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A few reviews

Vultural

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To The Ends Of The Earth - 1948 - 6/10

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Dick Powell stars as Federal narcotics agent trailing human traffickers and opium smugglers.
From San Francisco to Shanghai to Cairo to Havana, coordinating with local authorities.
Stock footage for exotic exteriors are OK if you can suspend disbelief.
There is no main villain here, only shifting hydra heads per location.
Dry, exposition driven narrative, similar to T-Men, FBI Story, and The House On 92nd Street.
Better for those who appreciate starchy doc-dramas.
 

Vultural

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Le Vent de la Nuit - 1999 - 4/10
AKA:  Night Wind

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Pretentious French twaddle with Catherine Deneuve and Xavier Beauvois.
Deneuve having affair with younger man, because she is bored, or dead inside.
The young man describes himself as an artist, when he is not even an assistant.
Then there's a 60s burnout.
Tedious slog with stagnant pond characters.
Given an extra star because Deneuve remains attractive.
 

Vultural

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Carnage - 2011 - 6/10

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Saw this first as local theatre production.  Live drama.  Hated it.
Film version boasts big names:  Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C Reilly, Christoph Waltz. Roman Polanski directs.
Carnage remains a play set in one room, though.
Two sets of parents escalate the playground spat begun by their two boys.
Highly annoying. Jodie Foster's character was defensive and always had to have the last word. Waltz was on his cellphone more often than off.
If you like talky dramas, jump on this one.
Even after I finished a bottle of red it didn't get any better.
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ............
 

Vultural

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In The Deep - 2016 - 6/10

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Loca turista story.
Two sisters get talked into shark dive.
Get lowered into infested waters while safely protected inside a steel cage.
Sounds like fun!  What could go wrong?
The trip is cash only, the boat is a rust bucket, the winching mechanism is aged.
The crewmen illegally chum the waters and down our girls go.
Docked a point because one sister is an irritating whine and their reasons for doing this are wrong.
Given a point because the photography is imaginative and the plot plays out in real time.
 

TV's Frink

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I know I'm beating a dead horse but I don't see a mere 1 point difference between these two reviews.

Vultural said:
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.

Vultural said:
Carnage - 2011 - 6/10

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Saw this first as local theatre production.  Live drama.  Hated it.
Film version boasts big names:  Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C Reilly, Christoph Waltz. Roman Polanski directs.
Carnage remains a play set in one room, though.
Two sets of parents escalate the playground spat begun by their two boys.
Highly annoying. Jodie Foster's character was defensive and always had to have the last word. Waltz was on his cellphone more often than off.
If you like talky dramas, jump on this one.
Even after I finished a bottle of red it didn't get any better.
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ............
 

Vultural

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TVs Frink said:
I know I'm beating a dead horse but I don't see a mere 1 point difference between these two reviews.
Vultural said:
Girl Shy - 1924 - 7/10
Carnage - 2011 - 6/10

    Well, friend, at the risk of antagonizing you, there likely is no definitive response.  Enjoyment of films is subjective, while scoring is arbitrary.  I have often said my reactions to and opinions of any given film lie within the review itself.  Even there, I attempt to be extremely careful not to reveal too much of the plot, particularly twists.

    I have a fairly narrow scoring range, which I have acknowledged several times.  5-6-7 is the norm.  Much of this stems from my age and viewing experience.  I have easily watched 5000 films, though the total is possibly closer to 10,000.  Over the years my expectations diminish and fewer releases give me that Wow feeling.  I settle down, hoping the story is not yet another rerun.

    As I have mentioned before, my youthful scores would have hovered in 1-2 or 9-10.  Dreadful! or Astounding!  I have not “seen it all” but I have seen plenty.  Experience is often repetition and predictability.  Hard for me to get as excited as I once did for a new James Bond movie.  Fighting - victory.  More so for any “super hero” franchise.  Humans are gullible, however,  Consider how we swallow politicians' promises year after year, decade after decade.  Maybe we are trusting, maybe we want to believe, maybe a predictable formula is just easy.

    Numerous acclaimed films I watch and appreciate, without liking.  They are important, they are quality, but the aftermath felt like broccoli, rather than chocolate.  Oftimes, I will get more pleasure from sorry films, usually depending on the energy and honesty of the production.  Give me an Ed Wood over a Troma release any day.  I will score those low, yet in my comments confess how much I enjoyed them and reasons for.  Could be, I have a shallow streak.

    Most readers don’t angst over my scores.  A numerical valuation is a signpost, after all, a shade more useful than thumbs up or thumbs down.  If my rating system truly disturbs or offends you, I can dispense with it altogether.

    Apologies, I prefer brevity.
 

TV's Frink

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That's fine.  I just read your reviews as:

Very funny! 7/10
Boring as hell!  6/10

I believe I'm not quite as old as you, but not that far off, and I'm sure I haven't seen as many movies as you, but certainly I've seen plenty...and I think I understand how rating systems generally work and I don't think your ratings fit.  You should just rate things on a four star system and give mostly 2's and 3's.
 

bionicbob

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I love V's reviews!!!  :D

I may not always agree or even understand them, but I gobble them up eagerly and find them thoroughly enjoyable.
His rating reviews are his alone.  They are subjective and I do not see any issue with them.
Though, half the fun of critics is disagreeing and arguing with them.  :p LOL!
 

Vultural

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Georgia O'Keefe - 2009 -  6/10

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Biography of painter O'Keefe (Joan Allen) and husband Alfred Steiglitz (Jeremy Irons).
Well acted, well photographed, shifting from Manhattan to the Southwest desert.
Probably should have been a mini-series.
As shown, this seems more a sketch of mannerisms and iconic paintings.
 

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Kill Command - 2016 - 6/10

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Not bad actioner, if cobbled together and derived from familiar templates.
Soldiers are dropped on remote island for another training session against robotic targets.
An engineered human accompanies them, as observer for the defense contractor.
As on previous missions, the robots make mindless sitting targets.
(The combat droids resemble something dad assembled from a Popular Mechanics kit.)
Except this time, the units start to learn from mistakes.
Imagine the Colonial Marines from Aliens assaulting a Skynet secret facility.
No kids - no juvenile comedy - no romance.  Yay!
Hardly original, but a no-nonsense “hunter-hunted” genre flick.
Others might score this higher.
 

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Truth - 2015 - 6/10

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Well acted, over earnest retelling of TV news story gone awry.
Back when Bush vs Kerry was ongoing, CBS aired a report about Bush’s guard duty.
For those blissfully unaware, Kerry served in Vietnam, Bush enlisted in National Guard.
Before fully vetting the facts, the story goes out.
Redford plays reporter Dan Rather, though the film is about the producer, played by Cate Blanchett.
Underlying theme is of business commercializing news.
Everyone tries hard in overlong, deadly serious fare.
Broccoli film of fading era.  News?  Most no longer trust it, and their prime source is Facebook.
 

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The Ides Of March - 2011 - 4/10

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Absurd political thriller set amidst the US primary season.
Five or ten minutes in, the main character (Gosling - the smartest guy on the team) takes a phone call and begins a series of stupid, moronic decisions.
He does things your high school student council rep would have shunned.
Intelligent actors, good sets, excellent concept, completely undermined by contrived, muddled script.
Others around me voiced, "No!"  "Stop!"  or  "You idiot!"  before every ludicrous act.
Then again, maybe this is symbolic of politicians in general?
No, this is “Staff” and staff is always expendable.
 

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Secret Agent - 2016 - 6/10

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Three part drama of anarchist activity in Victorian London.
Verloc has infiltrated a Russian terror cell.  He is in thrall to his paymasters, the Russian embassy, and he is also in the pocket of a British copper.
Fear of exposure and betrayal leave him in constant dread.  Business affairs are complicated, family likewise.
Factions push him into bombing as political statement.
Rather dour adaptation of little known Joseph Conrad novel.
Toby Jones excellent as the shifty, blame-everyone-else Verloc.
Ian Hart dominates, though, as the fanatical bomb-maker, the Professor.

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Vultural

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Midnight In Paris - 2011 - 8/10

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Quietly dazzling film, where banality glides into fantasy.
Owen Wilson plays man out of step with his time, and of no value to his future in-laws.
When his fiancee’s old flame surfaces, Wilson prowls a bygone lane.
And finds himself stumbling into an inventive slip stream.
Literary in-jokes abound. and the MacGuffin conveyance is a wonderful touch.
Allen has done this before, notably The Purple Rose Of Cairo.
Slightly less accessible, perhaps, if you are weak on literary references.
More accessible, however, if 30s homages from The Purple Rose Of Cairo perplex you.
Photography of Paris is ravishing.
 

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Looker - 1998 - 5/10

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Two men and a woman share a three-way in a grungy alley.
Soon as the strokin’ and gropin’ climax, she finishes them with a straight razor.
The detective assigned the case tells his partner this happened twenty years earlier.
His father was the investigator, and he was murdered.
Is it the same killer?  Is she still alive? Hunting?
Bipolar flick.  Hardcore porn sequences, yet the police narrative is full Noir.
Groaning and foaming to crappy synth score.  Noir parts have sharp shadows, bluesy score, black n white flashbacks.
Perhaps inspired by the Neo Noir surge of the 90s.  More likely a rip of Basic Instinct.
Looker still better (and wetter) than most B-grade “erotic thrillers" of the 90s.
 

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Sandy Denny: Under Review - 2006 - 5/10

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An underrated, and sadly increasingly forgotten, singer from the 60s and 70s.
Denny sang on several acclaimed albums for Fairport Convention, later Fotheringay.
This was a career documentary film, not a personal one.
Denny's demons, insecurities and substance problems were barely addressed.
To those who are still scratching their heads, Denny was the only artist ever to guest on a Led Zeppelin album.
"Battle Of Evermore."
In 78, she fell down a staircase, struck her head, and died within a month.
Documentary more for knowledgeable fans.
 

bionicbob

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Vultural said:
Looker - 1998 - 5/10

When I saw the movie title, I for a moment hoped you were reviewing this classic....

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoT-r1slAZ4[/video]
:D
 

Vultural

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Jerichow - 2008 - 5/10

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German love triangle drama with three characters old-enough-to-know-better, making poor decisions.
Turkish owner of a string of snack stands hires a discharged vet to drive.
The boss has drinking problems, and a young, trophy wife, built like a snake (ie: not a gram of fat on her).
Classic rule - Don't bang the boss's wife. Secretary and daughter are bad enough, but the wife ...
Course then we would not have predictable movies like Jerichow.
"Making of" documentary tried to explain hidden motivations and underlying character issues.
Zzzzzzzz ....
 

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Love & Friendship - 2016 - 6/10

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Flawed, yet enjoyable adaptation of obscure Jane Austen novella.
The movie is based on Lady Susan, written when Austen was 18, and not Love and Freindship (misspelling correct) which was penned four years earlier.
Lady Susan, an unscrupulous widow sets out to find rich, easy to control husbands for herself and her daughter.
She flirts, conducts affairs, oppresses her daughter, imposes on her relations.
A right piece of work.
Costumes, set design, photography are all excellent.  Acting, top rate.
The pacing if off, however.  Too modern.  The story rushes at top speed throughout.
Numerous characters introduced, yet several are underutilized.  Stephen Fry = 2 brief scenes.
More air, a longer cut would help immeasurably.
Amusing entertainment, nevertheless, and Austen fans will find this irresistible.
 
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