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A few reviews

Vultural

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The Exploding Girl - 2009 - 6/10

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Quiet, chick flick.
Ivy is home on college break. Staying with mom in New York City, hanging with friends, drinking a little.
Phoning her boyfriend.  Repeat . . . phoning her boyfriend.  Again.  And - he - does - not - answer.
When you first hook up, your calls get answered immediately.
Ivy keeps getting his voicemail.  The machine.
Either that or, "Sorry, I can't talk right now."
The women I watched this with shook their heads, recognizing the dump miles before the character did.
 

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All The World’s A Screen - 2016 - 7/10

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This was a fortuitous mistake.  Elsewhere, someone reviewed a Shakespeare doc, narrated by Ian McKellen.
I never found it, though I stumbled upon this documentary and it is excellent.
Film adaptations of the bard’s plays.
Seems to target four or five:  “Hamlet,”  “King Lear,”  “Macbeth,”  “Romeo And Juliet”
Covers Silent era to recent productions, and a fair number of foreign interpretations, Kurosawa’s Ran being the most famous.
Several I never heard of and started hunting.
More mainstream releases are fine intros for novices, the obscure will suit buffs or cinéastes.
 

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Hamlet Goes Business - 1987 - 7/10
AKA - Hamlet liikemaailmassa

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Finnish reworking transforms the indecisive prince into a Noir player, as manipulative as he is lethal.
Hamlet’s father is murdered.  The murderer marries Hamlet’s mother, takes over management of the company.
He announces he intends to sell off the shipping and timber divisions, in order to corner the rubber duck market.
You read correct.  That is just one of many alterations.
Stark black n white, loaded with droll comedy, and murders aplenty.

I have seen over a dozen Hamlets.  All are overlong and I find Hamlet himself annoying.
This version runs a concise 87“ and is funny.
Mmmm ... Scandinavian humor might be an acquired taste.
 

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Take Joy: The Magical World Of Tasha Tudor - 1996 - 5/10

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Documentary about the acclaimed childrens illustrator.
I recognized her from an article in the old Victoria magazine, and I must confess I recalled many of the illustrations from childhood books.
Some, such as those for Secret Garden, famous and unforgettable.

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The film was saccharine sweet, cloying, more perfect than Martha Stewart's wildest fantasies.  
Ms Tudor dressed and determinedly lived in the 1830s.
After awhile, I smelled a rat and checked online to see just how perfect her life had been.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/ve...of_vt_author_settle_fight_over_her_2m_estate/
 

ssj

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Vultural said:
All The World’s A Screen - 2016 - 7/10

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This was a fortuitous mistake.  Elsewhere, someone reviewed a Shakespeare doc, narrated by Ian McKellen.
I never found it, though I stumbled upon this documentary and it is excellent.
Film adaptations of the bard’s plays.
Seems to target four or five:  “Hamlet,”  “King Lear,”  “Macbeth,”  “Romeo And Juliet”
Covers Silent era to recent productions, and a fair number of foreign interpretations, Kurosawa’s Ran being the most famous.
Several I never heard of and started hunting.
More mainstream releases are fine intros for novices, the obscure will suit buffs or cinéastes.

in following the source material, many shakespeare-based movies doth talk too much, requiring way more concentration and deciphering of abstrusely constructed lines than i'd prefer. RAN was the exception; it didn't drown me in a dense sea of rapid-fire dialogue.
 

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Concussion - 2015 - 7/10

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Pittsburgh coroner realizes connection between gridiron head injuries and cognitive impairment.
Whereas the average soul will ponder ten seconds,  “Bang your skull, brain damage - duh,"
the NFL (National Football League), is not exactly thrilled.
They react much as Big Tobacco did when confronted with evidence equating smoking with cancer.
Will Smith disappears into a multilayered role of embattled, idealistic soul, dealing with
frightening, rabid football fans.  “What!!  You wanna take away our football!!”
Trifle overlong, yet never dull or boring.  Not preachy, either.
A tone of elegy shrouds most of the film, nevertheless.
 

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Broadway Bad - 1933 - 6/10

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Lopsided Pre-Code film starring Joan Blondell.
First half is showgirls in lingerie, risqué humor, nightclubs, rich sharks.
Second half money and lawyers and babies.  Crying babies.
Fun romp takes an unwelcome, preachy detour.
Ginger Rogers costars as loyal friend.
 

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Okatsu The Fugitive - 1969 - 6/10

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Third part of a copycat trilogy.
Expert swordswoman, Okatsu, seeks revenge after murder of her parents (again) and a rape at the hands of the feudal lord.
Plot involves tobacco smuggling and seizing villagers for slave labor.
Carnage at the end, but no gushing geysers, typical of chanbara from that period.
 

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Alphaville - 1965 - 7/10
AKA - Alphaville, une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution

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Secret agent Lemmy Caution arrives in the center of the galaxy, Alphaville, from the Outland.
His mission involves a earlier agent, an Outland scientist, and the calculating Alpha 60.
Though science fiction, and using phrases like inter-galactic, the style is full Noir.
Agent Caution drives up in a Mustang, lights cigarettes with his Zippo, packs a gun, carries a pocket camera.
Men wear trenchcoats or lab coats.  Females have numbers tattooed on their neck and most are classified as seductress third class.

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Sets are crappy fleabags or sleek, “futuristic” 60s offices.  It is forever night.
Alpha 60, a computer that controls and rules Alphaville, would be HAL 9000‘s wet dream.  ( Surely Kubrick saw this film.)
If you enjoy poetry readings, boy, are you in for a treat!
Assassinations by swimming pool with synchronized swimmers - check.
If you appreciate extensive talkly passages dealing with identity, conformity, ideas, conscience, this is for you!
Noir swerves headlong into Experimental Theatre.  SciFi on a mouse allowance.
Biting satire of films detective - spy - thriller - scifi - romance.  Great mix from Godard.
 

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Meet the Patels (2014) - currently on Netflix Streaming

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One of the best rom-coms in recent memory is a documentary. Small-time Indian-American actor, born and raised in the States and nearing 30, breaks up with beautiful, ebullient redheaded girlfriend of two years, who he never told his parents about, for unclear reasons - maybe only because she isn't Indian. Hounded by his parents to marry and reproduce, he tries all sorts of Indian matchmaking services, and meets Indian women around the country, in a search for the ideal woman of the correct ethnicity.

The progression of the story follows the classic three-act structure perfectly, almost suspiciously so, but there doesn't appear to be any significant fakery here, and maybe none at all. The humor comes not from the many dates, few of which are seen, but rather from the guy and his co-director/sister's interplay with said parents, the father being particularly hilarious and camera-friendly.

Moral of the story, of course, is men are emotional idiots. If I had a beautiful, ebullient girlfriend of another ethnicity, I wouldn't break up with her without damned good reason.

Oh, and I *am* 30. And, in the past month, my high school girlfriend and the high school girl I was interested in the longest got hitched (though not, sadly, to each other). Here's the former. A year and a half younger, she's an actual adult, it seems:

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Needless to say, my own romantic history is... more limited. Sigh.   

(Still a good movie.)

B+
 

TV's Frink

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Dude, what the hell is wrong with you?

Image removed.  If you want to post pictures of your ex-girlfriend, find another place to do it.
 

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Cheri - 2009 - 5/10

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Michelle Pfeiffer stars as an aging Parisian courtesan (prostitute), who has lengthy affair with the 19 year old son of a rival.
Somewhat based on the novel by Collette, though the book focused on Cheri (the son) while the movie showcases Lea.
Glossy trash.
 

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Deep Crimson - 1996 - 7/10
AKA - Profundo Carmesí

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Mexican retelling of the “Lonely Hearts Killers.” *
Low level con man romances widows and spinsters. Steals money, jewels, silver, then slips away.
Most are too embarrassed to report him, so he operates for years.
Until he encounters the large, needy woman.  They link up, cruise Sonora, turn murderous.
Film really captures the abandoned wastelands of the Mexican scrub.
The pair share a sexual passion, exclusive and claustrophobic.
Faithful retelling, though the ending is off.

* Lonely Hearts Killers:  Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Fernandez_and_Martha_Beck
 

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Beautiful Lies - 2010 - 4/10
AKA - De vrais mensonges

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Forced, unfunny comedy.  Clichéd, gauche.
Male employee writes an anonymous mash letter to his female boss.
She round-files it, only to retrieve it later, copy it word for word, and post to her lovesick mother.
Complications ensue, along with lies, false assumptions, and emotional outbursts.
French misfire that stumbles on many levels.
For a comedy of errors, the pace plods like a drunken penguin.
Main characters are unpleasant and immature.
I could never decide if the director had no respect for women, or none for his audience.
Advertising equates this with Amélie - don’t believe that.
 

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Project Nim - 2011 - 7/10

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In the early 70s, chimp infant Nim was taken from his chimpanzee family and given to a human family.
The concept, backed by Columbia University, was to see if chimpanzees could learn sign language skills.
Absorbing documentary from start to finish.
The family was the wrong choice as they let Nim grow up undisciplined and he developed anti social habits.
Like biting a face off.
Humans drifted in and out of Nim's life, some honestly cared for him, others were disease experimenters.
Says a lot about animal medical testing, and human tendencies to anthropomorphize pets. Dog owners, take note.
Encouraging film for primates everywhere.
 

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^ Yes very good and it made an interesting double-bill with 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes'.
 

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Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate - 2011 - 5/10

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Remake of Tsui Hark's 1992 classic, Dragon Gate Inn (which itself was a remake).
Powerful eunuchs are obstructed by the rebels.
Swords and arrows converge at Dragon Gate Inn, as do Mongols and a monster sandstorm.
CGI effects are like salt, best used sparingly.
In this modern update, the effects are over the top, distracting, poorly rendered.
What is used sparingly, is Jet Li.  Scant kung fu, much wire work.
Seek out the '92 version with Tony Leung, Brigitte Lin & Maggie Cheung (both radiant), and an ass kicking Donnie Yen.
 

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Dark Matter - 2015 - 5/10

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SciFi programmer that borrows from other, better, series.
Out in the galaxy, six shipmates wake from cryo-sleep, discovering their memories have been wiped.
Not to worry, the interstellar void has the internet.
Soon enough they discover they are wanted mercenaries!
Like all poorly written stereotypes (are they bad souls or good), they squabble, bond, reveal their pasts.
Hey - what about that memory loss?
The ship, the Raza, is spacious, with wide walkways, large quarters (with showers!).
Oh, and ducts, the kind one can crawl around in.  Everyone still uses handguns, too.  Really?
Appears the so-called creators swiped from Firefly, an altogether superior show.
Turkey for very non-demanding souls.  I’ll probably watch season two - spackle brain.
 

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Girl Shy - 1924 - 7/10

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Black and white, Silent era slapstick.
Funny Harold Lloyd comedy about a shy milquetoast who pens The Secret Of Making Love, even though he is nervous around females.
Jokes cascade furiously, with mishaps and a hair raising run-to-the-altar finale through Los Angeles circa 1923.
 

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Dough - 2015 - 6/10

Contrived British comedy of Jewish bakery losing clients to relocation and the Reaper.
The Conservative baker has just lost his assistant to an expanding chain.
In desperation, he hires a young Muslim from Darfur as his apprentice.

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Dynamics of old - young, Jewish - Muslim, small shop - big chain. mixed with calculated design.
The apprentice is also a low-level weed dealer who starts adding leaf to the dough.
The sleepy shop revives, though the old guy never notices green flecks in his bagels?!!
Pleasant, feel-good film, lacks believability.  Shot - not in London - but Budapest.

(Includes an intriguing trailer for a doc of Streit’s Matzos which went on my find-list.)
 
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