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A few reviews

Vultural

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Chimera - 1991 - 6/10

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London emergency nurse who hires on to work at idyllic, rural fertility clinic.
Once there, she soon realizes there is much more going on.
Somewhat dated, cautionary SciFi / Horror series about DNA cross genetics
Experimental research has gone off the rails and strong arm government forces arrive.
An ex-boyfriend pokes around, as does a grieving widower, and holiday copper.
Look, feel, clothes, locations, all were prime 80s.
Though Horror elements pushed, this is more a conspiracy thriller.
 

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Cure For Wellness - 6/10 - 2017

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Tempted to score this higher for escalating preposterous nonsense of this folly.
Corporate masterminds send dodgy underling to exclusive Swiss spa to fetch missing CEO.
Within two ticks, anyone who has ever screened a movie or read a book would go, “Hey, this fenced up, nestled in oblivion castle is strange.”  Or - “Are all these white clad patients drugged?”
Anyway, the young man stays longer than planned and keeps drinking the mineral water.
Meanwhile, he wanders all over the place, deep into underground chambers, locked rooms, laboratories.
How come the staff simply does not drug his curious ass?
Beautiful photography!  But - it serves to mask the lack of cohesive plot.
I thought the story ended five times.  Nope.  Director thought of something else cool looking to add.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this.
Afterward, however, we were all going,  “What happened with -- Why did they -- How come --”
 

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^ As I've written before, the fact that Verbinski was allowed to follow-up The Lone Ranger with another 2hr15+ silly popcorn flick baffles me to no end.
 

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Délice Paloma - 2007 - 6/10
AKA - Paloma Delight

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Algerian film of low level con-artists, grifters, scammers.
Ostensibly a counseling service, the ladies arrange divorces, damage store rivals, peddle flesh.
Film opens as the boss of the clique, Aldjeria, is released from three years in the prison.
Two of her previous cohorts, disguised in nun habits, greet her under the bridge.
From there, flashbacks unfold the final big deal, before it went wrong.
Interesting look inside Algeria.
 

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Queen Of Mystery - 2017 - 5/10
AKA - Chooriui Yeowang // 추리의 여왕

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Housewife is drawn to crime solving, much to the annoyance of roughhouse detective.
Odd couple pairing has been used countless times, this is an inferior version.
Straight off, early episodes are 40% comedy, juvenile, bathroom jokes.
Actors mug and make silly faces throughout.  Writing is lazy, direction poor.
Aside from an arc (unfinished), there are 4 two part storylines.  All are “women at risk.”
This is where my feelings derail.  The victims’ paths are often poignant, depressing.
Writers put thought into these, acting and directing is restrained and compassionate.
Police and the lady mull around, sad and thoughtful, then the jaunty music fires up.
Ooh, another mystery to solve!  And into “dumb” they go again.
 

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The Iron Crown - 1972 - 6/10
AKA - Kanawa // 鉄の王冠

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Offbeat mix of traditional Noh drama with modern retelling.
Unfaithful husband abandons wife for young tramp.  Wife refuses divorce, but decides to deliver hell.
The Noh is slower and more stylized, yet has more powerful images.
Highlight being the wife pounding nails into the groin area of straw fetishes.
Nudity and comingling throughout, tasteful compositions, spare music.
At the far end of arthouse, and definitely an acquired taste.
 

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My Hot Property - 2016 - 5/10

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Sleek, sexy corporate spy quafffs drugs by the crate and plays squitzy with fried brain boyfriend.
Then she falls behind in the rent in uber pricey London and buyers circle.
Movie follows her combative campaigns to hold onto her accommodations.
Meant to be a comedy, perhaps an edgy satire, this is low on laughs, high on stupid.
Asinine situations, moronic characters, as enticing as soggy pizza with mushy noodles.
 

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The Beauty’s Evil Roses - 1992 - 5/10
AKA - Se Jiang II Zhi Xie Mei Gui // 色降II之血玫瑰

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Wildly insane Hong Kong Cat III film of kidnapped girls, magic spells, lesbian action, penis snakes, machine guns, motorcycle gangs, kung fu, nudity, spawning, handcuff lovin’, sleazy music ...
Girls are indoctrinated into an evil queen’s entourage.
Disobedience or failure is punished by whippings, spanking and spell magic.
Hard to tell what the motivations are of anyone, aside from police and a brother searching for his sister.
The editing is jarring and haphazard.  Music is not even faded between scenes. Chop chop chop.
Conflicts (gunfire - incantations - slappings) are intercut with long stretches of nudity and mattress action.
Legendary film that I somehow never saw in the 90s when I was so obsessive over HK films.
I think was expecting more, or at least better cutting.
 

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The Art Of Negative Thinking - 2006 - 6/10
AKA - Kunsten åtenke Negativt

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Weekly, monthly meeting of paraplegic support group arrives at home of newest member.
Much to his resentment, resistance, and dismissive scorn.
They are, indeed, a bubbly mix with their optimistic credos and motorized wheelchairs.
Viewers might be forgiven for hating them almost as quickly as the infuriated homeowner does.
They roll in anyway, and he immediately begins to shred the smiling facades.
Black comedy holds back way too much.
Feels like a play, stagebound and talky.  (Note: on the boards in 2010)
Yeah, what was I expecting?  Dancing?  Synchronized swimming?
From Norway.
 

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[font=Raleway, sans-serif]
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[font=Raleway, sans-serif]IT 2017[/font]
[font=Raleway, sans-serif]The evil clown named Pennywise returns in this first look at New Line Cinema's horror thriller It, based on the classic Stephen King novel. Starring Finn Wolfhard, Javier Botet, Nicholas Hamilton, Megan Charpentier and Bill Skarsgård.[/font]

[font=Raleway, sans-serif]with remakes having a bad reputation i wasnt expecting much going into this,but i can easily say it was one of the better remakes out there.the clown for me wasnt scary but it wasnt the fault of bill Skarsgård it was the cgi head(at times it looked far too big for his body and sometimes stood out against the dark enviroment i.e dancing clown in flames)there are some genuine creepy moments and the young cast pull off some great performances.i hope that they can portray the demon clowns true face justice when part 2 rolls around and that they cast the right actors to portray the adults its just a shame we have to wait . well worth a watch[/font]
 

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The History Of Christianity - 2009 - 6/10

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Six part series on the early years, spread, and diversity of one of the planet’s youngest religions.
For me, the first three episodes were the most enjoyable:
The earliest beginnings, pagan Rome going Catholic, Eastern Orthodoxy.
After that, the Protestant schism, missionary work in the New World, Pentecostal in Korea.
Conquistadors?  Inca, Aztec, Maya?  Massacre, what are you talking about?
None of that mentioned.
Oxford history don, Diarmaid McCullough, is an engaging host, but he is more guarded and careful in his thoughts and presentations as the series progresses.
The energy steamed away.
 

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Face-Maker - 2010 - 5/10
AKA - フェイスメーカー

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Plastic surgeon who used to work for the US Witness Protection Service now changes faces for the desperate.
The only price “... is your old face!”
Unhappy or on-the-run souls find the black market “Face-Maker” and persuade him to “rebirth me!”
New identity = problems solved.  Sometimes ... sometimes not.
Half hour, single shows.  Mid-episode, the surgeon finds the patient and gives them a -
“So how’s it going?”  speech, followed by,  “Oh, by the way, I just sold your old face."
Late night J-doramas usually air midnight or later.  Many are dreck, a few very good, this is middling.
Low production values, generic plots, acting fair to amateur.
Non-demanding time waster.

Despite my shrug of a review, I, nevertheless,  reworked existing subtitles for this show.
Steamlined dialogue, Westernized grammar, fixed tense errors.
Full credit given to original subber.
My subs can be found -
http://www.addic7ed.com/show/6671
or
https://subscene.com/subtitles/face-maker
 

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Love Is All You Need - 2012 - 6/10
AKA - Den Skaldede Frisør

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Young couple (English - Danish) opt to marry at his family villa in Italy.
Girl’s mother, recovering from cancer therapy, discovers husband shtupping flexible replacement.
Boy’s father still has not gotten over his wife’s death.
Surely they will be too preoccupied to take note of each other.
Elements for soapy romance align.
Add coastal scenery, breezy directorial style, light comic touches.
OK date night flick in Danish and Italian, though Mr Brosnan speaks English throughout.
 

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Russia 1917: Countdown To Revolution - 2017 - 7/10

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Compressed telling of events leading up to the Bolshevik revolution.
Narrative begins 239 days out, until time collapses to "Zero Hour."
An unlikely takeover of power, a nation, and history.
Talking heads propel the facts, but they frequently disagree.
Modern reenactments are used sparingly for Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and Kerensky.
Remainder of the footage are period newsreels and Silent era footage.
Those Silent films were especially useful, as they were accepted as history.
Many of the declarations by participants were taken as factual and believed.
Worthwhile viewing, though lacking depth and not without flaws.
For example, one of the speakers opines that this is where "fake news" begins.
Sorry, as long as humans have breathed, they have deceived.
 

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A Dangerous Fortune - 2016 - 5/10
AKA - Die Pfeiler der Macht

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German adaptation of Ken Follett's Victorian / Edwardian twaddle.
Young boy is taken in by relatives after his father commits suicide rather than face financial ruin.
In due time, he is a rising star at the family business, the bank.
Revolutionaries, gambling, drinking, murder, fraud and bodice ripping spice the first half.
Second half is dreary love triangle and general whining.  Soap opera.
German take on gaslit England is interesting, but seems too modern in many regards.
 

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Vultural said:
The History Of Christianity - 2009 - 6/10

Hm, that was in my Netflix cue before I put my disc plan on hold. I'd definitely like to check out those first three eps someday. Ditto for Russia 1917, having just read a short New Yorker article on Stalin.

-------------------------------​

The Eagle Has Landed (1976)

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TV Tropes: "The Eagle Has Landed is a 1976 World War II film directed by John Sturges (The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven - this is his last one) and based on the book of the same name by Jack Higgins, detailing a fictional plot to capture or kill Winston Churchill by a group of German commandos. Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland and Robert Duvall star as the leader of the squad, their Irish nationalist liaison, and the German colonel in charge of masterminding the mission."

A fun war romp, somewhat let down by an absurd old-school sexist subplot. Possible quibble: one character posits that kidnapping Churchill won't win the war, but could help bargain for a better peace - but were top German officers so sure of defeat in the fall of '43, more than half a year before D-Day? I'm no expert, but it doesn't strike me as likely. Still, it's solid, classic action fare with strong perfs and realistic, easily followed battle tactics.

(My dvd is a non-anamorphic 4:3 transfer of the 2.35:1 movie. Weirdly, VLC Media Player doesn't seem to have a built-in 16:9 zoom, so I had to rip the disc, run it through such a filter in Womble, and then experiment with exporting it with a few custom dimensions to restore the native AR. Obviously, the results weren't up to HD snuff, but the cigarette burns (!) and general low-res look gave it a certain kind of charm.)

B+
 

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Wife Wanted - 1946 - 6/10

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Diverting potboiler about fading screen actress venturing into real estate.
The office works hand in hand with the next door lonelyhearts club.
Small fish waste their money in the dating agency, or fall prey to blackmail.
Real estate rubes are sold Arizona oil wells.
Film percolates along, though it is no great shakes.
This was Kay Francis' (30s Pre-Code siren) last movie.
 

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The Trip To Spain - 2017 - 6/10

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Another in the series of "road movies" from Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.
As characters, they are growing on me.  Mind you, they continue to play scripted versions of themselves.
Anyway, this time they go to Spain to bicker and bait each other.
Gourmet food is an afterthought in this encapsulation of the series.
Meals might have more time in actual episodes, but this duo works better for me in small doses.
An acquired taste, though ruminations of aging and fleeting fame are slyly presented.
 

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The Train (1964)

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TV Tropes: The Train is a 1964 World War II film directed by John Frankenheimer, starring Burt Lancaster, Paul Scofield, and Jeanne Moreau. The year is 1944 and the Allies are closing in on the Nazis in Paris. German Colonel von Waldheim (Scofield), an avid admirer of great art, secures a train to transport France's greatest paintings to Germany. The French Resistance, which includes SNCF area inspector Paul Labiche (Lancaster), are determined to make sure they don't lose their greatest artistic treasures, but they have orders from London to make sure the paintings are not damaged in the process.

A great film. Very loosely based on a true story, it's said to be the last major B&W adventure movie of its time. Lancaster is about the manliest damn man hero I've ever seen, and, somewhat amusingly, like Tom Cruise in Valkyrie, this Yank is Not Even Bothering With the Accent. Anyhow, the cinematography is stunning, glorious grayscale, and the story is gripping, and full of awesome period/accurate detail of rail switches being thrown, locomotive oil lines sabotaged, and repairs and replacement parts made in a hurry, even if a mid-movie elaborate subterfuge isn't quite credible. Paul Scofield makes for a terrifying Nazi villain; alas, this movie's production apparently soured him on film acting, though he did have a few more film roles. A must-see that blows George Clooney's similarly themed (and not terrible, just thoroughly mediocre) The Monuments Men out of the water.

A
 

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sunshine (2007)

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with titles like dredd and ex machina to his name, writer alex garland is someone I should give the benefit of a doubt when considering entertainment options. so I sought one of his earlier films and came across an uneven mixture of thoughtfulness and whatthefuckness. one of its better features is purdy cinematography, to be sure.

story: space crew is to save mankind and much of planetary life.
problem: who chose this crew?

skor: 4/10
 
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