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Old 12-23-2017   #541
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While You Were Sleeping

While You Were Sleeping - 1995 - 7/10

Once popular Sandra Bullock holiday vehicle, now sliding off radar.
Despite script flaws, this has a lot of heart and a surprisingly melancholic tone.
Female token booth employee rescues affluent man after he is shoved onto train rails and rendered comatose.
Due to misunderstandings, his family thinks she is their son’s fiancee and embraces her into their home.
From there on, complications, funny and bittersweet, ensue.
Minor drawback is the cartoonish score which misinforms scene after scene.



The heart of this, however, is an amazing performance by Bullock, whose character, Lucy, is whip-smart, funny, kind hearted, romantic, and desperately lonely.
Though the film is about Lucy, in real life such characters work beside us or live across the hall, yet are completely invisible. And at Christmas time, generally forgotten.
One of Bullock’s best roles
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Old 12-24-2017   #542
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Two O'Clock Courage

Two O'Clock Courage - 1945 - 6/10



Gent staggers along darkened street, a nasty gash in his head.
Fortunately, an attractive female cabbie picks him up, realizes he has amnesia, then takes a shine to him.
Because ... a high profile murder has been committed and he could be suspect Number One!
Tom Conway in easy going B-film mystery, with many pluses for Noir fans.
This has one of Jane Greer's earliest roles, Anthony Mann directs, Jean Brooks has a key part.
There are comic elements, so while this has the Noir look, as well as an edge, this is more light hearted.

Watching this reminded me how astonishing the output was of this generation of players.
Most worked in films (later TV), radio shows, theatre boards, even commercials.
Richard Lane, for example, who plays a nosy reporter in this, had 176 acting roles, countless OTR shows, and was Los Angles announcer for roller derby as well as wrestling matches.
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Old 12-24-2017   #543
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Remember The Night

Remember The Night - 1940 - 7/10



Unfairly forgotten Christmas chestnut with Stanwyck and MacMurray before their classic Double Indemnity.
Female shoplifter hauled before jury right before Christmas. Shrewd DA gets her trial postponed because he knows juries are more merciful during Yule. Once he realizes the woman has no place to stay, no money, he feels guilty.
Until he realizes they both hail from the same state, when he offers her a ride back home.
Film, from a brilliant Preston Sturges script, runs cynical, funny, bitterly sad, sentimental.
Stanwyck and MacMurray display marvelous chemistry, shifting effortlessly between wary and hopeful.
Both are city souls, however, and dead honest with themselves.
The trip from city to country is the journey from calculating adulthood to innocent childhood.
The contrast between their childhood homes is heartbreaking.
The old homestead, a bygone world, seems already a fading memory here, as the States poised for war.
Sentimental, yes - but not icky.
Reinforces a personal hope that a good individual can redeem a borderline soul.
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Old 12-25-2017   #544
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The Donner Party

The Donner Party - 1992 - 8/10



Everyone has their holiday favorites.
The Donner Party documentary is the American Dream, turned upside down into nightmare.
Back in 1846, a portion of the covered wagons rolling west to California, left the main body to take a "shortcut."
Hastings Cutoff proved longer, far more difficult than predicted, and devoured precious time.
By the time their wagons reached the Sierra Mountain foothills, winter arrived.
The Donner group was trapped near Truckee, forced to winter there without food or supplies.
Snow began to fall ... and fall ... and fall. Days turned into weeks, then into months.
They ate the cattle, they ate the oxen, they ate the horses. They ate the leather leads and harnesses, they ate grass and bark off trees. They ate their pets.
Finally, they started on the last remaining form of meat. The other white meat.
When they were finally saved in the late spring, rescuers were horrified by what they found.
Completely true story.
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Old 12-26-2017   #545
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If Walls Could Talk: The History Of The Home

If Walls Could Talk: The History Of The Home - 2011 - 6/10



Four part documentary by Lucy Worsley focusing on four rooms in the home.
Living room - Bedroom - Bathroom - Kitchen
Evolution from Medieval time to modern age.
Informative, entertaining, full of catch-phrase origins:
“By hook or by crook” - “Walls have ears” - “Burning the candle at both ends” -
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Old 12-26-2017   #546
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Five

Five - 2016 - 5/10



Five friends (get it?) decide to pool wages to move into pricey apartment together.
The spotlight hogging rich kid finds himself abruptly disinherited, only he keeps quiet.
New career, he starts peddling high end reefer to high end clients.
Yes, like most mere mortals have access to both.
Complications ensue in not always funny French comedy.
Fanny Ardant plays weed huffin’ Fanny Ardant.
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Old 01-04-2018   #547
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Re: A few reviews



The Big Feast or La Grande Bouffe
(1973)

Four friends move into a seclusion to partake in the greatest feast of their lives. Cream, cheese, puree, pate, pasta, pork, poultry...they consume so much food every second that you will feel as full and disgusted (though that is the point). The feasting then devolves into a tragedy. Food needs to be digested- it has to exit somewhere- or else one will be stuffed to dead. Most digestive tracts eventually fail after a certain age, and in this case, due to excessive use. As someone in the film says: "Life stuffs you."

There are some comedy and plenty of nudity, though they are not very funny or arousing next to the non-stop eating. The beginning can be confusing and the characters' motives are never explained. Nonetheless, it's a refreshing film in this age of "foodie", 8/10.

"Tell me how you want to die, and I'll tell you who you are. In other words, how do you fill out an empty life? With women, books, or worldly ambitions? No matter what you do, the starting point is boredom, and the end self-destruction. The emblem of our fate: the sky teeming with worms. Baudelaire taught me that life is the ecstasy of worms in the sun, and happiness the dance of worms."
---Tears and Saints, E. M. Cioran
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Old 01-08-2018   #548
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Station West

Station West - 1948 - 6/10



US Army sends an undercover operative to investigate a couple of murders.
Gold is starting to stockpile in a nearby fort, the nearby town is controlled by a boss.
Action occurs in the saloon and out on the hard scrabble in this unusual Western.
Dick Powell plays the sharp tongued detective, Jane Greer the manipulative, mystery woman.
Yep, a couple of Noir icons in two fisted cowboy Noir. Oh yeah, Raymond Burr as crooked lawyer!
Fights, chases, missing bullion, fires, romance, and dark mischief packed into 80 odd minutes.
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Old 01-08-2018   #549
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Strange Aeons

Strange Aeons - 2005 - 4/10



Anthropology professor (at Miskatonic U), watches helplessly as unsettling new student, Asenath Waite, seduces and weds his assistant.
There are gates to be opened, Shuggoths to be unleashed! And she needs a thick headed male helpmate.
Horror film is fairly faithful to HPL's "The Thing On The Doorstep."
Script tries to juice proceedings with nudity and coupling, but dawdles throughout.
Directing is indifferent, acting mannered, sets remind one of cheap sheets hotel.

I noted the low IMDB rating beforehand, yet watched nevertheless.
Fools clutch their hopes.
Actually, with that title, I wondered if this might be based on Robert Bloch's "Strange Eons."
Not to be, though that novel, its plot stuffed with references to HPL himself and his Mythos, would make a good intro.
This one, however, is another missed Mythos dud.
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Old 01-09-2018   #550
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The Galaxy Britain Built

The Galaxy Britain Built - 2017 - 7/10



Christmas cracker tossed out to younglings and sithsters across our system.
As Star Wars turns 40, this documentary examines the British contribution.
The sets, Elstree Studios, props, costumes ...
Aging participants reflect on the tight time schedule, meager budget, and the attitude of "this is a comic book!"
Some of this draws from earlier documentaries, other elements were new to me.
Scenes from ESB are shown, followed by a progression to Rogue One.
One has the feeling this might be the last hurrah for many of the interviewees.
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