10 items from 2014
Written and directed by Jennifer Kent
The Babadook contains DNA from such disparate influences as Roman Polanski, Joe Dante, Georges Méliès, German expressionism, and Roald Dahl, but Australian writer-director Jennifer Kent’s very impressive feature debut is an intensely emotional horror film that feels completely unique in the current film landscape. It’s an allegory on grief, love, loss, and maternal trauma, and is as consistently unnerving as many a Polanski movie (and is the scariest thing with Roald Dahl blood since Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).
Plagued by memories of a car crash that killed her husband six years prior, former writer and single mother Amelia struggles with an unrewarding new job and the disruptive, often insufferable behaviour of her six-year-old son, Samuel. (Husband Oskar was killed while driving Amelia to the hospital to give birth to Samuel.) One night, for the boy’s bedtime story, »
- Josh Slater-Williams
Kino Classics refurbishes Robert Weine’s 1920 landmark title The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, the film that marked the birth of German Expressionism as well as the flagship of the horror film genre. Tempered by bookends meant to diminish interpretations of parallelism between insanity and authority, its stark, jagged angles and ingenious uses of shadows predates the dark beauty of film noir, featuring fantastic set designs that still rival the ability of contemporary film. Eerie, carnivalesque, and as arresting as ever, it’s a title worthy of this remastered revisit.
The story of Caligari, developed by Carl Mayer (responsible for Murnau’s Sunrise and The Last Laugh) and Hans Janowitz, is incredibly simple. Basically, the eponymous doctor happens to have control of a sleepwalker that does nefarious deeds for his master, namely murdering inhabitants of the small hamlet late at night. There is a slight twist to the proceedings, though it »
- Nicholas Bell
Directed by Robert Wiene
In the period of Germany’s Weimar Republic, a unique and volatile pre- and post-war era within a window of less than 20 years, the German people were experiencing a torrent of new ideological, social, and political shifts. What was once traditional and normal was giving way to the modern and unusual. What was typically viewed as quintessentially German was now being inundated by outside influences, by strange and foreign people and their imported cultural baggage. Whether or not these elements were as directly and obviously portrayed in movies as some like Siegfreid Kracauer and Lotte Eisner would argue (quite convincingly in many ways), there can be little doubt that film was influenced to one degree or another by this state of the German populous. The times were surely changing, and in no film »
- Jeremy Carr
Top 100 horror movies of all time: Chicago Film Critics' choices (photo: Sigourney Weaver and Alien creature show us that life is less horrific if you don't hold grudges) See previous post: A look at the Chicago Film Critics Association's Scariest Movies Ever Made. Below is the list of the Chicago Film Critics's Top 100 Horror Movies of All Time, including their directors and key cast members. Note: this list was first published in October 2006. (See also: Fay Wray, Lee Patrick, and Mary Philbin among the "Top Ten Scream Queens.") 1. Psycho (1960) Alfred Hitchcock; with Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam. 2. The Exorcist (1973) William Friedkin; with Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Jason Miller, Max von Sydow (and the voice of Mercedes McCambridge). 3. Halloween (1978) John Carpenter; with Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Tony Moran. 4. Alien (1979) Ridley Scott; with Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt. 5. Night of the Living Dead (1968) George A. Romero; with Marilyn Eastman, »
- Andre Soares
With so many films released on the run up to Halloween it’s been hard to keep up with reviews, so we’re going to play catch-up with another review round-up looking at some recent releases in brief. This time round we have reviews of Das Cabinet Des Dr. Caligari, Saints & Soldiers: The Void, The Island of Doctor Moreau, and The Pigman Murders.
Das Cabinet Des Dr. Caligari
Synopsis: At a local carnival in a small German town, hypnotist Dr. Caligari presents the somnambulist Cesare, who can purportedly predict the future of curious fairgoers. But at night, the doctor wakes Cesare from his sleep to enact his evil bidding…
- Phil Wheat
André Dussollier as Swedish consul-general Raoul Nordling: "On the other hand, Nordling needs the General…"
Volker Schlöndorff discusses more Diplomacy, the link to Josephine Baker and André Dussollier in Alain Resnais' On Connaît La Chanson, The Ninth Day, Billy Wilder's comedy of manners, whether or not he has an Emperor Waltz in his past and Ernst Lubitsch, Walter Reisch, Conrad Veidt and Alma Hitchcock's blackout training.
Based on Cyril Gély's play Diplomatie, which starred Niels Arestrup as German General Dietrich von Choltitz and André Dussollier as Swedish consul-general Raoul Nordling on stage in Paris, Schlöndorff, with the actors recreating their roles, shows us an intimate portrait of two men at odds, dueling with more than their lives at stake.
Anne-Katrin Titze: In Diplomacy you have a scene »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
Moviefone's Top DVD of the Week
What's It About? Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America (Chris Evans) is still getting used to life in the 21st century, but before he gets too comfortable he's enlisted by S.H.I.E.L.D. to help stop another big bad. Captain American partners with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) for a lot of action and awesomeness in their mission to stop the Winter Soldier. Anthony Mackie co-stars as Falcon.
Why We're In: The "Avengers" series just keeps getting better and better. Plus, "Winter Soldier" gives us even more of Black Widow's bad-assery, proving once again that it's high time we get a stand-alone for this fantastic character.
Moviefone's Top Blu-ray of the Week
- Jenni Miller
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (a.k.a. Das Cabinet des Caligari), 1920.
Directed by Robert Wiene.
At a local carnival in a small German Town, hypnotist Dr. Caligari presents the somnambulist Cesare, who can purportedly predict the future of curious fairgoers. But at night, the doctor wakes Cesare from his sleep to enact his evil bidding…
The history of cinema harks back to few films that are as important and iconic as Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari. An expressionist masterpiece, Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari is, for a limited time, back in the cinema. Re-mastered and screened from August 29th, the cinematic experience is a rare treat as the hand-painted backdrops and subtle face make-up can be seen up-close and appreciated in the way it was intended (perhaps even better). As filmmaking was finding its feet, »
- Simon Columb
Director: Robert Wiene.
Running Time: 77 minutes.
Synopsis: A man named Dr. Caligari (Krauss) shows up in town displaying his somnambulist (Veidt) who makes dark predictions. After murders begin to happen in town, suspicion falls on Caligari.
Usually labelled as the first true horror film, Das Cabinet Des Dr. Caligari deserves its title as well as standing up today. This latest reissue may be rated U, but don’t let that fall you in the slighest. Das Cabinet Des Dr. Caligari remains an artistic piece of true horror which, despite its age, still manages to create unsettling emotions as well as offering up plot twists before they were cool.
Sometimes it’s hard to judge a silent film, out of fear that too much relies on reviewing the film based on what it achieved and how it would have played »
- Luke Ryan Baldock
"Nobody's really captured the quality of a film festival," observed musician/composer Neil Brand, "You're doing something that's pleasurable, but then the fatigue sets in..." It's true—a celluloid feast like Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna is a particular case, too, since so many of the films are rarities. It's like being a cake specialist and suddenly somebody offers you fifty magnificent cakes of unique recipe but says "You have to eat them all in an hour or I'll take them away and you'll never see them again." You plunge in, and even when nausea starts to replace pleasure you can't bring yourself to stop...
Cinephiles like to grumble, and the venues of Bologna attract a certain amount of criticism (one has a bar which runs between the front row and the screen, cutting the subtitles in half; air conditioning is switched on and off at random; and then there's »
- David Cairns
10 items from 2014
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