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The Mercenary (Il mercenario) Region B

Guest reviewer Lee Broughton is back with an in-depth look at Sergio Corbucci’s grand ‘Zapata’ Spaghetti Western. Set in post-1900 Mexico, Tony Musante’s rebellious peon wants to be a hero of the revolution but he primarily robs the rich in order to pay the extortionate wages that are demanded by Franco Nero’s interloping Polish mercenary-cum-military advisor. The resultant political allegory is played out on an almost epic scale and is suitably enlivened by the presence of a villainous Jack Palance, a plethora of large scale action scenes, an imaginatively used period car and biplane and a rousing soundtrack score by Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai.

The Mercenary (Il mercenario)

Region B Blu-ray

88 Films The Italian Collection

1968 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 106 min. / A Professional Gun, Il mercenario / Street Date, 8 Jan 2018 / £15.99

Starring: Franco Nero, Tony Musante, Jack Palance, Giovanna Ralli, Franco Giacobini, Eduardo Fajardo, Franco Ressel, Raf Baldassarre, Tito Garcia.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Robert Pattinson Calls #MeToo Movement ‘Pretty Amazing’ at ‘Damsel’ Press Conference in Berlin

Robert Pattinson Calls #MeToo Movement ‘Pretty Amazing’ at ‘Damsel’ Press Conference in Berlin
Robert Pattinson touched on the impact of the #MeToo movement, the reality of true love and being inspired by Warren Beatty while discussing his competition film, David Zellner and Nathan Zellner’s comic Western “Damsel,” ahead of its premiere at the Berlinale on Friday.

“If you feel that you’ve been wronged, and you feel that you don’t have the right to tell people about it and you feel that you’re being bullied into silence, it’s one of the most awful things in the world,” Pattinson said. “So it’s amazing when any kind of dam breaks and people feel they’ve got the numbers to say, no, you’ll be safe to say whatever has happened to you. It’s pretty amazing.”

Pattinson’s “Damsel” co-star Mia Wasikowska added that she had been in her native Australia for much of the past year and therefor watching the movement rollout from afar, but recently
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Berlinale: Filmax Boards Manhunt Thriller ‘The Silent War’ (Exclusive)

One of Europe’s best-known genre movie producers, Barcelona-based Filmax, has acquired international sales rights to action-thriller “The Silent War.”

A production-distribution-sales house, Filmax will also distribute “The Silent War” in Spain. Filmax Intl. is screening a first promo reel to buyers at the Berlin’s European Film Market.

Alfonso Cortés-Cavanillas, a veteran TV showrunner, directs the adaptation a Spanish graphic novel from David Muñoz and Rayco Pulido Rodríguez. “The Silent War” is set in 1944 as the Allies’ victory in France spurs a Spanish guerrilla group to cross into Spain, hoping to overthrow the Francisco Franco dictatorship using tactics employed by the French Resistance.

It all goes wrong. A clash with the Spanish army leaves all of its members dead, save Vicente, jailed, and Anselmo, left deaf from an explosion. On the run, without food, warm clothing or armaments, Anselmo is hounded mercilessly by an army captain and a Russian sniper as the world plunges into silence
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Guillermo Del Toro Returning To Venice Film Festival – As Jury President

Guillermo Del Toro Returning To Venice Film Festival – As Jury President
In a fitting follow-up, last year’s Golden Lion winner Guillermo del Toro has been set as the President of this year’s Venice Film Festival competition jury. Del Toro took the award in 2017 (dubbing the statue “Sergio Leone”) with The Shape Of Water, his now multi prize-winning lyrical fairy tale that made the Lido swoon. The filmmaker this year will lead a Venice panel that hands out the next Golden Lion. Upon accepting the proposal, del Toro said, “To serve as president…
See full article at Deadline »

Film Review: ‘Scorched Earth’

Film Review: ‘Scorched Earth’
Equal parts 1960s-style Spaghetti Western pastiche and ’80s-style “Mad Max” knockoff, “Scorched Earth” is the sort of divertingly hokey post-apocalyptic B-movie that would have amused undiscriminating Blockbuster Video renters a generation ago, and now might pass muster as the pilot for a weekly SyFy series.

Former Mma pugilist Gina Carano, who earned her spurs as an action hero in Steven Soderbergh’s “Haywire,” is well cast as a formidable femme variation on Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name bounty hunter. And the film itself strikes so many echoes of “A Fistful of Dollars,” it conceivably could inspire a new drinking game among genre aficionados: Each time you view an image, or hear a line, reminiscent of the Sergio Leone classic, it’s time to down a shot of whiskey. Yee-haw.

Directed by Peter Howitt (whose debut feature, “Sliding Doors” (1998), remains an unfulfilled promise) and scripted by Bobby Mort and Kevin Leeson, “Scorched Earth” is set
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Fist Of The North Star: revisiting a strange 80s anime

Ryan Lambie Jan 31, 2018

One of the most violent animated films of the 80s, Fist Of The North Star is also one of the weirdest, Ryan writes...

British fans of Japanese culture had to get their anime fixes where they could find them in the early 90s. The success of Akira prompted a trickle of Japanese animation, mostly via Manga Entertainment, but the selection was often leftfield to say the least. We got enjoyable fare like 3x3 Eyes, Project A-Ko and Dominion: Tank Police in the first few years of the 90s, but then we were also given Urotsukidoji: Legend Of The Overfiend, a deeply strange slab of erotic horror pretty much guaranteed to generate controversy.

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Indeed, much of the anime from that period appeared to be chosen almost at random, either based on what was
See full article at Den of Geek »

‘Damsel’ Review: Mia Wasikowska and a Pony Rule Zellner Brothers’ Poetic Take on ‘Blazing Saddles’ With a Feminist Twist — Sundance 2018

‘Damsel’ Review: Mia Wasikowska and a Pony Rule Zellner Brothers’ Poetic Take on ‘Blazing Saddles’ With a Feminist Twist — Sundance 2018
The mad science behind the filmmaking trickery of Austin sibling directors David and Nathan Zellner is that they make wise movies that seem like superficial larks. From their outrageous suburban comedy “Goliath” all the way through the surreal meta “Fargo” riff “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter,” the Zellners excel at transforming absurd circumstances into trenchant observations of human behavior. With the wildly adventurous “Damsel,” they conjure a kooky Old West setting with antics straight out of “Blazing Saddles,” unearthing a poetic vision of desperate men and the woman who wants nothing to do with them.

See More:The 2018 IndieWire Sundance Bible: Every Review, Interview, and News Item Posted During the Festival

That’s Penelope (Mia Wasikowska, in a wonderfully spunky performance), a fierce-minded pioneer incapable of evading various attempts to woo her. However, the exact nature of her situation remains shrouded in mystery for the meandering first act, when it seems as
See full article at Indiewire »

Second Chances: Directors' Cuts

  • MUBI
An artist never finishes a piece of art, not really. At a certain point, a precise juncture of the creative process, they just stop working. They present the art to the public, for whom this work is—seems to be—completed, but for that artist ideas may continue to churn, what could have been done differently, what could still be done differently. They may consider the possibility of changes, of improvement. Think, for instance, of any book of collected essays or stories from a writer you admire: “These appeared, in slightly different form...” is a common preface found in the opening acknowledgements. Even precise wordsmiths like James Salter or Renata Adler tinkered with pieces after they were purportedly finished. For Salter, whose revisions were done longhand, entire new pieces of prose were born of earlier pieces, so severe were his second thoughts. He rewrote his entire 1967 novel The Arm of Flesh,
See full article at MUBI »

Darlanne Fluegel, Actress in 'To Live and Die in L.A.' and 'Running Scared,' Dies at 64

Darlanne Fluegel, who starred in such 1980s films as Once Upon a Time in America, Tough Guys, To Live and Die in L.A. and Running Scared, has died. She was 64.

Fluegel died Dec. 15 at her home in Orlando after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease, her daughter, Jenna Carey, told The Hollywood Reporter.

The alluring Fluegel portrayed Robert De Niro's girlfriend in Sergio Leone's epic Once Upon a Time in America (1984) and was Kirk Douglas' flame in Tough Guys (1986). In William Friedkin's crackling crime noir To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), she played a police informant...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - TV News »

Darlanne Fluegel, Actress in 'To Live and Die in L.A.' and 'Running Scared,' Dies at 64

Darlanne Fluegel, Actress in 'To Live and Die in L.A.' and 'Running Scared,' Dies at 64
Darlanne Fluegel, who starred in such 1980s films as Once Upon a Time in America, Tough Guys, To Live and Die in L.A. and Running Scared, has died. She was 64.

Fluegel died Dec. 15 at her home in Orlando after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease, her daughter, Jenna Carey, told The Hollywood Reporter.

The alluring Fluegel portrayed Robert De Niro's girlfriend in Sergio Leone's epic Once Upon a Time in America (1984) and was Kirk Douglas' flame in Tough Guys (1986). In William Friedkin's crackling crime noir To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), she played a police informant...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Crypt of Curiosities: Mechagodzilla in the ’70s

  • DailyDead
Even before I’d seen a single Godzilla movie, I knew Mechagodzilla was my favorite damn thing in the entire franchise. Because really, how could it not be? Regardless of its incarnation, Mechagodzilla is still a giant robot shaped like a monster. There are few things in entertainment that are quite that perfect, and it seems that pop culture agrees. Mechagodzilla has become something of a series icon, up there with King Ghidorah and Mothra as one of the most recognizable non-Godzilla kaiju in the franchise. Yet all legends have to start somewhere, and for Mechagodzilla, it was in the fourteenth film of the franchise, Jun Fukuda’s aptly titled Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974).

Taking place presumably sometime after the previous year’s Godzilla vs. Megalon (although continuity was never the Showa series’ high point), Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla takes place in a Japan already rocked by monster attacks, with a
See full article at DailyDead »

‘The Ballad of Lefty Brown’ Director Jared Moshé Shares His Favorite Westerns

‘The Ballad of Lefty Brown’ Director Jared Moshé Shares His Favorite Westerns
The Western is the quintessential American movie genre. Its iconography has been seared into our collective conscious: the solitary cowboy riding the endless frontier, towns struggling to survive in a lawless land, the quick-drawing gunfighter. Generations of filmmakers have engaged with those symbols, building an entire cinematic language on a genre that began with the simple premise of good “white hats” vs. bad “black hats.” In doing so, they have created mythologies, torn down legends and subverted what it means to be an American.

My exposure to the West began in the living room of my parents’ house. My father, a Sephardic Jew born and raised in Greece, shared with me the movies he loved as a child. Over the years my enthusiasm for the genre only grew as I became a history buff, a lover of myths, and eventually a filmmaker. In interviews, I’m often asked to name my favorite Western,
See full article at Indiewire »

Star Wars: The Last Jedi review

Cinema's biggest space saga returns with Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Here's our spoiler-free review of Episode VIII...

Nb: The following assumes you've seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

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One of the refrains in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, writer-director Rian Johnson's sequel to 2015's The Force Awakens, is that we have to let go of the past in order to move forward. Kylo Ren, still licking his wounds from the last movie,  says as much at least once. So too does Luke Skywalker, disillusioned and curmudgeonly on the planet Ahch-To, and fixed on placing his Jedi past behind him. But it's also a sentiment that extends to the movie itself - Johnson's Star Wars sequel feels like a sustained effort to break with at least some of the 40 year-old saga's traditions.
See full article at Den of Geek »

Paul Schrader’s Secret New Movie: How the Director Resurrected a Wild Nicolas Cage Performance Without Permission

Paul Schrader’s Secret New Movie: How the Director Resurrected a Wild Nicolas Cage Performance Without Permission
In September 2014, veteran filmmaker Paul Schrader was livid. He had recently directed “Dying of the Light,” a grim thriller starring Nicolas Cage as CIA agent Evan Lake, who obsesses over tracking terrorists while suffering from a brain disease and losing his mind. The movie’s financiers wanted a more conventional espionage thriller than Schrader’s experimental, subjective narrative, so they took the movie away from Schrader, who sent an email explaining the conundrum to Cage. The actor struck a note or resignation.

“The unfortunate aspect to my having had so many careers in so many genres is that they can make a case to put me in box b instead of box a for money’s sake,” Cage wrote, in an email shared with IndieWire years later.

Schrader could relate. “Dying of the Light” arrived nearly 40 years after Schrader catapulted to fame with his screenplay for “Taxi Driver” and maintained
See full article at Indiewire »

Blade of the Immortal review – spectacular corpses and an undead samurai

Takashi Miike’s surreally violent action movie based in Hiroaki Samura’s long-running manga may not be his best work but is brutally dramatic

At the age of 57, the staggeringly prolific Japanese film-maker and master of mayhem Takashi Miike now passes the 100 feature film mark with this expansive and surreally violent supernatural action movie; you could almost call it an undead samurai picaresque. It is based on Hiroaki Samura’s 30-volume manga, which ran for 20 years until 2012. Takuya Kimura plays Manji, a samurai cursed with immortality – “bloodworms” that magically heal any wound – who is asked by a young woman, Rin, to avenge the death of her father at the hands of the renegade ronin group, the Itto-ryu. Rin eerily resembles Machi, the disturbed figure whom Manji had witnessed being brutally butchered 50 years before: they are both played by Hana Sugisaki. Now, burdened by gallantry, honour and a sense of destiny,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Notes On The Landlord And Lee Grant

Hal Ashby’s The Landlord, made in 1970, is probably the best movie of the 1970s not to be widely known by younger audiences, and even by some older audiences whose appreciation of the last great era of American moviemaking needs to be expanded beyond go-to classics like The Godfather and Chinatown and Taxi Driver. It’s Ashby’s first directorial effort, after work as assistant editor and chief film editor on The Diary of Anne Frank, The Cincinnati Kid and In the Heat of the Night, and it finds Ashby delighting in the freedom of fashioning experimental rules of editorial and visual expression in the process of translating a script from Bill Gunn (Ganja and Hess), based on Kristin Hunter’s novel, into what stands today as one of the funniest, most honest, cogent and probing explorations of race and American race relations in movie history. We had it on
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Review: "Cannon For Cordoba" (1970) Starring George Peppard; Kino Lorber Blu-ray Release

  • CinemaRetro
By Fred Blosser

Cannon for Cordoba,” a 1970 film produced by Vincent M. Fennelly for the Mirisch Corporation, written by Stephen Kandel, directed by Paul Wendkos, and distributed by United Artists, has been released by Kino Lorber Studio Classics in an attractive new Blu-ray edition. In the movie, U.S. Army Captain Rod Douglas (George Peppard) leads a three-man team across the Mexican Border in 1916. Douglas has been assigned to gather intelligence on a predatory rebel general, Cordoba (Raf Vallone), who has confiscated American-owned property in Mexico. Wealthy U.S. ranchers and politicians are demanding that the Army secure the border with troops (an outcry for a $70 billion wall would have to wait another hundred years). After Douglas’ team enters Mexico, one of the trio, Adam, is captured and tortured to death by Cordoba’s troops. Douglas and the third ranger, Jackson (Don Gordon), escape to warn Gen. Pershing (John Russell
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Westworld: 50 things we learned from the season 1 Blu-ray extras

Louisa Mellor Nov 21, 2017

The Westworld creators talk imagery, metaphor and nerdy details in season one’s Blu ray special features…

This feature contains Westworld season one spoilers.

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While it aired, the first season of Westworld could hardly have been more closely scrutinised for clues, twists and Easter Eggs. Between sites like this one and lengthy Reddit threads, fans went through Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s sci-fi drama with a fine-toothed comb.

The result of that careful work by fans meant that by the game-changing finale, most of Westworld’s secrets had been laid bare. Many fan theories had been proved correct. Nods to the 1973 film and to Michael Crichton’s other famous theme park story had all been exposed. When the DVD and Blu-ray release arrived at the start of this month then, very few
See full article at Den of Geek »

Genre, Indie and Blockbuster Directors Jostle for Awards Attention

Genre, Indie and Blockbuster Directors Jostle for Awards Attention
From Paul Thomas Anderson to Guillermo del Toro to Patty Jenkins, a wide variety of directors across genres are vying for attention this awards season.

Paul Thomas Anderson

“The Phantom Thread

Not a frame of Anderson’s latest has yet been seen by the public, nor is much known about it, but he’s the rare filmmaker whose name alone can stoke anticipation. The fact that this 1950s-set film about the fashion world also stars Daniel Day-Lewis, who plans to retire from acting, only piques interest further.

Darren Aronofsky

Mother!”

Easily the most divisive studio film of 2017, and presumably intentionally so, Aronofsky’s “Mother!” could curry favor among his fellow directors for the sheer boldness of his vision, as he and star Jennifer Lawrence ascend ever-escalating levels of madness.

Sean Baker

The Florida Project

An indie darling du jour thanks to his sleeper “Tangerine,” Baker returned with yet another warm, sly-humored study of
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Le Samouraï

Jean-Pierre Melville’s tale of an emotionless killer is distilled to a narrative minimum. Alain Delon stars as Jef Costello, an imperturbable, ultra- slick hit man who follows a strict personal code. When a contract goes bad, he’s caught between irreconcilable compulsions. Following this Zen-like assassin through the mean streets of Paris never seems to get old.

Le samouraï

Blu-ray

The Criterion Collection 306

1967 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 105 min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date November 14, 2017 / 39.95

Starring Alain Delon, Francois Périer, Nathalie Delon, Cathy Rosier, Jacques Leroy.

Cinematography Henri Decaë

Production Designer Francois de Lamothe

Film Editor Monique Bonnot, Yo Maurette

Original Music Francois de Roubaix

Written by Jean-Pierre Melville, Georges Pellegrin from a novel by Joan McLeod

Produced by Raymond Borderie, Eugène Lépicier

Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville

Le samouraï has survived the Quentin Tarantino years Looking better than ever, and with its reputation intact, which is not a minor
See full article at Trailers from Hell »
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