From the non-auteur behind the classic horror hits “Fright Night” and “Child’s Play” and the less classic S. King adaptations “Thinner” and “The Langoliers” (also writer of Psycho 2). This is from the writer of “The Fury”, which makes me a little less excited to see that one.

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Holland must not have been allowed to adapt King’s “It”. Here we’ve got a story about grown men being hunted down by a killer klown, with flashbacks of these guys as young kids doing bad things together. Sounds like “It” to me. But this one adds exciting story elements that “It” never had, such as that the young kids once conspired to kill a retarded ice cream man, and that the ice cream man comes back as an evil klown and if the now-grown-men’s KIDS fall under the klown’s spell and eat a special ice cream bar, the men will turn into ice cream and melt and die.

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Ridiculous story, reasonably well acted/directed, not a bad thing to half-watch while I’m doing something else, like writing these entries.

“The Law”

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Ouedraogo, from Burkina Faso, was a student of Gaston Kabore, director of last week’s Wend Kuuni, and also worked with Ousmane Sembene.

Saga (actor also in Moolaade, Yaaba, Night of Truth) has been away for a couple years, and returns to find that the woman he was promised as a wife is now married to his father. She and Saga are in love and resume their affair, with disastrous results. Saga’s brother is sent to kill him, but allows him to escape, and the illicit lovers go off to Saga’s aunt’s house… but he comes back for his mom’s funeral, exposing himself to the townspeople. The father banishes the brother, who then shoots Saga, oh and the girl’s dad hangs himself for having a part in all this.

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Fine story (a darker Ten Canoes?), fine acting, plays at a good pace, not at all as bleak and awful as it sounds from my plot description. Won the Cannes Grand Jury Prize (a step up from the prize Yeelen won three years before), second place to Lynch’s Wild At Heart and beating out Godard, Zhang Yimou and Ken Loach.

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Little music. A vocalist sings “Tilai… Tilai” a couple times and that’s it. Long shots, but not distractingly long.

“Claire Denis, the director of the autobiographical film Chocolat, set in colonial West Africa, notes that in Tilai every sentence starts with the name of the person who is addressed, in contrast to what she calls the vacuousness of communication among white colonials.”

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A lonely mute girl gets raped, robbed, and raped again, all in one night. She stops the second guy though (kills him with an iron, chops him up), grabs his gun and goes on a vengeance spree through the city, killing just any man she can.

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All this killing takes its toll on her daily life, and her seamstress friends at work start to notice the change. She sort of goes from righteous victim to homicidal maniac, but then she never quite loses our affection either. A lot more carefully measured and watchable than the grating Driller Killer.

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One “victim” actually takes the gun and shoots himself out on a park bench. She doesn’t kill the dog (screen shot below). Eventually puts on the nun suit and goes all Carrie at a halloween party before she’s taken out.

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Scott Ashlin says:
“What we get instead is… a film that depicts men in the harshest and most unforgiving light, presenting them as legitimately deserving a substantial proportion of Thana’s wrath. Simply put, Ms. .45 has no patience with mitigating circumstances. In this movie, people, both men and women, are defined entirely by what they do rather than by who they are. It doesn’t matter, or so Ms. .45 contends, whether an exploiter had a rough childhood or a bad day at work or a steady stream of shitty luck with the girls he dated in his formative years. Violence buys violence, end of story.”

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September 2011: Great to see this again on 35mm at Cinefest.

Cop Glenn Ford is causing trouble by trying to prove that police-corruption-protected mobster Lagana killed a witness (actually ordered her killed, via lackey Lee Marvin’s lackey). He causes enough trouble that Lagana orders him silenced, but ends up killing Ford’s perfect wife Jocelyn Brando (Marlon’s sister) with a carbomb instead. Whoopsie! Angry Glenn Ford takes it personal and tears down the whole criminal establishment, with the help of Marvin’s girlfriend (who turns on him when he tosses boiling water in her face).

Movie opens with a cop committing suicide beside a letter he wrote to the newspaper exposing the crime-cop corruption coverup. His wife, instead of delivering to the papers, puts the note in a safe deposit box and extorts the gangsters. Lee Marvin’s girl Gloria Grahame (human desire, crossfire, in a lonely place) ends up killing the widow to expose the plot, a cool twist.

Nice, noirish crime thriller. Not the breakout amazing Fritz Lang’s Greatest Achievement that I’d not dared to expect. In fact, after all the movies I’ve seen by Fritz Lang (thirty, more than any other director), I can’t necessarily tell a Fritz Lang film from anyone else’s. That’s where film school would have helped, I guess.

Katy did not watch it.