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19-Aug-2013
Last activity
26-Nov-2022
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Post
#1513131
Topic
A few reviews . . (film or TV)
Time

Enola Holmes 2 - 2022 - 7/10

No, this is not canon, but a sequel to the 2020 film.
This outing, Enola launches her own detective agency, landing a client searching for a lost sister.
The trail leads to the match factory and the music hall.
Meanwhile, her famous older brother investigates a massive money fraud.
As before, handsome production values and a fine score.
The plot is clever, well written and a solid mystery.
Familiarity with the first film unnecessary, though it will help.

Post
#1513130
Topic
A few reviews . . (film or TV)
Time

Viva Erotica - 1996 - 6/10
AKA - Sik ching nam lui // 色情男女

Writer / director Sing is weathering a couple of film duds.
His latest script is … well … a little arty.
Nevertheless, he gets a financial backer in a Triad boss, who promises the lead role to his porn actress girlfriend who no longer wants to bare her assets but wants to be an actress.
The shoot, the walkouts, the compromises, artistic integrity. Kiss ’em goodbye, sunshine.
Sly comedy will hit the mark with a select audience: Hong Kong cineastes.
Cameo by Anthony Wong, in-jokes about Kar-Wai Wong, the missed free kick, and chaos swirling around poor Leslie Cheung in this How-to-make-a-Cat III flick and not commit suicide (yeah, that happens, too in an unexpected scene).

Post
#1513129
Topic
A few reviews . . (film or TV)
Time

And Then There Were None - 2016 - 7/10

Three part adaptation of the Agatha Christie chestnut.
Ten souls, hired or invited, soon find themselves stranded on an isolated island.
One by one, they succumb to the Grim Reaper.
Just when you think you know who’s tugging the strings, they’re dead.
Top notch production values, choice casting, and a spectacular setting.
Most will already have seen one version of this or “Ten Little Indians,” but this is quite handsome and faithful.

Post
#1513006
Topic
A few reviews . . (film or TV)
Time

The Flame - 1947 - 6/10

The rich man is given a few months to live.
He’s built a financial empire, never married, plays gloomy organ music in his Gothic manor.
And yet, late in the game, love touches him. He proposes to his attractive blonde nurse.
Not knowing she is running a scam with his ne’er do well brother.

Well shot film is loaded with twists and double crosses.
Good Republic cast (even Vera Ralston is OK).
“… If your love means all the world to you, and you lose her, then you have lost the whole world.”
Slithering, duplicitous, blackmail potboiler.
Subs = https://subscene.com/subtitles/the-flame/english/2932567

Post
#1513005
Topic
A few reviews . . (film or TV)
Time

Murders In Marie-Galante - 2021 - 5/10
AKA - Meurtres à Marie-Galante

The corpse is found near Punch Pond, drowned.
A freshwater pond, the body is filled with seawater.
Our local inspector grudging accepts unasked for help from a visiting cop.
While the setting is now Guadeloupe in the French Caribbean, the formula abides.
Our female lead suffers terrible, outdated fashion sense.

That sort of cap lasted about 2 weeks in the early 1970’s.
Females swiftly burned it after seeing how horsey it made their face appear.

Post
#1513004
Topic
A few reviews . . (film or TV)
Time

She Does Not Drink, Smoke Or Flirt But … She Talks! - 1970 - 6/10
AKA - Elle Boit Pas, Elle Fume Pas, Elle Drague Pas, Nais … Elle Cause!

Early 70’s French comedy of sex, murder and blackmail.
Part time maid works three separate households.
From each, she unearths dodgy scandals.
Bitter secrets each would pay huge to keep concealed.
Human nature being what it is, fools will always leave themselves open to treachery.

The maid’s hand is terrific, yet she avoids the obvious ploy.
There is copious nudity (one of the characters constantly undresses women mentally).
Dated, but in a good way. Fashion, hairstyles, attitudes’. Frothy fun.

Post
#1512915
Topic
A few reviews . . (film or TV)
Time

Black Wedding - 2021 - 7/10
AKA - Crna Svadba

Supernatural mystery starts off with a bang.
Mass murder in a small village that draws in the police, both official and secret.
The story downshifts into slow boil, delving into Vlach curses, spells, beliefs.
On the fringe, keeping a wary eye, the Orthodox Church hierarchy.
And yes, priests have a role, as an ancient foe is gathering strength.
When society becomes cynical, when faith is lost, the community lies exposed for evil.
Such is the underlaying theme,
Serbian series may be too slow for the impatient, yet this is rich in details and atmosphere.
This ends on an unresolved peak and S02 is currently filming.
There feels like there is enough narrative for a decent second season.

Post
#1512914
Topic
A few reviews . . (film or TV)
Time

The Play What I Wrote - 2021 - 7/10

Comedian duo Sean and Hamish are in a dry patch.
Sean has written a serious play, which he wants produced.
Hamish wants to accept the lucrative gig of doing a Morecambe and Wise tribute.
Hamish eventually persuades Sean that Ian McKellen will be in this show, as will Scarlett Johansson.
Fever paced farce gallops from the onset and seldom slows the pace.
A hectic blend of low brow, puns and music hall (vaudeville).
Performances always have a surprise guest star in the second act.
This one features Tom Hiddleston. The Broadway play I saw years ago had Alan Alda.
The play is very English, and most of the Morecambe and Wise references may elude outsiders.
Rather, enjoy this for what it is; hold tight and laugh along.

Post
#1512913
Topic
A few reviews . . (film or TV)
Time

Shelter - 2014 - 6/10

Homeless man from Nigeria forms fragile relationship with heroin addict.
He recognizes a soul in crisis. She says she doesn’t need anyone.
Predictable, despite the bonus Q&A session with director Paul Bettany saying this is based on real life observations of a homeless pair outside his window.
Really? One far-fetched sequence had the couple encamp in a posh Manhattan apartment after the vacationing owners left a door unlocked (apparently no security system). Trusting New Yorkers.
The street living couple are rather clean, too. Clothes - hair.
Gradually, they share their backstories and that telegraphs how their ends will play out.
Gritty downer, yet their misfortunes are more in keeping with Lemony Snicket rather than Ken Loach.

Post
#1512854
Topic
What are you reading?
Time

Various (Editor: Staley, Shane) - DarkFuse #1

First collection of the DF press’s novella series makes a good representation.
“She Sleeps In The Depths” by William Meikle is the most traditional story, harking back to the pre-gore era. A maddening song, an insistent earworm, drives Fallon north. Towards an answer? Or worse.
Michael Penka’s “Better Heard And Not Seen” is a late night riff on the ‘monster under the bed’ phobia. In this case, the monster in the closet.
“Jaws Of Life” by E. G. Smith should delight fans of rural depravities, those who felt that somehow the film Deliverance omitted too much.
Day-trippers, beware those Open To View showcase houses. Especially if they are in the middle of nowhere, and if there are no other fellow prospective buyers about. Even more so if the site is surrounded by ten foot razor wire fencing.
Gary McMahon’s “Netherview” sets up a solid horror thriller, only to quit mid-stride. Quit, full stop. I’m rolling my eyes at him and the editor for allowing this unfinished splop.
Winter, Montana, late night, deep snow, that’s where Clay saw it. That thing, the beast that carried away his wife from the wreckage. Not to be seen again.
Christopher Fulbright’s “Children Of The Horned God” is a rarity, a horror western. Fine sense of place, deft strokes to draw a handful of characters. And friend, the Western code abides – a lone man with a gun, thirsting for revenge. The ending is a mite fuzzy, yet it is an ending proper like.
Like I said, this is a solid introduction to DarkFuse, and a book that is ALWAYS findable at a fair price.

Post
#1512824
Topic
A few reviews . . (film or TV)
Time

God’s Angry Man - 1981 - 6/10
AKA - Glaube und Währung - Dr. Gene Scott, Fernsehprediger

How angry? Pretty darn mad if those donations start to dwindle.
Early Werner Herzog documentary profiles Dr. Gene Scott.
One feels Herzog filmed this for European audiences, trying to explain US televangelists.
Chances are, Scott gave him access, whereas contemporaries such as Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swaggart, the Bakkers, or Jerry Falwell would not.
This makes an interesting curio, catching Scott before his larger reach in the 1990’s.
His show was a constant stop during late night channel surfing.
An extremely intelligent man, if he was preaching or giving lessons, I would invariably listen for a bit.
If he was asking for money, I would continue changing channels until I found an old movie.
Subs = https://subscene.com/subtitles/gods-angry-man-glaube-und-whrung-dr-gene-scott-fernsehprediger/english/2926942

Post
#1512823
Topic
A few reviews . . (film or TV)
Time

House Of Terrors - 1965 - 6/10
AKA - Kaidan Semushi Otoko / 怪談せむし男

After Yoshi’s husband dies – insane – in her father-in-law’s medical clinic, Yoshi learns he had a rural mansion.
Complete with taciturn hunchbacked servant, and a creepy aura.
The grieving widow arrives, followed by her father-in-law who puts the moves on her, a doctor, a niece, and still more visitors. Why so many? Because this is a one way house. Hungry.
Stunningly shot in a high Gothic style. Deep shadows, odd angles, amidst a swirling, chilling sound mix.
Acting borders on melodrama, which mars this, and the directing is ofttimes over the top.

Post
#1512822
Topic
A few reviews . . (film or TV)
Time

The Thick Of It: S01 - 2005 - 6/10

Political satire, probably copied numerous times.
Career bureaucrats and politicians, witless about their duties spend 30 minutes shirking responsibility, finger pointing, switching positions, pushing others under the bus.
Venom laced in every line.
Savagely funny, though not for all tastes (not mine, I confess) and probably uncomfortably close to real situations.
First season has only three episodes.

Post
#1512716
Topic
A few reviews . . (film or TV)
Time

Kleo - 2022 - 6/10

Mid 1980’s, Stasi assassin Kleo glides from East Berlin to West, snuffing enemies.
With her last one, a mishap occurs and she is sentenced to prison.
Jump a few years, the Berlin Wall collapses and Kleo is released.
Why was she sentenced? Who set her up?
She starts murdering her way up the ladder.
For an espionage thriller, this Is laced with black comedy.
Unlike so many series, the mid-section is strong.
The “conclusion” is a Netflix ending. The show was clearly tying loose ends, when gorks chose to milk for S02.

Post
#1512715
Topic
A few reviews . . (film or TV)
Time

Jennifer’s Body - 2009 - 6/10

Best high school friends Jennifer and Needy attend the bar concert which goes up in flames.
Jennifer hops the van with band, Low Shoulder, and returns later with ravenous appetites.
Teen horror flick is well cast (despite leads appearing too old), witty dialogue, crackling pace.
For all that, it misses the mark. There is no sizzle.
Adult situations and gore are dialed back, and the result resembles a bland television episode.

Post
#1512714
Topic
A few reviews . . (film or TV)
Time

Effie Gray - 2014 - 6/10

Period biography of Euphemia Chalmers Ruskin (and later, Millais)
Follows her marriage to critic/writer John Ruskin, their marital “problems,” Venice sojourn, Scottish trip.
An understanding of the Victorian era, perhaps the Pre-Raphaelite movement, or Ruskin’s works may be necessary.
The film highlights Ruskin’s oppressive home - rather his parents’ home (first cousins, not mentioned) and how over-protective parents still were of their 29 year old little boy.
Film looks quite good for what was a modest budget, and boasts a fine cast.
color palette less restrained here, as opposed to many Victorian period films.
Pacing is a problem, though, as the story paddles sluggishly. Characters are unsympathetic and humorless, which also hurts.
Essentially a “woman’s film,” and Ruskin here remains somewhat of a cipher, especially his “actions.”
Script, as with real story, does not speculate, titillate, cast blame, or toss theories for the final arc.
I suspect casual viewers unfamiliar with PRB or Ruskin might fall asleep or switch off.

Post
#1512613
Topic
A few reviews . . (film or TV)
Time

Vodník - 2019 - 7/10

The infant cries, and cries, and cries. Morning, afternoon, night. It will not shut up.
Family, relatives, neighbors, workmen, everyone has simply endured enough.
After the baby is murdered, grandma keels over with a heart attack, the accused baby’s mother is arrested and she hangs herself in jail that night. Case closed.
Until, 30 years later, an inspector reopens the case, saying, “A mother, any woman, would never kill an infant by cutting its head off with a circular saw. Only a man would do this.”
Three part Czech series delves into petty village squabbles, resentments, adulteries, lies, cover-ups.
Much is shot in a washed out, sultry summer haze. Handheld camera work adds to disorientation.
Horrid story, not for all tastes, though it will sink its hooks into you.

Post
#1512612
Topic
A few reviews . . (film or TV)
Time

Murder In Biot - 2021 - 5/10
AKA - Crime à Biot

Pre-Christmas dinner at the popular bistro, friends gather and listen to Marie’s plans.
That is before one of her “friends” poisons her meal.
Afterward, the deputy prosecutor and inspector begin the rounds.
Adultery, indebtedness, rivalry, treachery. Behind smiling faces.
Covid mentioned once, then forgotten.
Scattered gender Woke speech muddles an already murky plot.
During one exchange with “they said” and “they disagreed” and “not them but they” I was completely lost and I imagine the actors were, as well.
Below par, close to Hallmark level.

Post
#1512611
Topic
A few reviews . . (film or TV)
Time

S.V.D.: Soyuz Velikogo Dela - 1927 - 6/10
AKA - The Club Of The Big Deed / СВД: Союз Bеликого Дела

The Decembrist Revolt of 1825, occurred in Russia after the Napoleonic Wars.
After Czar Alexander I died, eldest son Constantine declined the crown and his brother Nicholas accepted it.
There was brief fighting between regiments, the revolution was crushed, most survivors shipped to Siberia.
Oversimplified background.

This movie is a miniaturized version of the rebellion in one regiment.
The main character, however, is a cardsharp, seller of information and betrayer.
Rebels plan in back rooms, but the cad hears enough valuable information to sell.
One sequence takes place in a circus, which has little bearing, though it is interesting to see the strong-woman hoist an artillery cannon.
As Soviet films go, this is mild on the propaganda.
S V D is also a marvelous example of “flicker” as light dances throughout.
Howling midnight gales, hard shadows, cigarette smoke are expertly used for atmosphere.

Post
#1512514
Topic
A few reviews . . (film or TV)
Time

Third Reich: Rise & Fall - 2010 - 4/10

Embarrassing, amateurish, so-called World War II documentary. Two parts: “Rise" - “Fall"
Purported to be told from the German point of view using letters, journals, and never before seen film footage.
The letters were from footsoldiers, citizens, ordinary souls. After almost every passage, however, the omniscient, voice of doom narrator rebukes or reinterprets. Editorializes.
Half of the found footage is compelling, though one grows suspicious of its authenticity.
The other half is of picnics, birthday parties, beach outings. Nothing related to the Third Reich or WWII.

There is a memorable howler in “Fall” at the onset of Operation Barbarossa.
(Barbarossa was not mentioned, by the way. Nor were any battles, operations, generals, politicians, Krupps, the SA, Gestapo … Next to zero pesky historical details are in this program).
Anyway, the Wehrmacht prepares to invade.
Footage cross-cuts between cannon fire, growling Panzers, dive-bombing Stukas … and …
an adorable kitten playing on a ladder. That’s correct, a genuine WWII kitty.
What the F?

Throughout, the video work of this “documentary” is inept.
The editor could not resist inserting old timey and damaged effects.
Sprocket holes, scratches, surface debris. Transitions are jam-packed with those.
Editor seems like a 6th grade kid with an effects kit.
Makes one wonder how much of the actual footage was tampered with.
Like colorized? Or using stock from another era and aging it?
Once tampering begins, doubts about authenticity, accuracy and integrity creep in.
Very disappointing. Think “Third Reich For Dummies” only shallower and less focused.

Post
#1512513
Topic
A few reviews . . (film or TV)
Time

Ae Fond Kiss - 2004 - 6/10

Picking up his 17 year old sister at school, Casim catches sight of Roisin.
Casim is a Glasgow DJ, hoping to launch his own club. Roisin is the school music teacher.
He is Muslim, with an arranged fiancé in Pakistan. She is a divorced Catholic.
The relationship sparks, heats up, leading to family and “official” interference.
A fair amount of loopholes in this. Age gap, Casim’s naiveté, the school makeup.
Ken Loach film, sunnier than most of his work, though I found the ending forced.

Post
#1512512
Topic
A few reviews . . (film or TV)
Time

Hounded - 2022 - 5/10
AKA - Hunted

Four thieves target country manor estates.
Security alarms, guard dogs, no problem. Sure.
One manor has better security. The thieves are caught, lectured …
“…I’m sure you are aware our criminal justice system is at best ineffective,
and at worst a total embarrassment …”
The crooks are freed in open country, given a head start, and then “release the hounds!”

Well worn plot, from The Most Dangerous Game to Naked Prey to Hard Target.
Filmmakers misstep fatally by castigating the gentry as villains and the criminals as innocents.
Both sides are unsavory predators and ought to have been shown as such.
A coward’s effort.

Post
#1512437
Topic
A few reviews . . (film or TV)
Time

Agatha - 2022 - 6/10

While this bears the look and feel of a short, the hour run time indicates a nominal feature.
An unnamed man (we find out in the credits, he is The Professor) wanders a junkyard.
A bum warns him to get out now. Now! Before it –– it’s too late.
The junkyard is a borderland between a city, or memory of a city, and a ruined landscape.
Our character attempts to bargain for his health.
That’s about as far as I’m willing to guess.
This mixes live action with animation with image jiggering, leaving the narrative vague.
For a three-person creative team, this is impressive and worth a watch if you have an hour.
English subs = https://subscene.com/subtitles/agatha-2022/english/2920259