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Randy Elliott
Randy Elliott

Vicky And Her Mystery YIFY

When viewing a film that's presented as a puzzle, one certainly hopes that everything will make sense at the end. Of course, if that result is to be at all satisfactory, the narrative for getting viewers to that conclusion needs to be equally engaging. Unfortunately, that's where writer-director Mathieu Amalric's latest offering loses its way. While the story of a wife and mother (Vicky Krieps) desperate to leave her family starts out strong (especially since her reasons for doing so are far from clear), audiences are likely to think that they're in store for a compelling ride, a mystery that's going to deliciously reveal itself as the story plays out. However, after this noteworthy beginning, the picture spins its yarn in a highly fractured way, mixing a variety of images that appear to draw from current activity, flashbacks and envisioned futures (some even of a fantasy nature), all thrown together in a somewhat haphazard fashion that constitutes more muddle than riddle. One can readily assume that this jumble of imagery is indicative of what's going on in the protagonist's mind, but that's not always clear nor is the cause for it. Thankfully, the filmmaker manages to tie up all of the various strands by picture's end, but it asks viewers to go back and reassemble the pieces that lead its conclusion, and, frankly, that seems like an awful lot of work to go through after a protracted stretch of film where it's easy for audience members to lose interest. To its credit, this release provides an excellent showcase for Krieps, backed by gorgeous cinematography and a superb classical music score, as well as its fine opening sequence. But these strengths aren't enough to compensate for the shortcomings and an overall approach that often seems contrived and certainly sacrifices substance for style. This is the kind of picture that will definitely appeal to the arthouse crowd, but average moviegoers are likely to find it pretentious, self-important and needlessly cryptic, qualities that detract from what could have been more involving had the filmmakers kept matters simpler and less enigmatic.

Vicky and Her Mystery YIFY

Ivan Passer the director of Cutter's Way, was a Czech film director and screenwriter and friend of eminent Czech director Milos Foreman. His real claim to fame was that he co-wrote some of Forman's earlier Czech films, before both men came to work in America. There the similarities end. Foreman made some classics including One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus, whilst Passer made a bunch of duds, the best known of which is arguably Cutter's Way.To read reviewers on these pages comparing this film to 70's classics such as Chinatown, The Parallax View and Night Moves is just breathtakingly laughable. There was a reason United Artists wanted nothing to do with the completed film they received, even changing the title mid-release and that's because they realised they had a giant turkey on their hands.Passer tries to perhaps best emulate Antonioni's Blow-up in having Cutter, Bone and the infamously disappearing sister Valerie, "investigate" (what ends up being just a clumsy blackmail attempt) the murder of Valerie's sister, which Bone may have witnessed, but, like the characters themselves, there is no compelling reason to care. There's not even an air of mystery surrounding the storyline of this utterly misdescribed as, "thriller". The narrative ends up focusing more on how odious the lead characters are. John Heard's Cutter is just a crippled, embittered, alcoholic Vietnam veteran who beats his long-suffering wife, when not causing mayhem to his neighbours. Bone is just a slacker gigolo, seemingly prepared to bed any woman in his vicinity. Think Seth Rogen trying to be semi-serious in a disinterested manner. And Valerie doesn't seem the least bit perturbed by her sister's demise. She just seems to be along for the ride (until she unexplainably disappears in the third act) and cosying up to Jeff Bridges's Richard Bone.One of the many problems the script faces as well, is that we are never given any real reason, why the completely mis-matched Cutter and Bone are such supposedly great friends. Throw into this dynamic duo, the oddity represented by Arthur Rosenberg's George Swanson. Again, there is never any reason why this wealthy boat builder/retailer is friends with either of them. He just appears to serve as a functionary to allow certain scenes to occur in the movie.Don't be fooled. The old truism still applies. If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, is completely unloved and disowned by its parent studio, then it probably is a duck of a film. This is the reality of Cutter's Way. It ain't no unfairly overlooked classic!

A masked killer, wearing World War II U.S. Army fatigues, stalks a small New Jersey town bent on reliving a 35-year-old double murder by focusing on a group of college kids holding an annual Spring Dance."The Prowler" was directed by Joseph Zito, an incredibly nice guy and talented artist, probably better known for his installment in the "Friday the 13th" series. Also notable is that this film features special effects and makeup by Tom Savini, the undisputed horror master of the era. According to Wikipedia, the "film has been praised by gore fans for its brutal and realistic murder scenes." I am not sure about the realism, but the brutal aspect is certainly true, and if there is an uncut version floating around, it must be a bloodbath. Eli Roth also considers it one of his inspirations in the documentary "Fantastic Flesh" (which is a good film in its own right).Writer Neal Barbera is the odd man out in the mix. While Zito and Savini are horror guys to the bone, Barbera is a member of the well-known cartoon family (you know, with Hanna-Barbera). His credit, going back to the 1960s, are writing dialogue and lyrics for Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear and the Flintstones. How he came to write a slasher script is anyone's guess.The movie landed in Zito's lap thanks to a man named Herb. (Exactly who this is I am not sure.) Herb was quite protective of the property; he was even offered a $700,000 advance for the distribution rights, but he feared the film would not make any more than the advance and chose to distribute it himself (which actually worked). And Zito hand-picked Savini based on his work in "Maniac". (It is perhaps no coincidence that Robert Lindsay, the cinematographer of "Maniac", was behind the camera on "The Prowler".)"The Prowler" is in many ways like the 1981 slasher film "My Bloody Valentine", with the biggest difference being that "Prowler" is American and "Valentine" is Canadian. Both are excellent and both directors (the other being George Mihalka) are fine gentlemen, so I will not pick and choose between them here. Both films take place in a small town with the legend of a murder, where the killer has placed a so-called "curse" on the town where the residents cannot partake in a certain social gathering. Sure enough, the residents disobey the curse and are picked off in many brutal fashions. Must have been a 1981 thing.I recommend "The Prowler" to any horror fan, and especially to those who love slashers of the 1980s. I think it has seen a bit of a resurgence in recent years, with shirts and posters becoming available. My friend and colleague Timm Horn talked high praise of this one, and was delighted to meet Zito with me. I wish I could have shared Timm's full enthusiasm at the time.There are some slow moments, and some scenes that make little sense. Exactly why the deputy sheriff and his girlfriend are snooping around inside a house without consent or a warrant is a bit of a mystery. But it moves the plot forward.This film is best seen on the version available from Blue Underground. The choice between DVD and BD probably matters little, as the BD is rather grainy on larger screens (you can only clean up a film like this so much). The Blue Underground disc has audio commentary with Zito and Savini, which is priceless for their banter and tidbits about where they acquired coffins, and a nice ten minute behind-the-scenes featurette showing how the gore and kill scenes were done. Very interesting.Added fun fact: Peter Giuliano, who more or less started his career with "The Prowler" as assistant director and playing the man in the mask, went on to produce dozens of successful films and TV shows, as well as working as assistant director on such notable works as "Ghost Busters". Although not a well-known name, he may be the most successful person to have worked on this film. 041b061a72


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