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Session 9 (2001): Eight Were Committed for Uncontrolled Passion

Session 9 (Brad Anderson, 2001)

[originally posted 28Mar2002]

An ancient wheelchair sits in a shaft of light in a long-abandoned room on the movie poster.

How influential has this movie been since? I have seen this scene in at least a half-dozen films in the past decade.
photo credit: Wikipedia

Since Scream, America has been inundated with horror films that want to be hip and trendy. Leave it to Hollywood to overlook the hippest and trendiest of them. Session 9 is The Others without an A-list actor to lend it credibility; it’s all about atmosphere rather than shock value. That will probably turn most horror film fans off, butt he true aficionado will find a whole lot here to like.

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Fool’s Assassin (2014): Duchy, Duchy, Duchy, Duchy, Duchy, RUSE

Robin Hobb, Fool’s Assassin (Del Rey, 2014)

full disclosure: a copy of this book was provided to me free of charge by Amazon Vine.

FitzChivalry Farseer, back for a seventh novel, strides through the woods with a ghostly pair of antlers looming up behind him on the book's cover.

Someone tramping through the woods without corpse paint? I didn’t know that happened anymore!
photo credit:

Poor Fitz. The guy can’t catch a break. Even in Fool’s Fate, the only book where it seemed Robin Hobb might let her long-suffering main character off the hook and give him a happy ending, she had to twist the knife a time or two. And after that one, we all thought we had seen the end of FitzChivalry Farseer, Lord Chade, Kettricken, Dutiful, Molly, and the entire bunch (those who survived six books of an author almost as bloodthirtsy as George R. R. Martin, anyway). Hobb whisked us away to other lands for two series, but she just couldn’t leave well enough alone, and here we are, years later, for the opener in a new series about the staunchest allies in the Six Duchies, Fitz—now known as Tom Badgerlock—and The Fool, who wryly observes at one point, “No longer Lord Golden…but still a fool.”

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I meant to post reviews last night. I did. Honest!

…but the laptop I was using to write reviews while I finished watching 1997′s Aberration (you’ve seen it a hundred times before) and 2010′s Das Letzte Schweiger (which is amazing and you should watch it right now if you have Netflix Instant) was responding so slowly that I couldn’t actually get to the New Post screen in order to drop a note that I couldn’t post anything because the response time on the laptop was so slow.

Today. Honest.

1000 Best List Changes, July 2014

There has been no gap–I haven’t made any changes to the list since the last time one of these got posted.



Frozen (Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, 2013) 158
The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (Ray Muller, 1994) 334
Dirt (Chel White, 1998) 337
10/65: Self-Mutilation (Kurt Kren, 1965) 557
Snowpiercer (Joon-ho Bong, 2013) 702
Jug Face (Chad Crawford Kinkle, 2013) 883
Wake in Fright (Ted Kotcheff, 1971) 908
Thale (Alekander Nordaas, 2012) 981


The Doctor and the Devils (Freddie Francis, 1985)
Dead Silence (James Wan, 2007)
Kick-Ass (Matthew Vaughn, 2010)
Hakuja Den (Kazuhiko Okabe, 1958)
Payback (Brian Helgeland, 1998)
Monsters (Gareth Edwards, 2010)
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Shane Black, 2005)
Vincent: The Junkie Chronicles (Michael Failla, 2000)

Owl Light (1989): Inherit the Sinned

Michael Paine, Owl Light (Charter, 1989)

[originally posted 22Nov2002]

A moth with wings resembling the eyes of an owl, rests on a woman's cheek on the book cover.

The eyes have it.
photo credit: Amazon

As the eighties wound down, so did America’s fascination with horror novels not written by people who sell millions of books on the day of their release. Even the most promising eighties horror authors who weren’t publishing hardback originals lost their big book deals and had to go to smaller presses, if they continued writing at all. Needless to say, a number who had been signed at the height of the fad deserved to fade into obscurity, but a smaller number did not; number in the “where are they now, and why aren’t they at the top of the publishing heap?” file such luminaries as John R. Holt (When We Dead Awaken, one of the best horror novels of the late eighties), Joe Lansdale (who saw the shift in the tide and started writing straight mysteries), and Michael Paine, whose second novel, Owl Light, is a treat.

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Snowpiercer (2013): The Winter Soldier

Snowpiercer (Joon-ho Bong, 2013)

The titular train crashes through a glacier on the lobby card.

Millions of people living as foes.
photo credit:

There are not that many filmmakers whose every movie is a guaranteed worthwhile time. Many of those have shuffled off this mortal coil (Kieslowski is an obvious choice) or retired (Bela Tarr). There are maybe a half-dozen I can think of with a sizable enough body of work to count (Amardeep Kaleka, for example, has only made one feature film, but man, what a film it is) and who have never put a single foot off the path. Joon-ho Bong is one of them. I’ve seen all five of his features (one of which, 2006′s The Host, is as of this writing the highest-grossing Korean film of all time; Snowpiercer is currently 10th on that list, and Memories of Murder 38th) and one of his shorts, “Influenza”, and they’re all good stuff. So I had high hopes for Bong’s fifth film, Snowpiercer, his first in English. And then it got mired in distribution problems. There were rumors of large cuts being made (reportedly as much as a half-hour), fights with the distributor, all sorts of things that held it up. Finally, it came to a limited selection of theaters in America. Was it all worth it? Yes.

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Mr. Trifecta (2000): Throw Enough Spaghetti Against a Wall…

Richard A. Cromie, Mr. Trifecta (ParlorGrand, 2000)

[originally posted 4Nov2002]

A generic picture of racing horses graces the cover of the book.

A horse is a horse, but a bettor is unlike any other bettor.
photo credit: Amazon

Handicapping books can be divided into two basic types: those that rely on solid information and those that rely on more nebulous information. 99.9% of the latter (I know if I say “all,” someone will publish one that actually works) are complete and utter bunk. The majority of the “nebulous information” books rely on one source of information: “smart money.”

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