Thriller

Alejandro Amenábar – Abre los ojos AKA Open Your Eyes (1997)


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What is waking? What is dream? What is reality? What is fantasy? What is sanity? What is madness?

Such questions pervade “Open Your Eyes,” a psychological thriller directed by Alejandro Amenabar. “Open Your Eyes,” which darts among such relative novelties as virtual reality and cryogenics, is at bottom a retelling of the story of Job for a vain, materialistic, selfish age.

Handsomely filmed in Madrid with an attractive cast, this Spanish feature is unlikely to satisfy those who insist on linear storytelling and pat endings. But in its deliberately vexing way, “Open Your Eyes” is a film with enough intellectual meat on its stylish bones to give more adventurous moviegoers something to chew on afterward. Read More »

Yann Gonzalez – Un couteau dans le coeur AKA Knife + Heart (2018)

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While a handful of genre movies at this year’s Fantastic Fest featured queer characters, only Knife + Heart so openly directly dealt with different experiences in an LGBTQ community. The French film is a serial killer story that investigates the tragedy of internalized homophobia with a giallo twist and more than a nod to the movies of Brian De Palma and Dario Argento. Yann Gonzalez’s second film is delightfully campy and sensual yet heartbreaking and terrifying. Read More »

Mohammad Rasoulof – Lerd AKA A Man of Integrity (2017)

A former university professor now living as a goldfish farmer in a Northern Iranian village, Reza quietly tends to his own affairs alongside his wife Hadis, a principal at a local girls’ school, and their young son. After his river-sourced water supply is cut off, Reza’s goldfish begin dying. His attempt to reopen his sluice is met with a violent attack by thuggish local Abbas, a strongman for a shadowy organization known as simply “the company.” Reza refuses to compensate Abbas for a fake injury, or bribe his way out of mounting legal problems, but he quickly discovers the steep price to be paid for holding on to principles in a system where money trumps morality.

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Roland Kibbee – The Midnight Man (1974)

The Midnight Man is one of the eerier and more startling mystery films of its period, sustaining for nearly two hours a mood that veers very carefully between seductive, quiet lyricism and lurking violence and despair. It was something of a tour de force for Burt Lancaster, who not only starred in it, but also co-directed the movie (with Roland Kibbee, who did most of the directing) and co-authored the screenplay, also with Kibbee. The plot is one of the more violent and complex in a mystery of this era, hinged around a series of seemingly unrelated events, starting with a robbery that turns more vicious than it needs to for no good reason, and leading to a series of shootings, bludgeonings, and other mayhem that leaves a bloody stain across its small border-state college-town setting. Read More »

Orson Welles – The Other Side of the Wind (2018)

The story of a legendary director named J.J. “Jake” Hannaford, who returns to Hollywood from years of semi-exile in Europe, with plans to complete work on his own innovative comeback movie, also titled “The Other Side of the Wind”.

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It’s a film about an unfinished film – and it looks as if it may never be finished. The Other Side Of The Wind was made by Orson Welles in the early 1970s. The New York Times published a story in late 2014 suggesting that the film would soon be ready. In 2015, a crowdfunding campaign raised more than $400,000 (£304,000) for the project. Earlier this year, there were reports that Netflix was ready to put up $5m to fund the completion of the movie and to distribute it worldwide. Read More »

Yesim Ustaoglu – Iz AKA The Track (1994)

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Kemal is a plainclothes policeman investigating a suicide whose face has been obliterated. He becomes obsessed with the real appearance of the dead man. Read More »

Sam Peckinpah – The Killer Elite (1975)

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Overview:
As steady hands carefully wire a bomb and meticulously set the timer to the eerie sounds of children singing in the background, and as the deadly device explodes, rupturing a building into fragments and splintering the tranquility of the theatre. Elite assassins Mike Locken and George Hansen take on jobs too risky for even the CIA to handle. They’re best friends, superior marksmen and on the A-list when it comes to killing. But when one high-powered hitman betrays another, the intrigue, the violence and the trills become more than just a dangerous game of who-kills-whom first…It becomes a very personal war! Read More »