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A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Midnight In Paris - 2011 - 8/10

Quietly dazzling film, where banality glides into fantasy.
Owen Wilson plays man out of step with his time, and of no value to his future in-laws.
When his fiancée’s old flame surfaces, Wilson prowls a bygone lane.
And finds himself stumbling into an inventive slip stream.
Literary in-jokes abound. and the MacGuffin conveyance is a wonderful touch.
Allen has done this before, notably The Purple Rose Of Cairo.
Slightly less accessible, perhaps, if you are weak on literary references.
More accessible, however, if 30’s homages from The Purple Rose Of Cairo perplex you.
Photography of Paris is ravishing.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Mountain Between Us - 2017 - 6/10

All flights are canceled due to bad weather and approaching storm.
Undeterred, two very insistent travelers charter a prop plane because they are in a hurry.
Before one can say, “Hey, look at those black clouds,” there is a malfunction and down they go.
Had the pilot filed a flight plan? Had either passenger phoned home? Ha ha.
Survival story of a man, a woman, and a dog, set amidst breathtaking Rockies.
The strangers are personality opposites, and yet there is a cliché about opposites.
Wait a minute! You mean this is a romance story?
Do characters pluck along? Find burnable wood? Know how to make a fire? Find shelter?
Acceptable premise, marred by ludicrous love story. Unless L-O-V-E is your thing.

^ The Dog

Yeah, how about that canine?
The females I watched this with were distracted during the film.
“What’s going to happen with that dog?” “They better not kill that dog!” “Omigod, the dog ran off!”
Me - “Look, two humans are half dead from starvation and hunger. Not Fido, though, bounding all over the snow like that white stuff is cocaine.”
Mr Dog, obviously not a method actor.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Mega Python Vs Gatoroid - 2011 - 3/10

Cautionary tale of interfering with Nature, co-starring and co-produced by those acclaimed thespians
Debbie Gibson and Tiffany.
Quite awful CGI alligators and pythons, both the size of buildings, chomp it out.
Speaking of size, Tiffany put on a couple of pounds, most in the cleavage midfield.
When she appears, the camera seems drawn in by gravity.
Ex Monkee Mickey Dolenz shows up as ex Monkee Mickey Dolenz.
Viewers should also be forewarned of a couple of songs by our leads.

Note - At the counter, I excitedly waved this winner at the staff.
No one had heard of either Debbie or Tiffany.
Another “you’re getting old” moment.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Festival! - 1967 - 7/10

Document offers a nice sampler of the Folkie era at Newport from 1962 - 1966.
Almost all the major artists, and many less known, are given a song – or part of a song.
This is not a history of the movement, but performance clips.
No pop music, though Joan Baez gives an impromptu “From Me To You” while signing autographs.
Dylan is acoustic, then electric with The Butterfield Blues Band, foreshadowing Monterey Pop.
Worthwhile, though dated and the lack of historical context is limiting.

FanEdit Reviews - Post Your Reviews Here

Vanishing Point: The Molecule Of Speed - 15MaF

A film I have watched numerous times. Indeed, I first saw this the way it was meant to be viewed, at a drive-in, in the early 1970‘s. This carried a heady, late 60’s vibe of freedom vs control.
For me. 15MaF’s version is something between an edit and a preservation. Minor tweaks and restoration.

Filesize = 4.9 GB. Video = 1920 X 832. Audio = 5000 kbps, 5.1 AAC (my mixdown reads stereo, plays mono). No subs.

Straight off, this is HEVC h265, which neither my BluRay nor my main computer could handle. I downgraded this to h264, and that is the version I watched. If at all possible, watch as 15MaF crafted!
As indicated, the editor has cropped this for a greater widescreen experience. This is hit n miss for me. I live in a region under what could be defined as big sky. That is missing in this, though it is a wider experience for the eye.
The sound mix is robust! Everything seems dialed to 11, which the way to experience those supercharged v8’s. Although no subtitles, dialogue is clear.
The Charlotte Rampling sequence is included, edited in nicely. Her dialogue is stilted, acceptable for a chimera, and a quiet breath before the final rush.
Extras include an alternative, alternative ending.
Gearheads, get this! Pedal to the floor.

Vanishing Point: The Molecule Of Speed - 15MaF

FanEdit Reviews - Post Your Reviews Here

Midnight Slaughter Train (The Midnight Meat Train) - ranger613

One of the better Clive Barker adaptations. An ambitious, artsy shutterbug trails a possible homicidal killer (Exceptional use of Vinnie Jones, by the way.). Ranger’s edit removes occult references and conspiracy elements, thrusting us into splatter spree.

Video - Excellent editing, as expected from this editor. New opening credits, well chosen and well done. Story spends considerable time in subway trains, drenched in darkness and flickering light. Blacks solid throughout.

Audio - Dynamic 2.0 sound mix. Dialogue generally clear, bit murky at noisy junctions. No subtitles. Quite a bit was removed for this version, but no audio giveaways. Nice job.

Narrative - Some odd things persist. The butcher is still cutting “chest scabs” during one scene. No explanation. In Ranger’s version, the butcher is an inexplicable force, compelled to murder, patient enough to wait for the lonely opportunity. The randomness of the attacks is particularly chilling.

Enjoyment - Take the A-Train, baby. I enjoyed this slasher ride a lot. In the original, and I know others will regard this as blasphemy, I considered the demonic angle distracting, if not silly. Here, the butcher is a twisted soul. Because we cannot tell what formed him or what compels him, he becomes a rogue cancer cell in the community.

As much as the butcher is a slave to his impulses, the photographer is equally troubled. His narrative is one of obsession becoming compulsion. He is increasingly drawn to darkness, forsaking the light.

Despite the gore and violence (squeamish souls, take note), this film is bleak, cold, despairing at times. Perfect, nonetheless, for urban dwellers who walk the half-lit 2:00 AM streets and try not to glance over their shoulders.

FanEdit Reviews - Post Your Reviews Here

The Haunted World Of Katie Featherston (Paranormal Activity) - Frantic Canadian

The original Paranormal Activity is marred by the godawful “found footage” crutch, unsympathetic, foolish characters, and a decrepit, snail like pace. Frantic Canadian trims 12 minutes of unnecessary footage, quickening the tempo and boosting scare ratio.

Video - Quite a bit of cuts in this. Edits well chosen, and because of the fade to black structure of the original there is nothing noticeable. I calculate half the film are semi-lit, nighttime shots, and the blacks stay solid throughout.

Audio - Nice 5.1 sound that responds during some of the quietest scenes. Mumbled - garbled dialogue often difficult to understand, probably by design. Subtitles could help - though most of the talk is everyday prattle and unimportant.

Narrative - This is a light edit, so the story holds together. Good result here, and a better experience than the original.

Enjoyment - Tough to call. I do not like “found footage” movies. They strike me as lazy, self indulgent, and bucket level cheap.
The characters are introduced as likeable goofs who grow dangerously stupid.

  • SPOILER - Midway through, I’m telling them to phone the demonologist specialist. Of course they do not. - END SPOILER -
    Why do they stay in that house / apartment night after night? Come on, go to a motel! Go to Mom’s! But get out of there! Fools. Very hard to enjoy a film with characters you cannot empathize with because they have less sense than a tennis ball.

Appreciate would be a more appropriate term for this. Frantic Canadian offers an excellent edit of a film that will not appeal to everyone.
γνῶθι σεαυτόν.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Les Petits Meurtres d’Agatha Christie - 2009 - 6/10

French adaptation of Christie’s Hercule Poirot’s yarns.
No fussy little Belgium in these, however. His character is rewritten as Inspector Larosière.
Larosière is a ladies man, gourmand, elegant dresser, at ease with royals and commoners.
The stories, of course, are nasty pieces of murder, and everyone has motives.
For whatever reason, I never cared for Mr Poirot, finding him overly weird and mannered.
Larosière, for me, was more relatable. There is also a Gallic charm in all of these.
These French versions are a fizzy counterpoint to more faithful, English productions.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Past Malice: Emma Fielding - 2018 - 5/10

Famed archaeologist, Emma Fielding, is persuaded to double check a dig at New England castle.
She finds ongoing robberies, the family curse, nasty murders, and a handsome FBI agent!
In fact, everyone is pleasant looking, in a waxed fruit manner.
Another of those never ending movies, spinoffs, in the “Murder, She Wrote” mode.
Bland, predictable, almost smarmy. Read a book instead. Or send someone a Hallmark card.
Oh wait! If you do that, you’ll help fund another one of these Hallmark movies!

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Made In Dagenham - 2010 - 7/10

The ladies of the Machinists Union go one strike against Ford in 1968.
Simple enough reason - pay inequality.
Lively goings on across the picket line and within several cash strapped households.
Strong cast (although most were young and attractive, even Barbara Castle), with sharp dialogue.
Worth remembering that women were perceived as second tier a scant 40 years ago.
Fortunately that has been rectified across the globe.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

One Missed Call 2 - 2005 - 4/10
AKA - Chakushin Ari 2 // 着信アリ2

I bought One Missed Call 1 when it first came out. It was OK, at best.
This was during the peak of dead wet girl films.
Part 2 offered less meals (victims), and the deaths lacked creativity.
There were a couple of rambling threads regarding the villain that went nowhere.
Predictable - formula - waste of time.

Warning - There is yet another sequel - 03, which is just as bad.
Even worse is the US remake which makes these look like masterpieces.
Avoid. More for fools who have a taste for crap. Guilty.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Sløborn - 2020 - 7/10

Apocalypse fans!
A deadly contagion hits an isolated island in the North Sea.
Actually, the virus (which is incurable) is rampaging planetwide.
When a drifting boat is sighted, locals hurry to investigate.
Teens, a burnt out writer (my fave!), young offenders, several clandestine affairs, investors, conspiracy types.
Seriously, there must be a dozen stories, yet one should be able to keep track of them.
Remember: more characters = more meals!
The ending suffers logical loopholes, and character arcs are given short shrift.
Who cares! It’s the end of the world!

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Secret Life Of Mrs Beeton - 2006 - 7/10

During Victoria’s reign, Isabella Beeton created “The Book of Household Management,” cookbook and overall go-to Bible for generations.
Her life was not all plummy, however. She suffered several miscarriages, was in debt most of her married life, and died at age 28.
In fact, the film opens with her cheekily observing her own funeral.
Anna Madeley makes a very beguiling and saucy Mrs Beeton, though one of the film’s major revelations is perhaps speculation.
Breezy bio, do not expect focused social criticism.

The Beeton book, by the way, is available at amzn-co-uk and currently darned cheap … 50p USED! Or .00 if Kindle!

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

99 River Street - 1953 - 7/10

Ernie lands a devastating right hook and the champ slumps to the canvas.
Like the resurrected, the champ survives the ten count, and in the next two minutes, the prize fight sours for Ernie.
Two years later, he’s a washed up pug, a hack driver, married to a bitter scold with a roving eye.
A slick haired sugar daddy stirs the wife’s honey pot, slowly, persuasively, until she’s sopping wet and helps him yank a bag of ice from a pair of clutching dead hands.
Then the setup, the dimwitted husband, driving his taxi, chasing fool pipedreams and hopes.
Well shot Noir is outstanding example of how to create wonders with a minimal budget.
The script is packed with crosses and double-crosses, unexpected treachery, hard fists.
No matter how hard the ex-boxer fights, there is always the corpse stuffed in the back seat of his taxi.
A seething John Payne is perfect casting, whether resigned or about to detonate.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)


Luther: S01 - 2010 - 7/10

Vaughan Rice was my favorite character in the brief Ultraviolet (BBC) series from the late 90’s.
Ten years later, Idris Elba fuses Vaughan with Dirty Harry into a driven, obsessed criminal profiler.
Smart writing, more twists than a monkey puzzle tree, top notch supporting characters add up to an irresistible, darker than night, six part crime series.

Luther S02 - 2011 - 6/10

Season One was rapid fire paced, constantly inventive, with tour de force performances.
Season Two, while far above routine TV fare, was slower and felt like leftovers.
Missing was the dazzling dialogue that peppered the first season.
Not to mention the omission of a very key character who barely appeared this time out.

From here on, and yes I watched all seasons, the series gets progressively weaker and recycled.
Idris looks tired, or bored. The overcooked stories lack snap.
A major reason why I shun USA soap opera fare is generally because after S01, the tempo chugs down and plot points advance incrementally.
Happens, as well, with Brit TV, K-dramas, movie sequels.
Watching Luther over the years was my error, like trying to milk a lizard.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Brighton Rock - 2010 - 5/10

Updated retelling of Graham Greene’s Noir, set during the clashes between Mods and Rockers in Brighton.
Small time gang, getting buried by the big boys, implodes.
Swank looking film, fab clothes, gear sets, luxe tune mix.
Completely marred by grotty script, a daff couple with NO chemistry, and over the top sound design.
Sam Riley good as smart dressed punk who oversteps one too many times.
Coulda, shoulda been a hell of a lot better.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Good Morning, Mister Hitler - 1993 - 6/10

Cobbled documentary around “then-recent” found color footage of 1939 Munich Festival of Art.
The images, filmed by amateur photographers, vary in quality but most are quite good, considering their age.
Talking heads include sons of original photographers, and a professor providing historical details.
AND - get this - a number of elderly ladies, watching in a theater, who had been participants in the festival.
They commented on what preparations were like, gasped when they viewed their young selves in the parade, talked about the giddy period of the Reich in 1939. One surmised they had mixed emotions.
By now, most of that generation are gone. While first hand comments are always useful, they are best received with a grain of salt.
A useful companion to 1989’s Architecture Of Doom.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Dark Charisma Of Adolf Hitler - 2012 - 5/10

Why? Because there is always room for one more Hitler doc, no matter how shabby.
Three parter starts from World War I service, then attempts to support the hypothesis that it was dark charisma that led Germans astray.
Roughly 10% of the doc has speeches from rallies and conventions. None are subtitled.
Period footage is used and reused, often within 30 minutes.
No names or identification are given to faces belonging to Hess, Speer, Rohm …
Third rate effort geared for someone wondering, “Who is this Hitler fellow?” not wanting to scrape past the surface.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Battle Los Angeles - 2011 - 4/10

I delayed watching this after all the negative reviews across forums.
All the elements for a top action flick were there, except for way too many family clichés.
There are kids in the film. Utter waste of time. In western films, kids never get killed or eaten.
I don’t care if they are related to the director or producer. No more Newts!
Leftover civilians. Listen, the mayor, governor, prime minister orders, “Get outta Dodge!” you don’t say, “Ooh, maybe there is a sale at Piggly Wiggly.”
Marines who have to protect deadbeats ought to jab their thumbs with, “Exit’s that way, Pilgrim.”
Don’t try to make action films for kids and mommies.
In the featurette, one of the honchos said they were trying to outdo Alien or Aliens.
As if. Is that why their template was Independence Day, another family friendly suckfest?
Vasquez and Drake coulda kicked their ass … even saddled with Hudson!

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Beast Must Die - 1969 - 7/10
AKA - Que la Bete Meure

French revenge film.
Single dad’s lone child is struck and killed by a hit and run driver.
Police explore the usual leads, find nothing, extend apologies, return to their lattes.
The father is far more determined, however. Finds an overlooked clue, stumbles across a witness (who did not see the accident, but saw something related), then hones in on the quarry.
Older film, not overly moralistic, though there is collateral emotional damage.
Also, to me refreshing, this is not revenge-porn which is today’s norm.
My bride always argues, “Revenge doesn’t bring the dead back. You only wound yourself.”
I generally reply, “True, but you remove one more bad guy from the world.”

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Flood - 2019 - 7/10

Female immigration officer takes the difficult case of a refugee from Eritrea asking for asylum.
Trouble is, he had been apprehended carrying a knife, and the Home Secretary wants a clear message sent.
The seeker talks and gives his story. The road trip of one.
Questions of whether there is room or opportunity for everyone are not addressed.
Political refugee or an economic migrant, the film picks a side early and sticks with it.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Death Smiles On A Murderer - 1973 - 6/10
AKA - La Morte Ha Sorriso All’assassino

An out of control carriage wrecks, leaving a dead driver and lovely female with amnesia.
No worries, the rich family nearby take her in.
The local doctor (Klaus Kinski) is summoned, who declares her health problems are temporary.
Nevertheless, as soon as he returns to his laboratory, he bubbles into mad professor behavior.
Film mixes Gothic, Giallo, Carmilla, Poe, Frankenstein, all sorts of influences in a chaotic mess.
It is never uninteresting, but it never goes anywhere, either.
DVD audio commentary confirmed my take.
Worth a watch, especially for Kinski fans who is good in this.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Best Worst Movie - 2009 - 7/10

Documentary on Troll 2, often listed as the worst movie ever made.
Unlike Troma camp, Troll 2 was not meant to be awful, but a cascade of bad acting, inept script, an Italian director and writer who could not speak English, zero production values, resulted in a reel of brown goo.
Then the movie went on to become a cult favorite, though the Italian director still insisted Troll 2 was an artistic triumph, full of meaning and family values.
The documentary catches up with old cast members (George Hardy is now a dentist) and shows packed midnight movie houses.
Real passion from people who love bad movies.
Consider yourself warned.