If I see one more shot of a sword tearing into a naked breast, I’m gonna kill myself. Because that’s what we get in Amando de Ossorio’s follow-up to his 1971 dead-knights-on-dead-horses classic, Tombs of the Blind Dead: Loads of virgin sacrifices, loads of splattered boobs. As if someone doesn’t have a million other places on their body that could be punctured by a sharp object. Variety, sir! And is it too much to expect that Senor de Ossorio would have actually taken the time to NOT make his breasts look like paper-mache volcanos with nipples? But I’m getting ahead of myself. Or maybe I’mRead More →

Somewhere, Lewis Carroll’s ghost is crying, heartbroken that a visionary director like Tim Burton would eschew his abstract nightmare text for a messy traditional story arc. As a result, the original book is rendered all but unrecognizable, which is a shame, because Burton could have been looking at a masterpiece. The Alice in Burton’s film has already been down the rabbit hole–in her dreams, of course. Now a pretty blonde in her early twenties (!), she is about to be proposed to by a stuffy British Lord. Smothered and weary of a proper lifestyle, Alice sees the White Rabbit (again) and follows it down aRead More →

Sam Bell is an ordinary guy. Finishing out the final weeks of a 3-year mining expedition on the surface of the moon, he ticks off the days by drawing smiley-faces on the bathroom wall. There are few creature comforts here: A few messages home to his wife, reruns of Bewitched, and the company of the strange robot, GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey), who bears a remarkable resemblance to HAL 9000, speaks in glacial tones, and all but runs the outpost. But Sam is also dangerously close to succumbing to cabin fever: his skin carries a deadly pallor, his teeth have gone yellow, and he beginsRead More →

Terrific documentary that offers a glimpse into the life of Anna “Nuclear” Wintour, the legendary editor of Vogue magazine, as she and her staff tirelessly prepare to release the all-important September issue. Wintour proudly proclaims that this, the 2007 tome, will be the biggest one yet, which is critical: If you’re a designer, Wintour can bury you. Minions frantically gather couture, schedule photo-shoots, and edit their copy down to the Nth punctuation, all in the hope of pleasing Wintour, who presides over these activities with the watchful eye of a jury. There isn’t anything she doesn’t touch, and very little she misses, as when sheRead More →

Neill Blomkamp’s surprising smash hit, District 9, was perhaps one of the most original films of 2009. It was also one of the best. Twenty years ago, an alien spaceship broke down over Johannesburg, South Africa. The surviving aliens were segregated into a shanty town that has since become a slum. Civil unrest boils over as the human residents of Johannesburg, tired of the alien presence, ironically demand that the foreigners be moved. Enter Multi-National United, a business conglomerate that agrees to spearhead the massive relocation effort. Ostensibly humanitarian, the MNU secretly plots to commandeer the aliens’ powerful weapons cache. Sharlto Copley gives a shockinglyRead More →

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” That quote kept turning over in my mind as I watched the great Louis Malle’s Elevator to the Gallows, a film where every character is guilty of murder, and each of them is unaware they have an iron-clad alibi. It also happens to be one of the most stylish examples of 50’s French noir I’ve seen. Florence and Julien (Jeanne Moreau and Maurice Ronet) are lovers, fresh off plotting the murder of Florence’s husband, Simon, the chairman of a powerful oil conglomerate. The plan goes off almost without a hitch, as JulienRead More →

Twice this week I’ve been shocked and surprised by films about which I can reveal very little. First up? Christopher Smith’s Triangle, a direct-to-DVD horror film out of Britain that’s so much better than it should be. Melissa George plays a single mother who joins her friends on a weekend yachting expedition. The boat capsizes in a sudden storm, and all seems to point toward certain death, until a cruise ship appears out of the fog. The survivors climb on board, only to discover that the ship is deserted, despite evidence that it shouldn’t be. George sees–or thinks she sees–someone running down the stairs, settingRead More →

Undead knights on undead horses? Gorgeous Spanish country-side? An ancient monastery? Loads of really bad gore?  I’ll give you one guess. Exactly: Amando de Ossorio’s classic 1971 shocker, Tombs of the Blind Dead, about…well, about undead knights on undead horses, gorgeous Spanish country-side, an ancient monastery, and loads of really bad gore. I’ll keep it simple: While on a leisurely train ride, a woman, scorned by the man she loves, jumps off a moving car (with nary a scratch, I might add) and spends the night in a dilapidated church. The next morning, she’s found dead. The locals believe she fell victim to the ghosts ofRead More →

I don’t know what to say. Wait, yes I do: If I walk into a film inundated by critical acclaim, I don’t expect to walk out feeling as though I’ve just witnessed a minor catastrophe. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened with Crazy Heart, a lumbering “down on his luck” movie, that moves from one cliche to the next with astonishing ease. Otis “Bad” Blake (Oscar winner Jeff Bridges) is a former country-western star whose career is in steep decline. It doesn’t help that he’s loaded to the gills half the time, simply because he can be. Along comes Jean, a small town newspaper reporter andRead More →

I don’t know.  Some chick with a really bad perm — like, Barbra Streisand circa A Star is Born bad — has dreamt of a monster for so long, that she believes it’s becoming real.  A prolific artist, she also dreams of a house and decides to paint it.  The woman, her film director husband, and their two friends decide to vacation on a remote island (Georgia’s Tybee) and lo!  What does the woman see?  Exactly–the house. Convinced her dream is finally a reality, and that the monster no longer needs her to live, the woman falls into depression, as her husband and friends push herRead More →