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A few reviews

Vultural

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Marwencol - 2010 - 7/10

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Documentary.
Mark Hogancamp got the living crap beat out of him in a bar. Literally. He was in a coma for days. When he emerged, he had to relearn how to walk and talk again. After 30 days, the hospital gave him the old "Good luck" heave ho.
He had been an artist with talent before, but lost the skills to draw when injured. He began creating tableaux using dolls, setting them in a violent, often bloody, WWII environment. Doll characters had their basis in Mark's real life friends and coworkers.
Quick moving story as he uses his outsider art to rehabilitate his artistic abilities, work through obsessions, fixations, and inner demons, then gaining recognition from galleries.

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A fave - Stuntman Kurt, shot by Nazi, drinking whiskey.

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Vultural

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Lost In Austen - 2008 - 7/10

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Warning! Chick Flick Alarm!
Loving homage to Pride And Prejudice.
Passionate Austen reader, Amanda Price, somehow enters the alternate literary universe and switches places with character Elizabeth Bennett.
Miss Price, knows the characters and knows the narrative, so she tries to help the plot with unexpected consequences.
Next, she tries to repair her mistakes and further compounds the disasters.
This film (a mini series, actually) was devised with heart and invention. It was released two years after the Keira Knightly version of P & P, which I loathed (tried to vamp the plot to an ADD generation).

Note: Seek out the UK version. Versions in other countries are missing Amanda's ringtone, which was a nice joke, as well as the funny “Downtown” scene.
 

Vultural

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The Trip - 2010 - 6/10

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I had been looking forward to this.
Road trip with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, spending a week driving from one hotel & gourmet restaurant to another.
Some food, of course, yet this was more a character study of a fading, almost-star and a regional player.
Throughout, both acted like prats in a pissing contest.
Depressing in a way, as viewers observe Coogan grasping that his youth, and his "moment" have passed.
Funny impersonations of Sean Connery and Michael Caine. Darkly ironic, since Coogan and Brydon are dwarfed by comparison.
Fill your boots, man!
 

Vultural

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The Reeds - 2010 - 6/10

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Three girls, three guys, rented a boat to celebrate an engagement and go drinking at an obscure pub somewhere in a reedy marsh.
Sounds like a plan.
Maybe next time they will head to the moors where the RAF practices strafing runs and bombing.
Points given for crafting a professional looking film on a rat's lunch allowance.
Still, even though our crew hands were all in their late 20s, this was another variant on the dead teenager plot.
Don’t expect originality with this one.
 

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The Phantom - 2009 - 4/10

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On the shelf, this film, which I just heard about, looked godawful.
Of course I grabbed it.
Turned out to be a two part mini series. Busted pilot that never got picked up.
Lots of mistakes for an action film. The action being mostly chases. Running, running, more running.
The main character was an irritating clone of Hayden Christensen's version of Anakin Skywalker.
The new uniform made him look more like a visitor from planet Womble.
Billy Zane tried to reboot this ancient strip back in 1996. His version was 70 minutes shorter than this runfest.
The Phantom, The Shadow, Flash Gordon, icons from the 1930s, have resisted modern updating.
Nice sets. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz .............................
 

Vultural

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Watching a load of Horror flicks because of Halloween,
and because I have wet pumpkin slag for brains.


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Vultural

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Last Exorcism - 2010 - 5/10

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Rural Southern horror, better than I anticipated.
Small time exorcist tries to help possessed girl, among a disturbed family.
Dark, moody flick set in one of the dank, swamp corners. Atmospheric score.
Creative use of miniscule budget and limited sets.
 

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Out Of Mind: The Stories Of H.P. Lovecraft - 1998 - 7/10

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Satisfying homage to HPL.
Mixes several stories together, and adds typical Lovecraft themes of dislocation, time shifting, and indifferent alien presences.
Fine acting all around, with Christopher Heyerdahl a ringer for a thoughtful HPL.
The other character was the oft-played Randolph Carter.
All mood and suggestion, scant monster minutes.
 

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If you're watching Halloween related movies, can I recommend one of my all time favourites? Have you ever seen PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE by Brian De Palma? It's not a horror film, but it kind of fits the theme. I first saw it when I was 16, liked it, loved it even more when all my friends hated it, and felt totally superior years later, when I read it's one of Edgar Wright's favourites as well.

:)



I paid an ungodly amount of money for an original poster a while ago and even more for some stills I can't find anymore. I also own the soundtrack on vinyl, with one of the most beautiful love songs ever recorded. Totally cheesy. Totally heartbreaking.


Pfffff, ... I'll stop drinking now.
 

bionicbob

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Vultural said:
The Phantom - 2009 - 4/10

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On the shelf, this film, which I just heard about, looked godawful.
Of course I grabbed it.
Turned out to be a two part mini series. Busted pilot that never got picked up.
Lots of mistakes for an action film. The action being mostly chases. Running, running, more running.
The main character was an irritating clone of Hayden Christensen's version of Anakin Skywalker.
The new uniform made him look more like a visitor from planet Womble.
Billy Zane tried to reboot this ancient strip back in 1996. His version was 70 minutes shorter than this runfest.
The Phantom, The Shadow, Flash Gordon, icons from the 1930s, have resisted modern updating.
Nice sets. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz .............................

With me currently editing the 1996 Phantom, I have been tempted to pick this up just for comparison, but based on your review I think I will continue to resist.

Is there anything redeemable in this production at all?
 

Vultural

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^ Sad to confess I really will pick up movies that look absolutely dreadful.
The SyFy Network leaves more splatters than an elephant with diarrhea.
Their Phantom was case in point. A couple sets were OK, but the main character was a petulant teenager.
Do not buy this moldy waffle of regurgitated, crappy, cliched hog poo.
Rent it, prowl your public library, or duck into the shadows of the Internet.
If not the Internet, go to the Inter-Zone.

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Haunting In Connecticut 2 - Ghosts Of Georgia - 2012 - 5/10

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Family (Ma, Pa and female young un) move to banged up ranch house out in the swamp.
There is an empty trailer nearby, so when wife's sister (Katee Sackoff) rolls up she has a place.
From the get-go, there are ghosts, weird animal traps, visions, coupled with the slow revelation. The females all share the "gift" for seeing beyond this world.
The plot really doesn't amount to much, though the effects team went hog wild with noises, shaky camera, juttering images, to make you think something was happening.
OK time waster if nothing else is on.

I yanked out the atlas. Connecticut is 1000 miles from Georgia, and the film title meaningless.
 

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At The Mountains Of Madness - 2011 - 6/10

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Who needs Del Toro when there is this 33 minute Italian animated version?
Doomed Miskatonic expedition searches for lost civilization in the frozen wastes.
Discovers the labyrinthian city of non Euclidian angles.
And Elder Thing remains. And Shoggoths.
First the dogs, then the men.
Entertaining quickie. Available free in HD with English subtitles.

 

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Pig Hunt - 2008 - 3/10

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Half a million flicks available, yet I see this one on the rental shelves and go, "Hoo whee!"
Buncha pampered San Francisco yuppies go hunting for a 3000 lb porker in Northern California.
Our hero intends to take this man-killer down with his trusty crossbow.
Add a Dogpatch community of hillbilly rednecks, and a whole mess of ganja smoking, naked hippie chicks, and you have this future cult winner.

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Warning #1 - Every human in this film is box-o-rocks stupid.
Warning #2 - Animal lovers, do not watch this movie whatsoever.
 

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Matango - 1963 - 7/10
Attack Of The Mushroom People

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Seven went a'sailing and encountered heavy storms.
They wound up stranded on a deserted isle in the middle of nowhere.
Only it was not so deserted.
Classic horror film (tame today) with anti-drug subtext, hints of cold war experiments, nuclear fallout, Lord Of The Flies, ...
As starvation clamps down, food choices narrow to forest mushrooms.
Color film, but as black and white it is far creepier.
 

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The Call Of Cthulhu - 2005 - 7/10

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Inventive adaptation of HP Lovecraft story as black and white, silent movie.
Created by the H P Lovecraft Historical Society.
Extremely faithful to the work, plot follows our narrator going through his uncle’s journals
of dark cults, madness in asylums (Arkham), and the sea going quest.
Nephew sets off toward mysterious ocean coordinates as the stars align and mighty Cthulhu arises.
Cheap watery sets, cheaper rubber monster - - Who cares?
Great fun.
 

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Razortooth - 2007 - 3/10

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Why do schlock studios keep making these monster craptaculars?
Because muffin brains like me spy them on the shelf and squeal with mindless glee.
A giant killer eel is loose in the southern swamps.
The eel is killing and eating unwashed, dumber than fencepost rednecks (not to be confused with articulate, well manicured rednecks).
Movie absurd beyond belief. Fellow hutong viewers began heckling me for finding this gem.
At the risk of getting a ban for this -
Wait for the moment when one of the "intelligent science students" declares the best to deal with this creature is to find its Achilles eel.
 

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Ultraviolet - 1998 - 8/10

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Outstanding six part series of secret government alliance of church and state ops.
Tight, clandestine battle against vampires engaged in finance manipulation, AIDS research, abortion clinics, biological warfare.
Especially dark series, matched with an intricate, intelligent script.
Creators admitted Ultraviolet was a one-off and they packed every idea they had into it.
With Jack Davenport and Susannah Harker (great-great-great granddaughter of actor Joseph Cunningham Harker, whose friend, Bram Stoker, used for Jonathan Harker). Also a young Idris Elba as the hardassed Vaughan.
Definitely worth tracking down.

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The Secret of Crickley Hall - 2012 - 4/10

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Inclined to be harsh with this.
Haunted house film / miniseries based on James Herbert novel.
Dual plots about abducted child of today, and mistreated WWII orphans.
Children being kidnapped - punished - tortured. Many graves.
Good looking house, starkly furnished.
Main villain, an unbalanced religious type, very well cast.
Modern day parents weak and whiny.
Someone with less qualms than I might rank this higher.
γνῶθι σεαυτόν / temet nosce
 

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The Whisperer In Darkness - 2011 - 7/10

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A second winner from the HPL Historical Society, first being Call Of Cthulhu.
Filmed as 30s B/W, in the Universal world. Good sets, score, even effects.
When one realizes their budget was 350K, you can appreciate how much was accomplished.
Plot built steadily, though it was slow and a couple of scenes would have benefited from trims.
Otherwise, nice job if you are in the mood for cerebral horror, using a vintage template.
 
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