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Robert Eggers is certainly a talent to watch. After the haunting « The Witch », his sophomore effort strands Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe on a seagul-infested island where a towering lighthouse weaves a hypnotic spell. Shot in crisp black and white, this instant classic is part Lovecraftian horror film, part pitch-black comedy, and both stars turn in the performances of their lives. Looking back, this might well be one of our favorite films of the past decade.
More than an apt title, this is a massive understatement for the suicidal glee with which America’s pioneering astronauts reached for the stars. With a solid foundation in Tom Wolfe’s epic novel, assured direction by Philip Kaufman and a cast that reads like a 90s Hollywood dream-team, this fantastic true story is just as inspiring as it was almost 3 decades ago upon release.
Swedish legend Ingmar Bergman is remembered more for his psychologically insightful melodramas than for his genre films. That is a shame. Not to throw shade on his magnificent body of work, but for us, his greatest masterpiece is his only true horror film, a perfect little nightmare of a picture, starring the inimitable Max von Sydow.
Some lowbrow fun to kick off the Summer, with a bewildered protagonist stuck in a killer cybernetic body. It might not be poetry on paper, but the execution is first-rate, from best-in-class action scenes to a phenomenal central performance by Logan Marshall-Green, who manages to completely divorce his facial acting from the super-precise stunts his body performs. Extra brownie-points for exemplary camerawork and editing, which never sell the action short with cheap fast-cutting.
It looks like we might be living with this new virus for some time now, and perhaps now is the time to revisit some old classics. Our film recommendations will resume soon, with some B-movie fun for the Summer!
Dear friends, clients and colleagues,
We interrupt our usual stream of jovial film recommendations to wish you and your loved ones safety and good health, as what increasingly looks like a global pandemic spreads across the globe. We hope to see you all again soon!
Bong Joon-Ho’s very dark comedy has been raking in awards like a bulldozer, and it’s great to see such a fun, spirited movie accomplish that feat for a change. What really makes this stand out, more than the clever plot, technical mastery and great performances, is the obvious love for every last one of the story’s characters. Try to watch this one with as little advance knowledge of its plot.
We’ve been on a Shoe-Era Godzilla binge lately (thanks, Criterion Collection), so it’s nice to take a break in quality company, with master of supernatural horrors Kaneto Shindo and his eerie Onibaba, to remind us how powerful and terrifying a simple gust a of wind through tall grass, or a sideways glance can be, and that the most unsettling of monsters tend to exist in human form.
This is an exercise that could have been very tedious indeed. A group of actors wander into a dilapidated theatre and their random conversations slowly morph into their performance, and experience of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. In lesser hands, this could have been the height of boredom, but Louis Malle’s delicate touch and a wonderful cast really inject this with thrilling life. Worth it if you’re in for something completely different.
If you were to explain what a « cult movie » is, you could have a whole debate, or you could just whip out a copy of this masterpiece. A huge flop upon release, this is the long-island ice tea of movies. It has everything in it: martial arts, romance, gangsters, magic, neon-lit escalators, Kurt Russel, the wonderful creation that is Lo Pan… In fact it has way too much of everything, but it is such glorious, silly, kitsch fun, you can’t help but love it. If you have not seen this yet, do yourself a favor and seek it out.