A heist-movie of such exquisitely bizarre loopiness to make Inception look like Ocean’s Eleven, Sergio Caballero’s The Distance (La distancia) is a likeably giggle-inducing dollop of deadpan surrealist whimsy. Observing a trio of telepathic Russian dwarves tasked with robbing an abandoned Siberian power-station, Caballero’s follow-up to 2010’s even more deliciously outre Finisterrae confirms the Catalan’s status as a puckish jester in the court of current European art-cinema. Adventurous audiences enduring the longueurs and waywardness of his gloriously uncompromised vision are rewarded with a hilariously abrupt finale that should delight many but leave others baffled and bemused. Festivals with late-night slots to fill will clamor for this cultish item, which might even find small distribution niches in eccentricity-embracing territories such as Japan and France. Continue reading
A clueless police inspector stumbles his way through a provincial murder investigation, in this shocking — and shockingly funny — change of pace from premier French auteur Bruno Dumont (L’humanité, Hadewijch).
Originally conceived and broadcast as a four-part miniseries, Bruno Dumont’s P’tit Quinquin works seamlessly when screened in its cinematic version.
Dumont has again chosen to shoot his new film against the countryside of his birthplace, the Boulonnais region around Calais; apart from that, the film marks a notable change in tone for this immensely creative filmmaker. (Well, it does share one other thing in common with his earlier films: like L’Humanite, the film centres on a police detective investigating a murder.)
P’tit Quinquin is — believe it or not for those who have been following Dumont’s career — a comedy. Little prepares you for the adventure, rollicking and slapstick, in this idiosyncratic screwball of a film. Chuckles abound — at times you can’t quite believe what you are seeing — but, not surprisingly in the hands of a director who has always managed to keep a firm, controlling hand on his material, the film never spirals into silliness. Wit and intelligence prevail. Continue reading
‘One rainy night, a stranger arrives in a nondescript seaside town and checks into a cheap hotel. All that is known about him is his name – Pierre – and everyone he meets is suspicious of him. He appears to know the area well; he seems to be in good health. But why is he here? Why is he so sad?’
– French Film Site Continue reading
“Victorian gothic melodrama based on the novel by Sheridan Le Fanu from a screenplay adapted by Aldwych farceur Ben Travers. This creepy chiller is saved from the doldrums by Robert Krasker’s atmospheric cinematography, and fine performances from the ensemble cast. The BBC later filmed the story for television in 1987.
In 1845, 17-year-old Caroline (Jean Simmons) is nursing her dying father. He has enough faith in the reform of his reprobate brother, Silas (Derrick de Marney), suspected but in the clear of murder, to place her under his wing after his death. The hitherto naïve heroine soon learns that scheming Uncle Silas is planning to kill her in order to get his hands on the family fortune, aided by the equally corrupt governess Madame de la Rougierre.” – britmovie.co.uk Continue reading
Three talented screenwriters collaborated in adapting Evadne Price and Joan Roy Byford’s play The Haunted Light to the screen as Phantom Light. This British chiller-diller-thriller begins with the mysterious murder of a lighthouse keeper. After his death, the region is plagued by shipwrecks, each heralded by a “phantom light” beaming from the lighthouse. Female detective Binnie Hale teams with new keeper Gordon Harker and navy officer Ian Hunter to solve the mystery. Directed with a sure and steady hand by Michael Powell, The Phantom Light is infinitely superior to the quota-quickie melodramas then flooding the British film market.- Hal Erickson Continue reading
“Haunters of the Deep” takes us to Cornwall with a tale of a haunted mine. The American CEO of Aminco Mining Corp. wants to re-open the tin-rich Strangles Head Mine, despite the dire warnings of old local miner Captain Tregellis (Andrew Keir, who himself started his working life in a mine at the age of 14) whose childhood friend had lost his life there many years before. Warnings are ignored (there’s local employment to think of too) and its is up to Josh, whose older brother has taken a job in the mine, and Becky, the CEO’s daughter, to set aside their initial animosity and bring about a rescue when the mine walls begin to let in the sea. With its Cornish coastal setting and elements of the supernatural – Spriggans and Jack o’Lanterns and the ghost of young miner lost decades before – “Haunters of the Deep” makes effective use of its distinct local setting. Continue reading
Pete and Ellen have reared Meg as their own, ever since she was a baby and her parents took off. Now a teen, Meg convinces her friend Nath to come help with chores on the farm: Pete isn’t getting around on his wooden leg like he used to. When Nath insists on using a short cut home through the woods, Pete gets quite agitated and warns him of screams in the night, of terrors associated with the red house. Curious, Meg and Nath ignore his warnings and begin exploring. Meg begins falling in love with Nath, but his girlfriend Tibby has other plans for him. Meanwhile they all get closer to real danger and the dark secret of the red house. Continue reading