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Old 09-09-2017   #361
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L'Argent

L’Argent - 1988 - 6/10
AKA - Money



Sorry, I ain’t buying this.
Ostensibly, we follow counterfeit money as it passes various hands.
From the gullible to the devious to the sly to the trusting.
Moralizing film studying human reactions.
For skeptical souls, behaviour is predictable, especially if your opinions of humanity are low.
Narrative settles on one character and his path, which sinks preposterous.
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Old 09-09-2017   #362
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Le Capital

Le Capital - 2012 - 6/10



Slick financial thriller of high rolling executives.
When the head man of a massive French bank takes ill, he appoints a temporary boss.
His experience is limited and circling sharks eye him as chum.
Worse, a wealthy American hedge fund buys controlling interest in the bank, then sets up traps.
Unlike similar movies - say Big Short, there is no spoon feeding to viewers.
Maneuvering occurs across continents and conference rooms.
Temp Boss proves a cynical calculator, though there is a love angle, stupid beyond belief.
Root for villains because there are no “good guys.”
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Old 09-09-2017   #363
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Vampire Prosecutor: S01

Vampire Prosecutor - 2011 - 6/10



First season of wildly popular series.
More "prosecutor" than vampire, as the lead character employs his abilities to uncover bad guys, nails 'em in the courtroom.
Early episodes displayed a harder edge than later ones, though the story with so-called martial artists was a hoot.
Unlike most K-dramas, there was no romantic subplot - praise the Lord.
Slick production values, lab work done in flashy multi panels, fairly good action sequences.
Adult humor, too, rather than typical 12 year old sniggles, a true plus.
Typical of drama fare, the series was self contained, though the door was left open for subsequent series.
The finale concluded an arc and loose thread from the opening installment.
Momentum slags as series builds, emotional payoff questionable.
Well worth tracking down, nevertheless. Proper subs a must, consider joining translation forum, if necessary.
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Old 09-10-2017   #364
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The Body Collector

The Body Collector - 2016 - 6/10
AKA - De Zaak Menten



Based on true story of ex-Nazi collaborator living in privilege.
By chance, a Netherlands journalist follows the whisper and begins exploring the past.
Bloodsoaked theft of art, primarily paintings.
Confronting the rich with powerful connections and ample funds, however, there’s the rub.
Absorbing throughout, and the film does not flinch from SS activities in the Jewish village in Poland.
Strives for an emotional impact, but an air of detachment undercuts this.
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Old 09-10-2017   #365
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The Naked City

The Naked City - 1948 - 6/10



Acclaimed Noir, shown in documentary fashion, of a police investigation.
Realism is helped by location shooting across New York.
Open windows and street filming also mean the audio leaves much to be desired.
Story itself is a dry procedural of cops tracking the murderer of a model.
As for Noir camera flourishes and characters, The Naked City is fairly light.
The villains are the most memorable, cops bland.
I was not disappointed, though this reminded me of an OTR show.
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Old 09-11-2017   #366
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Fair Isle

Fair Isle: Living On The Edge - 2016 - 6/10



Breeders needed! Tiny island in northern Britain is looking for newcomers.
Current population is 57, not counting the sheep.
Power goes off at nights. Owing to storms, sometimes the island is cut off for weeks.
Just to keep the island going, inhabitants must do 3 - 4 - 5 jobs.
Isolation? Plenty. Awe inspiring nature? This is the place.
Mind you, during summer scenes many still wore jackets. Winter? Lordy.
Two part series of inhabitants fighting valiantly to maintain their community.

Need to get away from distractions and finish that weird novel?
Apply today! (Some homes qualify as fixxer-uppers.)
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Old 09-11-2017   #367
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Bettie Page Reveals All

Bettie Page Reveals All - 2012 - 7/10

I was still active on FBook when Bettie Page died, and I posted a news blurb.
Some of my friends asked, “Who’s she?”
I uploaded a photo.
They may not have known her name, but they recognized her immediately.
Arguably the greatest pinup model of all time.



Loving documentary succeeds despite flaws.
First problem, the editing of the first half is below amateur level.
Brief scene or story plays out for a minute or two with accompanying music.
Quick wipe, then another vignette unspools with totally different music.
This buggy bouncing tone mars the fame period, her “glory” years.
Ain’t no use crying, however. Jumpy is what it is.
Better by far, Page provides most of the narration herself, in a hoarse Southern drawl that bears witness to decades of hard road.
Covering her later years, the director grows more cohesive, and that half is better composed.

Another problem is less tangible, more subjective.
I have been buying Bettie Page “stuff" since the 70s.
When she resurrected in the 80s, collectors gradually learned which photographers peddled her photos, yet never paid her a dime in royalties, knowing of her poverty.
Some were among the doc interviewees. Sorta stuck a craw in my throat.
Page’s image is iconic. Regarding icons, there is an uneasy line between appreciation and appropriation.
Early on, you see individuals borrowing the Bettie look.
Ordinary souls in search of an identity are one thing. Celebrities out for an extra dollar, though ...
Takes all sorts in this world.



Even though I am kicking parts of this documentary around, I enjoyed it tremendously.
Of all the Bettie Page shorts, reels, and that godawful movie, this is the best.
Honest, unflinching, packed with sexy images, as well as bitterness.
Not always a fun documentary, but altogether satisfying.
One gets the feeling Bettie departed this world, touched with grace.
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Old 09-12-2017   #368
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Ghost In Shell Arise

Ghost in the Shell Arise: Border 4 - Ghost Stands Alone - 5/10 - 2014



Stumbling, repetitive "conclusion" to groundbreaking franchise.
Finale prequel to the original finds the unit mostly assembled.
Kusanagi, Batou, et al, just before joining Section 9.
Usual themes of identity, cyber consciousness, terrorism, intelligence hacking.
Some visuals quite beautiful, other scenes are static. Characters sitting in a bare room, talking.
Action is minimal, the plot is borrowed bits and pieces from earlier shows.
Not essential, even for GITS fans.
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Old 09-12-2017   #369
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Ghost In Shell Movie

Ghost In The Shell - The Movie - 2015 - 6/10



Bit misleading title, “the movie” which the unwary might see as the ScarJo vehicle.
This falls after the “Arise” series and leads into the 1995 classic.
Major Kusanagi, Batou, most the of the squad embroiled with terror plots, assassinations, cyber-virus.
Always with this series, a fair amount of talking and philosophizing about the collective datastream.
Visuals are great, if now perhaps a little familiar.
The plot bounds along, often shifting scenes and gears abruptly.
Enjoyable, though choppy.
Not the best entry for newcomers. Best to start with the '95 original.
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Old 09-12-2017   #370
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The Machine

The Machine - 2013 - 6/10



Semi-intelligent SciFi thriller, set in the near future, as Cold War between China and the West escalates.
Pair of bio-engineers working for Ministry Of Defence, try to equip synthetic humans - cyborgs - androids - toasters - what? - with artificial intelligence. Several sequences and themes seem direct from Ghost In The Shell.
Several deliberately confusing plotlines, as different cliques have their own agendas: scientists, defense contractors, and beefy security guys with brain implants.
Movie relies on deep shadows and glare to hide budget of $1287, couple rolls of duct tape, and baling wire. Film very dark, and subtitles will help understanding garbled guards and radio chatter.



Interesting, but neither inventive nor ground breaking, since female robots trace from Metropolis to fembots.
Female leads effective throughout as tools and weapons.
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