Raymond Bailly – L’étrange Monsieur Steve AKA Mr. Steve (1957)

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Synopsis:
‘Georges Villard is a modest bank employee who dreams of earning more money so that he can live more comfortably. When Monsieur Steve offers him a chance to do just that he accepts without a moment’s hesitation, partly because he wants to be near to Steve’s woman, Florence. However, Georges knows there will be a catch: what Steve wants is help to rob the bank where he works. When Georges refuses, he realises that his life is now in danger…’
– James Travers, Willems Henri Continue reading

Jaco Van Dormael – Toto le héros aka Toto The Hero (1991)

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Synopsis:
Thomas and Alfred were born around the same time; a fire in the nursery had nurses scrambling to save the newborns. Because he felt that he deserved Alfred’s good fortune at being born into a wealthy family, Thomas conceives the idea that he and Alfred were switched at birth, and he can’t help seeing that his unhappiness should be Alfred’s, from the loss of his sister to his inability to have a relationship with the woman Evelyne. So, as his life is ending, he formulates a plan of revenge against his bitter enemy, his lifetime adversary, the man who stole his existence. Continue reading

David Verbeek – Full Contact (2015)

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Quote:
Full Contact is a contemporary tale of a man trying to find new purpose in life after accidentally bombing a school through a remotely operated drone plane. Ivan, operating the plane from a far away air force base, has never been to the foreign countries of his attacks, nor has he ever touched the plane he uses to kill. Modern warfare keeps him safe and disconnected from his prey. However, after this incident Ivan’s disconnectedness starts to apply to everything in his life. He is overwhelmed by feelings of guilt that he is unable to process. Continue reading

Don Siegel – Count the Hours (1953)

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SYNOPSIS: A defense lawyer risks his career to expose a killer no one else believes exists in this tense noir thriller.

When a farmer and his housekeeper are murdered by an intruder, the police arrest George Braden (John Craven), a hired hand who confesses to spare his pregnant wife Ellen (Teresa Wright) the stress of interrogation. Angering the tight-knit community by agreeing to defend the accused, attorney Doug Madison ( Macdonald Carey) tries but loses the case, and Braden is sentenced to die. With time running out and the execution just hours away, Madison races the clock to find the real killer and prove his client’s innocence. Eerily anticipating the 1959 killings that would later inspire In Cold Blood, Count the Hours was shot by John Alton, an Oscar-winning cinematographer whose credits include the classic noirs He Walked by Night, Raw Deal and T-Men. Continue reading

Edwin Zbonek – Der Henker von London AKA The Mad Executioners (1963)

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Synopsis:
‘A band of hooded men have formed a court and they are exacting justice upon the criminals who have escaped the reach of the law. The sentence they exact is death by hanging. Using the hangman’s rope from the Scotland Yard Museum they leave their victims hanging from various locations with a file detailing the case against them pinned to the body. Scotland Yard is stumped and have assigned their best man to break the case. Meanwhile another fiend is on the loose, one who is neatly severing the heads of young women. The bodies are found the heads are not.’
– dbborroughs Continue reading

Achim Bornhak – Der Nachtmahr AKA The Nightmare (2015)

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Quote:
After a night of partying in a mansion with a swimming pool, teenager Tina starts to experience weird things. She hallucinates a violent deja-vu, and hears discomforting sounds. At home she is haunted by a mysterious creature that only she can see. The film suggest several explanations for her visions. Is she overly tense? Psychotic? Drugged? Jealous? Her parents and friends seem to think she is going through a phase. Tina is convinced that the creature is for real, and she starts identifying with in a way that prompts her parents to take drastic measures on her behalf.

DER NACHTMAHR (“the nightmare”) is best characterized as an atmospheric thriller or indeed like a dream: at times feverishly slow, at other times restless and shifting. A vibrant electronica-soundtrack and superb acting from Carolyn Genzkow in the leading role makes it a captivating film experience. Continue reading