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I've doubtless forgotten a few titles, and will be adding new ones to the list, as applicable.
Good film...but not an intellectually honest one
This is, in many ways, a very well made film. It was somewhat weakened by the fact that, as it turns out, apparently the story of the assassination of Ubergruppenfuhrer Reinhard Heydrich (in 1942), just wasn't hugely interesting. It sounds like a great topic for a movie, but there just weren't enough actual events. They came, they saw, they slew Heydrich, they were betrayed, and they died as brave martyrs. The End.
Additionally, and while I hate to turn everything into a political analysis (although the Second World War is pretty much the defining political event of the recorded history of the human species, so I think I'm on solid ground here), the epilogue of the film recounts the horrific aftermath of the 1942 assassination, and how this ostensibly aided in the Allied victory. But in order for this film not to be merely an exercise in feel-good, Allied propaganda, don't we need to look at the aftermath of that Allied victory? Would these hard and desperate men, brave, honorable Christian patriots to the hilt, have been so willing to lay down their lives for a free & independent Czechoslovakia, had they known that in 1948 (just three years after the Allied victory), their nation would effectively be handed over to Stalin's Soviet Union? Sure, Czechoslovakia is peacefully liberated 41 years later...and now Prague is the pornography & prostitution capitol of Europe. Oh, but don't worry, those erstwhile "industries" will soon be shut down by the rampaging hordes of Islamist invaders. Maybe these good men would wonder if perhaps they'd fought on the wrong dang side? Or maybe not. But to not ask the question, is BULLCRAP. Its propaganda, and its grotesque.
The Shore (2011)
Deserves to win the Oscar!
I just got back from viewing all ten short films nominated for the 2012 Academy Awards (five animated, and five live action), and Northern Ireland's "The Shore" was, without a doubt, the best of the five live action shorts. Its a hilarious film (but in a realistic manner, not in the silly, whimsical way which has frankly worn out its welcome in recent years, I think), and actress Maggie Cronin, as "Mary," the protagonists's ex-fiancée, really steals the show. At around age 50 (I'm guessing), she puts most 20something actresses to utter shame with her supernal, voluptuous beauty. I simply could not take my eyes of this woman! This one should definitely win the Oscar, but it probably won't, alas. They'll probably give it to "Pentecost," because it mocks the Catholic Church. Like that's an original, or risky thing to be doing in 2012 (in fairness, "Pentecost" was also funny). But this is the film that would win, if the Academy cared about truth & beauty. Which is a bit like saying Uganda would have been a splendid country in the 1970s, if only Idi Amin had been a humanitarian. Oh well. I guess I should be happy this excellent little film was nominated at all (else I'd have never heard of it, let alone seen it).
Good, but not Great
(Spoilers contained herein are quite mild, and should not interfere significantly with one's enjoyment of this film, but as a courtesy I am noting there is some slight potential for spoilage, for those who want to go into this film without knowing anything about it...in which case, you should probably eschew reading its reviews altogether, LOL.) Anyhoo, this 2010 release is Koji Shiraishi's third "found footage"/mockumentary-style horror film (after the phenomenal 2005 feature, "Noroi: The Curse," and the lesser-but-still-excellent "Occult," from 2009), and while its the least of the the three, its still a perfectly adequate and entirely enjoyable film.
A very peculiar (and highly clever & original) aspect of this film's production is that the principal stars ie., the members of the Japanese "Idol"-type band called "Momoiro Clover," think they are appearing on an episode of a haunted house-themed "reality"-TV show, rather than an actual horror film. These very characteristically feminine (indeed, to an extent that is a bit silly at times, to Western eyes), Japanese teenage girls are, shall we say, very fertile soil indeed in which to plant the seeds of fear (I think it would be fair to say this movie contains too much screaming, but the fact the screams are the product of their clearly delicate emotional natures, rather than acting, makes it more tolerable than would otherwise be the case).
Anyhoo, as you can well imagine, the poor little girls are totally unaware that there is a cinematic special effects team working its (low-budget) magic out of sight, and thus their visit to the "Shirome" shrine, at an abandoned school, winds up being a much more frightening experience than they had doubtless bargained for, ROFL! There is one scene, at the very end of the film, where one of the girls (you should have very little difficulty ascertaining which one) is in on Mr. Shiraishi's big joke (he plays himself, as ostensibly the director of an episode of a "reality" television program), and terrifies her band mates, as the film's somewhat dark finale draws to a close.
All in all, I'd say this is a good movie, and if you enjoy "found footage"-type horror films (as I do), or are more generally interested in Japanese horror (or perhaps the specific works of Koji Shiraishi), then you should make it a point to seek this out.
Creepshow 2 (1987)
This Film is All About Segment Two ie., "The Raft"
This is a weak sequel to the early 1980s minor classic, "Creepshow." Unlike the original, it features no direct input from Stephen King (with the one notable exception of his story, "The Raft," taken from 1982's "Skeleton Crew" collection). The original "Creepshow" was directed by George Romero, and the script was authored by Stephen King, so its perhaps no surprise that the only truly good (great, actually) segment in this three-part film, is the one based on a King story, with a script authored by George Romero.
In any event, the first segment, "Old Chief Woodenhead," is just plain stupid, and arguably even a little offensive (and I'm no PC monger, to be sure). Its just kinda...unpleasant. It isn't scary, and it isn't interesting. On a ten-scale, I give it a 3.
The second segment, "The Raft," is the only reason to see this movie, frankly. "The Raft" is an AMAZING short story, and this cinematic adaptation is really quite good. I give it a 9.
The third segment, which I believe is entitled "The Hitchhiker," or something very similar, is OK. I mean, it doesn't suck or anything, but it feels VERY derivative of some 1960s episode(s) of "The Twilight Zone," and otherwise just isn't very memorable (or original, needless to say). Its...mediocre. I give it a 6, which is somewhat generous, and enables me to average out the three ratings as a 6 overall, for the film in its entirety.
Really, the only reason to see this is in order to view "The Raft." If you're feeling bored, what the Hell, watch "The Hitchhiker" too. I adamantly recommend skipping "Old Chief Woodenhead," unless you're one of those people who likes bad cinema in and of itself...and I am not such a person. I prefer quality to crap.
30 Days of Night (2007)
The worst movie I've seen in years! I hated it!
Seriously, this movie is absolutely terrible. There are so many moronic holes in the plot that its positively obscene. The main characters all should have died about twenty times over, largely due to their own stupidity, but somehow, the vampires just keep inexplicably not locating them while they (loudly) hole up in a series of attics and basements (while constantly peeking out little windows and otherwise doing idiotic crap that would clearly spell their doom). The vampires can search every other building in the small town (Barrow, Alaska), but for some reason, they never search the one they are in. The vampires can station sentinels upon various high points in the town, but somehow never see them as they run, a parade of imbeciles literally careening through the streets, from one hiding place to the next (for seemingly no reason what-so-ever). Half the time the lighting is so bad that you can't tell what's going on anyway, as if it matters. I mean, I know its supposed to be a month of night and all, but does that mean that we the audience aren't allowed to see the action?
There are so many things about this movie that are so darn annoying that I literally began rooting for the vampires, and wishing for the deaths of all the so-called protagonists (the vampires are the real protagonists; people like the characters in this movie basically should be hunted down and torn to shreds - I would have turned Renfield and aided the vampires). One thing you "learn" about Barrow, Alaska while watching this movie is that, apparently, no one who lives there ever takes a shower, or ever so much as washes their face. Each actor seems to cavort around with about an eighth of an inch of shiny grease and random particulate matter splattered all over their mugs in every single scene - even in the early, pre-sunset scenes before the actual vampires show up to kill all these worthless, unhygienic dorks. Oh, and the sheriff is some 23-year old underwear model-type who looks like a young Keanu Reeves. Yeah, I'm sure that really fits the profile of rural Alaskan sheriffs.
And while this last may seem like a strange and irrelevant point, believe me, as one who had to sit through this waste of celluloid, if it had happened just one more time, I think I would have screamed and just ended this cinematic abortion right there. You see, they refer to electrical generators about ten times during this movie. But with a single exception, they never call them generators. They always call them "gennys." I just can't impart to you how incredibly annoying it was to watch a bunch of greasy-faced, Hollywood, metrosexual retards pretending they were rednecks by saying "genny" when they meant "generator."
Chu Chu and the Philly Flash (1981)
I was born in 1970, and this movie came out in 1981. I had grown up during the 1970s thoroughly enjoying the old "Carol Burnette Show," so I pestered by mother to take me to see it at the old AMC Pruneyard theater in Campbell, California (now the site of the Camera 7 Cinemas). Man, was I ever disappointed! Its been nearly 26 years since I've seen this film, and I have no desire to repeat the experience. I can't remember there being anything funny about it, or being moved to laugh in any way, shape, or form. The script was an implausible mess of a story that I never gave a damn about. As interesting side notes, however, this movie must have been one of the first feature films to have Danny Glover and Danny Aiello in the cast. It also took place in San Francisco, which was probably the only thing about it I liked (having grown up in the Bay Area, I enjoy seeing places that look familiar on screen). Skip it!