13 Tzameti is a tense French thriller. It starts off a bit slowly. A young man is doing some work on the roof of a strange man and his housekeeper. The man gets a mysterious letter and then dies. It blows out the window and the worker takes and finds some instructions on how to get lots of money. As he and his family are in dire financial straits, he decides to take a chance. He is followed by lawmen, who are following a lead. When he gets to his destination, he finds himself embroiled in a deadly game of Russian roulette. A lot of money is bet and the players get a portion of the bets if they are left standing. It is quite tense and well done. There is some spray of brains here and there. I will rate this one 3.5/5 acorns.
Hour of the Wolf
Vargtimmen (1968) is directed and written by Ingmar Bergman and starring Liv Ullman and Max von Syndow. I don’t associate Berman with horror movies, but this is a Gothic horror movie. I must say I was distracted by two fiber creations in the movie. One a knit dress worn by a former lover, and a long evening wrap that looks crocheted. I tried to get some good captures, but haven’t worked out the bugs yet on my new system. Liv Ullman’s character is a very grounded woman who resists being drawn into the madness of her husband. In the opening narrative she speaks to camera about how couples sometimes come to resemble each other after years. In the end she reiterates this statement and expresses how dangerous that can be. The scenery in this movie, although black and white is very beautiful. The special effects are dated. In the extras it talks about the fun they all had making this movie. I like that Liv Ullman was interviewed then and years later. I will rate it 2.5/5 acorns.
Crank is written and directed by two men who started behind the camera. It is frenetic and well acted by a British actor who is a hitman for drug lords in LA. It starts off with him seeing a video of himself being poisoned. He calls his doctor, Dwight Yoakam, of all people, and they decide he can prolong his life by using stimulants. He wants to stay alive long enough to get revenge. He calls his girlfriend for help. She is a very pretty, not too bright, woman, who loves him and doesn’t know what he does for a living. When he is with her, his whole personality changes and he is patient and sweet, even when she scolds him or slows him down. So we go from brainbashing and shootouts, to him trying to repair her microwave oven, while he robs drugstores and hospitals looking for ephedrine, nose spray and epinephrine. I will rate this one 3/5 acorns.
The Devil’s Backbone
Espinazo del diablo, El (2001) written and directed by Guillermo del Toro is a ghost movie that I enjoyed a lot. A young boy, who doesn’t know he’s an orphan is taken to an isolated place and left. He thinks his father is away fighting in the war, but he has been killed. Being new and having led a sheltered life, he becomes the target for an older boy. He is tricked into leaving his room at night, and he enounters an eerie boy. The old man running the orphanage is a doctor who shoes him preverved fetuses with open spine defects. They are preserved in pure alcohol and he sells the fluid to the villagers as they feel it has magical powers from the Devil’s backbone. He is kind to the boy and also very deeply in love with the one legged mean lady that really wields the power. While not a good as Pan’s Labyrinth, it is a very enjoyable film by this talented director, and I liked it better then Hellboy and Mimic. I will rate it 4/5 acorns.
The Contract should have been a better movie as it had John Cusack and Morgan Freeman, but it just didn’t work for me.
Fantastic Four was one of my favorite comics way back when. The movie while entertaining, was ultimately forgettable.