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926 reviews in total 
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Angst (1983/I)
A psychological study of a dark mind, 22 February 2017

I'd really wish to remember the last film I've seen that not only had me on the edge of my seat but also left me twisting my senses, nervous and disturbed all the way yet it allowed to compensate me with a different perspective without being extremely critical of what I was seeing. In all of its strange ways and crushing parts, "Angst" felt like an open door of which I had to enter, despite having seen similar experiences before time and again, but this one had some form of urgency and virtuosity that seemed different, offered unusual insights and made me see further to an already worn out exposed theme: the mind of a psychopath. Gerald Kargl's film is a tremendous effort that requires a certain coldness from the viewer in order to comprehend (or at least try) what goes on inside the devious and sickening acts of a cold-blooded murderer and his desperate needs to obtain satisfaction and pleasure with killing other people. Without Hollywood's stylized fashion and popular stars which always appeals to audiences, the European "Angst" feels like a vividly real experience that is hard to wash away from your mind.

Everything's told from the perspective of the psychopath (brilliantly played by Erwin Leder, he was in "Das Boot"), from the moment he's released from prison after doing some time for his attempt to kill his mother, and from then on we already know that this sick man wasn't reformed while in there. He can't wait for his chance to commit more murders and that what's his journey is all about. Observing potential victims on a diner and trying his way with a taxi driver doesn't help him at first glance. Too difficult and he gets himself scared quite easily, almost as if were a beginner (the more he narrates about his past is that we realize that he's actually new to this "business" since he reveals failure after failure, and ideas he wanted to do but never accomplished). During one of those panic moments he finds a house, breaks into it and wait for his possible new victims - to his luck he finds them: an old lady, her daughter and her invalid brother. The rest isn't worth mentioning.

"Angst" succeeds where all similar flicks fails because it isn't about just someone who randomly kills people and there's authorities trying to get him. Above all, this is a psychological view to a deranged state of mind, carefully elaborated by Mr. Kargl with his planned sequences filmed with a body-cam tied to the lead actor, spinning out of control and in several directions while the paranoid killer is on the loose, running away from scenarios he could easily get away if he managed to control himself or when his mind is echoing memories from the past. Most of the movie consists of those shots (brilliantly filmed and edited), edgy and dizzy but with a purpose; and Leder is a courageous and patient actor who understood exactly the frame of mind his character was going through. His character doesn't pity anyone, all he needs its the immediate relief while stabbing, torturing and killing people. The way he moves, the intensity on his eyes and acts, it's a complete feeling of delusion, insanity and at a deep level, true happiness (when he reaches his ultimate sadistic goal).

But the screenplay doesn't make him much of of a bright guy as we tend to watch in many similar movies. Surely, he could fool the prison's psychiatrists with his fake dream stories but once he's out, the desperation takes over and he makes one sloppy mistake after another and you start to wonder why this guy isn't so clever like most psycho folks are. At least, this is what we hear and read in several sources that those dangerous minds are far more clever than the average joe. The egocentrism, the nihilism, the hatred, the's all there - even the charm, evidenced at the diner sequences where he flirts with two pretty girls. He's not so cute but there's an appeal to him that some would fall for him with no problem. But it lacks a higher intelligence for this man. It's not like he's trying to commit the perfect crime, obviously, but for someone who's avoiding getting back to jail, he's too careless, not typical for serial killers. However, perhaps that's the real focus of the movie with this character: he's so inside his world and worried about doing what he needs, that he forgets about everything else, it's a whole new level of mentality. The obsession takes over, he goes along regardless of consequences and then it's all about improvising to what comes next.

The experience is not for the faint of heart. It's brutal, dark, real, violent and extremely tense film but one that gives you the opportunity to see with precision and detail through variations of a disturbed personality, which makes of "Angst" a unique thrilling experiment. It's a shocking pity that the director made only this film after dealing with many budget obstacles during its making. He vowed to never return to filmmaking again, and it's a shame because Mr. Kargl had an incredible eye and talent for the job. Anyway, this is a shining moment for an one-hit wonder. 9/10

Gensis at their best clip moment, 18 February 2017

Most definitely this is Genesis best video clip. The majority of their videos consists of the band playing their act, good shots and edition but they lack something. "Land of Confusion" carries a critical theme which perfectly defined the decade, unavoidable political and there's plenty of art to enjoy and admire with puppets presenting not only the band members but also Ronald Reagan and other characters reflecting the period, one of apparent tension and fear with the Cold War still going strong. And the sound, lyrics and music...a shock to the senses in so how well-executed and perfect it was - to the die-hard Genesis fans who prefer their progressive rock phase might not work all that much but I always liked them in both pop/rock and progressive moments.

The song is serious with their critique while the video makes fun of everything he hear. Puppets representing the band and Ronnie (gotta admit, those were some ugly things but they achieved the needed satirical effect, monstrous creatures crawling and moving through a desperate world at the brink of collapsing) make the amusing part of the video ("Oh Superman where are you now?") along with a fantastic art direction, and some dialogues at the opening and ending with a clueless Reagan going to sleep - then the video presents the real scenario he was involved - and ending with the "nightmare" he just woke up. Also comes a spoof on "We Are the World" which is brilliant. The lyrics asks us why this is the land of confusion and with all the terror, chaos and creatures we see it's not hard to imagine why the band isn't wrong with their thoughts. Directors John Lloyd and James Yukich made one of the most creative, thoughtful and brilliant videos of the era and Genesis greatest video achievement (ok, I like "Invisible Touch" as well, specially their Capella version at the conclusion, it's very amusing and "Jesus He Knows Me" is hysterical with its attack to televangelists). But this one points out to so many aspects from the decade and in such an artsy form that it's impossible to resist its effect. It's real and speaks louder than news, we can understand to what criticism they were making: social, political, economical, cultural, a whole understanding of how troubled and limited that era was in so many aspects. Phil Collins hit the nail in the head with precision and didn't left us with just the critical part; he asked us to use our hands and make the world a place worth living in. True then and true now. The urge in the song and clip is one barely ever touched and present in the world of arts and entertainment, and yes, I think "Genesis: Land of Confusion" is an integral part of both. 10/10

Duran Duran: Rio (1982) (V)
Good clip, 18 February 2017

"Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand...". Duran Duran's power effort in the title track of their smash album "Rio" is one of those bigger than life songs that never gets old, never gets tiring and it's always effective wherever version you hear. John Taylor's funky bass is unforgettable just as the sax solo. From here, you get the idea that I'm a big fan of the song, its sound and appeal. The video isn't so much of a big effort. It's memorable but not that much. "Wild Boys" and "A View to a Kill" were better clips to their great songs than this one. Sure, "Rio" is memorable but it's quite dated and it's brilliancy has lost some touch over the years except for the music.

Frequent director from their clips, director Russell Mulcahy (yes, the same from "Highlander") presents the band performing the song on a boat while they admire a pretty girl (probably Rio); and lead vocal Simon LeBon is the chosen one who'll have to deal with the difficult girl - one of the most unforgettable shots from the clip revolves both talking on the phone, she's on the beach and he's on the boat and when she pulls the phone's cable LeBon's hits the water as if they were connected by a magic underwater phone. It's sexy, edgy for the time and has its charm but in visual terms of video clips were and became over the years, this hasn't much to offer except for a powerful song by one of the greatest bands of the 1980's. You can watch without problem as long as you won't get much demanding in what the clip has to offer: good editing, outstanding locations and Duran Duran at their peak. Nothing more. 8/10

A funny spotlight on Billy Zane. Well, maybe., 14 February 2017

Another hit from Funny or Die and they did it again. My previous efforts with them weren't so amusing or that funny, but this one actually took some huge laughs from me. It stars Billy Zane ("Titanic", "The Phantom" fame) confusing himself with Zayn Malik - at one time One Direction member - reading tweets from loving and desperate fans saddened with "his" departure from the group. Zane's delivery and jokes are truly effective, amazed that he has lots of younger fans who unfortunately cannot write his surname properly (Zane vs. Zayn). He jokes, sings the theme song of his most famous work and even barely to appropriate himself from one of the most recognizable songs from 1D (that was hysterical).

Unlike the "mean tweets" from Kimmel (which are lots of fun), this one was a real treat in seeing how a personality is willing to not take himself so seriously and enjoy the hip of the moment and take part of it. I'd never imagine something like this. And while watching it, I kept wondering why on earth Billy Zane isn't in more big projects? He's a cool dude and a great presence in many films. And with this "performance", I think we should see him in more comedies, either playing a villain or even the romantic lead, because he has all the tools and tricks to play both good and bad. 9/10

Quite fun, 14 February 2017

Going in the best I can remember since I've seen this a few months ago. A dark humored short film revolving around the lives of folks who work at a drugstore where anything can happen, from lousy employees who can't serve the customers in proper ways, or just spend their time distracting themselves with other occupation instead of working to a crazed pharmacist/boss who loses it right in the first moments of the film (no way to understand what happened except that he went nuts and scared the hell of everyone who was there).

That was "Hard to Swallow" and unlike the title says it's quite a digestible and amusing project - if only they got longer or expose a little more about the reasons behind everything that was shown. Not sure if the idea was to expand this into a feature film or a series (it reminds a lot of "The Office", the interview style with characters working for some company) but if wider and expansive, it could be hilariously great because all the good elements for comedy are there...even the "darker" tones found in here. 8/10

Fine video, outstanding song. No reason to dislike, 13 February 2017

From the series of good soundtrack clips, comes Aerosmith's theme from "Armageddon", "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" (written by the great Diane Warren) holds a significant motion picture track that knocks down many romantic ballads out there, with power, energy and rock n'roll. And the video adds a little something special to the already sound. It consists of Aerosmith performing the song on a sound stage resembling NASA operation (to fit with the movie's theme, duh) intercut with clips from the movie, mostly scenes involving the couple played by Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler (daughter of Aerosmith's front man Steven Tyler).

I'm not sure how current generations actually view clips and specially soundtrack videos. But back in between 1980's and early 2000's having a video plus song from a certain film was a real event, at least to me they worked as a brilliant and better developed trailer, ten times better than the film trailers we're seeing these days. Now, this one is just a commercial platform to showcase Michael Bay's blockbuster and nothing more. But it works. There's the spectacle of scenes, edited with great tempo, teasing the viewer into getting to know more about the movie (a little suspect to talk about it cause I'm a big fan of it, watching ever since childhood) and enjoying the song while you're at it. Sure, there's some magnificent and curious shots involving the band performing the Oscar nominated song in the middle of some special effects while they're in the pod launch, good stuff but I've seen a lot better (and without spending all that much cash) clips.

With smiles and tears, good memories of a not so distant era, this clip is a must-see, even if you can't stand the song (I love it but somehow I always think that a power ballad band could make it more interesting than what Aerosmith did, but since the band and Warren were on a winning partnership in that decade the result was fine anyway). 9/10

Remembering "Reds", 10 February 2017

A positive recollection from the cast and crew of "Reds" (1981), one of my favorite films of all time, is definitely one of the highest moments I've ever had while watching behind the scenes documentaries. Warren Beatty's labor of love (and one of the most daring works I could ever imagine because picture this: in the Reagan era, Cold War still strong with its course and here's an American director/writer/producer/actor making an epic film about an American supporter of the Communism early development in URSS after the czar's fall. That counts a lot and rewarded Beatty with several awards, among them his only Oscar) still wasn't surpassed by any great historical epic neither his memories about making the film. Along with him, there's the perspectives of editors Craig McKay and Dede Allen, cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, composer Stephen Sondheim, actors Edward Herrmann, Paul Sorvino and the best of them all, the great Jack Nicholson (who hardly ever gives interviews, and since him and Beatty are best pals, he made sure to appear here and provide his gratitude in being part of the film).

All the mentioned people talk about "Reds" with candor and a nice gleam in their eyes, honestly proud to be part of this great and spectacle experience. There's great trivia about it as well - there's a brief moment dedicated to showcase Jerzy Kosinski's cameo (better known as a novelist, he steals the show in the film), and the most details they ever remembered after all those years later when "Reds" was conceived. Not a wasted moment in this project but I'd like to see testimonies from Diane Keaton and Gene Hackman (specially him, talking about how exhausting and painful it was for him to keep repeating the same scene over and over again in his brief moment in the film). But despite their absence in this doc, it's still worthy of a view. 9/10

The magic making of "Marathon Man", 10 February 2017

Back in a time when making of documentaries weren't a trend, mostly just to be shown on TV, this little gem is something magnificent even for today's standards. Unlike the self-congratulatory behind the scenes we're flooded each year by several bonus materials in countless films, this one feels different in several aspects. The making of "Marathon Man" has the film's producer Robert Evans as a host (quite unusual choice but a nice one) presenting a little about the film, his choices for the cast - which he claims were all his first choices and he was successful with that (but not really because word got out that Al Pacino and Julie Christie were considered for the roles that went to Dustin Hoffman and Marthe Keller). The high and mighty Evans also about the enormous pleasure he had in making the film, selecting and securing all great talents and also revealing some details about the production.

And we also have Hoffman, Keller, Laurence Olivier and Roy Scheider talking about the film, minor yet balanced points of view and never so awfully optimistic like we tend to see these days in similar projects. It also shows the conception and creation of some of the most memorable sequences, such as the climatic ending and the car crash from the opening. Highest point of this making of was a wrap up party dedicated to Sir Laurence Olivier, who received a kind of award by members of the crew and wonderful tributes by Hoffman, Evans and all. A lovely moment that to me holds more significance (what follows wasn't mentioned there) is the fact that Olivier was really ill at the time of they were shooting the film, he was deemed uninsurable and studio heads have to fight back to get an insurance for the veteran thespian, and not only he completed all his scenes, beat the disease and lived for a few more years and earned an Oscar nomination for his role as the Nazi doctor Szell, one of his most memorable roles. A genuine party and tribute to one of the greatest film legends of all time.

Indeed, "The Magic of Hollywood...Is the Magic of People" is a high note on how making of's should be presented. It doesn't need to show all the film's creations, or get immersed in those fake commentaries about how great the movie is and how spectacular all people are (yes, there are times Evans seems to be following such device but it's forgivable because he was a classy host, really confident and it even made me forget about how difficult he was back in the time when he was the big boss at Paramount). The magic of people involved here was evident and greatly captured here. 9/10

Mitchell (1975)
Deeply troubled but not that bad actually., 9 February 2017

"Mitchell"...oh boy, that was weird to watch. In a bizarre way it fulfilled all my expectations as being a bad film. I was searching for something like that after a successful stream of good projects coming my way, not to mention I was curious in seeing the great character actor Joe Don Baker as a leading man. But the reality of "Mitchell" was far beyond any possible expectation; the outcome seen was a manageable disaster that didn't claim lives but managed to destroy a few brain cells on the way. It's so bad that it's good (for brief moments) and it gets a few laughs from the audience even though this isn't a comedy...but it's extremely hard to take it seriously. For the most part, it's just a troubled and boring wreck, and thanks to MST3K which made this a cult hilarious flick that we can enjoy some of its lousiness.

Baker plays the title role, a reckless and sleazy detective obsessed with two on-going investigations: one which revolves heroin dealers and other about a rich guy (John Saxon) who killed a burglar in his house. Obvious even to the clueless viewers that apparently those two actions are connected in some way. Mitchell tries to act like Dirty Harry (there's even a similar sequence when he shoots a running suspect on his knee) but doesn't have the same bite. He's too weak for it. He's drunk, clumsy and falls for the slightest possible weakness and that is when a prostitute is thrown on his lap, paid by the people he's investigating - which delivers the funniest scene of the film, a sex scene with an idiotic and funny theme song about his character. As I write this, that song still echoes in my head (My, my, my Mitchell...).

Trying to establish why "Mitchell" fails in so many levels is a difficult task and one that wouldn't fit in the limited lines we're allowed in here. It's just too much. While the few action sequences are actually interesting to watch (problem is that they always revolves around car chases, except the opening with the burglar), the rest of the film, the investigations, lame sex scenes that doesn't add anything to the film and the cringing dialogue with the kid on the street...they just don't work. And don't get me started with the dialogues between Mitchell and Martin Balsam character (whom is there to help the detective with his heroin case), which dragged on and on. I wasn't amused nor thrilled, just waiting for the "climatic" ending because the ridicule was going for far too long. No wonder that the writer only developed TV scripts after this wreck, making of this film his only theatrical screenplay.

What amazes the most in "Mitchell" is that the acting isn't all that bad as the writing. Sure, the cast was forced to deliver some of the weirdest lines of all in their whole careers, execute actions and thoughts in one of the worst projects of all time, but I think their acting isn't so atrocious as expected. Baker was in fact a good lead, in some ways I liked the character and for a brief moment when this thing wasn't so cheesy, it could actually render him a nice film series. He has charisma, some humor, plays a hard character that has some vulnerabilities but at the end of the day manages to do his job despite some unorthodox methods and his sloppy ways of acting - I've never seen a "hero" running away from trouble so many times like he does. Balsam, Saxon and others weren't so bad either. The problem stays with the script, which offers us poor dialogues, strange and unworthy of attention sequences, a waste of our time. But whatever, the damage wasn't so terrible because I've seen a lot worse and MST3K's observation of this "film" was so great that for a moment we can all say that celluloid wasn't so wasted after all. Their watching and comments on it are some of the most amusing, hilarious and relevant moments in the entertainment. It speaks volumes on this film and a lot more humored and better than most film criticisms I've ever seen ("Mittens?!?" Joe Don Baker is "Mittens"; Ooh, it's "Mitchell", the Martha Mitchell story. Joe Don Baker IS "Martha Mitchell"), not to mention the loads of references they throw on it from Johnny Mathis, "Fame" to Pink Floyd. Their version (slightly censored though) deserves a higher praise; the original "Mitchell" alone gets some note with me. It wasn't that bad though it made me feel ill for some time. And yes, this movie makes "Driving Miss Daisy" looks like "Bullitt". 3/10

A good report, 6 February 2017

BBC's "Horizon" program in this particular episode, "Killer in the Village", is perhaps the first time the AIDS epidemic topic was brought to UK's audiences, back in its earliest years. It shows that the issue was right at their door with few occurrences so most of what's presented here is what was going in the United States, when the first cases were reported with alarming death tolls in the gay community two years after its known appearance (but we know now that the disease could actually be traced way back to the 1960's and even more, and making no distinction about a person's sexualiaty or background). It's a great educational program despite the limited information it had back in the time; so, now it's more of a curious desire to see how the news shows treated the issue in a time filled with fear, prejudice and ignorance. A thrilling time machine that reveals everything researches, doctors and patients knew and experienced during the dark years of AIDS when hearing about it from a doctor meant a death sentence.

At a time when the disease didn't have a proper name, at first the harmful and prejudicial GRID (Gay-related immune deficiency), then the 4H rule came along (Homosexuals, Heroin addicts, Hemophiliacs and Haitians) until the Center for Diseases Control (CDC) vote for the terms we know: HIV and AIDS and the difference between both. But this documentary managed to be a good informative service despite not getting to those actual explanations and despite science and researches not being so advanced (but blame it on the government of that era for not only providing budgets for the cause even when people were dying but the thousands but also in acknowledging that there was such a killing disease out there).

The report features interviews with doctors who, from day one, were immersed in this new reality and some of them still continue to pursue and find ways for a cure, like Alvin Friedman-Kien, Michael Gottlieb, CDC's director James Curran, Linda Laubenstein (thanks to this documentary that I was able to see the real person that inspired the wheel-chair bound character Larry Kramer used as basis for his play and film "The Normal Heart"). All dedicated individuals who tried their best to understand what AIDS was, to find means for cure or treatment, and never judging or being critical of their patients - despite the controversy revolving around shutting down the gay bathhouses in San Francisco and New York - not a topic in this film but can be found in other films and books. And we also follow some of patients and casualties (mostly identified only by their first name), from all different backgrounds (from artists to a prisoner) and the most courageous of them, Bobbi Campbell, the very first person media and people knew as being the face of AIDS. KS Poster Boy (as he would become to be known) was a nurse and the sixth confirmed person to have the virus in San Francisco and he used this experience to educate people, to show awareness and obtain funds for medical research, a true activism that made a difference.

Informative, respectful, sad and truly revealing, "Killer in the Village" is worthy of view to understand a full context of what was the mind-set of an epidemic that claimed thousands of lives through the years, when little was known about, paranoia taking over people who are affected or weren't but feared the same way. It's something that seems so far gone, trapped back in history but it isn't. Still happens because people just don't care, or they don't want to know, or even doesn't even know anything for ignorance, lack of talk or education (but here's something like this to show how devastating it was). Sure, now it's all manageable and treatable but just like 1983 a cure is yet to be found. 9/10

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