• Touching the Skin of Eeriness

    Touching the Skin of Eeriness

    ★★★½

    "Multiply the invisible poles between you!" - Such perfect advice, if you start thinking about it, applicable to so many social situations. Maybe every single one except for sex?

    Hopefully a transitional work, because I enjoyed it much more than THE DEPTHS and INTIMACIES.

  • Kiss Me, Stupid

    Kiss Me, Stupid

    ★★★½

    How do we look when we are domestic? Lots of great stuff in here, especially the Ray Waltson centered scenes, beginning with Für Elise slowly making way for Tin Pan Alley. Corruption is everywhere, the search for purity always already a road to hell.

    Kim Novak on the other hand... Once again, Wilder just seems to be unable to not introduce an extra dose of moralistic misogyny here and there when conceiving of a sexually proactive woman, and this is…

  • Benedetta

    Benedetta

    ★★★★½

    "This convent seems rarely bound by the possible."

    Paul Verhoeven still bugging his haters and even throwing off some of his fans by insisting on turning everything he touches into perfectly calibrated popular entertainment first and foremost, as a necessary and irreplaceable prerequisite for whatever else he might have in mind. This time what we get is both a gloriously vulgar dance of death with blazing farts and a spiritually elevated comedy of manners about women navigating a system of…

  • Intimacies

    Intimacies

    ★★½

    -"The novel shows that men have never understood women."
    -"Why would I enjoy that?"

    Feels a bit like an inverted Rivette: theater not as a means of expanding life, but of confining it. Even abolishing it, maybe, by finally and eternally laying open the impossibility of true intersubjectivity. In theory this might even be a project closer to my heart than Rivette's, yet once again this did not quite come together for me. It might just be that a couple…

  • Dirty Pair: Project Eden

    Dirty Pair: Project Eden

    ★★★★

    In the end, all that can save us from evil madcap incel bio-engineering are expressive body parts and the power of music. So over-eager to break out, at every possible chance, in decorative psych-out groovings that it never quite becomes clear just how much seriously dark matter lies beneath the funky "cyberpunk cannibalizing pop culture from Bond to Star Wars" surface. Some of the imagery in the - always beautifully rendered - quieter moments features quite disturbing imagery; and at…

  • Witness for the Prosecution

    Witness for the Prosecution

    ★★½

    The moment I remembered the twist I also remembered why I have problems with quite a few Wilder films. When adapting Christie, it is certainly tempting to play the material for cynicism whenever possible ... but it also means wasting the rich ironies inherent in the story for a series of cheap shots directed at your characters, augmenting what basically are pure plot mechanics with self-serving moral outrage. And this is the road Wilder chooses here in the pretty terrible…

  • Erotic Nights of the Living Dead

    Erotic Nights of the Living Dead

    ★★★★★

    The purest d'Amato film, which is to say: the ultimate in sex and horror. The hardcore obligations are satisfied early on by a relaxed, slow-burning, sensual threesome, shot as if in real time and single take, and after that the male body slowly starts receding from view, with the screen taken over first by the spectacle of tits and bush and then by the hypnotic, wave-like attack of the undead.

    And those really are emanations of pure death, compared to…

  • A Certain Killer

    A Certain Killer

    ★★★½

    Strange to see Raizo Ichikawa in a present day gangster film, with completely different hair, too. He's somehow both extremely relaxed and extremely controlled in this, a gangster film mostly set in a dilapidated harbor area, a somber, post-industrial rubber wasteland thoroughly cut-off from the emerging Japanese consumer culture modernity.

    The beginning mostly belongs to the great Yumiko Nogawa, enthusiastically clawing her way into Raizo's affections. Once she is (mostly) tamed, the film settles into a more solemn pace, guided…

  • Emmanuelle 7

    Emmanuelle 7

    ★★★

    Cyber-sex has arrived, so let's travel back in time (?) to re-fuck our destinies.

    Crazy enough to keep up interest, and bringing back Leroi at least ensures that this is the best looking EMMANUELLE since part 4. Kristel is back, too, more in a masters of ceremony role than front and center, though. Some more interesting presences, especially Julie Jalabert, never to be seen again. Still, not quite enough to breathe new life into a muddled series whose main legacy in the end pretty clearly are the Gemser spin-offs.

  • THE DEPTHS

    THE DEPTHS

    ★★½

    Desire isn't a readily available resource, neither of bodies nor of subjects ... it always has to be channeled, activated, named, sometimes translated and interpreted. (This might also be the reason, by the way, why many serious "transgressive" art films tend to leave me cold, while the more ridiculous pleasures of exploitation seldom fail to excite me.) That's why the photo shootings are the beginning and the end of the film, only the gaze through the camera provides access to…

  • Emmanuelle 6

    Emmanuelle 6

    ★★½

    Emmanuelle and the girl in the trunk. A few sweet ideas in this, but all notions of style have basically evaporated by now. This is basically a soap opera with boobs and mostly without plot, not necessarily the worst combination one might think, yet there's an art to making boredom sexy, and Zincone obviously hasn't mastered it.

  • Love in the Afternoon

    Love in the Afternoon

    ★★★

    Technically "Fascination", the de-Féraudy-composed melody LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON is basically soaked in, is not a piece of "Viennese schmaltz" as someone (Chevalier?) says in the film. It easily could be, though, since Wilder's comedy is a throwback to the late 19th century Viennese operetta tradition as much as to Lubitsch's 1930s Chevalier films, and it is, of course, also not a coincidence that the melody gets, at one point, wrongly attributed to Wagner - and a little bit later,…