Tuesday, March 26, 2019
BRIDE of REVIEWS
THE TENANT (1976) A Roman Polanski tour-de-force with Polanski in the lead role as a nebbish who moves into the Paris apartment of a girl who committed suicide. Over time, he becomes WAY too involved with the girl's past life until the mystery of her life and death consume his every waking and sleeping moment leading to a horrific conclusion. Melvyn Douglas and Shelley Winters appear, probably to give the movie enough of an American cast to assure it wider distribution in the USA. Isabelle Adjani is also here as a freewheeling hippie type. I saw this at a Philadelphia grind-house back in the day and the remark of "sick, sick, sick" drew applause from the afternoon audience as the end credits rolled.
SALTON SEA (2002) Val Kilmer in a twisty modern noir that's just a teensy-bit too stylish for its own good. But thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless in what is ultimately a revenge fable. Vincent D'nofrio plays a nose-less meth baron and manages to turn up the suspense through sheer quirk.
AU VOLOU / COP OR THIEF (1979) Been on a Jean-Paul Belmondo kick lately. In this one the badass Gaul is deep undercover and wading his way through deep police corruption along the Riviera. It's the kind of action comedy that represented most of his output in the 1970s. But it's still very much a French policier with plenty of shoot-outs, punch-ups and a funny car chase sequence staged by Rene Julienne but with Belmondo at the wheel the whole time. For those not familiar with J-PB, he did all his own stunt work and made sure you always KNEW it was him.
Les mariés de l'an deux/MARRIED COUPLE OF THE YEAR (1971) finds Belmondo in a period comedy swashbuckler ala his early success CARTOUCHE. This time he is an emigre to America who must return to France to get a divorce from his wife in order to marry the daughter of a rich Carolina trader. But during his absence the French Revolution has occurred. J-P is soon embroiled in intrigues between the rebels and the loyalists. Fun, colorful, fast-paced farce that also features epic-scaled action set-pieces, battles and chases. And Jean-Paul gets to show off what a terrific fencer he is in a few one-against-all sword fights. And, of course, he's always either punching a man or slapping a woman at any given moment.
Pour la peau d'un flic/FOR A COP'S HIDE (1981) France's other favorite leading man Alain Delon in a classic private eye mystery with a Gaulish touch. Delon uncovers a web of police corruption that makes him a target of hoods and cops alike. Everything you could ask for in a P.I. story including, a fine jazz score including Miles Davis, Anne Parillaud as Delon's gorgeous gal Friday (oo la la!) and a Rene Jullienne car chase!
LE GUIGNOLO (1980) A tres French farce, Moliere with guns and car chases. Belmondo is a con-man who falls for a spy's trick to trade luggage with him containing a valuable formula for an oil substitute. The action moves to Venice where JP manages to hop into a few beds with Italian beauties while dodging bullets from an Iranian assassin, the attentions of French intelligence, the carabanieri and victims of his own con games. It's best not to question a second of it and just sit back and take in the silliness. As always, J-P's irrepressible charm and amazing athletics makes it all work.
HUNTER'S PRAYER (2017) Sam Worthington is stolid, terse and tough in a pretty good action flick in which he plays a burnt-out hitman. No big surprises here in the kind of shoot-em-up Lionsgate has practically patented. Well, produced and fast-paced. It could have used a jolt of the brand of energy Luc Besson always brings to this
kind of material.