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Ford V Ferrari - 2019 - 7/10

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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 in releasing this in November.


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Vultural

Byleth,Il Demone dell'Incesto - 1972 - 5/10
AKA - Byleth, The Demon Of Incest

Dolores, the busy village prostitute, is savagely murdered after another sensual transaction.
Next comes, well, let’s not get premature with the slippery details.
Rather, focus on Barbara, returning from England and continental travels.
To the glistening delight of her brother, Duke Lionello.
The siblings display a very cozy relationship.
Unfortunately, Barbara returns with a new husband, and Lionello becomes curious.

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Abundant, full figured nudity camouflage a thin, derivative whodunit.
Pace plods along, but the scenery is lush (including the nude beauties).
Midway, the script tosses a macabre suggestion, but it doesn’t really help.


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Vultural

I Remember You - 2017 - 6/10  
AKA - Ég man þig

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Young married couple and female friend decide to rehab a derelict building into a summer B n B.
The building and abandoned church are on a remote Icelandic isle.
Concurrently, an elderly woman commits suicide in a church leaving authorities a puzzle.
Solid mystery creeps into haunting territory.
One individual in particular seems cursed, or they possess second sight.
Two thirds in, an odd, perhaps Icelandic theory mixes with perceived Christian symbolism.
Nothing too original here.  Atmospheric surroundings, and narrative jumps should hold your attention.


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Vultural

Underverden - 2017 - 6/10
AKA -.Darkland

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Late Liam Neeson territory here, without Mr. Neeson himself.
Meaning, the path of bloody revenge.
After Yasin botches a bank robbery, he is brutally murdered.
His older brother, a heart surgeon, begins to investigate.
Dr. Zaid, violently warned off, opts to train his fighting skills.
Yes, just what your own family physician or dentist would do.
Not a bad film, helped by a 80’s synth score and a cadre of baddies.
Aside from the suspension of disbelief, which is considerable, the “heroic” Zaid is, in many ways, less sympathetic than the head villain.


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Vultural

The Good Liar - 2019 - 7/10

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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.


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Vultural

Steep - 2007 - 6/10  

Documentary catches the “extreme sport” of steep downhill skiing.
I found the early section more enjoyable.
The pioneers in the early 70’s who skied the Grand Teton and Chamonix.
Hard core guys who climbed to the top, then leapt forth.

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55 minutes in, however, we hit the later crew.  Moneymakers.
Guys who ascend using helicopters, one who jumps with a parachute.
The phrase “film season” is mentioned in the same breath with “performing.”
Cashing in, the elite daredevils ferry rich turistas into back ranges and peddle exclusivity.

These shows, along with numerous Mount Everest docs, inspire self centered smurfs to demand this experience.
Endless lines up Everest, a chain of helicopters in Alaska, followed by,
“Oops, I done fall!  Hep me!  Hep!  How am I gonna pay?  I’m entitled!  Hep!”


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Vultural

Lady Frankenstein - 1971 - 5/10
AKA - La Figlia di Frankenstein

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Body snatchers deliver another casket to the spacious castle.
Villagers even know who lives there, one Baron Frankenstein, whose history is known.
What is less known is that he had a daughter, who returns after becoming a surgeon.
Some money was spent on casting, dollops more on costumes and sets.
The plot, which could have been penned by an eight year old, is of the creation of a tall “monster” who swiftly escapes and roams the countryside killing everyone he sees.
Not Universal, let alone Hammer, but the sexual encounters are plentiful and a few over the top.


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Vultural

Parasite - 2019 - 7/10  
AKA - Gisaengchoong  //  기생충

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A film of levels.  Strata.  Ground floor, upper floors.  Basement, sub-basement.
Likewise, social levels.  Class.
Poor family struggles to survive in pricy urban South Korea.
They mooch wifi and toil low-end, piece work jobs, but life is not sweet.
Via an old classmate friend, the son lands a tutoring job for a privileged daughter.
You watch, as the family maneuvers to shift themselves into the household, cuckoo like.
Inside, economic and social disparities slowly bloom with an aroma that everyone keeps sniffing.
A simmering boil, this will likely be viewed differently, depending on your economic situation.
Affluent will say, “Demand references and check them.”  Poor,  “Welcome to our world.”
Middle class, however, who are slipping globally, will recognize their future with horror.


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Vultural

American Factory - 2019 - 7/10

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Six years after GM shut a truck factory in Dayton, Chinese investors reopen it as an auto glass manufacturer.
Told from both Chinese and American perspectives, this doc shows the uneasy progress.
The Chinese are accustomed to hard work and long hours.  The environment, not so much.
The American crew are ex-UAW members.  Benefits and pay offered are slim.
Unlike the Japanese, a generation earlier, Chinese ownership is wide-eyed to the cultural differences.
Growing pains are rocky, and provocative politicians and union organizers stir discontent.
Watching the overweight and slow-walking Americans in this film had me shaking my head.
Their movements were sluggish, their minds less nimble, and I just knew how this would flow.
The Chinese think long term, which you grasp by the end of the film.


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Vultural

Memoirs Of A Murderer - 2017 - 7/10
AKA - 22-Nenme no Kokuhaku: Watashi Ga Satsujinhan Desu
22年目の告白-私が殺人犯です

Modus operandi: strangulation, with a bound and gagged onlooker nearby.
A close relative, permitted to survive, bear witness, live with despair and guilt.
Spree killing of 5 murders, before the murderer mysteriously disappears.
Police departments and news agencies fail to unearth the killer.
Months elapse, then years, until the statute of limitations passes by.
And then, the killer surfaces, peddling his tell-all book.

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An instant best-seller!  Society goes berserk, the killer is “really cool.”
Police are infuriated, yet stymied.  A lone senior news anchor decides to challenge the killer.
Gripping thriller manages to be a brilliant twist n turn tale, as well as a rotten exposé of the shallowness of society and their fascination with celebrity, even the celebrity of monsters.

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Vultural

The Aeronauts - 2019 - 6/10

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“Inspired by true events” *
Victorian scientist James Glaisher believes the upper atmosphere holds keys to predicting the weather.
In scientific circles he is scoffed and ridiculed.
Not to fear, he finds a partner in balloonist, crowd performer, Amanda Wren.
Personality clashes notwithstanding, an ascent is guaranteed.
The photography, the cloud photography, is spectacular, begging for a huge screen.
As entertainment, this is OK, unless you cannot bear the opening ten minutes.
Historic accuracy?  Well …
* There was an actual James Glaisher, who actually did cross the 30,000 foot level.
NOT with Amanda Wren, however, but with Henry Tracey Coxwell, preeminent balloonist of the era.
If politically correct, gender whitewashing sticks in your craw, you might want to pass this by.
Should you be hungry for popcorn fluff, this will satisfy.


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Vultural

The House By The Cemetery - 1981 - 5/10
AKA - Quella Villa Accanto al Cimitero

Doctor Peterson dumps his wife and shacks up with his girlfriend in the rambling house.
Before the opening credits, he murders her, then commits suicide.
Yeah, yeah, backstory.  Next, Doctor Boyle decides to continue Peterson’s research.
He takes his headcase wife, and whiny moppet son Bob, to the same big ole house.
By the cemetery.  Inside, the cellar door is nailed shut.  For how long, you wonder.

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The family hears voices, sobbings.  The house is haunted.  Do they bolt out the door?
There’s a burial slab inside the house. Who is buried there?  Whoa, it’s Professor Freudstein!
A mysterious babysitter is hired.  Moppet Bob chats with a girl no one else sees.
On and on.  Lucio Fulci film piles incidents and ideas slapdash, with no thought of continuity or logic.
An utter mess.  Nevertheless, I sat there, transfixed, wondering what would happen next.


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Vultural

The Kindness Of Strangers - 2019 - 6/10

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Woman flees from her physically abusive husband, along with her two small sons.
Soon enough, we realize he is a cop and possesses all sorts of ways to track them down.
Shutting the credit cards, getting the parked car impounded.
Wait! though, she has gone to New York City,  That most generous and hospitable of burgs to hide in.
While she and the boys struggle somewhat, they find many open doors.
A concurrent story follows a newly released convict, who is offered the manager post of an upscale restaurant.
Additional characters and narratives weave and tangle.
Fairy tale, set in Manhattan, sugarcoats the plight of true homelessness.


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Vultural

The Killer Must Kill Again - 1975 - 6/10
AKA - L'Assassino è Costretto ad Uccidere Ancora  // Il Ragno  (The Spider)

The murderer shoves the body into a Volkswagen Beetle, then pushes the car into the river.
He is observed.
The onlooker is not exactly the low-abiding type.
Instead, he offers a proposition.  He has a wife.  He’d like her gone.

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Simple yes?
Plans go awry when joyriders steal the assassin’s car.
The first 20” move briskly, as do the final 20”.  Good music, wowza interiors, nice location shots.
In between, however, the pace plods and dialogue predominates, along with a long pursuit.
The whole 40” middle felt like padding and provides little to the proceedings.


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Vultural

Satan’s Slaves - 2017 - 6/10
AKA - Pengabdi Setan

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Mawarni has been ill for three years, exhausting the family’s financial resources.
Finally she dies.  Or … does she?
While the father goes to find work, the children realize there was an incredibly dark side to their mother.
And a bargain, a pact if you will, that demands payment.
Decent Indonesian horror outing benefits from several unique perspectives on a genre film.
Conflict of Islamic faith and surviving paganists is another nice wrinkle.
One sequence is laughably over the top, though others are fairly creepy.


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Vultural

Animals - 2019 - 6/10

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Laura and Tyler stagger out of the club.  Or stagger into another.
We’re talking serious party girls here.  Ten unleashed years of delirium.
Now, as they edge into their 30’s, one of them seems to be shifting her outlook; the other raves on.
One wonders if she should “do something” with her life.
A pair of men enter.  A pianist and a poet.  The encounters further expand the perspectives.
Atypical female-friend drama, does not follow expected routes and is all the more refreshing.


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Vultural

Blue Eyes Of The Broken Doll - 1974 - 6/10
AKA - Los Ojos Azules de la Muñeca Rota

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Drifter walks a deserted road, tying to hitch a ride.
He finally gets lucky, though the tractor driver warns there is no work in the area.
Nevertheless, he does find work, as handyman for three sisters, each deeply troubled.
One is wheelchair bound, one wears a prosthetic, the third seems a nymphomaniac.
Add a secretive nurse who makes phone calls and who drugs one of the sisters.
Anything else?  You mean the mysterious homicidal maniac who is killing blue eyed blondes?
Wonderfully entertaining film!  The look is Italian Giallo, the tone is Noir.
Our hero, the drifter, finds himself trapped in a sticky tangle of perfumed sex and his own sour luck.

 


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BorisVictor

Many thanks for your countless reviews.

You are the best!

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Vultural

Thank you.
Apologies, as always, to those desiring more mainstream film reviews.
A few members mentioned lost images in the first 30 pages.
Happened after Tinypic went down.
I've been working to replace them.
Should be repaired by summer.

Everyone try to stay healthy.
Good luck out there.


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Vultural

One Child Nation - 2019 - 7/10

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Difficult to rate this because it omitted an angle I wanted to see explored.
China, circa 1980, saw their population soar past 1 billion.  Starvation loomed on the horizon.
Families were ordered / coerced / forced to limit children to one.
Noncompliance led to abortion, then sterilization.
Documentary interviews families, village party leaders, midwives.
Many are surprisingly forthcoming with guilt, or with pride.
The main consequence pursued was the abandonment or adopting out of unwanted infants.
Girls.
The concept of “little emperors” was not explored, nor the generation of males who can never marry owing to the missing females.


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