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Cordier puts a move on Rose Marcaillou

Coup de Torchon

Bertrand Tavernier’s 1981 movie Coup de Torchon is a bizarre adaptation of Jim Thompson’s novel Pop. 1280. Bizarre not because Tavernier and his co-writer Jean Aurenche have moved the action from Texas to West Africa. Nothing wrong with that. It’s the way they’ve excised Thompson’s black humour and inserted French farce in its place, draining … Read more
Karen, Laurie and Allyson

Halloween Kills

The franchise as unkillable as Michael Myers himself returns with Halloween Kills, a direct continuation of 2018’s franchise reboot, Halloween. For those who don’t remember, it finally saw the masked psychopath consigned to an early grave, having been trapped by Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) in … Read more
Dan Stevens and Maren Eggert dance

I’m Your Man

Imagine that, a film called I’m Your Man and no sign of Leonard Cohen on the soundtrack. Or Wham! Partly that’s because this is a German film (originally called Ich bin dein Mensch) but mostly it’s because this funny and clever movie wants to do things its own way. How about a romcom plot involving … Read more
Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd

This Gun for Hire

The gun for hire in This Gun for Hire is Alan Ladd’s, here in the role that made him a star, his blond hair dyed black the better to play a character called Philip Raven, a hitman who’ll do in anyone anytime as long as the money is right. It’s also the film that first … Read more
Kiyohiko Shibukawa and Katsuki Mori in Door Wide Open

Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

More is sometimes less. Not so with Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, three separate love stories connected by the fact that the the people in them are a bit fucked up and which together deliver more synergistic bang for your buck than the average single-plot feature. Offbeat associations are something of a theme with the … Read more
The wife and the spy go shopping

Wife of a Spy

There’s a real lack of urgency in many of the films of Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Sometimes it works in his favour, sometimes against. Against, I’m feeling, with Wife of a Spy. Though there are plot bombs dropped towards the end, and fascinating ideas bubbling away in there to, this high-tone mix of lush period drama and … Read more
Max von Sydow, Patrick Stewart, Kyle MacLachlan and Jürgen Prochnow

Dune

Dune. Not Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 behemoth, that pleasure still awaits. But David Lynch’s 1984 version, the only film in his career that he wished he hadn’t made and will not talk about in interviews, except to say he shouldn’t have made it. And not the theatrical version either, but the “extended” one worked up for … Read more
A high priestess

On the Silver Globe

Ready for one of the strangest sci-fi movies ever made? On the Silver Globe (Na srebrnym globie in the original Polish) is as powerful as it is incomprehensible, as if David Lynch’s Dune had been put in a bag and tossed around with Game of Thrones, Tolkien, Tarkovsky and Mad Max. The story behind it … Read more
Claude behind a wire screen

Le Trou

How about this for authenticity – Le Trou opens not with music or credits but with a camera pan across to a man working on a car. Noticing the camera, the man gets up and says, (translated) “Hello. My friend Jacques Becker has recreated a true story in all its detail. My story. It took place … Read more
Beanpole at home

Beanpole

Beanpole (Dylda) is an obsessively observed, massively ambitious Russian film set in the aftermath of the siege of Leningrad which tells its story of lives brutalised by war from the point of view of two young women. It won Kantemir Balagov the best director gong at Cannes in the Un Certain Regard category. That’s the … Read more
Hanussen on stage

Hanussen

Magic and the Nazis. Hanussen, the bizarre and true story of Eric Jan Hanussen, is ideal big screen material, you’d have thought, since the Austrian stage hypnotist and soothsayer was a charismatic performer who held Germans in his thrall in the dying days of the Weimar Republic and into the Nazi era. The parallels with … Read more
Madison on the floor

Malignant

One word titles suggesting ugginess are a bit of a specialty for James Wan – Saw, Insidious and now Malignant, a never frightening but entirely entertaining tour of the all-you-can-eat horror buffet. The writer/producer/director piles on a whole load of stuff, then a bit more, and then more still. If nothing else, you have to … Read more

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