April Fool’s Day (1986)

April Fool’s Day (1986)

Starring Jay Baker, Deborah Foreman, Deborah Goodrich, Ken Olandt, Griffin O’Neal, Leah Pinsent, Clayton Rohner, Amy Steel, Thomas F. Wilson, Pat Barlow, Lloyd Berry, Tom Heaton, Mike Nomad

Directed by Fred Walton

Expectations: Moderate. 80s horror is usually a good time.


During the 80s, few things were more reliable than the on-screen combo of teen fornication and grisly murders. It is the go to of virtually every horror movie made during the decade (and possibly upwards of 90% of horror films made after). So imagine my surprise upon viewing the hidden gem, April Fool’s Day, which not only features the combo, but does it in some of the most graphic and near pornographic scenes ever put to celluloid.

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Black Swan (2010)

Black Swan (2010)

Starring Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder, Benjamin Millepied, Ksenia Solo, Kristina Anapau, Janet Montgomery, Sebastian Stan, Toby Hemingway, Sergio Torrado

Directed by Darren Aronofsky

Expectations: Very High. I don’t know why really, I never even saw the trailer. I’ve just got a feeling.


Ingredients:

1 Carrie
1 Suspiria
1 Swan Lake
1/2 Tbsp. Mind-Fuck

Mix well. Serve at room temperature immediately.

All kidding aside, Black Swan is easily one of the top American films of the year. It’s definitely one that will split audiences, with some reveling in the glorious mystery of it all and others wondering when the arthouse invaded their local multiplex. Whichever side of the fence you find yourself on, one thing is certain. Black Swan is sure to get many highly coveted nominations during awards season while actually being good enough to warrant receiving them. Imagine that.

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The Girl Who Played With Fire (2009)

The Girl Who Played With Fire [Flickan som lekte med elden] (2009)

Starring Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Tehilla Blad, Lena Endre, Peter Andersson, Per Oscarsson, Sofia Ledarp, Yasmine Garbi, Georgi Staykov, Annika Hallin

Directed by Daniel Alfredson

Expectations: Low. I didn’t really like the first one that much, but just enough to give this a shot.


 

I wasn’t shy about my indifference to the first film in this series, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but despite that I had an urge to see the follow-up. The character of Lisbeth Salander is an intriguing one and I hoped that with a different story surrounding her, I might connect more with the film. This is essentially exactly what happened with The Girl Who Played With Fire and I’m glad I took the plunge.

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The Ghost Writer (2010)

The Ghost Writer (2010)

Starring Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Williams, Kim Cattrall, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Hutton, James Belushi, Eli Wallach

Directed by Roman Polanski

Expectations: Low. As much as Polanski is a great, this looks like it will be so-so.


 

The Ghost Writer, the new film from Roman Polanski, is a thinly veiled tale about Tony Blair Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan), a British ex-Prime Minister who is being accused of war crimes, specifically of turning terrorists over to the CIA so that they could be tortured. One of the terrorists died and now while the shit hits the fan, ghost writer Ewan McGregor must come in and help Lang finish his memoir. Lang’s previous ghost writer was found washed up on the beach, a belly full of booze and the cause of death questionable. McGregor gets down to business and over the course of the film uncovers some information his unfortunate predecessor was investigating when he died.

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Deep Red (1975)

Deep Red [Profondo Rosso] (1975)

Starring David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi, Gabriele Lavia, Macha Meril, Eros Pagni, Giuliana Calandra, Glauco Mauri, Clara Calamai, Piero Mazzinghi

Directed by Dario Argento

Expectations: Moderate. After The Cat o’ Nine Tails, I am cautious but optomistic.


 

I’m starting to think that if you’ve seen one Argento film, you’ve seen them all. Deep Red may be regarded as one of the best Italian horror films of all time, but for my money, it was just a long-winded, lesser version of The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. I’m also beginning to think that because these films are so similar, I’d have a much better reaction to them if I wasn’t watching them in such a short space of time. I’m hoping that the last Argento film for October breaks the cycle a bit, but so far each of the three Argento movies I’ve watched have been very similar. I skipped ahead a couple of movies so that I could get to the big guns of Argento’s filmography. I was also hoping for some sort of maturing to have taken place, but surprisingly Deep Red has a lot more in common with The Cat o’ Nine Tails than I would have thought with all the negative press that movie gets.

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Mini-Review: Flowers in the Attic (1987)

Starring Louise Fletcher, Victoria Tennant, Kristy Swanson, Jeb Stuart Adams, Ben Ryan Ganger, Lindsay Parker, Marshall Colt, Nathan Davis, Brooke Fries, Alex Koba

Directed by Jeffrey Bloom

Expectations: Low. It’s some girly kid book, right?


Wow! I did not expect to like this so much. For years I had disregarded anything even remotely connected to V.C. Andrews. In my mind, they have always been “some girl book” that I knew nothing about. I didn’t want to read about flowers! The story is deceptively simple, but it builds really well to a big finish. I can’t comment on how good of an adaptation it is, I can only say that if the movie was this fun and twisted, I can imagine the book is that much better. By the end of this one, I was hurling insults at the characters, yelling “Oh shit!” at all the correct moments and even doing a bit of the old Arsenio Hall Show fist circle as retribution finally came around. This story is seriously fucked up and wickedly fun to watch.

A loving set of parents live with their four children in the suburbs. One day, the father gets into an auto accident and dies, leaving the family without money or a suitable place to live. The mother does the only thing she can think to do, she takes them to her wealthy parents home. The only catch is that her father disowned her twenty years ago, after an unnamed transgression. The film might start a little slow and the child acting is bad, but as each piece of family history is revealed, the excitement ratchets up and you can only respond by inching even closer to your TV screen. Don’t miss Louise Fletcher of Nurse Ratched fame doing her best stern grandmother act. Recommended.

The Cat o’ Nine Tails (1971)

The Cat o’ Nine Tails  [Il gatto a nove code] (1971)

Starring James Franciscus, Karl Malden, Catherine Spaak, Horst Frank, Aldo Reggiani, Carlo Alighiero, Rada Rassimov, Tom Felleghy, Emilio Marchesini, Ugo Fangareggi

Directed by Dario Argento

Expectations: High. I’m pumped after watching his début. I hope this is good.


Hot off the tails of The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Dario Argento concocts another horror mystery thriller to get you on the edge of your seat. That was the intention anyway. Unfortunately, The Cat o’ Nine Tails is a step back in every way, and ends up being a much less satisfying film for it. That’s not to say that it’s horrible though, it’s definitely something worth sitting down with. Just don’t expect to be enthralled every minute. The film has a bad rap with fans, critics and even Dario Argento himself, who has called it his least favorite of his films. I honestly feel that the hate is a bit misguided, as this really isn’t all that bad of a movie.

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