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Old 12-11-2017   #521
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Holiday In Handcuffs

Preface ...
Spoiler

Oh, disaster.
I brought this upon myself.
Someplace earlier, I mentioned Hallmark or Lifetime.
Loki, god of mischief, must have overheard and decided, “Here you go, loser.”

I sat on one end of the sofa, the cat on the other. I had just loaded a perennial holiday favorite, Ric Burns’ festive, The Donner Party, when my bride and her sister returned from late shopping.
“Look, we found a fun family movie in the dollar bin.”
“Huh?”
“You know, something to chase away the holiday blues.”
“I don’t know about you two, but I’m not blue,” I declared. “I sent all my packages out by December 10. All of my recipients have already received their parcels.”
“Well, aren’t you just Mister Perfect?”
“All of my household gift buying is done, too,” I continued. “Presents wrapped, piled in the corner over there.”
Both rolled their eyes, then one asked, “What are you watching?”
Donner Party,” I said. “Pretty snowflakes and a winter feast.”
“No - no - no. That’s horrible!”
“I know!” one waved the DVD, “let’s watch Holiday In Handcuffs!”
“Huh?”
Then the other pointed. “What are you drinking?”
I held a tumbler with two ice cubes clinking in a sea of gold.
“Medicine,” I replied.
“You’ve had quite enough medicine this week,” my wife took the glass and headed toward the kitchen.
“Hey! Dude!”
She glanced over her shoulder, “Dudette, please.”
Seconds later, she returned with a wineglass, red ribbon wrapped on the stem along with a sprig of plastic holly.
“What’s this?”
“Chardonnay,” she said.
“Electric Raindeer vineyard,” her sister grinned.
Oh, joy, I thought. Long ago, I realized it was pointless to argue with women. They could persist for hours, days, weeks. I didn’t have the stamina.
The Donners were ejected, the handcuff thing inserted.
“What is this?” I grumbled. “Please tell me the handcuffs involve Miss September.”
“Of course not. This is Hallmark, or something similar.”
“Wholesome holiday entertainment,” said the other, and the sisters toasted glasses.
Five minutes in, the cat, doubtless looking forward to 90 minutes of human misery, starvation and cannibalism, stepped off the couch and sauntered away.
I was less fortunate.


Holiday In Handcuffs - 2007 - 5/10



Holiday family folly.
Young woman, facing another dateless family Christmas reunion, kidnaps a completely unknown restaurant customer at musket point. Yes, musket point. OK, at gunpoint.
One way or another, she hauls him into snow blanketed oblivion.
The family is seemingly perfect. The backyard even has an outdoor ice rink!
Will the mismatched couple fall in love?
Aarrgghh!!

Now - what if roles were reversed? A guy kidnaps a female.
Drags her to his backwoods family. Bet you’re thinking Texas Chainsaw kinfolk.
Not here. Not remotely.
Aarrgghh!!
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Old 12-12-2017   #522
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Re: A few reviews

Isn't that Buffalo '66?
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Old 12-12-2017   #523
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The Undying Monster

The Undying Monster - 1942 - 6/10



Handsome Gothic potboiler set in the craggy cliffed manor house.
An ancient family curse stalks the final descendants, brother and sister.
The night air is rent with the howls of --- what?
Reminiscent of "The Hound Of The Baskervilles," this is, nonetheless, its own beast.
A solid B-film mystery, that never reveals until the end, and at 63 minutes, does not outstay its welcome.
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Old 12-12-2017   #524
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The Blue Carbuncle

The Blue Carbuncle - 1984 - 8/10



“It’s a bonny thing,” said he. “Just see how it glints and sparkles. Of course it is a nucleus and focus of crime. Every good stone is. They are the devil’s pet baits. In the larger and older jewels every facet may stand for a bloody deed ... ”
Holiday chestnut from Arthur Conan Doyle.
A jewel with a sinister past is stolen, but is promptly found and identified by Sherlock Holmes.
That is early in the plot, though, as Holmes and Watson proceed to backtrack the trail of the stone, unearthing the truth behind the theft.
The Victorian Christmas remains constant throughout. Bracing cold, wandering carolers, the goose.
Wonderful production values and a sense of humour fill the show.
Jeremy Brett, in this, the initial series, brims with intensity as Holmes.
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Old 12-12-2017   #525
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Re: Holiday In Handcuffs

Quote Originally Posted by Zaharoff View Post

Holiday In Handcuffs - 2007 - 5/10
5/10? I think you enjoyed it more than you want to admit.

What's the lowest score on here? I vaguely remember a 3/10.

"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 12-13-2017   #526
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Scoring

Quote Originally Posted by ToALonelyPeace View Post
What's the lowest score on here? I vaguely remember a 3/10.
Scores of 10s or 1s, which a younger soul might give, are unlikely from me.
By my rigid age-gauge I am old. *
I have also watched thousands of movies.
My enthusiasm is not what it once was.
Consequently, my reactions to most films are, "Oh, better than I expected," or "Eh, I've seen worse."
The bulk of my numbers are 6/10 (slightly better than average).
For me, films, TV shows, books are blurring into sameness.
A high score does not necessarily mean I liked a movie.
I gave Dekalog an 8, but I did not care for it. I equated it with broccoli.
There are bad films that I enjoy and giggle with delight when I watch - or rewatch.
Often poorly made with inept actors, yet many have charm and heart, and I can't help but applaud.
I am more tolerant of limited outfits trying their best (eg: Ed Wood), and less sympathetic toward calculated Sharknado schlock.
I also live with females. I don't always control the remote. I'm used to this.
There is a fabulous thread at TLO for recommendations, which I rarely do.
TLO also strikes me as having a tolerance for diversity. This site is open to Haneke and Shaw Brothers discussions.
Other joints prefer action movie raves, preferably our cultural bane, super heroes.
Apologies for strolling off topic.

* Age gauge
00 to 30 = Young
30 to 60 = Middle Aged
60 to 90 = Old
90 and above = the walking dead
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Old 12-13-2017   #527
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The Gathering

The Gathering - 1977 - 7/10



Holiday gem, now forgotten.
Family sire, separated from his wife, estranged from his children, receives the 90 day expiration notice.
He wants to make amends for misplaced priorities (business over family), and convinces his ex to get family to come home for Christmas.
A bit mushy, but thankfully not as touchy-feelie as most Christmas fare.
Unlike today, relationships between Boomers and WWII parents were extremely polarized.
This film glosses over problems, and drapes a gauze of hope and over the proceedings.
It is a holiday film, after all, but underlying tensions are constant.
For a TV movie, this had top tier talent behind the scenes (production by Hanna-Barbera, music by John Barry), and actors who would be mainstays throughout 70s airwaves (Hill Street Blues, Mary Tyler Moore, Soap, Lou Grant, Trapper John, M*A*S*H, Remington Steele).
Bittersweet.
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Old 12-15-2017   #528
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Trilogy Of Terror

Trilogy Of Terror - 1975 - 6/10 (composite)

Part One, "Julie," college guy bags his introverted English professor. Yawn.
Part Two, "Millicent/Therese," sisters (one mousey, one frisky) snipe. Zzzzzz.
Part Three, "Amelia," finds woman torn between spending night with obsessive mother and the new boyfriend she is keenly interested in.
Why she even bought him a birthday gift. A curio.
A fetish doll of a Zuni warrior, its spirit restrained by the golden chain encircling its waist.
Of course, if the chain were to somehow slip off . . .



Hair raising thriller still packs a punch, helped by Karen Black's all-in performance.
Goofy nonsense, but my God, that doll is an remorseless block of fury.
Unforgettable adaptation of Richard Matheson's "Prey."
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Old 12-15-2017   #529
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Rare Exports

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale - 2010 - 6/10



Ho ho ho.
In Finland, US geologists / archeologists drill into something unexpected in the Korvatunturi mountains.
Animals are later found slaughtered, all the children are kidnapped.
They had accidentally unearthed the original Santa Claus, not the merry Coca Cola version.
The one from the locked histories, the one who devours children.
The grim winter monster with terrible appetites.
Needless to say, a dark film, set at night with difficult characters.
Not as much action or narrative thrust as I would have liked.
Enjoyable, but could have used more voltage.

Note: Most of the dialogue was in Finnish.
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Old 12-16-2017   #530
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Hitler's Rise - Colour Films

Hitler's Rise: The Colour Films - 2013 - 7/10



Two part documentary detailing events from the final year of World War I to Kristallnacht.
Covers the leader's growing oratory skills, deft manipulation of others, and incredible energy.
Weimar economics are covered, as well as street clashes between the Red Front and the SA.
Some visuals are soft (to be expected). Digitized colour, which I usually disdain, is restrained and well done.
Solidly presented timeline, and quite accessible (this not limited to Hist buffs).
Modern day Cassandras should respond to the line, "Hitler provoked disorder, while at the same time, claiming to be the only man capable of stopping it."
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