Bernardo Bertolucci directs Jean-Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli and Gastone Moschin in this Italian classic about a mediocre man who decides to kill his old professor to rise into the ranks of the fascist government.
Indelible dreamlike shots house mundane interactions, this is the banality of evil. Quite erotic at times (yay!) and with bravura sequences. I am not sure I’m smart enough to fully understand every coded symbol and plot nuance but I always feel like I’ve watched a fucking movie after I’ve put this on. Will probably try to rewatch sooner rather than later. I want to get my head around it all.
Luca Guadagnino directs Taylor Russell, Timothée Chalamet and Mark Rylance in this cannibal romance road movie.
Going to come clean. I had no idea this was about compulsive cannibals so the first bite came as a genuine shock to me. There are another three superbly handled moments of terror, especially during a near wordless cameo from an arthouse fave of mine. Guadagnino has never really clicked for me as an auteur but this is markedly my favourite of his so far. It has issues: I still don’t get the Chalamet thing (cinema was packed with student girls) so his presence hobbled what would have been a nice gory spin on Wild At Heart. And it goes on far too long. But the brooding, untrustworthy atmosphere of it all was certainly compelling for a fair spell. Hopefully finds a cult following. Stuhlbarg out creeps Rylance but it is a close call. Armie Hammer would love this.
Lewis John Carlino directs Andrew McCarthy, Rob Lowe and Jacqueline Bisset in this teen sex comedy where a boarding school kid accidentally starts banging his roommate’s rich mom.
An unintentionally strange, schizophrenic flick that seemingly used to be on telly every weekend when I was a kid. The first half is pure Animal House / Porky’s in blazers: pranks / nudity / weed / trying to get laid / nude pranks. It is lowest common denominator stuff but Rob Lowe shines and a ton of pre-fame faces fill the ensemble parts. Both the Cusacks, Alan Ruck and one of Virginia Madsen’s boobs. Then we get to the meat of the movie: a Graduate-style fling. The narrative feels too much in a rush to linger on the sexy stuff. The revelations and recriminations that follow are half-baked. There’s an incongruous academic investigation, Lowe and McCarthy have a muddy fight in the woods, Bisset’s character all but vanishes with none of her personal storylines resolved. So the ending clunks. As a drama, this needed a bit more finessing to work. As a comedy, it is too glum for a long 40 minute stretch. The cinematography is a little ugly and underlit. McCarthy is an awful lead and possibly swapping him and Lowe would have elevated this. A mixed bag that I have some deep seated nostalgia for.
Gavin Wiesen directs Freddie Highmore, Emma Roberts and Rita Wilson in this teen drama where an artistic loner at a posh school falls in with an It girl.
Cute without being too fluffy. I’m not sure why we are supposed to care about a rich kid who does fuck all work, even though he has the talent and the brains? Probably thinks of itself as more an update on The Catcher In the Rye than Ferris Bueller. The Emma Roberts part is shaded better than it needs to be.
Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske and Bill Roberts direct Donald Duck, Goofy and Joe Carioca in this Walt Disney animation movie that packages together various shorts about South America.
Better than its reputation with the highlights being Donald having a shit time in Peru, the introduction of a cigar smoking parrot (who you always seemed to get in Nineties Kinder Surprise Eggs as the toy) and a marvellous animated finale to Aquarela do Brasil written by Ary Barroso.
Guillermo del Toro directs Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam and Josh Brolin in this monster movie where something lurks in the sewers of a post-pandemic New York City.
Problem Number One: You can tell del Toro is far more enamoured with his fairytale father and son side characters (a cobbler and an autistic respectively) than he is with the B-List stars who play flavourless cops and scientists in the foreground. Problem Number Two: It was butchered by the Weinstein Brothers before release. Problem Number Three: The best shot in the movie was added by after-the-fact hired gun Ole Bornedal. In all honesty, I reckon del Toro’s untainted version would have been a slog. The battle for Mimic between the now lauded director and the now infamous producers probably honed this into something marketable. If not particularly engaging. It is opaque in its storytelling and not particularly effective or original when it comes to the creature feature basics. A bastard movie.
Otto Preminger directs Jean Seberg, Deborah Kerr and David Niven in this teen drama where a spoilt only child schemes to stop her beloved Daddy from remarrying on the French Riviera one horny summer ago.
Lacks the subtle depths of the novella. Everyone is a setting too sunny and well adjusted, though all very watchable. Preminger’s gambit of showing the jaded near future in black and white lends a certain air of style. A pleasant watch… I’m pretty sure this was aiming higher though.
Robert Greenwald directs Olivia Newton-John, Michael Beck and Gene Kelly in this musical where a sexy muse inspires a graphic designer and a retired nightclub owner to open a classy roller disco.
A notorious flop. Sure sure, Xanadu is genuinely batshit mental but it is also pure of heart and never boring to watch. Michael Beck from The Warriors is so out of his element that you hope the Baseball Furies might turn up and put him out of his misery. Gene and Olivia however suit this brand of candy ass nonsense to a tee and add a lot of value. The ELO’s songs are all quite catchy. The neon SFX are well deployed. The big dance numbers are unadulterated and unashamed cheese. If you were 6 years old and off your nut on sugar and e-numbers you might think this is actually the finest work of cinema ever released. Cute.
Martin Scorsese directs Liza Minnelli, Robert DeNiro and Lionel Stander in this revival of the big MGM musical that feels more about an awful relationship that a talented singer begrudgingly has with an utter prick, with occasional song and dance numbers.
Marty makes a movie about toxic masculinity and abuse that just goes on and on and on. Has the cocaine fuelled over confidence that destroyed New American Cinema. Wobbly Scorsese is better than no Scorsese. Some of the fake environments just look stunningly artificial. Liza is pretty special, the famous theme song thumps, this is an obvious influence on La La Land’s structure. Still, an abrasive endurance test whatever and whichever cut you watch.