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I've always depended on the kindness of strangers
Imitation of Life - 7/10
Kind of a waste of time, because I saw the re-make first (1959 version). Still decent. Good start, but then goes downhill a bit.



I've always depended on the kindness of strangers
Knuckle - 7.5/10
I've always been fascinated with gypsies, and this documentary covers the feud between the Irish Traveler families. It would have been wise to keep names on the screen, since there are so many. It was a little confusing to differentiate who did what.



The Wretched (2019)

Technically solid low budget horror. Sadly the story makes little sense and isn't even that original (a bit like Salem's Lot and The Outsider mixed together so it's a safe bet that these brothers like their King; there's also some resemblance to The Hole in the Ground which I found a tad better than this). There's really nothing that stands out in either a positive or negative way, and the end result is bland mediocrity.

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Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.

The Treatment (Hans Herbots, 2014)
6.5/10
Dogs Don't Wear Pants (J.-P. Valkeapää, 2019)
6/10
An Ambiguous Report About the End of the World (Juraj Jakubisko, 1997)
6.5/10
Almanac of Fall (Béla Tarr, 1984)
6/10

I'd say a basic human reaction.
Anchor Baby (Lonzo Nzekwe, 2010)
+ 5/10
Hearty Greetings from the Globe (Oldrich Lipský, 1983)
6/10
The Island President (Jon Shenk, 2011)
6.5/10
Villain (Philip Barantini, 2020)
6/10

Criminal Craig Fairbrass screws up trying to get close to his family.
Guernica (Emir Kusturica, 1978)
6.5/10
Bird Talk (Xawery Zulawski, 2019)
5/10
Day of the Wacko (Marek Koterski, 2002)
6.5/10
Animal Factory (Steve Buscemi, 2000)
6/10

Prison criminal boss Willem Dafoe takes newcomer Edward Furlong under his wing.
18 Presents (Francesco Amato, 2020)
5.5/10
Survive the Night (Matt Eskandari, 2020)
5/10
The Wretched (Pierce Bros., 2020)
6/10
The Pollinators (Peter Nelson, 2019)
6.5/10

Honeybees, as well as humans and the planted soil, are all facing real problems soon.
Body Cam (Malik Vitthal, 2020)
5/10
Age Out (A.J. Edwards, 2018)
5.5/10
Pariah Dog (Jesse Alk, 2019)
6/10
After Class AKA Safe Spaces (Daniel Schechter, 2019)
+ 6/10

A family experiencing the upcoming death of its matriarch also has to deal with its smart-ass teacher son (Justin Long) getting into trouble at school.
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Armageddon (1998) - 4/5 Stars.


Switch off your brain, sit back and watch Bruce Willis and co. save the world!


Possibly the most ridiculous premise for a mainstream blockbuster ever conceived but I love it. Pretty much the entire film is shot like a music video, complete with excessive slow-mo shots, giant flags in the background and the colour dialled up to 11. Subtle film making this is not. But it has a great cast, excellent pacing and is thoroughly entertaining.


If you're looking for a big, dumb Friday night blockbuster you can't get much better than this.



The Age of Innocence (1993)


Costume dramas are not usually my taste but I thought I'd give this a shot because it's Scorsese and the cast looked great.


Strong performances from the three lead actors, great set and costume design; I really felt immersed in the bubble of upper class east cost society in the late 19th century. However the plot was not particularly interesting and I found myself losing interest in the middle two thirds of the film; watching it began to feel like hard work. But it finished strong and I found the ending quite poignant and moving.


Overall the performances, setting and visuals elevate the uninspiring plot.


3/5 Stars.





We Are What We Are (2013)

A slow burning psychological thriller, this turned out not to have much depth and settled for mild entertainment. The reason I wanted to watch this was just to see more of Julia Garner's work. Ambyr Childers also stood out. Both girls delivered intense performances as sisters living under miserable circumstances, displaying sorrow, depression, resentment, and angst. Michael Parks also acted with conviction as the small town's resident doctor. With solid acting, especially from the leading pair of girls, it was unfortunate that the story, plot, and dialogue didn't have more meat to them. I did like the way a lot of things were implied without being said, but the subject matter wasn't explored deeply enough to interest me. The dialogue felt superficial without any of the characters saying anything remotely insightful, controversial, or emotionally moving. Rather, the movie relied on the sorrowful expressions of the actors faces and music to stir the viewer's emotions. Garner was nineteen years old at the time the movie was made, but her character was supposedly 14. As much as that age gap didn't really work for me, it was easy enough to ignore for the sake of immersion. Overall it was a pretty average movie, but the two girls' acting was strong enough to make it entertaining.






Sid & Judy (2019)

This is a very well edited and produced documentary illuminating the main events in the great Judy Garland's life. It also demonstrates that the film,
Judy (2019), a fictionalized account of Garland's last series of concerts in England, was a feeble representation of Garland, her powerful singing, and irrepressible sense of humor. Hearing Garland's voice in all of its glory raises the painful question of why Renee Zellweger sang the Garland songs using her own voice.

Judy had problems with drugs and alcohol for her entire career. She was taken financial advantage of by her managers and even her 3rd husband, Sid Luft. But through it all she always rose to the occasion and put 100% into her performances. This documentary is one of the most revealing and true to life that I've ever seen. Recordings of phone calls between she and Luft, and Luft and the studios provide insights and reality into the events of her life, most poignantly toward the end of her career. She died at aged 47.

On a side note, I've mentioned before that I had the honor of performing as a musician in her band for a show she did at the Cincinnati Gardens in 1965. I've observed and played with many dozens of name performers, but she had a palatable other-worldly star quality, along with a bond with her audiences that was the greatest I've ever seen. This documentary portrays that magnetism and the woman beneath it.

Doc's rating: 9/10





Tomato Red (2017)

It's been a while since I've had my heart crushed this hard. Jake Weary played Sammy, a tough guy with little going for him in life. He was a strong silent type. Despite not being too bright, his eyes were keen, and he saw things for what they really were. One delinquent night he ran into an adventurous girl with bright red dyed hair named Jamelee (pronounced Jamee-Lee), played by Julia Garner. She was accompanied by her gay brother Jason, played by Nick Roux. They formed a tight bond of friendship and got into wild reckless trouble until things went drastically South, and their world was turned upside-down. Still, I thought I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. I so badly wanted things to turn out differently. A point this realistic movie had to make though, was that life just doesn't always turn out the way we want it to.




The Age of Innocence (1993)


Costume dramas are not usually my taste but I thought I'd give this a shot because it's Scorsese and the cast looked great.


Strong performances from the three lead actors, great set and costume design; I really felt immersed in the bubble of upper class east cost society in the late 19th century. However the plot was not particularly interesting and I found myself losing interest in the middle two thirds of the film; watching it began to feel like hard work. But it finished strong and I found the ending quite poignant and moving.


Overall the performances, setting and visuals elevate the uninspiring plot.


3/5 Stars.
Beautiful movie. Edith Wharton is turning in her grave due to your review of her book as having an “uninspiring plot”. It’s an American classic.
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Beautiful movie. Edith Wharton is turning in her grave due to your review of her book as having an “uninspiring plot”. It’s an American classic.

Lol well she should have written something more original.


Boy marries beautiful but dull girl who epitomizes the high society New York in all its exquisite banality. Boy meets exciting new girl mired in scandal who he connects with on emotional and intellectual level. Boys falls in love with new girl but social constraints and his own conscience prevent him from leaving wife. Boy suffers anguish and torment until wife tells him she's got a bun in the oven and new girl removes herself to Europe, leaving him no choice but to man up and act the role of responsible husband and father. Boy ends up living contented family life with wife but is forever haunted by his lost true love.


Emotional stuff but I've seen the same plot beats played out many times before. He made the right choice anyway; Winona Ryder was a stunning gen-x goddess in the early 90s, Pfeiffer was well past her prime.



The Age of Innocence (1993)
Costume dramas are not usually my taste but I thought I'd give this a shot because it's Scorsese and the cast looked great.

Strong performances from the three lead actors, great set and costume design; I really felt immersed in the bubble of upper class east cost society in the late 19th century. However the plot was not particularly interesting and I found myself losing interest in the middle two thirds of the film; watching it began to feel like hard work. But it finished strong and I found the ending quite poignant and moving.
Overall the performances, setting and visuals elevate the uninspiring plot. 3/5 Stars.
Beautiful movie. Edith Wharton is turning in her grave due to your review of her book as having an “uninspiring plot”. It’s an American classic.
You do realize that HollowMan reviewed the movie, not the book



12 Angry Men (1957)


A classic. They don't make 'em like this anymore. Just 12 guys in a room talking for 90 minutes.


Sounds dull but I was gripped the whole way through as Fonda tries to convince 11 jurors to reconsider their position. Excellent acting all round. Each of the jurors feels like genuine characters, and you come to realise as the film progresses just how much their verdict is rooted in their personality rather than a serious dispassionate evaluation of the evidence. Whether it's racism, stupidity, disinterest, meekness or a projection of pent up hostility; each of the jurors has a different reason for coming to the wrong verdict. Brilliant stuff.


This film makes me hope I never end up wrongly accused of a crime with my fate left in the hands and twelve random people, most of whom couldn't care less about thoughtfully evaluating the evidence. If I do, I hope there's a Henry Fonda type character with the courage and dignity to fight my corner.


5/5 Stars.



Rampage
1987

Written and directed by William Freidkin, a liberal district attorney (Michael Biehn) changes his own beliefs and seeks the death penalty for a sadistic killer who drank his victims blood but is he sane or insane?? should he be put to death or studied and treated in a psychiatric hospital, this movie asks these questions but doesnt offer easy answers, you may even change your own mind



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Electrick Children (2012)

In Julia Garner's first lead role she played Rachel, a sweet and innocent fifteen-year-old who lived in a Mormon commune. When she experienced an immaculate conception, her brother Will, played by Liam Aiken, was falsely accused of raping her and expelled. She was forced to marry, but fled instead. The pair soon found themselves in Las Vegas where they befriended Clyde, played by Rory Culkin, as they searched for the musician who's cassette tape Rachel believed to be responsible for her supernatural pregnancy. Garner's charm and innocence were exceptionally captivating. Her naivete was beyond cute, and she handled any form of ridicule or abuse with a gracefulness that inspired sympathy.




Schizo (1977)


Effective thriller/slasher, set in late 70s UK.