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A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Sky Sharks - 2020 - 5/10

Passenger airlines are under attack from a school of airborne sharks – well equipped with explosive weapons – being ridden by and under the control of Nazis – zombie Nazis.
Iron Sky fans, this is the film to watch, not the IS sequel.
Of course this is over the top nuts. It is also extraordinarily gory, with gratuitous buxom shtupping.
There is a collapsing Third Reich backstory, and an inspired explanation as to why the baddies had been quiet for 80 years. (The global warming thaw!)
Live action bloodlust mixed with CGI and graphic novel panels.

I must confess I enjoyed this nonsense.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Impossible - 2012 - 6/10

“Based on actual events"
Vacationing family tries to stay together after being hammered by tsunami in Thailand.
No syrup or sugar coat on this one.
Just the struggles to survive, stay alive, find help.
Naomi Watts, Ewan MacGregor as leads are dependable as ever, actors playing kids are fine.
Lush scenery, great effects (helped by a robust sound mix), harrowing scenes.
Must see for vacation seekers who envision sandcastles, cool waves, and endless Sangria.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Year The Town Hall Shrank - 2012 - 7/10

Discouraging, often infuriating three part documentary of Stoke on Trent dealing with £35 M funding cut.
Social services particularly hard hit. Retirement homes, childrens centers, libraries, pools …
Refreshing to watch and listen to politicians and leaders deal with vociferous opposition.
From angry moms to the extreme right wing.
In other places, politicians hide or doubletalk or flat out lie.
This is how the sausage is made, or rather, divvied up.
Then – there are the deadbeats. Don’t get me started.
Everyone I viewed this with expressed strong opinions afterward.
Our local rep never says anything other than, “I’m fighting for you!”

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

John Dies At The End - 2012 - 5/10

Oh, if only.
My expectations were too high after reading so much acclaim for this one.
After taking a new drug, “soy sauce,” two stoners stumble into the parallel world.
Clever film, but too wordy by far. Exposition delivers much of the plot.
Don’t tell, show.
Some genuinely funny moments, offset by strangeness.
All the leads are fine, effects adequate.
By the end, however, I was hearing Peggy Lee singing, “Is That All There Is?”

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Mad Miss Manton - 1938 - 6/10

Fast paced RKO comedy aims for screwball but is too scattershot.
Rich heiress, out walking her pampered pooches, investigates an open apartment and finds a corpse.
Police are alerted, police arrive – and no body!
Chalk it up as another prank by Manton and her rich girlfriends, whooping it up in the Great Depression.
The girls do their own investigating, with or without cops and a meddling reporter.

Actually, the girls, swathed in furs, gowns, and jewels, are fun.
Henry Fonda is out of his depth, and there is no chemistry between him and Barbara Stanwyck (terrific).

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Chimera - 1991 - 6/10

London emergency nurse 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 80’s.
Though Horror elements pushed, this is more a conspiracy thriller.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Dark Waters - 1993 - 6/10
AKA - Temnye Vody

After her father dies, a girl journeys to remote convent island, during a violent, midnight storm.
Dad had been funding the sisterhood for years and she wants to know why.
Also, she was originally born on the island, and she wonders why she was warned never to return.
A slow film, though dense with imagery and set design.
The island is riddled with caves, catacombs, candles and streams of trickling waters.
Lovecraft readers will find much to appreciate in this, as will Italian horror aficionados.
Dialogue is minimal. Show, don’t say, definitely applies, though that rule is overruled near the end and the film suffers, I think.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Dead Nature - 2018 - 6/10
AKA - Natureza Morta

It’s almost embarrassing, the way females throw themselves at him.
Then again, Tim is a high end fashion photographer.
Too bad those gorgeous specimens don’t know he is a murderous sociopath.
Blame a troubled childhood, deep in the swamps, tangled like rusty barbed wire.
Tim’s camera eye, captures again and again, the juxtaposition of beauty amidst death and decay.
Secondary story follows Pitbull, a scruffy detective with a pitbull’s IQ.
The look of this Brazilian series is flat and cheap, like a telenovela.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Amour - 2012 - 7/10

Long term marriage impacted after the wife suffers small stroke.
Then another. Before you know it, she is almost helpless.
Unflinching movie, best appreciated by those of a certain age:
Meaning, you have more days behind you than in front of you.
Not sentimental, but you could see how vital and important the couple had been, once upon a time.
Everyone gets forgotten, however.
Extremely well done.
An uncomfortable watch, as I know my own support network is ghost webbing.

<strong>The Expanse</strong> - <em>2015-???? TV Series</em>

Ha ha. I just scrolled upward and noticed the OT “reader” of the book series has been banned. Hopefully, a temp ban, though I don’t wander the forum much.
Wikipedia indicates “The Expanse” consists of eight novels (with a final ninth planned), as well as novellas and short stories. I have no intention of reading any of those.
So what I am wondering - if there is another reader of the series - will S06 offer closure somewhat as did S03?

FanEdit Reviews - Post Your Reviews Here

Battle (Duel) - maniac

Duel, along with an episode in the original pilot for Night Gallery, launched Spielberg’s career. Ostensibly a TV movie, it has the feel and look of a theatrical release, specifically a roaring drive-in classic. The original length was around 70“ minutes, enough to fit the hour and a half Movie Of The Week slot. Later, it was padded out to 90“ with mostly needless scenes. Fan-editor maniac shaves this to 47“. There is next to no dialogue, all subplots and unnecessary characters jettisoned. The result is a hard driving bullet.

Two channel stereo improves over the original mono. Dialogue (Weaver‘s character mumbling to himself) is easily understood. Little in the way of music score, aside from talk radio and radio static. Like Bullitt, the growl of engines is ample soundtrack.

The narrative is cohesive and satisfying for a one-trick show. Neither the wife stuff nor the diner scenes, ever added to the story or made the character sympathetic (I’ll get to that). This edit boils down to a runt red car irritating, then provoking a rusty behemoth.

Enjoyment - Oh, God, yes! I caught the original when it originally aired and it was leaner and superior to the padded, extended version. This, even shorter than the original, is the best of all.
After this first aired, friends and I discussed this film at school. We loved that battered Peterbilt, belching exhaust, sporting license plates like trophies (though most semis had lots of plates back then). The scene where two beasts, the Peterbilt and the freight train, swap horn blasts was a capper.

Weaver’s character, Mann, was a wuss in our eyes. C’mon, he drove a Plymouth Valiant, for Pete’s sake, the same car my grandmother drove. A Valiant was just barely better than a Corvair. Could It go 80 or 100 mph? No! It would have rattled to pieces long before. It was a cheap, crappy, economy car. No muscle, and no air-conditioning.
Even worse, Mann was a godawful driver. Forever rubber-necking instead of using his mirrors, sliding into curves instead of downshifting, accelerating midway through. He could barely control that punk car most of the time, and we all wondered if he was that way with family, friends, his job. Careful viewers will note scratches on his car BEFORE bush swipes and wrecks. Even in the suburbs, Mann was a lousy, probably distracted, driver. Weaver was great in this role, by the way.

Recommendation? Definitely - definitely - check this out.

FanEdit Reviews - Post Your Reviews Here

Klone (Solaris - 2002) - Elbarto1

I watched the Tarkovsky original at a revival house in the 1970’s and exited annoyed with myself for failing to understand the film, and annoyed at the director for being so opaque.
Soderbergh’s remake of Solaris was equally disappointing.
With Elbarto1’s version, straight off I perceived Clooney’s character as a troubleshooter, not necessarily a psychiatrist.
I particularly appreciate how the flow is worked, specifically the use of music which beautifully links scenes together.
Midway, however, I lost the thread.
When Kelvin wakes next to his wife, the pace races to conclude. I wish that had been handled somewhat better.
Cliff Martinez’s score through headphones is hauntingly evocative.
I wish Elbarto1 had done more edits. He seemed attracted to off route territory. He was also a nice soul, greeting all new members. His was a touch of grace we see less of nowadays.

FanEdit Reviews - Post Your Reviews Here

Friday the 13th Part X Jason In Space - Reaper18783x

One of the fans’ least favorite of the Friday The 13th series, and one low on my personal list for rewatching.
Reaper18783x cut humor (most of which was atrocious), pointless dialogue, as well as several draggy sequences. A bit of comic relief abides, yet the result is a lean, grindhouse actioner without the usual grindhouse print damage.

Solid two channel stereo. Music volume during several action sequences had been lowered to highlight sound effects. Great decision. Reading the cutlist, I knew dialogue had been trimmed, but I caught no clipped sentences.

The sets were always cheesy, reminding me of leftovers from an MTV video shoot. For a ship with a detail of combat marines, most were as lethal as SW stormtroopers. The majority of personnel were in their early 20’s. Yes, believability jettisoned in mind of the target audience. The mesh of slasher Horror and techie SciFi failed in the original, little better here. That said, because the pace barrels along in Reaper’s edit, those inconsistencies weren’t as much a distraction.

Enjoyment - Friday 13th ain’t high on my go-to Horror list. Could be I’ve outgrown slasher bloodlust. This is a fine edit, especially for a first edit, and I can easily recommend this.
Hardcore fans of the series will enjoy this, especially those who disliked the original. This is definitely several steps toward redemption.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Flower Of Evil - 2020 - 7/10
AKA - Agui Kkot // 악의 꽃

After their father, exposed as a sadistic serial killer, commits suicide, villagers hound the children.
The son, in particular, is beaten as rumors spread that he carries his father’s DNA.
What does he do? Changes his name, marries a female cop, lives quietly for several years.
Until scandal media decide to revisit and unearth the forgotten story.
Gripping thriller is expertly plotted with taut cliffhangers, opening flashbacks, hairpin twists.
Throughout, narrative track is laid out, an impressive amount of new material.
Alas, as with too many K-dramas, the ending stumbles. The furious pace slacks, the fire is quenched.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Take Joy! The Magical World Of Tasha Tudor - 1996 - 5/10

Documentary about the acclaimed children’s illustrator.
I recognized her from an article in the old Victoria magazine, and I must confess I recalled many of the illustrations from childhood books.
Some, such as those for Secret Garden, famous and unforgettable.

The film was saccharine sweet, cloying, more perfect than Martha Stewart’s shake and bake fantasies.
Mrs. Tudor not only dressed, but determinedly lived in the 1830’s.
After awhile, I smelled a rat and checked online to see just how perfect her life had been.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Cure For Wellness, A - 6/10 - 2017

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 --”

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Zero Focus - 2009 - 6/10
AKA - Zero no Shôten //ゼロの焦点

After their honeymoon, Kenichi heads off on a business trip and tells his wife he will return on the 8th.
His farewell proves to be the last time wife Teiko will ever see him.
After failed investigations, she boards a train northwards, to where her husband was last seen.
She soon realizes, she knows nothing about her husband, or of his past.
Superb mystery is permeated with atmosphere, and is reminiscent of Rampo (1995).
Gorgeous camera work, and a Romantic score suffused with Wagner and Herrmann help.
Roughly three-quarters in, the film makes a discernible turn from mystery to melodrama.
Like Hitchcock dropped the reins at that point and Douglas Sirk finished.
The change of tone puzzled me and left me somewhat chagrined.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Albert Nobbs - 2012 - 6/10

Men cross dress as women: Tootsie, Mrs Doubtfire, Some Like It Hot, Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert . . .
Funny. Comedy.
Women cross dress as men: Yentl, Boys Don’t Cry, M Butterfly, not so funny.
Yes, I’m being selective.
So too, Albert Nobbs. Stuffy costumer, where Glenn Close passes for a butler. Probably to earn better wages.
Whole movie was a murky cipher. Nobbs has increasing fantasies about what he/she will spend savings on.
There was no there to the character.
Nice looking, but at the end, I shoulda watched a good Noir.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

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

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.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Guilty Hands - 1931 - 6/10

Wealthy rake summons his lawyer to his Atlantic island.
Money needs to be thrown at ruined female conquests, including a 16 year old who “committed suicide.”
That clears the path so he can marry a young beauty … his attorney’s daughter.
The lawyer vows murder! Also on the island is the daughter’s old flame, and the millionaire’s mistress.
5¢ if you can guess who will die.
A “locked room” mystery with numerous suspects, although viewers know the culprit.
The cynicism of this is pure Pre-Code, as we watch exactly how the guilty escape.
Early talkie is creaky, but not static. Audio is good, too.
Brief film, wait for the nasty surprise ending.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

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

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.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Queen Of Versailles - 2012 - 6/10

Billionaire time-share mogul, David Siegel, begins construction on a gargantuan manor house during the height of the financial housing bubble.
In 2008, the bubble burst and banks everywhere looked to fail. No loans for nobody. Work on the dream house stopped.
Now, it’s up for sale. Unfinished. Asking a reasonable $75 mil. 90,000 square feet. Fixxer-upper.
Highly entertaining documentary follows trophy wife Jackie, herding eight kids, navigating their spiraling circumstances.
The American Dream with big cars, big homes, big swank, crumbling to monumental failures.
Despite setbacks, Jackie remains likeable, and stays positive.