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JohnSeal

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1047 reviews in total 
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Things You Will Learn From Find the Lady, 1 June 2014
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Here are several things you'll learn from watching this incredibly dated 'comedy': 1)Gay men are effeminate and love to wear drag, 2)Asian people are inscrutable, super intelligent, and are accompanied by 'Oriental' musical motifs wherever they go; 3)Afro-Caribbean men are especially hilarious when referred to as 'schwarzers' and wear white face; 4)Italian men are all named Mario and Luigi and work in pizza parlours - additionally, they are extremely emotional and speak with their hands. Here's the most important lesson taught by Find the Lady: it's not a very funny movie. In fact, I barely cracked a smile during the film, despite the presence of such note-worthies as Mickey Rooney, Peter Cook, and John Candy. Oh, and Delroy Lindo as Sam, the poor schlep forced to 'white up'. All in all, a very typical example of seventies Canadian cinema.

Fantastic, even by the standards of the genre, 24 February 2014
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Not 'fantastic' as in 'really good', but 'fantastic' as in 'beyond belief'. A Hard Way to Die is a bizarre martial arts tale set in an Old West that definitely isn't the Old West. In this Old West, the population is equal parts Asian, African-American, and White, and they all work, relax and fight together in equal measure. When they play pool in the local bar, they all happily listen to country-western music. I thought at first the film was making some tenuous connection to the construction of the railroads, but that doesn't seem to be the case: characters refer to being on an island, and many of them are dressed in modern-day wear. The acting style is best described as 'flowery', the dialogue stilted, and the dubbing alone worth the price of admission (or the dollar you might pay for the tape at a garage sale). As bad as it is, it's way more interesting than your average chop socky affair.

Caterpillar propaganda, 20 September 2013
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is an amazing piece of propaganda masquerading as a public safety film. Produced by The Caterpillar Company and cynically dubbed a 'Caterpillar safety presentation', The Perfect Crime was designed to make John and Jane Motorist feel incredibly guilty about every fatal accident that occurs on America's highways. You see, there hasn't been enough investment in road-building, and people keep dying on those old crummy thoroughfares because John and Jane aren't willing to pay taxes to replace them. What the country needs is a blitzkrieg of bulldozers, and who better to provide them than Caterpillar? Directed by Robert Altman, The Perfect Crime displays little of the future auteur's attention to character, but did it sway Congress to approve the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, the legislation that created the Interstate highway system? It wouldn't surprise me at all if it did.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Under My Nails, 7 February 2013
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This bilingual (English and Spanish) drama from Puerto Rico was primarily shot on location during a snowy New York winter and stars newcomer Kisha Burgos as Solimar, a young woman living a hermit-like existence in the Bronx. Orphaned at an early age and raised by her uncle Amalia (Antonio Pantojas), Solimar works at a nail salon, where her only friend is co-worker Rose (Maite Bonilla). The neighbors in the flat next door, however, bring unwanted change to Solimar's life, as she's exposed to their noisy fighting and even noisier sex sessions. The result: a kitchen sink take on the Repulsion meme (albeit one where the sexual themes are more overt), with our heroine sinking deeper into loneliness and depression as she develops an unhealthy obsession with all that noise. Burgos - who also wrote the screenplay - is excellent, and though the film's a slow burner, you'll be engaged until the end.

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
The film of America, yet to come, 19 January 2013
7/10

If Ayn Rand had watched this film when it was first broadcast on American television, she no doubt would have had palpitations. Carol for Another Christmas not only revels in bleeding heart humanism, it also drives a stake through the heart of the Randian philosophy of objectivism. That must have been galling for acolytes of Rand in 1964, but here we are in 2013, and after forty or fifty years of relentless anti-humanist propaganda we now live in a world where the quaint liberalism of Rod Serling has been displaced by - you guessed it - the selfish anti-communitarianism of Ms. Rand. This development would have disgusted the vast majority of Americans in 1964, who would have answered Daniel Grudge's (Sterling Hayden) question to The Ghost of Christmas Future (Robert Shaw) - 'must it be like this?' - in the negative. The ghost, however, doesn't respond - and now, sadly, we know the answer.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A golden girl provides the kiss of death, 29 December 2012
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This thoroughly enjoyable slice of Turkish hokum is only available in the grey market via copies of a Greek videotape of a French print dubbed into English (and, of course, featuring Greek subtitles). Blonde (hence golden) Filiz Akin plays the mute daughter of a man killed by half a dozen rampaging ex-cons; the shock of his death loosens her tongue and she vows revenge. The intercession of a handsome loner (future Turkish MP Ediz Hun) provides her the necessary encouragement to go after the baddies, and crash courses in sharp shooting and karate provide her the needed skills. Broadly acted by all concerned, chock full of action, and featuring a terrific score, Golden Girl would have been a great addition to the Onar Films DVD library if not for the sad demise of owner Bill Barounis. Lots of fun if you can find it.

The village I like most is the village of love, 22 November 2012
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If Jess Franco had made a Tarzan knock off, this would have been it. From the very beginning, Zan King of the Jungle is filled with scantily clad women, out of focus photography, and an intense interest in the multiple possibilities of the zoom lens (to paraphrase Homer Simpson, 'zoom goes in, zoom goes out...zoom goes in, zoom goes out...'). However, even Franco would have been hard pressed to cook up a film in which a parrot warns the hero of impending danger...in English. Directed by Manuel Cano, also responsible for the unfeasibly bad Voodoo Black Exorcist, Zan King of the Jungle is as threadbare and unconvincing as you can imagine, with a side of beef named Steve Hawkes essaying the title role, albeit with some groovy late '60s sideburns. Would seeing this film in its original aspect ratio improve it? Probably, but I suspect it would still be pretty bad.

7362 (1967)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Brilliant and unsettling, 1 November 2012
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm not sure how I'm going to fill up ten lines writing about this film, but here goes: 7362 is everything an avant-garde film should be. Not only is it visually impressive, it's also deeply unsettling. I have no experience with psychedelic drugs, but watching this film gives me an inkling (I think) of what a bad LSD trip might look like: I felt my heart rate increasing and I became quite nervous whilst watching 7362. None of this, by the way, is a bad thing! As an extra added bonus, the startling visuals are accompanied by a disturbing but entirely appropriate electronic score co-composed by Joseph Byrd, a member of the groundbreaking group The United States of America. I'm surprised there's no mention of this in the booklet that accompanies Treasures IV: American Avant Garde Film, nor is it referenced in his Wikipedia entry. Well, look at me: I not only managed to meet the ten line requirement, I exceeded it by four! I must be tripping.

6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Go go S & H Green Stamps, 28 October 2012
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What the world needs now - desperately - is more S & H Green Stamps. Heck, considering no one's been able to find the coveted trading stamps since the end of the 20th century, even a small supply of them could possibly give our struggling economy the kick in the pants it needs. Such is the thesis of Engagement Party, in which a couple of stubborn business men turn up their noses at S & H Green Stamps. If only they understood how the stamps worked - customers who pay with cash get a discount in the form of stamps they then collect and turn in for valuable goods, like toasters and...more toasters! If you ever thought Sperry & Hutchinson were operating some sort of Ponzi scheme, Engagement Party will set you right. I'll take ALL the toasters, please!

Diamonds are not a girl's best friend, 22 July 2012
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Erika Blanc needs protection, and German Cobos is around to supply it in this obscure Spanish intriguer. Blanc plays Linda Moore, the widow of a man involved in the diamond trade who gets rubbed out by the competition. Cobos is Joe Callahan, a private investigator who takes an interest in her case and is willing to shield her from baddie Garbo (Blade of the Ripper's Luis de Tejada). A Fistful of Diamonds is only moderately engaging, but features some decent if skimpy New York City and Istanbul second unit work and a great theme song that really needs to get re-released. Shot in widescreen, the only way to see this film at present is via a crummy full-frame print with horrible faded colours.


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