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A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Macabro - 1980 - 6/10
AKA - Macabre

Jane is supposed to take her children to a movie.
Instead, she leaves them so she can kick the sheets with rough ‘n ready Fred.

Fred, who rhymes with dead! Which, 13’ in, is what he is, along with one of Jane’s children.
Drama, set in New Orleans, oozes sleaze and obsession.
Interiors are faded antebellum. Wrought iron, lace, armoires, amid cheap mod-cons.
Throughout, characters spy on each other, even one who is blind.
Storywise, there is a lock and a secret behind (which I suspect most will guess).
Word of advice, try not to imagine what Jane is doing with “the secret.”
Twisted Lanberto Bava film is not Horror, not Giallo, but seedy trash and perfect for those who have a taste for such.
The girl who played daughter Lisa (Veronica Zinny) had an expressive face. This was her only film.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Beats - 2019 - 7/10

Mom’s new boyfriend is a copper, and he wants to move her family to a nicer borough.
Away from “scum” elements, meaning Johnno’s mate, Spanner.
Scotland, 1994, the government has banned gatherings around music consisting of repetitive beats.
Techno, industrial, dubstep. "The only good system is a sound system.”
Illegal raves are shuttered by police with brute force. “Know your role, shut your hole.”

Johnno and Spanner catch wind of an upcoming event, and they are mad to attend.
“Don’t be a slave, come to the rave!”
This view of Scotland consists of deserted backstreets and empty wastes.
Use of black n white heightens the emptiness of their daily world.
Adults repressing teens must be ingrained in all mammals. This story is old, but it is edgy and manages to shake off the ancient dust. (Quotes above are from the film, which is peppered with gems.)

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Frankie Boyle: Hurt Like You’ve Never Been Loved - 2016 - 6/10

Comedian Frankie Boyle in hometown Glasgow, before an adoring crowd.
An hour of humor, while not specifically offensive, will manage to offend many.
Rich and powerful are OK targets. Those Mr. Boyle calls “Elites.”
Polio victims, though? Well, so long as they are examples and not punchlines.
Pedophiles? Depends on who gives, who receives.
I had watched Boyle for years on “Mock The Week.”
A lot of his material is laugh out loud funny, a lot is deliberately insensitive. Like this stand-up outing.
Mr. Boyle reminds me of Donald Trump and an infinite number of obnoxious souls. The rancor, the contemptuous belittling of anyone and everyone, the entitled self justification.
Neither men are unique. They simply represent the prevailing attitude (echoed in the real world and in the virtual world) of “I’m right, I’m right, I’m always right, and you better know it!”

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Tokyo Vampire Hotel - 2017 - 5/10
AKA - 東京ヴァンパイアホテル

I started watching this two … three years ago.
Colossal expectations curdled into disappointment.
For centuries, clan Corvin has dominated clan Dracula in the vampire hierarchy.
With the fulfilling of an ancient prophecy, out come the knives, guns and teeth of clan Dracula.
The opening episodes are ballistic and excessive.

Would that writer / director Sion Sono maintain this intensity and plotting.
Alas, he shot his wad in the first installments.
Afterwards, any madness he can imagine, he tosses into the mix.
If that fails, he repeats action sequences and verbal histrionics.
Repetition grows tedious. As the plot advances nary an inch, viewing becomes a slog.
Too bad, for this ten part series boasts eye-popping color design and extravagant costumes.

Acting is bellicose and over the top in the midsection. Screaming, then fighting.
The series is a confused mess, seemingly aimed with one eye toward the American market.
Meaning, wagons of violence, blood and gore, but scarcely any nudity (odd, since human characters are ordered to start making babies for future blood supply).
The last three episodes move on surer footing. A haunting melancholy pervades.
I’ve written more than usual about this series, primarily because of the director and the blistering opening.
This had the making of an astounding show. Until it began wallowing in its own self conceit.
Caveat emptor.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

This House - 2013 - 7/10

Theatre junkies, take heart!
During the Covid lockdown, the National Theatre began limited airing of stage classics.
In 1974, Labour returns to power, ousting the Heath Administration.
Theirs is a slim majority, however, so they must form coalitions and make deals to retain power.
Play follows whips from Conservatives and Labour as they maneuver, coerce, promise, swear.
By turns profane, funny, poignant, and scathing.
The workings of government is often equated to the making of sausage.
Outstanding theatre, brilliantly delivered.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Broadway Love - 1918 - 5/10

Small town Midge tries her luck on Broadway.
High-flying friend, Cherry Blow, invites her to her nonstop flapper parties,
Both are chorus girls, but Cherry knows how to drain men’s wallets, and their mojo…
Several contrived romantic adventures follow, as does Midge’s ex beau, trying to propose.
The wild parties are fun, but the menfolk are a dull lot.
More so is Midge, played by low-wattage Dorothy Phillips, who had a career playing prim, wholesome types.
Juanita (anyone got cocaine?) Hansen plays the gold digging Cherry.
Eve Southern has small, smoking role as girl who flirts with Midge’s small town suitor.
Who’s the suitor? Lon Chaney!
With this cast, and different script, oh, if only.
The print I saw was OK.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Hunt - 2020 - 6/10

A passel of gagged strangers wake up in woodlands, far, far from home.
They make their way to a clearing and open a big ole crate, stuffed with weapons.
Whoo dog!
Better, most of these folks display ready familiarity with firearms and ammo.
Straight off, they recognize they’ve been setup by the Illuminati, or the Elites, or the 1%.
The shadow government, the deep state. And they could be right…
But then the killing starts.
Terrifically funny film, a carnival ride into “most dangerous game” territory.
Peppered with references to bleeding heart liberal know-it-alls, and 2nd Amendment gun happy survivalists.
For now, both sides of the US political spectrum are crying foul. Crybabies.
This may date badly in ten years, so saddle up already!

What are you reading?

Lorrain, Jean - Monsieur Du Phocas

The young, fashionable aristocrat Duc de Fréneuse (before he used the more common, Phocas) falls under the corrupting influence of a cynical, decadent artist.
Fortunately for us, he leaves behind his somewhat rambling journal with a stranger, whom he believes / hopes is of sympathetic disposition.
Drugs, debaucheries, old loves gone to seed, vipers and backstabbers.
Not Pooh Corner, this. Rather Dorian Gray with mentors less elegant than Lord Henry.
This is on par with Huysmans’ “À Reboirs” (I found Lorrain easier reading), and a milepost of the French fin de siècle.
The Tartarus edition has an excellent introduction, with numerous photographs of players of the era.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Aterrados - 2017 - 7/10
AKA - Terrified

Enjoyment of this may depend on ones suspension of disbelief, or suspension of logic.
Within five minutes, you realize this house is haunted.
Yet the homeowners, and adjoining neighbor, close their eyes or pull the sheet over their heads.
The “presence” is not a friendly spirit.
This prologue sets the stage for the paranormal crew, experts with tech gear.
Film has a forbidding, claustrophobic tension throughout.
Limited backstory, though I accepted the segmented theory suggested by one.
Score based on how well done this is, though characters’ common sense is negative.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Nightflyers - 2019 - 4/10

SciFi fans, me included, are easy suckers, desperate to watch space bits, knowing we will never personally venture there, and it is in increasingly unlikely any human will in a generation or two.
Anyway, planet Earth is dying! Pollution, disease, global incineration, over population, the gamut!
Meanwhile, out near the rim of our solar system, there is an alien craft.
We try to make contact, it hurries away.
(Why would aliens flee from an infectious, self-destructive, crazy species, carrying weapons?)
Luckily for humanity, we have one spaceship, the Nightflyer, and it sets forth!
Early on, I knew this was going to blow, even though initial IMDB ratings were 8/10.
First warning, 20+ producers in the opening credits, including the Big Cheese*.
The plot is cobbled together twaddle, lacking logic and focus. Acting, across the board, is Grade D ham.
Ropy special effects, blinky lights designed to excite easily dazzled boys and manboys.
The ship is huge. Private quarters are the size of a living room. Corridors, five can walk abreast. Instead of crawl ducts, there is an under corridor! For all that, interiors are dark. As if they cannot pay the light bill.
Personnel are all nonstarters who would have been rejected by Weyland Corp in the first interview.
I could go on and on, at this waste of time that gives zilch entertainment.
Do yourself a favor, watch episodes of the immortal “Pigs In Space” instead.

  • The Big Cheese, AKA Geo RR Martin.
    Working on this fiasco, instead of finishing that fire n ice thing that millions are waiting for.
    Nice choice, genius.
A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Love, Cecil - 2017 - 8/10

Superb documentary of modern Renaissance artist, Cecil Beaton.
Photographer, painter, writer, designer, confidant – ha, less so with the latter.
He hit his stride with the Bright Young Things and Guinness Girls.
Meaning, landed gentry, the titled, faded nobility, the rich and famous of his youth.
Then he found work with actual royalty, the Windsor line.
Not bad for the aspirational class.
There is an undercurrent to Beaton, however, a palpable seething resentment and envy.
That barbed, keen edge lends bite to a not so feel good life.
The narration also supplies a sly wisdom to prospective artists and artistes.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Place - 2017 - 7/10

Slow burn Italian thriller / mystery set inside busy cafe known as The Place.
Solitary man with thick, tattered notebook spends most of his days there.
One by one, an endless string of guests sit across from him and make appeals.
Minor favors, life or death, or miracles. “It’s doable,” he says.
For a cost, a task. One that will test their humanity.
The stranger is not so much confessor or godfather, but interlocutor or middle man.
Not necessarily for good, either.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Gentlemen - 2019 - 6/10

Fun, return to “form” for director Guy Ritchie.
Shaggy dog tale of reefer baron hoping to ease into gentrified retirement.
Usurpers, sensing the king may be weakening, began to attack on multiple fronts.
The plot is pieced together by an oily, blackmailing tabloid reporter (Hugh Grant).
As with previous Ritchie crime dramas, confusion slowly coalesces into a tight finish.
Should please fans very much.
As far as return to “form,” Mr. Ritchie as a writer and director has grown barely any since Lock Stock Two Smoking Barrels almost 20 years ago.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Doriana Grey - 1976 - 5/10
AKA - Die Marquise von Sade

Odd arthouse / grindhouse movie from Jess Franco.
Ageless female aristocrat is interviewed by a woman’s magazine reporter.
In between questions and answers, there are reveries, flashbacks, long strolls.
For location filming, Franco uses a castle or palace and the photography is beautiful.
One sees grounds and interiors while Doriana glides moodily, wearing a sheer, dark pink shift.
Her character has little to do with Dorian Gray, more with Poe’s “William Wilson” incorporating elements of the vampiress or succubus.
Dreamlike narrative (very slow) is interspersed with hardcore sex scenes, indifferently shot.
Not the best intro to Franco’s oeuvre, but fans of Lina Romay will enjoy her portrayal of twin sisters.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Les Jeux Des Nuages et de la Pluie - 2013 - 7/10
AKA - Games Of Clouds and Rain

Inter-related stories of broken love, betrayal and anger fuel this French drama.
A wife cheats on her husband - he hires an investigator - who becomes obsessed.
A husband refuses to give his ex custody of their child. A faux mind reader sees into the spouse’s future.
The stories connect, but do not interweave, and most of the action occurs during a rain soaked night.
None of these are wicked souls. Some need air, others cling to a relationship that has become a corpse.
These are older adults making choices, perhaps for the last time, for future partners.
How people connect . . . or decide the object of their affection no longer deserves them.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Série Noire - 2014 - 7/10

Denis and Patrick script write “Justice Law,” an unmemorable police / courthouse procedural.
The show is derivative, the writing shoddy and illogical. The hack writers do not expect it to be renewed.
Nonetheless, ratings wise it is good enough to be given a second season.
The duo, desiring authenticity, step into the sordid side of the Canadian crime world.
One slips into the world of prostitution, the other robbery.
Soon, both are in way over their heads with criminals, police, and show producers wanting new writers.
Canadian series runs funny, dark, and silly as often laugh-out-loud slitherings unfold.
The narrative thread staggers in bizarre directions, like a zonked out stoner in an amusement park.

Of particular note is viewer Marc Arcand, whose namesake is a troubled baddie in “Justice’s Law.”
Arcand, in a show packed with villains, is easily the funniest, cleverest and most devious psycho throughout.
Engaging, but writers as protagonists? C’mon, stick with true heroes. English majors.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

¿Quién Puede Matar a Un Niño? - 1976 - 7/10
AKA - Who Can Kill A Child?

Tom and Evelyn notice a bustle of activity at the Spanish beach.
The tide has washed in another body.
Well, that doesn’t concern the couple. They’re on holiday!
They rent a small boat and arrive at the distant island of Almanzora.
Once there, they find the isle eerily deserted.
They are turistas, however, and understand they are not in England.
Eventually, they grasp that the island is not so deserted, after all.
Brilliant Spanish horror film is a building nail biter.
The concept of outsiders negotiating the foreignness of elsewhere is a terrific touch.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Callboys: S01 - 2016 - 6/10

Black comedy about a quartet of male escorts.
Instantly likeable guys soon reveal themselves dimmer than a 2 watt bulb.
They decide to branch out and peddle a dildo line based on their own stalk.
Females, they assume, will flock so they order accordingly.
They design their own website, then an irresistible YouTube video.
Everything they attempt seems to “go to 11.”
The gods will have their jokes, yet they can be cruel, as well.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Rendez-Vous - 1985 - 6/10

Nina relocates from the country to Paris to further her acting dream.
Early on, she has a bit part in a comedy. By film’s end, the make or break role is minutes away.
In between, however, there are relationships with men.
The current boyfriend who accuses Nina of sleeping with all of Paris.
Then two roommates. The smitten one, who lands in “friend zone.” The other, a forceful stalker.
Early Juliette Binoche role. Despite sporadic nudity, she radiates little sensual steam.
Meaning, there’s no explanation why men are irresistibly drawn to her.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

47 Meters Down: Uncaged - 2019 - 6/10

In name sequel to 2016’s In The Deep, (later renamed “47 Meters Down.”)
This time there is an underground city, hidden by the Mayans from the Conquistadors.
With rising sea waters, it’s now underwater. It had been undiscovered, until recently.
Four high school girls descend with 100” of air, not suspecting a great white shark might hunt down there.
Photography is murky, which is good and bad. The shark is an excellent creation.
The girls scream and screech throughout. The scriptwriter gave them moronic dialogue.
Superlatives abound. “Amazing!” “Crazy!” “Insane!” “Cool!” “Creepy!”
It’s like the writer hates females, so he made them so stupid viewers would cheer on the shark.
Passable waste of time.

FanEdit Reviews - Post Your Reviews Here

300: Earth And Water (300 & 300 Rise) - Aztek463

Stroke of genius. Chronologically sequencing events from “300” and “300 Rise” into one edit was doubtless tricky to pull off. Each film has an altogether distinct look. There is the concern that shifting from one film to another will distract. I also wondered if this edit would rely on excessive action at the expense of story.

Video - Sure enough, from Sparta to Athens, the hue swings from reddish to bluish. Yet there were a lot of blacks in both that act to visually cohere the elements. Along with those ever present floating cinders and motes. I don’t know whether this was sheer luck, or if Aztek463 had this planned all along. In any event, visually the films merged.

Audio - Cracking 5.1 sound. Dialogue was never a problem and the bass solid. The only quibble I had came at the very end. The credits. The music jumps abruptly from heroic score to pop song. The aural presence was utterly different, jarring. Catapulted me straight out of the film. Ninety seconds on, I was done.

Narrative - This is where Aztek excels, elevating “300 Rise” almost to the level of “300.” The narrative sleight of hand had me enjoying the sequel much more than I had originally. One gets a clearer idea of the maneuvering and politics involved, not to mention the strategies and combats in chronological order. I still found the heroes of the second film weaker, the villains stronger.

Thanks for doing such tight edit, keeping the running time to under three hours. While this does not eclipse “300” (I doubt that was the intention), I won’t view “300 Rise” again. Earth and Water will be my go to there.

FanEdit Reviews - Post Your Reviews Here

In The Mouth Of Event Horizon (In The Mouth Of Madness & Event Horizon) - RollWave

Overview - An inspired concept here. Editing “In The Mouth Of Madness”, and adding sequences from “Event Horizon”. At first thought, one might doubt this combination. Yet both films are major reality disconnects, and the linking focuses primarily on Sam Neill’s characters. Turns out RollWave is onto something.

Video - From smooth transitions to jarring, hard cuts, everything works. A few of the edits were diabolically clever, passageways in particular. Near the end, watch for visual easter eggs. Brilliant.

Audio - Very good work combining two different sound designs. I watched the mkv file and the sound was a detailed 5.1.
Only problem for me were sections of dialogue, particularly Jürgen Prochnow’s mumbling. I dialed the volume up, invariably just before an avalanche of sound. Those with sensitive eared roommates, be forewarned.

Narrative - There is not an equal sharing of movies. The burden of the edit is Carpenter’s movie, which is the stronger film, in intelligence, in plot, in acting. Additional scenes from “Event Horizon” enhance character breakdowns. These are often hard cuts, but character reactions sync perfectly. The story of spiraling descent into derangement, individual and societal, stays on track.

Enjoyment - I did not think I would like this. Wasn’t until I scanned favorable and insightful reviews that I took the plunge. This is not a replacement for Carpenter’s original film, but it is an astounding parallel version. For those who may be turned off by “Event Horizon,” the best scenes seemed to have been used, and inserted judiciously.

Most entertaining, intelligent Horror labyrinth. Superlative effort.

FanEdit Reviews - Post Your Reviews Here

Humans Are Limitless (2001) - BlueYoda

“A space mind trip on the evolution of evil and violence.”
There seems to be two edits here, both stitching Kubrick’s “2001.”
The first half traces physical (and social) violence through hard cutting and emo rock.
The second half is stealthier, technological violence exacted by the emotionless HAL.
Fair point, though the hectic pulse of the early edit ebbs away leaving the second half dull.
I enjoyed by halves, and wish the construction had not been so bipolar.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

City Of The Living Dead - 1980 - 5/10
AKA - Paura Nella Città dei Morti Viventi

During a séance, a medium sees a priest commit suicide thereby cracking the seal that keep the dead – dead.
Hooking up with a cavalier journalist, she heads to Dunwich, hurrying, because there is an All Saint’s deadline.

Lucio Fulci horror film suffers meandering plot (he does try to enliven by periodically killing a blonde), cheap sets, and exteriors that resemble the Dust Bowl by day, foggy moors by night.
For most of the film, there is little tension or urgency. The “hurrying” couple from New York take the scenic route.
When omens or portents appear, the typical response is akin to, “Look at that crack, better call a plasterer.”
How about the payoff?
The final twenty minutes is standout. Red wrigglers, maggots, fat rats.

Who knew mostly deserted Dunwich (née Salem) would boast such an impressive cemetery?
This section is gross, sickening and side splitting - depending on your warped sense of humor.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Dolemite Is My Name - 2019 - 7/10

Well done, unrestrained retelling of Rudy Ray Moore’s budding film career.
Eddie Murphy is perfect in what must have been a labor of love for him.
Failed R n B singer works at a record store and emcees a nightclub.
He develops a raunchy persona, sells adult records by the trunkload, sets his sights on cinema.
Notwithstanding a few soul-searching lulls, this film roars at 100 mph.
Despite the fact that comedy is criminally ignored, Murphy should have been nominated.
I have watched Dolemite (and the sequel, Human Tornado) countless times, yet I had no idea how it was filmed, where it was filmed (except outside Ralph’s), and who worked on it. Von Sternberg?
As soon as I caught the trailer, I knew I had to watch it, and this is not disappoint.
If all you caught was Black Dynamite, get this and the 1975 classic into your queue!