439 posts categorized "Classic Cinema"

November 05, 2023

NIGHT GAMES — SHOCKTOBER!

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ColeSmithey.comMai Zetterling began her film career acting in Ingmar Bergman's "Torment" (1944), before switching from acting to directing after moving from Sweden to London to pursue her craft.

With "Night Games" (1966), which she co-wrote with her then husband, British novelist David Hughes, Mai Zetterling matches Bergman's filmic sophistication on every level of filmic storytelling.

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This is filmmaking at its finest.

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This thoroughly original work of social satire delves into the heart of childhood traumas, while taking sharp aim at '60s era European sensibilities around free-love and the narcissistic values of the bourgeoisie. 

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Jan (Keve Hjelm) brings his fiancée Mariana (Lena Brundin) to his childhood home, a wealthy mansion estate full of horrific memories and rich furnishings. Jan indoctrinates Mariana into his debauched upbringing. Flashback sequences detail the atrocious actions of Jan's mentally unstable mother Irene (Ingrid Thulin).

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Freud's oedipal complex takes center stage in Jan's ambitious attempt at reconciling sins of the mother by annihilating all that her sexual abuse and wealth had created.

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Jörgen Lindström, the young actor from Ingmar Bergman's "The Silence," and "Persona," is the film's empathetic center as Jan's boyhood version.

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"Night Games" retains its ability to shock viewers after over 50 years due to Mai Zetterling's intuitive ability to dig equally into the male and female psyche, while keeping a pure artistic metaphoric vision. This is the gift of liberation that Mai Zetterling gives her audience.

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At last Jan and Mariana are set free to grow their relationship in fresh soil.

Amen.

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Side note: If I'm not mistaken, "Night Games" is John Waters's favorite film!

Not Rated. 105 mins.

5 Stars THE BLOOD OF DRACULA THE BLOOD OF DRACULA ColeSmithey.com THE BLOOD OF DRACULA THE BLOOD OF DRACULA

Cozy Cole

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October 31, 2023

HOUSE — SHOCKTOBER!

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Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does. This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

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ColeSmithey.comNobuhiko Obayashi’s 1977 surrealistic satire regarding the overwhelming aftermath of America’s atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is a virtuosic fantasy horror movie unlike any other.

Of the atomic bombs’ 200,000 causalities, all of Nobuhiko Obayashi’s childhood friends were among the deceased.

Nobuhiko Obayashi was just eight years old at the time of the attacks. Clearly, he never lost sight of his pals, or his loss. Here, Obayashi throws a cinematic extravaganza party to celebrate the lost potential of a generation.

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Extreme teenage Japanese punk power pop! You bet.

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We’re way beyond “Rocky Horror” baby.

“House” takes the cake, the dining room table, the piano, and most certainly the title’s house of horrors that devours seven teenage girls via a very hungry piano.

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Chomp, chomp, chomp.

“House” shows Obayashi’s encyclopedic mastery of state-of-the-art filmmaking, from a deeply personal approach to meeting the sugary commercial demands of the film’s producers.

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This insanely ambitious movie puts George Lucas and Steven Spielberg to shame with pure inventiveness.

Obayashi received story ideas from his eleven-year-old daughter, Chigumi. A blood-spewing white cat piles on the film’s cartoonish tone of outrageous evil consuming every body that steps in its path.

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Nobuhiko Obayashi uses every filmic technique at his disposal, in order to transmogrify the grief, pain, and sense of incalculable loss that he and so many others experienced. What results is a cinematic phantasmagoria overflowing with humor, expressions of love, and deep-seeded fear of the unknown.

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Visually and viscerally stunning from start to finish, “House” is much more than a mere masterpiece.

Not Rated. 88 mins.

5 Stars THE BLOOD OF DRACULA THE BLOOD OF DRACULA ColeSmithey.com
THE BLOOD OF DRACULA
THE BLOOD OF DRACULA
Cozy Cole

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October 30, 2023

BLUE VELVET — SHOCKTOBER!

ColeSmithey.comColeSmithey.comWelcome!

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does. This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

ColeSmithey.com

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THE BLOOD OF DRACULA

ColeSmithey.comIn 1986 David Lynch broke the language of cinema wide open in the same way that Jackson Pollock did with the art world in the early '40s.

Using a minimalist filmic palate for a neo-noir set in small town America, Lynch blends surrealist elements into a suspenseful story of adult sexual awakening (vis a vis BDSM) juxtaposed against violence, mystery, and mental illness.

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Using iconographic character names drawn from '50s Americana iconography (see Frank, Sandy and Ben), and a moody musical score to match, Lynch presents returning hometown boy Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan).

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After his father suffers a heart attack while watering the family lawn, Jeffrey unearths a severed ear in a field that he crossed thousands of times in his youth. Unspeakable acts are being carried even in America's most seemingly provincial towns. Every city has its "bad side of town."

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Our curious protagonist finds a willing ally for his impromptu private investigation into the mystery of the ear's owner in the local police detective's romantically inclined daughter Sandy (Laura Dern). On the surface, Sandy seems like natural girlfriend material for Jeffrey, but this guy has a taste for the exotic (if incestuous) that vanilla Sandy can't fulfill. 

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However, Jeffrey is unprepared for the psychological and emotional upheaval that will devour him when he stalks the fetishized life of Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini), a sultry nightclub singer used to playing rough with a very debauched criminal named Frank (Dennis Hopper). The bi-polar Dorothy has a nasty little taste for kink.

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"Blue Velvet" is David Lynch's greatest cinematic achievement next to "Eraserhead." His balance of symbols, and artful use of montage, is at its most poetic and powerful. His metaphoric allusions about the dysfunctional nature of the ideal "American Dream" family incite hellish visions of the abusive father (as embodied in Hopper's character) and the traumatized wife/mother who needs saving from her idealized son.

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Every role is perfectly cast. Dennis Hopper's portrayal of a whacked-out crime boss is terrifying. Lynch's haunting small-town mystery carries an indescribable undertow that kicks like a spastic mule in heat. 

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"Blue Velvet" is the closest that any filmmaker other than Buñuel has ever come to such a daring cinematic feat.You can bet that Quentin Tarantino took notes from "Blue Velvet" in creating "Reservoir Dogs." Here is a film that alters everyone who sees it.

Rated R. 120 mins.

5 StarsModern Cole SF SHOCKTOBER!Cozy Cole

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