2019 - A Theme for Every Month


Admittedly the courtroom aspect of the above is a mere fraction of the movie but with my limited resources it's not looking like I'm going to be finding too many other early courtroom dramas so decided to include it here.

terrible, 0/5, not enough puppies.

Watched Judgement At Nuremberg (Stanley Kramer, 1961) this evening, still a quite compelling watch even if I'm not keen on some of the moving camerawork within the courtroom (primarily in the earlier stages) and Maximilian Schell is excellent as the one defending council that we get to see.

Gave The Letter sound vsn (Jean de Limur, 1929) a spin but disappointingly it's not in the same league as the 1940 Bette Davis remake imo, the use of sound is sadly rather rudimentary in its application and the whole drifts too far into melodramatic territory at times for my taste.

Gave The Other Side Of The Door (Johannes Roberts, 2016) a look - it's a competently enough made supernatural horror that does attempt to create atmosphere, but when the premise has already been done to death proceedings need to incorporate a level of originality in terms of presentation in order to rise above mediocrity and unfortunately there's far too little of that on offer here.

Watched The Borderlands (Elliot Goldner, 2013 which turned out to be just another fairly weak 'found footage' style horror where the premise and locations might be of some interest but nowhere near enough to counter the one-dimensional characterisations, at times trite dialogue and standard 'budget' filming/effects.

[The Piper]

Kim Kwang-tae

Korean supernatural mystery/horror mix inspired by the Pied Piper of Hamelin fairytale that starts off quite lightheartedly but gradually reveals layers of intrigue (quite effectively, even for those already conversant with said fairytale) as its tone slowly darkens.

Basing something on a well known fairytale can be a double-edged sword, the premise is well enough known to potentially be an attraction but also possibly a hinderance if the offering doesn't either put its on stamp on proceedings or is simply not managed that well. Happily this is a competently acted and directed affair where the tale is both given enough of a refreshing makeover and delivered in quite a compelling fashion.

Being Korean in origin there's no real surprise that proceedings are infused with snippets of humour but thankfully they are wisely generally rather brief and, perhaps more importantly, confined to the first half of proceedings before the tone darkens beyond the point at which they would no longer be welcome.

The CGI elements are generally blended into the whole quite nicely, even if on occasion they may not be entirely convincing. The score does intrude occasionally but imo is for the most part acceptable whilst it's a reasonably well paced affair, especially so in the second half.

The Piper is quite a nicely presented take on the Pied Piper lore that fairly quickly managed to draw me in and with its nicely evolving tale kept me there for the duration so I'm happy to award it a

Decided to watch a double feature today of Ouija (Stiles White, 2014) and its prequel Ouija: Origin Of Evil (Mike Flanagan, 2016).

The former is strikingly unoriginal in it's concept (not a major problem per se in the horror genre) but it fails to deliver much compensation by way of either thrills or scares and the script and direction are both substandard, leaving it a rather flat and insipid watch.

The latter, whilst no more original, thankfully has a far more proficient team of writers and director at the helm (cf. Oculus) who better understand how to draw characters and create/maintain interest in a story. That said it also is a little lacking in thrills/scares and for me Father Tom (Henry Thomas) does rather let proceedings down with his rather lacklustre input into proceedings.

Gave The Awakening (Nick Murphy, 2011) a viewing this afternoon, certainly a nicely shot piece that builds atmosphere and is well enough acted but sadly provides little byway of excitement and ultimately proves to be something of a disappointment in the derivative and somewhat contrived way it opts to resolve its mystery.

Next up was Geung see [Rigor Mortis] (Juno Mak, 2013) this evening, a Hong Kong horror that's a mixed bag in terms of both the heavy use of CGI and narrative but does still manage a fair bit of visual enjoyment in a tale that provides both moments of intrigue and bafflement though sadly does end rather poorly.

Watched The Thirteenth Chair (Tod Browning, 1929), basically a pretty average whodunit - incorporating a medium and seance into goings-on which allows it to be shoe-horned into this - that manages a little intrigue and plays out nicely enough even if the whole is a little static, dialogue is a bit stilted at times and the acting better from some than others.

Gave Pyewacket (Adam MacDonald, 2017) a watch, an obviously low-budget Canadian supernatural horror that brings nothing new to the table but does try to build a little atmosphere and never really drags even though it spends far too high a proportion of it's runtime building to a climax that then disappoints in its brevity.

Watched a few Georges Méliès shorts that can go in here...

Un homme de têtes [The Four Troublesome Heads] (Georges Méliès, 1898)

Le chaudron infernal [The Infernal Cauldron] (Georges Méliès, 1903)

Le diable noir [The Black Imp aka The Black Devil] (Georges Méliès, 1905)

Gave Lovely Molly (Eduardo Sánchez, 2011), a film that blurs the supernatural and mental instability, a try. Unfortunately found-footage style filming generally leaves me somewhat cold and this proved no exception, the lead actress puts in a decent enough shift and there are worthwhile pockets but neither the script or soundtrack are up to much and the premise would certainly never win any awards for originality.

Couldn't find anything for the Aughost theme pre-30.
Yeah, wasn't quite the rich pickings I'd hoped there might be with a few I looked at sadly fitting in name only really.
On the watchlist for September; Saturday Night Fever and Climax
I've a small number in mind for Steptember, but like most months I'll generally be working on the fly

(Watched on the 31st of Aughost)
Spirited Away 2001 Directed by Hayao Miyazaki

Not my area of expertise, but probably top 5 animated ghost stories ever!?

Daddy Long Legs

Jean Negulesco

Somewhat light-hearted musical romance that's perfectly watchable but sadly imo never manages to hit any real heights.

Fred Astaire is without doubt one of the finest dancers ever to light up a screen and Leslie Caron is certainly no slouch in that sphere either, but for me there's just very little magic to be found in the dance numbers on display here. Aside from the odd moment the dances the two share generally feel by-the-numbers with very little natural flow or chemistry to them. That disappointment is doubled as the songs are also generally quite weak, only Something's Gotta Give standing out as a number of any particular value.

The tale itself is adequate, if somewhat unremarkable, and the script at least contains a few witty one-liners (chiefly for the supporting characters played by Thelma Ritter and Fred Clark) that do provide a smile here and there, whilst the dream sequences are quite nicely presented and help to give proceedings a little more life.

Daddy Long Legs isn't a bad film but unfortunately never really seems to move out of second gear - making it a rather lacklustre affair and imo only worthy of a