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A few reviews


Well-known member
Brighton Rock - 2010 - 5/10


Updated retelling of Graham Greene's Noir, set during the clashes between Mods and Rockers in Brighton.
Small time gang, getting buried by the big boys, implodes.
Swank looking film, fab clothes, gear sets, luxe tune mix.
Completely marred by grotty script, a daff couple with NO chemistry, and over the top sound design.
Sam Riley good as smart dressed punk who oversteps one too many times.
Coulda, shoulda been a helluva lot better.


Well-known member
Inquietude - 1998 - 4/10
AKA - Anxiety


Portuguese arthouse film appears crafted to test the stamina of foreign film buffs.
Three sequential tales - extraordinarily slow - of unhappy, over-thinking worriers.
Famous father and son fear they may become forgotten.
Artist is concerned about fate of prostitute (courtesan) he is obsessed with.
Girl fears she cannot marry a boy from another village.
Dialogue is ponderous, fraught with meaning, dense with muddling layers.
Others around me dozed off.
Poster film for people who hate arthouse films.


Well-known member
Eddie The Eagle - 2016 - 6/10


Feel good biopic of unlikely celebrity of the ‘88 Calgary Winter Olympics.
Eddie Edwards has Olympic dreams, despite being far-sighted, ignored by teammates and country, and having limited funds.
He just wants to compete.  And the Olympics are - supposedly - a celebration of amateur sport.
“Ski jumping,"  he decides.  “Yeah, I can do that!"
Passable entertainment, the equivalent of sponge cake.


Well-known member
Wild Grass - 2008 - 4/10


French twaddle by Alain Resnais.
Marguerite has her purse stolen, Georges finds her cash empty billfold outside his car.
Before turning it over to the police, he goes through her cards and photos and grows obsessed.
Obsession turns into stalking.
These are not teenagers. He is around 65, she is 53.
After Marguerite complains, police warn Georges off.
Then Marguerite begins stalking him!
Shallow, utterly implausible, sheer nonsense.


Well-known member
Black Tight Killers - 1966 - 7/10
AKA - Ore ni sawaru to abunaize / 俺にさわると危ないぜ


Passenger invites stewardess out to dinner.
While dining, she notices a man spying on them from the shadows.
Her date (the airline passenger), a war photographer, chases after the shadowy man.
Only to see him murdered in the alley by three women wearing leather jackets and black tights.
Meanwhile, the stewardess is kidnapped by yakuza.
This is the first five minutes!  The photographer is soon pursued by police, yakuza, American mobsters, and the lethal lovelies, the black tight killers.
The story - with a half dozen plots - explodes at breakneck speed.
Groovy music, wildly inventive camera work, and fountains of colour.


One scene:  Our hero, an often thickheaded sort, get rescued frequently.
A sportscar driving hottie bails him out then asks if she can spend the night,
“Because I spent all day playing golf and it’s too late to face my parents.”
Yes, he buys that excuse.
Once at his place, in bed, she’s cold.  “Could you bring a blanket?  And yourself?”
Naturally he takes advantage of the situation only to begin screaming in pain.
“Ninja trick,”  she purrs,  “octopus pot.  Now talk.”
“You’re one of them!  Oww!!  You’re one of the black tight killers!”
“Talk.  Or I tighten the octopus pot ... like this.  Tighten more and you die.”
Of course he talks.  He shouts.
Just one of dozens of wild scenes in crazed spoof of action movies.


Well-known member
High-Rise - 2015 - 5/10


After equipment malfunctions and breakdowns, residents of an exclusive apartment tower break into class tribalism.
From the onset, there seem to be glitches and warning signs, yet tenants flood in.
Based on a J G Ballard novel, the setting is symbolic of Thatcher Britain or Reagan America.
Everyone out for themselves.
With few exceptions, characters are cold, bored, self-absorbed, or disengaged.
The more affluent or status-worthy reside in upper floors, lower orders near street level.
This is a major flaw.  In all exclusive communities, low rents are not tolerated.
The descent into dystopia is abrupt.  When violence mounts, no one phones police, no one flees.
Heavy handed allegory with paper thin characters.


Well-known member
Haute Tension - 2003 - 5/10
AKA - High Tension


Slasher film of two females who visit one of their parents in remote farmland France.
Access is through dirt road and seemingly endless cornfield.
They arrive late at night, say hello, then everyone goes to sleep.
No one hears the rusted work van arrive, nor hear the heavyset man approach the house.
The intruder’s motivations are vague, though a reason teases out midway.
Film suffers structural problems as it is carnage heavy in the beginning, then plods for forty minutes.
There is an unexpected and terrific “turn” near the end.
Unfortunately, I started applying logic at that point and the whole film collapsed for me.


Well-known member
Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words - 2015 - 7/10


Less a documentary about the movie career, but more a behind the doors personal look.
For a Bergman fan, there is wonderful material here.  Old photos, home movies taken by her father, as well as Ingrid herself who was quite the home movie buff.  A trove of correspondence with lifelong Swedish friends.  Recollections from her four children.
What emerges, however, is the story of a loner and perhaps a lonely soul.
Bergman moves from Sweden to Hollywood to Italy to England.  In two moves, she leaves her children behind.
Always, though, she takes her bulging collection of photos, letters and home movies.
One wonders if, for the woman orphaned early, those physical memories were more important than anything else.


Well-known member
Is Amanda Knox Guilty? - 2014 - 5/10


And do we care  anymore?  Not so much.
Documentary started fine, then began to stumble often.
It meandered around, much like the Italian prosecutors, and lacked focus.
Blood - blood is the trail.  Evidence - pinpoint the evidence.
As with the OJ Simpson trial, the murdered victim was an afterthought.
The suspects - the circus whooped and hollered around the suspects.
One is left with the sour taste that Miss Knox knows “something,” did “something,” may even be culpable.
The documentary, however, is shallow and never penetrates.


Well-known member
Manhattan Night - 2016 - 4/10


Investigative journalist meets mysterious blonde at party of new newspaper owner.
Journalist and wife (a doctor) live in secret hideaway home in middle of Gotham.
Nevertheless, a blonde is still a blonde and the journalist has zero instinct for trouble.
Soon enough he is snared in murder, blackmail, beatings, shootings.
Not a cop in sight.
Cliché piles upon cliché.
Thriller relies on stereotypes, leaps into absurdity.
Hard to tell what is worse, stupefying cliches or situations and twists that turn preposterous.
Pity such a fine cast of actors are trapped in a script less organized than a sonata of hamster farts.


Well-known member
Watcher In The Attic - 1976 - 6/10
AKA -Edogawa Ranpo ryôki-kan: Yaneura no sanposha / 江戸川乱歩猟奇館 屋根裏の散歩者


Morbid and  twisted Edogawa Rampo story set in early 1920s finds bored man spying on his fellow residents.
He soon zeroes in on once-aristocratic female, now servicing gentleman callers.
Clients include a tycoon, as well as a man who frolics as a clown.


Voyeur and prostitute gradually escalate into murderous duo.
Relatively short film, though slow going.  Many scenes pan well arranged, symbolic visuals.
Whole production is steeped in a rotting sensuality.  Sex as decay.
Ample nudity throughout, not to forget one memorable smothering death.


Well-known member
De Surprise - 2015 - 7/10


After a series of botched suicide attempts, Jacob decides to do it right.
He hires professionals to erase him from this existence permanently.
Elysium - Professional guide to your final destination.
“Of course we can accommodate you, sir.  Would you have a favorite location, activity, or perhaps option E?”
“Oh, yes!  Option E, just surprise me.”
Sad moody film turns into droll comedy once our protagonist discovers he cannot change his mind.
Dutch movie shifts from poignant to laugh out loud funny to violently lethal.


Well-known member
A Man’s Story - 2009 - 7/10
AKA - The Slingshot // Namja-I-Yaki //  남자이야기

K-drama squarely in the revenge genre.
Unlike Western vengeance that revels in payback and blood satisfaction, this studies the consequences of revenge.
The corrosion of the soul, and unhappiness that wounds friends and strangers.
Cha Do Woo, trying to acquire a competitor, destroys dozens of smaller companies.  Collateral damage.
Kim Shin’s brother loses all.  Business, money, respect, finally his life.


Kim vows to destroy the man responsible.
If that means going to prison, if that means joining with gangsters, if that means stealing ... so be it.
The rich playboy, Cha Do Woo, is a marvelous villain.  


A poised, polished sociopath, who regards 95% of humanity as dirt.
He has an easy time in early episodes, yet as stakes mount, ethics plummet.
Obstacles must crushed in pursuit of his grandiose scheme.
Both opponents analyze and exploit the weakness of each other.
Very much a chess match played across boardrooms and stock exchange.
Limited weeping - hooray.  Clever plotting throughout, the end stitches a few threads, leaves a few unresolved. .
Yong-ha Park (Kim Shin) was on a meteoric ascent with this, his final work before his suicide.


Well-known member
Kill Your Friends - 2015 - 6/10

You ever wonder why pop music is so damned dreadful?
How inarticulate halfwits, scabbing lyrics a three-year-old would be ashamed of, soar up the charts?
Mostly, the herd is responsible.  You know, us, the feeble brained audience, especially when we are young and have discretionary income and limited tastes.
Oh, and there is also the A&R guy, force-feeding us crappy artists he thinks we might like.


Ferocious satire set in during the heyday of BritPop or Cool Britannia.
Our Artists & Repertoire rep is cynical to the core, ambitious, terrified of getting fired, and treacherous.  
He’s hunting for the next new group, next hit.  Longevity?  Sod off.
Time specific to the mid 90s (in five years, filesharing will start to destroy the vast majority of record labels).
Sharp edged, wicked comedy revs out of the gate, falters midway, then goes for the jugular.


Well-known member
Female Jungle - 1955 - 3/10


On the brink of stardom, a blonde actress is strangled outside a cheap dive.
Stumbling out of the bar is an off-duty detective, senselessly drunk.
He had been dating a blonde, he wonders.  Was she ... did he ... He can’t remember.
Noir wannabe written, starring and produced by Burt Kaiser.
Poor script, amateurish direction sink this turkey.  (Bad and boring.)
Director favors reaction shots and cutaways - lots of them.
John Carradine plays elegant, sinister artsy type, Lawrence Tierney coasts.
Everyone else overacts, or worse, wait for partners to finish lines so they can say theirs.
Film introduced new actress, all hips, lips and curves, Jayne Mansfield.


Well-known member
Remainder - 2015 - 6/10


Man walking a crowded London street, notices windows shattering off a nearby skyscraper.
Next thing, something falls (appears to be scaffolding) smashes him to the pavement.
After months of rehabilitation, he returns to society.
His memories are shredded, but lawyers got him a £8.5 million settlement.
Naturally, his oldest, bestest friends - of whom he has no memory - are eager to help.
To its credit, as the guy throws money to restore memories, the narrative goes in unexpected directions.
Answers and truth seldom equate to happiness.
Slow initially, momentum escalates, as does the violence.


Well-known member
Gothic & Lolita Psycho - 2010 - 5/10


Rough club in Neo-Tokyo caters to cage boxing, torture, blood wagers, Kimono fan dancers ...
Parasol spinning girl arrives, resembling Cher having a bad hair day.
She slaughters everyone in the room, just to get at the first notch on her list.
Yes - vengeance.  Flashback shows five black robed assassins murder her mother.
Truckloads of action and a fair bit of comedy.
The best “duel” was #4 with Lady Elle, a bubbly sort wearing skimpy schoolgirl duds.
This has decent fight choreography (I ran in slo-mo) with Elle  pausing to chat on her weapon phone.
Plot is paper thin, the acting is broad and goofy (eyepatch Elle is a jewel, though).
Mindless fun for pre-teens any age.


Well-known member
Rouge - 1994 - 8/10
AKA - Red


Fashion model accidentally runs down a dog.
She locates the owner to return the injured pet.
He is not remotely interested, he is too busy illegally eavesdropping on phone calls all around him.
Superb film of fraternity and disassociation.
The model is fully engaged in Life, the older man is not.
Even the secondary, tertiary narratives explore rejection, betrayal and loneliness.
Rich colours and arranged visuals enhance the moods and themes.
Arthouse, to be sure, yet ultimately this is a story of redemption, and it is never boring.
Final film in  Kieslowski’s trilogy and his final film - period - before his early death.


Well-known member
Attack On Titan - 2015 - 6/10
AKA - 進撃の巨人


Fire up the barbeque grill!
Bygone, post apocalypse dystopia finds humanity lingering behind towering fortress walls.
Within fifteen minutes, the root of the apocalypse (100 years earlier) lumber inside.
30m tall, humanoid looking “titans” who soon get down to business.
Oh yes, carnivore chomping business.  Preferred food - tasty humans.
Gore galore as the giants squabble over dainties and rip ‘em apart.
Technology being at subsistence level, survivors wage a losing war using blades, gunpowder and dwindling petrol.
Based on popular anime which was based on popular manga, this is an efficient distillation.
Moreover, this live action version loses the immature comedy and most of the leads are at least in their twenties, rather than teens and tweens.
Savory film with wings or ribs.  Bon appétit.
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