Aside from being an exercise in point-of-view cinema, it's not clear why French filmmaker Khalfoun (P2) bothered to remake the notorious 1980 slasher horror. This version certainly doesn't include any of the subtext that made 80s horror so intriguing. Instead, it strings together a thin plotline as an excuse for extremely grisly violence and whizzy camerawork. That's enough to hold our interest, but it never gets under the skin.
It's set on the side-streets of Los Angeles, where Frank (Wood) lives in the family mannequin shop haunted by memories of his trashy mother (Olivo). A true psychopath, Frank prowls the streets at night attacking women and scalping them to create a sinister mannequin tableau back home. When he meets the French photographer Anna (Arnezeder), he decides to try and live a normal life. She is intrigued by his shop, and wants the mannequins for her gallery exhibition. But how long will it be before Frank snaps?
Filmed completely through Frank's eyes, we only get glimpses of Wood in mirrors and in a couple of eerie out-of-body shots along the way. But Khalfoun stirs in fantasy sequences, memories and delusions as well, trying to get us into the mind of this mild-mannered killer. Much of this is bravura filmmaking, with long takes and complicated camera angles combining with above-average make-up effects. With all of the brutality aimed at women, the film definitely recaptures the misogynistic tone of those 1980s video-nasties.
Continue reading: Maniac Review
In 1927, George (Dujardin) is Hollywood's top star, swashbuckling through adventure blockbusters with his faithful sidekick dog Uggy. At one of his premieres he meets Peppy (Bejo), a mystery girl who gets her own shot at stardom as a dancing extra in one of George's films. His grumpy wife (Miller) isn't happy about this. And there's more trouble when the studio boss (Goodman) decides to switch to talkies. So George walks out to make his own silent film, while Peppy becomes a sound-movie star. But she doesn't forget that he gave her a break.
Continue reading: The Artist Review
Jan Kounen, the Dutch cause celebre responsible for the hyperactive cult film Dobermann, tackles the epic story of Blueberry with a careful, almost blissed out style - much to the dismay of fans of his earlier work. Blueberry is a meditative work, a somnambulist's ramble through western history and psychedelica. The film is slowly paced but crescendos in a special effects blowout, a literal celluloid peyote trip, which would make Alejandro Jodorowsky jump with joy. (That isn't a random aside, Blueberry is as close an homage to Jodorowsky's El Topo as a big budget western can get.)
Continue reading: Blueberry Review
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