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Top Stripper (1982)

Top Stripper (1982)

Well this one wasn't what I thought it'd be!

Softcore stripping? More like pornographic cabaret.

The audience engages with the girls. They have relations on the side. There are slice of life-like sights and neighborhood skirmishes between the people at this one particular parlor...

It's refreshingly real, after all. Simple. Natural. Sensual. Does maybe not have the ideal end but... it's wholesome. It turned out to be about way more than the show, though they put on plenty of that too.

Wonder what they were trying to say with it all - it seems an almost spontaneous selection of stories and encounters unfolding in parallel sometimes.

If IMDB had more reviews to decipher...

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

M3GAN (2022)

M3GAN (2022)

If there's ever a movie that'll keep you from getting a Google Home or Alexa, then maybe this is the one! That outro, woah...

I saw trailers for this movie earlier and was intrigued but not entirely convinced by it. Thought it'd be a similar creepy doll movie as say Chucky, or one of the other classics of the old days, with an AI twist, but it was... so much more.

It's a psychological thriller, mostly, and the child actor Violet McGraw in particular really shines in portraying the trauma and conflict of interest you'd get at that particular age. It starts so simple, but true despair appears in the severed connection between her and her mother.

When you no longer know who to trust. When you make something that doesn't actually exist more important than life itself - and when you create an artificial intelligence with unbridled opportunities.

Never mind original objectives.

In the end though she did honor them. She did seem to have Cady in her best interest after all. And it's sad in a way that it ends how it does.

They could've focused more on that conflict of interest, and existence. Made her even more of an unwilling villain. An evil created out of love, and out of necessity; out of the naivety of curiosity and engineering.

In the final scenes there's a bit too much reliance of jumpscares, and those typically unnatural Doll-like motions so prevalent in for example The Ring and Silent Hill.

They're overplayed a bit. I wish they'd gone differently with those scenes.

IMO it's even more scary with a calm; with an evil that shows not so much in motion as in expression. More build. Less jump.

That would've been the ideal way to go IMO! Even with the dog - the first show of something gone wrong with the programming. Jumpscare there too.

Blumhouse are really on a roll with these horror movies though! And their logo's awesome. As is the intro. From pets that die to pets that live forever to living dolls... reminds me of a bit of that Arnold Schwarzenegger classic too. The Sixth... something? Maybe it even inspired this.

Great movie, great concept, great script, great actors too, but similar to for example Brightburn it unfortunately loses some of it's potential ominousness and psychological thrill with cliche and unnecessarily violent directing.

 rated 4.5/5: almost awesome

Creed 3 (2023)

Creed 3 (2023)

Alternative cover image.

It's belt time again! Fight time. Backstory time. Time for Adonis Creed to once again prove himself, to confront demons of his past we didn't know of prior to this third film of his, and battle it out in the ring once and for all for all.

The underlying plotline's not the most unique, but they manage it so well that I have little to say against it. The soundtrack's amazing - the way it builds both in the beginning and in the initiations of the final fight remind me of the Black Panther soundtrack - the first one especially - which was both so unconventional and so amazingly atmospheric when it builds. It's almost like a horror movie... it's not really, but that soundtrack's just something else, simple though it may be it has moments of such sublimity I get goosebumps hearing it...

Michael B. Jordan's great as always, as Creed, and I was pleasantly surprised to see no other than Jonathan Majors in the opposing role - the same guy who played the big villain in the recent Ant-Man movie. Seems he has a penchant for darker roles. He's as convincing as Michael is.

Creed's family is charming, and make you root all the more for him, though Damian's (Jonathan Majors) lack thereof makes you feel sorry for him too. Always good with a bad guy you can relate to. A bad guy with nuances. With conflict that's both relatable and unfortunate.

What's also unfortunate however is that Sylvester Stallone was played out of this movie.

The directors/actors (this is Michael B. Jordan's first attempt at directing too) are taking a new approach, and it seems they're in some ways changing up the cast...

I don't think it's a bad choice entirely, since I did really enjoy this movie, but when I read up on interviews, reviews and comments Sylvester's made about the choices they've made with this movie after seeing it... I see it a bit differently.

It's sad that Stallone - who definitely made Rocky the legend he's became - and who has been an at least assisting part of the franchise for some ~45 years - is kicked out. That he no longer has any influence in the realm of future production; no rights to the iconic character he'd played for so long.

If naught else it feels disrespectful, and even if the movie turned out amazing I feel like a lot of people will probably downvote it because of this.

Sylvester carried the character on his back for so long.

If they want to make something without him, then why not start over entirely, why not try something new?

To keep the brand name whilst kicking away one of the main cornerstones in it feels wrong. The name carries so much more than the movie does. It's not a franchise name you keep just for sales - even if it helps.

I agree that Michael's emotional showcase is also often a little simple, and that the outcome's a little simple, and the TV interview a little simple, and that they seem to gloss over parts of training or fighting that Sylvester would've put more weight on - in many areas it does feel emotionally lacking and simplified for sake of action more so than personal development and depth - but to maybe counter this the fights definitely have emotion.

The haze in particular was amazing, where the world disappears and it's just the main duo in the ring, with so much tension and aggression. It's a haze that covets not just the crowd but also time, and eight rounds later it's time to end it all... but then again at the end of it all they really don't look sufficiently beat up. That long a fight and there's barely a black eye to show for it. Barely any blood. Is this really realistic?

If it is then kudos - I haven't watched any real boxing matches - but it seems odd...

My first impression after seeing this at the movies was honestly all positive.

I felt like it had a solid backstory, a typical Rocky-like underdog vibe, that it felt a little fast somehow, but was also emotional, heavy, and really... good.

Other people's opinions influence me though. That Sylvester's stamp of approval isn't on this influences me even more.

I thought initially maybe it was his choice to no longer be a part of it - that he felt he was getting a little old, and it'd be best others take over, but then again he did have a training video a while back where if I recall he was training for this, and still was in amazingly good shape for an almost 80-year old dude...

I'm torn y'all. On the big screen this was amazing. But reading up; trying to be more objective... I don't think I can give it more than a...

 rated 4.5/5: almost awesome

...after all.

The Demon Suppressors: West Barbarian Beast (2021)

The Demon Suppressors: West Barbarian Beast (2021)

Seems they left the opportunity open for a sequel with this one, both with the disappearing witch and with the General in the credits...

Plot-wise it's messy - too many characters to keep track of, and a complicated feud you're hastily thrown into, with relations that are all but clear from the get go - though you figure 'em out along the way.

The special effects are sometimes seemingly aged and unbefitting too, especially with the wolfs and birds.

But then you get to the battles! To the Golden Buddha, and the final showdown between the two with the power of the beast king, and it's just about as bad-ass as you could ever hope it'd be! The giant sword arm was awesome.

Reminds me of Final Fantasy.

I love the fights. And you grow with the characters, and end up enjoying the storyline too when finally you really start getting into it; understanding it.

It's all about the age old feud after all, the war that could've been avoided, with one playing her puppets behind the scenes...

It's messy, it's heavy with special effects - which sometimes look awesome and sometimes disappointingly fake, but in the end... really cool. Good sceneries too. And a good crew.

It's far from flawless so no 'fo shizzle' entirely, but I did really enjoy this movie.

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

Long Shot (2019)

Long Shot (2019)

Seth Rogan: Crazy window-jumping journalist Jew, and Charlize Theron: Up-and-coming presidential candidate who looks/is hot. Who woulda thunk it? Unconventional duo ensemble.

Unconventional actor ensembles otherwise too.

Everything Seth touches turns to gold man.

It's so fascinating how he/they manage to take so ludicrous concepts as this into the mainstream, and yet do in such a simple; relatable way. Seth Rogen always puts himself to shame too. He's the butt of the joke, constantly.

Is that maybe what constitutes a good comic? Or just why you always like him so much, and/or why his movies work? Since he's the constant underdog and continual failure?

I'm not sure if that's why, but it does work, and the way the relationship develops is... devoid of the typical cliches. Even at the low point you can see there's something still embering. It never dies down entirely. They have their crisis and confrontations and all, but there's still love.

I appreciate that they don't take it to extremes just to break things apart as much as possible. They do it differently. The molly moment in the hostage negations too: Golden. And of course something you'd expect a Seth movie to include at this point...

What an awesome movie. Charlize Theron sure looks different by the end of it... somehow Seth suddenly seems in charge after all. What a love story.

I wish the world was more like this.

Transparent. Real (I'd like to think it could be at least). Caring.

No compromise.

 rated 4.5/5: almost awesome

Read on...

Air (2023)

Air (2023)

Love the old cars. Love the wood panel interiors. Love the food. Love the literature. Love both the mementos and the replicas, the old and the new - the old was the truth.

Not a huge fan of basketball but... I do like Matt Damon, and Ben Stiller, and a blockbuster that manages to captivate you as this one does even when you have zero insight into the actual content matter.

I thought the movie wouldn't just showcase the business meetings though.

I thought it'd be more basketball.

I thought they'd chronicle the journey after Nike signed Mike more so than the journey leading up to that moment, but as it turns out this was more business meetings and corridor conversations on the Adidas Adolf and Converse than the actual revenue stream that came after.

There's barely any footage of Michael himself either, and he utters but one line of dialog during the entire duration of the film. A humble 'Hello'.

What more do you need though? It just adds to the mystery of the man himself, and no doubt this movie renewed whatever Air Jordan revenue stream they still have going over at Nike. I hear it's quite the shoe!

Wonder who decided to make this film, if they still have just as innovative an agent over there today...

It's a wonderful story.

You might not think it will be considering the office theme, but it is.

As always with anything that involves Mat Damon I'm blown away when it's over too, even though it doesn't seem all that special when you see it.

They make it real. They make it entertaining.

Viola Davis and Jason Bateman are great too. And all those cameos! Chris Tucker stands out but yeah... he's good too.

Great movie. Great branding, too. I think I like... Nike.

 rated 4.5/5: almost awesome

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