From now on I have my own review thread. My name is mattiasflgrtll6!

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I saw it years ago, but your vivid review was delightful, as always . Didn't mind the spoiler at all!! b'c that was the type of movie I'd need 'Cliff Notes' to follow- or, in this case: I can use your review as a go-to guide next time it comes around on my ' old movie' channel.

Btw . I 've preferred Charade
to N by NW b/c that was a plot I could almost completely sorta follow on my own. And loved the romantic/ comedic ending

Perhaps you' ll do a review on that one someday.

Good review of The Wall. I admit, as a film 8t was pretty good, but I hated it as a Floyd fan. The Wall, Dark Side and Wish You Were Here are three of my favorite albums, and I thought the lack of dialogue and cutting out Hey You were bad moves.

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The truth is in here
The Nun

It opens with two nuns walking at the lowest part of a monastery until they reach a sign which translated to English says "God ends here". Knowing what a risk it is, they still open the door. A nun shows up bloodied and panicking, who warns one of the nuns (the other is now gone) what she must do. The warning nun then gets dragged away and the other nun kills herself so a demon won't take her soul.

Conceptionally, this could make for a good, creepy opening. But there is so little sublety involved and so much bombasity right away that it just feels over-the-top. Even the opening to It '17 (which is arguably one of the only creepy parts of the movie) doesn't blast the loud music until you see Richie get dragged away. In this movie, it gets loud about a minute in, so I'm going "Wow, bringing out the big guns right away, huh?". I just miss the very calm openings old horror movies tend to have, where everything seems so safe and sound, until suddenly something really horrifying happens. It makes the actual intended terror much scarier.

But let's not get stuck at the opening only. Let's get into the story. Father Burke is brought on to investigate not only the suicide, but also the monastery itself. Is it really as cursed as people say? (Short answer: Yes.) He brings with him Sister Irene and Frenchie as help. Frenchie hesitates showing them where the monastery lies, but is persuaded into taking them there, probably partly because of a hot nun. We get some very cliché attempts of flirting from him, including suggesting that maybe it’s better she doesn't become a nun at all.
The dialogue is pretty awkward already, but at least we get to enjoy some nice outside scenery. When they enter the monastery they are confronted by Mother Superior, who does have a good, creepy voice.

But while the set-up is fine enough, you soon come to realize they don't really don't do much with it. As you'd expect, there are jumpscares. A LOT of them. And they almost always have the exact same lead-up! Some ominous figure stands behind, they turn around, they turn back and BOO! Or maybe they turn around just one more time to make sure there won't be a lousy jumpscare. The point is, it's s'hit that we've seen a thousand times. The one attempt to have the monster come from a different angle fails completely since it was spoiled in the trailer. It's not like jumpscares can never work, but there has to be a decent amount of build-up before trying to scare you, if you wait only five seconds after you expect something scary to happen, it loses all impact. The Conjuring movies had jumpscares, but there were fewer of them, and you actually got enough time to feel some chills down your spine. How am I supposed to feel the uncomfortable dread if I've only got seconds on me? Are they so damn impatient to scare their viewers they can't hold off a little?

Not just the jumpscares are repetitive, the structure of the plot is. You get see the characters walking, and walking, and walking, and walking... I swear at least an hour of this movie probably consists of people walking after something. These scenes are so freaking pointless and irritating since you could spend that time on developing the main demon nun's backstory. You know, the nun that the movie is about??? You get some info about the monastery's history, but why the nun is evil, why she wants people's souls? Nothing. You come to a prequel movie about a minor The Conjuring 2 character, and you learn nothing you didn't know before already.

Let's talk about the nun, by the way. How does she come across in this movie? Overdone. People have debated about the nun being shown too much or too little, but I don't think the amount of screentime she has is the problem. It's the way they use her. The couple times she appeared in The Conjuring 2, she was creepy as fūck. Mostly she was an ominous painting standing in the background, which would then slowly move closer in a way that's really eerie. This time we get close-ups of the nun laughing, saying cheesy one-liners, and show off the dreaded CGI teeth. Oh God, how I can't stand that. "Less is more" is certainly something that movie hasn't employed. Bonnie Aarons still does a good job as The Nun, but the director just didn't know how to use her correctly. When the nun is defeated by Irene spraying blood at her (I'm not kidding, that's all it takes), she collapses into a pool of dreadful CGI effects.

Now, there is one more redeeming feature about the movie: the acting. Even though there are a few weak spots, like Ingrid Bisu's overacting with Sister Oana and Jonas Bloquet as Frenchie really not coming across as charming as he hoped, most of them do a decent job. Demián Bichir is believable enough as Burke (even though he does kinda use the same facial expression a lot) with Taissa Farmiga as Irene being the true stand-out. She seems to have inharited the talents from her sister and looks like a promising new performer. She made her character Irene easy to root for, and even though the suspense for reasons I mentioned isn't well-done, you care about her character making it out okay.

The ending ties the movie together to The Conjuring, where
WARNING: spoilers below
it turns out that Frenchie (after saving Irene and Father Burke's life) got bit by the possession bug and is shown 20 years later on a tape where he's screaming in agony while priests perform an exorcism on him, indicating that the danger is never really over. I think I spotted a small cameo by Vera Farmiga, which if it was her that's cool. If it isn't... well, at least she was wise enough to stay away from this mess.

The Nun is not good. It's boring, it's predictable, it's not scary, which wouldn't be as much of a problem if it at least had atmosphere, and even though it's only 1 hour and 37 minutes, it feels like it will never end.
Despite that, it's not the worst horror movie I've ever seen. But it's very mediocre. As a huge fan of the Conjuring movies, this is a serious letdown. Unless they get a really talented director, it seems like only James Wan can make a movie in the Conjuring spirit work.

Haven't seen The Nun yet, but it has all the markings of a boring sh*tfest. Thanks for confirming, but I'll probably still watch it.

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Nooo! You are the second person who has listened to my negative critique on the movie and still decides to go watch it!

Nooo! You are the second person who has listened to my negative critique on the movie and still decides to go watch it!
It won't be my choice, though. If that helps at all. Pojkvännen, förstås...

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Hellbound: Hellraiser II

After surviving the traumatic events of the previous adventure, Kristy Cotton is brought to a mental institution. Wanting to save her dad still stuck in hell, Kristy tries but fails to have her voice heard, until her psychologist witnesses something so unspeakably horrible he decides to help her. But will Kirsty make it out this time too?

Hellraiser II is a model example of how to do a horror sequel that feels fresh, while at the same also giving the fans what they want. Kirsty goes through the portal again, but this time there's a different villain, and she has a different companion with her.

There are a lot of cool special effects, and some stunningly well-done makeup work and stop-motion animation mixed inbetween there as well. When psychologist Kyle McRae, who was previously cautiously sceptical towards Kristy's story witnesses the murder of a mentally ill man who literally has bugs crawling inside his skin, and later is devoured by someone wanting to look like a "real" human being again, you feel his fear as it looks so incredibly disgusting and realistic.

I liked Kirsty and Kyle's dynamic with each other. You can tell how much Kyle cares about his girl even before he believes her, not trying to write her off as a kook unlike Dr. Philip Channard. And when he does believe her, you root for him so badly that
WARNING: spoilers below
when he shockingly gets killed by Julia, it's devastating
. Another notable sidekick is Tiffany, who after a traumatic incident has refused to talk. The way she and Kirsty slowly build their trust towards each other is very welldone, and Imogen Boorman does a fantastic job. Her facial expressions and body language communicate what she's thinking so effectively that you don't need her speaking many lines. And when she far into the movie says her first line of dialogue, it's funny.

The main villain this time is Julia, who comes off as possibly even more frightening than Uncle Frank. But damn, if she isn't one of the most hatable characters ever! It was to the point where every second she was onscreen at first, I was full of rage and forgot I was watching a fictional character. It's not until after a while I was able to relax more and not having to feel boiled-up all the time. Philip Channard is a great villain as well, who once he transforms becomes a truly sick force of nature. Frank for the little screentime he has is also still as creepy as he was in the original.

Now, let's talk about Kirsty. After this movie I'm convinced: she's one of my favorite horror protagonists. She's fearless yet fearful at the same time, and is pushed around a ton but never ever gives up. How she remains sharp and never gets anyone overpower her makes her both likeable and cool. Clive Barker (who wrote the script) gets that his audience doesn't like being insulted, they love a character who's actually able to think and doesn't make a ton of stupid mistakes so the villain can easily slash her. The story is suspenseful enough that the script doesn't need that.
The director Tony Randel adds a bit more violence, adding to the grotesque and dark nature of this unforgivably cruel yet also weirdly alluring underworld. The environments look hauntingly beautiful.

And there's Pinhead himself, whose role is more prominent, but still only shows up when it's neccessary. Him and the other cenobites still look amazing, with tremendous makeup. Doug Bradley brings an imposing presence as Pinhead, who is not merely out to be cruel, but rather wants to show people they don't want to know what he's capable of. And even with him and the other cenobites' hideous appearance, they are really just people who ended up this way due to circumstance of somber fate. However, I do also have one small bit of criticism with his character this time: he's a bit too lenient. I think he would have posed more of a threat had he not gone "Okay, okay, I'll listen to you for a second". While he's a "fair" leader (as much as you can be there anyway), he also forgets that Kirsty is incredibly smart and can outwit him if he's not careful enough. I get this is because Julia and Dr. Channard are more villains than he is, but it did strike me as odd.

WARNING: spoilers below
The film ends in a similiar manner as the original. The danger is over, but only for now. Pinhead and crew will be back...

Well, at least they didn't make it so that someone destroys Pinhead so massively it wouldn't make sense for him to come back (*cough*Jason Vorhees*cough*).

Hellraiser II will make your hair rise on end. It's a good bit of fun.

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The Mummy's Hand

Steve Banning and Babe Benson are on vacation in Egypt. But unfortunately to them, they have so little money they can't afford to go back home. Suddenly Steve finds a broken, but intriguing historical vase that he decides to purchase. Babe thinks he's nuts, but Steve has a hunch that it might be a huge moneymaker. The vase is confirmed by Dr. Petrie to be authentic, but Andoheb claims it's a duplicate, in order to discourage them from going on the trip. Ignoring his words, Steve and Babe go in search of a treasure, with fatal consequences...

Hearing me describe it you might notice I didn't use the word "mummy" once. Well, I think the reason might be that I not only see this as a good mummy movie, but also a very exciting adventure. In a smallscale way, it shows the sense of wonder traveling to a mythic place can have. Steve and Babe also make for wonderfully likeable protagonists, with Dick Foran playing the sensible and collected straightman, and Wallace Ford playing the goofy sidekick, who manages to balance the fine line of being a nice bit of comic relief while not just standing in the way as a foil. When it really comes to it, he shows a nice bit of bravery despite being so scared. Most of the best lines in the movie also comes from him, especially
WARNING: spoilers below
right after he's saved Marta: "Oh, that's just like a woman. When the shooting's all over and everything, they pass out." Of course, he proceeds to pass out himself.
Besides those two, Cecil Kellaway as Mr. Solvani the magician is a blast. He brings a lot of charisma to his character with a fun, eager attitude as expected, his creative display of magic tricks. Then you have Peggy Moran as Marta Solvani, who becomes an unexpected travel companion. I say unexpected because Andoheb (portrayed nicely by a very Karloff-like George Zucco) tricked her into thinking Steve and Babe are swindlers! So she comes with them on their trip to make sure her father doesn't get swindled. Predictably, a romance between her and Steve starts developing, but they have enough believable chemistry together that you actually buy into it. I even like the love interest here more than the first one. Marta has just the right amount of sass and likability, and Moran gives a colorful performance. The scene where she "introduces" herself to Steve and Babe by entering their apartment with a gun and shoots six warning shots stucks out as both one of the most memorable and amusing moments in the movie.

The plot is pretty similiar to the first one. You have the mummy Kharis, who was buried alive when he tried to revive his loved one with tana leaves, so ever since then he's just rested in his tomb, waiting for someone to set him free. You have the expeditionists, who go there in site of the lurking danger. The last act is also nearly identical in how it plays out and how it ends. And if you think the flashbacks with Kharis look extremely alike the ones in the previous movie... well, that's because they're using archive footage! Most likely they needed to save some money, so they used old material hoping nobody would notice. Sorry, but we did. Everybody noticed.
However, what's makes this one stand his own anyway is not only the fact that most of it takes place in the desert (the original kept things mostly at homebase), but it adds a lot more humor into the script. There are scenes of tension, but also scenes where you see the characters relaxing, and Babe offering one funny line or two. At the same time, it takes itself seriously enough that you sit there in suspense hoping the good guys will make it out. Tom Tyler brings his own interpretation as a mummified creature, with his iconic walking style and the uneasy black stare. It's not a role which requires a ton of acting skills, but he's still a fairly imposing Kharis.

The director Christy Cabane does the most with a low budget. The scenery is very nice to look at, and it's nicely framed and shot. There's a particularly good-looking image of a wolf howling at the moon in the bane of night. The ancient temple has an air of mystique and intrigue.

I won't force your hand... But you should see The Mummy's Hand.

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Anger Management

Dave Buznik is on his flight to work. On the plane, he meets an annoying passenger while also getting horribly misunderstood by a flight attentant who thinks he wants her to give him head instead of a headset. Dave gets told to "calm down" even though they are the one who aren't calm (Boy, how we all can relate to that and he gets hit by a taser and then taken to court for "assaulting" a flight attendant. He gets sent to anger management where funnily enough, the bothersome passenger turns out to be the leader. But is he out to help Dave out or is there something more sinister behind?

Anger Management is a classic example of a frustration comedy. Dave has all these horrible things happening to him, all with them trying to make it out like he is in the wrong instead, and he deserves none of it. Either this is funny or it's just plain painful to sit through. Thanks to the witty screenplay and a talented cast it's in the category of funny.

Let's first talk about Adam Sandler. He can be a bit hit-and-miss. There's the tedious obnoxiousness in That's My Boy, the sleepwalker performance in Pixels (for playing a character so into videogames he couldn’t look more bored) and of course, the infamous Jill in Jack And Jill. I've only seen clips here and there, though even the little footage I've seen of him as Jill already makes my skin crawl.
But if he really puts his mind to it he can deliver. He plays Dave with effectionate sympathy, portraying very well someone who's forced to be patient with a lot of people who don't give him any kind of respect. If you've dealt with a lot of those people, you know what it feels like. Because none of the misfortunes are his fault, you feel so bad for him whenever anything goes wrong. Sandler portrays the repressed anger and ongoing tension so well that when he finally has it and unleashes his rage, it's like a bomb explodes. Sandler rarely uses any of his crazy child voices this time, so the comedy feels much more natural. Just taking Dave as he is, a man under pressure who's pushed to the limit, gives us a likeable grounded persona who's easy to root for.
While Sandler's good though, no one steals the show more than Jack Nicholson. His sly sense of humor shows through more than ever, and plays the character Buddy Rydell with extraordinary sadistic glee. Nicholson relies on his incopiable charm to make Rydell so entertainingly assholish and manipulative that he makes you smile even though you should hate him. All the iconic Nicholsonesque facial expressions are there in full force, and does so much with his material he even makes you chuckle at a cheap fart joke. "You hear that frog?" Buddy is well-written as a character too. Occassionally he does take you by surprise, thinking maybe he maybe isn't so bad after all. Other times you wonder how far he fell down from the god-damn nut tree.

The supporting cast deserves mentions as well. Marisa Tomei as Dave's girlfriend Linda is charming, and has good chemistry with Sandler. There are the colorful personalities in the anger management group, who all get their time to shine throughout. There's the highly underrated Luis Guzman as the on-edge Lou, Jonathan Laughran as Nate, Krista Allen and January Jones as the crazy porno chicks Stacy and Gina... and my favorite of all, John Turturro as the egocentric war veteran Chuck (who at first is Dave's anger partner until that fails and Buddy takes over). Every since this guy is in he's hilarious. Completely unhinged and unpredictable, he loses his temper at virtually everything and anyone. Turturro plays the character with manic intensity, and out of any in the anger group to get the most screentime he was the most deserving. You can tell the the whole cast is just having a lot of fun, some playing it up but never to the point where it becomes too unbelievable.
Besides those, there's Kurt Fuller as the overly demanding boss Frank Head (who Buddy in one of his teasing provocations calls "Fran"), Woody Harrelson as the lovable prostitute in drag Galaxia, Harry Dean Stanton as the blind man Dave involuntarily provokes (casted at Nicholson's wishes) and John C. Reilly in an excellent cameo as the grown up version of Dave's old bully Arnie Shankman. Hell, you even have John McfreakingEnroe!* In fact, the only forgettable performance is Allen Covert as Andrew, which isn't really his fault since he doesn't get much to do. Andrew is mostly more like an object of irritation Dave gets to deal with inside his head rather than personally.

There are only two issues I have. First off, there's some inconsistency regarding whether Buddy is a highly respected psychologist, or if he's a revered one. Sometimes we hear he's controversial, other times that he's a genius. The script can't seem to decide which stance on him it wants to take. Also, while I don't mind the
WARNING: spoilers below
football stadium conclusion like some do, maybe because I'm a bit sentimental, I don't think it was neccessary to throw in how the whole thing was set up. It makes no sense at all. There's no way that a judge would agree to waste her time sentencing someone several times just to be part of some weird experiment, plus it seems kind of cruel Linda would want to put Dave through all of this just so he would propose to her. With every other scene I was able to suspend my disbelief, but this is where they really stretched it.

With all that being said, the more I think about it the more I like this movie. The laughs are perfectly timed, the acting ranges from decent to great, and looking at the bloopers you realize just how hard it was to perform some of the scenes with a straight face. I mean, the part where Kendra (played by Heather Graham in another memorable small role) tries to bed Dave, all while stuffing herself full with chocolate brownies, I don't think I could manage even after a thousand takes.

Anger Management is a great Adam Sandler vehicle, maybe because it's not only his, but an entire ensemble's. If you have anger problems, maybe this is the best way to soothe it.

Great analysis of Anger Management. It's been too long since I've seen it, but I would consider it one of Sandler's best.

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Children Of The Corn III: Urban Harvest

Two brothers are adopted after the younger one kills their father. The two parents are delightful to have kids to take care of, but something about the younger brother Eli isn't right. While Joshua does his best to conform to the new surroundings, Eli is more interested in summoning the wrathful god He Who Walks Behind The Rows...

It's another sequel to the somewhat one-note premise of a corn cult. In fact, a lot of things about this one is similiar to Children Of The Corn II. But whereas that one focused more on the adults, this one is told from the perspective of the kids. There are scenes of genuine suspense and times where Eli frightens you with how relentlessly evil and controlling he is towards anyone he meets. Daniel Cerny is most certainly the brightest spot in the film, and gives a wickedly entertaining over-the-top performance. Ron Melendez as the goody-goody brother pales in companion, but manages to make his character likable enough to work. Michael Ensign is also good as the priest Father Frank Nolan, who has an uncanny likeness to John Cleese.
One very memorable creepy scene takes place at a dinner table with Eli, Joshua's girlfriend Maria and her parents. I won't say anything more than that, but it's a pretty shocking moment.

Generally this entry is more well put together than you'd expect, but I think for the most part I just laughed along with it. There are many hilarious lines related to corn, like Eli asking about the corn meeting, "You reap what you sow" and him asking where the corn is. This would very easily fit into a sketch parodying the series, but I think written into the movie itself it becomes a lot funnier. The dialogue from the high school kids amused me sometimes as well, like the obligatory scene where a group rises up from their chairs and starts acting hostile. One of them pulling out a knife going "What's up?". That part made me laugh so much I decided to pull it on my friend afterwards as a joke.
WARNING: spoilers below
The stepfather William meeting Eli and every kid he has brainwashed into the Galtin cult is another terrific highlight. The look of disappointment rather than fear on his face when Eli kills him (like all he did was break a neighbor's window) is my favorite part out of the whole movie.

There are multiple scenes which I think are supposed to be scary, but I burst out laughing instead. Which is something I would normally hold against it, but in this case it just adds to the fun. The crazy special effects in weird dream sequences, scenes of killing and the final act makes me chuckle as well, though some of them are actually pretty welldone. And I love whenever a horror movie uses stop-motion.

At times it gets a little unbelievable, like how insanely oblivious William is when it comes to his Eli's odd behavior,
WARNING: spoilers below
and how quickly he gets over the death of his wife Amanda and doesn't bother trying to find out how she died
plus some other things that were kinda absurd. But if you know what you are getting, you'll enjoy Children Of The Corn III.

And now there's only six left to get to.

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Sabrina has been in love with David ever since she was a little kid. But unfortunately to her, he keeps going out with all these other women all the time. So one night when she realizes David might never be hers, she tries to commit suicide. Linus walks in on her in the garage after it makes a lot of noise. She lies about what she was doing there and Linus takes her home. She reluctantly agrees to go to a cooking school in Paris like her father wants. As it turns out, she learns a lot there, and when she comes back she's a changed person (at least in terms of hairstyle and clothing). Once he realizes it's her, David becomes smitten! But shacking up with a chauffeur's daughter spells bad business for the sugar production, and so Linus steps into the picture and tries to make Sabrina fall for him instead.

Directed by the talented Billy Wilder, what we have here is an elegantly put together, stylish romantic comedy. And as tired as a love triangle might sound, Wilder makes sure to never make any of the two men pining for Sabrina's attention unlikable. William Holden fills up the screen with his charismatic, wide smile and makes his character an amiable, if very clumsy seducter. He doesn't get as much screentime as the other two stars, but is very good as David Larabee, with a fair share of humorous moments, the highlight being when he sits on champagne glasses hidden in his back pocket and has to get shards off glass removed from his ass. It's made even better by him later trying to get up from a hammock and falling down. Humphrey Bogart gives a very memorable performance, who with just a small, but noticable change of tone in his voice shows he means business in one minute and the next one that he's out for love. His internal conflict over romance versus making money is a driving force throughout. He doesn't realize the problem with trying to steal someone's girl as a mere diversion can result in him really falling in love with her if she's charming enough. Thanks to Wilder's and Ernest Lehmann's script successfully balancing the thin line of a man harboring devious intentions yet also genuinely caring for someone, Linus never turns into a villain. Linus has only known business all his life, falling in love with a woman is something new entirely, that he was never prepared for.
WARNING: spoilers below
When Sabrina does find out he was using her in order to kickstart his company's sugar deal, you can tell he feels a great deal of remorse and regret, even in the moment he's telling her he was about to ship her off to Paris without him. When the ending arrives where Linus changes his mind and goes with her on the trip, your heart feels fulfilled.
Audrey Hepburn as the title character lights up the screen with her childlike affectionate eyes, and has a look you never forget.

Similiarly to how David and Linus are portrayed, Sabrina is handled with great care throughout. I disagree with one reviewer calling Sabrina a brat. Rather, I see her as the hopeless romantic, who as her father quotes, is "reaching for the moon". Many of us have been there at one point or another. The only way she'd come off as a brat is if she was played by Paris Hilton.

One criticism I do have is that it was never really explained why David later has so little time for Sabrina. At first he had to heal, but after he had healed, what was the problem? You'd think he would want to spend more time with the woman he really loves. Thankfully this is made up for with the sinewy chemistry between Hepburn and Bogart.

Sabrina is one of the all-time great sweet romantic comedies, which never oversteps in sentimentality and treats all its characters with intelligence and respect. It's so damned pleasant that you can't get enough of it.

I just was going to say that @gbgoodies. ( Well actually I don't remember seeing the original but the remake is still my favorite lol)

Harrison is, for me, the definitive Linus, and this is the definitive 'Sabrina' film. And the modern version is also very, very funny; so many witty interchanges, not to mention the comedy from the interaction of the characters. Nancy Marchand and John Wood are also unforgettable in supporting roles; and brief appearances by Richard Crenna and Angie Dickenson just add to the fun.

Although it's a relatively ' modern' movie, I think 1995, it plays like one of those old fashioned Cary Grant style romantic comedies: one funny scene after another- quick witted and smartly paced. And btw the scenery is gorgeous- from the opulent Long Island estate to lovely Cape Cod to NYC at its elegant best.

Two favorite scenes:
When the maid talks about how long it took her to adjust to being in America; and when David keeps trying, unsuccessfully, to guess who the new stylish Sabrina is, but Linus gets it straight away.

There's also an hilarious line from Linus about Sabrina's new style of hair, but I won't spoil it.

Here's what's interesting to me, and why I value your insightful reviews so much, Mattias. Your analysis of the film, characters and how this romance commences is spot on for the new Sabrina as well. You remark that the characters are basically likeable - true- and also mention what it's like for Linus to lift his head out of business and find, to his surprise, that he's falling in love. I guess the makers of the new version kept true to the essence of Wilder's intentions, albeit with a few changes in plot.

Your last paragraph describes the new Sabrina to a T!!!! Hope you get to take a look at it sometime Mattias, and certainly hope. you enjoy it as much as gb and I did. As usual, your review makes me want to revisit a favorite film- but this time I' ll take the one with Harrison Ford

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The Big White

Paul Barnell's brother has gone missing. And as far as he knows, might even be dead. But the insurance company still doesn't want to give him any money, which leaves Paul in a state of desperation. When he discovers a lifeless body in a dumpster, instead of calling the police he decides to use it as a decoy for his brother, so he can prove that "he's" dead and cash in a huge check. Unfortunately for Paul, Ted is very suspicious and will do anything to uncover his bluff. And that's not the only problem...

It's been a while since I saw a dark comedy. And I thought, what better way to go than with one of my favorite actors? Robin Williams was known for wanting to surprise his audience. So when the 2000's came along, he decided to take on more darker roles, while still also doing the occasional lighter ones. But in terms of how sinister his character is, it's less Insomnia or One Hour Photo and more World's Greatest Dad. Despite his twisted plan of taking some random poor guy's body to exploit for his own financial gain, you side with him all the way. He has an understandable motivation, and Williams plays him with such likability and genuine care that you not only feel bad for him, but actually start to smile every time he manages to get around corners and continue proceeding with his plan. There's one part where he has to explain why the body he found doesn't have the birthmark his brother has, which of course would prove he's using this body as a decoy. But then he comes up with an explanation so ridiculous, yet incredibly smart at the same time. Ted's dumbfounded reaction makes it even better.
Let's talk about Ted as well. He could easily have been a typical obnoxious character whose entire job is to stand in Paul's way, and that's about it. But as much as we might find him unlikable in his introductory scene, as the movie unfolds he becomes more vulnerable and human. He's consumed by work, he gets no respect or considerable help, he gets beaten around (quite literally at points) and he has a girlfriend at home he never makes any time for because he's so focused on his own tasks. Giovanni Ribsi plays the character with the right amount of snarkiness and vulnerability. Allison Lohman is equally good as the phone therapist Tiffany, and portrays very well someone who can reach out to just about everyone except Ted, the man she tries to connect to but is no longer the same person she fell in love with.
WARNING: spoilers below
When Tiff threatens to move out, Ted finally comes to his senses and gets her involved in his mission as a chance for them to reconnect. This gives Tiffany the idea of the listening game, where they both have to give them their sides (this has a more effective use little later on).

But the best performance next to Williams comes from Holly Hunter as Paul's wife Margaret. I loved her in this movie! Her jittery almost parrot-sounding way of talking along with her bouncy body movements makes her a joy to watch every second. One part that made me possibly laugh the most is when she blinks franctically. It looks unreal, like someone used a CGI effect, but that's simply a credit to Hunter's acting. She has Tourettes and it's the kind that we usually see depicted, but Hunter's childlike and adorably quirky portrayal makes her more than just a one-joke parody. The way they do use her Tourettes as well is clever, where she both has moments where she swears involuntarily and others where she clearly uses them as a weapon or as a snappy comeback. She has a sickness, but doesn't let it make her a victim. And you can tell that Paul still loves her even though she's not entirely herself anymore. He just wants her to be happy.
WARNING: spoilers below
It's the entire reason he goes through with this elaborate scheme in the first place.

There's another, much worse obstacle Paul has to deal with besides Ted breathing behind his back. The body he stole happens to be a murder victim, and when the killers Gary and Jimbo can't find the body in the container, they have to find it. And when they discover that it's Paul who kept it stored, they keep his wife hostage and demand Paul get them the money he would earn for the body (which is 1000000, but he lies and says it's 100000).
There's some very funny back-and-forth dialogue between Margaret and her kidnappers, where she constantly tests their patience with her constant insults, where Gary also argues that she's faking her Tourettes due to things he's read up about it, and the fact that the majority don't tend to swear so much.
Jimbo has some good lines too, like questioning Margaret's comment about the food how she would know it tastes like a rectal polyp. Generally though I think Gary made me chuckle more, a rare example of the straightman being funnier than the goofball.

WARNING: spoilers below
But you can't talk about this movie without bringing up Woody Harrelson. He's so intimidating yet comic in his psychopathic callousness (going as far to suggest Paul should kill his own wife "just in case") that you laugh at him even though you're scared of him at the same time. In the last scene where he goes after Paul after he deserts him, he's genuinely creepy in his determination to kill his own brother if he has to, and makes you realize he was the real threat in all of this, not the kidnappers or Ted. When he gets shot and dies, the movie comes full circle. It started out with Paul thinking his brother is dead, and now he really was, showing how maybe he was too crazy for his world.

The final confrontation between Paul and Ted is what the whole plot has been leading up to. Ted has proof that he lied and now demands some god-damn answers. He's also through with sentimentality, so when Paul starts to explain but does it in a very rosy manner, he punches him anyway. After that we see the two couples in the car, with Tiffany asking Ted to listen to Paul and not interrupt. He starts talking and the story ends there. We don't see Ted's reaction, we are left to wonder for ourselves if he forgives him or not.

Funnily enough, by the end I forgot the kidnappers are actually killers, given how they are so enjoyable throughout. I guess that's the power of audience manipulation.

One thing that makes it stick out is the visual style. Throughout the cinematography is very white-looking, and I don't just mean the cast. Giovanni Ribsi looks very pale even when he's not out freezing, and there's a heavy use of large snowy backgrounds, with overhead shots of people walking like figures against a blank surface. It looks very beautiful and serves the dark story well.

If you love Robin Williams, don't skip over this one. It's more cute than laugh-out-loud, but will make you smile all the way through.

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Leave No Trace

Will has lived with his daughter Tom in the woods for years. And by selling things to other war veterans they manage to get by just enough that they can stay there. One day however, they're discovered by the police and have no choice but no leave. They get a decent home to stay in with two understanding and friendly people. Tom eventually gets used to the new surroundings, but Will feels trapped and misses the simplicity of the woods. How will they stick together when their ideals suddenly start to clash?

*The movie opens beautifully with the father and daughter spending a normal day in the woods cooking food, providing a roof over their heads, and most importantly going through a drill in case someone might spot them. The photography shows how pretty-looking and nice the forest seems, with all the green colors and big, bushy space. So with such a relaxing opening, I was hoping it wouldn't get less interesting once they were forced to leave it. But luckily, I'm still hooked seeing how the two of them try to adapt to a conventional society. Ben Foster is great as the dad scarred by memories of the war, who not only sees the forest as his home, but as the only way he can live. Foster's performance is very understated and emotionally gripping. He speaks a lot with his eyes, which communicate how he's feeling about getting thrown into something scary and unfamiliar. Not only the weird environments, but having to be away from his daughter occassionally as well. If you're used to spending that much time with someone, even the smallest reduction can be a living hell. But soon as he's in the woods, a glimmer shines through even as he has to deal with the worst hardships. Tom is not too excited about the situation at first either, but does the best she can. And once she starts making friends, she slowly starts to like it there. Thomasin McKenzie is equally impressive as someone who loves her dad through sticks and stones, and who's always been there for him. She shows off a warmth and affection that someone only does for the person you hold the most dear to your heart.

Tom has never gotten a taste of how it's like to live in a regular society while Will has but doesn't want to go back. Will chooses to live in the woods out of determination while Tom has lived there her first thirteen years just because that's how things simply were. When Will has given up on society and urges Tom to go back with him to the forest, she no longer has the same admiration for it. She gets very cold, her feet tire out and she has to eat cheap canned food. She still loves her dad, but am starting to claim her independence.
WARNING: spoilers below
In the final scene, when Will despite almost dying and barely able to walk yet wants to go back to the woods, Tom pleads with him to stay with her in the RV. But he just can't. He has to say goodbye to her tearfully while she's forced to let him go and do what makes him happy. This has to be one of the best scenes of a reluctant farewell I've seen in a long time. Both of them hate to leave each other, but are split on their different ideals. As the movie was over and I got home, I continued thinking about this ending and how I wish there was a way for them to be happy with each other rather than separately. That's what powerful stories do to you.

The director Debra Granik shows a huge affection for the characters, and turns someone like Will who would seem crazy and irrational otherwise into a flawed, but empathetic soul. The drama doesn't have to hit at you from all cylinders with tearful music (not that that's neccessarily a bad thing). The true-to-life and so awfully sweet relationship between him and Tom is why I still go the movies.

A strong

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The Blues Brothers

Jake Blues gets out of prison a bit early thanks to good behavior. He joins his Elwood in a crappy car and they go to see Sister Mary ”The Penguin” Stigmata. She gives a task of gaining 5000 dollars to save the boarding school they grew up in. The only problem? They have to do it the honest way. Can they get the money earnestly together with their blues band or do they have to take more extreme measures?

The Blues Brothers defines the word ”cool”. Terrific music throughout, wildly chaotic car chases plus the right mix of highkey and lowkey comedy. But most of all it's the duo of Jake and Elwood which has given it the reputation it has. They are so levelheaded throughout that even when someone tries to outright blow them up, they carry on like nothing has happened. They don't let barriers push them down, they break through every barrier with a crash. Elwood is granted the more optimistic one of the two, but both of them work together very hard and find a solution to any problem no matter how hopeless it may seem. Their nice, brotherly friendship helps make this film as memorable as it is. Dan Aykroyd gives a great straightfaced performance and his deadpan delivery of the lines makes them all the funnier. I'd never seen anything with John Belushi before, but he makes a strong first impression on me. He's simply hysterical as Jake, and provides most of the comedy in the film with his character's crazy impulses such as singing passionately in an all-black church and his rendition of the Rawhide theme. I also love how convincingly he tricks his ex-wife (played by the equally brilliant Carrie Fisher) into sparing him and his brother by giving such a heartfelt speech I wondered if they suddenly were gonna patch things up, only for him to literally throw her in the mud instead.

Of course though, what would a movie about blues be without the music? We have cameos from legends like Ray Charles, Cab Calloway, James Brown and Aretha Franklin, who all get a chance to shine musically as well as comedically. Franklin's musical number is both amusing and incredibly sung and Ray Charles is charming as the friendly, but slightly greedy instrument shop owner. Aykroyd and Belushi sing surprisingly well when they finally arrive at their own concert they are late to (you'll know why once you see it) with the song Everybody Needs Somebody To Love. Like every catchy tune, it got stuck in my head like a suction cup.

Although it's not the funniest 80's comedy I've seen, it's one of the most entertaining ones to watch.

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The Town That Dreaded Sundown

Just a few months after World War II, something happened that shook the little town of Texarkana. Everything had gone back to normal and it generally was a very peaceful place to live at. But all of a sudden, a man in a mask appears and kills two teenagers at the dating spot Lover’s Lane. And just like that, a manhunt begins after one of the most brutal serial killers in history…

This low-budget ambitious horror film was based on a true story, where the only major change is said to be the names. There’s a narrator throughout who tells about the course of events, which gives it an extra sense of dread.
The acting is very good. Andrew Prine (known to horror fans as playing a priest in Amityville II: The Possession) does a solid job as the deadpan cop Norman Ramsey. Whenever he’s tracking down the perpetrator he’s convincingly courageous, yet quietly terrified at the same time. Charles B. Pierce (the director) appears in a role himself as the unstable traffic cop A.C. “Sparkplug” Benson, who gets dragged into the case. Generally this is a serious movie, but he provides some nice comedic moments as he shows off as a very hot temper and driving so incompetent he would need to learn how to drive more than SpongeBob needs boating school. One especially funny scene is when he goes undercover dressed up as a girl and the other cop (going undercover as well) starts flirting with him. Any scenes where the serious cop J.D Morales (portrayed impeccably by Ben Johnson) gets angry at Sparkplug for screwing up are ingenious as well.

Where the movie really excels however is the ominous night scenes where you see unsuspecting couples just hoping to spend some quality time with each other, only to get stalked by a sadistic masked killer. Hearing the heavy breathing from the mask and seeing the victims start to panic as they try to get away but he(?) only gets closer and closer makes you very scared for them. One particularly eerie sequence is when the victim Peggy gets tied to her tree while her boyfriend Roy Allen lies limp on the ground. As Roy regains consciousness he tries to escape, his face all bloody. But the killer won’t have none with it. You see him desperately trying to find an exit route, but you know it can only end badly. It then gets worse when the killer (the police calls him “the Phantom”, so let’s use that name from now on) returns to the girl tied to the tree. You see him pull up a trombone, and put a knife in it, attempting to stab her by making a sound with it. You see him make several attempts, hoping that maybe he will just give up and let her off the hook. But eventually, Peggy gets stabbed. It’s by far the saddest killing in the entire movie, as she had absolutely no chance of getting away. This is worse than any over-the-top death scenes from the Friday movies, since you know it’s real. You feel the terror crawling like a spider inside your skin.

The ending will come off to some people as extremely anticlimactic. And truth be told, anticlimactic endings are usually my biggest enemy. Even Zodiac as good as it is, I was left thinking “So that’s it, huh? We’re some kinda Zodiac hunting squad.”

Okay, that joke was terrible.

But in this case, it actually made it a bit spooky. Knowing that since nobody identified his face, he can just walk around the usual folks and no one will notice. We saw a few scenes earlier how the Phantom was there at a party. We only saw the shoes, but the fact still remains that the answer was there in front of their very eyes, hidden in plain sight.
Some of the victims did survive, such as Helen Reed (played by Dawn Wells, who gives the best performance next to Johnson), which I guess is the closest we get to a happy ending. But whatever happened to the Phantom, we may never find out.