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Movies I've Watched in 2017 (31 items)
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Recent reviews

All reviews - Movies (20) - TV Shows (1) - DVDs (21) - Books (1) - Games (2)

The Girl Cut in Two review

Posted : 1 year, 2 months ago on 18 January 2016 10:56 (A review of The Girl Cut in Two )

Lackluster love triangle tragedy in which almost nothing works. Which will an attractive, upwardly bound weathergirl choose, the old writer jackass or the young spoiled jackass? When the girl is this airheaded and indescerning about jumping into bed, I didn't even care. The rivalry that supposedly already exists between the men is just as flimsy and ineffectual. Claude Chabrol has made some provocative examinations of relationships - obsessive jealousy in L'Enfer for example - but everything staged here is extremely limp. That includes insinuations of kinky sex with the old guy and maybe his friends, nothing is ever made clear but it's just another example of the director working far too timidly with this material. The overly obvious visual metaphor to end the film makes for an appropriate ham-fisted finale to this tripe.


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Fidelity review

Posted : 1 year, 4 months ago on 14 November 2015 10:24 (A review of Fidelity)

A hotshot avant-garde photographer with time-honored principles who has never known love decides to marry an adoring suitor anyway, then meets a talented, impulsive, and reckless photojournalist who tempts her wild side. Can she stay faithful to her vows while she yearns for real happiness? Andrzej Zulawski finally reigns in his over-the-top tendencies to make a film I felt was worth watching, while still cutting loose for a couple crazy action sequences. I must concede that he always pushes former spouse Sophie Marceau further than other directors, and while her character can be frustratingly difficult to figure out, she remains compelling all the same. No grand revelations about the human condition other than happiness is merely an illusory defensive shield, but if you've watched Zulawski before you know that already. 2:40 is an extremely long time to delve into relationship and moral angst but I was involved enough that it went by at a relatively crisp pace, greatly assisted by some stimulating frame composition.


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Cyborg 2 review

Posted : 1 year, 8 months ago on 17 July 2015 02:11 (A review of Cyborg 2)

Yep, it's awful and only noteworthy for the first film appearance of Angelina Jolie. You can also watch Jack Palance snort & wheeze through his lines, which when intercut with Jolie's moment of toplessness makes for one of the most disturbing sex scenes ever conceived. Gets an extra half-star only because she's in this one and J-C Van Damme isn't.


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Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2-Disc Widescreen Edition) review

Posted : 1 year, 8 months ago on 12 July 2015 06:48 (A review of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2-Disc Widescreen Edition))

"Katherine Brewster, have you sustained any injuries?"
"Drop dead, you asshole!"
"I am unable to comply."

Don't understand why a lot of people didn't like this sequel as I thought T3 was a lot of fun. Stubborn Cameron loyalists? While the screenplay progression echoes with series familiarity, the T1 & T2 references all clicked with the right amount of humor; Arnie's traditional introductory search for clothes and sunglasses gag is a good example. Plenty of spectacular, OTT Terminator-style action scenes including the incredible firetruck/semi chase/mayhem. Only the nonsensical bathroom brawl and and overly prolonged final fight with the TX felt like excess baggage during this thrillride. Kristanna Loken is made-to-order deadly gorgeous as the new Terminator although she is given even less personality than T2's liquid metalman Robert Patrick. However, adding two legit top-drawer actors to the cast gives this entry an extra boost that you could forgive being absent in the first two movies. Nick Stahl gives John Connor the right level of trepidation and survivalist savvy that a burden of knowing you're supposed to become a hero in the future would bring. Meanwhile, Claire Danes' bountiful skill turns a character that on paper exists mostly to scream and flee into a 3-dimensional woman coming to grips with sudden loss and the horrifying knowledge of what is to come. The great gutsy ending was a real surprise bombshell - literally. On the DVD, the commentary track includes a lot of Arnie which is always gold and there's a very funny deleted scene that finally explains why all the T-800 series models look & sound like him. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines favorably advances the overall story while successfully avoiding the common sequel trap of feeling like a cash-grab, which makes the first 3 Terminators the most satisfyingly entertaining trio of action movies behind only the original Star Wars and Lord of the Rings trilogies.


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Red Road review

Posted : 1 year, 8 months ago on 12 July 2015 06:46 (A review of Red Road)

A closed-circuit city monitor spots a man she has an undefined connection with from her past - and that's all we are explicitly told for over an hour as she follows him first by remote camera, and later shadowing him in person. Who is he and why is she obsessed with following him? That's what's supposed to keep us afloat through long stretches of silence and extreme closeups, a tall order for any movie to be really effective, and Red Road eventually sags under its own protraction. Made big waves at 2007 Cannes by claiming the top Jury Prize, I preferred the director's Academy Award-winning live action 2003 short film called Wasp included on the DVD. Andrea Arnold has got an observant eye for working-class lifestyles and the fraying urban societal fabric but her screenplays could use tightening.


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Nelly [À Ce Soir] review

Posted : 1 year, 8 months ago on 12 July 2015 06:45 (A review of Nelly [À Ce Soir])

Unusual, meditative examination of the 72 hours following the death of a woman's husband, a small-town physician. A marital quarrel caused Nelly to sleep on the couch, when she returns to the bedroom the next day and finds her husband unresponsive, and within hours she's flooded with responsibilities: what, how, and when to tell her three children, dealing with the calendar of patients expecting to see an undeceased doctor, making funeral arrangements, and the particulars of removing the body chief among them. Sudden grief affects people in very different ways. Coping with such a tidal wave of unexpected burdens would challenge anyone, and this movie follows how this particular person reacts to them.

There are no judgments made and seldom any explanation, the viewer has to be willing to enter the characters' world to get anything out of the experience because you won't be told how you should feel. There are some brief, unexpected moments which made me laugh (tripping over the phone cord, breaking the window) but wasn't quite sure if they should, at least until a scene near the end which confirmed the gallows humor when the coffin is discovered to be built too large to fit into a furnace for cremation. Sophie Marceau is superb as Nelly who initially tries to accommodate everyone while getting pushed to breaking point. Her performance allowed me to empathize with her actions and reactions with some level of understanding, the exception when she wades into the river, I didn't believe she would've put her children through those consequences. We also get their innocent interpretations of death, as well as her brother-in-law, her sister, and other close family and friends, each with their own perspective.

Pretty apparent that 'À ce soir' is not for everyone, and even serious filmgoers will want to be in a certain frame of mind before watching it - if you can even find it, a hard film to track down. Equally rare is a film containing an intense level of emotion that does not try to manipulate the audience's, which I really appreciated. Your reaction is your genuine own, not what someone wanted you to feel.


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Premiers Desirs review

Posted : 1 year, 8 months ago on 12 July 2015 06:44 (A review of Premiers Desirs)

It's all about sensitivity and soft focus for David Hamilton, a director from a bygone age of earnest erotica. He poses his subjects like in the paintings of Rubens, and seduction scenes proceed at a pace of live action slow-motion. There's not much story, and the logistics of where people are and what time they are there never made sense, but to his credit he's more interested in exploring the honesty of people's feelings. I only watched this because it marked the film debut of the luminous Emmanuelle Beart who received something like sixth billing, but it turned out to be better, and certainly more mature, than I expected for a sexual-coming-of-age feature. Some quality camerawork, including a memorable shot expressing the distance between a husband on the pier and his wife departing in a boat, and beautiful bodies keep the eyes satisfied. The ending is quite abrupt and I was rather stunned at the way the guy was hung out to dry following the greatest grief of his life!


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I Am Omega review

Posted : 1 year, 8 months ago on 12 July 2015 06:32 (A review of I Am Omega)

The Asylum has produced a lot - and I mean a LOT - of bad pseudo sci-fi/futuristic junk over the past decade+, but 'I Am Omega' does not deserve to be included in that roll call. It's not a good movie either but does a few things right and throws in a few effective jump-scares. For instance in this man vs world of mutants scenario similar to '28 Days Later', Mark Dacascos has some screen charisma. Granted he doesn't have 1/50th the martial arts skills of Tony Jaa but at least he can register an emotion other than 'pissed off'. On the other hand, Jennifer Lee Wiggins the woman survivor he meets is perfectly awful. Two military types also show up, and the landscape of the nearly dead is effectively drawn with good makeup and grisly blood effects. A rudimentary story with one all-time blindingly ridiculous contrivance to have the adversaries meet up again in which a man shot in both shoulders and the leg is able to push, yes PUSH, a car out of the city, pass out, and wake up in time to see his enemy's van speed by! All told, I've seen worse episodes of 'The Walking Dead'.


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À ce soir review

Posted : 1 year, 9 months ago on 14 June 2015 12:52 (A review of À ce soir)

Unusual, meditative examination of the 72 hours following the death of a woman's husband, a small-town physician. A marital quarrel caused Nelly to sleep on the couch, when she returns to the bedroom the next day and finds her husband unresponsive, and within hours she's flooded with responsibilities: what, how, and when to tell her three children, dealing with the calendar of patients expecting to see an undeceased doctor, making funeral arrangements, and the particulars of removing the body chief among them. Sudden grief affects people in very different ways. Coping with such a tidal wave of unexpected burdens would challenge anyone, and this movie follows how this particular person reacts to them.

There are no judgments made and seldom any explanation, the viewer has to be willing to enter the characters' world to get anything out of the experience because you won't be told how you should feel. There are some brief, unexpected moments which made me laugh (tripping over the phone cord, breaking the window) but wasn't quite sure if they should, at least until a scene near the end which confirmed the gallows humor when the coffin is discovered to be built too large to fit into a furnace for cremation. Sophie Marceau is superb as Nelly who initially tries to accommodate everyone while getting pushed to breaking point. Her performance allowed me to empathize with her actions and reactions with some level of understanding, the exception when she wades into the river, I didn't believe she would've put her children through those consequences. We also get their innocent interpretations of death, as well as her brother-in-law, her sister, and other close family and friends, each with their own perspective.

Pretty apparent that 'À ce soir' is not for everyone, and even serious filmgoers will want to be in a certain frame of mind before watching it - if you can even find it, a hard film to track down. Equally rare is a film containing an intense level of emotion that does not try to manipulate the audience's, which I really appreciated. Your reaction is your genuine own, not what someone wanted you to feel.


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Pacific Palisades review

Posted : 1 year, 9 months ago on 13 June 2015 02:15 (A review of Pacific Palisades)

Completely inconsequential piffle about a bored girl in Paris who decides to fly to America, but the business she thought that had a job waiting for her ceased to exist, so housesitting 2 dogs at a lavish residence she becomes a bored girl in Los Angeles. Sophie Marceau is of course the star of the show and her summer attire reveals plenty of skin with her legs getting special recognition, but her character Bernadette does not carry the same level of appeal as in her other movies. She's fickle and irresponsible and shows a lack of respect for other people's property, willfully destroying an answering machine and screen door of her considerate hosts. She encounters a guy from Ontario who looks a lot like Joaquin Phoenix and he proceeds to take her on cluelessly terrible dates while she gives him the cold shoulder (but can't resist one scrum under the covers). They share nothing in common, so why are we supposed to care about where their unromance goes? Fittingly the ending is just as flat.

I didn't mention that they share a language in common because, in case you didn't know, everyone in LA from the truck drivers to greasy spoon waitresses speaks perfect French. That whole Hispanic influence is just a load of liberal propaganda. For the intended French audience part of the filmmaker's purpose was to illustrate, often with broad unflattering strokes, the difference of the American lifestyle. A few jabs hit the mark like when Bernardette walks her suburban neighborhood without encountering a soul, while others are completely off base in their ignorance like her encounter with two joggers who discourage her from smoking. Hence one of his biggest points about her alienation gets rendered completely impotent when there isn't even a language barrier, instead she just comes off as gripey and intolerant, qualities I'm sure he wasn't intending to appoint to his main character.


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Posted: 10 months, 3 weeks ago at May 8 2:16
Just dropping by to thank you for the comments you left on my list. I'll definitely watch Witness this month & it's looking like I may never watch King Arthur (especially after your comments on the frequency Keira wears that outfit from the cover/poster...heh).

Oh, and I HAVE seen Night Watch, but it's been a while. Hopefully it's not essential that I recall all of it for Day Watch.
Posted: 1 year, 10 months ago at May 22 7:46
Thanks for the vote! Home Movies is in my third all time favorite show, so criminally underrated!

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