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A few reviews . . (film or TV)

A.I. Rising - 2018 - 6/10

SciFi from Serbia opens in 2148, and reveals the entire Earth is now exploited by Capitalists!
As Socialism tries to rebalance society, mega corporations expand space colonization.
Cosmonaut Milutin, assigned to a mission to Alpha Centauri, is ordered to take a crew mate.
Female. Actually, a female android. Curvacious machine with a processor.

Although cover art resembles a knockoff sequel to 2014’s Ex Machina, not so fast.
Our pilot very quickly programs his attractive second into “intimate” mode, not grasping that she / it records everything to her hard drive and reports to Corporate. This undercurrent of constant surveillance darkens the vibe.
Porn star Stoya plays the android.
Devotees of Lifeforce should brace for even more gratuitous nudity, also considerable bouts of soft core rompings. Sadly, none of the co-minglings occur in zero gravity. Missed opportunity for us amateurs to behold the fiendishly difficult flying wheelbarrow position.
Low budget film, but hides that well. More plot than one might expect, as well as anti-capitalistic stance.

Many scenes seem to loop, or progress slowly. Has a stylish 50’s SciFi look and soundscape.
Better than I expected, closer to 2013’s The Machine. Not for kids or prudes, however.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Catching Milat - 2015 - 7/10

Engrossing two-part series on Ivan Milat, considered the worst serial-killer in Australia’s history.
Milat preyed on young hitch-hikers, particularly foreign visitors.
Series is more about police dragnet trying to find and arrest the Balanglo Forest killer.
Tense nail-biter with several grisly scenes.
Malcolm Kennard gives nightmares with razor keen performance.
Definitely worth seeing if you have ever hitch-hiked or if thumbing a ride is in your vacation plans.
Parents of hitch-hikers - no no no.

Mick (Wolf Creek) Taylor fans, here is the template.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Gumshoe - 1971 - 6/10

Nightclub emcee, comedian, also fancies himself a private detective.
At least that’s what his classified advert proclaims.
And that nets a client, a healthy retainer fee, .38 Smith & Wesson, and a photograph of the target.
Followed by a dizzying assortment of operators, sharp dolls, side stories, and lurching mystery.
Tone is part satire, part dead serious. Dialogue, especially banter, is brisk, peppered with zingers.
Maddening Lloyd Webber soundtrack, where each cue sounds – almost – like random classic Noirs.
The mystery itself is very confusing, likely by design, and one of the rival gumshoes is a ringer for Dashiell Hammett.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Frantz - 2016 - 7/10

Post World War I story of French veteran tracking down the family of killed German soldier.
Though his reasons are unclear to the grieving family, viewers will recognize this familiar tale.
His guilt is unbearable, leaving parents and fiancée to assume the men were pre-War friends.
François Ozon film is about deception and false assumptions, however.
Acting is tightrope throughout, with several emotionally taut performances.
Viewers who know their history will appreciate this more, as well as the secondary stories.
One tip: Carnage was profound, a generation of males were slaughtered, leaving a man shortage.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

L’empire des Loups - 2005 - 6/10
AKA - Empire Of The Wolves

Forget the plot, dismiss the young stud, overlook the amnesia hottie.
This is Jean Reno’s film and he kicks ass throughout!

Three young girls have been murdered and mutilated in the Turkish quarter of Paris.
The young inspector is stymied, and is advised to reach out to a disgraced ex-cop.
Schiffer, known in the force as Mr Shifty.
To the illegal Turk underworld, he is The Shaft. Interrogation of terrified contacts is brutal.
Meanwhile, there is a girl with amnesia, pursued by cops, doctors, and the Gray Wolves (Turkish assassins).
Loud music foreshadows action, galloping mindless plot, characters with the personalities of biscuits.
French film, apparently influenced by Michael Bay.
Wowza on a big scale, if you can follow along.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Don’t Drink The Water - 1994 - 6/10

Fairly obscure Woody Allen film, based on his Broadway hit of 1966.
The first film version, in 1969, starred Jackie Gleason and was a commercial and critical flop.
Allen remade this after ABC approached him to make a TV movie.
So …
American tourists accidentally take photo of official / secret Eastern bloc building.
Declaring them spies, police and officials pursue the family who take refuge in the US embassy.
What ensues is almost nonstop, forced comedy. Situations, one-liners, farce.
90% of the film seems to take place on one or two sets, very stagebound.
The Cold War premise is mummified, rendered moot following Glasnost in 1986.
Only recommended to hardcore Allen fans.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Scotty And The Secret History Of Hollywood - 2017 - 6/10

Two years earlier, I was mildly interested in Scotty Bowers’ book, “Full Service.”
Bit of a kiss n tell of closeted Hollywood, circa 40’s - 50’s.
Bowers was a procurer, primarily of willing young male hustlers for studio gays.
The man makes a lot of claims, and many, if not all, of his subjects are now deceased.
Some of his memories sounds accurate, others misremembered or fabricated.
Personal taste. I found him likeable, then gradually I found him sleazy.
For folks who slow down to gaze at traffic accidents, this ain’t “Hollywood Babylon.”
Oh, and Bowers’ book holds no interest for me now.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Revenge - 2017 - 6/10

Better than expected tale of vengeance, bloodily delivered.
Wealthy alpha male takes his peachy skinned bang bunny to forsaken hunting lodge.
Other hunting males arrive and sexual tensions arrive.
The soon-inconvenient female is slain … or so they thought … great hunters.
Story shifts into “Most Dangerous Game” territory, though viewers MUST suspend disbelief.
One: the girl’s death? 1000 people out of 1000 would have died.
Two: from the blood trails, every human has 50 gallons of serum in their veins.
Still, great - great homage to 80’s revenge / slasher flicks.
The cinematographer is brilliant, far better than expected in films like this.
A few denouements are lame, many more are laugh out loud wonderful. Irresistible synth score.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Seventeen Moments Of Spring - 1973 - 8/10
AKA - Семнадцать Mгновений Bесны

Engrossing espionage par excellence.
No explosions, limited gunplay, no car chases.
Nuts n bolts, nerve wracking intelligence gathering.
Max Otto von Stierlitz, a high operative in the SD, has actually been a Soviet plant since 1933.
Now 1945, the second world war is nearing an end and Moscow has given him an important mission.
Determine if someone in German high command is trying to make a separate peace with Western powers.
Find out who that individual is. Then thwart any separate peace plans.
Candidates include Göering, Goebbels, Bormann, Himmler.
Other Reich agencies, jockeying for power and spying on each other, include the SS, the Gestapo.
In short, Stierlitz maneuvers within a thicket of knives.
The pace is slow, but the intensity seldom flags as Stierlitz must protect sources, recruit allies, liquidate loose ends, and explain himself over and over to operational chiefs.
Based on the actual negotiations, Operation Sunrise Crossword, this series was a favorite of Leonid Brezhnev.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Les Châteaux de Sable - 2015 - 7/10
AKA - Sand Castles

After Eléonore’s father dies, she inherits his home in Brittany, which she decides to sell for the money.
She does not drive, so she asks ex-boyfriend Samuel to take her, and help her over the weekend.
Samuel’s current girlfriend says she is OK with that arrangement, she trusts him.
Seasoned cinema watchers will recognize the plot of unresolved emotions.
And yet, this film is quite interesting.
Voiceover narrative weaves throughout, expressing character’s histories and inner thoughts.
A third character is the real estate agent, more complex than her bubbling energy.
Then there is Eléonore’s father, whom we see in flashbacks and in her own ghostly conversations.
Add a small parade of potential home buyers, good and bad, and the sum of parts add up to a excellent French drama.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Death Of A Scoundrel - 1956 - 7/10

George Sanders memorable as smooth talking con-man, cad, swindler.
Penniless Czech refugee arrives in US (after betraying his brother to authorities).
Using doubletalk and eavesdropping on secrets, he marshals information into modest wealth.
Then he fortune hunts widows and unhappy wives.
Lovely rags to riches fable, marvelously upended by Sanders’ unrepentant heel.
Cynical film also has Sanders’ brother (Tom Conway) and ex-wife #2, Zsa Zsa.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

An Outlaw - 1964 - 6/10
AKA - Narazumono / な ら ず 者

Japanese hitman offs mob boss in Hong Kong streets.
Returns to hotel room for payment, finds a nude girl in his bed. Dead.
The mob boss turns out to be a government official, the dead girl the official’s daughter.
Outside his window, the hitman sees police arrive and realize he’s been set up.
He escapes, but gets mistaken for a player in a drug smuggling operation.
He hides, in what turns out to be a brothel, and gets embroiled with sex traffickers.
This is the first five - ten minutes of a frantic, often confusing, movie.
Vintage postcard as scenes shift from Hong Kong to Yokohama to Macao. Cool bluesy jazz score.
Violent yarn of betrayal and honor, though motives and participants baffling.
Bond fans, look for Tetsurô Tanba as cardsharp.

FanEdit Reviews - Post Your Reviews Here

Violent Mistress (Revenge) - Maniac

After watching the original, I wrote Maniac the next day.
“Dude, check out this “Revenge” film from France. It’s straight up your alley.”
“Ha ha, V, already editing it.”
Film of the girlfriend at the hunting party, who does not want to be Miss Pass-Around, who then endures all sort of … well … you’ve already watched the original five times.
Filesize = 3.7 GB. Video = 1920 X 1080p AVC. Audio = 128 kbps, 2 Channel stereo AAC. Subtitles, yes. Hard coded, small sized.
At sixty-two minutes, Maniac has cut this pretty hard. Not to fear, what he excised were incidents and character establishing most would fast-forward through during repeat views.
The narrative holds nicely. The flourishes abide. The cliff jump, mushrooms, beer can BBQ, and blood.
Buckets and buckets of blood.
Bookending Mancini’s “Lujon” is very imaginative, setting a light tone of misdirection.

Note: Maniac has over 100 fanedits to his credit. Few romances, I’m afraid.
He is also a member of the OT community.
While his participation on the board is minimal, he does check his PMs (if his edits interest you).

FanEdit Reviews - Post Your Reviews Here

Doctor Who: ‘Fortress of the Daleks’ and ‘Invasion of the Daleks’ - TM2YC

TM2YC selected two of the weakest Doctor Who entries, the stand alone movies with Peter Cushing, and reedited each into three episodes, in keeping with the BBC series.
Futhermore, he decolored both, so they resembled the late 60’s (Hartnell and Troughton eras).

Terrific work all around. Not only in cutting, but in the decision to switch to black n white.
Not hard, sharp contrast black n white, either, but a scale similar to the late 60s, were well thought out.

Narrative - Fast moving episodes, much better than the original series which tended to drag several times.
This is an edit that could almost fit in the canon proper.

Enjoyment - To quote Danger Mouse’s sidekick, Penfold, “Crikey!”
Plenty here to enjoy, to appreciate, to brag about.
The extras, talk about goodies! Not only bonus material, but BBC voiceovers.
The main downside is Peter Cushing as the doctor.
His was not a portrayal I enjoyed. Don’t know whether this was his interpretation or straight from the script, but his addled, confused manner was more onset Alzheimer’s than brilliance. There was no way to excise him or add starch to his manner.
Cushing did not hurt my opinion of the edit, however. Indeed, TM2YC did quite a bit to maximize the action, and heighten the Daleks, and minimize Cushing’s fey doctor.
He is not Hartnell (let alone Pertwee), but these two stories can now stand in the same room as classic BBC Doctors.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Occhi di Cristallo - 2004 - 6/10
AKA - Eyes Of Crystal

A series of bizarre, ritualistic killings and dismemberments stymie the Italian police.
Clues are deliberately left at each scene, pointing, perhaps to the next murder.
Cleverly plotted, yet underlying this neo-Giallo is calculation.
The troubled detective, the damsel in distress who appeals to him, a senior detective with failing memory.
Gruesome, though not necessarily gory. The suggestiveness is effective.
Extremely well done, though it feels like it has pieced together from several other films.
The intricacy of this reminds me of El Cuerpo, but that came later, in 2012, and from Spain.
While I enjoyed throughout, afterward I felt I had watched an extended episode of a high budget cop show.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Amazon: What They Know About Us - 2020 - 6/10

Hey, it’s just a little bit of my privacy, right?
And there’s so much I get in return!
Documentary is not so much the rise and dominance of the commercial behemoth, but more it’s morphing into a data-mining and surveillance corporation.
Insiders include early employees and early investors. Few insiders are from 2006 onward.
Not necessarily chilling, unless you have an Alexa listening device in your home (one guy had 4).
And yes, Corporate employees do listen to recordings from inside homes, but those are random and anonymous, designed to make life better and easier.
Disclosure: Of the FAANGs, I shun four of them, but it is damn hard to bypass Amazon.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

We’ll Take Manhattan - 2012 - 6/10

1962, David Bailey and Jean Shrimpton land in New York to do a photo-shoot for Vogue.
Their chaperone, senior editor “Lady Clare” represents the tried and true, upper crust look.
Firebrand Bailey is brimming with new ideas, offbeat angles, freeform shooting.
In the middle is inexperienced Shrimpton, who lacks the class and looks of glamour doyens.
Sharp cinematography throughout. (How did they make the UN, which looked rundown last time I saw it, appear pristine?)
I think the history is so-so, yet acceptable.
My bride, however, steeped in “fashion,” from current to the 60’s of her youth, nitpicked every now and then.
Aside from songs, the score seems from Cool Jazz.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Pulgasari - 1985 - 5/10
AKA - Chosŏn’gŭl // 불가사리

Young males depart their beloved village to become mountain bandits and oppose the dastardly ruler.
The wicked despot, in turn, imprisons women and elders, and smelts their pots and shovels to make swords!
Ye, verily do the rich and powerful oppress the poor and weak.
Then, a miracle! A starving village smith fashions a small totem out of rice and mud.
The totem awakens, devours pins and nails, and Lo! begins to grow prodigiously.
Soon, the now towering metal force allies with villagers in sweeping battles with the malevolent king!
The growling beast would fit in with Japanese monsters, the feel is vintage Shaw Brothers.
Though cheap looking, there are numerous fights, thousands of extras, and the villainous tyrant is wily.
To be honest, I cut this North Korean goof fest some slack because … well … it’s the first film I’ve ever seen from that country.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

From Caligari To Hitler: German Cinema In The Age Of The Masses - 2014 - 8/10
AKA - Von Caligari Zu Hitler: Das Deutsche Kino im Zeitalter der Massen

Masterful documentary on Weimar cinema.
Although the focus is primarily on Murnau and Lang, numerous directors are profiled.
As well as piles of films. Note: the prints of most are outstanding.
The premise is of the vanished Weimar era, obliterated by National Socialism and World War II.
Can audiences get a feeling of the times, the people, the mood, via the movies made during that period?
For Silent buffs, this is extremely welcome, consider these two updated episodes from 1995‘s Cinema Europe.
I have watched easily two thirds of the films referenced, yet was thrilled to find other titles to track down.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Airplane II: The Sequel - 1982 - 6/10

Reused jokes, gags, and characters from 1980’s Airplane, itself a spoof of Zero Hour! (1957), and the 1970’s Airport franchise.
Maiden flight of the space shuttle Mayflower goes awry.
Passengers are doomed!
I had not seen the 1980 original since it played theatrically, so the jokes struck me as fine.
Many of the gags, and especially cameos, are dated. Only older viewers will “get them.”
The Zuckers are not involved with this, and it shows.
Woke warning: some jokes are sexist, homophobic, or have cultural stereotypes.
γνῶθι σεαυτόν

Shoutout to editor M77’s “Mayflower Madness,” an inspired short of this flick.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

They’re Playing With Fire - 1984 - 5/10

English professor hires besotted student to varnish her yacht.
Once aboard, she puts the moves on him, followed by the pink sticky.
Afterward, she asks if he can do a teeny, tiny little favor for her.
Of a criminal nature.
Lest you roll your eyes, she is not your sophomore English teacher, but steamy Sibyl Danning.

She disrobes often, keeping our dim lad baffled and motivated, while events swirl.
This claptrap thriller is part dime mystery, part Slasher, part horny teenager flick.
Bodies pile up, support characters come and go for no reason, atrocious 80’s generic songs.
Garbage, but I’ve seen worse, and I shall likely watch even more dismal fare in the future.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Daughter Of Darkness - 1948 - 6/10

Gothic take on the agent provocateur.
Emmy is shunned and ostracized by the women in a small Irish parish.
She seems mild mannered, reserved, fey even, yet males are drawn to her then driven to distraction.
Her lone protector is the priest, until village women order him to send her away.
Emmy relocates to a bucolic farm, where the females’ radar quickly flares.
Film is a sea of shadows and odd angles.
While Emmy is not a striking beauty, all of us have encountered plain faced honey pots.
Though she is aware of her siren quality, male desire seems repulsive.
Hers is an arresting character; as layers of innocence and naïveté peel away, there is a fundamental core of evil.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Color Out Of Space - 2019 - 5/10

“Hey, J J, listen to this! Nicolas Cage doing a Lovecraft movie!”
– Lovecraft. As in romance? Or Kama Sutra bouncing?
“A space rock strikes a farm in the backwoods! Then bizarre things start spreading out.”
– Oh, a remake of that “Annihilation” movie?
“No one believes the farmer, meanwhile colored lights turn everything weird.”
– Like in “Annihilation”? Only with crafty love sex, right? Like “Lifeforce”? Whoa! Loved that one! None of those tentacles and testicles though.
“Who needs sex when we got Cage! Who’s gonna go full-bore Nick Cage wacko in the last act.”
– What he does. Any partnership funding? Help defray costs?
“Yeah! Llama Owners Worldwide are kicking in $500 and fresh milk so long as we include llamas in the story.”
– OK, what’s another million, more or less. Who’s the target audience?
“Need you ask?”

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Sprengbagger 1010 - 1929 - 6/10
AKA - Explodigger 1010

After grueling nonstop work, Engineer Hartmann develops plans for a dynamite packing excavator.
Think gigantic strip mining machine.

Hartmann suffers burn out, so he heads to the bucolic countryside.
There farmers still harvest using scythes, horses draw wagons, and the windmill is the focus.
Relaxing, enjoying rural downtime, Hartmann discovers coal, a mountain of it, lies under the soil.
“Summon the explodigger!”
Film jerks back and forth between the stridency of machines and the lethargy of wheat.
To further hammer the message, our engineer is torn between his modern assistant and gentry lass.

Ham fisted tale, somewhat reminiscent of Metropolis, though lacking any subtlety.
Music, based on original score, is extremely aggressive, even in the backwoods.
Acting is over the top, by 1929 or any standards.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

La Storia Vera Della Signora Dalle Camelie - 1981 - 6/10
AKA - Lady Of The Camellias

Sumptuous dramatization of Alphonsine Plessis.
Her rise from impoverished beggar, to seamstress, prostitute, courtesan.
Difference between the latter two seems money. Clientele. Rich clientele.
Story rollicks along quick march, touching the bases of a shallow life.
Glossy trash.
Based on Marie Duplessis who was likely the Kim Kardashian of her era, and about as interesting.