logo Sign In


User Group
Join date
Last activity

Post History

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Meet Boston Blackie - 1941 - 6/10

First of a long running series is a solid mystery, boasting pre-Noir photography.
Chester Morris is the breezy Blackie, reformed thief (although his main nemesis, Inspector Farraday, never believes that).
In between romancing attractive females and damsels in distress, Blackie solves the crime de jour.
This outing, Nazi spies and German submarines out beyond Coney Island.
No great shakes, but engaging and entertaining.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Dresser - 1983 - 7/10

The aging “ACTOR” working repertory, touring the provinces in wartime England.
It’s a living – barely – but the salad days are behind, both for him and his dresser who comes across as something between a batman and a one-man cheerleading team.
A sharp eye examines the deprivations and frugality of the period, as well as the aging men.
Trying to do “King Lear” on a slender budget.
Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay are peerless.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Big Broadcast Of 1938 - 1938 - 5/10

Last fling of a mediocre franchise.
Skits and musical numbers in fast-paced if dull retread. A formula gone tired.
Bob Hope sings, what will be his signature song, “Thanks For The Memory” (assuming viewers still remember who Hope was, let alone his song).
W C Fields romps through chaotically funny scenes, although few and far between.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Young Lovers - 2021 - 5/10
AKA - Les Jeunes Amants

Late shift, Dr. Pierre meets Shauna, friend of a dying patient, before she disappears.
Fast forward sixteen years, and Pierre and Shauna meet again.
He remembers her, she does not recall him.
She is 70. He is in his 50’s, married, yet smitten.
Why? What do they have in common? Where is the attraction?
Older woman, younger man story, sans logic, sans rationale.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Snake Sisters - 1984 - 5/10

The snake lays sixteen eggs; three extra large ones hatch out as human females.
Life is idyllic on the tiny island until the females begin menstruating.
Then they start seeking another sort of snake.
Nudity throughout, quite a bit of sex, and eating (implied) of animals.
I don’t know the history, so don’t know if this is pure fantasy or based on Filipino folklore.
Definitely a curio, and perhaps more for seekers of such.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Daughters Who Pay - 1926 - 6/10

Foolish Larry confesses his difficulties to sister, Margaret.
He has embezzled company funds to play the stock market and has lost $10K.
She pleas with his boss, who has his own troubles.
His son is smitten with a cabaret dancer, the exotic Sonia.
Sonia, a Russian expat, is imperiled by the local Communist cell.
Overly complicated, but the narrative moves swiftly.
Marguerite de la Motte is striking throughout, centering the movie.
Nevertheless, anytime the head baddie appears (Bela Lugosi) his face holds the screen.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre - 2023 - 6/10

A team murders their way to a crack theft and the British government activates a rogue unit.
Next, the unit jets from one location to the next while the plot breathlessly keeps pace.
Brisk, extremely brisk, Guy Ritchie caper film has few lulls.
Photography and settings mirror Bond or Mission Impossible franchises.
Jason Statham helms the team, delivers one-liners and is an unstoppable fighting machine.
Hugh Grant and Josh Harmett both extremely funny throughout.
Guy Ritchie could do this in his sleep, but I enjoyed more this one than his last few outings.
Diverting, if mindless popcorn.

What are you reading?

Joshi, S T - Something From Below

Well – actually the something is from beyond, perhaps above and beyond,
A meteorite. Which somehow finds its way deep into the coal mine.
After the unexplained death of her Pa, college grad Alison, chemistry major and rural oblivion escapee, reluctantly returns to the homestead, digging for answers.
Locals are close lipped, no one knows nuthin’. She perseveres, and we get this novella.
Mr Joshi keeps this potboiler a low simmer, although there ain’t much by way of meat or vegetables in this SciFi / Horror stew.
Talking, asking, theorizing, guessing, footwork, midnight excavations.
The story leans against HPL’s “The Colour Out Of Space”, and the conclusion feels like hashed goods.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Nightingale - 2018 - 7/10

1825, the English redcoats struggle to civilize the Australian Outback, what would become Tasmania.
Wholesale genocide of local tribes, and the use / abuse of convict labor – slaves.
Women are property, tribal women, rape holes.
Clare is Irish, attractive, too attractive, and the English lieutenant takes her by force.
She is, after all, property. Then events take an uglier turn.

Ostensibly a tale of boiling vengeance, strung out over several days.
Also growing understanding, tolerance, then acceptance, amidst barbarity and brutality.
Revenge runs deep, though, and the vast majority of the populace, citizens and enforcers, hide blood soaked hands.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Jude - 1996 - 6/10

Jude is intelligent, but working class. And in 1895, class is preeminent.
No matter how intelligent he is, university doors are firmly closed.
His marriage falters and the subsequent affair whit his cousin bucks social conventions.
Well acted, and fairly faithful to the Thomas Hardy novel I had to read in college.
This is, however, bleak, depressing, brutal and tough sledding throughout.
Edinburgh photography, the Scottish grey, adds considerably.
Kate Winslet, as the free spirit, crushed, is unforgettable.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World - 2017 - 6/10

Early on, we see a stand-in for Link Wray power chording his hit, “Rumble”.
The high points are the main contributors. Wray, Buffy Saint Marie, Redbone, Mildred Bailey, Robbie Robertson, Jesse Ed Davis, Randy Castillo, Charley Patton.
These stories enrich the proceedings, although the chronology is jumbled.
Other speakers, such as talking heads, often come across as climbing a bandwagon, wanting to be part.
Then again, others claim heritage, which I found distracting.
My life, I’ve heard boasts of having 1/16th or 1/32nd or 1/64th percent of tribal blood.
Most of the doc is intelligent and informative, but a handful of wannabees soured this a little.
Tuscarora section is a gem.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Paris Police 1900 - 2021 - 7/10

Perhaps better for French history majors, but one should be able to keep up with references.
In this case, the ongoing, divisive Dreyfus Affair, which the military is unable to cover-up, and agitators are exploiting.
The root is anti-Semitism, which, like any hatred, is a toxic stew of hatred of the other, self-hatred and fear.
Dreyfus is background to the sexual intrigues, assassinations, beatings, animal cruelty.
And yes, the treatment of animals in this is fairly shocking.
E07 ends on a momentous cliffhanger. The resolution of that is particularly lame.
Excellent series, and I plan to view the followup, Paris Police 1905.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Ultimate Degenerate - 1969 - 4/10

Maria, bored with her lesbian exhibitionism, answers a classifieds for sex-work.
Soon she is involved in nude go-go dancing, whipped cream, striptease, cigar stuffing.

The “boss” is a wheelchair confined nutjob, into sadism and accidental murder.
Lots of photographs are taken, inventive usage of corncobs, bondage, I lost track.
Full nude throughout, although not necessarily arousing.

The music consists of classical chamber, bachelor pad lounge, bump ‘n grind.
Smutty peep show concludes with an orgy of sadism.
Note: My opening titles read “The Degenerate”. No “Ultimate”.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Miracle Club - 2023 - 6/10

1967, and the faithful, hopeful, still pray that a miracle may happen at Lourdes.
Four women, one with a son, the other three with a bitter history.
One has just traveled from Boston for her estranged mother’s funeral.
They take the bus, then the ferry, only to find hotel rooms must be shared.
A drama of grievances, a sad history that will never stay buried, possible forgiveness.
Some of the side-stories (menfolk) are cliché, but this is a warm Irish film, with plenty of salt.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Anonymous Heroes - 1971 - 6/10
AKA - Wu Ming Ying Xiong // 無名英雄

Light-hearted adventure set between the Chinese revolutionary period and WWII.
Japanese are referenced, but they are only supplying weapons at this stage.
Two devil-may-care brothers agree to help the revolutionaries, and are joined by a feisty female.
While this boasts numerous action sequences, the narrative moves along.
The planning, the theft, a wild chase involving a train and galloping horsemen.
I don’t really know the history of that era, so I’m sure I missed out on references.
Nevertheless, what a wild ride, with a trio of charmers.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Forest Of The Missing - 2022 - 6/10
AKA - La Forêt des Disparus

A series of graves are discovered in the borderland between France and Germany.
All men, all murdered. From recently to decades earlier.
Jurisdiction is murky, so both nations share in the investigation.
As does a judge currently on hiatus, suffering amnesia, though disturbed by flashbacks.
In and of itself, the plot is thin broth, although there are compelling side stories and detours.
The core is feminist empowerment, which I could never decide if it was preachy or mirrored today’s cultural zeitgeist.

What are you reading?

Esquinca, Bernardo - The Secret Life Of Insects

The land of the dead. Where old gods sense their time of return is nigh. Where Aztec dancers pound the turista square by day, yield the nights to forces more ancient.

Dragan’s wife purchased the baby chair at a deep discounter. The chair made odd noises. Curious, Dragan read the print on the back. Ligotti Industries. “The Wizard’s Hour” follows Dragan in his search for the maker of the chairs, and the shaper of dreams.

Other dreams intrude on the writer. He could seek therapy, drugs, yet either may stifle his creativity. In “The Paradoxical Man” he decides to seek a solution at the Order of the Crow. And his nightmares worsen.

Laurinda longed for Raúl, enough to cast a spell on him. Fate, though, does play those cruel jests. “Come To Me” finds Laurinda continue with the magic, even as results grow ever direr.

In the world of urban sprawl, frantic bustle, the grinding jaws of technology, one might assume there is no place for older gods, particularly Pan. On the contrary, in “Pan’s Noontide” it soon become apparent others are not convinced of the ordained dominance of technology, and they toil determinedly to revive a forgotten cult.

There are several illustrations enhancing the stories (not just random images).
An imaginative collection, especially for those who may have wandered Mexico’s streets by night, who have witnessed the dance, who have sensed the violence and sacrificed still simmering under the mask.

As of this review (2023 11 07) there remain signed copies for the HC, at NO additional charge. Please, support presses such as Valencourt, who go the extra length for readers, and buy direct.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Wake In Fright - 1971 - 7/10

Beware, beware, beware.
School is out for the six week Christmas break.
Teacher John Grant is bound for the Sydney beach and his girlfriend.
First, a stopover in Bundanyabba, where he gets caught up in local pastimes of drinking, carousing, gambling.
Gambling to the extent that he loses all his money and has to stay.
Australian outback presages Mad Max and Wolf Creek and is scarier than either.
Be warned, the midnight kangaroo hunt is just that – an actual hunt with dozens of killings.
Otherwise, this will stay with you for months, perhaps haunt you enough to stay home this year.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Fist Of Legend - 1994 - 7/10
AKA - Jing wu Ying Xiong // 精武英雄

Martial arts master Chen Zhen returns to a troubled Shanghai.
Time is 1937, and the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War.
Chen’s teacher had been killed in a duel with a karate master, and Zhen suspects foul play.
True or not, honor is now at stake, for the Chinese, for the Japanese.
Perhaps Jet Li’s finest film, with outstanding fights.
By this time, however, his onscreen personal of dour & sour stone face is entrenched.
Final duel with General Fujita is classic Hong Kong cinema.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Mouths Of Sand - 2020 - 7/10
AKA - Hondar Ahoak

Recently reactivated Inspector Garcia is called in about the disappearance of Captain Josu.
Everyone in the small Basque port assumes Josu is dead, and refers to him in the past tense.
As with most mysteries, there is thicket of suspects with motives.
Josu had been convicted of smuggling and drug-running a decade earlier.
Inspector Garcia pursues the drug angle, rather than the disappearance proper.
Upsetting the entire local equilibrium and economy.
Unusual mix of legends and mysticism adds color to this short series.
Spanish production, although Basque is the primary language.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Ice Station Zebra - 1968 - 6/10

Big cast, slow-moving twaddle
After a satellite crashes in the Arctic, a US submarine is dispatched to rescue a British contingent there.
Soviet MiG fighters are also enroute. Rescue? Please. The satellite is an early spy satellite.
The effects are impressive, lots of model work.
The story drags, characters are too muddled, there is little tension for a thriller.
At two and a half hours, a cut of thirty minutes would have helped.
Based on an Alistair MacLean novel, although not as popular as other film adaptations.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Last Voyage - 1960 - 6/10

Ocean liner disaster flick slots somewhere between A Night To Remember (1958) and Titanic (1997).
Robert Stack leads a sizable cast, although Woody Strode steals the movie as the engine stoker.
An aging vessel, on its final Pacific crossing, suffers and explosion and begins to leak.
Stack’s wife is trapped between steel, and the waters rise closer.
The narrative shifts between crew and passengers in rapid paced Hollywood adventure.
George Sanders quite good as the captain who refuses to accept events.
Predictable, although not as hammy as the highfalutin nonsense in 1997.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Wild Reeds - 1994 - 7/10
AKA - Les Roseaux Sauvages

Coming of age * film of three (perhaps four) students
Cramming for their baccalauréat, exploring (questioning) their sexuality, worrying about their futures.
A constant background presence is France’s ongoing war with Algeria, and the upcoming, mandatory service.
Held my interest throughout, and I generally dislike films with children or young adults.
These are intelligent, and either intellectual or self-aware.

  • Coming of age? I know adults in their 60’s who are still adolescents. Many never grow up.
A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Stop Nyqvist - 2022 - 6/10
AKA - Pysäyttäkää Nyqvist

Heads at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs want a patsy to blame for their own blunders.
Foolish intern Nyqvist is pushed to the head a newly founded secret service.
Thing is, Nyqvist is motivated and earnest. A go-getter.
Hoping to impress his Finnish bosses, he sinks a sub!
International crisis #1. Then he realizes he has a highly proficient assassin on his team.
Later, two assassins!
A Swedish hitman arrives to whack our hero.
Eight part series spoofs espionage thrillers, though I confess some Finland references eluded me.