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A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Der Gorilla von Soho - 1968 - 5/10
AKA - Gorilla Gang

Visiting rich foreigners are murdered, then made to appear to be drowning victims.
Inspectors, following clues, soon wonder if an old gang has resurfaced.
Krimi mixes sexual innuendo, authoritarian silliness, and stretches of nudity.
For the latter, there is an underground camera club boasting dozens of unclad models.

The humor is not especially funny, running gags wear thin.
This seems like a color remake of Dead Eyes Of London, an earlier, and better Krimi.

Toten Augen von London (Dead Eyes Of London) - 1961 - W Germany

The Silent Film Thread

My Maddin go-to is The Forbidden Room (2015), which I must confess has poorer ratings than Brand Upon The Brain!
(I’m sure I have a review for the former. Will try to post in a day or two.)
Maddin is one of those guys I always want to see what he is doing.
Jarmusch is another, although I generally do not care for his films.
Hmmm, better not get too off-topic here, in case Spuffure returns.

The Silent Film Thread

moviefreakedmind said:

Is Intolerance good? I want to watch it since it was such an important film in the history of cinema, but at the same time I don’t want to subject myself to a horribly boring 3.5 hours.

Intolerance is good, though you might need to overlay historical perspective.
Meaning, what was jaw-dropping 100 years ago is creaky now.
The sections about the Huguenots seem to contribute little and I wish Griffith had cut them.
Intolerance also does not have the uncomfortable baggage that Birth Of A Nation does.
I prefer Griffith’s Biograph shorts, and try to watch several every year.

Spuffure said:

What do you think is the worst silent film ever …

Not the worst, but I really struggled with Brand Upon The Brain! (2006) by Maddin.
His fanbase goes gaga over this one, but I found it tedious.
When I watched, it was well after midnight, perhaps I was tired.
I have enjoyed / appreciated some of his other works.
I first heard of Maddin after a review of his “Dracula,”

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Verónica - 2017 - 7/10

School basement. Ninth grade Verónica and two friends lay out the Ouija board and conjure.
Oh, and there is a solar eclipse occurring at the same time.
Events propitious for a successful contact.
Only thing is, they forget about closing the dimensional door on the spirit.
Horror / thriller from Spain puts Verónica and her three younger siblings in peril.
Verónica is in over her head and only has a creepy, blind nun for advice.
Set in 1991, pre Internet, and based on real events.

The Ouija board, by the way, is generally marketed and sold to children, usually girls.
Opinions regarding the Ouija board range from scoffing to worry to alarm.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Salesman - 2016 - 7/10
AKA - Forushande

Married actors must relocate after their apartment begins to physically collapse.
A fellow actor owns property and has an apartment that seems ideal.
The previous tenant departed earlier, though she has not taken her things.
The couple move in, deposit the woman’s belongings in the street.
Meanwhile, the actors try to mount Death Of A Salesman, deal with Tehran censors.
To further complicate things, the previous woman had many visitors - who are unaware she no longer lives there.
Stress mounts in this layered film, making the experience uncomfortable for characters and viewers.
As in earlier films, such as About Elly, director Farhadi explores how people react to tension.
Hardly fun, but a riveting watch.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Das Finstere Tal - 2014 - 7/10
AKA - The Dark Valley

Near great Western is flawless, until a self-inflicted error wrecks the ambiance.
After an unsettling, violent parting of two lovers, the tiny timber community returns to normal.
Then, years later, the stranger arrives.

He is a photographer, and pays in gold to overwinter there.
The community is sullen and unhappy, ruled by old man Brenner and his six thuggish sons.
Women are property, men are beaten down, even the photographer is taught an early lesson.
Until the dying begins.
The high lonesome landscape is jaw dropping. Sierra Nevada or the Canadian Rockies?
Nope. German/Austrian Alps. Whole movie is in German.
Fear not, this is a pitch perfect film that would thrill any Eastwood fan -
Until late …
… when the director stupidly, stupidly, stupidly, overdubs crucial action with pop music. Some whiny male wails “How dare you?” over and over and over. At this point, one senses the director has walked away. From that point on, the tight control ends, it gets talky, and there is a closing credits “song,” modern and inappropriate.
To my reckoning, the blundering song choices and last act possibly killed an Academy nod for best foreign film.
Definitely worth hunting for Western fans, or cold paced action fans. Beware the songs, though.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Creep - 2004 - 5/10

Leaving the party, Kate tells friends she is going to a more exclusive soiree, where she plans to mount and bounce VIP George Clooney.
When she can’t hail a cab, she heads down the tube, intending to catch the last train.
Instead she falls asleep, and wakes to find the Charing Cross Underground deserted.
Well, not quite.
Aside from homeless, maintenance and security, there are a legion of rats.
And a furtive, murderous soul with inhuman strength and a limited wardrobe.
Pale Slasher entry takes place in tunnels, dank corridors, closed sections, forgotten chambers.
Though the plot springs fresh elements late, this is cheap copycat of better genre films.
LIGHT SPOILER – The denizen has apparently been active for a long time.
By implication, he has never targeted anyone who would be missed, and attract investigators.
Such logical precautions are inexplicably omitted on this night.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Profit - 1996 - 8/10

Influential series, years ahead of its time, canceled after four episodes.
Jim Profit rises to junior VP with Gracen & Gracen Corporation.
Profit is the quintessential corporate shark, with no emotion whatsoever.
By the end of the pilot, viewers grasp that blackmail, betrayal and murder are his casual tools.
(No need to go into the incest angle which was revealed before the first commercial break.)
Jim frequently addresses the camera, and, with a smile, describes targets and methods.
Charm and social graces mask a sociopath.
The look of this is sleek, time capsule dated, but always fabulous.
I LOVED this show when it first aired and lamented when it was canceled, though not surprised.
The US Bible Belt loathed Profit, calling it Satan In A Suit. More reason to watch.
The DVD contains the pilot and series as shot (meaning the three episodes that never aired).
The final episode provides closure somewhat, so you are not left hanging.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Killer Must Kill Again - 1975 - 6/10
AKA - L’Assassino è Costretto ad Uccidere Ancora // Il Ragno (The Spider)

The murderer shoves the body into a Volkswagen Beetle, then pushes the car into the river.
He is observed.
The onlooker is not exactly the low-abiding type.
Instead, he offers a proposition. He has a wife. He’d like her gone.

Simple yes?
Plans go awry when joyriders steal the assassin’s car.
The first 20” move briskly, as do the final 20”. Good music, wowza interiors, nice location shots.
In between, however, the pace plods and dialogue predominates, along with a long pursuit.
The whole 40” middle felt like padding and provides little to the proceedings.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Phantom Ship - 1935 - 5/10

“Alright! Which one of you done it? I know it’s one of you!”
The captain questions the remaining crewmen.
Fictional yarn of the Mary Celeste, found adrift and abandoned in 1872.
Slow moving, despite corpses appearing at frequent intervals.
And whoever mustered the crew should have squinted and said,
“You look like Bela Lugosi.”

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Luna Nera - 2020 - 5/10
AKA - Black Moon

Reviews were lackluster, still I went ahead and started watching this.
In rural Italy, probably 17th century, lesser nobles track down, torture and burn witches.
Usual reasons. Bad crops, stillbirths, dire weather. Blame women.
Smart looking series, period costumes, and sets are undermined by poor script and worse acting.
Acting ranges from melodramatic to amateurish.
To a soul, these are Italian stereotypes. Impulsive, loud, emotional, excitable.
Plot wise, we got witches. Striga. Instead of incantations and magic, we get icky grade school romance.
Our male hero, the Roma educated hope of his family, falls for the homely, neo-witch instead of his childhood flame who smolders with passion and wields a sword.

Guys may be shallow, but we are not blind.
Should you load this despite my piddling review, catch the last episode, especially the last half.
Ridiculous and fruity, wildly over the top and not in a good way.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Thelma - 2017 - 7/10

Freshman student, Thelma, has trouble fitting into campus life.
Trouble making friends, over-protective parents, and her fundamental religious upbringing.
Even among the faithful, however, she had trouble fitting in.

Compounding matters, Thelma begins suffering seizures.
Quick diagnosis of epilepsy would be an error. Rather, psychogenic –––
This is marketed as horror, but is closer to paranormal.
Another pitch is as a “lesbian story,” but is more sexual experimentation.
Well done, although, overlooking the father, the film never caught fire for me.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

A Rainy Day In New York - 2019 - 6/10

Middling Woody Allen effort of collegiate couple heading to Manhattan.
In Gotham, they get separated and have different adventures.
The girl meets the wary, cult director and assorted creative types.
The boy deals with family expectations, and individuals from his past.
Great looking film, lensed by Sorano (who also shot Café Society and Wonder Wheel).
The dialogue is too arch and twee for my liking. No one, not even on live theatre, talks like this.
Lead actor Timothée Chalamet seems to be mimicking Woody Allen performances.
Nonetheless, this grew on me. Probably on a par with Irrational Man.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Der Hexer - 1964 - 5/10
AKA - The Ringer // The Magician

Attractive office secretary is strangled then ferried into the Thames in a mini-sub!
Too late, the four perpetrators realize she had been the sister of a shadowy crime lord.
A criminal mastermind with a specialty in assassination.
Meanwhile, Scotland Yard hustles to identify the killers, and apprehend the crime boss!
There is a sideplot of white slavery, suspicious reporters, valets, tantalizing women, an underground labyrinth, and don’t forget about that mini-sub!
Fast paced if confusing Krimi, based on Edgar Wallace, percolates enough to sustain interest.
Inspector Higgins (Joachim Fuchsberger) is less effective in this compared with his other films.
Film rather good at keeping viewers guessing about who the hexer is.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Deep End - 1970 - 6/10

Recent high school graduate Michael gets first job at local bathhouse / pool.
The place is a sexual minefield and he is immediately out of his depth.
Canoodling is rampant, and some of the older females have expectations.
A sequence with Diana Dors seems forever etched in my mind.
Shy or inexperience notwithstanding, Michael is soon riveted on the older Susan (Jane Asher).
Interest swells into stalking, then obsession.
Despite bright colors and fashion, the film captures the tired end of the 60’s.

What are you reading?

Various (Editor: Pardoe, Rosemary) - The Ghosts & Scholars Book Of Mazes

“… a maze by any other name …”
Slightly more than a dozen stories that feel ideal for spring or summer months.
Per the title, these are tales set in or around mazes.
Sinister yew mazes, imperceptible turf mazes, spiral mazes, house mazes.
The center of each promises … treasure or the Minotaur?
In this volume, those who venture into the labyrinth, whether under pale moonlight or warm sunshine, generally do so without the usual laughter or bemused smiles.
No. Malevolence as a force hides in those constructs. Lurking with the patience of eternity.
Read these, then gaze at your own hapless gardening efforts, and consider yourself fortunate.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Blue Eyes Of The Broken Doll - 1974 - 6/10
AKA - Los Ojos Azules de la Muñeca Rota

The drifter walks a deserted road, tying to hitch a ride.
He finally gets lucky, though the tractor driver warns there is no work in the area.
Nevertheless, he does find work, as handyman for three sisters, each deeply troubled.
One is wheelchair bound, one wears a prosthetic, the third seems a nymphomaniac.
Add a secretive nurse who makes phone calls and who drugs one of the sisters.
Anything else? You mean the mysterious homicidal maniac who is killing blue eyed blondes?
Wonderfully entertaining film! The look is Italian Giallo, the tone is Noir.
Our hero, the drifter, finds himself trapped in a sticky tangle of perfumed sex and his own sour luck.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Vagabond - 1985 - 7/10
AKA - Sans Toit Ni Loi

The freedom of the road.
Midwinter. The young female drifts into the country region, unwashed, clearly broke.
She sets up her tent wherever, one time in a graveyard, or sneaks into abandoned houses.
Men, she’ll tag along with, until the reefer is gone, or she tires of them.
From time to time, someone will help her out.
Also from time to time, villagers talk directly, voicing their opinion of the girl.
The camera is indifferent, giving neither backstory nor explanations.
18 year old Sandrine Bonnaire is brilliant as Mona or Simone. Her character is not an empty soul, she is simply uncompromising, unflinching in her avoidance of ordinary life, or the bourgeois.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Sorry We Missed You - 2019 - 6/10

During the interview, Ricky starts listing his work experience.
A lot of job skills. Can he not hold a job any length? Or does he have crap luck?
Ricky lands the driver position for a delivery outfit.
This is a franchise, though. Independent contractor. He has to buy his own delivery truck. Then work like hell because the debt is crushing.
I kept yelling at the film, “Don’t do this.” “Dude, think!” “Don’t get into debt.”
Yet, the hand is dealt, and you play as best you can.
Ken Loach film is a blistering look at the gig economy.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Resurrection - 2005 - 5/10
AKA - Revenge // 부 활

Poky K-drama of twin brothers and revenge.
Without giving much away plotwise, one brother is murdered and the other takes his place.
Their personalities differ, as do their taste in clothes, food allergies, outlooks …
Does anyone around them notice? Aside from puzzled expressions, no.
So we have a drama packed with dense heads you want to yell at.
Moreover, at 24 padded episodes, this series went on way too long.
Seriously, you could skip the first four episodes altogether, since E05 gives a full recap.
Every episode has a couple of five minute music montages as a character moons about unhappily.
The tempo perks up in the last four episodes - - if one has not quit viewing - - although the plot loses steam.
Koreans offer more vengeance driven shows than others, and they always incorporate the consequences.
Little of the gloating merriment easily witnessed elsewhere. Here, even villains have innocent families.

FanEdit Reviews - Post Your Reviews Here

This Is Tokyo (Gojira - 1954 and Godzilla, King of the Monsters! - 1956) - G&G-Fan

“History shows again and again, how Nature points up the folly of men.”

What a shrewd idea. Combining the 1954 Japanese version with the 1956 American version.
Meaning all the scenes with Raymond Burr’s character are in English, the rest in Japanese.

Filesize = 5GB. Video = 1920 X 1080p AVC. Audio = 84 kbps, 2 Channels, AAC. Subs, yes.

The narrative bounces back and forth between the Japanese version and the US.
The styles are different. The Japanese mixes action, a weak love story, and ethical concerns.
The US version is akin to a dry documentary, explaining action, strategies and backstories.
While they fit together and complement each other, it is a slightly uneasy marriage.
There were one or two audio bites that could have been excised, though nothing untoward.
All in all, this is an excellent edit, especially for a first one! I hope G&G-Fan does more.
Note: Although the mp4 played in my unit, I eventually converted to mkv for easier control.

This is G&G-Fan’s first edit. I hope OT members give this a view, and provide feedback.
Please encourage promising editors.

This Is Tokyo