Sign In


User Group
Join date
Last activity

Post History

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Architecture Of Doom - 1989 - 8/10

Curious documentary of the Third Reich dominated by artistic and aesthetic components.
How many of the party leaders were unsuccessful writers, poets, painters, etc …
The aim of the Party was to rebuild the nation on a vast scale.
Major exhibitions were shown of idealistic representative art and massive civic improvements.
Second half switches from city layouts to body perfection. Eugenics.
Which leads to the systematic obliteration of “flawed humanity” via extermination camps.
I cannot say I concur with many of the arguments as presented, yet the take is provocative.
No mention, by the way, of Lebensraum.
No talking heads, just dry narration. Arresting visuals.
Difficult to make up my mind about this. Each time I rewatch, I have raised my score.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Snake Dick - 2020 - 6/10

No, not interspecies porn.
Unfortunately, the girls’ car starts to break down in desert oblivion.
Luckily, they are able to coast into a well-lit diner/gas station/motel parking lot.
Unluckily, two redneck goobers start to heckle and offer lewd suggestions.
Conflict escalates.
One might envision a studio flunky thinking this coulda made a feature.
As a short this is funny, mean-spirited, confrontational, and has a wicked bite.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Grabbers - 2012 - 5/10

Irish horror comedy set on remote island facing big storm.
Just in time for an alien invasion!
Giant octopods attack boats, devour pilot whales, then clamber ashore.
Next dinner course, tasty humans, though it spits out those crunchy heads.
Apparently the big squids suffer alcohol allergies, which village inhabitants discover.
Expect serious drinking.
Not as gory as it could have been, and certainly not as funny as it should have been.
Wasted opportunity. That said, should you drink as heavily as the characters, your enjoyment may improve.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

30 Coins - 2020 - 7/10
AKA - 30 Monedas

Shepherds assemble in a tiny village, supplicants to the new invocation.
Wait, getting ahead of myself here.
Before this, the village experiences all manner of unexplained doings.
Miracles, resurrections, bloody dismemberment, a wild series of escalating cataclysms.
Hold on, back up even further.
This series launches with a crackling heist, followed by a cow giving birth to a human infant.
We meet the priest, who is an ex-convict, owing to an exorcism turning into death rites.
What else? Possession, the fetish, the insectoid? This is only the FIRST episode!
You know when shows front load the works in E01, then the next installments stagger?
Not here! Writers have a shelf of ideas and the series goes from one outrageous strength to another.
From opening credits to the close, the writers and producers pour it on, visuals, locations, faith and action.
This may resonate more with Catholics, lapsed Catholics, even those who snoozed during Sunday school.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Belinda And Me - 2014 - 6/10
AKA - Belinda et Moi

Older woman’s partner dies and their piano cafe closes, the lease expires.
She intends to move out, but what to do about the piano?
Oh! Give to Jean, the nephew, promising student, and angelic little boy.
Jean arrives, employment skills limited to after hours park work, poor cosmetic technique.
And he prefers to be called Belinda.

Once unconventional subject has become mainstream. No edge here.
That said, the narrative stays fresh with plot shifts, unexpected characters.
Belinda is not a sympathetic soul, but one roots for her after awhile.
OK French TV film.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Incendies - 2011 - 7/10

The notary addresses the twins (male and female) during the reading of their mother’s last will and testament.
The girl is given an envelope to give to their father. What father? Mom had always been the lone parent.
The son is given an envelope to give to their brother. Brother? What brother?
The children leave Canada and head toward their mother’s birthplace. Lebanon.
And begin to unravel who their mother truly was.
In the 70’s, Lebanon succumbed to a brutal civil war between Christians and Muslims.
Dual storylines of the orphans following threads, learning of horrors, mixed with their mother’s youthful journey away from fire and death and unfinished promises.
Violence, murders, torture, and dark revelations set the tone.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Confessions Of An Opium Eater - 1962 - 6/10
AKA - Souls For Sale

Strange, cult gem, set in 1902 San Francisco.
Gilbert De Quincey (Vincent Price) gets involved in Tong wars, slave trafficking, opium dens.
Price seems to work for one side, then the other, while beautiful girls hang suspended inside bamboo cages, waiting to be bartered for opium bricks.
Exteriors shrouded with fog to disguise minimal sets, though the entire film has a dreamy (drugged) quality.
Secret tunnels, subterranean waterways, trick doors add to the maze vibe.
Movie filled with fortune cookie dialogue:
“The more we approach our enemies the more they think of us as lambs.”
“The superior man blames himself, the inferior man blames others.”
“There is not poison in a green snake’s mouth, as in a woman’s heart.”
“The path of righteousness lies around us, for the eye that will see and the foot that will follow.”

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Ritual - 2017 - 5/10

Five mates plan their annual travel excursion.
Oops, make that four following an early tragedy.
Soft city lads, they opt for a stiff hike through Sweden’s wilderness.
Photography is moody, stark, disorienting. The guys are equally moody, dense and confused.
Prime example: “If we take a shortcut through the woods we can save time.”
No no no! Do not take shortcuts, especially if your knowledge of outdoors is zilch.
Mistakes mount, compound, and you realize these unsympathetic louts are too dim to care about.
The plot staggers into lore territory, and that feels shoe-horned. Kitchen sink mentality.
Disappointing adaptation of Adam Nevill’s book.
Confession: I grew up in a mountain region and hiked backwoods all the time.
I have limited patience with these bozos who make blunders an eight year old would avoid.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Seasons Of Love - 2012 - 6/10
AKA - Climats

Philippe meets Odile, falls in love, and impulsively marries her.
She is Parisian, he is more rural. She is artistic, he runs a paper manufacturer.
Odile is self-assured, on the surface. Philippe is insecure, and not steeped in culture.
Moreover, Philippe’s family, especially his mother, wants grandchildren, heirs.

Fairly timeless story, though this runs from 1934-1939. Historians know what looms on the horizon.
Detailed eye for costumes, interiors. Provincial attitudes, jealousy, implausible explanations.
Excellent supporting characters. Philippe’s world wise aunt, Odile’s “retired” father, as well as the two females who flit though the couple’s shadow, Misa and Isabelle.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Der Baader-Meinhof Komplex - 2008 - 7/10

After reading about the SLA (Symbionese Liberation Army), and what a group of amateurs they were, I dug this out.

Baader Meinhof follows the genesis of the gang from 60’s student protesters, and their radicalization into the RAF (Red Army Faction) following brutal police crackdowns.

During the bloody 70’s, the RAF robbed banks to raise funds, bombed police stations and US military bases in Germany, assassinated prosecutors, bankers, ex Nazi businessmen, killing at least 34.

Film captures all that, including public sympathy for the RAF, political maneuvering to crush the members, the growth of second and third generation members after incarceration of the leaders, and continued terror into the 90’s.
Violent, gory history lesson, upsetting the delusion the 60’s was all peace, love and understanding.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Shinobi no Shu - 1970 - 7/10
AKA - Mission: Iron Castle // 忍びの衆

Quite late in the ninja cycle, and one of the best.
A small band of ninjas are told to kidnap a princess from the impregnable Iron Castle.
Not only is the castle fortified with 3000 soldiers, the princess is kept locked in a sealed iron room.
The action scenes are well choreographed, techniques mostly quiet.
Planning scenes illustrate later movements which are realistic and usually in a how-to style.
The small group are well drawn. Competitiveness, resentments, stifled longings.
Camerawork is imaginative, often from the observer’s point of view.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Belko Experiment - 2016 - 5/10

High rise office locks down and the omniscient voice orders employees to start killing.
Or else the chip in your neck will – Kabang!
Deadlines are given, as well as body count targets.
Fine characterizations with villains you loathe, ethical negotiators, faceless expendables.
Story itself is derivative and predictable.
As with countless other survivor films, There Can Be Only One.
These office drones never figure that out.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Mysterians - 1957 - 6/10
AKA - Chikyū Bōeigun // 地球防衛軍

Vintage invasion film from Toho!
Earth (Japan) gets invaded by denizens from Mysteroid, planet five, between Mars and Jupiter.
Give yourself a gold star if you’re going, “Wait a minute, there ain’t no …”
Thanks to war between themselves, Mysteroid blew itself up and only Asteroid Belt rubble remains.
First inkling of the invasion occurs when Moguera, a clumsy, giant robot, lumbers from the woods and starts wrecking neighboring villages and then troops.

Then the big ole white dome erupts out of the landscape near Mr Fuji and the Mysterians start making demands.
They want two square miles of land for themselves.
And women.
Leaders can shrug off the land grab, but seizing womenfolk?
Big budget SciFi with impressive effects (for 1957), mattes, miniatures, interiors, and great score.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Who Are You, Polly Maggoo? - 1966 - 6/10
AKA - Qui êtes-vous, Polly Maggoo?

Brittle satire of haute couture of the mid 60’s.
The poses, impossible materials, sniffy (snippy) reviewers.
By turns laugh out loud funny, then maddeningly tedious.
Trendy fashion model Polly is interviewed, then her banal life fact-checked.
Truth to tell, she is neither compelling nor thoughtful.
Vacuous character, example where God placed all her gifts on the outside, nothing within.
Will not be for all tastes.
I watched with fashion hounds who provided a running commentary throughout.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Desperate Moment - 1953 - 6/10

Postwar Germany, a Dutch man falsely confesses to killing a British soldier.
Once sentenced and locked away, he realizes he may have been set up.
During a security lapse, he escapes and begins searching for the real killer.
Authorities pursue, and his face is brandished about.
He can only rely on his girl, and hope she does not betray him.

A few years earlier, there was an essay in Noir City Annual on “rubble Noir.”
This definitely qualifies, as most of the exteriors are in bombed out Berlin.
Cat and mouse angle is done well, if somewhat predictable.

What are you reading?

Duffy, Steve - Finding Yourself In The Dark

Diverse assortment of hauntings and unmarked boundaries.
“Chambers Of The Heart” is from Olivia’s viewpoint. Perched uneasily at the edge of 40, looks beginning to fade, working another trifling job. Her employer finds himself in a spot of trouble, and she is caught.
Found footage, in this case, an old tape, reveal death dealings in “The Last House On Mullible Street.” Old men recall youthful indiscretions, the Blitz, and trespassing.
“The Clay Party” might best be appreciated by those who have a taste for the Donner Party.
“A Day At The Hotel Radium” sees the refugee arrive at a safe oasis, a shelter of serenity. This reads like a child’s fairy tale … up to a point.
Two or three stories are unresolved. Individuals caught in sea fog, cut off by the tide, displaced from the “normal” world, the busy normal world, still perceived in the distance.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Marrowbone - 2017 - 6/10

Family flees England for the States under mysterious circumstances.
They spend a memorable summer, but Mom, already ill, succumbs with the fall.
Ever so gradually, the mystery is teased out until you wonder if the children actually escaped.
As you realize the dilapidated house may well be haunted, or their pursuer has caught them.
While this has a timeless look, the time seems 1950’s (judging from cars and clothes).
Film is overlong and feels it. Acting is fine, characters are not compelling, however.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Cold Eyes - 2013 - 5/10
AKA - Gamshijadeul // 감시자들

Shameless, scene for scene Korean remake of Eye In The Sky (HK - 2007).
Tightly synchronized gang executes daring daylight robberies, foiling hundreds of surveillance cameras.
Special security branch gets involved, and begins sifting the slimmest of clues.
Straight faced, high tech glossy, slick as all can be, but not necessarily better than the Hong Kong original.
Lacks any sense of humour, and the characters are little more than faces.
Watch for nice cameo by Simon Yam near the end.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Stucco - 2019 - 6/10

More and more, day by day, she becomes a recluse, shut-in.
Talking via phone or internet, deliveries to her locked door.
Agoraphobia poster child.
Then she tries to hang a painting and punches a hole in the sheetrock.

Soon thereafter, slitherings emerge.
Visually arresting short resembles a drugged out bad trip.
Much of this is dreamlike and may appeal to the cult of Ligotti.
I think Covid lockdown sufferers will relate, as well.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Polina - 2016 - 7/10
AKA - Polina, Danser sa Vie

Young Polina (I’d guess eight or nine) passes the enrollment tryouts for prestigious training school.
Her home life mixes with rigorous teachings until she auditions with the Bolshoi.
At this point, the story, which was following a predictable path, takes the unforeseen turn.
Polina starts a “personal” journey into unknown territory which puts her into conflicts.
For dance enthusiasts, this goes beyond the typical suffering for art reruns.
Great dance sequences, a broad display of styles, and a rich range of influences.
Juliette Binoche, with no formal dance training, does an impressive turn as choreographer / dancer.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

300: Rise Of An Empire - 2013 - 5/10

Not quite as good as 300, but good enough, I suppose.
Narrative runs parallel to the Spartans, finally shifting to the big battle at Salamis.
Beware, if you are watching this for Greek history class.
Hordes of attractive, bare chested males (mostly the CG breed) scream and slash in a bluish world.
Other than some female warriors, nothing new for this sequel.
Not a bad film, merely the over reliance on action.
Enjoyed it for what it was - midnight popcorn.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

All The Devils Are Here - 2021 - 7/10

Sly villains come and huddle round. Thou blackest voices art here granted sound.
Patrick Page gives an absorbing one-man play, check listing the scoundrels of Shakespeare.
From the early, smiling treachery of Richard III to the conflicted, emotionally fraught Macbeth.
Part acting masterclass, part history lesson.
Page enacts and explains how Shakespeare progressively gave his fiends more complexity, sympathy, humanity.
All the players fade with time. Statesman, soldier, peasant, meek or sublime. Bombast and prattle fade into naught.
Theatre junkies, forgather!

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Color Of Lies - 1999 - 7/10
AKA - Au Coeur du Mensonge (The Heart of the Lie)

Ten year old Eloise finishes her art lesson and walks home.
Next scene, two other children find her dead in the woods,
Police subsequently discover she had been molested.
The last person to see her had been her art teacher, a respected painter suffering a career impasse.
Marital problems are suggested and a celebrity writer pursues the wife.
Parallel with the murder investigation, the police tackle a string of robberies.

While locals never voice inflamed accusations, the new inspector clearly eyes the artist.
Claude Chabrol film is a clinical study of lies, secrets, and the confined village.
Not a nail biter thriller, but a psychological mystery, filled with clues and deceptive individuals.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Doll House - 2014 - 5/10
AKA - Inhyeong-ui Jib // 인형의 집

Jeez Louise, did it really take me eighteen months to watch this 12 episode K-drama?
Shows how involved I was.
Young 20ish girl answers ad for light duty job at residence.
She has to wear schoolgirl uniform, pigtail her hair, and pretend to be a daughter.
What happened to the daughter in question?
Then she discovers there have been impersonators before her! What happened to them?
Mystery with enough suspense to unsettle teenage viewers. Maybe.

For the curious, you could easily watch the whole series in barely over an hour…
Each installment runs 6-8 minutes, including opening & closing credits and a preview of next week.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Bastards - 2013 - 7/10
AKA - Les Salauds

Existential French Noir, grim and fatalistic.
Seaman summoned home after brother-in-law commits suicide.
Niece has been raped to the point of requiring repair surgery.
Sister shoves him toward vengeance.
Filmed mostly in gloomy interiors or at night.
Minimal dialogue, unusual for a French flick.
Physical similarity between sister and “villain’s” wife add to confusion.
Limited exposition, viewer on his/her own to grasp roles and backstory.
Typical of Noir, the deeper the seaman digs, the filthier and uglier the truth.