About This Blog

A place to find my reviews not featured on epinions.com or horror-asylum.com, as well as opinions and lists on everything from movies to TV to music. It's all about me! Send hate mail to vegie18th@hotmail.com or just leave a comment beneath the posts. Review grading system assumes C+ is somewhere in the vicinity of a Passing grade or minor fail.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Review: The World’s End


Five mates reunite to finish an epic pub crawl they never quite completed back in the day. In reality, though, none of the four really wants to join alcoholic loser Gary (Simon Pegg, who co-wrote) in his quest to get epically legless, and only show up for the sake of a catch-up. Especially reluctant is nerdy teetotaller Andy (Nick Frost) who like the others (played by Eddie Marsan, Martin Freeman, and Paddy Considine) has settled down, but also hasn’t drank in years. Undeterred, Gary brings his buddies back to their hometown to begin the epic 12 pub crawl. Weird thing is that none of the bartenders seem to remember the lads. Actually, the weird thing is that the majority of the township have been replaced by blue-blooded alien robots! Gary still wants to do the pub crawl, though, culminating in drinking a round at the title pub. Rosamund Pike plays Freeman’s sister, whom Considine still harbours a crush for, and Pierce Brosnan turns up as their former teacher.

 

I was a fan of writer-director Edgar Wright’s “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”, and I like Simon Pegg in just about anything not directed by Wright. Wright’s films with Pegg and cohort Nick Frost (“Shaun of the Dead”, “Hot Fuzz”) just haven’t been my thing, resorting to boozing, grotty characters, gross overlength, and not much to tickle my funny bone. The trend doesn’t really change with this 2013 apocalyptic sci-fi comedy, which has its moments like the earlier films, but never quite makes the grade overall. I will say though, that this mixture of aliens and pub crawl, wasn’t as unlikeable and uninteresting as I expected (what’s the point of drinking until you puke?), and it’s certainly better than “Storage 24” and “Attack the Block”, though a long way from the slightly similar “FAQ About Time Travel”.

 

Wright really needs to stop trying to be cool, because “Reservoir Dogs” slow-mo gags and that whooshing montage thing Wright puts into all of these films (this time it’s beer taps being poured) are really tired references. The audio cues from a certain Peter Fonda/Roger Corman film, however, were much more appreciated.

 

There’s something identifiable about the Pegg character here, we all know that one guy we went to school with who has never grown up and still thinks it’s cool to get drunk or stoned. Unfortunately, Wright never quite condemns this drongo, which is a shame because it could’ve taken the film somewhere far more substantial. Thankfully the robot takeover plot eventually kicks in so that the film doesn’t just become one long, glorified drinking session, though. The far too frequent music montages were irritating however, and I didn’t even like them in “Notting Hill” (Nice that Pegg isn’t obsessed with profane hippity hop this time, though). Meanwhile, there’s something inherently funny about Eddie Marsan playing a milquetoast twit in this (his smile is creepy as hell, though), and the recurring appearance by Pierce Brosnan was smarmily amusing to me too. In fact the more likeable characters played by Marsan (who I’d like to say is perfectly miscast, Rosamund Pike (whose Botox injections once again makes her look like she has suddenly forgotten her lines), and Paddy Considine help to nullify the scummier Pegg and equally uninteresting Frost (who you can just tell is just a boozer in nerdy clothing). That said, I’ll at least credit Pegg with bringing a sense of idiot energy and misplaced bravado that is certainly more interesting than his previous characters in Wright films, if no less disreputable.

 

It’s hardly a bad film (and could’ve been so much worse), just not very clever, inventive, or consistent. Well, OK, the sight of wimpy Marsan hiding in a toilet cubicle from robots disguised as puny young Brit punks is pretty damn funny and clever. The mixture of slacker characters and sci-fi/horror parody works a bit better here than in “Shaun of the Dead”, but it’s still not my cup of tea, especially when “FAQ About Time Travel” did much the same thing, and much better/inventively. And on what insane level does that ending make any sense whatsoever? It’s counter to everything that came before it!

 

A watchable, but uneven film that fans of the previous Wright-Pegg-Frost films will no doubt enjoy more than me. Booze just doesn’t appeal to me, folks. It’s already ingrained in the culture of my country, I’m not overly interested in fictional films about getting drunk.

 
Rating: C+

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)


The story of gypsy Esmerelda (Maureen O’Hara), and the title bell-ringer Quasimodo (Sir Charles Laughton) who pines for her and rescues her from being executed from a crime she didn’t commit, because she is the one person in Paris to treat the unfortunate hunchback with kindness. The true culprit is local judge Frollo (Sir Cedric Hardwicke), Quasimodo’s guardian who harbours romantic inclinations for Esmerelda that are not returned, thus he frames her for a murder that he himself has committed, having become mad with lustful feelings. Harry Davenport plays King Louis XI, somewhat clueless to Frollo’s Machiavellian machinations, whilst Thomas Mitchell plays ‘beggar king’ Clopin, a young Edmond O’Brien is a somewhat foolish street poet, Walter Hampden is Frollo’s polar opposite brother the Archdeacon, and George Zucco is a ruthless procurator.

 

A top-notch cast (well, for the most part) helps tremendously with this fine 1939 adaptation of the Victor Hugo classic directed by William S. Dieterle (“The Life of Emile Zola”, “Rope of Sand”), from a screenplay by Sonia Levien (“The Great Caruso”, “Oklahoma!”) and Bruno Frank (“A Royal Scandal”). Under plentiful (and really quite wonderful) makeup, Charles Laughton gives a harrowing and memorable performance in the lead role. His entrance alone is very memorable. It’s absolutely disgusting the way Quasimodo is treated in the film.

 

Aside from Laughton’s excellent performance, the film’s strongest asset for me is the depiction of the class divide in 15th century France. Sure, it affects the pacing a bit (and I’m not sure the king of beggars is a necessary character, hence my preference for the Disney version that removed most of that), and Quasimodo ends up getting a bit lost in the shuffle (there seems one person too many infatuated with Esmerelda for my liking. It feels a tad cluttered), but it’s interesting material nonetheless.

 

I also greatly appreciated the characterisation of Frollo offered by the great character actor Sir Cedric Hardwicke. Some might find the performance a tad dull, but I appreciated the subtle and nuanced approach to the performance and character. This is a much more layered interpretation of Frollo than in the Disney version (more a slow descent into lust-motivated madness rather than straight villainy) and a genuinely interesting performance from Hardwicke, a true pro. He also joins Christopher Lee and Henry Daniell in mastering the look of sheer disdain. This guy looks like he hates enjoyment…and life in general.

 

I also enjoyed the character work offered by Thomas Mitchell, Edmond O’Brien, George Zucco (in a small role), and especially Harry Davenport. Mitchell, as the king of beggars, may not play an especially necessary role, but he plays it especially well in the kind of drunk and dishevelled performance he was a pro at, and which Edmond O’Brien would also later become a master at. Here the character seems almost Dickensian at times. O’Brien, one of cinema’s finest character actors in an impressive film debut, looks shockingly young- and shockingly thin- here. Like Mitchell’s character, I’m not sure the character is particularly necessary, but it’s certainly an interesting character and a fine performance. As the kindly, but somewhat clueless King Louis XI, Harry Davenport shows why he was such an underappreciated character actor, making the absolute most of his time here as one of the more likeable characters in the film.

 

Less effective is the typically irritating Maureen O’Hara as Esmerelda. The character is crucial, and sadly the irritating, constantly grinning O’Hara proves quite amateurish in the role (especially when she tries to talk and grin at the same time). The performance by Walter Hampden also appears to be miscalculated. Playing the manipulated archdeacon (and Frollo’s brother), Hampden comes across as patronising and sinister, when probably aiming for kindness. It’s the strangest thing and a source of confusion to me.

 

It’s a solid version of the tale, bolstered by some terrific acting, a good (and Oscar-nominated) music score by Alfred Newman (“Wuthering Heights”, “The Mark of Zorro”, “All About Eve”, “Airport”), and some really nice, shadowy B&W cinematography by Joseph H. August (“Gunga Din”, “They Were Expendable”), especially in the scenes with Laughton’s memorable Quasimodo. I have to go against the grain and say that Disney did this one a tad better in 1996, but this is also a worthy adaptation.

 

Rating: B-

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Review: Emmanuelle


Sylvia Kristel (who really ought to have been a Bond girl at some point) stars as the title character who ventures to Bangkok to be with her diplomat husband (Daniel Sarky). Said husband tells her she should be free to explore her sexuality with others with his blessing. Emmanuelle’s arrival sparks an interest in young Marie-Ange (Baby-faced Christine Boisson), who boldly masturbates in front of her, and Emmanuelle has a post-squash tryst with another woman (Jeanne Colletin). However, Emmanuelle seems more taken with archaeologist Bee (Marika Green), whom she runs off with for an adventure without informing her husband. When this ends rather unsatisfactorily for her, Emmanuelle decides to meet with Mario (Alain Cuny), an older man who has been wanting to show Emmanuelle new levels of sexual pleasure. 

 

A rite of passage for many a young hornbag, I’m afraid I hadn’t caught up with this landmark 1974 softcore flick from director Just Jaeckin (the uneven but crazy “Gwendoline”) until my 34th year on this planet. Unfortunately, the passage of time and the proliferation of much harder and more explicit stuff has rendered this film rather ineffectual. It’s also just not a very good softcore film (yes, even with the infamous cigarette scene which is weird more than erotic), as its immediate and vastly superior sequel proved.

 

To be honest, Sylvia Kristel doesn’t float my boat in this film. Nice enough body, but the 12 year-old boy haircut just doesn’t do it for me. I also strongly reacted against the look director Jaeckin and cinematographer Robert Fraisse (“Wings of Courage”, “The Lover”) have given the film. It’s overly and distractingly arty, ruining the sex scenes by obscuring a lot of what is going on with bars and other props. It alerts your attention to the filmmaking, a big no-no in a film like this where the only important thing is the sex. The softcore film has more importance on story and character than its cousin the hardcore porn film, but let’s face facts, you’re still watching this film to ‘get off’ to some degree. This film isn’t very good at achieving that, at least not when viewed today. Sure, some of it is attractive, but a little of the style goes a long, long way. There’s a lot of nudity in the film, and some extremely beautiful bodies on display, which helps, but not quite enough.

 

I also found the male characters positively vile, when not completely boring. The husband is the biggest douchebag on the planet. He just wants guilt-free promiscuity, and doesn’t like it when his wife enjoys that lifestyle more than she enjoys him. He’s a pig, and further shows his douchebaggery by driving a sports car wholly inappropriate for Thailand. Mario, meanwhile, gives off geriatric pervert vibes from moment one, but for the most part is stupid and boring.

 

The film has some very bizarre things going on, sexually. Emmanuelle claims to be heterosexual, and has all these men chasing after her (and a husband), and yet she seems to prefer having sex with women. She’ll sleep with any willing woman, but seems reluctant with Mario and even her husband at times. Lady, you’re a lesbian. It’s almost like the women in this film are claiming to be hetero, but don’t realise that by sleeping with other women, they’re at least bisexual. Or to put it another way, Jaeckin and screenwriter Jean-Louis Richard (“Fahrenheit 451”, “The Bride Wore Black”) are blokes who are writing female characters for the consumption of a male audience with their dicks in their hands. The characters simply don’t convince, and if your film doesn’t work on the sex front, you better have one helluva screenplay/story. And this one doesn’t. Meanwhile, a Thai boxing match simply doesn’t belong in a softcore porn film. There’s way too much non-sex stuff here, and I’m not talking about plot or character development. Just useless, random stuff that pads things unnecessarily, and towards the end gets rather unpleasant and misogynistic.

 

Overrated, outdated, and disappointing. Massively disappointing. How can a film with girl-on-girl action be disappointing? Watch this film. Hell, Kristel’s even clothed for some of the sex scenes. In a softcore porno!

 

Rating: C+ 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Review: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)


Set in 15th century France, the title character, named Quasimodo (voiced by Tom Hulce) was taken in as a boy by judge Frollo (voiced by Tony Jay), who is an evil man confining the partially deaf Quasimodo to the belltower. Poor, unfortunate Quasimodo’s only company up there are the stone gargoyles (one voiced by Jason Alexander). However, one day he defies orders to watch a gypsy festival, where he becomes instantly smitten with gypsy girl Esmerelda (voiced by Demi Moore). He rescues her from the clutches of Frollo, who wants her arrested and burned at the stake. Or maybe he just wants to jump her bones. Unfortunately for both Quasimodo and Frollo, Esmerelda seems to only have eyes for Frollo’s chief guard Phoebus (voiced by Kevin Kline), though she treats the hunchback with more kindness and sympathy than anyone else in the city.

 

A bit of a serious undertaking for a Disney animated film, this 1996 adaptation of the famed Victor Hugo novel from directors Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise (who previously directed Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”), is a lot more successful than I was expecting. I think it’s the strength of the story itself that really sees this work (even when softened and pared down by Disney), but it’s also lovely to look at and even listen to. It ain’t very French, however.

 

The slightly askew animation style works much better here than in “Hercules” where they went a bit too far with it so as to become unrecognisable as Disney animation. For 2D animation (though some is apparently 3D- it’s pretty seamless to me!) there is certainly a fair amount of detail, texture, and dimension. Kudos to the animators for not making Quasimodo too ‘cute’ or palatable, so as to ruin the point. He’s certainly uglier than the Beast from “Beauty and the Beast”. Esmerelda is especially beautiful, supposedly based on Jennifer Connelly, but looking to me like a long-haired Demi Moore with a tan. The songs are much more of the “Les Miserables” variety of stage musical song than the usual Disney love ballad schmaltz. That sort of thing isn’t my cup of tea but I was happy to take a break from the norm, nonetheless.

 

You won’t immediately recognise the voices aside from Jason Alexander and a slightly miscast Kevin Kline (a strange choice for a macho soldier role), but Demi Moore is actually quite good as Esmerelda. The character itself is one of the more interesting Disney heroines, and certainly one of the feistiest. Tony Jay actually impresses more than anyone as the seriously evil villain, having more than a little Cardinal Richelieu about him. He is positively dripping with disdain, and along with the gorgeous animated scenery, is the highlight of the film. Jason Alexander and the other gargoyles are funny, but one feels the film actually doesn’t even need the levity. Having said that, I loved one sign that read ‘Mon Sewer’, so I can’t be too harsh on the use of humour here. Tom Hulce is OK as Quasimodo, he probably should’ve adopted a more constrictive, “Elephant Man” vocal style to be honest. A minor quibble.

 

This is a surprisingly effective Disney picture from a source material you’d think would be too depressing. But although the humour isn’t entirely necessarily, things never get too dark nor is anything jarring. It’s a bit bloody short, though, so it’s especially surprising that the story still comes off. Hugo’s novel was adapted by Irene Mecchi (“The Lion King”), Tab Murphy (“Dark Country”, Disney’s “Tarzan”), Jonathan Roberts (“The Lion King”), Bob Tzudiker (“Newsies”), and Noni White (“Newsies”).

 

I actually slightly favour this more streamlined version of the tale over the also very fine Charles Laughton version from 1939. This one is streamlined for the better in my view. Check it out, especially if you’re curious to see what Disney would do with this subject matter. It works better than you might expect.

 

Rating: B-

Review: Grown Ups 2


Everybody’s back, minus Rob Schneider (hooray!) for the sequel to ‘Hey, Adam Sandler Has Friends!’. In this outing, the gang (Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade, and a flatulent Kevin James) throw an 80s party, get harassed by a bunch of dorky and  overcompensating macho college brats (led by a shirtless Taylor Lautner), and generally just try and avoid their wives and children. Stone Cold Steve Austin plays a former high school bully re-entering the picture to the horror of Sandler, whilst Cheri Oteri plays a woman who never got over her grade school crush on Sandler, who doesn’t even recognise her. Jon Lovitz plays a perverted janitor who poses as a Pilates instructor, whilst Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Maya Rudolph, Colin Quinn, Tim Meadows, and Steve Buscemi all reprise their roles from the original.

 

The original “Grown Ups” could’ve been one of the more enjoyable Adam Sandler films, with a bit more effort and depth. Unfortunately, Adam just wanted to go on vacation with his buddies and film it. Well, 2013 gives us a repeat performance of that vacation, minus one cast member, and any giveashit factor from me, to be honest. An appearance by Rob Schneider wouldn’t have moved the needle one way or the other, but when the guy who made a movie about a guy who learns kung-fu so as not to get raped in prison, won’t appear in your movie…well, let’s just say I don’t necessarily buy the ‘schedule conflict’ story (nor the rumoured Sandler-Schneider rift for that matter).

 

Directed by Dennis Dugan (“Grown Ups”, “Happy Gilmore”, “The Benchwarmers”) and scripted by Sandler and his ‘Yes Men’ Tim Herlihy (who co-wrote two of Sandler’s better efforts, “Little Nicky” and “Bedtime Stories”) and Fred Wolf (“Grown Ups”, “Joe Dirt”, and the slightly underrated “Strange Wilderness”), the experience is much less interesting the second time around. Everyone’s going through the motions here. However, at least that means Jon Lovitz turns up as ‘guy who gets the only laughs in the film’. He’s hilarious and shameless as always. Other than that, Chris Rock’s unhip wardrobe amused me for some reason, Spade’s son gets a giggle on first appearance, Sandler crony Peter Dante is amusing, and Shaq has a funny sight gag playing Tim Meadows’ brother…or perhaps he was meant to be Hightower from “Police Academy”.  So it obviously has a few fun moments, just absolutely no freshness nor an overall reason for being. It’s incredibly lazy, right down to Sandler casting every friend he has, excepting Rob Schneider. So if you were somehow wondering if Colin Quinn, Cheri Oteri (who has really let herself go and has only ever made me laugh with her Barbara Walters imitation), and Ellen Cleghorne were still alive, then this film answers that for you. We get it Adam, you’ve got mates. Good for you. Insecure much? Sadly, he doesn’t give them much to do, wasting the enormous talents of Steve Buscemi in particular. It’s one of the rare dud appearances by him, as he can’t even get a laugh dressed as Flavour Flav. Nick Swardson has never been funny and that trend continues here.

 

The kids of the title characters getting their own subplot was also a bad idea. They’re not played by famous people, so why should I care? The kid playing Tim Meadows’ son is even less funny than Meadows himself, who has at least been funny elsewhere (The Ladies Man character cracks me up, OK?). Likewise, the stunt casting of Taylor Lautner as a young bully falls flat because people stopped remembering Taylor Lautner a year ago. Too much effort for zero reward there, a really unfunny character, played by a guy with no acting ability.

 

I also felt sorry for the trio of women in the film; Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, and Maya Rudolph are saddled with worthless, and rather shrewish roles. Also, I found Kevin James rather disconcerting in this. He seems to have put on a lot of weight since the last film, and has a bit of a latter day John Candy look to him. Not good.

 

The first film was pretty flimsy and middling but with more effort, could’ve been among the top-tier of Sandler films (“Funny People”, “Punch-Drunk Love”, “50 First Dates”, “The Wedding Singer”, “Bedtime Stories”, “Little Nicky”). This sequel is more of the same, only even lesser, and featuring deer piss (Or was that semen?). Barely adequate would be rather charitable, but it’s still better than “Just Go With It”, “That’s My Boy”, and “Jack & Jill”, that’s for damn sure. 

 

Rating: C

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Review: The Bank Job


Inspired by a real-life robbery in the 70s, Jason Statham stars as a former ne’er do well, now a family man and garage owner, though in debt to a loan shark, currently. Waltzing back into his life is former flame Saffron Burrows, with a job offer: A heist gig, on short notice to rob the safety deposit vault of a bank on Baker Street, London, full of cash and jewellery. What’s really going on unbeknownst to Statham is that Burrows is sleeping with an MI5 agent (Richard Lintern) who wants Burrows to find some disreputable types to break in, so that he can get his mitts on some seriously kinky photos of Princess Margaret (!) and certain politicians, that blackmailers are holding over the government. Actually the politicians are worried because a certain local Madame also has a different deposit box at the bank with incriminating evidence. In addition to his usual crew, Statham hires a dapper con man (James Faulkner’s ‘Major’), as well as an experienced tunneller (Alki David). Meanwhile, Statham’s wife (Keeley Hawes) waits at home, assuming her husband is fooling about with Burrows. Other figures caught up in the mix are a sleazy porn king (David Suchet), and a couple of phony Trinidadian Black Panthers (Peter De Jersey and Colin Salmon), who are the blackmailers (and more drug dealers than revolutionaries).

 

I like a good heist film, and if you don’t take the ‘based on a true story’ tag too seriously, this 2008 heist film from veteran Aussie director Roger Donaldson (“Smash Palace”, “No Way Out”, “Cocktail”) is a really entertaining yarn. That doesn’t surprise me since the screenplay comes from the reliable pairing of Dick Clement and Ian Lafrenais (“The Commitments”, “Vice Versa”, the underrated “Water”), whose earlier “The Jokers” was an amusing comedy-caper. It probably scores really high on the bullshit meter (facts are hazy, given the supposedly sensitive nature of the case to national security), but I was shocked that they actually named Princess Margaret in the film, whilst other characters’ names were changed to ‘protect the guilty’. Whether it sticks close to fact or not, it’s a bloody barmy heist plot, and entertainingly so. If even some of this really happened, it’s goddamn extraordinary.

 

I wasn’t entirely enamoured with the Jamaican Malcolm X rip-off nor the unconvincing performance by Colin Salmon as his cohort Hakeem Jamal. Those embarrassingly clichéd characters stuck out like to big-arse sore thumbs, and are the only element that don’t convince (despite being among the more known to be factual elements in the film, go figure!) in an otherwise cool film with fine 70s detail, including the soundtrack.

 

Statham is Statham, but in pretty good form here, and Saffron Burrows has a glamorous supermodel vibe about her here that is magnetic. She’s definitely well-cast as a possible femme fatale. David Suchet is rock-solid as a sleazy pornographer, and James Faulkner is especially fine as The Major. The film somewhat reminds me of the 60s heist film “The Day They Robbed the Bank of England”, but much, much better. Give it a go if you like your heist films, this is a good one.

 

Rating: B-

Review: Fahrenheit 451


Set in a future where books are said to lead to depression, disharmony, and unhelpful idealism, the black-clad fire brigade are the dominant policing unit. Instead of putting out fires, they’re in charge of burning books. One such fireman is played by Oskar Werner, who lives a content, unquestioning existence with his wife, played by Julie Christie. But then he meets a local schoolteacher (also played by Christie) who encourages Werner to actually read the books he burns. And that’s where the trouble begins for Werner, who finds books so much more fascinating than his otherwise anti-septic, emotionally inert, brain-draining existence. How long until fellow firemen like Anton Diffring come looking for him? Cyril Cusack plays the rather creepy fire chief, most distressed by Werner’s recent behaviour.

 

Based on a Ray Bradbury novel (apparently the first to be adapted into a film), this 1966 sci-fi film from director/co-writer Francois Truffaut (“The 400 Blows”, “The Bride Wore Black”) may not be a snooty arthouse classic, but it is a highly entertaining film based on some classic and durable sci-fi themes. I had low expectations, and found my expectations wildly exceeded. Those who prefer Truffaut’s more latté-sipping, cigarette-smoking piffle might baulk at such a mainstream, English-language yarn, but I was certainly entertained (Even though Truffaut- and possibly Bradbury- seem to be favouring intellectualism and literacy over say, television).

 

There’s a lot of Orwell and a little “A Clockwork Orange” here, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Stanley Kubrick found this film influential, as the scenes of the Gestapo-like fire brigade charging through the streets reminded me a bit of that film. And the societal view and book-burning certainly have a bleak, Orwellian feel to them. Classic stuff. It’s a fantastically weird film at times (keeping with the anti-reading sentiment, the opening credits are spoken!), though I actually don’t think the film is as far-fetched as some claim. It’s more that as I watched the film in 2014, the idea of burning books just doesn’t seem relevant anymore in this age of iPads and the like. But if you take out the books, the sentiment and themes at play here still definitely work (it’s more of a cautionary tale anyway), and there’s a dark humour at play here that I really enjoyed as well. I mean, a society in which firemen start fires themselves before putting them out?

 

Shot by one Nicholas Roeg (director of the haunting “Don’t Look Now” as well as “Walkabout”), it looks absolutely fantastic, too, with striking use of reds (no surprise there), and it’s all enhanced by a very good Bernard Herrmann (“The Day the Earth Stood Still”, “Psycho”, “Vertigo”, “Citizen Kane”) score, that is quite a bit like some of his Hitchcock scores.

 

The cast is wonderfully eclectic too, with Julie Christie and especially Oskar Werner doing good work, and a scene-stealing, creepy Cyril Cusack walking away with the whole thing. The film is already creepy, and he simply adds to it. It’s a shame that the usually very fine Anton Diffring is dubbed here, especially since he’s perfectly capable in English (and doesn’t get much dialogue anyway), not sure what that was all about. He does get to appear in drag in one scene, though, so there’s that. Like I said, very weird film, if still more accessible than most Truffaut films.

 

I’m not sure Julie Christie’s dual role ever quite comes off and the central premise has its issues in the Internet Age, but otherwise, this is a terrific sci-fi effort for 1966, and still an intriguing, entertaining, and striking-looking film today. Co-scripted by Jean-Louis Richard (Truffaut’s “Day for Night”, and perhaps more importantly, the softcore classic “Emmanuelle”), in some respects, this is the film “The Book of Eli” tried and failed to be.

 

Rating: B