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8/10
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
22 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
An elegant, psychologically interesting film noir-like thriller about a man taking revenge for his dead brother.

Clive Owen gives one of his better performances as the loving brother, an ex-gangster who returns to London after learning about his brother's (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) suicide. With a little help from Charlotte Rampling and Jamie Foreman, he finds out that his brother's been raped shortly before by Malcolm McDowell...

Luckily, "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" takes its time for excellent character and story development. Therefore, some may find it a little slow-moving, but due to the overall solidly acting cast, nice locations (Wales and SW9 in London) and gripping story, it's still very good entertainment.
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Dallas Doll (1994)
9/10
Dallas Doll
20 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Sandra Bernhard comes to Australia to play golf and seduces an entire family: son, father, mother. There are some UFOs around, the dog tries to commit suicide and the birds are strangely curious about human sexuality. Jake Blundell discovers that sexy Sandy is kind of manipulative and has not the best intentions and saves the day.

A strange film indeed, but lovable from the first to the last minute. Sandra (who hated this film and had it banned from the US) gives her best movie performance since "The King of Comedy" and is (although not pretty) drop dead sexy here - it's beyond belief actually! And Jake Blundell is equally desirable. A pity he hasn't done anything great since.

If you can get a copy of "Dallas Doll", you won't regret watching it. The strip mini-golf game with Doris Day's "Move Over Darling" is simply hilarious!
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2/10
Bella, ricca, lieve difetto fisico cerca anima gemella
20 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
A must-see for Marisa Mell fans? Not quite sure. "Bella, ricca..." is a talkative, old-fashioned, and unfortunately dusty Italian comedy about the dangers of feminism. Actually, it's attitude is based on sexism. The feminists in this movie are portrayed as an ugly, frustrated bunch of witches who beat up every man that crosses their path. Well, there must have been some people who thought this was funny, because it was a great hit in Italy when it was released in 1973. Odd enough.

And what about Miss Mell? She certainly had star-qualities. She received a star billing here, her name appears above the title. If you watch this for her, you'll be disappointed: Her first appearance comes after 53 minutes. There is a funny twist in the end, though, when the male lead wants to join her in the bathroom, opens the shower curtain and discovers that this beautiful woman is a man! While he was in prison, Marisa/Paola had a sex change and became Paolo. She/he then fell in love with Erica Blanc (the wife of our poor leading man) and actually got her pregnant. Marisa is dubbed in the last few minutes by a man to give her at least some masculinity. This actually IS very funny. The rest of the film ... sorry ... kind of sucks.
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Cul-De-Sac (1966)
8/10
Cul-de-sac
20 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
One of the less popular Polanski films, made between his sleeper "Repulsion" (Catherine Deneuve's star-turn) and the hilarious horror comedy "The Fearless Vampire Killer" (starring Polanski himself alongside his ill-fated wife, Sharon Tate), "Cul-de-sac" is a bizarre film indeed. In his autobiography, Polanski stated that this was his favorite film of all, and, if he had the choice, he'd only do movies like this.

"Cul-de-sac" is hard to classify. It is an odd kind of comedy, but not really funny, it has some thriller elements, but it's not suspenseful, there are traces of a mystery slash horror thing, but they're never obviously visible, and, finally, it is the story of a marriage. There isn't much happening, really, and if you're not into weird movies, you'll most certainly find "Cul-de-sac" boring, but if you are, it will give you lots of pleasure.

The movie has a lot of charm, and it's craziness brings it quite close to Lester's "The Knack". Donald Pleasance's performance might be the best of his entire career. This alone makes Polanski's little masterpiece worth watching. Lionel Stander and the unforgettable Jack MacGowran are equally remarkable, and Ian Quarrier (who later played a gay vampire in "The Fearless Vampire Killers") can be seen in a supporting part. The setting (an old castle), though, is the real star of this film, and the entire thing is beautifully captured: the black-and-white-photography is timelessly elegant and Oscar-worthy. A pity "Cul-de-sac" was not a success when it was released. It came out on DVD a couple of years back and is a must for Polanski fans and film fans alike.
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10/10
Reconstruction
19 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I have to stop myself or I will rave, rave, rave about this movie (movie? no, it's rather a revelation, I suppose) all night long. Boe has delivered a true piece of art: LOVE made into a movie! Many, many European and Asian directors have tried this before, but I can't remember anyone with Boe's narrative, poetic and artistic skills. Technically, "Reconstruction" is also brilliant.

The actors, well, the actors: Bonnevie is pure enchantment, and Nikolaj Lie Kaas is, well, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, simply one of Europe's best contemporary actors. Usually cast in weird comedies, he turns into an extremely passionate performance as the desperate man who loves two women (both played by Bonnevie). Maria Bonnevie does a very elegant Hitchcockian blonde while Nikolaj becomes more and more the anti-hero we know from the French classics. Both of them know damn well how to seduce their audience, they surely made me tremble over and over again with admiration and lust.

"Reconstruction" is a masterpiece who all those who enjoy thought-provoking entertainment. I will stop myself now and try to sum it up in one word: Excellent!
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La silla (2006)
10/10
La Silla
19 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The man from Argentina, Julio D. Wallovits (who's pleased us with his little masterpiece "Smoking Room"), presents his new film, "La Silla" (or, in English, "The Chair"), a proof that fine film-making is by no means dead.

Not quite sure whether to regard it as an Argentinian or a European film (shot in Europe, but made by a South American director), I think it's one of the finest films of the new century. And it works on many different levels. It is, first of all, good entertainment. You won't get bored for a second. And then, it is also a deeply philosophical movie, a minor piece of art.

Set in Barcelona, "La Silla" is beautifully staged, photographed and edited. And it also provides some marvelous performances, from Esther Bové to Iván Morales. Brendemühl and Schneider also make remarkable appearances.

I don't want to give away too much. Wallovits is a maverick director, and "La Silla" is definitely worth a second and a third look.
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Deed Poll (2004)
8/10
Deed Poll
14 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
After his brief appearance in Greenaway's "The Tulse Luper Suitcases" and before his three-months-run as Puck on West End, Andre Schneider found the time to write, co-produce and star in this film, apparently his most personal one to date.

Schneider plays Nathaniel Griffin, a hustler getting hired by two rich siblings who, after having him under the influence of cocaine, ecstasy and various other drugs, paint playing cards all over his body and cut them out. The last scene is a breath-stealer, but the rest of the movie is often slow-moving and the siblings, played by Barbara Kowa and Rainer Wittenauer, fail completely to intrigue. Schneider's performance, though, remains a justifiable reason to sit through this, it's an impressive knock-out.

The nicely photographed film suffers from the sheer unbearable narcissism of the director whose crashing self-love screws the otherwise beautifully written and acted film up. Most of the time, Biermann seems to say, "I'm the director, I outsmart you all, you're just some stupid audience." If you can deal with this attitude, you will enjoy "Deed Poll".

After a string of equally disappointing works in Germany, Schneider turned his attention to France, Great Britain, Ireland and Spain, where he gave stellar performances in interesting films like "La Silla" and "La paz de tus ojos tristes".
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Dragon Country (1970 TV Movie)
6/10
Dragon Country
9 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
"Dragon Country" is the proof that even someone like Tennessee Williams failed from time to time. It was a weak written-for-TV melodrama co-starring William Redfield and the unforgettable Kim Stanley in one of her very few on-screen performances.

Their one-act, "I Can't Imagine Tomorrow", is about a sick woman visited by a timid suitor who has lost his teaching job due to his psychiatric problems.

The DVD release of this only collaboration between Williams and Stanley gives us a rare opportunity to see and admire her amazing talent and charisma, even though she was not at her best here. Jon Krampner, her biographer, pointed out that by 1970, she was already unable to memorize her lines. (She was an alcoholic, and her self-induced illness destroyed much of her acting skills.) Several coaches were hired to try to get her to learn her lines, and they even wrote lines on every piece of furniture on the set. Glenn Jordan skilfully directed.

I recommend watching "The Goddess", "Séance on a Wet Afternoon" and "Frances" to see how stunning Miss Stanley was when she was in better shape.
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Die Halbzarte (1959)
1/10
Die Halbzarte
9 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
At the end of her life, Romy Schneider made a list of her 60 movies, saying that she never really did a great one, and only ten that were "okay". "Die Halbzarte", one of the last movies she did in her native Germany, was decidedly not one of them. Matter-of-factly, this would-be sex comedy is one of the worst motion pictures ever made in German (or Austrian) film history. Shameful enough, this was Austria's contribution to the 1958 Cannes film festival.

Director Rolf Thiele (who later apologized for this work, saying that he was under contract and thus forced to do this comedy based on a half-baked script) tells the story of the Dassau family, a family of artists: Frau Dassau (Magda Schneider) is a composer, her husband (Josef Meinrad) is a writer, and their children are equally gifted as painters, poets and musicians. But unfortunately, no one wants to invest money in their art. The family is about to starve when Nicole (Romy Schneider) comes up with a marvelous idea: She is going to write the "most scandalous book", the sex memoirs of a teenager. For this, she hides under the pseudonym of Eva. The book becomes an enormous success indeed, but Nicole's parents are decent people, and the public interest in their sluttish daughter begins to bother them. Things begin to get even more unpleasant when Nicole falls in love with an American publisher (Carlos Thompson) who'd prefer a virgin…

Hypocritical, sexist, unfunny, badly written, photographed and acted – it is very hard to say anything positive about "Die Halbzarte". If you don't like wasting your time with bad entertainment (in fact, this isn't even entertaining), you can surely miss out on this one.
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10/10
Without You I'm Nothing
9 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Sandra Bernhard is quite a character, and certainly one of the funniest women on earth. She began as a stand-up comedienne in the 1970s, but her big break came in 1983 when she starred opposite Jerry Lewis and Robert De Niro in Scorsese's underrated masterpiece, "The King of Comedy". Her film career never quite took off, though. She did make a couple of odd but entertaining pictures, such as "Dallas Doll" (1994) or "Dinner Rush" (2000), but the most amazing parts were those she created for herself.

"Without You I'm Nothing" is undoubtedly her best effort. It's an adaptation of her smash-hit off-Broadway show which made her a superstar – and Madonna's best friend for about four years. In ten perfectly choreographed and staged scenes, Sandra turns from Nina Simone to Diana Ross, talks about her childhood, Andy Warhol and San Francisco and performs songs made famous by Burt Bacharach, Prince, or Sylvester. Director John Boskovich got Sandra to do a 90-minute tour-de-force performance that's both sexy and uniquely funny. If you are a Bernhard fan, you can't miss out this film; it's a tribute as well to her (weird) beauty as to her extremely unconventional talent as a comedienne. And it has influenced filmmakers in their work – "Hedwig and the Angry Inch", for instance, would look a lot different if "Without You I'm Nothing" didn't exist.
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Dirty Hands (1975)
3/10
Les innocents aux mains sales
9 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
They both longed to work with each other for many years, but when it finally happened in 1974, Romy Schneider and Claude Chabrol failed miserably. "Les innocents aux mains sales" is a low point of both their careers, a slow-moving and unconvincing film that meanders somewhere between crime story, sex drama, baroque thriller and social study.

"Les innocents…" pairs Schneider and Rod Steiger as Julie and Louis Wormser, a rich couple living in a grandiose villa in the Southern part of France. Louis is very rich and about twenty years older than his wife who is disgusted by his alcoholism and rude manners. One day, Julie meets Jeff Marle (hunky Paolo Giusti), a writer and neighbor who flies kites and shows eminent sexual interest in her. Together, they plan to drown Louis and run away with the inherited money. Of course, something goes wrong, and a supposedly dead Rod Steiger suddenly stands on the doorstep again, ready to take revenge…

Schneider solidly acts her way through the 125 minutes of Chabrol's mystery, and certainly she's prettier than ever, but you don't get to see the passionate performer that made films like "L'important c'est d'aimer" or "Les chose de la vie" so unforgettable. As a matter of fact, Romy seems obviously bored and out of place, and she doesn't watch with either Steiger or Giusti. She later declared that she and Chabrol just didn't get along together: "He just sat there playing chess while the cameraman and we tried to make this picture. He left me alone, something I cannot bear. I need either a challenge, like with Welles, Visconti, or Zulawski, or cooperation, like with Sautet."

"Les innocents…" does have its moments of greatness, but all in all, it remains an unsatisfying experience.
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6/10
La piscine
9 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
After a string of commercial flops and the birth of her son, Jacques Deray's "La piscine" marked the turning point of Romy Schneider's ill-fated career and made her a major star in French cinema. A massive box-office hit by its release in 1968, the movie achieved rave reviews and turned producer Gérard Beytout into a multi-millionaire.

Though extraordinarily photographed and nicely acted, "La piscine" is not very good. The story holes are too big, the film itself about thirty minutes too long. Like most French films, it's a love-triangle. This time, it turns into some kind of thriller. Set in a beautiful Saint Tropez villa, "La piscine" takes a lot of time to visualize the sexy relationship between Jean-Paul (Alain Delon) and Marianne (Schneider) which experiences an unpleasant twist when Marianne's ex-lover (Maurice Ronet) shows up and joins them with his 18-year-old daughter (Jane Birkin). Jealousy leads to murder and distrust, and by the end, the relationship between our good-looking protagonists are not the same.

Michel Legrand's jazzy music and several shots of Miss Schneider wearing a black bikini make this slow-moving, talkative piece of film bearable. It might have been an erotic sensation back in the 1960s, but it's now outrun by sexier and more entertaining movies.
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Triple Cross (1966)
2/10
Triple Cross
9 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
"Triple Cross" is one of the movies Terence Young wished he'd never done, and it is bad indeed, even though it had all the ingredients a good box office hit needs: an international all-star cast (Christopher Plummer, Romy Schneider, Yul Brynner, Trevor Howard, Gert Fröbe, Jess Hahn, Claudine Auger from "Thunderball", Howard Vernon and Bernard Fresson), a massive budget, a director at the height of his international fame, a Bond-like story, a Bond-like score (Georges Garvarentz) and Bond-like locations (Jersey, London, Paris, Lisbon, Southern France). What went wrong?

Basically, "Triple Cross" is about one hour too long (there are two versions available, one lasts 145 minutes, the other one 126), and for many parts it seems as if even the director got confused with the different story lines, so the movie is guilty of both, boredom and confusion. The romantic aspect of the film doesn't work out; the chemistry between Plummer and Schneider is everything but right. Christopher Plummer is a huge disappointment in his attempt to be Sean Connery. He is undoubtedly a good actor, but as Eddie Chapman, he remains pale and utterly deadpan. Where Connery as Bond had a lot of sex-appeal and charm, Plummer has nothing to offer. Miss Schneider is equally miscast as the mysterious Countess, she seems lost and bored and gives one of the very few bad performances of her life.

I won't give a summary of the plot here, it's just not worth it. I recommend watching the early Bond movies, like "Dr. No", "Goldfinger", or "From Russia With Love" instead.
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8/10
Un amour de pluie
9 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Romy Schneider did a lot of unbearably dull movies in the 1970s. I found "Qui?" quite hard to forgive, and "The Assassination of Trotzky" is definitely one of the most unnecessary pictures in film history.

It would be so easy to trash "Un amour de pluie", mainly because it lacks a real story: A woman and her adolescent daughter spend their holidays in Vittel. While Romy experiences a little flirtation with a handsome Italian (Nino Castelnuovo), her daughter falls in love with a boy from the village. After a couple of days, both love stories end when mother and daughter leave for Paris.

Now, if it weren't for Schneider, Castenuovo and the charming supporting actors, this would have been incredibly boring 98 minutes, but thanks to Brialy's skillful direction, the beautiful music and the movie's lightness, it was actually quite nice to watch. If you like French films, "Un amour de pluie" will delight you, and Miss Schneider is particularly lovely and carefree here. Most directors cast her in dark and moody melodramas and thrillers, in most cases as the victim of her love and desires, but Brialy took a chance in giving her a part that required self-esteem and humor.
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Qui? (1970)
1/10
Qui?
9 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
"Qui?" is a less-than-mediocre wannabe Hitchcockian thriller from France about murder and love and confusion. A messy screenplay, and Keigel's inept direction didn't help here either. If it wasn't for Romy Schneider, this piece of crap would long have been forgotten.

As Marina, she stumbles through a thoroughly uninteresting plot in which she first "kills" her cruel lover (Gabriele Tinti) before he re-appears and gets killed for the second time. In the meantime, his suspicious brother (Maurice Ronet) had fallen in love with her.

Sounds familiar? Well, I bet I've seen it better in, like, two dozen other movies. Albeit its duration of only 74 minutes, "Qui?" seems overlong and pathetic. Where Hitchcock had his humor, Keigel confronts us with bitterness and endless flashbacks. No story, no entertainment, no message, just a big, plain nothing, mixed up with bad performances, terrible music, inept camera-work and editing. Thank God Keigel didn't make much more movies!
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10/10
Mädchen in Uniform
9 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This remake of a classic from the early 1930s clearly remains one of the most unusual and bold films made in post-war Germany, brought to life by three remarkable actresses: Romy Schneider, Lilli Palmer and Therese Giehse.

The story of an orphaned teenager (Schneider) whose passionate love for her teacher (Palmer) becomes scandalous and culminates into a tragedy was by no means a critical or commercial success when it came to the screen in 1958. I guess the homosexual (lesbian) content was too much to take for an audience which was used to more common and likable subjects. Today, "Mädchen in Uniform" deserves to be rediscovered and cherished as a minor masterpiece. The acting alone is of sheer brilliance; Blandine Ebinger, Sabine Sinjen, Christine Kaufmann and Adelheid Seeck support the three leading ladies superbly.

Stage veteran Therese Giehse, muse to writers like Brecht and Dürrenmatt and long-time lover of Erika Mann, is electrifying in one of her few movie appearances. Lilli Palmer, who began her career in Hitchcock's "Secret Agent" and became a Broadway and Hollywood star in the 1940s, puts all her charm into her enchanting portrayal of Fräulein von Bernburg, the understanding teacher whose tender loving care is misunderstood disastrously. Romy Schneider surprised everybody including herself with her performance which for the first time required her to do a little more than being just the sweet, innocent Viennese girl. After this, her 13th film, she went abroad to become an internationally acclaimed character actress, working with directors like Visconti, Welles, Preminger, Dassin, and, later, Claude Sautet.
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5/10
La liceale al mare con l'amica di papà
9 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This kind of cheap Italian sex comedy was rather popular in the early 1980s, and this one in particular does have its qualities which one tends to overlook due to its loudness and utter sexism.

Renzo Montagnani, one of Italian's most popular comedy stars of this era, plays Massimo, a man in his forties who's unhappily married to Violante (Marisa Mell), constantly looking after pretty young women. One of them (Sabrina Siani) dresses up as a nun and follows him to the coast, where he spends his holidays with his family. To make things even more complicated, two kidnappers show up as well. Apparently, they are after Massimo's adolescent daughter Sonia (Cinzia De Ponti)…

If you are somewhere between twelve and 16 years of age, "La Liceale al mare…" might please you and even give you a few laughs, but otherwise it's a very mediocre comedy. Worth mentioning are Montagnani and Mell who both turn into lovably funny performances.
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Ludwig (1973)
5/10
Ludwig
9 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
If you don't like Helmut Berger, this movie will give you 247 hard minutes, and unfortunately, I loathe him. But despite his public misbehavior, his disgusting arrogance and narcissism, he was a splendid actor with an undeniably intriguing presence. Under Visconti's direction, he turned into breathtaking performances, and his Ludwig made no exception.

Supported by the acting talents Trevor Howard, Romy Schneider, Silvana Mangano, Helmut Griem and Gert Fröbe and Armando Nanuzzi's photography, Berger and Visconti draw the portrait of a self-destructive, eccentric man, torn between his love for the arts and his political duties. The lavish art direction (Mario Scisci, Albino Cocco) alone makes Visconti's vision a cinematic masterpiece which makes it hard for the viewer to take his eyes off. Nevertheless, the lack of action and plot makes it quite hard for the viewer to keep his eyes open for four hours and seven minutes.

There are some shorter versions (183 and 148 minutes) around as well. For those who are not obsessed with Visconti, Berger, or Ludwig II., one of these might very well suffice.
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5/10
The Harrad Experiment
9 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
A minor scandal when it came out in 1973, this melange of soft porn and drama doesn't quite work out today and is only of interest for Don Johnson or Tippi Hedren fans.

In one of her few remarkable roles since she left Universal, Hedren plays Margaret Tenhausen, who, along with her husband (played by veteran actor James Whitmore), teaches 'free love' at the Harrad College, where free and open sexual relations between students are not only encouraged but required in order to graduate. Don Johnson plays Stanley, a young student who breaks some of the College's rules by thinking it would be a sexual gymnasium. In a great scene at the end, Hedren confronts him with the remarkable line, "True people make love with their minds and their understanding, Stanley, not just their bodies."

"The Harrad Experiment" was based on Robert Rimmer's best-selling novel and was quite a success, so a sequel ("The Harrad Summer") followed one year later. The film hasn't aged well, though. It's too talkative and boring by nowadays' standards, and it often has unintentionally funny moments (i.e. the tennis scene in which Tippi gracefully hits the ground), but it somehow works for its campy aspects.

The DVD available in the UK is a little shorter than the US video tape, so we don't get to see the frontal nudity of Don Johnson (which is a pity) and Bruno Kirby (which I praise God for).
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4/10
A Countess from Hong Kong
9 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Chaplin's last (and by far worst) film was also the first one he shot in color. It is an often bizarre but strangely appealing film that doesn't work either as a comedy nor as a love story: Sophia Loren plays the little tramp just like Chaplin would have done it thirty years earlier and Brando gives the most unusual (and maybe worst) performance of his lifetime. The supporting cast, though, is magnificent: Patrick Cargill steals every scene he's in as Brando's kinky butler Hudson, Margaret Rutherford does a heartbreakingly funny cameo as an old lady mistaken as Miss Loren, Geraldine Chaplin appears briefly as a detached society girl, Sydney Chaplin and Michael Medwin prove their comedic skills and Charlie himself tops it off in a one-minute-shtick as a seasick steward.

The secret star of "A Countess from Hong Kong", though, is Tippi Hedren in her small role as Brando's snobbish wife who gets dumped for the whore/Countess. She is icier, prettier and even more sophisticated than in her two Hitchcock movies. To me, her Martha remains one of the best performances she gave in her career.

Brando and Loren. One of film history's most famous cases of miscasting! As a pair, they just don't match, there is no spark or affection or whatever between them. Unfortunately, this was supposed to carry the movie for two hours.

Universal tried to tighten the ill-fated comedy by shortening and re-dubbing it for the video release (it's now 103 instead of 118 minutes, and some other actors dubbed some of Brando's and Hedren's lines), but this only made it worse and almost unwatchable. I was fortunate enough to watch the unedited version of the film a couple of years back on TV, and I kind of liked it even though I noticed its shortcomings.

One of the biggest mistakes, I think, lies in Chaplin's script itself. Apparently, he wrote it in 1931 as a vehicle for himself and his then-wife, Paulette Goddard, and didn't change a single line when he shot it 35 years later. This, among other things, makes "A Countess from Hong Kong" look strangely old-fashioned and out of time. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, and it failed miserably when it came out, but it's one of the "great sick films" and definitely worth a look.
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10/10
Danger: Diabolik
9 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Mario Bava's pop-art extravaganza was his only big budget film: Dino De Laurentiis gave him three million dollars to shoot it, Bava only needed 400,000 to turn "Danger: Diabolik" into an unforgettably entertaining cult film.

John Phillip Law plays Diabolik, a thief who takes from the rich to give to the girl he loves (Marisa Mell), Michel Piccoli is the policeman trying to stop him, and "Thunderball"-villain Adolfo Celi once again shows up as the bad guy. Adapted from the highly popular Italian comic strips of the 1960s, "Danger: Diabolik" became one of the first and most influential comic-based films in history.

Composer Ennio Morricone created one of his most haunting scores, which supports Bava's stunning visual ideas marvelously. There are many scenes that reveal Bava's masterful skills as a director, i.e. when Diabolik clambers up walls, messes up a press conference with Exhilaration gas or pulls of the heist of a twenty-ton gold ingot. Fortunately, "Danger: Diabolik" never loses its self-irony and cheeky, sexy humor. This (and the stylish sets) help to overlook some holes in the story and (very few) boring moments.

Austrian-born actress Marisa Mell gave her star-turn in this picture. With her radiant looks and tongue-in-cheek attitude, she would have been the perfect Bond girl. Unfortunately, she never appeared in a Bond film but became some sort of B-movie queen of the 1970s with such vehicles as "Beast with a Gun" or "Diary of an Erotic Murderess". While she made one other great film, Fulci's Hitchcockian giallo "One on Top of the Other" (1969), her work for Bava will stand as her creative peak. Alas, Miss Mell died of cancer before she got a chance to prove her undeniable acting skills elsewhere.
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4/10
The Assassination of Trotsky
9 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
To sum it up in one sentence: A forgettable movie, but a forgivable mistake.

Losey. Burton. Delon. Schneider. Cortese. Trotsky. A bunch of great names, thrown into the depths of a weak script that wants to be both, a history lesson and an entertaining political thriller. Shot on location in Mexico and Rome, this European co-production was groomed for international success and turned out to be a devastating disappointment for everyone involved. The audience couldn't cope with it and stayed away, the critics weren't impressed.

The film chronicles the last days of Trotzky (Richard Burton) as a political refugee in Mexico City. Alain Delon tries to play Frank Jacson, a Belgian traveling on a Canadian passport, who murders the dedicated Marxist and atheist.

It is only for a few precious moments that you can partially perceive Losey's talent which he has proved elsewhere (i.e. in "The Servant", "A Doll's House" or "Accident"), and Delon's performance is vain and unconvincing. (The English language clearly overdrew the actor's abilities.) The Losey/Delon team did much better a couple of years later with "Monsieur Klein".
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