Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.


Tag: Letterboxd

Film review — Jaws: The Revenge

The premise is absolutely preposterous but its technical proficiency is light years ahead of its predecessor just four years prior and it just looks really nice, except for that soundstage swimming pool reshoot ending for international markets. It’s an insult to the original, don’t get me wrong, but hardly the nadir of the franchise when Jaws III is sitting right there. More…

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Film review — Jaws III

The FBI warnings betray that Universal sent the literal Blu-ray files to Amazon for streaming, so I feel sorry for anyone who paid for the physical media as the transfer is piss-poor at best. Besides that, it boggles the mind that the SeaWorld people would see this as any kind of advertisement for their theme park; it’s the equivalent of Mickey gone rogue and slashing people the length of Main Street USA. More…

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Film review — Jaws

The series just got added to Prime Video so I had to, really…. I’d always aligned myself with the ‘Jaws is a horror movie’ camp but on revision, only the first half feels like a horror to me; the rest is an old-timey adventure that doesn’t quite match those thrills, but remains satisfying nonetheless. More…

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Film review — Moonfall

An aggressively artificial un-spectacle, with added knob-polishing at the feet of Elon Musk and some suspiciously conspicuous product placement for that Russian anti-virus brand that was cool 20 years ago. But at least the pacing was half-decent. More…

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Film review — Sundown

Ironically enough, for a meandering film with such a threadbare story, it goes deeper as an essay on social class than the shock and awe of the writer/director’s prior, much-maligned New Order. More…

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Film review — Spielberg

Steven Spielberg is such an icon that his story deserves to be told without glossing over the failures that make his career trajectory that much more interesting and compelling. So let’s have another run at this one some time; we’ll need more than two-and-a-half hours, but so be it. More…

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Film review — Beware: Children at Play

Craven remade Bergman’s The Virgin Spring as The Last House on the Left, so why not reboot Beowulf in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens… with cannibal children? Okay, I was sold on the killer-kids premise already but there really is a lot more going on here. I mean, it’s an enthusiastic yet amateurish backwoods slasher — from Troma, naturally — so I did not expect a meta-commentary on the aesthetics and function of fantastical fiction. Nor that brutally unforgiving denouement. If you go down to the woods today… actually on second thought, best not. More…

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Film review — Deep Water

It was a fundamental error not to make this an ultra-heightened nail-biter. As it is, it’s almost thoroughly drab and detached save for that ludicrous ending, and the relationship between Affleck’s character and his daughter. When a six-year-old gets it… More…

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Film review — Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Do you know what an ambiguous image is? Like that picture that’s a duck one way and a rabbit the other? That’s what this is. It’s not even a movie, really, let alone a horror movie. It’s mere content contrived to appeal to both sides of a perceived binary divide. A duck or a rabbit. A rabbit or a duck. More…

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Film review — Drive My Car

I haven’t read Murakami since 1Q84 burst that balloon, so I wasn’t familiar with the source material here. Turns out (!) the titular car is a red herring (as is the Beatles allusion, but so was Norwegian Wood). The real conceit, as embellished by Ryusuke Hamaguchi here, is a stage production of Uncle Vanya that serves as a multifaceted metaphor for all of the characters in one way or another. More…

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Film review — Eurocrime! The Italian Cop and Gangster Films That Ruled the ’70s

Found this one on Tubi after searching for ages. The production is amateurish but enthusiastic, and the wealth of talking heads not to mention the detail and context for the genre somewhat makes up for its shortcomings. There are more than a few, let’s say lurid moments that will raise eyebrows (it’s a bit rich commenting on misogyny while showing a topless woman being manhandled by crooks, or worse) so take this as a content warning. More…

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Film review — Not Quite Hollywood

Not quite as good as I remembered, this one. In particular it glosses over the rampant sexism that marks so many of the Ozploitation films celebrated here, acknowledging the pressures put on the women who appeared without really reconciling with that fact. So yeah, that leaves a sour taste in 2022. Anyway, the devil-may-care action flicks are better. Less misogyny, more blowing up cars, please. More…

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Film review — Copshop

This should be a vehicle for Alexis Louder as the badass desert cop who more than holds her own between Frank Grillo and Gerard Butler’s macho posturing. I say ‘should’, because she wasn’t pushed in the marketing material for its original cinema release, at least not round these parts. More…

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Film review — Dirty Ho

Once it finally coalesces into a plot, this becomes tremendous stuff. But even up to that point it makes for a decent comedy. More…

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Film review — Demonic

The germ of a good idea (‘virtual reality exorcism’ has a lot of potential) is lost within a poorly fleshed-out script and student-film, make-do execution. It’s too late now, Blomkamp, you blew it. More…

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Film review — Dollman Vs Demonic Toys

What a mess. Some of the set pieces here betray at least the notion of enthusiasm, but at some point early on Charles Band must have got bored and settled for cobbling together a bunch of random half-assed takes till it made up a contractually obligated hour. It’s only remarkable for having an incredibly sleazy denouement, and for the soundtrack keeping that glam metal flame alive when grunge had long since conquered the industry. More…

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Film review — Demonic Toys

They kind of just threw everything at the wall with this one, didn’t they? An extended riff on the opening to Child’s Play with nods and winks aplenty to the Elm Street series, The Shining, Rosemary’s Baby… it’s a lot, and somehow a lot less than the sum of its parts. More…

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Film review — Dollman

“Hey man, the script is great! A cop the size of a doll! Where does Band come up with this stuff? But, uh, it’s running a little short…”

“No problem, I’ll just copy-paste ‘fuck’ a few hundred times. That should do it.” More…

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Film review — Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror

I can’t help but see this as a genre-specific deep-dive companion piece to Mark Cousins’ The Story of Film project. It’s clearly made by someone with a solid sense of the sociopolitical context of horror (I was going to say ‘horror cinema’, but this covers plenty of made-for-TV productions in its wide remit) and interprets folk horror in particular as an idea that varies depending on its cultural milieu (in Britain, age against youth, urban against rural and so on; but a post-colonial spectre in America and Australia) yet sharing common threads, like the tension between ‘tradition’ and ‘progress’. More…

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Film review — Crippled Avengers

Not the most enlightened premise in this day and age. But the pace is near breathless, and the choreography truly exceptional. Like, Rogers-and-Astaire-but-kung-fu good. More…

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Film review — The Super Bob Einstein Movie

Two things: one, I was aware of Super Dave as a bit from late-night talk shows but I did not realise until shockingly recently that he was Albert Brooks’ brother; and two, he’s legitimately funny without the unfortunate compulsion for “dialect comedy”, as its phrased so euphemistically here. More…

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Film review — Shaolin Temple

Hate to say I found this one a bit slow-going until the Wooden Men Alley sequence; that’s when the fightin’ starts and never lets up for the entire second half. More…

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Film review — The End of Evangelion

I had to read about five Wikipedia articles to get a handle on the story before I could even start with this, despite having watched the original series not so long ago, so yeah, it’s one of those. More…

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Film review — Red Lights

I’m convinced I at least half-watched this before but if I have it’s been erased from my memory. Proof enough of the existence of psychic powers, if you ask me. More…

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Film review — The Sparks Brothers

There’s a glimpse of Steven McDonald in the last half hour that teases a parallel universe where there’s another version of this film but it’s about Redd Kross. More…

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Film review — Old

It’s got the same problem as The Happening, and The Village, and most of Shyamalan’s ‘big’ movies in that an attempt at serious human drama clashes with a preposterous premise, and the results are expectedly muddled. I much prefer the fake Wikipedia plot where this turns out to be a sequel to Lady in the Water and shit gets even crazier after the credits roll. More…

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Film review — Don’t Look Up

There’s so much to ridicule about this pitiful excuse for a satire, but maybe the most egregious is that no one gets cut off for swearing on TV. More…

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Film review — The Boxer from Shantung

It’s got more politicking than fighting, and I’ve been distracted this week so it took me a few goes to get through. But if you want a masterclass in vengeance-fuelled resilience, the last half hour is for you. More…

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Film review — King Boxer

Diving (digitally) into Arrow’s Shawscope box set, and this one is the first in the list. There’s a hint of Iko Uwais in Lo Lieh’s determined martial arts student who finds himself embroiled in a clash between honourable tradition and shady politics. The fight scenes are where it’s really at, though, and it’s no surprise to see why this sparked such a craze in ’70s America. More…

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Film review — VFW

Grumpy old men and a bolshy young wan besieged by a zombie-like drug-addled horde and their uber-villainous kingpin? So much, so Assault on Precinct 13. That Carpenter vibe extends to the soundtrack by Zombi’s Steve Moore, too. Sounds pretty good, right? If only they’d shot it with cameras with better light sensitivity, because I could barely see a fucking thing. More…

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