What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Film Reviews and Release Comparisons
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Smoking Causes Coughing (France, 2022): 3.5/5

Bizarre French comedy with a gang of Power Rangers style superheroes - pretty funny :D
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Predator (1987): 4.5/5

Wathced this in the cinema, some blurb said it was the 30th Anniversary edition. Not seen it in years, but very entertaining, like a cross between Alien and Rambo - with some great Arnie quotes.

*Pins guy to tree* "Stick around"
*Smashes through door* "Knock knock!"

:D
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Nine Queens (2000) 4.5/5
Argentinian thriller about con artists. It's a masterclass in suspense.

Dragged Across Concrete (2018) 4/5
A long, slow burn heist thriller with Mel Gibson in good form. It doesn't have a shred of political correctness and writer/director S. Craig Zahler leans into it with all he's got. A breath of fresh air in a stale Hollywood industry and the last line spoken in the movie is really thoughtful and clever.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Black Rain (1989) 4/5
Hadn't seen this one in a while. The plot is fairly simplistic and not the most original, two American cops are supposed to extradite a yakuza member back to Japan, but of course he gets away and now they have to find him in unfamiliar terrain. They nailed the casting, that's the best thing about this movie. Micheal Douglas did Wall Street then this one, it's like a completely different person. Especially Douglas and Takakura are great in their roles, but I can pretty much say the same for the rest of the cast. Soundtrack is good. Mostly shot in Osaka and that was a good decision. It's one of those movie cities like New Orleans and Rome. I think the 80's is somewhat unfailry bashed for being the worst decade for movies. Year of the Dragon came out a few years before Black Rain and is the most comparable in story and style. Also underrated along with Thief, Manhunter, To Live And Die In LA and No Mercy. Even Scarface got bad reviews from many critics and didn't do well in the box office.

Johnny Handsome (1989) 3.5/5
Another underrated 80's flick. Several neo noirs came out in this period is this is one of the better. It was before Hollywood writers started experimenting with erotic thrillers, Basic Instinct being the most obvious example. In hindsight they should have blended both genres and done something better with it. But I digress...John Sedley is disfigured gangster who ends up in prison after getting crossed during a robbery where his friend is also killed. In prison he gets plastic surgery and becomes Johnny Handsome. He gets a shot at a new life though the itch for revenge might get the better of him. It's a fine performance by Mickey Rourke in the lead, and the other actors are also on top of their game here, especially Lance Henriksen as a seedy gangster. Ry Cooder provides the score and it fits in well. The screenplay feels a bit undercooked and probably needed a re-write. It's a bit rushed towards the climax, but it's still a good movie. It has that classic noir atmosphere.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One (USA, 2023) [IMAX Laser] – 3/5
This seemed alright, but needs a re-watch. The picture quality was so bad with washed out colours and weak blacks in the IMAX screening I attended that I had hard time focusing on the movie (also note that despite all the IMAX advertising, there are no scenes filmed in the so called “expanded aspect ratio”). Perhaps one shouldn’t expect wonders from a digitally shot movie, but there’s no way this was intended to look this lame. Speaking of digital, another annoyance in the film is the (nowadays common) practice of adding bad CGI and digital tweaking on top of great practical stunts, which always lessens the impact. Why on earth do they keep doing that? That aside the film is not bad, but I wouldn’t rank it among the best Missions (Rogue Nation probably remains my favourite), at least until I get to see it again with better technical presentation.

Barbie (USA, 2023) [DCP] – 4/5
This must be the year’s most unexpected delight: a riotous toy story adventure musical and a gender political hand grenade whose constant film references (starting from a lengthy opening scene Kubrick homage) will definitely fly over its most obvious target audience. Perhaps that's the secret of its success: a children's film that works better with adults and (best with film buffs), except of course some conservative audiences among whom the film appears to have caused a meltdown. Margot Robbie shines as a Barbie doll who starts malfunctioning after thoughts of death creep into her mind, but it's Ryan Gosling who steals the show as a Ken who gets tired of being treated as a sex object and discovers the joys of toxic masculinity. The year’s funniest acting performance without a doubt. Also, mad respect for the crazy art design and insane practical effects extravaganza that seem to be giving a middle finger to the typical Hollywood CGI fests.

I’m just Ken: https://youtu.be/Y1IgAEejvqM
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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HungFist wrote: 20 Aug 2023, 14:39 Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One (USA, 2023) [IMAX Laser] – 3/5
practice of adding bad CGI and digital tweaking on top of great practical stunts, which always lessens the impact. Why on earth do they keep doing that?
Several reasons. The executives don't give a shit as long as the movie's making money. Hollywood is filled to the brim with these tasteless paper-pushing pencil necks working as technicians on every major production. It's a form of narcissism; "hey look at me and what I can do on my computer!". They also put CGI everywhere to normalize it. In part because it allegedly saves the environment, and also because CGI will be more cost-effective eventually. The audience are treated like boiling frogs. In the executives minds, the future is all digital.

I keep telling people to stop watching this garbage and to stop giving these people your hard earned money. They don't care about making good movies. The best way to send a message is with your wallet.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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The Wages of Fear (France, 1953): 4.25/5

Really good, didn't feel like a 2.5 hour movie and has tension and excitement. The cast is very good, and Vera Clouzot is charming
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Jade (USA, 1995) 2/5
It's true what they say; it's a pretty bad movie. Hard to believe Friedkin directed this junk, but it wasn't his fault. All the flaws are in the ridiculous screenplay. The direction is actually pretty good.

Kiss of Death (USA, 1995) 3.5/5
Like Jade, this crime flick also stars David Caruso. He does a better job here though Nicolas Cage steals the show as the unhinged mob boss. Not a classic by any means, but underrated.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (USA, 1974) 4/5
A sinister and depressing movie by Sam Peckinpah. Warren Oates gives a great performance as a down on his luck musician living in Mexico. He's tasked with bringing the head of a dead gigolo to a wealthy land owner. Not everything goes as planned.

El Aura (Argentina, 2005) 3.5/5
An introverted man who's a bit of a loner plans the perfect robbery in his head. He's fully convinced he can pull it off. By chance he gets the opportunity to prove it. Ricardo Darin is the main star here and he's slowly becoming one of my favorite actors. I wouldn't call this movie genius, but it's fairly original and it's emphasis is on character and atmosphere as much as the story. Well done indeed.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Lethal Weapon (1987): 4.5/5

A buddy cop classic :)
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Exposure (Brazil, 1991) 3/5
aka The Knife Fighter aka A Grande Arte aka High Art. For some reason it goes by a million different names. It's a pretty straightforward revange story about an American photographer living in Rio where one of his prostitute friends is killed with a blade and he infiltrates the world of knife fighting. Peter Coyote has the lead and he's okay, but Tcheky Karyo is by far the most effective actor here as the mysterious knife fighting expert who decides to help the foreigner out of his depth. The Brazilian supporting cast isn't that great. The fighting scenes are realistic and well made, there's a great sequence with some kids on the top of moving train early on and Rio looks great on film, but the screenplay could've used some work as it takes a nonsensical turn a bit before the climax.

Carancho (Argentina, 2010) 4.5/5
The title means vulture in Spanish and it's as fitting as it gets. It involves insurance fraud on a big scale where corrupt lawyers, doctors, cops and other officals work together to con whatever money they can get a hold of. Buenos Aires has one of the highest rates of car accidents per year and the resulting insurance industry has become pretty much controlled by the mafia. The main genre is neo noir, but there's also a love story and it works because it's never cheesy. Ricardo Darin stars as the disbarred lawyer who is now following ambulances to make a buck off the victims. One day on the job he meets the burnt out, drug addicted doctor confined to a bad hospital in a bad neighborhood played by Martina Gusman, also wife of the director. Both give solid performances where the characters fall in love more out of need than want. These people are brighter than their current jobs and enviornment suggests and they plan an escape out of their miserable existence. This is a bleak, violent and brutal movie with a lot to say.

The Climber (Italy, 1975) 2.5/5
One of a few European movies the infamous Joe Dallesandro acted in since his cult status in the US. I can't really see what the fuss was about either way, he was ok, nothing bad, nothing brilliant. He had some presence, but probably should've studied acting a bit to be taken more seriously. In this picture, which would fall into the Poliziotescchi genre, he starts off as a low level gangster who tries to climb to the top. It's been said Scarface was influenced by The Climber, but I just can't see it. There's some hippie stuff going on here, Dallesandro definitely looked like one, some biker gangs who look more like hippies than actual bikers and it's far tamer than Scarface. Not a bad movie, but nothing I hadn't seen done better before. Lacked a bit of punch considering the genre which has many better offerings. Nice scenery and sets though, decent score.

A History of Violence (USA, 2005) 1.5/5
I've never been a huge fan of Cronenberg and this movie is good remainder of why. It's not even close to as clever it thinks it is, much like Eastern Promises, another overrated movie by the same director. Viggo Mortensen is a great actor. You can count on him to deliver and he does. But the screenplay sucks, the dialogue is terrible, every point is forced and the movie isn't even interesting to begin with. A guy is a nice guy, runs a diner, has a family, turns out to be a ruthless killer and and old enemy wants revenge. Everything happens exactly the way you expect it to at a painfully slow pace. Yawn. I'd rather see John Wick kick some ass instead. It's dumb, but at least it's not boring like this garbage.
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The Thing (1982): 4.25/5

I hadn't seen this one before. Really good movie - the claustrophic arctic setting adds to the suspense and paranoia and the body horror effects look impressive for the time. The sci-fi/alien setup adds to the "Who is the killer? It's one of us" story and overall feel of dread I think.
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Farang (France, 2023) [DCP] – 2.5/5
Xavier Gens was my least favorite director to come out of the New French Extremity movement. Frontier(s) (2007) did very little for me and I have not followed his career in the years since. With his new film he seems to make an attempt to channel the ultra-violent Indonesian action films of Gareth Huw Evans, Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel. Sam (Nassim Lyes) gets out of prison in France but immediately is pressured to go back to his old drug-dealing ways. After he refuses and kills a man in the process, he relocates to Thailand and tries to build a new life there, only to have his past eventually catch up to him. I'll give the film credit for continuously and effectively ramping up the violence throughout, culminating in a showdown that features some gnarly scenes (machetes blocked by arms, protruding bones used for stabby purposes) that remind you of films by the above-mentioned directors - who unfortunately did them better. At a mere 99 minutes, it also manages to feel overlong, mainly due to some unnecessary scenes in the first half that serve no narrative purpose.

Malum (USA, 2023) [DCP] - 2/5
I thought Anthony DiBlasi made a very promising debut with his Clive Barker adaptation Dread in 2009 but he hasn't managed to match his work ever since. His new film is actually a remake, of sorts, of his own 2014 film Last Shift, expanding upon its mythology but not really improving anything. The story is your standard weird cult terrorizes people affair, with a bit of a seige element thrown in as well. There're one or two neat gore effects but they clearly ran out of money by the time the big bad boss demon shows up at the end. Maybe he can remake it one more time and get it right then.

The Price We Pay (USA, 2022) [DCP] - 2/5
A robbery goes wrong and two criminals take refuge at a remote farmhouse, where weird psycho farmers live. Ryuhei Kitamura directs a rip-off of a lesser Rob Zombie flick. Certainly better than The Doorman (2020) but the man is capeable of much better work.
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Desperation Road (USA, 2023) 3.5/5
Based on a novel written by the man behind the screenplay as well as executive producer so it's safe to say it's a faithful adaption. Marketed as a thriller it plays out like more of a drama, but this was a pleasant surprise nonetheless. I didn't expect much, but the movie has heart. The story is set in the deep south where a young mother and prostitute on the run from the law after killing a dirty cop crosses paths with a newly released convict. Willa Fitzgerald and Garrett Hedlund are both impressive in the leads, and Mel Gibson is in a supporting role as Hedlund's father. Ryan Hurst steals the show in another great supporting role. The movie starts off brilliantly where the character introductions are delivered with panache. There's atmosphere and suspense, an emotional and pulsating score, but the plot takes a very convenient turn in the big reveal halfway through. In the end I wasn't disappointed with that, but it makes me wonder what if as I could see other angles for a more original story. In the end it's a good movie, worth a watch. Reminds me of Out of the Furnace in both story and style.
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Death Sentence (USA, 2007) 3/5
The geniune sequel to Death Wish as the following movies with Bronson had little to do with Brian Garfield's novels. The author himself was pleased with the adaption of Death Sentence because he thought they understood the theme. I'll agree with that. Kevin Bacon has the lead and does his part well as the avenging father after his son was brutally killed in front of him by some gang members. The action scenes are hardcore, the violence brutal and the highlight of the movie is an angsty foot chase that's among the more impressive. The problem is with the screenplay as it usually is. Severe plot holes and at times illogical, and you have all the reasons why the movie will never be remembered as anything other than a poor man's version of Taken.

Internal Affairs (USA, 1990) 4/5
I'd seen it before, but I enjoyed more this time. Andy Garcia is newly appointed to the IA and comes across veteran cop Dennis Peck, played by Richard Gere. Garcia suspects Gere of being dirty, but that's an understatement. He's a complete sociopath. Beyond a fantastic score and a tense atmosphere what truly makes this movie so gripping is the excellent writing. The dialogue, especially Gere's manipulative speech, is at times elite level. When you think it's a story about good cop vs bad cop it morphs into bad cop vs bad cop. In some ways the movie achieves a uniqueness, in others it resorts to the more conventional. It lacks a little bit to be a true classic, but Internal Affairs is a very good cop movie. Good performances in a mainstream Hollywood movie that never seems too mainstream.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Five Nights at Freddy's (2023) - 2.5/5
Story + characterisation is perfectly coherent and fine, but really it feels like filler, absolutely dragging the pacing down. Film is too long, and there's definitely not enough action. The PG-13 rating really hurts it, no actual gore.

Willy's Wonderland (2021) is far better when it comes to sheer entertainment value, IMO. Actually feels like a gory exploitation film, unlike this.

This is not for general horror fans, it's for Zoomer game series fans who grew up watching Youtube series lore videos and Let's Plays. Great for them, but it's a snore for everyone else.
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EvaUnit02 wrote: 30 Oct 2023, 22:23 Willy's Wonderland (2021)
This is not for general horror fans, it's for Zoomer game series fans who grew up watching Youtube series lore videos and Let's Plays. Great for them, but it's a snore for everyone else.
As someone who doesn't understand most of that sentence, I'll just assume it's not aimed at me.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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The Expendables: Director's Cut - 4/5
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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (USA, 2004): 4.25/5

I hadn't seen this in years - a weird premise for sure (romantic comedy meets Total Recall?) but I enjoyed it, great movie.
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Oppenheimer (2023) 1/5
Given the content and budget you'd expect something spectacular, but it's gigantic failure by every metric. The critics are either paid off or in a trance. This is The Joker all over again; trash being presented as a masterpiece. I couldn't last longer than an hour and I'm a pretty patient guy. Jump cuts galore, every 5 fucking seconds. You're not allowed to get into a scene because Nolan will either cut to something nonsensical or blast your ears with epic battle music while the actors are mindlessly explaining basic science. Not even to the audience, but through them. That's how this movie is shot and edited. One star for what looked to be a good performance by Cillian Murphy, the rest is a big, fat zero. I've never been a huge fan of Nolan. While he's made some good movies like Insomnia and Memento I never really got into his other stuff. Oppenheimer only serves to solidify my distaste for new movies. Park's latest Decision to Leave was also terrible, with poor editing and weird gimmicks. I think too many directors fall into the trap of believing too much in their own hype. They should learn from Scorsese as he's managed to keep it together for all these years.
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The Killer (2023) 2.5/5
Directed by David Fincher and written by Andrew Kevin Walker, the team behind Se7en. Unfortunately there's no ingenuity in The Killer's screenplay, just a straightforward and predictable story about an assassin for hire. It's well made, has a very decent fight scene and the acting is generally good. It's still a pointless, unoriginal affair and for a budget of $175 million I expected a lot more. Michael Fassbender's narration got boring after 10 minutes yet he kept going on, repeating the same words over and over again.

Blackhat (2015) 3.5/5
Butchered by most critics and audiences, currently sitting at 5.5 on imdb which is ridiculous. Definitely not Mann's best, but it's still a good movie. Miami Vice is even better and got a similar treatment. Looks like some kind of agenda at work. Chris Hemsworth is decent as a convicted hacker who gets a chance for an early parole if he can track down another hacker who caused a meltdown at a nuclear power plant in Hong Kong. The screenplay seems a bit unpolished as the story is a bit muddled in the first half, but the second half of the movie is thrilling. Mann's typical trademarks shine through with a moody atmosphere and a great score. Directing and editing is very good.
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Die Hard 2 (USA, 1990): 4.25/5

As much fun (if that's the right word) as the original, seemed more violent as well.
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The Jungle Book (1967): 4/5
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Nine Deaths of the Ninja (USA, 1985) Thailand TV 2/5
directed by Emmett Alston
I let this play as I was doing some work and ended up watching most of its goofy story. Part of the 80's ninja craze in America, it's especially low budget, but has a few interesting things about it that drew me in... Blackie Dammett plays a wheel chair bound demented mastermind behind it all (He's the father of Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers), Shô Kosugi can actually do some martial arts acting and if you lived through the 80's... there are some very attractive women in this!
The negatives: Everyone's acting in it is extremely amateurish. The actual martial arts are pretty much slim to none and sleaze factor is almost zero.

Favorite line:
Shô Kosugi goes into a whorehouse: "I want a girl who's clean."
House Mom: "What? My girls are sanitized, sterilized, and lobotomized!"

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Ridley Scott's Gladiator Extended Edition (2005): 4/5

I'd never seen this EE before - Crowe and Phoenix are really good in this.
Scott says this isn't his director's cut (which was released in cinemas).
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Fritz Lang's M (1931 - German Premiere version): 4.5/5

This was a first time viewing for me of this version which is supposed to be the most complete version of the movie. Peter Lorre's performance especially at the trial in the end is amazing.
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