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A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Forbidden Door - 2009 - 6/10
AKA - Pintu Terlarang

Sculptor Gambir had an exhibition where all his works sold out.
He is a red hot property, married to a beautiful wife, envied by many, including close friends.
Is life great, or what?
Gambir would like to expand beyond his black cast sculptures (of heavily pregnant females), but is threatened with exposure if he does so.
His mother, wanting grandchildren, complains about his erectile dysfunction to everyone.
Graffiti messages distract him. Visions of a boy, brutally beaten. A secret establishment. The clinic.
Random voices. Pig masks. Stray, meaningless, characters. A narrative that grows incoherent.
Surreal mystery / thriller from Indonesia also doses arthouse, horror and gore.
While elements seem lifted from other films, writer-director Joko Anwar manages to stitch the threads by the end.
Hang with those credits, too!

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Not Of This Earth - 1957 - 6/10

Nifty drive-in horror from Roger Corman.
Large man in a suit, wearing sunglasses night and day, seeks blood transfusions.
He demands medical treatment, he hires a nurse, he stalks coeds, he befriends winos.
Sure enough, he is up to dodgy business. Worse, reference the title, he is not of this earth!
Advance scout for an invasion from Davanna.
Decent story. I appreciated that time is critical to the alien. Consequently, he has no time to “case the planet” so he makes mistakes more out of ignorance than anything else.
Fine leads were hired, although “star” Paul Birch notoriously stormed off the set, declaring, “I am an actor!”
One of Corman’s better films, and could have been excellent if the director wasn’t always in such a hurried rush.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Ordinary Love - 2019 - 7/10

Taking a shower, Joan notices a lump near her breast.
She calls husband Tom, he confirms.
From there on, they enter the machinery of big medical.
Surgery, chemo, hurried explanations.
Other patients drift by in the wards. For Joan, for viewers, ships that pass, fates unknown.
Lesley Manville and Liam Neeson show quiet chemistry as bantering couple, still nursing a previous calamity.
Film excels by avoiding heroic medicine, epic personalities.
Science, fate, faith, and the shared burden.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Web Of Death - 1976 - 6/10
AKA - Wu du tian luo // 五毒天羅

The deadly venom clan, feared throughout the martial arts world, eyes an upcoming competition.
If only they could deploy their dread Five Venom Spider weapon, then winning would be assured!
Yet the idol has been hidden for 100 years, to protect humanity.
Of course, the wicked covet it and concoct a plan.
Hectic Shaw Brothers flick abounds with over the top joys!
Foiled romance, lots of fighting, wonderful interior sets.

There must be five or six plotlines, or more, and a gamut of quarreling families.
I was especially taken of the layout of the Venom lair, stepping stones over a sea of acid.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Weinberg - 2015 - 7/10
AKA - The Valley

A man revives underneath a dead girl, bleeding him awake.
He stumbles into the village, alerts the authorities, who find – no body.
The next day he sees the same girl, very much alive, wearing the harvest princess outfit.
Alive just for the day, until night. Until darkness gathers and the wraith.

Our protagonist, a drifter with amnesia, is in the middle of a history of murders.
The remote village is a haunted landscape of mist, autumnal decay, and buried secrets.
Part horror, part mystery, more than anything - for lack of a better word - weird.
With every scandal unearthed, corruption revealed, sin exposed, the adversary exalts.
Imaginative, six-part Gothic labyrinth from Germany.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Styria - 2014 - 6/10
AKA - Angels Of Darkness

Circa 1989, professor crosses into Communist Hungary, brooding daughter in backseat.
Old paintings from a long closed sanitarium have been found and are meant to be shipped to England.
The professor has a chequered brief, the daughter is a cutter, and mom … they don’t discuss mom.
Troubled female slips into their midst one evening, and the area slowly stumbles back 300 years.
The new arrival is named Carmilla, but apparently none of characters are familiar with Le Fanu.
Half-lit film, shot in Hungary, borrows from the classic book, but is updated and spins its own silk on the thread.
Much is seen from teenage Lara’s viewpoint, and she is confused and haunted.
Dreams contest with ill memory and sordid reality, not only in the sanitarium.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Knives Out - 2019 - 7/10

The family sire is found in his attic study. Dead. Throat slit.
Sure looks like a suicide, decide law enforcement types.
Strangely enough, person(s) unknown hired a renowned private detective.
And he, assuming there is more than meets the eye, zeroes in on the elder man’s personal nurse.

The story is one of lies, more lies, differing points of view, and backstabbing agendas.
Droll, with bitter humor, interviews peel away at potential heirs, guarding secrets.
Too clever for its own good, and with one too many twists that strain plausibility.
Thus noted, the tone mirrors the sour zeitgeist we have found ourselves in, and makes for a gallows watch.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Atiye: S01 - 2019 - 6/10
AKA - The Gift

An Istanbul artist begins having visions after seeing reports from an archeological dig.
Found cave drawings eerily mirror the artistic motif she has used for years.
Her family is unnerved by her awakening second sight. Whispers mention a dead grandmother.
Furthermore, she is engaged. Her fiancé’s family is rich, powerful, and wants a “traditional” daughter-in-law.
On the plus, beautiful exterior photography, and a mystery suffused with the spiritual and supernatural elements (pre-Islamic shamanistic rituals).
Negative, the script was sloppy, worsening as it progressed.
The majority of the acting bordered on melodramatic at times.
Lead actor, Beren Saat, rolls her eyes and makes dismissive expressions throughout. Akin to “nudge-nudge wink-wink, yes this show is so beneath me,” which is regrettable.
Moreover, the characters consistently did stupid things.
The ending is vague, unexplained, open to interpretation, open ended - but - I am OK with that.

FanEdit Reviews - Post Your Reviews Here

Raiding The Lost Ark - Jamie Benning

Labor of love by Jamie Benning and must see for Indiana Jones fans. Imaginative blending of Raiders real-time footage with interviews from numerous sources, as well as pop up comments and screen comparisons. Storyboards, outtakes, as well as home movies used. The documentary is dense with information and may necessitate multiple viewings. The edit itself is incredibly well executed, it feels seamless.

Currently available on Vimeo (as of 2020 06) in several resolutions and I would urge the viewer to seek the highest level possible. Image quality is all over the scale, depending on source materials. Outtakes are often fuzzy, production or home movies are passable. Editing is skillful throughout, and there is strict adherence to chronological sequence.

No subs, though there are fact pop ups during the entire doc. Preference given to voiceovers. Quality varies, though everyone is comprehensible. Possible exception being Harrison Ford, especially the later interviews. His voice does not always seem properly miked or he mumbles. Not a major issue.

Generous wealth of details, untold stories, missing scenes to thrill all fans. Two lost details come to mind:

  1. Early on, after Dr. René Belloq gets the gold fertility statue, the Hovitos take it away from him.
  2. When Indy and Sallah consult the imam, he warns them not to touch the actual ark, nor to open their eyes if it is opened.

Truly a wonderful companion to your DVD.


FanEdit Reviews - Post Your Reviews Here

Derelict (Alien / Prometheus) - Job Willins

Soon after Prometheus was released, essays appeared noting the similarities with Alien.
Not that the latter film was a reboot or remake, but that there were structural and narrative echoes.
The Derelict fan-edit aligns the parallel stories into one viewing experience. Black n white, by the way.

There was substantial cutting, and both narratives suffer. Each is barely more than a glorified pitch.
No character development and the first half drags.
Nevertheless, I liked this quite a bit as it was a clinic on detailing the mirrored elements of both films: strong females, corporate agendas, soulless androids.
Similar interior designs - harsh exteriors.
By the end, I wondered how much of the similarity was deliberate, how much was subconscious.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Kelin - 2009 - 7/10

Beautiful, leisurely paced film evokes Parajanov.
Two men barter with the father of a young girl.
Even though she already loves one, the rival bids more, and carries off his bride.

From there, the story is life and survival in remote Kazakhstan.
Sometime between 200-300 AD.
No subtitles, but no dialogue, either.
The yurt interior is cramped and lacks privacy.
Outside, beautiful, if stark, mountainous landscape.

Worth tracking down if curious. Devotees of “world cinema,” this is a must.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Inugami Family - 1976 - 7/10
AKA - Inugami-ke No Ichizoku // 犬神家の一族[

Family assembles around the patriarch as he rattles his way to the reaper.
Several greedy descendants, one last will and legacy, one lone heir.
Even before the reading, one of the attorneys is murdered.
As is ever the case, there is always another lawyer.
After the codicils and stipulations are read, the killings increase.
This film contains odd characters, and odder goings on.
So much so, that midway I paused to research to see if this was based on a Rampo story.
No, but the story would easily fit into his world.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Good Liar - 2019 - 7/10

From the opening strokes, as Betty and Roy type falsehoods in their online dating profiles, we are informed that both have a loose relationship with the truth.
Viewers should keep this in mind as the couple glide into a “relationship” and contemplate pooling bank accounts.
Obvious transparencies cleverly mask undercurrents and backstories.
Buffs who prefer their thrillers cold and cozy will find this a repellent joy to savor.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Invisible Man - 2020 - 5/10

A wife escapes her ultra rich, abusive husband in the middle of the night.
(Cliché of the dominating male has been used umpteen times.)
She hides in terror, he is a tech guru and … well … can anyone really hide nowadays?
15 minutes in, the crisis is over, threat vanished. Cecilia can relax her guard.
Then, as she stares at empty spaces, one wonders if she is losing her mind.

Slick looking tech effects, used late and sparingly, that would have been WOW!! 20 years ago.
The first hour is excruciatingly slow, and aside from the tech angle, this is a rehash.
Panders to victim mentality. Cynical me wonders if the writer/director calculated this for a Me-Too audience.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Linkeroever - 2008 - 6/10
AKA - Left Bank

Borderline for me, this. Well worn tropes, but handsomely presented.
As runner Marie prepares for upcoming world championships, she meets the archery ace.
The attraction is mutual and carnal athletics all but immediate.
Her fortunes start to sour, however, after she moves into his posh high rise abode.
Over on the left bank, the side of the river said to be cursed, haunted.
Moreover, whispers of the upcoming Samhain festivities mean little to her, nor do her physical afflictions.
First half is a character study, sure to annoy goreboys, though abundant nudity and fluid swapping will hold their interest.
There is a lack of internal logic in the narrative, and Marie’s deficient feminine intuition is hard to believe.
Too bad. This little seen Belgium horror flick deserves a wider audience.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Framed For Murder: A Fixer Upper - 2017 - 5/10

“Really?” I asked. “Where do you find these films?”
“They are popular, they’re fun. Murder and romance.”
Who was I to argue? Besides, as I’ve said countless times, I never argue with females, I don’t have the stamina.
Anyway … Jewel (the folkie singer who splashed in the 90’s) plays a home remodeling contractor in New England or Newfoundland.
After her uncle dies following a fall, she becomes an amateur sleuth, determined to unearth the truth.
Luckily for her, her newest client bought a ramshackle mansion and hires her to renovate.
Ooh, and he’s a crime writer, who wants to help.
Predictable formula, decent photography, acting is passable.

I was disparaging this movie throughout.
"What writer makes enough money to buy a mansion? Stephen King?
"Jewel and that guy? He looks old enough to be her dad!
"That man can’t change his own flat tire? What a wussie.
"Those extras don’t even know how to hold a hammer.
“You don’t strip off wallpaper with an orbital sander!”
Meanwhile, the women next to me -
“She’s had work, look at those cheekbones.”
“Her upper lip doesn’t move at all.”
“That’s Buttery Blonde, I thought of going that way.”
“Those teeth need caps and whitening.”
Jewel fans, she sings one, too.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Goodnight Brooklyn - 2016 - 7/10

The last days of the Brooklyn music club, Death By Audio.
Told by some of the bands who performed there, people who launched the venue, and employees.
Who’s not there? The landlord, who was delighted that anyone would want to rent a building that should have been demolished.
Until, Brooklyn became trendy and the property worth a goldmine.
Who else declines to participate? Why, the new building neighbors, who coveted, then pushed out the club.
Vice Media, who built their credibility being edgy, friendly to the underground.
Enjoyable documentary, though a familiar, if sad tale.
Clubs disappear all the time. CBGB, The Cavern, The Sands, Gazzarri’s, Bronco Bowl, The Ad Lib, Le Chabanais…

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

La Frusta e il Corpo - 1963 - 6/10
AKA - The Whip And The Body

Listed as Horror, this is more of a high Gothic bodice ripper.
Disgraced young noble returns to family manor after his brother marries.
Kurt (Christopher Lee) is a ne’er do well, disowned by his father, loathed by other family members.
The next day, he meets new bride Nevenka on the beach and whips her backside until her blouse rips apart.
She resists Kurt’s droit du seigneur, sorta, even as she grows sexually aroused.
Cries of protest yield to more guttural urgings once the pair fuse.
Narrative features twists, but the tainted relationship between Kurt and Nevenka is the core.
Style dominates substance in this Italian potboiler directed by Bava.
Burnished interiors, plenty of creative camera-work (color filters, dramatic lighting).

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Un Témoin Dans la Ville - 1959 - 6/10
AKA - Witness In the City

The train screams through the French countryside.
Masking the frantic shrieks she makes as she …
Well, the affair was over, she was clingy, and she already had a husband.
She committed suicide. Yeah! That was it!
There is a loose end, however. In fact, from one frayed end another unravels.
The path darkens to murder. Tracking, hunting, elimination.
Film has a marvelous sense of place. Midnight Paris.
Neon, strip clubs, coffee shops, cheap hotels, bars.
Shadowy couples, fugitives, night owls.
All relying on ferrymen for hire. City taxi drivers.
Whose jaded eyes know all the doors of disgrace and desire.
Moody jazz score enhances classic Noir of best laid plans and loose ends.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Blackout - 2019 - 5/10
AKA - Avanpost (Last Outpost) // Аванпост

Buckle up. The menace is unknown and powerful, and coming hard.
First, electricity and communications went out, planetwide. No intel.
A limited area staggers on, Finland, Ukraine, eastern Russia. Beyond lies a wasteland of death.
At the edge of the mystery, Kirov. Where the battalion sets up an outpost.
OK SciFi thriller goes on much too long, and suffers way too much shooting, resembling a game.
The “mystery” gets explained in talky exposition, the resolution is wtf.
Character chemistry is juvenile, akin to dozens of films with male-female squads.
The dubbed version has inferior voice actors.
Even though I’m kicking this, there is a lot to enjoy and I believe others will like more than I did.
To its credit, locations remain Russian, characters names are Russian, and when outages first unfold, neither the authorities nor news media blame other nations.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Black Magic - 1975 - 6/10
AKA - Gong Tau // 降頭

Consider Luo Yin. Rich widow, very sexy, owns a construction firm, sports car, designer fashions.
She burns for Xu Nuo, her engineer, but no … he loves drab, poor but honest, goody Chu-ying.
If only Luo Yin can get her claws into him, enfold him in the sticky petals, then he won’t look at another.

What to do? How about contacting a rogue shaman, priest, magician.
Love spells for a price, death spells for a bigger price.
Trashy Shaw Brothers film sports nudity and bed bouncing, maggots and murder.
Rather languid first half picks up tempo midway and never looks back.
Over the top finale boasts wild effects. The fact they are so dated actually helps.
I’m not even going into the sleazy juiciness of the deceitful shaman.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

I Am Mother - 2019 - 6/10

Mother and Daughter share a moment.
Young girl is raised from embryo to teen by protective android.
What I thought was a vast spacecraft turned out to be a heavily secured installation.
You realize this once intruders arrive. A rodent, then a wounded female human.
The woman tells of the world outside, and her version conflicts with Mother’s.
Trust is delicate, at any age, and the girl is a young teen.
The fresh voice, the whisperer, beckons, casting viewers into the daughter’s role.
Wondering who to believe.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Kingdom: S01 - 2019 - 7/10
AKA - Kingdeom S02 // 킹덤

Rumor is, the king is dead. If so, the crown prince is heir.
Except, the king is not exactly dead. Dark medicine, and an herb, the resurrection plant, keep him alive.
By day, he sleeps. By night, his hunger for human flesh is ravenous.
Those bitten, also turn into flesh eating monsters.
The contagion soon spreads across the countryside at a blistering rate.
Government ministers officially deny the disease exists, while quietly amassing more power for themselves.
The population, meanwhile, is given short shrift and left to fend for themselves.

Sound familiar? Whoever developed this had a crystal ball.
Slow to catch fire, but by E03 this explodes at fever pitch.
Followed immediately by season two.

Kingdom: S02 - 2019 - 7/10
AKA - Kingdeom S02 // 킹덤

Meaner, rougher, more treacherous, and certainly bloodier than S01.
The contagion has scorched vast swathes of the countryside.
Even rallying support, the crown prince faces a menace that swells exponentially.
Meanwhile, those in power continue to deny, while turning the horror to their advantage.
As before, this has an uncomfortable resemblance to unnamed nations during the Covid deaths.
For commitment avoiders: S02E06 @ 37” there is a closure, if you want to end it there.
Others, watch on. S03 will air when it airs.
(Netflix owns this series, and the K-drama fanbase have expressed concerns the US firm may “milk” the series.)

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Pit And The Pendulum - 1991 - 5/10

Update of Mr. Poe’s story starts promising, soon disappoints.
Lance Henriksen plays the head inquisitor, Torquemada.
Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator) is writer / director.
And it’s a Full Moon film. Don’t laugh, Full Moon often shot features overseas, in this case, Italy.
Locations, costumes, and atmosphere are very good.
Henriksen is fine, though a bit over-the-top at times, everyone else varies.
Crowd scenes are poor, and like similar Horror yarns, there is too much comic relief.
Not smart one-liners, either. Low IQ antics.
In other cases, the director might have improved the script, but since Gordon wrote the script, no chance.
This could be reedited into a better film.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Suburra - 2015 - 7/10

Explosive, high voltage crime drama sprawling across a week in gaudy, glitzy Roma.
The opening 30-40 minutes is a tour de force of gorgeous visuals and minimal dialogue.
Characters and situations are propelled across the screen, in one instance literally.
Afterward, the tempo settles - to a degree - as a powerful intermediary tries to broker temporary peace between several layers of combatants.
A big deal is imminent, huge for leading families, but timing is delicate.
No matter. Tempers fiery hot and colder than ice demand red stained honor.
Superb cinematography, detailed interlocking narratives, make for a great adult flick.
Sex - nudity - language - streams of blood. γνῶθι σεαυτόν