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LawrenceA

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Posts posted by LawrenceA

  1. AngelsEgg1985.jpg

    Angel's Egg  (1985)  Japan/Dir: Mamoru Oshii  -  Strange animated tale about a young girl in a post-apocalyptic wasteland who wanders around looking for supplies, while also protecting a large egg. This brief (70 minutes) science fiction story is deliberately vague, relying on striking visuals and little plot. I found it a mixed bag, but it has a fervent fanbase.   (6/10)

     

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    Star Virgin  (1988)  Japan/Dir: Ichiro Omomo  -  Science fiction/action comedy about a modest young woman (Eiko Kuroki) who, in times of stress, can transform into the title character, equipped with a high-tech bikini and a slew of super powers. She battles alien menaces and monsters over the course of the movie's meager 57 minutes. It's all very silly, although not nearly as lewd or exploitative as one would imagine.   (6/10)

     

    The_Puppet_Master.jpg

    The Puppetmaster  (1993)  Taiwan/Dir: Hsiao-Hsien Hou  -  Unusual blend of documentary interviews and dramatic re-enactments telling the life of master puppeteer Li Tien-Lu, from his birth through the end of the Japanese occupation of Taiwan. Some moments tend to drag, but overall I found it all compelling and interesting.   (7/10)

     

    The_Consequences_of_Love_(poster).jpg

    The Consequences of Love  (2004)  Italy/Dir: Paolo Sorrentino  - A dour, lonely man (Toni Servillo) leads a monotonous existence, living in a hotel in Switzerland, spending his days sitting in a coffee shop and staring out the window at the people that pass by. However, beneath his stolid exterior, there's much more going on, as we learn more about his past, his present, and his daydreams regarding his future. I've seen a few of Sorrentino's other films (Il DivoThe Great BeautyThis Must Be the Place), but this was the first one that I really liked. It's a bit slow, and more than a little pretentious, but the style grew on me, and Servillo's reserved performance is very good. Recommended.   (8/10)

     

    Ghost_Stories_2020_Poster.jpg

    Ghost Stories  (2020)  India/Dir: Zoya Akhtar & Dibakar Banerjee & Karan Johar & Anurag Kashyap  -  Supernatural anthology featuring four tales. In the first, a young woman starts a job as an elder care nurse and encounters more than she bargained for with her new patient. In the second, an expectant mother has an unusual relationship with her nephew. In the third, a man wanders into a small village that has been beset by flesh-eating monsters. And in the final story, a newlywed learns some dark secrets about her new husband, his family, and their large, forbidding manor estate. I enjoyed the third tale, the first and last were fairly weak, and the second was a complete miss.   (5/10)

     

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  2. The Sound of Music

    Mary Poppins

    Love Story

    Cleopatra (1963)

    The Jazz Singer (any version)

    I agree with the negative regard for Auntie Mame, as well.

    I wouldn't say I hate them, but I was never crazy about Some Like It Hot or The Apartment. Same with It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World.

    I was also never a fan of the Three Stooges, and their ubiquity on TV has made me loathe them even more. 

    On a more recent note, all of the Transformers movies are garbage. Armageddon was abysmal. And while I'm a fan of many of Clint Eastwood's films, some of the better-regarded I don't care for, like Mystic River (to me it was like a grade-C episode of Law & Order), SullyThe Mule. or Cry Macho, the latter of which I thought was a career low point.

     

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  3. Enjeru-dasuto-19943-e1597331073668.png

    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)

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  4. 91KPdfsDFaL._SY445_.jpg

    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 score, though.    (3/10)

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  5. MV5BZmEwZGJlMDgtNmIxOS00MDE4LTlhNmUtY2U1

    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)

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  6. 3 hours ago, Bogie56 said:

    2011

    9.  Dark Blue World (2011) Jan Sverak, Czech.

    The story of Czechoslovakian pilots in WWII who make it to Britain to fly for the RAF.  It’s quite well done but not exactly thrilling.  I was more interested in trying to determine where the aerial photography of real vintage planes meets modern day CGI and that was very well done.

    I've been on the lookout for that one for a while. It's on the "101 Best War Movies" list.

  7. MrVampirePoster.jpg

    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 production values decent considering the norm at the time.   (6/10) 

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  8. TheSeventhCurse.jpg

    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 be the centerpiece of other movies, it awkwardly segues into supernatural weirdness including monsters, magic spells, and ancient temples. It's bloody, there's nudity and all sorts of fisticuffs, vehicle stunts, and shootouts. Chin is a suitable hero, while Chow Yun-Fat seems to be having fun as the smirking, pipe-smoking mentor. Cheung is very young looking, while Elvis Tsui hams it up as the evil High Priest, with a dubbed, high-pitched voice for no discernible reason other than more strangeness. This won't be for everyone, but for fans of out-there 80's genre cinema, this is a must-see. Recommended.   (8/10)

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  9. MV5BM2Y5YzY4ZjUtNTlkOC00OGQyLTkyNjEtYjI0

    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.  (7/10)

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  10. Clan_of_the_White_Lotus_FilmPoster.jpeg

    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 Lieh are both old pros at this sort of thing, and they make for an enjoyable time, although some of the silly sub-plot stuff threatens to bog things down. Also known as Fists of the White Lotus.  (7/10)

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  11. Deerskin_poster.jpg

    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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  12. Cureposter.jpg

    Cure  (1997)  Japan/Dir: Kiyoshi Kurosawa  -  A troubled police detective (Koji Yakusho) investigates a series of gruesome murders, each committed by seemingly normal, non-violent person.  Things are further complicated when a strange amnesiac (Masato Hagiwara) arrives on the scene.

    This is a generally well thought of thriller, but I found it a tad disappointing, more than a little dull and drawn out. The acting is good, and there is some unsettling atmosphere, but it all added up to not much.   (6/10)

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  13. Hitch-Hike-film-poster.jpg

    Hitch-Hike  (1977)  Italy/Dir: Pasquale Festa Campanile  -  Franco Nero and Corinne Clery star as a bickering Italian couple on vacation in California. They pick up hitchhiker David Hess (from Last House on the Left), who ends up being a murderous crook on the run after a robbery. 

    It's unusual to see a film set in the U.S. where every character speaks Italian. Of course it wasn't actually filmed in the States, but some of the set design intended to make it look American made me chuckle, like a life-size cardboard standee of Col. Sanders in a roadside diner. Nero gets to play a rather unpleasant character, which makes it a bit tough rooting for him to defeat the over-the-top Hess. Clery, best known for The Story of O, spends a lot of time in various stages of undress. The music by Ennio Morricone is pretty good.   (6/10)

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  14. 31487.large.jpg?1424894550

    Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees  (1975)  Japan/Dir: Masahiro Shinoda  - Set during the feudal era, a mountain bandit (Tomisaburo Wakayama) kidnaps a beautiful woman (Shima Iwashita) and takes her to his secluded hideout. She begins to make increasingly outlandish demands of the bandit, which he reluctantly agrees to in order to win her favor.

    This blackly-comic tale is outrageous at times, with some unexpected developments and grisly details. The acting is good, especially by the two leads, and the production values are high.   (7/10)

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  15. Night_Train_Murders_Sleeve.jpeg

    Night Train Murders  (1975)  Italy/Dir: Aldo Lado  -  A pair of young women (Irene Miracle & Laura D'Angelo) are terrorized by two sleazy thugs and a perverse fellow train passenger. Also featuring Flavio Bucci, Macha Meril, Gianfranco De Grassi, Enrico Maria Salerno, and Marina Berti.

    This sadistic thriller rips off 1972's Last House on the Left quite a bit. It's notorious primarily thanks to a grisly moment of torture that I won't repeat here. I wasn't that impressed with any of it, although an aspect of the ending was mildly surprising. Night Train Murders is the title I've always seen used, in books and on the video releases, but IMDb lists it as Last Stop on the Night Train, and Letterboxd lists it as Late Night Trains. It's also known as Torture Train and Christmas Massacre.   (5/10)

     

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