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Reviews Written by
Mark Norvell (HOUSTON)

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Big Knife (Widescreen) [Import]
Big Knife (Widescreen) [Import]
DVD ~ Jack Palance
Offered by Planet Video
Price: CDN$ 34.99
13 used & new from CDN$ 9.83

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TOUGH ENTERTAINMENT....., Oct. 26 2002
Great movie. Big movie star Charlie Castle (Jack Palance) doesn't want to renew his contract to his studio. He wants to reclaim his soul and his family who have left him. But The Boss (Rod Steiger---going full-blast) won't hear of it. Castle's pictures make money and he will do anything to keep it rolling in. Wendell Corey is slime personified as The Boss' right-hand man. Ida Lupino is Castle's wife who loves him and wants him to have his soul back too. Jean Hagen is the trampy evil wife of Castle's best friend and Shelley Winters appears as a troubled starlet and party girl for the Big Boys who knows (and drinks) too much. According to this story, down and dirty blackmail was how they kept stars in line back in the studio days and Castle has a tragic scandal to hide. Based on Clifford Odets' play, the film shows it's stage origins but is fascinating to watch nonetheless for the performances of the top-notch cast. A must see for film buffs and the DVD looks great. A keeper for your collection.

Y tu Mamá También [Unrated] (Widescreen Subtitled) [Import]
Y tu Mamá También [Unrated] (Widescreen Subtitled) [Import]
DVD ~ Maribel Verdú
Offered by TUNESUS
Price: CDN$ 7.89
25 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars TOO LITTLE ....TOO LATE...., Oct. 22 2002
I am so sorry I watched this movie. I hated it. That's not to say it's a bad movie---it isn't. But it bummed me out. A road movie should contain some enlightenment for the characters and for the audience. And this IS a road movie, I don't care what other reviewers say. I found none. For everything the characters go through, you're pulled into it with them. This much works. Although I didn't care at all for the two male leads I grew to like them eventually. The female--Luisa--is on a sexual fling. She enjoys both the boys and finally brings out their attraction for each other. At this point I need to address the nudity and sex. It's there all right, but neither is enough to really hit home the emotions that will surface later. It comes off as trashy and teasy and that's not what is needed to give the gut impact we will experience later the full blow. I know this sounds ridiculous, but for once had a film's nudity been more explicit it would have worked in favor of the film as a whole. The characters would have been more realistic. It doesn't have to be as raunchy as it is here. Just frank and natural. I hope that makes sense. Anyway, the ending is one of the worst endings I have ever seen in a movie. It just ruins the whole film. It just bums you out. You don't want to watch the movie again because the ending's so bad and there's nothing else in the movie to rewatch because there's either not enough of it or it's not explicit enough. It sends mixed messages in every direction. I will not recommend this film to anyone. Period.

No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars REWARDING IF YOU'RE GAME...., Oct. 22 2002
I don't know what all the "love it"/"hate it" stuff's about. This is an engrossing and galvanizing film. Director Darren Aronosfky has achieved deserved recognition for this morality fable about the destruction of four lives by drug addiction. Wonderful performances put this tale right in your face. The stuff dreams are made of is heroin and diet pills. The characters write their own requiem as they descend into hell. Not for the faint-hearted or weak-stomached but well worth watching for the performances---especially Ellen Burstyn who was Oscar nominated for her work here. Jared Leto as her son, Marlon Wayans as his buddy and Jennifer Connelly as Leto's girlfriend all turn in fine jobs as the doomed souls who sell out for the "Dream". Sad, depressing but fascinating viewing if a bit heavy-handed at times. A damn fine film nonetheless.

Caligula [Import]
Caligula [Import]
DVD ~ Malcolm McDowell
Offered by 5A/30 Entertainment
Price: CDN$ 70.47
10 used & new from CDN$ 9.19

1.0 out of 5 stars HORRIFIC EXCESS...., Oct. 22 2002
This review is from: Caligula [Import] (DVD)
Huge, lavish expansive vehicle for depicting every sort of depravity imaginable (or even UNimaginable). Financed by Penthouse (of course), "Caligula" manages to trot out good "name" actors to give a pornographic film some respectability. Too bad. The film is historically debatable on any count and no one's watching this excrement on film for history anyway. I truly believe you can pay Malcolm McDowall to do anything but Helen Mirren is totally debased here. Scatalogical in the extreme, "Caligula" stands as a total embarrassment to one and all. Camera work is downright poor at times. Mcdowall hams it up unmercifully and really seems to be enjoying the hideous things he does. A total gross-out for people who like watching bloody car accidents. Help yourself.

In the Realm of the Senses [Import]
In the Realm of the Senses [Import]
DVD ~ Tatsuya Fuji
Offered by eplayplay
Price: CDN$ 61.51
4 used & new from CDN$ 17.51

5.0 out of 5 stars ASTOUNDING EROTICA....., Oct. 21 2002
This is an amazing film to watch. Not only is it beautifully filmed but the atmosphere is quite vivid in its' depiction of a Japanese servant girl who becomes mistress of the master of the house and sexually obsessed with their relationship. She leads him deeper into the sexual realm until it becomes the focus of both their lives. Their relationship becomes so intense that it can only lead to destruction. Film is extremely sexually graphic and to be honest, I wasn't even aware that I was watching "pornography" because the acting and story were so mesmerizing. By then, I didn't care because it wasn't offensive---just honest. The two leads are wonderful actors and they made me forget I was watching a supposedly one-time controversial film. The film is supposedly based on a true incident. The ending is shocking and depressing but that's allegedly what happened. I consider this film a classic and a must see for foreign film buffs. It's one of the most beautiful erotic love stories ever made and one of the most disturbing.

When a Stranger Calls (Bilingual) [Import]
When a Stranger Calls (Bilingual) [Import]
DVD ~ Carol Kane
Offered by 5A/30 Entertainment
Price: CDN$ 64.76
10 used & new from CDN$ 1.61

3.0 out of 5 stars DISAPPOINTING THRILLER...., Oct. 21 2002
After a shattering opening 20 minutes or so, this promising thriller bogs down in the search for a child killer and a boring psychological depiction of the killer's motives. Yes, he's really sick. But aren't they all? Carol Kane is fine as the terrorized baby sitter trying to start a new life years later with children of her own but by then the thrill is gone. Charles Durning turns in another rubber-stamped weary cop turn and Colleen Dewhurst is wasted as a barfly who has a close encounter with the killer. And she has a VERY long walk home that makes you wonder why she didn't just call a cab. British actor Tony Beckham is OK as the killer, but how much sympathy are we supposed to give this guy? Not as much as the film tries to get us to that's for sure. This was followed by a TV sequel years later that's even worse. I can't recommend either one. If you really want to see either---just rent'em.

House on Haunted Hill (Widescreen/Full Screen) (Sous-titres français)
House on Haunted Hill (Widescreen/Full Screen) (Sous-titres français)
DVD ~ Vincent Price
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 41.97
9 used & new from CDN$ 0.68

5.0 out of 5 stars FORGET THE REMAKE......, Oct. 21 2002
You can't go wrong with this classic old chestnut. William Castle presents Vincent Price at his most sinister and debonair as the millionaire hosting a "haunted house party". A group of needy (i.e."broke") people are invited to attend with the ones who survive getting a big sum of money. The house is a veritable fortress with a legacy of evil and murder. Ghosts supposedly roam the place seeking new victims. Blood drips from the ceiling onto the hand of a woman---"marking" her as one soon to die. Carol Ohmart as Price's spoiled greedy wife slinks around telling everyone that Price is dangerous. Elisha Cook Jr. is at his looney weirdest as the lone survivor of a previous "party"-- drunkenly intoning omens of doom for one and all. Richard Long (from TV's "The Big Valley") is the level headed hero and pretty Carolyn Craig is the innocent damsel-in-distress screaming her head off at every spooky turn. The skeleton in the cellar gimmick is still fun. Great to watch on Halloween. And perfectly OK for kids too. But those adults who remember who Castle was and know Vincent Price like a relative will cherish this lovable old goodie the most.

Diabolique (The Criterion Collection)
Diabolique (The Criterion Collection)
DVD ~ Simone Signoret
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 50.89
7 used & new from CDN$ 35.90

5.0 out of 5 stars THE ORIGINAL MASTERPIECE...., Oct. 21 2002
This is the original Henri Clouzot shocker from 1955 that has been imitated but never duplicated. Avoid the Sharon Stone remake. There is no comparison. This tense tale of two female schoolteachers at an abysmal school for boys who do away with the tyrannical headmaster (who is married to the weak one and lovers with the stronger one) has been masterfully presented by Criterion. The grim b&w photography and the dismal school create the perfect creepy mood for this tale of murder and irony. Simone Signoret and Vera Clouzot (the director's wife) are the doomed pair who plot the almost perfect crime---only to find mounting evidence that their victim has returned. The classic nerve-wracking climax and spooky ending still hold up well. Don't miss this wonderful chiller. They truly don't make 'em like this anymore.

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (Widescreen/Full Screen)
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (Widescreen/Full Screen)
DVD ~ Bette Davis
Offered by OMydeals
Price: CDN$ 46.19
12 used & new from CDN$ 18.98

5.0 out of 5 stars A GENUINE CLASSIC & CULT FILM....., Oct. 20 2002
Now that this film has been made into a musical (ye Gods!) I had to finally put my say in. This is not a "black comedy". This is not a "camp classic". This is a study in madness and delusion of the first order. Bette Davis should have won the Oscar for her portrayal of Baby Jane Hudson. Her characterization is still macabre after all these years. Her victimization of sister Blanche (a subdued Joan Crawford) is still disturbing in it's demented ferociousness. This is a Hollywood Horror Story. To call it a "horror movie" isn't fair. It's a psychological thriller if you need to place it in a genre. It's a classic film any way you look at it. The TV remake was abysmally unnecessary. And now a musical? Well that should up the sales of the DVD anyway. But "Baby Jane" is too serious subject matter to be called "camp". Blanche is handicapped. She is tormented by her crazed sister over grudges developed years before. The starvation, the physical abuse, the mental torture---these are all too seriously played out to be dismissed as just "camp". These scenes are gripping and squirmish to watch. The movie is too well made to be taken that lightly by cultists and newcomers to it. And the acting is too serious to elicit chuckles instead of shivers. Maybe people need to sit down and watch this again....alone. Maybe it won't seem that campy to them then.

Shock Corridor (Widescreen)
Shock Corridor (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Peter Breck
Offered by JM Video Show Place
Price: CDN$ 22.99
14 used & new from CDN$ 21.41

4.0 out of 5 stars A DISTURBING MOVIE..., Oct. 20 2002
This review is from: Shock Corridor (Widescreen) (DVD)
A reporter seeking a Pulitzer Prize cons his way into being committed to an asylum to get the story on an unsolved murder case. Peter Breck (from TV's "The Big Valley") is good as the reporter. He blends in with the other male inmates trying to ferret out the facts but discovers insanity is nothing to toy with. Constance Towers (also in Fullers' "The Naked Kiss") is a stripper and his loyal girlfriend who notices Breck's mental deterioration on her visits. She tries but can't get him out. He has more or less sealed his own fate. The portrayals of the other inmates are powerful and there are some real doozies locked in with Breck. But I found the movie to be so vivid that it was almost unpleasant to watch. The scenes in the asylum are disturbing. The scenes outside the asylum are depressing and even Towers' strip routine at the nite club where she works is downbeat. Breck's plight is overwhelmingly doomed. This is without a doubt a challenging film but I can only recommend it with a warning. If you are emotionally affected by films be careful with this one. It will linger with you after you've seen it. Still it's a powerful and unusual film worthy of a cult following and a collector's item.

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