Movie Fan Man: Cinema Connoisseur

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Take a Film Dare Challenge: A Fun Little Game for the Lock-down

From Tony Nash

Hello to my followers, those I’m following, and all curious visitors

With things still up in the air thanks to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), I figured I’d try making up a nice little game to stifle some of the boredom of being indoors most of the time

I’m calling this game “Take a Film Dare Challenge” and the object is for people to pick out some Word-Pressers who follow you and try to think of a film they would like, but for whatever the reason, haven’t talked about them before. Once the film is viewed, do however long or short a write up you would prefer about your thoughts and impression of the film, and whether you’d check out other films from that genre or similar films The object of course is to have fun and also to see if extra spark can be found for new types of films and genres. I’ll start out by picking some of the folks I find very cool to read. To make the inaugural round interesting, I’ll be picking titles for these WP users via my personal collection of Blu Rays and DVDs.

MMC! (Make Mine Criterion!): I’ve got to admit at first I thought I wouldn’t be able to find anything for MMC! as his knowledge and interest in film is vast and I’m pretty sure there isn’t too much he hasn’t seen. I quickly realized I shouldn’t be thinking about what he hasn’t watched, but what he hasn’t discussed in his writings he’d be eloquent with. For this reason I’ve chosen Jacques Demy’s Une Chambre en Ville ( A Room in Town) from 1982 as his challenge.

Une chambre en ville

Demy’s salute to Opera doesn’t come close to recapturing the magic of his classic Le Parapluis du Cherburg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) but it does capture the magic and style of such composers as Puccini, Verdi, Wagner, Leoncavello, and many others. MMC!, I think you’ll enjoy this one.

Mikes Take on the Movies: Like with MMC!, Mike has a pretty eclectic taste in varied film genres and movements, so this one had to be really special. I haven’t heard Mike talk too much about Musicals, and I believe I’ve found one that would peak his curiosity. I’m sticking with Demy on this one, and Mike’c challenge is Demy’s 1970 Musical Fairy Tale Peau d’Ane (Donkey Skin).

Donkey Skin

Mixing bizarre, whimsical, and enchanting as only Demy can, this little fable has both the charm of the kind of stories told to children, and the qualities only adults would truly understand. Mike, I believe you’d get a lot of enjoyment out of this for both the visuals and storytelling.

Debbi’s I Found it at the Movies: I couldn’t decide on just one film for Debbi as she’s very eclectic as well in her viewing pleasures, so I’m giving her the option of doing two films, or picking the one that intrigues her the most. I’ve seen her talk about quite a lot from the classic era of movies, but I’m unsure of how much Japanese cinema she’s experienced, so I’m giving her double dose of Samurai action films in Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo from 1961

Yojimbo

and the Italian Western influenced Kill! by Kihachi Okamoto from 1968

Kill!

Both films offer a wandering samurai taking on outlaw gangs, one in a more philosophical sense, and the other leaning more towards tongue-in-cheek humor. Both are on the dark comedy side when it comes to giving viewers a chuckle, but aren’t offensive in any way.  Both are also action-packed and offer great thrills along the way. Debbi, I’m sure you’ll enjoy either of these.

The Wee Writing Lassie: At first I wasn’t sure whether to include the Lassie in this game as I believe her blog deals a little more in books, travel, and theater, but I know she enjoys a good film like the rest of us, so hope you enjoy ride Lass. Since I know she enjoys a good mystery from time to time, I figured Lassie would enjoy an early Italian Giallo thriller that offers the same thrills and intrigue without the sleaze and exploitation frills that would come to dominate it from the 1970’s onward.

The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion Blu-Ray image 1

I thought Le Foto Proibite di una Signora per Bene (The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion) from 1969 would be something that keeps you guessing, but not worrying about how much skin or sleaze gets in the way. Lass, I hope you enjoy and maybe find something new to explore as you try things out.

Master Mix Movies: This dude is one of my more recent followers, but I’m already very impressed with his material so I decided to include him here. So far from what I’ve seen he likes films that mix a lot of stuff together to form a solid whole that makes for good entertainment. With this in mind, I’ve picked two titles and, like with Debbi, can choose to both, or pick the one he likes the most.

First off, we have Henri-Georges Clouzot’s, the man who gave Hitchcock a run for his money, Le Salaire de la Peur (The Wages of Fear) from 1952

The Wages of Fear

A tense, and at times both cynical and nihilistic, Thriller as 4 desperate expatriated men try to get money to escape poverty in a rural South American town. Yves Montand and Charles Vanel have great chemistry and represent two separate generations, one on the way out, the other on the rise-but still with a lot to learn.

Then we have Francesco Rosi’s underscored hit, Salvatore Giuliano from 1962.

Salvatore Giuliano

This film mixes both documentary style filmmaking, Murder Mystery Thriller, and Crime Drama, as Rosi traces the life of the notorious Sicilian outlaw and the forces many believe silenced him from telling the truth.

Now I’m gonna be taking part in this myself, but I’ll leave my pick as a surprise. I can tell you it’ll be posted at the end of September when I complete a special I’ll be starting next week, which I’m sure many of you will get a kick out of.

Now if any of you I’ve picked don’t have access to the films I’ve picked for you, please let me know and I will gladly pick something else out, this is meant for pure fun and to do something unique and different.

I hope those I have picked will enjoy this experiment, have fun with it, and pick out some folks to give it a try themselves.

Filed under: Annoucements, Film & TV: Potpourri, Film: Special Topics

A Filmic Acid Trip

That Also Defies Definition

by Tony Nash

(Obscure & Unique)

(All opinions are of the author alone)

(Mild Spoilers to Spoiler Free)

(Author’s Note: Few images exist of this film and since there’s quite a bit of nudity, not many images will be shown)

The Lady Kills (1971): Mondo Macabro Blu-ray

Perverse et Docile (The Lady Kills/Wild & Willing) (1971) **** NC-17

Carole Lebel: Françoise Fremond

Albert Simono: John Greenfield

Christian Duc: Christian Belmont (as Christian Duke)

Paul Descombes: Karl Mohr

Claude Beautheac: François Ficheux

Charles Martin: The Roman Fashion Designer

Katia Tchenko: Hina

Written & Directed by: Jean-Louis van Belle

Synopsis: A group of men gang up on a woman and proceed to rape her repeatedly. About 20 years later, these same men are being killed in very unique fashion by a mysterious woman named Françoise Fremond. Why she is doing this is unknown.

NSFW Gallery: The Lady Kills (Mondo Macabro Blu-ray) Screenshots ...
Still From Mondo Macabro

Jean-Louis van Belle, a French-Belgian underground filmmaker who became a hit with the Swinging Sixties audiences with his funky Sci-Fi Horror film Le Sadique aux Dents Rouges (The Sadist with Red Teeth) and his mockumentary Paris Interdit (Forbidden Paris), proved at that same period he could be thought provoking and artistic while also entertaining with Perverse et Docile. Mixing Mondo documentary films, Giallo Suspense, Travel films showing the sights, and avant-garde cinematography, van Belle concocts a very unusual story of machismo run amok and the revenge that comes about when this psyche goes too far. By having the audience follow his heroine as she goes from country to country, eliminating a series of men who were involved in a horrid act of rape, van Belle not only shows off the beauty of the various countries he was able to film in, but also shows an independent woman’s fierce determination to bring the masculine domination of European society down a very harsh peg. Combining inventive cinematography, including an x-ray style opening credit sequence, with the traditional storytelling, Belle takes his viewers through a vignette style journey.

Amazon.com: The Lady Kills / Pervertissima [Blu-ray]: Carole Lebel ...
Still from Amazon

Carole Lebel, a Belgian model and actress, takes the lead in her final film before retiring as the seductive and mysterious Françoise. Almost nothing is known about Françoise, even as the camera follows her as she kills man after man for seemingly no reason at all. All audiences know is that she can’t stand men who take advantage of women in such fashions, and even more disgusted that they live such hedonistic lifestyles. Lebel proves herself a capable actress as she plays it calm and cool, never showing emotion until the crucial moment as she lures her prey into false senses of security and safety, nearly perfectly embodying a Black Widow spider. In order to keep the murders as isolated and unrelated as possible, she kills each man differently, using an array of weapons from a gun, to acid, to knives, to bombs. She also uses a series of aliases, wigs, and personalities so the men are easily stunned by her charms, never knowing until practically too late what is about to befall them.

NSFW Gallery: The Lady Kills (Mondo Macabro Blu-ray) Screenshots ...
Still from Cultsploitation

The remainder of the cast is made up of local area Belgian and French actors/actresses, playing the victims and other characters that make up the world Van Belle paints. Not much can be said about these performers as they’re only seen for maybe 10 minutes per vignette and all that can be gotten from those brief moments is their careers and preferred sexual escapades. The little info per the IMDb on the performers at hand is that they mainly and briefly acted in French and Belgian television, only Albert Simono having had a 30 plus year career in both TV and films, albeit in small roles.

Amazon.com: The Lady Kills / Pervertissima [Blu-ray]: Carole Lebel ...
From Amazon

While Van Belle entertains with a Mystery in travelogue documentary form, he also takes a scathing stab at male patriarchal chauvinism that seemed to be at a height in Europe in the 60’s and 70’s. Second Wave Feminism was in full swing, and even in Europe women were beginning to assert themselves as individuals and breaking the shackles of the once viewed as norm roles they were expected to take. That Van Belle mixes this with entertainment makes the film all the more interesting and worthy of getting wider appeal. While at times non-linear in going into the lead character’s motivations, and even a little on the psychedelic in terms of cinematography, the film still captures attention and interest.

(I do highly recommend giving this film a viewing as while there’s a lot to find incoherent and down right bizarre in some of the shots, it does in fact have a linear narrative that once the ending begins to roll, everything will come into a clear perspective. Van Belle is grossly underrated as a filmmaker, and while his work is definitely low budget is the work of a man with a lot of passion, determination, and talent, so only his avant-garde underground style seems to be what scares off people from looking into his work. The Blu Ray from Mondo Macabro offers up an immaculate transfer in both audio and visual quality, everything looking pristine as if it was just made and released to the public. As a nice bonus there’s a 30 minute documentary about Van Belle that was filmed at a retrospective in France honoring his contributions to cinema, featuring comments from critics, Van Belle’s favorite crew members & actors, and from Van Belle himself, who for some reason asked to not have his face shown on camera.)

All images courtesy of Google.com/Google Images and their respective owners

for more information

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0258019/?ref_=fn_nm_nm_1a

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perverse_et_Docile

buying options

https://www.mondo-macabro.com/mondo-macabro-blu-ray/the-lady-kills/pervertissima.html

https://www.moviesunlimited.com/the-lady-kills-pervertissima/843276021191

Filed under: Film & TV: Potpourri, Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics

The Croc From Hell Returns

by Tony Nash

(A [Belated] 45th Anniversary Celebration of Jaws Part 2)

(All opinions are of the author alone)

(Mild Spoilers)

(Review is of the Italian language version)

Killer Crocodile 2 (1990) - IMDb

Killer Crocodile 2 (1990) R ***

Richard Anthony Crenna: Kevin Jones, Activist (as Anthony Crenna)

Debra Karr: Lisa Post, Reporter

Ennio Girolami: Joe, the Croc Hunter (as Thomas Moore)

Terry Baer: Paul, Miami Chronicle Publisher

Hector Alvarez: Mr. Baxter, Land Developer

Written by: Fabrizio De Angelis (as Larry Ludman), Giannetto De Rossi, & Dardano Sacchetti (as David Parker Jr.)

Directed by: Giannetto De Rossi

Synopsis: Eco Activist Kevin and Croc Hunter Joe reunite to find Kevin’s reporter friend Lisa who has discovered a land developer has lied about promising to fully decontaminate an area of the Caribbean riddled with illegally dumped toxic waste, instead planning a huge resort on top of it. Kevin soon finds another mutated croc is out killing tourists and locals, and when Joe ends up a victim of the beast, he and Lisa must save the populace and then expose the truth.

Killer Crocodile 2 Blu-ray Review with HD Screenshots

While a sequel to the original, Killer Crocodile 2 was in fact filmed simultaneously with its predecessor. Fabrizio De Angelis was behind the helm of both films, but decided to give the directorial credit of the sequel to special effects man and burgeoning filmmaker Giannetto De Rossi. Like the original Killer Crocodile being a pseudo remake of Jaws, KC2 was a pseudo remake of Jaws 2 in that both dealt with the uneasiness of major resorts being built in areas that might still be infested with dangers, only the danger this time is a mutated crocodile and loads of hazardous toxic waste instead of crazed man eating shark. Giannetto De Rossi himself stated in an interview that while much fun was had making both films, the overall product could be less than stellar at times, but he none the less enjoyed the challenge of trying to make a realistic looking giant crocodile with the little budget they had to work with.

Film Review - Killer Crocodile 2 (1990) - Tuesday Night Cigar Club

File:Killercroc2-7.jpg

American actor Richard Anthony Crenna (credited as Anthony Crenna) and Ennio Girolami (credited as Thomas Moore) reprise their respective roles of activist Kevin and hunter Joe in the film. Kevin is still out trying to save the world, but hard learned truths have made him wiser in that some things are just too dangerous to let roam around free as they cause as much, if not more, destruction than the most harmful materials around. Kevin still believes in saving the world, but has learned new ways that allow him to maintain his ideals, and stop harmful elements that need stopping. Croc Hunter Joe has also learned some lessons from his encounter with the original croc. He too is wiser, and has learned he himself has limits as his fight with the croc cost him the use of his one arm. Kevin’s activism influenced him as his survival skills influenced Kevin in that he’s a little more careful of what he uses to make his food, and understands both ends of the arguments over environmental safety. Sadly, his loss of his edge costs him his life when he’s unable to predict where the croc is.

Killer Crocodile 2 (1990) / AvaxHome

Debra Karr, a very briefly lived actress in the late 80’s, early 90’s, is quite the surprise as the spitfire reporter Lisa. A very independent woman via the 2nd wave Feminist Movement, Lisa knows how to take care of herself, and is able to survive the dangers of the croc and jungles where others have fallen victim. Certain the land developer Baxter is covering up lost toxic waste, Lisa stays on the trail even when Baxter pays off goons to threaten her.

Cool Ass Cinema: Killer Crocodile 2 (1990)

The beauty of the Caribbean islands is once again on display in the film, and even a few shots of Miami Florida come into display. Mixing both the classical beautiful scenery and the more exotic rural areas, De Rossi and his crew make the best use of locations to help hide the meager budget at hand.

Killer Crocodile 2 Blu-ray Review with HD Screenshots

Not as interesting as the original, but still offers an intriguing story-line involving lies, deceit, and political based cover-ups, KC2 is still a very interesting ride to experience and enjoy.

(As I said earlier, the sequel can’t compare to the original, and while at times the story seems a little up in the air of where it wants to go, the acting of Crenna, Girolami, and Karr make up for the loose ends that couldn’t be fixed during the shoot or in the editing room. De Rossi himself claims the film wasn’t the preferred way to start his career as a director, but did enjoy the challenges of the limitations at hand, and the confidence given him by writer-producer-director Fabrizio De Angelis. Two Blu Rays exist of the film, one from the US company Severin Films, and the other from the UK’s 88 Films. The Severin Blu Ray is a limited run extra, while 88 Films has the full on rights to distribute it as a single feature. Like with the Original, 88 Films wins out on the visual and audio transfer, and on the price as well. It can be bought either on the Killer Crocodile Box Set, or as a single edition that will be coming out late August, early September.)

All images courtesy of Google.com/Google Images and their respective owners

for more information

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099934/?ref_=nm_knf_i3

Buying Options

Killer Crocodile / Killer Crocodile 2 Collection – The Italian Collection 50 / 51

Killer Crocodile [2-Disc Blu-ray Feat. Exclusive Slipcover]

 

Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics

The Monster From Jaws Survived – To Become a Giant Croc in Italy

by Tony Nash

(A [Belated] 45th Anniversary Celebration of Jaws Part 1)

(All Opinions are of the Author Alone)

(Mild Spoilers)

(Review is of the original Italian language version)

Killer Crocodile (1989) - IMDb

Killer Crocodile (1989) R *** ½

Richard Anthony Crenna: Kevin, Ecologist Team Leader (as Anthony Crenna)

Sherrie Rose: Pamela, Ecologist Team Member

Pietro Genuardi: Mark, Ecologist Team Photographer (as Julian Hampton)

Ennio Girolami: Joe, the Croc Hunter (as Thomas Moore)

Van Johnson: The City Judge

Ann Douglas: Jennifer, Ecologist Team Biologist

Bill Wohrman: Mr. Foley, Businessman (as Wohrman Williams)

John Harper: Bob, Ecologist Team Member

Franklin Dominguez: The City Pathologist

Written by: Fabrizio De Angelis (as Larry Ludman) & Dardano Sacchetti (as David Parker Jr.)

Directed by: Fabrizio De Angelis (as Larry Ludman)

 

Synopsis: A team of environmentalists somewhere in the Caribbean jungles discover crooked businessmen have been dumping toxic waste material into a local river, threatening the ecosystem and the livelihoods of the local communities. When locals encounter a crocodile that has mutated from the spill the environmentalists put aside their ideals to team with the local croc hunter to stop it from harming anymore people.

Top 10 Killer Crocodile Flicks! | Arrow in the Head

From the mid-1970’s to 1990, the Italian film industry had a period of killer animal films inspired from the 1975 blockbuster film Jaws. Along with sharks, the Italians also told stories of killer fish, bugs, amphibians, and crocodiles. Tobe Hooper’s Eaten Alive had come out around the same time as Jaws and equally ushered in an interest in Thrillers about the elusive creatures, and the Italians found crocs to be the most doable for their special effects teams. The genre fizzled about 1989, but producer Fabrizio De Angelis decided to send the craze out with a bang in the form of Killer Crocodile. Environmental Activism had taken hold around the world as illegal dumping of hazardous and dangerous materials were being uncovered, and De Angelis, along with regular Lucio Fulci collaborator Dardano Sacchetti, crafted a screenplay with these real-world happenings as the backdrop for the tale. By having the main group of ecologists come into conflict with preserving their ideals and protecting the environment in all its forms vs the loss of human life that will definitely happen if action isn’t taken makes for very interesting drama.

Killer Crocodile (Fabrizio De Angelis, 1989) – Offscreen

Composer Riz Ortolani does the closest thing to a direct rip-off of John Williams’ classic theme of the shark from Jaws with his primary piece that shows when the croc is around and/or ready to strike. The theme is still very good, and is in reality done as a sincere form of flattery, and Ortolani’s overall score is very effective in supplying atmosphere and tension. Special Effects man Giannetto De Rossi is very inventive and creative, and comes up with a fairly realistic looking crocodile for the film. While the obviousness of the croc being animatronic is visible via the eyes not moving at all, De Rossi’s magic touch made the crocodile one of the better practical effect animatronic animals in an age when Italy had a lot of low budget fare coming out in terms of genre cinema.

Killer Crocodile | Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Cool Ass Cinema: Killer Crocodile (1989) review

Richard Anthony Crenna, son of character actor Richard Crenna, got one of his rare opportunities at a starring role in the part of ecologist team head Kevin. Adopting the stage name Anthony Crenna to distinguish himself from his famous father, Crenna plays Kevin as the typical activist in that he has high moral ideals, very little time to see that both sides have a point, and is take charge. While he’s very right in that the pollution of rivers by less than honest business type people must be put to an end, he learns the hard way that not all victims of such atrocities are innocent and worthy of protection. It’s not very long before he must decide where and when to use his ideals, and when it is time to fight for the good of the people. Van Johnson, an iconic leading man of the 1940’s and 50’s in Hollywood, plays a small, but still important role of the authoritative head of the village. Known only as The Judge, Johnson’s character is the quintessential corrupt and crooked politician who has sold his soul and integrity for money. His conscious does get the better of him when he learns the dumping of the waste has caused a crocodile to become massive and size and begins to wonder what else has affected the area. Whether he can be redeemed is left uncertain.

Killer Crocodile (1989)

Ennio Girolami, credited under the Anglo pseudonym Thomas Moore, an actor noted for both his work and being the brother of famed director Enzo G. Castellari, plays Joe, the local croc expert. Joe is a little like the Quint character from Jaws in that battling crocs is his passion, almost at times bordering on an obsession, and has the scars to prove he’s tangoed with the apex predators and lived. Unlike Quint, he’s sane and more humane in his actions, only killing the beasts when absolutely necessary, and never in any excess that would be considered dangerous to nature and the ecosystem. He respects the law of the jungle and does his best to keep everything in balance.

(Author’s note: I actually preferred Girolami’s character over the group of ecologists as he made far more sense than they did, and came off right away as far more likable.)

Killer Crocodile Blu-ray Review with HD Screenshots

The film’s location scenes were done entirely in the region of Santo Domingo in the Caribbean islands, and show off both the beauty of the area and the local flavor that’s rarely shown in other films. The majority of the extras were played by citizens of the area, so the viewer knows they’re exactly in the Caribbean and the authenticity of the setting is preserved.

Unpopped Cinema: KILLER CROCODILE - BLU-RAY REVIEW

A times cheesy given some of the acting, the film is genuinely entertaining and offers quite a bit of unique thrills. While the toxic waste dumping part of the story takes secondary precedent once the croc comes into play, it does serve as the catalyst as to how the beast came into being.

(Believe it or not, I do recommend give this croc flick a try as despite its low budget, has really good production qualities, didn’t take any short cuts to make things safe, and has a good set of character performers, including Hollywood icon Van Johnson. Even De Rossi’s croc is really well done in spite of the eyes being plastic and never moving. The film has two Blu Ray releases, one from the US company Severin and the other from the UK’s 88 Films. The 88 Films release wins out here as it has much better visuals and audio, and offers both the original Italian language as well as the English dub. The special features are virtually the same, save for Severin getting to interview star Richard Anthony Crenna, but what really clenches the deal is the price. 88 Films has both Killer Crocodile films on Blu Ray in a nice set for 25 GBP while Severin only has the rights to the first film with the sequel as a limited offer for $30 plus depending on where you purchase it from. This isn’t to say Severin doesn’t do a good job with their releases, but 88 just had a little more to offer. It’s all a question of which you the viewer prefer.)

All images courtesy of Google.com/Google Images and their respective owners

for more information

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0143338/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killer_Crocodile

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killer_Crocodile

buying options

Killer Crocodile / Killer Crocodile 2 Collection – The Italian Collection 50 / 51

Killer Crocodile [Blu-ray]

Killer Crocodile [2-Disc Blu-ray Feat. Exclusive Slipcover]

Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics