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


Tag: streaming

Film review — Anthropophagous

I get, say, holding off showing too much of your horror villain to conjure a fearsome air of mystery while attempting to hide your paucity of budget for decent make-up effects. But even five seconds of aul’ porridge face here makes it impossible to take seriously. Let alone that notorious (and notoriously silly) “He eats a baby!” scene. More…

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Film review — The Heroin Busters

The main protagonist of this dirtbag drug-bust cop thriller spends what must be several days — between a Hong Kong junk and a turboprop dogfight over the outskirts of Rome via multiple chases and shootouts — wearing a ratty Canadian tuxedo with a rope belt. Does that sell it for you? More…

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Film review — Octopussy

I didn’t figure out what the plot of this one actually is until the final act. Much like its predecessor was fighting against itself on a core, philosophical level, Octopussy still has an incapacitating hangover from the Seventies even though it came out in 1983. The title alone is testament to that. More…

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Film review — For Your Eyes Only

This is supposed to be the “back to basics” Bond but it’s really fighting against itself, especially Carole Bouquet’s Melina who is believable in context as a vengeful badass but has to exist in a bizarro universe of prat falls and sight gags and Roger Moore’s geriatric charm, or approximation thereof. I would totally watch a movie of Melina and her gang hunting down the people who murdered her family without 007 ruining everything. More…

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Film review — Moonraker

There’s nothing inherently wrong with the premise ‘Bond in space’ but they went too far, too silly with Moonraker (I can’t help saying it in my head in Shirley Bassey voice: “Mooooon-RAY-KAH!”). I’ve only watched two of these Roger Moore Bonds this week (the first two available on Prime Video, anyway) and it’s already depressingly apparent that self-parody is baked into their DNA (that fucking pigeon double-take, come on!). Cut that out, and trim it down by half an hour while you’re at it, and you might actually have something to work with here. I mean that about Bond in general, not just this one. More…

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Film review — The Spy Who Loved Me

Utter dullsville, apart from the frankly fantastic stunt work – though that’s juxtaposed with some of the most laughable cuts, whether to shoddy rear projections or scale models with faceless dolls, that it feels like a grave insult to everyone who risked their lives to get the shot. More…

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Film review — Rocky V

It’s coming from a place of good ideas — too many of them, even — but it’s executed like a ham-fisted sitcom. Imagine if they’d let things mature for another few years, and Sly gave us the same energy as Copland. Anyway. He busts out a sweet drop toe hold here that he probably picked up from Terry Funk so it’s not all bad. More…

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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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 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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Film review — Hell on Earth: The Desecration & Resurrection of The Devils

This is not a criticism of the film itself. But it’s striking to me, some 20 years after this was produced, that among all the pontification about the controversy surrounding Ken Russell’s provocative work, what goes conspicuously under-examined is the notion of a parade of mostly elderly men excusing the discomfort of women (often “girls” in their parlance) who were exploited — in both the highest and lowest senses of the term — in the name of ‘art’. Our understanding of consent has come along way since the turn of this century, let alone the early 1970s. More…

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Film review — Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Shocking Truth

Did I see this at an IFI Horrorthon? It seems like something that might’ve happened. Nothing shocking about it, to be honest; it’s merely a succession of talking heads sharing their recollections of making a movie on a shoestring budget in a hot Texas summer. It’s the movie itself that’s truly disturbing. More…

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Film review — Deep Red

Watched the original Italian version, which appears to play a bit more fast and loose with the tone but also, at least based on comparison of the first few minutes, retains more of the creative cinematography lost to some brutal editing in the international cut. More…

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Film review — The Velvet Underground

Others brighter than me have pointed out that this is more a portrait of the 1960s New York arts scene in toto than one focused specifically on the band, and that makes sense as the narrative rushes to a close once that scene implodes. More…

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Film review — The Brain

The Brain is A Nightmare on Elm Street made in the style of David Cronenberg but with the sensibility of Stuart Gordon, or even Larry Cohen, which will make more sense having watched it. Unfortunately the movie runs out of steam way before the final act; the budgetary limits really show. However the central concept (telepathic, presumably alien brain monster vs strong-willed teen) is a neat one, as derivatively as it’s realised here, and ripe for another attempt if someone wants a go. More…

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Film review — Frog Dreaming

If you’ve snagged the ET kid for your Aussie adventure flick, well, you’ve gotta make him cry! Seriously, though, this has a charming quirkiness that more than compensates for a premise no more grand than a CBBC mystery series from the days before satellite and cable ruined terrestrial children’s TV. And what closes the circle is knowing the girl who plays Jane would sing the theme for Round the Twist which you are already playing in your head right now, aren’t ya? More…

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Film review — Greta

That bit where the cop says Greta has the right to haunt Frances from across the street with a telephoto lens if she wants to? Kayfabe broken, fuck this movie. More…

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