Archive for November 13th, 2009


by on Nov.13, 2009, under Daily Review

Is this the return of the master of horror? Is this what we always need to think any time Argento shoots a new film? Will it be a return to form? It’s a strange thing, why giallo-posterwould we want a director to continue making the same style of film without progression or direction? For me, Argento has always had a style of his own, although drawn heavily from Bava and Hitchcock. Mastering the art through the 70’s with Giallo features, he eventually created his masterpiece Suspiria in ’77, unlike any film made before and probably after: a film of witchcraft and spiritual craziness. Inferno followed in a similar style, before Argento returned to the classic Giallo style, the ‘who done it?’,  stalker in the shadows, black gloves and a sharp blade and has been criticised ever since. Why do we need to compare? Would we ever try to discuss the merits of Hitchcock’s Frenzy over Psycho?

Giallo, the title and genre of his new film staring Oscar winning Adrien Brody as an FBI agent working in Turin on a case of a serial killer whose MO is beautiful foreign women, models even. Linda, (Emmanuelle Seigner) is waiting for her sister to arrive from the USA, only to find she’s fallen victim to this serial killer, kidnapped and tortured. After pestering Inspector Enzo Avolfi (Brody) the pair explores every avenue to track down the killer before he finishes his job. Byron Deidra offers a great performance as Yellow, the maniac . (Cunningly, Giallo translates Yellow in Italian, also named after the crime novels from the 30’s)

What we have with Giallo is a homage to Argento’s former films. The plot is sleek giallo02and simple which allows room for some great camera work, which we are accustomed to with an Argento film. It’s stylish, well balanced and flows at an agreeable pace. Reminiscent shots are lifted from Profondo Rosso, Tenebre, Suspiria and Inferno, even Cat o’Nine Tails. The music is atmospheric, the gore is gruesome and shocking in places, acting is good and in classic style, Giallo offers a subtle twist as the titles roll. It’s an easy film to watch and doesn’t claim to be anything other than a simple giallo.

I never really expect anything from Argento any more, but I’m always hoping that he’ll craft a film again which will remind me of how bloody good he is. This film has done that for me and I might be alone in this view, but it’s given me such a good feeling. Italian films will be order of the day for the next few weeks.

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by on Nov.13, 2009, under Other Musings


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Donkey Punch

by on Nov.13, 2009, under Daily Review

Like a late night edition of Hollyoaks with a big budget, this film gleams in talent both in front of the camera and behind. The acting is first class and very impressive for such a young cast which is reassuring for the future of DonkeyPunch05British cinema. Nice choreography and very well directed offering a rock solid, sleek and glossy product which just begs to be enjoyed.

The basic plot involves a bunch of twenty something Brits holidaying in Majorca, ending up on board of a luxury yacht and heading out into the med for a bit of a party. Everything’s great until one of the lads takes things a bit too far. With the first death on their hands, they scheme around saving their own necks, which results in double crossing, lies and further trouble. It’s all good fun and the cast have a lot to play with regarding their roles and the script which is sharp and snappy.

Some great vicious, attacks include an off-board motor to the neck, which could have been much gorier, but this film seems to buck against the current trend of ‘all out gore and torture’ and offer something a bit more thought provoking: the moment of the donkey punch itself made my jaw drop. Real shocking scene. It’s also the moment in the film that the whole mood changes. Prior, the piece is well lit, bright and sunny and life is great. Post donkey punch offers us a sudden change in contrast; darkness, tears and those glossy care free characters suddenly look real as hell with the weight of the world on their shoulders. Credit to Oliver Blackburn who directs, what is a very simple story of trouble on the high seas and keeps the viewer interested for the full 99mins and gets the most out of his very young cast. Jaime Winstone, Julian Morris and Robert Boulter offer great performances, as do the rest of the cast but Jay Taylor is excellent. Nice soundtrack too.

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