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Posts posted by LawrenceA

  1. El_Fantasma_del_Convento_(1934)_Spanish_

    The Phantom of the Convent  (1934)  Mexico/Dir: Fernando de Fuentes  -  A trio of travelers seek refuge in a forbidding old monastery, where the monks regale them with a scary tale that seems to influence the trio's own behavior. With Enrique del Campo, Marta Roel, and Carlos Villatoro.

    I enjoyed this one, regarded as the second Mexican horror film. If aspects sound similar to the later Dos Monjes, they were made by the same company, feature a shared writer (Juan Bustillo Oro), and some of the same cast, along with the setting. There were also parts that reminded me of Charles Beaumont's 1959 story "The Howling Man", later adapted memorably on The Twilight Zone. I can't help but think Beaumont was at least partly inspired by this movie. The Criterion Channel lists this movie as The Phantom of the Monastery, but all other sources use ...Convent instead. (7/10)

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  2. Two_Monks_poster.jpg

    Dos Monjes/Two Monks  (1934) Mexico/Dir: Juan Bustillo Oro  -  After a violent altercation in a monastery, the two monks involved each explain their motivations, vis flashback. With Victor Urruchua, Carlos Villatoro, and Magda Heller.

    I see this film listed as "horror" but I wouldn't agree with that categorization. It's a psychological drama that explores madness and guilt. It also uses a Rashomon-style story technique, with conflicting memories that complicate the tale, although the "truth" seems to be settled by the end. The film has a lot of silent movie touches, like German Expressionist production designs and camera set-ups, and the performances have an exaggerated, pantomime quality. This was recently restored as part of Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Project.   (6/10)

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  3. 2 minutes ago, Sukhov said:

    If you get the chance please check out "The Seventh Bullet." A neat red western from Uzbekistan about revenge. The only memorable movie I recall seeing from that country.

    Thanks! I see that it's on YT, so I saved it to my Watch Later queue.

  4. Impetigore.jpg

    Impetigore  (2019) Indonesia/Dir: Joko Anwar -  Supernatural horror tale about a young woman (Tara Basro) and her best friend (Marissa Anita) who travel to a remote village in hopes of claiming an inheritance, only to discover a sinister curse. Also with Ario Bayu, Asmara Abigail, and Christine Hakim.

    I thought this was excellent, well-crated with evocative cinematography, fascinating locations, and good performances. I was surprised to learn that this was the official Indonesian submission for Best International Film at the Oscars that year. It was nominated for 17 Citra Awards, the Indonesian equivalent of the Oscar, and won 6, including best picture, best director, best sound, best cinematography, best editing, and best supporting actress for Hakim.   (7/10)

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  5. Ilsposter.jpg

    Them  (2006) France & Romania/Dir: David Moreau & Xavier Palud  -  Thriller about a young French couple (Olivia Bonamy & Michael Cohen) living in a rural area outside Bucharest. One night they are terrorized by mysterious strangers.

    This pre-dates, by a couple of years, the "home invasion" horror boom that began with the release of The Strangers in the U.S. There's very little plot, only an escalating series of encounters and chase taking place over the course of a few hours. Some of worked, some of it didn't. A lot of the film was too dark to tell what exactly I was looking at, and later use of strobing light grew tiresome.   (6/10)

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  6. Shutterposter.jpg

    Shutter  (2004) Thailand/Dir: Banjong Pisanthanakun & Parkpoom Wongpoom - Supernatural horror concerning a photographer and his girlfriend being haunted by a vengeful ghost after a hit-and-run accident. 

    This was pretty good, but I wasn't as thrilled with it as many seem to be. Maybe the style is too overdone at this point, as this resembles many of the other "J-horror" type ghost stories of the 2000's. The film was a big hit, and went on to become one of the most widely seen Thai films ever released. It was remade in the US, with poor results, in 2008.    (6/10)

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  7. CodePereNoel.jpg

    Deadly Games  (1989) France/Dir: Rene Manzour - Holiday horror as a crazed killer (Patrick Floersheim) dressed as Santa Claus terrorizes an action movie-obsessed boy (Alain Lalanne) and his infirm grandfather (Louis Decreux) in the latter's huge mansion estate. Also starring Brigitte Fossey as the boy's mother.

    This is an odd movie. The filmmaking is slick, even if the cinematography gets a bit too gauzy, in that particular late 1980's/early 1990's way. The boy dresses up like a miniature Rambo, and he staves off the killer Santa using Home Alone-style tactics. In fact the writer-director threatened to sue over the similarities between that later film and this one.  I'm not generally a fan of yuletide terror films, and this one is no exception, but it's strangeness makes it worth a look if nothing else is available. Also released as Dial Code Santa ClausGame Over, and Hide & Freak!  (6/10)


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  8. 14 minutes ago, Bogie56 said:

    One of the resources that I use is a filemaker program for inputting data and I do list the country of origin which can be quite difficult to determine if you are only including one nation per film as I do.

    In this age of multi-national productions it is even more difficult so I try to use a few different metrics such as shooting location, nationality of the director and where the sound crew is from.  Why the sound crew?   The film usually ends up in its predominate country for post production work.

    I have Iran for Under the Shadow and Saudi Arabia for Wadjda .

    Also, if the film is an official entry by country for the Academy Awards that is a dead give away.

    Yeah, Letterboxd lists multiple countries for each film, if applicable. For instance, besides Jordan, Wadjda is also listed for Saudi Arabia (one of only two from there I've seen, the other being The Message), as well as listed under Germany, Netherlands, UAE, and USA.

    I'd naturally prefer a single nation of origin, but alas. 

    Also, here's a list of countries from which I've not seen any films:

    • Greenland
    • Haiti
    • Belize
    • Guatemala
    • El Salvador
    • Honduras
    • Costa Rica
    • Guyana
    • French Guiana
    • Suriname
    • Bolivia
    • Madagascar
    • most of the Central African countries
    • most of the West African coastal nations
    • Yemen
    • Oman
    • Iraq
    • Syria
    • Albania
    • Montenegro
    • Kosovo
    • Moldova
    • Belarus
    • Estonia
    • Turkmen-, Uzbeki-, Kyrgyz-, and Tajikistans
    • Mongolia
    • North Korea
    • Bhutan
    • Bangladesh
    • Myanmar
    • Cambodia
    • Laos
    • Papua New Guinea

    as well as several Pacific and Caribbean island nations

    • Like 2
  9. 27 minutes ago, Bogie56 said:

    Captain Abu Raed (2007) Amin Matalqa, Jordan

    This is probably the only Jordanian film that I have seen. 

    On the Letterboxd website ( letterboxd.com ), if you sign up for a "Pro" membership, you get access to a "Stats" page that includes a world map. If you've logged all the movies you've seen, it will show you what films from each country you've seen. You can also toggle the options to show you all of the movies from each country that you haven't seen. It's not 100% concise, as they include films that were just funded by certain nations, or provided some production facilities (locations, in-country studio, etc.).

    For example, for Jordan, it says that I've seen 4 films, but they are Under the Shadow (2016), Wadjda (2012), the American film Gerry (2002), and the TV mini-series Arabian Nights (2000). It also lists 66 movies that I have not seen.

    Anyway, it's an amusing resource for those interested.

    • Thanks 1
  10. 51UZmMEV6hL._SY445_.jpg

    The Queen of Black Magic  (1981) Indonesia/Dir: Liliek Sudjio - Supernatural revenge tale about a spurned woman (Suzzanna) who is accused of witchcraft by her fellow villagers. After being rescued by a mysterious stranger, she learns actual black magic spells in order to get vengeance against everyone. 

    This was a major hit in its home country, and star Suzzanna achieved cult status. To a western viewer's eyes, the glimpses of Indonesian folk culture are fascinating, while the filmmaking is rather limited in technique and budget. It's entertaining, but also very goofy. It was remade in 2019.   (6/10)

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  11. What_Have_You_Done_to_Solange.jpg

    What Have You Done to Solange?  (1972) Italy/Dir: Massimo Dallamano - Giallo mystery set at an English girls' school. When students begin being murdered in gruesome ways, a philandering professor (Fabio Testi) becomes a suspect. He decides to look into the case to clear his name. Also with Karen Baal, Joachim Fuchsberger, Cristina Galbo, and Camille Keaton.

    The murders are exceptionally grisly, and the mystery a bit trickier than in the usual giallo, with a bit of social messaging in the solution. The cast is good, and the cinematography by Aristide Massaccesi looks nice. Massaccesi was also a noted director of many schlock films under the name Joe D'amato. The score by Ennio Morricone is excellent. Camille Keaton, who wordlessly plays the title character of Solange, later went on to star in the notorious I Spit on Your Grave.   (7/10)


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  12. Female_Convict_Scorpion_Jailhouse_41.jpg

    Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41  (1972) Japan/Dir: Shunya Ito - Second entry in the Female Prisoner Scorpion series. Meiko Kaji returns as Matsu, aka "Scorpion", after completing her revenge quest in the previous film. She's back in prison, and the warden swears to break her. However, she escapes with 6 other prisoners, leading the warden and local police on a blood-soaked chase.

    Highly stylized and light on plot, this won't be for everyone, but I liked it. Meiko has a charismatic presence without having to do much to earn it. It's easy to see why she became a cult favorite to 70's Japanese exploitation cinema fans. Followed by the equally recommended Grudge Song and Beast Stable entries in 1973, as well as various spin-offs, remakes and reboots in the decades after.    (7/10)


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  13. BloodyIrisPoster.jpg

    The Case of the Bloody Iris  (1972) Italy/Dir: Giuliano Carnimeo - Standard giallo murder mystery/thriller about a mysterious masked killer stalking beautiful models in a high-rise apartment building. Starring Edwige Fenech (queen of the 70's Italian genre film), and George Hilton as a photographer. 

    There's some enjoyable period atmosphere, but the script is a mess, and none of the performances stand out. Fenech is in various states of undress, as usual. For giallo die-hards only. The original Italian title directly translates to Why Are Those Strange Drops of Blood on Jennifer's Body?!  (6/10)


    • Like 3
  14. The_Swarm_film_poster.jpg

    The Swarm  (2020) France/Dir: Just Philippot - Uneven blend of family drama and nature-gone-wrong horror, with a widow (Suliane Brahim) struggling to support her two children by running a farm breeding locusts to be used for food. As she begins to give up hope of ever making a profit, she discovers that the locusts thrive when fed blood, and the more the better, setting in motion an escalating series of horrific events.

    The performances by Brahim as the mother and Marie Narbonne as her rebellious teenage daughter are good, and the film is well shot. However, the story seems reluctant to go full-tilt horror or embrace the absurdities of its premise, so the end result is a bit underwhelming.   (6/10)

    • Like 3
  15. A_Classic_Horror_Story_poster.png

    A Classic Horror Story  (2021) Italy/Dir: Roberto De Feo & Paolo Strippoli - A group of strangers carpool in an RV for a trip through the Calabrian countryside, only to fall prey to a mysterious cult.

    This starts out as another currently-in-vogue entry in the Folk Horror subgenre, and shamelessly parades its cinematic inspirations (The Wicker ManMidsommarThe Texas Chain Saw Massacre), before changing into something else in the final third. I won't go into detail, but I will say that I wasn't a fan, and it undercut some good moments from earlier in the proceedings.   (4/10)

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  16. Sceicbia.jpg

    The White Sheik (1952) Italy/Dir: Federico Fellini - A young newlywed sneaks away from her husband during their honeymoon in Rome in hopes of meeting her movie star idol (Alberto Sordi).

    Fellini's first solo feature directing job is enjoyably fun, with many humorous set-pieces and good performances. It's a lot more mainstream than his later films. I don't have much more to say, as I'm sure everyone else has seen this one, but I just got around to it this past weekend after re-subscribing to the Criterion Channel.   (7/10)


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  17. 49 minutes ago, Bogie56 said:

    I cannot argue with any of the things you say but I saw it again recently amongst a group of 60's French films and again I really liked it.  I thought Leaud was really good too as that navel gazing jerk.  :D

    Yeah, I know my opinion goes against the critical consensus. It's written of ecstatically in multiple film books that I have. But I kind of suspected it would not be my cup of tea. One would be hard pressed to assemble a film that was less appealing to my tastes.

    • Like 1
  18. The_Mother_and_the_Whore.jpg

    The Mother and the Wh*** (1973) France/Dir: Jean Eustache - An aimless jerk (Jean-Pierre Leaud) is in a terrible relationship with two women (Bernadette Lafont and Francoise Lebrun).

    My opinion of this differs wildly from the norm. I absolutely loathed this tedious, mind-numbing excursion into pretentious navel-gazing. Everything I hate about French arthouse cinema is exemplified in this torturous exercise in ponderous self-indulgence: uninspired - even ugly - production values (16mm BW cinematography); irritating, occasionally amateurish acting, in service to unappealing and uninteresting characters; ceaseless conversations about nothing; and all in a self-referential way meant to critique its own milieu. Dragging this tepid affair on for three and a half hours should be considered a crime against humanity. I found this to be arguably the worst highly-praised movie that I've ever watched. It was the kind of viewing experience that makes me want to never watch a movie ever again.   (3/10, which may seem too high a score, yet it fails to be impressive enough in its badness to earn a 2/10 or a 1/10)

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  19. kandisha-image-06-01403321-rt.jpeg?16270

    Kandisha  (2020) France/Dir: Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury - A group of young women, living in poor immigrant housing projects in Paris, summon a vengeful Moroccan spirit known as Kandisha. The girls struggle to find a way to stop the demon, while it goes on a killing spree. 

    Writer-directors Bustillo & Maury were behind the excellent 2007 film Inside, so I had high hopes for this one. Unfortunately, it ended up being too similar to a half dozen other American-made "urban boogeyman" films, with very few surprises along the way. The creature effects are well done, and the multicultural cast and setting make it a bit more unique, but not enough to seek this one out.   (6/10)

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  20. DynastyWarriors.jpg

    Dynasty Warriors  (2021) Hong Kong/Dir: Roy Hin Yeung Chow - Historical action/fantasy, based on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms stories, and the Japanese video game series. As the Han dynasty loses its grip on China, various factions vie for control. Corrupt general Dong Zhou (Suet Lam) enlists the aid of legendary warrior Lu Bu (Louis Koo) to ensure his rule, while noted young warrior Cao Cao (Kai Wang) gathers his own army. The three brothers-in-arms known as Liu Bei (Tony Yang), Zhang Fei (Justin Cheung), and Guan Yu (Geng Han) try to defeat them all in defense of the people. Also featuring Carina Lau, Ray Lui, Coulee Nazha, and Eddie Cheung.

    It would be near impossible to do the Three Kingdoms stories justice in a single feature film, as there are far too many characters and factions to wade through in such a short running time. Even the better filmed versions, such as John Woo's Red Cliff films, leave much out. This version, more specifically based on the long-running video game series, focuses more on fantastical magical weapons, big battle scenes ruined by subpar CGI effects, and only a few of the usual characters. The costuming is both lavish and a bit silly, while the casting is often questionable, particularly Louis Koo as the fearsome Lu Bu.    (4/10)

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  21. I've seen 62 films from 1929. However, it's been so long since I've seen most of them, I couldn't really comment on the performances definitively. A lot of the films that I ranked highly from that year aren't really acting showcases, either. I'll list the movies that I ranked a 7/10 or higher (excluding shorts), and any performances that I can recall as being noteworthy.

    • Man with a Movie Camera
    • Old and New
    • The Cocoanuts
    • The Mysterious Island (Lionel Barrymore)
    • The Great Gabbo (Erich von Stroheim was fun)
    • The Bishop Murder Case (Basil Rathbone)
    • Where East Is East (Lon Chaney)
    • Welcome Danger
    • The Virginian
    • The Trespasser
    • Thuderbolt
    • A Throw of Dice
    • Paris Bound (Fredric March)
    • The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu (Warner Oland)
    • Marianne (Marion Davies)
    • The Love Parade
    • The Letter (Jeanne Eagels)
    • Glorifying the American Girl
    • Woman in the Moon (Fritz Rasp)
    • Desert Nights
    • I Graduated, But...
    • Bulldog Drummond (Ronald Colman, Montagu Love)
    • The Broadway Melody
    • Blackmail
    • Applause
    • Weary River
    • Pandora's Box (Louise Brooks)
    • Like 2
  22. The_Spider's_Stratagem.jpg

    The Spider's Stratagem  (1970) Italy/Dir: Bernardo Bertolucci - A young man (Giulio Brogi) returns to the small town where his antifascist father was assassinated many years earlier. He's now considered a local hero, with memorial statues in his honor, but his son believes that there's more to the story of his father's death, and so sets out to investigate the details. With Alida Valli. 

    The cinematography is impeccable, but I found Brogi too bland of a leading man, and a distinct lack of surprise or suspense in the story.   (6/10)

    • Like 3
  23. 2 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

    There are the ones that are so obsessed by their political views that I can't stand to see what they wrote. It can be either a Right Wing Nut or a Left Wing Moron.

    There are ones that think they are funny but usually they are laughing at their own jokes.

    There are ones that think they are intelligent and use a lot of big words but they don't seem to understand them.

    There are ones that are clearly trolls, and just post gibberish.

    Or the chronic complainers (usually newbies who don't stick around) who whine about everything on TCM>

    They all sound like me.

    • Haha 6
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