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    ‘Automata’ feels too slight and ripped off to be successful sci-fi

    Automata Directed by: Gabe Ibáñez Written by:  Gabe Ibáñez, Igor Legaretta Gomez, Javier Sanchez Donate Starring: Antonio Banderas, Birgitte Hjort Sorensen, Dylan McDermott, Robert Forster, Tim McInnerny, Melanie Griffith USA, 2014 Following up 2009’s Hierro, Gabe Ibáñez goes from domestic to sci-fi mystery with Automata. Set in 2044 AD, when solar storms turn Earth into […] More

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    ‘Body Double’ is an exploration, exaltation and condemnation of trash culture

    It is obvious that Body Double (1984) is a combination of the plots of Vertigo (1958), Rear Window (1954) and Dial M for Murder (1955) by Alfred Hitchcock, and nearly as obvious to say that the film also takes cues from Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom (1960) and elements from various slasher films like Abel Ferrara’s The Driller Killer (1979). Unfortunately, a good number of critical pieces on Brian De Palma are obsessed with listing off his influences and coming to the inept conclusion that he is merely a Hitchcock imitator with a couple of clever cinematic tricks up his sleeve. Few writers take De Palma on his own terms, though select critics are finally coming around, and most ignore the way he constructs his complex thriller narratives, creates exquisite images that take advantage of cinema’s unique artistic properties, and underscores his films with dissenting politics. Body Double features all of these elements and more, making this film one of De Palma’s finest and most entertaining in his extensive filmography. More

  • Fear City - Loretta
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    Without Theatres: ‘Fear City’ is the murky answer to ‘Taxi Driver’

    New York City holds a large cinematic history of being a hotspot for noirish sleaze, a stage for a morally ambiguous society held together by a justice system without empathy or remorse. The playground was manifested in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver as a window to the subversive end to the American Dream, a place underneath the hopeful symbols of the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. The apocalyptic mood of Scorsese’s revelation was transplanted into the works of Abel Ferrara, a Bronx-born local whose early focus on the deep evils of his immediate landscape labeled him a mainstay in exploitative film. After The Driller Killer (1979) and Ms. 45 (1981), Ferrara continued his narrative strength of depicting the consequences of homicidal justice-seekers with Fear City, regarded as a relative failure due to its mainstream compromises without mainstream appeal. Nonetheless, Ferrara’s transitional work still manages to translate, from a mind of schlock-aesthete, an answer to Taxi Driver as well as a foundation to Ferrara’s more self-serious works. More