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A few reviews


Staff Member
@"ssj": I loved Ex Machina and hated Dredd. Sunshine had a lot of potential, but also made some major missteps. Given that Garland didn't direct either Dredd or Sunshine and wasn't even the sole writer on Dredd, I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt. 

If Ex Machina is any indication of what he can do when left to his own devices, I'm really looking forward to future films written and directed by Garland.


Well-known member
Lang Historie Kort - 2015 - 7/10
AKA - Long Story Short


Ensemble movie tracks eight or nine friends for two or three years.
Multiple characters seem confusing, but attentive viewers will catch the rhythm and faces soon enough.
Transitory relationships, established friendships, marriages fresh and stale.
At the center is Ellen, who keeps making poor choices as far as men.
Stories advance at various parties.  New Years, wedding, birthdays ...  Alcohol lubricates misbehavior.
Those who favor French fare or Woody Allen romantic dramas should enjoy.


Well-known member
thanks for the clarification, throw. would totally dig seeing future garland movies as interesting as ex machina. iirc correctly, he had a hand in the beach, which I haven't seen. wondering if that's worth spending time on.


Well-known member
^ Ooh, I hate Dredd too! Cheers! :p 

Larry Gaye: Renegade Male Flight Attendant
(free on Amazon Prime)

I owe my entire awareness of this barely-released flick to a column by legendary (former AV Club) pop culture writer Nathan Rabin. Whom I quote:

I do not laugh easily. “Did this comedy make me laugh even a single time?” is an important benchmark for comedies that a disconcerting amount of would-be laughers never meet. So when a movie makes me laugh out loud at least a dozen times, as Gaye did, I’m inclined to forgive an awful lot, and Gaye has an awful lot to forgive. [...]

Take away the groaningly awful, regressive, desperately unfunny title and you’re left with a 100 minute long comedy about a womanizing, narcoleptic flight attendant who is somehow simultaneously a dithering, oblivious, Leslie Nielsen-type buffoon and preternaturally gifted, who wrestles with daddy issues when not battling a sexy robotic arch-rival played by Rebecca Romijn.

Welp, like Mr. Rabin, I laughed many, many times during this movie, at one point so uproariously I had to hit pause for a good two minutes. I am also a total sucker for Glee's Jayma Mays, who is as hilarious as she is enchanting as the straight (wo)man to the also very funny star Mark Feuerstein.


I surrender.

This is a delightfully stupid and knee-slapping film. If, like me, you love Hot Rod, Your Highness, Fired Up!, Austin Powers 1 and This is the End, I highly recommend this woefully unappreciated and overlooked gem. If, however, you do not enjoy those films and this genre, steer far clear of this one.

Grade: A-. As Mr. Rabin says, it doesn't need to be 100 minutes long, and a sharper ending would have helped, but I loved the whole dang thing, and there is a first-rate gag in the coda that follows the enjoyable if too-safe third act.


Well-known member
Ghostbusters III (2016/TM2YC)


My mother and I watched Mr. Cinema's fan edit cold, neither of us having seen either official cut. We found the edit pleasantly enjoyable, albeit utterly devoid of anything beyond the barest wisps of a story. Why is NYC so weirdly unpopulated? (Most of the movie was filmed in Boston and/or backlots.) Why do so many scenes, including scenes of hauntings, take place in broad daylight when literally any other weather would have been more atmospheric? (It's cheaper, and easier to record endless improv that way.) When we literally see no one actually harmed by a ghost, where is the tension during the climax? (There is none.) Why does the movie turn into an MCU-style action carnival? (Because Marketing demands action shots for the previews.) How the f*ck did this cost $144m to produce? (I have no goddamn idea.)

One of the things that makes Ghostbusters '84 great (I assume - I haven't properly watched it in decades) is that one can subtract all the jokes and still have a solid if unremarkable genre story left. Take out all the many, many improvised lines in this edit, and one gets... some dweeb who schemes to become a ghost monster because... why? We don't ever see him bullied, or yearning for something he can't have. Say what you like about Malekeith in The Dark World, Dude, but at least he had an ethos. As for the leads, they're fine, but none felt entirely believable. (Why does Patty quit her MTA job instead of Ghostbusting on the side, again?) And I have no idea why Mr. Cinema removed the "Ghost Corps" logo but left in the joke-free post-credits Zuul sequel tease.

C+. Not time wasted, but I've got no wish to see any follow-up.


Well-known member
Ghost House -  2017 - 6/10


I'm inclined to indulge this cobbled together horror outing.  It has strong points and liabilities.
American couple visit Bangkok, searching for adventure amidst their romance.
The female takes photos of anything and everything.
Being turistas, neither of them ask permission or consider others.
She is particularly drawn to ghost houses, or shrines to the dead.

Plot is a mix of other horror films and themes, from It Follows to "dead wet girls."
It is not predictable, though, as it changes course throughout.
Thailand visuals are nice, and seem accurate.  (most of the rooms I stayed in always had a greenish tint)
Sound mix is moody ambiant.  Story itself, while clichéd, rarely drags.


Well-known member
Shinya Shokudô - 2009 - 7/10
AKA - Midnight Diner


Melancholy series of nightowls and insomniacs, gathered at the cafe, open between midnight and 8:00 AM.
Half hour episodes of lives lonely, broken or dead-ended.
Individuals who missed opportunities, compromised their dreams, outlived their time.
While the cafe has a small, fixed menu, the owner seems able to fulfill all requests.
Mostly simple fare, but each evokes memories or underscores a personal story.
At each conclusion, tips or techniques for that night's recipe are shared.
This is one of the very best late night J-dorama, and fairly easy to find.
Watching between midnight and 2:00 AM, which was when I viewed, may enhance the mood.


Well-known member
A Date With The Falcon - 1942 - 5/10


Second outing for George Sanders' suave thrill seeker and police meddler.
Early on, he is supposed to be flying off with his not-yet-wed bride on their honeymoon.
When a pair of dark eyes and thick eyelashes beckon, his fiance is forgotten.
The plot - if you tend to be charitable - is of a kidnapped synthetic diamond inventor.
Misunderstandings with police, banter with lovelies, and glowering heavies cannot disguise a fluff story.
Film relies on Sanders' charm, but is beneath his talents.


Well-known member
La Main Passe - 2014 - 6/10
AKA - The Table Turns // The Main Pass


Offbeat French femme fatale revenge film.
Wife confronts husband's mistress, telling her to back off.
In the next beat, the women realize he has a new bang bunny and is cheating on both of them.
A low level attorney gets entwined with Mistress #1, who starts to exhibit psychological neuroses.
Oh, yeah, said attorney also happens to be a kleptomaniac!
Not that I'm giving much away, this occurs in the first ten minutes of this trashy thriller.
Clever females, men with the IQ of head cheese.
Good enough, I suppose, if you're in the mood.


Well-known member
After Hitler - 2016 - 7/10
AKA - An Dèidh Hitler


Two part documentary of Europe in the five years after the end of World War II.
The mass starvation, dislocation of millions, the survival of widows and orphans.
After the Soviet Union took control of eastern Europe, they took steps to take Greece, Germany, and any other country who would listen.
The West eventually countered, but almost too late.
Pretty much an unknown chapter for most.
Overall enlightening despite a lot of territory covered.
Note:  I am increasingly unsurprised by how casually clueless many are of history.


Well-known member
Dekalog - 1989 - 8/10
AKA - The Decalogue


Ten part morality series based on the Ten Commandments.
Each episode reworks a specific "thou shalt" commandment, though sometimes the reference is vague.
While stories are stand-alone, characters often reappear.  Most live in the same large apartment.
Extraordinarily well done and thoughtful.
Although not a downer series, it is "Serious" filmmaking.
And yes, this is a Polish TV series, but is firmly rooted in cinema.
While I admired this and appreciated it, I did not enjoy a single episode.
For obscure music buffs, a rare chance to hear Van den Budenmayer.


Well-known member
Whose Streets? - 2017 - 6/10


Documentary on the Ferguson riots in 2014.
The trigger was the killing of a black high school boy by a police officer.
The boy was unarmed, and the officer, who felt threatened, subdued him with 6 bullet holes.
When the community gathered to protest, the city responded with overwhelming force.
This is not an unbiased documentary.  Reference Michael Moore.
The point of view on this is strictly with the community.
Law enforcement, city officials either were not interviewed or declined.
Focus weakens during unnecessary coverage of a wedding.
The rest of the time, this carries some eye-opening information.

Note - FE member wayne.workman was actively filming in Ferguson during these events, capturing as much as he could.
I looked for his name in the credits, but those were miniscule and fleeting.


Well-known member
Ça va Barder - 1955 - 6/10
AKA - Give 'em Hell


Fun, albeit extremely confusing Eddie Constantine vehicle.
He hires on as investigator for shipping magnate / arms dealer.
Vessels are being hijacked and contents stolen in Mozambique.
Our man is soon dealing with smugglers, embezzlers, gangsters, scam artists, and lots of barely dressed, gorgeous women (or, to use the vernacular of the day, dames).
If you think Lemmy Caution territory, you would not be far off.
This strikes me as a spoof of that franchise.
Fistfights are sheer nonsense, and chases are undercranked (ie: Benny Hill).
Nonetheless, blacklisted Hollywood director John Berry does wonders with small budget, as far as the look goes.
Enjoyable time waster.


Well-known member
Social Suicide - 2015 - 5/10


Loose retelling of Romeo and Juliet for the age of tweets and selfies.
Star crossed youths post on web blogs, defy parents, chase romantic love.
Fate, in the form of a beguiler, ever so carefully clears a path.
At best, may hold the interest of the indulgent.
At worst, predictable and contains alarming cameos.


Well-known member
Maudie - 2016 - 6/10


Arthritic and otherwise disabled female moves out of her aunt's home to work as housekeeper.
The man who hires her, a fish seller, is slow on the uptick, as well.
She paints, however, and her work has an undeniable primitive charm.
Slow, very slow, yarn of the creative outsider, based on Nova Scotia artist, Maud Lewis.
Bleak cinematography captures the loneliness, and acting is excellent, if depressing.


Well-known member
Argon - 2017 - 6/10
AKA - 아르곤


K-drama about a television magazine news show.
Not the news/weather/sports show, but the special features.
Exposes, scoops, headlines, and human interest fluff.
Juvenile comedy mars first couple of episodes, though that vanishes if you hang with the series.
Decent drama, though few care about "news" any more.  People hunt for, and believe what they want.
Limited crying in this, thank God, and no real romance.
Nice premise of rookie employee looking up to mentor she admired when she was younger.


Well-known member
Cool Air - 1999 - 5/10


Struggling writer rents room in boarding house.
When he suffers a heart attack, he is treated by the doctor who resides above him.
They strike up a friendship.  The writer discusses his literary challenges, the doctor his past.
Lovecraft's oft adapted story is filmed here as a one set drama.
Low budget is compensated with two fine leads, helpful black n white photography, and a serviceable ambient sound design.
Pace is sluggish, though, the narrative predictable, and the secondary players overact.


Well-known member
The Living And The Dead - 2016 - 6/10


Circa 1890.  Educated couple relocate to his mother's rural farmstead after she dies.
Viewers - even inattentive viewers - will quickly realize the pair has moved to Spooky Lane England.
Possessions, ghostly hauntings, curses, the Ouija board!, and deaths, lots of graves.
Our couple, being educated and of scientific inclinations, disregard superstitious villagers.
Well photographed, nicely cast (save for the husband), the stories feel like "death of the week."
This viewer's sympathy ebbed more each week as the characters became myopic and dim brained, putting friends, neighbors, and family into clear risk.

What made this so disappointing is because the time, 1890, is the cusp of the Modern Age.  The couple are familiar with Freud, photography, and scientific journals.
The pair are outsiders, and juxtaposed against the villagers, whose activities and attitudes have changed little since the 1600s.
Many possibilities were available, the writers seemingly took the easier route.
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