Tag Archives: o

Opera (1987) AKA Terror at the Opera

aofa31days2016

Day 12 of 31

Director: Dario Argento.

Starring: Christina Marsillach, Daria Nicolodi, Urbano Barberini, Ian Charleson . Italy. 1h 47m

 

Slightly arthouse but very gothic, this epic giallo film from legend Dario Argento see a fusion of opera and slasher collide in this suspense filled macabre horror. Seemingly inspired by the tragic Macbeth, that is the exact plat which Betty, a stunning understudy is working on when she is stalked by a hooded sadistic killer whose main objective is to torture Betty by forcing her to watch him kill but how’s cunning managed to keep his anonymity. On the opening night of the Verdi Opera, a stage hand is killed and all of the ravens that were brought in for the tragic opera, but the curse of Macbeth lives on and Betty is soon on the run. As the film slowly progresses every new character is a potential killer and Betty soon realises she can trust no one, a bulk of the film is literally Betty randomly getting pounced on, then upon waking up in a bound/gagged situation and unable to look away as an innocent person is brutally slaughtered in an outlandish way.

There is a unique feel in this gothic art house giallo, it has the loud badly dubbed soundtrack like so many others but the killer toys with the victims in such a bizarre manner, being one of the few gialli that focuses more on the torture aspect than bizarre settings and a horrific murders.

Poor (not so ugly) Betty, grapples to find sanctuary from this nightmare, one of the more memorable scenes is when she’s getting fitted for a costume when she finds herself bound with tape placed on her face with needles poking up ensuring that she can’t avoid watching the tailor get brutalised,and then a impromptu autopsy is performed on her after she swallows the killers bracelet. Each attack is like a small drama stage play in itself, with the intense lighting and pounding music. The torture method was one conjured up by Argento himself when joking about people shying away from his murder scenes in the cinema, he threatened to tape pins under their eyes so they couldn’t look away and materialised the fascinating idea here.

Verdi’s opera is infamous for bringing bad luck but the aesthetics inspired Argento to be a little bit more experimental with the visuals, from the early scene filmed from the black reflection of a crow’s eye to the haunting dream sequences and flashbacks suffered by Betty. The varied and well executed effects and camera work pays off, everything about the film is about an voyeurism and being centre stage, and every element is arranged in such a way where it’s all very much centre stage and “look at me”, and Argento didn’t really need to force us to look at this marvel as his attempts to make it stunning have mesmerized fans for years.

After several grisly murders and lots of flashbacks there are two epic endings, one follows on nicely and the other hits you like a bat out of hell.. And shouldn’t be missed,

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Rating 8/10

 

 

R – Watch me when I kill, New York Ripper, Bird with Crystal Plumage
L – A-Z of Giallo, Italian Cinema, Crazy endings
A – My love affair with Giallo
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One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest (1975)

one flew over the

An amazing insight into the American mental health system as its being exploited by a comically sharp and hyper character, McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) who’s often at loggerheads with the head nurse Rached (Louise Fletcher).

The basic premise it that Mc Murphy is attempting to wait out his last few days of a prison sentence in a mental hospital as there is more freedom, his energetic approach to life often lands him in trouble with the nursing staff and he is often puzzled by the actions of the inmates and their “treatment” while being blind to how far into the system he had landed himself.

So much of this story revolves around authority and fucking with it, what’s not to love about that?

Bases on Ken Kesets 1962 novel Cuckoo’s Nest, the film tells a similar story about the hell raising McMurphy, and this fabulous remake of a dated story still rings a few bells today in various asylum scenes in films such a 12 Monkeys (1995), and tons of spin of scenes in TV shows such as the SImpsons etc. And there is no question why, from the opening scene with the plastic countryside to the “water fountain” ending this film is packed with brilliant cinema and especially outstanding characterization of ultimate asylum anti-hero and he clashes through the white corridors of this grim mental hospital and ends up stealing a boat as he propels the crazies out into the world and through various comic antics.

The arch nemesis is nobly performed by Louise Fletcher and strangely won her an Oscar, don’t get me wrong her performance was stunning but nowhere near as detailed as the legendary performances from the inmates such as Danny Devito, Brad Dourif (his acting debut should have been a warning to us all) and Christopher Lloyd, and not least to forget Will Sampson who played Chief and gave us some of the most impressive moments in cinema history. Nicholson was literally born to play McMurphy, he’s slick and feeds off the character in this impressive release.

As the movie picks up and the compelling byzantine backstories are plucked from the characters, the tables start to turn, the “fun” ebbs away, McMurphy finds himself “In the system” and his attempts to escape become more desperate but he’s now emotionally attached to the other inmates, this is when the movie gets darker and eventually there is a horrifyingly poignant finale.

Handsomely produced by Saul Zaentz, and expertly directed by Milos Forman nothing is really at fault with this cult movie, it’s brave and deserves the critical and commercial success, and hopefully a reminder that we should all question the rules.

 

Rating 10/10

RMadhouse (2004), Midnight Express (1978) Spider (2002)
L – Asylum Movies, Movies that deal with MADNESS!!!, Mental Health Movies,
5B – Jack Nicholson, Brad Dourif, Louise Fletcher, Christopher Lloyd,

Ordinary Decent Criminal (2000)

 

ordinary decent criminal1

Director: Thaddeus O’Sullivan.
Starring:Kevin Spacey, Llinda Florentino, Helen Baxendale, Peter Mullan, Stephan Dillane, David Hayman. UK/Ireland. 1h 33m.

The first time I caught this, it was on TV as myself and my partner were getting ready to go out for the night and were incredibly delayed as we wanted to watch the end of this film but also were quite desperate for last orders. It’s as ingenious as it is inviting.

Loosely based around the life of a real Dublin gangster Martin Cahill whose story was originally brought to the big screen in 1998 by John Boreman as The General. This version of Cahill played by the soft faced Kevin Spacey is way more devious and mischievous and ever calmly smiling smiling almost at the audience, because, we know.. he ain’t such a bad guy after all. Continue reading Ordinary Decent Criminal (2000)

Old 37 (2015)

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Director: Alan Smithee.
Writer: Joe Landes, Paul Travers
Starring: Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley, and some other people.. . USA. 1h 24m.

With a promising story line and two seasoned legendary veterans of horror Kane Hodder and Bill Moseley this film should have had a lot more clout but unfortunately to poor writing a terrible script and appalling acting it’s just doesn’t deliver the goods, I know I’m in the minority here but it seems to be one of these films which have youngen’s all hyped up about being a slasher and to be honest Jason, Freddy and Michael probably kill twice as many people while warming up. Continue reading Old 37 (2015)

Outland (1981)

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Director/Writer: Peter Hyams
Starring: Sean Connery, Frances Sternhagen, Peter Boyle, James Sikking. UK. 1h 52m.

After leaving the James Bond franchise Sean Connery was finding his footing in a range of different style of films and with his great acting abilities and physical fitness he was the perfect candidate for this futuristic “Space Western”. Continue reading Outland (1981)

The Other Man (2008)*

the other manDirector: Richard Eyre
Writer: Richard Eyre, CharlesWood +
Starring: Liam Neeson, Antonio Banderas, Laura Linney USA. 1h.28m

Sometimes when you suffer from insomnia you find yourself watching some right out tripe.. but I’m not a huge fan of American romances to be fair and I could see some deadly potential, but sadly this movie takes some incredible actors and kinda washes them out in a dingy tearjerker.

Peter (Liam Neeson), the tame husband of a famous shoe designer named Lisa (Laura Linney) comes to the conclusion that his stunning was wasn’t always faithful to him, so tracks down his wife’s lover and travels to Italy to confront him. Continue reading The Other Man (2008)*

The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)

the other boleyn girl

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Gorgeous frocks and heaving bosoms are the main ingredients of this entertaining film disguised as historical fiction originally written by Philippa Gregory. Anne and Mary Boleyn (Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson) battle it out as sisters and rivals for the attention of a cockspangler Henry VIII (Eric Bana), one striving for love and the other for the throne.

Tudor life seems to full of running from one room to the other bed hopping and spending more time bathing than I was led to believe by my history tutor. The stakes are high though, to gain the king’s favour and to get the family’s Visa paid off, but then Anne ups the stakes and things start to spiral out of control. Continue reading The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)

One Week (2008)

one week

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A light hearted look at the demise of a young man, but sadly makes itself so uber hipster and soundtrack heavy that it loses itself in the beautiful Canadian landscape and could have delivered more.

Ben (Joshua Jackson), an elementary school teacher, has just discovered that he has an aggressive form of cancer and through a series of mishaps and without really realising what he’s doing, he’s the proud owner of a motorbike and stumbles on a message that reads “Go west young man” so he hits the road, leaving his slightly pushy and highly loving fiancee Samantha (Liane Balaban) behind. Continue reading One Week (2008)

One Winters Night

One Winters Night 2

http://youtu.be/aP4CL4GSIAE
Duration 7.07

Dir: Emlyn Boyle/USA?/2011

Accomplished artist and poet Emlyn Boyle has created this dark and delightful animation set to a self written poem, in the style of Tim Burton or Gorey, comes a simplistic yet haunting gothic take. Of a creature who creeps and stalks it’s victims by night.

One Winters Night

The story is reminiscent of European folklore,  especially the Scandinavian tales of various forest creatures although European stories rarely have a happy ending, on the other side One Winters Night will leave you guessing what might happen next, I adore it, it really does show you how to expand art through different mediums and that you don’t need to be an expert in Maya to do it. The rustic charm runs throughout and I hope to see more from Emlyn.

07

 

 

R:7/10

Orlando (1992) – quotes

Orlando is one of my all time favourite movies (and book) but I try not to wear it out by watching it all the time, it’s guaranteed that when I do get around to watching the movie it blows me away entirely.

Today I managed to see it and as much as I love everything to do with the movie I had nearly forgotten all of the most amazing quotes ever.

What I really admire about Orlando is that it’s the pursuit of love and freedom of one human, EVERYONE can relate to Orlando because Orlando is everyone. (everyone who can think).

Here are a few of my favourites…

It’s a strange melancholy you have Orlando, you suffer in advance.

images (3) I can find only three words to describe the female sex. None of which are worth expressing.

orlando-1992-02-gFirst Official: One, you are legally dead and therefore cannot hold any property whatsoever.
Orlando: Ah. Fine.
First Official: Two, you are now a female.
Second Official: Which amounts to much the same thing.

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 All you call yours is mine already.

I might choose not to sacrifice my life caring for my children, nor my children’s children, nor to drown anonymously in the milk of female kindness, but instead, say, to go abroad. Would I then be…

 

Yeah depressing and blunt. But it does make me happy.