Recommend a movie

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El Monte De Las Bujas - 1973 - 5/10
AKA - The Witches Mountain

Early on, we follow Carla as she arrives home to discover her cat has been killed.
By her young sister-cousin-daughter (?), because the cat terrorized her pet snake.
In quick order, Carla sets fire to the snake and child, flees to her ex-boyfriend (who says No), then drops from the film.
From there, the narrative follows the ex, Mario, a photographer, who takes an assignment to a cursed mountain.
Yeah, hang on, the story jumps throughout.
Though desolate, Mario’s camera catches images in the abandoned village, which the eye overlooks.

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I enjoyed the photography.  The atmosphere is forbidding, and the clothes and look drip 1970’s.
The ending is rushed and downright confusing.  Nor is there any sort of mountain backstory.
Music reminiscent of Diamanda Galás.
Deeply flawed film “may” appeal to those who appreciate mood over mayhem.

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Posted

Einsatzgruppen:  The Nazi Death Squads - 2009 - 7/10

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Four part documentary of the units that accompanied or followed the Wehrmacht.
Maps, disturbing home movies, somber music, and interviewees.
The interviewees include historians, survivors, witnesses, and men who pulled the triggers.
The home movies are revealing on two levels.  How German officers photographed the dirty work carried out by Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Russians against Jews, Catholics, intelligentsia, neighbors …
And that those films would have been developed back in the Fatherland, challenging the later claim of,  “We didn’t know!  That wasn’t anyone I knew!”
Similar themes can be found in Lost Home Movies Of Nazi Germany (2019).
Both are powerful reminders of what humanity is capable of.  And likely will be of in our future.

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Where’s My Roy Cohn? - 2019 - 8/10

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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.

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The Prowler - 1951 - 6/10

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Outside the window, the prowler frightens a female wearing only a towel.
Two cops arrive.  The junior one eyes the spacious house, expensive furniture, and the soft curves.
The cop, Webb, wants a taste.  All of it.  Including that sweet cake, left lonely.
And she could be had, too.  Her husband neglects her, she simmers underneath, and she’s weak.
“Don’t.  Stop.  We can’t,”  she moans as her arm tightens around Webb’s neck, pulling him into the folds.
Nasty, cynical Noir is powered by Van Heflin’s riveting performance.
He’s bitter, manipulative, terrified, resentful, murderous.
His facial expressions dance, instant by instant.
Struggle, scheme, play your hand.  For what, eightball?  Do you still feel lucky?

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The Black Cat - 1981 -  6/10
AKA - Gatto Nero

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Alright feline fanatics, and cat haters, line up!
In small village England, a medium tries to communicate with the dead.
He’d best hurry, because the deaths mount.  All instigated by a growling black cat!
Odd Lucia Fulci film, loosely based on Poe (ha!), suffers from almost incoherent plot and poorly interacting characters.
The demises, of which there are quite a few, differ and are imaginative, especially when you keep in mind that the cat has to be a plausible killer.
Nonetheless, I’d like to hear how the feline(s) took direction.

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Day Of Resurrection - 1980 -  4/10
AKA - Virus

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You visit granddad at the nursing home.  He could be better, or far, far worse.
In the lobby, strapped to wheelchairs, sit glass eyed residents, brains riddled with Alzheimer’s, and doped with sedatives to keep them docile.  All have the IQ of a carrot.
Any of those human vegetables could have edited a better version of this Japan doomsday film than did the Hollywood turnips.

Pentagon bioweapons develop a virus that can exterminate life.
Not to fear, it is safely locked away in –– Wait!  Now East German operatives have a vial and are flying to Moscow to –  Oh no!  They’ve hit an air pocket!  Look out!  There’s a mountain!  Ka-boom!!!  And the dying starts.
Headliners expire first (Glenn Ford, Sonny Chiba, Robert Vaughn, Ken Ogata, Henry Silva).
Leaving George Kennedy and his band of 800 survivors in Antarctica as the final humans.
800 men, 8 women.  The latter are informed they will need to be generous, in a new, “sharing” world.
Despite explosions here and there, this movie is mind numbingly boring.
The full length, original Japanese version is allegedly superior.  I wouldn’t know, nor will I ever.

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Pain And Glory - 2019 - 6/10
AKA - Dolor y Gloria

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I watched because this is by Almodóvar, who I view as a spiritual nephew of Woody Allen.
And, as with Allen, just because this bears Almodóvar’s name, the result may not be a masterpiece.
Anyway, a renowned director (Almodóvar), suffers physical pain and creative crises.
Childhood reveries wash over his thoughts, he tries to connect with old friends and colleagues.
Banderas is exemplary is this, yet the actual story is so much watered down milk.
Damn little of the life on parade is noteworthy or compelling.
Perhaps golden to the aging director, the chapters come across as banal.

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Flirting With Fate - 1916 - 6/10

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August is broke, behind on rent, can’t feed his two dogs.  What’s his problem?
Oh, he’s a struggling artist.  Say no more.
Still, he encounters a prim, starchy type who makes his heart go boom-boom-boom.
Misunderstandings follow and then she troths to a rival.
In despair, Auggie hires Automatic Joe to murder him!
At which point, Fate laughs and turns the artist’s fortunes around.
Then the pace roars full throttle, with madcap chases, dizzying stunts, and farce humor.
Creaky film, threadbare plot, yet an excellent chance to witness Douglas Fairbanks in his prime.
Before he started making longer, heroic adventure films (not that those are lesser).

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Mrs. Lowry & Son -  2019 - 6/10

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By day, L S Lowry collects rent in impoverished neighborhoods.
At night, he dotes on his mother and paints his thoughts and moods on canvas.
His mother, who once had social aspirations, is controlling, cruel, and belittling.
No encouragement from that quarter whatsoever.
Not so much a character study as a “couple” study.  Mother and son.
Aside from brief street scenes, and a few ghostly flashbacks, the dramatics play out inside their shared flat.
Acting is superb, but this is very stagebound.
Downbeat film may appeal to creative sorts, who generally receive limited encouragement.

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Ready Or Not - 2019 - 6/10

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Family traditions are often the worst, especially those of the in-laws, particularly “new” in-laws.
Poor but pure Grace marries Alex, filthy rich, member of a family of uncountable wealth.
Nightfall after every wedding, there is a game, played by all.
Almost always inconsequential.  Harmless.  On rare occasions, though …
Grace draws the dire hand.  She runs for her life, the family draw traditional weapons.
Old premise is reworked as foul mouthed, savage comedy.

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Color Out Of Space - 2019 - 5/10

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“Hey, J J, listen to this!  Nicolas Cage doing a Lovecraft movie!”
–  Lovecraft.  As in romance?  Or Kama Sutra bouncing?
“A space rock strikes a farm in the backwoods!  Then bizarre things start spreading out.”
– Oh, a remake of that “Annihilation” movie?
“No one believes the farmer, meanwhile colored lights turn everything weird.”
– Like in “Annihilation”?  Only with crafty love sex, right?  Like “Lifeforce”?  Whoa!  Loved that one!  None of those tentacles and testicles though.
“Who needs sex when we got Cage!  Who’s gonna go full-bore Nick Cage wacko in the last act.”
– What he does.  Any partnership funding?  Help defray costs?
“Yeah!  Llama Owners Worldwide are kicking in $500 and fresh milk so long as we include llamas in the story.”
– OK, what’s another million, more or less.  Who’s the target audience?
“Need you ask?”

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La Storia Vera Della Signora Dalle Camelie - 1981 - 6/10
AKA - Lady Of The Camellias

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Sumptuous dramatization of Alphonsine Plessis.
Her rise from impoverished beggar, to seamstress, prostitute, courtesan.
Difference between the latter two seems money.  Clientele.  Rich clientele.
Story rollicks along quick march, touching the bases of a shallow life.
Glossy trash.
Based on Marie Duplessis who was likely the Kim Kardashian of her era, and about as interesting.

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