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Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer (2021) (not to be confused with the 2016 TV movie The Night Stalker starring Lou Diamond Phillips).

It's the story of the stalker's horrific serial murders and other crimes during 1984-85 in Los Angeles and San Francisco. It's a well done documentary that tells the tale from the point of view of the two L.A. Sheriff detectives who ultimately solved the case. There have been other depictions of this serial killer on video. But this one firmly holds one's attention, and provides suspense even when the outcome is likely known.

Directed by James Carroll and Tiller Russell, the story is told by interviews with Detectives Frank Salerno and Gil Carrillo, as well as by archival news footage and people involved in the story, along with a few victims' first hand accounts.

The miniseries does not delve into the stalker's motives or background, but those subjects are available online.

Available on Neflix.

Doc's rating: 7/10

I'm totally into these Netflix serial killer documentaries, and I like this one as much as most, but I started wondering about how cool this movie started to make Rodriguez seem. And it made me feel weird.



But still, I enjoyed the **** out of this.



First Reformed - I had read that some people might have written off director Paul Schrader because of some clinkers he had made and other not so great choices in movie projects (The Canyons). But then he's also written some great movies like Taxi Driver, Blue Collar, Rolling Thunder, Raging Bull, Affliction and this one starring Ethan Hawke as Reverend Ernst Toller. He is the pastor at First Reformed church in upstate New York, which is about to celebrate its two hundred and fiftieth anniversary. It's also a historical attraction due to it being a stopping point in the Underground Railroad. Toller is undergoing a crisis of faith which may have contributed to his numerous physical maladies as well as his drinking problem. He is visited by Mary, (Amanda Seyfried, in one of her best performances) one of the parishioners in his steadily diminishing flock. She is pregnant and worried about her husband Michael (Phillip Ettinger). He in turn has been suffering from depression and feels that they shouldn’t be bringing a baby into a world that’s headed for an ecologically triggered extinction. All these events intersect and bring Rev. Toller’s spiritual impasse to a head.

Ethan Hawke had proven his acting chops as far back as 1997’s Gattaca but it’s only lately (probably starting with Training Day) that he’s been given the opportunity in a string of satisfying and substantial roles. He, along with Seyfried, Cedric the Entertainer as the pastor of a mega church and Schrader’s solid script, really makes this movie. 90/100
Really, really loved this film.
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I'm totally into these Netflix serial killer documentaries, and I like this one as much as most, but I started wondering about how cool this movie started to make Rodriguez seem. And it made me feel weird.


But still, I enjoyed the **** out of this.
Heh, heh. I know what you mean. I assume you're referring to Richard Ramirez.



Heh, heh. I know what you mean. I assume you're referring to Richard Ramirez.

Lol yes. That's the name!


It seems the films programming didn't get his name into my head properly after all. I guess that is good. Clearly they didn't account for all of the brain damage level pot I've smoked over the years. Hooray!



I'm totally into these Netflix serial killer documentaries, and I like this one as much as most, but I started wondering about how cool this movie started to make Rodriguez seem. And it made me feel weird.



But still, I enjoyed the **** out of this.
I thought it did a good job of balancing the “rock star” persona he perpetuated in court with highlighting his cowardice and how disgusting his actions were while calling his groupies “the dumbest bitches in the world.” I think to ignore that element would be to miss a significant part of the Night Stalker tale but at no point did I think the documentary had anything but contempt and disgust for its subject. Fittingly so.

Now American Horror Story 1984... that one has some questionable bits in its depiction of Ramirez.



Heh, heh. I know what you mean. I assume you're referring to Richard Ramirez.
You mean it's not about notorious serial killer Robert Rodriguez?





Sword of the Beast, 1965

A samurai named Gennosuke (Mikijiro Hira) is on the run, having been tricked into killing an important figure in his clan. He is pursued by the dead man's son, daughter, the daughter's fiance, and a handful of enforcer types. A worker named Gundayu helps Gennosuke in his escape, and then convinces him to come in on a scheme to illegally poach gold. But this mountain is hopping with other illegal gold poachers, including a gang of bandits and a couple who are illicitly panning gold for their clan.

This film utterly defied my usual habit of movie-multitasking. I'd look up, realize I'd lost the plot, rewind 20 minutes, look down, look up, be confused, rewind. I probably watched the first 40 minutes of the film three or four times before finally throwing in the towel and giving it my full attention.

TO BE FAIR, this is a film with a lot of plot and a lot of characters, many of whom display shifting loyalties. Part of the larger theme of the film is Gennosuke resigning himself to becoming a "beast", a predator. And it is the interactions with those around him who are more predatory (from the more highbrow version of crooked clan leaders to the more lowbrow version of the murderous bandits) that challenge his sense of ethics and his sense of self. Gennosuke, for all his talk of being a wolf, seems constantly horrified by the immoral behavior of those he encounters.

The look of the film is very strong, with plenty of gorgeous nighttime sequences and a lush mountain setting as the backdrop. Water and specifically the rushing river are used to very good effect, adding a kinetic element to both dialogue and action sequences. The river itself almost becomes a character.

A real strength of the script is that it draws very clear character motivations and has well-realized small and large conflict. For example, the female half of the clan couple isn't so keen on the idea of risking her life just to get some gold for their clan. When her partner tells her that if they are captured they will just let themselves be executed instead of giving away the clan, the look on her face if priceless. This is NOT what she signed up for.

For a samurai film (of which I have seen several but not a ton), the gender politics are far more nuanced than what I am used to. In one sequence, a woman who has just been sexually assaulted calmly redresses herself, and Gennosuke remarks that she is a "true daughter of a samurai" because despite having just been raped, she cares about her appearance. It could have come off as some weird, gross compliment, but in the line delivery and Gennosuke's expression, it is more of a horrified observation. And this sequence, and the emotional resonance of it, is used to good effect later when a group of men
WARNING: spoilers below
chase down another woman. It begins so much like the sexual assault sequence that this is what I assumed was happening, only for two of the men to brace her arms and the third to hold her head underwater, coldly drowning her. It's a brilliantly structured shock, and the woman's body slips down the river just as the other woman's clothing did in the earlier scene.


The action scenes are also notable for the way in which they are both really well-staged, but also at times almost anti-action (such as a scene early on in which Gennosuke runs away from a half dozen assailants who yell after him that he is not behaving in an honorable way). A huge theme is the absurdity and destructiveness of the clan structure, and so many of the action set-pieces reflect a lack of honor or fairness.

I think I liked this one about on par with Three Rebel Samurai, the other film I have seen by Gosha.




That's been on my watchlist for a while. I'll have to bump it up the queue. Good review!
Thanks!



This movie actually made me angry.



This movie actually made me angry.
Was it William Powell's character? I thought they expected a lot from the audience with regards to Clarence Day.



Was it William Powell's character? I thought they expected a lot from the audience with regards to Clarence Day.
Yes. He's really impossible to like and every time you think he's finally gonna do the right thing or not be a complete self-centered ass, he does it again. Love Bill Powell, hated Clarence Day.



Escape from New York (1981) **6.9**

Unbelievable cast: Pleasance, Van Cleef, Russell and of course Isaac Hayes the latter I’ve never seen in a movie, he’s just chef in South Park and alway will be. I never realised how small Kurt Russell was he’s certainly no Schwarzenegger or Seagal yeah Seagal I said it this movie in particular he’s a lot shorter than many of the cast. Still he owned the screen as Snake, which deserves even greater praise I guess. Van Cleef was completely wasted for me but Pleasance even with limited characterisation was great as he always is.*

I was let down by the extremely weak narrative, Snake having to perform this mission after having the most seemingly painless injection in his neck which he allowed to be given to him for no real reason was dumb. This has Carpenter written all over it, weak dialogue and plot points with amazing visuals and pounding musical score, although this is the weakest of his musical contributions up until that point for me. I wasn’t a great fan of ‘the fog’ either but the score was still mind blowing, good here but ultimately not memorable. This did seem like a real dystopian city on its knees through locations and JC’s genius eye with visuals and how and where to input them. Having Dean Cundey as the cinematographer always helps, understatement of the century. Some of the long shots in particular were amazing and very classy.

This is my first viewing of this movie, I always got mixed up with this and ‘escape from L.A’ for some reason which I have seen a few times. Disappointing overall, I get why this movie is so loved but I wasn’t feeling it, I did not care for any of the characters involved and that has to be down to poor writing.

Bad Boy Bubby (1993) **8.3**

I have about 180 movies on my ‘to watch list’ I used a random number generator here and 163 was this gem of a movie. The start was shockingly gritty and real, As sick as it was I’m convinced that this sort of thing has happened between a mother and son in the real world. Parents can be forceful, wrapping their children up in cotton wool, I suppose this takes it to the extreme. I’m not a fan of ‘Battlefield Earth’ type tilted camera shots, they’re rarely used well but here I felt they absolutely were. This guy is deeply disturbed and although the camera is only tilted in one or two shots it was used properly and most importantly added to the visual.

Nicholas Hope who I’ve never heard of was phenomenal as this innocent yet disturbed character, his mannerisms and facial twitches were on point. Sure many of the supporting cast were average at best but there were a lot of cast members thanks to this Bubby road trip of sorts, but this was not a movie that had a great deal of money to work with so I don’t have too much of a problem with this. My negatives for this film stem from how very kind most people are towards him, largely giving him money and letting him play with their breasts, this took away some of the realism from a gritty and very real to life story. I also wasn’t massive on him being the lead singer of the band, sure it made the final scene extremely watchable but I wasn’t enamoured by the idea.

Overall I thought this movie was so fresh and weird I couldn’t take my eyes off it, I had no idea where the plot was going. I even found myself somehow jealous of what Bubby had achieved in a relatively short space of time. Jealousy was not something I was expecting having seen the first act. Loved it.



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Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993) -

Into the Spider-Verse (2018) -

Alita: Battle Angel (2019) -

Godzilla:King of Monsters (2019) -

Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) -
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Night Stalker (2021) -



Struggling to get the time/mindframe to watch some good movies.
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The last movie I saw was A Streetcar Named Desire which I give 5 popcorn boxes. Every time I see it I see something new in it. This time I was more appreciative of the situation Stanley and Stella find themselves in i.e. having an unwanted relative in your tiny newlywed"s apartment. Yikes. This doesn't change the fact that Stanley is a horrible brute who destroys Blanche. But you can see the difficulties the newlywed couple face. I also admired Karl Malden's performance as Mitch. I think he could have been more nuanced in his reactions to Blanche's deception but otherwise a strong performance.




SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
(2012)

Re-watch. As far as romantic comedies go, this one is very funny and top notch. And it's a rom-com that men would enjoy just as much as women. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are awesome together playing two emotionally and psychologically damaged individuals who meet and develop an awkward relationship. Robert Deniro is excellent in his supporting role as Cooper's OCD dad. I always get a kick out of the dance finale. It's the best out of all the David O. Russell films where he collaborated with the main stars.

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“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!” ~ Rocky Balboa



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Ok so I'm aiming to watch all the James Bond films while I'm on vacation. I'd have started a thread for this if I knew how to write well enough (and enough) to justify it but since I don't its just happening here.

From Russia with Love (Terence Young, 1963)
It's definitely less engaging initially than Dr. No but where that film starts strong only to slowly peter out about half way through, From Russia with Love just keeps getting better and better as it goes. Well, to a point that is. Once again aided by the score and camerawork (and just being shot in the best decade for film aesthetically) greatly but also has a much stronger sense of build up and tension and while the entire train sequence is the real climax imo the stuff after is still very fun and well done. Thoroughly enjoyed this one.


Goldfinger (Guy Hamilton, 1964)
There is a noticeable and disappointing drop in technical quality for this one. The colours don't pop, the fights don't bop, really lacking all the best parts of the Terence Young helmed pictures. Yes, I understand this has many of the iconic bond moments and ideas but they are just not presented all that well. Goldfinger really takes that next step further into goofy spy action conceptually but failed to match it technically and winds up just feeling a bit bland and isn't as engaging as it could have been. That being said, some of the goofier ideas are fun enough on their own to prevent this from being an out-and-out bad time.


Current Bond rankings:
01. From Russia with Love
02. Dr. No
03. Goldfinger



RUDDERLESS
(2014, Macy)
A debut film



"♪ What is lost can't be replaced,
What is gone is not forgotten,
♫ I wish you were here to sing along...
my son... my son... my son..."

Despite some faults, the film manages to stay in course, thanks primarily to committed performances from Crudup and Yelchin. Although the way their relationship unfolds isn't perfect, there is good chemistry between the actors, and Crudup has some solid emotional moments towards the end. The second thing that anchored the film for me was the music. This soundtrack was right down my alley and I've found myself humming, tapping, and listening to it since I finished the film. Kudos to Crudup and Yelchin for actually playing and singing on it.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot and on HOF24.