Una Magnum Special per Tony Saitta / Shadows in an Empty Room (1976)
Director: Alberto De Martino Starring:Stuart Whitman, John Saxon, Martin Landau, Tisa Farrow.Canada/Italy. 1h 54m
Shadows in an Empty Room is a distinct 1970s crime film with mad tones of Euro grime; this De Martino might be out of place in Canada, but it doesn’t drag for a minute. Shadows in an Empty Room is what would remain if you stripped a Giallo movie of its euro trash, bumped it up with a heavy Polittesco narrative, and went full frontal.
On the campus of Montreal college a man notices his ex girlfriend having a moment with her lecturer, and suspected lover, Dr Tracer (Landau), later on that evening a prank turns into a suspicious murder, and the prime suspect is Laundau, and his student/girlfriend is stone cold. Unlucky for him, her brother is a hard ass police officer, played by Stuart Whitman and his back up is the steely eyes John Saxon and they are about to get some Canadian Justice.
Director: Giuseppe Vari Starring: Lou Castel, Adolfo Celi, Beba Loncar. Italy. 1h 32m
One of the easily overlooked Giallo/Politizen films which has a storyline which trips over into the Psychotropic realms there’s a ton of sleeze to get through in Vari’s vibrant thriller.
Fashion photographer Carlo (Castel) and hit model girlfriend Olga (Loncar) are rolling in the dunes when Carlo notices a shady encounter, a couple of men start beating a third man unconscious and set fire to him in his car, Carlo catching all these on film, knowing they are onto something big and take the photos to Uncle Fifi, Olgas wheelcharir bound porno director relative, for advice on how to get the most money for the precious photos.
Director: Nick Love Starring: Danny Dyer, Tamer, Hassan, Geoff bell .UK. 1h 37m
It feels funny going back in time and finally watching this lary movie. After watching the slew of films which were created from it’s fallout, seeing the original template feels weird as I’ve seen all the parts play out in slightly different ways. Nick Love’s signature direction has conjured a tough guy world for many fans of this “English Bad Boy” subculture. But going back to see one of the early greats you can easily see what they were trying to mimic. This came just after Love’s cult favorite The Football Factory (2004) and aimed to tell a rags to riches tale littered with disgusting language and questionable characters.
AKA Hired to Kill, Manhunt in the City, Manhunt in Milan, Manhunt
Director: Fernando Di Leo. Starring. Mario Adorf, Henry Silva, Woody Strode, Adolfo Celi. Italy. 1h 40m.
After a shipment of drugs vanishes a rather charming Corso (Cyril Cusack) settles down two confidants and describes the mood for them, Dave Catania (Silva) and Frank Webster (Strode) listen patiently while they are given clear instructions to travel to Italy, where they are to act as American as possible in order to gain the attention of their target, both men speak the language fluently and are more than capable of finding the man suspected of being responsible for the missing drugs and making him suffer. A beautiful local assistant will be waiting on them hand and foot and aiding their mission but the blundering idiot they are sent after might not be quite a useless as everyone suspects.
Small time pimp and crazy headbutting tough guy Luca Canali (Adorfi), seems pretty low key, not the shifty character you’d expect to accidentally lose such a precious cargo. The film partially opens with him spending a pleasant day with his “girlfriend/bottom bitch”in the park then beating up two douchebags using Tekken 2 tactics.But the magic of this film is that Luca is a family man, his stunning ex and beautiful daughter get all his love and attention, and pretty soon the movie shifts from the two tough guys high tailing and it turns into the “Luca show” while he tries to keep ahead of all the mobsters who are now suddenly hot on his tail and all in his slightly comedic style.
Director: Emilio Miraglia (as Hal Brady). Starring. Henry Silva, Beba Loncar, Keenan Wynn, Carlo Palmucci, Pier Paolo. USA. 1h 33m.
Emilio Miraglia has conjured up a vibrant Italian noir-crime thriller from a story co-written by Massimo De Rita who wrote the debut hit for Miraglia , Assassinsation (1967) which also stars Henry Silver who returns in this follow up as the heavy handed Inspector Sterling, a police inspector whose son has been brutally killed outside the family home in retaliation to his police work. Known for his brilliant Giallo and Poliziottesco movies such as The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (1972) and The Night Evelyn Came out of her Grave (1971), Miraglia’s successes came after these hard hitting Poliziottesco classics. Continue reading Quella carogna dell’ispettore Sterling / Frame Up / Falling Man (1968)→
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn Starring: Kim Bodnia, Zlatko Burić, Laura Drasbæk, Slavko Labović, Mads Mikkelsen .Denmark. 1h 45m
Debuts don’t often hit as hard as this ruthless epic from director Nicolas Winding Refn. as he kicks his cast into a twisting crime story that leaves them free falling without a net. Somewhere in the dank backstreets and hidden rooms behind the pretty façade of Copenhagen a vibrant underworld of dangerous characters are revealed as Frank has the worst run of bad luck I’ve ever seen, there really isn’t a dull moment in Pusher, so hold on to your seat while you watch the first of an incredibly raw and compelling trilogy.
Director: David Fincher Starring: Kevin Spacey, Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt . USA. 2h 6m
Only one year after The Crow (1994)darkened cinema screens with a midnight gothic punk industrial wild decent into grief, loss and revenge, David Fincher hit back and an equally hard hitting film which was often likened to the Crow in the early headlines as popular cinema tried to refocus on what was happening, somehow subvergent underground ideas from comics and madmen were becoming popular and adjustments had to be made. These dark worlds filled with grimy stress, rain and a heavy oppressive atmosphere often mimic the inner depression and rage of one or more of their characters. Eric Draven’s depression at losing the love of his life is mimicked by the dark night and rain, his tears, but what is creating the dark dirty polluted rain filled world within Fincher’s, unnamed metropolis it’s certainly not from lost love. Continue reading Se7en (1995)→
Director: Paul Maslansky Starring:Marki Bey, Robert Quarry, Don Pedro Colley, Betty Anne Rees, Richard Lawson, Zara Cully, Charles Robinson .USA. 1h 31m
For me this Blaxploitation thriller is a testament to Fulci’s zombie culture, with a strong vibe from a more authentic hoodoo background mixed with a strong black female lead this could be a damned near perfect blend of real gore horror but it just falls short but doesn’t fail to entertain.
Paul Maslansky managed to recreate the pure essence of a woman scorned, by killing Sugar’s lover in the opening scenes, this spurting her on the road to bitter revenge. Spicing the story up with a Fulci’s zombie hoard, the amalgamation almost works but if he had only added a bit more of a dangerous woman about town a la Pam Grier, gun fights and blades this would have been absolutely perfect. However despite its reputation of being a bit of a joke it’s still a wonderful film, just lacking some bite. Let me explain… Continue reading Sugar Hill (1974)→
Director: Vidhu Vinod Chopra Starring: Vincent D’Onofrio, Anton Yelchin, Chris Marquette, María Valverde, Thomas Jane .USA. 1h 41m
A charming American Western style thriller centring around two brothers and the ties that bind them, Chopra has adapted 1980s Hindi movie for the American audience but it only vaguely translates for the different culture and atmosphere overall, the true sentiment of the movie really works however from time to time it just seems too melodramatic, something that would definitely work in the Bollywood industry but seems a bit too over the top for what could be a really violent thriller. Continue reading Broken Horses (2015)→
Director: Lee Won-Tae . Starring. Dong-seok Ma, Sung-kyu Kim, Mu-Yeol Kim. South Korea. 1h 50m.
One of my all time favourite genres in film is the South Korean Crime Thriller, They are filled with such slick plots, crazy bloody knife fights and inhuman bad guys, often thick with plots twists around organised crime, bent cops, serial killers and a strange honour code there’s a dark sharp violence in them which isn’t easily mimicked. I didn’t get too hyped about this until the second half but I have valid reasons. With a lot of Korean thrillers, there’s often an air of strangeness the crimes and methods of solving them are usually played out under sheets of rain at night, and usually the killer is really fucking derranged and hard to track, control or kill. But in this case they catch the guy but it’s not the end of the story it’s only the beginning. Continue reading 악인전; RR: Ak-in-jeon / The Gangster The Cop and the Devil (2019)→