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🔴Marvel Fan⚪️❤️Elizabeth Olsen+Tom Hiddleston❤️
its alright movie, loved original the craft from the 90s better. but glad they showed nancy .








SF = Z


[Snooze Factor Ratings]:
Z = didn't nod off at all
Zz = nearly nodded off but managed to stay alert
Zzz = nodded off and missed some of the film but went back to watch what I missed
Zzzz = nodded off and missed some of the film but went back to watch what I missed but nodded off again at the same point and therefore needed to go back a number of times before I got through it...
Zzzzz = nodded off and missed some or the rest of the film but was not interested enough to go back over it





The Kid Detective, 2020

As a child, Abe (Adam Brody) was an Encyclopedia Brown-like kid detective--working out of a treehouse, charging $0.50 per case, and solving mysteries like the disappearance of the school fundraiser money. But his innocent enthusiasm for his detective work takes a heavy hit when his friend Gracie (Kaitlyn Chalmers-Rizzato) disappears. Haunted by her unsolved disappearance, Abe is now in his 30s, solving menial cases and dragging himself from day to day in an alcoholic, self-loathing stupor. One day, a teenager named Caroline (Sophie Nťlisse) appears, begging Abe to find out who killed her boyfriend.

This was, by turns, a funny and emotional look at the fate of child prodigies when they become adults in the "real world". With a solid premise and a satisfying resolution, I found it very enjoyable.

Years ago, I read a book that I really liked called The Boy Detective Fails. It also tackled the idea of a child detective struggling to deal with the messiness of the kind of crimes that are committed by adults. I was worried that this film would feel like a lesser retread of that same concept, but I thought it held its own well.

Adam Brody is a capable center of the film, a man who is trying to sustain himself on the fading light of past glories (and still very much taking advantage of the "free ice cream for life" deal that at this point has probably put the ice cream shop owner in the negative). Abe frequently notes how the town has changed and become cynical. "Has it?" asks one character. While the town has probably changed a bit, some of the difference is in Abe's no longer being a child.

So some of the humor of the film comes from watching Abe continue to coast on his past success, dealing with very mundane, simple cases (such as a child who wants to know if his classmate really did practice with the Mets last summer. Spoilers! He did not.) But underneath the typical drunk loser trope, there is a genuine sorrow to the character. He is perpetually reminded of his failure to find Gracie, through seeing missing posters or his interactions with Gracie's widowed mother. It is always a hard thing to watch when a talented child hits their own limits abruptly, and that's the pain that Abe has dwelled on for years. Because he believed himself so capable--and because the adults around him encouraged that perspective--it hurts extra hard when he is confronted with his failures.

I thought that the film walked just the right line with the character of Abe. Yes, he is pathetic. He lies to cover his inadequacies. He postures and bluffs to present a confidence and capability that he doesn't really possess. But also, in the middle of it all, he does want to solve the murder of Caroline's boyfriend. And right or wrong, he does consider himself responsible for Gracie's unresolved disappearance.

At times the movie teeters a bit close to just superficially saying, "Boy, the real world is complicated and messed up!". But I thought that Abe's character arc was a strong enough through-line to forgive some of the simplicity of the understanding of the town around him. I think that a lot of people hit their 30s/40s and find themselves doing some serious reflection on their youth or what they thought their adulthood would be like. For Abe, this comes with some literally life-or-death implications.

A solid comedy-drama with a good character arc and a very satisfying, emotional conclusion.




I forgot the opening line.

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Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery - (2022)

Funny thing expectations these days. When Glass Onion first came out all I ever saw was people rave about it, and that might be the reason the later reviews and opinions I saw were really critical and expressed a fair amount of disappointment. After reading the negative stuff for so long, I was kind of expecting this not to be so good - which is a good thing. Lowered expectations always make movies better. Yeah, Glass Onion was really good. Not "cinematic classic" stuff, but really enjoyable and worth watching. I'm not a big lover of mystery movies, but this kind of blurred that distinction a little as the focus of the mystery kept changing, and as such there wasn't really one overarching central core. I guess that's why it's called Glass Onion, with the peeling back of the layers. The characters are caricatures, but their exaggerated attributes made them fun, as well as the actors playing them. Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista, Kathryn Hahn and especially Edward Norton were colourful and convivial. This should have at least nabbed a Production Design Oscar nomination to go with it's inexplicable Best Adapted Screenplay one (I know, I know, because it's a sequel.) Bright and energetic.

7/10


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Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio - (2022)

I'd never seen any other version of Pinocchio before, but I'd heard this and that over time - like how he's kind of a brat at first, ends up with a travelling side-show and the mystical beings that transform him into a living puppet. I can't help but notice that Roberto Benigni is obsessed with the tale, and that there's been a flood of adaptations in recent years. Well - with this, I really enjoyed the stop-motion animation, and specifically Ewan McGregor's Cricket along with hearing Christoph Waltz lend his voice to Count Volpe. The talent is staggering - John Turturro, Ron Perlman, Cate Blanchett, Tim Blake Nelson, Tilda Swinton...and the design and animation of Pinocchio himself is really neat and beautiful. I think today's market is overstuffed with Pinocchio films and didn't need another one, but this would be my choice if I had to pick a worthy adaptation from this age.

7/10
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Infinity Pool, 2023

James (Alexander SkarsgŚrd) is a stalled out novelist on vacation in a fictional island resort with his wife, Em (Cleopatra Coleman). The two befriend hip couple Gabi (Mia Goth) and Alban (Jalil Lespert), who convince them to leave the highly segregated resort for a day out on the island. When things take a bad turn, James learns that both their new friends and the residents of the island are hiding some disturbing secrets.

Following very much in the visual and thematic direction of Possessor, this film combines body horror and social commentary in a dizzying and uncomfortable way.

I think it's a compliment to the development of a film when you can't discuss plot points much past the first 20 minutes because there are so many unexpected turns that the plot takes. Infinity Pool is very much in this category, but there are still some things that can be safely discussed without giving away key plot elements.

On the visual front, this movie is pretty enjoyable, both for the way that it manages to cast the island as lush and scenic but also dangerously removed from the structures that the main characters are accustomed to. And on the other end of things, the effects used related to the body horror elements of the movie are very effective. And by effective, of course, I mean upsetting!, and gross!, and That's not what I expected that nipple to do! I saw in the credits that a stop motion creator was involved in some of the sequences, which left me curious about exactly which pieces those were. If you've seen Possessor some of the parts of the body horror will seem a bit familiar, but I'm not complaining. I thought they were effective then, and I found them effective here.

I also enjoyed a certain aspect of the journey that Skarsgard's character takes, namely that a lot of what we see and how it escalates is driven by a deep down self-loathing. We see many hints of this in the first act, as it becomes clear that James has written one book, has been "writing" his second for years, and is basically fully financially reliant on his wife who can barely conceal her contempt and regret in terms of how their relationship has reached this homeostasis. While other characters in the film seem driven by a sort of "I do it because I can" rich person's pursuit of stimulation, James seems to have a shame and anger about his personal situation that gives his actions (and reactions) a different bent.

In terms of social commentary, the film is pretty overt in how it sees its resort-dwelling characters. They come to a place that is guarded by its own police force and surrounded by barbed wire. They don't hesitate to make comments like saying that the locals are "more like baboons" in terms of how they handle conflict. The idea that lesser people are, essentially, disposable, comes into play in more and more disturbing variations as the film goes on.

I had two hurdles getting into the film, though I should note that both felt less damaging as the film went on. The first was James. Poor, stupid James. James makes such terrible choices. James is so terrible. It doesn't feel quite as bad once things kick off and you can explain away some choices as being because of stress/trauma, but so many bad decisions are made in just the first 15 minutes. I guess you could say that some people just assume nothing bad will ever happen to them, but come on.

I also struggled with Goth's character. I know a lot of men seem to like the whole "grown woman talks like a pouty baby" schtick, but I find it very grating. And don't get me wrong, I get that there's a purpose to how this character is played and all that really matters is that James finds it sexy. But it was a loooooong road for me listening to those line deliveries. Goth does get to cut loose a bit more as the film goes on and I think she did a great job, but fundamentally boy was it hard listening to the sexy toddler routine for two hours.

I don't think I liked this one quite as much as Possessor, but it's still overall very strong. Anchored by Skarsgard's all-in performance as James and some very fun supporting work from the rest of the cast. Shoutout to Coleman's performance that will undoubtedly be less talked about because of the fireworks from the rest of the characters. I always respect a horror film when
WARNING: spoilers below
there's a character who is like "This is messed up! We should leave!" and then when the other person won't go, they're just like "Fine, godspeed!" and peaces out of there.









SF = Z


[Snooze Factor Ratings]:
Z = didn't nod off at all
Zz = nearly nodded off but managed to stay alert
Zzz = nodded off and missed some of the film but went back to watch what I missed
Zzzz = nodded off and missed some of the film but went back to watch what I missed but nodded off again at the same point and therefore needed to go back a number of times before I got through it...
Zzzzz = nodded off and missed some or the rest of the film but was not interested enough to go back over it



Professional horse shoe straightener
'In the Bedroom' (2001)
Directed by Todd Field



WHERE HAS THIS FILM BEEN ALL MY LIFE?

Terrific direction by Todd Field, this film is from a screenplay Field co wrote based on a short story. Great performances from Tom Wilkinson, Sissy Spacek and Marissa Tomei. A mother of two (Tomei) starts a relationship with a college youngster half her age, and his parents have misgivings. Her ex husband (William Mapother) tries to stir things up with disastrous consequences.

This feels in the same vein as the Kenneth Lonergan film 'Manchester by the Sea' that came years later. It has the same tone, melodrama, location setting and atmosphere to it. Plus there is the same devastating family drama type scenario at play, and while 'In the Bedroom' isn't quite as moving as 'Manchester by the Sea' it packs a punch. The third act is a little contrived but by that point the viewer is invested in the characters enough to just go with it.

An absolute gem, what a talent Todd Field is. 8.6/10




I recently watched the new Puss in Boots film. I'll be honest - I was fairly blown away by how much I enjoyed it. The humor was mostly on-point and I thoroughly enjoyed the portrayal of its characters. Barring, maybe, the best of the How to Train your Dragon series, I would go out on a limb and say it is the best film DreamWorks has ever put out.





Jules and Jim, 1962

Jules (Oskar Werner) and Jim (Henri Serre) meet in France and become fast friends. Soon after, they meet the vivacious Catherine (Jeanne Moreau) and both men become enamored with her. The film follows the next 15 or so years in their lives as the triangle of affection between the three of them endures the first World War and Catherine's shifting attentions and desires.

There's something so painful about watching characters willingly orbit around a person whose selfishness is so deeply ingrained that you can believe they couldn't change even if they wanted to.

Decades before the trope of the "manic pixie dream girl" came along, we get Catherine. But unlike the shallow characters who really deserve that title, Catherine isn't simply some mechanism for shaking her male co-stars out of their everyday routines. Instead Catherine serves as more of a cautionary tale about being drawn to someone who takes "living in the now" to dangerous extremes, and the cruel reverse psychology that keeps Jules and Jim anchored to her.

The magic ingredient here is the friendship between Jules and Jim. While ostensibly they are rivals for Catherine's attention, they seem to realize that there's a large degree to which standing in the sunshine of her good graces is not necessarily dependent on out-performing one another. Their friendship comes before they meet her, and it survives the trauma and fear of participating in an armed conflict on opposing sides. Jules willingly confides his fears about his relationship with Catherine to Jim. The love between Jules and Jim keeps them tethered in friendship even as Catherine's love and mood ebb and flow.

Moreau is bewitching as Catherine. I personally felt like she would be the kind of person who is fun at first and then a few months later you start to hope they won't show up at the parties you're attending, but Werner and Serre are convincing in their devotion to her. There is a magic to their earlier times together that keeps them in perpetual pursuit of recapturing that energy that was so easy when they were younger. The most interesting part of the film comes as the relationships move through their last stages of fracture and repair, and how Catherine herself responds to the men trying to assert their independence from her.

The style of the film itself captures the breathless energy of young infatuation so that you understand why Jules and Jim contort themselves attempting to relive those moments. Later in the movie we get swooping shots of the landscapes that are both beautiful and a little out-of-control feeling. It's very dynamic movie-making and it fits its subjects perfectly.

Really my only challenge was Catherine. She's like . . . a sociopath. At one point, it's said that she doesn't seek conflict for the sake of conflict. And yes, that does seem to be true. But she's the kind of person who cares so little about the impact of their actions on others that she becomes a force of destruction. And when anyone opposes her personal vision, she becomes abusive and controlling and violent. I'm not saying it's unrealistic behavior, just increasingly painful to watch people fawning over someone who is such a creep.






The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 2011

A group of elderly British men and women all decide to make their way to India to live in a retirement-like hotel. Arriving there, they find that the hotel is in a shambles, under the care of a well-meaning young man named Sonny (Dev Patel). As Sonny scrambles to keep the hotel open, the British guests grapple with their love lives, marriages, losses, and uncertain futures.

Despite a drool-worthy cast, this film is little more than a collection of tropes and cliches that constantly tread the line between being lazy and offensive.

At every turn this movie just goes wrong. Slightly promising scenarios bloom into unsatisfying resolutions.

Evelyn (Judi Dench) is a widow who is struggling with her husband's debts. In a sequence we're supposed to find . . . inspiring(?) she teaches a bunch of call center workers how to more effectively emotionally manipulate the elderly people they cold call with their "special offers."

Graham (Tom Wilkinson) used to live in India and has returned in part to track down a man with whom he had a relationship. In the laziest form of
WARNING: spoilers below
"bury your gays" he finds the guy and then dies peacefully of a heart attack in the garden.


Douglas (Bill Nighy) is married to Jean (Penelope Wilton), whose defining characteristic is that she's an anxiety-ridden, joyless shrew. Douglas starts to fall for Evelyn, but will Jean the shrew--you know, his wife--stand in the way of their happiness?

Murial (Maggie Smith) needs a hip replacement and goes to India because she can get the operation faster and cheaper there. She starts out racist, but then with the inexplicably patience of several Indian people, becomes less racist. There's also a part where she reads a contract to two Indian people who had themselves already read the contract. But when she reads it, they're like *GASP* She's right! It can work!

Norman (Ronald Pickup) is old but horny. He charmingly flirts with women 30 years his junior while making constant comments about his penis still working. Madge (Celia Imrie) is also on the hunt for someone new. But we can't help two old people, can we? No. So Madge basically becomes Norman's wingman. The defining characteristic of Norman's character never stops being whether or not he's still capable of penetrative sex.

Sonny's story is maybe the least stupid, because it's mainly him bip-bopping around trying to save the hotel and make things right with the girl he loves, Sunaina (a luminous Tina Desai). Patel and Desai are adorable, and I found myself rooting for them despite how totally predictable their arc was.

A barely pleasant waste of time and talent.




I forgot the opening line.

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Possessor - (2020)

I remember watching Brandon Cronenberg's Antiviral years ago and going through the same process as I did watching Possessor, which is being ultra-aware of the inspiration this guy takes from his father's movies. For whatever reason(s) it was eight years between that and Possessor, which follows assassin Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough) as her consciousness is implanted in unsuspecting victims, creating the perfect murders as she has her host commit suicide after the job is done. Of course, this is a job that's hard on the psyche, and Vos is dangerously close to the breaking point, making forbidden contact with her family, and covering up moments of madness and doubt. When she's implanted in Colin Tate (Christopher Abbott) her shredded mind teeters on collapse. Some of this film (the assassination side) reminded me a lot of Kill List, and it was the horror that really became my favourite angle of the film. Vos seems to be letting the emotional side of her host control her a little, which makes the murders a little more personal, and as such much more violent than they need to be. This reaches a kind of climax with an attack on a John Parse (Sean Bean) that's challenging to watch and horrifyingly brutal.

Cronenberg uses all kinds of distorted visual effects to represent the cascading failures and trouble in the minds of Vos and her host, and while he never does anything wrong or lose me, it didn't really get to a level where I was into that aspect of the film - although some effects such as the melting physical representation of who Vos is, and the skin-mask hallucination are great. Christopher Abbott turns in another amazing performance, for 85% of his role involves him playing Vos pretending to be Tate - I'm a big fan of the actor. There are moments of high suspense, which really work, and overall Possessor is a really good film. Certainly enough to have me interested in Infinity Pool.

7/10


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Fire of Love - (2022)

A documentary that's half love story and half National Geographic film about volanoes, Fire of Love explores the lives of married volcanologists Katia and Maurice Krafft. They're a pair that seem to know their fate, which is to die one day when they run out of luck observing an eruption - and this happened in 1991 at Mount Unzen. It has very well written narration, which is delivered in a measured but human way by Miranda July. A very enjoyable watch, and nominated for a Best Documentary Feature Oscar at this year's Academy Awards.

8/10


By Studio and or Graphic Artist - Can be obtained from the film's distributor., Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=69831094

Navalny - (2022)

A documentary which follows Russian politician and activist Alexei Navalny who runs an opposition campaign against Putin. While natural to most of us who live in democracies, his popular appeal sees his campaign rallies banned, and he's eventually poisoned by the Kremlin, which again uses Novichok nerve agent. His plane is diverted and he's saved and extracted to Germany, and once there a team of experts track down the people who carried out the poisoning. Amazingly, Navalny decides to go back to Russia, where he's arrested and sent to jail. The power of this doc means that the confidence I had of Fire of Love winning that Oscar has been cut in half.

8/10


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Turning Red - (2022)

The third out of the five films nominated for Best Animated Feature Film Oscars I've seen now. It was fine - I usually really like Pixar films, but this had such a different target audience to me that it was an amusing distraction and nothing more. It was an easy watch, funny in parts, and a decent enough Pixar film.

6/10



Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio
7.5/10.
A refreshing re-take on the classic tale. Beautifully animated.
__________________
Boldly going.




WHERE HAS THIS FILM BEEN ALL MY LIFE?
I threw it a vote in the 2000s countdown, wondering where Field had gone. Hearing only good things about TŠr.



Professional horse shoe straightener
I threw it a vote in the 2000s countdown, wondering where Field had gone. Hearing only good things about TŠr.
Nice. Yes, TŠr is very good. Meticulously crafted.



Kill, BabyÖKill! is a supernatural horror film by Mario Bava. In it, a young doctor visits a small rural village to perform an autopsy on a woman who seemingly fell onto a spike-topped fence. He meets resistance at every turn as the villagers prefer superstition and witchcraft over traditional medicine. They whisper of a young girl's ghost who terrorizes them, but the doctor doesn't believe thatÖat first.

I really like this movie. It's a stylish ghost story with some genuinely creepy moments. The little girl's ghost compels people to kill themselves in horrific ways. Bava loved shots of evil faces leering in windows and there are several here. And towards the end, there are even some mind-bending scenes of characters caught in time-loops. It's a pretty simple story of ghostly revenge, but it's imbued with enough style to set it apart.



Kill, BabyÖKill! is a supernatural horror film by Mario Bava. In it, a young doctor visits a small rural village to perform an autopsy on a woman who seemingly fell onto a spike-topped fence. He meets resistance at every turn as the villagers prefer superstition and witchcraft over traditional medicine. They whisper of a young girl's ghost who terrorizes them, but the doctor doesn't believe thatÖat first.

I really like this movie. It's a stylish ghost story with some genuinely creepy moments. The little girl's ghost compels people to kill themselves in horrific ways. Bava loved shots of evil faces leering in windows and there are several here. And towards the end, there are even some mind-bending scenes of characters caught in time-loops. It's a pretty simple story of ghostly revenge, but it's imbued with enough style to set it apart.
I had a Mario Bava obsession last year. I haven't seen much, but the man could do no wrong. I'll have to check out that one and Knives. Here are some other ones worth seeking out:

Black Sunday
Blood and Black Lace
Erik the Conquerer
Lisa and the Devil
Planet of the Vampires
Shock