Director: Glauber Rocha
Featuring: Mauricio do Valle, Odete Lara, Hugo Carvane.
“Deadly Antonio” was a hit man for hire in Rocha’s 1964 “Black God, White Devil”. In the 1968 sequel the “cangaceiro killer” (cangaceiro were rural bandits) he takes centre stage, though he still remains enigmatic.
Rocha was the leading light of the Brazilian Cinema Nuovo so whilst this has a strong central idea – Antonio sides with peasants against brutal landlords – it’s avant-garde filming style does not make for a straightforward narrative. A theatre group enacts many of the scenes in a stylised way. Some characters are emblematic or allegorical. There is dance and music. The inspiration is the legend of St George and the Dragon.
The film has been compared to an epic poem and there are some epic shots of mountains and plains. Influential in its day, it now seems very much of its time. Worth watching though.
Director: Atom Egoyan
Featuring: Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried
Armenian-Canadian indie director’s remake of 2004 French film “Nathalie” has an ingenious premise: Gynaecologist Julianne Moore suspects Liam Neeson’s music professor husband of infidelity so hires prostitute Seyfried to prove or disprove her worries. That’s right up Egoyan’s street as many of his films deal with voyeurism and the first half of this film explores Moore’s erotic interest in what the prostitute and her husband have been up to.
In the second half the film turns into a bunny-boiler thriller and that doesn’t work quite so well. Egoyan has attempted mainstream thrillers before – Where The Truth Lies, starring Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon is an underrated success – but here as a gun-for-hire he seems to be going through rather trite motions.
Indie directors can regenerate mainstream movies – look at Paul Greengrass and the Bourne films – but Egoyan’s heart just doesn’t seem to be in it.
Previously reviewed now on DVD & Blu-Ray
Director: Paul Greengrass
Featuring: Matt Damon
Scripted by Brian Helgeland, this account of a failed search for the non-existent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction reminded me of “All The President’s Men” on its initial release. Both films succeed as thrillers even though we know the outcome from the outset. Greengrass has proved in the Bourne films that he is unrivalled at action scenes but he also proved in “United 93” he can do talk too. The jewel among the extras here is the commentary from Damon and Greengrass both over the film and a few deleted scenes.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Director: Arden Oplev
Featuring: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace
David Fincher is directing the Hollywood version with Brit Carey Mulligan as the eponymous Girl but this film is far superior to its source material. “The Girl Who Played With Fire” is out in US cinemas and there’s a trailer for it in the extras here, which otherwise is the usual interviews and photos job.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Featuring: Leonardo Di Caprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams.
Horror movie set in a 1954 loony-bin on a fog-shrouded island – count me in. Because the narrative is so tricksy this film rewards reviewing anyway so the DVD purchase is a must. Couple of good documentaries on the Extras – but, spoiler alert, DON”T watch them until you’ve seen the film.