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A few reviews

ThrowgnCpr

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^ I recently saw a good review of that and added it to my watch list. I'll definitely have to check it out now.
 

ssj

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i don't want to puff this movie up too much, throw—your mileage could vary. i read some non-professional reviews using the "boring" descriptor.

still, it got 99% on the tomatometer, so there's that.

work was slow last night, so i had some time to kill. and boyoboy, did it get killed!

i need to seek out director na hong-jin's other movies.
 

skyled

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That same director also made The Chaser which was fantastic.
 

Vultural

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Split Second - 1953 - 6/10

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Pair of convicts break out of prison, greet a confederate, and hit the road.
Enroute waits a stash of loot and south of the border passage.
First - car, hostages, and a hideout.
What better place to hide than an abandoned mining town, half mile from an atomic bomb test site?
“No one will hunt for us here.  Especially since there is a test tomorrow at 6:00 AM.”
Part Noir, part Playhouse drama.
Eye candy includes luscious Jan Sterling (bad girl with the good heart), and Alexis Smith (bitter wife, bored and oh-so easy).
The real star, though, is Stephen McNally, the head con.  Tough, unflinching, he can and does kill in a heartbeat.
Smartest man in the room.  Yet being a Noir, things can go wrong, even for smart guys.

This was Dick Powell’s first directorial film and I could not get over the nuclear bomb angle.
Three years later, he would direct The Conqueror on Utah’s testing grounds.
That movie, an atrocious John Wayne vehicle, is notorious for the heavy death toll, stars and crew, from cancer.
 

Vultural

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The Night Manager - 2016 - 6/10

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Acclaimed thriller about night manager of ritzy Cairo hotel involved with filthy rich armaments dealer.
His reasons are personal - ethical - and old-fashioned vengeance.
A nest of lies and intrigue enhance suspenseful plot.  Talent, locations, photography, all superb.
Hugh Laurie marvelous as the cynical, suspicious, amoral Richard Roper.
Watch it, then move on quickly, because you do not want to rethink this one.

Clichés run the gamut from hero who cannot refrain from forbidden fruit,
to the wary kingpin who lowers his guard, to the same kingpin not layering himself.
What else?  Hotel manager, really?  Yes, it is terribly swank.
Would manager of trendy high-end shoe store have worked?  Posh wine seller?  Mercedes Benz dealer?
Watch - don’t think.
 

ssj

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skyled said:
That same director also made The Chaser which was fantastic.

thanks, man. chaser and the yellow sea are now in my nutflix queue.
 

Vultural

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10 Cloverfield Lane - 2016 - 6/10

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Female, post-breakup, driving late night answers pleading boyfriend on cellphone.
She hangs up, he recalls, she reaches and -- screech, wallop!  Yes, car-phone crash.
Next scene, she is shackled to a hospital bed, IV drip in vein.
She is “guest” of survivalist (John Goodman), convinced the Apocalypse has occurred.
There is no radio, no outside news, only his saccharine 60s pap music collection.
Over time, she adjusts to her situation, though there is growing uneasiness.
Goodman’s character (a version of Lebowski Walter) might be unstable.
A slow burn of a film, yet definitely a fork off Cloverfield.
 

Vultural

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The Wicked Lady - 1945 - 6/10

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Dated, though still entertaining tale of treachery amongst the gentry.
Guiless Caroline invites best friend / cousin Barbara to be her maid of honour.
Before you can warn, Barb not only swipes the groom but marries him.
Baby-making?  Ha ha.  Separate bedrooms, hers with a secret passage.
Soon she beds gallant swains and loads her pistols.
Oh, for a life of crime.
Margaret Lockwood became a star with the despicable Barbara.
Ideal for the dreary afternoon.
 

Vultural

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X-Files: S04 - 1996 - 6/10

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Initially, sheer joy.  Behind the shelves, I spied a still shrink wrapped S04 box that I had purchased in 2005.
Opener was with Roy Thinnes.  Great, great, great.
Turns out, this is not nearly as enjoyable as S02 and S03, at least for me.
Most of the one-offs, the monsters of the week, were decent.
The mythology arc, however, seemed to have run out of steam.
Revelations were incremental, no longer the eye popping leaps.
As the season advanced, a depressed, gloomy tone saturated characters and narratives.
I have my own theories about what happened.  Key departures, film version distraction.
For me, this was where X-Files lost its appeal.

Note - For those who only want a few seasons, S04 does feature a conclusion of sorts you can end on.
 

Vultural

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The Town That Loves Books - Arts At Hay - 2014 - 6/10


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Documentary on the biggest book fair in Britain, in small Hay-on-Wye.
Dealers, publishers, authors, celebrities, fan-fiction, fans, rain rain rain.
Doc is hopeful one frame, worrisome the next.
On one hand it is reassuring to see people buying and taking an interest in books.
On the other, publishing houses are dwindling, and it is harder for new writers, save celebrity authors.
Thanks to self publishing, anyone can be an author!  Though no one may buy your book.
I watched this with library types - they were in a happy place.
 

bionicbob

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http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nEHwVFcDXs[/video]

Not sure if V already reviewed this one, but I know of his love for Noir style dramas....

Definitely a throwback to the noirs of old, ambitious lawyer gets manipulated by crazy sexy ex-girlfriend who later turns up dead and he goes on the run.   Pacino and Hopkins sleepwalk through roles they have already played dozens of times.  It feels like the director is mimicking DePalma who is mimicking Hitchcock in terms of style but not always succeeding.   A diverting B-movie, though very predictable and instantly forgettable.  Though I did enjoy the retro-Hitchcockian music score.
 

Vultural

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Lila Lila - 2009 - 6/10

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Aimless waiter discovers manuscript in stuck end table drawer.
To impress a girl, he shows and declares he wrote it.
In swift succession - publication, literary sensation, public adulation!
Hey, wait a minute, I saw this story.
They swiped this from 2012‘s The Words.
No, that can’t be right.  I mean, 2009 came before ...
Device of wayward creation claimed  by another is fairly common.
This version is lighter, supposedly a comedy.
German humor is lost on me.
 

Vultural

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Conspiracy In The Court - 2007 - 5/10

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Costume K-drama set in 17th century Joseon.
New king wants to relocate the palace capital to new area where there will be more food for citizens.
Most courtiers and power brokers do not want to move.
Labyrinthian maze of scheming, poisoning, assassinations, financial chicanery.  
Plot is confusing, though not impossible if you persevere.
More intrigue than action, with dozens of villains.

Biggest drawback gainsaying recommendation art the Elizabethan subtitles.
Verily, the sole subs hailst from the now-moribund Written In The Heavens sub chamber.
Dialogue be heavy over-subbed, configuring archaic words and syntax.
“Liar!” might get subbed “Thou liest, foul knave.”
Gentle viewers wouldst squander precious time reading and pondering obsolete verbosity.
Yea, methinks WITH aimed for historic veracity, yet hold steady!
Yon play is enhanced with modern pop songs (which were not subtitled).
Be thou warned, varlets and slatterns.
 

Vultural

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Mantis In Lace - 1968 - 3/10
AKA - Lila

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So ... while watching German “comedy” Lila Lila, my brain started hearing the old song, “Lila.”
Bad tune, from a bad movie, that I have viewed several times.  Feeble mind.
Topless dancer Lila shimmies at da club, gyrating to her signature “Lila” song.
Guys pick her up and she hauls them to her nest.
Abandoned warehouse, stained mattress, candles in Mateus bottles.
Lila drops LSD, drops her dress, and before she can cry,  “Oh my God!”
Her acid trip goes haywire and she starts killin’.  Repeat - repeat - repeat.

No one watches this for acclaimed acting or nuanced script.
Nope, the allure is vast stretches of nudity punctuated with gruesome deaths.
Warning to current era viewers.  All females are from the bush era.
If your preference is Barbie’s waxed sheen, you will likely hurl your nachos.

Afterthought - The DVD has lots of extras, including a couple “dangers of drugs” docs,
and over 100 minutes of deleted scenes and outtakes.  More dancers, tons more flesh.
One dancer I recognized from Russ Meyer’s Mondo Topless.  Err, her assets ... I mean.
 

Vultural

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House Of Bamboo - 1957 - 6/10

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Sam Fuller movie, often pigeon holed as Asian Noir is more suitably Tourist Noir.
Ex-soldier (Robert Stack) arrives Tokyo after buddy summons him for crooked money.
Buddy is dead and Stack begins selling “protection.”  Rich visuals in this section.
Eventually he gets recruited into a small gang of Army ex-pats led by Robert Ryan.
Lost man in unfamiliar city is Noir enough.
Numerous logic errors, though.
Wouldn’t authorities notice a crew of tall, white faced gaijin committing robberies?
Writers mention a homoerotic angle - maybe, maybe not.
I think they are trying to make a ho-hum plot seem interesting.
 

Vultural

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M R James: Ghost Writer - 2013 - 6/10

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Presenter Mark Gatiss narrates the life and works of premier ghost story scribe, M R James.
Excerpts from stories, talking heads, location shots of Cambridge and Eton.
A scholar, and solitary man.  Typical of most writers, James himself is not particularly compelling.
Forays into his sexual inclinations are idle speculation.
Time filler.
 

Vultural

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Night Of The Demon - 1957 - 6/10

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Old school ghost tale based on M R James’ classic,  “Casting The Runes.”
American professor come to London for conference on supernatural.
He runs afoul of devil worshiper and realizes a curse has been placed.
Moody, atmospheric film, with adversaries polite and well mannered.
Dana Andrews fine as skeptical American joining forced with colleague’s younger niece.
Fortunately, there is no icky romance which would be de rigueur nowadays.
 

Vultural

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Dawn French:  30 Million Minutes - 2014 - 5/10

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Give the comedian an A for effort in her one-woman show.
Ms French charges about the stage, reacts to huge "BOYS!!" signs, while giving a personal history tour.
Growing up, her family, and her body image - the latter, at length.
Laughs are rare in the first hour.
At times, she seems to pause a second or two, waiting for applause or laughter that never comes.
Females I watched this with giggled during the “mother daughter” section, the last 20 minutes.
More memoir than stand up comedy, though not always memorable.
This ain‘t Vicar Of Dibley, it ain’t French & Saunders, and it sure as hell ain’t Ab Fab.
Live show was wildly popular, nevertheless.
 

Vultural

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The Blade - 1995 - 7/10
AKA:  Dāo / 刀

Spectacular Hong Kong swordsplay actioner.
Stuntwork is dazzling in this, and I would not be surprised it dismemberment had occurred.
Rivalry within a swordsmith’s fortress creates tension and discontent.
Outside the walls - somewhere - marauding bandits pillage at will.
The landscape is splattered with various battles and bloodbaths, while bandit numbers swell.
What they really need, however, are more swords.

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Exceptional Tsui Hark film, though less known, perhaps, because it is relentlessly grim, dark, bleak.
No heroes here.  Survivors, betrayers, murderers.
Violent retelling of the one-armed swprdsman tale.
Hong Kong released quite a number of pessimistic films fore-shadowing the takeover.
Hard Boiled, Burning Paradise, Black Sun, are a few that come to mind.
The Blade will be an action lover’s dream.
 

Vultural

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The High And The Mighty - 1954 - 7/10

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In the mood for the old-fashioned airline disaster film?
Look no further.  This is the root of mainstream copies and inevitable spoofs.
Large cast headed by John Wayne and Robert Stack (coupled with “names” of the era and well as recognizable character actors) climb aboard the Honolulu to San Francisco four prop plane.
The flight seems only half full and seats are spacious.
Passengers each given their moment to tell their story.
Before the engine trouble arrives, then fuel problems.
Wayne very good in understated role as weary albatross observing Stack’s character navigate inner demons.
At times corny and predictable, most of the film is a tense thriller.  Grand entertainment.
 
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