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Under the Skin (2013)
The non-spoiler trailers represents this wonderful movie perfectly
Did any of the 100+ 'one star' 'worst film ever' reviewers see the trailer for 'Under the Skin'? If they had, they would have known exactly what they were in for. I'm just guessing that the prospect of seeing Scarlett Johansson naked had many of them them throw caution into the wind. And then they felt cheated. Serves them right.
The trailer perfectly captures the mood of this film, without giving anything away. Distancing, cold, slow, with a continuous sense of doom, terrifying, but also heartbreaking. Some scenes (on the beach, the last passenger, the two guys) will stay with me forever.
An amazing performance by Scarlett Johansson, who was given very little dialogue and had to act non-verbally for most of the running time. Superb soundtrack, editing, and cinematography. It takes some effort to keep up and fill in the blanks (an easy film this is not), but the rewards are ample. But please, see the trailer first.
Sechs Schwedinnen auf Ibiza (1981)
Those were the days
What happens when six carefree young girls arrive at Ibiza, having lost all their money on the boat? They have to get a part-time job! And guess what these carefree girls do to get that job as quickly as possible? Of course! They have sex with hairy early-eighties men! In full pornographic detail! Throw in a few travelogue images of Ibiza, and you have a movie!
To some degree, the movie has that typical air of exploitation films of the seventies and early eighties, that is also found in the Black Emmanuelle films by Joe d'Amato and Jess Franco: seemingly oblivious of how politically incorrect it all is. An attempted rape turns into a'love' scene, for example. Nevertheless, one cannot resist a feeling of nostalgia, if only for sex films that do not feature surgically enhanced Barbie dolls.
The version of 6 Schwedinnen I saw is the uncut 83 minute letter-boxed (approx. 1.66:1) XXX version issued by Ascot Elite entertainment on DVD, with German and French sound. Image quality is a bit erratic with scratches and a few missing frames, but that only enhances the feeling of nostalgia. Somehow, a digitally cleaned-up anamorphic version would have been weird.
As most actors are French, the German version is a dubbed one, obviously produced especially for the millions of Germans who saw these types of films at their local cinemas. Indeed, those were the days.
Angel of Death 2 (2007)
Typically uneven Bethmann Flick...entertaining nonetheless
Andreas Bethmann has carved (no pun intended) a niche for himself in the underground film community as a producer/director/writer and-what-not who will do about anything to hold the interest of gore hounds and sleaze lovers. This is his most ambitious effort to date. This film is no exception: hardcore sex-rape, lesbian interludes, and extremely nasty torture, courtesy of fx-'Meister' Olaf Ittenbach. Remember the dentistry scene in Marathon Man? Multiply by 100....and you're not even close. So, if you're into that, you should love this one. If you're a politically correct viewer, stay away as far as possible. By the way, For lovers of Jess Franco's oeuvre, there's much to enjoy. Lina Romay - his muse - has a leading part as the director of the prison where female inmates are, well, not treated very well. And she does nudity too, at 52. The version I saw was the unrated gory edition from the German 4DVD set that came out recently. Alternative title is Escape from Prison Island.
Blast from the Past (1999)
Let's drop the big one
If you don't expect a masterpiece like 'The Truman Show', you might be in for a pleasant surprise. Christopher Walken and Sissy Spacek are marvellous as parents trapped in a bomb shelter. Brendan Fraser (one of the more irritating young actors, until now) is quite good as their son, thrown into a mutant-infested la-laland (O.K., just 1998 Los Angeles). Alicia Silverstone, as his newfound friend, finally approaches the likeability she displayed in 'Clueless'. The movie is slow moving in spots, but has its funny moments and an overall endearing quality. In all, any movie that chooses Randy Newman's 'Political Science' as the music for its final images can't be all bad. Seven out of ten.
The Custodian (1993)
This is a real gem. Gritty Australian thriller about a worn-out policeman who decides to blow the whistle on the corruption in his department. Trouble is, he has to implicate himself. Anthony LaPaglia - an underrated actor - gets into his character really well. Hugo Weaving (known from Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) is really creepy as his partner, who's 'on the take'. Convincing all around: score 9. So, for once, don't rent one of the 50-or-so copies of blockbuster X (all action, no story), and try to find this one.
Event Horizon (1997)
Watching 'Event Horizon' leads to one inevitable conclusion: Philip Eisner wrote the screenplay for this movie, after having watched Alien, Aliens, Sphere, Hellraiser, Hellbound, the Shining, and Society. He wrote this screenplay in 55 minutes. The actors desperately needed the money. The producers thought that Paul Anderson directed 'Hard Eight' and 'Boogie Nights'. They were wrong, horribly wrong. Allegedly....
Excess Baggage (1997)
the decline of a teenage role model
I rented this movie thinking that everybody had been too hard on poor Alicia, who had been wonderful in Clueless and sexy in many an Aerosmith video. I was wrong. It might have been due in part to the non-existent script, but Alicia showed no screen presence at all. Instead, she smoked and drank during the entire flick (is this the moviemakers' attempt to appeal to the teenage crowd this movie is aimed at??). Benicio del Toro's performance was all right, even though (or: because) he seemed to think he was in a remake to the 'Usual Suspects'. In all, if you see only a hundred movies this year, don't let this one be one of them.
Double Tap (1997)
It doesn't sound like much. A direct-to-video flick with a generic title, starring Heather Locklear. However, Stephen Rea -not the type of actor you would expect in this kind of movie- gives a full-fledged characterization of a hit-man with a conscience and idiosyncratic habits (and I don't mean the double tap to the head of each of his victims; his other skills include gardening...). His relationship with the FBI agent played by Heather Locklear rings true. Add to this a flamboyant directorial style and a good soundtrack, and you get one of the better B movies of the year. Rating: 7.
Pump Up the Volume (1990)
This is one of my personal favorites. The movie contains Christian Slater's best performance to date as a shy teen who comes alive at night as a the anonymous host of a one-man illegal radio station, harassing the corrupt officials of his high school. Samantha Mathis plays 'the eat me beat me lady' (don't ask) and has since proven that her fresh performance wasn't a coincidence. Although the film in not perfect (the subplot about the 'evil' principle is unnecessary), it's an uplifting experience for everybody who thinks life as a High School student wasn't that great. The soundtrack deserves to be mentioned, especially Concrete Blonde's version of Leonard Cohen's 'Everybody Knows'. In all, a '10'.
A waste of time and talent
This movie tries to cash in on the gloomy atmosphere of 'Seven' and the like, with some supernatural elements added. However, the first hour or so is sleep-inducingly slow. Then, we get one unconventional and brilliant 'chase' scene, after which the film becomes a little more interesting. The ending is a cheat (it sets up a sequel which hopefully will never be made).