Sunday, 15 October 2017

Nancy Kwan


Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter (1974)



A master swordsman and former soldier and his hunchbacked assistant hunt vampires.

Above-average, but a bit off-kilter Hammer horror movie that creates some atmosphere, but Herr Janson's performance and his cloak-and-dagger fighting skills are quite meager.

Halliwell*: "Lively horror yarn with amusing asides."

Maltin***: "Unique blend of horror and swashbuckler genres...Artsy, exciting, almost intoxicatingly atmospheric thriller has developed considerable following; one of the best (and least typical) Hammer productions."

Michael Weldon/Psychotronic: "Too bad this fun vampire adventure got lost on a double bill with the inferior Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell, because it's really good...The vampire lore is mostly new and the film works as an adventure and a comedy."


Friday, 13 October 2017

The Black Cat (1934)


New acquisition: Polytechnique (2009)


Sin nombre (2009)

 
 
A Honduran young girl and a Mexican gangster are united in a journey across the American border. 
 
Highly realistic movie, both immigration and gangster drama, convinces as social study and thrills with its suspenseful story.
 
Maltin***: "Vivid, painfully believable drama...Borders on melodrama, with almost Shakespearan overtones yet palpably real every step of the way."
 
 

Ben Blue

Los abrazos rotos (2009)



Harry Caine, a blind writer, reaches this moment in time when he has to heal his wounds from 14 years back, when he was then still known by his real name, Mateo Blanco, and directing his last movie.

Although the story is complex, offered in multiple time leaps and film-in-film sequences, it is less original, but more a homage to the director's love of cinema; as usual with Pedro Almodóvar the movie thrills with its exuberant visual quality and the ensemble's interplay.

Maltin***1/2: "Sinuous, mesmerizing story plays out in two time frames; along the way Pedro Almodóvar pays homage to Audrey Hepburn, Roberto Rossellini, and film noir. He also fashioned another perfect vehicle for Cruz's talent and beauty."


Thursday, 12 October 2017

Yvonne Craig**


Metropolis (1927)


The Danish Girl (2015)



A fictitious love story loosely inspired by the lives of Danish artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener whose marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili's groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.

Heart-wrenching period drama intensely explores the implications of deciding to change one's gender, but at heart the amazing performances of the two leads make this movie a near masterpiece.


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)


On the set: Michael Rennie

Jane Eyre (2011)



A mousy governess who softens the heart of her employer soon discovers that he's hiding a terrible secret.

Masterful adaptation of  Charlotte Brontë's classic novel is brilliant in all departments and manages to translate the complex relationship to the screen, highlighted by the perfect performances by Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender.

Maltin***: "Wasikowska is well cast...Exquisite but restrained interpretation rests largely on its talented leading lady's shoulders. Screenwriter Moira Buffini has juggled the chronology of the novel but retained its dramatic power."


New acquisition: Hellraiser (1987)


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Anna Kendrick

Prisoners (2013)



When two little girls go missing, a father takes matters into his own hands as the police pursue multiple leads and the pressure mounts.

An otherwise ordinary crime drama is, although a bit overlong, enhanced by subtle and detailed direction, excellent cinematography and some highly nuanced performances.

Maltin**1/2: "Relentlessly dark and intense, this film depicts every parent's  nightmare but leaves the backstory of its obsessive cop (Gyllenhal) frustratingly incomplete and winds up in strangely perverted territory. Uncompromising American feature debut for director Villeneuve..."


Sight & Sound


Blade Runner 2049 (2017)



A young blade runner's discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who's been missing for thirty years.

Highly successful sequel to a sci-fi classic, visually stunning and with an even more bleak neo-noir vision of the future, assembles an excellent cast for its complex, a bit overwrought - and overlong - story.


Sunday, 8 October 2017

Polly Bergen

Taxi (2015)

 
 
Jafar Panahi is banned from making movies by the Iranian government, he poses as a taxi driver and makes a movie about social challenges in Iran.
 
Brilliantly simple, leight-weight and at times humorous semi-documentary displays a lot about everyday life - and censorship - Iran.


Multiple Maniacs (1970)


(ph: Lawrence Irvine)

Youth (2015)



A retired orchestra conductor is on holiday with his daughter and his film director best friend in the Alps when he receives an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to perform for Prince Philip's birthday.

Carefully crafted and highly artificial comedy-drama merely touches its existential topics without much depth, but assembles a fine cast for the journey.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Noel Neill

Alien: Covenant (2017)



The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.

Highly professional sequel to the director's Prometheus and a great addition to the Alien saga offers a more stringent plot than the the predecessor and offers lots of visually stunning scenes and shock moments; Fassbender is perfect in his android double role.

On renewed viewing:  I especially enjoy the fantastic scenery and Michael Fassbender's performance


Friday, 6 October 2017

Hildegard Knef

Town Creek (2009)



(aka Blood Creek)

A man and his brother on a mission of revenge become trapped in a harrowing occult experiment dating back to the Third Reich.

A preposterous story is given the nonstop full action treatment, but little horror; Michael Fassbender as the supernatural villain is unrecognizable.


Thursday, 5 October 2017

Helen Mirren

Blade Runner (1982)

A blade runner must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.
Groundbreaking sci-fi thriller in noir style with a coherent bleak vision of the future, perfectly designed, still achieves to amaze even today. 
On renewed viewing: still finding wonderful new details, a very rich movie.
Halliwell**: "Gloomy futuristic thriller, looking like a firework display seen through thick fog, and for all the tiring tricks and expense adding up to little more than an updated Philip Marlowe case."
Maltin*1/2: "A triumph of production design, defeated by a muddled script and main characters with no appeal whatsoever. However, the film has a fervent following. Loosely based on Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"

Carolyn Jones


Italianamerican (1974)



Martin Scorsese interviews his mother and father about their life in New York City and the family history back in Sicily.

A very simple, intimate family documentary that manages to bring amazing insights to Italian-American immigrants' history and life, but also reveals a lot about Scorsese's parents relationship.

Halliwell (no star): "A sophisticated home movie, rooting a family in their environment. The credits include the recipe for Mrs Scorsese's meatball sauce."


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Joan Bennett


Maniac (1934)



A former vaudevillian gifted at impersonation assists a mad scientist in reanimating corpses and soon goes mad himself.

Incredibly bad exploitation shocker ridiculously purporting to be an 'educational' feature with some truly atrocious scenes, nudity and prize-worthy ham-acting and entertaining for all those reasons.

Maltin BOMB: "Typically delirious Esper schlockfest..."

Michael Weldon/Psychotronic: "...incredible old adults-only oddity...You won't believe it."

Planeta bur (1962)


Promotional art from the Russian science fiction movie Planeta Bur (The Planet of Storms)

The Mask (1961)



A young archaeologist believes he is cursed by a mask that causes him to have weird nightmares and possibly to murder.

An otherwise unremarkable horror story is effectively enhanced by its surreal 3-D fantasy sequences.

Maltin*1/2: "Low-budget shocker..."

Michael Weldon/Psychotronic: "One of the great gimmick films."

Monday, 2 October 2017

Les yeux sans visage (1960)


Alien: Covenant (2017)



The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.

Highly professional sequel to the director's Prometheus and a great addition the the Alien saga offers a more stringent plot than the the predecessor and offers lots of visually stunning scenes and shock moments; Fassbender is perfect in his android double role.