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christopher-underwood

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1217 reviews in total 
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much murderous action from the very start, 27 September 2016
7/10

One of the earlier gialli and originally helmed by Mario Bava. Some signs of this remain with the interior colours and particularly a couple of brief fantasy light exteriors but on the whole this does not have the mark of the great man. His tendency for humour is here but does not work well because of the way it has been handled. So, we have a select school for girls and because most girls are away with their parents, we only get about six of them and a similar number of teachers and ground staff. There is much murderous action from the very start but although this is kept up well throughout, it is rather sexless and bloodless. Not entirely though and there is enough varied and colourful action to amuse and entertain. Much and many are the twists and red herrings and gladly the eventual revealing is well done and relevant, probably providing one of the film's best sequences.

begins well enough, 26 September 2016
6/10

This begins well enough at an isolated orphanage with talk of strange winds advancing and there is an amazing and extensive attack not very far in. The ending is only okay, however and somehow in between the director looses the plot (what there is of it). Unlike the rather charming and effective original Yorga this one clearly has a larger budget and is well shot but horror, comedy, romance ooh, lets have a bit of one and then the other and we can always end up running about like Scooby- Do. Its not a complete mess, but really, considering the potential and the simplicity of the location it is a bit of a shambles. I see that leading lady Marietta Hartley was born in 1940 and is still working today so I shall not be rude but do not know how she was chosen for this when all that was required was a young sexy woman who could make us believe she was going to save the day. Talking of 'sexy' again this 'Yorga' is rather lacking. In that early great scene when all hell breaks loose, almost everyone seems to be wearing dressing gowns. I understand the original "Yorga' had originally been intended as a sex film but that the excellent Robert Quarry thought it should be given a chance as a straight horror. Well, that one worked and then we come down to this sexless and almost lifeless effort. Shame.

Surprisingly enjoyable, 26 September 2016
8/10

Surprisingly enjoyable, helped enormously by splendid central performance from Robert Quarry as Cont Yorga. Unconventional but convincing and helped by the fact that almost until the end, everyone is still very sceptical, even when we have seen the ladies on the slabs. The sexy ladies help, as does the whole late 60s/early 70s low budget but earnest and well dressed film making. I thought this began to slow just before the final denouement but with the ladies in full flight and gore to the fore the lapse was soon forgotten and if the final frame was rather predictable it was nevertheless appreciated. Unusual non use of music in several key scenes seemed to add some mystery as did the whole seance ritual/ 'do you believe in Vampires?' naiveté vibe, allowing us to make our own way rather than slavishly follow the hero. Of course, the baddie is often the 'hero' in the world of horror anyway.

little talk of sex and drugs, 23 September 2016
8/10

With its convoluted title, confusion over length and number of cinema screenings and absence at multiplexes someone is not making the launch of this film a very simple process. Still, having seen the product and got to understand the whys and wherefores, I for one am happy. The film is a joy to watch, certainly for those of us for whom it brings back so vividly those early years and passion we felt for the music and the Beatles' fame. A mix of still images and found footage with added material, notably the Shea Stadium coverage, that has previously been too poor a quality to properly hear. As we progress, the inevitable sense of repetition has a mitigating effect upon the overall impact and in all honesty some of these very early songs are pretty basic. However there is an overall sense of wonderment and cheer with memories and realities colliding. Reminiscences of individuals who have themselves since become famous, are well used and I liked little touches like creating moving smoke for any still image cigarettes (and there were a few!). No nastiness here and whilst its not a complete whitewash, there is little talk of sex and drugs - just the rock 'n' roll (not all written the fab four) and indeed the wonderful irony, blatantly depicted here, that four white Liverpool lads took some American songs and sold them back to the Americans.

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Isabelle Huppert!, 19 September 2016
8/10

This is the first of the half dozen films Mia Hansen-Love has made that I have seen and I'm impressed. Helped enormously by the powerful and ever convincing central performance of the wonderful Isabelle Huppert, this is a slight but affecting movie. Thoughtful and thought provoking we are introduced to philosophy teacher Huppert who has a deft and loving touch when involved with her pupils and her more conservative and plodding, though not unlikeable, husband. Beautifully shot, the film floats rather than dwells upon the importance or otherwise of philosophy in one's life, the nature of politics and youthful rebellion and with the assuredness of director and lead actress nothing really perturbs even though there are potentially disturbing upsets along the way. There were a couple of instances that made me sit up and were possibly only included to help propel the film forward for in themselves they seemed most unlikely events. There is a stranger who gropes at Huppert in a cinema, follows her wench she changes seats and even onto the street where he kisses her fully against a wall. Does this really happen in Paris? Towards the end both Huppert and husband take it in turns to hold their daughter's new born baby each declaring it looks like them. Surely throughout the world the claim is by the parents that the child looks like the mother and by the mother that it may look like her parents. These two moments seem more vivid and inappropriate because the rest of the film is so placid but possibly their greater significance was lost on me. Very enjoyable little film nonetheless.

Hard one to pull off, horror and comedy., 3 September 2016
7/10

Bit of a surprise here as despite the suggestions of gore on the DVD box, this began much as expected as a low budget UK film with buffoon like characters botching up a rather ridiculous kidnap attempt. Andy Serkis is great as the lead loon and although many have expressed dislike at Jennifer Ellison's performance as the victim, I thought she was rather good, although I see she has made no more movies. Beginning then as some sort of TV film of a crazy messed up kidnap, this suddenly swerves into a full scale slasher spoof with an amazing amount of very nasty (though still amusing) gory effects. And beneath it all, instead of some polite little London clubland dispute we have a major Texas Chainsaw dimension horror (though just still maintaining some level of humour). Great effort and if the first part went on longer than it might and subsequently the gore section also seemed on the verge of outstaying its welcome, it is clear there is a film maker of some stature at work here and we shall see more. Hard one to pull off, horror and comedy.

Cara Delevingne was a revelation, 3 September 2016
9/10

I found this film most affecting. There have been Winterbottom films I've liked when others haven't like, 9 Songs and Killer Inside Me and there again been disappointed with films such as Cock and Bull Story and The Claim. Face of an Angel is confusing and rather difficult to get a handle on at first, partly because of the change of names (place and people) and partly because the director wants it this way. He can't just come out and say, 'You are all fascinated by Amanda Fox, the devil with an angel face who gets off - in more ways than one'. Instead we are shown so many angles, given so many people's opinions and taken down so many dark alleys we become disorientated. The he strikes, the film maker within the film makes desperate attempts to connect with his young daughter via the often appalling Skype facility, confuses us with other possible killers, exasperates us with the Italian legal system and leaves us wondering just who among us has the face of an angel. Halfway through the film I felt that I was just not going to get it and by the end I was almost in tears. The victim really is the victim as is in a lesser way the would be film maker cast aside by his production company for not coming up with a film people might want to watch. Heroic. PS I should mention that Cara Delevingne was a revelation, managing to light up the screen whenever she appeared

The Witch (2015)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
I just liked the end., 1 September 2016
5/10

Maybe this just caught me on the wrong day or the wrong time of day or maybe I have become addicted to involving stories and action in my old age. To be generous, I might describe the pace of this film as measured and the atrocious accents and fake old speak as authentic, but then again....

Unfortunately for me I took against father and son immediately and wanted them dead. There was a certain air of foreboding despite the drawn out gobbledegook at the start so I thought maybe loose a couple from this desperately self obsessed family quickly and then the rest will be up against it. Then bring in a witch or two and we will be rolling, but no...

I reckon the film makers had the fantastic and sublime ending sorted and then messed about to stick something in front of it but possibly I'm being unfair, I wouldn't know. I just liked the end.

3 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Essential cinema., 13 July 2016
10/10

A fabulous and most amazing experience and whereas a slight plot with limited dialogue will usually tend to encourage disengagement and a tendency towards sleep, here the complex and overwhelming visuals override that inclination and the lack of intellectual involvement is supplanted by and emotional overload of quite extraordinary proportions.

At times almost unbearable and frequently seriously frightening this wondrous cinematic onslaught races the viewer from one horror to another with barely any pause for respite. Our tender young heroine is under attack throughout and we suffer the pain and pleasure of all concerned in a most severe and visceral cinematic experience.

Essential cinema.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Sexy, violent and funny, 23 June 2016
8/10

I seem to have spent a large part of the last few years devouring late 60s and 70s cult, exploitation and giallo and finding the cinema of today less and less appealing. Generally speaking it is the current trend towards aiming movie product at young teens that seems to have created the giant gap. To compound the problem, for me, so called 'adult' films seem to have to be 'serious' films and dealing with certain 'important issues'. All well and good but I can't be alone in wanting a little action without apology and humour without worrying if someone might get upset. So, much the same way as I have enjoyed box sets of TV shows like Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes, I very much enjoyed this. The magic devise adopted by the TV production company was to set the series in the past and thereby get round the whole politically correct business and this film set in 1977 Los Angeles does the same. Russell Crowe is fine as the ruthless, almost humourless hard man and Ryan Gosling particularly effective as his 'partner'. Amazingly for a US film the kids are great and Angourie Rice a revelation. She didn't put a fourteen year old foot wrong and helped enormously in making this retro comic neo noir work so well. Sexy, violent and funny.


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