Sign In

A few reviews . . (film or TV) — Page 15

Author
Time

Nuremberg Nazis On Trial - 2006 - 7/10

Not the full docket, this three part series focuses on Hermann Goering, Rudolf Hess, Albert Speer.
Rather than a united front, each uses their own strategy to defend their wartime activities.
Allied psychologists try to glean information and determine mental stability.
Newsreels, re-enactments, and interviews with surviving onlookers.
Well researched. Should be informative to casual viewers.
Though that era is now several lifetimes ago, history has a tendency to repeat.

Author
Time

Give Me Your Hand - 2008 - 4/10
AKA - Donne-moi la Main

Twin 18 year old brothers set off from France to a funeral in Spain.
To say farewell to the mother who had abandoned them.
They hitch hike and spend most of their time fighting and arguing.
Early in the narrative, a cute girl quits her job to tag along with them … just like in real life.
After pop the weasel with each, she exits.
Ditto, two bang bunnies who slow down in their car.
Slow, unfunny, with unlikeable leads. I longed for them to wander into a Hostel inn.

Author
Time

Seven Deaths In The Cat’s Eyes - 1973 - 6/10
AKA - La Morte Negli Occhi del Gatto

Gothic slash mystery set in cursed Scottish castle.
The manor crumbles, the male heir is insane, aging matriarchs argue over money.
There is also a manipulative doctor and a predatory vixen and a niece kicked out of the convent.
Also a caged, perhaps murderous, orangutang. And lets not forget that ever watchful feline.
While often lumped with Giallo, the crimson splash is infrequent and the color palette is dark.
Interesting international cast wait their turn to get knocked off.
OK for Gothic fans, but those seeking more mayhem will be unsatisfied.

Author
Time

Psychedelic Britannia - 2015 - 6/10

Easy overview for newcomers.
Catches the trendy era of 1965 until the decade ending rot.
Hallucinogenics freely discussed (LSD being legal in early days).
UFO Club given a fair amount of comment, Alexandra Palace less.
Major bands name-checked (Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, Incredible String Band, Procol Harum …).
Mandatory interviews with wrinkling survivors.
There is only so much one can distill into an hour documentary.
If curious about the depths of 60’s English psychedelia, track down the Fading Yellow series of LPs and CDs.

Author
Time

White Lightnin’ - 2009 - 3/10

What a piece of shooo.
Opening credits read “Inspired by Jesco White.”
First third, maybe, though I think the filmmakers exaggerated.
From there, the story diverges straight into hillbilly nightmare.
Not following the Jesco’s well documented life at all.
In other words, more ghouls exploiting Jesse White.
I have probably watched Dancing Outlaw a hundred times.
Fun - funny - hopeful.
This film is a mess. Exteriors don’t even look like Appalachia.
Carrie Fisher as Pris (read Norma), however, is truly inspired casting!

Author
Time

Dancing Outlaw - 1991 - 7/10

The documentary that made Jesco White famous.
Thirty minutes showcasing mountain step dancing, Elvis worship.
Murder, fried eggs, Freebird, burning up your damn car, guilt.
Filmed in Boone County, West Virginia, forgotten crannie of the American Dream.
This is about as authentic as they come. I’ve been in this neck of Appalachia hundreds of times.
Fame and exploitation soon followed, along with groupies, tattoos, hipsters and phonies.
The sequels are less fun, this is the genuine article.
^

I first saw this while visiting family , just after the initial airing.
My middle brother had the VHS playing, and for half a tick I thought it was him dancing on that swayback bridge.
“What the hell. Where’d he learn to dance like that?” I wondered.
I realized it was not him, but I knew the Appalachia landscape.
“Where is that?” I asked.
“Boone County. Where Dad lives.”
Like a million other Southerners, I got a VHS copy pronto!
I shared with coworkers who loved it. Jesco’s fame spread like kudzu.
For twenty years, every time I visited Dad in his rural oblivion, I hoped to catch a Jesco concert, jamboree, or step-off. Never happened.
My youngest brother and his band actually met Jesco during 2006’s JescoFest. A benefit concert put on by 60 groups to help Jesco buy firewood for the winter. Three day weekend. Earned $600.00.
It was considered a success.
^

Author
Time

The Wild Wonderful Whites Of West Virginia - 2009 - 5/10

Long awaited sequel to Dancing Outlaw, which made an unlikely cult star out of Appalachian mountain man, tap steppin’, Jesco White.
This time out, the whole clan is featured.
Cussing, fighting, breeding, shooting, stabbing, nudity - male and female.
Will thrill fans and horrify the unwary.
The family strike me as a more calculating bunch, “acting” for the camera in the era of faux celebrity.
NONE of them have the charism and naiveté of Jesco in the earlier film.

Author
Time

Whirlpool - 1970 - 6/10

Aspiring fashion model accepts an invitation to spend the weekend with the older model.
Far out in the country, in a lovely home the woman shares with her “nephew,” Theo.
The older woman, Sarah, and Theo enjoy a cozy relationship, yet they apparently relish company.

On the surface, Whirlpool resembles the arthouse swinging films such as those by Radley Metzger.
This veers into conte cruel, however, as Theo deals malicious games, and both Sarah and Theo are natural voyeurs.
Audio is crap. This was filmed “silent” and the dialogue looped afterward, along with a fine music score.
Photography is first rate, well composed indoor and out.
The director made point of contrasting firm, youthful flesh with wrinkles. Including the adult sequences.

Author
Time

The Little Match Girl - 1928 - 6/10
AKA - La Petite Marchande d’Allumettes

Creative silent short from Jean Renoir of classic Hans Christian Andersen tale.
Young girl sets out during a bitter cold blizzard and attempts to sell matches to bustling pedestrians.
She peers into the window of the toy shop, and the glamorous - and warm - restaurant.
Catherine Hessling makes a good waif, in the best tradition of Mary Pickford.
Fantasy sequences are imaginative, and the props, clearly models, lend a fairy touch.

Author
Time
 (Edited)

Resurrection Of The Little Match Girl - 2002 - 4/10 or 7/10
AKA - Sungnyangpali Sonyeoui Jaerim / 성냥팔이 소녀의 재림

Big budget Korean Sci Fi.
No doubt about it, one either loved this film or hated it.
Mash of Matrix meets Tron, as gamer enters “The System”.
Point of the game is to be the last person the matchstick girl sees before she freezes to death.
Multiple players (stick with main character and drag queen Lara) confuse an already muddled plotline.
Stunning visuals, however, compensate, along with a fun mix of music.
Lots of shoot-outs and wire work.
Good example of over reaching film that failed badly.

Author
Time

Vanishing Point - 1971 - 7/10

Cult drive-in favorite of cross country car chase.
Car delivery driver (repo maybe?) wagers he can get supercharged Dodge Challenger R/T (pure muscle) from Denver to San Francisco in 15 hours.
Highway patrols in Colorado - Nevada - California soon in pursuit.
Sparse dialogue, diverse music selection, roaring V-8s.
While on surface a “chase” film, it is actually a sly character study, and observations of “freedom."
The driver’s (Kowalski) story is gradually revealed in flashbacks, newspaper clippings, and police dispatches.
Memorable side characters include a blind DJ, grizzled prospector, nude motorcyclist.
Hypnotic ride - Pointless remake in 1997 for spoonfed types.

Note - In the early 80’s, ten years after this, I met a retired guy who did this.
He returned repo’d luxury cars (Caddies, Lincolns, Beamers) back to home dealers.
He got paid for fuel, motels, meals, airfare home, as well as $300 for driving.
Nice gig for him (got him away from his loud, bossy wife).

Author
Time

Scott Walker: 30th Century Man - 2006 - 6/10

Mr. Walker is best remembered as singer in The Walker Brothers, a 60’s British Invasion group.
None of the members were brothers or Walkers.
In most of the world, they were known for “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine.”
In Swinging London, they were a phenomenon.
When the moment was over, Scott followed his own dark, haunted muse, crafting chilling, lonely albums.
Musique concrete.
The documentary charts the path of the most reclusive artist.
I appreciated the film, but I didn’t rush out to find “Scott 4“ or “Walker Bros Night Flight,” both highly praised.

Author
Time

Blues Britannia: Can Blue Men Sing The Whites? - 2012 - 7/10

Documentary tracing the rise of the British blues groups.
First part covers touring black elder statesmen: Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson . . .
Then the Brit generation follows: Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, John Mayall, Fleetwood Mac, Cream, ending with Zeppelin.
Well done, though I wish the younger batch could lose the apologetic guilt.
Face it, as the old masters died out, those skinny white kids were largely the ones who carried the tradition.
Doc packed with moments and stories.
Relf still missed.

Author
Time
 (Edited)

When Pop Went Epic - The Crazy World Of The Concept Album - 2016 - 7/10

Documentary, hosted by a droll Rick Wakeman, explores concept albums.
From early steps to the heyday of the 60’s and 70’s to the excesses that led to parody.
Many “survivors” interviewed, all amused and chuckling at the loon within.
One of the more illuminating interviewees was artist Roger Dean, who explained his private concepts for his Yes covers.
Lots of music - sadly, I own almost every album on LP or CD.
Worse, there were two or three albums I did not have, which I now have to find.
Hopefully, they came out in gatefold.
Great companion to Prog Rock Britannia: An Observation In Three Movements.

Author
Time

Prog Rock Britannia: An Observation In Three Movements - 2009 - 6/10

Ha ha ha.
Zillions of notes, oddball time signatures, fairyland lyrics, Roger Dean art, Gabriel’s outfits, the madness.
Plus Keith Emerson stabbing his keyboard with the knife!
Hour and a half documentary highlighting wild excesses with amused performers.
Why do a song in 3 minutes when you can do it in 33 minutes? Or longer!
Wait till you hear how many groupies the Prog guys pulled. Zero!
I still have my Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, Emerson Lake Palmer, Captain Beyond, Tull, several others.
On vinyl and CD! Ha ha, what a geek!
Ha ha ha. Great times.

Author
Time

À Nos Amours - 1983 - 7/10

Sixteen year old Suzanne discovers boys, more boys, even more boys!
Infatuation? Acting out? Rebelling against parental control?
The director keeps a loose leash on proceedings, so viewers are left to observe and wonder - or shrug.
Suzanne is seeking ”something” and not necessarily romance or carnal release.
Weak on narrative, yet a pinpoint character study.
Sandrine Bonnaire (in an extremely early role) is unforgettable as the wayward, beguiling Suzanne.

Author
Time

Filthy Gorgeous: The Bob Guccione Story - 2013 - 6/10

By the numbers documentary of the publisher of Penthouse.
Mr Guccione’s early struggles to establish himself as an artist, before launching the magazine.
Fights with self righteous moralizing zealots, the building of a publishing empire that included Omni and Spin.
Then not recognizing times were changing.
Assorted family and colleagues reflect, mostly positively, on the man they knew.
The doc feels shallow, like the producers built this up from online sources.
In other hands, perhaps this would have been better . . . perhaps not.
Guccione, Hefner, Flynt may not have been as compelling as their facade or empires.

Rolling Stone’s profile of Guccione fills in more details than the doc -
https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/the-twilight-of-bob-guccione-20101021

Author
Time

Give 'em Hell - 1955 - 6/10
AKA - Ca va Barder

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.

Author
Time

Bedlam: S01 - 2011 - 6/10

For Lease!! Newly refurbished living accommodations with latest mod-cons!
Ongoing construction means fantastic deals for you!
Oh, yeah, this place used to be an insane asylum where multiple mysterious deaths occurred.
That’s OK, our handyman Jed sees ghosts! Ask him to protect you! Cheers!!!

Yes, Jed can see the lingering presences, and this place is packed with them.
All seem pissed off, have a score to settle, or an axe to grind.
Doesn’t matter if living residents were in no way responsible for their plight.
Each week is a one-off adventure and watchable. There is a S02, which I have not viewed.

Author
Time

The Girl Who Knew Too Much - 1963 - 5/10
AKA - La Ragazza Che Sapeva Troppo

American turista, reading too much pulp fiction (Giallo) arrives in Rome and is soon in a mystery.
Restless, she walks the streets late at night, is robbed, then witnesses a murder.
Police investigate, there is no corpse, there is no blood.
One wonders how fanciful Nora is. She is engrossed with trashy books, and accidentally puffed marijuana cigarettes during her arriving flight.
Memorable camerawork, outstanding exterior locations boost what is considered “the first Giallo.”
Nevertheless, the story is a trifle, undermining the tension with romance and comedy.

Author
Time

Bottoms Up - 1960 - 6/10

Entertaining relic charts the warfare between pompous headmaster and truculent boys in the third form.
This is a rapid fire, blustery comedy, lacking underlying nuance.
The teachers are sketched out lightly, as are most of the boys.
Center stage is a test of wills, in a school renowned for failure.
Indeed, enrollment has been decreasing at an alarming rate!
Funny throughout, some of the gags are use cultural stereotypes.
Not overly offensive, though thin skinned may wish to avoid.

Author
Time

Cible Émouvante - 1993 - 6/10
AKA - Wild Target

Victor Meynard, number one hitman never misses, never fails.
Until he is given the contract to whack a small time con artist.
An attractive, if sarcastic, con artist.
French comedy does not spare in the assassinations, and is laced with black humor.
Remade in 2010 with Bill Nighy, although that version seems more reserved and lacks the joie de vivre.

Author
Time

Wild Target - 2010 - 5/10

Hitman Bill Nighy is hired to kill con-woman Emily Blunt after she cheats Rupert Everett with a fake Rembrandt. Nighy’s character is amused by her, then intrigued, protective, finally in love.
Odd British “comedy” with a who’s who of talent including Eileen Atkins, Rupert Grint and Martin Freeman.
At one point, during an absurd car chase, I turned to my companion and asked aloud if Benny Hill was still alive.
To be fair, my companion, already tipsy, loved this forced farce way more than I.
OK time waster.

Author
Time

The Saint’s Double Trouble - 1940 - 5/10

George Sanders plays the Saint, as well as, the Boss.
Good guy and villain.
Fast moving B-film of smuggling, mistaken identities and mummies!
Simon, pursued by police, feds and dimwitted henchmen, tries to solve a mystery and woo a fetching blonde.
Speaking of mummies, Bela Lugosi plays the Boss’s right hand man.
Empty headed, but fun.

Author
Time

Haute Cuisine - 2012 - 6/10
AKA - Les Saveurs du Palais

Film crew arrives in Antarctica, looking for “a story.”
During lunch, they realize the ordinary staff enjoy unbelievable gourmet fare.
Because, once upon a time, the camp cook had been personal chef for the French President.
How did the petite female transition from Parisian opulence to the polar wastes?
Seasoned souls should anticipate images of extraordinary food, priced accordingly.