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Welcome Back (2015)

Welcome Back (2015)

I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed these Bollywood movies. :)

Never mind the unrealistic special effects towards the end. It's got action, comedy, sexy ladies, occasional bouts of firefights and fistfights and a bunch of goons competing over the same women with that inescapable Bollywood charisma...

It's not bad! Not the most memorable movie, but a fun, uplifting, aesthetic experience like only Bollywood can provide, complete with camel run with impending sandstorm and a blind but lethal Wanted Bhai.

Those clowns at the end though...

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

Core (2010)

Core (2010)

After you've watched Free Solo, then Core seems a bit anti-climactic.

It's not about just any kind of climbing either per se, but about bouldering, a particular strain of the sport where you attempt to climb boulders, and cover the ground below you with mats and friends in case you fall. And you do fall. Over and over. That's part of the game. Try and try again until you finally make it.

Maybe free soloing is the natural progression of this. Climbing entire faces of rock without even a line, compared to these minor obstacles, that albeit difficult, just don't infer the same sense of danger. And the climbers seem mostly rash and risk-taking too, compared to the calm and collected Alex Honnold that I now have as reference for all future rock-climbing docu­mentaries I might see. I'm not sure anything will ever really compare...

I thought Alex actually made a brief appearance in this movie. The one at the start of the movie with the hernia he fixes himself, with the bowl cut and body chiseled like Anthony Kiedis, who climbs bigger boulders than anyone else in the biz (at least bigger than anyone in this documentary).

It wasn't him though, it was Kevin Jorgensson, but he does shine a bit, and makes the sport seem bigger than most. The movie does have its moments.

Whereas all the other climbers they interview seem to treat the climb as a hobby, way of life though their hobby may be, Alex really turned his passion into his life though. He took a risk, and he made it. Climbed to the sky, while these peeps creep close to the ground and say it feels scary.

Maybe some of them made it after this though. I hope they did. All the best to them. I'm just not as impressed as I hoped I would be here. Not in aw of the staggering heights or daredevil feats that only a few can perform - but it's probably a good thing everyone doesn't. It's safer like this.

I don't know about the symbolism with the kid in the factory either, or the music video in the middle of it all, or the helicopter stunts. Is this really a documentary on rock-climbing...? It had some interesting bits, but they don't have me all convinced with this one. Not like Free Solo.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Charlies Angels (2019)

Charlies Angels (2019)

The first chase was horrible. Riding the wave of female empowerment, sure, anything to sell. Only guys as villains. Bad CGI. Characters that remind you of the first movie, with a little spiffing to match the times.

So I thought.

They grow on you though, the main Angels, and when Kirsten started making those faces on the boat is the point I think I turned. Became a fan. Started rooting for them instead of being annoyed at how skewed the premise was, and even if it does fall back on cliche occasionally... it's a party movie after all. It leaves you in a good mood. Plane drop and all.

It's not perfect but don't sweat the details.

Wonder if they'll make a part 2 too...

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

Line Of Duty (2019)

Line Of Duty (2019)

Why do they have to mess everything up with those special effects... the rooftop scene, the fire, the burly helicopter fight... instantly drew this down from a four to a three for me. Maybe lower. I was starting to actually like Ava. Felt like they'd bonded. And then they do that.

I also feel like the whole 'live' thing doesn't actually contribute.

Showing random people's reactions to the story as it unfolds takes away from my reactions, and from the scenes I could be seeing instead, and further removes from the sense of isolation and desperation the two main characters face together, as they overcome hurdles in a race against time, to find little girl Claudia, who's drowning in a watery grave six feet under.

They had a convincing atmosphere. They had a good villain. They had authentic fights and chases - including one run with impressive stamina when it all starts out - and yet they feel like they have to throw in these superficial elements and effects to make it all go further. Is it a message? Something about the media? Something about the police?

I don't feel like it does well being either, and in the end only succeeds in distracting you from what could've been a gripping and desperate drama/thriller/action flick. It's like the Let's Play culture is seeping into film, and I'm no fan. No fan of the abundant shaky cam either.

I liked the premise. I gave it a chance. They went full circle in a good way towards the end, and maybe a part of that was that there was no longer any camera obstructing the view, but they could've done so much better without those distractions.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Death Force (1978)

Death Force (1978)

An American Vietnam soldier on his way home is left for dead and is saved by a pair of Japanese stragglers from WWII, who train him in the way of the samurai.

James Iglehart is a badass of a main character! And he went places after this. Stopped starring in B-movies and tried entirely new ventures.

This was his first movie - his first lead role. and an entirely different one compared to the repertoire that follows. It's interesting to skim through the cast lists in B-movies like this sometimes...

Among the Japanese guys you'll also see super prolific Joonee Gamboa, and Joe Mari Avellana who had a short career, but would definitely have been suited for more. He died a decade back.

Among the obituaries there's also Carmen Argenziano, the villain, with quite a repertoire of films behind him too.

The movie's directed by B-Movie master Cirio H. Santiago btw.

That was different hmm? A review focused more on cast than experience, but there's not much to say about the movie itself. It's blaxploitation at it's finest! Corny though certain scenes may be they're a part of what makes it enjoyable too. And the end... just didn't see that one coming.

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

Mine 9 (2019)

Mine 9 (2019)

Eleven men are trapped in a coal mine. Funds are low. That's all they know. They do have doubt, but work it out, and go on in, the shift begins... and here we go. Eleven men trapped in a coal mine.

It's a dark movie. Gritty. Authentic but for the special effects when ceilings start falling, and as the credits roll real interviews with real coal miners play.

It gives you a glimpse into a tough world, where entire communities make a living doing the only thing they know how to do - no matter the cost. They're still there too. Fighting their fight far from the relatively safe and civilized world most of us take for granted.

Good actors, good movie, sad reality. And it captures that reality well.

Worth a watch.

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

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