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A few reviews

Gaith

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36 Hours (1965)

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The plot, courtesy of TV Tropes: "The film is set just before D-Day. The Germans drug and capture Major Jefferson Pike, an American intelligence officer on a mission to Lisbon. They know he was briefed on the planned time and place of the invasion. How to make him talk freely? When he wakes, he is told that he has lost all memory of the last six years. That's right, Major, it's 1950. Yes, of course the Allies won the war back in 1944. You are in a U.S. military hospital in Occupied Germany while we treat your most recent bout of amnesia. Now, as part of your therapy, tell us the last thing you remember..."

A rare 2:35:1 B&W movie - one of the last of the major studio B&W pics before color became the default? There's a good review I mostly agree with here. We're shown the full gambit from the beginning, so instead of being in protagonist James Garner's shoes, wondering why something just doesn't feel right, we're waiting for him to catch on. But while the last third is low-key in an charming, old-timey way, the main interest is the largely sympathetic rapport between Major Pike and his German captor.

Eva Marie Saint is pretty good, but her character doesn't make a lot of sense -
If the Nazis can fill an whole hospital grounds full of fake Americans, can they really not do better than letting a recent concentration camp inmate share a (non-bugged!) cabin with the Major? And, in a movie where the worst torture the SS guy inflicts is mere sleep deprivation, her gang-rape/sex slave backstory/monologue is in dubious taste.

I watched this on a newly-pressed DVD, coinciding with a blu-ray release, and some of the exterior forest shots (from in/around Yosemite, CA) are really blurry - technical limitations of low lighting, maybe? Because most interior/hospital grounds exterior shots look great.

An early, pioneering screen example of the Faked Rip Van Winkle ploy, used numerous times in Mission: Impossible as well as TNG ("Future Imperfect") and Enterprise ("Stratagem"). I was expecting, and would have enjoyed, a more tense third act.

B
 

Vultural

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Mary Ryan, Detective - 1949 - 6/10

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Quickie B-film of female cop who infiltrates gang of shoplifters and fences.
Curious to watch a woman handle what would normally be a “man’s” role.
How-to procedural.  Mary is trained how to boost, lift, learn the jargon.
Then into prison and sidle up to gang members on ice.
A nice plot curve here and there, otherwise predictable.
 

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Zygote - 2017 - 6/10

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Firebase - 2017 - 6/10

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Regrettably, I have cooled on these “episodes” from Oats Studios.
In the first slice, an experiment has gone terribly wrong in a polar laboratory.
Two wounded survivors flee from the murderous mutation.
In the second slice, a grieving Vietnam war father unleashes the water god.
Carnage ensues.
Neither short, like the earlier Rakka, resolves, both trail off as cliffhangers.
While production values and casting are excellent, the lingering impression is of a glorified movie pitch.
I will watch further releases, although my expectations have dropped.
 

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Morgan (2016)

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Ex Machina x Prometheus = Morgan.

That's really all one needs to know about this training wheels debut from Luke (Son of Ridley) Scott. A dumb movie about dumb characters, but if that's all you're after, what you get is competent enough. I assume most of the $8m budget went to the actors and the Scotts' own pockets, because it's only slightly more expensive looking than something one might find on Vimeo.

C

Given Ridley's recent enthusiasm for franchising, it's possible the only reason the Corporation isn't actually named as Tyrell or Weyland is that doing so would have heavily telegraphed the mild twist ending, which I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit I didn't see coming. In fairness to myself, however, I was busy being annoyed that any assassin, synthetic or not, would go into battle with a haircut that covers one of her eyes.
 

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Things To Come - 2016 - 6/10
AKA - L'avenir

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Isabelle Huppert as philosophy professor whose well-ordered routine unravels.
Campus demonstrations, older favored students who embrace new ideologies, a difficult mother.
Trifling annoyances, to be sure, yet the cascade quietly grows.
The professor navigates course shifts and endings.
She tries to repair or adapt as once-dependable threads unspool.
On the upside, more freedom opens up for her, and she is not a blind soul.
 

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Jiu: Special Investigation Team - 2011 - 5/11
AKA - Jiu: Keishichou Tokushuhan Sousakei // ジウ 警視庁特殊犯捜査係

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Small children are kidnapped for high ransoms.
The loot is not squandered, however.  Something “big” is planned.
Cop J-drama follows two female officers.
Izaki is the hardass, physically combative type, Kadokura is quieter and idealistic.
Not a buddy movie, though, as one female transfers to SIT, the other to SAT.
Both investigate the blonde serial killer, Jiu, as corpses stack high.
Corny, clichéd, shallow, juvenile.  NWO plotline.
Style flares in the final two episodes. if you stay around long enough.
 

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Gaith said:
Ex Machina x Prometheus = Morgan

It hurts my brain to even consider this combination. 

Here, take all this awesome over here, and mix it with this dogshit over there. aaaaannnnnnd WE GOT A MOVIE!
 

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T2 Trainspotting - 2017 - 6/10

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Twenty year follow-up to the groundbreaking original.
Sick Boy, Spud, Rent Boy, Begbie, and a few others.
Renton returns to the betrayals he left behind, and plans a shizzle with Simon.
Begbie thirsts for vengeance, Spud writes redemption.
Flashbacks remind one of relevant points in the original.
I enjoyed this more than I thought, possibly because my expectations were low.
 

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The Big Switch - 1968 - 4/10

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Swinger John Carter enters a hectic period.
He swipes another guy’s smoldering blonde at the disco, drives her to her pad.
There, she gets iced there and he gets framed.
Goes home, where thugs drink his booze, play strip poker, and slap him around.
At work, he’s fired.  Lone job prospect is with a conniving gangster.
Despite enough material for five cheap paperbacks, this movie is slower than a tortoise finding love.
Producers must have realized this because every seven minutes there is nudity.

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Strippers, go-go girls, pinup models, working girls, female wrestlers, dopeheads.
Just when you start to nod off, girls disrobe and bounce the rack.
The plot is crap.  The music - dude - the composer uses a thinly disguised Bond theme!
Not only that, in the last twenty minutes an Aston Martin appears.
Wanted to like this trashy sleaze, but it’s too pokey.
 

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London Town - 2016 - 6/10

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80s coming of age story in Thatcher England.
15 year old Shay watches over his young sister, Alice, while Dad works two jobs.
Mom, pursuing her own dreams, sends him mix-tapes and writes about glamorous London.
Shay meets the more worldly Vivian and she opens him to the popular culture.
Fairytale elements surface at times.  Encounters with fame, unlikely plot turns.
Clash singer Joe Strummer glides in and about the boy’s life as a benevolent wise man and mentor.
Warm hearted, hopeful fantasy, with very minor edginess.
 

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Allied (2016)

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I really enjoyed this throwback WW2 romance/spy thriller from Robert Zemeckis. It takes its time getting to the plot swerve about halfway through, which the previews gave away, but I didn't see coming. Anyhow, I don't have a whole lot to say about it, other than that it's solid old-school filmmaking with a few modern touches, looks great, and is an engaging, compelling ride. Pitt wasting Naht-zees never gets old.

B+
 

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Berlin Syndrome - 2017 - 5/10

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Wide-eyed Australian turista arrives in Berlin.
Instead of seeing sights, she makes easy friends and chats.
Talks a bit too much, to be blunt, which tailspins into her ordeal.
Lazy script, based on a predictable novel, of a truly ignorant soul.
Has this girl never viewed Horror flicks or stalker films?
Has she never dated?  Learned to deflect probing questions?
How about, letting people know where she is?
Later on, how come she waits until late in the afternoon?
I could go on and on.  Producers may well assume their audience is gullible, too.
 

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The Flesh And Blood Show - 1972 - 5/10

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Too early to fall into the Slasher genre, this is the timeless concept of knocking off characters one by one.
Cat And The Canary (1927) and And The There Were None (1945) are examples.
Assorted actors answer the audition call at a long shuttered Brighten playhouse.
Soon enough, they realize something is amiss.
Almost a decent thriller this.  The location is underutilized, however, and the characters are sketches.
As with the earlier The Big Switch (1968) producers load up the skin to spark lulls.

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This is a better film than that one.  Acting, photography, script invention.
As with the earlier film, the tempo drags, though flashback and whodunit angle were slick.
 

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Apocalypse: World War I - 2014 - 6/10
AKA - Apocalypse la 1ère Guerre Mondiale

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Five part French documentary, colorized throughout.
Certainly not as essential as other WWI docs, this should appeal to wars buffs, despite some caveats.
There are no talking heads or historians.  Old film and newsreels predominate.
Sound effects have been added (explosions, gunfire, marching feet, etc ...) and serve to enhance.
As mentioned, this is colorized - heavily.  So much so that the sharpness and contrast suffers,
Images are noticeably flattened or blurry.
Original narration was in French.  The English dubbed speaker has a snooze inducing monotone.
More carnage and brutality in this documentary.  Starvation in Berlin, atrocities in Armenia.
Surprisingly, a lengthy reveal of prostitution and military brothels.
 

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Altes Geld - 2015 - 8/10
AKA - Old Money

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Gleeful, diabolical entertainment here!
A delicious Udo Kier plays the wealthy patriarch, dying of liver disease.  He makes a proposal.
Whoever delivers a healthy organ will inherit the family "business."
Relatives, advisors, employees, wolves in suits, sharks in gowns, rip into each other.
Treachery, incest, kidnapping, backstabbing, more incest, murder, blackmail, torture.
Moreover, despite my comments about German comedy, this is laugh out loud funny.
Mean spirited, midnight humor aimed for cynical adults.  Eight parts, Austria.
γνῶθι σεαυτόν
 

bionicbob

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THE SAINT 2017

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9IXlkff_0Q[/video]

On Netflix, the failed tv pilot movie remake of the classic series The Saint.

It's bad.   It tries desperately to be a high energy international caper adventure, but it feels tired and uninspired.   The direction and editing is pedestrian at best.   Too many characters and a not tight enough story.  Clearly a pilot, with lots of set up and not enough pay off.

Adam Rayner as the newest incarnation of Simon Templar shows potential, he is appropriately suave, dashing and charming, but film fails to support his performance.

Eliza Dushku is great as always.   Former 1970s tv Saint, Ian Ogilvy plays the Big Bad and Roger Moore has a 2 minute cameo in what I believe is his last onscreen performance.

If you are fan of The Saint, check it out.  Otherwise, skip it.  :(:p
 

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Blind Love - 2004 - 6/10
AKA - Waisetsu sutêji: Nando mo Tsukkonde // わいせつステージ 何度もつっこんで

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Blind girl is attracted to a short statured ventriloquist.
Only thing, she mistakes the taller, younger apprentice for the original.
The apprentice, a ne’er do well, exploits her handicap.
Written differently, this could be farce.  This is a wistful, poignant tale,however.
Lonely people, beaten souls, individuals who have no place in modern Japan.
Be warned, this is a pinku eiga (sexual rompings abound), many participants are not fitness buffs.
 

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The Man With The Glass Eye - 1969 - 6/10
AKA - Der Mann mit dem Glasauge

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After the show ends, a chorus line girl is chauffeured to posh hotel for business hijinks.
Before sordid naughtiness climaxes, an assassin in trenchcoat kills the john with a hurled knife.
Scotland Yard swings into action and begins hunting for the female --
-- who is poisoned the next day backstage at the variety theater!
Peppy, late-in-the-cycle, Krimi features a vivid, late 60s look, as well as a campy late 60s plotline.
“Based” on Edgar Wallace writings (much as the later Bond films were “based” on Ian Fleming novels).
Racketeers elude the police, while the assassin eludes all.
Noisy, rattling diversion, but essentially a guilty pleasure for Krimi fans.
Alert! - Despite Scotland Yard, English names, this is a German language production.
 

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Swamp Shark - 2011 - 4/10

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I wonder if this was where recent shark spoofs began.
Big ole shark is dumped into Louisiana swamp and proceeds to munch on gators and humans.
Not enough of either, I’m afraid.  Language, violence and  and nudity is PG.
With the Gator Festival in full swing, irate owners of the Gator Shed Restaurant sail off to deep six their fishy freeloader.
Pace is backwater slow.  Most in the cast were big in the 80s, working for a paycheck nowadays.
Neither fun nor over the top, straight across the board.
Formula crap.
 

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Assassination - 2015 - 7/10
AKA - Amsal // 암살

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High voltage S Korean escapism with sumptuous production values.
Circa 1933, a Korean hit team is assigned to take out a fatcat appeaser and occupied Seoul’s Japanese military commander.
Rival Korean factions squabble with each other and informers are omnipresent.
Similar in look and feel to The Good, The Bad, The Weird (1998), though more grounded in reality.
Like the K-drama Bridal Mask, these are non-historical characters (though Korean resistance to occupation was real, especially in the north).
Excellent cat n mouse thriller with superb action sequences.
 
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