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  • King Kong

    King Kong

    ★★★★

    First time watch believe it or not! A first time watch ruined by a couple of inconsiderate 🔔🔚s talking through the entire thing and clinking ice in their glasses like goddamned dice jars*. But hey ho, when I wasn't silently fuming in my seat or turning around to give them the evil eye, I still enjoyed the hell out of this seminal classic.

    Yeah the acting is a special kind of wooden, the dialogue ranges from casually misogynist, "Oh, you're…

  • The Elephant Man

    The Elephant Man

    ★★★★

    As a kid I remember being scared of the cover every time I passed it in the video store; that misshapen sack with a rough eye-hole cut in it... the promise of unspeakable horror for a monster-obsessed young mind. I don't recall what my 10 year old self thought of the movie after finally getting my parents to rent it. I was probably disappointed - sad to say, I'm sure I had more in common with the Night Porter than…

  • Edge of the Axe

    Edge of the Axe

    ★★½

    A José Ramón Larraz joint, under the alias Joseph Braunstein. If I didn't know I'd never have guessed this was from the same guy that brought us transgressive gems like Vampyres a decade earlier. This is pretty much yer common or garden smalltown slasher. And Michael Myers wants his mask back.

    On the plus side, the kills are pretty gnarly - and well-staged, although nothing tops that opening car wash kill: an axe smashes through the windscreen and several hacks…

  • Parasite

    Parasite

    ★★★★★

    Given the justifiable hype that has followed Bong Joon-Ho's coruscating social satire, I managed to avoid knowing too much about it, just the bare bones: a poor family infiltrates a rich one and things get dark. Going in, you probably think you know what exactly what the title alludes to and you wouldn't be wrong exactly, but it's a smarter and more opaque film than that. Unlike a lot of releases from 2019 - the year of societal cannibalism -…

  • Fitzcarraldo

    Fitzcarraldo

    ★★

    Nope. Not for me. I really couldn't connect in any way with Herzog's tale of a man driven by his passion for the opera to conceive of opening an opera house in the middle of the jungle. It doesn't help that I can't stand opera, but even if I could, the idea is ludicrous on the face of it - why would you open any kind of commercial venture in the middle of a primeval forest with no form of…

  • A Study in Terror

    A Study in Terror

    ★★★

    I'm not sure when the first Sherlock Holmes / Jack the Ripper crossover happened but it's a natural fit given that they were both operating in the same city at the same point in time. Of course the real case was never solved, but A Study in Terror posits an interesting what if; imagine Victorian supersleuth Sherlock Holmes had actually cracked the case and knew the identity of the ripper but kept it between himself and Watson to spare the…

  • The Children

    The Children

    ★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    From kid killer to killer kids! Max Kalmanowicz's early 80s atomic zombie brats jam isn't a great film by any technical measure, from indifferent cinematography and egregious over-acting to Henry Manfredini's score (which if I were being kind, I'd say takes its cues from Bernard Herrmann), it's not pulling up any trees. It is fun though, especially in the last act where the unintentional hilarity goes into overdrive. There's a considerable amount of dryness before we get there though, with…

  • Don't Torture a Duckling

    Don't Torture a Duckling

    ★★★★

    I always wondered whether the title of this film was one of those fantastically random titles gialli were often blessed with but no, it actually makes sense, kinda! The literal translation of the Italian title, Non si sevizia un paperino, is Don't Torture Donald Duck but the international title has another level of meaning beyond the cruel beheading of a plastic toy.

    For a film about child killings, Fulci is remarkably restrained. Most of the murders are tastefully done and…

  • Uncut Gems

    Uncut Gems

    ★★★★

    I overheard a couple on the way out of the cinema; the fella apologizing to his missus for his choice of film. Not sure why really - sure, it's a stressful, anxiety-filled punisher that grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go until the jaw-dropping sucker punch of an ending, but it's a pretty thrilling ride. It's not bland. Maybe it was a first date.

    It's a more accomplished film, but it gave me a similar feel to Joe…

  • The Church

    The Church

    ★★★

    12th Century demons trapped under the ground and a cathedral built over the top to keep them put? All hell breaking loose when they're released 8 centuries later to the sound of synth and the cool neon glow of 1989? Sounds like something I can groove to.

    I expected to like this a lot more than I actually did. I really dug the last Soavi I watched, StageFright, and on paper it's exactly my kinda demonic resurrection bullshit. The involvement…

  • Port of New York

    Port of New York

    ★★★½

    Taut little film noir that focuses on the attempts of two narcotics agents to foil a drug deal facilitated by New York's then busy commercial docks. The way this particular episode, involving a consignment of heroin entering the city via the SS Florentine, is introduced by voiceover draws attention to the fact we're essentially watching a bit of post-war propaganda - those good old boys at the bureau doing a stand up job without fanfare, keeping America safe from nefarious…

  • 1917

    1917

    ★★★

    Well, I'm glad I caught this one on the big screen! I was expecting an audiovisual spectacular and it certainly delivers in that respect. With the legendary Roger Deakins behind the camera, a huge cast and crew on board with a sizable budget to boot, it would be foolish to expect anything less. On a narrative level, it's arguably less successful - the long continuous takes, while visually stunning and technically mind-blowing, keep the viewer at an emotional remove and…