Director: Christophe Gans Starring: Radha Mitchell, Laurie Holden, Sean Bean, Kim Coates, Tanya Allen, Alice Krige, Deborah Kara Unger .USA/France/Canada. 2h 5m
Before the massive remake revolution audiences used to get some kind of excitement when their beloved media was about to be revamped into something new and shiny. However over the years we were battered to death by abysmal rehases that missed the plot and we all lost faith that any remake was going to be worth our time… but before we learnt the painful lesson there was some hope that Silent Hill, in the hands of Christophe Gans, might, just might make a decent horror movie. After all the games are fucking terrifying so even if you miss the mark, you’ll still end up with something unsettling and creepy right? Right?
Director: Olivier Assayas Starring: Kristen Stewart, Lars Eidinger, Sigird Bouaziz, Nora Von Waldstratten. USA/UK/France. 1h 45m
At times it’s easy to forget that Personal Shopper is a horror movie. If you’re into something which burns slow but delivers a whack at the end then this might feel like it’s let you down, but there is a huge revelation at the end but it might not be what you were expecting. At times it’s mundane and even dull, but Assatas’ genius technique is to force the viewer to not to see what’s coming so when something does stand out it has a larger impact. It’s not hard to connect Kirsten Stewart to keywords such as “Blank” and at times it’s a perfect emotion for the film that deals all too honestly with grief, alienation and death.
Somewhere in the bleak landscape built up by Roman Gavras in his disturbing and cringeworthy drama, two maladjusted men find a kidship and go on a spree of violent destruction around France. But what could link them so strongly on their crime spree, their red hair, it’s a plot which is just crazy enough to work but with Vincent Cassell not only starring but in place as a producer the film may not have achieved its full potential but it’s something so unusual and powerful, it sticks in the mind with it’s utter bizarre narrative and sly look at the social construct that would allow this to happen. Continue reading Notre jour viendra Our Day Will Come (2010)→
Director: Lars von Trier Starring: Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg . Denmark, Germany, Italy, France, Italy, Poland, Sweden. 1h 48m
This made a very interesting date night, a reconciliation with an ex and a movie filled with sexual violence and gnostic connotations, but in all honesty we both read that there were crazy genital mutilation scenes and being the sick twisted couple we were, we actually wanted to see this together, on top of this any film with Charlotte is usually a bit nutty and even with all this knowledge we were still a bit mystified and shocked at this dark and distinctively effective movie.
I’ll start my review by saying that I adore everything about this quirky film, even the bad bits, so buckle up for a fangirl review of what is commonly thought of as a bad movie.
It’s never easy when a foreign director attempts to break into different cinematic style, for me John Woo totally struggled with his western movies, Jean-Pierre Jeunet didn’t get much applause for Alien Resurrection but was made a god for any of his French movies, (it goes both ways) and Kitano seemed to have been lost in translation while still maintaining his signature cool style, and I think he made a wise choice in starring in the movie to try and hold on to whatever he could from his previous great titles. One of Kitano’s strong facets is that you can kinda link his character throughout his movies, growing and becoming tougher and cooler each time, if you thought he reached his peak, you’ll be mistaken he’ll level up forever. Continue reading Brother (2000)→
Director:Gerard Krawczyk. Starring. Jean Reno, Ryoko Hirosue, Michel Muller, Yoshi Oida. Writer: Luc Besson.France/USA/Japan. 1h 34m.
This film is so cute and annoying! There’s so much I really adore about it but in equal parts it really grates on my nerves. I get the bigger picture of it being a charming heartwarming comedy action film but some of the characters and sets up are just too gross and I find myself not being able to cope with the overload.
AKA Alphaville: une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution (Alphaville: A Strange Adventure of Lemmy Caution) Tarzan Vs IBM
Director: Jean-Luc Godard Starring: Eddie Constantine, Anna Karina, Akim Tamiroff, Howard Vernon..France. 1h 39m
Jean-Luc Godard, the King of the French New Wave lands this cryptic and incredibly iconic, sci fi noir story in the height of the movement, while on a wild run with actress and wife, Anna Kerina, the film was released around the time that the couple divorced but he continued to work with the stunner in Pierrot le Fou (1965) released in the same year.
Godard’s ceaseless innovation lead many into the realm of radical politics and extreme formal experimentation, but few could match his raw invention. Alphaville is one of his more approachable works and offers some inspiration for the dystopian futurescape of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, along with having strong parallels with John Boorman’s classic revenge flick, Point Blank (1967).
Director: Alexandre Nahon. Starring. Matthew Dennis Lewis, Russell Dennis Lewis, Roxanne Mesquida, Roger Guenveur Smith, Richard Edson, Julie Delpy, Sal Landi. USA/France. 1h 28m.
This is one of those films you stumble on and while you might not be able to really appreciate it in its entirety you can’t fault it’s delivery. Often the film is described in such a way that sells it so short, but without any facilities it is indeed about a man who is down on his luck and obsessed with a stripper, by chance, he meets a homeless man who’s his double who he invites him into this life. Don’t let this fool you there’s so much more bubbling away under the surface of this dreamlike fantasy film with a huge sinister overtone that plays on perception of reality.
Charlie (Lewis), is in a dead end job, flipping tables at a diner owned by a totally incomprehensible Julie Deply, often he has to skip out of his hotel window to avoid the landlady asking for overdue rents, the only reason he has no money, is that he spends every penny to see his favourite European stipper at the local club. And each day he marvels at the local kingpin, Mr Jones (Guenveur Smith) a cool latino who uses the relaxed diner as a halfway office, sat at his favourite booth with his mostly silent Frenchmen henchmen (Edson)who clearly is a character you don’t want to fuck with but they have an understanding and respect between all three of them, mostly based on fear more than admiration. Continue reading Burning Shadow (2018)→
Director: Helene Cattet, Bruno Forzani. Starring: Charlotte Eugene-Guibbaud, Cassandra Foret, Marie Bos, Bianca, Maria D’Amato, Harry Cleven, Delphine Crual Belgium/France. 1h 30m.
There has been a lot of talk about this being the beginning of a new wave of Giallo, for a lover of the macabre like myself this was immensely exciting news. I have been into Giallo for a long time now, and while I find new oddities from time to time, it’s getting rarer so to experience new films from the eccentric genre, I eagerly sought out these new wave films.
I was pleasantly surprised not only does the movie has heavy Giallo imagery the story is somewhat diverse, more experimental and a feast of the senses but not entirely Giallie, but something more avant garde that i found myself submerged in. The story is all about Ana and her development from a curious youngster who blossoms into a stunning temptress with dark secrets.
The film is cleverly divided between three distinct sections, the first shows Ana as a plucky little tyke, played by Cassandra Forêt, she crept around the dark mansion, a shadowy figure, possibly her grandmother skulks around with a heavy mantilla layered with black lace, awaiting the death of her husband who’s resting in one of the many bedrooms. the chapter is presented in extremely dark primary colours, flashing light to dark and contrasted to the highest levels, eyes are key here, they are staring from every corner, constantly watching the girl.. Ana is after his pocket watch and fully aware that the shadowy figure is keeping a close eye on her, rooms are locked with heavy keys and eyes are often staring through keyholes, but she managed to get her hands on his watch by using a gold cross to break his post mortem, arthritic hands and is then attacked by the dark covered hands of her grandmother, while running away she bursts in on her parents having some pretty rough sex, and is obviously affected for life.
During the brighter second chapter Ana is now older, a teenager who is beginning to realise that she’s desired.. while accompanying her mother to the hair salon in the local village, the sun shines on them, and through the active camera and vivid sounds again the senses are alive with motion, sounds so crisp and loud that the force all of the senses into action Ana is painfully aware of her mother’s aging, she slips while walking in her heels, isn’t her hair a little greyer? Ana, now played by Charlotte Eugène Guibeaud notices people lurking in the shadows, watching her, when asked to wait outside with the other children she stumbles on a group of bikers and begins to parade herself in front of them when she’s slapped into reality by her mother and they return home, but it’s clear to see that she likes the bad boy influence.
In the final chapter, the now adult Ana has morphed into Marie Bos and is taking the arduous trip back to her now dilapidated family home, the taxi driver dons his black leather gloves and switches on a tiny fan, the seat burns her legs and she opens the window while noticing that the driver is eye banging her. While making herself at home she notices that the taxi driver has returned and another dark figure with black gloves and a razorblade. This final throw of the movie is the closest to the Giallo flavour which the film is famed for having the night scenes look as if they have fallen straight out of the heights of Gialloism. If you give the movie a chance and feel it as much as watching it, there’s a chance you’ll get a taste for it’s deep psycho sexual flavours and deep terrifying puzzles. Amer is a prolonged tease, certainly something to get fully immersed into and not to be taken lightly.
It’s strange and disturbing, a total tantalizing for all the sense, an experience more than a movie, clearly crafted in highly unique chapters by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, a pair of directors who cut no corners and went full throttle into this deep mystery. But this was only their first step into the strange unknown, they later went onto create something a step closer away from a narrative in The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears in 2013 and then Let the Corpses Tan in 2017.
To pin down the film will only do it injustice as conjure a rare fantasy world and phantoms which cannot be described but picked out from between the fabric of the movie itself.
The film is simply another wild ride of the new wave of Giallo which will hopefully start to pick up pace or at least be propped up by many more titles from this fearless duo.
R – The strange colours of your body’s tears (2013), Tulpa(2012), Let the Corpses Tan (2017) L – New Wave of Giallo
Director: Pascal Laugier. Starring: Taylor Hickson, Anastasia Philips, Kevin Power, Rob Archer, Mylene Farmer, Crystal Reed, Emilia Jones, USA. 1h 31m.
Pascals past record, in my opinion is chequered, in his early career he assisted on one of the most perfect films ever made, Le Pacte Des Loups (2001) he broke the mold and may stomachs with the New French Extreme visceral classic, Martyrs (2008) then let me down with the confusing and long winding, No Slender Man tale of the Tall Man (2012), but he’s come back swinging with a perfect blend of all the best psychological and physical horror from his past, with a sublime film that gives the creeps and will rattle a few cages along the way. His approach to this twisting tale is unique in that it plays on a strange story this is presented from different perspectives each slipping in and out of each other seamlessly but the dynamics are hauntingly beautiful and yet covered in as much nostalgic creepiness as the house it’s set in.
The two young sisters at the centre of this film, couldn’t be more different, Beth (Reed/Jones) is a sensitive horror writer, always lost in her thoughts about Lovecraft inspired texts but faints at the sight of blood, her ballsy sister is pretty awesome, hot tempered and ready for a fight but they are sisters, just so different the fiery Vera (Philips/Hickson) is a delight. Continue reading Ghostland (2018)→