www.list.co.uk/film DRAMA SOUS LE SOLEIL DE SATAN (UNDER THE SUN OF SATAN) (15) 93min (Eureka) ●●●●●
In 1987 Maurice Pialat turned his masterly hand to a literary adaptation of Georges
Bernanos’s tale of good, evil and redemption in a rural French village with astonishingly beautiful results. Controversially, he won the Palme d’Or for his efforts that year at Cannes. Gerard Depardieu plays Father Donissan, a fervent young priest whose internal struggle over his chosen path consumes him. The viewer is cast into a world that is so arcane to our modern eyes that it takes a great deal of effort to suspend one’s belief: here, man comes face-to-face with the devil incarnate and morality is, quite literally, a matter of life and death.
As usual, the Eureka ‘Masters of Cinema’ release has superb additional material including an hour-long documentary about the film featuring interviews with the filmmaker and respected Catholic writer Andre Frossard as well as Pialat’s first short film. (Anna Rogers)
SEX COMEDY AMERICAN HOT BABES (15) 90min (Metrodome) ●●●●●
For one very fleeting moment, American Hot Babes looked as though it had the potential to be more than just another cack-handed soft core
We have to start our horror round up with one of the most startling films to finally be given life in the UK on DVD – House (Hausu) (Eureka) ●●●●● . Nobuhiko Obayashi's fiercely original 1977 ghost story chucks every conceivable visual trick at the screen for a psychotropic, mind searingly brilliant piece of weirdo Japanese cinema that comes on like a psychedelic mix of The Evil Dead and The Banana Splits. Next is a modern masterpiece with writer/director Ti West’s pitch perfect 1980s homage The House of the Devil (Momentum) ●●●●●, from the costumes and hair to the camera angles this is a wonderfully evocative, atmospheric and stylish piece of satanic horror.
Survival of the Dead (Optimum) ●●●●● (pictured) is George A Romero's
least successful undead movie yet, as a group of soldiers land on a small island ruled by two feuding families. Apocalypse of the Dead (Momentum) ●●●●● has nothing to do with Romero (apart from starring Ken Foree as seen in the original Dawn . . .) and is one more entry in the over populated world of cheapo zombie movies. While sharing many of the conventions of the average zombie film Pontypool (Kaleidoscope) ●●●●● is a far more interesting proposition, examining the role of language as insanity is spread like a virus, featuring a fantastic central performance from Stephen McHarrie as a local radio jock. It's business as usual for Saw VI (Lionsgate) ●●●●● (ie death traps, gore and more twisted morality) but it's the most satisfying entry in the series for a good while now. Another of Clive Barker's Books of Blood is brought to the screen with Dread (Lionsgate) ●●●●● as a group of students embark on a video project to capture the root of fear, it's a solid story with a perversely cruel ending. Originally released in 2002 Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat (Arrow Video) ●●●●● is 'godfather of gore' Herschell Gordon Lewis' very late sequel to 1963's Blood Feast. More flesh eating Egyptian cult action but as badly acted and silly as ever, though the lashings of blood and guts keep things lively. Finally Cut (BritFilms) ●●●●● is an ambitious slasher, filmed in one continuous shot, but is let down by poor acting, lighting and sound in places. It's still an interesting gimmick but don't be put off/excited (depending on your point of view) by the pic of glamour girl Danielle Lloyd on the cover, she's on screen for about three minutes. (Henry Northmore)
DVD Reviews Film
the Brave, Papillon), here adapting his own anti-war novel, written 32 years before on the eve of World War II. At first glance, it’s the apparently unfilmable story of a paraplegic, deaf, dumb and blind WWI veteran (played by Timothy Bottoms) who’s confined to a backroom hospital bed, where he’s refused his wish to either be seen by the world or be allowed to die and where he grapples distinguishing reality from nightmare. Employing an interior monologue, a series of flashbacks and a number of fantasy sequences, Trumbo manages an impressively cinematic telling of Johnny’s horribly tragic tale (actually based on a true story). Interestingly, Trumbo originally wanted the master of surrealism Luis Buñuel to direct it. Extras: documentary, booklet, alternative scene. (Miles Fielder) DRAMA A NOS AMOURS (TO OUR ROMANCE) (15) 94min (Eureka) ●●●●●
This tale of adolescent discontent still makes for thoroughly uncomfortable viewing nearly three decades after its release. Sandrine Bonnaire deservedly became a star after delivering a blistering performance as Suzanne, a fifteen- year-old girl on the cusp of adulthood who embarks on a sexual odyssey in search of her identity outside of the violent and suppressive atmosphere of her home.
Not for nothing has writer/director Maurice Pialat been labelled the French John Cassavetes; his objective camera work verges on a documentary style at
times and psychological insight is forsaken in favour of capturing behavioural traits, which naturally makes the overall effect all the more disturbing. This the second Pialet
‘Masters of Cinema’ release out this month (see above) contains an excellent selection of extras including an hour- long visual analysis of the film from Cahiers du Cinema editor Jean- Michel Frodon. There are also several interviews with Bonnaire and Pialat. (Anna Rogers)
EPIC/ADVENTURE THE SINKING OF JAPAN (12) 135min (MVM) ●●●●●
Pulpy fun in the tradition of Armageddon, Volcano and Dante’s Peak, the makers of The Sinking of Japan attempt to depict what would happen if Japan suffered a series of natural disasters that lead to the entire country sinking underwater. Is there any way of countering nature, we might wonder? Since the film isn’t an unrelenting account but a triumphal piece involving Eastern know-how and self- sacrifice, the leading characters work together to find a way of saving Japan from being the new Atlantis. A submarine research pilot, a rescue worker and a government minister are among those trying to save the nation, but the film is finally as corny as anything coming out of Hollywood, no matter if much of the fun in watching it comes from wondering how Shinji Higuchi’s film differs from US disaster movies similar in style and CGI ‘impact aesthetic’ mayhem. (Tony McKibbin)
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movie wet dream and have the balls to be a bona fide sex satire. But not before long, comical images of exaggerated breast movement are replaced by lingering shots of showering women while the mimicry of the appalling acting ‘talent’ to be found in the porno industry is undermined by a knuckleheaded buddy relationship. Two friends with less
than happy lives discover a time machine which lands them deep into the heart of adult movie impresario Diamond Jim’s Pleasantville-style bubble where everyone acts as though they are on the set of a flesh- flick. Lester is in heaven, Carl in purgatory but does he really want to return to his unhappy under-the-thumb existence? Well, why would he when ‘Bambi’ has the hots for him? The only saving grace is the lack of any DVD extras bringing your viewing of this laugh- free catastrophe to a swift and welcome end. (Brian Donaldson)
DRAMA JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN (12) 106min (Arrow) ●●●●●
This 1971 lost classic is the sole foray into directing by the most famous and talented screenwriter of the blacklisted ‘Hollywood Ten’, Dalton Trumbo’s (The Brave One, Sparticus, Lonely Are