Recommend a movie

1,431 posts in this topic

Posted

Oculus - 2013 - 6/10

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Junior gets released from psychiatric ward after years of "observation."
Seems he whacked ole Pa - after - Pa went nutzo and starved and murdered Ma, then tried to kill the kids.
Both children survived, by the way, and the adult sister greets her brother in the parking lot.
He wants to heal, she wants revenge.
See, she thinks it was the ornate mirror that was responsible.
Or there was malevolence within.
So she tracks down that looking glass and hangs it in her house!
Film swings back and forth between timelines, and shows the gradual disorientation and disintegration of our modern warriors.
Oft used horror premise is obvious, and predictable.
Solid advice - when faced with supernatural evil, flee!

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Posted

Parker - 2013 - 6/10

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Two caper heists bookend Parker, who is a professional thief, hitman. career criminal.
After a successful job, events turn murderous and Parker is left for dead.
Donald Westlake's character is hard to kill, though (see Payback, Point Blank, et al).
Modern version, set in sleek Palm Beach, targeting an impossible prize.
Jason Statham alright as the taciturn Parker, absurd as a Texan.  J Lo fine as uneasy accomplice.
He is ingenious, resourceful, capable of involving others, yet he is no an invincible machine.
Hollywood product.  Well paced, tight, and fairly faithful to source material.

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Posted

La Naissance du Jour - 1980 - 6/10
AKA - Break Of Day

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Summer 1927.  Writer Colette is at her St Tropez beach cottage, with one servant, one dog, two cats, and a slow parade of visitors.
She is working on "Break Of Day," recalling her mother through their correspondence, analyzing her own life, studying friends, dissecting their motives, mimicking overheard phrases, writing drafts, tearing them up.
Organizing the myriad influences, some useful for her novel, others shelved for later.
The colour scheme is vibrant, in contrast with the story, which is internal in nature.
Movies about creative sorts (painters, sculptors, writers) are invariably dull because of the incremental nature of creating.  Most juice things up with dramatics or substance abuse.
La Naissance du Jour does not fall prey to those tropes, and is the better for it, though it is languid.

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Posted

Eric Clapton: A Life In Twelve Bars - 2015 - 6/10

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Hit n miss biography of Slowhand, the first half being the best.
Clapton's childhood, the stability of life with his grandmother, jeopardized whenever his wayward mother arrives.
The latter seems a particularly poisonous and enduring influence.
In short order, Roosters, Yardbirds, Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith.
(Delaney and Bonnie forgotten in the narrative jump to Derek And The Dominoes.)
Alcohol abuse and a string of albums, crap, mediocre, now and then decent.
By and large, chart pop hits of the 70s and 80s - and he enjoyed many - went unmentioned.
Also unmentioned were many other, widely covered, abuses.
Again, the first half is enthralling.  Once key omissions begin, the sugar coat thickens.

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Posted

Nachts, Wenn Der Teufel Kam - 1957 - 7/10
AKA - The Devil Strikes At Night

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1944.  German is pressed by the Soviet military ion the east, Allied bombers from the skies.
To complicate matters, a serial killer is increasing his murder frequency.
Local police, overwhelmed, receive unasked for assistance.  The SS.
Dark, cynical, sour film still leaves a rotten taste.
Dwindling survivors work the black market, while corrupt officials shrug, drink, try to maintain order.
Gallows humor clashes with bureaucratic tape in this bleak doppelganger of the police procedural.

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Posted

Finding Your Feet - 2017 - 6/10

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During the housewarming party, wife discovers her husband has been having an affair with her best friend.
The wife, a snob and social climber, soon moves herself into her boho sister's flat.
What follows is the clash of class and cultures.
Oldsters predominate in this feel good fluff about finding one's true values and learning to dance!
Well cast and acted throughout, but story is a scroll of clichés, bordering on corn.
Should be a hit with your gran.

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Posted

Hokusai Manga - 1981 - 6/10
AKA - Edo Porn // 北斎漫画

Stylized history of woodblock artist Hokusai will interest some, bore more.
He is a failure and wannabe Utamaro copyist until he discovers his muse in a young prostitute.

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Even then, he cannot render her and he departs to walk the countryside.
This results in his masterpiece series, 36 views of Mount Fuji.
For hentai enthusiasts, Hokusai's lascivious shunga of the congress of human female and octopus is shown in a highly suggestive drawing session.

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Despite that, the movie overall is ponderously slow, the final section numbingly so.

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Posted

Guide To The Flipside Of British Cinema - 2010 - 7/10

Documentary short, but an essential one for outlier cinema fans.
Kim Newman provides a merry tour of 60s and 70s forgotten films.
Exploitation, pretentious arthouse, experimental, and erotica.
Most of the ones shown have been restored, visually they are excellent.
Of the ~20 films Newman mentions, (I had viewed 6-7) there were a handful I now must find!
Fast paced, fun, and reverent.
Watch for Helen Mirren in 67's Herostratus.

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Posted

Le Passe-Muraille - 2016 - 6/10
AKA - The Man Who Walked Through Walls

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Émile works in the exciting world of insurance claims!
Unnoticed by coworkers, he seldom talks except to his Alzheimer's mother, or his ex during alimony day.
His drabness could stem from the medication he has taken for 30+ years, for reasons he no longer recalls.
When the meds are discontinued, he develops an ability to walk through solid walls.
So ... what would you do?
Many different directions this could take, say if you were a serial killer, peeper, thief.
This takes the light comedy route, delivering more smiles than laughs.

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Posted

I Know A Woman Like That - 2009 - 6/10

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Lively, often funny documentary about feminists or empowered females.
Not the current crop.  These are the standard bearers, now in their later years.
Eartha Kitt, Gloria Steinem, Rita Moreno are among the fifteen or so women of a certain age.
Interviews are very much "where you are now" sort.
Little reference to pasts, and no younger pictures.
Actors, civic leaders, publishers, athletes, writers, artists ...
Not sure who this is aimed at.  Females, of course, though under 35 seem like an unlikely audience.
Possibly middle aged women, hoping there remains the chance of a third act.

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Posted

Stakeout On Dope Street - 1958 - 5/10

As soon as the cuffs snap shut, the bust goes south.
Gunfire echoes across the industrial sector, bleak and forsaken at 2:00 AM.
Afterward, two men, the decent cop and the low level courier, sprawl face down, their life blood pooling into the asphalt.
Yet what about the briefcase?  The one carrying the stuff when the courier had been arrested?
Stuff, as in horse, "H", smack, junk.  Heroin.  Cancer for the soul, straight from the needle.
The briefcase had vanished.

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Law enforcement squeezes the block.  From penny ante chiselers to honey tongued hookers.  From narrow eyed pawn brokers to dim witted muscle outside bolted doors.
At the other end, the syndicate unrolls its tentacles.  Enforcers sweep cheap clubs, brothels, reefer merchants, filthy gin joints, back rooms dense with cigarette smoke.
No one knows that three young men had found the briefcase.  The men know it brings trouble, but they know it can swing neon dreams.  Not that they have any dreams yet, not even plans.  They talk big, though.
When they decide to peddle the goods themselves, they sign their own death warrant.

B-Noir, despite the Warners shield, resembles a Poverty Row knockoff.
Aside from Abby Dalton and Jonathan Haze, most of the cast are unknowns and act like a convention of fenceposts.
Much of the filming occurs in the city dump and a bowling alley.
Jazzy score helps.  The first half has a propulsive energy, second half enters a moral quagmire.
One of the better talk sequences comes from a aging hophead.
Strapped to a hospital bed, going cold turkey.  The narcotic monkey, clawing out his eyes, twisting his stomach into knots, crushing his balls, ripping his backbone.

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Four agonizing days, until then he's clean.
Cold turkey, three times.
And each time, like a broken lover, he finds himself crawling back to the needle.

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Posted

On Chesil Beach - 2017 - 6/10

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Methodically structured love story of star crossed lovers.
Crescendo followed by diminuendo.
The initial meeting.  Eyes lock, the attraction is instant.  The gradual absorption of the other.
The narrative pivots from this youthful connection to the fateful moment of intimacy.
They are awkward, taboos in 1962 are overpowering.
In flashbacks, one views gulfs in backgrounds, wealth, class.
Despite those, you root for the couple to navigate their misgivings and phobias.
Together, they share the real spark of an enduring love.
One can empathize, all of us have connected deeply with an other - and failed dismally with others.

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Posted

Hitler's Circle Of Evil - 2018 - 8/10

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Very good, incisive documentary on Hitler's coterie, his inner circle.
Augmented with talking heads (historians and writers), photos and newsreels, and modern players re-enacting sequences (no dialogue).
Aside from the usual names (Goebbels, Göring, Himmler), this also devotes time to Bormann, Speer and the barely remembered Dietrich Eckart.  Hess is given his own episode, as is Reinhard Heydrich (who, in trending movies and docs, seems to be rising in the villain echelon to rock star level).
Focus is on the compartmentalization of power, back-stabbing, and shifting alliances.
The actors used to reenact scenes were well cast - but - producers changed the players midway.
Yes, it was to show older versions, but it was jarring and irritating.
Otherwise, this is outstanding, though perhaps not the best intro for those curious about WWII.

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Posted

Murder Is Easy - 1982 - 6/10

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Middling Agatha Christie mystery of serial killer among the gentry.
American computer expert (probability expert) meets elderly woman on train.
She confides there have been several killings in her hamlet, another is imminent, then before she can reach Scotland Yard, she is killed!  What are the odds?
Naturally, the Yank decides to play detective.  
Stodgy, old-fashioned, resembling Murder, She Wrote, right down to the yellow credits.
The older players are better in this (the romantic leads have NO chemistry), and this provides a nice glimpse at Olivia de Havilland in one of her final roles.
Plot later re-fashioned into a Miss Marple story, but it is not canon proper.

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Posted

Toter Mann - 2001 - 6/10
AKA - Something To Remind Me

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Attorney aids an attractive female at the pools edge.
Later, he observes her at the posh cafe with another female.
Then he happens to see her walking in the park, and he follows.
Coincidence?  Crossing paths with another, several times?
For an older man, and a lawyer, his guard to serendipity seems low.
Slow burn thriller, focus gradually turns to Nina Foss, who apparently works off a checklist.
Movie quite good at displaying clues and foreshadowing, often without explanation.
Thereby forcing viewers to work out motivations and outcomes themselves.
Until things turn nasty.

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Posted

Suffragettes - 2018 - 7/10

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Historian Lucy Worsley follows the path from suffragist to suffragette to "equality."
A fifty year trail with escalating confrontation, torture, imprisonment, terrorism.
The media of the day, newspapers, is utilized by both camps, government friends and rowdy womenfolk.

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Peaceful protest, campaigning, petition and public sympathy went for naught.
And yet, when blood is the argument, politicians notice.  Ever was it so.
Worsley's mannerisms and make-up are toned down in this.
Actors voice diary entries and speeches in the increasingly deadly struggle.
Modern protesters could learn a thing or two from the gentle sex.

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The Bookshop - 2017 - 6/10

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Any movie with bookshop in the title could go two ways.  Feelgood or 451°.
Widower buys a long empty house in small village in order to establish a bookstore.
Circa 1959, a time when society still read, either for enjoyment or self improvement.
Problem is, she is ignorant of the village dynamics, or that someone else had coveted the house for years, though never acted on their ambitions.
For readers, the interior of the bookshop, often any bookshop, is a magical world of possibilities.
The shop interior, as well as one character's delight in new books, new authors, are high points in this film.
The narrative is lethargic, however, and a sense of inevitably pervades.
True to life, smiling village folk mask indifference and resentment toward outsiders.
Also, the two prime "villains" are little more than cartoon facades.
Limited enjoyment.  Those expecting You've Got Mail (a film I dislike), might do well to bypass.

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The Split - 1968 - 6/10

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Tough guy, Jim Brown, assembles a crew for a hefty cash withdrawal.
Football playoffs.  Tickets, cash only.  Smooth as silk, friend.
Heist film has its points.  Strong cast, led by Brown playing McClain (AKA - Parker).
He has interesting, ofttimes amusing, methods in selecting his team.
The heist, once underway, is almost clockwork in its precision.
Of course, as the title bears out, there is a split involved, where the plot twists in weird directions.
Decent caper flick, though the action scenes are sorry, not even up to TV level.
(Bullitt, in comparison, was also released in '68.)
Jim Brown, leading a team of white gangsters, is still startling, and sadly, still unusual.

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Fly-By-Night - 1942 - 5/10

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Brisk Paramount programmer.
Doctor picks up, rather is hijacked by escaped mental patient.
The patient is dispatched soon enough, but not before sharing vital intelligence with the doctor.
At that point, however, the doc is wanted by police, G-men, and bad guys in dark suits.
Our hero does what most men would do, he kidnaps a pretty female to help him.
B-mystery moves quickly, and Nancy Kelly and director Siodmak would go on to better things.
There are easily 100 better "couple on the lam" flicks out there.
If you seen 'em all, though, this is OK late night nonsense.

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My Love, Don't Cross That River - 2013 - 5/10
AKA - 님아, 그 강을 건너지 마오

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An aged couple go about their day to day routines.
They have already been married 70 years.  He is 95, she 90.
We never learn how he worked when younger, their struggles.
They have six living children, six others died at an early age.  One during the war (WWII? Korea?)
One suspects the husband suffers mild dementia, that is not dwelt on.
They horse around, giggle.  Perhaps hamming in front of the camera, or prompted by the director.
A lot of people loved this documentary.  I don't care for treacle.

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