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  • Inferno

    Inferno

    ★★★★

    Mislabeled here on Letterboxd, because this documentary about the making of Henri-Georges Clouzot's unfinished 1964 film L'enfer was made in 2009, and is a film on its own. Yes, it contains a lot of footage from the original film, but it is first and foremost a documentary on how the film came about, the wild ideas that Clouzot had on how to portray the mental state of his protagonist, how he received carte blanche from the American producers, how he…

  • Widow Blue!

    Widow Blue!

    ★★★

    Incredibly strange film, mixing hardcore pornography that is definitely crossing some boundaries (male-male action, fellatio on a dead body, incestuous sex on top of a coffin, a five-some) with gore in the tradition of H.G. Lewis. The plot is simple but effective - a woman (Susan Westcott) is tired of her gay husband and plots to kill him with the help of the man she wants to run off with, who is cheating on his wife (a young Sandy Dempsey).…

  • Behind the Candelabra

    Behind the Candelabra

    ★★★

    Fairly standard biographical picture with a much too narrow scope. Michael Dougles and Matt Damon are great, and so is some of the photography. But overall, this is the kind of film that doesn't leave a lasting impression.

  • Bird Box

    Bird Box

    ★★★

    One of the movies that seems destined to usher in a new age of entirely formulaic films, designed to stir up a great deal of anticipation, only to fall flat on their faces when they are watched not just by early adopters and Netflix enthusiasts, but also by true film aficionados.

    I did like the rather thinly veiled references to Lovecraft's Great Old Ones. I did not like the sentimentality and trivial conflict that defines much of the film's characters.…

  • Barbed Wire Dolls

    Barbed Wire Dolls

    ★★★

    In general, I'm not a huge fan of women in prison films, so I've kind of tried to avoid this part of Jess Franco's immense oeuvre. Until now, that is. With Stephen Thrower's second volume on the career of Jess Franco in hand, I decided to dive in and watch all of the films he made for Erwin C. Dietrich's Ascot/Elite production house. The first of these is, you guessed it, a women in prison film. And quite a notorious…

  • Swedish Nympho Slaves

    Swedish Nympho Slaves

    ★★½

    As I said in my earlier review, this is not one of Jess Franco's best films, but with its copious amounts of nudity (most women in this film are undressed or at least partially undressed all the time), there is still much to like. Having just read Stephen Thrower's account on its complex production timeline in his book Flowers of Perversion: The Delirious Cinema of Jesús Franco, Volume Two makes it all the more fun to revisit these movies and…

  • The Pit and the Pendulum

    The Pit and the Pendulum

    ★★★

    I've said it before, and I will say it again: I think most of Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe adaptations are vastly overrated. Sure, I do like what he brought to House of Usher and Masque of the Red Death, but other than that most of those that I've seen leave me cold, or lukewarm at best. I greatly prefer the Italian gothic horror films of the same era - I'll take Mario Bava, Riccardo Freda, and Antonio Margheriti's take…

  • Horror Rises from the Tomb

    Horror Rises from the Tomb

    ★★½

    One of Paul Naschy's most famous films, where he introduces the character of the medieval warlock Alaric de Marnac. The film does not really live up to expectation. The story and the screenplay are too fragmented for that, and the direction and acting too stilted. Especially when compared to later outings such as Inquisición (1978) and El caminante (1979), it becomes clear that Paul Naschy had better films in him than this one. Still, for Eurohorror fans, there is quite…

  • Jackie

    Jackie

    ★★★½

    This is a beautiful and well made film, carried by a great performance from Natalie Portman... but I honestly have no idea what this film is trying to tell us... What is this film really about? What meaning or insights does it try to convey? Lacking an answer to this, the movie ultimately leaves me cold and joins the ranks of so many well made films that leave little or no impression on me.

  • Lucy

    Lucy

    ★½

    Second viewing. Have to deduce half a point because this movie is even dumber than I remembered. It has absolutely nothing of interest to say. It's attempts at imitating various scenes from Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey are pathetic. The script isn't even good enough for a run-of-the-mill Jason Statham action movie. The music is absolutely terrible throughout. No redeeming value whatsoever.

  • Loro

    Loro

    ★★★★

    Spectacular, and beautifully filmed... but, somehow, it just does not work as well as Paolo Sorentino's big masterpiece, La grande bellezza (2013). While the first half hour, which introduces a character who wants to advance himself by throwing a sex and drugs fueled party with dozens of beautiful young girls right opposite Berlusconi's villa on Sardinia are entertaining and reminiscent of the previously mentioned film, the film only takes off when Berlusconi himself, played by the magnificent Toni Servillo, enters…

  • The Girls Of The Copacabana

    The Girls Of The Copacabana

    ★★

    This is an extremely lighthearted erotic comedy of the kind that was popular in Europe in the late 70's and throughout much of the 80's, and of which dozens if not hundreds of instances were filmed, mostly on budgets that were as tiny as the colorful panties worn by the female protagonists. They were a staple of late night commercial television when that first arrived on the scene in continental Europe in the mid-80's - I remember sneaking up to…