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A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Nyrkki - 2019 - 7/10
AKA - Shadow Lines

Outstanding espionage thriller set in Cold War Finland.
Mid 1950’s, the nation had recently gained “independence” from the Soviets.
Helsinki becomes a locus of spies and intelligence agents.
The Fins desire advantages the West has on offer, but do not want to antagonize the Russian bear.
Real events that play out in the series include the return of the Porkkala Naval Base, and the contentious presidential election of 1956.

The production design is fantastic throughout. These folks really did their homework.
Period fashions, hairstyles, even makeup, all pretty accurate.
From vintage cars to music to dialogue (meaning, no modern phrases).
Writing is taut, with barely any fat, following the compact Finnish intelligence team as they maneuver between the KGB and the CIA, as well as politicians and military forces.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Where’s My Roy Cohn? - 2019 - 8/10

Ever wonder why democracy swallows poison? Because of gullible suckers, like you and me.
Beady-eyed documentary targets the corrupt legal gun for hire.
The whisperer in Senator McCarthy’s ear, Mafioso counselor, mentor to Trump.
Never concede, never apologize, attack, double-down, attack.
This seems fairly accurate (I’ve read about Cohn for decades).
If you want to see the US President’s coach, watch this.
Not that the serpent is a newcomer to the global garden.
The amoral individual endures across ancient Rome to Stalinist CCCP into current government cabinets.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Jour J - 2017 - 6/10
AKA - Wedding Unplanned

Juliette and Mathias meet at the costume party.
She takes a fancy to him and soon works him out of his Superman outfit and into her Wonder Woman.
Later … “Call me?” – “Uh, what, sure.” – “Here’s my card,” which she tucks into his clothes.
Next day, back in the flat he shares with blonde Alexia. “What’s this card? And who is Juliette?”
“What? Oh, that, oh, emm –”
“Juliette, wedding planner. Omigod! Yes! I mean, I do! What a surprise!!!”
Preparations begin. And who is hired to plan the nuptials?
Why, Mathias’ one night stand, Juliette, who, it transpires, Alexia knew and bullied when J was an ugly duckling.
Broad French comedy borrows from many films, but it moves briskly and the audience laughed frequently.
Chances are this is a good date film - unless - your date misinterprets this as a proposal hint.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Ford V Ferrari - 2019 - 7/10

High octane, deafening porn for gearheads.
A failed bid to acquire the house of Ferrari ends in a personal insult to Mr. Ford II.
Royally pissed, Ford decides to compete and win at Le Mans.
Key to this is enlisting Carroll Shelby, who insists on his acerbic driver, Ken Miles.
Three racing sequences are high points in tale of mechanics and creative sorts navigating the competitive arena as well as corporate interference.
According to my gearhead friends, overlooking some “Hollywoodisms,” the story is fairly accurate historically.
FvF is a classic, if old-fashioned, summer flick. Studio executives showed themselves to be just as moronic as Ford execs by releasing this in November.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Forbidden Door - 2009 - 6/10
AKA - Pintu Terlarang

Sculptor Gambir had an exhibition where all his works sold out.
He is a red hot property, married to a beautiful wife, envied by many, including close friends.
Is life great, or what?
Gambir would like to expand beyond his black cast sculptures (of heavily pregnant females), but is threatened with exposure if he does so.
His mother, wanting grandchildren, complains about his erectile dysfunction to everyone.
Graffiti messages distract him. Visions of a boy, brutally beaten. A secret establishment. The clinic.
Random voices. Pig masks. Stray, meaningless, characters. A narrative that grows incoherent.
Surreal mystery / thriller from Indonesia also doses arthouse, horror and gore.
While elements seem lifted from other films, writer-director Joko Anwar manages to stitch the threads by the end.
Hang with those credits, too!

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Not Of This Earth - 1957 - 6/10

Nifty drive-in horror from Roger Corman.
Large man in a suit, wearing sunglasses night and day, seeks blood transfusions.
He demands medical treatment, he hires a nurse, he stalks coeds, he befriends winos.
Sure enough, he is up to dodgy business. Worse, reference the title, he is not of this earth!
Advance scout for an invasion from Davanna.
Decent story. I appreciated that time is critical to the alien. Consequently, he has no time to “case the planet” so he makes mistakes more out of ignorance than anything else.
Fine leads were hired, although “star” Paul Birch notoriously stormed off the set, declaring, “I am an actor!”
One of Corman’s better films, and could have been excellent if the director wasn’t always in such a hurried rush.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Ordinary Love - 2019 - 7/10

Taking a shower, Joan notices a lump near her breast.
She calls husband Tom, he confirms.
From there on, they enter the machinery of big medical.
Surgery, chemo, hurried explanations.
Other patients drift by in the wards. For Joan, for viewers, ships that pass, fates unknown.
Lesley Manville and Liam Neeson show quiet chemistry as bantering couple, still nursing a previous calamity.
Film excels by avoiding heroic medicine, epic personalities.
Science, fate, faith, and the shared burden.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Web Of Death - 1976 - 6/10
AKA - Wu du tian luo // 五毒天羅

The deadly venom clan, feared throughout the martial arts world, eyes an upcoming competition.
If only they could deploy their dread Five Venom Spider weapon, then winning would be assured!
Yet the idol has been hidden for 100 years, to protect humanity.
Of course, the wicked covet it and concoct a plan.
Hectic Shaw Brothers flick abounds with over the top joys!
Foiled romance, lots of fighting, wonderful interior sets.

There must be five or six plotlines, or more, and a gamut of quarreling families.
I was especially taken of the layout of the Venom lair, stepping stones over a sea of acid.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Weinberg - 2015 - 7/10
AKA - The Valley

A man revives underneath a dead girl, bleeding him awake.
He stumbles into the village, alerts the authorities, who find – no body.
The next day he sees the same girl, very much alive, wearing the harvest princess outfit.
Alive just for the day, until night. Until darkness gathers and the wraith.

Our protagonist, a drifter with amnesia, is in the middle of a history of murders.
The remote village is a haunted landscape of mist, autumnal decay, and buried secrets.
Part horror, part mystery, more than anything - for lack of a better word - weird.
With every scandal unearthed, corruption revealed, sin exposed, the adversary exalts.
Imaginative, six-part Gothic labyrinth from Germany.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Styria - 2014 - 6/10
AKA - Angels Of Darkness

Circa 1989, professor crosses into Communist Hungary, brooding daughter in backseat.
Old paintings from a long closed sanitarium have been found and are meant to be shipped to England.
The professor has a chequered brief, the daughter is a cutter, and mom … they don’t discuss mom.
Troubled female slips into their midst one evening, and the area slowly stumbles back 300 years.
The new arrival is named Carmilla, but apparently none of characters are familiar with Le Fanu.
Half-lit film, shot in Hungary, borrows from the classic book, but is updated and spins its own silk on the thread.
Much is seen from teenage Lara’s viewpoint, and she is confused and haunted.
Dreams contest with ill memory and sordid reality, not only in the sanitarium.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Knives Out - 2019 - 7/10

The family sire is found in his attic study. Dead. Throat slit.
Sure looks like a suicide, decide law enforcement types.
Strangely enough, person(s) unknown hired a renowned private detective.
And he, assuming there is more than meets the eye, zeroes in on the elder man’s personal nurse.

The story is one of lies, more lies, differing points of view, and backstabbing agendas.
Droll, with bitter humor, interviews peel away at potential heirs, guarding secrets.
Too clever for its own good, and with one too many twists that strain plausibility.
Thus noted, the tone mirrors the sour zeitgeist we have found ourselves in, and makes for a gallows watch.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Atiye: S01 - 2019 - 6/10
AKA - The Gift

An Istanbul artist begins having visions after seeing reports from an archeological dig.
Found cave drawings eerily mirror the artistic motif she has used for years.
Her family is unnerved by her awakening second sight. Whispers mention a dead grandmother.
Furthermore, she is engaged. Her fiancé’s family is rich, powerful, and wants a “traditional” daughter-in-law.
On the plus, beautiful exterior photography, and a mystery suffused with the spiritual and supernatural elements (pre-Islamic shamanistic rituals).
Negative, the script was sloppy, worsening as it progressed.
The majority of the acting bordered on melodramatic at times.
Lead actor, Beren Saat, rolls her eyes and makes dismissive expressions throughout. Akin to “nudge-nudge wink-wink, yes this show is so beneath me,” which is regrettable.
Moreover, the characters consistently did stupid things.
The ending is vague, unexplained, open to interpretation, open ended - but - I am OK with that.

FanEdit Reviews - Post Your Reviews Here

Raiding The Lost Ark - Jamie Benning

Labor of love by Jamie Benning and must see for Indiana Jones fans. Imaginative blending of Raiders real-time footage with interviews from numerous sources, as well as pop up comments and screen comparisons. Storyboards, outtakes, as well as home movies used. The documentary is dense with information and may necessitate multiple viewings. The edit itself is incredibly well executed, it feels seamless.

Currently available on Vimeo (as of 2020 06) in several resolutions and I would urge the viewer to seek the highest level possible. Image quality is all over the scale, depending on source materials. Outtakes are often fuzzy, production or home movies are passable. Editing is skillful throughout, and there is strict adherence to chronological sequence.

No subs, though there are fact pop ups during the entire doc. Preference given to voiceovers. Quality varies, though everyone is comprehensible. Possible exception being Harrison Ford, especially the later interviews. His voice does not always seem properly miked or he mumbles. Not a major issue.

Generous wealth of details, untold stories, missing scenes to thrill all fans. Two lost details come to mind:

  1. Early on, after Dr. René Belloq gets the gold fertility statue, the Hovitos take it away from him.
  2. When Indy and Sallah consult the imam, he warns them not to touch the actual ark, nor to open their eyes if it is opened.

Truly a wonderful companion to your DVD.


FanEdit Reviews - Post Your Reviews Here

Derelict (Alien / Prometheus) - Job Willins

Soon after Prometheus was released, essays appeared noting the similarities with Alien.
Not that the latter film was a reboot or remake, but that there were structural and narrative echoes.
The Derelict fan-edit aligns the parallel stories into one viewing experience. Black n white, by the way.

There was substantial cutting, and both narratives suffer. Each is barely more than a glorified pitch.
No character development and the first half drags.
Nevertheless, I liked this quite a bit as it was a clinic on detailing the mirrored elements of both films: strong females, corporate agendas, soulless androids.
Similar interior designs - harsh exteriors.
By the end, I wondered how much of the similarity was deliberate, how much was subconscious.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Kelin - 2009 - 7/10

Beautiful, leisurely paced film evokes Parajanov.
Two men barter with the father of a young girl.
Even though she already loves one, the rival bids more, and carries off his bride.

From there, the story is life and survival in remote Kazakhstan.
Sometime between 200-300 AD.
No subtitles, but no dialogue, either.
The yurt interior is cramped and lacks privacy.
Outside, beautiful, if stark, mountainous landscape.

Worth tracking down if curious. Devotees of “world cinema,” this is a must.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Inugami Family - 1976 - 7/10
AKA - Inugami-ke No Ichizoku // 犬神家の一族[

Family assembles around the patriarch as he rattles his way to the reaper.
Several greedy descendants, one last will and legacy, one lone heir.
Even before the reading, one of the attorneys is murdered.
As is ever the case, there is always another lawyer.
After the codicils and stipulations are read, the killings increase.
This film contains odd characters, and odder goings on.
So much so, that midway I paused to research to see if this was based on a Rampo story.
No, but the story would easily fit into his world.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Good Liar - 2019 - 7/10

From the opening strokes, as Betty and Roy type falsehoods in their online dating profiles, we are informed that both have a loose relationship with the truth.
Viewers should keep this in mind as the couple glide into a “relationship” and contemplate pooling bank accounts.
Obvious transparencies cleverly mask undercurrents and backstories.
Buffs who prefer their thrillers cold and cozy will find this a repellent joy to savor.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Invisible Man - 2020 - 5/10

A wife escapes her ultra rich, abusive husband in the middle of the night.
(Cliché of the dominating male has been used umpteen times.)
She hides in terror, he is a tech guru and … well … can anyone really hide nowadays?
15 minutes in, the crisis is over, threat vanished. Cecilia can relax her guard.
Then, as she stares at empty spaces, one wonders if she is losing her mind.

Slick looking tech effects, used late and sparingly, that would have been WOW!! 20 years ago.
The first hour is excruciatingly slow, and aside from the tech angle, this is a rehash.
Panders to victim mentality. Cynical me wonders if the writer/director calculated this for a Me-Too audience.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Linkeroever - 2008 - 6/10
AKA - Left Bank

Borderline for me, this. Well worn tropes, but handsomely presented.
As runner Marie prepares for upcoming world championships, she meets the archery ace.
The attraction is mutual and carnal athletics all but immediate.
Her fortunes start to sour, however, after she moves into his posh high rise abode.
Over on the left bank, the side of the river said to be cursed, haunted.
Moreover, whispers of the upcoming Samhain festivities mean little to her, nor do her physical afflictions.
First half is a character study, sure to annoy goreboys, though abundant nudity and fluid swapping will hold their interest.
There is a lack of internal logic in the narrative, and Marie’s deficient feminine intuition is hard to believe.
Too bad. This little seen Belgium horror flick deserves a wider audience.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Framed For Murder: A Fixer Upper - 2017 - 5/10

“Really?” I asked. “Where do you find these films?”
“They are popular, they’re fun. Murder and romance.”
Who was I to argue? Besides, as I’ve said countless times, I never argue with females, I don’t have the stamina.
Anyway … Jewel (the folkie singer who splashed in the 90’s) plays a home remodeling contractor in New England or Newfoundland.
After her uncle dies following a fall, she becomes an amateur sleuth, determined to unearth the truth.
Luckily for her, her newest client bought a ramshackle mansion and hires her to renovate.
Ooh, and he’s a crime writer, who wants to help.
Predictable formula, decent photography, acting is passable.

I was disparaging this movie throughout.
"What writer makes enough money to buy a mansion? Stephen King?
"Jewel and that guy? He looks old enough to be her dad!
"That man can’t change his own flat tire? What a wussie.
"Those extras don’t even know how to hold a hammer.
“You don’t strip off wallpaper with an orbital sander!”
Meanwhile, the women next to me -
“She’s had work, look at those cheekbones.”
“Her upper lip doesn’t move at all.”
“That’s Buttery Blonde, I thought of going that way.”
“Those teeth need caps and whitening.”
Jewel fans, she sings one, too.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Goodnight Brooklyn - 2016 - 7/10

The last days of the Brooklyn music club, Death By Audio.
Told by some of the bands who performed there, people who launched the venue, and employees.
Who’s not there? The landlord, who was delighted that anyone would want to rent a building that should have been demolished.
Until, Brooklyn became trendy and the property worth a goldmine.
Who else declines to participate? Why, the new building neighbors, who coveted, then pushed out the club.
Vice Media, who built their credibility being edgy, friendly to the underground.
Enjoyable documentary, though a familiar, if sad tale.
Clubs disappear all the time. CBGB, The Cavern, The Sands, Gazzarri’s, Bronco Bowl, The Ad Lib, Le Chabanais…

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

La Frusta e il Corpo - 1963 - 6/10
AKA - The Whip And The Body

Listed as Horror, this is more of a high Gothic bodice ripper.
Disgraced young noble returns to family manor after his brother marries.
Kurt (Christopher Lee) is a ne’er do well, disowned by his father, loathed by other family members.
The next day, he meets new bride Nevenka on the beach and whips her backside until her blouse rips apart.
She resists Kurt’s droit du seigneur, sorta, even as she grows sexually aroused.
Cries of protest yield to more guttural urgings once the pair fuse.
Narrative features twists, but the tainted relationship between Kurt and Nevenka is the core.
Style dominates substance in this Italian potboiler directed by Bava.
Burnished interiors, plenty of creative camera-work (color filters, dramatic lighting).

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Un Témoin Dans la Ville - 1959 - 6/10
AKA - Witness In the City

The train screams through the French countryside.
Masking the frantic shrieks she makes as she …
Well, the affair was over, she was clingy, and she already had a husband.
She committed suicide. Yeah! That was it!
There is a loose end, however. In fact, from one frayed end another unravels.
The path darkens to murder. Tracking, hunting, elimination.
Film has a marvelous sense of place. Midnight Paris.
Neon, strip clubs, coffee shops, cheap hotels, bars.
Shadowy couples, fugitives, night owls.
All relying on ferrymen for hire. City taxi drivers.
Whose jaded eyes know all the doors of disgrace and desire.
Moody jazz score enhances classic Noir of best laid plans and loose ends.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Blackout - 2019 - 5/10
AKA - Avanpost (Last Outpost) // Аванпост

Buckle up. The menace is unknown and powerful, and coming hard.
First, electricity and communications went out, planetwide. No intel.
A limited area staggers on, Finland, Ukraine, eastern Russia. Beyond lies a wasteland of death.
At the edge of the mystery, Kirov. Where the battalion sets up an outpost.
OK SciFi thriller goes on much too long, and suffers way too much shooting, resembling a game.
The “mystery” gets explained in talky exposition, the resolution is wtf.
Character chemistry is juvenile, akin to dozens of films with male-female squads.
The dubbed version has inferior voice actors.
Even though I’m kicking this, there is a lot to enjoy and I believe others will like more than I did.
To its credit, locations remain Russian, characters names are Russian, and when outages first unfold, neither the authorities nor news media blame other nations.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Black Magic - 1975 - 6/10
AKA - Gong Tau // 降頭

Consider Luo Yin. Rich widow, very sexy, owns a construction firm, sports car, designer fashions.
She burns for Xu Nuo, her engineer, but no … he loves drab, poor but honest, goody Chu-ying.
If only Luo Yin can get her claws into him, enfold him in the sticky petals, then he won’t look at another.

What to do? How about contacting a rogue shaman, priest, magician.
Love spells for a price, death spells for a bigger price.
Trashy Shaw Brothers film sports nudity and bed bouncing, maggots and murder.
Rather languid first half picks up tempo midway and never looks back.
Over the top finale boasts wild effects. The fact they are so dated actually helps.
I’m not even going into the sleazy juiciness of the deceitful shaman.