William Friedkin – Bug (2006)

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Synopsis:
Having escaped her abusive ex-husband Goss (Harry Connick Jr.), recently released from state prison, Agnes (Ashley Judd), a lonely waitress with a tragic past moves into a sleazy, run-down motel and her lesbian co-worker R.C (Lynn Collins) introduces her to Gulf War veteran Peter (Michael Shannon), a peculiar, paranoiac drifter and they begin a tentative romance. However, things don’t always seem as they appear and Agnes is about to experience a claustrophobic nightmare reality as the bugs begin to arrive… Continue reading

William Friedkin – To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

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Worthy of the director of “French Connection,” the pace of this set- in-LA action thriller immediately draws the view in and never lets up. A car chase in the best traditions of “Bullitt” and of Friedkin’s own “French Connection” is centers the action, but the motivation of a rogue agent obsessed with the death of his partner, and clearly with his own death, are well- and credibly- drawn. The most sympathetic character in the story is not one of the principals. It is a female informer. An ex-con at the mercy of those on both sides of the law, she is callously exploited by all. Her feelings for Agent Chance are more implied than explicit, but they are believable as is his indifference to her as a person. This riveting film never lets your attention wander. Thanks to Friedkin, we are told, we are given a credible ending to this taut, tightly- wound thriller. An under-exposed, under-appreciated work; excellent for the genre. Continue reading

William Friedkin – The Exorcist [Director’s Cut] (1973)

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The Exorcist is a 1973 American horror film, adapted from the 1971 novel of the same name by William Peter Blatty, dealing with the demonic possession of a young girl, and her mother’s desperate attempts to win back her daughter through an exorcism conducted by two priests. The film features Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Max von Sydow, Kitty Winn, Lee J. Cobb, Jason Miller and Mercedes McCambridge. Both the film and novel took inspirations from a documented exorcism in 1949, performed on a 14-year-old boy. The film is one of a cycle of ‘demonic child’ movies, including The Omen series and Rosemary’s Baby. Continue reading

William Friedkin – Cruising [+Extras] (1980)

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FROM IMDB: “A serial killer brutally slays and dismembers several gay men in New York’s S&M and leather districts. The young police officer Steve Burns is sent undercover onto the streets as decoy for the murderer. Working almost completely isolated from his department, he has to learn and practice the complex rules and signals of this little society. While barely seeing his girlfriend Nancy anymore, the work starts changing him. uninvolving bore, you will never again be so fascinated by how unengaged you are.” Continue reading

William Friedkin – The French Connection (1971)

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“The French Connection” is routinely included, along with “Bullitt,” “Diva” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” on the short list of movies with the greatest chase scenes of all time. What is not always remembered is what a good movie it is apart from the chase scene. It featured a great early Gene Hackman performance that won an Academy Award, and it also won Oscars for best picture, direction, screenplay and editing.

The movie is all surface, movement, violence and suspense.
Roger Ebert Continue reading

William Friedkin – Sorcerer (1977)

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Description: Sorcerer is a 1977 film, produced and directed by William Friedkin, starring Roy Scheider, Bruno Cremer, Francisco Rabal and Amidou. It is a remake of the 1953 French film Le Salaire de la Peur (Wages of Fear). Sorcerer followed Friedkin’s highly successful The French Connection and The Exorcist, but was a major commercial failure. The budget was estimated at over $22 million, a substantial sum at the time. With a gross of $12 million, the film did not recoup its costs. The film was co-produced by Universal Pictures and Paramount Pictures, with Universal handling U.S. distribution and Paramount handling the international release. Sorcerer is also notable for its electronic score by Tangerine Dream, which was their first Hollywood film soundtrack, and led to them becoming popular soundtrack composers in the 80s. Continue reading

William Friedkin – The People vs. Paul Crump (1962)

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A very young William Friedkin produced and directed this documentary for television in 1962 when Paul Crump had been in prison for nine years, waiting on death row. Crump was convicted for the shooting death of a Chicago meat-packing plant’s security guard during an armed robbery, which netted some $20,000. Chicago police quickly moved in, arrested Crump, and convicted him, primarily based on the testimony of one of those convicted for the crime. Crump claims he’s innocent, was with a woman the day of the crime, and the woman later testifies in his defense, only to disappear later due to a public outcry and ridicule. Continue reading