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A few reviews

bionicbob

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Shout Factory's Collector Editions of ROBOCOP 2 and 3....

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBJZMdPGrq8[/video]

I think I will be picking these up.  :D
 

Gaith

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Five Came Back (2017)

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Excellent three-hour warts-and-all Netflix doc on the WW2 military service and filmmaking of John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra, and George Stevens, based on the recent acclaimed Mark Harris book. Spielberg, Coppola, Guillermo del Toro, Paul Greengrass, and Lawrence Kasdan appear as talking heads, as do the directors in archival footage. Very high quality clips of the films themselves throughout. Nothing hugely surprising, but a great watch for history and movie buffs. And just about anyone, really.

Grade: A
 

Vultural

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Dix Pour Cent - 2015 - 6/10
AKA - Call My Agent

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Brief mini-series about stressed film agents and demanding clients.
Ones liking may depend on tolerance for actors and affinity for French fare.
Story revolves around four agents trying to keep company afloat.
A gallery of French stars fill the guest roles..
Funny, exasperating, infuriating.
Viewers who expect resolution and explanation, beware.
 

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Thundering Sword - 1967 - 5/10
AKA - Shen Jian Zhen Jiang Hu // 神劍震江湖

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To bring balance to the martial arts world, mystical sword must be found and destroyed.
Two rival clans seek.  One righteous, one wicked.  One handsome male, and one attractive female.
Do they fall in  love?  Can love conquer all?
Quite theatrical looking story features only a handful of swordfights.
Instead there are three songs, some sweeping musical cascades, and moral lessons.
Not a bad film, but less action than expected from a Shaw Brothers production.
 

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The Finest Hours (2016) 


When I accuse Star Trek Beyond of being screeching and unconcerned with life to the point of vulgarity (i.e., Kirk quipping about how "fun" being a captain immediately after what must be the deaths of many of his crew members), this is the sort of contrasting example I have in mind. The Finest Hours is old-fashioned, big-hearted, and, yes, a bit corny. But it's also a thrilling adventure without a single firearm discharge or even a villain per se, just scared, smart, brave men. Which, much like In the Heart of the Sea, another recent major New England nautical box office bomb, has led to some sniffy reviews about how unsophisticated and old-fashioned it all is. Which seems to me like going to a church service and complaining about all the theology - some critics think themselves too clever to appreciate a simple story about honor and determination.

Then there are the reviews that complain about the CG looking "fake"... but most of the movie takes place at night, so the realistic course would have been to torture the audience with dim and indistinct visuals. Yes, the cold and hypothermia could have been better emphasized, and the money spent on the 3D presentation (which, for a movie this dark and dim: no, thanks) could have been spent on visible breath, but that's hardly a reason to condemn the whole movie.

Great perfs by Chris Pine and Casey Affleck. I really like Mick Lasalle's discussion of the former: "He’s an arresting character — shy and diffident, and yet with a rare decisiveness and certainty in his own judgment. Over the course of the film, the audience can’t help circling back to Bernie and pondering him, wondering if the thing that allowed him to be heroic was simplicity — a sort of “This is what’s right, so this is what I’m doing” — or moral profundity. Both possibilities are in play in Chris Pine’s performance."

It's no classic of cinema, but The Finest Hours is a gripping and moving tribute to an extraordinary real-life ocean rescue of tremendous honor and courage, and the apparent lack of a viable market niche for such movies is a shame. But here's to Disney for having made it at all. 

A-      (currently on Netflix streaming!)

PS. This movie is rated PG-13, the same rating as The Expendables 3, Star Trek Beyond, and Suicide Squad, despite being far more appropriate for young children, what with its complete lack of violence and the glorification thereof. How this got a PG-13 when Disney's Tomorrowland got a PG, despite its start-to-finish violence, including a high school girl smashing an android's head with a goddamn baseball bat onscreen, is inexplicable. Dear MPAA ratings board: Go fuck yourselves.
 

TM2YC

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Gaith said:
Five Came Back (2017)

Grade: A

Grade A indeed, thanks for the recommendation. Totally fascinating and despite the huge coverage WW2 gets across all media, this was full of new stories. I notice Netflix have also uploaded many of the war films featured in the Doc in HD. It's like a mini film festival in your living room, great work Netflix. The doc made me re-think about many of the films by these 5 Directors, given where they were coming from post-war.
 

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^ I just noticed all those HD docs available, too; Netflix definitely could and should do a better job of pointing that out. Glad you liked it! :)
 

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The Girlfriend Experience, Season 1 (2016)

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Unlike the 2009 movie, which I sampled but bailed on, this very different riff on the underlying theme is as much a psychological and legal thriller as it is a sex work procedural. It's also a character study that's constantly withholding not only answers but basic details, with abrupt time jumps, subplots that come and go, and a largely inscrutable heroine. Even when character work is foregrounded, tone reigns supreme; this is more American Psycho than Secretary. Riley Keough, one of Fury Road's slave women and real-life granddaughter of Elvis, is terrific, often inscrutable by design, but never not compelling.

The second season will feature an all-new cast and two new storylines. As solid as this 13 half-hour-ep run was, I hope they drastically mix up the tone and style, too, as more of the same would likely be tedious.

B+
 

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The Legend of Barney Thomson - 2015 - 6/10

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50 year old barber with anger issues escalates into homicide.
Hmm, the body.  What to do?  I know, ask Mum!
Mum, an acerbic, spiteful soul bails him out.  From frying pan into fire.
Now, police suspect him of being a notorious serial killer!
Very black comedy of murder, treachery, dismemberment.
Robert Carlyle - Emma Thompson - Ray Winstone, all must had a field day in this.

Alert!  My DVD has no SUBS, and the Glasgow dialect is thick and actors slur lines.
 

bionicbob

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Now playing on Netflix...

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97XoMjwoZ5w[/video]

I found it fascinating listening to De Palma review his career.  He comes across very blunt, honest, insightful, tough, and opinionated.
I thought the doc could have used some balance with counterpoints from his peers and co-workers.  
But he is a great storyteller and imo one of the Masters of Movie Making.
Highly recommended.
 

Vultural

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As Above, So Below - 2014 - 7/10

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I’m normally as patient with “found footage” genre fare as I am with “dead teenager” flicks.
Still - - when those with subterranean settings beckon, I often cast aside misgivings.
Young archaeologist and historian/translator join with explorers and descend into Parisian catacombs.
Holy relics for one group, treasure for the other.
Above ground proceedings slow.  Characters irritating, voicing reluctance, then feebly acquiescing.
Once into the depths, though, hold on!
For viewers who have done unguided caving, especially the wet caves, this captures the claustrophobic exhilaration and disorientation.  Narrow, twisting tunnels, watery passages, surprise chambers, and ever-present mud.
Excellent midnight movie.

Layered meanings and symbolism throughout, though frequently convoluted.
I recommend the Sapirstein version, slightly cut and rearranged.
 

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Aftermath (2017)

The new drama with Arnuld after the "zombie drama" Maggie.

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A very sad and true story about how two men are dealing with the consequencies of a plane crash.
In one corner you have Shwarzy who never was so good at disappearing behind a role. He IS Roman, not Arnold.
On the other corner you have Scott McNairy who delivers THE performance of the movie.
Then you have Maggie Grace, who does her job... well. Like she usualy does. I never seen an amazing performance from her but I always like her, so I guess it means something.

If you're in the mood for a slow, sad drama where the sun never shines, then it's your movie.
It's thought provoking and well done, alas, it feels so long...
I understand the story is about the progression of the psychology of the characters during a long period of time and there is a slow burn tension built around that, that works well. But when your movie is only 1h34 minutes and yet feels like 2h30 there is a problem somewhere.

The actual 5,9 rating on IMDB feels very harsh to me. I rate this one a solid 7/10 (only if you're in the mood).
 

ThrowgnCpr

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TMBTM said:
Aftermath (2017)

A very sad and true story about how two men are dealing with the consequencies of a plane crash.
In one corner you have Shwarzy who never was so good at disappearing behind a role. He IS Roman, not Arnold.
On the other corner you have Scott McNairy who delivers THE performance of the movie.
Then you have Maggie Grace, who does her job... well. Like she usualy does. I never seen an amazing performance from her but I always like her, so I guess it means something.

If you're in the mood for a slow, sad drama where the sun never shines, then it's your movie.
It's thought provoking and well done, alas, it feels so long...
I understand the story is about the progression of the psychology of the characters during a long period of time and there is a slow burn tension built around that, that works well. But when your movie is only 1h34 minutes and yet feels like 2h30 there is a problem somewhere.

The actual 5,9 rating on IMDB feels very harsh to me. I rate this one a solid 7/10 (only if you're in the mood).

sounds quite good. I have been meaning to check out Maggie, but didn't know anything about this new one. I'll have to check them both out.
 

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Last Cab To Darwin - 2015 - 7/10

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Taxi driver, Rex, listens as his doctor reads his fate.
Cancer.  Three months, tops.  Death in a hospital bed.
Resisting the sterile white room, Rex embarks on a road trip to Darwin and the promise of death with dignity.
Euthanasia.
As in many road trip films, he encounters lost souls along the way.
Forthright, deceptive, and of course, appearance is often illusion.
The journey toward death, this trip is rather inconceivably uplifting.
 

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She-Wolves:  England’s Early Queens - 2012 - 6/10

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Three episode documentary on six women who attempted to rule Medieval England.
Historian Helen Castor is several cuts above the witless, perky presenters who litter docs.
The material itself is a mix of intriguing and sketchy (as Castor confesses) from lack of records.
Narration, illuminated manuscripts, picturesque ruins.  No talking heads.
Not necessarily compelling, but interesting and entertaining for history buffs.
 

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Shoot To Kill - 1947 - 5/10

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Wife threatens blackmail to her crooked District Attorney husband, who is in thick with three rival gangs, after hurling a fourth leader into the slammer on falsified testimony.  Only then, the jailbird escapes and . . .
Whew!  At 63 minutes, this B-film percolates briskly.
While it has Noir photography, the plot is straight gangster flick.
Wooden acting, decent score, OK twists.
Selected this when I wanted something quick and brief.  Enjoyable time waster.
 

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Berkeley In The Sixties - 1990 - 7/10

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Caveat.  Documentary is about Berkeley political protest and unrest.
Not the “Summer Of Love” city, San Francisco.
Released in 1990, aging participants recall the rise and demise of campus activity 25 years earlier.
Genesis was in demonstrations against HUAC, police over-response, escalating confrontations.
Well arranged materials deliver an organized history from campus speakers to People’s Park to Panthers.
Enthusiasm for heady, early days is contagious.
Likewise, regrets and brutal honesty about mistakes that led to the collapse.
25 years seems a good time to look back.  No telling how many of those interviewees are around or have their mental faculties, now 50 years on.
 

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Fortier: S01 - 2001 - 6/10

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Canadian police procedural follows “elite” unit given dirty cases, primarily sex crimes.
Dr Fortier is the female psychologist assigned to the team.
Solid ensemble show, though Fortier’s quirks are overdone and distracting.
S01 has ten episodes.  Five two-part stories.
OK, but not on par with the best Scandinavian crime shows, though this is a decade earlier.
Note - Set in Quebec, Fortier is a French language production.
 

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Kangaroo Jack (2003)

[img=540x228]https://s14.postimg.org/e4swct641/b_M1901-_Estella_Warren_Kangaroo_Jack-1_2.jpg[/img]

[img=540x228]https://s14.postimg.org/prd0dxtf5/b_M1901-_Estella_Warren_Kangaroo_Jack-1_1.jpg[/img]

[img=540x228]https://s14.postimg.org/nbb703bch/b_M1901-_Estella_Warren_Kangaroo_Jack-1_4.jpg[/img]

Stand by Me star and Rebecca Romjin hubby Jerry O'Connell recently spilled the beans on this picture for a brand-new Vice feature called "Only the Worst", in which "actors talk specifically and exclusively about the most notoriously bad film on their resume." Some choice excerpts:

It started as a pretty dark spec script [titled Down and Under] about two shitty mafiosos who have to go to the outback. A lot of cursing, a lot of sex, and it was really funny. [...] So we made the film, they immediately tested it, and it didn't do well. [...] And then, a while later, someone called me up, and said, "I guess they're gonna make this into a kids movie and really heavily animate the kangaroo."

... I remember thinking there were a lot of boobs jokes. I guess we were the Deadpool of kids' movies. I suppose we paved the way for Deadpool, which paved the way for Logan. Oh man, please make sure to indicate that I'm joking there.

Given this history, it's understandable that the movie, which features Christopher Walken and Michael Shannon, is not funny - there's only two or three chuckles to be had. But the Australian photography is beautiful, the cast is game, and, at 85 minutes before credits, it doesn't drag. Is it, on the Nathan Rabin scale, a "Secret Success"? No, but it's no Fiasco, either. Which, by his rules, makes it a failure, and I can't really argue with that. Nor is it disastrous enough to be a delicious train wreck. It's strictly meh.

C+

But, oh...

... that trailer.

I remember that trailer.

I wasted a perfectly good 90 minutes just so I could better appreciate that trailer. It is, friends, perhaps the greatest trailer ever cut:


(Well, I found it amusing in high school, at least.)
 

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Paterson - 2016 - 5/10

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Paterson, the bus driver, scribbles poetry on the side.
Snatches of conversation, visual snapshots of images, memories recalled through the lens.
Wife Laura is a free spirit artist, obsessed with black n white visuals and cupcakes.
He seems to have no dreams, her wild ambitions are boundless.
Movie strings out for seven days, with very little happening.
Though to Paterson and Laura, the week is quietly momentous.

Jim Jarmusch film sorely tried my patience.
I don’t particularly care for this director, but I do watch every new release of his.
 
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