7 items from 2015
Special mention: Häxan
Directed by Benjamin Christensen
Denmark / Sweden, 1922
Häxan (a.k.a The Witches or Witchcraft Through The Ages) is a 1922 silent documentary about the history of witchcraft, told in a variety of styles, from illustrated slideshows to dramatized reenactments of alleged real-life events. Written and directed by Benjamin Christensen, and based partly on Christensen’s study of the Malleus Maleficarum, Häxan is a fine examination of how superstition and the misunderstanding of mental illness could lead to the hysteria of the witch-hunts. At the time, it was the most expensive Scandinavian film ever made, costing nearly 2 million Swedish krona. Although it won acclaim in Denmark and Sweden, the film was banned in the United States and heavily censored in other countries for what were considered, at that time, graphic depictions of torture, nudity, and sexual perversion. Depending on which version you’re watching, the commentary is »
- Ricky Fernandes
★★★☆☆ "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by werewolf movies." Okay, wrong Howl perhaps, but aside from An American Werewolf in London (1981) and the genre-twisting The Company of Wolves (1984), the werewolf has probably been the patchiest movie monster to prowl the cinema. Since Lon Chaney Jr. first growled at the gibbous moon in 1941 we've had Albert Finney in The Howling (1981), Jack Nicholson in Wolf (1994), the 2010 remake of The Wolfman and Michael J. Fox-starring Teen Wolf (1985).
- CineVue UK
The Company of Wolves: Villeneuve’s Superb Packaging Enhances Customary Cartel Themes
There’s much to be excited about with Sicario, the latest film from Quebecois director Denis Villeneuve, a dark, brooding thriller at times drenched and dripping with intense dread. Applying a similar enhanced style to the pulpy origins of the child kidnapping film Prisoners in 2013, Villeneuve is extremely adept at morphing familiar tropes into fresh presentation. However, those hungering for more than a nicely dressed endeavor may be disappointed to find Taylor Sheridan’s screenplay to be lacking in certain regards, sacrificing character development at the cost of providing audiences with realizations on corruption they already know.
We’re informed up front Sicario is a word hailing from ancient Jerusalem, applied to those that hunted Romans, but today the word means hitman in Mexico. Enter FBI agent Kate Macy (Emily Blunt), head of a unit specializing in kidnapping, »
- Nicholas Bell
Electric Boogaloo was the name of the wacky 1985 sequel to the break dance epic Breakin’ – which I don’t know was worthy of a follow-up but if there was one studio up to the effort in the mid-‘80s, it was Cannon Films. Electric Boogaloo: The Wild Untold Story Of Cannon Films is the title of a new documentary that plays for one night only in St. Louis at Landmark’s The Tivoli Theater Thursday, September 17th at 7pm.
Israeli cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, prolific salesmen with little regard for quality, bought Cannon Films for half million dollars in 1979 (it was founded in ’67) and turned it into an efficient assembly line of high-concept, action, and exploitation. Lovers of low-brow cinema could always count on a good time when that Cannon Films logo appeared on-screen. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Pt 2, the Sly Stallone arm wrestling opus Over The Top, »
- Tom Stockman
The year that gave us Gremlins, Ghostbusters and The Temple Of Doom also gave us these 20 underappreciated movies...
It's been said that 1984 was a vintage year for movies, and looking back, it's easy to see why. The likes of Ghostbusters and Gremlins served up comedy, action and the macabre in equal measure. James Cameron's The Terminator cemented Arnold Schwarzenegger's star status and gave us one of the greatest sci-fi action movies of the decade.
This was also the year where the Coen brothers made their screen debut with the stunning thriller Blood Simple, and when the Zucker brothers followed up Airplane! with the equally hilarious Top Secret! And we still haven't even mentioned Beverly Hills Cop, This Is Spinal Tap, The Karate Kid, Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom and the unexpectedly successful romantic comedy, Splash. Then there was Milos Forman's sumptuous period drama Amadeus, which »
Mona Lisa, 1986.
Directed by Neil Jordan.
An ex-con just released from prison lands a job driving a call girl from job to job.
Arrow Films follow-up their excellent release of The Long Good Friday with Mona Lisa, the 1986 crime drama directed by Neil Jordan (The Company of Wolves) and starring the late, great Bob Hoskins. Hoskins plays George, a criminal released from prison and looking for a job. After going to see his ex-wife and daughter and being told where to go, George goes to see his former colleagues and is offered work driving high-class call girl Simone (Cathy Tyson – The Serpent & The Rainbow) from job to job. Sounds easy but George’s rough, wide-boy charm and Simone’s more elegant manner initially causes the two to clash, until »
- Gary Collinson
"Lurid, lush, and ludicrous," Matteo Garrone's Tale of Tales with Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, Toby Jones and John C. Reilly "works from Giambattista Basile’s 17th century collection of fairy tales of the same name," notes Blake Williams. David Jenkins suggests it's "a gaudy, bawdy descendent to Pier Paolo Pasolini’s trilogy of life." And the Guardian's Peter Bradshaw sees traces of Walerian Borowczyk’s Immoral Tales. "But there’s also a bit of John Boorman’s Excalibur, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Blackadder, The Company of Wolves, the Tenniel illustrations for Alice in Wonderland… and Shrek." We've got more reviews and clips. » - David Hudson »
7 items from 2015
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