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Earthquake (2016)

Earthquake (2016)

Leninakan, Armenian SSR, USSR, 1988. After the devastating Spitak earthquake of December 7th, Konstantin Berezhnoy, a 50-year-old Russian, and Robert Melkonyan, a 28-year-old Armenian, work together to rescue the desperate survivors.

You need a movie like this at times.

To open your eyes. To remind you to live. To give you reason to appreciate what you have, take the chances you get, and never take anything for granted.

I thought I might get thrown off by the special effects, but no, they worked. They weren't perfect, but sometimes pompous, and fortunately most of the movie's real. Save for maybe the smoke and occasional top-down overviews of the carnage. The fires were nice...

The way character fates intertwine reminds me a little of Babel. Slight religious tone there too. At least for the old man. Also reminds a bit of The Day After, with the old man and the rubble, though at least here there's resolution and hope.

They got the emotion down well, and the fact that it's based on a real story... man, surprisingly good. Surprisingly gripping.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Guns Girls And Gangsters (1959)

Guns Girls And Gangsters (1959)

In Las Vegas, a group of assorted criminals plans the robbery of an armored truck hauling casino money to the bank.

Lee Van Cleef, Mamie Van Doren and Gerald Mohr! The main trio of notabilities! Though note how they say 'assorted' criminals here? Maybe tells you how criminals were perceived at the time.

Simple chumps. Cliché characters. Clump management.

It could've been a good movie this one! If only the times weren't so different. If only the bad guys could win. If only making anything that wasn't a merit for making people good was a sin. In other words... propaganda. That's how it ends. That's what it feels like. The lesson to be learned here is that armored cars actually do keep out criminals.

Feels like they could've probably run through some roadblocks if they wanted to. Alas, the final showdown's disappointingly dead-end.

The song and dance isn't as captivating either as in say *I can't remember the title or actress now! Some particularly seducing movie from the 1920-30's, anyone?!* either, but it's not bad otherwise.

Never mind how much mannerisms overall differed with the times (or do mind - and be fascinated), it's just unfortunate this movie just comes across so angled, so simple; so outdated in just that way. Tech-wise. Plan-wise. Character-wise. Wise-wise?

And yet they were ahead of their time back then...

 rated 2.5/5: almost not bad

Tombstone: The Town Too Tough To Die (1942)

Tombstone: The Town Too Tough To Die (1942)

The title showed promise with this one, starring the legendary place where icons such as Wyatt and The Doc all gathered, but unfortunately the movie itself wasn't all that good.

They have simple transitions where things fade to black between scenes. They have badly choreographed fights. They have plenty of stereotypes with their characters - with good and bad - with a lot of things.

The one thing I however do like about movies like this is that you get to see how things were back when they were filmed, and how they perceived their past at that particular point in time.

For one people could still ride, and the towns felt livelier than they do in modern Westerns, where populations are often small to the brink of their belonging in a ghost town - as if that's how we now perceive towns were at the time. But during the gold and silver rushes (Tombstone was silver) they really weren't like that.

They manage to capture the reality of past towns and times a bit better here, with locales and traditions all the more true to the era. The further back the filming the better the depiction of that.

Unfortunately the art of film wasn't all there yet.

Feels like Westerns rose to a new level during the sixties and seventies. Action-wise and all. Threat of Tombstone and all. Despair and all. Here all is otherwise a little too timid and average.

 rated 3/5: not bad

The 50 Best Horror Movies You've Never Seen (2014)

The 50 Best Horror Movies You've Never Seen (2014)

It's a movie listing horror movies! And they were right, I hadn't seen... most of them. Found some gems. Added 'em to my watchlist.

The ones that stood out to me in particular were these:

  • Pumpkinhead (1988)
  • Audition (1999)
  • Joshua (2007)
  • Alice Sweet Alice (1976)
  • Session 9 (2001)
  • Castle Freak (1995)
  • Burnt Offerings (1976)
  • The Dentist (1996)

Ones I know I have seen already:

  • The Descent (2005)
  • Re-Animator (1985)
  • Hard Candy (2005)
  • Halloween III: Season Of The Witch (1982)
  • Hatchet (2006)
  • Wrong Turn (2003)

Ones I might have seen already:

  • Alone In The Dark (1982)
  • Wishmaster (1997)
  • Slither (2006)
  • The Funhouse (1981)
  • The Hunger (1983)
  • When A Stranger Calls (1979)

Ones I know about and maybe thought of seeing before:

  • May (2002)

I'm a little disturbed over how joyously the female interviewees talked about the ball-cutting scene in Hard Candy, and in the beginning of the review cuts it felt like they cut in a bit too many people and comments, and I don't agree with their rankings at all, and it's a shame neither House On Haunted Hill nor It Follows - maybe my two all-time favorites - were on it. Not to mention any of the masterful Japanese or Korean horror movies of the nineties/early twothousands that brought in the whole new style of horror we've been enjoying the last decade or so via Hollywood too (even if the remakes/inspirations rarely matched the originals).

But maybe none of those are all that obscure movies after all, even if I do feel like they deserve more recognition than they get.

I do agree with SOME of the rankings here, and I did got introduced to plenty of older or more obscure titles I hadn't seen indeed, as promised.

It's a good recollection/introduction to some gruesome and ghastly flicks you might have been missing out on thus far. No more no less.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Deathcheaters (1976)

Deathcheaters (1976)

Here's a movie about a couple of stuntmen (John Hargreaves and Grant Page), who perform stunts! And then get recruited by an unspecified branch of government to infiltrate a factory-looking locale with a safe, extract certain papers from said safe and then get out of there!

I like the premise, I like the pace, I like the times and scenery, and I like the stunts, and I like the charm that the main characters all radiate - it's a good cast - but I do feel like I'm missing a certain sense of desperation and realism otherwise.

The stunts may be dangerous, but apart from the one moment where one of the guys is hanging through a hatch in an escalator twenty-something meters above ground it just doesn't come across enough. And only the main duo contribute to the battle. Everybody else seems like a stand-in without script or purpose.

Still gotta love it for the dangers, and these two charming strangers, but it really feels like they had some potential here they didn't use as well as they could have.

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

(more…)

Winter Of Frozen Dreams (2009)

Winter Of Frozen Dreams (2009)

Barbara Hoffman is a University of Wisconsin science student. She is a part-time employee at a local massage parlor. She is also a killer. Now all Detective Lulling has to do is prove it.

Chilling like a winter day, it truly is...

It might start like a B-movie, but don't give up on it just yet, it does get better. Even if it might not get better in the way you want it to. Not with a villain you'd like to put your faith in. Not with a killer who grows a heart. Not in a killer in the traditional sense either.

It's an unconventional thriller too. There's no violence! Not visible. Not physical. More psychological. Not terribly. But icily. And even after we go all that way we still don't know why...

Thora Birch really puts on a killer performance, as does Brendan Sexton III, and everyone else for the matter. I just wish this movie left me a little brighter than it did. Great movie, just not the kind of great I was expecting to see now. Greatly depressing, more so.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

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