Berichten uit 2016 weergeven

Le Pacha

Le Pacha
1968 - Dir: Georges Lautner - Cast: Jean Gabin (Commissaire Joss, Le Pacha), André Pousse (Quinquin), Robert Dalman (Inspecteur Gouvion), Dany Carrel (Nathalie), Jean Gaven (Marc), Maurice Garrel (Brunet)

I continued my journey through French cinema history with this police-gangster movie starring a 64-year old Jean Gabin as a police officer who discovers that his colleague and best friend, who has committed suicide (or was murdered) was a 'dirty cop'; in order to clean the person's name, Gabin becomes more than a bit dirty himself.

The film opens with an ingenious robbery, ending in slaughter, with the criminal mastermind killing all of his partners in crime. It's a well-conceived, protracted sequence, clearly influenced by the works of Jean-Pierre Melville, but unfortunately the rest of the film is not on the same level. The premise of the police commissioner who wants to settle (and cover up) a few things in the last months before his retirement, is interestin…

Que la Bête meure

Que la Bête Meure is the middle part of Claude Chabrol’s Bourgeois Trilogy (the other two parts are La Femme Infidèle/The Unfaithful Wife and Le Boucher/The Butcher). Chabrol is often compared to Hitchcock, and like many other of his movies, Que la Bête Meure is labeled as a thriller, but it's not a suspense yarn - at least not in the strict sense of the term - but rather a study in loneliness and suppressed emotions; it's also a profound essay about iniquity, guilt and existential angst.
When on holiday in Brittany, Charles Thénier’s nine-year-old son is killed in a hit-and-run accident. Charles is a widower and his son was all he had in life. He therefore swears to track down the man who was behind the wheel and kill him in cold blood. He even swears to kill him slowly, so the beast will suffer and understand he’s dying.
The police investigation and his own quest remain unsuccessful, but then, purely by accident, Charles discovers that one of the people in the car was a woma…


2013 - Director: David Twohy - Cast: Vin Diesel (Riddick), Matthew Nable (Johns), Jordi Mollà (Santana), Katee Sackoff (Dahl), Dave Bautista (Diaz), Bokeem Woodbine (Moss), Raoul Trujillo (Lockspur), Conrad Pla (Vargas)
It doesn’t happen very often that a sequel is superior to the original. We all know the exceptions (The Godfather II, The Road Warrior, Return of Ringo, a few more). I would like to add Riddick to the list, the third installment in the Riddick saga, featuring Vin Diesel as the titular hero. It’s by no means a perfect movie (it’s derivative and too much of everything) but it’s a helluva ride through a hell that is No Fury.
Riddick emerges from what looks like a natural grave on a desolate planet; he’s approached by a vulture-like creature that seems to take him for a happy meal, but the next moment the roles are reversed when Riddick grabs the scavenger by the throat. Ugh. We never learn the name of the planet, are only told - by Riddick himself - that it’s not his…

Passi di Danza su una Lama di Rasoio

1973 - Dir: Maurizio Pradeaux - Robert Hoffmann (Alberto Morosini), Nieves Navarro (Kitty), George Martin (Inspector Merughi), Anuska Borova (Lidia Arrighi/ Silvia Arrighi), Simón Andreu (Marco), Sal  Borgese (Asdrubale Magno), Luciano Rossi (Richard) - Music: Roberto Pregadio

Oh, Italian genre movies and their titles. The original Italian title, Passi di Danza su una Lama di Rasoio, reads as Dance Steps on a Razor Blade. And what to think of the German title, Die Nacht der Rollenden Köpfe (that is: The Night of the Rolling Heads)? In comparison, the title of the international, English language version almost feels insipid : Death Carries a Cane. But note that Death once rode a horse in a spaghetti western. From horse to cane is big step for mankind, but a small step for Mr. Death.

A black-clad serial killer is terrorizing the city of Rome, slicing the throats of his victims with a razor blade. A young woman called Kitty accid…


SLEEPER (1973)
Dir: Woody Allen - Cast: Woody Allen (Miles Monroe), Diane Keaton (Luna Schlosser), John Beck (Erno Windt), Mary Gregory (Dr. Melik), Don Keefer (Dr. Tryon), John McLiam (Dr. Aragon), Bartlett Robinson (Dr. Orva)
A nice combination of slapstick, social comment and Woody’s typical verbal sparrings (with reality, fantasy and Diane Keaton). Woody himself plays Miles Monroe, a clarinetist player and owner of a health food shop from 1973, who was put to a hibernation sleep after a small surgery went wrong; he wakes up 200 years later, when some overzealous scientists run a few tests with him. America has become a police state and because the scientists were members of the rebellion, Miles becomes a wanted creature, referred to as ‘the intruder’; the only way to escape: going undercover as Diane Keaton’s household robot!

Sleeper is more coherent than some of Woody’s other early efforts, which were shot in a tell-the-joke-and-run fashion. It’s the first of four movies he wrote …

Escape from L.A.

A sequel to the 1981 fantasy thriller Escape from New York: director John Carpenter and producer Debra Hill are re-united, and it also brings back Kurt Russel as everybody’s favorite wacko hero Snake Plissken. In the first movie, the US president crash-landed in a Manhatten that had become an open air prison, surrounded by thick walls, and it was up to Snake Plissken to save him. The sequel uses a similar premise.

L.A. has finally suffered 'the big one', the earthquake everybody feared and the city has been cut off from the mainland. The new president of the US wants the country to be as clean as a whistle (even smoking a cigarette is punishable) and therefore uses 'Los Angeles Island’ as an open air prison for all those have comitted a 'moral crime’. The presidents daughter has joined the resistance - led by a Che Gueverra lookalike - and has taken daddy’s doomsday machine with her, so the situation is critical. Snake is sent to L.A. to save the world, or at least th…

The title stands for 4 girls, 3 days, 2 cities, 1 chance. The movie has been described as the British answer to the very successful American ensemble movie Go (1999, Doug Liman). Another way to describe it would be a Girl Ritchie movie: a comedy thriller in the style of Guy Ritchie, starring girls instead of guys.
4321 was written and co-directed by Noel Clarke (Adulthood), who also has a cameo and whose image on some movie posters is bigger than those of the girls. His movie has a multiple thread script: it's about a diamond heist and a couple of middlemen who are used by the thieves to shake off the police; and it's also about four girls who once were inseparable but now decide to go their own way. Things take an unexpected turn when one of the middlemen accidently drops a diamond in one of the girls' handbag.
The girls all have their own mini-movie: the suicidal Shannon, the prudish Cass, the militant feminist Kerrys and the pragmatic Jo. The four vignettes are …

Pauline à la Plage

PAULINE A LA PLAGE (1983, Eric Rohmer)
One of Rohmer's finest movies, the third in a cycle of six movies - known as 'comedies et proverbes' - realised by this director between 1981 and 1987. All six movies feature women confronting life and are an illustration of a proverb from French classic literature, in this particular case a verse from Perceval, le comte du Graal by 12th century poet Chrétien de Troyes: "Qui trop parole, il se mesfait" (*1).

Pauline is a 15-year old, inexperienced girl who spends her summer holiday with her older and more experienced cousin Marion in Normandy. Marion is a real man eater, but at the same time she thinks she never experienced true love and is therefore still dreaming about that one ecstatic, passionate love that would drive both her and her lover crazy. While Pauline is having her first tender love affair, Marion feels the desired burning love for a middle aged man called Henri, a heartless Casanova and part-time philosopher. P…

Young Frankenstein


Young Frankenstein, Mel Brooks’ satirical salute to 1930's classic horror (in particular the 1931 Hollywood version of Mary Shelly’s novel) was his first movie to be hailed by so-called 'serious’ critics. The Producers and Blazing Saddles had brought him fame and money, but critical reactions had been divided. Many critics didn't know what to think of Brooks. Like the influential Roger Ebert wrote: "His movies weren’t just funny, they were aggressive and subversive, making us laugh even when we really should have been offended." 

Young Frankenstein changed everything - at least for a while. There are a few irreverent jokes plus a couple of references to the seize of the monster’s sexual apparatus (monstrous!), but otherwise it’s almost family entertainment.

Gene Wilder (who co-wrote the script with Brooks) is Dr. Frankenstein’s grandson, who insists on being called Fronk-en-steen because he doesn’t want to be confused with the notorious …