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LeonLouisRicci

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1818 reviews in total 
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Lurid, Gross, and Bloody…What's Not to Like?, 22 December 2014
7/10

This Horror Movie is Much Better than it Ought to be Considering its Troubled Production. Hammer Studios were in Dire Straits and this was the One that was Going to Save the Beloved British Studio. Although it Made a Tidy Profit, it was Not to Be.

it was Hammer's Biggest Budget Movie, Went on Multiple Locations, but it wasn't in the Tarot Cards as the Studio Closed it Doors just One Film Later (a non Horror Film a Remake of The Lady Vanishes).

The Film has a Cast of Well Knowns Including Richard Widmark, Christopher Lee, Honor Blackman and Nastassja Kinski (her age is referenced anywhere from 15-17 depending on the source). This is Significant because the Actress has some Daring Sex Scenes.

After Completion Chris Lee, Richard Widmark, and Author of the Source Material Dennis Wheatley all but Disowned the Movie. One can See Why, but then Again, it Seems Like a bit of Insincere Embarrassment and Over Reaction.

Sure it is Lurid, Gross, Bloody, and Disturbing in its Seventies Exploitation Kind of Way. After All, it was The Exorcist (1972) that Made Oodles of Money and Everyone, Including the Cash Hungry Hammer were Trying to Emulate. Even Today The Exorcist is Lurid, Gross, Bloody, and Disturbing. So What's the Beef.

This One is Worth a Watch for a Number of Reasons and Will Deliver the Goods to Horror Fans and Fangoria Types. It May Not be as Good as its Inspirations but the Movie is Odd Enough and Gory Enough and with that Cast it Finds Itself in Cult Film Status Despite the Rushed and Disappointing Ending and the On the Set Bickering.

It's a Nasty Bit of Business This and a Number of Things Make it Interesting, and a Good Try for Hammer to Keep its Hand In. It was Just that Their Time was Up and Others would have to Carry On the Tradition. R.I.P. Hammer Horror.

Odd Feeling Gangster Movie That Can't Find Its Tone, 22 December 2014
6/10

Viggo Mortensen's American and Ryo Ishibashi's Yakuza, Highlight this Low-Budget Gangster Movie that Never Really Amounts to More than a Slightly Above Average Go for this Type of Thing.

It Seems to Try Some Stylish Turns Here and There but the Violence for Example is Tone Inconsistent and this Makes for an Odd Feel to the Film. The Shootouts are Kinetic and Bloody but when it's Up Close and Personal the Movie Switches its Gear and Cuts Away at the Last Minute.

Wanting to have it Both Ways Makes for a Frustrating Tone as the Film can't Decide on What it is. A Personal Inside Story of Loyalty and "Friendship" or a Kick-Butt John Woo Ripoff.

Overall, Worth a Watch for the Two Lead Performances and Some Scenes that Work Well with Good Cinematography. The Movie Looks Better than Most B-Movies with a Soft Color Scheme that Adds a Bit of a Laid Back Ambiance. However, the Italian Mob-FBI-Yakuza Angle is a Lackluster Affair and Not Handled Very Well.

Disappointing and Shallow…A Surface Rendition of an Interesting Subject, 20 December 2014
5/10

Shallow Representation of a Shallow Industry (TV News). Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer Leave Their A-Game Behind in this Soapy Weeper that Never Quite Hits the Right Notes. Nothing is Very Scathing, Although it Tries to be, About the Cut-Throat Entertainment of Television Journalism.

Focus Groups and Ratings are at the Center of the Thing and Redford's Character Spends Most of the Film "Telling it Like it is" and of Course Nobody Wants to Hear it. But He Tries. Pfeiffer is Trying Also in a Difficult Role. She has to be Ditzy then Determined then a Pro. The Transition is Not Wholly Believable.

The Production Values are Non Existent and Bland. The Middle with the Prison Riots Never Manages to be What it is Meant to be and the Political Messages in the Film are Heavy Handed and Obscure. The Muddled Story of the Racism and Incarceration Injustices are Never Convincing.

Overall, a Chick-Flick that Almost but Never Quite has Enough Substance to be Anything More and the Movie is About Much More. The Premise is an Almost Always Interesting One and This One Went Softball Most of the Time and Hardly Lives Up to its Aspirations. It's Disappointing Considering the Star Power and What it Could Have Been and What it Delivers is Nothing but Average at Best.

Breakdown (1997/I)
Homages Abound in this Freshly Crafted Cat & Mouse, 17 December 2014
9/10

That Old War Horse Kurt Russell is at it Again in Rookie Director Jonathan Mostow's Road Trip, Paranoid, Action Thriller. Unfolding at an Accelerating Pace it Takes the Clichés of its Inspirations and Makes You Want to Get In and Go Along for the Ride.

J.T. Walsh Adds His Bit of Detached Dementia and the Clan of Some Really Nasty Rural Types are on the Hunt for More Big City Prey to Fleece and Murder. One of the Scariest Scenes Takes Place when Their Lair is Discovered and what is Piled Up in The Barn Sends Chills. It is Not an Action Scene, it is a Static Discovery of Past Deeds and Things are Lying Around Like So Many Bones and Decaying Flesh in a Horror Movie.

This is an Offbeat Way of Scaring People on an Intellectual Level Without Blood and Bodies. This is a Talented Craftsman at Work Here with Standard Material and that's what Makes This One Out of the Ordinary.

The Ordinary Thrills One Expects from this Type of Thing are Here Also, but it is an Odd Way that is On Display (like a strange trip down the rapids), as the Film has Fun with Plenty of Homages. Highly Recommended.

Kitschy-Kitschy Ya Ya…Seventies Schlock…A Big-Budget Bomb of Ideas, 16 December 2014
6/10

It's an Overused Description..."So Bad It's Good"...But in this Case it's True. A Unique Combination of the Occult, Sci-Fi, Horror, Black Comedy, and the Kitchen Sink. The Movie Changes Tone and Direction So Many Times the Head Spins, Whiplash Ensues, and Cultural Shock is Inevitable.

It is Kitsch. Over the Top and Absolutely Absurd. Ancient American Indian Names that Sound Laughable when Pronounced Out Loud and they are Pronounced Outloud A Lot. There are Some Interesting Sets and Some Effective SFX and Makeup and then there are the Awful Sets and the Awful SFX and Makeup. You See where this is Going.

But in the Film You Never See where it is Going. It Veers Here and There with Some Dread and then Horrible One Liners and it is Creepy and then Detours into Setups and Scenes Designed to Frighten that are So Poorly Handled the Laughter Erupts.

The Ending is the Worst of the Worst and Cannot do Anything but Bring the Whole Mess to a Screeching and Screaming Seizure of Outrageous Awfulness with its Ridiculous Looking Battle in Outer Space or Inner Space or Another Dimension or Hallucination, or Wherever.

It Contains Nudity, a Floating Bed, Holes is Space-Time with Whirling Lights and Phaser Beams and the Bean Boggles. It has to be Seen to Be Believed or Appreciated.

Overall, Recommend for Schlock Lovers, Bad Movie Fans and Anyone that Loves to Make Fun of a Serious Try Becoming a Hilarious Hoot.

Blow-Up (1966)
Over Analyzed 1960's Time Capsule Containing Artifacts and Ambiguity, 16 December 2014
7/10

This is a Difficult Film to Review, but that Didn't Stop Anyone with a Typewriter in 1966. Critics and Social Commentarians Used, Perhaps, Every Word from Websters to Pontificate on the Profundity of this "Art-Film" from a Foreign Director Set in London's Swinging Scene as it was "Happening".

A Deluge of Discussion Among the Hip and the Not So Hip or the Pseudo-Hip, Followed this One Around Like So Many Fleas on a Dog. It is This, It is That, It Crawls on its Belly Like a Reptile, It is the Second Coming, a New Wave of Cinema Splashing on the Scene.

The Movie was a Hit, a Big Hit. Not Only at the Box-Office but with Critics and Intellectuals, Art Lovers, and Those that Indulged in Mind Altering Drugs. No One Could Argue About the Impact it Made Not Only on Audiences but Other Emerging Film-Makers. Dario Argento Loved it. Francis Ford Coppola did a Homage Called The Conversation (1974), and Brian De Palma Made Blow-Out (1981).

But is it a Good Movie, a Great Movie, a Pretentious Bore, a Time Capsule, or Just One More Film that is Overrated, Over Analyzed, or Just Pretty Pictures with a Pop-Psychology Pretense.

It's Up to You in the End. Watch it, Don't Watch it, Write About it, Don't Write About it, Dismiss it, Discuss it, Pretend it is Meaningless, or Make it Your Life's Work Trying to Figure the Thing Out. It's Completely Your Decision.

For Some......"Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens."…...David Byrne

For Others.…..Heaven is a Place where Movies Like This don't Even Exist.

Train (2008/I)
Dismal...Darkly Lit...Torture Horror, 15 December 2014
3/10

The Torture Porn Genre Really has No Place Left to Go. It has Run its Course and this is Just Another Example of One of Those Last Gasps for Die Hard Fans. Torture is Torture, Everyone Gets it (except Dick Cheney) and Like Porn, You Know it When You See it.

So here's Another if You're Interested, but You May Want to Grow Up and Refine Your Taste. But to Each His Own and This Ones For You. There is the Requisite Young People Being Captured, Flayed, Castrated, Mutilated, and More. Also, a Necrophiliac is On Board for the Truly Sick Voyeurs that Derive Perverted Pleasure from Their Entertainment.

This Type has Burnt Itself Out. Speaking of Burned Out, Thora Birch was a Child Actor and Has Done Some Good Work in Some Good Movies Growing Up. American Beauty (1999), Ghost World (2001). But Here She Looks Haggard and Disinterested (who can blame Her?).

There are a Few Scenes with Some Surprising Genre Extremes but as a Whole it is a Darkly Lit, Murky, and Unhealthy Looking Movie with Very Little Style. The Third Act is the Best when Things Broaden a Little and the Back Story is Fully Revealed. But by then, the Movie has Run Well Past its Welcome for Anyone but the Most Sadistic Types.

This is Beyond Cathartic, Typical for the Genre, and is Artistically Anemic and Nothing but Repulsive.

Dark Water (2005)
All Atmospherics and Great Acting…Emotional and Engaging, 15 December 2014
8/10

Excellent, but Somewhat Familiar Psychological Thriller that is an Exercise in Emotional Breakdown in an Unfriendly World. Jennifer Connelly Leads a Great Cast of Character Actors with an Outstanding Performance from Aerial Dadane as the Daughter.

This was Marketed as a Horror Film and Disappointed a Lot of Fans with its Slow Burn and Atmospherics. But it is Nonetheless and Engaging Film that Draws You In with its Creepy and Gloomy Cityscape and a Building that has a Disturbing Personality of its Own.

The Movie is Made in the Roman Polanski Tradition for Adults. The Supernatural Elements are Included for Some Scares, but it is the Real Life Horrors that Truly Make this a Disturbing Drama About Mental Illness, Child Abuse, and Abandonment.

Overall, Recommended for Mature Thinkers that Like Their Horror More Intellectual than Physical. The Great Cast is a Standout and Director Walter Salles has Crafted a Film that was Not Well Received by Critics and was Released for a Target Audience that Showed It Nothing but Disdain. It's Better than That and is Definitely Worth a Watch.

Calling this Fun/Enjoyable Misses the Point…Deep, Depressing & Disturbing, 15 December 2014
7/10

Deadly Serious and Controversial Slasher Film that is Deep, Depressing, and Disturbing. Viewers Who have Called this a Fun Ride, Enjoyable, and Entertaining are Completely Missing the Point. In the Vein of Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) and Bad Lieutenant (1992) this is Not to be Taken Lightly. Grim, Gritty, and Captivatingly Unwelcome.

There is Just Too Much Going on Here for it to be Just Another Slasher and Gore Movie for Teenagers. The Psychology is Profound and the Rigorous Religious Component is Obvious. Mother Superior, Another Villain in the Film, Beats a Child with a Belt Because He is Curious About Sex, Forces a Young Girl Who is Kicking and Screaming to Sit on Santa's Lap, and Verbally Chastises the Kids for Normal Kid Behavior.

This Abusive and Sadistic Behavior from the Nun Shows that She is as Mentally Disturbed as the Killer, and Contributed to the Formation of His Abnormality. There is Very Little Humor Here and Intentional or Not, the Tone of the Thing Hits on an Emotional Level that Cannot be Denied. Those that Find this a Hoot will Never Understand its Intent or its Insights.

It Might Remind Some of the Post Office Workers, those Formerly Norman Rockwell Icons, that were Considered Family Friendly (delivering Christmas Cards), Who were for the Most Part Jolly and in Their Spiffy Uniforms were a Welcome Sight in the Neighborhood.

It was Quite a Shock to Society when a Spree of Postman Went Ballistic and Shooting Up the Post Office Became a National Story of Concern. Thus Making "Postal" Analogous of Workplace Violence or Generally a Complete Mental Breakdown Resulting in Murders.

Yes, this is an Extremely Cheap Horror Movie but it is Horrific. The Low-Budget is Glaring but Does Not Diminish the Power and Impact. Protests Succeeded in Getting the Movie Pulled Quickly from Theatres.

Overall, Misunderstood Movie that is More than it Seems and Must Rank as One of the Most Disturbing Slashers, Despite its Shortcoming of Budget Restraints and a General Lack of Style.

Quiet Under-Seen & Unappreciated B-Movie About Returning War Vets, 14 December 2014
7/10

Understated and Quiet Story About War Veterans with a Residue of Unspeakable Acts Committed During the Fog of War. This Low-Budget and Under-Appreciated Movie Looks Great and the Acting with Believable Performances is Above Average in this B-Movie.

Maybe it's the Lack of Action that Disappoints Viewers that Expected this to be All Glitzy with Guns Ablaze and the Violence Visceral. But that isn't the Intent of this Personal Vision of Vets with Guilt and Coping Mechanisms Elusive.

It is a Good Story and this is a Misunderstood Movie that is Way Better than its Reputation and Critical Dismissal. The Mountain Scenes are Stylish and Sprawling and the Two-Man Confrontation is Done with Dignity and is a Respectful Take on Psychically "Wounded Warriors".

The Inclusion of Real Life Military Types in a Tell All Support Group was a Risky Effort but it Works as a Back Story and the Front Story of Soldiers Returning from The Front is Done with Some Style but Never is it Pretentious, Just Prescient.

Overall, an Under-Seen, Underrated Small Film from a Debut Director that Manages to Make it All Work. Definitely Recommended for Thinkers and Action Fans Should Look Elsewhere for That Thing.


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