Sunday 30 December 2018

More On Movies XI

Strangers On A train (1951)
Great Alfred Hitchcock noir with fantastic premise, script, actoring, directing etc. Mostly totally riveting and highly suspenseful but there is a bit of a lull when it gets to the tennis scene (Hitchcock loves to not trim his fat) but it comes back strong with a raucous merry go-round climax.

Shadow Of A Doubt (1943)
Funny little melodramatic Hitchcock noir. Sometimes this one gets a bit too ye olde for me but there's no doubt it's a fantastic and suspenseful story though. The cheesiness gets to me but I guess Hitchcock's just trying to contrast that phoney American veneer with the reality of it's dark underbelly like Sam Fuller and David Lynch have done since. Serial killer films have been around for a long time. Many people think Shadow Of A Doubt is the greatest of Hitchcock films including Alfred himself, I do believe.

The Wild Bunch (1969)
I've been expecting to become a late 60s and 70s Western aficionado for a long time now. I've probably enjoyed Spaghetti Westerns more than American ones from that era to be quite honest. I would have expected by now to fully love The Wild Bunch as it is directed by Sam Peckinpah who is responsible for some of my all time favourite films Straw Dogs, Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia and The Getaway. I don't hate it, I just don't worship it...oh the sacrilege! I prefer Westerns that were made earlier than The Wild Bunch actually, like say No Name On The Bullet (1959) and 3:10 To Yuma (1957). Maybe due to Deadwood's utter magnificence I will never be able to enjoy Westerns from the New Hollywood era and beyond, the occasional McCabe & Mrs Miller aside. Am I bothered?

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
I don't know what the consensus is now on this film but it was pretty polarised when it was released. I was split in two too and couldn't decide if it was a brilliant masterpiece or complete tosh although I did watch it like 10 times when it was first released. Almost 20 years on I can say it's a pretty good movie if way too long. I am not as concerned with the linear reality of the plot as I once was. Reality and fantasy intermingle to create some pure cinema. I feel like it's a small, perhaps slight story that probably didn't deserve such an epic magnification of its contents. If you give into the cinema of it all you should enjoy or at least not hate Eyes Wide Shut. I guess that'll all depend on whether you can stand Tom & Nic.

Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
Excellent horror/serial killer thriller that I once hated. I cannot for the life of me figure out what I hated about this modern masterpiece. Silence Of The Lambs hardly needs my endorsement.

Frightmare (1974)
Gruesome British family drama horror involving a psycho grandma, insane asylums, mysterious packages, bikers, bartenders, power drills, tarot readings and a body count. Not your typical English horror fare of the time ie. no fangs or cloaks, plenty of blood though. Frightmare has more in common with the demented American movies of the early 70s ie. Last House On The Left, Texas Chainsaw Massacre etc. Highly recommended.

Symptoms (1974)
Spectacular British horror movie. Helen played by Angela Pleasance is mentally fucked up. She invites her friend Anne (Lorna Heilbron) to stay at her mansion in the gloriously picturesque English countryside then shit starts to get weird. Also includes legendary character actor Peter Vaughan (Straw Dogs, Game Of Thrones etc.) as the groundskeeper. A study in feminine psychosis where the atmosphere is hauntingly oppressive. I think this is another UK horror flick that was missing for a while but has now had the full restoration and blu-ray treatment. Great score too.

Frenzy (1972)
The wrong man is nabbed for the crimes of a serial killer known as the necktie murderer in 70s London. Will he be able to prove his innocence or go to gaol for the rest of his life for crimes he did not commit? Alfred Hitchcock could have removed so much flab from this terrific suspenseful story to make it lean and mean but...what the fuck did editors get paid to actually do back then? Definitely worth watching though.

And Soon The Darkness (1970)
Two young English ladies go on a cycling trip through the beautiful French countryside. The once bucolic french landscape gradually becomes a dread inducing nightmare-scape of menacing claustrophobia. And Soon The Darkness is an outstanding, relatively obscure British Giallo. There are so many red herrings, everyone barring the missing woman come under suspicion. Beautifully shot and stylishly put together. A real eye-opener. I recommend.

Mean Streets (1973)
Raging Bull (1980)
King Of Comedy (1982)
Goodfellas (1990)
After Hours (1985)
Taxi Driver (1976)
Casino (1995)

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