Movie Diary 2018 by pahaK

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I try to review every movie I watch starting from the day I registered on this site. Some reviews might be long, others might be nothing more than the rating. As a new member of this forum I'll explain few things about me and how I will review films in general.

I'm a Finnish man in my 40's so English isn't my first language. I often express myself in very direct and honest way which at times is, unfortunately, mistaken as hostility. When it comes to arts and taste in general I don't believe in any sort of objective values so 1) disagreeing with me is perfectly fine and 2) I don't have any issues bashing a revered classic.

I'm aware that I have a tendency to give rather low ratings on average. I've consciously tried to push myself towards using the full spectrum but I don't always succeed. This means that
or better should always be considered as recommended and even
might be worth watching.
means I didn't finish the movie. All ratings are based solely on subjective enjoyment.

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For each movie I'll mark if I've seen it before or if it's a new film for me.

N (or n) = seen for the first time
r = rewatch but last time seen is very long time ago so almost new
R = rewatch
RR = rewatch of a film I've seen multiple times

I try to put recommendations at the end of the review for films that are either similar or deal with similar themes and ideas. If you liked the reviewed film or its topic seems interesting you might wish to check the recommendations as well. Note that recommended movies aren't necessarily great but still interesting on some level. If there aren't recommendations I may add them at later date.

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Bad (<=1.5) | Average (2-3) | Good (3.5+)

April 2018 (13):
Wildling (2018) | The aftermath (1982) | The Reflecting Skin (1990) | The Shining (1980) | Alice, Sweet Alice (1976) | The Hills Have Eyes (1977) | Nightmare City (1980) | Jeremiah Johnson (1972) | Celia (1989) | Ulzana's Raid (1972) | Hellraiser (1987) | Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988) | Faust (1926)

May 2018 (30):
Den of Thieves(2018) | Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) | Black Panther (2018) | Ravenous (1999) | Vampyr (1932) | The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) | The Last House on the Left (1972) | The Seventh Seal (1957) | Jailbreak (2017) | Blacker Than the Night (1975) | The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976) | Harbinger Down (2015) | Cemetery Man (1994) | Action Jackson (1988) | Wait Until Dark (1967) | Exorcism (1975) | Don't Torture a Duckling (1972) | They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969) | Deep Red (1975) | Kill and Kill Again (1981) | Black Narcissus (1947) | Moonrise Kingdom (2012) | Death Wish (2018) | Black Water (2018) | A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014) | The Day of the Beast (1995) | 3:10 to Yuma (2007) | Future World (2018) | Frances Ha (2012) | Tomb Raider (2018)

June 2018 (31):
Mary Shelley (2017) | Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018) | Ouija (2014) | Cop Car (2015) | Commando (1985) | Tordenskjold & Kold (2016) | Gravity (2013) | Call Me by Your Name (2017) | Terminator II (1989) | Zombi 3 (1988) | Waterloo Bridge (1931) | Age of Gold (1930) | Three Monkeys (2008) | I Am a Ghost (2012) | Who Saw Her Die? (1972) | Rampage (2018) | The Psychic (1977) | Naked (1993) | Ginger Snaps (2000) | Mr. Freedom (1968) | Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006) | Ready Player One (2018) | Maniac (1934) | Network (1976) | Torso (1973) | Witchfinder General (1968) | How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2017) | Child Bride (1938) | Bride of Frankenstein (1935) | Phenomena (1985) | Gunga Din (1939) | Calibre (2018)

July 2018 (42):
Execution Squad (1972) | The Scarlet Empress (1934) | A Quiet Place (2018) | Shogun's Ninja (1980) | Suspiria (1977) | Pépé le Moko (1937) | Darc (2018) | Battle Royale (2000) | Bachelor Mother (1939) | Watership Down (1978) | The Dead Pit (1989) | Poison for the Fairies (1984) | Midnight Cowboy (1969) | Pitch Black (2000) | Dawn of the Dead (1978) | The Goddess (1934) | Day of the Dead (1985) | Leptirica (1973) | The New York Ripper (1982) | The Childhood of Maxim Gorky (1938) | Castle Freak (1995) | Even the Wind Is Afraid (1968) | The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) | Razorback (1984) | Cronos (1993) | The Entity (1982) | The Exorcist (1973) | Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) | Make Way For Tomorrow (1937) | Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970) | Near Dark (1987) | The Hired Hand (1971) | The Company of Wolves (1984) | Viy (1967) | Sveto Mesto (1990) | The Omen (1976) | Viy (2014) | Pieces (1982) | Avalon (2001) | The Thin Man (1934) | Mad Love (1935) | Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

August 2018 (37):
Maniac (1980) | I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) | Angel Heart (1987) | Prince of Darkness (1987) | It Happened One Night (1934) | School of Rock (2003) | In the Mouth of Madness (1994) | The Fog (1980) | Deadpool 2 (2018) | Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) | Paper Moon (1973) | The Long Day Closes (1992) | Virtue (1932) | The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) | Blacula (1972) | Frightmare (1974) | In a Glass Cage (1986) | Red Dust (1932) | The Exorcist III (1990) | Of Mice and Men (1939) | Savage Dog (2017) | Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005) | Thumper (2017) | Resurrection (2015) | Necrofobia (2014) | Satan's Slaves (2017) | Upgrade (2018) | Demons of the Mind (1972) | Geostorm (2017) | Hereditary (2018) | Blood Rage (1987) | The Roaring Twenties (1939) | The Slayer (1982) | Humanity and Paper Balloons (1937) | Predator (1987) | Rosemary's Baby (1968) | Horror Express (1972) |

September 2018 (28):
The Amityville Horror (1979) | The Alchemist (1983) | The Child (1977) | Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) | Night of the Creeps (1986) | The Burning (1981) | Mara (2018) | Jack Frost (1997) | Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) | The Beastmaster (1982) | Amityville II: The Possession (1982) | Sennentuntschi (2010) | The Wailing (2016) | Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978) | Mandy (2018) | Let the Right One In (2008) | The Aviator (2004) | Marked for Death (1990) | The Dragon Lives Again (1977) | Bleach (2018) | Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) | The Bad Seed (2018) | Incendies (2010) | Cherry 2000 (1987) | The Innocents (1961) | Cross of Iron (1977) | The Editor (2014) | Sector 7 (2011) |

October 2018 (25):
Hold the Dark (2018) | Darkland (2017) | The Changeling (1980) | Black '47 (2018) | Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) | Demonia (1990) | Amélie (2001) | Malevolent (2018) | November (2017) | Léon (1994) | Errementari (2017) | Trench 11 (2017) | The Beast Must Die (1974) | Apostle (2018) | Flatliners (2017) | Excalibur (1981) | Christine (1983) | Lean on Pete (2017) | The Night Comes for Us (2018) | Pixote (1981) | Mile 22 (2018) | Galveston (2018) | The Hawks and the Sparrows (1966) | The Meg (2018) | Hunter's Blood (1986) |

November 2018 (16):
The Equalizer 2 (2018) | The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) | Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) | Rush (2013) | The Kiss of the Vampire (1963) | The Leopard (1963) | Outlaw King (2018) | American Ninja (1985) | Spaced Invaders (1990) | Peppermint (2018) | The Nun (2018) | Pulse (2001) | The Predator (2018) | Ghost Stories (2018) | Dark Water (2002) | Venom (2018) |

December 2018 (23):
The Eye (2002) | A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) | The Devil's Backbone (2001) | Ghostwatch (1992) | The Libertine (2004) | Grave Encounters (2011) | Jigoku (1960) | The Evil Within (2017) | The Descent (2005) | Hour of the Wolf (1968) | The Descent: Part 2 (2009) | Day for Night (1973) | Ringu (1998) | Macabre (2009) | The Ring (2002) | Baskin (2015) | Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed (2004) | The Tunnel (2011) | Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (2004) | Death Line (1972) | The Dark (2018) | Terrified (2017) | May the Devil Take You (2018)

Trying to make the OP more concise. It looks kinda ugly now but will try to improve.



"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



Wildling (2018) n

A coming of age drama with horror elements and rather typical mystification of puberty. Has some resemblance to Ginger Snaps but is considerably worse in practically every aspect. Liv Tyler, as usual, feels completely out of place in her role as a sheriff. Not exactly bad film but definitely not good either.




Wildling (2018)

A coming of age drama with horror elements and rather typical mystification of puberty. Has some resemblance to Ginger Snaps but is considerably worse in practically every aspect. Liv Tyler, as usual, feels completely out of place in her role as a sheriff. Not exactly bad film but definitely not good eithet.


Saw it last night. Very underwhelming.
__________________
You're an enigma, cat_sidhe.



The Aftermath (1982) n

As a kid I loved post-apocalypse (and barbarian and ninja) movies but for some reason I never ended up renting this one. Film is kind of a mixed bag. Effects are good for the budget (especially the ruined cityscape), it's refreshing that the bad guys for once look rather normal (instead of wearing the usual padded uniforms or S/M catalog apparel) and it's generally quite ruthless film. On the other hand script, dialogue, acting and directing are very amateurish.

There are better post-apocalypse movies out there (like The New Barbarians / Warriors of the Wasteland) and I wouldn't recommend this to anyone except another aficionado of the genre. Attitude and decent ideas aren't enough to redeem the complete lack of cinematographic proficiency.




it's refreshing that the bad guys for once look rather normal (instead of wearing the usual padded uniforms or S/M catalog apparel)


I can't imagine what film franchise you mean .



A coming of age drama with horror elements and rather typical mystification of puberty.=
I was stunned a year or so ago when I discovered that The Waltons did an episode involving poltergeist activity, and it was on again a few nights back. The haunting was very much identified with the "coming of age" of the youngest child and there was something of that mystification but it was a good episode nonetheless, with a real sense of unease throughout.



The Reflecting Skin (1990) r



The Reflecting Skin is a dark story about a young boy, Seth, in rural USA during the 50's. It's bleak and cruel journey through childhood that has very little joy to offer. Even the long awaited return of his brother from the army turns sour as he fall in love with an English widow, who Seth believes to be a vampire, living nearby.

Cinematography is absolutely beautiful with rich and colorful shots often with high contrast mix of light and dark colors. Fields, dusty roads and crumbling farms offer fitting setting for the tragic story. Also, unlike many films focusing on the visuals, The Reflecting Skin does not prolong its shots for no reason but retains fluent pacing with its story.

Script is mostly fine. There are things that don't seem logical but most likely they weren't meant to be. Seth's view of the world is distorted and that same warped world is offered to viewer as well. Acting is the weakest part of the film. Viggo Mortensen was really wooden as Seth's brother. Lindsay Duncan as the English Widow was probably the best actor. Jeremy Cooper as Seth was OK but the scenes with other children seemed really forced at times.

I loved the visuals and ruthlessness of the story. Ending is great and definitely different from the norm. Mediocre acting and some small issues with the script lower the rating but good movie none the less. It reminded me somewhat of Poison for the Fairies which isn't visually as stunning but has better acting and slightly better script.



Recommended movies: Poison for the Fairies (1984), Pan's Labyrinth (2006), I Kill Giants (2017)



The Shining (1980) r

This didn't impress me when I was a kid and it wasn't that much better now. Soundtrack has good moments, some of the visual are fine, Nicholson is good after going bonkers, Duvall is good as an extremely annoying wife and setting is kind of cool.

Jack's decent into madness is too fast and feels like the writer just wanted to get into the "good" stuff. Danny is practically just a plot device with no real function as a character and none of his visions seem to have any meaning at all - he's just there for the few visuals and calling the cook.

In my opinion The Shining is way overrated. I don't say it's exactly bad but just mediocre.




Alice, Sweet Alice (1976) n



Alice is a 12-year-old girl who appears to envy her little sister for the attention she gets from their mother. When younger sister is murdered just before her first communion Alice quickly rises to the top of the suspect list.

Alice, Sweet Alice has interesting premise and doesn't demote its young main character to just another prop piece but makes her an equal actor among the adults. It's not very deep in handling its themes of sibling rivalry, sexuality or revenge but has enough content to keep viewer occupied and entertained.

Acting is mostly good and especially Paula Sheppard as Alice is great (it's also amazing how young she looks - I was really surprised that according to IMDb she was 19). Cinematography and soundtrack are nothing special but do get the job done. Worst thing by far is the way Alice's parents are written - just days after the death of their 10-year-old daughter neither of them seems to be showing any emotion about it.

Pretty good American film that's basically non-Italian giallo.



Recommended movies: The Bad Seed (1956), The Night Child (1975), The Child (1977)



The Hills Have Eyes (1977) r

I've never been a fan of Wes Craven who in my books only has two above average films: A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Serpent and the Rainbow (haven't seen The Last House on the Left but it's on my watch list). Still wanted to refresh my memory of this one in case I actually manage to make my own top horror film list (no, this won't be in it).

As usual main characters are both stupid and annoying. Same is true for the villains as well. Special mention goes to Beast, a dog who saves the day like a poor man's Lassie. Oh, and Michael Berryman is always at least decent as a bad guy.

Script is a mess with cannibals appearing where they're needed, dog having more brains than any of the heroes and no one following any sort of logical plan. Soundtrack is your standard 70's groove which doesn't fit the film at all. Visually the film is just barely adequate. Acting for the most part is quite poor.




Nightmare City (1980) n

Atomic zombies with weapons sounds kind of hilarious idea but unfortunately the movie itself is really bad. It's just a pile of zombie cliches put together with no characters, no sensible plot and no atmosphere. Only thing that kept me watching was the soundtrack which is way too good for this cinematic turd (I admit, I liked the **** too and there was plenty of them).

Zombies in this movie were fast and very hard to kill... except when confronting the main character they either froze completely or got stunned by tiniest of hits. Military and police are completely jokes. Also the movie has one of the worst endings I can think of.



Recommended movies: Everyone know the big zombie classics so I'm not going to list them. There are couple of less known ones I'd like to mention though: Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974) and The Girl with All the Gifts (2016).



Jeremiah Johnson (1972) n

I had quite high expectations for this and seeing that Milius was one of the writers surely raised them even more. Sadly the film didn't deliver. I didn't like how the movie didn't seem to know what it was trying to be: a survival story in the wilderness, lighthearted family western with comedic side characters, serious portrayal of the natives, misanthropic rant where all men mean trouble or heroic fantasy of legendary mountain man. End result was a mess.



Redford was pretty good as Johnson. Utah (I think) looked awesome but cinematography wasn't anything special, not bad by any means but just normal. I didn't like the songs that were clearly written for the film and hated the 2+ minutes musical foreplay for the film - why would anyone think that was a good idea?

Best part of the film was from Jeremiah marrying Swan to finding the settler caravan; pretty much the only long section of the film it remained stylistically consistent. Action sequences during the final part of the film were terrible.

-



Celia (1989) n

I tactically injected the Baker's Dozen thread with a theme I've often found interesting and today it was time to reap the first fruit of the harvest

Celia is a story about a nine-year-old girl who has difficulties in separating reality from fantasy. This escalates with the passing of her grandmother and finally reaches its climax after the death of her pet rabbit. Sadly Celia, like pretty much every other character in the film, has very little depth and I felt like an outsider seeing some random scenes of her life without really learning anything about her except her love for granny and rabbit.

I was also slightly put off by the films obvious bias for communism: Tanners were by far the most pleasant and righteous people in the movie while others seemed to be more nasty and immoral the more they were against communism. Communism in the movie was all about peace and happiness while opponents used every opportunity to exploit, hurt and oppress. We even had the evil capitalist burning books.

Rebecca Smart was good as Celia and I really wish the script had offered her more. All the other children also did fine job. For adults Celia's father, Alice Tanner and the police uncle were pretty good. Also the teacher seemed rather authentic. Cinematography and soundtrack were very restrained but it did fit the film well.

So interesting premise, some good acting and few well written scenes tarred by poorly written characters and too obvious political statement. I really wanted to like this more.

+



Ulzana's Raid (1972) n

Even though this is my second for this week I'm not a huge fan of traditional westerns. Found this from one of the movie logs in here and decided to give it a try.

Ulzana's Raid is very traditional, not only as a western but also as an action / adventure movie in general. All its characters are familiar (or cliched if you like) and they develop in very foreseeable ways. Despite of this they still feel real enough and never stand out as totally one dimensional. Story offers no surprises either but again it flows nicely.

I'm not an expert when it comes to Apache or any other Indians but what little I (think that I) know seems to indicate that their presentation in the film is at least somewhat realistic. There's no glorification of natives but they're not made to be savage monsters either as all of their atrocities are given a logical explanation. It doesn't take any firm moral stances and I like it.

Visually Ulzana's Raid looks good thanks to bright Technicolor but it doesn't have any really fancy stuff, just awesome scenery and well planned shots. Music is kind of lame but not too irritating. Acting is good all the way. Action is mostly the standard old school western shootouts that aren't that great but seem to come with the genre. It's violence is slightly more graphic than usual but still most of the deaths are bloodless.

Well made but not very innovative western.




Hellraiser (1987) R

I don't really get what's going on with this one: as a kid it was OK, several years ago I liked it a lot but now it felt nearly bad. Concept is great but it seems almost like Barker tried to fit his rather unique visions into standard horror mold. Frank & Julia relationship and Doug Bradley's Pinhead are best things in this movie while almost everything related to Kirsty is the worst.

OK acting (especially Andrew Robinson as Larry / Frank), good effects, at times creepy atmosphere but ultimately not daring enough for its themes.




Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988) R

More entertaining than Hellraiser: lots of good scenes, doctor was huge improvement to Frank and Kirsty & Tiffany were decent (and pretty) heroes. Good effects and some positively nasty gore. Atmosphere was generally better than in prequel too. Unfortunately the script is total mess but still rather goodish horror film.




Faust (1926) n

I rarely watch silent films but this has been on my watch list for quite a while (another one I still need to see is Häxan). I watched a good quality copy from YouTube with English subs. It took me couple of days to finish as I watched it when I had nothing else to do.



Early parts of the film are really great but after Faust signs the pact and gets back his youth it starts to drag a lot. Most of the adventures of young Faust and Mephisto are too light and comical (thanks to extremely silly Mephisto and almost as naive Faust). Towards the end movie gets better again even though I personally don't like the ending (obviously that's how it should end but the logic / dogma behind is not something I can agree with).

Settings look absolutely great and visually especially the early parts are magnificent. Special effects must have been a sight to behold when this was new and most of them still look good albeit not very realistic. Acting is, well typical silent film acting - far too exaggerated to my tastes except Camilla Horn as Gretchen who is really good.

Too long and too humorous middle part lowers the rating. I wish it had kept the more serious and dark tone all the time.




Den of Thieves (2018) n

Not my style of movie + nothing new, nothing interesting and no interesting characters. At least today I hated it and gave up after 50 minutes or so.




Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) R

After linking the soundtrack yesterday I listened to it myself and just wanted to watch this one again.



Picnic at Hanging Rock is very slow and quite dreamlike mystery about girls going missing during school trip in Australia in 1900. I like how it doesn't give answers but emphasizes on the mystery itself and instead of solution it's about dealing with the unexplained event.

Characters aren't particularly deep but they feel real: naive and sheltered schoolgirls whose view of the world is built around poetry, sewing and etiquette.Politeness and decency are more important than truth (reminds me of the modern political correctness). Young Michael is as detached from the reality as the girls and whole English upper class is pictured as quite ridiculous.

Whole cast is good. Settings both around the school and at Hanging Rock are beautiful. Cinematography is fine, nothing too fancy but enough to take good advantage of great settings. Soundtrack is hauntingly beautiful. The only issue is that in a sense there's very little happening in the whole movie - in fitting mood this is not an issue but for sure this isn't a movie you can enjoy every day of the year.




Black Panther (2018) n

Let's start with the essential. Black Panther is nothing more than just another cliched and empty superhero movie. It follows the same mold as all the other MCU films do. Its characters are bland and boring, its jokes are weak and unsurprising, its action very mediocre when compared to other Marvel movies. I'd say it belongs to bottom third of MCU.

Despite of all this critics loved it and it was considered deep, revolutionary superhero film. It's message was praised and SJWs across the globe did wet their pants for its black empowerment. And no, I don't mind at all that the film has practically full black cast. It's about secluded African nation so that's how it should be (on the other hand I'm pissed off how MCU's Asgard has tons of black and Asian people).

In Finland the most ridiculous newspaper review I've seen praised Wakanda as "afrofuturistic utopia" and an example of how far black society could go without exploitation. Seriously? Multiculturalists praise its mono-cultural patriarchal militaristic autocracy only because it's run by black people. How stupid or hypocritical can some people be?

Weak script and characters, somewhat interesting and surprisingly logical setting, dull action and facepalm worthy preaching result in below average Marvel superhero film. Most entertaining thing about it was the raving reviews and what thinking what those critics are actually praising.