Monday, November 07, 2005

last few

A Letter to Three Wives (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1949) ***

The Story of Marie and Julien (Jacques Rivette, 2003) ***
I found it to be his most engaging and surprising film since 1995's Up Down Fragile. The 'relaxed' sense of rhythm to the story is pure Rivette, so much as the film partly becomes about the passing of time itself (especially, in an unusually unsubtle move by Rivette, as he surrounds Jerzy Radziwilowicz's Julien with clocks of all kinds). Emmanuelle Béart has an incredible screen presence, and is the heart of the film (the film is divided into four chapters, gradually drifting towards Marie's perspective: Julien, Julien and Marie, Marie and Julien, and finally, Marie). As in La belle noiseuse, she evokes mystery, loss, and eroticism just by staring into space, and here she walks around with the added morbid burden of being an enigma, an incomplete ghost. Besides the irresistible allure of experiencing a ghost story with Rivette's distinctive pacing, elegantly captured Paris streets, and idiosyncratic and mysterious parallel storylines, she's really the reason to see this one.

Attack (Robert Aldrich, 1956) ***

Hollywood or Bust (Frank Tashlin, 1956) **½
Artists and Models from the previous year is funnier, but this is pretty enjoyable. Gotta love the scene when the frail grandma produces a gun from her coat and hijacks odd-couple Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin's cheatfully-won car, while Jerry's Great Dane cowers away.

Stagefright (Michele Soavi, 1987) **½ (aka Deliria aka Bloody Bird)
Stylish, humorous, and comfortably spooky, this was the perfect film for Halloween.

Häxan (Benjamin Christensen, 1922) **½

Night of the Creeps (Fred Dekker, 1986) *
Filled with homoerotic undertones and multiple references to '70s and '80s horror films, this recognised classic of '80s horror-parody unfortunately couldn't penetrate all those layers of cheese, and recalls the decade for all the wrong reasons.


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