Saturday, June 13, 2009


Johnny Mad Dog (****)
despite its going all pretentious in the final act, Johnny Mad Dog is a brilliant portrayal of a motley group of child punk soldiers moving in on Liberia's capital - at times their appearance and individual actions seem ludicrous, but in fact it's probably a pretty realistic representation, albeit overly sombre;
delightfully, the English patois is impenetrable enough to require subtitles throughout

Drag Me To Hell (*)
you'd think this would at least be a mediocre horror movie for the easily pleased mulitiplex popcorn brigade - instead, it's a vacuous nonsensically shambolic mess lacking any redeeming qualities whatsoever - risibly bad acting (some of the worst 'foreign' accents of all time), lobotomised script, shameless product placement, crap CGI, tedious narrative; you can only assume that mainstream critics' generosity, otherwise inexplicable, is due to the massive advertising spend

Dead in Three Days (*)
bored in three minutes - a simply dreadful attempt by Austrian cinema to make a US-style teen horror movie

Africa Addio (*****)
Jacopetti and Prosperi's finest hour and the pinnacle of the so-called mondo genre; for the full poetic effect it's essential to see the full Italian version with English subtitles (not the trashy Blood And Guts version)

Addio Zio Tom (*****)
no drug can prepare you for the screen madness that this uniquely fearless exercise in the constructive smashing of taboo sights and beliefs represents through the simple device of recreating historical scenes of slavery - a truly extraordinary work that will leave your head spinning into oblivion (full Italian version reviewed)

The Godfathers Of Mondo (****)
Jacopetti, Prosperi, plus soundtrack composer Riz Ortolani, are indeed as inspiring human beings as are their films; meanwhile, the losers posing as 'cult movie experts' also featured to pass comment are worse than expendable - they're easy to ignore however, so packed is the documentary with amazing revelations and insights

Friday The 13th (*)
atrociously dull and predictable - makes the originals seem like veritable classics

Phoebe In Wonderland (**)
much of the narrative and script is overplayed: too much exposition and never enough naturalism, which is a shame because Elle Fanning is wonderful as 9 year old Phoebe and the story itself is worthy - she's also saddled with a typically anthropomorphic adult script (as is so often the case for leading child roles), thus betraying a wholly unbelievable degree of lucidity for her age

1 comment:

John McAndrew said...

I thought you'd be a fan of Jacopetti's films after seeing you present some similarly sensational films by Jean Rouch at the Afro Noise event in Glasgow! I was very lucky to see Jacopetti do a Q+A at the Bradford Film Festival some years ago, along with Mondo Cane and Africa Addio (sadly missed the showing of Addio Zio Tom). Both very much impressed me. Also managed to get my copy of Killing For Culture signed by him. He came across as a kind man despite his notoriety but maybe he's just mellowed with age...