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Old 09-01-2017   #351
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Hitler - The Greatest Story NEVER Told

Hitler - The Greatest Story NEVER Told - 2013 - 5/10



Lengthy and subversive documentary on Der Führer.
Lengthy, as in 25 episodes, an additional episode of credits, and a bonus episode of life in decadent Berlin before the National Socialists straightened things out.
Over riding theme is Adolf was a genuine good guy who tried to save the world from Bolsheviks.
Initial dozen or so episodes are better crafted, mixing stories that had me heading to my WW II books or Wikipedia: the Haavara Agreement, Bromberg Massacre, Operation Keelhaul, among others.
Other assertions are just plain whoopers. Two examples: Zylkon-B used at Auschwitz was strictly for delousing. Also, equating Berlin defenders with Masada resisting Roman legions.
Latter episodes suffer poor narration, scenes from movies (unattributed), and general meandering.
Subversive, in that at 15“ each, these episodes are easily digested and will be attractive to many.
Bonus episode of decadent Berlin is cobbled directly from Legendary Sin Cities: Berlin - Metropolis Of Vice, without attribution.
IMDB tallies big scores for this revisionist documentary, as well as numerous detailed reviews.
In general, I always urge people to absorb and study as much as they can.
“History is written by victors," (often attributed to Hermann Göring). I realize as I get older history is less and less reliable.
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Old 09-01-2017   #352
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Les Soeurs Brontë

Les Soeurs Brontë - 1979 - 6/10
AKA - The Brontë Sisters



French dramatization of sisters Emily, Anne and Charlotte. Oh yeah, brother Branwell, too.
This is before publication. Home life, Charlotte’s Belgium period, Branwell’s disastrous affair.
Austere film, with bleak countryside and cramped interiors.
Characters Branwell and Emily fleshed out best, though I raised an eyebrow at times.
Possibly a companion with the documentary, The Brilliant Brontë Sisters.
Literary acclaim arrives late in this.
Not an upbeat experience, fans of the Brontës already anticipate this.
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Old 09-01-2017   #353
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The Expanse

The Expanse: S01 - 2015 - 7/10



Yeah, there’s a sucker born every minute.
I can’t tell you how many SciFi shows I take a chance on when I know - I know - they are going to blow.
Most are pathetically lame, written by unimaginative hacks, with plots for the lowest common denominator.
Well - this one ain’t! Probably because it is based on a clutch of well written novels.
This, set a couple hundred years in the future, details the conflict and intrigue between Mars and Earth.
Caught in the middle are the “Belters,” denizens of the Asteroid Belt who are treated as grunt labor.
Unlike most SciFi, this is packed with ships and space. Multiple plotlines that converge, yes!

S02 maintains this standard, adds characters and deepens storylines.
BSG fans, hit this.
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Old 09-05-2017   #354
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Una

Una - 2016 - 7/10



If you missed “Blackbird” on Broadway or the West End, here’s a fine alternative.
28 year old female tracks down the man with whom she once had an affair.
Fifteen years earlier. At the time, he was her neighbor, her father’s best friend, and 35 years old.
Uncomfortable material, in-your-face delivery, filled with accusations and excuses.
To say she was permanently damaged by the encounter would be an understatement.
Throughout, both characters shift from sympathetic to repugnant.
Viewers who stick with this unsavory story will be kept on their toes the whole time.
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Old 09-05-2017   #355
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Watcher In The Attic

Watcher In The Attic - 1976 - 6/10
AKA -Edogawa Ranpo ryôki-kan: Yaneura no sanposha / 江戸川乱歩猟奇館 屋根裏の散歩者



Morbid and twisted Edogawa Rampo story set in early 1920s finds bored man spying on his fellow residents.
He soon zeroes in on once-aristocratic female, now servicing gentleman callers.
Clients include a tycoon, as well as a man who frolics as a clown.



Voyeur and prostitute gradually escalate into murderous duo.
Relatively short film, though slow going. Many scenes pan well arranged, symbolic visuals.
Whole production is steeped in a rotting sensuality. Sex as decay.
Ample nudity throughout, not to forget one memorable smothering death.
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Old 09-06-2017   #356
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Barbed Wire Dolls

Barbed Wire Dolls - 1976 - 4/10



Women in prison film. Sleaze overload by Jess Franco.
Ladies are incarcerated in Castillo, in Mediterranean or Caribbean.
The warden wears short shorts and a monocle, and is also a lesbian (surprise!).
Plot is a carousel of sexual violations, torture, prisoners lolling about in undress in their cells.
Repeat - repeat - repeat.
Clearly Franco (who appears as the deranged daddy in slow-motion flashback) had no script, no ideas.
Cobbled together from motifs from better, well more original, women in prison films, this lazy filmmaking grows downright boring after awhile.
Franco completists? Watch it, chalk it up, move to a hopefully better piece of crap.
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Old 09-06-2017   #357
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Shoot To Kill

Shoot To Kill - 1947 - 5/10



Wife threatens blackmail to her crooked District Attorney husband, who is in thick with three rival gangs, after hurling a fourth leader into the slammer on falsified testimony. Only then, the jailbird escapes and . . .
Whew! At 63 minutes, this B-film percolates briskly.
While it has Noir photography, the plot is straight gangster flick.
Wooden acting, decent score, OK twists.
Selected this when I wanted something quick and brief. Enjoyable time waster.
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Old 09-08-2017   #358
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Spiral Staircase

The Spiral Staircase - 1946 - 6/10



Gothic thriller from RKO, if a bit stodgy at times.
Robert Siodmak, who helmed a clutch of excellent Noirs, gives this turn of the century gem a nicely creepy feel.
A mysterious, serial killer targets handicapped females.
Next on his list, apparently, is the mute servant girl working in the mansion on the town outskirts.
A thunderstorm howls outside, the family within are not what they seem.
In short, any of them could be the murderer.
Superb lighting, evocative score, a pervasive sense of doom, satisfying for traditionalists.
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Old 09-08-2017   #359
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French Sex Murders

French Sex Murders - 1972 - 5/10
AKA - Casa d’appuntamento

Watchable Italian Giallo revolving around, surprise, a serial killer!
After an opening leap from the Eiffel Tower, flashbacks swirl.
The villain is especially despicable as he is swiping jewels from the church. Stealing from God!
Then, in a very wise move, he decides to hide in a sporting house packed with juicy hotties.



Five minutes later, he is on the run again. This time for murder!
He better flee quick because Humphrey Bogart is on his tail.



Bogie lookalike Roberto Sacchi plays the police inspector and is the main reason to watch this confused mess.
Oh, yes, Anita Ekberg is the brothel madam, and the professor’s assistant resembles Carl Sagan.
There is a decent amount of nudity, coupling, chases, stabbings, beheadings.
The pace percolates briskly. Even when flaws and plot gaps a mile wide hit, we could not nitpick them because another crazy scene crashed and we were lured back in.
One sorry movie that will appeal to - - you know who you are.
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Old 09-08-2017   #360
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The Big Short

The Big Short - 2015 - 7/10



Fun times for those who want to relive the financial meltdown of 2008.
Where tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, lost their homes, their jobs.
Film follows a disparate, unconnected group of traders and brokers who realized the US housing market was built upon crappy loans. If the loans are shoddy, so are the bonds. And the banks who hold those bonds?
At times, the structure is a bit too cute for its own good, with oddball cameos explaining happenings.
Clever, extremely well executed from start to finish - if a shade overlong.
Might be stomach churning for those who suffered through this time - probably most of us.
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