, 110 min, 1986
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Writers: Pedro Almodóvar (story), Jesús Ferrero (screenplay) & Pedro Almodóvar (screenplay)
Stars: Assumpta Serna, Antonio Banderas, Nacho Martínez
Pedro Almodovar’s Matador is a noir-tinged, perversely and vibrantly sexual, twisted, pitch-black comedy, a tale of serial killers, psychosexual fetishes and bull-fighting which takes a late, bizarre turn toward the Lynchian. Continue reading
Dario Argento’s horror masterpiece, the first of what he referred to as his “Three Mothers” Trilogy, is as beautiful as it is haunting. The story of an American ballet student (Jessica Harper) who travels to Germany to attend a prestigious Academy, the film has hidden depths which are soon uncovered. I won’t reveal what’s really going on here, but it is profoundly disturbing. This is quite literally the most gorgeous treatment of ugly imagery ever committed to celluloid, with Argento’s camera (manned by cinematographer Luciano Tovoli) nimbly gliding through Giuseppe Bassan’s astonishing set design. Additionally, Argento and Tovoli paint each frame in bright, lurid greens, blues and reds, making every shot a remarkable one. Argento tells his story in set-piece after bloody set-piece, beginning with what Entertainment Weekly called “the most vicious murder scene ever filmed” (I won’t spoil it, but it comes on early and is a shocker). All scored to a haunting, synthesized soundtrack by Argento and his band The Goblins, this is one of the most effective horror films ever made. Not to be missed! NOTE: An R-rated, 92-minute version exists in America. Argento followed this film with two more: “Inferno” (1980) and “The Mother of Tears” (2007).
, 216 m., 1962
Peter O’Toole (T.E. Lawrence), Alec Guinness (Prince Feisal), Anthony Quinn (Auda Abu Tayi), Jack Hawkins (General Allenby), Omar Sharif (Sherif Ali), José Ferrer (Turkish Bey (as Jose Ferrer)), Anthony Quayle (Colonel Brighton), Claude Rains (Mr. Dryden), Arthur Kennedy (Jackson Bentley), Donald Wolfit (General Murray), I.S. Johar (Gasim), Gamil Ratib (Majid), Michel Ray (Farraj), John Dimech (Daud), Zia Mohyeddin (Tafas). Directed by David Lean and produced by Sam Spiegel. Screenplay by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson (originally uncredited: credit restored in 1978 by WGA), based on writings by T.E. Lawrence.
In an age of films billed as “Cinematic Spectacle,” here is a true cinematic Giant which humbles many films and cuts all the average weekend releases down to size. David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia is a true epic, with images that awe and characters larger than life. At the age of 50 and a runtime of 216 minutes long, the film is none-too-fleeting but somehow manages to feel both fresh and relatively quick-paced.