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Everything posted by LawrenceA

  1. 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
  2. Lucille Ball as October Star of the Month. So they're sticking to a horror theme.
  3. No. It's in Indonesian, with English subtitles. At least the version I watched on Shudder was.
  4. 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 20
  5. 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 a
  6. 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
  7. 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?!
  8. 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 g
  9. 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 Man, Midsommar, The 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)
  10. 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)
  11. 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.
  12. 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 uninterestin
  13. 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 multi
  14. 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 featur
  15. 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 Ea
  16. 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)
  17. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (2009) Sweden/Dir: Daniel Alfredson - Third entry in Millennium trilogy based on Stieg Larsson's book series. The events pick up immediately after those of the previous film, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and deal with the far-reaching ramifications of fugitive hacker Lisabeth Salander's (Noomi Rapace) actions in that story. She's to be put on trial, but her friend Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), editor of Millennium magazine, works diligently to clear her name. I found this installment to be about on par with the previous one - worth a watch bu
  18. Koko-di Koko-da (2019) Sweden/Dir: Johannes Nyholm - A grieving couple decide to go on a camping trip to try and patch up their failing marriage and come to terms with their feelings of loss. They are menaced by an odd trio - a grinning carnival barker, a pig-tailed and gun-wielding woman with a vicious dog, and a mute simpleton giant carrying a dead dog. The couple's horror increases as they are forced to relive their encounter with the strangers over and over again, Groundhog Day style. This was certainly an unusual film, but I found it tiresome. It's supposedly all allegorical, dealing
  19. Alice (1988) Czechoslovakia/Dir: Jan Svankmajer - Bizarre, hallucinatory mix of live action and stop-motion animation in this adaptation of Lewis Carroll's works. Director Svankmajer wanted to make a version of the oft-filmed tale that was more dreamlike than fairy tale, and he succeeds, although it's more nightmarish than dreamy. The film has a unique (at the time, any way) visual aesthetic that became highly influential over the next decade, a mixture of children's iconography and distressed, decayed art direction. Recommended. (8/10)
  20. "To know death, you have to **** life in the gall bladder!" - Flesh for Frankenstein (1973) I tend to say this when ordering things from the bakery.
  21. There was the live-action Mr. Clean movies with Clint Walker, the two Ty-D-Bol Man movies with George Maharis, and the animated Scrubbing Bubbles movie. They all led up to the team-up film Water Closet: Endgame. It was all part of the BCU, Bathroom Cinematic Universe. Huge hits in Europe, I believe.
  22. But...but...what about Updyke?!?
  23. I'm still using UNIVAC. If it ain't broke...
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