August 2019

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Greta [2018]

Rotten Tomatoes = 60 / 41
Personal = 5.0

Updated Jan 16, 2020
A young woman, performing the good deed of returning a purse she found on the subway, becomes the victim of a middle aged psychotic stalker. The 'setup' went on for about 30 minutes and was rather dull and uninteresting ...I almost turned it off. The 'stalking' part was disturbing, suspenseful, tense and scary. Isabelle Huppert did a fine job as the badass psycho. The last 40 minutes was contrived and silly with one terrible decisions after another being made leaving me shaking my head in wonder at how badly they could screw this up. Did they change writers?

Dementia 13 [1963]

Rotten Tomatoes = 65 / 35
Personal = 5.6

Updated Dec 18, 2019
After the death of her husband, a woman tries to con her mother-in-law into believing in the ghost of a young girl who died 7 years ago so that she can work her way into the old ladies will. But something far more sinister is going on. Produced by Roger Corman and Written / Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, this is an interesting thriller, more for it's nostalgic sense than anything else. It's certainly not a mystery as everything plays out exactly as expected. At the time, I would imagine it was considered a rather grisly affair, though. Not bad.

I Am Mother [2019]

Rotten Tomatoes = 90 / 74
Personal = 7.9

Links Updated Oct 11, 2019
After an extinction event, a girl is raised by a robot in a re-population facility. All is going well until another human shows up. This extremely intelligent, mature, well written sci fi deals with its subject matter realistically and poignantly. The viewer is placed in the position of the girl, who in her naivety, constantly tries to separate out the truth among the lies and subterfuge, from both 'mother' and the new human, that simply does not stop, leaving us off balance and unsettled right up to the satisfying and logical climax. Fascinating!

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo [2011]

Rotten Tomatoes = 86 / 86
Personal = 9.2

Updated Dec 18, 2019
4 major story lines in one movie; a reporter's social disgrace for libel, rape and revenge, the investigation of serial killings going back to the 40's, all centered around a girl's disappearance in 1966. The characters are fully fleshed out and real, what should be a confusing mess is handled brilliantly with each story getting it's proper due and fully realized, each with it's own stellar climax. Handled expertly by David Fincher (Se7en, Gone Girl), movies this well constructed are rare and Rooney Mara as Lisbeth is superb.

Alone in the Dark [1982]

Rotten Tomatoes = 78 / 40
Personal = 4.5

Updated Jan 16, 2020
4 criminally insane psychopaths escape an institution and lay siege to the house belonging to their new doctor as they think he killed the old one. I'm sure all the big names drew a crowd but this has to be the most casual and leisurely psycho killer movie I've ever seen. It just strolls along with no suspense or tension to speak of ...even the action and attack scenes feel lethargic. The writer / director, Jack Sholder, went on to direct The Hidden, one of the best thrillers of the 80's but it appears he hadn't gotten his chops yet on this one. Pretty dull.

Ruben Brandt, Collector [2018]

Rotten Tomatoes = 81 / 83
Personal = 7.4

Updated Dec 18, 2019
An animated film about a psychiatrist who enlists the help of his clients to steal 13 masterpieces causing him nightmares. The world, and especially its inhabitants, is rather abstract and feels very Picasso making it a constant visual treat. The characters came off as quite real, despite 3 eyes or a split head, and, although there's no LOL moments, it's all quite humorous and entertaining. I had issues with the ending. Although hopeful, there was a lot of time invested in other story elements that were left unresolved. Odd, but still a fun, exciting watch.

Skeleton Man [2004]

Rotten Tomatoes = - / 4
Personal = 3.8

Updated Jan 27, 2020
A ridiculously bad yet oddly entertaining film about a guy in a skeleton suit wearing a robe that looks like a black shower curtain that switches from brand new to torn and tattered with every scene slicing, stabbing, decapitating and impaling a lot of supposedly trained military personal who couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag. Interrupt this excitement for some really bad acting and horrendous dialogue and there you have it. But, I was never bored and I actually found myself giggling at times. MST3K would have a field day with this one.

The Russian Bride [2019]

Rotten Tomatoes = - / 50
Personal = 7.0

Updated Jan 25, 2020
An reclusive, retired plastic surgeon, played with a whole new level of creepy by Corben Bernson, finds a new Russian wife, complete with a young daughter, online. I wasn't expecting much as I figured it was going to generally be something about abuse. Boy was I wrong! The insidious nature of the film, and a pinch of the supernatural, keeps the viewer uncomfortable without revealing what's really going on until just the right moment. Then things get ugly. The last half hour of this film is a pure adrenaline, high octane slaughter fest I never saw coming. Awesome!

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo [2009]

aka Man som hatar kvinnor

Rotten Tomatoes = 85 / 87
Personal = 8.3

Updated Dec 18, 2019
See my review of the US version for a synopsis. Made in Sweden two years earlier, this is the first in the Lisbeth trilogy ...the other 2 films made at the same time and coming out later in 2009. Both versions place their story emphasis on different parts making each a unique take on the same story and outcome. Not as intense and well constructed as the US version (well suited as a stand-alone film), this one still manages to hold up quite well as the start of the trilogy and features an excellent performances by Noomi Rapace.

I Trapped the Devil [2019]

Rotten Tomatoes = 75 / 38
Personal = 6.8

Updated Jan 29, 2020
A man and his wife unexpectedly drop in for a visit with his brother on Xmas. Little did they know he's got the devil locked up in the basement. Taking the idea of The Howling Man and running with it, I can see why this isn't popular. Put 'devil' in the title and everyone's looking for a demonic frieght fest. This ain't that. It's a dark, unsettling, atmospheric, psychological study of paranoia that asks the question, is that really the devil in the basement or has the brother gone mad? Fine, understated acting, smart, logical writing, extremely suspenseful. I liked it!

The Girl Who Played with Fire [2009]

aka Flickan som lekte med elden

Rotten Tomatoes = 69 / 68
Personal = 8.1

Updated Jan 25, 2020
The combination of Lisbeth having to re-visit a previous nemesis and Millennium Magazine doing an expose on human trafficking results in a pair of murders with Lisbeth as the main suspect. Centering on one main story in this one, they still managed to fill up the 2 hours with plenty of good stuff including a spy from WWII now hiding in Sweden, Lisbeth's tragic past, and a huge guy who doesn't feel pain. Keeping the trilogy moving along at an excellent pace, review for Hornet's Nest coming up shortly.

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T [1953]

aka Crazy Music

Rotten Tomatoes = 81 / 75
Personal = 6.5

Links Updated Oct 12, 2019
A surreal, musical, fantasy, written by Dr. Seuss, about a young boy, forced to practice his piano lessons, has a nightmare about his mom and him being held prisoner at Dr. Terwilliker's Institute and forced to perform on a gigantic piano that requires 500 young boys to play. Vaguely remembered from my childhood, I decided to revisit. Although firmly rooted in the '50's, with some of the tunes and routines hard to sit through, it's still quite nostalgic and entertaining, especially the dungeon musicians scene. Your kids will love it or it will give them nightmares.

Hellboy [2019]

Rotten Tomatoes = 17 / 50
Personal = 7.5

Updated Feb 5, 2020
Hellboy must stop the resurrection of the witch Nimue the Blood Queen before she lays waste to the world. This can't compare to the Guillermo del Toro / Ron Perlman, Hellboy we all know and love. But, it's not bad. In fact, it's damn good. The CG has it's weak moments and it gets a bit cheesy in places but the characters are likable, the dialogue had a certain wit to it that kept me amused throughout and the Lovecraftian creatures lying waste to London in the climax were awesome! It's not the original and it's not the MCU but it is good fun. Just don't try to compare it to something else.

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