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A few reviews

Vultural

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La Chamade - 1968 - 7/10

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Classic French arthouse from the late 60s.
Young “girlfriend” of older, affluent man lives in a glittering strata of parties, concerts and dress dinners.
During a croquet match she meets magazine editor her own age.
Sparks ignite and she leaves her very posh life to embrace in seedier digs.
To soon, she needs to find a job.
And she has to start looking at price tags.
Quiet argument against dazzled souls who declare love conquers all.
Of course, one of the main reasons for watching this is a young Catherine Deneuve who is radiant.

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Vultural

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Crimson Peak - 2015 - 5/10

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Another discouraging step in Guillermo Del Toro’s decline.
Breathtaking set design, top tier actors, lavish, symbolic costumes.
All for naught in moralistic ghost story, that would have been quaint and corny 100 years ago.
Impoverished English baronet woos rich American heiress.
He whisks her away from gorgeous full colour hues of New York to somber greys of remote England.
The mansion, while beautiful, is cracked, rotting and has a roof hole possibly twenty meters wide.
Snow - leaves - rain falls from outside to the lowest basement.
Any normal human would have put a tarp over the opening at the very least!
The plot - if you are so charitable - is a blend of House Of Usher, Angels & Insects, Notorious.
CGI ghosties are laughably un-scarey.  As so often with DelToro, bug infestation overload.
Sad to see so much money and talent squandered on an inferior live action cartoon.
 

TM2YC

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Vultural said:
All for naught in moralistic ghost story

I re-watched this just the other week and found the story and script rich with nuances you only pickup on a second viewing. The main character (Who is basically De Toro's own voice) even says something like "It isn't a ghost story... it's a story with ghosts" when a publisher is dismissing her work.

Vultural said:
CGI ghosties are laughably un-scarey.

The ghosts were all practical/live on set creature makeups (all played by the same dude IIRC)...

[img=500x500]http://molo.vn/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/crimsonpeak.jpg[/img]

[img=500x500]https://36.media.tumblr.com/78312f9...d710/tumblr_nzkgc4YwvM1tao76do1_500.jpg[/img]

...with I think a second pass to create the partial transparency (Plus some added mist FX which I imagine were CGI?).

I found them really creepy.

Edit: Here's a video about it...

 

Vultural

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56 Up - 2012 - 9/10

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Most recent installment of outstanding Up documentary series, which began in 1963 with 7 Up.
The children are now 56.  As theorized, the personality of the child very much predicted the adult.  The other notions, such as class separation, did not hold as much.  Privilege helped, though not always. Likewise, many of the East Enders climbed far.
At their current age, none of them allowed themselves to be baited, goaded or bullied by director Apted.
Worth tracking down right now as the three part series.
The DVD releases are never as good as the TV airings.
Charles, ever stubborn, remains MIA.
 

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Last Knights - 2015 - 5/10

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I noted Clive Owen and Morgan Freeman and I crossed my fingers, hoping they weren't slumming.
The Lord of the North (snow on ground) is summoned to the capital for extortion.
He refuses to pay the bribe, chastises onlookers in throne room, meets predictable fate.
No - it has a vibe going, but Knights is not a Game Of Thrones clone.
His realm is appropriated, honour disgraced, warriors scattered like winter leaves.
Then, said warriors bide their time - and wait - and wait.
Yes - a remake of Chūshingura, 47 Rpnin, countless other films, Kabuki, ballet ...
Once I recognized the story, I prepared for the long, slow middle.
Darkness and shadows disguise shortcomings, and there is too much slow motion in battles.
I could knock this around, but it is not meant to be a classic.
Multi-national action film, aimed for non-demanding young males.
Derivative vengeance popcorn, but OK.  Final fifteen minutes should please combat fans.
 

Vultural

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Before I Go To Sleep - 2014 - 5/10

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Woman (Nicole Kidman) wakes up next to “husband" (Colin Firth).
Only she has no idea who he is.  After an accident ten years earlier, she suffers from anterograde amnesia.
Each day is a blank, she cannot remember the previous day, only memories up to her late twenties remain.
Every night when she sleeps she forgets that day all over.
There are mysteries.
A psychiatrist is trying to help her - is he really a psychiatrist?
Is Colin Firth really her husband?
What happened ten years ago?  Who was she?
Less imaginative and creative than 50 First Dates, let alone Memento.
Slow, stagey, cheap looking.  Ill thought out script with numerous plot holes.
 

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La Cérémonie - 1995 - 7/10

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Disturbing psychological thriller based on Ruth Rendell novel.
Distracted wife interviews maid applicant, explains duties, gives a tour of the house.
Does or does not run background check.
The maid, it is revealed, has one glaring shortcoming, which gnaws at her more than anything.
Maid falls under the influence of busybody mail clerk,
and the two females bond over resentments, secrets, worries, and grudges.
Tension is tightened throughout until the last reel.
One of Claude Chabrol’s more accessible films.
Huppert and Bonnaire pitch perfect as amoral pair.
 

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Firestorm - 2013 - 6/10

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Reassuring to know Hong Kong is still capable of cranking out a classic heist flick with action overload.
After a somewhat artsy opening, the lens focuses on a gang preparing an armored car robbery.
Cops led by Andy Lau are on the alert, but too slow.
Several other capers follow.
Plenty of style in this.  Terrific stunts.  In extended gunfights, both sides seem to use tracers.
Fantastic looking.
Docked a couple points for lack of substance.  Narratives are frenetic and incoherent.
Great time waster, but not top tier.
 

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Cheerful Weather For The Wedding - 2012 - 6/10

Unexpected guest arrives at the bride’s family house the day of her wedding.
Her old flame.  Invited by the bride.
Love story of the girl who waited, and the boyfriend who waited possibly too long.
Story is laced with regret, longing, errors recognized, and unconfessed feelings.
Large family with identifiable types:  those who adore nuptials, those who would rather drink.
Set in 1932 over what seems like less than a year.

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The “lovers’” history is told in flashbacks and is shown in golden hour.
Plot never unrolls as expected.  One is also left with a question or two.

Not necessarily a chick flick, but enjoyment may depend on one’s tolerance for:
1) It’s my prerogative to change my mind
2) I don’t make a decision until the last minute -- sometimes after.
I live with both types and have been trained to shift gears in an instant.
 

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Second Best Marigold Hotel - 2015 - 5/10

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Was this film really necessary?
Since someone brought it home, and I got to watch it, I guess so.
Second helping of elderly retirees living in Jaipur hotel, picks up where original left off.
That was a surprise smash, reaching beyond the aging arthouse set.
The ensemble interaction is less this go around.
Two new characters are introduced, which likely translates as less lines for everyone.
More critical, the core of the narrative is about the upcoming wedding.
Rehearsals, dance practice, dinners, capped by the wedding which is elaborate and lengthy.
Consequently, most of the returning principals are underwritten sketches.
We see them onscreen, a minute here, a minute there, shadows of what they were in the original release.
Above photo nicely encapsulates characters lost in a crowded script.
 

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Clouds Of Sils Marie - 2014 - 7/10

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Difficult, challenging film, propelled by Juliette Binoche and a surprising good Kristen Stewart.
Top tier actress is offered a role in an update / remake of edgy work that launched her career decades earlier.
There is a misunderstanding initially about whether the script is about her character, thirty years later whom she could play, or a remake and she would portray “the older woman.”
Actually the film (which gave me trouble) seems deliberately filled with uncertainty, misdirection and ambiguity.
Distractions from social media are also constant.  Ringing cellphones, individuals dropping out of conversations to check messages, numerous Google and YouTube searches (reliable barometers of info, those last two).
This is a character study of old school Binoche gradually ramping her character up to speed with more modern, less nuanced audience tastes.
Stewart is her PA and defacto sounding board.  Maybe . . .
Despite breathtaking Swiss Alps exteriors, the film is quite stagy - theatrical.
Theatre buffs will enjoy this.  Those expecting scheming cat fights will be disappointed.
 

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Ghost In The Shell - The Movie - 2015 - 6/10

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Bit misleading title, “the movie” which the unwary might see as the ScarJo vehicle, still in pre-production.
This falls after the “Arise” series and leads into the 1995 classic.
Major Kusanagi, Batou, most the of the squad embroiled with terror plots, assassinations, cyber-virus.
Always with this series, a fair amount of talking and philosophizing about the collective datastream.
Visuals are great, if now perhaps a little familiar.
The plot bounds along, often shifting settings and narratives abruptly.
Enjoyable, though choppy.
Not the best entry for newcomers.  Best to start with the '95 or wait for the live action - supposedly 2017.
 

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La Vie Est Un Roman - 1983 - 5/10
AKA - Life Is A Bed Of Roses

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French arthouse territory with three concurrent plots.
One is set on either side of WWI as rich idealist plans to create Utopia.
Following war, he perseveres and creates a mad version of harmony.
Another narrative follows modern day learning institute (set in unfinished Utopia castle).
Third is dreamlike world where children, dressed as play actors, sing, do beheadings, and shift between first narrative and the second.
In all narratives, characters burst into song.
According to what I read (after being thoroughly confused by this),
director Resnais was showing characters striving for happiness and harmony.  
Most of the happiness resembles the sexual sort.
Bit of a slog for me, though the '20s section was visually striking.
 

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Wild Tales - 2006 - 6/10

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From Spain and Argentina, six films of vengeance or conflict.
Films vary considerably in quality and enjoyment, and the above is an overall score.  Anthology front loaded with the best and funniest in the first half.
The opening flight cabin sequence is brilliant and laugh out loud as it develops.
The next one about a loan shark, a barely open diner, and rat poison was good.
Then two drivers dueling along a lonely stretch of highway.  Great fun.

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Next three less savage, with little to no humor.
Angry man vs a tow truck company.
Hit n run driver and a dead mother and infant.
Wedding reception meltdown.

First three - Yes!
Last three - You have been warned.
 

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Vultural said:
Second Best Marigold Hotel - 2015 - 5/10

Aye, I was disappointed also, as an unabashed fan of the original.


Vultural said:
Clouds Of Sils Marie - 2014 - 7/10

I kinda loathed this one, honestly. I approached it with the most open of minds, but Binoche came off like a pompous prick, just whining and whining and whining. The tentpole flick within the movie played like a snotty person's caricature of someone who hadn't seen one in decades, clashing badly with the naturalism of the rest of the plotless monotony. And Chloë Grace Moretz's performance as a tabloid bad-girl was wildly unconvincing. The whole thing just sucked; two legit performances without any kind of plot or interesting characters do not a good movie make.
 

Vultural

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Jimmy Carr - In Concert - 2008 - 6/10

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Popular British standup comedian delivers almost two hours of material seriously funny and seriously offensive.
A lot of viewers may squirm uncomfortably when he jokes about wife beating, pedophilia and paraplegics.
(This is the guy who once commented that the UK Paraplegic Olympic team would be much more competitive owing to the Iraq and Afghan wars.)
In this show, he interacts with children (14 yrs) in the audience.
If you worry this sounds messed up, bear in mind parents brought their children to this very adult show.
Those who quibble at the “In Concert” title, relax.  There is a jazzy music interlude.
Laugh out loud funny and tasteless.
Commonwealth types often do better with this than politically inclusive souls.
 

Vultural

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Nikita - S01 - 2010 - 6/10

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Watched this on and off for almost a year.
I got this after doing a search for “most violent TV series,” scanning the usual entries, reading at the top of the list,  “... and then there’s Nikita.”
The opening was sexy and had a nice body count.  Also laid the groundwork for what the arc would be.
Nikita used to be a top assassin for a clandestine government agency known as Division, now gone rogue.
Nikita herself turned rogue against Division, and each episode saw her trying to thwart one of their ops.
By turns interesting and predictable.
Worst fudge was Nikita’s mole, Alex, who crawled through air ducts searching for secrets.
Yes - air ducts.  Not the ones in your home or office.  Think 4 feet by 4 feet.  You know, the ducts that are piped in submarines and spaceships.
Body count sagged midway, though the deaths and conspiracies rallied at the end.
Decent twists.  Better for bingers.  Also - and a big plus - there is the draw of Maggie Q.
There were only four seasons, and from what I read, Nikita does reach a conclusion.
 

bionicbob

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While Maggie Q is always lovely to watch, the previous tv version, LA FEMME NIKITA starring Peta Wilson and aired on USA and CTV from 1997 to 2001, was a far superior series imo.   Very low budget but rich in character and complexity.  Well worth seeking out to watch.  :D

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FehfANX7JHI[/video]
 

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I've seen the whole Maggie Q show and it's really great.


Posted from my portable device using Tapatalk
 

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Ah, mr Carr. It's a shame he's so filthy - he's very witty and very funny, but he really does indulge too much in saying gross-out stuff. It's a shame really because I don't think he needs to. He's funny enough without being disgusting.
My favourite UK comic at the moment is Milton Jones. Off-the-wall funny and a decent bloke to boot.
 
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