Thriller

Lars von Trier – Nymphomaniac : Vol. I (2013)

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CUT VERSION

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A man named Seligman finds a fainted wounded woman in an alley and he brings her home. She tells him that her name is Joe and that she is nymphomaniac. Joe tells her life and sexual experiences with hundreds of men since she was a young teenager while Seligman tells about his hobbies, such as fly fishing, reading about Fibonacci numbers or listening to organ music. Read More »

Jacques Deray – Un homme est mort aka The Outside Man [English version] (1972)

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Jean-Louis Tritignant stars as Lucien, a hit man who goes to Los Angeles to end the life of an important local mobster. The mobster’s heirs, who hired Lucien, had already hired yet another hit man (Roy Scheider) to kill him. He speaks very little English, and the lifestyles and customs of Los Angelenos puzzle him completely. One of the films highlights is its use of many unusual decayed and shabby sites in the Los Angeles area, such as Venice Beach. Read More »

Alfred Hitchcock – Dial M for Murder (1954)

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M stands for murder and also for mindfuck in this, one of Hitchcock’s best films. Based on a stage play by Frederick Knott (whose credits also include another great thriller, Wait Until Dark), Dial M For Murder includes one of the most intricate plots of any murder mystery as well as maximum amounts of Hitchcock’s trademark suspense.

A quietly evil Ray Milland plays a cold fish who plots to kill his wife (Grace Kelly) for her insurance money. As he explains at the beginning of the movie, he also wants to commit the “perfect murder” – i.e. one that is complicated and dangerous, yet foolproof and never suspected. John Williams is the Scotland Yard inspector who may be onto him.

It doesn’t matter that the movie starts with a lengthy exposition… or even that the identity of the villain is revealed in the first twenty minutes. Dial M will pull you to the edge of whatever you’re sitting on and keep you there. (If you don’t pay attention, you won’t be able to follow all the twists and turns of the plot.) Hitchcock’s direction was never better. In fact, the film is a good model to follow for mystery directors; Hitchcock draws exactly the right amount of attention (but not too much) to the subtle actions and details that are crucial to the murder plot.

Dial M For Murder is not always regarded as one of Hitch’s best. Critics seem to prefer the more theatrical, psychological melodramas to the brainy whodunits. But pay no attention – this film is definitely a classic. Read More »

Youssef Chahine – Bab el hadid AKA Cairo Station (1958)

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Universally panned by Egypt’s cinema audiences when it was first released in 1958, Youssef Chahine’s “Cairo Station” disappeared from view for two decades until it was rediscovered and hailed as a masterpiece. Watching the film now, almost half a century after its first screening, it’s easy to see why it upset so many people “Cairo Station” is a pressure cooker of lust, jealousy, and psychosis.

Crippled Kenaoui (Chahine), nicknamed “Limpy” by his cruel co-workers, sells newspapers in Cairo’s central station. Living out on the tracks, earning barely enough to keep the makeshift roof over his head, he spends his days fantasising about the voluptuous Hanuma (Rostom), a lemonade seller engaged to macho porter Abou Serib (Chawqi). Kenaoui’s convinced she’ll eventually fall in love with him if he keeps pursuing her. But with a murderer on the loose in Cairo, things may yet take an unexpected turn. Read More »

Alfred Hitchcock – Foreign Correspondent (1940)


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Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide: Fourteen scriptwriters spent five years toiling over a movie adaptation of war correspondent Vincent Sheehan’s Personal History before producer Walter Wanger brought the property to the screen as Foreign Correspondent. What emerged was approximately 2 parts Sheehan and 8 parts director Alfred Hitchcock–and what’s wrong with that? Joel McCrea stars as an American journalist sent by his newspaper to cover the volatile war scene in Europe in the years 1938 to 1940. He has barely arrived in Holland before he witnesses the assassination of Dutch diplomat Albert Basserman: at least, that’s what he thinks he sees. McCrea makes the acquaintance of peace-activist Herbert Marshall, his like-minded daughter Laraine Day, and cheeky British secret agent George Sanders. A wild chase through the streets of Amsterdam, with McCrea dodging bullets, leads to the classic “alternating windmills” scene, which tips Our Hero to the existence of a formidable subversive organization. McCrea returns to England, where he nearly falls victim to the machinations of jovial hired-killer Edmund Gwenn. The leader of the spy ring is revealed during the climactic plane-crash sequence–which, like the aforementioned windmill scene, is a cinematic tour de force for director Hitchcock and cinematographer Rudolph Mate. Read More »

John Carpenter – Halloween [Extended Edition] (1978)

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Plot Synopsis from AMG

It was “The Night HE Came Home,” warned the posters for John Carpenter’s career-making horror smash. In Haddonfield, Ilinois, on Halloween night 1963, 6-year-old Michael Myers inexplicably slaughters his teenage sister. His psychiatrist Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) can’t penetrate Michael’s psyche after years of institutionalization, but he knows that, when Myers escapes before Halloween in 1978, there is going to be hell to pay in Haddonfield. While Loomis heads to Haddonfield to alert police, Myers spots bookish teenager Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and follows her, constantly appearing and vanishing as Laurie and her looser friends Lynda (P.J. Soles) and Annie (Nancy Loomis) make their Halloween plans. By nightfall, the responsible Laurie is doing her own and Annie’s babysitting jobs, while Annie and Lynda frolic in the parent-free house across the street. But Annie and Lynda are not answering the phone, and suspicious Laurie heads across the street to the darkened house to see what is going on .
Lucia Bozzola Read More »

Pascal Laugier – Martyrs (2008)

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Reviewed by Tim Merrill
To say that fans of modern genre cinema are a discerning lot is like saying Platinum Dunes puts out sub-par films. There’s no doubt that cinephiles in North America have been forced to look abroad to new directors and movies that provide that ever-elusive boot to the throat.

You’d have to be hard pressed to ignore the transgressive wave of cinema that has come out of France in the last six years. With films like Marina De Van’s In My Skin, Gaspar Noe’s Irreversible, and last year’s gut punch Inside, the French have unapologetically set out to carve new boundaries in entertainment that will hold the timid at bay and scar those willing to bear witness. While many considered Inside to set new standards in extremities in French cinema, the release of Pascal Laugier’s Martyrs has just wiped the slate clean.

Although Martyrs will undoubtedly be compared to Inside in terms of its intensity, the film is a bastard unto itself that manages to surpass its comparisons on all levels. Director Laugier has presented an experience that is both cinematically stunning, yet emotionally devastating, and with all the subtleties of a barbed wire enema. Read More »