I made all those sophisticated tools available to anybody so you can do all of this too. This is a site for film and DVD enthusiasts (i.e. freaks) where you can build your own communities, with your very own movie and dvd lists, reviews, blogs and RSS feed, mailing lists, a home page like this one, and even keep track of movies your friends borrowed from you.
2011.09.09 - What Does Horror Mean To You? at Brutal As Hell
I am starting to write this article right after I just finished watching Dario Argento?s Stendhal Syndrome for the third time in about two years. I am fascinated by it because it is likely Argento?s last good/great film (Dracula 3D doesn?t look very promising so far), and because surprisingly, what disturbs me the most is the brutality of the film and that Dario put his own daughter Asia at the center of it. Talk about a Freudian setup. Additionally, the movie is gorgeous. Yes, its use of digital effects is very crude, even for the time, but the film is otherwise very polished in the greatest Argento tradition. I appreciate that. I also appreciate Asia greatly....
2011.08.25 - Not Quite Hollywood review at Brutal As Hell
Documentaries about films are a tricky affair. Either they have to be about an incredible film, or the documentary itself has to be cool and uncover little known nuggets about a cult classic, or they have to paint an epic movement and give you tons of information, references, and cool interviews. Not Quite Hollywood is of the latter kind, but unlike the recent American Grindhouse, it manages to pile on so much energy, laughs, outrageous interviews and cool film bits...
This is an ultra violent and sexually explicit take on La Femme Nikita. It is very graphic, and as such, is really not for everyone. But, if you are into these types of animes, this is a treat. I played it one night, knowing nothing about it, and i got my socks totally knocked off. I was in shock several minutes after the movie's credit had ended. It's only 50mn, even though the packaging for the VHS and DVD say 60mn. But, this is because all the fat has been removed. There is simply not a single second of dead time here. The story jumps from one part to the next without leaving much time for the spectators to take their breath. The animation is really good, although it feels a little flat at times. The music is also quite a treat with very catchy jazz pieces playing throughout the movie. But what really stands apart is the writing. The details written in the action scenes are simply amazing. This is a movie that goes by so fast that i had to watch it again the next day. Honestly, i would not have been able to watch it any sooner after the first time because it was kind of hard to digest for an unsuspecting viewer.
I know it's a classic, but i was never able to get into it. I have watched it three times now and had so much hope for the newly remastered blu-ray release. I have come in recent years to truly appreciate many 80's films that got the blu-ray rejuvenating treatment which managed to heighten my enjoyment. That being said, this film IS stylish, has some great concepts (like the orb), and a great villain central performance from Angus Scrimm (the Tall Man) that ranks way up there in the annals of 70's and 80's horror cinema.
This is my favorite entry in the series, by far. It's truly a great horror film of the 80's! I felt all the greatest vibes from Nightmare On Elm Street and Evil Dead 2, but in a very different and original package. It still has this off-center quality of the original, but it a more fleshed out and more fun way.
Not good, and not fun. It could really have expanded the story and explored new environments. We finally get to see the "other side", but it just doesn't work. Part of the problem are the cheaper visual effects and an apocalyptic look that didn't really work for me.
It always amazed me how badly received this movie was, to the point that Tim Burton was taken off the project for the follow up. The differences couldn't be starker. Batman Returns is dark and gorgeously Art Demo and Gothic at the same time. It explores many corners of the human psyche and the contradictions of the Batman character. In contrast, the 2 follow-ups from Joel Schumacher are brightly colored, silly and cartoonish. I for one think this is the second best Batman film after Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight.
However, not all Italian horror directors of that era were as famous and well respected as Dario. In fact, most were quite infamous. Names such as Umberto Lenzi, Ruggero Deodato, Joe D'Amato, Lamberto Bava, Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci often inspire revulsion and disgust more than anything else. They often made exploitative horror films that mixed in softcore pornography. Those horror films seem to all gravitate around 3 sub-genres: snuff, cannibalism, and of course, zombies. Joe D'Amato in particular had an uncanny flair for mixing cheap exploitative shock, horror, and pornography. With Laura Gemser, his muse for some 30 films, he defined this subgenre amalgamation with the Black Emanuelle series, and several Zombie movies.
Laura Genser made 15 Black Emanuelle movies, and Joe D'Amato directed 6 of them. The series was a shameless rip-off of Emmanuelle (note the two m's), the erotic box office hit of the 70's with Sylvia Kristel. Gemser herself actually starred in Emmanuelle 2 as an ultra-sensuous masseuse. Gemser was stunning and a real star in Europe from the mid 70's to the mid 80's. Her exotic looks propelled her quickly to the covers or Playboy and other European men magazines, as well as countless softcore movies. To me, she remains simply one of the most beautiful woman to have ever graced the big screen. She was elegant, gorgeous, and starred in many exploitative movies, some of them quite shocking.
Black Emanuelle In America is one such movie, featuring Gemser in all her erotic glory, yet, in the context of a movie fundamentally designed to shock and gross out its audience. Emanuelle is a successful reporter in a New York newspaper who freely mingles with the high society and all its depravity. One night, Emanuelle accidentally comes across a 8mm film that depicts brutal and savage mutilation and rape of several women. She is not entirely sure of what she saw, but decides to investigate further. Ultimately, she figures out that she had seen the product of a Snuff ring that involved highly placed politicians and socialites: the torture, rape and murders shown on film are real, and captured on film for the "pleasure" of whomever can pay for it. That's what Snuff is.
This is a very strange movie that is absolutely not for everybody. As a matter of fact, i suspect most people will be repulsed, whether by the shocking and explicit yet comically absurd scene involving a horse named Pedro and a lady out of control, or the vicerally realistic and sick snuff imagery towards the end of the film. This is an extreme movie that will only be of interest to the sick-minded among us, or the movie buffs interested in this genre. Gemser is, as always gorgeous and intriguing, and some of the erotic scenes are really well done. On the horror side, the Snuff scenes are quite shocking in their realism and filmed in a hand-held, underground style, with quick jump cuts, that only accentuates this realism.
I find it always strange that some people might enjoy seeing what i would consider highly erotic material along scenes of great violence and cruelty in the same movie. But that's what Joe D'Amato and Laura Gemser were famous for. Honestly, this movie shouldn't have any redeeming qualities and should be destined to the garbage can. Yet, the contents and how the movie was made exert an undeniable fascination in the context of this sub-genre. The movie was recently released uncut on DVD in the US. The DVD features a good presentation of the film, along with interesting documentaries.
I have always liked this movie, but i watched it again recently, the 3D version, and i really loved it. I was humming the tunes days after, and really appreciated the writing and character design more than ever. It's one of the greatest animated films ever.
I love this movie. It's filmed with in Cinema Verite style. The camera is hand-held most of the time providing a very documentary feel. It dances around in cramped spaces around the actors and the action. The camera work is fantastic here to the point that you cannot help but guess at the choreography work that must have been going on between the cast and the technical team. The camera always manages to give you a feel of movement and chaos, while finding all the right opportunities to let you focus on the little details of a scene. Every look, hand movement, body language from the characters are captured in exquisite details. Add to that a masterful editing that makes it all feel seamless, and you get a first rate cinematic experience for a very realistic movie.
This is really what struck me the most when i first saw the film, but it's so good in many other respects too. The music is well balances between background score and features songs. It is tightly woven into the story and the lives of the characters. The art direction and cinematography are gorgeous, treating you to an uninterrupted festival of colors, costumes and textures. Finally, although the story is fairly standard (it's a wedding movie after all), you get treated to unexpected treatment of the subject, mixing child abuse and the meaning of marriage in an unexpectedly serious fashion. The writer has successfully blended serious subject in an overall joyous and happy film. And the cast pulls it off greatly. Although there isn't one particular actor that stood out with a remarkable performance in my eyes, everyone of them, without exception, did a great job, and you get to feel how this family lives and feels.
This is a fantastic joyous film celebrating life, family and love which also examines painful issues such as child abuse. It is technically masterful at inserting you into the life of this extended family during the 3-day ceremony for the marriage of their daughter. You will feel like you are there, experiencing not only the chaos, but also all the little moments of their lives.