A FISTFUL OF DYNAMITE/DUCK, YOU SUCKER!/GIU, LA TESTA!/ONCE UPON A TIME… THE REVOLUTION

1971; directed by Sergio Leone; written by Roberto De Leonardis, Sergio Donati, Sergio Leone, Carlo Tritto and Luciano Vincenzoni; 154 mins

[Spoilers.]

“And then, the people who read the books, they all sit around the big polished tables, and they talk and talk and talk and eat and eat and eat, eh? But what has happened to the poor people? They’re dead! That’s your revolution.” – Juan Miranda

About the only film I would say is a genuine underrated classic. Perennially lost amidst all of Leone’s other films, A Fistful of Dynamite (by which it’ll be referred from here on in because that’s the name by which I came to it) is the dirty, smelly, subversive cousin sandwiched in between golden children, Once Upon a time in the West (1968) and Once Upon a Time in America (1984). It’s historically all over the place, to say nothing of the lead actors’ accents. When it came out, it was too ambivalent in it’s politics for the cultural elite and too arty for the studios, both of whom butchered it in their own way. This review is of the 154 minute version… that’s very important! Not the 121 minute version or the 138 minute version which miss out very crucial character beats. Continue reading

THE GREAT SILENCE

1968; directed by Sergio Corbucci; written by Mario Amendola, Bruno Corbucci, Sergio Corbucci and Vittoriano Petrilli; 101 mins

[SPOILERO!]

Bleak is the word! In Sergio Corbucci‘s atypically snowbound Spaghetti Western, the faces are scarred and severe and the landscapes are endless and lonely. Filmed in the Italian Dolomites, watching it on a bitterly cold evening was perhaps not the wisest option as Silvano Ippoliti‘s bitingly beautiful cinematography is matched by Corbucci’s ice-cold outlook. Continue reading

A LIZARD IN A WOMAN’S SKIN

1971; directed by Lucio Fulci; written by Lucio Fulci, Roberto Gianviti, José Luis Martínez Mollá and André Tranché; 99 mins

An exploitation film that explores exploitation itself with the tale of a bourgeois family torn apart by fear of sexual liberation, new freedoms and the hippie dream! The Telegraph DVD review says; “forget the story” but it’s also a murder mystery where the weirdness is intertwined with a vortex of double crossing and psychological games. It does, however, occasionally go a step too far in it’s desire to push buttons and falls over into male leeriness… we’ll get to that! Continue reading

RABID

1977; written and directed by David Cronenberg; 91 mins

[Mild spoilers. Send your complaints to…]

Sex vampires! Sort of! More Cronenbergian Canadian corruption after the similarly sleazy Shivers. This time concerning the fate of a young woman, Rose, who, after a horrible motorbike crash, is taken in at the nearest medical centre – a plastic surgery clinic. The surgeon who sees to her makes the rash decision to try some radical surgery which results in a freakish, cock-like deformity which emerges from a vaginal hole in her armpit, hungry for blood! The deformity also has the added bonus of turning people into rabid, drooling maniacs who try to eat anyone they come into contact with… Continue reading

SHIVERS

1975; written and directed by David Cronenberg; 83 mins

Sex zombies! What a calling card! Well… it’s either a calculated calling card, designed to shock and appall the uninitiated and please the in-crowd or just a horror flick with brains made by someone unselfconsciously operating way, way beyond the bounds of good taste. Either way, it was grubby thinktrash of the highest order! Continue reading

THE NEON DEMON

2016; directed by Nicolas Winding Refn; written by Mary Laws, Nicolas Winding Refn and Polly Stenham; 117 mins

[MUCHO PLOT-SPOILERO!]

Once again, negativity, dismissiveness and ‘ban this filth‘ crap greet the new Nicolas Winding Refn film and whereas, a lot of times, I feel dismayed when the general consensus doesn’t quite meet my adoration of a particular film, with this director’s work… it kinda thrills me! When the screening finished and the lights went up, a guy behind me turned to his group of mates and said; “Yeah, sorry about that, guys!” Continue reading

DJANGO KILL… IF YOU LIVE, SHOOT!

1967; directed by Giulio Questi; written by Franco Arcalli, Benedetto Benedetti and Giulio Questi; 117 mins

Well, first things first – it’s not a Django movie. The title was tacked on after the success of Sergio Corbucci’s smash hit original in the hopes that it would soak up some of that audience. What it is is a bizarre, vicious tale about one-time gang member, The Stranger who, after helping to steal gold from Union troops, is betrayed by leader Oaks and left for dead. Mysteriously, he survives and is rescued by a couple of Native Americans whilst his executioners are themselves summarily executed when they enter a weird town populated by fucked up yokels! Once on his feet, The Stranger makes his way to the town and finds himself caught between the warring factions of priest (Hagerman), bar owner (Templer) and gang boss (Sorrow) all vying for the stolen gold. Continue reading