Monday, June 22, 2009

Claude Chabrol Blogathon

Flickhead is having a Claude Chabrol blogathon the 21st through the 30th. I am completely unfamiliar with Claude Chabrol, so will be spending a lot of time there over the next 9 days. I've got five randomly chosen Chabrol films on top of my Netflix queue, hopefully I will have time to absorb the bulk of them during the blogathon. This of course means that regularly scheduled programming will resume after the blogathon.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Let the Right One In

After complaining last night about not having a movie to watch, I remembered I could watch my queue on my computer. I chose to watch Let the Right One In (2008) a Swedish vampire movie. I picked it because I am quite fond of vampires and vampire movies, but this film was completely unexpected. The film tells the story of 12 year-old Oskar who becomes friends with 12 year-old Eli when she moves in next door.

Oskar is a sad boy who lives with his mom in Sweden. His parents are divorced and while it is obvious Oskar enjoys spending time with his dad, he does not appear to understand his father's new lifestyle. Oskar is mercilessly bullied at school and does not have any friends until Eli moves next door.

Eli lives with her father and is a vampire. At first she does not want to be friends with Oskar, but eventually their shared loneliness draws them together and they become friends. Eli's arrival coincides with a serious of unexplained murders; her father is killing people and draining them of their blood to feed Eli. Eli encourages Oskar to stand up to the bullies and Oskar in turn is accepting of Eli's being a vampire. A romance develops between Oskar and Eli that is threatened by dramatic events and is heartbreaking to watch. The scenes where Oskar teaches Eli Morse code so they can communicate between their shared bedroom wall is very sweet.

This film is visual poetry. It is at it's core a sweet coming-of-age story of two lonely, fragile adolescents one of whom happens to be a vampire. The two actors, Kare Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson do a marvelous job portraying Oskar and Eli. The film was shot during a Swedish winter and the cinematography serves to emphasize the feelings of the lead characters. There is a shot of two treetops against the gray sky, the tree leaves are frozen and are sparkling in the light; the shot is absolutely breathtaking. The film won several international cinematography and photography awards.

This is a very moving film to watch, I was happy that I saw it but I was also sad because it was hard to watch Oskar and Eli; I could feel their loneliness as I watched. Ultimately the film uses vampirism to teach the viewer about acceptance, friendship, and love; I highly recommend it.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Do You Netflix or Do You Buy?

I used to hate buying dvd's because you spend the money and you watch the movie maybe once or twice, it's a rip-off. Blockbuster annoyed me because they never had anything good. Netflix was my savior, I can get old movies, new movies, watch them whenever I want. I watch sooo many more movies without buying them and having them sit gathering dust. But now, I have a tiny voice inside my head and it says oooh that one was good we should buy it. Oh and that one was good too, let's buy it as well. And I can feel it coming, pretty soon I'm going to start buying more and more of them. I bought two already, I want more. I want a bookcase filled with them so I can watch them any time I want without having to wait for Netflix. Because now Netflix with it's two-day turnaround has become too slow for me. And tonight is even worse because I got out of sync with my Netflix schedule and don't have a movie for tonight. And 10pm on Saturdays is when I like to watch them all by myself, in the dark. I HAVE NO GIALLO TO WATCH TONIGHT AND ITS DRIVING ME NUTS!

So, how about you? Do you Netflix or do you prefer to buy? (I'm pretending I have an audience here)

Newly discovered blog recommendation: Doomed Moviethon

Here's a preview for what will be arriving on Monday:

Don't Torture a Duckling (1972)

Next up in our giallo-fest is Lucio Fulci's Don't Torture a Duckling or Non Si Sevizia Un Paperino in Italian. Lucio Fulci is one of the triumvirate of Italian horror directors, the others being Dario Argento and Mario Bava. Fulci is known as the Godfather of Gore, fans of his gore-fests will not be delighted by Don't Torture a Duckling as it is light on the gore. It is, however, a very good thriller that kept me guessing until almost the very end.

The plot of this one is pretty good. In a small Italian village full of superstitious natives and even a local witch doctor, a serious of murders of young boys is occurring. The state police are called in to help whittle down what is a shockingly large suspect list for such a small village. The list of suspects includes the village idiot who also happens to be a Peeping Tom, the witch doctor, the witch doctor's girlfriend, the priest's mother, and the daughter of the village's richest man who has been sent home due to getting in trouble with drugs in the big city. One by one the suspects are eliminated (some literally) and the job of solving the crime falls on the shoulders of a reporter.

The film makes some interesting commentaries. The village and its residents, looking as if they are trapped in time, are juxtaposed against an ultra-modern super freeway; the incongruity is jarring. The priest's mother is a suspect simply because her daughter is mute and slow for her age. There are jabs at mob mentality, superstition, and the Catholic church. The boys that were killed are shown to be not nice at all, almost as if the film is saying that they deserved to die because they were rotten. The daughter of the rich man likes to tease the young boys and call them up late at night for assignations. And there are fat hookers.

The film is well-made, handles its subject matter well, is not overly gratuitous in its obligatory nude scene and kept me entertained throughout. I can wholeheartedly recommend this one.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Case of the Bloody Iris

I believe I mentioned previously that I was going to have a mini-Giallo fest. Well make it an intermittent-fest, I have no desire to go mini with it. I have my list, and my first one is The Case of the Bloody Iris, hence the title of this post.

I would like to interrupt myself with two coincidences. Firstly, I was on Flickr and did a search for Edwige Fenech, what I found was a ton of screen shots from the very movie I had just watched, they outnumbered all other Fenech screen shots immensely. All were posted by Will Kane. Secondly, being curious I went to Will Kane's blog and the most recent post (that day) was about Yuki 7 which just happens to be my latest obsession. More on Yuki 7 can be found at Kevin Dart's fabulous blog. I want to be Yuki!

Back to the film... (all images are courtesy of Will Kane's Flickr set)

The Case of the Bloody Iris is a giallo most fine, I think. It featured all of our giallo requirements, although the gloves were yellowish-brown and not black. And we have the lovely, often topless Edwige Fenech as our heroine and her frequent costar George Hilton. The story starts with the murder of a hooker in the elevator of a very nicely architectured apartment house. A lovely stripper/ building resident named Mizar finds the body and soon finds herself murdered and the plot thickens. Edwige and her friend Marilyn move into Mizar's vacant apartment courtesy of George Hilton who just happens to own the building. We have a plethora of suspects, George, the old lady next door to Edwige, the lesbian and/or her father on the other side of Edwige, and even Edwige's estranged husband Adam. (Adam was an excuse for some kaleidoscopic group sex).

There are some fabulolus 70's fashions, an excellent score, red herrings o'plenty (I did not figure out who it was), and some very good shots involving mirrors. The funny bits were funny and the gory bits were brightly colored. There was also one very shocking stabbing that took place on a crowded sidewalk; the apathy of the passersby is quite disturbing as no one seems to notice the victim lurching down the sidewalk with blood coming out of her. This film made an excellent start to the Giallo-fest, I can wholeheartedly recommend it.

The Do-It-Yourself Giallo Kit

This is fun, it's a little generator that will create plots, director, and title for your own Giallo movie.

Here's mine:

From Braineater