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christopher-underwood

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1123 reviews in total 
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added footage is fine, 26 September 2014
6/10

I was disappointed in this, somehow never having seen it through the years, I thought a decent print of the uncut version would come as a welcome surprise. Actually, of course, the 'uncut version' is really the original version beefed up with sex and gore. Original director, Barbara Peeters wasn't too happy apparently and declined to shoot the extra footage herself. I'm not sure why, she had already been involved in several soft core sex films, but maybe she thought this was more 'serious'. Indeed, I think this might be the problem here. The acting is terrible and the direction too lame to cover that up and instead of getting some pace and excitement going we get serious talk about, conservation, discrimination and the evils of big business and dangers of messing with DNA. A simple exploitation movie can do without these diversions. So, for me the added footage is fine and the original, lifeless and dull.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
better than I had expected, 24 September 2014
7/10

This is fine, better than I had expected. Madsen is good at the start and helps get things going but it is Asia Argento that really holds this together with a most compelling performance. The direction is a bit frenetic but gradually we learn to live with the rapidity and apparent random nature of things, helped or not helped, depending on your view by pretty inconsequential storyline. With a combination of a lack of solid narrative, fast editing and Asia Argento we come to 'go with the flow' on this one and thereby enjoyment is to be had. The switch to a Hong Kong setting for the second half is entirely appropriate but still everything looks much the same and moves along just as quickly. So, in summary, you might not always know what's going on but if you've half a yen for Ms Argento and like things tough and speedy, this is for you.

a mesmerising movie, 21 September 2014
8/10

An impressive debut from Jean-Daniel Verhaeghe who sadly seems to have moved from this directly into TV. Perhaps this was a little too ambitious, a little too weird. Not over long and very well paced, this begins as if it were to be a poetic tale involving one man and his private thoughts and to a large extent it is. But, these thoughts take on visual form and his hopes and desires take him closer to his reality or further into fantasy. It is never quite clear. The film is full of ambiguities but the beautiful shots and quite splendid soundtrack mean that this is a mesmerising movie. Often reminding one of early horror movies in the way the main character moves up and down stairs and through doors this has an enigmatic hold from start to finish. Creepy too, for, forget not, he lets out his large collection of butterflies to concentrate his attentions on his water spider.

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
people began to titter, 7 September 2014
6/10

The freezing cold and snowy setting is always going to make this film just that little bit different from others but its story line certainly won't. Two drug gangs, an innocent victim and someone is out for revenge. Familiar stuff but at first it moves along nicely enough with some heavy and bloody violence. Then things settle into a predictable routine of killings and hence the film's title. Maybe partly because the film makers realised things were becoming slightly farcical they allow humour to creep in and certainly in the audience I shared people began to titter at everything from then on. Bit of a shame but there seemed no prospect of the 'heavy' film getting back on track and although the final denouement is fine, I had originally expected much more and the diversion with the kidnap probably not helpful either.

we don't even get a bloody bite till over an hour in, 1 September 2014
6/10

As has been suggested by others, this is rather disappointing. I've enjoyed all the films of Joseph Sarno, that I've seen and I suppose the most attractive common denominator in the US ones is the normalcy. If not in the characters, necessarily then certainly in the way that the sexual activity is shot, there is a certain frisson for the viewer because we believe into the activity. Here with a vampire tale we are already somewhat distanced and the way this is shot (more like a witch's tale than vampire one) this has to be fantasy. So, vigorous, though the sex is and effective though it is, the one thing it lacks is believability. There are some decent scenes and much nudity but this is no great shakes as a vampire movie - we don't even get a bloody bite till over an hour in - instead there are the constant comings and goings of the coven, sorry vampire lair, and just occasional scenes of visceral action.

shattering conclusion, 31 August 2014
7/10

Just caught the restored print of this at my local cinema and can't say I didn't enjoy it but it didn't hit me like I thought it would. A long time since I saw it so I thought it might have more impact. The thing is, I suppose, the story is not that great and all the time spent on the boat, whilst not without incident and smart dialogue is something of a prolonged interlude. With the exception, of course, for Rita Hayworth, and this is really why we are here. Welles' shooting of her is masterful, be it full length in swimming costumes or facial close-up that fills the screen' She also performs really well in this and if Welles is unconvincing with his silly Irish accent, she really gives one of her very best, and certainly, most sultry performances. The film springs to life with talk of murder but the theatrical sense of unreality already established stand in the way of this having as much impact as it might. What possessed Welles to direct the courtroom scene as if it were high farce, I have no idea but again it doesn't help. What does help is one of cinema's greatest endings. Watching this again in this shining new print was worth the ticket price. From the very beginning of the sequence with the Caligari like black criss cross shadows to the literally shattering conclusion it is quite masterful. As it happens, it was only the other day, in The Guest that I had seen this very scene homaged but not for the first time.

Belmondo is great throughout, 27 August 2014
7/10

This is really nothing very special but tells its story efficiently enough and is packed with action. Some time after about the halfway mark, I began to get a little restless as we went through yet another rather predictable punch up but then the film changes gear and we are off to a laid back but pleasing denouement. Belmondo is great throughout, aged 50 at the time and if he really did do all those stunts as we are told it is remarkable. What with crossing motorways and dodging the traffic and leaping out of trains and a helicopter and the impressive Paris car chase, this is one massive performance and still remaining his iconic self with that twinkle in the eye. Henry Silva, five years older than Belmondo has less to do but still helps give the film its gravitas. The Morricone score is fine and even sounds really 80's at times, although I'm not sure that's a good thing. Plenty of attractive location shooting in both Marseille and Paris and plenty also of pretty girls along the way. Nothing profound here but a well made and tough action movie.

The Guest (2014/I)
12 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
An absolute blast!, 27 August 2014
10/10

This begins at a fast pace with Dan Stevens, running along an empty road on his way to the house of the parents of a co-fighter in Afganistan, and barely lets up for the whole of its ideal and economical 99minutes. He befriends the family members and just when we think this may get a little tedious, the manipulation begins and our ride takes off. This is confident and very knowing film making. Just a look, when just a look is all that is required and a gut wrenching blow to a young punk when that is required. Indeed for the first section of this thrilling and visceral movie, it is fists that are the order of the day, the middle section sees guns come to the fore (and how!) and by the time w reach the finale we are fully into 80s retro slasher movie territory complete with halloween and haunted house motifs. The soundtrack is quite astonishing and contributes greatly, Dan Stevens is remarkable in the lead role demanding he be convincing in both empathy and ruthless brutality, and there is always a place for humour. This film was going to get top score but to finish allowing the audience a smile on their face is a bonus.

Dedicated to Bunuel but with more than a nod to Hitchcock, 25 August 2014
7/10

Jose Luis Lopez Vazquez plays the doctor who takes a shine to his school chum's new young wife. Bit more than a shine, he becomes obsessed a la Bunuel and decides his young assistant could be moulded in her fashion a la Vertigo. And there you have it with Geraldine Chaplin in the performances of her life. The film's date will give you a good idea as to the tone that this freewheeling film will take even if the good doctor's obsession never wavers. The direction could have been more steely, more assured and not given the viewer a chance for their thoughts to wander but Carlos Saura does well enough and there are some wonderful moments and great scenes, the seduction of the doctor's assistant, the wondrous bike ride and of course both dance sequences (but then Mr Saura is no stranger to dance). Very good indeed.

Enjoyable misfire, 25 August 2014
7/10

This begins as an elaborate heist movie, takes turns at being a giallo and haunted house one and ends up a political thriller with large doses of surreal/seventies crazy cinema to complete the mix. Gianni Manera stars as well as directing and clearly was somewhat out of his depth behind the camera. rarely dull, though, this just about maintains the interest despite a good deal of confusing comings and goings in the middle. Runs for 93 minutes according to IMDb but is recorded in Italian sources as 115mins and that is certainly what mine runs at, so goodness knows what sense the chopped version would make. As it is we have the varied group who had been got together to carry out the robbery, the aftermath as they are holed up awaiting mafia instructions and finally the political denouement. Quite audacious at times, for instance, one of the gang tells of how he'd like to spend the take on making a movie and as he speaks we see one superimposed as he speaks. Probably not essential viewing for giallo fans but those as fascinated as I by Italian politics and its social implications in the seventies, well worth seeing, even if it is, as here, a taped from Italian TV and wrung through a VHS player before being presented as DVD-r version!


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