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Old 06-28-2017   #141
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Cafe Society

Cafe Society - 2016 - 6/10



Waste of superb cinematography and plum cast.
Woody Allen re-explores the past again, this time 1930s Hollywood and Gotham.
Young man tries and fails to make his mark in Tinsel Town - career and romance.
Parallel story of his mobster brother building a more lucrative, if dubiously successful, criminal path.
There was an excellent film in here, I’m convinced, but this ended up a muddled mess.
The two storylines do not connect well, and characters are undeveloped.
Final half of film ran out of steam.
OK Allen film. Not his best, not his worst. Disappointing for me.

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Old 06-28-2017   #142
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Under The Shadow

Under The Shadow - 2016 - 6/10
AKA - Zir-e Saye



Offbeat, and off the beaten track ghost story from Iran.
Near 1988, the end of the Iran - Iraq War, a bombed out roof allows a djinn to enter an apartment.
Or is does it ride in with the haunted orphan boy from Abadan?
Unclear, in a good way. Items go missing and an unease descends.
Soon enough, inhabitants divide between believers and scoffers.
As bombings intensify, those who believe in spirits do the proper thing - they run.
Leaving behind, a mother and daughter.
Usually I would never watch any US film with the “kid in peril” device as they are 98% predictable.
This, being an Iranian production, will upset predictions.
Good spook story.

Note - I downed several subs and was happy with none. Typos, odd timestamps, no caps for names.
I tweaked a set and uploaded -
http://www.addic7ed.com/movie/119833

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Old 06-28-2017   #143
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Kampen Om Tungtvannet

Kampen Om Tungtvannet - 2016 - 7/10
AKA - The Heavy Water Wars

Norway gets occupied by Germany during World War II.
One of the factories the Reich is keenly interested in is Norsk Hydro, where they make fertilizer, ammonia.
Especially the by-product, heavy water.



Story relayed from four points of view:
The Nazis, British Intelligence, Norwegian Resistance, and Norsk Hydro management. The latter understood the huge profits to be made, plus they were keeping employees working.
Lavish production values, sumptuous sets (early on, worse as war prolongs).
Main threads follow the experiments race and the sabotage.
While this series boasts strong ratings, sabotage is not necessarily action.
Sabotage involves stealth, subterfuge, and invariably silence.
That may be challenging to the viewer demanding gun battles, fistfights, explosions, superheroes.
There are also several languages, meaning subtitles. γνῶθι σεαυτόν



Outstanding historical war drama for adults.
Note: For action diehards, Michael Bay is filming his version of this piece of history.
Expect stylistic differences, action, superheroics - Michael Bay’s trademark.

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Old 07-02-2017   #144
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Resurrection Little Match Gir

Resurrection Of The Little Match Girl - 2002 - 4/10 or 7/10



Big budget Korean Sci Fi.
No doubt about it, one either loved this film or hated it.
Mash of Matrix meets Tron, as gamer enters "The System".
Point of the game is to be the last person the matchstick girl sees before she freezes to death.
Multiple players (stick with main character and drag queen Lara) confuse an already muddled plotline.
Stunning visuals, however, compensate, along with a fun mix of music.
Lots of shoot-outs and wire work.
Good example of over reaching film that failed badly.
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Old 07-02-2017   #145
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Mesrine: Part 1

Mesrine: Part 1 - Killer Instinct - 2008 - 8/10



I always run hot and cold with Vincent Cassel. When he's too over the top, he can ruin an entire film.
Mesrine is a role he was born to play.
Cassel dominates every scene in Part One, as Jacques Mesrine begins his career of robberies and kidnappings in France, USA and Canada. Canadian prison farm sequence is nicely grim.
A solid action flick, without unnecessary pyrotechnics or college grad CGI.
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Old 07-02-2017   #146
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Mesrine: Part 2

Mesrine: Part 2 - Public Enemy #1 - 2008 - 8/10



The narrative picks up after Part 1, though Jacques Mesrine has suddenly moved back to France from Canada.
Robberies, gunfights, the never ending chase.
Escape from courthouse hearing, another escape from a maximum security prison.
All based on the real life character, up to his assassination by the police.
Action biography for adults. No CGI, no teenagers, no impossible stunt work.
Cassel should have been award nominated across the globe for these two.
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Old 07-02-2017   #147
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Marwencol

Marwencol - 2010 - 7/10



Documentary.
Mark Hogancamp got the living crap beat out of him in a bar.
Literally. He was in a coma for days.
When he emerged, he had to relearn how to walk and talk again.
After 30 days, the hospital gave him the old "Good luck" heave ho.
He had been an artist with talent before, but lost the skills to draw when injured.
He began creating tableaux using dolls, setting them in a violent, often bloody, WWII environment.
Doll characters had their basis in Mark's real life friends and coworkers.
Quick moving story as he uses his outsider art to rehabilitate his artistic abilities, work through obsessions, fixations, and inner demons, then gaining recognition from galleries.



A fave - Stuntman Kurt, shot by Nazi, drinking whiskey.



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Old 07-02-2017   #148
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Secret Agent

Secret Agent - 2016 - 6/10



Three part drama of anarchist activity in Victorian London.
Verloc has infiltrated a Russian terror cell.
He is in thrall to his paymasters, the Russian embassy, and he is also in the pocket of a British copper.
Fear of exposure and betrayal leave him in constant dread. Business affairs are complicated, family likewise.
Factions push him into bombing as political statement.
Rather dour adaptation of little known Joseph Conrad novel.
Toby Jones excellent as the shifty, blame-everyone-else Verloc.
Ian Hart dominates, though, as the fanatical bomb-maker, the Professor.

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Old 07-02-2017   #149
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Lavalantula

Lavalantula - 2015 - 4/10



Another gas vent that puts the mindless into entertainment.
This is a blatant riff or rip of the Sharknado franchise, even down to a “Finn" cameo.
Volcanoes erupt in Los Angeles and sheep-sized tarantulas scurry out.
These bugs attack and belch fire. Roasted human is tastier, one gathers.
Story is of a family trying to rescue scattered members.
The same template used in every single Sharknado sequel.
Derivative, mindlessly amusing, amateurish special effects - apparently intentional.
Lowest common denominator expectations apply as hipsters make crap for dumb customers.
Mind you, I did go “Whee!” when I found this.
Beware, there is a sequel.
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Old 07-02-2017   #150
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La Fille Coupée en Deux

La Fille Coupée en Deux - 2007 - 6/10
AKA - The Girl Cut In Two



Girl in question is local weathergirl chased by aged roué and young wastrel.
In the best ménage à trois traditions, the female attempts to navigate both males.
The provincial town is rather small, however.
The older man, a writer, frequents a sybaritic den with other dissolutes.
The younger man is spoiled, insecure, prone to violence.
Talky (as expected), laced with bedroom politics and petty rivalries.

Note - I braced myself for another French talk-o-drama.
During opening credits, I announced aloud,
“Look, Mathilda May!”
“Who’s that?” asked one of the girls.
“Brilliant thespian,” I said. “She starred in the classic Lifeforce.”
“Oh? Any good?”
“Unforgettable.”
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