Saturday 31 August 2013

Flavours of the Month: August 2013...


The Kevin Pollak Chat Show - it's a little rough around the edges, and Sam Levine's semi-off-camera interjections don't float my boat, but there's some good and lengthy interviews to see on YouTube. Some I've dug into this month have been Ed O'Neil, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, and a massively entertaining sit-down with the reliably verbose John Landis who has a veritable shedload of fascinating and entertaining stories from his decades in the movie industry to share. The shows are good because it's just two people having a relaxed and varied chat - although Pollak could ask his questions faster and more succinctly.

Click "READ MORE" below for more looks, sounds, vibes & flavours...

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Autopsy (Armando Crispino, 1975) Review

Find more giallo reviews here.

Otherwise known as “The Magician” or “Macchie Solari” (“Sunspots”), this is a review of the uncut version of the film which clocks in at 100 minutes, as opposed to the 85 minute cut.

“People have been knocking themselves off like flies.” Thrust into the boiling hot, blinding white light of the sun – as solar flares erupt and moans of sexual ecstasy call out – Armando Crispino's giallo gets off to a fast-paced and violent start. A rash of suicides plague the beautiful city of Rome as it bakes in the August sun – a woman slits her wrists, a man wraps a bag over his head before diving into a river, another blows himself up in his petrol-drenched car, and a father shoots himself to death after slaughtering his own children.

“It seems sweet to die in August.” There is a blood-soaked madness spreading through the populace, and the morgue is jam-packed with mutilated cadavers – but is every single one of these apparent suicides what they appear to be? Might this be the ideal time for a killer to strike and hide their devious deeds under the guise of suicide?

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Thursday 15 August 2013

Evil Dead (2013) – an all-out stream of fan thoughts...

As a huge fan of the original 1981 movie – it is one of my most cherished formative cinematic experiences – I was frustrated to hear that it was going to receive the remake treatment. However, the news that the original producers – Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, and Bruce Campbell – were going to be involved softened the punch. If the progenitors were offering hands-on guidance, then perhaps this remake could steer clear of offensive trash like the 2010 remake of A Nightmare On Elm Street, and aim for worthwhile and respectful endeavours like the 2010 remake of The Crazies.

Well, I've finally been able to check it out (on Blu-Ray) and here's the essential meat of my view – I like it, but I don't love it. Mercifully it avoids the ANOES2010-like level of abusive suckage, but there are a few too many awkward quirks and overly-slick problems for it to match my respect (perhaps, even, love) for the likes of The Hills Have Eyes 2006, or Maniac2013 (admittedly, the 'worthy remakes' club is a rather exclusive one).

Rather than a straight review, I'm going to dive into the film from an obsessed fan's perspective, picking through the movie – my loves, my likes, and my hates – piece-by-piece – and go for some horror nerd analysis.

Click “READ MORE” below for a blow-by-blow, slice-by-gouge, hack-by-slash run-down of Evil Dead 2013...

Wednesday 14 August 2013

The ABCs of Death (2013) Review...

Anthology horror films are experiencing a regained sense of rude health of late, particularly with high profile flicks like V/H/S and it's sequel, but The ABCs of Death manages to strike new ground within the anthology horror sub-genre – put simply: 26 Directors, 26 Ways to Die

However, the trouble with anthology films is that not all parts are equal, with some failing to measure up at all – so what will it be for this inventive onslaught of horror? Hits, misses, and the iffy in-betweens all coming up for all 26 shorts.

Click “READ MORE” below to learn your ABCs...

Monday 12 August 2013

Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I Have The Key (Sergio Martino, 1972) Review

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In the year following his masterpiece giallo The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh (1971), Director Sergio Martino returned to the genre with this sordid tale of the Italian aristocracy gone wrong.

“Of course, you'd much rather be drinking from my skull.” Kick-starting under the oil-painted gaze of the recently deceased matriarch of the Rouvigny family, Martino introduces us to the excesses of the Italian aristocracy, housed within a crumbling and hollow mansion. As free-loving guests from a nearby commune enjoy the free booze, and a grope of slave/servant Brenda, the bitter marriage of Oliviero (Luigi Pistilli, The Good The Bad & The Ugly) and Irina (Anita Strindberg, Who Saw Her Die) is laid bare to all without a care in Oliviero's mind.

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Sunday 11 August 2013

Quadruple Bill Mini Musings:

The World's End:
What's it about?
Terminal man-child Gary King gets his mates back together to re-attempt "the golden mile" pub crawl which bested them the last time, back when they were teenagers. However, all is not as it seems in their home town of Newton Haven - cue alien replicants and fisticuffs aplenty.
Who would I recognise in it?
Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike, and shedloads more.
Shaun of the Dead became an instant classic mixing romantic comedy with zombie-thwacking carnage and a poignant sense of brink-of-30 fear. Hot Fuzz was full-bore action comedy, a hyperactive shoot-em-up that threw every piece of lead at the screen ... but despite the machine-gun guffaws, it was lacking in emotional heft. The World's End - the third and final in the "Cornetto trilogy" - rediscovers the Wright/Pegg sense of English heart, combines it with gloopy-comedy-gore, full-on and non-stop laughs, and a surprisingly dark undertone. Pegg deserves considerable plaudits for making Gary King not only an entertaining character, but a sympathetic one - earning pity, laughs, and respect - in spite of the character's selfish, drug-fuelled, arrested development ways. Likewise, Frost stretches himself as a weary white collar lawyer who becomes a boozed-up, head-smashing Hulk. A sense of freshness underlines the alien invasion plot - something other recent 'alien invasion comedies' didn't bother with (The Watch, for example) - and really, the only minus-point is the threadbare arc for Pike's Sam. The World's End is a well crafted and extremely pleasing close to the Cornetto Trilogy. Great.

Click "READ MORE" below for college, dogs, and mobsters...

Sunday 4 August 2013

Eyeball (Umberto Lenzi, 1975) Review

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Umberto Lenzi is best known for such violence-spewing film fare as Nightmare City and Cannibal Ferox, but as a director who dipped his toe into numerous pools, some of his other work has faded into the background. Lenzi's optic-bothering giallo Eyeball is one such obscure effort.

“The flowers of death? I'm far from ready.” A bus-load of American tourists are in Barcelona to see the sights but, for some, the glint of a raised dagger will be the last image to flash across their moist little peepers. The holidaying ensemble are a motley bunch – the unhappily married Alvarados, a grandfather with his bored granddaughter Jenny, shifty-looking Reverend Bronson (George Rigaud, The Case of the Bloody Iris), letchy photographer Lisa and her lesbian muse Naiba, all leaving secretary Paulette (Martine Brochard) looking positively dull by comparison.

Click “READ MORE” below to continue the review and see more screenshots…

Saturday 3 August 2013

Hextuple Bill Mini Musings: Limos, Aliens, Monsters, Soldiers, Savages, and Murders...

What's it about?
A successful rich bloke hops in his limo to go and get a haircut. He then proceeds to talk utter bollocks with a random collection of arseholes for 105 interminable minutes.
Who would I recognise in it?
Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Paul Giamatti, Samantha Morton, Kevin Durand, Mathieu Amalric, Jay Baruchel.
Exceptionally stylish, David Cronenberg's "psycho-thriller" is a visual treat, but the script (by DC, based on Don De Lillo's novel) is wilfully obtuse and keeps the audience at a belligerent arm's length for the entire duration. Side characters drift in-and-out for vignette's where people we don't know, or understand, talk in the most poncy, inaccessible manner about stuff we - at best - only half-get in general terms. It's an audience-splitter to say the least. The DVD comes with a making of as-long as the film itself - but I've not braved it yet - perhaps that'll shed a bit of light on all this malarkey, but I just couldn't access this Cronenberg outing. It's a shame as I usually enjoy his work so much (I recently checked out A Dangerous Method, and rather dug it). Alright.

Click "READ MORE" below for aliens, soldiers, savages, and hatchets...