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 Posted:   Oct 30, 2023 - 9:27 AM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)

Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

I was unimpressed with the first one, & thought two & three were awful, but I quite like this one. It's not directed by Gore Verbinski, so we don't have him winding out most of the colour (he seems to really hate colour), I think director Rob Marshall does a great job, & it really looks lush & rich. The deathless couple Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley aren't in it, which improves it no end. Ian McShane is great as Blackbeard & the story goes forward at a great pace (after a bit of chasing around in London).

Agreed, it is one of the more visually rewarding, concise and shorter films of a series that was often extremely bloated and visually ugly. And it had a story that departed from that same recycling thing that they had going for so many films. Yup McShane is a great baddy here as well.

 Posted:   Oct 30, 2023 - 10:32 AM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

I really liked the original movie. Its fun and unusually dark for a "pirates" movie. I could never watch the other films from beginning to end. They just became monotonous and over long. Jack Sparrow was a one trick pony too, fun in the original but uninteresting in the others.

 Posted:   Oct 30, 2023 - 1:57 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Doctor in Trouble (1970) ... 4/10

The last (of 7) - after a 4yr gap - of the Doctor film series has the cast aboard a cruise liner (they had that scenario in the second film, 15 years earlier) and there are plenty of laughs provided by British stalwarts headed once again by Leslie Phillips. Harry Secombe (great fun) and Simon Dee (no personality) are new as are a few ladies (the men can age, the ladies not) but many of the jokes are the same. The leading lady, Angela Scoular, had played one of Bond's girls in OHMSS a year earlier.

It's all done on the cheap and the same few sets are used throughout most of the running time. Despite being only 90 minutes the second half of the film drags. I think I saw the film on its release, the only one of the seven.

A jaunty title theme by Eric Rogers but I can't recall any underscore with only some diegetic music (from where?) for the striptease sequence.

 Posted:   Oct 30, 2023 - 3:00 PM   
 By:   Rameau   (Member)

I think Doctor In Trouble is my favourite Doctor film, mind you, it’s not a high bar (the whole series of Doctor films is guilty pleasure time). I do like the late great Leslie Phillips. I've tried to watch it (Talking Pictures I think), but the transfer is so god-awful that I find it unwatchable.

 Posted:   Oct 30, 2023 - 3:31 PM   
 By:   Spinmeister   (Member)

Sleepaway Camp (1983)

Oft cited slasher with much ballyhooed "OMG!" climax amuses now and again when it trips on its shoelaces, but mostly taxes one's patience on account of being cheap and derivative.


Dracula Rising (1993)

Wesley Crusher's father co-stars in anemic Roger Corman produced vampire romance. Jack Crusher only takes his shirt off once. Hiss!


When Evil Lurks (2023)

Gory Argentine demonic possession yarn that should have gone through a few more drafts. Characters serve the the plot and make no sense one minute to the next. I stopped watching 2/3rds in. Couldn't bear the stupid any more.


 Posted:   Oct 31, 2023 - 12:04 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

I think Doctor In Trouble is my favourite Doctor film, mind you, it’s not a high bar (the whole series of Doctor films is guilty pleasure time). I do like the late great Leslie Phillips. I've tried to watch it (Talking Pictures I think), but the transfer is so god-awful that I find it unwatchable.

Agreed, the picture (4:3, I don't think this was the correct ratio) was poor and I watched only to recall a few scenes (e.g. Harry Secombe's lack of culture* smile) and to tick it off the list ... only ... in Love remaining (which I think I've seen but can't remember). As for favourite, for me it's the original ... great cast, etc.

* Wendover's black-tie gaff demonstrates the importance of correctly placing "only" in the sentence!

 Posted:   Oct 31, 2023 - 1:49 PM   
 By:   TominAtl   (Member)

When Evil Lurks (2023)

Gory Argentine demonic possession yarn that should have gone through a few more drafts. Characters serve the the plot and make no sense one minute to the next. I stopped watching 2/3rds in. Couldn't bear the stupid any more.


I was so pumped to see this movie and what it ended up being was a nonsensical turgid mess.

 Posted:   Nov 1, 2023 - 3:35 PM   
 By:   Prince Damian   (Member)

The Creature Walks Among Us(1956) 5/10 at a push

The third and last in the series. Phew!
Gill man gets captured and the boffins fix him so he can breath air. And, heyho, in the morning he's made millions of years of evolution. I think that's what the meant. The scientific jargon sounded mostly like bollocks and was taken for granted. Gillman got to wear some overalls. The film ended rather abruptly with him buggering off into the night- the end. On the plus the film didn't waste much time to get going. Vast played it straight.

 Posted:   Nov 1, 2023 - 11:39 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

THE CREATOR (2023) – 7/10

Another tale of A.I. gone wrong, THE CREATOR is set during a time of war between humans and A.I. robots. The robots, of course, had originally been developed to help man, but had eventually set off a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles, killing a million people. So, Americans embarked upon a campaign to destroy all existing robots wherever they may be, even in countries that are still accepting of the A.I. beings. In support of this effort, they developed a massive flying battleship—NOMAD—that can drop huge explosives.

Into this conflict comes U.S. Army Sergeant “Joshua Taylor” (John David Washington,) an African-American with two mechanical limbs, who has gone undercover and infiltrated the village of Ko Nang near the clandestine lab of scientist Nirmata, who's developing an A.I. super weapon called alpha-omega. Joshua goes native and marries Nirmata's Asian daughter “Maya” (Gemma Chan.) A military raid splits up the couple, and the pregnant Maya flees and is written off as dead. Taylor resigns his commission.

Five years later, Taylor, because of his inside knowledge, is asked to accompany another raid, led by “Colonel Howell” (Allison Janney), to hunt down and retrieve Nirmata’s latest weapon. That “weapon” turns out to be a beatific, monk-like robot child (Madeleine Yuna Voyles) capable of learning and growing, but not of reproducing. The child’s godlike powers position her as a potential A.I. messiah. In the course of the action, Taylor gets a video­taped glimpse of Maya in the lab where the alpha-omega was developed. He absconds with “Alfie” (his name for the child robot). He wants it to help him find Maya, its creator-mother. The quest puts Taylor at odds both with American forces and those who wish to protect the child.

There is plenty of combat and explosives in this sci-fi actioner, but not much deep thought in producer, director, co-writer Gareth Edwards’ screenplay. One plus for the film is Edwards’ decision to minimize use of green screen and do as much shooting as possible on location in Southeast Asia. This results in more realistic-looking visuals, despite the overlay of CGI effects.

Edwards initially attempted to have a company specializing in A.I.-generated music replicate Hans Zimmer's style of music. Although the process gave him satisfying results, Edwards ultimately hired Zimmer to originally score the film. Zimmer provides a good score that can raise the emotions on occasion. It would be interesting to compare his score with its A.I. counterpart.

 Posted:   Nov 4, 2023 - 7:47 PM   
 By:   Spinmeister   (Member)

A Haunting in Venice (2023)

Director, cinematographer and editor excel during first act setting up the scene of the crime, but after a certain character exits stage right the spark dies and the film sinks into a gloomy funk it never recovers from. And rather than counter this sinking mood and play up the conventions of the genre, Hildur doubles down on the morosity. It isn't until the very last 30 seconds of the film that she and the director open the curtains and let some light in — which is too little too late to revive this dank and dour affair.


 Posted:   Nov 5, 2023 - 1:09 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Anna (2019) ... 4-/10

Fun, but ludicrous, actioner which was a mixture of Nikita (1990) and Red Sparrow (2018) but not as good as either. At times annoying but after a while it made sense, the times shifts presented scenes which explained the storyline, always keeping you guessing: was Anna working for the Russians or the Americans ... or herself?

Helen Mirren provided solid support in her Rosa Klebb role ... it took a moment or two to confirm that the dowdy miserable character was the star ... and I liked Luke Evans as her recruiter (and, to some extent guardian); less so Cillian Murphy who seemed wrong for the CIA counterpart.

Lots of flashy scenes, changes in location, but OTT action sequences: the restaurant and break-out sequences near the start and end of the film ruined the it's daft but let's go with it aura and turned the film into a comic book story. The film would have been much better without these two stupid scenes.

Busy, at times loud, score by Eric Serra ... it did its job but was forgettable.

 Posted:   Nov 5, 2023 - 5:18 AM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)


Wow, this is actually pretty good considering its about a giant monster turtle with actors in rubber suits and early CGI.

I watched the dub on YouTube which wasn't that bad. Most of the voice work was admirable. The dialog generally had a serious tone opposed to the goofy dubs of the 60's and 70's. That said there was a few legitimately funny lines when appropriate.

For decades filmmakers have been trying to make a "serious" Godzilla film. Gamera got it right a long time ago. The special effects and monster action were a bit limited however here and I wish there were more Kaiju action. ( It was probably a budget thing) But what was presented on film looked good. You get the feeling the entire budget IS on screen. Gamera has the coolest fire breath second only to Godzilla himself.

The story and characters overall were presented in a serious and competent way. They introduce a young girl, a friend of Gamera in the last act for some reason which really wasn't necessary but she was harmless enough.

I suppose my only issue other than the limited Kaiju action was the fact Gamera seemed outmatched and easily defeated when confronting his opponent. All that said he's a cool Kaiju for what he is and this is one of the best representation of him..

 Posted:   Nov 6, 2023 - 1:51 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

McLintock! (1963) ... 6-/10

Big, sprawling comedy western which provides lots of humour (some laughter) but never quite knows where it's going ... or where it aims. With the silly scenes (attempting to climb the stairs, the mud fight, etc.) getting equal screen time to the serious issue of the Comanche reservation/Indian agent corruption scenes, mixed with the youngsters' love triangle subplot, including romantic song and dance (in the style of Calamity Jane) ... all wrapped up in the on-going saga of GW and Katherine's fight (à la Shakespeare) ...

The July 4th events are only mildly interesting and feel like padding; a couple of fake back-projection scenes look awful.

It was great to see so many regulars (Chill Wills is wonderful) in support roles whilst leads John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara dominated most scenes; the cinematography (an excellent widescreen print) was a pleasure to watch. I would have preferred a slimmed-down version with more story cohesion.

Frank DeVol's score is sparse, utilising some tunes composed by others. I've never seen the OST album but the copy listed on STC shows it runs just over 24 minutes including the diegetic songs. I used to have the Main Title & Katherine Theme lead track on the compilation album Great Western Film Themes - it was one of my least favourites.

 Posted:   Nov 12, 2023 - 6:06 AM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

42: 3.5-5

These kinds of films are really hard to make. They even knock you over the head with its messaging or they come off to saccharine. I think this one was a little to saccharine. I do think its solid family viewing and kids should watch it to get a little historical perspective of the prejudice African Americans faced at the time. (Be warned the "n" word is said a lot!)

I had no idea the lead actor was Chadwick Boseman who went on to play The Black Panther. Really tragic he died so young.
This is the kind of film and character Harrison Ford SHOULD be playing! He was perfect as the Dodgers straitlaced no bullshit owner. He put in a wonderful performance. None of the embarrassing Star Wars and Indiana Jones nonsense.

The film has a sparse but adequate "feel good" score provided by Mark Isham. This is a good solid film, though plays like a TV movie of the week. Worth a watch if you got nothing else to do.

 Posted:   Nov 12, 2023 - 7:50 AM   
 By:   Spinmeister   (Member)

The Killer (2023)

Uninvolving hitman revenge procedural.

Fincher's competence behind the camera notwithstanding, his film is a bore. Clinically dull as dishwater. Fassbender is typecast. Reznor's rumblings are as meaningful as running an air conditioner on setting 1.

Typical case of style over substance.

Surviving members of The Smiths might see a bump in their royalty payments, however.


 Posted:   Nov 12, 2023 - 12:42 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

WHAT HAPPENS LATER (2023) – 7/10

Meg Ryan makes her first big-screen appearance in 8 years in this two-character comedy-drama based on Steven Dietz's 2008 play Shooting Star. The film follows two ex-lovers who, after bumping into each other when their flights get delayed due to a snow storm, spend the night at a small, mostly deserted airport reliving their past. Coincidently, the pair have similar names—“Wilhelmina ‘Willa’ Davis” (Ryan) and “William ‘Bill’ Davis” (David Duchovny).

The film betrays its stage origins with its single airport set, and a disembodied voice (the airport’s P.A. announcer, as Greek chorus) sometimes directly addressing the characters. The things that Willa and Bill talk about are not all that dramatic or funny—their lives since parting ways in college, their families, their hopes and dreams and what became of them. The picture is a mash-up of SAME TIME, NEXT YEAR, and the Dan Fogelberg song “Same Old Lang Syne.” It’s the likeability of actors Ryan and Duchovny that make the piece work. The film runs a little long at 103 minutes.

Meg Ryan also directed the film, as she did for her last big-screen role in 2015’s ITHACA. The $3 million production has grossed $2.9 million in its first two weeks of art house play. David Boman provides a melodic score between a number of songs on the soundtrack.

 Posted:   Nov 13, 2023 - 7:06 PM   
 By:   Viscount Bark   (Member)


Director Alexander Payne (Election, Sideways, The Descendants, et al) makes a comeback with this tale, set in Massachusetts during the Christmas holiday season of 1970-71. Paul Giamatti excels as a sad sack character (as he did nearly 20 years ago in Sideways), a classics professor for decades at a boys' school. He is assigned/punished, due to his integrity in not passing a poor student who is the son of a powerful politician, to stay at the school over the holidays being a guardian for "holdovers" - students who have nowhere else to go for the 2-week break. He has an especially adversarial relationship with one particularly undisciplined boy. Also staying over is the school's cook - a grieving mother of a former student recently killed over in Vietnam.

Yes, there is the expected exploration of these characters through their interactions and confessions. This might all be predictable, but Payne beautifully crafts the entire movie and takes the time (this small-scale drama runs nearly 2 hours 15 minutes) to let the viewer live side by side with these lonely, albeit defensive people. I don't want to make it sound too serious or sweet; there's plenty of dry humor and heated confrontations. This is a great melancholy Christmas film - a Christmas party at the house of one of the school's secretaries is so real in its awkwardness and crushed hopes that it twinges.

There is some playfulness to the opening credits taking advantage of the early 1970s setting. They open with the old "R" rating white and blue logo and the Focus Features and Miramax logos are given a time-appropriate look. (Unfortunately, with the cliche of crackling sound over them. If we're to get into the right period mood, the soundtrack from 50 years ago would not be in used, beat-up shape. But I'm nitpicking.) My favorite bit is the Roman numeral year for this film given as MCMLXXI, as though this really is a movie from 1971.

 Posted:   Nov 14, 2023 - 4:11 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

FINGERNAILS (2023) – 7/10

It’s sometime in the near future, and science has developed a test to prove whether two people will be compatible in love. All it takes is a little piece of oneself—a fingernail to be exact. A whole fingernail. “Anna” (Jessie Buckley) and “Ryan” (Jeremy Allen White) have found true love, and the test proves it. There's just one problem. Anna still isn't sure. She decides to take a job at a love testing institute, where she meets “Amir” (Riz Ahmed).

This drama has both sci-fi elements and squeamish moments as it explores the boundaries of how far we’re willing to let science dictate the vagaries of the human heart. The film doesn’t make it clear how long this scientific love affirmation procedure has been around, but it’s long enough that people have come to accept it as a viable predictor of human compatibility. If some people have doubts about wanting to undergo the test at all, or if someone wants to reaffirm their love by going through the test again, while their partner does not, what does that say about each party? Can you truly trust that person?

This is director and co-writer Christos Nikou’s second feature film. Christopher Stracey provides a quiet, contemplative, and sparsely orchestrated score, available as a download.

 Posted:   Nov 15, 2023 - 7:52 AM   
 By:   Spinmeister   (Member)

Nuovo Olimpo (2023)

Decades spanning, long-lost-love romance set amidst golden hued Rome limps along on a shallow, humourless script attempting to evoke the charm(s) of "classic" cinema (and most assuredly failing). Not helping is some unconvincing old-age makeups.

Andrea Guerra provides pleasant, better than average, orchestral backing, and all three leading men are lookers (in or out of wardrobe).


 Posted:   Nov 15, 2023 - 9:39 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

House of Mortal Sin (1976) ... 5-/10

I watched this with grave smile doubts, not expecting much. But it was better than that, albeit somewhat tedious at times, overlong by 15-20 mins.

It was interesting to see so many UK TV actors and the story which develops in a very standard way ends unexpectedly. I had thought we'd be kept guessing who the villain is but this is obvious very early on so the story concentrates on the stupidity of the innocent characters. With several deaths one wonders why no police ever appear and the sideline story of the housekeeper is too silly ... it hardly impacts on the main story until the final, deadly, act.

Lead Anthony Sharp dominates the film and regretfully his character's obsession - Susan Penhaligon - almost disappears from the story for the last act, her place taken by co-star Stephanie Beacham. As this character has now discovered the truth, her actions defy belief.

A nice w/s print, good colours, good sound and an enjoyable score from Stanley Myers ... the main title gives way to some eerie sounds which work well (e.g. when boyfriend Terry goes to recover the cassette recording).

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