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A few reviews . . (film or TV)

One Chance - 2013 - 6/10

Based on one Paul Potts who won the “Talent” contest in Britain.
Devotees of that competition know his story, as will the 2 million who subsequently bought his album.
Opera aficionado and wannabe studies abroad and sings in local productions.
Fate and limited self esteem are monumental hurdles, however.
Will he persevere? Will he prevail? Will he ever get his chance to wow the judges?
Irresistible as souvenir or if you like this sort of thing. I don’t.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Brief Interviews With Hideous Men - 2009 - 5/10

“Meaningful” indie film about men’s observations, expectations, and misconceptions of the opposite sex.
Front loaded. Meaning the funniest and weirdest characters were in the first hour.
Then the parade of mopers, losers, downers, feeble.
Suggestion: Watch the first 40 minutes.
Then watch an episode of a terrible sitcom, which will be better than the last half of this sludge.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Blood Spattered Bride - 1972 - 6/10
AKA - La Novia Ensangrentada

The bliss and laughter of newlywed joy.
While the husband moves the car, gets luggage, the bride has an odd moment and decides they must leave the hotel.
Change of scene, the remote country manor, where the husband is known to all.
Early on, the wife glimpses the shadowy female, and begins to be troubled by dreams and visions.
Loosely based on Le Fanu‘s Carmilla, this is frequently compared with Daughters Of Darkness.
Outstanding photography throughout. Interiors, exteriors, crypts and costumes.
The disc features an informative commentary by Samm Deighan and Kat Ellinger.
Discussion includes the Franco regime and legacy, Giallo in Spain, directors, actors.
Almost an hour elapses, however, before they weigh in on this particular film.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Show People - 1928 - 7/10

Perhaps Marion Davies best, if not funniest, silent vehicle.
Georgia peach, Peggy, and her Pa, the Colonel, arrive in Hollywood to make her a star.
Since this is movie land, she becomes one in less than 30 minutes, vaulting from Mack Sennett escapades to high brow costumers. Losing her spark along the way.
The face she makes during this section is a satire of Gloria Swanson.
A boatload of cameos from bygone stars. Chaplin, Davies herself, King Vidor. The cafeteria sequence pans past Polly Moran, Louella Parsons, Estelle Taylor, Leatrice Joy, Mae Murray, John Gilbert, Norma Talmadge, Douglas Fairbanks, William S Hart, and a few others.
Openly gay William Haines played the love interest, much to the approval of Davies’ insanely jealous boyfriend, publisher William Hearst.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Dogtooth - 2010 - 4/10
AKA - Kynodontas

Pretentious Greek film wearing arthouse garb.
Three late teen children have been raised in complete isolation by overprotective parents.
The parents misinform and deliberately under-educate them. The children’s social skills are non existent.
Is this a cautionary tale about home schooling? Does that even exist in Greece?
My take is the theme about cultural alienation, and/or government obfuscation.
But if so, this is terribly ham fisted.
To my eye, the directing was sloppy, the acting was poor.
This director also made The Lobster, which I hated, as well as The Killing Of A Sacred Deer, which I hated, and the recent The Favourite. Good first half, second half snooze-a-rama.
SPOILER – Feline lovers beware - when the cat appears in Dogtooth, you better leave the room.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Conflict - 1945 - 6/10

Dressing for their fifth wedding anniversary party, Kathryn and Richard realize their marriage is stale.
The spark ain’t there no more.
Besides, Richard is … ahem … in love with Kathryn’s younger sister. Of which Kathy is aware.
What to do? Carry on? Divorce? Murder?

Overbaked Warners film boasts fine cast and superb photography.
The storyline is clunky and has been done countless times before and after.
Audiences of that era would have heard variations yearly on radio shows such as “Suspense,” “The Whistler,” and many others.
Loads of atmosphere, insufficient oomph.

What are you reading?

Egan, Beresford - Pollen

The progress of the cultivated decadent.
Cynicism takes effort. When it is unfashionable, the cynic is despised, or worse, pitied. When it becomes fashionable, the cynic becomes “mainstream” and, chances are, despises himself.
Rebellion, in the long game, is highly overrated.
Lancelot Daurimer, idler, stunted painter, casual spendthrift, finds himself low on resources, ambition, any sort of possibilities, actually.
He “rents” rooms from Anna Beryl (Cleontine) who is older, more experienced, to be blunt, out of his league.
Lance, though a reprobate, possesses the grace of the predator which, from the time of Caesar, is beguiling to women.
While drawn to Cleontine, he targets Lady Marylyn, young, innocent, shielded by middle class conventionality. Targets her and decides to ruin her, to rot her from within.
Pollen is a delicious, dissolute pleasure. Manners and situations feel like a cross between the fin de siècle of the 1890’s and the bankrupt carcass of the Jazz Age just before the Great Depression.
Egan comes across as the bastard nephew of Oscar Wilde, and I mean that as a compliment.
His wordplay is impeccable and engaging. The book is an extremely fast read, propelling the reader in a galloping rush.
Additional pleasure comes from several illustrations by Mr. Egan.
The most discouraging aspect of Pollen was that It was written in all of three months, which leaves me dumbfounded.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Village In The Woods - 2019 - 7/10

“Rebecca” inherits an inn in a remote village.
She and her boyfriend, both down on their luck, believe they can reap a financial killing if they sell!
Thing is … the village seems on its last legs, and the pub could bring back the “good old days.”
So the inhabitants, while beaming welcoming smiles, nurse private agendas.

Low-budget horror works wonders with atmosphere, mist and sound design.
The pace is slow, but the tone broods, descending into fatalistic territory.
Our young couple, not exactly pillars of honesty, soon grasp how out of their depth they are.

The plot, one of folk horror, has been done in numerous guises.
Acting is top rate, and the director really keeps a leash on excesses.
Possibly scoring this a point high because it was a pleasant surprise.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Only The Animals - 2019 - 7/10
AKA - Seules Les Bêtes

Unexpected company, the worst. Especially when …
Well, don’t want to reveal anything, now do we?
A handful of characters interact, weave and tangle themselves in a tightly engineered plot.
Individual narratives are linear, overall composition is not. Stay sharp!
Effective use of isolated French countryside enhance stories of self deception.
Excellent thriller. Beware of spoiler laden reviews.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Vengeance - 2006 - 5/10
AKA - Phairii Phinaat Paa Mawrana // ไพโรจน์ไพนาทภาวนา

How did I miss this one?
Wildly over-the-top Thai actioner.
Convicts bust out of the prison with determined police in pursuit, helped by local guides.
Until cons enter the forbidden jungle. Then guides flee.
Police charge in anyway!
Next thing, there are jungle maidens wielding crossbows.
Killer wasps. Menacing midget crocodiles. Giant snakes. The cursed village!
Terrible acting, ridiculous CGI, preposterous plot.
I gave it a 5, but it is brilliant for what it is.
Must see, if you are into this. I laughed throughout.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Baise Moi - 2000 - 6/10
AKA - Rape Me

No holds barred French rage flick as two abused hookers barrel into crime spree.
Sleazy, graphic, repellent to many.
Violent robberies, counterbalanced with lulls featuring hardcore sex. Leads were porn actresses.
Sensitive male viewers, be warned, gun fire targets the crotch.
A fun film? Hardly.
You want a “road movie” with nasty souls, enduring an ugly world, with no sense of humanity?
Dial this up.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Star Wars XXX - 2012 - ??/10

My my my. I gave a friend, huge Star Wars fanatic, a couple of fanedits.
Next time I visit, he makes a big production - in front of his new girlfriend - of giving me one from his stash.
“See, I’m getting rid of them,” he says, loudly.
If porn is your thing - know thyself - then you already own this parody.
Two hours of Jedi porn with upraised sabers, wookie meat, Darth’s interrogating tool, Obi’s wand.
Yes, some of us get all the luck.

To be fair, there were several funny moments in this beat for beat riff on the familiar story.
Hell, half the lines were script paraphrases.
For me, bam bang sequences were unimaginative, overlong, and repetitive.
During multiple bout orgy at the Mos Eisley cantina, the band played the damn cantina theme for 30 minutes!
Surely the producers could have jizzed up a couple other tunes on a cheapo casio keyboard.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Corruption - 1983 - 4/10

Ambitious porn launches intriguingly, before lapsing into the usual tropes.
Williams, hungry for power, makes a “deal” and descends while “Boris Godunov” plays.
To his consternation, he realizes the deal is not closed.
Or he failed to understand what was expected.
In any event, he goes from room to room, chamber to chamber, forced to satisfy the needs of the dwellers within.
The writer-director-producer nurtures artistic pretensions, but lacks the ability to pull them off.
Or his financial backers demanded he “jettison the artsy stuff” and stick with per-quota bump and pump.
Referenced on X-Rated: The Greatest Adult Films Of All Time (2015), this is a dull affair.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Cinderella - 1977 - 4/10

Good natured porn musical from the Golden Era, starring Cheryl ‘Rainbeaux’ Smith (Caged Heat, Revenge Of The Cheerleaders).
Lots of terrible jokes. Costumes. Musical numbers - yes, this was a musical! Songs are awful.
At least the thespians look like they are enjoying themselves, whereas current porn acrobats often appear to be suffering difficult bowel movements.
Not only does the Fairy Godmother give Cinderella a fancy gown and horse & carriage, but her velvet temple is transformed into a “snapper.”
This drives the Prince into immediate addiction, so that he scours the Kingdom and bangs all eager beavers in his snappy quest.
An altogether bad film, compensated with a degree of heart.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

X-Rated: The Greatest Adult Films Of All Time - 2015 - 6/10

Chronological sweep of adult features. Opens with Deep Throat, closes with Star Wars XXX.
Luckily, or sadly, I have watched both, and many of the movies in between.
Doc runs 95“, and each film gets a little over five minutes. 30 - 35 films showcased.
Directors interviewed, porn stars, as well as choice clips.
Again, these are porn features. Those with bare plots. Not the spray revue.
Tone is - “Oh what a fun time we had!” glossing over discomfort.
Useful checklist for fans looking to fill gaps in their viewing bucket list.
Do not skip the closing credits.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

MOZU S01: Cries Of The Night - 2014 - 7/10
AKA - Mozu no Sakebu Yoru // 百舌の叫ぶ夜

Furious J-dorama, steeped in Noir. Endless cigarettes, rain soaked nights, mysteries, terrific villains.
You prefer comedy, romance, superheroes, or teens, this ain’t it.
MOZU translates as shrike, as in the bird that impales its victims on spikes or barbs.
In this case, the hitman and his trusty icepick.
While police investigate a terrorist bombing, they trespass into another agency’s pursuit of a corporate assassin.
Conspiracies surface, business and political treachery vie with flawed enforcement.
Twists abound, and several characters step deeper into doomed territory.
Scant light in MOZU. Good choice if you are the black-hearted type.
γνῶθι σεαυτόν

MOZU S02 - Wings Of Phantasia - 2014 - 7/10
AKA - Maboroshi no Tsubasa // 幻の翼

After the sheer carnage that was MOZU S01, one might assume few characters survived for a second season.
This launched weeks after the first ended, so S02 was always in the cards.
The three leads returned and picked up unresolved stories and loose ends.
More talky than S01, a pace below the pedal-to-the-metal action of that season.
Nevertheless, investigators probe deeper into conspiracy and family skeletons.
Absent family members are followed, as well as the truth of the dungeon of Omelas.
As with the first season, the sound design is outstanding. From dark ambient to musique concrète.
Also, lest Shrike fans lost heart, the icepick abides.

A note about subs

The best available subtitles are by Miharu-Rush, and those are .ass subs which some units cannot decipher.
I converted Miharu-Rush’s .ass subs to .srt, removed overlapping titles which would not display, overhauled the syntax and grammar, Westernized the dialogue, and streamlined the length.
From “I intend to definitely be helping you,” to “I will help you.”
My .srt is on addic7ed = and
subscene =
Credit Miharu-Rush for original subtitles, and permission to convert.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

My Life In The Air - 2005 - 6/10
AKA - Ma Vie en l’Air

Offbeat French romantic comedy.
At a party, a man meets his “soul mate.”
Within a few months, however, she is off to Asia for at least a year.
He could visit any time, except he has a phobia of flying.
Oh yes, he works as an evaluator in a flight simulator.
His slob of a best friend moves in with him, and our man dates a dizzying array of females.
None are really right, they are just right now.
Predictable at times, with the unexpected striking from nowhere.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

London - 1994 - 7/10

“… if he looked hard enough, the surface of the city revealed historic events, through which he hoped to see into the future …”

A rather elegiac journey through London of 1992 with our narrator and his unseen companion, Robinson.
The tone is bleak, refecting the liberal mentality of the time, as the Tories begin to appear unbeatable.

Predictions are made of what shall be cast aside, what classes will suffer
A wonderful, moody time capsule as futures and possibilities seemed to constrict for many.
In a few years, New Labour would splash into power and herald Cool Britannia.
And outlooks would brighten, if for a few turns of the world.

“London was the first metropolis to disappear.”

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Nuns That Bite - 1977 - 6/10
AKA - Torn Priestess
AKA - Onna Gokumon-chô: Hikisakareta Risô // 女獄門帖 引き裂かれた尼僧

Young woman, beaten and sexually abused by her master / lover, flees into the woods.
Next, she is “rescued” by two woodsmen who feed her before forcing themselves onto her.
Finally, she finds sanctuary in a remote convent of nuns.
The abbess indulges in opium, the acolytes seek spiritual awareness through sensual encounters.
Menfolk are not permitted, intruders meet a dire fate.
Short (barely an hour) nunsploitation flick packs in rapes, lesbianism, cannibalism, groovy funk music, loads of nudity, carnal romping, psychedelic magick, an almost incoherent plot, and over a dozen characters you will never keep track of.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Malina - 1991 - 4/10

Say what?
Study of French “writer” mixing her characters with imagined fantasy life with personal memories.
Narrative(s) jump abruptly, charting the writer’s activities and mental deterioration.
Isabelle Huppert immerses herself in multiple roles (she’s terrific), but the plot is extraordinarily confusing.
Based on novel (which I have not read). Per reviews, those who have read same book appreciate film more than those who went in cold.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Tamara Drewe - 2010 - 6/10

Ugly duckling Tamara moves to London, hits the gym, chops the nose, and returns to her rural roots during a writers retreat.
Tamara (Gemma Arterton) appears wearing short shorts, fashion hair, and drop dead looks.
Several males hide the sausage with her, including a rock star.
Not a comedy, nor a drama. British cow-over-the fence piece. Nice scenery, but dull.
A rather dotty film, heavily beholden to The World Of Henry Orient owing to two obsessive young girls.
Couple of songs by Swipe had me checking www_allmusic_com.
Worth a look if you want to see Ms Arterton.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

The Deep Blue Sea - 2016 - 7/10

Theatre junkies, rally round!
During the Covid lockdown, the National Theatre began limited airing of stage classics.
Hester is discovered and revived after a botched suicide.
Her boyfriend is away, so one of the neighbors contacts Hester’s husband, whom she abandoned.
The story occurs in one set, across one long day.
Choices, made a year earlier, knot into despair.
The bitter agony of love mismatched, where you hold so tight you claw each other.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Lost In Austen - 2008 - 7/10

Warning! Chick Flick Alert!
Loving homage to Pride And Prejudice.
Passionate Austen reader, Amanda Price, somehow enters the alternate literary universe and switches places with character Elizabeth Bennett.
Miss Price, knows the characters and knows the narrative, so she tries to help the plot with unexpected consequences.
Next, she tries to repair her mistakes and further compounds the disasters.
This film (mini series, actually) was devised with heart and invention.
It was released two years after the Keira Knightley version of P & P, which I loathed (vamped the plot for ADD types).

Note: Seek out the UK version. Versions in other countries are missing Amanda’s ringtone, which was an in-joke, as well as the “Downtown” scene.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Borderland - 2007 - 6/10

Three University of Texas grads cross from Brownsville into Matamoros, Mexico for 'shrooms and poon.
One is kidnapped by drug mafia who practice Palo Mayombe, a bloody offshoot of Santeria.
They want an Americano sacrifice.
The movie is well shot, with a good feel for the border zone. Kids who look for trouble usually find it.
Nudity, drug use, language and extreme violence.
The ending became far fetched.
The actual DVD features a documentary on the real story, based on Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo, practitioner of black magic, torture, human sacrifice.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Haute Cuisine - 2012 - 6/10
AKA - Les Saveurs du Palais

Film crew arrives in Antarctica, looking for “a story.”
During lunch, they realize the ordinary staff enjoy unbelievable gourmet fare.
Because, once upon a time, the camp cook had been personal chef for the French President.
How did the petite female transition from Parisian opulence to the polar wastes?
Seasoned souls should anticipate images of extraordinary food, priced accordingly.