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I Care a Lot -


If Rosamund Pike didn't terrify you in Gone Girl, she's bound to in this. She's Marla Grayson, who claims guardianship over senior citizens as a means to drain their savings. Her scheme blows up in her face when she earns the ire of Peter Dinklage's gangster Roman Lunyov. What follows is an elegantly crafted game of one-upmanship. A cross between Leona Helmsley, Elizabeth Holmes and a white walker, Pike makes Grayson so chillingly smug that I couldn't look into her eyes at some points, and thankfully, Dinklage couldn't be a better foil. I also enjoyed the small yet pivotal turns by Chris Messina as a sleazy lawyer and Isiah Whitlock, Jr. as a judge who Grayson plays like a fiddle. While it has the almost-too-perfect, friction-free look and feel of the typical Netflix movie that I've grown to dislike, it and the electronica soundtrack approximate Grayson's lifestyle, demeanor and the artificial high of acquiring her ill-gotten gains. The game eventually strains credulity, but when it ended, I was cringing, angry and chilled to the bone. Yes, that is an endorsement.
I haven't seen it but this is still a good review.



Bill Paxton, as the local sheriff, was meant to be the central character, but I don't think he quite rose to the task. He was often convincing, but at other times, his attempts at an AR accent and good old boy traits seemed inauthentic. Likewise the white L.A. cop character was okay at the beginning, but then later seemed lost in the part and made it superficial
I don't actually feel as if he is meant to be the central character. I think that in most films he would be. But this is Fantasia's story. It's part of what I liked about it. You take this character (the small town, good-hearted Sheriff) who should be the heart of the film and turn it on its side a bit.

But then consider his reaction to
WARNING: spoilers below
finding out about his child. And especially when she mentions his wife finding out he has a half-black child. There's that earlier scene where he uses the racial slurs and the wife is like "Oh, heh, that's just how he was raised." But actually there clearly is some prejudice there, and the fallout from it is what ends up spelling his doom.




Mank(2020)

The film is a dramatization of Herman J. Mankiewicz and his
background leading up to, and of the circumstances surrounding, the writing of the screen play to Citizen Kane (1941). The story Is told in non-linear fashion, alternating back and forth between, for example 1930, when Mankiewicz supposedly met Marion Davies, to 1942, when he and Orson Welles won best screenplay Oscars.

The movie uses as a basis several actual facts: Mankiewicz did get to know Marion Davies,
then William Randolph Hearst through the writer Charles Lederer who was Davies’ nephew; Mank may have been a house guest at Hearst’s San Simeon (although Hearst’s rule of no one having more than one cocktail likely would have prevented Mankiewicz’s visiting); he was an alcoholic; he did break his leg in 1939, and was later approached by Orson Welles to help with the screen play of Citizen Kane; and he and Welles did win Oscars for that screenplay.

Beyond that the film’s writing took quite a few liberties. For example it’s not known whether Mankiewicz was a supporter of
the socialist Sinclair Lewis. The scene in which Mankiewicz staggers drunk into the dining hall at the Hearst castle and offends everyone, bragging about an upcoming screenplay dissing Hearst, until most get up and leave the table-- likely never occurred. Several other scenes strained credulity.

However most every other facet of the production was first rate: the acting, direction, cinematography, production and set design, costuming, etc. The editing was also tricky but well done.

But it was the writing --especially of the dialogue-- that bothered me.
Much of it was almost Shakespearean: perfectly formed unhesitating spoken sentences, even those expressing several conflicting thoughts. Mankiewicz’s clever repartee, jokes, and zingers rolled off his tongue as if he were reading them. It was all too perfect. At times one could almost track the actors marching up to the camera seemingly with the invitation, “Okay, it’s your scene. Let’s have your speech.” In other words some of the dialogue did not seem natural. In Mankiewicz’s several drunk scenes, it made no sense that he could belt out perfectly constructed dialogue.Occasionally the picture felt nearly surrealistic.

Still, apart from some of the writing,
Mank is a top of the line effort, deserving of awards consideration, especially for Gary Oldman’s acting, and also for David Fincher’s direction.

Doc’s rating: 7/10





The Night Holds Terror - 1955 thriller based on a 1953 hostage case. The Courtiers, the actual family this happened to, allowed their names to be used in the movie. Gene Courtier (Jack Kelly) is on his way home when he picks up hitchhiker Victor Gossett (Vince Edwards) who almost immediately takes him captive. He forces Gene to join up with the other two members of his gang, Robert Batsford (John Cassavetes) and Luther Logan (David Cross). After finding out he's only carrying ten dollars they decide to kill him but Gene manages to talk them into waiting until he sells his car and turns over the money. Events lead them to take shelter at the Courtier home where they hold the family at gunpoint. Desperate to buy time Gene confides in Logan, the only one of the gang to show him any semblance of compassion, that his father owns a chain of department stores. The plan quickly morphs from a hostage situation into a kidnap plot.

This is a low budget affair and it shows in certain scenes but director Andrew L. Stone was a firm believer in shooting his films on location as opposed to studios and using props. This and the stentorian narration lends an almost documentary style feel to the proceedings. And despite some of the subpar supporting performances most of the lead cast do a good job of selling the story. A very young Cassavetes in his big screen debut does a pretty good job of playing the vicious leader of the gang and Edwards is also solid as the brawny and libidinous wild card. It might be a B-movie but Stone does know how to ratchet up the tension so that by the end you find yourself fully invested in the outcome.







Ive been a lurker in this forum for a while ,,just reading and stuff,,i haven't watched a film in awhile ,,so this week decided to watch two light movies,,just to get back at it,,,


I really enjoyed the kid detective,,calm sad atmosphere with a character i relate to and a good mystery ,,there's a bit of sadness there and I love it.,,I will definitely be re watching in the future ..


7/10







just finished this one an hour ago,,I got out of it what I expected ,,a light drama,nothing great or anything you can see how it ends 10 mints in,,billy bob thornton was whispering instead of talking and freeman had a weird accent/voice.,,anyway I loved the relationship between kirsten's character and bob's.


5/10


and finally I would like to apologize if there were any grammatical errors,,English is n;t my 1st language ..



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?


Pickpocket (1959)
This as been my introduction to Robert Bresson and it's got me pretty excited to explore even more of his work.

Michel, a young man who lives in squalor, with a superior indifference for "normal life", has become a pickpocket. To the disappointment of his best friend, Jacques, and to Jeanne, a caring neighbor of his dying mother. As well as the Police Inspector who suspects him and continually follows him in an attempt to catch him in the act.

What I found captivating, or rather, the multiple aspects that resulted in my captivation is the sheer genius of a minimalist director who so successfully creates suspense without the usual "tricks" of the trade, such as an intense musical score to provoke emotions or even an intensity in the characters' actions and emotions. Instead, using very clever camera angles and close-ups of the pickpocketing. Speaking of, Bresson also incorporates a few lessons and thereby, bringing a technical deftness to Michel's growing craft, that adds to the suspense of every time his hand slips into someone's purse, their coat jacket, or takes hold of someone's wrist to steal their watch.
While one could argue that the lack of emotion of the characters may be seen as a negative, it does add, for me, an additional layer to the emotional distance that grows wider with every scene between Michel and his friends as he goes deeper and deeper into his new livelihood.

A truly exceptional film that creates far more with incredibly far less than many films of this genre.
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Underworld: Awakening, 2012

After the events of the first three films, humankind discovers vampires and werewolves. Selene (Kate Beckinsale) wakes up years after the first film and finds that her lover, Michael, is gone. She must contend with an evil scientist (Stephen Rea) and angry lycans in order to protect a young girl who is the result of scientific experimentation.

I rented this film as sort of a guilty pleasure. I had seen the first one and enjoyed the chemistry between Beckinsale and Scott Speedman (who plays Michael). So imagine my disappointment when, in the prologue, they were like, "So anyway a grenade went off and Michael has disappeared, so . . . .". Speedman is not in the film at all (aside from reused footage from the first film), and his replacement, a character played by Theo James, just doesn't have that same easy banter with Selene.

The actors, overall, are fine. Beckinsale and Rea are at ease in their roles. But the whole thing is plagued by the overuse of CGI and kind of a fractured sense of purpose. The illicit love affair between Selene and Michael was the center of the first movie, and in trying to pivot to a new dynamic, the film stumbles a bit. We've all seen a hundred movies where the stone-cold killer/assassin suddenly finds themselves protecting a child. It's not a bad formula, but there's nothing in the movie to rise above that basic level of plot. The film has an interesting looking actor named Kris Holden-Ried in a supporting role (he is also on the show Lost Girl, which I've seen one or two episodes of), and I wish they'd found a better way to use his slightly off-kilter presence. Instead he gets swallowed by CGI.

In the end this just turned into a bit of a time-waster, and about halfway through I kind of half-paid attention to it while I did some cleaning. Nothing bad or offensive here, just unremarkable mediocrity.




The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Aaron Sorkin, 2020)
An entertaining an fairly engaging retelling of events (no idea how accurate) and that's all. Well paced and structured, hits a few distinctly Hollywood moments that pulled me out of it but nothing serious.


Mank (David Fincher, 2020)
Another cold, unfeeling, vibeless film from Fincher. Shocker.



ᗢWanda Maximoff-Scarlet Witchᗢ


Underworld: Awakening, 2012

After the events of the first three films, humankind discovers vampires and werewolves. Selene (Kate Beckinsale) wakes up years after the first film and finds that her lover, Michael, is gone. She must contend with an evil scientist (Stephen Rea) and angry lycans in order to protect a young girl who is the result of scientific experimentation.

I rented this film as sort of a guilty pleasure. I had seen the first one and enjoyed the chemistry between Beckinsale and Scott Speedman (who plays Michael). So imagine my disappointment when, in the prologue, they were like, "So anyway a grenade went off and Michael has disappeared, so . . . .". Speedman is not in the film at all (aside from reused footage from the first film), and his replacement, a character played by Theo James, just doesn't have that same easy banter with Selene.

The actors, overall, are fine. Beckinsale and Rea are at ease in their roles. But the whole thing is plagued by the overuse of CGI and kind of a fractured sense of purpose. The illicit love affair between Selene and Michael was the center of the first movie, and in trying to pivot to a new dynamic, the film stumbles a bit. We've all seen a hundred movies where the stone-cold killer/assassin suddenly finds themselves protecting a child. It's not a bad formula, but there's nothing in the movie to rise above that basic level of plot. The film has an interesting looking actor named Kris Holden-Ried in a supporting role (he is also on the show Lost Girl, which I've seen one or two episodes of), and I wish they'd found a better way to use his slightly off-kilter presence. Instead he gets swallowed by CGI.

In the end this just turned into a bit of a time-waster, and about halfway through I kind of half-paid attention to it while I did some cleaning. Nothing bad or offensive here, just unremarkable mediocrity.

i didnt like it at all aswell. underworld and underworld 2 always my favorites
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Война и мир (1966-67)
aka War and Peace


Bondarchuk's adaptation of Tolstoy's massive novel is certainly epic. As a whole, I liked it, but it's not without its issues.


Part I is the weakest of the bunch. It's almost an hour longer than any other part, but it still fails to properly introduce the characters. The pacing is all over the place, and the result is quite confusing at times. Part II is much more focused. Despite being slow, its pacing works much better. It also doesn't hurt that it's centered around two of the best-acted characters, Andrei and Natasha.

Part III is the most epic of the individual films. It's also very tightly paced and has the least fluff of all the parts. The war sequences are a sight to behold. Part IV is more like an epilogue, concentrating on cities in flames and lives ruined. Again, the scenes in burning Moscow are hellishly beautiful. The way the Russians are portrayed gets a bit out of hand toward the end (almost a nation of saints).

Technically War and Peace is surprisingly clunky at times (like the poorly made overhead tracking shot in the ball in Part II, I think), and at the same time, it does a marvelous job with its massive battles. Acting is uneven as well (I really didn't like Bondarchuk's work in front of the camera), but that's something I've come to expect from Russian cinema. Settings and costumes look great, and they help in making the film eye-candy too.

I haven't read the book, but I guess it's safe to assume that there have been changes to appease the Soviet authorities. There's nothing too bothersome, though. The specifics about the war campaign, especially in the last film, are left extremely vague and, at least to me, give a somewhat false impression of the events. Many of the philosophical narrations feel out of place. I think seven hours is too short, and many of the issues could have been fixed by adding a part or two.

Overall, a good film. Not going to make my foreign language ballot, though.
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Rage in Heaven (W.S. Van Dyke II, 1941)
5.5/10
Grand Isle (Stephen S. Campanelli, 2019)
5/10
Dark Web: Cicada 3301 (Alan Ritchson, 2021)
5.5/10
The Atlantic Records Story (John T. Davis & Uri Fruchtmann, 1994)
8/10

Ahmet Ertegun, songwriter and founder of the company, reminisces about how they brought black music to the forefront of American society in heavily-racist times.
I Married a Woman (Hal Kanter, 1958)
6/10
Insight (Ken & Livi Zheng, 2021)
5.5/10
A Colony (Paul Reddish, 2012)
6/10
Women Hell Song (Mamoru Watanabe, 1970)
6.5/10

Visually-striking version of hell as a non-stop cycle of violent, sex-filled adventures in a "playground".
Brothers (Arthur Barron, 1977)
6.5/10
Dreamcatcher (Jacob Johnston, 2021)
4/10
Hummingbirds: Jewelled Messengers (Paul Reddish, 2012)
7/10
Stump the Guesser (Guy Maddin and Evan & Galen Johnson, 2020)
6.5/10

Adam Brooks can guess anything at a carnival until something crazy happens in this even crazier silent short.
The Block Island Sound (Kevin & Matthew McManus, 2020)
6/10
The Parish (David S. Hogan, 2019)
5/10
The Steel Fist (Wesley Barry, 1952)
6/10
The Seventh Walk (Amit Dutta, 2013)
7/10

Mind-boggling experimental "documentary" places artist Paramjit Singh within his own artwork in a sorta modern-day Maya Deren [with intense sound] color fever dream.
Kontroll (Nimród Antal, 2003)
6.5/10
The Mole Agent (Maite Alberdi, 2020)
+ 6/10
Come True (Anthony Scott Burns, 2020)
+ 5/10
The Chekist (Aleksandr Rogozhkin, 1992)
6.5/10

A seemingly-endless number of executions are piled into an endless number of truck beds as part of the Soviet revolution's mass murder of millions.
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Promising Young Woman (Emerald Fennel, 2020)
So this movie is almost perfect in what its setting out to do and as a result it feels kind of weird giving it the only somewhat positive score that I am. It manages to capture the vibe of classic revenge girl films without every feeling indebted to the past, which modern schlock never pulls off and despite being specifically engineered as popcorn flick, has a handful of real artful shots sprinkled throughout. Also of note is the banging soundtrack (kicking off with that killer Charli XCX track was a choice) and especially of note, that reinterpretation of [FAMOUS SONG] is pure modern cheese in a way that hits so good.

Now to get into what doesn't work, even though it all works, and why this is such an awkward thing to assign a rating to. The more objective one is the story structure. I thought it was heading towards the conclusion when I paused it (because so much had already happened by that point) only to discover there was still an entire hour left. This is a problem I have with lots of modern films, most even, but what makes hard for me here is that I don't know what you could cut out and still have it function as intended. You'd have to scrap the whole movie to fix that and I don't want that because the film is also important and its specifically important in its current state. This is very much a message first type film and it nails that message 110% in a blunt, unambiguous and genuinely affecting way AND is presented in a way where people are actually going to see it. That is such an impressive feat and doesn't do a thing for me as piece of art. I'm very much an "art-for-the-sake-of-art" type and see art and ethics as different, almost conflicting things. In terms of how I view this as a piece of art, its a good popcorn flick with the some of the same potholes most modern films have with some strong aesthetics. Probably would have went up half a star if the ending didn't feel like a complete cop-out, but then again, even though its not what I want the ending is necessary for what the film is. F**k it, this film is perfect.
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Judas and the Black Messiah (Shaka King, 2021)
Based on true events type movies have limited appeal to me unless they're going way left field with it but this has its merits for sure. The score is incredible though perhaps underutilized and there's some really strong mood to it. Good performances too.



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A Walk to Remember (2002) rewatched 10/10 one of my favorite drama romance movies and love shane west and mandy moore and loved the soundtrack



Ladri di biciclette (1948)
aka Bicycle Thieves

Just checking some classics for the countdown. This isn't my kind of film, but it was more entertaining than I expected. Even at its modest length, some scenes seemed to go on for too long (like the one in the market checking the bikes and parts). Mostly a good-looking and well-acted piece of (neo)realism. I was about to rate it a half star less, but the ending deserves an extra nod.



As a counterpoint (well, more just a counter-opinion), I really liked this and so did the people I watched it with.

I think that it certainly helps if you have also seen Thunder Road (which I would consider slightly superior to this one) and have a handle on Cummings' specific brand of dramedy.

It is a very off-kilter vibe, so I can see someone just not clicking with it.
I haven't seen it, but one of my older brothers liked it. I've also read a lot of Twitter friends praising it. I have it on my watchlist.
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I haven't seen it, but one of my older brothers liked it. I've also read a lot of Twitter friends praising it. I have it on my watchlist.
It's the kind of vibe/humor that is very distinct. I imagine most people would either be amused or annoyed, and I don't see many people landing in the middle.