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 Posted:   Jun 14, 2024 - 9:36 AM   
 By:   Bill Carson, Earl of Poncey   (Member)


 Posted:   Jun 14, 2024 - 9:55 AM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

I agree with HG about Under Paris. Bad movie.

The Hitman: 7 out of 10

This movie had amazingly positive reviews, so I expected more from it. What was good about it was Glen Powell. His transition from a nerdy professor to a sexy hitman was marvelous. Both he and his girlfriend were very good. The narrative was just average. One scene involving cellphones will become rather iconic.

 Posted:   Jun 14, 2024 - 12:12 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)


The producers of this film sold it to their financial backers as a Canadian spaghetti western, shot in the Yukon. It’s the oft-told tale of a loner who rides into a forsaken town where the miserable townsfolk are cowed by a band of bad guys. In this case, the loner is “Corporal Wade Grayling” (Andrew Walker), a disgraced officer of the North-West Mounted Police, who has been sent to the bleak Yukon in 1894 as penance for his transgressions.

Upon his arrival, Grayling finds a hanged man, a death he correctly deduces is connected to a small community of Cossacks - primarily Latvians and Russians - who have set up camp nearby. “Olaf” (Earl Pastko), their religious leader, says they killed the man for having stolen from them, the suspended body left as a warning to any other potential thieves. But Grayling finds out there is more going on.

Before anyone asks, this is not a “snow western.” The story takes place during a cold and damp fall or spring, but we see no snow. Nevertheless, one of the best things about the film is its unforgiving setting. The shooting location was a 45-minute drive for the cast and crew to a logging road, followed by a 30-minute hike to the set itself. In its way, this corner of the Yukon is as desolate as any bit of scrub country around Almeria, Spain, and just adds to the loneliness of the piece.

Walker said he watched a lot of Clint Eastwood in preparing for his role, and his low-key, taciturn performance is right in the Eastwood mold. It’s nothing like a “stiff-upper-lip” British-style performance. Some of the character connections in the film are unclear, particularly that of Jessica Paré as “Amethyst,” Olaf's facially-scarred daughter, who is staying with the local saloonkeeper.

The film features original music by Toronto-based Russian-Canadian composer Ivan Barbotin, performed by the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra. The score is a spare one, and won’t remind anyone of a spaghetti western score. The film also gets a bit arty, with several scenes bridged by poems read by Kestrel Martin, who portrays “Cleora,” Amethyst's younger sister.

The $1 million production had only a limited theatrical release in Canada, as THE MOUNTIE, and just a video release in the U.S., under the title THE WAY OF THE WEST.

 Posted:   Jun 16, 2024 - 9:51 AM   
 By:   Prince Damian   (Member)

Mr. Holmes(2015)8/10ish
With Ian McKellen

93 year old Holmes tries to remember his last case and write it down.
Decent acting and leisurely pace, well he is 93.

 Posted:   Jun 16, 2024 - 12:50 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

FURIOSA: A Mad Max Saga (2024) – 7/10

The character of “Furiosa Jabassa” appeared in the 2015 film MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, where she was portrayed by Charlize Theron. Now, she has gotten her own origin story in FURIOSA, with Anya Taylor-Joy portraying her as an adult and Alyla Browne portraying her as a child. In the film, the warlord “Dementus” (Chris Hemsworth) kidnaps Furiosa and executes her mother (Charlee Fraser) before selling her to warlord “Immortan Joe” (Lachy Hulme) as a future breeder. Furiosa escapes and adopts a new identity as a mechanic, and later, soldier. She vows to hunt down Dementus and take her revenge.

This is another case where my memories of the previous film, from nine years ago, are pretty much gone, so I approached FURIOSA as if I was meeting the character for the first time. On that basis, the film is OK, but occasionally becomes just as tedious as most origin stories. It doesn’t help that FURIOSA suffers from the usual disease of “sequel bloat,” running 28 minutes longer than FURY ROAD. The film spends too much time on Furiosa’s childhood, before she becomes the woman warrior.

For an action spectacle, the film is fairly talky, but little of that talk emanates from Furiosa herself, who has just 30-odd spoken lines of dialogue. Actress Taylor-Joy recounted that she would go "months" on the film's set without speaking a single word on camera. Furiosa’s lack of speech doesn’t help her character development any, and the loquacious Dementus is the character we long to see more of.

Fortunately, the talk does help explain how the various factions in the Wasteland relate to one another— the Green Place of Many Mothers, one of the last remaining areas with fresh water and agriculture; the Citadel, another settlement with fresh water and food; Gastown, an oil refinery that supplies the Citadel with gasoline; the Bullet Farm, an allied mining facility that produces weapons and ammunition; and Dementus and his Biker Horde.

The film is divided into five “Chapters.” The middle chapter, “The Stowaway,” yields the film’s biggest action set piece. Furiosa helps build the "War Rig," a heavily armed supply tanker that can withstand raider attacks in the lawless Wasteland. She plans to escape by hiding on the Rig when Joe sends his top driver, “Praetorian Jack” (Tom Burke), on a supply run. Disillusioned by Dementus's callousness, his lieutenant, “The Octoboss” (Goran D. Kleut), goes rogue and launches an air assault on the Rig. This results in a running battle across a desert road that is alone almost worth the price of admission. Reportedly, the sequence took 78 days to shoot, as nearly 200 stunt performers worked on it every day.

Production of FURIOSA was delayed for 2 and a half years until a lawsuit between writer-producer-director George Miller and Warner Bros., regarding a salary dispute on FURY ROAD, was settled. The settlement occurred in March 2020, just as COVID hit. Filming didn’t begin until May 2022, and a projected late 2023 release date was ultimately pushed back to this May.

Although the film has several other action sequences, it gets off to a slow start in the childhood scenes and doesn’t fully recover its pace. George Miller told composer Tom Holkenborg that he wanted a more subtle score than the one he had done for FURY ROAD. It’s there, but as with many action films, often gets lost in the mix.

FURIOSA cost $168 million to produce, about the same as FURY ROAD. But where FURY ROAD had a worldwide gross of $380 million, FURIOSA, despite favorable reviews, has only managed to eke out $148 million, handing Warner Bros. a major loss.

 Posted:   Jun 16, 2024 - 2:11 PM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

Thriller – A Cruel Picture- 3-5

Let me say upfront I did not know this film had explicit sex scenes in it. I learned afterwards they were inserted into the film later by body doubles. Though these shots are brief, the film was much criticized for these unnecessary additions. There's various international versions of the film, some have those scenes others have them edited out.

The film itself is a mixed bag. It has a lot of great ideas and its pretty creative and inventive with some interesting camera work. (The film inspired Kill Bill). Christina Lindberg not known for her acting skills was surprisingly excellent in this film as a mute girl who only had body language and facial expression to convey emotions. I really think her performance was underrated.

It’s a basic revenge story. A stranger kidnaps the lead character, forces her into prostitution, kept within the pimps control by making her become addicted to drugs. Thus she was forced to service her clients in order to get the drugs needed to avert withdrawal symptoms. The protagonist earns money from the tricks and on the side takes self defense courses (Gun training, Karate, stunt driving) in order to kill all whom abused her.

While it has lot of style it’s also a film of its time. Meaning some scenes which seemed unique or dramatic for its day are brutally painful to watch nowadays. Much has been said of the super duper slow-mo death sequences. It probably was stylish in its time, especially for the hippie drug period but not today.

It can also be extremely graphic at times, not only the explicit closeup sex scenes but also a scene where the protagonist gets her eye cut out with a knife by her pimp. I read they actually did this close up scene on a cadavers body.
Also of interest is the fact the actress fired real weapons and bullets in the film. (Obviously the gunshot wounds were fake)

But what really lets the films down despite its creativity is the nonsensical plot. Why did the protagonist freely let a strange man pick her up at a bus station when she was rapped as a child? Why did the pimp pay her so much money for her services? She’s essentially a sex slave in his captive. Why did he let her roam free between tricks? How did he not know what she was up to when she disappeared for long periods of time?

Ironically the final death of the pimp was mostly off screen where almost every other scene of violence in the film was in slow-mo or close-ups.

In the end it just never makes any sense.

 Posted:   Jun 16, 2024 - 3:20 PM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

FURIOSA: A Mad Max Saga

Hopefully Hollywood will dispense with these childish subtitles like "A Mad Max Saga" or " A Star Wars Story".

 Posted:   Jun 17, 2024 - 9:12 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

FURIOSA: A Mad Max Saga

Hopefully Hollywood will dispense with these childish subtitles like "A Mad Max Saga" or " A Star Wars Story".

When you title your film after a single character that first appeared in a movie 9 years ago, you have to give the audience some frame of reference, if you want them to think that your film is part of a franchise. I had totally forgotten that there was such a character in MAD MAX:FURY ROAD. Even the title of that film is designed to recall the franchise. Otherwise it would just be called FURY ROAD.

It's no accident that the producers of JOKER didn't feel the need to subtitle it "A Batman Story." The Joker is a well-known character, after appearances in all manner of media over more than 80 years. Furiosa, not so much.

 Posted:   Jun 18, 2024 - 4:10 AM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

FURIOSA: A Mad Max Saga

Hopefully Hollywood will dispense with these childish subtitles like "A Mad Max Saga" or " A Star Wars Story".

When you title your film after a single character that first appeared in a movie 9 years ago, you have to give the audience some frame of reference, if you want them to think that your film is part of a franchise. I had totally forgotten that there was such a character in MAD MAX:FURY ROAD. Even the title of that film is designed to recall the franchise. Otherwise it would just be called FURY ROAD.

It's no accident that the producers of JOKER didn't feel the need to subtitle it "A Batman Story." The Joker is a well-known character, after appearances in all manner of media over more than 80 years. Furiosa, not so much.

I get the logic but I m not convinced it’s helpful. Did Solo need “A Star Wars Story” tagged on? Not if the Joker didn’t need “A Batman Story” tagged on. Furiosa might have actually done better without the “Mad Max” subtitle. People want to see Mad Max in a Mad Max saga, not a prequel with some new side character. Best to market Furiosa as its own thing.

 Posted:   Jun 18, 2024 - 1:52 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

THE CUTTING EDGE: The Magic of Movie Editing (2004) – 8/10

This documentary about the art of film editing was produced by the honorary society of film editors, the American Cinema Editors (ACE), and had some industry clout and some money behind it. We know it had clout, because the producers were able to get more than a dozen major directors (Spielberg, Lucas, Cameron, Tarantino, Verhoeven, etc.) to talk on camera about their films and the editors they worked with, including such noted editors as Walter Murch, Thelma Schoonmaker, Anne V. Coates, and Dede Allen, who also appear. We know they had money, because they were able to license clips from all the major films being discussed, nearly 50 in all.

The film is a history lesson in editing. It stars in the earliest silent days, when filmmakers, who were just plunking down their cameras in front of some movement and filming it, discovered that audiences would not be baffled or unnerved when a film cut (or even crosscut) from one sequence immediately to another.

Over the course of the film’s 99 minutes, we delve into how the various “styles” of editing have changed over the years, hear some great trivia about some of the films being discussed and how decisions made in the editing process affected those films, and gain insights as to how film editing went from being “woman’s work” in the early 20th century, to a man’s job at mid-century, and then has come full circle to where many of the most skilled and in demand editors are again women.

Since it’s aimed at a general audience, the film doesn’t delve deeply into the nuts and bolts of splicing film or editing on a computer, nor does it present a lot of cinema theory. Its focus is on recognized sequences in major films that illustrate how editors work closely with directors to ensure that their vision of a film gets on the screen, and how the editor can often shape that vision as much as the director. If you are interested in the fundamentals of filmmaking, this is a great introduction to the craft of editing.

The documentary initially aired on the Starz television network. It was released by Warner Home Video as a standalone DVD, and also was featured on the Two-Disc Special Edition DVD of BULLITT (1968), released in 2005.

 Posted:   Jun 19, 2024 - 11:49 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

DISOBEDIENCE (2017) – 7/10

In North London, photographer “Ronit Krushka” (Rachel Weisz) returns to the strict Orthodox Jewish community of her childhood for the funeral of her rabbi father. Ronnie (as she is known in the United States) has been living in New York for many years, having been estranged from her father and ostracized by the community. Ronnie is shocked to learn that her childhood friends “Dovid Kuperman” (Alessandro Nivola), a chosen disciple of her father, and “Esti” (Rachel McAdams), are now married. We soon learn why Ronnie is surprised by this news.

The film involves Ronnie and Esti coming to terms with their past, and present, situations. What they decide to do will also have a large impact on Dovid, who is being considered for elevation to rabbi by his synagogue. Both Weisz and McAdams give good performances, while portraying two divergent personality types.

The film was directed by Sebastián Lelio and written by Lelio and Rebecca Lenkiewicz, based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Naomi Alderman. I don’t know if the novel took a position on the characters, but the filmmakers don’t judge them. We merely observe the characters struggling with their emotions.

The $6 million art house film had only an $8 million worldwide gross. Matthew Herbert’s quiet score was released digitally by Varese Sarabande.

 Posted:   Jun 20, 2024 - 1:30 AM   
 By:   Kentishsax   (Member)

Not a film per se, but the hour and a half documentary Remembering Gene Wilder, via Netflix. Great clips and as well as the usual talking heads, one heard Gene's own words, via excerpts from his audiobook reading of his autobiography. Didn't think much of the pervasive music score though, would much have preferred cues from his films and his favourite music (we did hear Ella Fitzgerald's version of Over The Rainbow, the last piece of music Gene would have heard. Poor guy got alzheimers).

 Posted:   Jun 20, 2024 - 4:06 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

OUT OF LIBERTY (2019) – 7/10

Based on true events, this film tells the story of Joseph Smith (Brandon Ray Olive), his brother Hyrum Smith (Casey Elliott), and four other men being held in a jail in Liberty, Missouri while they await trial for treason in the 1830s. The film's main character, played by Jasen Wade, is the jail's deputy jailer, Samuel Tillery, who repeatedly thwarts the prisoners’ attempts to escape. While keeping the prisoners inside, Tillery is also busy keeping angry mobs outside from breaking in and killing the prisoners. As the prisoners await their day in court, Tillery begins to wonder whether justice might be given to them better in some other way.

Joseph Smith, of course, would go on to found Mormonism and the Latter-Day Saint movement. This film shows the early struggles of his group, as religious tolerance was not a universal feature of the frontier. Just as Tillery questions the wisdom of the group’s imprisonment, some of the group’s members question their faith and their belief in a God that would allow them to be so put upon.

The performances in this independent production are fine. The film was a low-budget affair, with the locations limited to the isolated jail and a courtroom. Robert Allen Elliott’s quiet, mostly themeless score is available as a download. The film had only a limited theatrical release, mainly in Utah, where it was nominated for eight Utah Film Awards. Those nominations were for: Best Picture, Director, Ensemble Cast, Actor, Supporting Actor, Cinematography, Music, and Sound. The film grossed just $265,000.

 Posted:   Jun 21, 2024 - 1:05 AM   
 By:   Kentishsax   (Member)

On DVD last night, one of my very fave indie films, AMERICAN BLUE NOTE, starring Peter MacNicol. I saw it on broadcast TV about 1991 or so and then it was never shown again but I got an MOD DVD from Amazon US some years ago (and then a second copy for my sister, who had seen it on TV when in Germany, when her husband was stationed over there). A lovely little, naturalistic film, almost in a vignette style. Great music, source and score.

 Posted:   Jun 21, 2024 - 5:34 AM   
 By:   Bill Carson, Earl of Poncey   (Member)

Nice review Bob.

 Posted:   Jun 21, 2024 - 3:32 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

BAD BOYS: RIDE OR DIE (2024) – 7/10

This fourth installment in the “Bad Boys” series is a competently made summer action flick that doesn’t vary a whit from the previously established formula. “Mike Lowery” (Will Smith) and “Marcus Burnett” (Martin Lawrence) are two detectives on the Miami police force. After it is reported that their slain boss, “Captain Howard” (Joe Pantoliano), was tied to drug cartels, Mike and Marcus are determined to clear his reputation with the help of “Captain Rita Secada” (Paola Núñez) and her new boyfriend, mayoral candidate “Adam Lockwood” (Ioan Gruffudd). But soon, the partners find themselves accused of murdering fellow officers and have to go on the lam.

The film has plenty of shoot-em-up action, peppered liberally with attempts at humor, only about half of which land. The more familiar you are with the characters, the better the film will play. As for me, I’ve totally forgotten the first two installments of the series, from 1995 and 2003. But the 2020 third film, BAD BOYS FOR LIFE, is rather fresh in my memory, as being one of the last theatrical films I saw before the Covid shutdown.

Like that third film, RIDE OR DIE ends with a big action sequence—the attack on the criminals’ lair. It’s well-executed, with the action easy to follow. One plus to the “Bad Boys” series is that it has generally avoided “sequel bloat,” where each film gets successively longer. Although the second film did balloon to 148 minutes after the 119-minute opener, the last two films have come in at 124 minutes and now 115 minutes for this latest one. This is all to the good, as these lightweight films can’t support lengthy exposition, and they don’t have overly-inventive action sequences like the John Wick films.

2020’s BAD BOYS FOR LIFE opened strong at the box office and led Sony to greenlight this fourth film after the first weekend’s results were in. That film eventually grossed $426 million worldwide. RIDE OR DIE was produced on a $100 million budget and has grossed $228 million after 2+ weeks. Lorne Balfe has provided a typical action film score, with the most recognizable piece of music being Mark Mancina’s “Bad Boys” theme from the original film.

 Posted:   Jun 23, 2024 - 2:25 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

SEAL PATROL (2014) – 5/10

After losing contact with a clandestine energy research facility, powerful venture capitalist “Cromwell” (Eric Roberts) contracts a private team of elite military operatives to retrieve physicist “Dr. Whitmore” (Roark Critchlow), who holds the key to an unprecedented alternate energy source. Upon entering the facility, however, team leader “Lewis Locke” (James C. Burns) and his crew, which includes psychic “Lisa Westbrook” (Kristina Anapau), find that there is an unknown creature loose in the laboratory.

The title of this made-for-video knock-off of PREDATOR and ALIEN is a cheat, since the armed group is not made up of Seals at all, but mercenaries. Once in the lab, the idea is for Westbrook to use her psychic powers to locate Whitmore, and then for the group to escape. There are a lot of gun battles as the creature picks off the group one by one. Add in a double-cross and you have yourself a cheap action flick.

You never really get to know most of the characters before they are dispatched, and the film runs a quick 80 minutes. Flipper Dalton provides a nondescript synth score.

 Posted:   Jun 24, 2024 - 4:46 AM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

Revenge of the Creature : 2-5

An uninspired sequel to The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Taking place at a Sea World type theme park. The two leads are likable enough but the poor creature is captured, chained up and prodded with an electrical device. The humans are clearly the monsters here.

The creature itself never really felt like a threat lumbering around on land with his arms extended like the mummy. Sure there’s a few attack sequences but one could’ve easily run away from the danger. The film was very anticlimactic.

The creature is one of my all time favorite monster designs and one of the most realistic. Clint Eastwood makes his film debut in a brief uncredited role.

 Posted:   Jun 24, 2024 - 11:26 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

INSIDE OUT 2 (2024) – 8/10

2015’s INSIDE OUT was one of the best Pixar films of the past decade. Its “high concept” was to anthropomorphize the emotions of an 11-year-old girl named “Riley” (Kaitlyn Dias) and to visually depict the inner workings of her mind. The emotions portrayed in that film were Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling).

INSIDE OUT 2 picks up two years later, as Riley (Kensington Tallman), now 13, is about to enter high school. Her personified emotions have since created a new section of Riley's mind called "Sense of Self", which houses memories and feelings that form Riley's beliefs. But things are about to change, as a “Puberty Alarm” goes off in Riley’s head, ushering in a new group of emotions—Anxiety (Maya Hawke), Envy (Ayo Edebiri), Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos), and Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser). These emotions compete with the original ones to control Riley’s actions, and also threaten to change her “Sense of Self,” something that Joy desperately tries to prevent.

Even though this film has one new scenarist and a new director, and some new voice talent behind the previous film’s emotions, it’s a fine follow-up to the first film (how’s that for alliteration). In addition to the new emotions, the picture introduces some other new concepts that mesh well with the ideas of the original film. The creators do an excellent job of visualizing these concepts, painting on a bigger canvas this time, rendering the animation in scope rather than standard widescreen. The film does not suffer from “sequel bloat,” coming in just one minute longer than its predecessor.

The filmmakers were lucky to retain Amy Poehler as the voice of the main character, Joy. With her distinctive voice, it’s doubtful that the film could have been made without her. Disney paid through the nose to get her, however—a reported $5 million, plus lucrative bonuses. By comparison, the other voice cast members were offered a paltry $100,000, which caused first-film cast members Bill Hader and Mindy Kaling to skip the new project.

After doing some work in short films and television, composer Andrea Datzman is making her feature film composing debut with INSIDE OUT 2, a high-profile film on which to “break in.” Her score is not up to that of Michael Giacchino’s original, but she acquits herself reasonably well, particularly in the film’s emotional finale.

The original film grossed $859 million worldwide. This new $200 million production has rolled up $724 million in just its first 12 days, and seems poised to surpass the first film at the box office.

 Posted:   Jun 27, 2024 - 3:49 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

NOT FORGOTTEN (2009) – 6/10

This muddled thriller finds “Toby Bishop” (Chloë Grace Moretz), the teenage daughter of “Jack Bishop” (Simon Baker), being abducted by unknown persons for an unknown reason. Since Jack and his second wife “Amaya” (Paz Vega) live near the U.S.-Mexican border, Jack suspects that Toby could be sex-trafficked into Mexico. He begins his own investigation, traveling across the border along with “Casper Navarro” (Michael DeLorenzo), Amaya’s cousin and local deputy sheriff. Oddly, Jack seems to be known by several people in Mexico, although he denies knowing them. And when FBI Agents “Nakamura and Wilson” (Gedde Watanabe and Mark Rolston) get involved in the case, they discover that neither Jack nor his first wife (now deceased) have much of a past.

There are just too many things going on in this film for it to make much sense. As new characters recognize Jack in Mexico, we barely get to understand how they relate to him before they turn up dead. The film includes a mystical subplot, with Amaya going to visit an old Mexican woman clairvoyant, who supposedly can locate lost people. There is some type of cult involved in the abduction. And there are constant flashbacks to Jack’s earlier life, which involve unexplained violent encounters of some kind. When it was all over, I still had not gotten it straight in my mind what the purpose of the abduction was.

As for the positives, the film looks right, having been shot on both sides of the border in Mexico and New Mexico. Mark Isham and Cindy O’Connor provide an apropos score, which unfortunately has gone unreleased.

NOT FORGOTTEN got some acclaim at the 2009 Slamdance Film Festival, and was picked up for distribution by Anchor Bay Films. After a limited U.S. release in May 2009, it was put back into theaters in September 2009, just as Simon Baker was beginning his second season on the hit CBS show “The Mentalist.” No one cared. The film grossed about $50,000 in the U.S. and $230,000 worldwide. Years later, there were charges that the film had been financed through an alleged Ponzi scheme run by Scientologists, who included producer Michelle Seward and writer-producer-director Dror Soref.

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