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About LawrenceA

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  1. Prey (2021) Germany/Dir: Thomas Sieben - Five friends go on a hiking trip through a remote forest where they become the target of a sniper. Weak characterizations, poor pacing and an unimaginative script make this a dud. (4/10)
  2. Angel Dust (1994) Japan/Dir: Gakuryu Ishii - After a series of bizarre murders occurring on crowded trains, the police enlist profiler Dr. Suma (Kaho Minami) to try and catch the culprit. The investigation leads to Suma's old mentor, controversial psychiatrist Dr. Aku (Takeshi Wakamatsu) and his cutting-edge "reverse brainwashing" techniques used to deprogram former cult members. The overly-familiar subject matter is enlivened a bit by stylish cinematic techniques, although some of those (like a repeated audio clip) can be more distracting than illuminating. (6/10)
  3. Alien 2: On Earth (1980) Italy/Dir: Ciro Ippolito - Unauthorized sequel-in-name-only that concerns a fallen meteorite, actually an alien egg, that is carried into a deep cavern by a group of vacationing spelunkers. Eventually the "egg" hatches and chaos ensues. Writer-producer-director Ippolito decided to make this dumb rip-off after the success of Lucio Fulci's Zombie (aka Zombi 2), an unauthorized "sequel" to Dawn of the Dead. That movie was pretty good, though, while this cheapjack waste of time is slow, poorly acted, badly edited and just plain terrible. I did like some of the sco
  4. Brutal Sorcery (1983) Hong Kong/Thailand/Dir: Pang Ling - Outrageous supernatural horror concerning a cab driver who gets possessed by evil spirits after unknowingly giving a ride to two ghosts. The cab driver and his family seek help from the medical community as well as various spiritualists. This fast-paced phantasmagoria is filled with unusual imagery and shocking moments. Unfortunately, the characterizations are thin and the plot is near incoherent. There's also music lifted from the 1980 Flash Gordon. (5/10)
  5. I've been on the lookout for that one for a while. It's on the "101 Best War Movies" list.
  6. Mr. Vampire (1985) Hong Kong/Dir: Ricky Lau - The venerable Master Gau (Lam Ching-Ying), assisted by two young goofballs ( Ricky Hui & Chin Siu-Ho), tries to thwart a Chinese "hopping vampire" (Yuen Wah). With Moon Lee, Wong Siu-Fung, and Billy Lau. This was a massive hit, and kickstarted a huge wave of horror-comedy hybrid films all over Asia. This film in particular had a half-dozen or more sequels in the following few years. That being said, I wasn't a huge fan, as this sort of Chinese comedy doesn't really work for me. The action scenes are well choreographed, and the producti
  7. Looks like I picked the right time to stop watching TCM two years ago.
  8. The Seventh Curse (1986) Hong Kong/Dir: Ngai Choi Lam - Fantasy/action/horror hybrid starring Chin Siu-Ho as the dashing Dr. Yuan, a medical doctor, martial artist, and playboy. He's also afflicted with a curse that could prove deadly unless he returns to Thailand, where he received the malady, and defeats the evil High Priest of the Worm Cult (Elvis Tsui). Dr. Yuan gets assistance from a plucky young reporter (Maggie Cheung), and his mentor (Chow Yun-Fat). This is one of the craziest Hong Kong films that I've ever seen. Opening with a police-vs-terrorists hostage stand-off that would
  9. The Kid with the Golden Arm (1979) Hong Kong/Dir: Cheh Chang - Ridiculous yet entertaining martial arts flick from the makers of Five Deadly Venoms. The emperor assigns Iron Feet (Sun Chien) and his men to escort a shipment of gold to a famine-stricken area. The evil Chia Shia gang, which includes Golden Arm (Lo Mang), Silver Spear (Lu Feng), Iron Robe (Wang Lung Wei), and Brass Head (Yang Hsiung), plots to steal it. The character names should clue you in to what kind of affair you're in for here. It's very silly but never boring, and the fights are a bit bloodier than the norm. (7/1
  10. Clan of the White Lotus (1980) Hong Kong/Dir: Lo Lieh - Martial arts film that's the third part in a trilogy, following Executioners from Shaolin (1978) and A Slice of Death (1979). The brutal priest known as White Lotus (director Lo Lieh) seeks revenge on Shaolin monk Hung Wen-Ting (Gordon Liu) for killing his brother in the previous film. Hung must practice his techniques in order to defeat the more powerful White Lotus, and he receives some aid from widow Mei-Hsiao (Kara Wai). The overly-choreographed fight scenes become a sort of performance art, heavily laden with humor. Liu and
  11. Deerskin (2019) France/Dir: Quentin Dupieux - Oddball black comedy with Jean Dujardin as an amiable drifter who arrives in a small town after purchasing a vintage fringe leather jacket and a video camera. He presents himself as a filmmaker, and recruits an ambitious waitress (Adele Haenel) to help him make his movie. This short (77 minutes) feature is strange, low-key and a slow burn, but I found it humorous and engaging. Dujardin and Haenel are both good, and I was never quite sure where things were headed. (7/10)
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