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Posts posted by LawrenceA

  1. For me it was a mixed bag. The opening is very good - mood, setting, performances and the underground "shrine" are all excellent. But after the prologue, when Dale shows up and the action moves to the US, it quickly becomes what appears to be another substandard urban-legend/boogeyman slog. It picks up a bit later on (particularly at the abandoned campground), and the final 10 minutes or so are intriguing, Overall, I thought it was a mess, overlong (137 minutes), and at times irritating, but worth a watch for the opening, and for some of the ideas. 

    The reaction on social media seems to be mostly positive. 

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  2. Top 10 Favorite Films of 2020       (121 titles seen)

    1. The Father
    2. Promising Young Woman
    3. Palm Springs
    4. The Trial of the Chicago 7
    5. Minari
    6. Nomadland
    7. Soul
    8. One Night in Miami...
    9. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
    10. Never Rarely Sometimes Always

    Honorable Mentions: The Old GuardAnother RoundHostLittle FishHis House

    Top 10 Favorite Documentaries

    1. My Octopus Teacher
    2. The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
    3. Zappa
    4. David Byrne's American Utopia
    5. Crip Camp
    6. Showbiz Kids
    7. Have a Good Trip
    8. Dick Johnson Is Dead
    9. Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies
    10. The Last Blockbuster

    10 Worst Films of 2020

    1. Derek DelGaudio's In & of Itself
    2. Like a Boss
    3. We Can Be Heroes
    4. The Last Days of American Crime
    5. Coffee & Kareem
    6. Bad Boys for Life
    7. The Babysitter: Killer Queen
    8. Hubie Halloween
    9. The Tax Collector
    10. Songbird


    • Like 1
  3. I don't have any exact numbers like Bogie56 does, but I've seen all of these at least 5 times, some many more:

    1. Dracula (1931)
    2. Frankenstein (1931)
    3. Dr. Strangelove
    4. The Shining
    5. Goodfellas
    6. Taxi Driver
    7. Apocalypse Now
    8. Halloween (1978)
    9. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
    10. Evil Dead 2
    11. Robocop (1987)
    12. Predator
    13. The Terminator
    14. Star Wars
    15. Big Trouble in Little China
    16. The Thing (1982)
    17. Airplane!
    18. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
    19. Raising Arizona
    20. Blade Runner
    21. Alien
    22. Aliens
    23. Videodrome
    24. Forbidden Planet
    25. Dr. No
    • Like 5
  4. 2020 was a rough year, to put it mildly, and new movies were a major casualty of the upheavals. I managed to see only a few with a 2020 release date, and most of those were unremarkable or worse. However, I do have a couple of lists from critic Steve Prokopy. While I usually disagree with his rankings, and even dislike a few of those he chooses, his lists still manage to include enough interesting titles to warrant a look, and from a wider variety of genres and countries than many of the leading critics. Here are his choices for 2020, in separate lists for narrative and documentaries.


    1. Nomadland
    2. Never Rarely Sometimes Always
    3. First Cow
    4. Small Axe
    5. The Assistant
    6. One Night In Miami
    7. Promising Young Woman
    8. Sound of Metal
    9. Da 5 Bloods
    10. The Nest
    11. Minari
    12. Beanpole
    13. I'm Thinking of Ending Things
    14. The Climb
    15. Soul
    16. Possessor
    17. Another Round
    18. The Invisible Man
    19. She Dies Tomorrow
    20. The Dark and the Wicked
    21. On the Rocks
    22. Martin Eden
    23. Mank
    24. Swallow
    25. Emma.
    26. The Vast of Night
    27. Palm Springs
    28. Bad Education
    29. The Trial of the Chicago 7
    30. Bacurau


    1. Collective
    2. David Byrne's American Utopia
    3. City Hall
    4. Boys State
    5. On the Record
    6. The Dissident
    7. Dick Johnson Is Dead
    8. Time
    9. Crip Camp
    10. Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets
    11. Zappa
    12. The Painter and the Thief
    13. The Way I See It
    14. Beastie Boys Story
    15. MLK/FBI
    16. The Truffle Hunters
    17. Assassins
    18. I Am Greta
    19. Creem: America's Only Rock'n'Roll Magazine
    20. Vinyl Nation

    Please feel free to mention other 2020 films of note that you may have seen.

    Personally, I've only seen 20 titles from 2020, and I rated none of them above a 7/10.

    1. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm  (7/10)
    2. Host
    3. Lost Girls
    4. Have a Good Trip (documentary)
    5. Horse Girl
    6. Scare Me  (6/10)
    7. Underwater
    8. #Alive
    9. Vampires vs. the Bronx
    10. Extraction
    11. Dracula  (5/10)
    12. You Should Have Left
    13. Evil Eye  (4/10)
    14. Hubie Halloween
    15. Fantasy Island  (3/10)
    16. The Clearing
    17. The Babysitter: Killer Queen
    18. Coffee & Kareem
    19. Penance Lane
    20. Toys of Terror  (2/10)

    I've also seen both Bad Education (I liked it) and The Vast of Night (not so much), but I have them listed as 2019 films.

    • Thanks 2
  5. I-Vampiri-poster.jpg

    I Vampiri  (1957) Italy, Dir: Riccardo Freda - Hugely influential Gothic horror about a series of blood-draining murders that lead to an undead culprit. With Gianna Maria Canale, Carlo D'Angelo, and Paul Muller. This was the first Italian horror film of the sound era, and was a big hit, leading to a string of Italian Gothic horror films over the next decade. Mario Bava was the cinematographer, as well as writing and directing some scenes. Also released as Lust of the Vampire, and The Devil's Commandment.   (7/10)



    Cave of the Living Dead (1964) West Germany, Dir: Akos Rathonyi - A government agent (Adrian Hoven) is sent to a remote village to investigate some murders. It's part of a vampiric plot by a mad scientist (Wolfgang Preiss). Also with Erika Remberg, John Kitzmiller, and Karin Field. There's a lot of awkward humor in this B&W pseudo-Gothic horror tale, as well as old-fashioned racist-stereotype "scared servant" character played by Kitzmiller (Dr. No). It's all pretty dopey. Also released as Night of the Vampires and The Curse of the Green Eyes.  (5/10)



    The Blood Rose (1970) France, Dir: Claude Mulot - Another Eyes Without a Face rip-off, with Philippe Lamaire as an obsessed artist determined to heal his scarred wife. With Anny Duperey, Elizabeth Teissier, and Howard Vernon. There's not much to recommend here, although the pair of mute dwarf servants in the artist's mansion are unusual.  (5/10)



    The Dead Are Alive  (1972) Italy, Dir: Armando Crispino - An American archaeologist (Alex Cord) unearths an ancient Etruscan tomb. Soon after, a series of brutal murders occurs. Is there a connection? Also with Samantha Eggar, John Marley, and Horst Frank. What promises to be a supernatural horror tale with historical flourishes instead becomes a turgid melodrama and subpar giallo.   (3/10)



    Death Smiles on a Murderer  (1973) Italy, Dir: Joe D'Amato - Atmospheric Gothic horror with Ewa Aulin as a wealthy widow who may be harboring a sinister secret. With Klaus Kinski as a strange doctor, Luciano Rossi, and Angela Bo. Director D'Amato is usually reliably terrible, but this was a rather competent, if still lurid, effort.  (5/10)



    The Devil's Wedding Night (1973) Italy, Dir: Joe D'Amato & Luigi Batzella - A 19th-century scholar (Mark Damon) travels to Castle Dracula to search for the mythical Ring of the Nibelungen (!!!). Once there, he falls under the spell of a mysterious Countess (Rosalba Neri). This confused mixed of Gothic horror and exploitation trash is marginally entertaining, though for the wrong reasons. The sight of a nude Rosalba Neri splattered in blood and posing provocatively is certainly memorable,  (5/10)



    Crocodile (1979) Thailand/Hong Kong, Dir: Sompote Sands - A tsunami awakens a giant killer crocodile that wreaks havoc on the Thai countryside. This was made to be a croc-style Jaws rip-off, but was released in the US in 1981 after Alligator (1980) was a modest hit. It's dumb, cheap and laughable. The version I saw was dubbed in Italian! (3/10)

    • Like 2
  6. I've watched a few foreign-language films over the past few weeks.


    Space Amoeba (1970) Japan, Dir: Ishiro Honda - A space probe returns to Earth after being invaded with alien particles that cause giant monsters to emerge on a remote island. A group scientists and reporters team up with the natives to try and stop the strange invaders. Featuring a giant octopus monster, a giant crab monster, and a giant turtle monster. Director Honda lends some his Godzilla expertise to this sub-par example of the kaiju genre, released in the US as Yog: Monster from Space.  (5/10)



    The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (1971) Italy, Dir: Sergio Marino - Giallo thriller with the lovely Edwige Fenech as a lonely wife of a wealthy businessman (Alberto de Mendoza) who finds herself the target of a mysterious killer targeting beautiful women. With George Hilton, Conchita Airoldi, Manuel Gil, and Ivan Rassimov. This movie is a bit more interested in nudity than horror, and the ending is a bit more prosaic than usual for this sort of thing. However, this movie has its fanbase, mainly due to the heavily edited English-dubbed version entitled Blade of the Ripper. This was a big success in Europe, and a follow-up with many of the same stars followed in 1972 - Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key.  (6/10)



    Night of the Devils (1972) Italy, Dir: Giorgio Ferroni - Gothic horror with Gianni Garko as a traveler in rural Russia who encounters a family beset by a curse that renders their patriarch into a bloodthirsty monster. Based loosely on Tolstoy's "The Wurdulak", which was more effectively adapted as in 1963's Black Sabbath.  (6/10)



    The Black Cat (1981) Italy, Dir: Lucio Fulci - Bearing little resemblance to anything Poe wrote, this strange but slow thriller follows a psychic professor (Patrick Magee) as he seeks revenge on those who've wronged him, often utilizing his pet cat. With Mimsy Farmer, David Warbeck, Al Cliver, and Dagmar Lassander. This is set in England and features English-speaking stars, yet the version I saw was in Italian. This is very tame compared to much of Fulci's work of the era, such as ZombieNew York Ripper, and The Beyond, but fans of Euro-sleaze weirdness may find something to enjoy. (4/10)



    Angst (1983) Austria, Dir: Gerald Kargl - A paroled would-be killer (Erwin Leder) goes on a violent spree. The very simple plot doesn't offer much narrative or character depth, but the cinematography is impressive. The wild-eyed lunatic is more inept than menacing, adding much black humor, although I'm not sure how much was intended. European directors such as Gaspar Noe and Lars Van Trier have cited this movie as an influence. (6/10)



    Amsterdamned (1988) Netherlands, Dir: Dick Maas - A mysterious killer wearing scuba gear stalks his prey from the canals of Amsterdam. A veteran cop (Huub Stapel) is on the case. With Monique van de Ven. This plays like a Dutch version of an Italian giallo thriller. There's some awkward humor and character drama, but the action scenes are very well done, including an impressive boat chase.  (6/10)



    Terrified (2017) Argentina, Dir: Demian Rugna - A neighborhood is subjected to tragedy and horror when ghostly menaces begin attacking adjacent homes. The police team up with some paranormal investigators to try and get to the bottom of things. Some very effective moments are a bit undercut somewhat by a fractured, non-linear narrative. However, there's enough good stuff here to recommend to fans of the genre. (6/10)

    • Like 2
  7. Since I'm the only one (I think) to mention Nicolas Cage in a negative light on here recently, I feel I need to elaborate on the reason for my inclusion of him in my list of "bad" actors. One reason that Cage gets dragged as much as he does is precisely because he was once thought of as a good actor, an exciting performer, and known for unconventional choices. The movies listed above (Valley GirlRed Rock WestLeaving Las Vegas, etc.) are all good (although I wasn't thrilled by National Treasure), and I even consider Raising Arizona among my top two or three favorite comedies ever made. 

    However, the newest film in the above lists is from 2004, and in the 16 years since, Cage has appeared in 47 movies. Of those, maybe 4 were good, while the great majority of the rest are abysmal, some as bad as the worst stuff featuring Steven Seagal or Dolph Lundren. 

    I've seen 79 movies featuring Nicolas Cage, and I plan on seeing the handful of others that I've missed thus far, but he went off the rails a long time ago. Even if he manages to still make stuff I love like Mandy (which most if not all of the TCM crowd would despise).

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  8. 41 minutes ago, Sukhov said:

    Years ago, my mom described a "Twilight Zone" or "Outer Limits" episode she had seen but I could find nothing like what she described. It was definitely from a 1960s US B&W horror anthology show though. She said that in the episode, sounds were coming from a family's basement and the mom and son went to check it out but disappeared. The father then goes downstairs and comes back up with a horrified expression on his face. She said it never showed what became of the son and wife or what the sound was which is what interests me. She also insisted it was Twilight Zone or Outer Limits so it must have been in black and white. Any help with identification is appreciated.

    It could also have been an episode of Thriller (1960-1962). I've seen every Twilight Zone and Outer Limits multiple times, and your description doesn't ring any bells. There are a few other shows it might be (One Step BeyondThe Veil) but I couldn't say for certain.


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