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Old 06-14-2017   #61
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Air Doll

Air Doll - 2009 - 7/10



An inflatable toy (think unwanted male's action toy) wakes up one morning and realizes she has developed consciousness.
She wanders the neighborhood, makes friends, finds a job at a video store.
Emotions begin to flower and she has trouble with those.
Moody, melancholy film about loneliness and emptiness.
Yet also about opening your heart to others, despite the inevitable pain.
Haunting, minimalist score.

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Old 06-14-2017   #62
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The Gift

The Gift - 2015 - 7/10



Terrific, intelligent thriller. (I shall try to be careful here.)
Man bumps into old schoolmate whilst buying new home supplies with his bride.
The old chum “invites” himself into their home, then into their lives.
The guy is reserved, moody, and the wife’s radar goes off.
Husband then remembers the guy’s school nickname was “Weirdo.”
Twenty minutes in, this has all the trappings of the 137 cookie cutter stalker flicks.
Only noooooo, the plot starts to skew and assumptions unravel.
BEWARE OF SPOILER REVIEWS, try to watch this cold.
Darkly satisfying.
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Old 06-15-2017   #63
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Resurrect Dead: Mystery Of Toynbee Tiles

Resurrect Dead: The Mystery Of The Toynbee Tiles - 2011 - 7/10

]

Strange documentary of tiles placed in asphalt streets of dozens of cities
Cryptic messages and questions posed.
Who placed them? Who was Toynbee? What did the tiles have to do with 2001 or Jupiter?
Narrator begins the global hunt for more tiles and tries to penetrate the mystery.
Fascinating story that quickly draws you in and retains interest throughout.
This very reminiscent of In the Realms Of The Unreal, also worth hunting down.
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Old 06-15-2017   #64
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In Realms Unreal

In The Realms Of The Unreal - 2004 - 7/10



Documentary on Henry Darger, janitor and outsider artist.
After he was shifted to hospital, where he died, Darger’s 15000 page, illustrated novel was discovered in flat.
Obsessions play out across the pages, tracking his fantasy kingdom heroines, the Vivian girls, and the atrocities of the child slave wars.



Film told in voiceovers from actors and people who knew Darger.
Fascinating from start to finish, though shifting back and forth from Darger to his art, creates a documentary of halves and neither is fully satisfying. For all the drawings shown, I still wanted more.
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Old 06-15-2017   #65
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Un Lever de Rideau

Un Lever de Rideau - 2006 - 6/10
AKA - A Curtain Raiser



One act short of youthful miscommunication and fateful decisions.
“Bean-counter” boyfriend starts tallying how many minutes and hours his girlfriend has kept him waiting.
Most disrespectful, he concludes, while complaining to an older friend.
The more experienced male tries to offer advice, suggesting patience and dialogue.
The girl arrives - 45“ late - and the boyfriend’s resolution is sorely tested.
Thirty minute film, while elegantly staged, may tire impatient viewers.
For more curious souls, an easy introduction to director François Ozon.

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Old 06-15-2017   #66
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The Black Widow

The Black Widow - 1947 - 6/10

A fun serial from Republic, and a slyly subversive one.
Usual nonsense about an evil potentate scheming to rule the world ...
The "smartest guy" was not the manly hero.
No, it was Sombra, the Black Widow (played by the deliciously slinky Carol Forman), daughter of the poobah.
She leads her henchmen, devises strategies, overcomes police and Feds.



Bit by bit, she steals rocket parts and eludes capture.
The police put in charge a writer! Ha ha, that's right, a writer of detective stories.
I guess producers did not want to stoop all the way down to using an English major.
He is assigned a female reporter. Typical of the period, he constantly condescends and belittles her.
Episode after episode, he gets trapped or overpowered, and she's the one who comes to his rescue.
Viewed over several weeks, amusing enough.
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Old 06-15-2017   #67
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Predestination

Predestination - 2014 - 8/10



High concept, Kafkaesque, puzzle plot, brilliantly executed.
Ethan Hawke plays time traveling, Temporal Agent.
His duties are to stop mass murders, terrorist bombings.
For health reasons, agents can only jump in time so often.
Hawke is near retirement and draws out a potential candidate.
Only the candidate has a history of kinks and twists, and therein hangs the tale.
Based on a story by Robert Heinlein.
The script is flawless, the direction taut and lean. Not a single scene is wasted.
Try to watch without reading too much about this one.
Most reviews will be unable to resist spoilers.
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Old 06-16-2017   #68
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Obscene - A Portrait Of Barney Rosset and Grove Press

Obscene - A Portrait Of Barney Rosset and Grove Press - 2007 - 6/10

Scored this high early on, lowered it as the film progressed.
Suspicious documentary of the publisher of Grove Press.
The first half of this is absolutely smashing! New York literary elite, the Beats, Jazz greats. All signposted.
Rosset bought a tiny press and proceeded to publish “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” “Tropic Of Cancer,” and “Naked Lunch.”
Each time, he and his cohorts fought local censors and numerous courts. Grove became the locus of the new generation of literature. and published the 50s edgy icons.



Next, Grove bought I Am Curious Yellow and fought for the film.
By the 70s, however, Grove was publishing Victorian erotica (porn in purple prose).



Those erotic titles were the ones I distinctly remember seeing in the drugstore racks.
The press, as well as the documentary, goes downhill at this point.
There was a well publicized strike by, as Rosset called them, women libbers.
A bomb went off. He lost his business, he lost his property.
Everyone soft pedaled the latter years.
Last twenty minutes feels like a whitewash.
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Old 06-16-2017   #69
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Spring Breakers

Spring Breakers - 2012 - 6/10



Diverting trash.
Four hotties roll down to St Pete for sun, sand, booze, drugs, parties, adventure.
They hook up with a low level gangsta (James Franco effective as sleaze) and strut into dark territory.
First half of film binge drinking, bare breasts, layered disjointed dialogue. Daylight.
Second half much gloomier.
Overall, not a fun ride, but a bad acid trip.
Pink ski masks glow great under blacklight.
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Old 06-16-2017   #70
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The Eclipse

The Eclipse - 2009 - 7/10



Irish ghost story for adults.
Ciarin Hinds’ character cares for his two children; their mother has died.
He has begun glimpsing shadows down the staircase, hearing noises in the closet.
Meanwhile, he shepherds writers for an annual literary fair. One has written about ghosts.
Winner of many awards, this was a good film to view with lowered lights.
Be advised this was not a blood soaked, screamfest.
No dead teenagers, no dead wet girls.
Troubled souls encountering shadows. Somber, melancholy film.
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