Director: Mary Harron
Starring: Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, Josh Lucas, Samantha Mathis, Matt Ross, Bill Sage, Chloë Sevigny,Cara Seymour, Justin Theroux, Guinevere Turner, Reese Witherspoon .USA. 1h 41m
After the success of a brilliant deeply disturbing and somewhat witty and stylish novella of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis, Mary Harron transformed the saucy satirical bits into this cult movie starring the charismatic Chriistian Bale at the front of star studded cast. Bale was set to steal the show and this really boosted his career and ego to the outer limits, but I can’t argue that he gives a smart and sensuous performance.
I read the book and was happy to leave it as that, something the original author agrees with, but it became impossible to totally avoid the movie as it’s used to popular culture so much through doll’s phrases, and gifs it’s unavoidable. Continue reading American Psycho (2000)
AKA: For my sister, Story of a Whale.
Director: Catherine Breillat.
Starring: Anais Reboux, Roxane Mesquida, Libero De Rienzo, Arsinee Khanjian. France. 1h 35m.
Catherine Breillat’s dark drama inspects the lives of two young sisters at a pivotal moment in their development into womanhood with all the graphic insights that Brielliat is akin to producing for her fans and mostly for her critics.
Anais (Reboux) and Elena (Mesquaida) are two sisters who are poles apart, the film opens with them walking into town from their families holiday home, discussing losing their virginity and sex, which is quite advanced for such young girls but Elena is firm in her beliefs that it should be between two people who really love each other and her huskier sister; Anais, is on the thought train of losing one’s virginity should be just done to get it out of the way, she’s convinced that any stranger will do then she’ll just get on with her life.
Be careful what you wish for. Continue reading A Ma Soeur / Fat Girl (2001)
Director: Barry Shear
Starring: Anthony Quinn, Yaphet Kotto, Anthony Franciosa, Paul Benjamin. USA. 1h 32m
A poetic slice of American history is adapted into this explosive crime drama, and only a few years after racial tensions ran extremely high during the “hot summer” riots, and makes the most of key Harlem locations.
Two prolific stars in their own rights clash as gangs and civil rights spark rage and chaos in the streets, initially the film opens with a daring robbery staged by Jim Harris (Benjamin) results in him and his crew stealing around $300,000 from a Mafia run Numbers Game, things turn bad and there’s a blood shoot out, leaving seven dead both black and Italian and police officers. The case is assigned to the ultimate odd couple , Lieutenant William Pope (Kotto), a driven black police officer is assigned to work the case with aging Captain Frank Mattelli (Quinn), a street-wise racist Italian-American cop. Obviously sparks will fly but deep down you know they will find common ground amongst the bloodshed. There’s a constant reminder that the older Italian officer is on his way out and the new more empowered black officer is rising up to replace him. The entire slice of stereotype pie is eaten. Continue reading Across 110th Street (1972)
AKA Are You There?
Director:Scott Di Lalla .
Starring.Demetrius Sager,Courtney Foxworthy, Kelly McLaren, Caleb Courtney USA. 1h 25m.
As part of my Occult A-Z I have been watching some of the best and worst that cinema has to offer and pretty early on I was easily set on this being the end of the list but i’m afraid that the list will end on a low note.
I‘m a huge supporter of lower budget movies but what they lack funds they do have to make up with some passion, some drive, a bit of energy!! But this is little more than entry level horror, which is a shame as the whole Zozo mythos is pretty interesting and usually harbors a few jumps and sleepless nights. Continue reading I am Zozo (2006)
Director: David Michod.
Starring: Jacki Weaver, Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Guy Pearce, Sullivan Stapleton, James Frecheville, Luke Ford, Laura Wheelwright. Australia. 1h 53m
There is something extraordinarily authentic about Animal Kingdom, this sinister tale of a twisted criminal family is something can nervously be regarded as far fetched, but after an ounce of research into the criminal underworld of the Land Down Under, after watching this movie there’s a lingering fear that “based on a true story” might appear in the closing credits.
With characters like the notorious Chopper (2000) and the gut churning Snowtown (2011) just two pieces of projects based on real events and people, this just feels like the next step in a progression of a young country with a criminal culture that’s making up for lost time. Continue reading Animal Kingdom
Director: Catherine Breillat
Starring: Amira Casar, Rocco Siffredi. France 1h 17m
Based on: Pornocratie by Catherine Breillat
This slightly strangely off putting art house erotica drama see the plights of man vs woman and slowly discovers what we always knew, and that the sexes really are planets apart.
This taboo sequel to the equally taboo shocker Romance X (1999) see Catherine Breillat boldly challenge many more darker crevices within the sexual psyche of a woman who, in Romance was shunned by her lover, seeking love and affection then sex and kink elsewhere, while in the Anatomy of Hell, we discover more about the boyfriend, adoringly known as Man and played by porn star Rocco Siffredi, we see his reasoning behind his unusual character.
A lonely and dejected woman, whose only known as The Woman (Casar) throughout the film stalks the streets at night looking for company, stumbling into a gay bar she drinks, bumps into all the gay guys and seemly out of it, hits a new low, her suicide attempt in the clubs toilets is thwarted by a concerned stud, after rescuing her she makes him a proposition, she invites him to visit her and watch her silently for four nights while she’s “unwatchable”. Begrudgingly he agrees to continue to help and the two being a strange journey. Continue reading Anatomie de l’enfer /Anatomy of Hell (2004)
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Starring: Tomas Milian, Henry Silva, Ray Lovelock and Anita Strindberg .Italy. 1h 40m
This movie could easily be called “Il criminale più stupido d’Italia” as it follows the misadventures of a total psychotic loser criminal who couldn’t con his way out of a paper bag successfully but his constant efforts do cause some sensational cinema.
Opening with a bunch of robbers/kidnappers, snatching a young boy, their (not so trusty) getaway driver is Giulio Sacchi (Milian) manages to kill an officer while waiting and soon the gang is being chased around the city, they manage to speed past a train which cuts them off from the cops in time for them to drop the child and ditch the cops, they find a secluded place to recoup and kick the crap out of Giulio for foiling their efforts, after threatening to castrate him he heads back into the city alone. The brute roughs up his girl for some money and kills another cop while robbing a cigarette machine, while other officers arrive to investigate he starts displaying disturbing behaviour by squaring up to Inspector Walter Grandi (Silva). Eventually the bad tempered loose cannon, devises a scheme of kidnapping the daughter a wealthy businessman, who his girlfriend works for, but with a crazed moral compass and no scruples his manages to mess up each step of the way, but just manages to stay one step ahead of Inspector Grandi but mostly by mistake. Continue reading Milano odia: la polizia non può sparare / Almost Human (1974)
Director: Mamoru Oshii
Starring: Jinpachi Nezu,Mako Hyōdō . Japan . 1h 15m
This avant grade collaboration between Yoshitaka Amano and director Mamoru Oshii is like a waking dream, the film has very little dialogue and what is said is as fragmented as the action within the film. The sparse plot, while linear, doesn’t really suggest a solid straight forward narrative but, but instead has a hazy, “make of it as you will” atmosphere. It’s very easy to sum this up as “Animated Art House” rather than a film with direct meaning and purpose, but it continues to inspire with its unfamiliar themes and dark visuals.
There are two main characters, a young girl who lives in an abandoned building near an abandoned town, a man appears on the shore watching a temple like orb raise from the ocean, and he descends silently into the town. Meanwhile the girl collects her giant egg, an object she protects each day by stuffing it under her dress, and heads into the eerie neo gothic town to scavenge for food and bottles to collect water in. She wanders around looking through windows and only gets startled when the man arrives on a biotechnical tank their silent glare results in the girl running away and the man slowly following after her. Continue reading Tenshi no Tamago / Angel’s Egg (1985)
Director: Gareth Evans.
Starring. Dan Stevens, Lucy Boynton, Mark Lewis Jones, Bill Milner, Kristine Froseth, Paul Higgins, Michael Sheen. USA. 2h 10m.
Gareth Evans’ Apostle is a troubled journey into the dark nature of man being forced upon the nature around him in the guise of a new religious cult who have hauled up on a remote island. Evan’s previous projects are considerably different in nature, mostly the Raid (2012) and Raid 2 (2014), which saw a lot of action and violence, although he did perfect sidestep into horror in the V/H/S 2 (2013) anthology when he co directed the Safe Haven segment but again his horror came with a fast pace. But in this epic horror, he manages to divide the film into something more brooding before it picks up speed and descends into a casserole of blood or torture. Much like Panos Cosmatos Mandy (2018). When you think you’ve “got” the movie, suddenly there’s a shift into something unexpected and there’s not going back.
Continue reading Apostle (2018)
Director: Jeff Lieberman
Starring: Alexander Brickel, Kateryn Winnick, Stephen Graham, Amanda Plummer, Wass Stevens, Joshua Annex. USA. 1h 40m.
I found this lesser known gem in the bargain bucket, it came as one of those double sided discs with an equally bizarre b movie, Killer X (1999), it stayed on my shelf for years until I had a particularly shitty break up and I decided to settle down with a tub of ice cream and sob into it with a terrible movie to remind myself just how shit my life was at the time but this stunning movie really uplifted my evening.
Directed by Jeff Lieberman, a meistro who lives to live life on the edge with psychedelic and wayward classics such as Blue Sunshine (1977), Just Before Dawn (1981) and Squirm (1976) under his belt, but with this modern approach to horror, he seemed to not take any aspect of this movie all that serious but it still manages to be a creepy comedy horror with some very dark undertones, totally different from this retro classics but so brilliant in it’s own quirky rights. Continue reading Satan’s Little Helper (2004)