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You’re Killing Me, 2023

Coming from a working-class home, Eden (McKaley Miller) is determined to get a recommendation from a local senator to boost her college acceptance odds. Her plan involves crashing a house party being thrown by the senator’s son, Schroder (Brice Heller), and somehow convincing him to put in a good word for her. But while trying to help a drunk friend, Zara (Keyara Milliner), escape the clutches of Schroder’s good friend Gooch (Wil Deusner), Eden stumbles on something that connects Schroder and Gooch with the disappearance of a local girl. Soon it’s a game of cat and mouse between Eden and Schroder, and Schroder has the home court advantage.

Grating characters and a litany of terrible choices mean that this one doesn’t even pass the low bar of a late night trashy thriller.



Full review





Dark Angel (1990) (Worldwide)
and I Come In Peace (U.S.A.)

I thought maybe this was based on a comic book but apparently not. This movie has everything a kid in the 1990's would enjoy, and I probably would have liked this one a lot back then. Being an adult now its pretty charming and gives a sense of nostalgia but doesnt quite do it for an action movie. It is rated R but should be rated PG-13. Fans of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would like this.

5/10
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I forgot the opening line.

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The Swimming Pool (La Piscine) - (1969)

Jean-Paul Leroy (Alain Delon) and Marianne (Romy Schneider) are enjoying some time off away from home - lazing by a friend's swimming pool while they're away, and maintaining a very French level of eroticism - with two people as good looking as they are, it's almost mandatory. Intruding into this love nest is one of Marianne's old flames, Harry Lannier (Maurice Ronet) who pops in with daughter Penelope (Jane Birkin), who is in her teens. Jealousy slowly begins to gain the upper hand during their time together, and when secrets begin to spill the stage is set for catastrophe. This film is the very definition of a slow burn, but it's psychological aspects are brilliantly well handled by Le Samouraï Delon, and there's always something simmering under the surface in each character's mind. In fact, most of the action takes place in the minds of our characters, and Jacques Deray knows how to get all of the performers to really show that to us, and take us on this journey. Really good film - but don't see it if you struggle with movies that are a little slow-paced.

7.5/10


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The Others - (2001)

It's amazing, but knowing the secret twist to The Others doesn't take away any of it's atmospheric chills (it's pretty chilling to me that it's already been over 20 years since it came out.) It might even be a bit better when you know what's what. Nicole sells her tightly-wound, near-hysterical mother of two otherworldly pale kids, Nicholas (James Bentley) and Anne (Alakina Mann) really effectively. Meanwhile, the help (Fionnula Flanagan, Eric Sykes and Elaine Cassidy) know more than they're letting on in a house that seems to be full of bustling ghosts and strange occurrences. When Charles Stewart (Christopher Eccleston) returns from a war long over, and then soon leaves "back to the front" you know that all's not well. It all depends on perspective in this effectively spooky, foggy and gothic spook-fest.

7/10


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No Hard Feelings - (2023)

No Hard Feelings was really funny in patches - which just goes to show that it's a little uneven, and Jennifer Lawrence's character a little too distasteful at times. Just change each character's sex and you'd have an all-out horror movie on your hands here. Still, those comedic moments that hit were great - and seeing Matthew Broderick (who has one of the film's best lines) made me very, very happy.

6/10


By impawards, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9841695

Captain Corelli's Mandolin - (2001)

Nice photography - those Greek islands sure do look a treat. Other than that, nearly every single part in Captain Corelli's Mandolin feels somewhat miscast, and the screenplay obviously does the book no favours. Political issues became fraught with the production team also, muddying the water even more. Nonetheless, I respect the film for paying tribute to the 1943 Massacre of the Acqui Division and the earthquake of 1953, which appears to have been brought forward a year or two. Penélope Cruz was nominated for a Razzie for her performance - you can see that she's checked out, and knows things aren't working. There's much that's good and bad in this - but it's certainly watchable.

6/10


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Diabolically Yours (Diaboliquement vôtre) - (1967)

Diabolically Yours starts like a wacky comedy, and ends like a serious Hitchcock thriller - writer/director Julien Duvivier seems to have wanted the film to be both, but the narrative is outworn and I've seen every twist and turn done so much better in so many other films. Lacking in originality, and not landing many of it's punches, it just scrapes along on the back of Alain Delon's charisma and Senta Berger's impossibly hot and steamy sexuality. Watching them is enjoyable at times, but there's a distinct lack of satisfaction in how this film plays out. It doesn't know what it wants to be, and is nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is.

5/10
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Make a better place


I talked to a few of my pals who thought this movie was stupid/weird but i guess they don´t know what "grindhouse" actually is like.

4 of 5 broken skulls!

Salute to you


Criminally underrated IMO
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AMBUSH
(2001, Frankenheimer)



"Listen carefully. It's going to happen very quickly. If you deviate from my instructions, we will open fire."

Ambush follows an unnamed driver (Clive Owen) as he is transporting an old man (Tomas Milian). As the title and the above quote implies, they are ambushed on a remote road by a van full of armed men determined to capture the old man as they claim he is the courier for "2 million dollars in stolen, uncut diamonds". Will the driver deviate from their instructions or will he follow them?

This is the fourth of these BMW short films dubbed The Hire that I see, but it's actually the first from the series. It is directed by John Frankenheimer and it features one of the things that he's been known for: thrilling car chases (see Ronin). I think it's safe to say that the driver does deviate from the instructions and tries to make a way out of this ambush, which puts him face to face with incoming trucks, road blocks, and whatnot.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot
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AMBUSH
(2001, Frankenheimer)





Ambush follows an unnamed driver (Clive Owen) as he is transporting an old man (Tomas Milian). As the title and the above quote implies, they are ambushed on a remote road by a van full of armed men determined to capture the old man as they claim he is the courier for "2 million dollars in stolen, uncut diamonds". Will the driver deviate from their instructions or will he follow them?

This is the fourth of these BMW short films dubbed The Hire that I see, but it's actually the first from the series. It is directed by John Frankenheimer and it features one of the things that he's been known for: thrilling car chases (see Ronin). I think it's safe to say that the driver does deviate from the instructions and tries to make a way out of this ambush, which puts him face to face with incoming trucks, road blocks, and whatnot.

Owen and Milian are pretty good but this is not a performance or character-driven short. This is purely done for the thrill of the ambush and the chase and Frankenheimer does a great job keeping the direction tight and concise. Everything does happen very quickly and they do open fire, but you should listen carefully and follow my instructions: watch this, because it's short and it's a lot of fun.

Grade:
That was pretty good. Thanks for the rec.



That was pretty good. Thanks for the rec.
There are eight short films in the series. I've seen 6 and with the possible exception of one or two, they've all been pretty solid shorts. If anything, it's interesting to see directors like Frankenheimer, Wong kar-wai, Ang Lee, or Tony Scott take a crack at such a "marketing ploy". But the thing is that I see more artistic liberty in all of these than I see in a lot of feature films nowadays.


EDIT: For what it's worth, other than Ambush, these are the ones I've reviewed already.

Beat the Devil (Tony Scott)
Hostage (John Woo)
The Follow (Wong kar-wai)

I've seen two more which I will review soon.



CHOSEN
(2001, Lee)



"We are very grateful. Soon you will see the important role you played in his life."

Some people believe we are put in certain places, moments, situations with a special purpose. That we all have important roles to play in other people's lives. That belief permeates within the aptly titled Chosen, another BMW short film from The Hire series. This time, our nameless driver (Owen) is "chosen" to drive an Asian boy (Mason Lee) who is believed to be "chosen" for some holy task by the monks protecting him. Of course, that means our driver won't have an easy task ahead of him while driving him from the docks to a safe house.

As the driver has to evade a group of kidnappers around the docks, director Ang Lee combines the use of some classical music with an almost operatic movement of the cars through the cargo containers. Considering the short has almost no dialogue, it is nice to see the way Lee uses a combination of music, clever direction, editing, silences, and glances between the driver and the boy to build a simple story. There are also a couple of neat twists and touches in the end that I found to be effective and well executed.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot



STAR
(2001, Ritchie)



"Show her the sights. Give her *everything* I've paid you for; breakfast, lunch, and dinner."

Star is yet another BMW short film, where our unnamed driver (Clive Owen) has to drive someone from A to B. This time, the passenger is a spoiled singer played by Madonna (at the time married to the director of the short, Guy Ritchie). So as the singer berates everyone around her, including our driver, he is determined to "show her the sights".

This is another perfect example of how each of these short films are perfect capsules of their respective directors because this is pure Ritchie. From an opening, fourth-wall breaking monologue by the driver to the combination of some fast-paced cuts and slow-motion direction, all the while peppered with Ritchie's style of humor.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot



The Swimmer (1968) -


I had this film on my radar for quite a while as I heard nothing but great things about it. Having finally watched it, it lived up to my expectations as, from the first moment of the fluid camera work and the juxtaposition of Lancaster's burly demeanor and his gentle curiosity as he explored the woods, I was hooked. The subtle undercurrent of dread grabbed me right away and refused to let up. The first act, for instance, matched Ned's emotional journey very well. Though everything about it seemed serene at first glance, something felt off the more I thought about it. The opening credit music felt somewhat melancholy, the energetic swells of the soundtrack when Ned jumped into the first pool hinted that he had already reached his emotional climax, and the perplexed reaction Ned's friends had towards his plan suggested they knew troubling things about his past which Ned himself seemed to be in denial of. Since the various pools he frequented throughout the day provided us with more insight towards his prior mistakes, it's as if a dark cloud constantly loomed over him. Considering how every pool added to his disillusionment and that he had to descend to get to them (he started out at the top of the valley), the film became an allegory about the dark side of the American dream. The further he moved down the valley, the more his pristine dropped until he got to a point where he no longer fit into society. Like many other people of his social status, finding success means you may become absorbed in egotistical and material shallowness in the process. Though you may be living a dream at one point, it can quickly turn into a nightmare once you give into unethical and self-destructive urges. This became clearer for Ned the further he descended. Given the casting of Burt Lancaster (an actor who was famous for his looks), the film also doubles as a critique of masculinity. Ned's tough guy demeanor seems to represent masculinity or manliness (in addition to how he spends practically the entire film in his swim trunks), but the more you learn about his past, the more pathetic he seems and the clearer it becomes that his rough outer appearance is used as an attempt to mask his flaws. The final scene could be criticised as being too literal, but I think the culmination to the film was inevitable and the only true ending it could've had. Topped with some gorgeous nature photography and cross-dissolves, this film was right up my alley and I definitely look forward to revisiting it at some point.
Nice review! I saw the film upon its release simply because Burt was in it. The ending took me totally off guard, and caused me a bit of a downer for a few hours. Good picture though. Very unusual story.

Lancaster was a sneaky great actor. I loved him in the old noirs, and even the new ones such as Sweet Smell of Success (1957). But one of my favorites of his was Atlantic City (1980). The man really took the art of acting extremely seriously.



The Gene Krupa Story - 7/10


A very well done portrayal of the great drummer, Gene Krupa. Whole bunches of artistic license were taken, but Mineo did some great impersonations of Krupa's drumming. There's a great scene where the noted drummer Shelly Manne appeared to inspire Krupa to overcome his fear of audience rejection when it was time for a solo. I'll have to give that one a re-watch.



I forgot the opening line.

By http://www.impawards.com/2003/ripleys_game.html, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31183005

Ripley's Game - (2002)

I really liked The Talented Mr. Ripley, and the idea of another story which features the character much later in life is really unusual and interesting. Throughout a lot of the former film, Matt Damon's Ripley is in panic mode, and finds himself in situations he's not used to - put there by his own Antisocial Personality Disorder and lack of conscience. This Ripley, John Malkovich's, has been manipulative and deceitful for so much of his life he knows exactly what he's doing, and the financial benefits have allowed him to gain an appreciation for the fine arts. When Ripley's Game gets going, you think you know exactly where it's story is heading, but this movie is not going where you might think it is - events skew the plot in unexpected directions, and the plans Ripley has for a person he obviously hates - one who has insulted him - change in extremely unpredictable ways. The character becomes much less loathsome and there's a somewhat redemptive arc in store for him. There's plenty of murder and intrigue, and Malkovich does a fine job embodying a man undergoing constant reinvention and growth. The book was originally adapted by Wim Wenders - The American Friend features Dennis Hopper and Bruno Ganz in the two main roles, and I'm very interested in it now.

7/10


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Muriel's Wedding - (1994)

I don't even know where to start with Muriel's Wedding - it's a hard film to describe. It was Toni Collette's huge breakthrough, playing Muriel Heslop. Muriel is far from any ordinary protagonist. Being naïve, socially awkward, lacking smarts, and having questionable morals are qualities you just don't expect in one - but in this weird comedy, all the characters are distasteful in some kind of way. It's only late in the film you clearly see that it's theme of wanting to be popular and accepted above all else makes sense. Muriel's father, Bill Heslop (Bill Hunter) is a politician - self absorbed to the point of never truly being invested in his wife and kids. You see that Muriel is very much like him - and her yearning to get married just to be the center of attention is understandable to a certain point. She grows a lot through the film, and although she's still a little silly you can see she's finally on the right track. The film itself is funny in an extremely eccentric kind of way and has a superb soundtrack. A far from ordinary Australian comedy - but not everyone's cup of tea I'd expect.

7/10

Edit - I think I really underrated Muriel's Wedding - it's great.





The Fire That Took Her, 2022

One afternoon, after a charged domestic altercation behind a gas station, Judy Malinowski’s boyfriend poured gasoline all over her and then set her on fire. Despite suffering horrific burns---which would go on to require over 59 surgeries--Judy lived, but it was clear that she would not survive for long. This documentary follows the investigation of the case by police, and also the legal drama in which lawyers tried to make it possible for Judy to have a chance to testify in advance of what would become her murder trial.

As with many documentaries, sometimes it’s hard to separate the quality of the film from the story that it is telling. The film is more than competent, and the story is entirely compelling. I couldn’t look away.



Full review



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“Sugar is the most important thing in my life…”
Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning (2023)

A lesson for all the kinetic, high-action wannabes (The Gray Man) in how it’s done.






Inside Moves (1980)



I think I avoided this movie when it came out because I thought it was about basketball.
And while basketball is part of the plot, it's only part of one character's background. It's really a film about overcoming disabilities & finding belonging.
There are some genuine smiles and tears throughout.






Mad Max (1979)

I must not have seen this one before, what I remember is Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. The movie takes place on a country prairie-land along a coastal highway. Think wild west with motorcycles instead of horses. I guess civilization hasnt died yet and although advertised as futuristic it looks like typical 70s everything. A bunch of things bug me about this, but the wealth of car stunts and road brutality make up for those things.

7/10