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A few reviews


Well-known member
Borgman - 2013 - 5/10


No, not 7 of 9, nor Locutus. Arthouse - horror - message film from Netherlands.
This is either an adult fairy tale or modern day allegory or disturbing parable or . . .
Wait. According to the booklet, the director declares he deliberately kept the script open-ended, open to audience interpretation. The result is at once unsettling and infuriating.
Unwashed, on-the-run homeless man knocks doors in exclusive neighborhood, asking to take a bath.
One husband refuses and kicks him out, then the wife permits him in later.
Hot bath with a tray of food and glass of wine.
More transients arrive and occupy the outdoor guest house. Soon the killings begin.
One of the darkest themes is dream invasion and manipulation, so characters turn against each other.
Is this a xenophobic metaphor for illegal immigrants displacing W Europeans?
Is the wife a sleeper agent? Is this a riff on Invasion Of Body Snatchers?
Pied Piper update?
Cold - sometimes creepy - more often irritating.
Who knows? As noted, the lack of resolution will strike many as a sputtering mess.


Well-known member
Two For The Seesaw - 1962 - 6/10


Unusual pairing of Robert Mitchum and Shirley MacLaine in film version of popular Broadway play.
Nebraska lawyer, going through mid-life crisis, relocates to New York City (where old chum now lives).
He arrives in the middle of a swinging Greenwich Village apartment party.
Intellectuals, artists, beatniks, big-talkers and hangers-on.
Shirley is ditzy dancer (getting old at 29).
Despite age difference, they give the relationship thing a whirl.
Talky, rather dated, almost completely shot on a handful of interior sets. Screams stagebound.
Interesting curio, nonetheless. Glimpse of topical Broadway, circa 1960.


Well-known member
Nameless Poison - 2013 - 7/10
AKA - Namonaki Doku / 名もなき毒


Eleven part J-drama, following two commonplace mysteries.
In the first half, the Chairman asks his son-in-law to assist the grieving daughters of his recently killed chauffeur.
They want to write a simple memorial about their father, with the hope whoever accidentally killed him confesses.
Only - as the son-in-law delves into the chauffeur’s history, a dark history emerges.
The second half is about a serial poisoner who is injecting cartons in convenience stores with cyanide.
Again, the son-in-law is drawn in, while his wife pleads, “Quit getting involved!”
So say we all.
No police - no detectives - just an ordinary man trying to help others, not always succeeding.
Even though he works full time, and has family obligations, he spends much of his free hours in a fabulously empty cafe.



Well-known member
Crimson Rivers - 2000 - 7/10
AKA - Les Rivières Pourpres


Major - major - major disappointment this.  True, I scored this a 7, yet I would have notched it higher as would have other viewers.
Paris commissioner (Jean Reno) sent to remote site in Alps after a nude body is found.
The victim had suffered ritual torture, hands and eyes removed, then killed slowly.
The trail leads to a posh, extremely exclusive university.
Meanwhile, another cop (Vincent Cassel) investigates a tomb desecration hundreds of kilometers distant.
The trail likewise leads to the university.
The look is Neo-Noir, the plot is creepy and suspenseful, punctuated with intense action.
Location filming is breathtaking.  This is a fabulous looking film.
Unfortunately . . . there is no “why.”
A truly enjoyable movie, marred by a rushed, inexplicable conclusion.
According to an interview with a frustrated Cassel, he did not understand the end either.
Note - The director chose to cut all the explanatory sequences because they were “boring."
This could have been a great film.
Recommended - with that warning.


Well-known member
Collateral - 2004 - 7/10


Another almost great film.
Michael Mann Neo-Noir, set in late night Los Angeles.
Cruise and Foxx as tightly scheduled hitman and reluctant, but impoverished cabbie.
Both actors deliver underplayed, yet crackling performances.
Demonstration time for cinematography. Midnight blacks, neons, splashy billboards, sweeping lights.
Wicked dialogue, as well. The narrative is more dialogue driven, with escalating action splattering the night.
Without going too much into the plot, the ending faltered for me.
It delivered a crowd-pleasing, Hollywood studio cop out, that was unrealistic and out of character.
Docked it a point for that.
Perfect for crime oriented insomniacs and somnambulists.


TV's Frink

Staff Member
What's the highest rating you've given? A few pages back you called something "sheer genius" after a 7/10 rating.

Perhaps you should scale the top end back to 7?


Well-known member
Love Collateral, and thought at the time of its release it would make Foxx a huge star. Haven't seen Ray; the only good movie I've seen him in since is Django. Then in ASM2, he got bossed and had his big finale co-opted by a teenager... unfortunate.


Well-known member
TV's Frink said:
What's the highest rating you've given? A few pages back you called something "sheer genius" after a 7/10 rating.
Perhaps you should scale the top end back to 7?

That is an easy one.

This Is Spinal Tap - 1984 - This goes to 11


And, off the top of my head, I know I gave Hollywood: A Celebration a 9/10.

I confess to being a rather tight grader.
Perhaps that comes from seeing so many titles.
As one gets older, less and less things make an impact.
In my twenties I'm sure I uttered something along the lines of,
"This is the most awesome movie ever!!"
"This film is the worst! I lost two whole hours of my life with this crappo!"
Later -
"Yeah, it was alright, but I knew that kid would never die and the good guy would win."
"The story sucked, but her clothes were interesting, and that library had some Arkham books I've been looking for."
Instead of 9 or 2, my scores drift to 6 or 5. Slightly above average to somewhat disappointing.

Pretty much applies to movies, TV shows, restaurants,
concerts, going to the zoo, hearing our amazing politicians,
fashion trends, someone's photos of their grandkids,
ditto their pets, anything the bank does to make it "easier" for you,
ditto your insurance provider ...
Diminishing returns.

After a decade or two, probably 10,000+ films,
I'm possibly a wee bit jaded.
Still, I keep watching!
Though my tastes run ever further from mainstream.


Well-known member
The Human Face Of Big Data - 2014 - 5/10


One of those docs that arouses my skepticism.
52 minutes of earnest, very very idealistic souls talking of the miracles of data mining.
We can track diseases. Governments will be better able to serve citizens.
Neighborhoods will be more efficient and cleaner.
Society will grow closer, we shall be so happy.
Good thing, too, for the 1,000,000,000 additional planet dwellers we expect in another generation.
At the 40 minute mark, there are a few remarks about the downsize of correlating and exploiting.
But, hey, that only lasts for 6 minutes, then back to smiling utopia!
Majority of speakers are affluent, privileged elites. None would permit the lower orders into their community.
Nor would they permit the children of dirt to attend the same schools as they own offspring.
No dictators, totalitarian leaders, or government spy agencies were interviewed, either.
Dark souls who apply data information to ... well ... you know where I’m going with this.


Well-known member

It took me 40 years to wach this movie. (EDIT: well, ovbiously a little less since the movie itself is not 40 years old...)
I like scary movies but usualy too much blood and gore is just not scary to me, and those movies happen very often to be just that. Blood and gore.
Well Hellraiser, to my suprise, was very good.
It is ultra blood and gore, all right, BUT it is a movie that really tells a story. A movie with real characters. Damn, at times it was almost like watching a stage play with the classic love triangle of the husband, the wife and the lover!
To me it is a classic of horror because of its style, its simplicity and focus on the story that makes you believe on its characters.
The visuals are very good (although some lightning effects near the end are laughable by today's standard). I must say that all the actors and actresses are all quite good for what they are asked to play!
The only letdown to me were the Cenobites and Pinhead. They just appear sometimes and stand there looking almost too cool and not doing much. But in the end it works, because the meat of the story is not about the Cenobites themselves it is about what someone can do for love and to stay alive.

Hellbound - Hellraiser II

I can see why this movie can have its fans but to me it suffers of the same problems as the Nightmare On Elm Street sequels (that I like, but let's be realistic here).
Like so many movies it tries to be bigger and to give more than the original movie and of course loses what made it good by doing it.
Helbound clearly wants to be more spectacular but because everything is more in your face, the audience is just watching a horrific ride with now dated special effects. They are great for their time, don't get me wrong, but what made the first movie great and almost "classy" are the directing, the shadowy photography (almost gone here) and the focus on the characters. And now, like in Nightmare on Elm Street 3,4,5,6, we watch a bunch of characters running in fake corridors in another world we can't be afraid of because, well, it's a fantasy world. I can like the style and the look of a fantasy world, but I rarely can be afraid by it. To be scared I need the movie to put me in a state of mind where I can believe what I see. Over lighted fake corridors and stop motion puppets mixed with actors on green screen are not scary. They are great piece of work for their time, yes, but not scary.
The story itself is not bad, it's just that, along with the classy visuals, we also lose credible characters. The actors are still all right, but now they can't save their characters. The audience now just witness the story but don't feel it anymore.


Well-known member
Suffragette - 2015 - 7/10


Working class laundress gradually gets drawn into the Suffragette movement of pre-WWI England.
She goes from passing by rallies, to listening, to becoming an activist.
Radicalized, if you will, because of heavy handed government (male) crackdowns and retribution.
Politicians who speak from both sides of their mouth are another root.
Drab set design and costumes - yeah, we get it, a drab existence.
Felt rather like history class, though film does its best not to preach nor get strident.
Fairly successful, too, though if you believe in your heart of hearts that women are not truly equal to men, then you ain’t gonna like this one.
Once the "€œAscot"€ phrase is mentioned, most will know where this is going.
Film does its best not to be preachy or strident.
Fairly successful, too, though if you don’t believe in your heart of hearts that women are not truly equal to men, then you ain’t gonna like this one.


Well-known member
Northern Soul - Living For The Weekend - 2014 - 7/10


Another documentary on the scene that flourished in Northern England from late 60s to mid 70s, stressing obscure hard soul songs hailing from the 60s US.
The region - at least those particular clubbers - ignored psychedelia, bubblegum, heavy metal and just wanted music to dance the night away. None of that sitting and nodding stuff.
Athletic dance moves prefigure break-dancing, along with a juicy mix of stomping tunes.
This period has been covered in a couple other docs, but Living For Weekend seems target dated for the imminent release of the film version.
Packed with music, some of the usual clips, different shuffle of talking heads.
Should satisfy the curious and provide an easy introduction to Northern Soul.


Well-known member
Northern Soul - 2014 - 6/10


Companion film to documentary Northern Soul - Living For The Weekend.
This opens as the scene seems near its zenith. Wigan Casino, though miles away, is “the” dancehall.
Drugs, primarily amphetamines, are a given (dancing till dawn) and dealing is a major subplot.
A secondary plot is tracking down obscure RnB 45s, or figuring out what mystery track a DJ is playing.
There is also a love - infatuation - story. Male bonding. Dance numbers.
The film suffers from a little bit of this, a little bit of that,
Really, the viewer unaware of the Northern Soul period might have trouble connecting the links in this.
Fine soundtrack of lost Hard Soul music.
Enjoyable, though it meandered.


Well-known member
Doll & Em - Season 02 - 2015 - 5/10


Sad to say I watched all of this, as well as S01.
Six episodes of chick angst. Dolly and Emily hole up in a lighthouse and write an autobiographical play.
Mikhail Baryshnikov provides the local Broadway theatre. Ewan MacGregor is Ewan MacGregor.
Evan Rachel Wood and Olivia Wilde read the stage roles of Dolly and Emily.
Yes, stars are piling on to this brittle, uncomfortable comedy.
Dolly is even more passive aggressive than before, while Emily plays victim to the hilt.
Characters test their friendship and viewer patience with their thoughtless behavior.
Episode with Virginia Woolf is a standout.
Self abasement along the lines of The Trip, the series. An acquired taste.


Well-known member
Third Reich - Rise & Fall - 2010 - 4/10


Embarrassing, amateurish, so-called World War II documentary.  Two parts:  “Rise" - “Fall"
Purported to be told from the German point of view using letters, journals, and never before seen film footage.
The letters were from footsoldiers, citizens, ordinary souls.  After almost every passage, however, the omniscient, voice of doom narrator rebukes or reinterprets.  Editorializes.
Half of the found footage is compelling, though one grows suspicious of its authenticity.
The other half is of picnics, birthday parties, beach outings.  Nothing related to the Third Reich or WWII.


There is a memorable howler in “Fall” at the onset of Operation Barbarossa.
(Barbarossa was not mentioned, by the way.  Nor were any battles, operations, generals, politicians, Krupps, the SA, Gestapo  ...  Next to zero pesky historical details are in this program).
Anyway, the  Wehrmacht prepares to invade.


Footage cross-cuts between cannon fire, growling Panzers, dive-bombing Stukas ... and ...
an adorable kitten playing on a ladder.  That’s correct, a genuine WWII kitty.
What the F?


Throughout, the video work of this “documentary” is inept.
The editor could not resist inserting old timey and damaged effects.
Sprocket holes, scratches, surface debris.  Transitions are jam-packed with those.
Editor seems like a 6th grade kid with an effects kit.
Makes one wonder how much of the actual footage was tampered with.
Like colourized?  Or using stock from another era and aging it?
Once tampering begins, doubts about authenticity, accuracy and integrity creep in.
Very disappointing.  Think “Third Reich For Dummies” only shallower and less focused.


Well-known member
Effie Gray - 2014 - 6/10


Period biography of Euphemia Chalmers Ruskin (and later, Millais)
Follows her marriage to critic/writer John Ruskin, their marital “problems,” Venice sojourn, Scottish trip.
An understanding of the Victorian era, perhaps the Pre-Raphaelite movement, or Ruskin’s works may be necessary.
The film highlights Ruskin’s oppressive home - rather his parents’ home (first cousins, not mentioned) and how over-protective parents still were of their 29 year old little boy.
Film looks quite good for what was a modest budget, and boasts a fine cast.
Colour palette less restrained here, as opposed to many Victorian period films.
Pacing is a problem, though, as the story paddles sluggishly. Characters are unsympathetic and humorless, which also hurts.
Essentially a “woman’s film,” and Ruskin here remains somewhat of a cipher, especially his “actions.”
Script, as with real story, does not speculate, titillate, cast blame, or toss theories for the final arc.
I suspect casual viewers unfamiliar with PRB or Ruskin might fall asleep or switch off.


Well-known member
Amateur - 1994 - 6/10


Strange, almost surreal mystery with Isabel Huppert as ex-convent nun now making a living writing pornography.
Oh yes, she is also a self proclaimed nymphomaniac and a virgin.
Who does she tell all this to?
A guy with amnesia whose wife (an infamous porn actress) possibly tried to kill him.


Forgetting anything? Mmm, two hitmen. Cop who over-empathizes.
In other hands Amateur could have been a fun, even funny, film.
It did hold my interest throughout, as I wondered what the next turn would be.
Offbeat to be sure, entertaining if you are in the proper mood, but forgettable.


Well-known member
Date Bait - 1960 - 3/10

Had low expectations with this, yet was hopeful.
Promising trash opts for wholesome instead of sleaze.
Troubled teen returns to the soda shop after being six months away.
His supposed girlfriend now dancing with another guy.
Pushing leads to fists leads to knifeplay - which gets interrupted.
One realizes damn quick, that kid ain’t right in the head.


A Cadillac convertible driven by crooks tries to crush a roadster.
Movie has heroin pushers, a crazed hophead, kidnapping, bongo drumming, frisky teens.
Two timeless songs, “Date Bait Baby” and “Purple Pleated Bermudas.”
Ingredients for greatness, but unfortunately the core plot is true love between girlfriend and boyfriend and all the pesky obstacles they must overcome.
Most of the teens look to be in their mid to late twenties.
Dull. This could have been so much worse - and more entertaining. Bummer.


Well-known member
And Then There Were None - 2016 - 7/10


Three part adaptation of the Agatha Christie chestnut.
Ten souls, hired or invited, soon find themselves stranded on an isolated island.
One by one, they succumb to the Grim Reaper.
Just when you think you know who'™s tugging the strings, they'™re dead.
Top notch production values, choice casting, and a spectacular setting.
Most will already have seen one version of this or "€œTen Little Indians,"€
but this is quite handsome and more faithful than other renditions.
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