Recommend a movie

1,591 posts in this topic

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Out Of The Fog - 1962 -  5/10
AKA - Fog For A Killer

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Freshly released from prison (again), embittered George takes a room in a halfway house.
Ex-cons have trouble enough readjusting, finding work, meeting others, but his attitude is poisonous.
And then nearby, young girls start to get murdered.
Police suspect number one?  Bingo!
B-movie with fine acting, unimaginative script.
Barely an hour, good enough time waster.

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In Fabric - 2018 - 7/10

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Older woman, Sheila, looks to buy something new for a blind date, so she visits an odd fashion house.
(How odd?  The employee - “A purchase on a horizon, a panoply of temptation.  Can a curious soul desist?”)
Store staff remind one of Victorian governesses.
Meanwhile, Sheila’s home is slipping from her rules, while her employers start to “coach” her.
How about the new red dress?  The one that leaves a rash on her?
(“In apprehensions lie the crevices of clarity.”)

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Strange television commercials, a bizarre retail underbelly, Plasticine encounters.
Later, perhaps coincidentally, another dress wearer, runs afoul of the employer.
(“Darings eclipse the dark circumference of caution.”)
Unexpected, off-kilter humor proves funny and unsettling, in a world that is downright weird.
This is the third film I have seen by writer/director Peter Strickland.
The first, Berberian Sound Stage, I did not care for.
The second, The Duke Of Burgundy, I appreciated more than I liked.
This one, I did like, but it is overlong and suffers from an excess of ideas that he cannot array properly.
Should be of particular interest to, as it seems to borrow from, the cult of Ligotti.

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La Coda Dello Scorpione - 1971 - 6/10
AKA - The Case Of The Scorpion's Tail

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Good Giallo that plays with conventions and expectations.
Older husband dies in airline disaster, and his young, promiscuous wife inherits a cool million.
She soon draws plenty of attention:  police, Interpol, insurance investigator.
And a masked killer who wields a nasty knife.
Multiple locations dance across a jagged, deliberately misleading plot.
Audio commentary with the scriptwriter.  In it, he tells how he favored thrillers based on money or revenge, which had to obey reasonable lines.  He was not a fan of Argento’s maniacs, where anyone could be guilty in the final reel.

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Das Schiff der Verlorenen Menschen - 1929 - 6/10
AKA - The Ship Of Lost Men

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A young American doctor gets caught on a battered ship sailing from Hamburg to Brazil.
The captain is a cruel tyrant, the crew are cutthroats or criminals on  the run.
Into their midst falls a female aviatrix (early Marlene Dietrich) who ignites passions.
One of the last Silents, this is moody, darkly lensed, and slow as a wintry puddle.
Viewers longing for things to happen will wait and wait and wait.
Many times, when a film plods, I study costumes and sets.
Not here, with minimalist interiors and so dark, even shadows are few.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Campaign In Aghartha - 2047 - 7/10

Ignoring the briefings of military advisors, a deranged national leader declares war on the Underworld.
Not crime syndicates, not the Yakuza, Triads, Mafia, Bratva, drug cartels, Spectre.
Rather, the Hollow Earth.
Vowing to “secure border security” (sic), the great one orders a division of Spelunk Marines to the polar opening, guarded from time immemorial by descendents of Pangaea.
The narrative (stupidly) lags to permit pointless dalliances between younger Marines and a clutch of haunting Pangaean maidens, who prophesy doom.
Thankfully, a grisly encounter with the first guardian marks the onset of numerous “dooms.”

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Blood and bullets ensue, along with unbelievable gore.  Entrails and tentacles.
Imaginative (and highly troubling) photography make this sequence quite squeamish.
Observant viewers will notice a gradual softening and darkening of landscapes from this time onward.
The Marines push deeper, confront the even older civilization of Aghartha.
Since none there understand English, soldiers begin shooting.
Not before priests, however, implore the god they worship, the dread lord of R’lyeh.

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Military tactics confront annihilation.
Beheadings, dismemberment on a mass scale, incredibly realistic, I might add.
The plot, if one is charitable enough to term it such, becomes incoherent.
Special note must be paid to the sound design, in particular the low frequencies.
Many sequences were all but silent, though the subwoofers throbbed like mad, evoking an almost palpable foreboding.
(In the audio commentary, the director noted the eerie look was achieved using hundreds of hanging paper lanterns.)

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Mia Madre - 2015 - 6/10

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Overwhelmed film director deals with troublesome actor, a pleading ex-lover, teenage daughter.
Oh, and an elderly mother who is hospitalized, her condition deteriorating.
Film consists of confrontations, interrupted by visitations and reflections.
Memories, both fond and uncomfortable, spill into her “normal” world.
Many threads and characters explored, but the script is well organized.
A poignant film, not necessarily a depressing one.

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Thieves - 1977 - 5/10

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Not as awful as other reviews make out, but this is not for the casual.
In fact, this is for fans of theatre boards.
Based on a then-trendy Broadway play, this catches a married couple during a few sketchy days.
She (Marlo Thomas) longs for them to be like they were in their 20’s
He (Charles Grodin) reminds her, frequently, they are in their mid 30’s.
The story opens up to showcase New York exteriors, but the dialogue is, as expected, verbose.
Interesting as a time capsule, though Kojak is, in many ways, a wiser choice to view seedy NYC.
The native New Yorker, active theatre type, next to me, would score this higher.

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Complete Unknown - 2016 - 5/10

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His birthday party permits a brief relaxing of the tension in Tom’s marital dilemma.
Until he spies the guest in the shadows, and recognizes an old flame, missing over a decade.
Narrative is that of what have you been doing, rather than why.
A misstep to be sure, but others are more grievous.
Her past involves identities, which are sketched in an opening montage.
Acceptable in a bygone era (The Great Imposter (1960) or Catch Me If You Can (2002)), but not in a digital world, and not in a modern job requiring credentials.
Rachel Weisz’s character, a chimera of unresolved mysteries, is beyond far fetched.

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

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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 Kaat 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.

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A Bride For Rip Van Winkle - 2016 - 6/10
AKA - Rippu Van Winkuru No Hanayome  //  リップヴァンウィンクルの花嫁

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The plight of the painfully shy in the conformist world.
Sharper if the individual is seemingly friendless and adrift.
Part time / temp teacher casually drifts into wedding with blasé boyfriend.
She hires “friends” to fill her side of the chapel, her divorced parents pretend they are together.
False fronts for appearances.  Society can be a harsh judge, however.
In the second third, she begins a relationship with one of the phony friends.
The third section, I viewed as the inevitable flowering of her fake sandcastle.
Three hour “awakening” story, I suppose, can be broken up into one hour episodes and viewed as a J-dorama.
The director makes his points about loneliness and alienation, though I wish he trimmed and pushed the pace.

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Many thanks for you recommendations!

 

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Gold - 1934 - 6/10

The brilliant professor and his assistant attempt to transform iron into gold.
Word has leaked, however, to the press, and to a rival laboratory.
Fatal disaster strikes, yet the assistant survives.  The other group makes an offer.
Early Reichsfilme of treachery, sabotage, revenge.
Brigitte Helm plays the unscrupulous tycoon’s daughter, the chief draw here is Hans Albers who enjoyed a solid career before, during and after the Reich.

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Although the scheming industrialist is English, so too are the dependable workcrew.
As far as propaganda goes, this is balanced.
The laboratory effects are a highlight, equaling classic Universal stagings.

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Whirlpool - 1970 - 6/10

Aspiring fashion model accepts an invitation to spend the weekend with the older model.
Far out in the country, in a lovely home the woman shares with her “nephew,” Theo.
The older woman, Sarah, and Theo enjoy a cozy relationship, yet they apparently relish company.

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On the surface, Whirlpool resembles the arthouse swinging films such as those by Radley Metzger.
This veers into conte cruel, however, as Theo deals malicious games, and both Sarah and Theo are natural voyeurs.
Audio is crap.  This was filmed “silent” and the dialogue looped afterward, along with a fine music score.
Photography is first rate, well composed indoor and out.
The director made point of contrasting firm, youthful flesh with wrinkles.  Including the adult sequences.

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Malina - 1991 - 4/10

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Say what?
Study of French “writer” mixing her characters with imagined fantasy life with personal memories.
Maybe.
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.

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Seven Deaths In The Cat’s Eyes - 1973 - 6/10
AKA - La Morte Negli Occhi del Gatto

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Gothic slash mystery set in cursed Scottish castle.
The manor crumbles, the male heir is insane, aging matriarchs argue over money.
There is also a manipulative doctor and a predatory vixen and a niece kicked out of the convent.
Also a caged, perhaps murderous, orangutang.  And lets not forget that ever watchful feline.
While often lumped with Giallo, the crimson splash is infrequent and the colour palette is dark.
Interesting international cast wait their turn to get knocked off.
OK for Gothic fans, but those seeking more mayhem will be unsatisfied.

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One Chance - 2013 - 6/10

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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.

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The Saint’s Double Trouble - 1940 - 5/10

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George Sanders plays the Saint, as well as, the Boss.
Good guy and villain.
Fast moving B-film of smuggling, mistaken identities and mummies!
Simon, pursued by police, feds and dimwitted henchmen, tries to solve a mystery and woo a fetching blonde.
Speaking of mummies, Bela Lugosi plays the Boss’s right hand man.
Empty headed, but fun.

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À Nos Amours - 1983 - 7/10

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Sixteen year old Suzanne discovers boys, more boys, even more boys.
Infatuation?  Acting out?  Rebelling against parental controls?
The director keeps a loose leash on proceedings, so viewers are left to observe and wonder - or shrug.
Suzanne is seeking ”something” and not necessarily romance or carnal release.
Weak on narrative, yet a pinpoint character study.
Sandrine Bonnaire (in an extremely early role) is unforgettable as the wayward, beguiling Suzanne.

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Nuremberg Nazis On Trial - 2006 - 7/10

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Not the full docket, this three part series focuses on Hermann Goering, Rudolf Hess, Albert Speer.
Rather than a united front, each uses their own strategy to defend their wartime activities.
Allied psychologists try to glean information, and determine mental stability.
Newsreels, re-enactments, and interviews with surviving onlookers.
Well researched.  Should be informative to casual viewers.
Though that era is now several lifetimes ago, history has a tendency to repeat.

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