Recommend a movie

1,481 posts in this topic

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All The Colors Of the Dark - 1972 - 6/10
AKA - Tutti I Colori Del Buio

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After a miscarriage - ahem, abortion - a woman shuns any intimacy from her husband.
She is also menaced by a blue eyed stalker holding a stiletto.
Saints be praised, she finds refuge with an orgy of pagan worshippers.
(some say Satanists, but their focal point is a triangle with an all seeing eye in the center)
Better, after one ceremony, her fear of physical encounters is gone gone gone.
Wild Italian Gaillo races along and is always visually interesting.  Color filters, kaleidoscope lenses, and bizarre sets.
The music is a groovy 60s mix of guitars and sitars.
The narrative, overloaded to be sure, is almost as good.
Mouth-watering Edwige Fenech as the moody victim, along with Susan Scott and Marina Malfatti, make this irresistible.

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Posted

The Verdict - 1946 - 6/10

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Stylish Noir set in gaslit Victorian London.
After the chief inspector sends an innocent man to the gallows, he is forced to resign.
In "retirement," he follows his grasping successor with keen interest.
Especially after a locked-room murder plunks in his lap.
Fine Warner Brothers effort, with excellent support, but the draw for this is Greenstreet and Lorre, their last film pairing together.

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Posted


The Children Act - 2017 - 5/10

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Emma Thompson as high court judge who seems to specialize in emotionally charged moral cases.
In this instance, a 17 year old, very devout, boy who is near death unless he receives a transfusion.
Which his faith prohibits.
Filmmakers do their best, but neither Thompson's character nor her strained marriage are compelling.
The tension and drama lie with the youth, who is merely secondary in this script.
There is also a reveal late in the story which renders the entire conflict pointless.

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Posted

Iron Buddha - 1970 - 6/10
AKA - Tie Luo Han // 鐵羅漢

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Wandering rogue enters home of a martial arts master, tries to rape the nearest female.
He is stopped, but instead of being killed, he is marked with a sword scar and banished.
Forward a few years.  The wanderer, now a master himself, returns to slay and rape.
Master and disciples are slaughtered, save for one student, who was away, and who vows revenge.
Shaw Bros actioner should leave fight fans breathless.
I lost count of villains and conflicts.  Choreography is excellent, often imaginative.
To be honest, though, I found the endless fights tedious after awhile.  Our “hero" is not particularly sympathetic, either, which does not help.
Nevertheless, combat aficionados will find plenty to relish, and the baddie is especially hateable.

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Posted

Tiger In The Smoke - 1956 - 5/10

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Brit Noir set in the foggiest locations ever.
On the eve of her marriage, a woman’s presumed dead husband contacts her.
Scotland Yard tries to intervene, but the husband is elusive.
Also gliding in and out of the fog is a notorious escaped murder, Jack Havoc.
Despite murders, captures, fisticuffs, the plot is marred by long exposition sections.
Stellar photography, and I think the premise is decent, but overall much too talky.

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Posted

Une Historie Simple - 1978 - 7/10
AKA - A Simple Story

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Marie, above, caught at the moment when she dumps her going-nowhere boyfriend.
French drama of relationships, primarily female relationships.
Most of the women work in the same company, which has recently merged with another.
Workers face redundancies, management tries to gloss unpleasantness.
The females are more like sisters, venting on each other, or lending support, emotional or physical.
Males are not caricatures, though they are secondary.  This is very much a chick bonding film.
Very good vehicle, by the way, to catch Romy Schneider.

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Posted

Malevolent - 2018 - 6/10

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Sister-brother, Angela and Jackson, rescue owners of troubled homes.
Houses ghosted by unhappy spirits, restless souls.
They cleanse dwellings ... for a price.  They are also complete frauds.
The latest client lives in Scotland’s hinterlands, the building is an old school, not derelict, but neglected.
And - there is definitely something wrong with the place.
Good thriller - not necessarily horror - with dark twists throughout, and shady lead characters.

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Posted

Tell Me Something - 1999 - 7/10
AKA - Telmi Sseomding // 텔 미 썸딩

One of the two films that launched S Korea into global cinema (Shiri being the other).
Slick, stylized police horror / thriller manipulates genre tropes throughout.
Black plastic bags containing chopped bodies keep turning up.
Unfortunately, heads, torsos, arms, legs, don’t match.
After dismemberment, someone jumbles them before bagging.
There is a pattern, and a common link.
All the bodies - men - had dated, and broken up with, one woman.

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The daughter of a reclusive artist, she hides secrets.
Meanwhile, the case detective is under investigation for taking bribes.  Both souls are deeply flawed.
Rain pours constantly, and interiors are gloomy, mirroring the emotional unhappiness of the characters.
Some have compared this with Se7en, and it does resemble early Fincher, but this is no copycat.

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Posted

Haunts - 1976 - 4/10

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Frisky goings on at California farm / ranch community.
As at many small towns, chief recreations involve drinking and screwing around.
The local bar (Dew Drop In?) is a nexus of flirting, assignations and confrontations.
Business as usual - until - the masked stranger begins raping and killing.
Slow going, poorly shot, downright boring crapola that, despite being in my El Cheapo Box Of Horrors doesn't remotely qualify as horror. Nor a thriller.  This is bull.
And the “young innocent" who keeps getting targeted looks like she hit forty awhile back.

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Winchester - 2018 - 6/10

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Not bad, not great either, interpretation of the haunted Winchester House.
Corporate honchos send psychiatrist out to evaluate the 51% stock-holding heiress.
They want a non compos mentis judgment so they can rein in spending.
Film makes an interesting case for “why” she built and built and built.
Not necessarily accurate -no one actually knows!
Acting is fine, set design is outstanding, and producers resisted going over the top with interiors.

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Mortelle Randonnée - 1983 - 6/10
AKA - Deadly Circuit / Deadly Run

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Lonely, aging private detective tracks femme fatale, “Marie.”
One of her many, many aliases.
She has a taste for affluent, single males, who give her expensive gifts before perishing.
While the narrative is compelling, the logic often defies belief.
The detective acts on choices that border on incredulity.
Early on, he realizes she is a serial killer, and an extremely bloody one at that .
Does he notify police?  Well, there would go the whole movie.
The narrative takes several unexpected turns, which kept me engrossed, though I never accepted the detective.
Isabelle Adjani must have had a ball with this role, with the ever shifting disguises and wardrobes.

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Puss In Books: Adventures Of The Library Cat - 1997 - 6/10

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Cat haters, keep away.  Book haters, avoid.
Brief documentary of feline denizens working local libraries.
Rodent control, security patrol, good will ambassador, snoozer.
Twenty or so layabouts are discussed and profiled.
There are also stray Cassandras who wail about dander and ailurophobia. *
Breezy fun for feline fans and library habitués.

* Years ago, in my village, Dewey and Deci were given the ole heave ho.
One infrequent patron hollered, and the board ignored over 2000 signatures on the petition.

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Scotty And The Secret History Of Hollywood - 2017 - 6/10

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A year earlier, I was mildly interested in Scotty Bowers’ book, “Full Service.”
Bit of a kiss n tell of closeted Hollywood, circa 40s - 50s.
Bowers was a procurer, primarily of willing young male hustlers for studio gays.
The man makes a lot of claims, and many, if not all, of his subjects are now deceased.
Some of his memories sounds accurate, others misremembered or fabricated.
Personal taste.  I found him likeable, then gradually I found him sleazy.
For folks who slow down to gaze at traffic accidents, this ain’t “Hollywood Babylon.”
Oh, and Bowers’ book holds no interest for me now.

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Revenge - 2017 - 6/10

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Better than expected tale of vengeance, bloodily delivered.
Wealthy alpha male takes his peachy skinned bang bunny to forsaken hunting lodge.
Other hunting males arrive and sexual tensions arrive.
The soon-inconvenient female is slain ... or so they thought ... great hunters.
Story shifts into “Most Dangerous Game” territory, though viewers MUST suspend disbelief.
One:  the girl’s death?  1000 people out of 1000 would have died.
Two:  from the blood trails, every human has 50 gallons of serum in their veins.
Still, great - great homage to 80s revenge / slasher flicks.
The cinematographer is brilliant, far better than expected in films like this.
A few denouements are lame, many more are laugh out loud wonderful.  Irresistible synth score.

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From Caligari To Hitler: German Cinema In The Age Of The Masses - 2014 - 8/10
AKA - Von Caligari Zu Hitler: Das Deutsche Kino im Zeitalter der Massen

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Masterful documentary on Weimar cinema.
Although the focus is primarily on Murnau and Lang, numerous directors are profiled.
As well as piles of films.  Note:  the prints of most are outstanding.
The premise is of the vanished Weimar era, obliterated by National Socialism and World War II.
Can audiences get a feeling of the times, the people, the mood, via the movies made during that period?
For Silent buffs, this is extremely welcome, consider these two updated episodes from 1995‘s Cinema Europe.
I have watched easily two thirds of the films referenced, yet was thrilled to find fresh titles to track down.

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Paula - 2016 - 6/10

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Dramatization of German painter, Paula Modersohn-Becker, at the beginning of the 20th century.
Being female, barriers included sexism, mockery, hostility.
A costume drama, though not exceedingly so, the look is restrained, and Paris seems spacious.
The narrative does not quite match her history as listed in Wikipedia, though the essentials seems true.
Pacing can be sluggish, and the myriad characters confusing at times.
Viewers who enjoyed 1995‘s Carrington should feel at home.

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Eden And After - 1970 - 7/10
AKA - L'éden et Après

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Audacious, challenging, at times perplexing story will baffle many, put others to sleep.
For people who do not like foreign cinema, French films, this is a poster child for every element you hate.
There is next to no plot.  College students chill in a museum construct cafe, attend classes, engage in sexual politics (meaning a load of nudity and talking).
At its core, this is a mystery.  One coed owns a valuable painting from her uncle, a deceased artist.
They steal it, or try to steal it, transport her to Algeria, there is a doppelganger, murders, vague resolutions.
A flood of images, difficult ambiant score, this can be a hypnotic ride if you immerse yourself.
I quite enjoyed this - but - everyone else watching with me left.  Beware.

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Mortal Engines - 2019 - 5/10

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If I were younger, with less film baggage in my memory cells, I might enjoy more.
As it is, this YA dystopian actioner felt crammed, rushed and illogical,
In a post apocalyptic world, the London city sprawl rolls across Europe, devouring cities, towns, small industries.
(How come only London survived?  Where do they get food?  Water?  Who knows!)
The dastardly mastermind (Hugo Weaving as baddie) toils secretly, though a trio of females resist him.
Key males are villains or helpless, while the West (London) is bad, and the East (China / India) is good.
Good CGI, though the plot is fast food.  I disliked Snowpiercer, too.

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Chez Nous - 2017 - 6/10
AKA - This Is Our Land

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Small town nurse slowly gets involved with small town politics.
She is handpicked and the process is incremental, from disinterest to spouting the rhetoric.
The party message is anti immigrant, right wing anger.
The ticket head is the daughter of an even more extremist politician.
Envision Marine Le Pen, on whom the main candidate is clearly patterned after.
The story is too cool by half.  This ought to have struck the jugular more forcibly.
Perhaps filmmakers toned down the headier aspects owing to the then ongoing elections.
Disappointing, at least for me.

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Can You Ever Forgive Me? - 2018 - 7/10

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Unpleasant journey of the forger, the has-been, the soured ingrate.
Blocked writer is out of bankable ideas, behind in rent, yet still finds ways to buy a bottle.
At a watering hole, she encounters an old acquaintance, who is even more the failure than she.
She concocts a fraudulent way of earning money.  Cash only.
Melissa McCarthy is excellent as Lee Daniels, with none of her over the top shtick.
Gullible targets, greedy exploiters, self absorbed, plenty to dislike in cutting real life story.

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