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905 reviews in total 
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3 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Offbeat, but ultimately just another "rich people with problems" tale, 24 July 2009

Acclaimed by the French film critics and much later rediscovered in America, Otto Preminger's "Bonjour tristesse" is a film which offers much to admire. It's exquisitely directed, as Preminger seems to pay utmost attention to the framing of each shot and the minutia of every sequence. The setting of the French Rivera in particular was a great choice which always looks absolutely gorgeous, and Preminger certainly knows how to capture it's essence. Additionally, the screenplay, while very melodramatic, touches upon many themes considered taboo at the time. The central relationship between Cecile, her father, and potential step-mother is just drenched in Freudian symbolism. The offbeat structure of black and white for present and color for past is obvious but interesting.

Still, the film is overall unsuccessful for the reason that I've seen far too many films about rich people with problems. If one of these melodramas is going to work, you need characters capable of gaining the audience's sympathy as they probably will be unable to relate to their lifestyle. Douglas Sirk understood this whereas unfortunately Preminger seems to not. One can see tragedy coming throughout the film, yet you never exactly feel for either David Niven or Jean Seberg. In particular, Seberg's character is an unlikable brat incapable of dealing with not having things always go her way. This may have been what Preminger was driving at, but it never makes her pleasant to watch. "Bonjour tristesse" is well made, enjoyably offbeat, but I ultimately didn't care what happened to the characters. (7/10)

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Fun if not particularly memorable murder mystery, 23 July 2009

Having Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper meet is a rather obvious concept, given both being legendary figures of the period (albeit one fictional and the other one not). Additionally, the idea has been done better since, namely in "Murder By Decree" in 1979. Still, "A Study in Terror" is a fun if rather forgettable meeting of the two characters. The two main things it has going for it are the performances and the atmosphere. As Sherlock Holmes, John Neville is absolutely perfect, managing the right combination of wit and seemingly super-human intelligence. Teaming up with him is Donald Houston as Watson, whom avoids overtly bumbling and proves an admirable partner. Plus, the film has a great look, a color yet fog-drenched setting resembling Mario Bava's work from the period and often lending the feel of a horror film. Still, the film has an exploitative current, often featuring attractive women in low cut dresses being brutally murdered, which can admittedly be fun, but often feels used as an excuse for an intriguing mystery, which unfortunately this film ultimately lacks. Overall, this is a fun way to kill an hour and a half, but never reaches the heights the appealing central concept should have. (6/10)

Stalker (1979)
4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Unlike any other science fiction film out there, 23 July 2009

Sure, it's really arty and a bit on the slow side, but if you have the patience, "Stalker" could very well be one of the most effective film going experiences you'll ever have. Ostentatiously a science fiction film, it lacks any of the flashy effects or campy histrionics the genre's detractors often associate it with. Instead, Andrei Tarkovsky crafts his work as yet another one of his metaphysical journeys, a completely cerebral film open to a plethora of interpretations. Several viewings later, I'm still not exactly sure what "Stalker" is ultimately about, but I love revisiting it in order to attempt to decipher it.

Often, the film deals with man's lack of faith and willingness to venture into uncharted territories. Many times, when they do, it's for their own ulterior motives opposed to their own personal betterment. Since the film touches upon faith, it seems rather ironic to scan yourself for a quick and easy interpretation, as Tarkovsky was known to reject such. Certainly a film more to be experienced than exactly understood, "Stalker" bears repeated viewings. Past it's depth, it's a technically exception work, one without any mistakes along the way. (10/10)

10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Well-acted but lacking in any real impact, 23 July 2009

There's nothing wrong with a film being low-key, as a sense of subtlety can force the viewers to draw their own inferences from the story and ultimately walk away more affected, with both the films of John Cassavetes and Robert Altman being prime examples. However, sometimes a film can be too low-key and nuanced that it never particularly involves the audience. "Mikey and Nicky" unfortunately did that for me. Director Elaine May never seems able to decide exactly what she wants the film to be, with it's tone often wavering between quirky character study, buddy comedy, and crime thriller. All this would be fine, but unfortunately the two title characters are never particularly likable. Both of them are considerably misogynistic (oddly enough for a film from a female director) and entirely at fault for the situations present, with Nicky being rather psychotic. The film does have some interesting points to make on the subjects of loyalty, but none of the characters remain truthful to one another.

Still, the film remains watchable for several reasons. It's definitely an interesting failure, as May tried, no matter how muddled the result, to craft something intelligent and different, so that should be respected no matter what. Unfortunately, as a director she seems far too derivative of Cassavetes, who stars. The main thing "Mikey and Nicky" has going for it is some great acting. Peter Falk and Cassavetes were both always compelling if often underrated leading men, and the supporting cast has some interesting choices (from Ned Beatty to William Hickey to Joyce Van Patten and even a young M. Emmet Walsh), even if they're often given little to do. Unfortunately, the film in the end lacks any real impact, making the whole venture seem rather pointless. (6/10)

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Takes a promising exploitation premise and manages to make it almost impossibly painful and dull, 7 January 2009

I've seen a lot of bad and trashy movies, and overtime have acquired both a taste and a tolerance for many. When my friend told me he had a copy of this flick, I thought it sounded like a passable if nothing special slice of sexploitation. When we started watching it and I saw the "Troma" logo though, I knew it was gonna be bad. However, nothing could've prepared me for the sheer ineptitude of the film. Its not so much that it fails as cinema, that I really didn't care about, but it doesn't manage to be even remotely entertaining. Given the plot of a group of sexy nurses wearing lingerie with machine guns who seduce and murder men, you'd think this would be somewhat enjoyable. However, the "filmmakers" manage to make it anything but. There's next to zero nudity, which is disappointing because the cast is admittedly very attractive. The film only runs for a scant seventy-five minutes, but it feels longer than "Shoah". This is probably because every scene is stretched out to at least three times the length it should have been. The worst is the psychedelic go-go dance, where all the nurses sit around with one stripping as kaleidescope visuals appear on screen. This sounds like fun, but it manages to go on for about twenty minutes. Also, the narration attempts to camp it up, but merely bores with the monotone and cliché lines. Apparently there is an even longer version which Troma cut up, but I shudder to imagine what that'd be like, given how painful it is in its current form. Don't let the promising concept fool you. This manages to be the single worst film Troma has ever slapped its name on, and you know that's saying a whole lot. (1/10)

She Mob (1968)
4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Hilariously dumb trash that couldn't possibly be made by a sane individual, 7 January 2009

"She-Mob" is one of the most entertainingly bad movies ever made. Sure, its incompetently made, but it has that special and rare sort of ineptitude that crosses the line over into surrealism. Like the works of Ed Wood or Phil Tucker, when one watches this you must wonder how it could've possibly been made by a sane mind. Its so filled with a lack of continuity, utterly unappealing nudity, and an overall lack of intelligence that I'd be surprised if even drive-in audiences at the time took it remotely seriously. However, it remains immortal as a trash classic, a film which screams for a bigger cult following than it has at the moment.

The plot revolves around Big Shim, a vicious metal-bra wearing butch, who escapes from prison with her gang of female cohorts. To get some cash, they kidnap a gigolo who's currently shacked up with a wealthy socialite. They subject him to brutal torture such as having to make love to them all. The socialite gets wind of all this, but instead of giving into the She-Mob, she hires a female private eye named Sweety East, a cross between Honey West and Brigitte Bardot with some overpowering Divine-style eyelashes. Eventually the gigolo escapes with Big Shim's female toy, but finds he's only beginning to endure the wrath of the She-Mob.

This slice of sexploitation insanity is obviously impossible to take seriously, but a whole lot of fun. The She-Mob themselves are actually decent looking (aside from Big Shim), despite the obvious breast implants (rather surprising given the era the film was made) on one of them. The dialog is often outrageous as well ("I want you to know my tits are as hard as my heart!"), and there's even some nice graphic violence. The film is full of great sleaze atmosphere and over-the-top acting, that it never once becomes boring. A must-see for exploitation fans. (8/10)

10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Entertaining and sleazy psychedelic-giallo-exploitation flick, 7 January 2009

To be honest, "In the Folds of the Flesh" doesn't exactly have a coherent or compelling murder mystery storyline. If that's what you're looking for, there's much better Giallos out there, such as "Don't Torture a Duckling" or "The Bird With the Crystal Plumage". However, if you're a fan of swinging European exploitation flicks with a touch of psychedelics for extra flavoring, than you're bound to enjoy this little treat. The plot, as mentioned, is a bit confusing. There is a story, but its rather difficult to piece together and has many holes. It involves a murderer on the run from the law who thinks he sees a body being buried in a wealthy socialite's backyard. Thirteen years later, he returns to attempt to get money out of her in order to not hand her over to the police. However, the socialite and her son and daughter are a bit depraved themselves, taking pleasure in incest and even murder. The plot goes several directions from this point on, including the father of the household possibly returning and another sister who went insane. The story isn't what matters here. What is important is the sheer amount of sleaze on display. In addition to the aforementioned incest, there's also decapitations, schizophrenia, rape, and plenty of other delights along those lines. It even veers into Nazisploitation for a few moments, with a character having flashbacks to a concentration camp. Its never remotely disturbing, just very distasteful. I also enjoyed seeing Pier Angeli and Eleanora Rossi-Drago playing a daughter and mother, because its obvious they're only a few years apart in age. If you're looking for a compelling murder mystery, look elsewhere. However, if you want a slice of stylish, pretentious, and weird European sleaze, than you'll enjoy this. (7/10)

11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Absolutely stunning film experience, but only recommended for hardened cinephiles, 28 November 2008

"Our Hitler: A Film From Germany" is one of the most stunning film experiences I've had, one that completely transcends the medium and its supposed limitations. If you've ever wondered how an entire nation could be duped by Hitler into his twisted philosophy, than watch this film. It paints a more accurate portrayal of the mindset than any other work possibly could. Also, the structure and style is very innovative, completely different from anything else I've seen. Director Hans-Jürgen Syberberg combines lengthy monologues from both real figures and fictional characters, rear screen projection of both film and stills, theatrical settings, and even puppetry. This all seems rather absurd, but it works well to create a colorful and surreal nightmare.

The acting could be criticized as being campy, and I'll admit its done in a very theatrical manner. I had no problem with this aspect for several reasons. First off, the film often resembles a filmed performance, so the play style acting fit it well. Additionally, when crafting a portrait of madness on such a wide scale, its only appropriate to get a little crazy yourself.

This all boils down to one question however - is it worth watching a nearly eight hour German art film about Hitler? The answer is yes, but only for some. If you are interested in learning how the German public viewed the man, than this is absolutely mandatory viewing. If you are a hardened cinephile who wants to see how far the limitations of standard narrative cinema can be stretched and deconstructed, than "Our Hitler" will be a memorable experience unlike any other. If the admittedly massive length seems a bit too much for one sitting, the film is broken into four parts, so it's alright to watch it in several intervals. (10/10)

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Moderately enjoyable nunsploitation flick, but I've seen much better, 28 November 2008

Bruno Mattei was possibly the most worthless of all the European horror-exploitation filmmakers. He lacked the style of Jess Franco or the intelligence of Jean Rollin and really had little to offer. Films such as "Rats: Night of Terror" and "Hell of the Living Dead" aren't so good they're bad, they're simply unbearably inept. Before viewing "The Other Hell", I expected the absolute worst nunsploitation flick out there. Surprisingly, it was moderately enjoyable. Its still one of the weakest films in the bizarre subgenre I've seen, but there were enough enjoyably trashy moments I was entertained. The plot itself had enough holes to drive a Hummer through and didn't make a bit of sense, but it made the film a nicely disorienting experience. Also, the gore sequences were laughable but in a good way.

Still, this is far from being a trash classic. Mattei was the single dullest director imaginable, so the picture's pacing is highly uneven. There are a few dull stretches. Also, Mattei has demonstrated in the past that he loves killing animals for our "entertainment". While I can overlook this if the film itself is good (such as "Cannibal Holocaust" or "Cockfighter"), but with schlock like this I find it rather inexcusable. However, worst of all, is that there's little nudity or even attractive females. When I see a nunsploitation film, I'd generally expect some attractive convent sisters in little to no clothing. Bruno Mattei, for his love of any other exploitable element, shows restraint here. All in all, "The Other Hell" isn't as bad as I expected and worth maybe a rental for trash fans. (5/10)

6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Another overlooked masterpiece from the 1970s!, 28 November 2008

I've said it countless times before, but I'm always astonished at just how many fantastic film from the 70s are close to being forgotten today. Maybe it's because this was an era of filmmakers taking risks and studio heads allowing them to do so, but I'm consistently impressed by the huge number of mature and intelligent films turned out, especially compared to the 1980s. "Buffalo Bill and the Indians" is one of the many regretfully underrated films from the time. Coming hot off the commercial and critical success of "Nashville", Altman offered up this satire on the American entertainment industry and the manner in which we view our heroes. Maybe since it was released in the bicentennial, America didn't want to see such a cynical portrayal of an American icon. The film flopped and received very mixed reviews from the critics.

The fact it wasn't well regarded upon initial release and is largely forgotten today is a complete shame, because it really is one of Altman's finest works. The dialog is scorching and complements the satirical nature of the plot very well. The acting by everyone involved is superb. Paul Newman, known for playing likable anti-heroes, is rather cast against type as a charming but ultimately pathetic Bill Cody. Also worth mentioning is Harvey Keitel, also playing against type, as Cody's meek nephew. Despite all the great performances, another reason this may have flopped was the lack of likable characters. "MASH" and "Nashville" at least offered sympathetic protagonists, but the people in "Buffalo Bill and the Indians" are likely to sicken the viewer for the most part. Still, it only serves to drive the cynical themes home. "Buffalo Bill and the Indians" is an overlooked masterpiece. (9/10)

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