1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die Blog Club

Thursday, October 16th, 2014
 
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This week we review:
#552. The French Connection (1971)


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The 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die Blog Club is a forum for bloggers to share in their passion and engage in group study, one classic film at a time. For our readers, it is a portal of cinematic opinions from a wide assortment of blog critics, one film per week, 52 weeks per year.

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#552. The French Connection (1971)

#552. The French Connection (1971)

Why It's In The Book: "With Bullitt (1968) and Dirty Harry (1971), The French Connection spearheaded the cop-movie revival that took place around 1970… The French Connection remains a tremendously exciting and powerful movie, primarily because of its vigorous editing style [and] epic vision of urban decay… The editing – it’s rough-edged energy enhanced by jagged, truncated scene transitions – conveys both off-balance disorientation and reckless forward propulsion." -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Squish - 10/10
"I walked into The French Connection knowing that it would be typical drug dealer / cop chase flic. I left wondering why I hadn't heard more loudly-touted acclaim for what instantly became one of my Top 10 favourite movies of all time."
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Adolytsi - 9/10
"...A gritty, in-your-face cop film directed by William Friedkin, who does a bang-up job with this material. It’s smart, effective, and it leads you by the nose the whole way, which few films dared to do."
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Jay Cluitt - 8/10
"The chase against a criminal-carrying overground train is both the highlight of the film and possibly the greatest car chase in movie history."
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Movie Guy Steve - 7/10
"I see why The French Connection is a good film. What I don’t see is why it’s a great film."
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Lindsey - 6/10
"decent overall with an awesome car chase"
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Overall Rating: 8/10

 

#1002. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

#1002. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Why It's In The Book: "Eyes Wide Shut is the perfect postscript to the oeuvre of Stanley Kubrick, who died within days of completing the film, in that it is signature Kubrick: intriguing, intellectual, intent, fastidiously crafted, and commanding to direct. It is also arguably portentous, remote, and labored. It enjoyed a big opening, thanks in part to sexy trailers of the reigning 'world's most glamorous couple' and costars Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman... Cruise's performance was overshadowed by Kidman's smaller but more emotionally outspoken role, but his presence in virtually every scene gives the film an essential humanity. His palpably wounded male pride, pain, vulnerability, and bewilderment provide a sympathetic connection to what otherwise is a cold and cynical observation of relationships.  But, as ever, Kubrick's uncomfortable personal vision is conveyed with distinctive and stunning style." -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Thomas Ostrowski - 9/10
"...it's akin to a fine wine, only enjoyable in sips instead of gulps."
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Nicolas Krizan - 7.5/10
"Kubrick tries too hard"
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Adolytsi - 7/10
"At over two-and-a-half hours, this will be a sizable investment on your part. I never thought I’d say this about a Kubrick film, but… I’m not sure if the return is worth your investment."
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Movie Guy Steve - 7/10
"Interesting and weird, but not my favorite Kubrick."
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Overall Rating: 8/10

 

#783. Tampopo (1986)

#783. Tampopo (1986)

Why It's In The Book: "The late Juzo Itami called his second comedy a ‘ramen Western’… it represents a quantum leap from his impressive first comedy, the 1984 The Funeral. Without abandoning his flair for social satire shown in that film, and in subsequent work, Itami expands his scope in Tampopo, to encompass the kind of free-form narrative play we associate with the late work of Luis Buñuel. His subjects are food, sex, and death, his ostensible focal point for the opening of a noodle restaurant. He takes us on a wild spree through an obsession, winding his way through various digressions with a dark, philosophical wit that is both hilarious and disturbing…

As in The Funeral, Itami’s ultimate interest appears to be exploring as well as ridiculing some of the paradoxes of Japanese society, including those involving class and etiquette, and he carries this off with energy and inventiveness." - 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die 

Member Ratings

Movie Guy Steve - 10/10
"I have watched this film over and over, and it never becomes old. It also never fails to make me ravenously hungry, particularly the rice omelet and the little pancake scene."
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marie_dressler - 9/10
"In this very funny film, good food is connected to birth, death, sex, work, and pleasure in a mouth-watering way."
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Sunny D - 9/10
"You could enjoy the meal of a lifetime one magical night, and savor the memory the rest of your days, but in the morning your body is going to need to be fed again, and again, and again. Life goes on. Tampopo, the film, captures that essence, through a wide-array of mostly-charming vignettes around one central tale, showing almost as many emotional flavors of existence as there are spices in a gourmet kitchen."
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Adolytsi - 8/10
"It takes a little bit to get into the meat of the film, rather than just dropping in on it, but once you’re there, this becomes quite the delightful little comedy."
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Chip Lary - 8/10
"I think people that are familiar both with Westerns and Japanese films will get more out of Tampopo than those who don’t, but even those who have seen neither can still easily be entertained by it."
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Lindsay - 8/10
"This is one of the most enjoyable films focusing on food there is."
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Nicolas Krizan - 8/10
"several clever and vaguely connected storylines interweave"
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Overall Rating: 8.6/10

 

#1152. Skyfall (2012)

#1152. Skyfall (2012)

Why It's In The Book: "Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson pulled out all the stops for the film that marked the fiftieth anniversary of 007. With an Oscar-winnnig director behind the camera, plus a few winners in front of it, Skyfall is a prestige picture passing itself off as a blockbuster. The spextacle remains, but the film boldly delves into previously uncharted emotional territory... Sam Mendes's skillful direction is matched by Roger Deakins's rich cinematography. A silhouetted fight sequence, unfolding against the backdrop of Shanghai's neon-soaked skyline, is one of many memorable moments. And with Daniel Craig firmly in control, this is one franchise that looks set to continue for many years to come." -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Jay Cluitt - 9/10
"Exotic animals are back in Bond films! Yay!"
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Movie Guy Steve - 9/10
"Skyfall is less a return to form for the James Bond franchise and more a well-designed and coherent redirection of a franchise that needed a shift to stay both relevant and interesting."
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Adolytsi - 8/10
"Simultaneously a love letter to the years of Bond gone by and an evolution of the Bond film into a new era of filmmaking, Skyfall succeeds in damn near every possible way."
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Sunny D - 8/10
"My wife and I were looking for some semi-mindless popcorn movie fun [...] and we got what we were looking for, with a little extra helping of 'huh, that's interesting' on top of the requisite exotic locales and dramatic explosions."
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Nicolas Krizan - 7.5/10
"a nice try to both honor and let go of some heritage"
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Chip Lary - 7/10
"The best part of the film, for me, is that we got to learn quite a bit about Bond’s past."
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Kim Wilson - 7/10
"Overall, Skyfall was your usual action film. Boom, bang, and pow happened. Things exploded, people got shot and stabbed, and the good guy won."
READ MORE 

Overall Rating: 8/10

#830. When Harry Met Sally... (1989)

#830. When Harry Met Sally... (1989)

Why It's In The Book: "When Harry Met Sally provides indisputable proof, if it were needed, that all the right ingredients—a skilled comic director (Rob Reiner), great script (Nora Ephron), and brilliant casting (Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan) – do add up to a damn-near perfect piece of film entertainment…
A romantic comedy that tips its cap to Woody Allen movies like Annie Hall (1977), this is brought right up to date by Ephron's witty dialogue that accurately depicts the modern-day dating game…Against the backdrop of the most cinematic of cities, New York, scene upon scene is either a classic or features memorable dialogue: Sally fake orgasm in the deli, after which a woman at a neighboring table orders ‘I’ll have what she’s having’ (the lady played by Reiner’s own mother) and the store karaoke session when Harry bumps into his ex-wife are played expertly by the two leads, and support roles include Bruno Kirby as Harry’s pal and Carrie Fisher as Sally’s.
A triumph for all involved – Nora Ephron has yet to write a script that matches this one – the film turned Ryan into a highly sought-after leading lady and made Harry Connick Jr., who performs 1930s and ‘40s standards (including “It Had To Be You”) on the soundtrack, a bonafide star."
-1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Adolytsi - 10/10
"I can point to pretty much every excuse that might pop into your head as to why you wouldn’t want to see this, point to When Harry Met Sally, and say 'Well, this is the one exception'."
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Marie_Dressler - 10/10
"I consider it the most perfect film in its genre since It Happened One Night (1934)."
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Chip Lary - 9/10
"It is one of the very best romantic comedies ever made."
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Movie Guy Steve - 9/10
"… if romantic comedies could be written this well, acted this believably, and directed this skillfully, it wouldn’t matter how much the same story was recycled over and over."
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nicolas krizan - 9/10
"Love or friendship?"
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Squish - 8/10
"Add to all this a relatively-young-in-her-middle-age Carrie Fisher and the unsung Bruno Kirby... whose delivery of the line '"BABY FISH MOUTH! BABY FISH MOUTH!' is the funniest line of the entire film, and you have yourself at the very least a safe date / safe to watch with mom if she can take the occasional swearing / guilty pleasure a guy can watch alone and really laugh film."
READ MORE

Overall Rating: 9/10

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#820. Rain Man (1988)

#820. Rain Man (1988)

Why It's In The Book: “Numerous writers and directors had tinkered with the script of Rain Man before director Barry Levinson came on board. Many believed the story… just too difficult to bring to the screen. Even the film’s eventual stars, Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, seemed worried about the movie’s outcome when they dubbed it ‘Two Schmucks in a Car’ during shooting.


Levinson luckily didn’t balk at the idea of making a film with little dramatic story, instead focusing on the human development that is at the picture’s heart. Hoffman captures his character’s autism without going overboard on the nervous tics, but most impressive here is Cruise, who holds his own alongside a more experienced actor and expertly depicts a shallow man who finally finds some depth in his life.” -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Lindsey - 9/10
"Both Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman did exceptional jobs portraying their characters.  That really made the difference in this film."
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Squish - 8.5/10
"One new thing I learned after this recent viewing is that the EPA is the antagonist of Rain Man."
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Adolytsi - 8/10
"...A delightful film with a fantastic portrayal of the mentally handicapped and their relationship with the outside world, and their family."
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Chip Lary - 8/10
"It’s not often that a film is both popular with movie audiences and critically acclaimed, but Rain Man was."
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Marie_Dressler - 8/10
"There are not enough uplifting movies out there. This is an excellent one."
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Movie Guy Steve - 8/10
"Rain Man might be a bit sappy at times, a bit too emotionally on the nose, but it still plays well, particularly with its downbeat/upbeat, realistic ending."
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Nicolas Krizan - 8/10
"one of the most famous – and most odd – road trip duos ever"
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Michaël Parent - 7/10
"Much like other Academy Awards winner for Best Actor, like Forrest Gump for instance, Rain Man is about an actor portraying mental illness and making us believe in it."
READ MORE

Thomas Ostrowski - 7/10
"Look, it's a good movie, but I'm already living it in some aspects."
READ MORE

Overall Rating: 8.1/10

#605. The Mirror [Zerkalo] (1974)

#605: The Mirror [Zerkalo] (1974)

Why It's In The Book: “The great American avant-garde filmmaker Stan Brakhage once hailed Andrei Tarkovsky for cinematic achievements on three levels: telling the epic tales of the ‘tribes of the world’; keeping his work personal, and reaching his truth via that route; and ‘doing the dream-work to illuminate the borders of the unconscious.’ Mirror is a striking and haunting example of this threefold majesty.
It is a beguiling and remarkable film – hard to encapsulate, because it is so full of the pregnant mysteriousness of places, people, and gestures. This fugitive self-portrait by Tarkovsky is an intergenerational affair…
Mirror is constructed as a collage, in which recreated vignettes that deliberately blur past and present are freely mingled with archival footage from several countries and disquietingly disconnected quotations from classic music (Bach, Pergolesi, Purcell). The ambience is dreamlike, secretive, elliptical. Yet there is also a beautiful simplicity in Tarkovsky, aligning him with Terrence Malick: the movement of natural elements (wind, fire, rain), the bottomless landscapes of the human face, and a sense of time passing, all conspire to give a sense of the world itself ‘breathing’.
Tarkovsky, like Robert Bresson, is a master of the precisely chosen image and sound. The economy of his camera movements and the gradual revealing of the disparate parts of any scene create an aura and an effect that overflow the material reality of what we see and hear, opening a portal to another world. His is a cinema of texture, of aura, and the senses. Mirror is all at once an intimate confession, a summoning of history, and a cryptic poem.”
-1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Adolytsi - 10/10
"There is absolutely no denying that I have just seen a masterpiece; it is just what kind of masterpiece it is that I will have to spend some time on, and even perhaps another viewing or two, which I wouldn’t begrudge in the slightest."
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Nicolas Krizan - 8/10
"the importance of proofreading"
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Movie Guy Steve - 7/10
"I will watch it again one day, and maybe then I’ll have a better handle on exactly what it’s trying to do. Until then, it’s a pretty experiment that left me miles behind it right away."
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Squish - 6/10
"art-house cinema for the elite...for the patient cinephiles who like to dwell on the honest minutia of the real stories of real people – in short it’s for people who aren’t me"
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Overall Rating: 7.7/10

 

#255. Europa '51 (1952)

#255. Europa '51 (1952)

Why It's In The Book: "Roberto Rossellini’s Europa ’51 contains the most unpredictable mixture of ingredients one can think of, a stew you might not be so sure you want to taste… Each situation in Europa ’51 is composed of conventional stuff, and every scene comes as unexpected, filled with a disturbing sense of reality, of secret connections with real life, though it seems to deal only with the usual references, both on the Romanesque side and on the thematic side. And it all takes places without any overly dramatic effect, without any kind of boasting, but, on the contrary, with an incredible modesty (by a director and an actress who were anything but humble) in the way the story is told, the way it is shot, and the way it is acted.

Europa ’51 slips beyond all the frames it would appear to belong to, reaching a level of essential humanism rarely achieved in the cinema—and never by using heavy means." -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Tsorensen - 8/10
"I am not ashamed to admit that I was crying helplessly at the end. So, yeah, this is a good one."
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Adolytsi - 7/10
"It is only Bergman’s character’s unflinching resolve to weather the storm that makes this remotely worth watching, rather than just fall into sheer pointlessness of beating up a fictional character."
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Nicolas Krizan - 7/10
"devastating loss creates immense emotional turmoil"
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Movie Guy Steve - 6/10
"Ultimately, I can’t help but wonder what makes this film so important."
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Overall Rating: 7/10

 

#471. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

#471. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

Why It's In The Book: "By the mid 1960s, Hollywood had grown largely tired of the Western, which was increasingly viewed as a stodgy and hokey relic of another era…Sergio Leone thought differently…the third part of his ‘man with no name’ trilogy, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly… confirmed Leone’s reputation in cinematic legend.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly embraces purely cinematic elements of filmmaking. He carefully composes each widescreen image like he’s painting a great landscape, frequently indulging himself in extreme close-ups – often little more than a character’s eyes. Leone propels the story forward with radical editing techniques, often cut to the rhythms of Ennio Morricone’s famous score, pairing odd instrumentation and electric guitars to more traditional orchestration. Style drips from each frame like the sweat pouring down his stars’ faces. The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly literally comes down to the faces of Eastwood, Wallach, and Van Cleef… Camp and kitsch and utterly entrancing, the work is of a master rewriting the rules of the Western to suit Leone’s own unique vision."-1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Adolytsi - 10/10
"Reinventing the concept of what a western could be, Leone breathes new life into the at-the-time fading genre, and cements his status as a legend of the cinema."
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Movie Guy Steve - 10/10
"Is it the greatest spaghetti Western ever made?"
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Squish - 10/10
"The up close suspense effects where they zoom in on just the eyes, just the guns, just the quavering little hand... Classic"
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Sunny D - 9/10
"The Good, the Bad and the Ugly lives up to its own hype."
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Nicolas Krizan - 8.5/10
"different levels of self-serving cruelty"
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Overall Rating: 9.75/10

 

#32. The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926)

#32. The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926)

Why It's In The Book: "Lotte Reiniger's enchanting The Adventures of Prince Achmed is often cited as the first feature-length animation... Reiniger's characters move gracefully in and out of the shadows, amgically disappearing and morphing shape through the skilled stop-time animation. The detail of the cutouts is beautifully complimented by the Islamic patterns on the inter-title cards, designed by Edmund Dulac, and the shimmering backgrounds by Walter Ruttmann. Its dizzying action sequences and romantic sensibility give the film a colorful rhythmic style, influenced by Reiniger's circle of avant-garde friends.
Reiniger's use of silhouettes is as magical as her world of sorcerers, genies, and fairies. Produced over an arduous three years, the film resulted in the invention of many new techniques, including a multi-plane animation stand, which gives the illusion of depth to images. It is a method whose creation is often mistakenly attributed to Walt Disney.
A popular film that imaginativelhy retells a classic fairytale, The Adventures of Prince Achmed is nevertheless firmly entrenched in the avant-garde. It is, in every way, a pioneering work whose timelessness lies in its skill and achievement."
-1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Movie Guy Steve - 9/10
"The effect of the shadows and the painstaking animation is nothing short of magical."
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TSorensen - 9/10
"The Adventures of Prince Achmed should first of all be seen for the technical and artistic achievement it is and that is really reason enough. I believe it deserves its newly acquired spot on The List."
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Adolytsi - 8/10
"There’s a bit of a deus ex machina for the ending, but I’ll forgive this early film its slight misstep, if only because the rest was so engaging."
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Chip Lary - 8/10
"It’s far more than just a historical curiosity; it actually manages to convey emotions and to generate a feeling of adventure, peril, and wonder in the viewer."
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Kim Wilson - 7.5/10
"While I would not suggest that The Adventures of Prince Achmed be shown to a roomful of six-year-olds on a Saturday afternoon, it is still a stunning piece of work.  Like Disney’s Fantasia (1940), it is an artistic triumph that is probably best enjoyed by adults."
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nicolas krizan - 7/10
"enchanting silhouettes and exotic subject matter"
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Overall Rating: 8.3/10

Upcoming Member-Assigned Reviews:

Thursday October 23rd

#419. Hud (1963)
Thursday October 30th

#73. Freaks (1932)
Thursday November 6th

#153. The Wolf Man (1941)
Thursday November 13th

 
#469. Come Drink With Me [Da Zui Xia] (1966)

 



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Past Assignment Archives

You can now find all the Past Assignments the 1001 Club has reviewed on its very own page.

Yes, I agree that it's long overdue.



 

1001 MUST SEE MOVIES CLUB
Complete Members List

(in order of contributions)

AdolytsiMovie Guy SteveSquishNicolas KrizanSiochembioKlaus MingMichaël Parent   KimWilsonAlysonJay CluittChipSunny DTSorensenLindseymarie_dressler Doug TilleyJaime GrijalbaBrian Vs. Movies •  BrandenOilarHaricharanDarwinTim BurrowbpdreviewUnivarnThe Mad Hatter  •  Shubhajit Lahiri •  ChrisLejarzar Robert • Simon Columb •  Jeff CotéChris Edwards • OilarKevyn KnoxK.J BroylesKurosawa_Lover  •  alfindeol  •  FeyjohnlgilpatrickThis Guy Over HereThe Movie Mistress  • WhitneyAndrew Robinson • Danny KingThomas GattoBlakeCastorHeatherMy Floating Red CouchTom CliftEl GringogenevieveRipleyRonanTravis McCollumCMrok93C.M. Dobson

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Recent Posts You May Have Missed - October

 
Nicolas Krizan muses on Skyfall, Rain Man, Europa 51, Mirror and Prince Achmed, all on the main page.

Adolytsi finishes *ALL* club assignments with reviews for Dangerous Liaisons, Shaolin Master Killer, A Fish Called Wanda and The Best of Youth.
 
Congratulations Adol - you are literally my hero.



 
Don't forget to check them out.


Remember kiddies, Archive posts are welcome. Whether you were a club member since its inception in 2009 or just joining us now, if you have a review you are proud of, I will gladly add it to the archives list.
 
Just submit it as you would an assigned review, including your score out of 10 and the quote from your post.

I think I have to make an effort to see this kind of movie. This is supposed to be great. - Aaron Kocourek

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