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A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Four Flies On Grey Velvet - 1971 - 6/10
AKA - 4 Mosche Di Velluto Grigio

Studio drummer is stalked by unknown man in sunglasses.
Eventually, he tracks the man down, confronts him, and - oops - accidentally kills him.
Unfortunately, the percussionist is photographed by a disguised stranger.
Our hero seeks advice, doesn’t listen. His cute blonde wife wants to help him sleep, he turns a cold shoulder.
Aside from pounding his drum kit, they guys is just weak.
Killings, meanwhile, slowly swirl around the passive drummer. Friends, hired help, and closer.
Director Argento offers gorgeous visuals, and deaths are delivered with creeping tension.
Score is an imaginative mix of prog rock and Morricone, and plenty of drumming!

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Planet Of The Humans - 2019 - 5/10

Much hyped documentary misses the plot and settles for meaningless consolation shot.
Early on, the narrator shows how far the human population has spiked in the last century.
Then, and for the bulk of the doc, he launches an exposé of renewal energy.
The fraud and deception of “green.”
From environmental groups and leaders who have prostituted themselves to corporations, to the clueless masses who say, “Coal, bad. Biomass, good.”
Biomass means forest removal, clear cutting, habitat annihilation.

Late in the show, a few souls reference over-population again.
Then back to chainsaws. A diversion that misses the point.
The current Earth population is close to 8 billion.
Including you and I. So, would you give up air-conditioning in summer? Heat in winter?
An endless stream of clean water? Healthy food? A spacious place to live?
These take a toll. Is everyone entitled to modern comforts?
Guess what, sucker.
Welcome to Planet Of The Hypocrites.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Bob le Flambeur - 1956 - 6/10
AKA - Bob The Gambler

Bob made a big score 20 years ago, but did time for it.
Now, he is something between an old gangster and retired.
He advises old friends, listens to eager younglings, is chums with a detective, tries to protect women.
Akin to an aging knight. Crooked, yet with a sense of honor.
Gambling is his weakness. He seems to pick horses. With cards, Lady Luck is cruel.
A breezy, perhaps empty, life.
Forty minutes into the film, the caper germinates and begins to unfold.
The story, the music, the details, everything ratchets up.
Excellent French Noir, hang with it.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

El Cuerpo - 2012 - 7/10
AKA - The Body

Diabolically clever thriller from Spain.
Wealthy, powerful woman dies mysteriously, and police begin sniffing her much younger, trophy husband.
Early on, her body disappears from the official morgue. No body, no autopsy.
And then, the smug husband begins receiving messages, clues, that maybe his wife ain’t so dead.
Events transpire during a long night inside the facility, while a ominous storm rages outside.
Highly effective plotting, though plausibility teeters on the edge at times.
Whodunit and why-dunit should keep most guessing until the end.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Searching - 2018 - 7/10

Near the end of semester, the sophomore daughter disappears.
Probably with friends, maybe on a camping trip.
Eventually the father grows concerned, phones the police, and begins looking himself.
He is tech savvy, but a neophyte in his secretive daughter’s world of social networking.
Soon, the father realizes he doesn’t really know his child, at all.
Well constructed thriller with corkscrew twists – and – on second viewing, cannily placed hints and clues.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

Délice Paloma - 2007 - 6/10
AKA - Paloma Delight

Algerian film of low level con-artists, grifters, scammers.
Ostensibly a counseling service, the ladies arrange divorces, damage store rivals, peddle flesh.
Film opens as the boss of the clique, Aldjeria, is released from three years in the prison.
Two of her previous cohorts, disguised in nun habits, greet her under the bridge.
From there, flashbacks unfold the final big deal, before it went wrong.
Interesting look inside Algeria.

A few reviews . . (film or TV)

One Man, Two Guvnors - 2012 - 7/10

Theatre junkies, hark!
During the Covid lockdown, the National Theatre began limited airing of stage classics.
James Corden as Henshall lands a gig as batman for gangster, Roscoe Crabbe.
Then another job working for Stanley Stubbers, the man who killed Roscoe.
Killed? What? Confused? Not as much as Henshall, who admits he does get easily confused.
Rapid fire comedy mixes situations, innuendo, farce, and musical interludes!
Note: This is live theatre, so expect audience reactions.
As of 2020 06, YouTube still offers one full show each week. FREE!

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.