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Knock Knock (2015) - Eli Roth co-wrote and directed this terrible remake of the minor 1977 cult suspense flick Death Game aka The Seducers. Keanu Reeves stars as an architect and family man who gets left home alone over a long weekend while his wife and two kids go off to the beach. The first night they're gone, there's a knock at the door, and Reeves finds two young women (Lorenza Izzo and Ana de Armas) who are stranded in the rain. He invites them in, and over the course of the evening they seduce him. Unfortunately, they turn out to be psychos who put him through the wringer. Also featuring Ignacia Allamand, Aaron Burns, and Colleen Camp.

Camp played one of the two girls in the original film, along with Sondra Locke, and they menaced Seymour Cassel. That film was mildly entertaining, but mainly due to the good performances from the three leads. In this version, the two girls are very attractive, but only passable as actresses, and Reeves is absolutely awful, giving perhaps the worst performance of his career, and that's really saying something. This ended up being a very irritating waste of time.  (3/10)

Source: Lionsgate DVD.

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"She" (1911)--Starring Marguerite Snow and James Cruze.

This version of the film includes a prologue, which takes up half the running time of 25 minutes. She Who Must Be Obeyed (Snow) meets and falls in love with Kallikrates (Cruze). He refuses her advances, she kills him, then mourns him. A descendent of his, Leo Vincey (Cruze) grows up in England. When he turns 25, he is sent to Africa to kill She. After falling in love with Leo, she shows him the body of Kallikrates, which She's preserved for 2000 years; She then makes it disappear. Then She takes one too many baths in The Flame., which had kept her youthful for a couple thousand years.

I've never seen this version of "She" available. I know the 1916 and 1917 versions are considered Lost (if I'm wrong, please post). This version is notable mainly for silent film lovers. The special effects are primitive, and look more like She's melting that last time in The Flame, the acting is functional, but it's worth the 20 odd minutes to see how H. Rider Haggard's story was interpreted. It's interesting to see future director James Cruze (1924's "The Covered Wagon, etc.) in front of the camera

No rating, because film's over 100 years old. An interesting curio.

Source--YouTube--search "She 1911".

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"Manticore" (2005) watched it because of Robert Beltran, haven't seen him since "Star Trek Voyager". Excellant actor...

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..but the movie had a lame ending.  All you need to kill this thing is a camcorder and sledgehammer.:wacko:

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SPOILER ALERT-DO NOT READ if you've not seen THE 6th SENSE!!

TomJH said: And for those few reading this who have yet to see The Sixth Sense I feel a bit sorry for you because you probably heard about the ending. But whether you know the ending or not do yourselves a favour and seek out this ghostly gem.

Haha, one Halloween we watched this as a family-only our 15 year old had never seen it. Br>In the first 15 minutes, when the Dr is interviewing the little boy, the 15 year old blurts out, "If the kid is the only one who hears him, he's DEAD, right?"

We were floored. It almost made watching the movie a waste of time.

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Lawrence said: Minor Canadian nature thriller

Is there such a thing as "MAJOR Canadian thriller"?

that combines plot points from several other movies that I've watched recently.

Bound to happen considering your movie watching habits! ;-)

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10 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

I have that one in my 1933 to-watch stack. I'll be getting to it in the next couple of weeks.

If you can, Lawrence, try to see where the "62" comes from in the title and let me know.

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1 hour ago, TikiSoo said:

SPOILER ALERT-DO NOT READ if you've not seen THE 6th SENSE!!

TomJH said: And for those few reading this who have yet to see The Sixth Sense I feel a bit sorry for you because you probably heard about the ending. But whether you know the ending or not do yourselves a favour and seek out this ghostly gem.

Haha, one Halloween we watched this as a family-only our 15 year old had never seen it. Br>In the first 15 minutes, when the Dr is interviewing the little boy, the 15 year old blurts out, "If the kid is the only one who hears him, he's DEAD, right?"

We were floored. It almost made watching the movie a waste of time.

I'm glad your kid was nowhere near me the first time I watched it, Tiki. It was not apparent to me that only one person could hear him that early in the film.

On a repeat viewing of The Sixth Sense, now knowing the ending, I saw the the film played fair with the audience and didn't cheat. Never could figure out one thing, though: all those problems Willis had opening doors with red door knobs. What was that about?

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9 hours ago, film lover 293 said:

"She" (1911)--Starring Marguerite Snow and James Cruze.

 

Thanks for the word about this silent oddity, filmlover.

I've seen the 1925 She, with Betty Blythe, on You Tube, but never this one. Speaking of which, years ago I was at an old paper show and came across a beautiful autographed sepia tinted photo card of Blythe. I didn't even know who she was but it was such a lovely photo and autograph (and only $15) that I bought it.

I tried to post an image of it here because it's quite lovely and she had such a legible signature but the software won't allow me to do it, saying it's too large an image.

 

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Finished watching "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" with my parents (who've never seen any of the movies before). We are currently making our way through the series. 

Image result for harry potter and the order of the phoenix

As much as I enjoy the movies, I'd have to say I like the books better. 

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TomJH:

You need to get some freeware photo editing software that will allow you to create a smaller version of the scanned image that won't come up against the attachment size limit.  If you're on Windows, IrfanView is a good basic editor.

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A Cure for Wellness (2016) - Glossy, original psychological thriller with elements of mystery and Gothic horror, from Fox and co-writer and director Gore Verbinski. Dane DeHaan stars as a cutthroat financial agent in a big Wall Street firm who is tasked with traveling to Switzerland to find the firm's CEO who has checked into an exclusive health resort. Upon arrival, it doesn't take long for DeHaan to realize something is not quite right at the seemingly idyllic sanitarium, which is on the grounds of an old castle in the Swiss Alps. But try as he might, DeHaan doesn't seem able to leave the place, and the hospital's chief doctor (Jason Isaacs) doesn't seem in a rush to allow that, either. Also featuring Mia Goth, Ivo Nandi, Harry Groener, Celia Imrie, Carl Lumbly, and Rebecca Street.

This movie looks amazing, with evocative cinematography and terrific locations and sets. The acting is also good, and the cast of mainly lesser-knowns helps the characters to stand out. With a story like this, you know the outcome will be one of two things: either the protagonist is hallucinating/dreaming many of the events, or the events that he's experiencing are real and the story moves into Weirdsville. I won't spoil which it is here, but I will say it kept me guessing up to the end, and perhaps beyond. A warning: there is quite a bit of disturbing imagery, and you'll see a whole lot of people naked that you would rather not have.   (7/10)

Source: Fox Blu Ray.

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I just finished watching "The Iron Giant" (1999). I am surprised that I had never seen this one before, considering how big a fan I am of animated movies. I thought it was a cute idea to have the story set in the late 1950's (1957 or 1958, I believe), during some of the Cold War period. 

Although, it's my personal opinion that the ending should have been different. I think the robot's sacrifice would be much more meaningful if the ending was different, but what do I know. 

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The Void (2016) - Entertainingly grisly indie Canadian cosmic horror in the Lovecraft vein, from writer-directors Jeremy Gillespie & Steven Kostanski. A sheriff's deputy (Aaron Poole) and the skeleton crew at a soon-to-be-closing hospital, along with a handful of patients, are terrorized one night by a group of hooded cultists intent on summoning creatures "from before time began". Also featuring Kathleen Munroe, Daniel Fathers, Mik Byskov, Ellen Wong, Grace Munro, Art Hindle, and Kenneth Welsh.

This manages to evoke a good sense of dread as the "unknowable beings from beyond the abyss" start to infect the dead and cause them to transform into tentacled monstrosities. The filmmakers go for practical effects over CGI, but their budgetary restraints render a few of the creations less than they should have been. The script could also have taken a couple of more passes through the revision process, but all-in-all this is an effective Lovecraft homage and a definite recommendation for off-beat horror fans.   (7/10)

Source: Screen Media Blu Ray.

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10 hours ago, NickAndNora34 said:

Finished watching "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" with my parents (who've never seen any of the movies before). We are currently making our way through the series. 

As much as I enjoy the movies, I'd have to say I like the books better. 

....You liked the BOOK of Order of the Phoenix better??  :blink:

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Hell on Frisco Bay (1955)

A deliberate throwback to the Warner Brothers gangster melodramas of the '30s, this film features Alan Ladd as a bitter ex-cop just released from prison for a killing he didn't commit out to find those behind the murder. A Jaguar Production (Ladd's own company) released through Warners, Hell On Frisco Bay has been released on DVD by Warners Archives in a lovely colour widescreen print.

While the story is nothing special and the final resolution quite conventional, this film can be regarded as a well crafted programmer, noteworthy for a superior cast. As Vic Amato, the underworld king who rules the Frisco waterfront, Edward G. Robinson dominates every scene he is in. This film was made at a time when Robinson was having difficulty getting employment in major features due to the blacklisting scare taking place in Hollywood at the time. It's great to see that the actor had lost none of his force as a performer when given a good role.

Paul Stewart gives a sympathetic performance as Amato's gunsel underling, constantly dealing with abuse from his boss who derives sadistic pleasure from riding him about his scarred face and time in the "big house," to which he frequently threatens to return him.

Also in the cast are Joanne Dru, looking quite lovely as Ladd's wife, still in love with him but towards whom he is bitter since she had a brief dalliance due to loneliness during his five year prison confinement, Fay Wray as a retired film star dating Stewart, and William Demarest as a cop who is still a friend of Ladd's. Rod Taylor (billed as Rodney) appears as a hood, as well as, both unbilled, one star from the past, Mae Marsh (once a D. W. Griffith heroine) and one of the very near future (Jayne Mansfield).

This film was a reunion for Ladd with director Frank Tuttle, the man who had been behind the camera for This Gun for Hire, the film that had made the blonde actor a star 13 years before.

Many of the outdoor shots were clearly done on location in San Francisco. It's nice to see those hilly roads, with the bay glistening in the background, adding authenticity to the film. Max Steiner also provides the film with one of his typically strong scores, music that can make an ordinary film somehow seem better than it really it.

I've always had a soft spot for Hell on Frisco Bay. There's a comforting familiarity to this kind of tough guy action drama which, combined with Robinson's outstanding performance as an old time ruthless gang boss, makes this film definitely worth a view. It's nice that the film has finally become available on DVD.

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2.5 out of 4

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4 hours ago, NickAndNora34 said:

To be fair, I am only 20. :P

No, I mean...nobody liked the Order of the Phoenix book!  Those of us reading at the time just grit our teeth and thought "Ok, JK, we get it, Dolores Umbrage is 'really' GWBush, and you're angry because you're British, we got that twelve chapters ago, could we get on with the story, please??"

Then the movie did, by concentrating on the plot, and we thought "Whoa, this is actually a good one, how'd they do that?"

That's one good way movies can condense books, as they did with Goblet of Fire when Warner realized they weren't going to get a Deathly Hallows-style two-part, and could try Reader's Digesting the essential plot down to two and a half hours.

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Slightly Scarlet (1956) Pulp Cover Noir

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WOW! It's Pulp Cover Noir, it's one of those films designed to be in direct competition with TV, an RKO film shot in Color in "Superscope" a 2:1 aspect ratio. Something to get 'em out of their easy chairs and La-Z-Boys and down to the theater.

Slightly Scarlet is an interesting film. the film has a weird juxtaposition of color, light & shadow. Its this Lynchesque look that is sort of indescribable, unless you've seen it, the the set designer, flamingly went overboard, (even in the extremely noirish segments) and filled the screen with a pallet of colors, it's like "Seven Brides For Seven Brothers" meets "Blue Velvet, except where Blue Velvet and Niagara used color, the colors were somewhat muted, in this film they basically run riot. It's as if somebody asked, "hey can we get another shade of blue between that prussian blue and teal shadow?" There's a shot in a mansion with a number of suits crowded around a TV set, in a Black & White film they'd all all look gray, in Slightly Scarlet none of them are wearing the same shade of color. It's pretty impressive Cinematographer John Alton created some movie magic. The film even recalls somewhat the bold primary color pallet of Warren Beatty's comic book film "Dick Tracy."

The director was Allan Dwan, Cinematographer John Alton  Writers: James M. Cain (novel "Loves Lovely Counterfeit"), Robert Blees (screenplay), Stars: John Payne, Rhonda Fleming, Arlene Dahl and Ted De Corsia. Again here a an unexpected diamond in the rough, a color Noir that slightly surpasses "Niagara,"  that has got a Lynchesque feel to it.

If this film has one major weakness it's the score which is a bit too bland, it needed something a bit over the top to compliment everything else. The DVD has some nice special features, a good commentary by writer and James M. Cain enthusiast Max Collins, a James M. Cain bio, a collection of stills from the film, and trailers from other James M. Cain based films. 8/10  Full review with screencaps here in Film Noir/ Gangster

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An American Tail (1986)

This is a Don Bluth animated film that I had seen a long time ago, but remembered nothing about it, except for the fact that Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram recorded their version of the film's most prolific song, "Somewhere Out There." 

I definitely liked this movie, except for a few scenes in which young Fievel proves himself to be a complete idiot who has no clue how to remain inconspicuous, and actually is unable to see anything past his nose (his family, which he is searching for, actually walks under the bridge he is on with a newfound friend, at one point; I mean, come on, you're telling me he can't hear his dad basically yelling at his sister)? 

The highlight of this film was Madeline Kahn (one of my own personal favorites). She played the wealthy and wise, Gussie Mausheimer, who, upon further reflection, sounds an awful lot like Gilda Radner's "Baba Wawa" SNL character. ("We-wease the sec-wet weapon")! 

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10 hours ago, NickAndNora34 said:

An American Tail (1986)

This is a Don Bluth animated film that I had seen a long time ago, but remembered nothing about it, except for the fact that Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram recorded their version of the film's most prolific song, "Somewhere Out There." 

I definitely liked this movie, except for a few scenes in which young Fievel proves himself to be a complete idiot who has no clue how to remain inconspicuous, and actually is unable to see anything past his nose (his family, which he is searching for, actually walks under the bridge he is on with a newfound friend, at one point; I mean, come on, you're telling me he can't hear his dad basically yelling at his sister)? 

The highlight of this film was Madeline Kahn (one of my own personal favorites). She played the wealthy and wise, Gussie Mausheimer, who, upon further reflection, sounds an awful lot like Gilda Radner's "Baba Wawa" SNL character. ("We-wease the sec-wet weapon")! 

 

I have a question and a comment related to this review:

Question:

Did you ever see any of the sequels to the movie for this review (either partially or entirely) either before or after posting it (note: one of the sequels was a series of episodes made for television)?

Comment:

Insulting the character named Fievel was not necessary (I had never liked the idea of referring to any creature as an idiot, whether he or she be real or fictional, and would never like it no matter what).

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17 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

Slightly Scarlet (1956) Pulp Cover Noir

slightly%2Bscarlet%2Bposter.jpg

 

One more thing about Slightly Scarlet, Cigarjoe. It may well be Arlene Dahl's finest moment in the movies.

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8 hours ago, Mario500 said:

I have a question and a comment related to this review:

Question:

Did you ever see any of the sequels to the movie for this review (either partially or entirely) either before or after posting it (note: one of the sequels was a series of episodes made for television)?

Comment:

Insulting the character named Fievel was not necessary (I had never liked the idea of referring to any creature as an idiot, whether he or she be real or fictional, and would never like it no matter what).

Well, that's the thing--Don Bluth's solo-80's movies could be Cute 'N Cloying literally to the point of creepy and bizarre (he had an "innocent characters in jeopardy" fetish that makes the first "Land Before Time" genuinely disturbing to watch), and he believed that a character making a happy tongue-lolling expression was "Cute"...Which unfortunately made most of his "cute" characters look like brain-damaged Village Idiots, which didn't help N&N's "clueless" jokes.

After the theatrical sequel, the American Tail sequels were MGM's attempt to get in on Disney's new push for direct-videoquels--and, not coincidentally, Universal's attempt to make Land Before Time sequels into their own series--and, like "Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue", all had hit upon the more marketable idea of not asking Bluth back to direct them.  

As for Fox's "Bartok the Magnificent" Anastasia sequel, that was Bluth's and they couldn't stop him in time.  (And was also a deliberate anti-Disney tantrum, but that's another story.)

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The Naked Kiss (1964) Kinky Neo Noir On The Cheap

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A la Sam Fuller. My favorite Fuller Noir is Pickup On South Street, a 10/10, a Classic Twentieth Century Fox Noir. A film with the full complement of veteran motion picture studio artists, set designers, art directors, contract players, and with Richard Widmark, Jean Peters, and Thelma Ritter at the top of their game, quality actors. It looks like a quality production, a piece of cinematic ART.

The Naked Kiss has none of this. It stars Constance Towers, Anthony Eisley, Michael Dante, Virginia Grey, Patsy Kelly, and Marie Devereux. I don't blame you if you ask who? The studio was poverty row Allied Artists, and they must have rented Samuel Goldwyn Studios back lot and the Columbia/Warner Bros. Ranch, but they forgot to rent the extras, the cars, the  atmosphere and most importantly the studio personnel with the knowhow to make it work.

An uneven, visually ugly film with a weird score, an absurd plot, told in a warped style. Pure trash. A kinky curiosity to rubberneck, about a 6/10. Full review with screencaps here in Film Noir/Gangster and more in Noirsville

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Northern Pursuit (1943).

WWII action adventure, set in a snowbound Manitoba, featuring Errol Flynn as a Mountie who has left the force under strained circumstances who then gets involved with German agents landed on the Canadian shores for nefarious purposes. Is a bitter Flynn really tied in with them or is he working undercover for the RCMP? It doesn't take too many guesses to get the correct answer (the screenplay doesn't have the Germans taken in by Flynn's pose either).

This was Flynn's first film following his statutory rape trial acquittal and Warners were testing the public waters with, essentially, a programmer. Having said that, as briskly directed by Raoul Walsh, Northern Pursuit is a very efficiently made production and one far from without interest.

Helmut Dantine is impressively intense as the cold blooded, eye always on the end of the mission Nazi captain ready to use and dispose of anybody and everybody in his sabotage plan, the full explanation of which is provided in the film's final chapters. Julie Bishop is Flynn's perfunctory love interest, who is held hostage by the Germans as insurance, the saboteurs not trusting Flynn who they need to guide them by dog sled to a northern destination in the province.

A studio made production with, at times, quite obvious model work and rear screen projection to prove it, the film still has a few fine moments. An early scene, for example, showing a German U boat breaking through the ice on an isolated section of a silent, snowy Hudson's Bay, is eerily effective. This aspect of the story was undoubtedly influenced by the British 49th Parallel, released two years before.

Flynn is quite good as the Mountie. Always an underrated actor, working particularly well with director buddy Walsh, Northern Pursuit may be the least of their seven feature films together. Flynn gives a relaxed, natural performance, but with a few flashes of anger (a reflection, perhaps, of the pressure he had been just going through in his highly publicized private life?).

There's a scene in which Flynn's character is duped by the Germans into setting up the unexpected death of a friend. Flynn is stunned as he looks at the body and Walsh's camera zooms in for a closeup of his eyes, seething pure hatred. It's a chilling, rather unexpected, moment, especially for Flynn, and the film could have been more intriguing if the screenplay had more fully explored any of his character's bitterness, rather than the stock heroic characterization provided. (Flynn and Walsh would collaborate on a far more complex characterization for the actor in their next film together, Uncertain Glory).

SPOILER ALERT: The film ends on a light jokey note. With 1943 newspaper headlines having just recently screamed about Flynn's statutory rape trial, there were lots of jokes about the actor's womanizing, as his public image was changing. Flynn would eventually be very bitter about this but in this film's final scene he appears to be going along with the joke.

In the film's final moments Flynn re-assures his girlfriend that she is the only girl he has ever loved. But as he hugs her Flynn looks at the camera and says, "What am I saying?"

1943 film audiences, welcoming their hero back into the fold once again with their box office reception to Northern Pursuit, undoubtedly had a good laugh at the time over the line.

Warners' DVD release of Northern Pursuit in "Errol Flynn Adventures" boasts a quite beautiful print.

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2.5 out of 4

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