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Rate the last film you watched out of 5


Raoull duke
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Captive (2020)

Minimal low-budget psychological thriller involving a girl lost in the woods, fleeing an abusive father, having to pretend to be the daughter of a man she asks for help, and he has issues of his own. Takes a while to unfold but the pacing felt just right, small details dropped in adding to the intrigue, it certainly held my interest. May be a bit too subtle for some, although it does all pay off in the end. The two leads have to carry the vast majority of the drama and they do that admirably especially newcomer Tori Costic.  Worth sticking with.

 

3.5/5

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Coming Home In The Dark (2021)

Slow, brutal and intense thriller with a family subjected to a nightmare road trip at the hands of two haunted guys, the low rumble of menace ever present. The brutality comes as the father is forced to confront his past, and there's no compromise. It starts off with lush vistas but as night falls it's all about mud, exhaust fumes, blood. More intense than thrilling, the unpredictability of the captors really pulls the thing along. If you're in the mood for something slow and minimal yet harrowing this is for you.

 

3.5/5

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Call of the Wild

 

Harrison Ford takes the staring role in this adaptation, but he's playing against the real star - Buck. It's a curious thing. 

This is a film about a dog finding its place in the world, and we watch his journey over the span of several years while Ford provides some humanity and a gravelly voiceover. 

The film hangs everything on Buck. Pretty much every scene in fact, so it was a bold move to make Buck 100% CGI. There is no stunt dog here with extra cg, this is pure mo-capped CGI against live backgrounds. 

The mo-cap was done not by a dog, but a human pretending to be a dog. 

 

The results...vary. At its worst Buck looks awful, sticking out against the real background so badly it's amazing the film didn't get another pass (apparently budget would have gone well over). Uncanny Valley For Dogs, basically.

At its best however, Buck is quite a lovely character, almost convincing as a particularly clever, expressive dog. Critical and fan reception will convince you this is an outright failure, and I believe one of the worst performing films in Ford's career, but I think they very nearly pulled it off. 

I've not read the book but the film plays it's story beat very safely, a very predictable tale that is nice to see but never challenges and never succeeds in exploring the emotional range or depth that I suspect the book did. 

 

A nearly good, but not quite. 

2/5

 

The Suicide Squad 

 

John Cena and Margot Robbie light up another successful superhero film by James Gunn. Both roles stick out amongst the other ho-hum

 characters, including Idris Elbas generic soldier and the films quirky character I can barely remember. 

Compared to the original S Squad this is a masterpiece. It's an improvement on every level. It's also an improvement over almost every other DC film, but i think the MCU have spoilt me with superhero films. 

It's not that all Marvel films are better, far, far from that, but unless the film is outright excellent I feel I'm wasting my time watching something that isn't connected to a bigger ark.  I only get this feeling with superhero films, and I definitely felt it here. 

Still, it's quite funny and kept me entertained throughout. John Cena

 

3/5

 

The Green Knight

I had a night to myself and really wanted to give this a go following the fascinating trailer. 

My thoughts are confused. I didn't enjoy it much, despite loving the setting, the looks, and the ambiguity. Honestly, I found it dull. 

There were some moments of brilliance that I appreciated but it felt like a film for film students and critics to pour over. 

Ten years ago I would have been all over this, but these days I'm apparently after something a bit more engaging. 

It probably needs a rewatch to appreciate but at the moment I don't feel compelled to do so. 

 

2/5

 

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Dawn Breaks Behind The Eyes (2021)

Very difficult to review this without spoiling it silly but let's just say it's an aesthetically-pleasing gothic horror with a very 70s flavour, gets suitably intense. The soundtrack is a fantastic combination of original and period music. Plot-wise there's a gear-shift a way into the film which was very well done, it gets somewhat confusing after that, well, freaky, although I guess that's half the point. However, it doesn't really matter because it looks and sounds fantastic. Yeah, certainly more successful technically and astehteically for me.

 

3/5

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Suicide Squad (2016)

 

(Finger on the pulse, as ever...)

 

It's not terrible, but you kind of get a sense of going through the motions at times, and compared with better superhero/supervillain films I need to be real. The main characters were enjoyable enough and the action was fun, but the runtime could have done with some trimming, or they could have had more interesting story beats in that runtime.

 

3/5

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Bad Candy (2021)

It's a horror anthology set in a small American town on Halloween. Like any horror anthology it has good bits and bad bits. This one tends to cover up predictable or limited stories with lots of stuff like Halloween tat from the pound shop, fairylights and blood. Credit for covering a lot of ground, especially as it is on a budget. Some of the digital effects were a bit too cheap though, and whilst there was an alright twist at the end it was overall a bit all over the place and pretty obvious. And I do like normal credit rolls as they signal I can relax and digest what I just watched. The credit roll here had more effort put into it than necessary. Just a pet peeve. Watch Trick r Treat if you haven't.

 

2/5

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Phantom Of The Mall: Eric's Revenge (1989)

One of those does-what-it-says-on-the-tin sort of films, delivers late-80s cheesy horror thrills, quality setup, some good kills, a sort of car chase around a car park and some explosions. Morgan Fairchild brings the 80s galm with huge hair and of-its-time attire. It's not a classic by any means, there's not much to make it stand out yet it offers up just enough genre action to make it worth watching.

 

3/5

 

Watched this via online FrightFest, newly-restored version. Not seen it before so can't really show how good a job they've done.

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No Man of God

 

The story of criminal profiler Bill Haigmaier and his meeting and interviews with serial killer Ted Bundy over the course of a number of years. 

 

Elijah Wood plays Bill, with Luke Kirby portraying the notorious killer. If you're looking for death and detailed descriptions of what Bundy did, this isn't the movie for you. Instead, this is a very intimate character piece, with the vast majority of the run time taken up with face to face interviews between the two leads. It's very well acted, and Kirby in particular is excellent. He brings an unnerving humanity to the character, somehow managing to make him likeable, albeit for a short period of time. It could have easily been a showy role, but Kirby keeps it grounded. 

 

Wood is good too, but has a lot less to work with. He isn't even there to get Bundy to confess, rather to understand why he did what he did, so that he can build a profile of another killer the FBI are trying to catch. This discussion turns into, it's hard to say. The two are never friends (though Bundy thinks they are) but there's definitely some kind of respect (?) between the two. At times it seems the killer is playing Wood's character, but you also get hints that he's seen it all before, and knows exactly when he's being manipulated. The only real issue is that Wood still seems too young to be playing the role. You get the impression early on that he's not some fresh-faced kid just out of the academy, but he certainly looks that way.

 

The discussions between the two are fascinating, and at times Kirby manages to make you forget he brutally killed at least 30 girls. Given how Bundy was said to be quite charming in real life, and obviously very intelligent, it works well to catch you off guard when he does say something shocking (which only occurs once or twice). As above, this isn't about what Bundy did or how he did it. Despite the fact that the killer spoke at length before his death about what he'd really done, there's only one scene of a confession of sorts - no flashbacks or re-enactment.  

 

It's far from flashy, with only a couple of odd sequences. There's also archive footage of the day Bundy was executed. The small pieces of music were good, though I'm not sure they went with the type of film. Hats off for the performance (Aleksa Palladino and Robert Patrick were also both good in very small roles). An interesting, but slight picture, which doesn't try to explain or delve into the characters in the way you expect. 3.5/5

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Still doing FrightFest:

 

Woodlands Dark And Days Bewitched: A History Of Folk Horror (2021)

Expansive, very detailed dive into the folk horror film genre, in the 3+ hour running time it covers a hell of a lot of ground, starting in familiar territory (Witchfinder General, The Whicker Man, Blood On Satan's Claw) and moves outward, from films based on British folk tales to America and around the world. There's so much information here it was difficult to digest in one viewing and I'd definitely watch it again. Tons of great contributions from writers, directors, actors, academics and other enthusiasts, they tie the films to the stories and folklore, it isn't just name a film and have someone go yeah I remember that. One for those who are prepared to put the effort and time into the journey. Excellent stuff.

 

4.5/5

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1 hour ago, Vimster said:

Still doing FrightFest:

 

Woodlands Dark And Days Bewitched: A History Of Folk Horror (2021)

Expansive, very detailed dive into the folk horror film genre, in the 3+ hour running time it covers a hell of a lot of ground, starting in familiar territory (Witchfinder General, The Whicker Man, Blood On Satan's Claw) and moves outward, from films based on British folk tales to America and around the world. There's so much information here it was difficult to digest in one viewing and I'd definitely watch it again. Tons of great contributions from writers, directors, actors, academics and other enthusiasts, they tie the films to the stories and folklore, it isn't just name a film and have someone go yeah I remember that. One for those who are prepared to put the effort and time into the journey. Excellent stuff.

 

4.5/5

Sounds fantastic tbh. I look forward to Shudder picking it up and renewing my sub. 

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Claw (2021)

You basically have an unintentionally mediocre stand-up comedian and her friend stuck in a ghost town with a resident and a raptor. It has that comedy peril vibe of something like Tremors, you know this not least due to the constant comedy-horror music that got right on my nerves pretty quickly. The CG raptor is actually pretty good and is blended in well, but that's not really enough. And just when you hoped it had ended it goes on with a pure padding epilogue. The very mild wackiness of this wasn't for me.

 

1.5/5

 

 

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Evie (2021)

Despite a sedate start I found myself being drawn into the the tale of a women who as a girl experienced a family tragedy, reconnects with her brother. The majority of the film is a family drama in a rural setting, the pace is suitably languid, the tone dour with occasional banter between the siblings. There is a folk-horror element but it is very subtle for the vast majority of the time. It doesn't fully reveal itself until near the end, I found myself re-evaluating what I had just watched. It would probably have made a decent one-hour TV drama but I did enjoy it. And watching the FrightFest extra I thought that co-writer looked and sounded familiar, not that I've been a big viewer of Emmerdale since my mum passed away.

 

3/5

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Bring Out The Fear (2021)

A couple with an iffy relationship go for a walk in the woods but soon get lost, or is something keeping them there? It's a very intimate two-hander that concentrates on the decaying relationship, and sanity, of the couple in question. Kudos for making the woods feel endless and sinister. The cinematography and atmosphere was spot on. The tension builds and becomes quite intense by the end. It didn't really work for me mainly because it was difficult to relate to the couple, and as that was the main draw it made it difficult to like.  It didn't help that the one character shouted "Dan!" several times a la Alan Partridge. A your-mileage-may-vary sort of film.

 

2.5/5

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Conny Plank: The Potential Of Noise - 5/5 (Prime)

 

This is a perfect music documentary with a personal and bittersweet flavour. The son of a German production legend whips around all over to interview people who worked with his father, and they share their memories of the producer, his family and the farmhouse studio he built to coax wonders from musicians he took a shine to.

 

The music is fantastisch - Can, Neu!, Kraftwerk, Whodini, Killing Joke, Eurythmics, DAF and Devo to name but a few. People loved the guy, but as it progresses it’s clear many of their successes came at the expense of Plank’s role as a father.

 

There’s also a bonus for Chart Music fans -an appearance of Rock Expert David Stubbs!

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2 hours ago, ZOK said:

Conny Plank: The Potential Of Noise - 5/5 (Prime)

 

This is a perfect music documentary with a personal and bittersweet flavour. The son of a German production legend whips around all over to interview people who worked with his father, and they share their memories of the producer, his family and the farmhouse studio he built to coax wonders from musicians he took a shine to.

 

The music is fantastisch - Can, Neu!, Kraftwerk, Whodini, Killing Joke, Eurythmics, DAF and Devo to name but a few. People loved the guy, but as it progresses it’s clear many of their successes came at the expense of Plank’s role as a father.

 

There’s also a bonus for Chart Music fans -an appearance of Rock Expert David Stubbs!

Krautrock Expert David Stubbs.

 

Yeah that sounds right up my street.

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Red Heat (3/5)

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a Russian Terminator who has to go to late 80s Chicago and work with James Belushi to track down a gangster played by Mark out of the Levellers.

 

Walter Hill does gritty and the whole thing is enjoyably competent, but can someone explain to me (without using the word "brother") how James Belushi actually got a career?  He clearly is the 80's Paddy McGuinness.

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As In Heaven So On Earth (2020)

Intriguing Italian blending of a modern-day found footage investigation around missing teenagers and an ancient manuscript, and a story involving goings-on in a monastery in the 13th century, the latter conveyed through use of puppets. And it works a lot better than I thought it would. It is a tangled tale, a bit too tangled in places for me but I applaud the audacity. Some of the puppet scenes are creepy and shocking with a hint of Frankenstein.

 

3.5/5

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2 hours ago, Plissken said:

can someone explain to me (without using the word "brother") how James Belushi actually got a career?  He clearly is the 80's Paddy McGuinness.

 

He's supposed to be the guy the audience gels with in Red Heat, but he's so unlikeable. One scene after his partner is killed he's basically forgotten about him, and he has no chemistry with Arnie (I love how at the end they crowbar in a mutual respect frendo scene that isn't earned at all). On top of that, all his jokes are terrible.

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My problem with James Belushi isn't that he plays unlikable characters, he himself comes right through whatever character he has ever played as probably completely unlikable in real life. (I have nothing to base this on.)

 

Don't know if it is me, as I have a similar problem with Jason Lee and to a lesser extent Bill Murray.

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24 minutes ago, Plissken said:

My problem with James Belushi isn't that he plays unlikable characters, he himself comes right through whatever character he has ever played as probably completely unlikable in real life. (I have nothing to base this on.)

 

He was brilliant in twin peaks and came across sweet and cuddly. I can't really remember him in anything else.

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Ultrasound (2021)

Satisfyingly complex psychological thriller that starts with a man forced off the road, seeks help from a nearby house, a strange proposition is made. But without spoiling anything things really are not what they seem, in fact it went in a totally different direction and does a lot with the central plot device. You have to really concentrate though, you're constantly having to keep on top of shifting events and perspectives. Thankfully it is tightly plotted and directed. It's difficult to criticise the themes or plot details without spoilers so I'll just say definitely worth a watch. Great noodly-modular synth soundtrack too.

 

3.5/5

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