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Ya know, I panned the **** out of this movie two years ago but, as a huge Hammer fan, your review makes me want to re-watch it with a more positive attitude.
I remember you saying it was pretty bad when I went in, so my expectations were low, but I was pleasantly surprised. Do you remember what issues you have with it?
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Last Great Movie Seen
Mad God (Tippett, 2021)



I remember you saying it was pretty bad when I went in, so my expectations were low, but I was pleasantly surprised. Do you remember what issues you have with it?
Ya know, I don't and I think it's better that way. I can go in with a better attitude.



That was one of my favorite reviews of yours. I don't hate it as much as you did then, but I think we can all agree that zero effort went into the poster at least.



Looks like it was designed by the winner of a "Design the next Dracula poster contest" at the local high school.
Yikes (and not in a good way). Looks like they included the reaction of a Hammer exec after seeing the poster on the bottom.



Yikes (and not in a good way). Looks like they included the reaction of a Hammer exec after seeing the poster on the bottom.
Hahaha!



Scars of Dracula -


This is not a well-liked entry in the Hammer Dracula series, but I really enjoyed it for how it mixes the familiar with the unexpected. It's nice to see Dracula at his home base again and with not-so-loyal servants as well as the local tavern and its suspicious patrons. Speaking of our villain, I'm glad it got the whole resurrection bit out of the way early despite the questions it raises. As for the unexpected, the story, which involves a search for a missing ne'er-do-well brother and a would-be love triangle between responsible brother Simon, girlfriend Sarah and wolfish, creepy servant Klove (Patrick Troughton of Doctor Who fame) is not only full of surprises, but also a welcome change of pace from the revenge plots in the last few sequels. Other highlights are that it maintains the ramped-up sexiness also found in Taste the Blood and that it doesn't shirk on the blood and guts. Also, as a lover of movies that know the power of the color red, this movie provides a masterclass in it. While I approve of the hasty resurrection, some questions deserve answers: for starters, why are there so many British families in Romania? As for any use of a fake bat, the less said, the better. I still had a lot of fun and appreciate that the movie seems traditional and forward-thinking at the same time. With that said, a fast forward to 1972 sounds like just what the doctor (Van Helsing? Ha, couldn't resist) ordered.
This is the last remaining piece from my Christopher Lee/Hammer Studios/Count Dracula list. I suppose some might also count The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires but I think the Hammer Studios/Peter Cushing components aren't enough to qualify.



Yikes (and not in a good way). Looks like they included the reaction of a Hammer exec after seeing the poster on the bottom.
I like the man in tears in the corner.






Three the Hard Way - 1974 blaxploitation flick directed by Gordon Parks Jr. and starring Jim Brown, Fred Williamson and Jim Kelly as three friends battling white supremacists and their plan to release a toxin that specifically targets black Americans. The head baddie and financier of the racist group is named Monroe Feather (Jay Robinson) and as soon as I heard the name I had one of those AHA! moments. Chris Kattan's character in one of my favorite spoofs, Undercover Brother, must have been lifted directly from this movie. Feather has hired renegade scientist Dr. Fortrero (Richard Angarola) to bioengineer a chemical that the group plans to introduce into the water supply in Chicago, Washington DC and Detroit.

As the movie opens House, a friend of LA music producer Jimmy Lait (Brown), escapes from the groups compound but not before being shot. At the hospital, militia members sneak in, kill House and kidnap Jimmy's squeeze Wendy Kane (Sheila Frazier). Jimmy's later followed and attacked by more members of the group. He flies to Chicago to get help from his friend Jagger Daniels (Williamson) and they run into more members of the quasi-military group. These guys serve as nothing more than cannon fodder for our two heroes, apparently being trained in marksmanship alongside Imperial Stormtroopers. They die by the dozens before Mister Keyes (Kelly) even puts in an appearance and starts kicking the souls out of peoples bodies. The trio get a chance to strut their stuff with plenty of time left for innumerable wardrobe changes.

To be honest this isn't an especially spectacular movie. A bit dull and slow moving with leaden acting, except for Williamson who's the only one of the three who looks remotely comfortable in front of a camera. The man's a natural actor. The action scenes aren't much better, with hundreds of bullets and shotgun shells flying and not a single reload to show for it. And if there's a vehicle in this film chances are it'll eventually blow up. I wasn't having much fun with it until the red, white and blue dominatrixes showed up and I started appreciating the inherent goofiness of it all. It's one of those films I should have watched a long time ago but somehow never got around to. Stamp and file this under RECTIFIED.

60/100





Forgotten, 2017

Student Jin-seok (Kang Ha-Neul) has just moved to a house with his parents and his older brother Yoo-seok (Mu-Yeol Kim). Jin-seok is on anti-anxiety medication, and he is disconcerted by nightmares, a locked room in the house, and strange noises that no one else seems to hear. One night, Yoo-seok is kidnapped. When he is finally returned, he seems somehow . . . different. But is it all in Jin-seok's head?

I liked this movie a lot. In fact, it is hard to talk about why I liked this movie because it manages to pull off several twists that I really never saw coming, and it's the way that these plot points are foreshadowed, revealed, and resolved that I enjoyed so much.

The performances are good, and Kang Ha-Neul makes for a sympathetic lead, which is important as the plot continues to shift and turn. This is the kind of film where all of the answers to what is happening are incredibly outlandish and improbable, but because it finds a firm emotional grounding, we can go along for the ride without too much "are you kidding?!?!". Jin-seok is a sensitive and fundamentally gentle character, which lends unexpected weight to the last act of the film.

I will say that around the 70 minute point, the film takes a very distinct turn, changing its tone and borderline changing its genre. For the first two thirds, it's a sort of thriller/mystery film. The last act, however, veers more into drama territory. To be clear, I liked both "incarnations" of the story, but the film definitely heads into a more somber vibe in the final act. Frankly, what started as more of a trifle ended up being a lot more emotionally heavy than I expected.

A solid thriller with more emotional heft than I expected.






The Chase, 2017

Sim Deok-soo (Yun-shik Baek) is a locksmith who is also a landlord of several buildings. He grumbles at his various tenants who are behind on their rent. But when one of his tenants is murdered and another, a young woman, is kidnapped, Deok-soo teams up with a former detective named Park (Dong-il Sung). Park tells Deok-soo about a serial killer from over 30 years ago who targeted the elderly and kidnapped a woman, and the two go on a hunt for the killer.

I thought that this film was okay, but not great. Its downfall for me largely had to do with the way that it tries to balance some very dark and disturbing thriller elements with comedy, often to mixed success.

Yun-shik Baek is pretty good in the lead role. He's gruff on the outside, but not a bad guy at heart. As one tenant notes, he fusses them but never actually kicks anyone out for not paying their rent. Probably the best aspect of the comedy element of the film is Deok-soo's indignance at the treatment of the elderly. In one funny sequence, police officers scoff at the idea of the serial killer having returned, noting that he would now be in his 60s. Deok-soo tells them off, remarking that the elderly are very capable . . . the unspoked part being "of murder".

One area of the film that it very hit or miss is its use of violence, which ranges from realistic and graphic to borderline cartoonish. In the same film, a man is painfully stabbed in the abdomen. And yet within 20 minutes of this, someone is hit on the head with a brick and it's played off as if it's no big deal. This goes back to my complaint about the film wanting to lean comedic one moment and serious the next. But it also makes it hard to tell what's happening in a scene. When a character is hit on the head with a piece of cement it's like "So are they getting up in a minute or are they dead?".

Another area where the comedy/thriller blend leads to come uncomfortable dynamics is in the treatment of its female characters. Without giving too much away, some really horrible things happen to women in this film. For various reasons, the women in this movie are denied much of a voice, and they are mainly used as motivators for the male characters. That's not an uncommon dynamic in a film like this, but the comedy/tragedy balance gets especially uncomfortable when you have slapstick and other kinds of humor surrounding the one sequence where a woman does get to express herself, and that involves talking about her abduction and implied sexual assault. It's all just a bit yikes.

Overall, though, this was a diverting film. It does hit some unfortunate notes, but ultimately it holds together okay.




Guy who likes movies
I watched 8-Bit Christmas (2021). Directed by Michael Dowse, the film is about a boy in Chicago in the 80s who wants a Nintendo. It doesn't always work, but there is enough nostalgia and cute funny moments to keep viewers entertained. Neil Patrick Harris does a nice job and some of the kids are cute. Also, there are Cabbage Patch Dolls, which is always a bonus. The problem with most films today are there not enough Cabbage Patch Dolls in them. So grab your (Cabbage Patch) kids and enjoy. My rating is a



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
I agree it's good and worth watching, as is the just-released A Boy Called Christmas.
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Foreign Correspondent, 1940

American reporter John Jones (Joel McCrea) is sent to Europe after complaining to his bosses that he's covering boring stories. But once there, he quickly becomes entangled in a complex political plot involving the faked assassination of a diplomat (Albert Bassermann). Along the way he falls for a woman named Carol (Laraine Day) who is involved with a peace organization and gets help from a suave fellow reporter ffoliott (George Sanders).

I liked this film, with its twisty-turny plot and Hitchcock signature sardonic lead character. It made me think a lot of elements that I enjoyed in The 39 Steps.

McCrea is enjoyable in his lead role as the reporter who gets more than he asked for on his new assignment. He has decent chemistry with Day, playing a character who is torn between her attraction to John and the suspicion that he's just using her to chase a story and besmirch her father's reputation. The saving grace for me, character-wise, was Sanders in his role as another reporter. His character feels almost more like a spy than a reporter, but I'm not complaining. He injects the film with some much needed personality.

In terms of the action, the film kind of rolls along between various set-pieces, until the final act where things seem to take a much more intense turn. We are given a sequence where a confused man is ruthlessly manipulated and interrogated in an attempt to get him to reveal secret information. In the film's biggest sequence, an
WARNING: spoilers below
airplane is fired on and subsequently crashes into the ocean where the surviving passengers must weather brutal waves as they cling to a detached plane wing
.

On the villain side of things, though, the film is a bit less memorable. I had some really, REALLY mixed feelings about the way that the film talks about Carol's father at the end. There's a lot of wiffly-waffly stuff about him still being a good man and just doing what he thinks is right for his country. Like, um, excuse me. He was complicit in the physical and psychological torture of an elderly man. I know that despicable and amoral things were done on both sides of WW2 to get desired results, but I did not care for the way his character is excused and even sort of celebrated at the end. It made me think a lot of what I hated about the end of The Furies, where a character who has done horrible things is just sort of given a pass.

I would say that this is a pretty middle-of-the-road film in terms of what I've seen from Hitchcock. I liked it, but felt that it missed a spark to be really great. I will admit that the plane sequence alone is probably adding a half star to my rating.




I watched 8-Bit Christmas (2021). Directed by Michael Dowse, the film is about a boy in Chicago in the 80s who wants a Nintendo. It doesn't always work, but there is enough nostalgia and cute funny moments to keep viewers entertained. Neil Patrick Harris does a nice job and some of the kids are cute. Also, there are Cabbage Patch Dolls, which is always a bonus. The problem with most films today are there not enough Cabbage Patch Dolls in them. So grab your (Cabbage Patch) kids and enjoy. My rating is a
I just watched this too, expecting it to be mediocre and forgettable. But it was a decent movie. Made me laugh a few times and has a nice little Christmas message.




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The Rules of Attraction - (2002)

Disturbing. This film shows humanity in it's most dismal light, and features the most shocking suicide scene I've ever seen - managing to really pierce the psyche of the young woman committing the act. Three young adults hit a real low point at a college party, and this film rewinds time so we follow all three strands and how they ended up at a place they never wanted to be. As sickening as a lot of this was, I felt this Roger Avary film was quite good and wasn't as senseless as I thought it might be going in.

8/10


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Gladiator - (2000)

It's interesting reading about the Emperor Commodus - his vanity, his endless victories as a Gladiator (it's said all of his opponents were given edgeless swords) and his quick temper (he had one servant thrown into an oven and baked alive for not warming his bath water to the required temperature.) He was assassinated (was there a Roman emperor who wasn't?) on New Year's Eve and his death sparked the tumultuous 'Year of 5 Emperors'.

But anyway, I finally gave Gladiator a relaxed and enjoyable watch from start to finish and was entertained - especially by it's cast as I do love Derek Jacobi, Richard Harris and Oliver Reed. I also really rate Joaquin Phoenix as an actor. Nice visuals and a decent score also help a lot.

8/10


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The Polar Express - (2004)

I put this on after watching The Rules of Attraction thinking it would cleanse me a little after all the date-rape, drug taking, boozing and horror. It's possible a kid might enjoy this film around about Xmas time - but not necessarily because it's a good film. It's the kind of film you'd get if game developers made a kid's Xmas game and then all of the playable content was scrubbed and they released what was left.

6/10
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My movie ratings often go up or down a point or two after more reflection, research and rewatches.

Latest Review : Ad Astra (2019)



Professional horse shoe straightener
'Brother' (1997)

I think some MOFO on this site recommended this one a few years back and it's been wobbling about on my watchlist ever since.

Young army man rocks up at his mums with no future, and she tells him to visit his more successful brother in St Petersburg. Turns out his brother isn't all that successful.

I can see why this is a cult classic. It is extremely cool in places (home made silencers for guns), quite tender in others (the main character and his lack of belonging, lack of love etc) and also has references to the socio political relationships of Russia with other countries in Europe.

A smart film.

7.8/10



Exodus: Gods and Kings

Surprised myself by actually watching this as Iím not really a fan anymore of big CGI filled Hollywood movies.. I donít know whatís happened but they look less real to me than 10 years ago.. Scottís Gladiator is a better looking film than this, go figure and Iím not necessarily talking about big action sequences but just a view of a landscape/architecture or some ****ing hills.

This followed suit, I feel scenes that should inspire awe inspire nothing but it does improve with the deadly plagues and reaches it high point with the climatic ending of the parting of the Red Sea.. so visually weak but with some stronger moments

Dialogue isnít strong either but some great actors it does enough to carry the story along

Overall Iím quite pleased I watched it, it was okay but couldíve been so much more