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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



Victim of The Night
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.
A personal fave, I particularly like when the local witch gets involved. Witch vs. Ghost action. You can't lose.





9/10

Really liked it, even the slightest talk in the movie. I like Rosette too, but this felt like a better developed and universal movie.



The Force is Favreau
Honestly don't know what to think of it yet. However, I think it is probably worth recommending.


The Infinity Pool





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

Thanks for the recommendations. I'll definitely check those out at some point. I've been watching the DVD box set I own with:

Black Sabbath
Black Sunday
Girl Who Knew Too Much / Evil Eye
Kill, Baby...Kill!
Knives of the Avenger

I plan on rewatching a couple of others I have, including Blood and Black Lace. Then I'll see what's streaming, which is always a crapshoot. I might also watch the MST3K version of Danger: Diabolik lol.





9/10

Really liked it, even the slightest talk in the movie. I like Rosette too, but this felt like a better developed and universal movie.
I enjoyed this movie too.
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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.
I really dug Possessor, and I think that Abbott and Riseborough brought their creepy best to their roles. I think that if you liked this one, you'd also like Infinity Pool.





Amsterdamned, 1988

Single father and police detective Eric (Huub Stapel) gets pulled into a case when a woman is stabbed to death and publicly hung in one of Amsterdam's scenic canals. But the woman's death is merely the opening act of a series of murders that take place near or in the canals. Convinced that a diver is stalking the waterways, Eric looks into local divers, striking up a romance with Laura (Monique van de Ven). But will Eric find the killer before someone he loves becomes a victim?

This is a mostly fun, very pulpy/cheesy slasher that makes some good use of its setting even if it runs on a bit too long.

The film begins with a strong impression. First we watch as a weary sex worker tries to make her way home at the end of the night, only to be assaulted by her cab driver. When she fights back he throws her out onto the street where she is then attacked by a strange, hulking figure that then drags her body into the water. Soon after we meet our hero, Eric, as he wallows in the bathtub, hungover. His teenage daughter Aneneke (Tatum Dagelet) walks into where he lays nude in the bathtub (!) and pulls his gun on him (!!!!), bantering in a way that would be more suitable to a middle aged woman.

From there on the next 45 or so minutes are a delightful mix of a typical slasher and Jaws, with an ominous burst of air bubbles in the water portending the presence of the killer lurking below. Unlike most slashers, there seems to be very little rhyme or reason to who the killer goes after. His victims are men and women, a sex worker and a religious fundraising woman. At first he attacks only at night, but later he goes after people during the day. With literally no physical description to go by, the police are forced into a painfully slow method of scrutinizing professional and recreational divers.

I also mostly enjoyed a subplot whereby Anneke has a friend named Willy (Edwin Bakker) who is psychic. There's a pretty fun scene where Willy uses a map to predict the exact location of the killer and the two of them run off to investigate before realizing how scary it is to be by the canal alone at night. As far as precocious, cynical children in horror movies go, Anneke isn't bad at all.

But with about half an hour to go, the film does start to lag a little. The movie goes back to the same well of images and tricks, and it just loses some of its sense of urgency. There's a chase down a canal in a speedboat that was clearly supposed to be exhilarating, but left me a bit cold. And when the mystery of the killer is resolved, it lacks the degree of punch you'd hope for after waiting so long. It's not a bad ending, per se, but it fails to answer some really important questions about what happened in the rest of the film.

An easy recommendation for slasher fans. Or fans of canals.




Piggy (2022)

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Spanish film that has drama elements but veers into horror. Piggy is a big girl who gets tormented until a killer enters the picture. They form a bit of a kinship as he targets the tormentors. Would make an interesting double feature with Fat Girl.



Honestly don't know what to think of it yet. However, I think it is probably worth recommending.


The Infinity Pool


To the top of my watchlist this goes.





Amsterdamned, 1988

Single father and police detective Eric (Huub Stapel) gets pulled into a case when a woman is stabbed to death and publicly hung in one of Amsterdam's scenic canals. But the woman's death is merely the opening act of a series of murders that take place near or in the canals. Convinced that a diver is stalking the waterways, Eric looks into local divers, striking up a romance with Laura (Monique van de Ven). But will Eric find the killer before someone he loves becomes a victim?

This is a mostly fun, very pulpy/cheesy slasher that makes some good use of its setting even if it runs on a bit too long.

The film begins with a strong impression. First we watch as a weary sex worker tries to make her way home at the end of the night, only to be assaulted by her cab driver. When she fights back he throws her out onto the street where she is then attacked by a strange, hulking figure that then drags her body into the water. Soon after we meet our hero, Eric, as he wallows in the bathtub, hungover. His teenage daughter Aneneke (Tatum Dagelet) walks into where he lays nude in the bathtub (!) and pulls his gun on him (!!!!), bantering in a way that would be more suitable to a middle aged woman.

From there on the next 45 or so minutes are a delightful mix of a typical slasher and Jaws, with an ominous burst of air bubbles in the water portending the presence of the killer lurking below. Unlike most slashers, there seems to be very little rhyme or reason to who the killer goes after. His victims are men and women, a sex worker and a religious fundraising woman. At first he attacks only at night, but later he goes after people during the day. With literally no physical description to go by, the police are forced into a painfully slow method of scrutinizing professional and recreational divers.

I also mostly enjoyed a subplot whereby Anneke has a friend named Willy (Edwin Bakker) who is psychic. There's a pretty fun scene where Willy uses a map to predict the exact location of the killer and the two of them run off to investigate before realizing how scary it is to be by the canal alone at night. As far as precocious, cynical children in horror movies go, Anneke isn't bad at all.

But with about half an hour to go, the film does start to lag a little. The movie goes back to the same well of images and tricks, and it just loses some of its sense of urgency. There's a chase down a canal in a speedboat that was clearly supposed to be exhilarating, but left me a bit cold. And when the mystery of the killer is resolved, it lacks the degree of punch you'd hope for after waiting so long. It's not a bad ending, per se, but it fails to answer some really important questions about what happened in the rest of the film.

An easy recommendation for slasher fans. Or fans of canals.


A true hidden gem and maybe the best Jaws ripoff ever





Drunken Master, 1978

The talented but deeply immature Wong (Jackie Chan) is constantly provoking conflict within his family, school, and community. As punishment, his father hands him over to the instruction of the ruthless Beggar So (Siu-Tin Yuen), whose training looks an awful lot like torture. Wong resists, but when the ruthless martial artist Yim Tit-sam (Jeong-lee Hwang) comes after his family, Wong must use the skills he's learned from Beggar So to defend himself and his loved ones.

This film is a joyful burst of physical comedy with absolutely zero sense of self-seriousness and an impeccable display of talent from beginning to end.

Maybe what I enjoyed the most about this one was the way that each fight sequence had its own dynamics and style, and yet there were so many of them! Sometimes I get action fatigue when the martial arts/gunfights/car chases/etc begin to feel like they're retreading the same territory. But here the characters all have their own personalities that come through in their fighting style. Wong's style is the one that we watch change and evolve from someone just rolling with innate talent to someone thoughtfully synthesizing different styles.

The fight choreography is absolutely delightful, and there's no other way to describe it. The sequences are designed to highlight the skills of the performers but still be in keeping with their characters. I could have watched an entire movie about Linda Lin meticulously humiliating anyone who sexually harasses her daughter at the market. (Imagine a world where every man who uttered the words "she was asking for it" was immediately kicked in the face repeatedly by Linda Lin!) Chan really gets to showcase his abilities as Wong moves through his training and finally embraces trying to become solid in the style of the eight drunken masters.

I also enjoyed the robust silliness of Wong discovering his inner drunk-girl-at-club as the style he ultimately most gels to is Drunken Miss Ho's flirty, wobbly technique. Because of the control of the moves, the whole thing for me really sidestepped coming off as sexist or homophobic. When Wong complains "But she's a woman", Beggar So just shrugs and says, "Yes, but she's strong." It's a hilarious piece of physical comedy (with "OLD WOMAN ON TOILET!" being a particular highlight).

It is true that the story mainly exists to move from one action scene to another. And the sequence of Wong harassing a young woman (who turns out to be his cousin, LOL!) at the market was kind of off-putting, especially when he then turns around and calls her ugly. But after about the first 20 minutes, he's almost purely in egotistical goofball mode and it's a lot easier to take his character.

Very much enjoyed this one.




I forgot the opening line.

By Internet Movie Database, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=71702334

The Fabelmans - (2022)

Having seen The Fabelmans now, I can confirm in my own mind that it's indeed the frontrunner for Best Picture this year at the Oscars - it has the unbeatable combination of being something Academy members usually vote for in droves, and also being a great film regardless of personal taste. While I'd prefer the likes of The Banshees of Inisherin (surely second favourite), All Quiet on the Western Front or Everything Everywhere All at Once to win, I can't deny that Steven Spielberg has been part of my life in a big way since I first peeked over the front seats of the car while seeing Jaws at the drive-in when I was very small. To see him make something so personal, with such love and passion that carries through to us audience members is a significant movie moment. Michelle Williams give us a performance to make the race for Best Actress really interesting - and I hope she wins now, because she'd really deserve it (the only performance I haven't seen is Andrea Riseborough's in To Leslie.) I was worried that The Fabelmans would be too sentimental and melodramatic for me, but it never loses it's focus on that balance of art and emotional truth. Glad I went to see it.

8/10


By IMDb, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64340257

RRR - (2022)

I came into RRR not a great fan of Indian cinema, and thought it's 182-minute runtime might test me. Well, by the end I wished it had gone longer! That was a particularly thrilling movie, with a score and soundtrack that blasted the whole neighbourhood as I watched it - one of the best I've heard this year. This kind of moviemaking takes me back to my childhood, being thrilled by characters who have no breaking point and keep on going to fulfill their ardent goals. The over-the-top British colonial rulers, with their unspeakable cruelty and foppish manners, I can forgive - they were basically occupiers and the villains in this particular film. N. T. Rama Rao Jr. and Ram Charan exude the necessary charisma and masculine power to give this the feel of an old-time adventure story, only with that familiarly integrated song and dance which reinforces the narrative. The friends-to-enemies formula isn't brand new, but it feels new in this, just because everything has been done in a winning and exciting manner - from screenplay to cinematography to effects to sound. An exciting and fresh smash hit from India that pushes their cinematic vision onto the world stage. Loved it.

8/10
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'Reprise' (2006)

Directed by Joachim Trier.



The first film in Joachim Trier's 'Oslo Trilogy'. Having seen the other two ('Oslo, August 31st' and 'The Worst person in the World'), 'Reprise' probably ranks third amongst them but isn't a long way off. Anders Danielsen Lie is in all three films and is terrific in all. In Reprise he plays an aspiring writer called Phillip, who along with his friend Erik, are obsessing about having their work published and becoming Norway's next great novelist. The film is Joachim Trier's debut and it takes alot of it's inspiration from Truffaut and Goddard, with narration and quirky edits (It's 'Jules at Jim' set in Norway with books and two timelines)

The film is largely about obsession and ambition, but also (as with the other two films) about the exuberance, expectation and happiness of youth. What we see after about the 5th minute is alot of flashbacks and alot of present day, with two stories seemingly intertwined with each other. Is one of them a work of fiction? Is it even a work of fiction that is mentioned in the film? In that respect, 'Reprise' reminded me alot of the 2022 film 'Bergman Island' - that film also stars Anders Danielsen Lie and the themes are very similar (it would make a great double bill). I'd be amazed if director of 'Bergman Island' Mia Hansen Love didn't take a huge amount of inspiration from 'Reprise'.

The middle section of 'Reprise' does feel a little muddled though and it is rather complex in it's structure with the constant switching of timelines. It probably gets marked down a little for that, but being over ambitious is a harsh criticism and this Trilogy of films is amongst the best of European cinema trilogies in recent times. Joachim Trier is an extremely interesting film-maker.




Pinocchio: 8/10
Fantasia: 7/10
Dumbo: 8/10
Bambi: 10/10 (for me the most immersive of the Disney Golden Age)
Schindler's List: 9/10 (more brutal than I remember it. IMO a great film, but not one of Spielberg's most watchable)






Cry Danger (1951)

This very nicely put together noir was Dick Powellís fifth film as a hard boiled dramatic actor, following his career change from a song & dance man, kicked off by his strong performance as Phillip Marlowe in the brilliant Murder, My Sweet (1944), the title having been changed from Raymond Chandlerís Farewell, My Lovely in order to identify it as a crime film.

Here Powell plays Rocky Mulloy who has just been released early from prison --stemming from a robbery/murder rap allegedly committed by he and a man named Morgan-- because an eye witness (Richard Erdman as ďDelongĒ) revealed to police that Mulloy was not involved in the crime. Delong actually suspects that Mulloy was in fact culpable, and hopes to get a share of the money stolen in the robbery.

The two buddy up and move into an old trailer in a trailer park near downtown L.A. (yes, there were trailer parks in 1951) where Morganís wife and former girlfriend of Mulloyís lives --the vivacious Rhonda Flemming. There they meet adiminutive blondesun bather, Darlene LaVonne (Jean Porter) who starts a relationship with Delong.

Mulloy seeks out the bookie Louie Castro (William Conrad) who was the actual mastermind of the robbery, and who also framed Mulloy for the crime. Mulloy demands $50,000 from him-- $10K for each of the 5 years he wrongly spent in prison. Castro sets him up for another frame as he gives Mulloy money to bet on a fixed horse race, the winnings from which are paid in some of the recorded money from the robbery. This gets the involvement of Detective Cobb (Regis Toomey) who has been shadowing Mulloy since his release.

What follows are several twists, which result in the revelation of who has the money, the assurance of Mulloyís innocence, and new arrests, leading to a tidy ending.

The picture was the debut of director Robert Parrish, although Jean Porter revealed that it was actually Dick Powell who directed most of the film. The cinematographer was veteran Joseph F. Biroc (Itís A Wonderful Life) who provided delightful set filming of Los Angeles in 1951. Each time the action was centered at the Clover Trailer Park (actually in Chinatown) we see prominently the iconic L.A. City Building in the distance. Much of the settings were in the famous Bunker Hill section of downtown L.A., featuring the Nugent Hotel, the Los Amigos Bar, and other recognizable vintage buildings. Surprisingly they didnít include the famous incline, Angelís Flight.

The adorable Jean Porter and famed director Edward Dmytryk had just married a few years prior, and as a gift Dmytryk gave Porter a brand new 1951 Nash. Cry Dangerís producers liked the automobile so much that they convinced Porter to let them use it in the movie. But no one told her that the car was to be wrecked!

Cry Danger is a beauty of a film noir, with good acting and lovely photography.

Docís rating: 7/10