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  • Maniac

    Maniac

    ★★½

    This film is a low-budget grindhouse-style flick with low production values, questionable acting, and plot holes. Still, it has a couple of amazing scenes in the third act, aided of course by the talented Tom Savini's practical horror SFX.

  • La Haine

    La Haine

    ★★★★

    A hybrid film combining elements of narrative and documentary, La Haine captures and complicates both sides of France's racial and ethnic conflict as it boiled over in the 1990s. Here, hate leads to tragedy when it overcomes less violent reactions to injustice and chance and coincidence provide opportunities for bloodshed. Under the direction of Kassovitz, a young Vincent Cassel works well with Said Taghmaoui and Hubert Koundé as the trio navigates both the chaos of their home turf in the banlieue and the apparent order of bourgeois, white Paris.

  • Written on the Wind

    Written on the Wind

    ★★★

    One of Sirk's better family melodramas, with a great cast! Rewatched for a paper I'm writing for a grad course.

  • The Pack

    The Pack

    ★★★

    This is a good horror film from the later New French Extremity movement. It draws tropes from several American horror movies (many of which are acknowledged in the closing credits). Just who and what are the members of the Pack? What is their relation to the past and present of the main characters? The filmmakers answer these questions by drawing on such diverse films as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, The Evil Dead, and Gremlins (among others). They do not…

  • Cobra Woman

    Cobra Woman

    ★★★

    An awesome example of naïve camp. Viva Maria Montez!

  • Tangerine

    Tangerine

    ★★★★

    Even more impressive than the scenes of "drama" are the still, quiet scenes at the end of the film. And all of these scenes were shot with three iPhone 5s!

  • The Girl with All the Gifts

    The Girl with All the Gifts

    ★★★★

    Wow, a reimagining of the zombie subgenre that really works! Hats off to the UK!

  • In the Company of Men

    In the Company of Men

    ★★★

    Very disturbing, even 20 years later, given what's going on in U.S. politics and culture nowadays.

  • Ghost in the Shell

    Ghost in the Shell

    ★★½

    Not as bad as I had heard it was, but not as good as it could have been (for many reasons that have been discussed to death already).

  • Satan

    Satan

    ★★★

    On one level, Sheitan is a French take on the American hillbilly horror film (e.g., The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes, Deliverance). A multicultural group of young people faces off with an inbred and apparently demented cult of rural folk led by Vincent Cassel's character.

    Quickly it becomes clear (aided by racist/Islamophobic lines of dialogue delivered by Cassel) that the film is about Old (colonial) France vs. New (post-colonial) France, with the former identified with Satan. Nevertheless,…

  • The Conversation

    The Conversation

    ★★★★

    Gene Hackman is the very embodiment of fear, anxiety, guilt, and paranoia in this character-driven mystery-thriller from Francis Ford Coppola.

  • Plan 9 from Outer Space

    Plan 9 from Outer Space

    ★★½

    Yes, it's horrible, but oh-so-campy at the same time. Director Ed Wood clearly made this film with all seriousness. It's sad, too. Poor, broken Bela Lugosi does his 'vampire' schtick one more time in his last film. And it's funny -- I love it when Eros (Dudley Manlove) calls the Earth people "stupid." It can also be given a queer reading -- all that talk about people "not accepting that we exist" from the fey alien Ruler (John Breckinridge). Nevertheless, gender relations are very masculinist -- witness Eros bossing around and bullying his 'mate' Tanna (Joanna Lee).