Saturday, October 06, 2012

September Film Highlights

Read the 50 Word blog if you can; I work very hard on it.

Dredd (2012) Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Wood Harris, Lena Headey. Dir: Pete Travis

Dredd 50 Word Film Review
Judge (jury & executioner) Dredd is trapped with a rookie in an office-block, hunted by a gang. Tightly-woven actioneering with plenty of violence and thrills, if few surprises. Hardly thought-provoking, but successfully showcases potential for future franchising. Urban manages to avoid sounding silly, but distinguishing between judges is a problem.


God Told Me To (1976) Tony Lo Bianco, Deborah Raffin, Sandy Dennis, Sylvia Sidney, Sam Levene. Dir: Larry Cohen.
God Told Me To 50 Word Film Review

A Catholic policeman is distressed when several spree-killers claim God told them to kill. Makes The Omen seem like a skip through the park. The rough edges to this trippy horror actually work for it, creating an off-balance vision of religion and divinity which is psychedelic, mind-bending and very disturbing.


The Trial (1962) Anthony Perkins, Orson Welles, Jeanne Moreau, Romy Schneider, Akim Tamiroff, Elsa Martinelli. Dir: Orson Welles.
The Trial 50 Word Film Review

A man is arrested but without being told the reason. The surreal, black comedy of Kafka’s tale gives Welles plenty of opportunity to display his visual showmanship, transforming a ruined railway station into a decaying symbol of inertia, and self-consuming corruption. But like Josef’s case, it goes nowhere slowly.


Rebecca (1940) Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, Judith Anderson, George Sanders, Nigel Bruce, C. Aubrey Smith, Gladys Cooper. Dir: Alfred Hitchcock.
Rebecca Hitchcock 50 Word Film Review

A young girl marries a wealthy older man, but the shadow of his first wife hangs over her. Whatever battles Hitch and Selznick fought were ultimately worth it. It’s more Hollywood than Hitchcock, but this beautiful gothic melodrama is full of the master’s touches. Performances are pitch perfect.


Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932) Bela Lugosi, Sidney Fox, Leon Ames, Bert Roach, Brandon Hurst. Dir: Robert Florey.
Murders in the Rue Morgue

A sideshow doctor wishes to combine the blood of his gorilla with a compatible female. Florey and cameraman Freund are an expressionistic dream team; every frame is exquisitely composed (even the monkey’s well handled). Surprisingly macabre, studio mandated cuts leave sections a bit choppy, and the support characters are rubbish.


The Bat (1959) Vincent Price, Agnes Moorehead, Gavin Gordon, John Sutton, Lenita Lane. Dir: Crane Wilbur.
The Bat 50 Word Film Review

A fortune may be hidden in an old mansion and it’s sought by the a killer known as The Bat. Ropey old mystery play transferred to the screen with little imagination and a great deal of clumsy exposition. Very silly, very dated, and the twist is nicked from Agatha Christie.


Edge of Sanity (1989) Anthony Perkins, Glynis Barber, Sarah Maur-Thorp, David Lodge, Ben Cole. Dir: Gerard Kikoine.
Edge of Sanity 50 Word Film Review
When Jekyll becomes Hyde, long supressed desires are awakened. Takes the sexual undertones to their zenith, while relating the tale to Jack the Ripper, though that’s oddly incidental. Psychology’s rather simple and ultimately the story has nowhere to go but silly, and that’s in addition to gigglesome Ken-Russell-esque sauce and flamboyance.