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A few reviews

Vultural

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Lo And Behold - 2016 - 5/10

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Rare misfire, at least for me. from Werner Herzog.
Interesting opening about the start of the Internet.  And no - no Al Gore claiming credit.
Then Herzog hops about from inter-connections, privacy issues, security problems, megalomaniacs ...
Topics have been covered in numerous documentaries, and better, too.
This is watered down Readers Digest.
One particular section was of some folks “allergic” to radio waves, living in West Virginia.
Kicking back, playing ole timey bluegrass.
Completely out of place - that dog don’t hunt.
Another odd speculation - does the Internet dream of itself?  If so, does your fridge?
 

Vultural

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Miss Mend - 1926 - 6/10
AKA - Мисс Менд

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Four hour, Silent serial from Soviet Union.  Three, long-as-hell chapters that should have been chopped to 12.
Miss Mend is a typist who witnesses a strike over at the Rocfeller Cork Factory!  
Also watching are members of the press:  journalist, photographer, office boy.
Male trio is box o rocks dumb (call ‘em Dimwit, Halfwit, and Nitwit) but the yarn is more them, less Mend.
The group get mixed up with this rich swell who wants to donate his fortune to the Bolsheviks.
However, a powerful Capitalist agency wants to thwart him.
Worse, massacre thousands of innocent Russians!
Story - mostly set in (CCCP’s version of) the US of A - is fast moving but jumps all over kingdom come.
Good luck keeping track of motivations and who’s on which side.
Fairly casual death count in this, without flinching from suffering  the smallest.
 

Vultural

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Denial - 2016 - 7/10

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Drama of Holocaust writer, Deborah Lipstadt, vs Holocaust denier, David Irving.
Fairly accurate retelling of the seeds of the conflict, legal strategies, then the case before the High Court.
Weisz as Lipstadt, irritating throughout. Impulsive, easily baited, rubber-necking during proceedings.
Her portrayal feels “based on”.   Writer’s heavy hand or directorial flourish.
Other than her version, everyone else excelled.

I am almost finished with an extremely lengthy “revisionist” documentary so was familiar with Irving and many of his assertions.
Unsettling notion that history can be utterly rewritten, especially as society loses cognitive function.
 

Vultural

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The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall - 1996 - 6/10

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Glossy three-parter of the Anne Brontë novel.
Widow moves to tiny hamlet, small son in tow.  Also closet skeletons and unspoken baggage.
Village gossip quickly turns malicious and she is shunned by all save a yeoman who is attracted to her.
Secrets are shown in flashback of the horrors the widow fled from.
Most of the characters are brutish, vicious and given to vice.
This is a moral tale, with a suffering, albeit strong, female character.
Finely done, but those seeking another Pemberley, beware.
 

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Maigret Sets A Trap - 2016 - 6/10

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A serial killer stalks brunettes on the streets of Montmartre.
The chief inspector, an analytical cold fish, has a plan.
An English production, filmed in Hungary, this is handsome.
There is limited character development, however.  No idea at all who any of the victims are.
For a murder mystery, there is no tension, no suspense, no clue chasing.
Interesting to see Rowen Atkinson as Maigret.  He underplays nicely, though I wish he had more fire.
 

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The Man Behind Hitler - 2006 - 7/10

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Documentary on Joseph Goebbels, Nazi minster of propaganda.
Kenneth Branagh reads excerpts from Goebbels diary.
Newsreels, still photos try to “put you back” into the moment.
Extremely well done and essential for any WWII buff.

Two points I wondered about.
1)  Keeping any fort of diary strikes me as risky, especially with such pointed entries.
2)  The diaries survived intact!

Another thing.  Goebbels was German, Branagh is British.
So what part of this “The American Experience” episode is U S of A related?
 

Vultural

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Station West - 1948 - 6/10

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US Army sends an undercover operative to investigate a couple of murders.
Gold is starting to stockpile in a nearby fort, the nearby town is controlled by a boss.
Action occurs in the saloon and out on the hard scrabble in this unusual Western.
Dick Powell plays the sharp tongued detective, Jane Greer the manipulative, mystery woman.
Yep, a couple of Noir icons in two fisted cowboy Noir.  Oh yeah, Raymond Burr as crooked lawyer!
Fights, chases, missing bullion, fires, romance, and dark mischief packed into 80 odd minutes.
 

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The Loving Story - 2011 - 7/10

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Moving documentary of married couple expelled from Virginia, taking their case all the way to the Supreme Court.
Expelled in 1958 for miscegenation (ie: interracial marriage).
Overall tone is quiet.  The couple seem subdued, perhaps uncomfortable around camera lenses.
Interviews with the ACLU attorneys involved both enlightening and enjoyable.
No one from the Virginia courthouse spoke.
The husband, a crew cut bricklayer, I thought I would not like, but he turned out OK.
Film versions in 1996 and 2016.
 

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Don’t Breathe - 2016 - 6/10

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Three twentyish burglars prowl Detroit homes.
They follow guidelines (keep the haul under $10K to avoid felony), tight timetables.
For some, it might be hard to work up sympathy for lowlifes who steal their stuff.
“Cause I’m disadvantaged!”  or  “Growin’ up was hard!”  or  “I ain’t rich like you!”
Even less sympathy when they target the Gulf War vet who lives in a forlorn neighborhood.
He’s all alone, and he’s blind.
Being thugs, they decide to hit the blind guy’s house in the middle of the night.
Course your powers of prediction are likely superior to those fools.
Great home invasion thriller.
 

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Spectral - 2016 - 6/10

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Bose-Einstein students, check this out!
Planet Earth's global police force (the U S of A military) fights in Moldava.
The enemy has unleashed something uncategorical, and US troops are getting their asses kicked.
A weapons designer is summoned from the States to take the measure of the weapon.
Ghost - alien - undead - A I - molemen - spirits - robots?  Warning - Try to avoid spoiler riddled reviews if you can.
Similar to Cruise’s Edge Of Tomorrow, with even less character development.
Solid cast of mostly men (not boys).  Heavy combat action enhance this SciFi yarn.
The more you can suspend disbelief, the better you should enjoy, though jargon and explanations do stretch thin at times.
 

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Five - 2016 - 5/10

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Five friends (get it?) decide to pool wages to move into pricey apartment together.
The spotlight hogging rich kid finds himself abruptly disinherited, only he keeps quiet.
New career, he starts peddling high end reefer to high end clients.
Yes, like most mere mortals have access to both.
Complications ensue in not always funny French comedy.
Fanny Ardant plays weed huffin’ Fanny Ardant.
 

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Hitler - The Greatest Story Never Told - 2013 - 5/10

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Lengthy and subversive documentary on Der Führer.
Lengthy, as in 25 episodes, an additional episode of credits, and a bonus episode of life in decadent Berlin before the National Socialists straightened things out.
Over riding theme is Adolf was a genuine good guy who tried to save the world from Bolsheviks.
Initial dozen or so episodes are better crafted, mixing stories that had me heading to my WW II books or Wikipedia:  the Haavara Agreement, Bromberg Massacre, Operation Keelhaul, among others.
Other assertions are just plain whoopers.  Two examples:  Zylkon-B used at Auschwitz was for delousing.  Equating Berlin defenders with Masada resisting Roman legions.
Latter episodes suffer poor narration, scenes from movies (unattributed), and general meandering.
Subversive, in that at 15“ each, these episodes are easily digested and will be attractive to many.
Bonus episode of decadent Berlin is cobbled directly from Legendary Sin Cities: Berlin - Metropolis Of Vice, without attribution.
IMDB tallies big scores for this revisionist documentary, as well as numerous detailed reviews.
In general, I always urge people to absorb and study as much as they can.
“History is written by victors,"  (often attributed to Hermann Göring), I realize as I get older is less and less reliable.
 

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The Expanse:  S01 - 2015 - 7/10

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Yeah, there’s a sucker born every minute.
I can’t tell you how many SciFi shows I take a chance on when I know - I know - they are going to blow.
Most are pathetically lame, written by unimaginative hacks, with plots for the lowest common denominator.
Well - this one ain’t!  Probably because it is based on a clutch of well written novels.
This, set a couple hundred years in the future, details the conflict and intrigue between Mars and Earth.
Caught in the middle are the “Belters,” denizens of the Asteroid Belt who are treated as grunt labor.
Unlike most SciFi, this is packed with ships and space.  Multiple plotlines that converge, yes!

BSG fans, hit this!
 

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Drive-In Massacre - 1976 - 3/10

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Grindhouse slasher that will kill you with boredom.
Couples at the drive-in start getting killed dead by a swordsman.
Piercings, beheadings, general dismemberment.
Killings are speedy and barely shown.
Frisky behaviour inside cars is PG, meaning nothing that would disturb a nun.
Though set in Californian, the acting corps have heavy East coast accents.
Which you will hear plenty of because everyone talks and  talks and talks and talks.
 

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016)

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I finally gave this movie a spin on the off chance that it would prove to have been an underappreciated gem a la The Core, or at least The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. But while it has some moments, and I chuckled a few times, it's certainly nothing memorable.

Incidentally, its 2014 predecessor skimped on showing the Turtles and focused on Megan Fox's April O'Neil, most likely as a CG cost-saving measure, and made almost half a billion in box office sales worldwide despite poor reviews. Out of the Shadows features the Turtles in most scenes, and far more references to the 80s cartoon, but audiences may have been burnt by the earlier movie's stinginess (not to mention general terribleness), and this sequel only made half as much, and not enough to green-light a third entry.

C
 

TM2YC

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Gaith said:
audiences may have been burnt by the earlier movie's stinginess (not to mention general terribleness), and this sequel only made half as much, and not enough to green-light a third entry.

"Just because people pay to see it, it doesn't mean they enjoyed it" - Mark Kermode
 

bionicbob

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DOOMED!:  THE UNTOLD STORY OF ROGER CORMAN'S THE FANTASTIC FOUR

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

As long time, old school Fantastic Four fan, I have always had a soft spot for the 1994 FF movie.  I still remember when I got my sweaty hands on a bootleg VHS and popped it into the player the first time....the anticipation!!!  

And then I watch it.   :s

Was it a good movie?   No, not really.   No budget.  A bad, but mostly faithful, script.  But lots of heart.  And after the mixed results of the previous three big budget FF movies, I probably remember this movie more fondly than it deserves.  :blush:

However, I honestly believe no filmmaker sets out to make a bad movie on purpose.  And this amazingly entertaining documentary definitely supports this belief.  The love and passion of all the actors and the director for this little project is palpable and infectious.   It feels like a genuine David and Goliath story, except in this version David loses.... or does he? ;)

Compared to the similarly themed doc The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?, I liked this one significantly more.  While listening to crazy stories told by Kevin Smith and looking at some intriguing concept art is all well and good, at the end of the day, we have no idea what that particular movie would have been like.  But here, we have a final product to analyze, which gives the stories told by the cast and crew a greater resonance.

If there is a weakness to the doc, it is none of the powers that be participated in the doc.  Though I suppose that only enhances the myth, legend and conspiracy theories behind why this movie was never released.

Still, very good stuff and highly recommended.

Excelsior!!!  :p
 

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Vultural said:
Anthropoid - 2016 - 7/10

Overlooked World War II thriller about Operation Anthropoid.
The plot to assassinate SS Obergruppenführer of Czechoslovakia, Reinhard Heydrich.
Told entirely from the Czech resistance point of view.
The “based on” elements are easy to identify and ignore (such as any love interests).
Measured pace spotlights planning, internal arguing, and constant fear of betrayal.
Unlike other films, this offers the buildup, the event, the aftermath.
Breathtaking cinematography, by the way.

Just watched it via US Amazon Prime free streaming. Very good flick, with first-rate action editing. The battle at the end is lengthy, harrowing, and altogether riveting. Apparently the actor who (very briefly) plays Heydrich previously played him in the 2011 Czech drama film Lidice. Also, I've seen HBO's Conspiracy (also on Amazon Prime) twice, but only now realized that Kenneth Branagh's role in that movie is Heydrich - but then, I never particularly knew who Heydrich was until I started on Amazon's The Man in the High Castle, which portrays him living into the series' 1960s "present."

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Conspiracy

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The Man in the High Castle

I was also surprised to learn, in subsequent surfing, that another major movie about Operation Anthropoid is coming out this year, called The Man with the Iron Heart, starring Jason Clarke and Rosamund Pike as the Heydrichs, and Mia Wasikowska as an "Anna Novak", a possibly fictional character I can't identify. So, it'll be interesting to see how that movie measures up to Anthropoid... it'll have a hard time beating this poster:

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Anthropoid: B+
 

TM2YC

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I want to see 'Anthropoid' when it hits streaming. I wanted to see it at the cinema but it wasn't playing round my way :dodgy: .

Terrible movie title though. I have no doubt it caused at least some of it's poor box-office. It sounds like a movie about an Android Ant :D . If they'd just called it "Operation Anthropoid" everybody would have known it was a war film.

Amusing that Toby Jones is in it. He has a habit for giving superior performances in less-successful (but more critically respected) movies, that have similar versions by other studios (e.g. The Girl/Hitchcock and Infamous/Capote). I wonder if the Wasikowska film will follow the same trend (Do you mean HHhH?).
 

Gaith

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Well, I'm perhaps biased as a sci-fi/genre fan, but I think Anthropoid is a fine and intriguing title, and I didn't even look up its awesome and totally apt definition of "resembling a human being in form" until after I watched it. Operation Anthropoid may have been clearer, but it also strikes me as less poetic, and more like a documentary title.

Now, HHhH, that's a horrible title, so I'm not surprised to see IMDb claiming that movie's been renamed The Man with the Iron Heart. I'm a bit dubious as to that title also, but I'll reserve full judgment until seeing its movie.

And fun point about Toby Jones!  :)
 
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