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Old 27th January 2019, 04:09 PM
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This week's viewings:

Wait Until Dark (1967)

A chilling, well-scripted tale of deception and cat and mouse. Great performances all around and one I really enjoyed revisiting.


Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1983)

Slow, low budget silliness for sure with a spot of bad weather and one felled tree preventing all involved to feel 'hopelessly' trapped in the grimy motel, however it does have its scuzzy charms ranging from a psychotic sickle-wielding senior citizen to multiple vermin related attacks and the sinister tunnel network below the motel.


Shaft (1971)

The one that started it all in terms of Blaxploitation crime capers of the '70s, and despite being the sphere of influence, this one does seem a little tame on a re-watch. I can no doubt blame the glut of exploitative fodder that came in its wake for my apparent desensitization. Still solid overall though, with a great central performance by Richard Roundtree.


Jamaica Inn (1939)

Despite missing some of Hitchcock's trademark flair (his last British film before heading off to the States and it was established that he was not in full control of the finished product here), it does have some wind-swept suspense among the melodrama and muddle and those ship-wreck scenes are genuinely well shot.


On Dangerous Ground (1951)

Whilst pendulum-ing between noir and melodrama throughout, there is something distinctive about this one that makes it rather memorable. The film begins in the trademark wind and rain swept streets of the big city, but then the story shifts to a country setting and a man-hunt to the finale. Some great characterisation and dialogue here, and whilst not top-tier Noir (at least to me), I'd be hard pushed not to recommend this one.


One Dark Night (1983)

I went into this one with knowledge that it is a slow-burn and perhaps even quite boring. However, I actually ended up really enjoying it overall. Sure, it is slow, but a lean running time and a few key scenes throughout the first portion did help to pull me in and keep me engaged. The climax in the mausoleum is superb and there are some nice practical effects work at play (albeit a lot being camera based). Whilst I was expecting a trudge through boredom, I think my initial thoughts going in to this actually helped me enjoy it more than perhaps if I'd heard nothing about it going in.


The Glass Key (1942)

Apparently an influence on the Coen's Miller's Crossing, this Noir-thriller is a mix of crooked politics, gambling, murder and the press. Alan Ladd steals the show throughout and is a treat to watch on screen. My main criticism with this one is that the finale is a little rushed and there is no real sense that any consequences have been bourne as in most Noir. Still, a good watch overall.


Klown (2010)

Dark, Danish comedy about a man who tries to prove he is good father material to his pregnant girlfriend by kidnapping his young nephew and taking him on a debauched canoe trip he has planned with his friend. The film is based on a Curb Your Enthusiasm style show in Denmark and comes across in the off-the-cuff style in terms of dialogue at times. Overall, pretty well-paced with some great dialogue exchanges. It's fun and lewd, if not quite as dark as my usual brand of comedy. Difficult to recommend as comedy is a very subjective thing.


eXistenZ (1999)

A bit cheesier than I remember, however David Cronenberg's tale of bio-ported virtual reality gaming is still a fun watch despite feeling like a Videodrome-lite at times. Still, it imbibes Cronenberg's artistic and visual flair at its core and still remains to be a stand-out film of the late '90s.


Bird Box (2018)

If you turn your brain down a bit and overlook some of its flaws and to an extent some of the cookie-cutter characters, it's quite an enjoyable and at times tense tale of post-apocalyptic despair with some grisly deaths peppered throughout. Quite good in as much as it keeps it open to interpretation as to what the 'creatures' / 'force' actually is too in many ways - nice to see that there is still an opinion at work that not all mainstream horror audiences need to be spoon-fed every minute detail.

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