another delight from my Chilling Classics box (50 awful films, $5.00).
College couple head for remote mountains to visit dropout friend. (Car buffs, they drive a VW Thing!)
Pace is slow, scenes dawdle. Nothing much happens for 50 minutes in very 70s looking film.
Eventually, the couple skinny dip in a lake and get heckled by hillbilly duo, the girl is promised “good time” later.
Do they get outta Dodge? Heck no.
They bed down in a ramshackle cabin. Door won’t close, there is no lock.
Being liberal arts majors, the pair sleep naked.
Later - “Psst, did you hear something? I think someone’s insi --- Aarrgghh!!"
Film has six - count ‘em - six musical interludes by nondescript female lounge singer. Slasher musical.
20s vaudeville crooner Rudy Vallee plays a country storekeeper. He sings too. Hell.
Oh yeah, Englund? He shows in the final ten minutes. This was his second role - Freddy K is a decade away.
 

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Atomic Submarine - 1959 - 5/10

My brother phoned me yesterday, asking me to identify a film.
(My brother is the only guy I know who does not have Internet, let alone a computer.)
“It’s black n white.  Late 50s.  SciFi.  Four guys enter an alien spaceship.  One by one they get picked off.  One guy was trying to squeeze through the closing doors when ...”
I knew the scene, knew the movie.  Told him I would mail him a copy, then decided to watch.

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Arctic undersea shipping routes are being disrupted by mysterious force.
Couple dozen cargo vessels and shipping submarines (!) have vanished.
US Navy sends their best hunter sub to investigate.
It encounters a UFO, hiding in the Arctic ocean, scouting the Earth for colonization.
Trick lighting and almost black sets disguise miniscule budget.

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Dry, over-talky, with monotone voiceovers, and a lethargic two thirds don’t help matters.
Several familiar B-movie faces in the cast, though no one a casual viewer would recognize.
Audio commentary on DVD is actually more enjoyable.
 

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Amy - 2015 - 8/10

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Two hour documentary of jazz singer, Amy Winehouse.
Creators unearthed rare materials, including 14 year old Winehouse singing for a friend’s birthday.
Her phenomenal vocal gifts are train-wrecked by substance abuse and pathetic reliance on toxic males
Can you say boyfriend (later husband)?  Can you say estranged father?  Latter reappeared after her success.
Doc brilliantly captures the thrill of her dizzying ascent, yet it is also painful, excruciating at times, to watch her make those colossal errors of judgment that eventually led to her death.
An argument was postulated that had Miss Winehouse stuck with more "€œFrank" oriented material, stayed in the Jazz orbit, she might still be alive and releasing.  Mind you, I listen to a lot of current jazz chanteuses.  They sing for ecstatic, cult audiences.  And theory or no theory, "€œBack In Black" was a monster, and whether she was prepared or not, Winehouse found herself on the tiger of fame.
Extraordinarily well done, though one viewing will probably be more than enough for most.
 

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Two Days In New York - 2012 - 5/10

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Julie Delpy transplants the Two Days In Paris followup to New York.
Chris Rock is new boyfriend. Her crazy family visits and gets into farce situations.
I think she was aiming for Woody Allen territory, but mis-steps badly.
Silly, disappointing.
 

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Learning To Drive - 2015 - 6/10

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After husband walks out of 20+ year marriage, wife decides to take driving lessons.
This is set in New York City where one can live a lifetime without a car.
Plot avoids the usual marital conflicts and roots of divorce. View this as a no-fault breakup.
The story follows the wife’s increasing self reliance.
Getting out of the apartment, envisioning a trip to her daughter in Vermont.
The Punjabi cabbie teacher’s story is more sketch, as are all male figures in this.
Ending struck me as improbable. Other elements (how does she afford NYC rent) implausible.
A quiet film, but a lot goes on. Will resonate more with female viewers (it did here).
 

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Love Is Strange - 2014 - 6/10

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After living together 30+ years, a male couple decide to tie the knot and get married.
Soon thereafter, the one who is employed is fired because of a “morals clause?” Is that even legal?
They cannot afford their New York rent, they have zilch in savings, so they split up.
One moves in with family, the other with friends.
Pleasant enough film that predominantly tracks the older partner’s path within his nephew’s home.
Film suffers a lot of major flaws - men in their 60s with no savings - first solution is to split up.
Not the spoil anything, but the ending struck me as fake and an emotional cheat.
 

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Trip To Italy - 2014 - 6/10

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Sequel to The Trip (2011) which I had looked forward to viewing, but ended up disliking.
So why I put this on ... more fool me.
Once again Coogan and Brydon tour a series of top restaurants, crack wise, bitch, and chase tail.
Well, not Coogan who seems more restrained in this film, subdued, as if he was not keen on the project.
Nor would most relish spending weeks with Rob Brydon who excels as an annoying prat.
Breathtaking scenery, mouthwatering food, with added bits with family back home.
At one point Coogan’s son visits - as played by an actor.
The journey is scripted. Coogan and Brydon play themselves, yet they are reading lines. OK - fake, not a doc.
If you go into this knowing both men play versions of themselves, in a story otherwise utterly fictitious, you will perhaps enjoy this more.
 

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Luther: S04 - 2015 - 7/10

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Never saw this one coming.
End of S03, Luther and sociopath Alice walked off into an uncertain future.
Just as well, the series showed signs of flagging, and S03 heard repeated cries of,  "Where is Alice!?!"
None of that here.
Luther returns in a taut, grisly two-parter.  He is grayer, thoughtful, haunted by memories.
Several storylines snake and twist across both episodes, which could be viewed in one sitting.
Convoluted, though not maddeningly like Midsomer became.
Not as good (or original) as S01, but superior to S03.
Will there be a S05?  Will Elba get tagged for 007?  Will Alice get her own show?
 
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