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    7 years


Queen of Diamonds

From time to time I like to put something unusual, something outside of my usual diet on my screen: experimental, Avantgarde, independent movies and such outcasts. Queen of Diamonds is a fine mediation and contemplation on modern human's existence and the kind of relationships, rituals and societies we build. At least that's my interpretation of the things that unfolded before my eyes and mind: there is not much story, not much dialogues, but long and revealing shots that observe our heroin and her activities and the activities surrounding her. Anyway, if you want to try something rather unusual and peculiar, you may try this one. I really enjoyed the short trip (77 minutes) - but be warned, this is the kind of movie some people love but others won't get at all.

The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys

Burning Bright
The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys is one of those coming of age movies they don't make these days anymore - the story starts with a band of boys having fun and adventures, first love emerges, and in the end some tragic and dramatic turns shade the easy days of our young heroes. This fine movie reminds me of Bridge to Terabithia (starring young Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb) or Stand by Me (1986). Detached from today's politics and agendas, The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys is a very funny, entertaining and touching movie. It's also fun to see Jena Melon, Kieran Culkin and the others in their young days. Jodie Foster and Vincent D'Onofrio are also rock solid as Sister and Father of the Catholic school, the young no-goods attend. Anyway, this one is a fine piece, and if you don't know it yet, put it on your to watch list - if you have any taste for such kind of movies. Exact rate: 7.5.


The Devil's Work
Consecration was a very pleasant surprise: a fine production and cast, on top some story in the line of movies a la The Exorcist or The Medusa Touch (Richard Burton, 1978) and the like. Mostly I watched this one because of Jena Malone and I was not disappointed - her fine performance gives Grace, our by mysteries and death surrounded hero, gestalt, depth. Consecration is for sure no movie for the pure gorehound or for those who want the simple pleasures of a slasher movie served, but rather for those who can enjoy a slowly unfolding plot sugared by some dark atmosphere and fine settings. No doubt, this one is no masterpiece but an entertaining snack for the connoisseurs of previously mentioned movies.

Cocaine Bear

Some Fun Moments
Cocaine Bear is a rather mixed bag to me - the production and cast are okay, the idea fun, and we get some gory fun scenes too, but, and that is a big but, the parts do not work as a whole too well - it's like having a nice idea for a melody but the arrangements do not work. There are complete scenes that stick out and do not fit in too well. The first half is in my opinion the stronger one, in the end it gets repetitive and rather cheesy. Anyway, Cocaine Bear: watchable, with some really fun moments and enjoyable to a certain degree - good enough to waste some spare time on a lazy Sunday afternoon or something like that.

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Mildly Funny
So the Oscar winner for best picture is a mildly entertaining and mildly funny comedy with a story that is, well, how to describe it, nonsense trying to look smart. I for sure can enjoy nonsense but it must be entertaining and here Everything Everywhere All at Once fails - I wasn't engaged, entertained nor was my neural network on fire but, well, most of the time watching I was half asleep or my mind wandered off (maybe in some alternative reality or dimension). Like Babylon, Everything Everywhere All at Once got a few good fun moments, but that this one got the Oscar award of best movie - like Coda last year (also a rather mediocre and overpraised movie) - leaves me rather perplexed. The production is okay but nothing remarkable, the acting mostly solid. I'm pretty sure a decade earlier, neither Everything Everywhere All at Once nor Coda would have been nominated, and winning? I don't believe so.

La morte vivante

Neither Good Nor Too Bad
I hold dear some of Mr. Rollin's movies but (with a sad heart) I gotta disagree with some of those far too favorable reviews of La morte vivante aka The Living Dead Girl (just my opinion, of course): the plot is thin, the movie misses momentum, and Jean Rollin delivered far better composed and shot scenes regarding the domain and superpowers of Venus and Eros. What I like mostly is some well done gory scenes with effects in that gorgeous late 70s and 80s style - those scenes I really enjoyed, the rest was rather some background noise that neither did impress nor entertained me too well. Also I watched really better movies by the maestro of schlock and Avantgarde grotesques regarding cinematography and so on. Verdict: not a total fail but only recommended to those lost souls who want to watch everything Rollin's directed or produced before entering next soul level.

The Swarm

On Autopilot
Hits all the right buttons for all the adepts of climate change and impending doom and the final days of mankind but besides that "feature" The Swarm is a rather amazingly predictable, tame and boring piece. Maybe this could have been a good catastrophic disaster movie a la Emmerich but for a show there is not enough substance but a lot of cliches and zeitgeist blabla, especially character-wise The Swarm is like watching a clone of a clone of a clone. And last but not least Mr. Emmerich delivers action, special effects and lots of explosions to make up for a lack of substance regarding the script. The Swarm can't compete here with the maestro of disaster pop-corn cinema but storywise the plot is also thin like all those movies a la 2012 or Moonfall . Anyway, I must admit that I don't know the novel written by Frank Schätzing (the source material for the show), so I can't say, if the adaption or the novel is too blame, but the show is without any doubt no recommendation to put the book on my to read list.


Marlowe Light
I had high hopes for this one - I like Liam Neeson and Diane Kruger a lot and on top I read almost everything Raymond Chandler wrote in my younger days. Sadly, Marlowe does not really work too well: the dialogues feel more or less cliched and empty and the whole attitude of the story and characters feel, well, like copies of a copy. Movie adaptions like The Big Sleep (1946, starring Bogart and Bacall) or many years later Farewell, My Lovely (1975, starring good old Robert Mitchum) show how hard-boiled crime stories are done good: cool talk, cool private eyes in action, tough and rough bad guys, some femme fatal, and last but not least a special crime case. Marlow tries to give us all those necessary ingredients too but it just tastes stale. I won't blame the cast, but the script and production. Anyway, as Marlowe is not a total fail, you may try this one if you are great fan of the actors and/or of that genre.

Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre

Fun Light
Not really funny and the action served tastes lukewarm, the production is okay, the cast too - summa summarum: Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre is a rather redundant and forgettable flick directed by Guy Ritchie. I really don't know why I should recommend this movie to you, maybe if you need a side dish to your popcorn and coke this one will do. Operation Fortune is neither a strong comedy nor a strong action movie, and maybe the idea or premise for that one sounds good written on a napkin but the execution is not: The Man from UNCLE beats this one easy on all fields (production, story, cast) and just plays in another league or dimension. For sure not a total fail but just another entry to that fast growing section in the movie archive marked SoSo. Next.

Return to Oz

Worthy Trip
Walter Murch, the director of Return to Oz, was involved in the making of a lot of fine movies: The Godfather movies and Apocalypse Now are for sure masterpieces and known to every connoisseur of the art of making movies. In those big ones Murch did editing and sound design jobs. In his long line of work Return to Oz is to my knowing the only movie he took the director's job. His vision of Oz is a little different to the classic Oz movie starring Judy Garland everybody knows: no singing here, and the overall tone is a darker one: Return to Oz reminds me a little of Henson's Labyrinth, starring David Bowie and young Jennifer Connelly. Anyway, Return to Oz is still a fine movie with a great production and a funtastic story - but no doubt, I belong to the faction that prefers Victor Fleming's The Wizard of Oz, but Return to Oz is also a nice trip to wonderland and beats easy most productions Disney produces and publishes these days.

Ammazzali tutti e torna solo

Pure Italian Spaghetti
If you like cheese the chance is great that you watched one of the movies of Enzo G. Castellari without knowing or remembering his name - like every good Italian director in the 60s up to the 80s he directed a lot of different movies in different genres - be it war, horror, adventure, sci-fi, or some Spaghetti western. A broader audience outside of Italy may know such "gems" like Striker or The New Barbarians among a few others. Ammazzali tutti e torna solo (Kill Them All and Come Back Alone) is one of this contributions to the Western genre and a fun one: a solid production, some well known faces of B-movies of that era and a lot of shooting and killing. The story is a kind of commando movie set in the time of the Civil War in the USA spiced up with some humor and cool guys on the loose and we witness maybe the first panzerfaust ever in action. For sure not to be taken seriously, this one is a fun and entertaining piece for the right kind of audience: nothing more and nothing less. In my youth I loved such kind of movies a lot. Good.

A Man Called Otto

A Bit of a Letdown
A Man Called Otto is not bad but no match for the original Swedish movie adaption of the novel written by Frederik Backman: En man som heter Ove starring Rolf Lassgård. The US remake emphasizes too much the elements of comedy and somewhat feels watered down, uninspired, sometimes even boring. The original one is funny too but got a far more melancholic tone and got far more impact on me and whereas Rolf Lassgård plays his loner superb, Tom Hanks somewhat feels like flying on auto-pilot. Anyway, A Man Called Otto is somewhat okay and maybe an opportunity to interest a broader audience for the delicious Swedish movie. The Swedish one got a 7 by me, the US version gets an exact rate of 4.5.

Hatchet II

Let the Axe Rule
Not really good but not bad either - Hatchet II still got a few joyful and fun moments for the connoisseur of the arts of horror in store - if you like the simple art of gore. The story is somewhat okay enough, the production too. One of those movies you get served what you pay for - if you know what you want. Victor Crowley, the star of the Hatchet movies is a solid bad ass, of course, not as iconic as guys like Leatherface, Michael Myers and Jason Vorheese but a decent one. The first Hatchet movie I liked a little more, but well, this one is not too bad, some of the death scenes are really good fun. The question if you like the elements of comedy/parody are another matter, or better, a matter of taste. I do, but of course not every joke or fun scene sets the world afire. Anyway, that's not much but enough to kill a guy named Boredom on a rainy Sunday afternoon while waiting for better times.


The Evil of Being Too Tame
These days this little flick found by chance its way on my screen, but I did not really miss much: Torment is not a bad but also not a good one. Like other reviewers stated, the plot is all cliches in, and the level of suspense or gore is a rather low one. On the pro side the production and cast are solid for that kind of movies: the story blends well known ideas like home invasion, blood thirsty degenerated clan members, and last but not least, the slasher genre. My main complain: Torment does not really add anything new or surprising to those genres/ideas and the execution is a rather tame one. So the real gorehound won't find too much pleasure - Torment, solid made but bordering on the edge of boredom. Maybe more interesting for a mainstream audience. Exact rate: 3.5.

Paradiso infernale

Too Tame
Paradiso infernale got one great weakness - it lacks almost on all fields: there is not enough gore, not enough sleaze, not enough action, not enough cheese. What we mostly get are some cliched and watered down copy scenes of "serious" cannibal movies like Cannibal Ferox and Cannibal Holocaust, one could dare to say this one is made for a mainstream audience and taken away is most of the "spice" of such kind of trashy movies. To make things worse many of the scenes feel very disjointed, somewhat it looks that every idea that crossed the minds of the writers was somewhat squeezed in. Anyway, the flick got some funny scenes and there is some cheesy feel of a cheap Indiana Jones movie, so if you are on the trip to watch everything "cannibalistic" you can put this one on your to watch list, it won't kill you - neither by total joy nor by total boredom.


Sissy is one of those products made on auto-pilot - terrible and troubled characters, all designed more or less after the same recipe you get these days in almost every movie served. The level on the horror-o-meter is also very low - only a mainstream audience can call Sissy a horror movie, the elements of comedy are also rather numb, bad, predictable. The cast fits more or less well in this below average piece and can't save the day by an outstanding performance or charisma. Anyway, I survived watching this one and will put for this chore a (imaginative) medal of honor and bravery on my vest. Last note: I admit that maybe a younger audience, raised and used to the bad quality of mass movie making in the last decade, will enjoy this one more than I did.

Knock at the Cabin

Wrong Cabin
Ten years ago I watched a movie that hit me out of nowhere and is a hell of a joyride - The Cabin in the Woods. As I read about the story or the idea behind of Knock at the Cabin I had high hopes - a cabin in the woods + an apocalypse on the horizon, what could possible go wrong? Well, almost everything - whereas The Cabin in the Woods is filled with fun ideas and some horror and gore and a most absurd idea well executed, Knock at the Cabin is inferior in every aspect: filled with boring dialogues, the idea of the "situation" to save humanity due an act of sacrifice gets more and more boring and stale till I almost was napping. The only aspect that Knock at the Cabin full-filled to a certain extend - assembling a diverse cast, but even the actors looked most of the time like asking themselves "what the hell am I doing here? How I got here?". No doubt, Knock at the Cabin got a fun idea, but it is wasted by a mediocre and very boring execution. Like After Earth, this is a fail by M. Night Shyamalan, this I say with a sad heart because I like some of his movies (Sixth Sense, Split, The Village). Next.

The Bridge on the River Kwai

I'm a great admirer of some of the works of director David Lean: Doctor Zhivago and that old Oliver Twist movie adaption (starring Alec Guinness too), but of course his supreme masterpiece is Lawrence of Arabia - in my opinion one of the best epic movies ever made and in the same league as Ben Hur and Gone with the Wind, those grand classics Hollywood once was able to dream up. Anyway, The Bridge on the River Kwai is a good movie but lacks a little compared to those other movies of David Lean: the story just does not go deep enough, everything is a little too predictable, including the characters, also I was never really moved by the destiny of those prisoners of war - how different was it to witness the ordeal of Papillon! The strong suit of The Bridge on the River Kwai are the production and the cast - William Holden, Alec Guinness, Sessue Hayakawa and Jack Hawkings do well - with the material provided. What I don't like is the change of the ending - in the original novel (written by Pierre Boulle) the bridge survives - in my opinion a much stronger symbol of hope and of mankind's will to resist, to persevere against all odds, than blowing up the bridge. Verdict: no masterpiece but if you are in the mood for some classic mixing war, drama, adventure and some comedy, this one will be good enough.

Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death

Melting Brain Cells
Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death for sure got one of the best movie titles ever, on the side of such genius ideas (title wise) like Surf Nazis Must Die. Anyway, for sure this little flick is not meant for everyone - it's one of those movies you get it or you don't - not everyone will have fun with the Cheech und Chong movies while others almost die watching them. So, if you are in the mood for some parody on all those adventure movies and Italian cannibal movies of the 70s, you will have some fun. The production is of B/C category, acting is solid, the story of course is total nonsense and then some more. So if you are in the mood to watch some stupid fun, you may try Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death (I just had to do it), especially if you dig such movies as la Naked Gun or Hot Shots (those movies are of course the better ones). Verdict: for sure no must watch but for the right kind of audience, or if you are in the right mood, good fun enough.

One Million Years B.C.

Still Yummy
Just to imagine that our ancestors lived like that! One Million Years B. C. is of course no documentary (for example mankind and dinosaurs missed the opportunity for a meet and greet only by a few million years) or to be taken too seriously but it provides a lot of fun and adventures. The production value is good, so is the level of entertainment. On top, we get gorgeous Raquel Welch as something like the first Miss Universe ever, and last but not least the movie reveals to us that even in those most ancient days of mankind, our ladies preferred to shave their beautiful legs to attract the attention of all those rough guys! Anyway, One Million Years B. C. is still a nice entry to the lists of Hammer Film productions. Last note: a couple of years later Hammer Film released another movie of that kind - When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth.


Not Bad
Maniac is no bad remake but I like the original one from 1980 starring Joe Spinell more. First of all Elijah Wood does not make a bad job, and the gory scenes are legit stuff, but that artsy ego aka point of view cam did not work too well (especially the field of vision is most of time too small and rather unnatural). Anyway, what we get is a story about a disturbed kid doing wrong things to ladies, and that's not the worst way to waste your time. I would recommend a double feature night, watch first the original one (it got Tom Savini too!) and after that put the remake on your screen and have some fun ;)

Attack of the Beast Creatures

Stupid But Fun
If you are really into digging up and enjoying the most trashy and bizarre movies ever, Attack of the Beast Creatures belongs on your watch list: the gore is not that bad, the soundtrack is a fine one too (those psychedelic synth sounds a la Italian horror movies of the 70s), but the party starts after those mini-killer tribe gets into the game. The introduction till our group of survivors lands on the island is really no good or interesting, but after setting food on that cursed soil the movie gets in gear. I really think that the true connoisseur of the art of horror should have seen those blood-thirsty and flesh-hungry little beast creatures once in his life - even if you just screen for the good scenes thru the movie: those little creepy monsters are just too funny, on top, some of them are swinging from vine to vine like Tarzan... What else? This is a real trash movie, don't expect any good acting or production, but if you can enjoy a horror movie just because of the idea it's based on, and you can stomach a good shot of cheesiness and badness, Attack of the Beast Creatures may give you an entertaining ride. Last note: I can understand every rate, be it a 1 or 10, so I decided to give this one a rate of 5.

How I Met Your Father

The Big So-So
I finally put How I Met Your Father on my menu and screened thru a couple of episodes, and well, I have not much to add to what many other reviews already stated: it tastes stale, never coming close anywhere near the quality of the original series - the cast, the characters, the stories, everything inferior compared to the original thing, many times just a rehash, everything lacks originality, and it is also not that funny. How I Met Your Mother is unchallenged by this spin- or rip-off, but well, that's rather no surprise. Anyway, make up your mind yourself, maybe it works better for you, but I will, no doubt here, watch again a couple of episodes of "Mother" sometime, but I got no intention to put How I Met Your Father on my screen again.


Dark Trip
I like this one - it takes us on a grotesque and absurd trip, drags us in a dark tale and into the void of growing madness. Michelle Monaghan gives a fine and emotional performance, the rest of the cast, including the kids, does also well. Different than some other reviewers I don't mind that the "reason" for the dark and twisted happenings is not revealed - make up your mind yourself, the experienced connoisseur of the art of horror (be it books or movies) can easy fill the blanks. What else? Blood reminds me of Hereditary or The Witch, movies that takes us along on a dark, disturbing path, where in the end something awaits us that we don't expect.

Bloodbath at the House of Death

Watched Far Better Watched Far Worse
Bloodbath at the House of Death is for sure not a brilliant piece nor a must-watch but it works sometimes rather good - if you are in need not only for a comedy but a parody of the horror genre. Sadly, the humor does not work on the same level as for example The Naked Gun - still there are a few really funny scenes (for example the murders at the beginning and the following police investigation of the crime scene) but some "funny" scenes and ideas do not really work out too well, are even rather blunt and weak, like other reviewers already stated. So can I recommend this little flick to you? Yes, but only if you are on your exquisite tour de force and holy mission to watch all the movies one of the greatest masters of classic horror ever did - Vincent Price, as always, is a real pleasure to watch, even in this little, sometimes rather weak parody. My rate 3 + 1 bonus for the master of classic horror only.

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