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A few reviews

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Kings Of Pastry - 2009 - 7/10

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Documentary about winning the red/white/blue collar of the Meilleur Ouvrier de France.
The finest pastry craftsmen of France.
To say competitors were obsessive would be an understatement.
I had friends who perched on the edge of their chairs watching this.
Me?  I found the tone a bit cool, the creations out there.
The final event is always the sugar creation, very fragile creations that shatter easily.
Worth watching if confection (creating or eating) is your thing.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Without Warning - 1952 - 6/10

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Blonde bar-crawlers are being stalked by a serial killer.
Stabbed to death with scissors like weapon.
Labeled Noir, but it falls into the thriller / police procedural category.
We see the killer early on, a social misfit and a loner.
Then an omniscient voice follows from one department to another of crack Los Angeles police.
Prints, fabric analysis, head shrinker (profiler not a term yet).
Predictable, though one wonders how high the body count will rise.
Most of the women have bad Phyllis Dietrichson hairdos.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Train To Busan - 2016 - 6/10
AKA - Busanhaeng / 부 산 행

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Zombies pack a high speed train!
I mean, really, do you need to know more?
Cities are over run with ravenous dead.
Surviving passengers must fight their way to forward compartments.
Zombies are of the sprinter variety and only eat “live” meat, not zombie meat.
Unlike similar train flick Snowpiercer which I jeered, I liked this better.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
La Fille Coupée en Deux - 2007 - 6/10
AKA - The Girl Cut In Two

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Girl in question is local weathergirl chased by aged roué and young wastrel.
In the best ménage à trois traditions, the female attempts to navigate both males.
The provincial town is rather small, however.
The older man, a writer, frequents a sybaritic den with other dissolutes.
The younger man is spoiled, insecure, prone to violence.
Talky (as expected), laced with bedroom politics and petty rivalries.

Note - I braced myself for another French talk-o-drama.
During opening credits, I announced aloud,
“Look, Mathilda May!”
“Who’s that?”  asked one of the girls.
“Brilliant thespian,”  I said.  “She starred in the classic Lifeforce.”
“Oh?  Any good?”
 “Unforgettable.”
 

bionicbob

Well-known member
Donor
Faneditor
Netflix's AMANDA KNOX documentary...

[video=youtube]http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRLt2xBpQbQ[/video]

Watched this morning, left me feeling angry and frustrated.
The complicit nature of the media and narrow mindedness of the police investigation is staggering.

The main reporter comes across as a bottom feeding, slimy, sensationalist who cared nothing about fact checking, only headlines.

And the lead investigator.... I don't know, maybe its a culture thing, but he came across as arrogant, a man who formed his theory based on his dislike of an american woman being young, independent and heaven forbid, sexually active(!!!), and forced the evidence to support his theory and disregarded anything else that conflicted.

If you have followed this case over the years and have already formed an opinion, I don't think it will sway it one way or the other.   Nothing new is truly revealed, what really happened that night of the murder is still a mystery, but it is compelling viewing to see it all put together in one package.

Weaknesses of the doc for me, I felt the murder victim Meridith Kercher and who she was as a person was glossed over and deserved better.  I would have like the doc to have been more in-depth, more background, more expert opinions, some alternate investigation/evidence/theories... definitely more information about Rudy Guede.

Also, the doc feels a bit too slick, too polished.... almost scripted.   Especially the Amanda Knox interview portions.   

I don't know.... its not the doc I was expecting or hoping for.... it is not a hard investigation piece, statements by Knox, the police, and others are not challenged or fully explored and it does not suggest any answers, but it does offer insight into the people involved and how culture/media influences events.

I give it 6 out of 10.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
BBob, there's almost no way I could watch that Amanda Knox doc.
Americans are convinced (or have been urged) she is without guilt.
Brits are diametrically opposed and conclude she is stained with blood.
I imagine the Italians never dreamed they would be caught in a public whirlwind.
Maybe in ten years something new will surface.

Hold that thought.  JonBenét Ramsey was killed almost twenty years ago.
Speculations aside, it is still unsolved.
 

bionicbob

Well-known member
Donor
Faneditor
Vultural said:
BBob, there's almost no way I could watch that Amanda Knox doc.
Americans are convinced (or have been urged) she is without guilt.
Brits are diametrically opposed and conclude she is stained with blood.
I imagine the Italians never dreamed they would be caught in a public whirlwind.
Maybe in ten years something new will surface.

Hold that thought.  JonBenét Ramsey was killed almost twenty years ago.
Speculations aside, it is still unsolved.

Yeah, the whole doc is a bit of a mess.  It flitters and flutters all over the place but never settles on anything.  The more and more I think about it and discuss it with my bride, the more I dislike it ( I even went back and lowered my original score).
 

TV's Frink

Staff Member
Donor
Faneditor
I will probably watch the doc but I barely remember the case.  I pretty much avoided the coverage, and thus I had/have no opinion on it one way or the other.

Regarding Dogtooth, I saw it a few years ago and thought it wasn't great, but I certainly enjoyed it more than you did.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
A Wicked Woman - 1958 - 6/10
AKA - Dokufu Takahashi Oden  /  Poisonous Woman

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Busy account of very lively girl, Oden.
After shoplifting a jewelry store, she is “apprehended” by a young policeman.
She begs him to let her rest at her home before going to the station.
At home, she enfolds him with the sticky petals and seduces him.
An official perceives her character and forces her into becoming both mistress and procurer for his slave trade.
Oh yes, she also has two husbands tucked away.
All in the first 30 minutes!  Long takes make film feel slow at times, though.
Based - believe it or not - on a true individual.
 

Gaith

Well-known member
Faneditor
Silver Streak (1976)

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My mother, nostalgic for the late Gene Wilder, wanted to revisit this fondly remembered adventure from her youth. Turns out some things are better remembered fondly than revisited. This is a movie that tries to do be several things - a sexy adult romance, a Hitchcockian mystery, an action farce, a buddy movie, and finally a straight-up actioner - and only really succeeds at that last one, with a shoot-'em-up climax as protracted as that of almost any comic book movie today. Wilder was no doubt a swell guy, but there's nothing to his character, and Pryor's makes almost no sense. And the treatment of the woman and minor black characters is... not the best.

In forty years, will The Avengers still be cool? Cooler than this, surely? Still, the window into the past is odd enough to make a viewing more than a complete waste of time.

C


Flashdance (1983)

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A young woman (Jennifer Beals, who was 19 at the time and I think plays a 19-year old) welds in a Pittsburgh factory by day, and does clothed erotic dances in a seedy bar full of her coworkers at night. (When she sleeps or walks her dog, or where her family or non-dancer friends are, is a mystery.) When her considerably older (at least late 30s) lame-o boss pesters her for a date, she finally gives in, has him order take-out pizza, and brings him back to her place, where, to his befuddlement, she shags him, after which point she's pretty much in love with him. (I don't get it, either.) Both these movies have romantic entanglements that make zero sense. Say what you like about Jane Foster in Thor, at least that Aussie's hot - money or not, this boss guy (and Wilder in Silver Streak) are just plain schlubs! Anyhow, despite having no apparent formal training, our Alex yearns to be a ballet dancer. That's about it for plot.

A reasonably brisky 98 minutes, with a number of extended dance scenes, make this feel like a chopped-down abridgement. Maybe it was. The key to this film is its producers, Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer: this is basically the low-budget, female-aimed test run for Top Gun, with all the arbitrary plotting, style over substance that implies. Is it good? Lord, no, but there's something to it. Its run-down steel town in fall look is kind of beautiful, in its own way, and Beals lights up the screen. It's easy to see how a generation of adolescent girls too young to see through the story's BS or care about the dude's utter lack of sex appeal could look up to this older teenager as the ultimate in (then) modern womanhood, completely with a rich, besotted boyfriend who's about as sexually intimidating as a Ken doll. Amazon is currently selling blu-rays of this not-good yet iconic flick for $5. Even at such a bargain price, I'm not gonna be suckered into that... I think.

C+
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Give Me Your Hand - 2008 - 4/10
AKA - Donne-moi la Main

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Twin 18 year old brothers set off from France to a funeral in Spain.
To say farewell to the mother who had abandoned them.
They hitch hike and spend most of their time fighting and arguing.
Early in the narrative, a cute girl quits her job to tag along with them ... just like in real life.
After pop the weasel with each, she exits.
Ditto, two bang bunnies who slow down in their car.
Slow, unfunny, with unlikeable leads.  I longed for them to wander into a Hostel inn.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Bay Of Blood - 1971 - 7/10

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An elderly lady is noosed from her wheelchair and left dangling.
The assassin emerges from shadows and is himself slain.
Next, greedy and murderous heirs begin to migrate to the bay manor.
And blood flows and flows.
This ain’t high art but it is an excellent Giallo by Bava.  (Rating against other Giallos)
Film is packed with killings and attractive females.
If you anticipate swim sequences and couplings, so did Bava.
Often hard to keep track of who is killing who - I mean that as a plus.

Be sure to check out insightful audio commentary by Bava biographer Tim Lucas
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Lavalantula - 2015 - 4/10

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Another gas vent that puts the mindless into entertainment.
This is a blatant riff or rip of the Sharknado franchise, even down to a “Finn" cameo.
Volcanoes erupt in Los Angeles and sheep-sized tarantulas scurry out.
These bugs attack and belch fire.  Roasted human is tastier, one gathers.
Story is of a family trying to  rescue scattered members.
The same template used in every single Sharknado sequel.
Derivative, mindlessly amusing, amateurish special effects - apparently intentional.
Lowest common denominator expectations apply as hipsters make crap for dumb customers.
Mind you, I did go “Whee!” when I found this.
Beware, there is a sequel.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Sarah's Key - 2010 - 7/10

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Twin narratives of modern day journalist (Kristen Scott Thomas) digging out story of imprisoned Jews in WWII occupied France, and young girl's escape and desperate journey to reach her brother.
The stories dovetail, then tighten uncomfortably.
Great looking film, well acted all around.
Lived up to my expectations of being depressing.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Black Belt Jones - 1974 - 6/10

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Lightweight (white-weight) Blaxploitation film.
Mafia gets winds of a future downtown development (back in the day, the term was Urban Renewal).
Mob buys properties, but one hold out is Pop’s Karate School.
The Feds have been after the mob for some time, and their finest agent, a buffed Jim Kelly, also happens to be the preeminent alumni of the school.  How Kelly fit into his way-cool Jensen is beyond me,
Most of the fight sequences are well done.  Kelly was a martial arts expert.
Too many juvenile scenes for my liking, though, as well as too much comedy.
This is not Black cinema with an edge, but feels aimed at the broader audience.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
À Trois On Y Va - 2015 - 6/10
AKA - All About Them

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Ménage à trois of provincial Millenniels.
Successful professional drops in on “friend,” discovering she now has boyfriend.
No biggee.  As soon as the boyfriend leaves momentarily, the girls kiss and grope each other.
Seems they have “old flame” history to which the male is ignorant.
No biggee there, either.  When the boyfriend drives the other woman home, he propositions her.
She doesn’t exactly say no.
For the rest of the movie, the three cheat around on each other and suffer emotionally.
Rather disappointing as this contained all elements for a first rate farce.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
The Fat Black Pussycat - 1963 - 4/10

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Abysmal film, somehow oddly watchable.
Black-gloved killer prowls Greenwich Village, targeting the Bohemian set.
Beatniks, poets, dancers, poseurs and loose women.
A very square police detective gets nowhere interviewing the hipper-than-thou denizens.
He ventures into the Fat Black Pussycat Cafe, goes to swinging parties, hooks up with an anthropology professor.
Acting is uniformly dismal.  Lots of pre and post coital situations, though.
Directing is terrible, editing worse.
The second half jumps all over the place with little coherence.
Extras include trimmed sex scenes and alternate ending, likewise incoherent.
Must-see for bad film connoisseurs.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Ditch Day Massacre - 2016 - 5/10

Dead teenager flick.  Falls squarely into Revenge cinema as opposed to Slasher.
Six high schoolers skip classes to have a day party.
Swimming pool, booze and banging.
Unknown to them (being blind from drinking and squirming) the stranger has slipped inside.

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There is a backstory, which I shall not go into.
Suffice to say the theme is of brutal justice, with no regard to bystanders.
Acting is as expected.  Production shows limited budget.
Gore is minimal for the genre.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
The Sniper - 1952 - 6/10

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Stray gunman shoots females on lonely San Francisco streets.
He is psychologically damaged, knows he needs help, surrenders to impulses nonetheless.
Reasons are unclear, though he does have a ball-busting female boss (mainly because he is a sorry worker).
Decent Noir, albeit preachy, being a high browed Stanley Kramer production.
Superb use of locations.

If possible, get a version with Eddie Muller’s outstanding commentary.
Muller helms the Film Noir Foundation and is a lifelong San Francisco resident.
He talks at length about actors, locations and the similar (generally snubbed) Without Warning.
 

Vultural

Well-known member
Donor
Joanna Lumley's Trans-Siberian Adventure - 2016 - 7/10

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Several notches above the usual travel documentary.
Actress, model, funny-as-hell, Joanna Lumley travels from Hong Kong to Beijing, into Mongolia, into Siberia, across the steppes finally reaching Moscow.
By rail.  Old-fashioned train.  During winter, of all seasons.
Of course the scenery is gorgeous, and she is permitted access to homes or palaces denied to most.
The doc does a nice job capturing the boredom, the tedium, the ennui of traveling 6000 miles on a train.
It also showcases surprise tangles or setbacks, common to all travelers, yet rarely shown on documentaries.
Lumley is an increasingly rare “guest,”  learning phrases, respectful, willing to sample foreign food or customs.
Highly recommended to those who enjoy these type of shows.
 
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