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A few reviews

TM2YC

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Neglify said:
I'd suggest finishing off his Mothers trilogy with "Mother of Tears", even though it's terrible. Maybe see if Dr. Sapirstein's fanedit is still online.

Oooh! I will check that out. Thanks for the tip. https://ifdb.fanedit.org/mother-of-tears-redux/

The recent RLM review of Suspiria mentioned and showed a clip form Mother of Tears to show how bad it was, so hopefully Dr. Sapirstein has fixed it.
 

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Us (2019)
I thought this was a superb and unsettling Horror, with a thick layer of satirical black humour. The absurd premise doesn't make a lot of literal sense but that didn't matter for me, as it's there to cleverly explore issues of class, the others perhaps representing the under-class, the 99%, or the US prison population (the jump suits). You don't need to engage with it on that level though, as it's also an entertaining home-invasion/quasi-Zombie film on the surface. The film is packed with images of duplication, coincidence and repeated numbers that will be fun to spot on future re-watches. Lupita Nyong'o is astonishingly good as always and the rest of the cast is great too. The Cinematography and grading is just about perfect, is it too much to ask for other modern movies to look good too? The final twist was so blindly obvious, unearned and nonsensical that by the end I'd given up assuming the film was going to go there. That was the only let down for me.

The actual experience of seeing this in a cinema was a miserable one. The problem with this recent spate of classy and intelligent Horror films is that you inevitably end up seeing them with a crowd of brain-dead millennials munching food, talking nonstop throughout and playing with their phones :mad: . It was quite a shock to somebody who normally avoids the kind of pandering jump-scare ridden dreck that I imagine this audience was used to.


Did this cross anybody else's mind...?

fallout.jpg


:D
 

TM2YC

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A Clockwork Orange (1971)
A rare chance to re-watch a Stanley Kubrick film on the big screen could not be missed but sadly the DLP was very poor, pixelated and the white was blown out to hell. Still, hearing Wendy Carlos' score thundering out of the Cinema speakers was a treat. It's always surprising and impressive when a film manages to be transgressive enough to "achieve" a UK 18-Certificate in 2019 (especially when it was released nearly half a century ago).  The "futuristic" costumes and decor are so insanely dated, so vulgar and kitsch that 47-years later, the film manages to look totally unique and otherworldly. Malcolm McDowell is so very, very good, he had everybody in the cinema laughing at the faces he pulls when the Government Minister is feeding him steak.


^ That's a great new trailer!
 

TM2YC

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Rollerball (1975)
Seeing this soon after re-watching 'A Clockwork Orange' (filmed 4-years earlier) brought the influences into relief, the classical music montages, the 70s-future blood-orange set designs and a few slow moving symmetrical tracking shots, not to mention it's set in a dystopian 2018. However 'Rollerball' is a much more mainstream Roman-Gladiator-meets-Sports-Movie. Once considered violent, it looks pretty tame now, even by the standards of some other 70s films. The corporate-run world is sketchily described and the parts that are explored look nonsensical, or naive. James Caan's lead performance is fairly drab and John Houseman lacks the requisite menace (not helped by the script never giving him anything menacing to do). Despite the problems, there was more than enough stunt-laden action and weird quasi-futuristic shenanigans to keep me entertained for 2-hours.


Spione (1928)
Fritz Lang does a super-stylish Silent interwar spy caper, once again starring Rudolf Klein-Rogge as a Machiavellian figure. The plot was excessively convoluted in my opinion, with enough British, Russian and Japanese agents and double-agents to fill three movies. I enjoyed all the invisible-ink type spy stuff and a scene involving a Japanese agent being seduced by beautiful Dutch actress Lien Deyers in nought but a Kimono untied at the front is pretty steamy!


I noticed Lang cheekily put two posters from his recent flop 'Metropolis' into one scene:

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33732819558_79caeb0004.jpg


Somebody could totally rework this into a James Bond silent-era adventure. Change all the intertitles. Add John Barry. Rename the hero agent 326 (pictured in a tuxedo above), to 007. Rename his boss from Jason, to 'M'. Change the evil mastermind Haghi, to Blofeld. Change the Japanese agent to Tiger Tanaka etc etc. It wouldn't take much changing really.
 

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"Fritz Lang's Indian Epic" (1959)
What is commonly known as "Fritz Lang's Indian Epic" was the Director's penultimate film. Although it's split into two movies of equal length ('The Tiger of Eschnapur' and 'The Indian Tomb') it is really one continous story. A beautiful half-Indian temple dancer is loved by two men, the Maharaja of Eschnapur and his new Western architect. Their bitter love triangle has shades of 'Othello', with the Maharaja's scheming brother in the Iago role. The Indian locations and architecture look gorgeous and will be recognised by anyone who has seen the 1983 Bond movie 'Octopussy'. The most memorable part is probably Debra Paget's nearly-nude erotic snake dance from the 2nd film. That scene aside, the rest feels more like an adventure from the late 1940s.

I didn't remember Jabba the Hutt being in this scene? :D

 

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Gone Baby Gone (2007) (US Netflix)

m6-Txg-Xte-Aky-I1-Ch-Reygh-VNXyjo-M.jpg


So, good movie, but...

How exactly was Morgan Freeman and his wife going to get away with suddenly having a three-year-old kid? Don't you need paperwork and birth certificates and such to navigate modern life? And the kid's super-white, so it's obviously not his, and one doesn't become a major police ranking officer without making friends who'll notice a pipsqueak appearing out of nowhere, even if you took a sudden and "ignominious" retirement.

Anyhow, enjoyed it. Would watch a sequel. Grade: B




Triple Frontier (2019) (Netflix Original)

dims.jpg


Again, fun flick, but...

Towards the end, one of the gang says they're five days late to miss the boat. So, just what were they eating that whole time? MREs? Did they buy cured meat from the villagers? And did none of them really think to stash the cash bags in a readily accessible  cave/crevice somewhere in the mountains in the moment, when they knew they'd likely have to fight their way to safety?

Anyhow, a fun if utterly inconsequential popcorn joint with a strong cast and some great scenery. Worth a watch for subscribers. Grade: B-
 

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The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933)
I enjoyed this belated direct-sequel to Fritz Lang's own 1922 film more than the original. The malevolence of Rudolf Klein-Rogge's titular character looms large but he is barely in it. This gives more room for a winning romance subplot and plenty of screen time for the cranky and cerebral cigar-chewing 'Inspector Lohmann' character (Otto Wernicke), who also featured in Lang's 'M' (part of the FLCU, the 'Fritz Lang Cinematic Universe' I guess? :D ). The Nazis came to power while this being filmed, Goebbels banned it and Lang fled to the USA soon after.


The Goonies (1985)
After countless times watching this on VHS and DVD I couldn't pass up a rare 4K uncut Cinema screening. Normally people talking during a movie winds me up but hearing parents express shock at the amount of swearing, violence, drug references and sexual innuendo in this 80s "family adventure" was very funny and hearing lots of kids (who were my age when I first saw 'The Goonies') laughing themselves sick and chattering with enjoyment totally added to the experience. The script, characterisation, pacing and tone is perfect magic but a careful critical eye does detect the absence of some beats from the start, which were obviously intended to setup things that don't fully pay off at the end.


I can't believe nobody here has done a Goonies extended cut yet, I'd like to see some of those early setup moments put back in (I'm not sure the Octopus scene is needed though).

 

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Animal Factory (2000)
Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi) directs and Mr. Blue (Eddie Bunker) writes, in this brutal yet thoughtful prison drama. Willem Dafoe is predictably brilliant as a lifer and Edward Furlong plays the troubled kid he takes under his wing. It's got some unexpected touches with Mickey Rourke as a transvestite Con and a cameo from trans musician Anohni/Antony Hegarty singing 'Rapture' (from his debut album) at a Prison music night. I noticed a few actors from 'The Wire' in the cast and the Directorial style, observational tone, blues/hip-hop score and dense dialogue reminded me very much of that show... interesting as Buscemi's film was filmed 2-years before... even more interesting that Buscemi directed and acted in a couple of episodes of David Simon's pre-Wire show 'Homicide: Life on the Street'. Basically what I'm saying is, if you liked 'The Wire' then check this out.

 

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John Mulaney - Kid Gorgeous at Radio City (2018)

I am not terribly familiar with John Mulaney but I've heard a lot of great things over the past few years and loved him in Spiderverse. So I caught this on Netflix and it is great! His timing is impeccable. I really like how he's not afraid to build properly to the bigger punchlines. Modern comedians tend to rush too much for my taste, and also shoot to make every line a killer. This one special made it really clear that Mulaney crafts his jokes with an eye on the big picture. And that's how you end up with a damn good comedy special, that rises and falls in the right places. The space and the smaller jokes make the big ones land even better. Will definitely be checking out more of his comedy.


Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)

Wow. I am admittedly lacking in my knowledge of musicals, probably because it's a genre I only really got into in the last few years and I just haven't taken the time to get caught up on older films. I liked La La Land which led me to check out Umbrellas of Cherbourg since it was referenced so often, which I thoroughly enjoyed. That led me to this film and holy motors, this knocked me out. This film is perfect, I think. I saw the late 90s restoration and it blew me away on every level. The cinematography is luscious, the music is pitched to the action perfectly, the songs are lovely and the actors have wonderful chemistry. I was a little surprised because a lot of what I appreciated about Umbrellas was that it tackled serious issues and was not afraid to end the way it did. This is kind of the light whimsy that I think of when I think of musicals. However, within that they manage to get into some complicated relationship dynamics while always being breezy and entertaining. Also, what an opener. I loved this film, and intend to check out more Demy films in the future. The only criticism I can think of is that maybe this film would have benefited from the recitative style of Umbrellas. I think it could have really worked in this.


Us (2019)

Pretty much cosigning all of this:

TM2YC said:
I thought this was a superb and unsettling Horror, with a thick layer of satirical black humour. The absurd premise doesn't make a lot of literal sense but that didn't matter for me, as it's there to cleverly explore issues of class, the others perhaps representing the under-class, the 99%, or the US prison population (the jump suits). You don't need to engage with it on that level though, as it's also an entertaining home-invasion/quasi-Zombie film on the surface. The film is packed with images of duplication, coincidence and repeated numbers that will be fun to spot on future re-watches. Lupita Nyong'o is astonishingly good as always and the rest of the cast is great too. The Cinematography and grading is just about perfect, is it too much to ask for other modern movies to look good too? The final twist was so blindly obvious, unearned and nonsensical that by the end I'd given up assuming the film was going to go there. That was the only let down for me.

I saw this twice in the theater. I really enjoyed it the first time but I loved it the second time. I was a bit let down by the ending, though. I'm generally really bad at figuring out twists, because I don't try. But I honestly didn't think the twist was a twist. I thought the film was very clear that that's what happened. It wasn't until after the film talking with my friends that I realized that it was supposed to be a twist. 
It's super clear that she comes across her double, who lunges toward the camera (her POV). Then they go out of their way to show you (TWICE) that Adelaide was not speaking after the incident. Then we meet the tethered and sure enough, none of them speak, except for Adelaide's double/clone/tethered/whatever. When we first meet her, she explains what's going on and says shit like 'when the girl has hot porridge, I had rabbits.' How would she even know what hot porridge was? Or toys that aren't sharp? All that, combined with the flashback being the opening scene (always important), led to me assuming that's what happened from the get go. I don't know, I don't mean this as a flex because honestly I don't usually figure stuff out, this just seemed really obvious to me.

And ultimately, that was my letdown. I thought that was a given and we were going to get something more. Instead we got the twist that the movie super telegraphs from the literal opening scene, a ton of exposition and a climactic scene that works thematically but is the most poorly shot part of the film, in my opinion. I'm okay with the exposition dump (I kinda feel like there's too much criticism of exposition for existing, it can be good or bad, for me). This was a situation where I would have been very okay with it if it recontextualized everything I had seen before. But again, the twist was obvious so it only really filled in some info on the world-building. The second time I saw it, I focused on the structure and tried to figure out how I would end it differently. I couldn't come up with anything. You can remove the twist but then what do you do? I wouldn't want to move the reveal of who the invaders are any further back. I like that the first scene they show up, they lay out the story but it doesn't really make sense until later. I don't know. The story doesn't exactly make sense logistically, which didn't bother me too much but does seem to be an issue for some based on reviews I've read. It functions as metaphor excellently, and hangs together logically enough for me. The underclass could represent any oppressed people and function pretty well but I think it works perfectly for the economic lower class. "But it's about race" you say? Ah well yes, socioeconomic lines in America are almost the same as racial lines (the idea that that could happen in a country and yet still many question the existence of institutionalized bias shows you the power of cognitive dissonance).


True Grit (2010)

Just a couple of the best filmmakers in the world at their absolute apex flexing on everybody with how good their dialogue is.


On the Basis of Sex (2018)

A pretty good biopic script filmed by a pretty good director with pretty good actors doing a pretty good job. However, it's the story of an exceptional woman's life, and there was a fantastic documentary about her last year, so I'm not sure why this one needs to exist.

Fun fact: My grandmother was one of the first people to sue after RBG started attacking gender discrimination in law. It was 1973, my grandmother sued the university she worked for because they refused to promote her because of her gender (their words), continued to work there for three years (for the people she was suing) until she won, and then became their peer. She then became the dean of the school and was there for another 25 years, long after the sexist assholes she had to sue to get hired were long gone.
 

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Monkey Shines: An Experiment in Fear (1988)
George A. Romero's Horror 'Monkey Shines' is a mix of 'Re-Animator', 'My Left Foot', 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' and 'Psycho'. A quadriplegic man is given a trained monkey called Ella to help him around the house but he doesn't know that his "mad scientist" friend has been injecting her with experimental brain drugs. Romero takes almost the first half to setup the characters before introducing any outlandish Horror elements, so it works just as well as a serious study of somebody coping with disability. Thankfully this was made pre-CGI, so it's all laboriously achieved through incredible trained animals and a few convincing puppet shots. Apparently the ending was changed against Romero's wishes but it worked very well for me (I'd be curious to see the deleted version).

 

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THE INVENTOR (HBO 2019)

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtDaP18OGfw[/video]

In a span of a couple years, visionary company Theranos went from an estimated worth of over 400 Million Dollars to zero!  Was Elizabeth Olson a zealot; so obsessed with her idea of changing the world that she was willing to lie and put others in harms way?  Or was she an extraordinary con artist; one of the new breed of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs selling the Next Big Idea with no real science behind it?  A fascinating documentary that re-affirms the old adage, "Buyer Beware".
 

TM2YC

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^ Really wanna see that.

I had an Abel Ferrara double-bill...

The Driller Killer (1979)
Abel Ferrara's infamous "video nasty", banned for 15-years in the UK due mostly to the title and a particularly grizzly VHS box cover, than to the actual content of the film. Remembering the ubiquity of right-wing Newspaper articles hysterically raging against the film back in the 80s/90s, only made me more curious to see it now that the ban has been lifted and a nice Blu-ray transfer is available (From Arrow Video). It does have a nastiness but that mostly comes from the seedy decaying 70s New York setting and the lo-fi visuals and sound (the actual drill murder sequences are few and far between). A tortured painter (played by Ferrara) and the Punk band driving him crazy by rehearsing in the flat below are the primary focus. It was okay.



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Mulberry St. (2010)
A feature-length Documentary Directed by and featuring Abel Ferrara, as he shows us around the New York Italian-American neighborhood during the annual 'Feast of San Gennaro'. It could be re-titled "Bull-sh*tting and breaking yer balls: The Movie" because of the revolving cast of mouthy old "wise guys" we are introduced to. This was only a bonus film on the Arrow 'The Driller Killer' Blu-Ray but I enjoyed this a lot more than the "main feature".

32834868457_10599dac79_z.jpg
 

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales aka Salazar's Revenge (2017)
I've seen the other four films and this was on Netflix, so I'll give it a go I guess? It's more of the same convoluted plotting, too many characters and endless exposition about ancient curses and pirate codes. The running thread about the new female hero being branded a "witch" because she can navigate by the stars... in a film about sailors... was nonsensical even for this franchise. The score is still fantastic (Geoff Zanelli reworking Hans Zimmer's themes) and the flashback to a young de-aged Jack was a highlight. The ending which resolves a plot element from earlier films genuinely had the feels.


Howard the Duck (1986)
I haven't seen this George Lucas film since my parents rented the VHS when I was a kid... infact I haven't seen it because they switched it off when it got too gross and scary. I remember the last scene I saw and it turns out I'd seen 3 quarters of the film, so no wonder I got upset :D . The new blu-ray transfer on the 101-Films label looks and sound amazing but the movie wasn't worth the wait. 'Howard the Duck' isn't bad it's just one of those misfires that is somehow simultaneously under-cooked and over-cooked. It can't decide if it's a silly action-comedy, or a more serious emotional drama and can't decide if Howard is a genuine hero, or a comedic coward. The tone is also all over the place, ostensibly a family adventure but one that has David Cronenberg style body-horror elements, numerous references to duck-on-human intercourse and shots of prosthetic duck tits in the opening prologue. There is no character development and barely a plot. Thomas Dolby's horrifically dated sub-Prince songs are cringe inducing and John Barry's score is almost too good. Scoring a scene with heroically gorgeous music works against the picture when the scene is not heroic and is just faintly embarrassing. "Embarrassing" is a word that sums it all up but given all the talent involved, that's what makes it a fascinating watch.

 

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A double bill of 16mm TV films by Alan Clarke on blu-ray...

Penda's Fen (1974)
An angry and puritanical Christian schoolboy in a quiet English village begins to question his sexuality and sees visions of Pagan gods, King Penda (the last Pagan English King), angels, demons and the ghost of Sir Edward Elgar. I won't pretend to understand all the references to Blake's 'Jerusalem', Elgar's 'The Dream of Gerontius' and all the philosophical musings but Alan Clarke's film was fascinating and invites repeat viewings. It's nothing like 'A Clockwork Orange' but the comparison did make me wonder if this is a picture of a 1970s boy obsessed by Elgar, instead of Beethoven.

[video=dailymotion]

Made in Britain (1983)
A 16mm TV movie Directed by Alan Clarke starring Tim Roth (in his first role) as a violent and disruptive 16-year old racist skinhead called Trevor. He's not stupid, so he's already worked out that he cannot win inside the system, so the only victory possible is to defy the system's every effort to reform him. To lose as fast and as hard as possible and to antagonise and disagree with everybody. Roth's furious performance is astonishing and makes riveting viewing. Two-time Academy-Award winning Cinematographer Chris Menges shoots on Steadicam up close with Roth. The blu-ray transfer looks great and much better than my old DVD.


A much older Tim Roth discusses the film in this video, with a lot of NSFW offensive language:


I first became aware of 'Made in Britain' through the 2004 Hip-Hop album 'Council Estate of Mind' which samples dialogue from the film heavily between tracks:

 

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THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL (2014 Netflix)

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RA76b5Hhvxg[/video]

A sports documentary that transcends whether you know anything about baseball or not, and tells a so story so compelling, that if you did not know it was true you would call bullsh@t.   For a brief moment in baseball history, 1973-77, the Portland Mavericks, the ONLY INDEPENDENT Minor League baseball team in the U.S., was the shining example of the phrase,  "For the Love of the Game".

Founded by Bing Russell, a former protege of the New York Yankees and Hollywood actor,(and father of actor Kurt Russell) he openly recruited anyone who wanted to play, giving second chances to misfits, losers, castaways and dreamers.  And together, this rag tag team of rascals would set attendance records, defeat "superior" League managed teams and make the Establishment very uncomfortable.

This stranger than fiction story has the hallmarks of almost every Hollywood sports underdog story ever made, except is it all delightfully true!

This documentary was made by the Russell family and is clearly a labour of love for them.  Listening to Kurt Russell proudly share outrageous stories about his father and his accomplishments is wonderful.  This is a classic feel good, the little guy wins, kind of story.  I do not know much about real world baseball, my baseball is the mythology of the silver screen, but I do know this documentary made me smile, laugh and cheer.

Thumbs UP!!!

Now where is the movie adaptation!!!  :D
 

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I have zero interest in, or knowledge of baseball (and sports movies generally) but this...

bionicbob said:
Listening to Kurt Russell proudly share outrageous stories about his father and his accomplishments is wonderful.

...is all I need to know ;) . Thanks for the recommendation, this is going on my Netflix list.

(Plus I dig the alliteration in the title)
 

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Great recommendation @"bionicbob" .

The Battered Bastards of Baseball (2014)
An amazing true underdog story Netflix Documentary about how actor Bing Russell (father of Kurt) started up an independent Baseball team in the mid 70s, which briefly rivaled the big teams. This story would translate perfectly to a feature-film (it might even work better that way and Kurt is the right age) and it has a similar vibe to Francis Ford Coppola's movie 'Tucker: The Man and His Dream', in that it's the bittersweet American dream. You can dream big and you can get to the top but you can never really win because the guys that got there first make the rules. I admired all the 8mm/16mm film that had been found and scanned in HD for the Doc. If I had to nitpick, I did get a bit tired of all the talking heads constantly telling me this, or that was amazing and unprecedented within the sport, without them actually explaining the reasons why. I understand the desire for this Doc to appeal to an international audience by not going in too heavy with Baseball history, facts and exposition but I would have liked a bit more detail. I knew nothing about Baseball going in and I still don't but I'm full of admiration for the team.


Four Lions (2010)
With Satirist Chris Morris' new film 'The Day Shall Come' out sometime this year I thought it was time to re-watch his last film, from way back in 2010. It's essentially 'Dad's Army' but with an incompetent British Jihadi terror cell, instead of a Home Guard platoon. Riz Ahmed (in one of his first big roles) plays the main character and the least inept of the group, with Nigel Lindsay playing an hilariously stupid nutjob. The standout gags are still the police sniper shooting a Wookiee and the bomb strapped to a crow.

 

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PEPPERMINT (2018)
http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdL70wkf_H0[/video]

How does one's beloved bride and mother of one's child wish to spend her Mother's Day morning?  Along with Egg Benny breakfast served in bed, we watched the revenge flick Peppermint.

A box office bomb and ravaged by most critics, we both found the movie very entertaining.

Granted, we are both big Jennifer Gardner fans, going back to her ALIAS days, so seeing her return to form kicking ass and blowing away bad guys was good fun for us.

The movie is predictable comic book formula.  This is essentially Gardner playing The Punisher.  So if you like those movies, you will like this too.  It is B-movie action, with some very nice and surprising production and direction moments.  The biggest weakest of the film for me is the movie does not take full advantage of Gardner's acting range.  The first act is great, Gardner does what she does best... when she smiles, you smile... when she cries, you cry... her charisma is magnetic and charming.  But after that, she just becomes an ultra killing machine and the movie never takes enough time to get back into her head or win you over to her side, it is too dependant on whether you connected with her in the first act or not.

But as an escapist action/revenge piece, this is an enjoyable 100 minutes.   Certainly and significantly better than Bruce Willis's recent and similar themed Death Wish remake.

:D
 

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TM2YC said:
]

Howard the Duck (1986)
I haven't seen this George Lucas film since my parents rented the VHS when I was a kid... infact I haven't seen it because they switched it off when it got too gross and scary.


Yeah, I can relate, except I didn't get 3 quarters in, I got it shut off at the duck breasts. I know nothing about the plot of the film. I still have yet to watch it proper. Your description of it further makes me want to watch it, seems like a mess, and I love messes.
 

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jrWHAG42 said:
Yeah, I can relate, except I didn't get 3 quarters in, I got it shut off at the duck breasts.

You mean you didn't find that hilarious? I'm kidding, of course. It's dumb, the movie has a lot of other dumb things too, but I like the puns. Honestly you might really like it if you ever rewatch.
 
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