Sunday, September 21, 2014

Three Films Make A Post: Zeppelins. Bombs. Bordellos. Burials. You name it. We have it.

Trinity is Still My Name aka Continuavano a chiamarlo Trinità (1971): I didn’t enjoy Enzo Barboni’s quickly shot seque to the first Trinity movie as much as its predecessor but it still is a fun little movie, if already suffering from the ever increasing childishness of the Terence Hill/Bud Spencer comedy pairings. This one’s still having a lot of fun with Spaghetti Western conventions but it’s also working pretty hard at repeating the favourite beats of the first film without just repeating itself – mostly with success, even. The sequel’s problem really isn’t so much that it isn’t a funny, well-made movie, it sure is funny and well-made movie, as that it’s just not quite as funny and well-made as the one it follows up on. It’s a bit of a luxury problem to have for a film, but there you have it.

Willow Creek (2013): Even though I am not quite as enamoured with Bobcat Goldthwait’s unexpected turn towards the bigfoot POV movie as some of my peers are, this is still a fine little film. I particularly love how Goldthwait doesn’t overdo the amateurishness of the footage, the carefully thought through shorthand he uses for the characterisation, and the film’s use of humour.

Willow Creek does take quite some time to get going, though, but once it does, it culminates in two of the most effective examples of “people frightened in their tent” and “people panicking in the dark woods” scenes I’ve seen in a POV horror film. Particularly the former, basically consisting of a single, fifteen minute shot of lead actors Alexie Gilmore and Bryce Johnson looking frightened while creepy noises play, is quite an achievement because it takes a set-up that should be a guarantee for boredom and actually makes it work.

Sledztwo aka The Investigation (1974): I always find myself rather surprised by the comparatively high number of Stanislaw Lem adaptations. While often intellectually quite delightful, the comparative disinterest in plot and character displayed in Lem’s body of work doesn’t exactly lend itself to screen adaptations. Despite that, most Lem adaptations not only exist but are also also tend to be rather good.

Case in point is this TV movie directed by Marek Piestrak with a directness that still leaves room for visual mood-building as well as a degree of playfulness, all the while following Lem’s philosophical ideas. It’s quite wonderful to behold in its way.

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