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A few reviews

Vultural

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Perrier's Bounty - 2009 - 7/10

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Exceedingly black Irish comedy. Two mob soldiers wake up Michael (by spitting pistachio shells at him) and remind him he has only a few hours to repay a financial obligation to their boss. Burglary, beatings, gunplay follow as Michael's predicament tailspins from bad to worse. His estranged father appears, and his depressed female neighbor proves trigger happy.
A great shaggy dog film. Everyone who sat with me laughed out loud.
Starring Cillian Murphy, Jim Broadbent, Jodie Whittaker, Liam Cunningham.
And let's not forget the dogs: Achilles and Apollo!
 

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Frozen - 2010 - 7/10

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Three college friends spend all Sunday skiing. Evening, the hill is closing because of approaching storms. They beg for one last lift ride ...
Things go wrong.
These weren't "slasher" teenagers, that you want dead. All were real, funny even, but unwise to the notion that there were consequences to risky decisions.
A clinic on how to make a great thriller using a lift chair. A 50 foot drop. Freezing sleet. Frostbite. 3 degrees. And the realization that the mountain is only open on weekends. That Friday is a long way off.
After all that, things go worse.
 

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The Black Widow - 1947 - 6/10

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A fun serial from Republic, and a rather subversive one.
Usual nonsense about an evil potentate ordering his daughter to steal a rocket to rule the world ...
The "smartest guy" was not the manly hero. No, it was Sombra, the Black Widow (played by the deliciously slinky Carol Forman), leading her henchmen, devising strategies, overcoming police and Feds.
Bit by bit, she steals the parts and eludes capture. The police put in charge a writer! Ha ha, that's right, a writer of detective stories. I guess producers did not want to stoop all the way down to using an English major.
He is assigned a female reporter. Typical of the period, he constantly condescends and belittles her. Episode after episode, he gets trapped or overpowered, and she's the one who comes to his rescue.
Viewed over several weeks.
 

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The Tomb - 2009 - 2/10

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Man ... I just knew this was going to blow. But I saw Wes Bentley, Michael Madsen, Eric Roberts listed on the box. How bad could it be?
Hot Ukranian babe (Sofya Skya wearing get-ups designed to showcase her gravity defying twins) conducts "research" on capturing souls of the recently dead.
Or slain.
Wes Bentley is the unshaven prof / fly who is lured into her parlor. Blood, absinthe, and spawning round out this bucket fest.
If cut to 45" this would have been fine on the old Friday The 13th television series. Yawn.
 

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Vultural said:
Frozen - 2010 - 7/10

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Three college friends spend all Sunday skiing. Evening, the hill is closing because of approaching storms. They beg for one last lift ride ...
Things go wrong.
These weren't "slasher" teenagers, that you want dead. All were real, funny even, but unwise to the notion that there were consequences to risky decisions.
A clinic on how to make a great thriller using a lift chair. A 50 foot drop. Freezing sleet. Frostbite. 3 degrees. And the realization that the mountain is only open on weekends. That Friday is a long way off.
After all that, things go worse.
Oh lord, I remember reading about this one. No thank you, no thank you, no thank you. Truly a horrific scenario. :p
 

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Doghouse - 2009 - 5/10 (Zombie scale ratings)

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Handful of London blokes decide to take recently divorced mate for an outing to Moodley.
Once there, they realize very male is dead.
Murdered by women who have all become ravenous, cannibal zombies (sounds redundant to me).
Mayhem ensues. Misogynistic and funny. Lot of lad humour.
Designed more for laughs than gore.
 

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Z-108 - 2012 - 7/10 (Zombie scale ratings)
AKA: Zombie 108 or Qi cheng

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Just when I worry Asian films have become slick, mainstream, middle-of-the-road bores, along comes a demented throwback to previous times.
Escaped virus turns Taipei into Deadsville.
SWAT team joins gangsters against hordes of lurching, running zombies.
Meanwhile, most of the strippers were captured by sex psychopath and his pet octopus.
Drug use, rampant nudity, chaotic plot, carnage, gore, silliness.

Great scene where obnoxious reporter questions girl,
"Your whole family has been murdered! Tell our viewers how you feel. How sad are
you? Oh, were you bitten? Aaarrrgggh!!!"
 

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John Cleese: The Alimony Tour - 2011 - 8/10

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Aged 71, John Cleese hits the road after being mauled in an ugly and expensive divorce.
Lucky for us, his one man show is sidesplitting funny.
With brief clips from Monty Python, A Fish Called Wanda, The Frost Report, At Last The 1948 Show, Flowery Twats (Hey! That was how it was spelled in episode 11), and Monty Python & The Holy Grail.
Cleese skewers his recent divorce, talks about growing up in boring Weston-super-Mare, and the extraordinary luck that fell his way throughout his early career.
Entertaining as anything, live at the Theatre Royal in Bath.
 

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Side Effects - 2013 - 7/10

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Effective thriller about "happy pills" and unhappy side effects.
Plays into modern dependency on big pharma and safety concerns.
Must admit I had not read a single review on this one, so the narrative and twists were fresh.
Good suspenser with some diabolical turns.
 

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Behind The Burly Q - 2010 - 7/10

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Ba da bing! Va va voom!
Documentary about the heyday of burlesque. Era of strip tease, before shaved and pierced became de rigueur.
Mostly interviews, remembrances. Alan Alda spoke of his father, a burlesque comedian.
Dozens of stories from still living performers (many died soon after filming). Fabulous photos.
Hard to wrap my mind over the notion of daily matinée shows. Talk about happy hour.
 

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Night Train To Lisbon - 2013 - 7/10

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Jeremy Irons plays Swiss professor who, after an encounter, stumbles across a slim philosophical / confessional book by Portuguese writer. He becomes bewitched by the “goldsmith of words,” and catches the train to Lisbon to meet the writer.
Once there, he interviews family and friends, and teases the backstory of broken dreams, lost love, betrayal, torture, all set during the Portuguese revolution of the mid 70s.
Dual narratives dovetail of Irons’ deepening quest, with the excavation of memory.
Most of the film was shot in Lisbon, with its narrow, cobblestone lanes and breathtaking views of the night washed city below and the distant Sao Jorge Castelo.
Highly rewarding film for the patient.
 

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Reality - 2012 - 5/10

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Italian “comedy” about a fish seller / hustler who gets prodded to audition for the Big Brother reality show.
He gradually obsesses over tiny details and loses touch with reality.
Opening sets were breathtaking. The wedding site, then the Naples neighborhood.
Characters were a different matter, however. I wanted to hurl bricks at most of them.
Probably by intent. Everyone was transfixed by the lure of fame and celebrity.
Everyone around me laughed out loud, whereas I viewed the main character being trapped in a chamber of Hell.
 

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The Sapphires - 2012 - 6/10

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Feel good rubbish, "inspired" by actual events.
I enjoyed this while I watched it, but afterward started thinking about it.
The oldest girl looked old - the actress was in her 40s. Who was that white Irish guy who found and managed the group? Phil Spector?
Since when did the war department carry entertainers into Vietnam combat zones?
Oh, I forgot, "inspired by."
Which means any fantasy will suffice.
Nice music, but otherwise this is complete fairytale.
 

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Al Murray: The Only Way Is Epic - 2012 - 5/10

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Al Murray as pub landlord, live in Brighton.
Bit over an hour of hit n miss standup.
There simply were not enough good jokes.
The funny ones, he pounded like a dead horse.
Many times he seemed to be grinding gears.
Opening schtick of querying/baiting front row grew tedious.
Probably better if you are British.


I'll never understand the English weakness for sing-alongs.
 

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I'm From Hollywood - 1989 - 7/10

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Terrific documentary / satire / sport-a-rama.
Andy Kaufman takes on womenfolk and baits the Memphis crackers
in the Inter-Gender Wrestling matches.
From this, the feud with Jerry Lawler started.
Wrestling was no less fake in the 70s as it is today,
but steroid inflated gorks were not the fixtures.
Interviews with Marilu Henner, Robin Williams, Tony Danza.
Also clips of Kaufman urging Southern women to shave their legs,
and locals to discover soap and toilet tissue.
Brilliant.
 

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Dancing Outlaw - 1991 - 7/10

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The documentary that made Jesco White famous.
Thirty minutes showcasing mountain step dancing, Elvis worship,
murder, fried eggs, Freebird, burning up your damn car, guilt.
Filmed in Boone County, West Virginia, forgotten crannie of the American Dream.
This is about as authentic as they come. I've been in this neck of Appalachia hundreds of times.
Fame and exploitation, soon followed, along with groupies and tattoos.
The sequels are fun, but this is the genuine article.
 

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Paul McCartney Really Is Dead - 2009 - 7/10

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Where or where to begin with this masterpiece?
In 1999, George Harrison was attacked at his Friar Park estate by a deranged fan. Except it wasn't a crazy person, this was a hit ordered by MI 5. The same group who offed John Lennon in 1980. Alarmed, George taped two microcassettes of a dark secret.
Paul McCartney, as we know him today, is a fake. The real Paul died in 1966 in a car crash after picking up a lovely young fan named "Rita."

This insane "documentary" was one of the funniest things I've watched in years.
After Paul died, a MI 5 operative (Maxwell) installed a substitute to prevent millions of teenage fans from committing suicide. During interviews with random fans, I scoffed at the screen, "Those are American accents." My better half was more specific, "Brooklyn."
That was one of countless errors and preposterous claims. George on the cassette does not sound like the real George. The Liverpool accent drifts in and out. Sometimes he pronounces his handler Maxwell, other times Mockswell.
If you are past your 40s you likely remember all this crap when it was current. I Was - 28 IF - O.P.D. and other clues. This film was a treasure trove of conspiracy whispers, including a whopper revealed at the end that I will not disclose here.
Paul McCartney Really Is Dead was gloriously, spectacularly awful! A must for fans of bad cinema.
 

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Vultural said:
I'm From Hollywood - 1989 - 7/10

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Terrific documentary / satire / sport-a-rama.
Andy Kaufman takes on womenfolk and baits the Memphis crackers
in the Inter-Gender Wrestling matches.
From this, the feud with Jerry Lawler started.
Wrestling was no less fake in the 70s as it is today,
but steroid inflated gorks were not the fixtures.
Interviews with Marilu Henner, Robin Williams, Tony Danza.
Also clips of Kaufman urging Southern women to shave their legs,
and locals to discover soap and toilet tissue.
Brilliant.

Do I need glasses or is that Deborah Harry of Blondie?!
 

Vultural

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Manhunt Of Mystery Island - 1945 - 6/10

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Republic serial.
The villain kidnaps two scientists to build him a device to control unlimited planetary energy through radium.
Lance, the lunkheaded hero, could take a punch; he got a pounding every episode.
Luckily Linda Stirling was in the cast to bail him out, or shoot a handful of baddies d-e-a-d.
Fights were better than most because the chief henchman was Kenne Duncan, who was a specialist in leaping, flying though the air fisticuffs.
The head baddie goes by Captain Mephisto, and he has a magic, electrical chair (fan behind that sprays sparks).
With the chair he can transform his features into anyone he chooses. Does he pick President, movie star, general?
Nooo! He opts for the pirate look: tattoo, cutlass, big hat, face scars.
 
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