European Cinema : What European films did you see? January / February 2016

What European films did you see? January / February 2016

Hello European Cinema board. Please feel free to post about any movies, documentaries, short subject films (etc.) that you've been watching, if you'd like to. It would be great to hear your thoughts and pick up some viewing recommendations.

Thanks.

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

Hi Petro,I want to say thank you for starting this thread,which will hopefully bring up some good recs.With my 29th birthday coming up on the 9th,I've decided that along with celebrating my birthday that I will aim to write my 1000th review on the same day,on my 10th favourite film of all time (which is a British Comedy.) Since I've just written #997,I'm pleased to say that all but one have been Euro films in my 1000 review countdown!

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

Hi morrison. You must be aquarius. I pretty much nicked the format for this thread from you (Film Noir board). Hopefully will see if it sinks or swims over here in the coming months.
Best of luck reaching that next milestone. 1000 reviews is not to be sneezed at. All of us movie lovers benefit from the hard work and efforts that are put into preserving cinema's legacy by people like you. Thanks.

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

'The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe' (1972, Le grand blond avec une chaussure noire - Yves Robert)

Colonel Louis Toulouse (Jean Rochefort) hatches a plot to eliminate casual opportunist Francois Perrin (Pierre Richard) who's suspected of being involved in an international heroin smuggling operation. Toulouse sends his right-hand man Colonel Bernard Milan (Bernard Blier) on a mission to tail Perrin.

Yves Robert's witty espionage thriller uncurls a sinuous plot built upon false accusations and mistaken identities. The situations never become too far-fetched due to the considered writing of Robert and Francis Veber who create an air of confusion from societal manners and humorous wordplay. Pierre Richard is ideally cast as the hapless violinist under suspicion, with Jean Rochefort, Mireille Darc, Bernard Blier, Jean Carmet and Colette Castel adding to the fun. The music by Vladimir Cosma is wonderful, utilising the talents of pan flautist Gheorge Zhamfir. The best thing about the remake 'The Man With One Red Shoe' (1985) is Carrie Fisher in a leopard print bikini.

'The Return Of The Tall Blond Man' (1974, Le retour du grand blond - Yves Robert)

Musician Francois Perrin (Pierre Richard) continues to evade his pursuers in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

For the sequel to 'The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe', co-writers Yves Robert and Francis Veber concoct an all-out farce that still retains the sophisticated sheen of the original. There's fine comedy work from returning players Pierre Richard, Jean Rochefort, Mireille Darc, Jean Carmet and Colette Castel, with crime icon Michel Duchaussoy dropping in to ensure the audience has a ton of fun. The musical finale, a performance of Jacques Offenbach's masterful operetta 'Orpheus Of The Underworld', is an absolute show-stopper. The black dress worn by Darc in the original is one of the most famous in French chic cinema and for the follow-up she wears an equally fetching white one.

'The Castaways Of Turtle Island' (1976, Les naufragés de l'île de la Tortue - Jacques Rozier)

Travel agent Jean-Arthur Bonaventure (Pierre Richard) meets Lisette Benoit (Lise Guicheron), recently separated, and asks her to pose as his girlfriend, but complications arise when his sister calls, prompting Jean-Arthur to plot his escape to a desert island collecting friends along the way.

'The Castaways Of Turtle Island' is a comedy about planning a faraway adventure. It's a politicised film expressing environmental concerns as well as a gentle social critique. It's also an old-fashioned busman's holiday in a similar way to how Patrice Leconte's 'Les Bronzes' movies (featuring French comedy troupe Le Splendid) transplant everyday habits and domestic practises to holiday resorts. The office workers and administrative assistants who commit to the journey are bored and looking for a quick getaway so they form a tribe to undertake the Robinson Crusoe Voyage. By doing so, they transport a piece of home to an exotic Caribbean island aboard a cramped cruise vessel, unable or unwilling to escape the life they've left behind.
Among his contemporaries in the "nouvelle vague", Jacques Rozier is the only one I can think of who never seemed to adapt his template or abandon the artistic principles he began with, making do with only minor adjustments where necessary. Following his entry into cinema in the 1950s, he continued to make scratchy documents about people, dealing with their lives, their dreams, and their spirited - if ultimately futile - attempts to break free. Like his fellow filmmaker Jean Rollin, Rozier was influenced from an early age by Tristan Corbiere, poet of the sea. But while Rollin was primarily an audio-visual artist with a comic book sensibility, Rozier established himself as a scenarist and dialogue writer with a crude documentary style. Rollin's short subject film 'Les Amours Juanes' (1958) features key elements of his coastal obsession, and the same can be said of Rozier's short 'Blue Jeans' (1958). In the late 1960s, Rollin left Paris and took up temporary residence on the French coast while striking a deal with psychedelic rock band Abraxas. In the early 1970s, Rozier also decamped to the coast from Paris, securing a soundtrack from progressive rock band Gong.
Rozier's debut feature 'Adieu Philippine' (1961) and his multi-grain epic 'Du Cote D'Orouet' (1969 - selected by 'Time Out' as one of the 100 greatest French films) are works in which girlfriends gallivant outdoors and reflect together indoors. I think of them as films about freedom, freedom of choice and the freedom to roam, films in which the camera is freed from established cinematic constraints. They have a home video quality to them which is also present in 'The Castaways Of Turtle Island', his funniest picture I've seen to date.

'Satan' (2006, Sheitan - Kim Chapiron)

Eve (Roxane Mesquida) and Yasmine (Leila Bekhti) invite some disco clubbers to a remote country house for Christmas where they're greeted by gregarious shepherd Joseph (Vincent Cassel), resident oddball Jeanne (Julie-Marie Parmentier) and their attentive flock.

It's easy to see why the horror movie 'Satan' was a labour of love for co-producer Vincent Cassel as it allows him full reign to go balls to the wall nutzoid. There's little plot to speak of but it's a movie packed with unearthly delights, ranging from a Santa's grotto oasis at a hidden hot spring pumping out lust potion, to an eye-popping living dollhouse where visitors discover if they've been naughty or nice. The farmlands of rural France always provide a strong setting for tales of the fantastique and director Kim Chapiron revels in the unique menu and culinary craft of the region. 'Satan' is an entertaining rustic shocker with tremendous performances from all concerned (Monica Bellucci makes a fleeting appearance and Chris Marker also receives an acting credit).

'Sleep Tight' (2011, Mientras duermes - Jaume Balaguero)

Creepy handyman Cesar Manso (Luis Tosar) spies on Clara Blas (Marta Etura) who lives in the block of flats where he performs odd jobs. What does this creepozoid want from her?

I found 'Sleep Tight' to be a taxing viewing experience. I don't think it works as psychological horrror because Clara's life is so incredibly dull. There's no tension between Clara and her stalker, her boyfriend Marcos Darcos (David Ginola lookalike Alberto San Juan) is a crushing bore, and their environment is flat and sterile. I think the film works better as a character study though, with an emotive performance from Luis Tosar as the obsessive predator. Jaume Balaguero directs proceedings in a professional manner but sparks rarely fly. It's worth seeing for the bitter ending alone, which is chilling to the bone.

'Camila's Kids Company : The Inside Story' (2015, Documentary - Lynn Alleway)

The story of a childrens charity in London that once provided refuge, happiness, education and financial support before turning into a mismanaged goliath reliant upon press promotions, celebrity donors and government hand-outs. It seems that company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh and chief trustee Alan Yentob (the BBC arts guru) wanted to create a magical kingdom for kids. Unfortunately, it appears that not enough efforts were made to safeguard the children and provide them with the tools needed to support themselves and their communities. Perhaps more kids could have been helped if some of the more extravagant expenses had been curbed. Lynn Alleway's fly on the wall documentary was ten years in the making.


Those were some good European viewings.

TV Docs.

Hi Petro,I want to say thank you for highlighting the Kids Company doc, (I'm going to try and watch a bit of it tonight)and that after Mark Kermode's mentioned the film in a Vid related to the film Rams, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIIRdZt_FwY) BBC4 have just screened a 60 minute cut, (the full 90 min cut is only being sold on the filmmakers site for 16.99!)which can be found here:



www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b070jj99/addicted-to-sheep

I also just wanted to check if you can get things like More4?

Thanks.

Re: TV Docs.

Hi morrison. Thanks for the info. Is More4 a satellite channel available on Sky - like E4, Channel 4+ etc? I'll have a look on the channel listings next time I'm in front of the box.

More 4.

Hi Petro,with More 4 (which I've been told is Sky #136) I have found out that Channel 4 are planning to put 600 hours of Euro TV shows/films on More 4,with there also being a free streaming site:

www.channel4.com/programmes/walter-presents

I also found this piece about the new shows/films:

http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2015/nov/27/walter-presents-exclusive-trailer-for-channel-4s-new-world-tv-service

ooking for your next Scandi fix? Wondering what to watch when The Returned leaves? Struggling to find enough subtitles on Netflix? The unusually named Walter Presents might be the answer. The free video-streaming service from Channel 4 launches in January 2016 with a selection of non-English-language dramas.

Shows lined up include Deutschland 83, Belgian comedy drama Clan, French political drama Spin, Argentinean psychological thriller Pure Evil, Sweden’s answer to Borgen, Blue Eyes, Afghanistan-set French drama Kabul Kitchen, and Danish supernatural thriller Heartless. Other titles include Match Day (France), Cenk Batu (Germany), The Lens (Czech Republic) and 10 (Switzerland).

Deutschland 83 will premiere on Channel 4 before becoming available exclusively as a box set to stream on Walter Presents. The first two series of Spin are set to feature in the regular More 4 slot in January, with Blue Eyes and Clan to run on the channel in February.

The service has been named after Walter Iuzzolino, chief creative officer of Global Series Network, who has been curating the catalogue. “We live in the golden age of serial drama, with French and Scandi thrillers gripping audiences in their millions,” Iuzzolino says. “This is the perfect time to introduce UK viewers to a much broader choice of the very best dramas and box sets from around the world, which they never previously knew existed.”

Re: More 4.

Hi morrision. Thanks for providing some scheduling info for 'More 4', a channel I do appear to receive on my satellite box. I don't watch much tv drama at all, but after reading the thoughts of you and the Professor on some Scandinavian crime entries, I took a splash and ordered the 'Girl Tattoo' box-set. I've not seen any of these movies (although I have seen and enjoyed David Fincher's remake).

Scandinavian crime.

Hi Petro,with "The Girl" films I hope that you like your intro to Scandi crime.Originally shown on the big screen,"The Girl" movies were then shown on TV in an uncut form of 6 90 min episodes,with each extended film (which are now out on DVD) being shown over two nights.Whilst I am a fan of Fincher's take, (esp Rooney Mara's incredible performance) I give the edge to the original,due to Noomi Rapace fully embodying Salander.On a note about the trio,I have to say that the second film (Played with Fire) does suffer from running out of steam in the middle.

Re: Scandinavian crime.

Hi morrison. I received the 'Tattoo' box-set in the post so I'm looking forward to seeing all three. I like Noomi Rapace in two films I've seen from 2012, Brian De Palma's thriller 'Passion' and Ridley Scott's sci-fi 'Prometheus'.

Speaking of Scandinavian crime thrillers, have you seen the vintage crime chiller 'The Night Visitor' (1971) with Max Von Sydow? It's currently in rotation on the channel Talking Pictures if you're interested.

Re: Scandinavian crime.

Hi Petro,thank you for telling me about The Night Visitor,which from the trailer looks rather creepy. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIftr0lUEX8 ) For catching it on TV,I have one slight problem,which is that a lost the cable remote a few weeks ago! (I'm hoping to catch Secrets In Their Eyes on iPlayer after missing the screening.)

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

This topic was formerly proposed by a French cine buff called Ali,but she was too" nouvelle vague" for me,as far as French cinema is concerned;good luck ,petrolino
last movie I saw was "pioneer" ,a Norwegian /Swede effort:average.

I wish I could be like Gladstone Gander.

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

Hi dbdumonteil,I first want to say that I second your good wishes to petrolino,and I just wanted to ask if you have seen a French film that I've recently tracked down?,called The House of the Bories,starring Marie Dubois.


Thanks.

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

Of course I have !I even wrote a comment on it ;it's a good psychological drama with luminous
Marie Dubois.
a question : your Morrison ,is it Van or Jim? (or why not Sterling?)
I did appreciate your comment on "chair de poule"
db
I wish I could be like Gladstone Gander.

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

Hi db,I want to say thank you for the kind comment about my Chair de Poule review, (and for also pointing me towards your terrific comment on The House of the Bories) and that the Morrison in my name stands for Jim,with The Doors being my favourite band.

With you highly praising Chair de Poule in your comment,I was wondering if you have seen the Thai remake (which came out on Video in the US) The Dumb Die Fast, the Smart Die Slow?

www.imdb.com/title/tt0164697/?ref_=tt_trv_cnn

Thanks.

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

Bonjour,
how strange ,I really thought it was Van!

I haven't seen the remake of "chair de poule" ,I do not think I'd like to;several Duvivier
movies were remade and every time it was a disappointment




I wish I could be like Gladstone Gander.

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

Hi dbdumonteil. I've read some of your reviews of French films on imdb and learnt some interesting stuff, especially about the classic French cinema. Thanks for that.
And thanks for posting. I've not heard of that movie you watched but I'll look it up later (preparing to watch the Super Bowl at the moment).

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

'Up 'N' Under' (1998 - John Godber)

Old duffers drag rugby league into the future with a wager they can beat the strongest opposition put in front of them.

This ribald comedy from playwright John Godber provides big laughs by ploughing its way through the "best of British" comedy book and dredging up the full monty. Samantha Janus steals the show as gymnasium operator Hazel Scott which is just as well as the rest of the movie wallows in the usual course toiletry humour and smutty innuendo.

'My Afternoons With Margueritte' (2010, La tête en friche - Jean Becker)

Illiterate handyman Germain Chazes (Gerard Depardieu) bonds with birdwatching bookworm Margueritte (Gisele Casadeus) at the local park.

'My Afternoons With Margueritte' is based on a book by Marie-Sabine Roger. It tells a simple story of two people whose fortuitous meeting helps them get through a difficult time in their respective lives. Gerard Depardieu stars as the handyman and occasional street vendor who's sensitive to the constant jibes being thrown his way by acquaintances at a local cafe bar. Sophie Guillemin plays Germain's girlfriend Annette who brings some comfort into his life. Gisele Casadesus, now in her ninth decade in cinema, portrays the voracious reader with an appetite for learning who introduces Germain to the wonders of classic French literature. The narrative allows for director Jean Becker to colour in fragments of the past, either through illustrations of literary passages, or flashbacks to Germain's troubled youth. It's a nice movie to watch on a lazy afternoon.

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

I highly recommend all our (Me & the Wife) past months European film viewing from down here in Australia.
Thoroughly enjoyed all , rated highly 8 and 9s.
Sorry, hate to just leave a list films but no time for reviews!
+ denotes films re-watched


Sous le soleil de Satan..Under the Sun of Satan (1987)
+ À nos amours.. To Our Loves (1983)
+ Loulou (1980).... Maurice Pialat

Sjećaš li se Doli Bel?..Do You Remember Dolly Bell? (1981)
Otac na službenom putu..When Father Was Away on Business (1985).... Emir Kusturica

Conte de printemps..A Tale of Springtime (1990)
Conte d'hiver..A Tale of Winter (1992)
Conte d'été..A Summer's Tale (1996)
+ Conte d'automne..Autumn Tale (1998).... Éric Rohmer

Alpeis..Alps (2011)....Yorgos Lanthimos
La ville est tranquille..The Town Is Quiet (2000)....Robert Guédiguian.
Slnko v sieti..The Sun in a Net (1963)....Å tefan Uher
Cinema Paradiso (1988)....Giuseppe Tornatore
L'Albero degli zoccoli..The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978)....Ermanno Olmi
Rejs..The Cruise (1970)....Marek Piwowski
Všichni dobří rodáci..All My Countrymen (1968).... Vojtěch Jasný
+ Čovek nije tica..Man Is Not A Bird (1965).... Dušan Makavejev
+ Pidä huivista kiinni, Tatjana..Take Care of Your Scarf, Tatiana (1994)....Aki Kaurismäki

The pick from many entertaining British films watched...High Hopes (1988)..The Interrupted Journey (1949)..Ring Of Spies (1964)..No Trees In The Street (1959)..Deadly Record (1959)..The Small Voice (1947)

On the Way! February orders, Excited to have tracked down...
Rondo (1966)....Zvonimir Berković
Zaseda..The Ambush (1969)....Živojin Pavlović
Faraon..Pharaoh (1966)....Jerzy Kawalerowicz
Körhinta..Merry-Go-Round (1956).... Zoltán Fábri
Monsieur Ripois..AKA Knave Of Hearts (1954)....René Clément



Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

I like those three films from filmmaker Maurice Pialat very much. Thanks for the recommendations, that's a great selection of films. I'd really like to see Rene Clement's 'Knave Of Hearts'.

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

Hi there... January's viewing here was an exception, it is our holiday season, so every night for over a month being rested and relaxed we are able to enjoy the collection of titles sourced worldwide for our holiday viewing...

Knave of Hearts finally arrived... it is a marvellous film that seems to be way ahead of its time in 1954.
René Clément creates an atmosphere with a breezy air, an inspiration for Breathless?, cool jazz supports the mood, real London locales and a great cast are captured beautifully by master cinematographer Oswald Morris BSC. The great actor Gérard Philipe is a perfect Monsieur Ripois, Natasha Parry is a knockout as Patricia and as always Valerie is a delight.

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

Hi planetx. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Clement picture. He's a giant of French cinema from that fascinating time when the old guard were running out of steam, and the new wave were yet to arrive. This one sounds like a keeper. So glad you got to see it - I hope I see it too someday.

Emma Hamilton (1968)/[REC] 4: Apocalypse (2014)/Sitting Target (1972

Hi Petro,with today being my 29th birthday,I'm pleased to say that I've now reached 1000th reviews with the following films:

Emma Hamilton (1968) 6/10


Before I get to the movie,I have to mention that for this English dubbed version,the DVD company deliver a terribly worn-down print,with the full screen print ruining a number of co- writer/(along with Jameson Brewer/Valeria Bonamano & Werner P. Zibaso)director Christian-Jaque's elegant shots.Listed as "cut" to 98 minutes on IMDb,the English dubbed editors cut the title down to 91 minutes with a sledgehammer,which along with cutting any sign of skin away,also leads to scenes being cut mid-conversation!

Despite everything going against the movie,director Christian-Jaque & cinematographer Pierre Petit are still able to give the title a regal note,with Riz Ortolani's terrific score giving Jaque's sweeping shots a glamorous atmosphere.Whilst the dubbing editors stop the scenes from flowing freely,the fight scenes still have a rough and tumble edge,thanks to Christian-Jaque firing rapid tracking shots across the screen,as Horatio Nelson creates his legacy.

Joined by a dashing Richard Johnson as Nelson and a worn-down John Mills as Lord William Hamilton,the stunning Nadjia Tiller gives a very good performance as Queen Caroline of Naples,who Tiller shows as being incredible naïve over the revolutions starting to gather steam.Looking ravishingly sexy in a white dress-style bikini, Michèle Mercier gives an excellent performance as Emma,with Mercier's expressive,wide-eyed face capturing Emma's desire to live in high society,and also Emma's yearning desire for Nelson,as Emma becomes Lady Hamilton.

Rec 4.5/10

Wrapping up the series,the screenplay by co-writer/(along with Manu Díez) director Jaume Balagueró keeps the action locked on the ship,which along with allowing the threads from the series to be joined up,also gives the title an uneasy atmosphere,as the rough waves are joined by ravenous zombies. Sketching out a clear outline to the cause of the zombie outbreak in the first 3 films,the writers horribly destroy everything that was at the very centre of the terror in the films,by changing the threat into something much less complex and easier to defeat,and also packing the film with extremely ill-judge,childish comedy (stir fried monkey!)

Completely getting rid of the franchises trademark "Found Footage" appearance for the final,director Balagueró & cinematographer Pablo Rosso give the title a slick,glossy shine,which fully shows all the tight corridors in the (partly) shot on location ship,and the look of terror sinking deep into Ángela's (played by a very good, returning to the series Manuela Velasco) eyes.Despite having a real location, Balagueró completely drains the film of any claustrophobia or horror by opening up the long corridors of the ship in a wide, crisp presentation,that leads to the unfolding zombie nightmare feeling oddly "safe",which along with some of the ships timber being used for some shockingly poor CGI animal zombies (!) leads to this being a (Rec)ording that should have been stopped a long time ago.

Sitting Target 8/10

Stomping on the knackered streets of 70s Britain,director Douglas Hickox & cinematographer Edward Scaife spread mud and dirt over the film,with the damp flats and crumbling houses smashes Harry's (few hopes) to the ground.Growing flowers out of the dirt,Hickox aims for Harry's target with a tantalising range,by stylishly grinding into Harry's mind with fractured overlapping images from editor John Glen.Backed by an industrial hum from Stanley Myers,Hickox glides across the prison cells with an urgent atmosphere,as Harry and Williams take advantage of the moment.Along with the hard,broken nose street crime action,Hickox reflects on the fury in Harry with a superb circling of mirrors,which crack open Harry not seeing the double dealing being reflected right in front of him.

Taking Laurence Henderson's novel out of the cells,the screenplay by former star cyclist (and Tour De France participant!) Alexander Jacobs keeps the film in its pulp chain gang,with Henderson making Harry's brittle dialogue blunt,and to the point.Pushing Harry's back against the wall like a Film Noir loner.Henderson impressively keeps away from giving anyone a clean cut image,by making everyone from Harry to his two timing wife Pat be brutes who are only after winning their own round.

For the cast,Hicox hits on a prison riot of amazing names,from future TV stars Mike Pratt and June Brown getting the punch on early roles,to Edward Woodward, Robert Beatty and Frank Finlay being rotten to the core.Joined by a wonderfully swift,fresh-faced Ian McShane as Williams,Oliver Reed gives a terrific performance as Harry,thanks to Reed attacking the short and sweet dialogue with a bubbling rage which explodes as Harry begins to suspect that he is the sitting target.


Re: Emma Hamilton (1968)/[REC] 4: Apocalypse (2014)/Sitting Target (1972

I liked 'REC 4' okay but the series has gone astray. Nice review morrison, thanks.

Whenever I think of Ian 'Lovejoy' McShane, whose big screen career recently received a welcome shot in the arm through the release and positive critical reception afforded 'Sexy Beast' (2000), I think of 'Sitting Target'.
The late Frank Finlay was without doubt one of the greats of stage and screen, making the tv classics 'Bouquet Of Barbed Wire' and 'Count Dracula' with Susan Penhaligon back in the 1970s. He'd go from working with U K filmmakers like Roy Boulting and Stephen Frears, to signing on to productions with interesting international artists like Martin Ritt, Tinto Brass, Tobe Hooper and Roman Polanski, always adventurous, always making artistic decisions. And most of all, he was simply a magnificent actor. He is greatly missed.

Reykjavik-Rotterdam (2008)/The Bride Wore Black (1968)/Sleepless (2001)

Reykjavik-Rotterdam 10/10

For Kristofer's failed attempt to go straight,co-writer/(along with Arnaldur Indriðason) director Óskar Jónasson & cinematographer Bergsteinn Björgúlfsson soak the film in light Nordic Noir blues which stylishly reveals Kristófer's blue collar roots.Sticking Kristófer on a ship for a good part of the film, Jónasson hits the sea with an anxious mood,as brilliantly held corner shots unlock the limited locations Kristofer has to hide the contraband and his murky Film Noir past.

Kept to a lean 83 minute running time, (25 minutes shorter than the remake) the screenplay by Jónasson & Arnaldur Indriðason (who is also a superb Nordic Noir novelist) smartly keeps things evenly split between Kristófer and Íris,which creates an excellent friction in how they address enter the crime underworld,with Kristófer's desperate attempt to keep one foot in his family life being neatly counted by Íris unknowingly taking the rest of the family deeper into the ruthless Nordic Noir world. Delivering a somewhat up-beat ending which thankfully keeps the contraband out of the most lawful hands,the writers give Kristófer and Íris a fantastic kick into the Film Noir darkness,as Kristófer starts to fear that Íris life is about to become contraband.

Going on to direct the US remake, Baltasar Kormákur gives a great performance as Kristófer,thanks to Kormákur's firmly gripping Kristófer's humble roots whilst also bringing his sharp Film Noir loner skills back out of the shadows.As Kristófer tries to keep his dealings undercover,the very pretty Lilja Nótt Þórarinsdóttir gives Íris a sweet relaxed charm which becomes brittle,as Íris and the rest of the family find their hands covered in Kristófer's contraband.



The Bride Wore Black 10/10

"He's a man who won't face reality,but takes refuge in dreams."

Married to a "troubled" legacy, (from Truffaut & cinematographer Raoul Coutard having vicious arguments over the style of the movie for the whole production,which led to lead Jeanne Moreau having to direct the rest of the cast,to Trauffaut to later calling the title "A disappointment"!) Truffaut is still able to serve up a smoking hot dish of revenge.Whilst not featuring as much social commentary as his "French New Wave" work, Truffaut & Jean-Louis Richard's adaptation of Cornell Woolrich's novel does slyly make each of the 5 guys on Kohler's death wish list be rooted in cosy upper/middle- class lifestyles,with the "tidy" image that they all offer allowing each of them to cover their deadly pasts.

Taking an episodic approach to Kohler's revenge,the writers brilliantly take their time in allowing Kohler's attacks to become increasingly harsh,with Kohler's initial playfulness being burnt away to reveal a merciless femme fatale.Spending time with each of the 5, Truffaut and Richard give each segment its own unique Neo- Noir edge,from Delvaux's grubby car dealing,to Morane's upstanding family life bubbling away into darkness.Keeping away from unwrapping all of Kohler's mysterious past,the writers delicately open up brief glimpses into Kohler's past,which give the title a tense mood,as the flashbacks become threaded in Kohler's search for revenge.

Despite his comments later about the movie,director François Truffaut and cinematographer Raoul Coutard give the title a ravishingly ultra- stylised Film Noir blushing bride.Backed by a superb score by Bernard Herrmann which transforms wedding bells into a doom-laden anthem, Truffaut nods to "The master of suspense" with charismatic enthusiasm, as Truffaut follows Kohler's revenge attacks with dazzling tracking shots which follow Kohler setting her plans,to tense,tightly held shots sinking one of the guys into the permanent darkness that he helped to push Kohler into.Giving the revenge Film Noir a touch of dour Gothic with Kohler's alluring black and white dresses, Truffaut spreads rich frosty reds across the title,which wonderfully peel open Kohler's (mostly) cold emotions for her victims.

Given the challenge of directing the rest of the cast during production,the beautiful Jeanne Moreau gives an excellent performance as Kohler.Showing pure joy in the flashback,Moreau makes sure that the ghost of the joy always stays at the front of the title,as Kohler glides into Film Noir hell.Spending lots of time with each victim before they meet their end,Moreau strikes a perfect balance in pulling Kohler's tormented nerves across the screen,whist keeping a sense of mysterious,icy femme fatale deeply linked to Kohler,as the bride walks out in black.

Sleepless 9/10

Backed by a thunderous score from Goblin, (who joined after original composer Goran Bregovich asked for more cash!)Dario Argento builds an excellent halfway house,with references to his past work being spread across a tense millennial Giallo chiller.From the blood- splatted opening Argento reveals a rejuvenated energy, as dazzlingly stylised whip pans and jagged tracking shots give each of the murder set pieces a blazing atmosphere. Reuniting with cinematographer Ronnie Taylor,Argento & Taylor smoke the Giallo in Film Noir red,by scattering needles of rain and bursts of smoke in decaying buildings,which creates an excellent bleak canvas for the reign of terror.

Whilst the final twist does take the title into a deranged comedic direction,Argento & Franco Ferrini collaboration with novelist Carlo Lucarelli makes the change one that is easy to forgive.For the opening 30 minutes,the writers hit a perfect note of keeping the murders moving at a lightning speed,whilst making sure to drop clues to future revelations.Sinking into the Film Noir side of the Giallo,the writers smartly give Moretti & Giacomo partnership space to breath,which gives the uncovering of the truth a tense mood,and also leads to a fantastic twist in the last 30 minutes hitting an unexpectedly tragic note.

Looking rather fetching in bra & panties,the very pretty Chiara Caselli gives a terrific performance as Giacomo's girlfriend Gloria,whose uncompromising,determined attitude tightens Moretti and Giacomo's desire to solve the case.Giving the title a warm sense of gravitas, Max von Sydow pulls up the Film Noir roots of the Giallo in his superb performance as Moretti.Looking worn down to the bone, Sydow paints Moretti as a Film Noir loner whose fading memory is unable to block Moretti's doubt over solving the case decades ago,as Argento's Giallo gloves start to make Moretti sleepless.

1000th Review/10th favourite film of all time:In the Loop (2009)

10/10


Toning down the rough edge,moc-doc style of the series,co- writer/(along with Jesse Armstrong/ Simon Blackwell/ Tony Roche & Ian Martin)director Armando Iannucci and cinematographer Jamie Cairney give the film a wonderful reserved gloss,with smoothly delivered whip- pans injecting a documentary intimacy within the movie,and also allowing the viewer to catch every crisp one liner.Going to the US, Iannucci and Cairney peel away any US landmarks with obscured side shots which match Foster's deflated response to his first US visit.

Giving the film a timelessness by smartly not naming the parties or the Middle East country that "The West" is on a path to war with,the writers cover the title wall to wall with acid-tongue punchlines,as each of Malcolm Tucker's merciless verbal attacks destroy his opponent/ministers limb by limb.Hanging a cloud of war over the title,the writers hit the title with ruthless satirical fangs,as every side from the left,right & centre gets struck,as every cracking exchange exposes the characters being more concerned about keeping their spot safe than doing what is best for diplomacy.

Entering the movie like a fire breathing dragon, Peter Capaldi gives a ferocious performance as Malcolm Tucker,whose every blood spilling line of dialogue Capaldi chews with a delicious relish. Joined by a stern James Gandolfini and a sweet Anna Chlumsky,Tom Holland (who played the PM in MI5!) gives a hilarious performance as Simon Foster,by making every frozen with fear stare that Foster makes over sharing the "wrong" opinion reveal how out of the loop Foster is.

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

The World is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner 2008
I haven't seen any Bulgarian films and through a recommendation I sought this out and I'm glad I did. It's a very good road movie about a grandfather trying to jolt his grandson's memory after a car accident and taking him on a bicycle road trip from Germany to Bulgaria where he was born. The grandson does not remember anything that happened before the accident, including his parents or grandparents. The actual storyline is kind of predictable but it was so well acted, the chemistry between the grandfather and grandson was very good and I felt totally emersed in their lives. By the end I wanted more. It stayed with me ever since.

Simon 2004
I enjoyed this. Simon was a truly unlikeable character but he did hook me in the same way as he hooked the characters in the film. He really was charismatic. I am pretty sure I can't ruin the ending for someone who hasn't seen it, because the film is about his terminal cancer, but it was hard not to shed a tear for him. One of the better Dutch films I have seen.

Corn Island 2014
Beautifully shot film and well acted film about a man and his granddaughter growing Corn on a small island that pops up during the spring. However I am not sure about the ending. It left a lot of questions I had unanswered; like wtf? why? (not the very last scene but the one with the outcome of the main character) It is mesmerising though.


In Bloom 2013
Well acted film and interesting to see this side of Georgian life, but as a lot of films which show slices of people's depressing lives, it became almost forgettable not long after seeing it. I didn't connect with it the same as I have other films of similar topic and feel. In fact I don't remember that much about it a month later. I must have enjoyed it as I rated it a 7 but I don't remember much about it including the plot.

Mustang 2015
OK, one of the Oscars contenders and a very good film about 5 very strong willed sisters who rebel against their Turkish culture. Very well acted but I hope Theeb gets the Oscar (that film was one of the best movies I have seen in a very long time)

What If 2012
This Greek film is a little like Sliding Doors (1998). Same kind of concept. It is seeing 2 stories which develop after 2 choices the character makes. One to take his dog for a walk and the other if he doesn't. It is kind of predictable but very enjoyable. Nice romantic drama.

Antonia's Line 1995
Enjoyable Dutch oscar winning film about Antonia, her family and community. Very well acted and had some nice quirky moments. I feel like I had seen the film before but it held my attention well enough.

Goodnight Mommy 2014
An Austrian torture horror story. Not exactly my cup of tea as I don't like horrors plus I guessed the ending about 20 minutes into the film; it kind of fell flat for me. My friends who do like these kinds of films enjoyed it.

La Famille Bélier 2014
It's a schmaltzy French film about a hearing teenage girl living with her deaf parents and deaf brother, but I enjoyed it. Had some warm fuzzy moments and was well acted. The script was very predictable but it won me over.

Victoria 2015
Crime thriller from Germany with no proper script. The actors knew where they were headed but improvised the dialogue. It was supposed to be shot in real time so you are always with the characters over the course of a few hours. It was interesting because of the editing was so great but not much thought actually went into the plot and some of the decisions/feelings the characters made were so damn stupid and far fetched. Laia Costa was the stand out, her acting saved the film and made it watchable. She alone drove the plot.

Winter in Wartime 2008
Maybe I am getting soft in the head liking all these flaky films but this is another film I thoroughly enjoyed. I thought it was a good coming of age film about the Dutch resistance. It's definitely not in the same league as a film like Come And See but I feel it tried to get the same kind of message across. I enjoyed the acting, the cinematography was very good and enjoyed the script too.

Will finish this tomorrow

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

Thanks for the reviews, Professor. I've not heard of alot of these recent European releases.

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

A War 2015
A Danish film about an officer stationed in Afghanistan who was charged with a War crime. He is sent home to face a trial. It was a little stereotyped and predictable but it was decent enough. Well acted and the script held my interest. What I found interesting was the trial was held in a normal court and not a military one and it is not tried in front of a jury. I do like seeing courtroom dramas from around the world.


School for Scoundrels (1960)
I loved this old British classic. Ian Carmichael, Terry-Thomas & Alastair Sim together is just comedy gold.

Mia Madre (2015)
This is a really good film. Maybe it's because I love Nanni Moretti films or that Margherita Buy is such a wonderful actress who elevates everything she is in. I thought the script was fascinating and you really felt like you were on the set of a film with Margherita directing. John Turturro did a great job of the American actor who had an over inflated ego. The filmed driving scene was hilarious.

Eternity and a Day (1998)
OK, if anyone actually understood this film, please advise. Were Alexandre and the boy already dead? Was this about their souls either being in limbo and mixing with the living or moving on? If not, it really didn't make a lot of sense. I am pretty sure he did not do all this on some last day, because unless it was euthanasia how would he actually know it was his last day?

Empties 2007
I did enjoy this Czech film, it warmed my heart. Jan Sverák is a great director and I have enjoyed all of his films that I have seen. Zdenek Sverák was really touching as the retired teacher still wanting to do something with his life. The balloon trip had some beautiful shots of the Czech Republic, made me want to go back and visit.

Black's Game 2012
Very decent crime thriller from Iceland. They seem to be getting quite good at this genre. A nice twist (well not so nice) stops it becoming totally generic, but there was some great homage paid to some Hollywood movies in the cinematography. The acting was very good and Damon Younger did a great job as the nutjob bad guy.

A War Game.

Hi Pending,I want to say that I really enjoyed reading your review of A War,with your comment of the oddly "normal" courtroom settings reminding me of the strange in-house setting where the hostage negotiations in A Hijacking took place.

I also want to say that I'm very pleased to see that you enjoyed the overlooked Nordic Noir Black's Game,with this being what I wrote on the film:

Filmed after all the major banks in the country had gone bust,writer/director Óskar Thór Axelsson & cinematographer Bergsteinn Björgúlfsson open ever wound of Iceland to splatter a brittle Nordic Noir atmosphere across the screen,by making every building in the title look covered in charcoal,and the deep snow opening up the cold hearted brutality of the underworld characters.Digging into the minds of Stebbi & Tóti, Axelsson superbly dazzles ultra-stylised, over-lapping images across the screen,which pull the viewer into Stebbi and Tóti peak moments of heightened hedonism.

Shooting Stefán Máni's true crime book on to the screen,the screenplay by Axelsson leaves any hint of a "journey/learning the error of their ways" at the blood-soaked door,thanks to Axelsson making the Nordic underworld run on Film Noir loners whose sole reasons for living are cold,hard drugs,cash & blood.Running at a trim 104 minutes, Axelsson slowly sinks Stebbi deeper and deeper into Tóti's merciless black tar,as Steebi's "favour" is revealed to be small fry,as he joins Toti in smashing up the old board of a ruthless game.

Re: A War Game.

Wasn't the hostage negotiations in the company's boardroom (A Hijacking) and they were going to pay against advice? Sorry, I saw this quite a few years ago at a film festival so my recollection is rusty.

I noticed you have seen and enjoyed Reykjavik-Rotterdam. Have you seen any other Icelandic or other European countries films like this? I have seen Jar City and I did enjoy it but not as much as Reykjavik-Rotterdam. I am looking for recommendations, I love these kinds of films and I have run out of Hollywood/UK/Australian films like these.

Re: A War Game.

Hi Pending,I first want to say that I'm happy to hear that you also enjoyed Rotterdam,with the Jar City novel being a gripping book that I'm currently reading.

Picking up the film completely by mistake,I highly recommend the superb 2009 film Headhunter:

www.imdb.com/title/tt1322315/?ref_=nv_sr_3

Re: A War Game.

Thanks, I'll see if I can find it. It kind of sounds like the plot for the Norwegian film Headhunters (2011) which I thought was awesome. Have you seen that one and is it similar?

Re: A War Game.

Hi Pending,with Headhunter,it does share some similarities in being set in a shady corporate world,but exchanges Headhunters jet-black Comedy side for a much more gloomy atmosphere.I'm pleased to say that the film has come out on official DVD with Subs:

http://www.amazon.com/Headhunter-Hunter-NON-USA-FORMAT-Reg-2/dp/B004AJ5F3E/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1455839384&sr=1-1&keywords=Headhunter+2009


I have also found a trailer for the movie-with Eng Subs:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-89NqncPC4

On a Norwegian Thriller note,I highly recommend Jo Nesbo's gripping pulp tale Headhunters,which has a much more cynical ending than the very good film.

Re: A War Game.

Yes I have that book. It is what I am currently reading. It is great.

I have (not long ago) read Kvinden i buret (Mercy) by Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen. They made a film about it too called The Keeper of Lost Causes http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2438644/ if you haven't seen or read it you should, I think you would like it.

Re: A War Game.

Hi Pending,with getting near to the end of Jar City, (looking forward to seeing the film version)I want to say thank you for the The Keeper of Lost Causes rec,which should be my next Nordic Noir reading.After seeing him in the wonderful Danish Western The Salvation,I've just picked up a Mads Mikkelsen Scandi crime movie called Exit:

www.imdb.com/title/tt0482957/?ref_=ttfc_fc_tt

Re: A War Game.

Thanks for the 'Exit' rec; my friend has this and he says it's good. Have borrowed it and a few others and am going to watch it this week. I will let you know my thoughts.

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

Last month was devoted to Rivette's films. I felt it was time to review the man's output, and a more delightful task could hardly be imagined.

Secret Defense: Bonnaire is tremendous, and she gets good support from Radziwilowicz, Marsac and Colin.

La bande des quatre: women's acting school rehearses La double inconstance, while unsavoury events impinge on their lives. Bulle Ogier memorable and the other women give good support. Benoit Regent manages to be creepy in a quiet way.

La duchesse de Langeais: faithful to Balzac (the Feuillere version doesn't include the kidnapping scene) and very enjoyable. Two very egotistical people locked in mortal combat.

Le Pont du Nord: not the strongest work, but worthwhile nonetheless. Bulle Ogier and her daughter Pascale ramble around Paris by train and scooter hunting for what? Rivette could not get money for indoor shooting, so everything is al fresco.

L'amour fou: a theatre troupe rehearses Andromaque while the lives of the director and his wife undergo a lot of difficulty. At four hours, it does seem long, but the acting makes up for the longueurs.

Also seen: La belle noiseuse, Va savoir, L'histoire de Marie et Julien, Merry-go-round. Haut bas fragile still unseen.

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

It was very sad for the world of cinema to lose a distinctive voice like Jacques Rivette. Sounds like you had a nice time watching his work last month. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

'Without Pity' (1948, Senza pietà - Alberto Lattuada)

Angela Borghi (Carla Del Poggio) searches for her brother Carlo with the help of G.I. Jerry Jackson (John Kitzmiller) as people are being rounded up during the aftermath of the 2nd World War.

Dirt slips through the fingers in 'Without Pity', a story about mistreated Italian women who dream of escaping a life of poverty and neglect by emigrating to the United States, and of a lonely American soldier who strives to stay in Europe and avoid returning to a world of enforced segregation. Alberto Lattuada's hard-hitting account of post-war strife is a controversial work that was condemned, even restricted, by powerful religious organisations, and was filmed largely on location as the rebuilding process took shape across war-torn Europe. It uses a dramatic orchestral score contributed by Nino Rota as well as traditional American spirituals. The overall effect is one of grim authenticity on the ground, allowing characters space to voice their concerns.
Lattuada delivers some gritty set-pieces including a harrowing depiction of lost ladies caught in communal passion at a closed convent for missing girls, and a fairground foray that foreshadows the wonders of 'Variety Lights' (1950). The screenplay by Lattuada, Federico Fellini and Tullio Pinelli is an explosive political tract which the performers are encouraged to pick up and run with. Lattuada elicits sterling work from Carla Del Poggio and John Kitzmiller as lost souls looking for answers, Giulietta Masina who's an extraordinary force as fantasist hooker Marcella, Pierre Claude who provides an unsettling presence as creepy pimp Signor Pier Luigi, and Folco Lulli who blows hot and cold as spaghetti-loving crook Giacomo. 'Without Pity' is an unflinching portrait of lives wrecked by conflict that's rich in character.

'The Adventures Of Jane' (1949 - Edward G. Whiting)

Burlesque performer Jane Gay (Christabel Leighton-Porter) checks into Room 69 at the Devil's Corner Hotel in Brighton, England before boarding the SS London ocean liner where she becomes unwittingly tangled up in a jewellery heist.

'The Adventures Of Jane' is the original screen version of comic book heroine Jane's misadventures, starring Christabel Leighton-Porter who had portrayed Jane on stage under the advisement of creator Norman Pett. It's a rousing comedy with arousing costume slips, suggestive dialogue and a chucklesome music hall soundtrack that captures the spirit of the times. First half highlights include an exciting beauty contest and 'Carry On' clown Peter Butterworth mumbling and stumbling as a bumbling drunk. The caper takes flight in the second half which showcases a hilarious set-piece at U K Customs and action scenes with Jane's loyal dachshund Fritz. Christabel Leighton-Porter is a delight to watch.
Lovely Glynis Barber shone brightly in the early 1980s playing Jane in a live-action comic book created for television. The wonderful Kirsten Hughes portrayed Jane in Terry Marcel's colour feature 'Jane And The Lost City' (1987). There was talk of bringing Jane back for the new millennium with Daniela Denby-Ashe in the role; interestingly, Denby-Ashe is a Londoner of Polish ancestry, as is Lysette Anthony who was considered for the role of Jane in the 1980s. We're still waiting for a post-2000 version so I'll nominate Jorgie Porter as my choice to be the new Jane.

'The Bargee' (1964 - Duncan Wood)

Self-proclaimed canal barge casanova Hemel Pike (Harry H. Corbett) and his randy cousin Ronnie (Ronnie Barker) would love a girl in every port but they'll settle for taking a girl up every canal.

'The Bargee' has nice Technicolor photography by Harry Waxman and an amusing musical accompaniment by composer Frank Cordell but these elements are wasted on a tale of two boorish louts out to defile every young woman they meet. TV comedians Harry H. Corbett and Ronnie Barker are thoroughly obnoxious throughout this tedious trawl that also boasts a horrible performance as a musical mariner from a miscast Eric Sykes. I think what's saddest about this shocking debacle is that it wastes sensitive comic performances from Hugh Griffith and Julia Foster as veteran docker Joe Turnbull and his daughter Christine, as well as the excellent Derek Nimmo who drops in to provide a surprising diagnosis as Doctor Stone. A real stinker.

'Hide And Seek' (1972 - David Eady)

London street kids commit petty theft in a rundown part of the city roamed by gangs of robbers.

'Hide And Seek' is a simplistic children's film presented in a bland manner by documentarian David Eady. The drab visuals cause the straight-forward plot to drag painfully though I found the biggest negative to be the annoying brats the story revolves around. It's shot entirely on location in Deptford, a lively, musical part of London I worked in for a time, so I could appreciate the rowdy street scenes and piles of dusty rubble. Only Robin Askwith enlivens proceedings as a dense hooligan with a death wish.

'Live Like A Cop, Die Like A Man' (1976, Uomini si nasce poliziotti si muore - Ruggero Deodato)

Bent cops Fred (Marc Porel) and Tony (Ray Lovelock) are recruited by the Captain (Adolfo Celi) to lead an undercover special squad built to clean up the streets of Rome, Italy.

This blistering crime thriller from filmmaker Ruggero Deodato concerns the obsessive working lives of an inseparable pair of renegades who place equal importance upon thrill-seeking as ridding the streets of criminals. The screenplay by poliziotteschi master Fernando Di Leo is loose and episodic but carries a consistent narrative thread that taps into a troubling psychological dimension. Via a series of manipulative stand-offs, the line between criminality and the law is all but erased. It becomes a film about a man's choices in life and how he chooses to die; his ability to control his own fate and susceptibility to allowing the law to do so.
'Live Like A Cop, Die Like A Man' opens with a seismic ten minute motorbike chase lensed by brilliant cameraman Guglielmo Mancori, a frequent collaborator of maestros Lucio Fulci and Umberto Lenzi. With its electrical pulse, energetic pursuits, hyperactive tumbling and challenging terrain, it's a movie that emerges as an armoured vehicle on a collision course. The maverick cops look like Starsky & Hutch but these bad boy bikers are sponsored by Suzuki motorcycles and fizzy drinks giant Fanta. Marc Porel and Ray Lovelock receive strong opposition from Adolfo Celi as their aggressive police chief, Renato Salvatori as gangland boss Roberto 'Bobo Beebie' Pasquini, Sofia Dionisio as irresponsible nymphomaniac Lina Pasquini, Silvia Dionisio as precinct secretary Norma, Franco Citti as uncontrollable psychopath Ruggero 'Rudy The Dog' Ruggerini, Bruno Corazzari as morphine addict Kit-Kat Morandi, Anja Engstrom as Swedish airhead Bimbo, and Alvaro Vitali as cowardly snitch The Concierge. The music is by Ubaldo Continiello who lets Lovelock sing a couple of songs on the soundtrack.

'Don't Worry, I'm Fine' (2006, Je vais bien, ne t'en fais pas - Philippe Lioret)

Elise 'Lili' Tellier (Melanie Laurent) returns home from Barcelona to find that her twin brother Loic has left without telling her where he's going.

I love films that attempt to tackle the unerring complexity of twin psychology and this simmering melodrama does just that. 'Don't Worry, I'm Fine' carries the essential components of a classical mystery, and in this regard it's dutifully paced, tense at times, and always in service of the conundrum that lies at the heart of the text. The format is basic and easy to follow so the film derives its complexity from social interaction, burning a candle at both ends as Lili holds a vigil.
Melanie Laurent is superb as Lili, a vulnerable, potentially unstable student who has trouble retaining focus and has been emotionally stunted by her upbringing and environment. Kad Merad and Isabelle Renauld are note-perfect as the Telliers, unhappy parents of two whose misplaced faith has come back to haunt them. Aissa Maiga is kind and approachable as Lili's best friend Lea. Julien Boisselier portrays Lea's learned boyfriend Thomas and I feel he handles a difficult role well, reacting to those around him and bringing a sobering influence to some tricky situations. The musical score by distinguished composer Nicola Piovani is remarkably restrained and understated, almost sedate in its rendering. This is a powerful and sincere motion picture about faith, loss and the quest for independence.

'Villa Amalia' (2009 - Benoit Jacquot)

Concert pianist Ann (Isabelle Huppert) runs away to start a new life, leaving her unfaithful husband Thomas (Xavier Beauvois) behind.

'Villa Amalia' is based on a novel by Pascal Quignard, author of 'All The Mornings Of The World' which was filmed by Alain Corneau in the 1990s. The film's director Benoit Jacquot was bewitched by his star Isabelle Huppert from their first meeting and this picture feels like a distillation of the liquid essence of their artistic union. It's a flowing fantasy of music, water, and ultimately, the sublime sense of wonder that only isolation can bring. Huppert doesn't say much but she expresses a bewildering range of emotions, from ripples of joy to the depths of sorrow, though these are tempered within the context of the piece. Jacquot has created a compelling thriller in which very little happens and even less is learnt, working with one of the great actresses of European cinema to achieve this. I hope all their collaborations can come to dvd here in U K as I'm keep to see more.

Without Pity.

Thank you for the excellent review of Without Pity Petro,and that with having picked up the film over the weekend,I'm going to try and watch it in the next few days (with this being the first Fellini item I'll be viewing!) Before I forget,I also want to say that I enjoyed reading your review of Sleep Tight,which I've had laying around waiting to get watched for ages (the last two Rec movies lead to me suspecting that it will be a let down.)

Re: Without Pity.

Thanks morrison. I hope you enjoy the movie.

I'm willing to follow Jaume Balaguero pretty much anywhere as I feel he's one of the most promising talents working in horror today. I think the '[REC]' well has probably run dry by now, though I did enjoy the third and fourth parts well enough, and I applaud Balaguero for instigating a series of found footage films that have proven so effective (generally speaking, it's my least favourite horror subgenre). 'Sleep Tight' is well worth seeing, an impressive character study in its own quiet way, though I didn't feel it worked so well as psychological horror; I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on it.

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

Don't Worry I'm Fine is an excellent film. Haven't heard of Live Like A Cop, Die Like A Man, sounds really up my street. Put it on my watch list; thanks.

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

Hi Professor. I found 'Don't Worry, I'm Fine' very compelling. Glad I took a chance on a blind buy.

'Live Like A Cop, Die Like A Man' was recently released on dvd by the distribution company Arrow Films. Entertaining movie for anyone looking for an action-based, buddy-buddy cop thriller.

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

Hi Petro,after some delay I finally got round to seeing the great 2014 Nordic Western The Salvation,with this being what I wrote:

8/10

Starting as a late arrival to the Dogme 95 movement,co-writer/(along with Anders Thomas Jensen) director Kristian Levring crosses stripped to the bone sets with lavish bursts of colour over the screen.Keeping parts of the original burnt down South African set, Levring & cinematographer Jens Schlosser sink the Nordic Wild West into dazzling waxed yellows,browns and reds,which gradually reveal everything that Jon Jensen holds dear to melt away. Gliding across the stripped down sets, Levring & Schlosser impressively use the minimalism of the sets to make the boiling sun and pelts of rain crackle,and to also give the title a deeply tense atmosphere,as Jensen and Delarue find no corners offering salvation.

Allowing Jon Jensen a small moment of happiness before his family is destroyed,the screenplay by Jensen and Levring delicately makes sure to give each of the Jensen's a sweetheart moment which makes Jon's tragedy pack a real punch.Drawing Danish and English dialogue over the film,the writers keep the dialogue clipped,and fill every line with a nervous dread,as alliances to Jon and Delarue change with every quick-draw.

Joined by a wonderful Eric "Ooh Aah" Cantona, Jeffrey Dean Morgan gives an excellent performance as Henry Delarue,thanks to Morgan matching his sharp fighting score with a snarling delivery that knocks everyone in its path. Reuniting from Casino Royal, Mads Mikkelsen and Eva Green give fantastic performances as Jon Jensen and "Princess" Madelaine. Tied up to Delarue,Green superbly shows Madelaine's "princess" features to shatter as she learns of the Delarue's family misdeeds,whilst Mikkelsen gives a brilliant performance as Jensen,whose initial heartbreak Mikkelsen transforms into a tough as leather drive for a shot at salvation.

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

Hi morrison. I hope you had a wonderful birthday. You share a birthday with legendary songwriter Carole King, widely worshipped comic book artist Frank Frazetta, pioneering feminist author Alice Walker, and screen funnyman Joe Pesci among others. Not to mention William Henry Harrison of Virginia, the 9th President of the United States who served in Ohio.

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

Hi Petro,thank you for the great birthday info,with Frank Frazetta's Conan artwork being something that a family friend is a huge fan of.Along with the people you list,I've just discovered that Mia Farrow was born Feb 9th 1945.

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

And Carmen Miranda too!

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

'Murder At 3am' (1953 - Francis Searle)

Inspector Peter Lawton (Dennis Price) investigates the case of a night-time killer but he doesn't like where the clues lead him.

This serviceable quota quickie is clunky in places, not helped by some distracting organ breaks in composer Eric Spear's cumbersome score. It's a stiff, disjointed potboiler that feels like a discontinued mechanical arm in urgent need of oil. The highlight is a delightful gypsy joint at the Jewel Box Night Club. Despite the lifeless non-direction of Francis Searle and a listless congregation of colourless peripheral characters, Dennis Price manages to appear decent and upstanding as the police inspector and Peggy Evans battles bravely as his sister Joan in her final theatrical feature. Fortunately, there's some fine photography to admire, courtesy of multi-layered cameraman S.D. Onions, the cinematographer behind some of Paul Czinner's filmic excursions into the world of ballet and opera.

'Our Girl Friday' (1953 - Noel Langley)

Three men and a beautiful princess find themselves marooned on a deserted tropical island with a randy buck cockatoo for company.

This risible riff on the writings of literary master Robert Louis Stevenson is hamstrung by terrible overacting from co-leads George Cole and Kenneth More, the charmless Robertson Hare whose attempts at animation come off like a sinking ship, and the aloof nature of prim primadonna Joan Collins who preens, parades and poses in bikinis. The tiresome soundtrack dives down dramatically to dig out its considerable nadir with an infantile replica of a traditional hula hula refrain. A dire comedy that capsizes before the unfortunate viewer's eyes.

Re: What European films did you see? January / February 2016

The Brand New Testament (2015)
Another fine film from Belgian director Jaco Van Dormael. It may not have been as perfect as Toto the Hero (1991) or The Eighth Day (1996) but it is a pretty damn great film. I laughed a lot throughout and in parts it felt very Monty Pythonish, especially before they left the apartment. Can't recommend this film enough as I think it is one of my favourite movies of the year, however if you found Life of Brian blasphemous then avoid this film.

Insomnia (1997)
The excellent Norwegian film which Hollywood remade. I have always loved the Al Pacino, Robin Williams remake, I thought it was a good film, but this one is better. Stellan Skarsgård is amazingly dark and I think it suits the film better. Although many scenes are literally identical it does veer away from the Christopher Nolan film (or vice versa)

Knockin' on Heaven's Door (1997)
A decent German comedy crime film about 2 terminally ill men who want to see the sea before they die. It weaves it's way along in a predictable manner but it is a lot of fun to watch. Sometimes the gags were too old and they hammed it up too much but it was a fun way to spend an hour and a half.
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