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  • Trance

    Trance

    ★★★★½

    Obsession has never been done better, similar to Christiane F. (1981) which came out just a year before, about a teenage girl obsessed with David Bowie, who eventually becomes a heroin addict and a prostitute. In the case of Der Fan, the teenage girl is obsessed with the fictional star R. played by the lead singer of the german band Rheingold (they also wrote the soundtrack). The film gets darker and darker as her obsession grows deeper, drawing nearer to a horrific and almost inevitable conclusion. A wonderful and gruesome thriller of Beatlemania gone mad.

  • Deadlier Than the Male

    Deadlier Than the Male

    ★★★½

    The first Bulldog Drummond film was released in 1929, played by Ronald Coleman, and was a great pre-code film. Here Drummond, an insurance investigator, gets a James Bond makeover, this time he is played by Richard Johnson (who ironically was originally chosen to play James Bond by director Terence Young) but instead remains better known as Kim Novak's husband. There are no gadgets but the sexuality is a bit more risque, the violence is a bit more brutal than the…

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  • First Reformed

    First Reformed

    ★★★★

    Hints of Bresson's Country Priest, Bergman's Winterlight, Tarkovsky's Sacrifice, and some Dryer to boot, all this slow cinema driven by the desperation of Taxi Driver. Considering his background, it is surprising that Schrader had not tackled this subject head on earlier in his career. The Academy ration is an enlightened choice here as he appears to want to limit what we see and to remove any form of clutter or colour for that matter. Extremism, environmentalism, modern christianity, and faith are the subjects Schrader grapples with to variable degrees of success.

  • Hell in the Pacific

    Hell in the Pacific

    ★★★★½

    The war film stripped down to it's bare essentials, two warriors, one American (Lee Marvin), one Japanese (Toshiro Mifune), both stranded on a deserted island in the South Pacific. They constitute the dregs of war, fighting for survival and territory, as they slowly, over time, begin to trust each other, and band together for survival. This is Boorman's and Marvin's second collaboration after Point Blank, and it was shot on location in the Paupau Islands. Conrad Hall's cinematography has never…