Movies

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Re: Movies

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1466 - Pépé le Moko (1937) - 8/10 - Pépé is a thief who has been avoiding the police by staying in the Casbah for the past two years. If he leaves, a local police inspector is likely to arrest him. They've been playing a game of cat and mouse for some time. One of Pépé's associates plans to betray him, but the real danger may lie in the Parisian woman who happens into the Casbah one evening and the two end up falling for each other. Jean Gabin gives a pretty nice performance.

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1467 - Pushover (1954) - 7/10 - A bank robber gets away with $250,000 and the police set up a stakeout on his girlfriend (Kim Novak), hoping that she will lead them to him. One of the detectives (Fred MacMurray) falls for the girlfriend and things start to go sideways from there. Novak gives a nice performance and while MacMurray isn't bad, I thought he was miscast in his role. The film looks pretty nice for the most part.

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1468 - Shoot to Kill (1947) - 5/10 - A car crashes down a hill containing the new D.A., his wife, and a wanted gangster. She ends up in the hospital with a head injury and when she awakes, she tells her story to a newspaperman that she is friends with. The story had potential, but the acting isn't very good and a number of corners are cut, probably due to the low budget.
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Re: Movies

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:710:
1469 - Strange Alibi (1941) - 7/10 - A police detective goes undercover to try and take on a gang that essentially runs the city, but is framed for the murder of the only man who knows that he was undercover. I had a couple of issues with the initial setup and there is only so much that you can pack into an hour, but this was pretty entertaining and the second half moved at a very nice clip. Arthur Kennedy does a nice job in the lead.

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1470 - Strange Bargain (1949) - 7.5/10 - Sam Wilson has been a bookkeeper for a company for 12 years. He goes in to see the boss seeking a raise, but is offered a strange bargain instead. The boss plans to commit suicide for the insurance money and wants Sam to make it look like a murder. Jeffrey Lynn is very good as the nervous Sam Wilson who seems incapable of hurting anyone. Harry Morgan is also pretty good as the police detective in charge of the case.

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1471 - Strange Impersonation (1946) - 7/10 - Nora Goodrich is a scientist who has come up with a new anesthetic. The man she loves wants her to marry him as soon as possible, but she wants to finish her work with the anesthetic first. Then she has a pretty bad time where several events totally upend her life. I enjoyed the film and didn't mind the ending, though I've read comments from others who really disliked it.

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1472 - Strange Triangle (1946) - 5/10 - The wife of a bank manager likes to spend money. She works on her husband and on a bank examiner to get what she wants. It's pretty dull much of the time.

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1473 - Sudden Danger (1955) - 7/10 - A blind man arrives home at the apartment that he shares with his mother and his dog alerts him to danger. There is gas in the apartment and his mother is dead. Then he becomes a suspect in her death and sets out to prove his innocence. It was pretty entertaining.

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1474 - Talk About a Stranger (1952) - 5/10 - A boy gets a dog and when something happens to it, he accuses the strange new neighbor of being responsible. Boy, was that kid annoying.

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1475 - Tension (1949) - 8/10 - Warren Quimby is a drugstore manager whose wife has expensive tastes and isn't faithful to him. His wife leaves him for another man and this man roughs Quimby up when he tries to reclaim his wife. Quimby creates a new look and a new identity and starts plotting his revenge, but matters get complicated when a murder occurs. This one was pretty good with Richard Basehart in the lead.

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1476 - The Timekeepers of Eternity (2021) - 7/10 - I've never seen The Langoliers so this was new to me. I enjoyed the special effects for the most part, though they did start to get a bit old by the end of the (short) film. With so much of the original mini-series cut, it did seem somewhat rushed, though still entertaining.

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1477 - The Girl from the Other Side (Totsukuni no Shôjo) (2022) - 7.5/10 - In a world where a curse turns people into creatures who look like monsters and causes them to lose their memories of their past life, a little girl named Shiva is found by one of these creatures. He seems to be pretty civilized despite his appearance and he cares for the girl. She names him 'Teacher' and the two become like family of a sort. The film looks great and the world is interesting. I might check out the manga at some point, though I have many other series to catch up on already.

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1478 - Marygoround / Maryjki (2020) - 6.5/10 - A woman going through menopause, yet still a virgin, starts acting more alive after starting hormone therapy. I thought the film looked great and the use of music was also pretty good. The story itself seemed less consistent. It was interesting in places, yet not throughout the whole film.
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:710:
1479 - The Lost Hours (1952) - 7/10 - An American pilot returns to the UK for an RAF reunion. He gets into a brief fight at the party and then is drugged, waking up in a hotel room the next afternoon. The man he fought with is dead and the evidence seems to point to him so he tries to prove his innocence before the police catch up with him.

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1480 - The Brothers Rico (1957) - 8/10 - Eddie Rico (Richard Conte) and his wife have a successful laundry business in Florida and are about to adopt a baby. Their life is disrupted when Eddie finds out that his two brothers are in trouble. All three brothers used to work for the mafia in New York, but only Eddie managed to get out. Eddie is asked to locate his missing brother and get him to leave the country for a while, but things aren't that simple.

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1481 - The Clay Pigeon (1949) - 7/10 - A former POW wakes up after being in a coma for two years to find that he is charged with treason. He supposedly informed on his fellow prisoners for stealing rations, leading to the death of one of his friends. His memories of that time are pretty hazy, but he is sure that he is innocent so he escapes and seeks help to clear his name. Fairly fast paced and entertaining.

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1482 - The Devil Thumbs a Ride (1947) - 5/10 - A killer hitches a ride and ends up with a man and two women who eventually learn his secret while the police are searching for him. I didn't really care for the characters or the story.
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:7510:
1483 - The Face Behind the Mask (1941) - 7.5/10 - Peter Lorre stars as a newly arrived Hungarian immigrant who turns to crime after his face is badly burned in a fire and he can't find work. Lorre gives a nice performance.

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1484 - The Glass Alibi (1941) - 5/10 - A sleazy reporter concocts a scheme to marry a rich young woman who is supposed to have around 6 months to live. He figures to inherit the money when she dies, but she starts to get better. This wasn't very good.

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1485 - The Hoodlum (1951) - 4/10 - A mother pleads with a parole board to set her son free. They grant him parole, but it doesn't take long to see that he hasn't changed at all and is still rotten and selfish to the core. The acting was subpar.

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1486 - The Lady Confesses (1945) - 7/10 - Larry Craig is about to marry his longtime girlfriend Vicki, but his wife shows up after being missing and presumed dead for 7 years. When the wife turns up dead, the police investigate with the investigation centering on Larry and a few people at a nightclub. Vicki also does her own investigation to try and clear Larry.

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1487 - The Pretender (1947) - 6/10 - A man who invests money for others has been 'borrowing' quite a bit of money from a large trust fund. He has a plan to marry the woman who owns the trust fund to cover up his embezzlement, but things get complicated after she mentions that she is interested in another man. This was mediocre, but watchable.

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1488 - The Spider (1945) - 7/10 - An ex-cop turned private detective is a suspect in the murder of a woman. He has to try and find the killer while fending off the police and avoiding the real killer.

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1489 - Corsage (2022) - 7.5/10 - It's just before Christmas in 1877 and Empress Elizabeth of Austria is about to turn 40. She seems to be affected by getting older and appears to feel constrained by her role. I really liked the performance of Vicky Krieps as Elizabeth and while the film was a little too slow at times, especially during the middle portion, overall I enjoyed it quite a bit. The music worked pretty well for me, too.

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1490 - Nitram (2021) - 7.5/10 - The film does a nice job showing what Martin was probably like. The portrayal shows him as mentally disturbed and likely not able to fully control his actions, but I had no real empathy towards him. Caleb Landry Jones gave a very good performance.
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:7510:
1491 - Apples (2020) - 7.5/10 - A mysterious pandemic is causing people at random to lose their memories. They end up in institutions/hospitals where doctors try to help them recover or create new identities if they are among those with no identification and no one to claim them. A man joins one of these programs and becomes part of an experiment where he is set up in a house and given tasks to do each day, documenting them with polaroids. The film moves at a pretty slow pace, but remains interesting. There are some clues about the man scattered in the film and it is clear that the film is about more than just amnesia.

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1492 - Ballad of a White Cow (2020) - 7.5/10 - After her husband is executed, Mina has to figure out how to keep going while also caring for her 7 year old deaf daughter. Several complications arise, starting with the discovery that her husband was actually innocent of the crime that he was executed for. The state seems indifferent and tells her and her husband's brother that she will receive blood money for his death. A man shows up at her door saying that he is an old friend of her husband and offers her aid, though this comes with its own set of problems. It's a pretty bleak film in a lot of ways, though not without some humor. The ending is perhaps a bit predictable, but still good.

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1493 - Ninjababy (2021) - 8/10 - Rakel is a young woman who is enjoying life and sleeps around on occasion. Still, she is surprised to learn that she is pregnant and even more surprised when she later finds out that she is around 6 months pregnant without showing. She has no desire to be a mother so this presents a problem. She starts seeing and conversing with an animated version of her unborn child. I ended up enjoying this a lot more than I expected. There were a few scenes that I didn't like as much, but overall it is pretty good.
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:710:
1494 - The Tattooed Stranger (1950) - 7/10 - The body of a woman is found in a car in Central Park. She can't be identified except for a tattoo on her arm. This leads to a police procedural where a pair of detectives try to discover who she is and then who killed her. The most polished actor was the botanist/love interest who helps the younger detective with the investigation. It was pretty entertaining, though.

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1495 - The Threat (1949) - 7.5/10 - An escaped prisoner takes a few hostages, including one of the detectives who put him away, the DA, and the woman he thinks ratted him out. The film is pretty fast paced.

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1496 - They Made Me a Killer (1946) - 6.5/10 - A man giving a test drive to a woman gets forced into acting as the getaway driver for a gang of bank robbers. When he is later arrested and accused of being one of the gang, he escapes and sets out to prove his innocence. Not great, but certainly watchable.

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1497 - Two O'Clock Courage (1945) - 7.5/10 - A female taxi driver comes across a man who is slightly injured and suffering from amnesia. She sets out to help him find out who he is, even though he fits the description of a man wanted for killing a theater producer. There is plenty of humor mixed in along with the mystery and action.

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1498 - When Strangers Marry (1944) - 6/10 - Millie Baxter travels by train to meet her husband, but finds that he isn't at the hotel when she arrives. He is a traveling salesman and she only went on three dates with him before getting married so she doesn't know him very well. This setup doesn't make me too inclined to think highly of Millie, but Kim Hunter does a decent job in the role. It turns out that her husband is wanted in connection with a murder in Philadelphia and is laying low. Millie isn't sure whether he is a murderer or is innocent, but innocently tries to help him.

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1499 - Without Honor (1949) - 6.5/10 - A housewife has been having an affair for a long time. When the man she's been seeing shows up to break off the affair because they have been found out, they get into a struggle and he is accidentally stabbed. This is just the start of her horrible long day as a number of people find their way over to her home.

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1500 - The Strange One (1957) - 7.5/10 - A sadistic bully at a military academy (modeled on The Citadel) uses manipulation to get others to carry out his wishes in punishing those who offend him and to show his power over others. It's a pretty good film, though the staginess of some sections and the age of some of the cadets took away a bit at times. Ben Gazzara gives a very nice performance as the villain. I also found the car that he drove (a Messerschmitt KR200) to be interesting, though it only appeared briefly.
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1501 - Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus (2020) - 4/10 - Some of the art was kind of cool here and there, I guess, but the film didn't really do much for me. The seeming randomness of it didn't help.

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1502 - Dozens of Norths (2021) - 4.5/10 - This was sort of interesting and I felt that it was almost a film that I could enjoy quite a bit more than I actually did. The art is okay and I did like the music. The story itself was more opaque than it needed to be.

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1503 - Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (2022) - 7.5/10 - The film features stories adapted from Haruki Murakami and melded together into the film. A bank employee is enlisted by a giant talking frog to help save Tokyo from destruction. Other characters have their own stories. The art was decent and the film was pretty good. I've read one of Murakami's books and wasn't really much of a fan of it. This probably won't inspire me to seek out more of his work any time soon, but maybe some day.

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1504 - The Summit of the Gods (2021) - 7/10 - A Japanese photographer is in Kathmandu to cover a Mt. Everest expedition when he is offered a camera supposedly belonging to George Mallory, a climber who died on Everest in 1924, possibly reaching the summit nearly 30 years earlier than Edmund Hillary. The photographer goes in search of Habu Joji, an eccentric Japanese climber who may have found the camera on Everest during an ascent. I dug out my copies of the manga the film is based on so that I could reread them before watching the film. That may have been a mistake since it made clear to me that the characters in the film lack depth. It's still a good film and I like the animation, but I think the story would have been better served as a miniseries with 6-8 hour long episodes. It is hard to adapt a 1600 page story into a 95 minute film. There is a ton of stuff that is cut out of the story and some details are changed or rearranged as well. I think the film is still worth seeing, but it was a slight disappointment as well. On a side note, while the manga is good (I'm a sucker for most books with art by Jiro Taniguchi), I'd recommend The Walking Man or A Distant Neighborhood as better places to start if interested in the works of Taniguchi.
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:7510:
1505 - Three Minutes: A Lengthening (2021) - 7.5/10 - A man found three minutes of old 16mm film that his grandfather had shot while on a trip to Poland in 1938, a year before WWII. The film captures a number of the Jewish residents of the town, including many children. The film was restored somewhat and digitized. The film is an examination of the footage, including attempts to identify the location of the film and any of the people who are shown. A few survivors or relatives of people in the film are interviewed. It's an interesting examination.

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1506 - Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art (2020) - 7/10 - In the mid-90s, a woman named Glafira Rosales walked into a prominent art gallery in New York City with unknown paintings by major 20th Century abstract artists. After some research, the gallery purchased the paintings and kept purchasing more over the next 15+ years, selling them for obscene amounts of money. Too bad these paintings were fakes. The film features interviews with a number of people involved in the case, including the director of the art gallery (which closed in 2011), people who had purchased the fakes, the man who actually painted the fakes, and various art experts. I liked the film, though I thought the middle section went on too long. The art world seems pretty sketchy in a number of respects.

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1507 - Mister Organ (2022) - 6/10 - David Farrier investigated an antiques store where people who parked in their lot had their wheels clamped on a regular basis, having to pay large fees to get their cars back. This led to Farrier investigating a strange man named Michael Organ who seems to be pretty smart, but also a liar and scam artist. Organ and his associate actually become somewhat friendly with Farrier at times and antagonistic at other times. I didn't really find this to be interesting enough of a subject to take up 90 minutes in a documentary.

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1508 - The Art of Flight (2011) - 6.5/10 - A small group of snowboarders travel around the world to snowboard down mountains and do various tricks. They often have to outrace avalanches caused by their actions and there are other obstacles as well. There is some great footage here, both from the helicopter that carried them to the top and from the cameras attached to their helmets. However, there really isn't any story here apart from their snowboarding activities and even that can get a bit old after a while.



Cab Calloway Home Movies #1,3-6 (57 minutes)
Hapax Legomena I: Nostalgia (1971) (36 minutes)
Happy Mother's Day (1963) (26 minutes)
Schastye (1995) (22 minutes)
Centuries of June (1955) (14 minutes)
Valparaiso (1963) (27 minutes)
Four Seasons (1975) (29 minutes)
The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes (32 minutes)
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:710:
1509 - 21 Up (1977) - 7/10 - The people from the first two films are gathered together to watch those films now that they are 21 years old. They are asked a series of questions, but we also get more from them interacting with each other or giving longer and more thoughtful answers. The film itself is a lot longer than the previous entries which is a mixed blessing.

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1510 - 28 Up (1984) - 7.5/10 - I enjoyed this one more than the previous entry. Nick's story in Wisconsin was interesting as was Paul's in Australia.

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1511 - Alone in the Wilderness (2004) - 7.5/10 - In 1967, a man retired to the Alaskan wilderness, built himself a log cabin, complete with fireplace and chimney, and then lived there for the next 30 years. The film shows a lot of the effort that he put into making his home habitable plus gathering food, etc. during that first year with narration explaining things along the way. It's a fairly straightforward idea, but I also found it interesting seeing this lone man creating a home in the wilderness.

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1512 - David Byrne's American Utopia (2020) - 8/10 - This filmed version of Byrne's Broadway show is pretty entertaining. It isn't up to the Stop Making Sense level, but it's creative and fun.

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1513 - Earthlings (2005) - 6/10 - Lots of talk and video of people doing bad things to animals.

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1514 - David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet (2020) - 7.5/10 - Attenborough discusses ways that the world has changed in terms of climate and nature during his 93 years. We get to see some archival footage from his travels over the past 70 years. He also brings up ideas on how we can protect the climate going forward. It's interesting and there are plenty of nice visuals here, but I don't think it quite reaches the level of some of Attenborough's other documentaries.
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:810:
1515 - My Voyage to Italy (1999) - 8/10 - Martin Scorsese narrates a look through the history of Italian film during the classic era of his youth, mixing in personal recollections, anecdotes, and more. It's a bit on the long side, but is very good.

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1516 - Lake of Fire (2006) - 6/10 - 2.5 hours of hearing from people on both sides of the abortion debate. The film gives roughly equal time to the religious extremists who are against abortion, some even going so far as to bomb clinics or shoot doctors, and those who are pro-choice. It was way too long and I doubt if it would change the mind of too many people.

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1517 - Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood (1996) - 8/10 - In 1993, three eight year old boys were murdered and found tied up and nude in the woods in West Memphis, Arkansas. Three teenage boys were arrested and put on trial, mainly it seems because they wore black and listened to heavy metal music. There was no real evidence tying them to the crime. This film follows the course of the trials and features interviews with the defendants, their families, the families of the victims, and others. There are two additional documentaries which came out in 2000 and 2011.

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1518 - Home (2009) - 7/10 - I may be getting a bit jaded with some of these climate change movies. The visuals were pretty cool in many places, but the endless narration did get kind of old after a while. Overall, I still liked the film.

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1519 - Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008) - 8/10 - In 2001, Doctor Andrew Bagby was murdered in a parking lot. One of his best friends started making a documentary about his friend, interviewing his parents and friends plus including lots of archival footage of Andrew. There are a lot of twists and turns during the film.

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1520 - The Hamer Herdsman and His Song (1983) - 6/10 - Lots of traditional singing and dancing plus some interviews with members of a nomadic tribe in Ethiopia. A bit boring, but okay.
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:7510:
1521 - High School (1968) - 7.5/10 - It's an interesting look at high school life in the 1960s. It's definitely a different world from what I experienced 15-20 years later, more regimented and strict. The classroom scenes were not necessarily all that different, but the rules outside the classroom seemed to have loosened up by the 1980s, at least at my school. My parents and grandparents were all teaching at the time, though only my grandfather was teaching a high school. This was good, though I prefer the 1983 Guggenheim documentary - High Schools.

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1522 - S21: The Khmer Rouge Death Machine (2003) - 7/10 - A former prisoner of the S21 prison in Phnom Penh where very few came out alive is interviewed and helps interview former guards as to why it happened. The guards re-enact some of their daily activities at the prison and recount some tales of prisoners during their time. It's interesting material, though the method of presentation is sometimes kind of boring.

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1523 - 35 Up (1991) - 7/10 - The series is still interesting, but when you watch these films over a short period of time, you see how much footage is repeated from one film to the next. There's a lot. With a 7 year break between releases, though, I'm sure that it was necessary to refresh peoples' memory.


Tarahumaras 78 (1979) (27 minutes)
Apocalypse 1900 (1965) (23 minutes)
21-87 (1964) (10 minutes)
The Devil's Toy (1966) (15 minutes)
Lonely Boy (1963) (27 minutes)
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:710:
1524 - 42 Up (1998) - 7/10

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1525 - 49 Up (2005) - 7/10

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1526 - 56 Up (2012) - 7.5/10

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1527 - 63 Up (2019) - 7.5/10 - I think they became a little bit better with incorporating the flashbacks in the last couple of episodes. The series also became a bit more contemplative as it progressed. It was pretty interesting watching all of these people for a few days every 7 years as they aged.

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1528 - Sisu (2022) - 7.5/10 - In 1944, a Finnish prospector and former commando finds a large vein of gold. While riding on his horse to take the gold to Helsinki, he is accosted by a Nazi patrol who have been destroying villages and taking women prisoner. The film is ridiculous, ridiculously violent, funny at times, and entertaining. Never underestimate the versatility of a pickaxe.

Yellow Caesar (1941) (23 minutes)
Germ and Chemical Warfare (1970) (33 minutes)

I Think They Call Him John (1964) (26 minutes)

The Maltese Cross Movement (1967) (8 minutes)
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:7510:
1529 - Mamá, mamá, mamá (2020) - 7.5/10 - This was pretty short and full of mood as it centers on the loss of a young girl, though it mostly circles around it rather than dealing with it directly. The cast did a nice job and I enjoyed it.

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1530 - Ashkal (2022) - 7/10 - Detectives start investigating after people start dying from self-immolation. It's definitely a slow burn, but a little too slow at times. I liked Fatma Oussaifi in the lead role and the setting and sounds were each pretty good. I didn't totally connect with the story, but still thought it was a good film.
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:7510:
1531 - Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (2016) - 7.5/10 - A young soldier becomes a bit of a celebrity when he is caught on camera in Iraq trying to rescue his wounded sergeant. His squad is back in the states and is set to be honored at a professional football game. He also reconnects with his family, especially his sister. The story of what happened during that fateful incident is told during flashbacks. I thought the film was pretty good, though Steve Martin seemed miscast in his role.

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1532 - Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983) - 6.5/10 - Tom Conti stars as Colonel John Lawrence, a prisoner in a Japanese camp on Java during WWII who is fluent in Japanese and acts as an intermediary with their Japanese captors. A new prisoner is brought into the camp (David Bowie) and breaks the routine somewhat. I like Bowie as a singer, but I'm not very fond of his acting. Conti was good as Lawrence and Ryuichi Sakamoto and Beat Takeshi weren't bad in their roles. The film also looked pretty good, but I found the story to be pretty boring most of the time and Bowie certainly didn't help thing.

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1533 - Les carabiniers (1963) - 4/10 - A couple of farmers are recruited to become soldiers with promises of wealth and the ability to take just about anything they want. They send postcards home to their wives in this Godard comedy.. There were a couple of funny bits, but it was mostly just dumb.

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1534 - For Ever Mozart (1996) - 4/10 - A crotchety director is working on his latest film. Meanwhile, his daughter and nephew decide to travel to war torn Bosnia to stage a play. None of it was really all that interesting.
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:710:
1535 - Red Sorghum (1988) - 7/10 - A young woman (Gong Li) is sold to a 50 year old leper who owns a remote winery. He soon dies, though, and she takes charge of the winery and makes it a success, until the Japanese arrive. The film started out pretty well, but became less interesting after that.

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1536 - Alexander Nevsky (1938) - 6/10 - Russians fight to kick the invading Germans out during the 13th Century. The score is great and the costumes look pretty good. The battle scenes had some nice elements, but the acting isn't very good and the film is also pretty boring.
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:6510:
1537 - Chimes at Midnight (1965) - 6.5/10 - Orson Welles directs and also stars as Falstaff, an obese drunkard around the year 1400 who is friends with the son of the king. The film looks good and has a few nice battles, but overall I didn't really get into it that much, except on occasion.

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1538 - The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989) - 4/10 - An uncouth English gangster takes over a high class French restaurant. His wife starts an affair with one of the customers. The actors do a good job with what they are given and the film has a decent soundtrack. Unfortunately, I just didn't like it very much.
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