Favorite films

  • The Right Stuff
  • Total Recall
  • Top Secret!
  • Matinee

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  • Massage Parlor Murders

    ★★

  • The Enchanting Shadow

    ★★

  • Timeline

    ★½

  • Armored Car Robbery

    ★★★½

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  • F9

    F9

    ★★★½

    My first Fast & Furious film seen at the cinema and for the big occasion I was really hoping for a return to form, so am happy to report that F9 is an engine for enjoyment firing on all cylinders (ok, there are a few misfires but the vehicle still runs and that's the main thing). After tonal hodgepodge of The Fate of the Furious (2017) which seemed to be devolving into a big budget buddy cop movie, and then the…

  • Pulgasari

    Pulgasari

    ★★★

    Pulgasari is probably the most widely known North Korean film, which I admit might not be saying much, that's probably like talking about Moldova's most famous pop act, but here we are. The story of its making, whereby agents of Kim Jong-il kidnapped Shin Sang-ok, a famous South Korean film director and imprisoned him and his wife in a re-education camp for several years before forcing him at literal gunpoint to make movies for the state before they finally escaped…

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  • Massage Parlor Murders

    Massage Parlor Murders

    ★★

    Never mind Criterion, if you really want to talk about the preservation of cinema's history you need to check out Vinegar Syndrome, a company that not only does great work keeping obscure cult movies in circulation, they've also unearthed and restored many exploitation flicks thought forever lost. Case in point, Massage Parlor Murders, a poorly made and gratuitous lump of schlock, that nonetheless has enough of interest to have appeal as a curio for those fascinated by the history of…

  • The Enchanting Shadow

    The Enchanting Shadow

    ★★

    Excessively mannered Hong Kong ghost story that stretches about 30 minutes worth of plot out to 80, but is more successful as a love story between a living man and a murdered woman than as any sort of horror film. Don't get excited when you see the legendary Shaw Brothers logo at the start, this is pretty sedate stuff, even at the end when we finally get a warrior piffing a sword an an old witch it's still very low…

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  • Mill of the Stone Women

    Mill of the Stone Women

    ★★

    You know what rarely makes for a great horror film? When a bunch of men stand around and carefully explain the plot to one another. Call me a sourpuss but a lot of the time I like a little bit of mystery in my horror, it helps with the whole "fear of the unknown or the unknowable" stuff that the genre's best works are often hewn from. Sadly in Italian horror flicks of the 1960s it seems that too often…

  • Timeline

    Timeline

    ★½

    If this film had made a genuine effort not to suck it could have been at least interesting if not exactly "good", but it didn't, so it's not. I never thought I'd use the descriptor "the dumb version of Stargate" as it's not exactly as if Ronald Emmerich and Dean Devlin's 1994 ancient Egypt/ancient aliens nonsense is any sort of cinematic masterwork, but after sitting through Timeline you'll definitely feel like nominating Stargate for an Oscar. Mind you, this is…